Sunday, 23 February 2014

On calling out:

So, it happened again, apparently I hate PoC or something. Okay, first things first, while I have white privilege? I don't call people of color out for funsies, the PoC community is very tight knit and probably due to how many false accusations privileged white folks make tends to be hostile to any white person complaining even if they have a point. To be honest, my heart always sinks when I notice oppressive things being written by a person of color, because I know there's no right way to handle it.

It's a lot easier to call out someone who is white for problematic behaviour. Probably because when whites do it to me, it tends to be wholly privileged shits who I can just dismiss. People of color who do problematic things are sadly often those I and others look up to, and it's hard to have to argue with someone who is so on the ball about other oppressions that you can't really understand why they're apparently not able to grasp it from your viewpoint.

Why don't I wait for a PoC with the same oppressions to call it out? Minority PoC seem to come under a lot of pressure to allow this sort of shit to slide in the name of 'solidarity' with the larger cause of fighting racism. So either I swallow it, hope that minority PoC don't decide to stay quiet in the name of solidarity or I stand up and take a load of crap for pointing it out.

These are the typical reasons I will call People of color out for:

1. They've one of the minority of people who have got multiple privileges outside of being PoC and are punching down but trying to frame it as punching up.

If you're a person of color with multiple privileges in areas like class/Sex/Sexuality/Gender identity/function, and wield your privilege in those to say oppressive things to minority whites with multiple oppressions in terms of class/Sex/Sexuality/Gender identity/function? You're punching down not up. Targeting the more vulnerable of the oppressive group is never punching up when you have that much privilege on your side.

2. They've one of the minority of people who defend a person of color (who has got multiple privilege in areas other than skin color) who routinely bullies and oppresses white minority people and frames it as you guess it, punching up.

Yes, I get that people can like anti-racism advocate who writes amazing stuff on racism and racial oppression, but liking someone's good writing doesn't mean defending it when they punch down. Especially not when they cause PTSD. What amazes me is when people who know how much PTSD caused by bullying and oppression hurts sit there and defend it.

3. They've one of the minority of people who think it's tone policing whenever someone asks them or someone else not to use slurs that affect groups they're not part of.

Asking people not to shore up oppressive structures is not saying the rest of what they're saying isn't valuable or shouldn't be taken seriously. Nobody is telling anyone not to be angry or asking anyone not to express their anger towards privileged groups, but if they're punching down or sideways in the course of talking about race and racism? Then it is acceptable to ask them not to as far as I'm concerned.

This should not require a big song and dance btw. It should just require an "okay" and a return to talking about race and racism without oppressive slurs. Nobody is asking anyone to do more than to acknowledge it and stop it.

4. They've one of the small minority who pull this: They spend one day understandably upset about people thinking that people of color can't have other oppressions; Then spend the following day basically asserting flat out that white minorities don't exist.

As I've covered before, white privilege is powerful but it has never turned a disabled, impoverished, genderqueer bisexual white presumed woman into a non-disabled, rich, cis-het white man. A Person of color with the same oppression faces the added complication of racism, but white people don't magically have their oppression vanish just cos they're white.

I will back someone to the hilt when it comes to asserting that yes, PoC who are disabled/poor/GLBT/excetra exist and are oppressed for being people of color on top of being disabled/poor/GLBT/excetra. But if they start telling me I'm not really oppressed because I have white privilege which magically erases all those other oppressions? I will not be happy and I'm likely to express said unhappiness.

5. If they've one of the minority of people who acknowledge white minorities actually exist, but their default response is still to assume/act like White folks are not really oppressed by being a minority.

Seriously, I'm getting pretty sick of folks with perhaps only one or two oppressions, lecturing me about how fucking spiffy it is to be a white *insert oppression they don't have*. My existence is just fucking that, my existence, they don't get to define how my oppression works.

6. They've one of the minority of people who think that only racism and any other oppressions they face matter, they basically act like unless it affects them, we should shut up about it.

Yeah no, I care about their oppression, I don't expect anyone to care about mine but I do expect people not to pull that.

7. They can write endless essays on intersectionality and how oppressions intersect, but still do 1-6 constantly.

This is the most infuriating one. I expect that ignorant fucking "no oppression but our one matters" crap from the white privileged feminists. The most privileged white feminists tend to be ignorant shits.

Yes, I do tend to expect more from PoC, given that WoC in particular are understandably very proud of the incredible contributions people of color like Ms Crenshaw have made to the theories of social oppression and privilege. I especially expect better than this from PoC who lead the way in terms of discussion and dissection of social issues, if they can recognise the notion that Person of color = able bodied is erasive bullshit? Then they should also be able to recognise that stuff like denying disabled people are oppressed for being disabled if they're also white is also bullshit.

Seriously, I'm tired of having to deal with this kind of crap. I want to spend the time I waste on this crap instead reading the great essays many advocates of color write,  spend learning about what I can do to tackle white supremacy, I want to interrogate whiteness and how it fits in with the whole oppressive structure that dehumanises people, I want to talk about how it benefits us and to work on not reinforcing it. I want to spend my time backing people to the hilt not having to argue with them that yes, I exist and yes, I deserve social justice as well.

