Elements of the bayanihan
Inspired by conceptualizations of homeplace (hooks, 1994) and the borderlands (Anzaldúa, 2012), the bayanihan is an attempt to reclaim an indigenous voice and combat norms of Whiteness within professional associations. With regards to borderlands, Anzaldúa (2012) conceptualized it as an interstitial place created by dominant identities to maintain marginalization of others. Opportunities to create new knowledge is fostered for critical activists in the borderlands because minoritized and marginalized people, oppressed by the system, must work within the system to survive; consequently, the adjustments made when "working within" create a unique vantage point for the minoritized and marginalized in the liminal space.
Within the borderlands there is a “magic that materializes in the moments between—mysteries that conjure when creatures of darkness meet creatures of light; new meanings born at jazzy and contentious borders and in tricky relationships” (Fine, 2018, p. 94).
One way to create this magic is by decolonizing spaces. In a series of poignant tweets, Rosa (2018) talked about the power of decolonial perspectives when it grounds one’s research. It fundamentally changes all aspects of a research study, including “questions, methods, analyses, modes of representation, proposed interventions, and political commitments.” Traditional perspectives on what a research study should incorporate shift when applying a decolonial perspective, and through incorporating our indigeneity and leaning on the long lineages of other scholars who are breaking the chains of traditional research, we are joining their journey to reimagine what scholarship (and our lives) can look like. Rosa (2018a) noted that “whereas normative scholarship invites you to accept, reproduce, or slightly modify the existing world, decolonial scholarship insists that otherwise worlds have always existed & demands a radical reimagining of possible pasts, presents, & futures.” This study is attempting to break the traditions of normal science, the “strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education” (Kuhn, 1962/1996, p. 5), to imagine a more rational, sustainable, and just society. We are combatting norms and utilizing "decolonial imaginary," a process where Pérez (2003) noted “we must uncover the voices from the past that honor multiple experiences, instead of falling prey to that which is easy – allowing the white colonial heteronormative gaze to reconstruct and interpret our past” (p. 123), to do it together in a communion of critical consciousness.
Although the borderlands is not an ideal place, it is the reality for those marginalized and minoritized by the system. Yet there are ways to still create productive spaces within the borderlands, something that hooks (1994) theorizes as a person of color’s homeplace. She stated it as “the construction of a safe place where black people could affirm one another and by doing so heal many of the wounds inflicted by racist domination” (p. 449). The bayanihan, the community for critical consciousness, is the manifestation of homeplace. It is a place where, as Yara Shahidi shared in her acceptance speech of the 2017 Black Girls Rock Award,
For purposes of this community, the bayanihan is an extension of Freire’s (1970) conceptualization of conscientization and learning through contradictions; this praxis through the bayanihan will lessen the hegemonic pressure to conform on minoritized leaders within professional associations.
As was shared in the about section, the following eight elements are integral to create a communion of critical consciousness. Although they are offered in three sections below, they are actually mutually constitutive and must interact with one another in the matrix of the borderlands to succeed. They are offered in the below format for the benefit of those new to the bayanihan concept.
Learn more about the elements of the bayanihan below. If the elements resonate, please share your stories to help build the bayanihan in CONTRIBUTE. And if you have any suggestions to the below elements, please offer those thoughts through REFINE.