Saturday, 27 July 2013

White womanhood, racism and the cycle created.

Or Intersectionality, we fucking need it.

Last night I read:

As you can see two very different viewpoints on the "scary black man", but never shall the twain meet. The latter is condemned as racist, the former as sexist. But they should meet because they do intersect.

Firstly what we need to talk about is not simply Questlove's constant awareness of the "threat" he represents to women, but also the way that awareness in him and other  men of color affects who interacts with those seen as women and who doesn't. The "scary black man" which also includes other men of color is a trope that feeds on itself.

If you have two men of color, one of whom is a stand up guy who would never rape someone and who is aware of the "scary man of color trope", and the other who is a rapist and who doesn't care if he's seen as scary because he doesn't regard women as people? It is the latter who primarily approaches white women and those seen as white women, the former is usually busy trying not to scare her and worrying about the consequences if he does. Understandably, this means the ones white women and those seen as women as a group usually end up interacting with are going to be the latter.

Yet when we talk about the men of color, black or otherwise who have approached us and acted badly, PoC often react as if those men represent all black men, because the distortion caused by the effects of racism is unacknowledged. I said last night that 80% of the men of color who have approached me have proven to be a threat, so I do regard a man of color who approaches me as more likely to be a threat because it is the ones who are threats who are more likely to approach me. The response was "how dare you say 80% of black me are threats", as if all men of color are black and would approach me, when the majority of men of color don't because of the thoughts Questlove talks about.

This is why "white women should be less racist and trust men of color who approach them" fails, because it's based on the idea that the men of color who approach white people seen as women aren't going to primarily be the ones no person seen as woman should trust and currently that's not the case. White people seen as women trusting every black guy approaching them wouldn't tackle racism because the decent ones would still hang back because of white men's racism, but it would give the assholes free reign to hurt people, which would simply justify the "scary man of color" trope.

Secondly we need to talk about the fact that though there was no white woman involved on the night when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon, white women are still brought into it because society as a whole still assumes that when white men attack black men, it is in defense of white women. It's part of the structural justification for white men's violence against people of color, and even people who aren't white men end up buying into it and talking about white women's place in racism to the exclusion of white man's creation and maintenance of it. We should talk about white woman's racism as well, but not as if it's the cause and root of what Zimmerman did.

Thing is, even if there had been a white woman there when Trayvon was killed, Zimmerman's actions wouldn't have been in her defense, but in defense of white male privilege and white male entitlement. The man of color whatever his race is always viewed by white men as a threat to the personally perceived racial superiority of white men. There is nothing about the "defend the white woman" that is beneficial to white women or those seen as women. It's all smoke and mirrors to disguise that white women and those seen as women are still seen as mere property in a world that accords value based on what white men think.

Superficial value is not actual value, everything about the notion of white womenhood frames white women and those seen as women as property of white men. It chains us to a pedestal that serves only to benefit white men. White people who society sees as women are viewed as pure because we are seen as belonging to white men. The notion that places white womanhood as the province of the Madonnas is inherently infantilising and places white people seen as women as children who need the protection and guidance of the white man.

Thirdly white people who aren't straight, rich, able bodied, cis men, We need to talk about how this damn white pedestal doesn't actually benefit anyone and everyone including white people seen as women need to stop buying into the notion that the mantle of white privilege is worth keeping for anyone who isn't a rich, straight, able bodied, cis man. The pedestal is actually a hobble we pay a price for, the price people seen as women pay is being seen as owned instead of being people. We need to strike it off and reject the superficial straight, white, able bodied, cis male offer of privilege in favour of standing with everyone else who isn't him and telling him to fuck the hell off with his bullshit hierarchy that only serves him, because anything less than equality for all is bullshit.

White privilege for those seen as women is nothing to be grateful for or to cling to, it's being begrudgingly given a thin blanket in exchange for our humanity while watching white men hoard thick down quilts when it is coldest. It's a thin gruel meanly handed out in return for our humanity while white men feast.

