Friday, 31 August 2012

Everyday disabilism and how it's expressed:

Everyday, I face disabilism, sometimes even from people who are supposedly my own peers. Seriously, here are some examples I've recently seen from my own peers regarding me:

It is never appropriate to say things like:

"Her carer's need to get her under control" because I had the audacity to disagree with them when they said something thoroughly inappropriate and offensive about disabled people.

"I bet she's not really disabled" because I called them out on perpetuating bigotry against people with different disabilities to them

"She's a total nutcase" because I asked them not to conflate being evil with being mentally ill.

The weird thing is? All these people are considered to be "nice" and "pleasant" by many NT people, I'm beginning to think "Nice" and "pleasant" actually mean "Believes the same bigoted shit I do" because clearly it isn't nice to say rude and inappropriate things so the only way these people could be nice is if the person judging so thinking that being a bigot is acceptable and something admirable.

I mean cripes, don't we suffer this shit from non-disabled people enough? Why do so many of my peers think this shit is acceptable?

Some days because of shit like this, I absolutely hate my neurology because it means that I will always be seen as "bad" "mean" "not nice" "an asshole" or otherwise inappropriate regardless of how nice I am simply because I am not a mannerless bigoted asshole who thinks saying inappropriate shit is perfectly okay.

I'm actually the kind of person who would give someone the shirt off her back if they needed it but because I don't agree with NT bigotry or because I don't understand and practice some meaningless arbitrary social ceremonies, who I am will never be recognized, instead a strawautistic will be used who may have anything and everything projected onto them regardless of the reality.

I'm tired of the bullying that goes on within some of the groups supposedly for people like me, I'm tired of the traitors who court NT able bodied approval by throwing the rest of us under a bus.

I'm tired of disabled people who tell me not to point bigoted shit out because it makes the non-disabled people defensive and zomg they won't stop being bigots if we're not "nice" enough. You know what? If a non-disabled person needs to be asked nicely not to be a complete fucking fuckstain? They're a lousy fucking person. Being a decent person isn't something other should need to ask you nicely to be, it should be the fucking default.

I'm tired of being told I should be on a leash because I dared to disagree with some total brat. I'm tired of the fact that said brat will always be seen as "nicer" than me solely because bigots agree with them.

I'm tired of being demonised, I'm tired of the fact that NTs and able bodied people in general, couldn't recognise a genuinely nice person if they tripped over one because "nice" to them, means "someone like me" not someone who isn't an asshole.

It's mentally exhausting living in a world where I am judged on how much like others I am rather than on whether or not I treat people decently and try to be a nice person. Then again if the world did work on the idea that treating people decently and trying to be a nice person was the only way to see as treating people decently and trying to be a nice person, a large chunk of people would be considered to be total assholes instead of "nice" like they are not.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

But if rich people make less money they won't want to work:

I'm addressing the absurd proposition that if the taxes that the rich don't dodge were higher, they wouldn't have any incentive to work.

As if making mere millions instead of billions is somehow such a major step down that making nothing at all would be better?

Seriously, what the fuck?

I tell you what, if millions isn't enough to motivate you to do a job and you want billions for it? I know plenty of people who are scraping by on benefits well below the poverty level who would be happy as anything to do the job for mere thousands because it would still be better paid than benefits.

How is it poor people need to be reduced to below poverty, to be unable to feed their children, to go hungry themselves, to "incentivise" them to work in an economy where there simply aren't jobs for them, but the rich? The rich need their money increased ten fold to incentivise them to work otherwise they won't work at all even at wages the vast majority of people can only DREAM of having.

Answer me that?

Why is the answer to out of work poor people to make us poorer? But millionaires need more, more, more to do something that fucking benefits them?!

Cos godforbid they only make "mere millions" instead of having a balance book that could pay to care for each and every citizen of this country to have a decent standard of living from cradle to grave ten times over.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn't know what to do with a million pounds, I certainly wouldn't need more but then I'm not greedy. A single million could set me up for life. It would set most people up, there's no real reason for anyone to require obscene amounts to work except for sheer greed and that has never been a good motivation for anything.

 There seems to be a notion that rich people "deserve" more just for being rich in the first place. That they're entitled to have their assets constantly increase until they're in the financial stratosphere simply because they inherited wealth, scammed the financial market or otherwise exploited others for their wealth.

I'm sure some of them did earn it but with the revelations of massive tax dodging on the parts of companies like Virgin who make Branson rich and the libor exhange manipulation and other unsavory practises, there's obviously a lot of unethical and downright greedy wealth increase going on there. Add to that the 155 BILLION that has gone into the pockets of the rich from the wage increases that should have happened and quite frankly the idea that the rich don't have enough money is fucking laughable and that we're being "mean" to them by expecting them to pay up for their ravaging of our community, financial district and wages is a mere fairytale told by a bunch of corrupt greedy fuckers who want to keep that gravy train going even as the country crumbles under it's weight.

Don't argue that you need more money to encourage you to work when you make more taking a fucking piss than I could do in ten years if I was healthy, because I will call you out as a greedy fucker.

The rich have already made more than enough off of the backs of others, the gravy train needs to halt because the economy cannot support their greed. If million pound payouts are somehow not enough for them, we can always find people who would work for that.

On how "authentic" your voice must be:

Many of you may have seen this: (I recommend reading all her blog, it's awesome).

It's about the efforts of a small group of people to shut down the voice and blog of a blogger by questioning her qualifications for discussing stereotypes and accusing her of disrespect amongst other things because she spoke up about hurtful stereotypes and how harmful a role Tonto is, with or without the dead bird.

If you are a blogger or a equal rights activist, you will face this sooner or later, I have. When I speak up asking people not to say hurtful things about the disabled, people question my "right", they question my disability, not because there is any question of it but because rather than address if what they said is truly hurtful, they instead choose to attack me and my validity, this says louder than words that what they said was indeed hurtful and wrong.

