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.