Seeing the divine in others and in one’s self is the essence of real politics. Positioning self among the oppressed is solidarity.
— Larycia Hawkins
Painting by Beth D. Mussay. Photo credit Maha Mustafa.

#EmbodiedSolidarity

 

 
 
I don't love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American. I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity. I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay... I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God. ...theoretical solidarity is not solidarity at all. 

I don't love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American. I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity. I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay...

I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.

...theoretical solidarity is not solidarity at all. 

Embodied Solidarity Beyond the Veil

In a December 10, 2015, Facebook post, Dr. Larycia Hawkins invited all women into a narrative of embodied solidarity--hijab-wearing solidarity with our Muslim sisters. The photo and caption at left are from that original post.

Beyond mere tolerance of difference, whether political, ideological, or religious, Dr. Hawkins continues to invite us to join an embodied narrative of actual as opposed to theoretical unity; human solidarity as opposed to mere nationalistic, sentimentality.

 

This talk explores the possibilities for multi-faith solidarity in a political season where Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism are peppered through public rhetoric and the national conversation. Dr. Hawkins explores what she terms zombie politics through the lenses of black bodies in the US and the Rwandan genocide. 

From Zombie Politics to Embodied Solidarity

Dr. Hawkins TEDx Talk asserts that the US has a "zombie political economy" wherein we create monsters out of "inner city" black boys, sustain structures that imprison them from birth (the school to prison pipeline), and  holocaust them American style (mass incarceration). Doc Hawk compares our current devaluation of the bodied of the oppressed to the Rwandan genocide and implores us to reclaim a robust concept of human dignity by practicing embodied solidarity. 

 

In December 2015, in response to harsh political rhetoric against Muslims in the US, Professor Larycia Hawkins (political science) donned a hijab as an act of embodied solidarity with Muslim women. Within days, Wheaton College (IL) placed her on administrative leave, and began proceedings to fire her. The resulting firestorm brought up issues of race, gender, academic freedom, religious liberty and Islamophobia...and revealed a growing divide among evangelicals. 

Same God: The Documentary

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Linda Midgett is producing a documentary on  the question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same god using Dr. Hawkins Facebook post, and its fallout in multiple spheres, as a prism through which to answer the question.