When people question your validity it is because they cannot argue with your point. When they say you are not disabled, female, trans, non-hetero, non-white, poor, or indeed enough of any minority enough to speak up, what they really mean is "you said something I cannot construct an argument against so I will question your right to question in the first place".

They will say that you are inappropriate, they will say you are rude, they will say you are disrespectful, they will say you are a fake, they will question your credibility because if you are authentic then they have to face that they said or did something inappropriate, and I find that a lot of bigots are unwilling to admit the chance that they could ever be inappropriate ever much less confess to the reality that they are.

They will declare you to not be a feminist, to not be for equality, to not be part of the group you are a part of, they will demand that you prove your membership as if they have a right to do so. They do not have this right.

They don't believe or care about what they question, they only care about shutting you down and out. It is your voice they want silenced, and their method to do it is to attack how "authentic" you are.

Remember this when you speak up and do not let their attacks cause you to doubt your own voice, because anyone who only can "refute" you by questioning your right to speak has no better argument against what you say and is in an agony of outrage that they might have to admit that they were wrong.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Why people do not want to believe Assange is a rapist:

Believe it or not, people stated beliefs on his actions have nothing whatsoever to do with his guilt or innocence of the charges.

I've observed this phenomenon before in neurotypicals. It goes something like:

"I believe I am a good person, therefore I only like good people, therefore if someone I like has done something bad then that makes them a bad person and if I like them I must be a bad person".

And who want's to admit they're a bad person?

Thing is, the world is not made up of Angels and Cartoon Villains. It's made up of ordinary people who can be good, who can be bad, who can be cruel regardless of whether we consider them to be good or bad people.

Fact is it is perfectly possibly to agree with Assange's actions in political terms without needing to believe he's an angel who wouldn't rape someone.

Some facts about people:

Walt Disney? Arguably one of the most important men in terms of the creation of animation, was still egregiously sexist and racist. One can despise his actions over the latter without ignoring that he was the father of an industry.

Lincoln? Yes, he did a lot for People of Color in the US, however he was not the great white hero, in fact he was somewhat racist himself. He did great things, but he did them in spite of his upbringing and socialised beliefs.

This is a quote from a speech he delivered in 1958:

“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

My point? People can do things we respect and even admire and still do or say bad things as well. It is not an either or proposition. We are all capable of great good and great evil.

Assange can be both a supporter of freedom of press and a rapist. So there's no need to try to rewrite the definition of rape to make him "innocent" of it, there's no need to attack the victims, there's no need to be a rape denier/apologist because Assange can still be a rapist even if we think he's a good person or support other things he's done.

Ultimately if Assange is a rapist? It wouldn't change his other actions. Assange is not an angel because he did something you approve of, he's still a fallible mortal man who is just as capable of committing rape as anyone else.

Monday, 20 August 2012

The problems with the logic in the objections to Assange being extradited to face justice:

Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault and rape.

As a victim of sexual assault, I am aghast at the rampant and ignorant support for Assange, which often involves ignorant beliefs.

1. The claim that this is all some vast conspiracy to get Assange to Sweden so he can be extradited to the US.

Problematic because it erases the victims and the notion of justice from the equation, and to be blunt, the whole thing would be a very convoluted and impossible way to go about getting one guy. If the US really wanted Assange that badly? They'd have applied to the UK government before Sweden did, it would have been both easier and quicker.

Also? Why wait over a year to do it?! If Sweden was so likely to just hand him over, why didn't they just submit an extradition request while he was there?!

The UK have agreed to extradite him to Sweden to face charges, they are not going to randomly give him to the US, no matter what Assange claims, it doesn't work like that! See three for more details of why the claim is impossible.

Funny how Assange wasn't terrified of this potential US bogey man until he faced being charged with a crime. Then suddenly it's a "conspiracy", to be blunt, he isn't the first to cry "conspiracy" to such charges, difference is most people don't get to do it so publicly, and in my experience "conspiracy" usually translates to "fucking guilty as hell".

2. The complaints about "zomg they dropped it then brought it back".

Funnily enough being questioned for a crime, not charged and then later charged with it because either new evidence has emerged or it's been reviewed and decided that it is worth pursuing is not an uncommon thing.

This argument is just rampant rape apologism. Given the appalling low conviction rate of rapists, many rapists may be questioned but not charged with rape, many may be questioned but not charged until later. That it happened to Assange, doesn't mean a single fucking thing given how fucking common it is.

It's a problem with the system that not all prosecutors will agree on whether something is worth taking to court or not, it has no bearing on whether or not Assange is a rapist.

3. omg why don't they just guarantee that they won't extradite him.

Because they can't, and extradition request is heard by the courts, any politician can say "oh we won't" but ultimately it is not they but the courts who decide if someone should be extradited, not politicians, which again gives lie to the claims that this is political persecution because the government has NO fucking say in what the courts decide.

4. They should give the evidence before they do.

No, they should not, that would violate the victims rights to a fair trial by biasing it towards Assange, I'm quite sure that the numerous judges who presided over Assange's appeals against extradition, had information about it that we don't, they all dismissed his appeals for a reason.

There's more arguments but they're equally as ignorant.

Basically what the whole belief Assange supporters have behind their arguments is:

"I agree with this guy's actions in terms of wikileaks so I want to believe he's innocent and this is a conspiracy".

Assange is a celebrity and like many celebs, people based their opinions on not if he's right, but whether or not they agree with or like him. It's perfectly possible btw to support the right of the people to know what their government are doing while acknowledging that there's a good chance that Assange is probably a rapist.

Also freedom of speech and expression, is not freedom from the consequences of breaking the law, if Assange is a rapist, then his victims deserve justice, all the mob protecting Assange is doing is adding to rape culture and sending a message that celebrity is more important than justice.

I believe Assange is a rapist and should face justice, I also find the case for a "conspiracy" against him to be flimsy as fuck and generally illogical in terms of legality. The US would have more chance of herding cats then of trying to get anything that convoluted to work, which argues it's just a paranoid conspiracy theory from people who don't really grasp how international justice works.

