Fighting privilege, prejudice and ignorance

“If you choose to do social justice work, you are going to screw up – a lot. Be prepared for that. And when you screw up, be prepared to listen to those who you hurt, apologize with honesty and integrity, work hard to be accountable to them, and make sure you act differently going forward.” (http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/11/things-allies-need-to-know/?upw)

 

An open letter to privileged people who play devil’s advocate

You know who you are. You are that white guy in an Ethnic Studies class who’s exploring the idea that poor people might have babies to stay on welfare. Or some person arguing over drinks that maybe a lot of women do fake rape for attention. Or, recently, someone insisting that I consider the idea that Elliot Rodger could have been a madman and an anomaly, not at all a product of a white supremacist and misogynistic society.

Most of the time, it’s clear that you actually believe the arguments you claim to have just for the heck of it. However, you know that these beliefs are unpopular, largely because they make you sound selfish and privileged, so you blame them on the “devil.” Here’s the thing: the devil doesn’t need any more advocates. He’s got plenty of power without you helping him.

These discussions may feel like “playing” to you, but to many people in the room, it’s their lives you are “playing” with. The reason it feels like a game to you is because these are issues that probably do not directly affect you. It doesn’t matter whether most mass shootings are targeted at women who rejected the gunman if you are a man – though it should, since misogyny kills men too. If you are white, it doesn’t matter whether people of color are being racially profiled or not. You can attach puppet strings to dialogues about real issues because at the end of the day, you can walk away from the tangled mess you’ve exacerbated.

To be fair, there are many privileged devil’s advocates out there who are truly trying to figure things out. I know people who think best out loud, throwing ideas at me to see which sticks to their “friendly neighborhood feminist.” Your kind like to come at a concept from every angle before deciding what you think. You ask those of us who are knowledgeable on the subject to explain it to you again and again because in this world it is harder for you to believe that maybe the deck is stacked in your favor than to think of us as lazy, whining, or liars.

It is physically and emotionally draining to be called upon to prove that these systems of power exist. For many of us, just struggling against them is enough — now you want us to break them down for you? Imagine having weights tied to your feet and a gag around your mouth, and then being asked to explain why you think you are at an unfair disadvantage. Imagine watching a video where a young man promises to kill women who chose not to sleep with him and then being forced to engage with the idea that maybe you are just a hysterical feminist seeing misogyny where there is none. It is incredibly painful to feel that in order for you to care about my safety, I have to win this verbal contest you have constructed “for fun.”

For those devil’s advocates who are trying to learn, I suggest you explore other avenues. Consider that you are not paying your friends to break down concepts that are often painfully lived experiences for them, and be mindful of their time and energy. Be grateful (and show it), and listen carefully and thoughtfully when they are generous enough to talk about these experiences with you.

Some might challenge that I am shutting myself off to new ideas and censoring important opportunities for growth. But these ideas you are forcing me to consider are not new. They stem from centuries of inequality and your desperate desire to keep them relevant is based in the fact that you benefit from their existence. Let it go. You did NOT come up with these racist, misogynistic theories. We’ve heard them before and we are f*cking tired of being asked to consider them, just one. more. time.

So dearest devil’s advocates: speak for yourself, not for the “devil.” Teach yourself. Consider that people have been advocating for your cause for centuries, so take a seat. It’s our time to be heard.

Anonymous asked
Are you people for real or just trolling in a more organized fashion?

This just in, people speaking up about the oppression they face = trolling.

- Charissa

Anonymous asked
but the thing is, hate breeds hate is definitely a relevant thing. is being rude to white, cis, straight people going to solve the social and political issues for POC and the LGBT+ community? not really. it's fine to be angry, but it's definitely NOT okay to take that anger out on anyone. instead, try using your anger to fuel something productive rather than bashing people on the internet.

s20411:

checkprivilege:

They elbow me in the side and step on my toes to climb over me to their destination.  I push them off and they scream “hate breeds more hate!”

