Neo-regulated "Ethnophagy"

Maneesa Sotheewaran

a targeted destination
a point of no return
a place for rehabilitation
that we may never earn

divisive powers
dispirit by dispossession
devour our way of living
as we map through marginalization

we land at mid-point
isolated and disengaged
to provide skilled labour
and draw minimum wage

re-imagining borders
within a mass monoculture
fitting into invisible gaps
designated for newcomers

an incomplete construction
structured by dominating monopolies
living within barriers
adhering to false ideologies

our racialized bodies
naturalized in desperation
assimilating to a homogeneous society
a socially conditioned conscience

caged in by forms of insecurity
escaping suffering, as life’s trajectory
becoming a minority to a new majority
and gripping onto a flawed sense of stability

echoes of liabilities
vibrate through the walls of society
and the ground below us creaks
when they question our propriety

perks of securing citizenship
another politically stigmatized home lacking right of possession
space as contingent of monetary channels
encountering daily, exogenous oppression

watching neoliberal dreams collapse
depending on our income tax
this is the socialized economy of migration
condemned to deficit and deprivation


Author Statement:

As a first-generation immigrant, I am a Sri Lankan, Tamil-speaking, post-colonial feminist, working on taking up space with both my voice and body. I was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, moved to British Columbia for my undergraduate degree in 2014, but I never really felt at home in either place. Synonyms for “colonize” include “conquer, found, immigrate, migrate, people, pioneer, transplant”—one of which is accurate while the signified meanings of the other terms denounce the cultural, political, economic, environmental, psychological, sexual, and biophysical violences caused by such conquests. This easily reflects the normalization of structural and symbolic cruelty racialized bodies are subjected to. Structural inequalities are embedded into institutional and political mechanisms, making secure housing and stable livelihoods inaccessible on the basis of identity politics. White supremacy has, and continues to have, a strong influence on the locomotion and means of labour that determine a newcomer’s belonging in Canada. Cultural imperialism and technological globalization help further colonizer sentiment by expanding the reach and persuasion of whiteness. Racialized bodies are disadvantaged in racially stratified cities and self-consciousness is detrimentally implicated by dominant ideologies. Today, both colonizers and the colonized travel through space and time, inhabiting land as “home” while experiencing varied, historically informed measures of suffering.

Maneesa Sotheeswaran is a Communications and Sociology undergraduate at Simon Fraser University. A first-generation immigrant, she is a Tamil-Sri Lankan, post-colonial feminist, riddled with bundles of anxiety and trauma. At the moment, she's a self-employed youth educator and outsider artist who enjoys creative expression and mindful experiences such as, hiking, painting, kneading dough, and lying on flat surfaces or critically consuming cultural commodities. Being anti-neoliberalist, she's on and off the digital realm but can be found on Instagram @subalternfemme or on her blog/online diary,

“It's Canadian, feminist, and one of my favourite things ever.”

—bucketofrhymes, "29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading", Buzzfeed Books

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