Friday, 17 August 2012

How feminist men fuck up:

One of the things I find as a feminist is that men often bewail how "mean" feminism is, and cite examples like: of how to "address sexism so men aren't alienated". So I'm going to explain just how much that particular essay is offensive, sexist and outright damaging, and why us feminists won't use such asinine arguments.

Don't get me wrong, the authors have some points, such as the pressure on men to take dangerous jobs, but they get swamped in what is perhaps the most sexist ways to couch them ever.

"Look at the other books, and you’d find they have one thing in common—they’re almost all about women. Women and work. Women and body image. Women and race. Women and sex. Women and feminism.
You’d think that only women have a gender."

The Authors have apparently forgotten that with men being taken as the "norm" the reason books are gendered towards women is that we're considered "other", men "don't have gender" as part of having privilege. Nobody is going to write a book on male gender because nobody thinks it needs to be explained since it is pervasively socially known already.

"Feminism has done an excellent job analyzing and challenging the ways that these assigned and enforced gender roles damage and deform the lives of women. The same tools of analysis can be applied to the damage and deformation that men suffer. And that damage, sad to say, is severe."

No, it's not severe, men benefit far more from male privileged as a whole than they are harmed by the misogynistic views that inadvertently hurt men. This article contains a lot of language that basically translates as "Men have it just as bad as women", except they don't, individually misogyny can sometimes suck for men but it is not the same as the systematic oppression women face everyday.

"misandric stereotypes"

This is just bad thinking in operation, for starters no masculine stereotype is born out of a hatred of men, they're born out of a hatred of women. Men are defined by being not like women because being like a woman is "bad".

So even if misandric was a word we could take seriously which it is not, it wouldn't work in this context. What harm men face due to misogyny is not because of hatred of the male gender, it's fallout from policies aimed at harming women.

"Straight men are all too often expected to approach women, ask them out, and pay for the date—which causes disproportionate pain to men who are socially awkward, shy or just broke."

Disproportionate pain? You know I've never met a man who was "hurt" by this who wasn't a "Nice guy" in the worst possible way. Perhaps there are genuinely decent men who are hurt by this gender expectation, but I've never met one so clearly they're thin on the ground.

"The ideal of physical toughness kills people. Especially men. Except for sex work, the most male-dominated jobs are the most dangerous, from lumberjacks to firefighters to soldiers, men are more likely to be injured on the job and suffer an astonishing 92% of fatal occupational injuries."

Except this problem is caused by men keeping women out of these areas, and women who do go into these areas are more likely to be brutalised and assaulted by their male co-workers. Women didn't cause this problem, men did, men reinforce it and need to tackle it.

Then they go on to talk about rape, completely ignoring that male issues with rape are born out of the belief that to be raped is to be turned into a woman and being a woman is bad, and that the reason female rape victims are centered is because we are overwhelmingly the victims and that tackling our issues, would also tackle male rape victims issues. We don't need to beat people over the head with the knowledge that men get raped as well, we need to tackle the misogyny that supports rape.

"Liberating men from restrictive gender roles and gendered oppression is intrinsically bound up with liberating women from the same things."

Technically right, but what they go on to prove in the next paragraphs is that they don't realise that restrictive gender roles and gender based issues for men are born out of misogyny. They are the secondary result of hate against women, an inadvertent outcome.

"Many feminists respond to arguments along these lines by saying that men ought to start their own movement, that they don’t see what feminism has to do with any of it. Unfortunately, this is the latest manifestation of an issue that has long dogged feminism and held it back: the inclusion problem. Feminism started as a movement by and for straight white middle-class women, and there were struggles over the inclusion of people of color, poor people, sexual minorities, trans people and the disabled."

Technically true, but a privileged man is not the same as an oppressed minority. The problem with trying to "include" privileged men into the group is that:

1. Privileged men tend to assume that their privilege is their due and sulk when they're denied it in our spaces.
2. Privileged men tend to hijack the discussion to the point where women's issues get totally sidelined.
3. Privileged men tend to produce drivel like this article and then call themselves feminists.

Then they go into MRAs and rightly condemns their misogyny, but then pulls this:

"If men’s rights are to be addressed on any kind of serious level, it will have to be by feminism"

Except feminism does address much of men's issues on a serious level already. Given that most male issues are born out of misogyny aimed at women, tackling the primary cause misogyny aimed at women will tackle a lot of male gender issues.

Not talking about you all the time =/= not doing things that are beneficial to you.

The authors of this piece seem to think tackling sexism involves constantly positive reinforcement for their insulting position of how men are just as oppressed as women. It doesn't.

"The simplest reason why feminists should get involved in masculism is this: feminism is the single largest and most politically powerful gender-oriented movement."

So? I do not see how being a feminist means I'm required to bow to a sexist movement because it uses the right "phrases" with no understanding on what it's really saying.

"Masculism is a great recruiting tool for feminism."

No, it's not, it's a great way to fucking alienate a lot of feminists and to hijack feminism in favour of a lighter form of sexism though.

"Many men get a bad first impression of feminism from zealous young feminists who, regardless of their intentions, alienate the heck out of men."

Oh look it's a tone argument from people who wrote a pretty offensive sexist post, big fucking surprise there.

This of course ignores the fact that no matter how "nice" feminists are about addressing issues, men often get butthurt and whiny about it because they perceive any form of criticism of gender roles, misogyny or other issues as a personal attack on them. I've had men burst into tears because I wouldn't give them their privilege in a feminist space, they were so invested in the idea that their gender made them smarter, better and more worthy than me, that when they weren't treated like they were, they immediately lost it.

"have no tolerance for questions that sound like victim-blaming; sometimes, anti-feminist trolling or harassment has made a community so sensitive that they lash out at well-intentioned but naive newbies; sometimes, they are intended for feminists to talk to other feminists and new people detract from this purpose"

Sound like? Try most likely are victim blaming, it takes time for men to learn not to say stupid and offensive shit like these two male "feminists" have demonstrated with their article. As for well intentioned? Intention is not magic, also I've found that a lot of men don't really examine or acknowledge their intentions.