Oppressed people have a right to be absolutely enraged.  We are fighting for the simple right to exist in this world.  We are impassioned and enraged and it is valid.  We have so much to gain and for many of us, the only thing to lose is our lives.  

What you think is hate is not hate.  It’s passion and valid anger.  You calling it hate invalidates what we are saying.  Being nice hasn’t worked; if the oppressed is nice, the oppressor can say there is nothing wrong.  We do not have to conform to what you think is “nice”.  We have for years and it hasn’t gotten us far enough; we still have to fight.  ”Nice” is subjective.  The way I say what I want or need to say, does not have to be the way you like it.

Don’t police my tone and don’t bring your politics of respectability here.  Neither are welcome. 

~Dina

Dina,

In the past, one of the things being nice accomplished was to further solidify the delusion in the minds of oppressors those oppressed are happiest “in their place”.

Jim Crow etiquette; during that era whites were convinced race relations and the condition of status of blacks were optimal. Opinion surveys pointed to whites believing everything was just dandy. This attitude was also why they were thoroughly confused by the March on Washington.

Thank you for your addition to the conversation. :)

~Dina

Anonymous asked
but the thing is, hate breeds hate is definitely a relevant thing. is being rude to white, cis, straight people going to solve the social and political issues for POC and the LGBT+ community? not really. it's fine to be angry, but it's definitely NOT okay to take that anger out on anyone. instead, try using your anger to fuel something productive rather than bashing people on the internet.

They elbow me in the side and step on my toes to climb over me to their destination.  I push them off and they scream “hate breeds more hate!”

Oppressed people have a right to be absolutely enraged.  We are fighting for the simple right to exist in this world.  We are impassioned and enraged and it is valid.  We have so much to gain and for many of us, the only thing to lose is our lives.  

What you think is hate is not hate.  It’s passion and valid anger.  You calling it hate invalidates what we are saying.  Being nice hasn’t worked; if the oppressed is nice, the oppressor can say there is nothing wrong.  We do not have to conform to what you think is “nice”.  We have for years and it hasn’t gotten us far enough; we still have to fight.  ”Nice” is subjective.  The way I say what I want or need to say, does not have to be the way you like it.

Don’t police my tone and don’t bring your politics of respectability here.  Neither are welcome. 

~Dina

Anonymous asked
I saw one of your recent posts about how it's not ok to say trans* woman, with the proper term being trans woman. I was wondering if and why trans* was not the appropriate term anymore. And I did google it, if you're wondering, and there wasn't a lot to find, so I'm just wanting to make sure I don't say the wrong thing.

I’m finding it hard to believe that you googled it.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=why+the+asterisk+in+trans+is+bad

- Charissa

As many as 15 percent of freshmen at America’s top schools are white students who failed to meet their university’s minimum standards for admission, according to Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. These kids are “people with a long-standing relationship with the university,” or in other words, the children of faculty, wealthy alumni and politicians.

According to Schmidt, these unqualified but privileged kids are nearly twice as common on top campuses as Black and Latino students who had benefited from affirmative action.

Ten myths about affirmative action (via linzyxxxxx)

This is EXTREMELY blatant on college campuses. The fact that these things need to be clarified is sad.

(via newwavefeminism)

Legacy is the real affirmative action…and yet we don’t see certain types of entitled people suing to dismantle that.

(via invisiblelad)

(Source: sociolab)

Anonymous asked
na/nag/nags/nags/nagaself for mythical naga pronouns

youarenotdesi:

cornflakepizza:

yaypronouns:

Oh super cool. Thank you

No. NOT super cool.

1) Naga are not “mythology” — they are important parts of multiple major world religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

2) Appropriating Naga for pronoun use is reallllly fucking offensive on religious grounds.

3) If you are not South Asian as well as a member of one of the aformentioned religious/cultural groups, appropriating them from another culture is racist.

