is radical the new woke?

Mark Konig

Our advice this week: grasp at the roots. Radical has turned into the new “woke” where it’s become more of an identity to wear and less of how we intentionally and critically analyze systems of oppression.

We’ve been wondering:

What does it mean to be radical?
What makes our actions and approach radical?
If we’re not radical in 2020, are we simply being performative in our allyship and DEI work?
Or has radical become another way of virtual signaling our “wokeness” to others?

To be honest, we’re nervous that radical will be co-opted into the next hashtag activism or performative justice trend. And of all people, we — Dena and Connie — can’t stop a trend when we can barely begin one. So this our humble PSA.

To echo Angela Davis, we believe that being radical means grasping at the roots; it’s where our mission begins, not where it ends.

Being radical means looking beyond the symptoms to the roots of oppression instead. This means saying no to bandaid solutions cause fixing symptoms, as opposed to curing the disease (of white supremacy), doesn’t actually move us closer towards sustainability.

The only way to create structural change is at the roots.

On the flip side: being radical isn’t about political extremity or blowing sh*t up either. Being radical means digging deeper and looking closer at the core issues (often hiding in plain sight if we’re paying attention).

This means stepping into the shadows of our past histories and present systems, and forcing the shame and blame of injustice into the light cause we can’t fix what we refuse to see.

As this era of Black Lives Matter demands true and deep justice, radical has emerged as a way to qualify our politics and personhood.

It’s no longer enough to just hope; we must be in the tradition of radical hope. Empathy is inauthentic unless it is radical empathy. And honesty is only useful if it is strategic with radical candor.

In some ways, radical has become measured in proportion to injustice. The more injustice, the more radical we need to be.

But we wonder if this moves us towards sustainability? To collective wellbeing and wholeness?

Or does this polarity move us away from each other? And in ways we can’t even see.

Here’s the thing: white supremacy keeps us asking and answering the wrong questions, irrelevant questions, symptomatic questions. Not questions at the roots.

This distracts us, divides us, and disempowers the collective us.

So our challenge for you is to understand what being radical means and go. be. it. — as a voter, leader, parent, mentor, artist, lover, thinker, and gatekeeper.

We are one week away from an election where everything is at stake. Now is the time to be radical. To grasp at the roots.

To be afraid, and grasp anyway.

To be privileged, and grasp anyway.

To be exhausted, and grasp anyway.

To be sorry for not doing more or differently, and grasping anyway.

To be whoever you are, wherever you are — and grasp anyway.

Being radical — much like being revolutionary — is neither new nor partisan.

November 3rd is not the end but another beginning.

No matter the outcome, grasp anyway.

and, now