"Because masculism can be a safe landing space for men entering into gender egalitarianism, the same way that feminism is a safe landing space for women entering into gender egalitarianism. It will engage with their problems and issues that they can see affecting their own lives. It will provide a supportive environment for men unlearning their sexism. It will answer the questions men have about gender theory and the realities of how sexism works in our society. It will socialize them into the norms of social justice work, such as call-outs and checking one’s privilege. In fact, it will do all the things that feminism does for women in similar situations, and that is an unambiguously good thing."

Except if this article is anything to go by, all it will teach men is to put a thin veneer of social justice over sexism and then to get butthurt when it's pointed out that hey, they're being fucking ignorant.

 "Ultimately, however, there’s another reason why feminism needs men—more than practical issues of making the movement more efficient, more than ethical issues of inclusion. In fact, it is impossible for feminism to accomplish its goals without men; liberating any gender requires liberating all genders"

Oh hey girls, clearly we're not efficient without men. Also what part of "misogyny is at the root of all male issues with gendered stereotypes" do these two not get? They're ignoring that removing misogyny would fix a good 99% of the issue.

"Misandry mirrors misogyny."

Again "men have it as bad as women!1!!!", seriously.

Firstly, there's no such thing as misandry, gender stereotypes that hurt men are the offspring of misogyny, they don't exist because somehow men hate men, they exist because men hate women.

Also privilege offsets a lot of the gender issues men do face, in short, these two are being incredibly offensive by trying to claim that men are just as bad off.

"This isn’t to say that in any given case, the misandry and misogyny are necessarily equivalent. Sometimes they are, other times one or the other definitely predominates."

Yes, they did just claim that "misandry" aka the impact of misogyny on men is worse than misogyny against women sometimes. *facepalm*

"Thus, you get women who (rightly) complain about the wage gap without seeing how men are made into “success objects.”"

Yes, because getting paid shit wages and facing a lifetime of poverty is just as bad as peer pressure to be successful. The latter sucks to be sure, but the first is still fucking worse.

"You get people unable to see past their own sense of grievance to look at how the system that’s hurting them is hurting other people."

One of the few things I agree with the authors on, they and the sort of men who reference this article are good example of the type of person who are unable to see past their own sense of grievance.

"Unfortunately, for a long time, feminism has been blind in one eye. It has seen half of how sexism damages people, but it hasn’t been able to engage with the other half. A lot of ugly stuff and a lot of pain has gone unnoticed by a movement dedicated to unpacking and examining the stuff that used to go unnoticed. Not only does that leave half of society still wounded, but it dooms the larger feminist project to failure. When the oppression of women and the oppression of men are so deeply linked, one cannot ever defeat one without addressing the other."

Again by using half they try to make it seem like the much smaller amount of harm misogyny inadvertently does to men is just as significant as the harm done to women who are the primary targets, this is not only wrong, it's offensive as hell.

As for their prognosis of feminism being doomed to failure, funny, we seem to have made a lot of things happen in the face of male privilege already.

"Ozy’s Law suggests that misandry and misogyny are inherently linked: if you eliminate one without the other, it will only mutate into a new sexist form. For instance, the "second shift” is when women who work outside the home come home and still do a disproportionate amount of the chores. It’s the classic consequence of liberating women so they can work outside the home without having their femininity questioned, but not liberating men so they can lift up a dishrag without having their masculinity questioned. By not liberating men, feminism traps women in a sexist situation that is little, if any, improvement."

Actually male refusal to do household chores has bugger all to do with their "masculinity being questioned" and more to do with the sexist belief that chores are "women's work", I think both authors dramatic overstate the case of cultural male gender pressure and ignore the misogyny inherent in much of it.

"Without masculism, feminism will never fully succeed."

Oh hey look "menz iz importants, you silly wimminz cannot succeed at anything without uz!11" ugh.

"Traditional assigned gender roles are unfair and awful for everyone. It might be possible to create a list of all the disadvantages men face and all the disadvantages women face and add them up to figure out which one is currently worst off, but that’s not really necessary, and really, who wants to win that fight?"

Except, oh yeah, both of you have been trying to do this throughout the article.

"As Samuel Beckett once said, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”"

Clearly they were following that quote, this article is a fail.

"That in mind, we two fallible, privileged, well-intentioned authors have some ideas about gender, about oppression, about the men."

I noticed.

Basically this article is poorly written, offensive, slanted, contains some very harmful and ignorant ideas about feminism and how gender discrimination actually works. Yet many men hold this up as an example of how "feminists should talk about gender equality", this article adds to gender inequality, it reinforces male privilege and generally is rife with issues, perhaps that is why so many men like it, because it reinforces their cosy privilege while allowing them to feel hard done by but also like triumphant battlers for social justice.

This is not how to talk about gender inquality, this is how to reinforce privilege, justify male self pity/privilege while portraying oneself as being better than that.

I suggest both authors scrap their book, because the world does not need anymore MRA handbooks.

Want to see men's issues done right?

Take a gander at: Men's issues done well

That is an excellent non-offensive article that addresses the harm gender stereotypes do to men without trying to hijack feminism. I agree with the whole thing, if I saw a discussion in feminist circles that was similar? I wouldn't have an issue with it.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Misappropriation of terms:

A post on what not to do.

Trigger warnings and triggers.

A trigger warning is a warning for a material that may trigger flashbacks, PTSD episodes, anxiety, basically it warns for anything that can be a trauma trigger for someone with something like PTSD

Being triggered is an unavoidable reaction to a trauma trigger. It is not:

Something that just makes you feel a little sad/otherwise has little impact on you.

Please stop misappropriating trigger to mean "this makes me feel sad", also I don't want to see the following argument:

"I'm fine with X which triggers me so others don't need a trigger warning because I cope just fine".