Our humanity should not be for sale, and especially not for what are mere scrapings we can't even share with others. White privilege is a fucking mugs game if you aren't a straight, rich, able bodied, cis man. It needs dropkicking out of the window, same for other privileges which are a thin and mean unless you have all or most of them, we need to reject them, because equality? That's the real prize, equality would benefit everyone apart from straight, rich, able bodied, white, cis man. It would benefit our lives and improve them far beyond privilege does. We cannot settle for less, especially not at the expense of others.

Fourthly we need to talk about full intersectionality. I've noticed a distinct tendency for the social justice world to grasp intersectionality only in terms of how one person's oppressions interact within their lives. Never in terms of how their privilege interacts with their oppression. Privilege is often viewed in isolation, so when we talk about the issues with white women, black men and racism, often sexism is dismissed entirely, and the white people seen as women are treated as if somehow white privilege in the situation makes them into a straight, white, able bodied, rich cis man. Questlove did this, he didn't consider the casual sexism in what he wrote it seems, just as Kim Foster did not examine the racism embedded in hers, and those supporting them have done the same.

Nor do we talk about the impact privilege has on how people are viewed by those oppressed apart from the anger the oppressed feel. For example, white womanhood frames those seen as women as property of white men; but we never it seems consider how it and racism frames those seen as women as prizes in a war that white men created against people of color, or that it's taught to men of color as well as held by white men. So the bodies of those seen as women become battlegrounds for the rights and privilege of men.

Currently I think intersectionality is still in it's infancy, the full scope it is unexplored. We need better than this, and we need to listen to each other, because the monster that is oppression doesn't exist in isolation, so we need to come out of our isolation.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Intersectionality and Juror B37

Much has been made of Juror B37's comments in race contexts, but her gender and indeed the involvement of gender in the general has been routinely ignored in some ways. The question of "Black Masculinity" and "white womanhood" is an inherently intersectional one.

White women and those presumed to be women are socialized to be the white man's helpmeet as it were. We are constantly bombarded with the idea that our place is behind white men, uplifting them, supporting them and yes forgiving them their trespasses. We're taught our place is to please them, to defend them, to basically near worship at the temple of white maleness. We aren't given the same instructions about men of color.

As for the notion of "white womanhood", let's make it clear, it's a patriarchal notion as well as a way to socialise white society towards racism. The notion of "white womanhood" contains a lot of bad, and it isn't just taught to white men and women, it is taught to everyone.

Firstly it frames white women's sexuality as child like, and therefore white women/those seen as women as children. Children who need constant protection, who cannot affirmatively consent to sex. White women and those seen as women have constantly been portrayed as infantile, and the notion of "white womanhood" is no different. People in general respond differently to a threat to a child, than to an adult, even if the "child" is in fact a fully grown woman. We worship the innocence of children and hold them as having higher value because of it, while at the same time holding them as lesser and requiring our guidance and control. So "White womanhood" inherently devalues us as people with our own minds at the same time as it is superficially elevating our perceived value.

Secondly it frames white women/those seen as women as inherently property of white men/those seen as men. Based on my experience I think there is a perception because of this, that white bodies which society designates as female are part of the system, not bodies belonging to people. So the white presumed female body for some MoC ends up representing the rights they are routinely denied, in short, What men of color experience sometimes results in them viewing people like me as a faceless weak point in the system they want to conquer and to conquer the "weak point", some men of color use the only weapon they know they have, their gender privilege. Given this, the question of if "Black Masculinity" is predatory and dangerous is quite complex.

Thirdly it isn't about us, it's about an idea, a veritable straight jacket we are forced to fit into for being white and having a Uterus. It's about the idea that a woman who has a relationship with a man of color is inherently soiled by it. It's about slut shaming at it's finest, where slut is the act of having anything to do with men of color. Women and those seen as women come under tremendous pressure to not be "sluts" due to the negative consequences. It's little wonder that "white womanhood" is excellent aversion therapy, it puts us neatly on a pedestal and hedges us with rules so tight that to twitch is to fall off and to fall off is to be in some serious trouble.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Criticising UKIPs "disabled policy".

These are the meagre disabled policy proposals made by UKIPs spokesperson for the disabled, a disabled person so privileged that she doesn't feel that she has to listen to the majority of disabled people.