I want to fight for a world in which we're not considered lesser according to some bullshit hierarchy that denigrates anyone who doesn't fit the "norm", and I'd like not to have to fight for it against other minority folks. Is that so much to ask?

Saturday, 22 February 2014

This is the sort of thing I get mad about:

Let me make this clear? Your claims to be intersectional amounts to precisely a piss in a pot if when it comes down to it, you still think other people's oppressions are worthless or not really worth acknowledging in cases where they cross over with your empowerment.

Yesterday Suey_Park started tweeting a poem by Alice Walker which uses a slur, the slur in question is "midget" which is offensive to little people. Now while Suey_park is great on the subject of race and race issue? Whenever those race issues cross over with disability or other oppressions, she starts getting it wrong.

The Poem may be seen here: It is called Expect nothing.

Now Alice Walker is an amazing poet, but the use of slurs still matters and hurts. Suey_park would never ever countenance the idea that racial slurs and ideas in historic white writing don't matter and don't wound people of color even today, her response when it's other groups being hurt however is rather unsatisfactory.

Here's the thing, it is perfectly possible to celebrate the empowerment of women of color via writing and lit, while also acknowledging that they can and did write some things that wound other groups. Pointing out the existence of slurs used by a writer who worked within, against and sometimes reinforced an oppressive framework via them does not devalue their work, it does not mean we have to throw it out, but it fucking well does mean we have to acknowledge it. Just as we should acknowledge that all the slurs used by someone like Mark Twain matter. Except in the latest case it once again didn't get acknowledged, instead people derailed like woah. I'm going to dissect some of the conversation.

"Context" is not a magically "fixes all the problems with using a term" thing. Of mice and men for example is still massively disabilist for all it's historical and for all it's meant well. You can place the novel in historical context but it's still a novel that carries the message that disabled people will end up being put down out of pity.

So if someone uncritically tweets historical white writing containing racial slurs, it's magically okay? Of course it isn't, because slurs do matter and shouldn't be treated uncritical.

Heard this argument before, it's gaslighting, they're basically arguing that if minority folks just examined the work, then they wouldn't find it offensive. Could you imagine if someone told a Person of color that if they examined Huckleberry Finn that all the times it uses racial slurs would magically become not hurtful? People would understandably call whoever did that on being shitty.

Yay, more gaslighting. I've examined the poem, I can't see how it could be remotely considered as opposing ablism. What the poem seems to be more addressing is both self kindness and not relying on others to be your mirror, which is hardly tackling ingrained dehumanisation of disabled bodies.

It's a call to self strength as far as I can see, not a call out of social structure. Alice Walker's work has always primarily dissected racism and racial identity, not other isms for all that she is blind in one eye. She doesn't have to tackle other oppressions but she shouldn't be made out to be tackling them when she isn't.

Pushing against white inbuilt racism does not automatically mean you're also pushing against other forms of oppression perpetuated by society.

Because the only thing we can do with problematic writing is to toss it out you see. That's the default, nothing else is allowed. Seriously, what part of pointing out that a piece of writing contains a slur term means you're arguing for it to be chucked in the waste bin? Acknowledging the problematic shit in something doesn't mean throwing it out, it means acknowledging it as well as the value of the piece.

It's a metaphor! No, how a slur is used doesn't make it magically not hurtful. Especially when it's being used as a metaphor for the bodies of those who it isn't directed at. Alice Walker is not a Little person. She also used slur terms a lot: Count the disabilist terms. She was by no means non-problematic.

Try a lot of DISABLED people in her mentions. Suey straight up ERASES the fuck out of their identities. She's done this before. This is some seriously problematic shit. Just because someone is white doesn't mean their other identities cease to matter and that's the only one that is important.

Yeah, that's ironic coming from the person who treats rich, non-disabled, cis het guy as being the default for white people, by talking about how white folks are never oppressed. Not never oppressed racially but literally NEVER oppressed at all. As if somehow our minority existence disappears into whiteness and is auto smothered into not being a problem.

No  it is entirely fair to point out an oppressive statement made in the context of tackling oppression. Nobody is saying "stop tackling oppression" or getting pissed because someone said something "mean" about white people. There's a big difference between "not all white people are like that" and "This poem while empowering contains a slur that harms another group". The latter requires some form of acknowledgment.

"Oh folks didn't consider it a slur back then", folks didn't consider racial slurs to be slurs back then either, should all the white literature containing racial slurs receive a pass as well? I don't think so.

Yeah, that poem is not specifically addressing disability, and even if it was, unless the term was being used by a little person of color? It's still not magically not a problem.

So all the defensiveness about it wasn't saying it should be okay and should go unexamined?

Okay, there is literally nothing about acknowledging problematic elements within our movements that require centering a privileged group. We can say "I love this poem, it represented this part of my groups struggle, though I find the use of the slur to be archaic and harmful to the group it affects".