If you can say that? You are probably not being triggered because nobody who had experienced a trigger would say that, so stop appropriating the term to argue against consideration for people who are triggered by subjects. It's fucking irritating beyond belief.


Spoons come from The spoon theory

Seriously, don't hijack this, your able bodied self arguing that you don't have the "spoons" not only makes me wince, it dilutes a powerful way to explain the limitations of disability to people.

If you really knew what having no spoons was like? You wouldn't toss it out there with a grin. So please don't misappropriate our terminology.

I'm sure there's many more people could mention.

On Race and terrorism:

Inspiring article:

The article covers the belief that the terrorism of white people is not acknowledged as terrorism because of white privilege. I think while it's right that white privilege plays a role, it also misses several important parts of the context as to why the narratives are so different.

1. Imho many white terrorists are Right wing in political leaning.

Many of our "leaders" are right wing. No right wing politician who secretly is cheering on or agreeing with a white person who say bombed a planned parenthood or who shot down a Person of color for racist reasons, is going to call the person a terrorist.

The right wing often work to control the narrative we hear, if they've got ugly views and let's face it the right wing is replete with ugly views, then acknowledging someone who acted violently on similar beliefs to them as a terrorist raises uncomfortable questions about their beliefs and how hateful they are. Those are not questions that many right wing people want to ask themselves.

One thing I've learnt as an autistic is that NT people in general are very good at lying to themselves and to others about the ugly bits inside of them. From the bully who cries victimhood when called on their bullying to the racist who defends their racism with a derail, NT people in general are very good at ignoring what they don't want to see in themselves and their own group. Acknowledging any given white terrorist as a terrorist might puncture that lie for many white people, and thus I suspect that this is also a reason why the labeling of white terrorists as terrorists is often avoided.

2. The human cognitive bias when it comes to violent people is to see anyone who is 'like' us as being 'not like' us if they do something horrific is not limited to white people.

You get similar arguments in the minority community, difference is that doesn't end up on fox news as a general rule.

I've had plenty of PoC basically sit there and tell me that issues I know exist actually don't, same as white folks tend to deny that racism still exists in response to a white person murdering a PoC over skin color.

Blaming such "this person isn't like me" solely on white privilege ignores that it goes on in minorities as well. It's a human cognitive bias for a reason.

3. Ultimately, no matter what the color of the skin of someone who has done something horrifically violent and/or hateful, they will have cultural reasons behind them to some degree. Solely blaming white privilege tends to white wash this issue out of the debate without addressing it.

It's a cross cultural issue, it needs to be treated like one.

Minorities suffer from the same issues as the majority all too often, in some communities people are brought up in a cultural echochamber especially in very insular and dense communities, and thus don't acknowledge the negative messages they're taught about other racial groups or indeed any other group. It's very hard to argue that upbringing does not play a part of why some people do the most horrific things, on both sides.

Yet all too often people do scramble around labeling calling minority groups on this problem as racism, when in fact we should be looking at these reasons which exist in all cultures for such violence against other groups. I have spoken to people who were absolutely convinced after a culturally isolated upbringing filled with negative comments about other groups that anything, no matter how violent, hateful or criminal that they did to the groups they'd been socialised against with negative beliefs about was perfectly acceptable because those groups "deserved" it, and those people? Aren't all white.

Ultimately all cultures do socialise their children  to some extent in general against other groups. A minority group might not have the power to make that an institutionalized socialisation that everyone gets, but it's still a widespread issue.

Basically, I think the issue is much more complicated, and really needs an embracing of multiculturalism and integration by all groups to actually be solved. Without full integration in our communities, the most vulnerable are put at risk no matter what racial group they belong to.

It's very hard to become a bigot or to harbor prejudice against people when you receive a mixed message about others from personal experience instead of an echo chamber of prejudice. People who are connected, stand together against terrorists. Ultimately full integration would protect against such acts and make it easier to call a terrorist a terrorist.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

White privilege and why it's so hard to acknowledge:

Well for me anyway. Trigger warnings for discussion of social justice issues, irrational feelings, discussion of racism and having issues, privilege and other things.

I'm going to try to be honest here, I'm trying to feel my way through why I struggle with acknowledging and tackling my white privilege. This is how I feel, it may be right, it may be wrong, it is intended to be nothing more than an analysis of why I struggle.

Why I struggle with white privilege and it's acknowledgement:

1. It's awfully hard to feel you're privileged in some way, when all your life you've been treated like crap because of what's between your legs, who you love, your disabilities and your poverty.

The problem with having one privilege and multiple marginalisations is that it's like the emperor's clothing, everyone else says you have it but ultimately you just feel like you're running around naked while everyone insists you're dressed. It's hard to feel privileged when disablism, sexism, classism and many more isms take center stage in your life on a regular basis.

When someone says I have white privilege, well it's a little like being told that I didn't get shit on some tiny part of me that I can't really see after someone pushed me into a dungheap. The fact that everywhere else is covered tends to be far more noticeable and it's hard to feel grateful for a tiny clean part that isn't really beneficial, more so when someone who is say able bodied, straight, well off, and cis-gendered is holding forth about how great white privilege supposedly is and how it completely changes my life. (which is a form of belittling other marginalisations imho I may not suffer from racism but that doesn't magically make other isms disappear from my life)

This is perhaps what makes white privilege lists look rather ignorant about other marginalisations, I've yet to see one that didn't mostly include:

1a. Things that should be a human right. A right is not a privilege. The problem is someone doesn't have it not that someone else has it.

1b. Things which still happen to other minorities just for different reasons.

This is perhaps one thing I would criticise about the anti-racism social justice movement, there does seem to be an assumption and attitude that race, racism and race privilege exist in proverbial isolated towers untouched by anything around them. Intersectionalism seems to vanish in race and racism discussions replaced by an apparent belief on the part of many people that white = straight, able bodied, rich cis gendered man somehow to the rest of the world because apparently white privilege magically means my disability, gender, sexuality, disabilities, mental health issues, and everything else is suddenly treated like I'm privileged in those areas as well.