They propose to fix the WCA, that is it, and the only thing they want to hear from us is "we support you" or "labour/the tories suck for what they've done". UKIP has no interest in fixing what they do wrong, they want to paint themselves as the disabled people's friends without actually bothering to change their spots. Which is why if you suggest that they are part of the problem, they go ballistic and accuse you of being bigoted against them, for example apparently I am racist against UKIP, I had no idea that political parties were races.

Let's talk first about what is missing from UKIPs proposals:

1. No proposal to tackle disabilism in the media, lies and distortions by the media are a leading cause of hate crimes against disabled people. It does no good to change the WCA with the media shrieking "scroungers" every five minutes.

2. No proposal for tougher access legislation or anything to make companies comply with the regulations, like say a watchdog. The current lot we have as basically toothless and relies on disabled people to sue.

3. No discussion of legal aid being available to disabled people who need to sue for basic rights.

4. No discussion of the cuts to social services, the impact or rolling them back.

5. No discussion of the appalling level of pay care workers earn for one of the most vital jobs for many disabled people.

6. No proposal to tackle the rampant disabilism in medicine and the NHS that leads to the UK having an 13 year average diagnosis wait time for long term and chronic conditions. No diagnosis, no support is the reality for far too many disabled people who wait over a decade to be taken seriously.

7. No proposals to center disabled people and disabled people's voices.

8. Most damning of all, no proposals on how to tackle the rampant disabilism, sexism and racism in UKIP itself.

I came across Star when she complained on Twitter that disabled people weren't coming forward to talk to UKIP.

My response: I questioned the need for minorities to come to the political party rather than the political party to educate itself and approach the minorities.

