“Ask for what you want”: Sydette Harry’s strategies on how to decolonize the Internet

Headshot of Sydette Harry

“Ask for what you want”: Sydette Harry’s strategies on how to decolonize the Internet

What story of the world do you choose to tell? Do you choose the story of the world as it is? Or do you prefer the story that you are most comfortable with?

Sydette Harry beautifully reminds us that decolonizing ourselves and the internet requires a fundamental change in our relationships. It requires creating a vision, a big dream that we have never dreamed before. At the beginning of this change, there is a process of liberation and unlearning what colonization forced on us that Sydette describes as:

So what do you imagine? What are the things you would like to ask for? Because the problems, especially with marginalized groups and people who have faced heavy oppression as a part of colonization and oppression is teaching people not to ask for things – is teaching people not to demand, teaching people not to create waves because that comes with consequences of violence, of hurt, and of oppression. And then to decolonize is to say: ask for what you want. Ask for all the things you need. Ask for the things that you have been denied. Tell the truth about your story, and that is harder. It is harder to create that space than to know what you’re not supposed to do.

And if you feel that trying to imagine something that we have never seen or done before is an insurmountable task, Sydette brilliantly reminds us that it’s only insurmountable if we think of it as a fixed point rather than a process. For her, this process is similar to the act of loving something. You are never going to be done but the goal is not to finish but be better than before and to inhabit it in every way.

Based in New York but “Guyanese by blood and temperament”, Sydette is editor of web properties at Mozilla and editor-at-large of Coral Project. As our guest in the second episode of Whose Voices? she shares her insights about de-centering whiteness, decolonizing archives, community building beyond internet, and much more.

We hope you will be as impacted as we were listening to Sydette, and if so make sure to share this podcast with your friends and communities!

Read the full transcript.