“No black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much.’ […] Many of these young women are afraid to speak, let alone write. When I witness their fear, their silences, I know no woman has written enough.” — bell hooks, remembered rapture: the writer at work
History is a means to impose the principles of imperialism, patriarchy, misogyny, and racism on our fragile minds — all the evil phenomenons of our damned past that have brought us to this day. A day in which we’ve grown to hate each other, despise our differences, neglect our identities, and give up our moral values.
History has made us believe that significant stories can only be written by those holding the violent power in their hands, taking the privilege of the status quo, and alienating those who were kept on the margins.
Centuries! Several centuries have passed since Great Britain inaugurated the enlightenment with its rational revolutions, and the United States celebrated its hopes upon the hills. The heroic protagonists of our history always met the artificial expectations — white, male, colonizer.
It was either Uncle Sam, or Lord Kitchener, that dominated the world’s narrative and ignored what we had contributed along the way.
White supremacy narrowed the categorization of people who were entitled to be acceptable in history so intensely that we have eventually become the majority. On the other hand, they were left with cheap hats on which the great irony of our century was laid: Make America Great Again.
An irony it was because America would only become great again in the absence of white supremacist narratives. The United States, alongside the world, would become a free place with the re-writings of our narratives. Only when history began to become everyone’s story, and teach us about our past, blatantly.
bell hooks uttered the poignant sentence that ‘no woman has written enough’ despite the huge black canon created with Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, and Maya Angelou. Perhaps, hooks meant women have not written enough, for history ignored them. They weren’t given opportunities to change the historical course and make it herstory. Perhaps, herstory would approach us to reality.
Hence, the Inauguration Day of 2021 has become the epitome of herstory, changing the dominant and oppressive narrative, and making us write our own. Becoming exemplary figures so that our next generation won’t stay silent. Speaking up so that we won’t be defined by others’ definitions for our selves.
Every time a woman appeared on that stage on the Inauguration, she made sure that our narratives about victimhood, oppression, violence, poignancy, and loss, would replace with victory, optimism, confidence, and trust. In her painful description of slavery, Toni Morrison wrote:
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” — Toni Morrison, Beloved
I want to believe that Morrison was watching us with her gorgeous smile, proud of her achievements that she left to us as a legacy. Perhaps, she sighed and said: it was all worth it, we’ve claimed the ownership of our freed selves — at last.
We’re now comfortable in each idiosyncratic skin, eye, nose, hair, smile, weight, race, ethnicity, and gender.
So, I’d like to thank Toni Morrison for becoming the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in 1993,
Michelle Obama for becoming the first African-American First Lady in 2009,
Dr. Rachel Levine for becoming the first known trans person to have a government role today,
Amanda Gorman for becoming the first national youth poet laureate today,
Jennifer Lopez for becoming the first Latina woman to sing “This Land Is Your Land,” and accompany President Biden today,
Sonia Sotomayor for becoming the first Latina Supreme Justice to administer the oath of office to the VP Kamala Harris today,
Most importantly, Kamala Harris for becoming the first black, Asian-American, and female Vice President.
I humbly thank all women who’ve begun to write herstory and allowed us to narrate our own stories because as the glorious poet, Amanda Gorman uttered:
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,
our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
We walk on our foremothers’ shoulders. Yes, Kamala. You, she, and we won’t be the last.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it. — Amanda Gorman