TBH, knowing what Naga are, I have no fricking idea why someone would even WANT to use "na/nag/nags/nags/nagaself for mythical naga pronouns" unless they were an extremely conceited fuck, but please do not promote these words as though they’re for the taking by anyone who pleases.

Please, for the love of everything sacred, do not use other people’s religious symbols as pronouns when you aren’t part of that religion. Appropriation is still appropriation. 

-Mrunmayi

Groped, followed and unwillingly photographed.

These are the realities many female Comic-Con San Diego attendees face, according to an Associated Press report. Incidents include upskirting and unwanted touching, and even high-profile female authors aren’t immune from such harassment. It has become so common at the massive fantasy event that there’s a phrase to describe it: Creeping at a con.

And it’s led to a massive online backlash

Anonymous asked
my first experience with racism was back when I was 6. I asked this white girl if I could play with her and she said 'no. I don't play with black people.' I remember going home and crying because I wanted to be white.
Anonymous asked
W-What? No, I said I was not referring to you. I was referring to radical SJW's so you could spread the word to them. I think everyone deserves to be treated equally and like people. Everyone has their flaws, and nobody deserves to be hated on just for being born with certain traits. I want those people to be loved and heard just as much as you do, however, the entire "DIE CIS HET SCUM" thing on Tumblr needs to end as well. I am not silecing you, In fact, I also want to hear what you need to say

A.) Who do you think you are to tell us what to do or say or how to do it?  I’ll answer it for you.  No one of importance.

B.) Do you think that SJWs are a hive mind or something?  We don’t all think the same things.  We don’t all belong to a club and we don’t all know each other. In addition, I would never disrespect my fellow SJWs by presuming that I am somebody to tell them what to do or say or how to go about fighting for their individual freedoms. 

The fact that you presume that you are someone who knows better is incredibly arrogant and telling of your privilege. 

~Dina

Comic Con Introduces First-Ever Trans Panel

transitiontransmission:

This year the popular comic convention, Comic Con, will host their first ever panel on trans issues titled, “Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture.”

SheWired reports that while there have previously been LGBT panels, this is the first ever panel at Comic Con solely created for trans panelists. Breaking Barriers will be moderated by trans female comic Tara Madison Avery, who will be joined by six other panelists.

According to the Comic Con program, “In recent years, Transgender creators have gained visibility in comics, movies, and television after long being consigned to the shadows. From coming out and transition to navigating gender politics in a world still struggling to understand, cartoonists, writers, and filmmakers are investing their work with unique personal experiences as their characters learn to live and love in new and unexpected ways.”

 Comic Con will feature four other panels on LGBT comics and issues.

Last year we saw the introduction of groundbreaking openly gay and lesbian superheroes, including Batwoman, Northstar and Green Lantern Alan Scott. DC Comicsraised the bar on LGBT inclusion in the comic book universe by introducing the first reality-based transgender character in a mainstream series, Alysia Yeoh. 

Anonymous asked
Is it appropriate for a white person to educate other white people on why the concept of the "new black" is problematic?

Yes. White people have the duty to educate other white people on issues of racism because they have a position of safety and credibility when speaking up that PoC do not.

- Charissa

Growing up, I didn’t read novels by women. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s almost like I didn’t think that I needed to or, I guess, I didn’t know that I needed to. I was perfectly happy in a world contained by men. I adopted the posture of the brooding male as my own. I was Salinger, I was Kerouac, I was any male protagonist in a novel that one of my boyfriends recommended. I didn’t know that there was a specific female sadness so I was content with relating to a generalized one. And in a way, reading these novels was less of a way to relate and more of a way to learn how to be the type of girl that these male novelists liked. One of my first ambitions wasn’t to be a writer – it was to be a writer’s muse.

Gabby Bess, in Dazed (via electric-cereal)

It’s like our tendency to think of white male art as simply, a priori art, whereas art by women/poc is a sub-division of art, an experience from the borderlands

(via thefeministpress)