Nobody is asking you to break off and write 500 lines on how it's problematic and never use it again. PoC who get called on repeating ablism uncritically tend to frame anything that isn't talking directly about PoC experiences as centering others. But an acknowledgement isn't centering. How should it go:

PoC: Says something problematic about X group in the course of talking about racial oppression.
Member of X group: That's problematic because of Y reason.
*cue a very short discussion of the merits of the argument or literature to PoC with a thread of acknowledgement that it's not perfectly anti-oppression for everyone before returning to the main discussion of racial oppression".

Instead we usually end up with several hours of defending how it's worth so much that PoC shouldn't have to acknowledge that it hurts anyone else because it's just that good.

Yeah that's just a "it's not problematic, you just read it that way" argument. Which doesn't fly at all.

In short: This stuff is problematic. Suey_park is not supportive of disabled people, she routinely erases us, especially if we're white. Nobody is asking her to stop fighting against racism, but she really needs to stop telling people their oppressions don't matter if them being oppressed serves her fight against her oppressions.

Because oppressions matter, they matter because we need an inclusive movement. That means I don't uncritically defend stuff like which contains racism, and it should also mean that people like Suey don't uncritically defend things which contain other isms just because they like them.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Why mental illness and xism are not the same:

1. Firstly being mentally ill and being a bigot are not the same thing. A mental illness is just that an illness. You might as well equate having chicken pox and bigotry, and by doing so? You would imply that chicken pox is somehow the fault of the person whose body is expressing the illness.

To equate the two is as good as saying that mental illness is chosen, because we as a society still think of bigotry as being a deliberate dehumanisation or deliberate ignorance of dehumanisation, even radical spaces treat bigotry as deliberate by default. You will never see them start from the assumption that someone is unaware, it's always starting from the assumption that people who say or do bigoted thing know exactly what they're doing. So basically by conflating the two the idea that mentally ill people know exactly what they're doing and their mental illness is "put on" gets reinforced.

People can make an active effort and choice to work against being being bigots, there is no such effort that can be made to stop being mentally ill, whether we get better or not isn't something we can simply manage via effort

2. The second thing is as I've covered before? Equating the two, lets mainstream society off the hook. It's easy to say that bigots are the other.. Equating it with mental illness puts bigotry outside what we think of as the norm and puts it as what a small group do rather than addressing how it's normalised within our communities.

It's relatively easy in such a structure for privileged people to go "Xism is what stupid/crazy people do" and from there go "I'm not stupid/crazy so therefore I'm not a bigot". Bigotry is part of the norm, it is normalised in our society, we don't think of it as odd or abnormal, so when you define bigotry as being like something society considers to be odd or abnormal, then you define it as being something "other people do" by default.

We've got to start treating bigotry and by extension bigots as a normalised party of society that needs tackling, not as the invisible 'other' or even "lunatic fringe". Bigots are can be personable gentle and kind people who we would never expect to be hateful. In fact tbh, I find the more mainstream and respectable the person? The more of an asshole they are to oppressed minorities.

Writing people of color when white:

Or how writing anything that could be remotely considered writing about a person of color is considered "good enough" by default in so-called inclusive white majority communities.

I've noticed that if a white writer includes a person of color in their writing and says the right things when talking about race and racism in progressive white majority communities, they are immediately considered to be "inclusive" writers, without the actual writing ever being examined or even read.

An example would be the individual who came into a writing group I belonged to, in order to complain about how someone they'd allowed to write a short story based on their PoC character had wrote the character as a race card player, cue outrage, how dare someone butcher someone elses character like that and ruin how inclusive it was, clearly the second writer was a terrible racist.

Here's the thing though: Nobody but me bothered to read the original story, they just assumed the outraged author must have written an inclusive character due to being angry about it and saying the right things. Even after I suggested people read it? They refused.

Fact is the second writer had simply reproduced the first's incredibly racist characterisation. The PoC in question wasn't a character, they simply existed to call other character's racist, they never had a non-race related conversation or had any actual characterisation beyond "I'm PoC and RACISM", and even in situations where they would have had a point about race being a factor? The writer was so hamfisted that the character ended up coming off as race card playing. It was about as nuanced as a brick to the face quite frankly.

This is the thing, in progressive space much of the time white 'progressive' people don't read it when a white person writes a PoC character, we all just nod and assume it's well done, after all they're one of us, one of the "good" white people. Exception: if someone the progressive space regards as a leader takes the time to read it and declares it awfully racist, then we might read it or blanket condemn it.

Same goes for other oppressions, we all default assume that those in the progressive space with us are progressive (unless we dislike them) and therefore dismiss it when others say they fucked up.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Appropriate public behaviour towards adults:

Or how not to be an asshole to disabled people. If like many people you for some reason believe disabled people aren't worthy of being treated like you would another adult? This is a primer for not being a wankstain to folks.

