A note for the "Other":
Although we may not share one defining term, and although we take many forms, it is important that we find unity with each other in our shared differences. I will not take the time to define us all, as there is not one singular definition, but I will give some examples of what/whom could be perceived as Other. Other are those molded from the “melting pot” of globalization; those who do not meet the standard formalities of the “norm”; those who are in between or more than one; those whose family members have an identity that in no way could ever match their own; those who are born or live in one place but ancestry is upheld in another; those who are irregular and who can never be defined by another in the same way that they will define themself.
* Please note before continuing: If you identify as white, the manifesto does not apply to you. Please be considerate in your decision to move forward and only read if absolutely necessary.
A Manifesto of and for the "Other"
In terms of definition:
Never let anyone define who you are.
Never let anyone undefine who you are.
Don’t allow others to strip you of your definition. “Other” is never good enough. You have been, are, and will continue to be more than that.
3. In light of these first two rules, self-definition is key to success.
Only allow others to define you in the way in which you have self-defined.
Only you can define who you are; the labels are not enough. As people who are repeatedly labeled, it is imperative that we self-define our bodies in detail and be specific and honest with ourselves in this definition. This will help us guide our values, morals, ideals, and responsibilities in the spaces and communities we take up. This definition is ALWAYS susceptible to change and do not be hard on yourself if and when the time comes to change your understanding of yourself and your definition. This definition also may not always be clear to you and that is okay.
4. Don’t ever let yourself fit into a singular box comfortably. Question the value of boxes. Do they really hold any value at all?
5. Do not equate your person in formalities of quantitative data. You always just are.
You are not half, some, part of, or “just a little of” what you were born into. You always just are.
6. In response to the previous point, never ask yourself the question, “Am I enough,”. You are. Say, “I am enough,” out loud, if necessary, at least once a day until you really believe it.
Your looks/identity/mindset is you and it is enough to be only you. You cannot force yourself to fit into what society wants to mold you into. Anyone saying that you are “not enough” of one thing or another does not understand your position and you do not share the same identity even if they believe you do or if you believe you should.
7. Fluidity is important to understand yourself and others.
You will continuously change on the inside and out. Be ready for change when it comes. Also be ready for the changes of others around you. In our case, fluidity can be equated with growth because fluidity gives us the freedom of understanding ourselves.
In terms of process and practice:
8. Learned process and experience are one in the same and both crucial to understanding one’s self.
9. In process and experience, always consider the benefits and fallbacks of repetition in order to learn.
In terms of politics:
10. Radical thought is necessary for our existence.
11. Radical thought will be difficult to achieve, but repetition of practice, writing, and speaking makes it possible.
12. The benefits of colonization were never intended for you, don’t ever think you fall into that privileged category.
13. It’s imperative to decolonize not only your world, but also your body and your mind in order to continue the existence of our people and culture.
14. In order to decolonize your body and mind always consider language in every capacity.
Be aware of the words you use on a regular basis. Language is everything and the smallest micro-aggressions can be found in common talk/songs/shows/etc. Be aware of the language you use and also choose to listen to. Be ready to critique what does not fit your set of morals and be ready to eliminate any language that does not respect others as you wish to be respected.
15. In order to decolonize your mind, consider what is defined as “the norm”; remember when agreeing with “the norm”, that you will never fall into “the norm”'s category of “the norm”
16. In order to decolonize your body, never fall into the pressures of assimilation in order to benefit the colonizer.
In terms of other peoples:
17. Only ever define others as they self-define, no matter how they may appear to you.
18. Don’t ever speak over anybody you stand in solidarity with.
Give those you care about the room to have their own voice and share their personal experiences. Don’t take the voice of others even if you think you are well versed in the topic. Don’t ever be the face of a cause that is not your own. It’s important to understand that in order to be supportive of people/a cause, there are more opinions than just your own, and some of those opinions will be more important/imperative to the success of the people/cause you are standing with.
19. Stand in solidarity with those that are in need in small and large ways, but never be talk without action.
20. When having a conversation with someone else in a similar situation as yourself, always listen first before you speak.
21. Even though there are many of us who are similar, never belittle another by considering their story to be similar to yours before listening to it.
22. Always live life as a role model to those who might need you. Even though there are many of us, our acknowledgment is scarce and it is important to understand that you may be a role model without even knowing.
In terms of self-worth:
24. Do not let the world of “non-others” take advantage of your “otherness”.
25. Speak up in situations in which you feel you are being taken advantage of.
26. Speak up when you know you deserve more than what you’re receiving, especially when it’s because of your “otherness”.
27. Don’t ever let anyone cry for you when it comes from their guilt of you being “other”.
28. Pity should never be given or received; it's unnecessary in relation to your well-being and success.
In terms of self-care:
29. Stay away from self-deprecation.
30. Self-care is important in body, mind, soul, and spirituality (if you’re spiritual).
31. Do not let self-care be confused with avoidance. You can not afford to avoid what makes you uncomfortable.
32. Do not let self-care be confused with laziness. You do not have the time to be lazy.
33. Mental and physical health days should always be scheduled into your calendar as a time to reflect and decompress.
Closing note for the Other:
These key points in the manifesto are important to uphold because they reflect a form of self-awareness and self-nourishment that is not always afforded to us by “the norm.” These points also allow us to understand that although not everyone can identify with us, it is important to realize that we are not alone and if we are seeking respect, we must afford those around us the same respects we wish to receive. Most importantly, these points are imperative to follow so that an identity crisis does not arise during our most crucial hours of creating and reflecting. Knowing and understanding who you are is important to not only your mental state of mind but also to your creative state as well. It’s important to reflect and question yourself but never to question if you are “enough”.