2. I don't feel very privileged when I'm nursing yet another black eye or recovering from abuse I've received at the hands of a PoC who is pissed at their marginalisation and decided to take it out on me because I couldn't fight back. I'm a good target for abuse and I've been abused lots, I think the biggest reason for PoC doing it is that I'm white and they can safely take their anger out on me.

Privilege isn't really any great shakes when not only is it largely swamped by your other marginalisations but it ends up nearly hospitalising you repeatedly.

3. Sadly sometimes it really does sound like many PoC are saying that no discrimination exists apart from Racism (and whatever other minorities they belong to). I'm not sure if it's me mishearing sometimes but sometimes it's quite clear that some people of color do think that discrimination is only something that happens to them.

People have a bad habit of treating privilege lists like they're absolute and like if you're not PoC then any negative consequences like not being hired for a job based on being a minority somehow doesn't happen to minority people who happen to be white. This can be bloody irritating, could you imagine being told that any privilege you have automatically cancels out racism entirely? If you can, you may understand just how infuriating this attitude can be.

4. Here's where we get into parts that are perhaps irrational and emotional. I often feel resentful that after all the shit I've been through from both sides, I'm often apparently expected to take the blame as well for the system that also fucks over me. Believe me, this system is the last thing I fucking want either.

I'm white, this does not make me the avatar of the whole white race or mean I'm responsible for every shitty thing a white person did ever. I can accept that as a whole white people help create and feed into this system, even when we don't intend to, I however object to being solely fucking responsible for it as some people seem to believe I am or at least act like I am.

5. I often resent that some people of color seemingly think that their anger at being marginalised on the basis of race makes it okay for them to say horribly bigoted things that hurt other minorities. There's a line between being pissed, and being a bigoted asshole because you're pissed then denying it just because a white person called you on the bigoted thing you said.

No, I'm not saying you should be "nice", but not having to ask nicely for your rights? Should not translate into a right to be a bigoted asshole to others and to get away with it because you're angry at your marginalisation as some people seem to think it does.

6. Yes, we've all heard the white guy whining about how "blacks can be racist as well" and bawling about how his PoC teacher was supposedly mean and against him, he's an asshole. But to me there's a difference between him and someone like me talking about how they've been subject to violence, abuse and prejudice because they're a target that can't fight back when some rich, cis-gendered, able bodied straight PoC man decides that he wants to take his experience of racial marginalisation out on someone weaker and more marginalised than him.

I often do get quite angry that we're basically treated the same, if I talk about the definite harm a PoC did to me on account of my race? I get jumped all over no matter where or how I do it. My intention is not to be that whiney guy crying "racism goes both ways", they are to sometimes remind PoC that privilege does not make having someone be a violent prejudiced assholes to us any more pleasant. It doesn't heal broken bones any faster, or stop the panic attacks caused by such treatment.

7. As I said before, I've been a victim of quite a bit of "revenge" attacks by PoC who decided I would make an adequate verbal or physical punchbag for their rage. It's hard to feel very privileged over a group that has used you as a punchbag quite a bit. I understand that anger isn't rational, but then neither is PTSD, and it's that which makes me feel like I have to make myself as small and nonthreatening as possible in the presence of PoC because they might get angry, and that's when I get hurt.

So realistically, I don't feel privilieged because I'm marginalised, because PoC and many others seem to be able to treat me as a punchbag without fear, because I find some of the things said to be quite irritating. These feelings might be irrational, they might be unacceptable, they definitely human, I think most of them have some basis, at the very least in terms of being feelings, whether or not they're non-problematic is another matter.

I was brought up in a very racist house, and sometimes I'll catch myself thinking things I should know better than to think, it's a constant effort to change. Somedays I'm not sure if I can, sometimes I realise I've gone a whole week without thinking something stupid about race.

My point in writing this was to organise my emotional thoughts, and to see if I could do better. I don't think I am very good at this social justice thing when it comes to race. I know I struggle with race issues. I'm hoping to continue to improve, and I'm hoping to grow.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The problem with "drama" groups:

 Trigger warnings for discussion of harassment, mentions of suicide, and bullying.

There are a lot of "drama" groups online, the basic idea is to find funny, silly or otherwise embarassing behaviour and to have a good laugh. This can be fun, but they also have a dark underside; Today, I'm blogging about the problems I've seen both as a sometimes member and as a target of these groups.

1. Often as a drama group grows bigger, it becomes fertile ground for grudges and harassment by highly popular members. One of the reasons I'm wary around popular members of such groups is that I know they often receive positive feedback even if they are being harassive or outright bigoted.
The group essentially becomes a yes group for them, unscrupulous popular members take advantage of this, and others who are otherwise decent people often lose sight of appropriate behaviour because of it.

2. Such groups often degenerate into what is basically a mob, a mob is only as smart as the least intelligent member of it. The resulting mob behaviour can egg even ordinary members way past the boundaries of appropriate behaviour. Ordinary members might not be as bad as the popular members whose inappropriate behaviour gets heavily reinforced so much, but they can still be pretty bad at times.

3. Such groups will often never forget anything you did or that they think you did (though they'll frequently misremember it as ten times worse than it was), if you said something stupid or silly ten years ago? Everything you say will be viewed in the light of that one incident, even if it wasn't actually that stupid or silly, or worse was willfully misinterpreted by someone who had a grudge against you.

4. Such groups often attract outspoken people, this means that in some sections of the internet, the main leaders of social justice groups and similar supporters of human rights may also be members of this sort of group. Good luck getting support from them if you got posted once on a drama group as a "bad person" regardless of why or how long ago it was, your inclusion on there regardless of how ablist, sexist, victim blaming or otherwise horribly bigoted the group's members were at the time means you're still a horrid person even if the group is now made up of  people who pledge support against what was done to you. So they can effectively isolate marginalised people from the support groups they need online based on the bigotries of the group in the past.

