Monday, 25 November 2013

It isn't just healing:

TW: for discussion of sexual assault, surviving and healing. Is a good link, but it's incomplete.

It isn't just the time people need. Some of us need other things. Such as:

1. To not be under pressure to have to act devastated all the time and in public.

Some of us have healed, some of us don't want to publicly display our pain for the consumption of others. We especially don't need the pressure to act in a certain way or we'll be accused of being a fake. Not all of us cry and that is okay, what is not okay is expecting every survivor to be weepy.

2. To not get a rote lecture about how it isn't our fault or other platitudes.

If someone says they feel it's their fault, then it's time to comfort them and remind them it isn't. However some of us know that it wasn't out fault and we aren't ashamed. When we tell you about what happened and you launch into a lecture on how it wasn't our fault or any other platitudes? It just feels like your ears shut down beyond "sexual assault/abuse", because you clearly did not listen to us or see what we needed.

3. To not have you treat our normality as if it's shocking.

Even people who have not healed for the most part do not go through every second of every day thinking about the assault. We laugh, we have fun and sometimes we forget it, maybe for a moment, maybe for longer, regardless, we are more than just survivors, don't act like we have to be a survivor 24/7/365.

4. To not treat us like we're damaged forever.

I don't feel damaged, and I daresay many others share that feeling. Let us define this for ourselves.

In short, we're survivors and our healing is as individual as we are. Respect that.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Call out culture:

 TW: for discussion of suicidal impulses, bullying, PTSD and similar issues.

You should read: The part on call out culture is spot on. It has become a performance and inherently toxic. I've been saying the latter for a while.

I've been a long time target of call out culture warriors. Between my Autism (inaccessibility of social justice tools) the fact I was born very very poor without the tools to learn (I didn't even have a computer until I was an adult) and severe depression/celiac rage (Which like my autism are never accommodated in social justice spaces). Well let's just say I've said a lot of ignorant stuff over the years and from day one? Many call out culture warriors decided I was positively evil incarnate and was doing it all on purpose.

Clearly in their minds they decided that I knew all the stuff that was inaccessible to me and therefore they also decided I was just saying ignorant things in order to hurt people, therefore I am evil. Once you get labelled as "evil", you don't shake it at all. You get zero accommodations (not that there are any for autism or mental health issues anyway). Everything you do or say is considered confirmation of how "evil" you are.

As you flounder at the edges of understanding? You get hammered over and over until you retreat in confusion, because "evil" isn't allowed to grope towards an understanding of it's own oppression and those of others, you get it now, or not at all.
Did I mention you aren't going to get it at all because call out culture is inherently hypocritical so much so that wringing coherent understanding out of it isn't possible and reaching your own understanding doesn't happen because the minute you try to articulate anything? You get attacked because once you're "evil" you can't possibly say anything right because everything you say is wrong by default, even the things you get right.

I spent years confused and very very alone, I tried to kill myself at least twice because of the severe bullying I experienced even when I hadn't said anything wrong. Apparently social justice? Doesn't apply to "evil" people. When we talk about our abuse or oppression? It's okay to not believe us, it's okay to say that since we don't act like a stereotypical victim, we're lying and this confirms that we're "evil" and therefore should be hammered when at our lowest.

When we talk about how prejudice and oppression impact our lives? We're lying. We don't even get to talk about our oppressions without getting attacked, I learned that when a whole bunch of "social justice advocates" sided with a hearing person who decided to tell me that MY hearing loss wasn't a disability.

Since I've managed to get myself some space to breath, my understanding has not only flowered, it's eclipsed imho that of many of the call out culture warriors who spent years putting me down, calling me a liar about my oppressions/abuse and putting so much pressure on me that they endangered my life repeatedly. I wonder how much more articulate I would be now if I'd had the last eight years to bloom instead of being hurt, confused, unaccommodated, oppressed and bullied by the call out culture warriors. I also wonder how many other people have been destroyed or lost to us because of it. How many brilliant essays never written, how many movements never started, how many minds are still prisoned by being deemed "evil" by those who enjoy the self righteousness call out culture infuses them with.

This is the cost of call out culture, there's a difference between saying "hey, what you just said is hurtful and here is why" and pack of people going for some of our most vulnerable people over and over.

Worst thing is? Many of the call out culture warriors also say problematic things all the time. But it's never a problem when they say oppressive things because the rest of the warriors rally around and defend them from even the politest explanation of why what they said hurts. They can carry this on for years, insulated entirely from ever considering that they are hurting people, meanwhile many of their victims have PTSD at best, and I'm sure a few have had their pain exceed their coping capacity and killed themselves.