1. If you wouldn't grab the body of abled adult? Don't grab our wheelchairs or bodies.

You'd think this wouldn't be exactly rocket science, but apparently it is. I don't care how fucking helpful you think you're being, you were taught not to grab at preschool. Ask before you touch. Especially since you can potentially seriously hurt us.

2. Don't use us as examples of "inspiration" or to explain things to other people.

Granted folks have sometimes apologised after doing this, but it's still fucking annoying, We are not your object lesson. You want to teach your kid/someone about our disability? Don't use me  or anyone else as a non-consenting teaching aid. Ask first.

3. Don't demand details of why we're disabled as if you have a right to them.

Do we demand to know all about your sex life? No, so why would you think the intimate details of our lives are yours for the demanding? Corollary: Don't ask how we have sex either, it's none of your bees wax.

4. Don't run up to us and start babbling about how you saw a program with "someone who is disabled just like you" the other night.

We probably didn't see the program and even if we did, why the fuck would we want to discuss it with a random stranger who apparently thinks that our disabilities are an appropriate ice breaker topic? You probably wouldn't run up to a person of color/a woman and start talking about how you saw a person of color/a woman on TV last night because you recognise that they're people and that it's an inappropriate thing to do, so don't fucking do it to us.

5. Don't run over and start trying to set us up with some random relative/friend/whoever of yours simply being they're also disabled.

What you're essentially saying is "Nobody else but another disabled person would be interested in you", wow, talk about fucking insulting. Again, this is ignoring that we're people and yes, plenty of people find us attractive.

6. Don't talk over us/act like we don't exist.

A disabled person speaks to you or interacts with you? Don't ignore us and talk to our carer or even random nearby strangers. I assure you that the gentleman I do not even know doesn't want my bankcard either, hand it back to me like you've handed it back to the other twenty people you served before me.

7. We're not children, do not fucking baby talk us.

Seriously, no I don't have a boo boo, how would you like a punch punch up the nose nose?

8. Don't act like we're objects.

Seriously, don't do shit like sticking your foot under our wheelchair while reaching over us and then get mad when we move and run over your foot. Or just wheeling us out of the way as if we're a cart.

9. If we're in a wheelchair? Don't assume we can't feel our legs.

Wheelchair =/= paraplegic, okay. Lots of people with lots of conditions use one and no, that does not mean it's cute when your kid 'tests' it by kicking us in the legs. It's even less cute when you do it because you think we won't feel you ram us.

10. If it seems hilarious to you? It's probably not funny.

Seriously, we get the same fucking jokes day in and day out delivered with shit eating grins as if they're comedy gold. No, unbelievably, you're not the first and only to tell wheelchair user "not to speed". No, you're not the first and only one to call a cane user "hop along Cassidy".

In short, if you wouldn't fucking do it to someone who doesn't appear disabled? Don't do it to those who are disabled.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Doing the "right" thing does not pay.

In an earlier post, I talked about working in sweatshops in the UK as a teen. Well guess what? I've recently found out that the one job I had as teen where I was paid actual wages and supposedly paid NI and Tax via it? Has not paid my NI or Tax contributions to the government. The owner of that company has snaffled my NI and Tax contributions away into their profits.

The government don't want to chase these guys for money that should have been paid, instead they want me to pony up years of NI contributions that I already paid.

So, yes, you can do the right thing, you can get a job and still have your pension and entitlement to help negatively affected because the rich guy who hired you pocketed what he was supposed to pay the government out of your wages. Of course the government only recently informed me of the shortfall and the paperwork required to prove I paid those deductions was destroyed by my abusive parent when I escaped. So essentially there is nothing I can do about it even if I could find the owner since the business did eventually close down, but it's amazing how a company I worked for, for over a year was never rumbled at the time.

So tell me again Cameron, how did all that work I did improve my life?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Trans =/= Predator, but it's more complex than just that.

TW: discussion of sexual assault and laws relating to it.

Recently a person was arrested an is awaiting trial after claiming to be a trans woman and sexually assaulting two cis women in a shelter. The details are here:

So, let's talk about the problems inherent in how we're talking about cases like this on both sides:

Firstly Cis folks? Just because this particular individual claimed to be a trans woman and then proceeded to assault vulnerable people while in a shelter? Does not mean that outlawing trans women from using the facilities for women would protect Cis women.

There are plenty of countries where no law such as Toby's law exists and those countries still have cases of heterosexual cis men dressing as women in order to harass, assault and mistreat cis women. All laws protecting Trans individuals right to use the bathroom of their gender identity do is to enshrine that right, their absence or existence does not change the behaviour of Cis male predators.

Secondly? Let's talk about the real facts. Fact is cis women are more likely to be hit by lightening than to be assaulted by either a trans individual or a individual pretending to be trans anywhere. Yes, the trans community sometimes has predators, and sometimes predators pretend to belong to a group in order to prey upon them and others. The truth is still that overwhelmingly Cis women are vastly more likely to assaulted by someone they know, such as a boyfriend, family member, Husband, or family friend than by some unknown to them Trans women or Cis male stranger in a bathroom.