5. Commonly held beliefs in the group attain the status of "truths" far too easily; because everyone agrees that X is horrible/a liar/a bad person, it becomes "true" even in the face of more than enough evidence to disprove it. Basically it's like the gossip mill, the more something is repeated, the more people believe it, the more it is repeated, to the point where members basically become highly biased against individuals.

6. A large chunk of posters are often only there because they're scared of being featured themselves so think that joining in will protect them from being singled out. To my shame, I have been one of these. Often if you are one of the fearful members, you will find yourself going along with things without thinking about what you're doing or if it's actually appropriate. It's normal to crave the approval and protection of your peers, but it can lead you to do things you wouldn't normally do and even things you will be ashamed of doing after you pull your head out of your ass and realise what you did.

7. Your average drama group member cannot tell the difference between someone who is being silly and someone who is impaired, suicidal or otherwise unstable; or if they can, will not acknowledge it solely because you did/said something stupid so anything is justified.This creates the chance of them harassing someone quite literally to death. I've seen these groups quite literally hound someone who was clearly and unambiguously suicidal.

The mob think also encourages them not to consider this as even being an issue. If you bring it up in the group, the response will likely to be "oh so and so is a liar", even if it's pretty damn obvious that so and so isn't lying.

Basically, these places often start out as a laugh, but then the darker parts of mob think, bad rationalisation and social hierarchy come into play, which basically ruins them and turns them into a vehicle for harassment.

There's a difference between light hearted teasing, laughing with someone and what these groups end up as which is a bullying mob at best. This is why I suggest people avoid such groups, and point out what a horrible idea they actually are.

Yes, people do say some funny and silly things online. We all have our internalised issues, or days when we just don't think, however that does not justify such groups or their behaviour. There's a difference between laughing at something silly someone said and either correcting or teasing them lightly over it and being a bully. Drama groups often claim to do the first and typically do the latter in reality.

Shirkers and under the table workers:

Let's start with shirkers,

Firstly the notion that anyone on benefits would not want to work, is laughable.

Being in work is far better paid than the pittance benefits pays out. I would rather be in work, sadly I am unable to do so, and if I was capable of some sort of work? Nobody would hire me except the sorts of exploitative bosses I will discuss in under the table work.

Most people who go to the job center desperately want to work, they want a job that pays a living wage, sadly many jobs do not pay a living wage, and the few jobs there are? Well, there's a lot of unemployed people chasing them.

Programs like only show that it is possible to slip things past the system. However just because someone can doesn't mean they will. There is little profit in remaining on benefits if you are healthy and capable of full time work, full time work pays better and doesn't get you belittled, attacked and abused by society.

In short, work pays better than benefits for pretty much everyone, claims that it doesn't are absolute nonsense. Though it should pay better, since there are still many working poor. If benefits were so much better, those people wouldn't be working.

Trust me, the majority of people who claim JSA are hardworking people who want to work. They are not shirkers, and all demonising JSA recipients  does is harm the hardworking ones because typically it's honest people who get punished not shirkers.

As for under the table workers there seems to be a notion that somehow an army of people are working under the table and claiming benefits while laughing to the bank, a notion supported by programs like

First up, let's examine why someone would work under the table:

I have had family and friends who have been put in the position of taking on under the table jobs or being unable to feed their kids. Your typical under the table worker in my experience isn't a fat cat, he or she is typically someone whose meager benefits cannot stretch far enough to cover things like food, clothing or heating, and who cannot get a legal job for some reason, they're typically desperate and needy, not greedy.

These people are not the stereotypical chav dressed in designer clothing with an iphone, an ipad and driving a mercedes benz (you couldn't afford that on most under the table jobs anyway!) they're the desperate mother of two who despite scrimping and saving can't afford to buy enough food to last the week, or who needs to buy her children new shoes, they're the father who can't afford his rent increase due to how small his benefits are but can't get a legal job, so chooses to work under the table rather than have his family become homeless.

The majority of under the table cash jobs are offered by unscrupulous bosses who know this.

This means that under the table jobs are:

1. Way underpaid, because you can pay crap wages to people who are desperate and needy.

2. Often break all sorts of labour laws, a desperate person isn't going to run to an employment tribunal if you don't give them legally mandated breaks or make them work ridiculous amounts of hours.

I know people whose efforts to feed their kids have led to them being exploited, assaulted and generally treated like crap. Are there fraudsters who lie to the jobcenter? Of course, but the vast majority of people who take on under the table work as desperate and exploited, not the stereotypical fraudster.

Ultimately under the table jobs would not exist if people could feed their family, or get a decent job. The real evil here is that people need to take these jobs and that exploitative bosses know this and exploit them.

The only way to change this is to promote job growth so there are enough jobs and to make all companies pay livable wages. The problem is not poor people, it's the state of our society.

Why you shouldn't blame autistics for what you choose to say or do:

How we talk about autism can have a great impact on the mental health, well being and happiness of Autistics.
If you are non-autistic, would you like to hear you're a monster? Broken? lacking a soul? Mean? Cruel? Are to blame for everything that goes wrong?


So why do so many NT people think it's okay to talk about anyone like that? I haven't killed anyone, I don't go out of my way to harm others and I'd appreciate it if they did the same.

How we treat people with autism has a great impact on the mental health, well being and happiness of Autistics.

If you are non-autistic, would you like to experience someone trying to kill you? How about actually being killed? Or physically abused?


Yet, this is the reality that a lot of autistics face, violence at the hands of those who claim we are "lacking a soul" or are "monsters". It seems to me that murdering or beating someone because they're autistic makes someone a monster, not having a different neurology to most people.

Autism and Autistic people are not holding a gun to your head and compelling you to speak words of hate, or to kill, maim or otherwise physically abuse us. That is your choice and your choice alone, refusing to own it? Is an act of profound immaturity and disrespect for not just others but for yourself.

My autism doesn't force people to bully me. It may play a role in why some people dislike me or those like me, but ultimately what you "normal" people decide to do about that dislike, whether it be attempted murder, bullying, abuse or hate speech is something you decided to do, you weren't forced to do it.

