Forget the Seat at the Table

Cartoon drawing of a yellow oval conference table with eight grey business chairs positioned around the table.

In the last couple of years, there has been so much talk about how to get a seat at the table and what to do when you get there. People have been stomping and screaming for more seats and for those in power to make room.

BUT, you know what? I don’t want a seat at that table.

Why should I fight for a seat at a table that was never meant for me? A table with individuals who don’t want me? A table of people who will probably tell me, “Here’s a seat, but you are just here to meet our quota.” A table where I have to play by their rules and toe their line. A table where when I get a seat, I have taken a chair from others still waiting for their seats. It’s a table that proclaims and reinforces status and discrimination.

When we fight for a seat at the table, we are fighting for a chance to leave others without power. The table that we are all fighting so hard to sit at is a table of individuals that capitalized and benefited from a system of patriarchy and racism. It is a table that implemented systemic abuse and feasts on those that lack the power to combat their injustice. Why would I want to sit at this table? I want to smash this table.

I’m not looking to perpetuate the power structure of the past with only a few changes. I’m looking to dismantle these inadequate structures that oppress. I’m looking to stand together without anyone ever needing permission to join our ranks. I’m not going to fight for a seat at a table that perpetuates inequality and exclusion. We should be striving for a post-table society that represents and includes all of us. If we truly want to destroy patriarchy and systemic racism, we need to stop using the current constructs to envision and hope for an inclusive and diverse future. The systems of the past won’t bring us the future that we are hoping for. So, let’s let go of this table metaphor.

As it stands now, I may be close to getting a seat at the table. Or, I should specify, part of me may be inching toward being included, but which part of me will it be? The autistic? The black? The multiracial? The woman? Forget that. I’m done waiting for a seat. It is time for us all to stand up or step out of line and walk away from the table. The equality I’m looking for requires more than a table, it requires more than a room. I’m looking for equal opportunity and equality for all, and you can’t fit everyone at a table or even within a MAN-made structure. It is time to  walk away from the table and the systems that we cling to that keep us strapped to the inefficiencies of the past. It is time to say, “Fuck the table.” I don’t need a seat. I’m too busy standing up for my rights and the rights of others.

6 responses to “Forget the Seat at the Table

  1. Pingback: My Costume is Not About Race | femwoc

  2. Pingback: Last Week of Nominations! Tell your Friends! #Wheaties #TareficAwards | Wheat and Tares

  3. I’m seriously still thinking about this post – it’s amazing.

    Like

    • Thanks Kristine! This was one of my favorites, but it didn’t seem to resonate with very many people. It makes me very happy to hear that you like it so much.

      Like

  4. Well it especially strikes at the heart of my “moderate baby steps” feminism: a seat at the table. By perpetuating the power structure that holds us back when I get a seat at the table I then become oppressor for those who still aren’t at the table. I think Christ would flip the table. I think he did while he was here. And it’s humbling for me to now see that.

    Liked by 1 person

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