Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness
As a radical standpoint, perspective, position, “the politics of location” necessarily calls those of us who would participate in the formation of counterhegemonic cultural practice to identify the spaces where we begin the process of re-vision. When asked, “What does it mean to enjoy reading Beloved, admire Schooldaze, and have a theoretical interest in poststructuralist theory?” (one of the “wild” questions posed by the Third World Cinema Focus Forum), I located my answer concretely in the realm of oppositional political struggle. Such [diverse pleasures can be experienced, enjoyed even, because one transgresses, moves “out of one’s place.” For many of us, that movement requires pushing against oppressive boundaries set by race, sex, and class domination. Initially, then, it is a defiant political gesture. Moving, we confront the realities of choice and location. Within complex and ever shifting realms of power relations, do we position ourselves on the side of colonizing mentality? Or do we continue to stand in political resistance with the oppressed, ready to offer our ways of seeing and theorizing, of making culture, towards that revolutionary effort which seeks to create space where there is unlimited access to the pleasure and power of knowing, where transformation is possible? This choice is crucial. It shapes and determines our response to existing cultural practice and our capacity to envi sion new, alternative, oppositional aesthetic acts. It informs the way we speak about these issues, the language we choose. Language is also a place of struggle.