Yet you'd think laws like Toby's law were filling bathrooms and shelters with cis male predators dressed like women and that cis women were being assaulted by them at an astounding rate from the coverage, except that isn't so. Protecting women, cis or trans is important, but we all need to look at the facts rather than listening to the media that massively overblows them.

Thirdly? Cis women? I know you're scared, and yes, I know what socialisation does to brutalise you. The doctors said "congrats, it's a girl" when I was born as well even if they were wrong. But please remember and appreciate that trans individuals are being brutalised, that we suffer the same fear as you, that we will be assaulted and killed for who and what we are. In many ways the fear both groups are subject to is alike, we all have to fear Cis male predators in particular. So remember that we all want to be safe and don't dismiss the safety of Trans individuals as being less important than your own, perhaps then we can start to find solutions that keep us all safe.

On the Trans side?

Could we please stop acting like trans predators/cis male predators who dress as women and assault people don't exist? Yes, they're a tiny group. But they still do exist. It not only erases people like me who were sexually assaulted by a trans individual, but it also effectively gaslights cis women who even if they are overstating the problem can indeed read the reports of the rare occasions when it does happen.

Admitting their existence isn't a problem, what we should be stressing is how incredibly rare such cases are, and how barring trans individuals from bathrooms and shelters won't prevent any assaults on cis women by such predators but will put trans individuals especially trans women are risk of assault, and murder.

Could we also start appreciating that even if the fears of cis women are not in proportion to the rate of actual assaults by trans individuals/cis male predators presenting as trans? Those fears are still built on the intense socialisation in fear and being responsible for owing a body with a vagina those declared female at birth are subject to.

Those whose birth the doctor greets rightly or wrongly with "congratulations, it's a girl" are taught to be constantly afraid, constantly on our guard, because society blames us when we get assaulted. The ownership of a vagina imposes a heavy burden of responsibility, one that DFAB people carry for life and only get to put down in spaces where presumably no men are present. The result is DFAB people who live in a world where they are constantly in the trenches so to speak. It's really little wonder that DFAB people are more than a little twitchy and overprotective of those spaces where the world's blame for having a vagina can be at least temporarily left behind.

We really need to start realising that DFAB people are often in a state of shellshock at the way the world has always treated them and making allowances for the effects of said shellshock.

We've got to stop treating this socialised fear as unreasonable, especially since once we transition and especially if we don't pass, we're subject to it ourselves and end up in our own trenches. None of us would mock a trans individuals fear of assault since we know it happens, yet often we seem to fail to appreciate that in many ways Cis women and trans individuals are in the same trenches.

For both sides? We need to start listening to each others, Cis women with the exception of known hateful individuals aren't being afraid just to spite trans people, there are reasons behind it, and trans people are not deliberately trying to hurt Cis women. We need a solution that creates spaces in which we're all safe. We need dedicated Trans shelters, we need a world that doesn't make it so often the only work trans people can get is survival sex work, we need a world free from the rape culture that impacts DFAB people, Trans women, Cis women and Trans men, we need a world where everyone is safe, and the current conversations? Aren't helping to build that, they're just building walls between us.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Black and White social justice.

No, this not about race, this is about how people draw hard lines when it comes to oppression/privilege.

Now, the vast majority of people are not wholly privileged or wholly oppressed, we mostly have a mix of oppression and privilege, yet often when we talk about privilege and oppression, we do it in a polarised black and white way that ignores the reality of the common mix in favour of acting like oppressions only matter when it our oppressions, and privilege only matters when it's privilege we don't have. Which is something that really needs to stop happening.

Without further ado, here's my guide to not perpetuating this nonsense.

1. Do you expect to be listened to when it's about your oppression and their privilege? Listen to others when it comes to your privilege and their oppression.

I can't begin to say how many people I've dealt with who expected everyone else to listen to them but who refused to listen when they were the privileged person and were getting asked not to do oppressive things by someone they were oppressing.

2. Do remember that oppressions other than gender/race matter and always examine erasure of them, don't just put it down as a problem you're not part of.

People with identities outside of the gender/racial ones come under enormous pressure from other group members to subsume those identities into the larger groups identity in the name of "solidarity", the larger groups often being either gender or racial. Disabled PoC for example are put under pressure to be PoC first and disabled people dead last.

I frequently deal with gender/racial minority folks who seem to feel that any oppression they don't have isn't a real oppression at all and therefore we should shut up about it and concentrate on our "real" oppressions, ie the ones we share with them. This is often not examined in many groups as it is routinely dismissed as something only white feminists do, but by not examining what our groups do to perpetuate the invisibility of minority people within the group? It allows this problem to be legitimized and pressure to be put on erased people to make nice with those who erase them in the name of "solidarity".

3. Don't expect everyone to magically know when you need support and to come running.

A. Not everyone knows everything going on. We're not omniscient. You got someone being a bigot to you? Folks may see and jump in, but they also may not see it at all. Just because you know bigot09 is attacking you doesn't mean everyone else does. Need some help? Ask directly for it, don't just hope we noticed and then get angry and blame our privileges for the lack of support. Expecting everyone to see you need them and getting pissed when they don't is passive aggressive bullshit.