The responses to me? Here's some of the worst and typical ones: Yup, I'm apparently bigoted against a political party because I don't trust them because their members have been ablist and sexist to me and others in the past and racist to people of color. Typical "you criticised what we're doing so I'm going to derail about what bad shit other political parties do". Hint UKIP, if your best defense is "Other people suck", then you have a problem with bigotry. More "You're a bigot", keep this in mind, since this is the guy who later on insisted he was being reasonable. More abuse. This is a running theme because at the heart of the responses is an attitude that the lived experiences of disabled people and our needs aren't important and unless they fit the agenda of "normal" people. And if those lived experiences of disabled people mean we're critical of "normal" people then we must be attacked rather than listened to because our criticism is that much of a threat. Apparently UKIP's token disabled person thinks I'm of no help to disabled people because I said that UKIP hurts disabled people. Translation: "My experiences as a non-disabled person are more important than the experiences of actual disabled people so disabled people are wrong". "Prove the racism" Yet another demand that minorities prove that our experiences are true before privileged people will treat them as such. Apparently this person reckons I'm a druggy. Typical privileged dismissal of minority experiences. Translation: "Everyone else is bad, so we're innocent!" "I work with people like you" Yeah, and? This is another "my experience is more valuable than the experience of actual disabled people". I am accused of being racist and sexist. Promise to have it dealt with, this did not happen as you will see, instead the person argued that every example wasn't really disabilism. Translation: You're bitter. I'm called racist and blocked because apparently saying UKIP has a problem with racism is racist. Conspiracy theory much? More like your parties shitty members give you a bad reputation all by themselves. Star is supposedly a lawyer, and thinks that saying a political party is racist, sexist, and ablist is libelous. I'd love to see the look on a judge's face if she presented it to him as that. I'm accused of not telling her anything. Apparently saying "disabled people don't trust UKIP because UKIP members say horrible disabilist things" is not telling her anything. Apparently what I am doing is useless, disabled people should never speak up, it's useless. Says it all really. "Stupid" and "imbeciles" two disabilist slurs. Translation: The viewpoints of able bodied people who work with disabled kids are more important than those of actual disabled people. Again, a demand for proof, because god forbid a disabled person's viewpoint be considered valid. Yes, they did just imply I belong in an asylum. Yup, more "you're an icky bigot, if we keep calling you this, we don't have to actually examine what you're saying". Disabilist slur "Idiot". Disabilist slur "Idiot". Disabilist slur "Idiot" directed at a disabled person. Translation: Quick quick derail at her, I feel reality impinging. Admits the problem, but tries to blame it on a small minority. This is basically a "but we're not like that" argument. Apparently I can't think for myself. Tone policing "you should speak in a positive way" and implying I'm prejudiced because I smelt the stink of disabilism. Oh and I clearly didn't make my own mind up from all the experience I've had with UKIPpers, no sirree. More "I know disabled people and I'm not like that" in response to me pointing out that UKIP members often dehumanise us. Short version: "We're not disabilist, you're mean". Translation: Deny Deny Deny, Danger Will Robinson, Deny! Cos hey if you say UKIP members aren't bigoted after they've been throwing slurs at and dogpiling a disabled person for disagreeing with them, it totally makes it so they're not bigoted despite them being bigots. This tweet is hilarious and hypocritical given all the UKIP members who called me a bigot and dismissed my experiences with UKIP's racism/sexism/disabilism as bigotry on my part. More "I work with disabled people". Seriously, nobody gives a shit if you do, are you disabled? No? Then you don't get to decide our experiences for us. Disabilist slur "crazy". Disabilist comment saying I need therapy for criticising UKIP. Another empty promise to do something about disabilism in the membership. Another "I know disabled people so I get to dismiss your experiences and privilege my own". Disabilist slur, calling me deluded. More slurs, deluded and "idiot" again, plus a derail "you're looking to be offended". Claims to be visually impaired. I'm betting he wear glasses. Hardly one of the primo targets for disabilism. "You're not being fair". Because disabled people who are hurt by UKIPs shit are always obliged to be "fair" and nice to them. "You're looking to be offended!" Translation: It's okay to use slurs if I don't think they're slurs, watch me argue that a diagnosis used within the last twenty years is old enough that it's okay. Translation: "Yeah, you don't have a right to your own experiences, let me a far more "normal" person tell you what is and isn't disabilism". Translation: "Slurs are only slurs if they know the person they're flinging them at is disabled. Slurs totally can't feed the casual dehumanisation of disabled people." Slurs "Insane" "Nutter". Translation: "We can't manage without slurs!1!!! *panics*" Translation: "But people call my able bodied self these slurs all the time and they don't bother me, so how can they bother you?" Yeah, I have to give Star a chance to win my political affiliation, but she doesn't have to take the time to listen to me it seems. Derail: "you're looking to be offended/interrogating it wrong". Slur: "deluded". Slur: "deluded". Slur: Derivative of "idiot". Translation: "I'm trying, can't you see me trying so very hard, it's not my fault I'm dismissing instead of listening because I'm trying!1!!" Translation: "We need to use slurs!!11!" slur: "idiots". Slur: "moron". and in Derail: "you weren't polite enough" Translation: "The world is ordered according to my feelings, not those of disabled people. Ergo my refusal to acknowledge the issues, denial of them and blatant dismissal of the experiences of disabled people is not dismissal." Translation: "By genuine concerns, I mean ones that agree with what I believe and that come from "normal" people like me. People like you don't have genuine concerns of course". Slur: "deluded" and again the insistance that I am bigoted against UKIP. Slur: "Idiot" and "stupid". I'm accused of calling someone deluded because I said working with disabled people is not a shield against doing or saying things that harm them. Bonus slur: "Raving". Another "I'm 'normal', you're not, my viewpoint is valid, yours isn't" assertion. This proud UKIP member went to my journal digging for dirt it seems. The post says, that disagreement is not a rules violation. But what UKIP did by setting their members on me and abusing me with dehumanisating slurs based on my disabilities is not disagreement, it's bullying, abuse, and a hate crime. Disabilist slur: "loon". Slur: "stupid" and "others are bad as well" derail. Slur: "crack pot" and derail: "It's only a few people, we're not all like that". Unsaid: "Like you know, being a "normal" aka privileged as hell person, preferably male and white". Apparently I have a mental issue because I tried to explain to UKIP members why this shit is shitty? Yay, slurs. I think they meant to say "Rot in Hell" or something. I'm once again accused of hating everything. Slurs: "Padded cell" "Crazy" "bitch" Yes, politics have nothing to do with politics. Slurs: "Crazy" x 2 and "bitch". Derail: It's only a small amount. (Which explaind why I have yet to have a UKIP member be anything other than disabilist to me?) I am accused of being fucked in the head. Victim blaming bullshit, clearly it's my fault for existing and daring to answer a UKIP person who asked why disabled people are not interested in the party. Nope, UKIP members don't have a responsibility not to bully, abuse or fling disabilist and sexist slurs at people. Because god forbid "your party has problematic members and attitudes" result in "hey, tell me more about it" *listens* *fixes it* Instead of "waaaaaaah our butts are hurt, how dare you tell us we need to do more to not alienate disabled people?!" which is what I got. According to him I'm the abusive one, because saying UKIP members are frequently disabilist, racist and sexist is abuse, but ganging up on one person and slinging sexist and disabilist slurs at her isn't. He's losing patience with me? Yeah, cos us sub humans are just supposed to take their shit and keep on being nice and educating them and shit in the face of their ignorance. Including this just for the sheer hilarity value, apparently calling people slurs is "reasonable".


