You know that exaggerated, plastic, neon place our minds go
when we think of something “in the future”:
Floating cars, terraformed mars, space travel, spacesuits, wearable tech,
computer decks (like Star Trek), alternate cities/cityscapes,
robots and robotic voices, artificial reality, talking homes,
oxygen tanks, alternate currencies and creatures, etc.
All of these are stereotypical elements of the “future” often presented
but in the grand scheme they are monochromatic, heterogenous,
culturally exclusionary, and ultimately unimaginative.
Google “the future” and look for someone that looks like you
using futuristic tech or in a futuristic setting.
Read a futurist-themed scholarly article that speaks like
a teastained woman (or man) will be existing in the world where the
professor/ professional’s projections are fully materialized.
Watch a movie set “in the future” and count the brown bodies in the film.
Futurism as a concept has long excluded not only
the brown body but also the concepts, histories,
ancestral knowledge/traditions, survival methods, and constantly
iterating, shape-shifting realities of the person of color.
“The future” of anything presented to us in today’s world
is both literally and ideologically WHITE,
which is not only problematic but also
genetically impossible since the future has
statistically been proven to be among many things,
brown-skinned. That there are people who are
plotting and prototyping the future and deliberately
excluding the tools and ideas that people of color
have used for centuries while being invaded/colonized/ raped/ etc.
is in the least alarming, if not a portent for impending doom for PoCs.
For this reason and many others, concepts such as Afrofuturism,
and other forms of cultural futuring
(add your culture as a prefix to -futurism) have been created.
-Futurism is the exploration and speculations of answers to questions such as:
How do I occupy the future as a brown person of ___culture?
What is the future of my land, my space, my gender,
my identity, social issues that impact my culture,
and even certain technologies/products I use
from the societal position I navigate with my brown body?
The explorations to these inquiries are dualistically
simple and complex, spilling over into
multiple disciplines, industries, and genres of individuals
presenting their responses and validating the abundant existence
of brown-skinned peoples in the future.
It’s as simple as hip hop, ebonics, and Africa Bambataa.
As complex as Octavia Butler’s speculation about a third gender.
As simple as slave quilts, Negro spirituals, and the I Have a Dream speech.
As complex as Transition Design.
As simple as artifacts created by ancient civilizations.
As complex as ideating the role of ancient languages in navigating space.
It’s crazy, it’s outrageous, it’s deliberate, it’s history,
it’s future tense, it’s radical, it’s necessary.
What does -futurism have to do with journaling and journeying soulfully?
As it turns out, one of the main products of futurism
is the creation of artifacts—something that says:
“Dear person that could be holding this object:
I was here, and this is how I survived and how perhaps you can too”.
while also saying:
“I expect that the future will leave room for this object
to answer questions you might have as you live there.”
The journal is one of the most powerful artifacts for teastained women because
it is the container of our sentience, our ideas and our stories .
It is the book of our intangibles, available one day to the
literate, curious to tell of our state of being and how we
navigated time, space, and place with a brown body.
Today we can pick up an old journal and read how our old selves regarded
what was present tense then and use it to impact the direction we go in the future.
That’s amazing. That’s powerful. That’s a form of futurism.
The act of journaling is futurism, because we are writing with blind hope (aka faith)
that our words are doing something in the atmosphere,
somehow impacting our reality and altering the state of the woman we will be;
creating worlds for ourselves and hopefully our posterity.
In order to create the future we need fearless imagination
and diligent surveys our histories- both cultural
and personal (also known as heritage).
The future is pregnant with possibilities with which
our present tense is seeking to grapple.
It’s our work, our narratives today building on
the work of those who have come before us
(known and unknown) that will create a future that looks like us and
hosts us in all of our radical creativity, ancestral knowledge, and vehement existence.
You are the future.
Write yourself into existence.