vs with eve ewing: community is mutual accountability17 Sep 2017
my friend, andrew binet, tipped me off to the podcast, vs, and it’s amazing. food4thot is on break right now and vs is very much holding that space in my podcast lineup for queer thoughts and words right now.
anyway, back in july i listened to the first episode with eve ewing. there were a ton of gems in it, but the only thing i wrote down was ewing’s definition of community. she said
"community is people to whom you are accountable and who consider themselves accountable to you."
i believe the conversation on the show at that moment was about how to write poetry about / for people in responsible, non-harmful ways. but even if i’m mis-remembering that (which i do often), the definition is really what i’m landing on.
accountability often feels like a dirty word, but i’m not totally sure why. i think, in spaces that i move in, accountability is often about holding someone responsible for a mistake or fucked up thing they did.
but i think it actually means more than just that and ewing is pointing to that broader meaning. i think being accountable is responsibility in both directions: good and bad. like… if i am accountable to my friends with some of my time, it means i share responsibility with them to use my time in ways that are mutually beneficial to us. that’s not a bad thing!
i think mutual accountability gives us investment in each other that makes it harder to do shitty things. in fact, i think part of the reason so many terrible things happens in communities and across the globe is that we don’t see ourselves connected or accountable to all fellow humans (insert othering & oppression).
in another episode of vs, fatimah asghur says she is always trying to expand the scope of the phrase “my people.” expanding my people means expanding my community which means expanding who i see myself in mutual accountability relationships with. i think all of that would make more a better, more liberated world.
ps - fatimah’s poem, if they should come for us, is amazing and she repeats the phrase ‘my people’ in this poem in so many beautiful ways… (poem reading starts at 42:33 in this episode of vs).
words / writing / post-processing
372w / 11min / 10min