Call out culture encourages bullying, it is not a good thing and it should not be part of social justice because there is nothing just about pushing someone to the point where they hurt themselves just to escape you.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Improving Social Justice:

Each of these could be a post unto itself, but I'm keeping it short, just some of the biggest frustrations I have with how social justice advocates screw up.

1. Playing oppression olympics.

It is not a goddamn competition folks. All this does is give rise to a heirarchy that hurts our efforts. It also alienates the fuck out of people with multiple minorities when minority groups make them leave their other oppressions at the door or basically tell them that the group doesn't care about their other oppression(s) because X oppression is sooooooooo much more important/worse.

2. People who can endlessly talk about what they want in an ally without applying one scrap of it to themselves.

If you are willing to complain about how poor other people are at being allies, it really helps if you're an ally to others. I know way too many people who can go on for hours about what they expect in an ally, and hours more about how they don't have to be an ally in return.

Seriously, not asking much here, but when you expect people to champion your voice and support you, it helps if you listen to them in turn when it comes to not doing oppressive shit that affects them. I am really tired of people who are all like "Allies against X-ism need to do blah de blah" then follow it up with being racist/sexist/disabilist/homophobic/transphobic/otherwise bigoted as hell then being privileged wankstains when asked to cut it the fuck out.

3. People having a fit about the major assholes in X group and holding X group responsible for all of them, but then mysteriously failing to do so when it comes to their own group assholes.

If you expect X group to reject their Hugo (which they bloody well should do), you also should be prepared to tell your own Hugos to sod the hell off. Solidarity isn't overlooking the assholery of people just because they're "one of us", solidarity is sticking together against oppression, not sticking together IN oppression.

If a prominent speaker in your group is an asshole? Find a new fucking prominent speaker. You can do better than someone who shits all over other minorities and people from your group who have other oppressions.

4. It is not a zero sum game, equal rights are not a finite thing, don't act like they are.

There are more than enough rights to go around, if your only issue with the inequality in society is that you're not one of the privileged in the status quo, you're doing it wrong.

We can have it all, if X group gets rights, that doesn't mean Y group is automatically not going to get them.

5. Relatively privileged individuals acting like having a small amount privilege they don't have is the same as having them all.

There is no fucking privilege that turns someone into a straight, rich, able bodied, white, cis man. You either get born one or you get born someone with some level of oppression. Seriously if you have loads of privilege and one oppression, then no, X person with the one privilege you don't have and multiple oppressions is not more privileged than you, the privilege you don't have is truly not that spectacular.

6. Acting like somehow prejudice doesn't interact with oppressions.

Someone calling a straight, rich, able bodied, white, cis man a "cracker" is no big deal. It won't really hurt anything but his feelings, but he and his situation should not be your measure for how prejudice affects everyone else. Someone with multiple oppressions being subject to prejudice by someone with multiple privileges is going to take a much heavier hit from prejudice, because people with privilege can do more to inflict harm.

I'm so sick of seeing social justice warriors argue that prejudice magically isn't a problem if someone has at least one privilege, typically the privilege they don't have. It doesn't work like that, the more oppressed the person is, the more serious prejudice is. Just because it isn't formalised oppression doesn't mean it doesn't add to the burden folks carry along with oppression.

If you do any of these? You really need to rethink social justice and come back when you're not part of the problem.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

We are not your excuse:

It never fails, someone mentions a child screaming down the place in a store and the immediate answer is a lecture about how we shouldn't complain because "What if they're autistic".

This annoys me because:

1. Not every autistic is prone to loud screaming meltdowns. Many become quiet, cry quietly or simply shut down. By continually feeding the assumption that the howling kid is inevitably autistic, you're presenting a version of autism that is incomplete and downright wrong as a result. We are not a stereotype.

2. If every kid throwing a tantrum in a store was autistic, the vast majority of kids would be autistic. Only one in 150 are. Kids throw tantrums, it's a fact of life and most of them are NT. Ergo the default is likely to be an NT throwing a tantrum, not an autistic melting down.

3. It ignores that frequently when people do complain about a kid howling the place down, it's because the parents are basically not parenting. Apparently when there are four adults and one howling kid, it is seemingly impossible for one of them to take said howling kid out of the store. If I had a dime for every case I've seen of multiple adults and a screaming clearly NT kid who is being allowed to aurally assault everyone in earshot? I'd be able to afford a lavish holiday. A tantrum throwing kid can be loud and high pitched to the point of causing ear damage, they are physically painful to listen to. This isn't just a minor inconvenience, it can cause physical harm.