B. Not everyone has the energy to jump in on your behalf.

C. If you routinely oppress or ignore the needs of other groups or people within your own group, those people may be understandably reluctant to help you. It's frustrating to spend precious energy supporting the fight against another group being oppressed only to face oppression later from the person you supported.

4. Don't take from others while complaining about others taking your groups stuff.

If you find it upsetting when others take things that were created by your group, don't take things from other groups. For example, non-disabled folks referring to having not enough spoons while complaining that someone's taken things from them. If people swiping your groups concepts matters, so does you swiping from other groups.

5. Don't use your oppression in one area to distract from/excuse your oppressing people in another.

It's frightful how many people when called on oppressive privileged behaviour immediately point to the area they don't have privilege in and claim you're oppressing them if you have a corresponding privilege. Someone having a privilege you don't? Doesn't invalidate their right to call you on oppression in areas where you have privilege over them.

6. Don't call out a bigot's argument as complete nonsense, then use the same argument for why you aren't being oppressive to someone else not five minutes later.

If it's nonsense when wielded against you by an oppressor? It's still bloody well nonsense when you're the oppressor wielding it.

7. Don't give lip service to a concept while actively doing the opposite.

If you talk about how everyone needs to take their own time to do things? Don't expect people with say processing issues to be on the ball like right now, not just immediately but by yesterday. Don't talk about how people are experts on themselves and then tell someone how they think and feel about something.

8.Like what someone has to say on one subject? Don't deny it when they're problematic on another.

Nobody and nothing is perfect, even people we like. If your response to the news that someone you look up to is sometimes oppressive is to defend them? You're doing it wrong. People can have valuable things to say even if they also have oppressive things to say, and admitting that they've said oppressive stuff doesn't remove the value of the valuable things they say. You can value the good without defending the bad.

9. Don't act like every issue comes down to a bad side and a good side.

Sometimes when there's an issue both sides are being oppressed and both are oppressing. For example, it's possible to have a Gay cis guy being sexist to a Straight cis woman who is being homophobic to him, and they'd both be oppressors and oppressed in that case. It's not always clear cut bad guy/good guy by default, in fact I'd say it rarely is.

10. Don't play oppression olympics.

Your oppression or supporting friends with oppressions matters to you right? Well other people's oppressions matter to them. Treat their needs with the same respect as you would expect for oppressions you care about. Don't act like what you fight is somehow more serious or more important.

11. Don't use oppressive language against oppressors or support doing so.

Calling a racist a "retard" is still a problem, talking about how many dicks you think a straight transphobic Cis woman has had is still slut shaming and a problem. Being oppressed does not endow anyone with an inability to oppress others, and your oppression doesn't negate your privilege or the oppression of the target/others affected when you do this.

12. Don't treat any given group as synonymous with having every single privilege available.

Seriously, one privilege does not bestow every other one. It doesn't work that way.

In short, don't act like people with your oppressions are the only truly oppressed people and anyone who doesn't have the oppressions you have is therefore a wholly privileged oppressor.

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Facts about me and Mikki Kendall:

Let's start with me:

I had massive internalised ablism and classism issues when I was much younger. I was not classist as Mikki "Karnythia" Kendall has repeatedly accused me of being because poor people cannot be classist much like PoC can't be racist. We do not have the power needed for it. That accusation relates to an assumption after I noted that in my personal experience the amount of noisy kids within any given store will vary by store. I even talked about the possible impact that class would have on it, ie Rich people can well afford to leave their kids with a nanny or similarly paid childcare provider. For that I got labelled 'classist'. I also got labelled it because I freely talked about my experiences and the people I grew up with are what the Daily Mail thinks all poor people are like. (Note, it is not solidarity to try and shut up survivors because their abusers are what the Daily Mail thinks everyone not rich is like).

She however is correct in saying that I did say some pretty ignorant things about race. I was and often still am frightfully ignorant as a result of a lack of knowledge, plus some really bad polarising experiences (When all the adults lie to you and gaslight you, you learn only to believe what you see and given how MoC treated me as a teen and a young adult? Yeah, I ended up holding some super problematic ideas for a long time). It also didn't help that I am autistic and thus had massive difficulty wrapping my head about explanations of race theory that were never intended for autistic people.

I can only apologise unreserved for what I've said in the past about race and try to do better in future. I'm not going to claim that tomorrow I will wake up and never be racist again because let's face it, that would be utter bollocks, I still have shit to unlearn. I will fail and I'm okay with that, I'm fine with being called out when I say stupid shit. (Though explanations would be nice with it, Race theory isn't intended for autistic people remember?)

Claims that others have made:

That I "maliciously' misgendered someone. Someone claims to have PMs where I supposedly admit this, the only PMs I have deleted were spam. I cannot find any PM to that person much less this confession. What actually happen IIRC was I carelessly threw in a generic dude (I really need to stop doing that) while talking to a Trans women, she understandably got angry. I apologised for it, and she promptly misgendered me in return.

