January 30, 2020

In the face of prejudice, how do we use our words to reclaim our power?

Nadine Aisha Jassat

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Scot-Mid, 2019

I’ve long believed that the words which are said to us, good and bad, can settle on our skin and sink into our bones. For those good words, we can wrap them around us, use them to fill our wells of resilience within ourselves: the softness in my aunt’s voice as she prays, the laugh of my father’s as he tells stories. But those difficult words can be harder to resolve. How do we release them, how do we take words which try take away our power, and turn them on their head to reclaim it? For me, poetry has been my method of reclaiming this power. I write about my experiences, and use my words to highlight social justice. ‘Scot-Mid’ is just one example this: a piece born of words said to me, and the wider questions and bigger pictures of prejudice tied to them like weights. This is the truth of my experience, but it is something we all need to challenge. I refuse to be framed by another’s hands and words. Instead I choose my own, and take my power back. I let that – my voice, my power – sink into my bones, and nothing else.