Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday that celebrates the genocide of the indigenous people who inhabited this land before the Europeans colonized it, generally through activities such as overeating, watching gigantic men in shoulder pads hit one another, and arguing about politics with relatives you (hopefully) only see once or twice a year. Aside from that, it’s also a time to give thanks.
And I’m very thankful. I have been incredibly lucky this year. The amazing folks over at The Nation gave me a fellowship that, with no exaggeration, saved my life. I moved to New York City, the first place I’ve ever felt truly at home. I’ve had the opportunity to write and be published alongside the best writer I know. For reasons I’ll never be able to explain, schools and organizations have paid me to run my mouth in front of people about racism, masculinity, writing, and my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles obsession. They didn’t actually pay for the TMNT part, I manage to sneak that in whenever there’s an opening, but do you see what I mean by luck? 2013 has truly been showing out.
I also joined Feministing. The impact of that is immeasurable. I don’t know of a more dynamic, intelligent, hilarious, dedicated, compassionate, hard-working, talented group of feminist bloggers that exist anywhere. That could be my own fault, and I welcome you to point me in their direction, but my guess is they won’t measure up to what has been built here at Feministing. It’s one of my greatest privileges to be a part of the crew.
I was hesitant to do so. Obviously I identify as a feminist. I do so on purpose. I believe in the goals of feminism and I want to always be held accountable. From that vantage point, joining Feministing was a no-brainer. But I also enter this space with a set of privileges, as a cisgender hetero male, that often leave me feeling trepidations about posting. I never want overstep my bounds. I never want to present myself as an authority on an issue where I am clearly not. I never want to betray the movement. I want, always, to lend my voice where necessary and provide support for the work already being done.
All of that is in the back of my mind each time I go to write something for the site. Which, I hope, means I’m working harder to show up in meaningful ways. But given the controversy that erupted over the summer about men in feminist spaces, I started questioning more and more whether it was a good idea to
But whatever my concerns, Feministing, as a staff, a website, and a muthafuckin’ crew have been there to allay any concerns. They are the best. If I can’t trust them, I can’t trust anyone. And I trust them wholeheartedly. The way I have been welcomed and supported here is incomparable, and I know they’ll be the first ones to check me if ever I get out of line. That means the world. I promise I’m not gonna cry.
Or I might, and you know what? I know that Maya, Jos, Lori, Chloe, Alexandra, Katie, Zerlina, Syreeta, Sesali, Julianna, Verónica, Courtney, Dahlia, and Suzanna would all be there for me. For that, and so much more, I say to them: thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And a very special shoutout to the O.G. Feministing crew, including Jessica, Vanessa and Samhita, who have shown love. I learn through all of you. I’m going to keep learning. I promise.
Happy Thanksgiving, all. Fuck patriarchy.
Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and the luckiest contributor to Feministing.