I’ve been reading through the essays in This Bridge Called My Back. A recurring theme in these essays, regardless of the authors’ identities, is their appeal for cross-community solidarity. Some authors describe the White women’s movement’s resistance to the concerns of women of color—a dynamic that has impacted contemporary groups like Pantsuit Nation and organizing communities like the Women’s March. Others explore diversities among women of color: class, sexuality, ethnicity, and national origin, for example.
When we’re in solidarity with one another, we will reach beyond our demographic or political groups and accompany others in their social change work. We don’t have to be immediately affected to act.
What makes this solidarity across lines and issues sensible is the sense of unity that Urry points to in Faith and Practice. There’s no reason we shouldn’t reach out to one another or act in each other’s favor if, as Rosario Morales writes, “We are all in the same boat.”
From all directions we get all the beliefs to go with these divisions we believe all kinds of things about: what real men really are what women must want what black people feel and smell like what white people do and deserve how rich people earn their comforts and cadillacs how poor people get what’s coming to them…
The basis of our unity is that in the most important way we are all in the same boat.” —Rosario Morales
I recently used the phrase “Earth-sized circle of concern” for an orientation to activism and problem-solving that’s broad enough to hold all life. I’ve been thinking about how this squares with the more popular neo-Stoic recommendation for people to shrink their circles of concern and focus instead on their circles of responsibility or action.
I still think there’s at least temporary utility in blocking out what’s beyond one’s control: I’ve experienced that usefulness personally. But it’s an individualistic, atomized way to approach the world long-term. It also makes sense that most of the people recommending it to me are part of the popular business and personal finance cultures.
Business and finance are two professions that have helped to build the world as we know it. Perhaps it’s time to try a new way.