The Crippling Fear of Imperfect Activism

Casira Copes
4 min readSep 15, 2020
Photo by Melanie Kreutz on Unsplash

I am going to say something wrong.

To be completely honest, I already feel as if I’ve said many somethings wrong. Any time I sit down to write, I can’t help but think of all the powerful activists I admire and the multitude of ways they would disagree with me. I imagine them reading one of my articles and thumbing through an endless mental encyclopedia of sources I’ve never even heard of, much less read. I imagine them rolling their eyes at my rudimentary analysis of race relations or queer politics. I imagine them laughing. I imagine them frowning. I imagine them getting to one sentence in particular that so clearly illustrates that I have no idea what I’m talking about…and not bothering to read another word from me.

In this very essay, I will say something wrong.

And maybe I’ve already said it. Maybe my anxiety over the “correctness” of my activism is the something wrong. Maybe I’m too preoccupied with how I’m doing things when I should just be getting something done. Maybe I’m too critical of myself. Maybe I’m too soft for this. Too insecure.

Or maybe I’m just not thorough enough in my research to be confident. Maybe I’m not critical enough, not quick enough to condemn atrocities, not scholarly enough to bring nuance to the discussion. Not angry enough. Not Black enough. Not queer enough.

Maybe I’m not the right person to do this.

I have been a Black queer woman my entire life, but I am so new to understanding myself.

(I wish this constant back and forth between Too Much and Not Enough was a spectrum upon which I could at least sometimes fall in the perfect middle. But it’s not a spectrum. It’s a switch.)

The truth is, I am new. I have been a Black queer woman my entire life, but I am so new to understanding myself. The beauty of my own identities is sometimes so foreign to me that what I have to say about them offers no enlightenment. Only the most obvious validations that have been echoed a thousand times over by voices more poetic than mine.

I want to be the type of writer that speaks truth into the furthest corners of the most complex ideologies. I want to be the type of activist so…

Casira Copes

Bisexual Black Feminist | BLK INK Editor-in-Chief |