That I stated what happened to another person was deserved? and that I defended Hugo Schwyer I have no idea where this utter piece of bollocks came from. Those of you who've followed my blog know that I condemned by abusive fucker. But what I did object to was all the ablist as fucking hell comments that were being slung around by Mikki Kendall and other parties. There is no part of calling him out for being an abusive, sexist, racist, white man that needs to involve spreading the idea that is okay to disbelieve people about mental health issues.

About Mikki "Karnythia" Kendall.

1. She writes great stuff on race and she is targeted by some people awful individuals on a regular basis. However:

2. She is  also a bully. The current accusations being levelled at her are wrong, but it does not invalidate that she has been known to engage with groups whose method of 'social justice' was to hammer minority folks especially disabled folks who say the "wrong things" with 200+ people all telling them that they are pieces of shit and worse. She is still a member of one group in particular and lead a number of dog piles on people that nearly put many six foot under and in some cases, we're not sure it didn't.

Nothing anyone can have said, even the worst bits? Justifies that she as a known and respected member of this group frequently encourages piling on minorities. In my case she knew I suffer from mental illness, she knew I'd tried to kill myself before. There is no way she couldn't have known that she was endangering my life. It was clear I was in considerable mental  distress several times and she was instrumental in getting me told I was lying about being mentally compromised. (This is why the Hugo thing resulted in me calling her out because she has straight up denied people's mental health issues before and nearly bullied people into graves).

Here's the thing if a mentally ill person says something oppressive and then goes into distress? That doesn't mean you have to let us off the hook. It however does mean you should remember that we're mentally and emotionally compromised. Treating a severely suicidal mentally ill person who said something ignorant the same as a privileged mentally healthy people who is being an arrogant shit when told that what they said was harmful, is as good as putting a gun to the head of the former.

It is better to be gentle with a liar than it is to bring grief and a funeral to the lives of others because you refused to believe their loved one was in distress.

3. She has a long history of calling people liars about being survivors.

Even if I was the most racist shit to ever crawl out from under a rock? That doesn't justify her standing up repeated and saying I lie about being a survivor. It doesn't justify her being part of pile ons that consisted of people repeatedly saying I was lying about being a survivor.

#Ibelieveher is important, it is not #Ibelievehersolongassheneversaysanythingoppressive.

Even if someone lies? By doing this, she tells other survivors that they were at risk of being called liars if Karnythia decided they were awful people. She silences survivors with that tactic. It's harmful.

She also accused a grieving mother of 'lying' about her babies death and attacked countless other people.

3. She have never acknowledged or apologised for any of this. When people talk about what she's done, they get attacked and she doesn't bat an eyelid.

Mikki Kendall continues to enjoy a media platform and the following that denies that when Ms Kendall is crossed in any way, she behaves in ways that actively perpetuated oppressions. Those of us with genuine reasons to criticise her get lumped in with those who don't and dismissed. We continue to be subjected to her oppressive actions and it is time this was acknowledged.

Long story short? I'm sorry she's getting attacked and subjected to many of the tactics she's wielded against others, but I am also tired of being gaslighted by people who insist she isn't a bully and doesn't do this stuff. I am tired of being called a liar by people who self righteously tweet #Ibelieveher until someone tells them about Ms Kendall's past (or the past of any popular SJ advocate) and then they don't believe us.

All me and many others have wanted is for this to be acknowledged and for her to at least work at not doing it. I'm simply exhausted by her oppressive bullshit and how it's defended because folks apparently can't tell the difference between uber privileged bigoted shits bullying her and marginalised people pointing out that she is super problematic. She has a massive social media platform, the minority people she attacks generally do not. In short, in this case she's the one with the privilege and from my point of view? The defense of what she does is problematic.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Sweatshops in the UK.

I held lots of jobs as a  underaged teen, most paid below minimum wage, an amount varying from as little as £2 an hour to £4 an hour when minimum wage was £5+ an hour, in some cases those companies still owe me outstanding wages on top of how little they paid me.

When I was 17 I had a job in what was basically the typing pool of a large company, because I was deemed a "trainee" I got an actual salary unlike anyone who'd been 'trained', I was being paid £80 a week for a 40 hour week. So yes, I was literally being paid £2 an hour, after taxes and NI, I was taking home around £70 a week. Once you were trained? You were paid piecemeal for typing, usually just pennies for each task, I don't think anyone there managed to do enough to make minimum wage.

 And this wasn't a piddly little company. In their own words? "Our client base reflects our standing within the industry, some of our clients have been with us for 15 years and more, and include national and local government, insurance and financial institutions, motor and aircraft manufacturers, airline operators, major food retailers, charities, universities and many, many more." That company knew nobody in it's typing pool could make ends meet and in fact they straight up told us to just work harder when the government upped the minimum wage. In fact someone in it had sideline in getting workers to take Christmas cracker making kits home (which they knew about). If you purchased a Christmas Cracker in the UK in the 90's? It was probably assembled someone who was grossly underpaid by that company and others like it. Assembling the crackers used to net you a whooping 24p for a box since you were only paid for the crackers at 2p a cracker and nothing for the box you put together to put them in, sometimes we'd get luxury crackers to do for high end stores, then we might get a whole 5p a cracker or 60p a box. No matter how hard you worked, it was physically impossible to make minimum wage assembling crackers.