This is why you're not trusted UKIP:

1. Because the response of your members to "UKIP has a problem with bigotry against minorities" is not "Well how can we improve?" and actual listening, instead it's "shut up". Instead it's treating us like children, like we can't have a valid opinion, like we're second class citizens. Instead it's calling us "bitch", "crazy", "loon", "stupid", "deluded", "idiot" and other slurs that dehumanise us.

2. Because your policies "for" disabled people are shallow as hell and only designed to go against what the mainstream parties do with no regard for deeper issues.

3. Because your membership operates with an implicit assumption that they're not responsible for attitudes in your party that make reason 1 a reality.

4. Because your membership is largely privileged bigots who you seem to feel no need to reign in when they attack minorities.

5. Because even your disabled spokeswoman is more privileged than anything being white, cis, straight and well off, to the point where she cannot relate to most disabled people and doesn't bother to listen to them.

 6. Because we know your disabled spokeswoman is nothing more than a bandaid on the bigotry in your ranks. If she knew what she was doing and tried to tackle it, she'd be given the bums rush out of the door.

This is why you're not trusted, because you've done fuck all to earn that trust and plenty to show you are not worth trusting with this country any more than the tories or anyone else is.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

There are limits to my strength and keep the cookie:

To some minority people:

I know it sucks when nobody supports you when you're dealing with a bigot, but please remember sometimes we don't see you need help especially if we're in the middle of fighting our own battles. Sometimes we just don't have the energy to help you especially if we're also a minority with our own micro aggressions and isms to fight. I and many people who want to help end social injustice do not sit on the internet waiting for other minorities to need our help so we can swoop in like an avenging angel. So forgive us if we aren't always there the second you need help.

As for cookies for being your ally? I don't want a cookie, what I need is simple:

1. I need for the default to be able bodied/straight/cis/rich/white *insert minority* actually listening when I or anyone else who they're oppressing via their privilege explains to them that they're doing something oppressive.

2. I need for some people to stop pulling "but x ism is worse" as an excuse for oppressive behaviour towards others. Other people's assholery to you on the basis of your minority does not excuse or justify your behaviour if you are being oppressive to others on the basis of their minorities. Also if the few others who defend it could stop defending it, that would be nice.

3. I need for some people to recognise that sticking together as a minority does not make them obliged to gloss over the oppressive behaviour of straight/rich/able bodied/cis/white minority people and attack any GLBTQ/poor/disabled/PoC person who asks any minority who also has a privilege not to be oppressive via that privilege.

4. I need for it to be more widely recognised that privilege and oppression matter even when they have nothing to do with your oppression. The sort of "X is the only true oppression/privilege" idea I've run into frequently not only erases the extra harm of being a multiple minority, but also has resulted in privileged people who have an oppression I do not saying some pretty offensive things to me and claiming I'm not oppressed because they think theirs is the only "true" oppression.

5. I need it to be us all in this together against oppression as a whole. I need to feel that me supporting you means that sometimes when you have the time and the strength, you will be willing to support me because what we want is the same, a world where being us is not a drawback but part of a spectrum of equal humanity. A world where isms are part of the past, not our future.

And most of all I need for oppression against us all to end because so long as any one of us is oppressed, the door is open to oppression of all, and you know what? You can't close the door to oppression of all if you're alternating between pushing it closed and pulling back others who are trying to close it. This goes for anyone with privilege and oppression.