I get really tired of people who seemingly think that their behaviour is my fault, as if the ugly in their soul is somehow transplanted from me instead of being all their own. In short, if you have the urge to look for a monster, take a look inside first.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Are you afraid of being called an *ist?

Do you fear being called a racist? A sexist? A ablist? Homophobic? Bigoted?


You know the biggest issue I run into with most privileged people is that when they're told that they said something shitty and bigoted, they immediately go into a defensive flap because they're so afraid of being thought as inappropriately behaved rather than afraid of being inappropriate.

Or they remain silent in the face of things like honor killings because they're so scared of being called racist that they won't stand up to protect the vulnerable against murder even when protecting the vulnerable is their job.

Why are these labels so scary that they control people's ability to act and close their minds?

The important thing is not to be a bigot, not to avoid being accused of being one. If you're too busy arguing about how you're not a bigot, or getting upset because someone said you did something bad? You're probably not actively not being a bigot.

Fact is, we all will be accused of being horrible at some point, rightly or wrongly.

"But it's a false accusation".

If it is a false accusation, I know that stings, I find it hard when people falsely accuse me as well. But I've yet to ever convince anyone who slings false accusations to retract such statements by arguing with them. People will believe what they want to believe at the end of the day, if they want to believe you're a bigoted asshole, nothing will change that belief, not reality, not a good argument, nothing. What is of more benefit to you and society? Arguing with someone who wants to believe you're a bigot or doing something to actively fight bigotry instead?

Seriously, if you fear being called a term that means you're bigoted more than you fear being bigoted and hurting your peers. Then you fear the wrong thing.

If the accusation is true? Examine why you were called it and what you can do to tackle it.
If it's false? You'll never convince them otherwise so why argue over it?

Regardless, do not fear what others can and may say about you. You cannot always be right, or always popular and some people are just assholes anyway and you shouldn't take them seriously.

Friday, 3 August 2012

The ATOS Mental health section:

And how it completely fails mentally ill and autistic people.

The question I've noticed in particular:

"17. Appropriateness of behaviour with other people, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.

Descriptor Points

(a) Has, on a daily basis, uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. = 15

(b) Frequently has uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited
behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. = 15

(c) Occasionally has uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited
behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace. = 9

(d) None of the above apply. 0"


This only addresses how the claimant acts, this does not allow for any consideration of the fact that anyone who is mentally ill, autistic or even both may face rampant bigotry and judgment from others, and are often treated as behaving badly and/or aggressively regardless of how they are actually acting.

I am frequently accused of being "aggressive", the reasons for this are as varied as:

1. My tone is too flat.
2. I disagreed with someone.
3. I called someone out on some shitty behaviour of theirs and they decided to attack me.
4. I remained assertive in the face of the aggression of another party.
5. I needed something from someone and they felt inconvenienced by that need.
6. I was a nearby and convenient target for someone's rage. 
7. Someone found my disability/obvious signs of disability uncomfortable or intimidating.
8. I stood up for my rights.
9. A bully is trying to pretend they aren't a bully.
10. I gave someone a "funny look".

People have proclaimed that my mere presence made them feel "unsafe" when I have done nothing to them, except for be disabled around them or dare to stand up for my rights. Apparently stating that I am a person and I deserve the same level of consideration as anyone else is a "threat".

Quite apart from aggression and how many false accusations we get, this question also doesn't address other forms of "inappropriate" behaviour. Often Autistics, and the mentally ill (and indeed any disabled person) suffer major social sanctions because someone considered our behaviour to be inappropriate (again the list contains stuff such as standing up for your rights is inappropriate) or because we do something non-aggressive which was socially inappropriate because we don't know better.

This is a real and distressing problem, it's psychologically harmful to be constantly bombarded with messages that basically say "who you are is a bad thing and you are bad". We're often subject to bullying, belittling and other emotional abuse because of our disabilities.

At it's most extreme, it can even lead to attacks on us. I have received threats ranging from someone saying he wanted to take an axe to my hands, to people threatening to tip me out of my wheelchair and beat me to a bloody pulp because I said something they disagreed with. Some people have even encouraged me to kill myself. I have been attacked physically a number of times as well.

It would not be safe to put me in a working environment with such people, I would be in danger. Back when I worked, some of the reasons for leaving jobs included violent attacks on me, including one that involved a weapon. Nobody took me seriously even after these attacks because I'm "mentally ill" and "autistic".

That question assumes the only "inappropriate behaviour problem" someone can have is their fault, and that society doesn't constantly fail to behave appropriately towards people like me. It assumes that the only barrier to working in terms of behaviour is mine and not that of others.

I don't behave aggressively, I have to fear aggression from others though and that should be taken into account.

Taking a break:

When I go out in public, it is a huge strain. I have to remember:

Not to stim, it makes NT people nervous.
Not to act "weird", people stare.
What social ceremonies are to be done in response to other social ceremonies, ie "How are you?" is not an enquiry into how you actually are and as such the only response should be "Fine, and you?".
I have to deal with a bombardment of sensory data and information, filter it for what's important and what's not and hope I don't garble anything important.
I have to strain to hear others, between my hearing loss, information processing issues and the sheer noise NTs produce for things that don't require noise, it's hard to catch everything someone is saying to me.
I have to work out new rules on the fly should a situation I am not familiar with happen.

It is exhausting, so for this week, being at home decorating has been a welcome breath of fresh air. No bombardment, no social rituals I don't get, I can be as weird as I like (stimming is still out, paintbrushes should not be waved around unless splattered paint is the aim :P)

Sadly it is physically exhausting due to my myriad disabilities, to the point where after small tasks, it's quite likely that my hips/lower body muscles will lock up from pain and I will be forced to painfully pull myself upright with my arms if I bend over or crouch.

So once it's done, I'll probably be taking to my bed for a week, and sod what the world thinks. Sleep is the only way to recharge such drained batteries.