Most of the people I worked with would do a ten hour shift at work and they'd usually still have to spend their evenings with the whole family including kids making up those crackers.

Companies like that can get away with paying so little because they know people who are desperate to work but who are consistently turned down by other companies will accept poverty wages. This notion that British people are unwilling to work hard is complete bullshit. The fact is companies exploit people's willingness to work and lack of options to pay them sweatshop wages.

This is why a living wage matters, and why we should insist that salaried positions be the default.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

White privilege, it's fucking magic.

Inspired somewhat by Intent, it's fucking magic.

Warnings for mention of suicide.

Along with Intent, White privilege has seemingly to some folks become a new element, so powerful that it reaches out and does things like change media to be magically inclusive of all non-racial minorities if the minority person watching it happens to be white.

White privilege according to some people makes it so "Oh if you're white, you get to watch TV without being humiliated" rather than simply getting to watch TV without being racially oppressed by it. White privilege is apparently so powerful that we're just imagining the existence of things like "comedy" shows based on the idea that disabled people are fakes or acceptable targets for hilarity, that people still think slur terms for disabled people are acceptable.

White privilege it seems means to some folks that "comedians" who think it's okay to say things like "wouldn't it be funny if she was raped right now" about presumed female audience members who disagree with them magically are replaced by static for white presumed female people. Still have "comedy" shows where the "funny" is how "gross" Trans people are for not being Cis? Not any more, white privilege turns them into nature shows for any white trans person watching TV. Have a media that is 99.9% non-disabled, written by 100% of non-disabled people? That's okay, white privilege will stop it from being uninclusive for white disabled folks. Still have a media where Trans and disabled people are played by people who are neither in ways that stereotype people negatively? No worries, white privilege will magically make it so it can't possible hurt white trans or white disabled people.  Still have a media that routinely treats female characters as only there to motivate and reward the straight white male lead? That's okay, White privilege will fog up the TV screen so white presumed women don't have to see or be affected by that awful sexist shit.

Got White privilege and a disability? That's okay, the awful disabilist things that a non-disabled person of color said to you is magically transformed into being perfectly acceptable, because white privilege is a magical barrier against horizontal oppression. Have white privilege? Congratulations, you now float along in a magical barrier against any and all oppressive acts.

Found that a building has steps and no elevator? That's okay, the power of white privilege will magically make a ramp and elevator appear just for you. Been hounded by a disabilist person of color into suicide? That's okay, white privilege will magically resurrect you. That's how goddamn magical it is.

Sarcasm aside, seriously, White privilege does not prevent minority white people from being subject to oppression. It's existence does not mean PoC are magically unable to be oppressive in areas they have privilege. A non-disabled PoC can still be disabilist to a white disabled person, just like the latter can still be racist to the former.

Having white privilege doesn't mean I don't get to feel erased by comments claiming that I can turn on my TV without worrying about humiliating and otherising media depictions. Nobody is going to mock my race in the media, or if they are? It's not likely to hurt me, but the media is still rife with isms that do affect me. When people claim that white privilege means I don't have to worry about being oppressed by the media, they are saying that things like disabilism and sexism in the media somehow don't affect me, that I am not really oppressed. That is erasive.

I'm getting really tired of being gaslighted by some PoC who don't share my oppressions arguing that some oppression denying shit they said wasn't really oppression denying because I have white privilege. I am tired of the fact that the PoC movement treats talking about your oppression making you incapable of being horizontally oppressive so long as you're a PoC. Seriously, privileged people using oppressive slurs that affect someone else when talking about their oppression isn't and shouldn't be acceptable simply because the person using them is a PoC and the person oppressed by said slurs who objects has white privilege. White privilege's mere existence doesn't grant a license to non-disabled people of color to use "retard" and other disability based slurs as an insult when talking about racism.

I'm especially tired of the fact that in a very real sense some privileged people of color act in ways they complain about when privileged white feminists do it to them. For example some PoC insist that minorities criticising them for oppressive acts becomes 'bullying' and 'abuse' if the minority complaining about oppressive behaviour is also white. Quite frankly from my perspective, in terms of attitudes and behaviour towards people with less privilege than them? There isn't any difference between some very privileged PoC advocates and some very privileged White women advocates. Both of them are very very shitty towards disabled/trans/bisexual/impoverished folks who happen to be white. The especially infuriating thing is how many PoC who pull this shit can identify it when white feminists do it to them but not when they're doing it to others.

So, yes, white privilege is beneficial, but it doesn't erase people's other existences as an oppressed person. Just like being a cis man doesn't stop men of color from being affected by racism.