RESISTANCE LIVES IN THE SOUTH
"While the idea of resistance may be trending now, for many Southerners, the word resonates through centuries of struggle into our daily lives. Everywhere that oppression exists, so too does resistance. The South is not unique in this regard, but in the American experience, it stands apart. Conditions in the South have necessitated forms of resistance that are hidden in plain sight. In the food we eat—the vegetables grown from seeds that enslaved people surreptitiously brought from Africa. In the clubs we frequent—sometimes the only place where queer Southerners can comfortably be "out." In everyday spaces transformed into classrooms—where undocumented students, banned from universities, learn in the tradition of Freedom Schools. Resistance is in our dialects, accents, art, music, religious practices, and daily habits—many of which have persisted in defiance of forced assimilation. Resistance is the rhythm of life in the South.
Here in the South, resistance is paired with backlash to liberatory change. That backlash rarely looks, in daily life, as many non-Southerners imagine it—attack dogs and fire hoses and angry, White mobs. Such eruptions do happen, but they are not as frequent as our constant contact with pedestrian, debilitating forms of backlash. Backlash is literally built into our physical environment, in cities and towns where public spaces have been abandoned or turned over to private development to thwart racial integration. It's written into criminal codes as "moral turpitude," an unefinable offense designed to turn Black people into felons and keep them from voting. It's calculated into our paltry paychecks because our White unions, when they existed, often refused solidarity with workers of color.
Resistance and backlash are like water. They always find a way to move, making new channels around obstacles. We've been in their flux for four centuries in the South."
— The Editors, "Resistance Lives in the South, Scalawag Spring 2017