4. It's downright insulting to the many polite and quiet autistic children/adults, who will never receive any defense about their access needs. People are all too willing to excuse a NT brat because "he might be autistic", but when it comes to not being dicks to autistics who are not throwing ourselves on the floor and howling? That's considerably less likely. People will defend a parents right not to parent their entitled NT kid using my neurology as an excuse for them, they won't defend my right not to be assaulted. Perhaps you should consider that those being basically assaulted by said kid might be autistic, any given tantrum is far more likely to mean an autistic is being aurally assaulted by an NT than it is to be an autistic having a meltdown.

I understand that some parents of autistic children get judged hardcore, and I understand that parents of NT kids don't like being criticised when their kid throws a tantrum. But I don't think it's too much to ask that people not use my neurology as an excuse for the spoilt NT aurally assaulting me and that folks stop flat out ignoring that I and many more autistics who don't throw tantrums do exist. I also don't think it's too much to ask that parents take their tantruming kids somewhere that they're not aurally assaulting others, I know it's inconvenient, but you chose to have them, nobody else should have to be hurt by your choice.

Signed, the poor autistic who has lost yet more hearing in their ear because NT parents felt looking at paint was more important than dealing with their NT kid's tantrum which was hitting notes and levels that usually require ear protection when encountered in a job.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Can we please hold this person responsible finally?

Trigger warnings for mention of suicide, bullying and oppression.

Undoubtly everyone remembers the Hugo Schwyzer debacle and how every single white feminist was expected to apologise for his shithead antics.

That I can live with, even though it's not like white presumed women with multiple oppressions like me are really the ones pushing those narratives.

But what I'm tired of living with is the fact that we're also expected to constantly swallow the oppressive actions of certain well off, able bodied, cis, WoC feminists and MoC, because their racial oppression is held as a trump card, and race is held more important than telling certain big name privileged PoC activists not to be Disabilist/Transphobic/Classist/insert oppressive ism when they are so. I'm not asking for all PoC to be held responsible for bad anti-social justice behaviour from big name PoC activists, but I am asking that the sort of shit Hugo pulled not be acceptable in PoC activists either.

I can count on one hand with four fingers and a thumb to spare the number of times I've seen acknowledgement from a straight/able bodied/cis/well off PoC after they said/did something oppressive, or seen them being pulled up by PoC for it if they won't stop being oppressive. (White privileged feminists ignore it since it isn't their oppression).

I am angry about the amount of times I've seen certain big name largely privileged PoC activists slut shame, harangue survivors (apparently "I believe her" means "so long as she's one of my group") spout disabilist language and justify it. I am angry about the notion that any amount of bullying is permissable so long as the bully is a a very privileged PoC and claims to be fighting oppression, I wasn't aware fighting racism required using disabilist slurs FFS.

I am angry about the fact that a big name WoC activist has repeatedly that I know of driven someone to the brink of suicide, for things like being open about their history abuse. Apparently bullying a survivor into nearly killing themselves is okay if you're really really convinced they're lying about being a survivor.

I'm angry about this, and I'm really angry that people still treat folks like Karnythia as if she isn't a problem.

Karnythia aka Mikki Kendall?

Has an ugly history of bullying people. She's part of a group that are well known for things like shaming female survivors for being afraid of men, for things like accusing survivors of lying, for bullying individuals to the point where some of their victims have landed up in hospital. I personally I know one and more than once I had to stop that person from cutting their wrists after Karnythia got through with them. I would not be surprised if some of the people she's bullied into disappearing didn't just disappear. If Karnythia does not have blood on her hands, it would be out of sheer luck.

She wants credit for something? Let her have credit for this behaviour of hers, let her have credit for every minute people have spent on the brink with only a thin life line because of her.

Let her have credit for making a survivor want to die after surviving horrific injuries and decades of abuse only to find that someone who proclaimed to be for social justice was only too happy to hammer home that nobody is ever going to believe that survivor, not even someone who claimed to be for social justice.

Let her have credit for embodying an hierarchical version of social justice that has nearly resulted in deaths. Let her have credit for being a flawed fallible human being and just as much part of the system and the problem at times.

Karnythia isn't the only one though. She's just the one who has had the biggest impact on survivors I know. We all need to be better, White feminism needs to do better, but the shit I've written about today? That also needs to fucking be addressed because social justice should be about fighting oppression not bullying people into killing themselves.