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As people who are committed to the collective liberation of the oppressed, here are some explicit ways that we can try to disrupt the flows of social capital within our QT/BIPOC activist spaces.

"Social capital" is a term that's been getting thrown around a lot these days within QT/BIPOC activist spaces. What is this term, and where exactly does it come from? Simply put, the term "social capital" refers to the fact that social networks have value (monetary and otherwise). Social networks – i.e. who you know, and who those people know, and who those people know, and on and on – often determines everything from your ability to find a job, your likelihood of finding an apartment, to your ability to influence public opinion. Everyone possesses some degree of social capital, by virtue of living in society. However, the degree to which social capital affects the outcomes of their life in a positive or negative way is often determined by factors like race, class, gender, ability, size, etc. So how does this show up in queer communities and/or in activist spaces? As people who are supposedly working toward the collective liberation of Black and Indigenous people, queer, trans, disabled, incarcerated, and undocumented people, are we knowingly or unknowingly complicit in allowing social capital to accrue to body-minds that are already valued by mainstream society? (i.e. light-skinned, thin, cisgender, able bodied, extroverted, educated, class-privileged, etc.) The answer is a resounding yes. Because QT/BIPOC activist communities still function within the parameters and value systems of modern-day racial capitalism, we cannot entirely extricate ourselves from the insidious ways in which people whose traits and appearances are already valued by capitalism tend to gravitate toward each other in social spaces. Once this happens, the value that these people already possess by virtue of their position in capitalist society magnifies many times over, simply because people tend to share their time and resources with those they already know and share community with.
Related: Organizing For Liberation Ain't Free When Capitalism Rules Everything Around Me

Hopefully Lana Del Rey’s perspective continues to broaden, and her desire for peace spurs her and her listeners into decisive action.

By Roslyn Talusan Lana Del Rey’s 4th major label album, Lust for Life was released last week. The record has been deemed a departure from Del Rey’s hallmark darkness and depression, in direct response to the catastrophe that is the current American political landscape. Her team has been marketing Lust as a brighter, more upbeat entry in her discography, and is a commentary on where we are as a society, and where she hopes we’re headed. Specifically, Del Rey has said that while she made her first albums for herself, this album is for her fans. The goal of Lust is to soothe, comfort, and empower her listeners affected by the 2016 American election. I was skeptical about this at first. Del Rey has often been gratuitous with her creativity at the expense of marginalized groups. One of her most iconic images as an artist is her appropriating an Indigenous headdress in the "Ride" video, and her portrayed herself as a Latina sex worker in "Tropico". The hallmark of her music, along with a leaked clip filmed by Eli Roth where Del Rey stars in a horrifying visceral rape scene, is how she glamorizes and romanticizes domestic violence. Moreover, she's made comments about how feminism just isn't that interesting to her, and that she’d rather discuss our galactic possibilities.

The “ride or die” script is not a positive role to play and we should be wary of this trope. It hurts us in the long run.

By BRITTNEY MADDOX “All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend,” raps a  young Jay-z in the 2003  hit  “03  Bonnie and Clyde.” Beyonce sings the hook and goes on to talk about the things she would do to prove her unwavering loyalty. This was played a lot during my childhood along with countless other songs that I remember with this recurring theme of “the ride or die.” The woman who always had your back. She was fly, loyal, and would never snitch. She was an ideal that many sought out or would strive to become. While at first, it may seem charming to be a woman who fits this archetype, this character often seen in hip hop has its consequences. It fosters a culture that normalizes mistreatment of black women in romantic relationships, where their bodies are in the crossfire of an anti-femme and anti-black climate. Where harming us seems like a punchline. The older I get, I become more concerned about the ways black women are mistreated and how it’s normalized. There are countless media sources that use misogynoir as a vehicle to justify violence against black femmes. It's so commonplace that we have internalized these messages.  The  “ride or die” female archetype commonly seen in hip-hop is constantly sought out due to her loyalty and a high tolerance for abuse. We are unsure who coined the term, but the origins can be traced back through songs. In the “You're all I Need”  by Method Man and Mary J Blige, the two talk about their fatal attraction. The chorus laments this “loyalty ‘til death” mentality.  “You're all, I need to lie together/cry together/I swear to God I hope we fucking die together.” Method Man says his woman is down to carry his weapons and engage in criminal activities. Charlie Baltimore sings "Cause I'm your bitch, the Bonnie to your Clyde/It's mental, mash your enemies," so the woman in question often has to exhibit a level of trust to put her life on the line. 
Related: "Putting Ourselves First As Black Women/Femmes Is Like Returning To Our First Love

Witches and workers of color deal with the realities of existing in today’s world and speak from a place that uses healing practices as a way to combat oppression while reclaiming heritage.

By Donyae Coles The world of online witchcraft and paganism can be very white-centric. Thankfully, online spaces have increased the visibility of practitioners and healers of color who are coming out from the shadows to embrace their magickal heritage on their own terms. For POC practitioners, the focus tends to be on healing and processing energy to increase protection and self-care. Witches and workers of color deal with the realities of existing in today’s world and speak from a place that uses healing practices as a way to combat oppression while reclaiming heritage. Here are eight healers of color you can follow online:  1. Brianna Suslovic: Brianna is a writer who is focused on racial and reproductive justice and LGBTQIA+ rights. Her work is often very topical and deals with what is happening the world today while also examining the practices of the past and how we can heal those injuries. For people who are new to the path, she is a good, slow introduction into the reality that this work is not all moonbeams and flower cuttings. She keeps her own blog here and Medium page. 2. Madame Omi Kongo: Madame Omi is a rootworker, she uses hoodoo practices to heal and help those who call on her. She comes from a long line of women who were in touch with their spiritual gifts and is carrying on the tradition. She uses and speaks on a brand of magickal traditions that have influenced her practice. Her Tumblr is full of bits of poetry and information for those who are interested in learning more about hoodoo and Black spirituality. She also has a personal site here and a Facebook here.
3. This Black Witch: The Black Witch deals with social issues and calls out mainstream paganism for its white bias. This blog addresses culture with craft which is very important for people who are just getting started on their journey. Reading the work here can help people see that issues with racism and sexism are valid and real. She also conducts question and answer sessions. You can follow Black Witch on their blog, Facebook, and Twitter. 4. Traci Medeiros-Bagan: Traci is a therapist and educator who incorporates spiritual practices into her work. She is a QPOC and works with the LGBTQIA+ community to help them find healing and support. She writes about using tarot as a tool for self-care. You can read her blog here and she’ll be writing for the Little Red Tarot later this summer. 5. The Hoodwitch: Bri Luna is one of the first names to pop up when you’re looking for healers and magick folx of color online. She works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and sells supplies for cleansing and other spells through her online shop. She is also very vocally encourages POC to claim their roots and display their practices with pride. You can follow here at her blog here, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

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