"People who are nice people as long as you don’t ever challenge their privilege or call them on their shit aren’t actually nice people. Just saying."
I have encountered this in certain situations with certain, particular, specific people and I have watched friends encounter it. And this is the best sum up of the concept in my head that's just become a picture of some particular and specific faces. I am pretty sure too, that some of those faces/people would be surprised at who sits beside them in my head, and certainly dismayed.
So I was watching the story of Mass Effect (minus the fighting etc) and the playthrough was Paragon (by the looks of it) and it irritated me SO DAMN MUCH. In describing it to a friend I realized what it is that bothers me, what I see, possibly because I'm a WoC with many other ism intersections. In the Paragon Path, Shepard has to be 3, 4 times better than anyone else, has to win and save the day, while never being believed, always being questioned, and on that path, also saves the Council. But the ending, really rubbed it in for me. At the end Humanity gets accepted to and given a seat on the Intergalactic Governing Council. And there it is; the model minorityness of it all the myth that stepping and fetching and following the rules, living within stricture, will lead to accomplishment and meritocracy winning out over institutionalized isms.
It's the whole nobility and leadership is in the blood. Mandate from heaven. Show your mandate from heaven in your actions and it will be recognized and you will be let into the club and handed things due you because of your exemplary nature. But the things due are basic respect. Privilege creates a system, where the ability to NOT be seen within the constant frameworks of stereotypes of your class, ethnicity, species, race, gender, ability status, what have you and being taken as an individual is a thing to be EARNED IN THE EYES OF THOSE WITHHOLDING SAME FROM YOU.
Gah, no wonder I can't stand stories where some peasant farm hand is automatically the best and right king or ruler due to BLOOD and not knowledge of political and economic systems and a quick mind and many well trusted advisor.
But still, if someone has the answer to this bullshit, I want to know. Tell me. HOW DOES ONE EARN THEIR WAY OUT OF OPPRESSION? When having you under their foot, and in their control gives someone else power and benefit, how do you become so exemplary, nay, how do you prove your entire SECT to be so exemplary, that those individuals GIVE UP their power and benefit and treat you as an equal.
I maintain it's bloody impossible. That it's a logical fallacy.
All the system does is allow individuals to prove they are willing to put everyone else under their boot, and on THOSE MERITS, be given limited acceptance into the club holding the power. Which is not equality, not even an equality for one. It's totally buying into the system, agreeing with it and claiming that everyone who isn't in the club, deserves to be where they are, because they don't have the whatever to keep others under the boot.
ETA: Maybe the fact that the storytelling goes along these lines is the true demarcation of why Bioware's Dragon Age writers are attempting (though often not very well) to address social justice issues and why Mass Effect has a supposedly ambiguous but very white looking male as their canon lead. Because white, cis, hetero, able bodied males can always show their exemplary status. Yes? But that would be giving the DA writers too much credit, I think.
PPS: I also think it's __ something, that the meritocracy myth ends bare seconds after the Council gives humanity a seat. There should undoubtedly be a list of qualified applicants for such a role, it shouldn't just be Udina alone or Udina vs Anderson. Instead, one individual, gives a hand into the 'club' for another individual and I'm left rolling my eyes. While at the same time pndering what I'll see about how the Elcor and Volus treat and are treated by humans after such a leap, bump, skip.
|05:04PM | Thu, August 4th | 2011
|So I hurt. I'm exhausted. It's been... a week and then some.
| this shit? seriously?|
|#social justice issues, *sigh*|
Being dumped sucks. Yes, I can know it was going to happen - while in the middle of a discussion, still think my stance is worth it, and still feel hurt by it. But, enough about that. Here I C/P a comment I got about my shock at Jim Butcher Being a Privileged Racist Asshole. Because I do not have the energy to point out all the wrongness in the statement. If you know me, or have a clue, I'm sure you'll see for yourself. Feel free to bring out a red pen.
Anonymous (from 188.8.131.52) said:
"No offense, but i'm not sure that's fair. the initial accusation accused him of being uncomfortable in the neighborhood due to race, when if you check crime statistics the area actually did have a great deal of crime in the time the book was written, meaning that it could have been due to the crime *(my mother grew up in park slope, which was extremely violent during the 70s and as such would have been scary to anyone be they white or poc.) He also acknowledged that he does sometimes drop the ball, but feels that due to the fictional nature of the work expecting the work to completely match up to the original source is kind of silly (he actually has made jokes about particularly egregious mistakes of his, and admitted that at the time he wrote most of the early ones he was grappling multiple jobs and grad school). It is technically possible to make an accuation of racism that is illegitimate, and by and large the poc in his books have been pretty positively portrayed (the villains are pretty much all caucasian). And I understand that the tone argument can be used badly but it is possible to angrily call out a person for being racist while not just shouting insults. It's human nature that whenever a person is debating someone else, the other person will subconciously use the insults to try to ignore the person's point. This goes for pretty much any topic. It isn't fair or logical, but it is unfortunately human nature. Being overly abrasive does turn people off. I remember in one book it was said that the reason Jesse Jackson failed to win the candidacy for the democratic party was because while he did make good points the nagging somewhat scolding way he did ineviatably turned people off.) It's not the most logical weakness but it is understandable. Giving up on the whole series because of a legitimate weakness prevalent in most humans is a little unfair "
Dear Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, how do you stand it having people cribbing your shit ALL THE TIME?
Seriously WTF Alphas? Finally got around to watching it, and I couldn't stop laughing. Professor Xavier w/ his First Class Five. And a Magneto who sees 20 moves ahead and knows homo sapiens will react with panic and fear, experimentation, exploitation and annihilation.
Yeah, I suppose it could be one of those stories, in the sense of there are only a set number of stories in the universe and the trick and skill is in how you craft the tale. But seriously?
Even if I did like the little twist of this universe's Magneto seeing the truth not due to history repeating itself, but because he's a probability cause and effect master - there is still a most intimate and sensitive relationship, a betrayed trust, and a realization that that person is purposely (perhaps optimistically or blocked due to privilege) not comprehending the truth of the situation.
I can't even. I just. can't. even.
Maybe this is one case where I'm too genre savvy to just go with the flow. Or, I don't know, too contemporary times savvy. I see all the time the reactions to equality of life for everyone; the hoarding of privilege, the lashouts, etc. It could be there's a reason this particular tale gets repeated in a manner so formulaic - it's all wide eyed, non self analytical white privileged dudes doing the damn writing.
I'm still seriously WTF? Really SEEFFEEY Channel?
Also I saw a snippet somewhere months ago about the formulaic characters themselves; the gender and racial and possibly socio-economic make-up. And I find myself nodding along, wondering if that ties into my point about the writers and how it makes the story so damn repetitive. The black guy is strong and occasionally feels no pain (and scared the white women), a woman is the seductress manipulator, bristle face loner white dude is misunderstood with issues around failure, fatherhood and manliness, shy latina/immigrant is 'oversensative'/perceives the world oh so differently from any of us, and I twitched at the 'autistic dude does computer' - ooh a way to put 'purpose' to seemingly random movements.
So much headsmack.
So much headsmack.
And oh yeah, the latina was gonna have to personally hand clean the office.
Eye roll forever.
While I know characters, especially in television, start off broadly defined and can overtime develop more complexity, I'm still left going; glazed donut, glazed donut, glazed donut.
Small upside: Saw 'Murphy' and whathisface from The 4400, and what'shisotherface from Due South / BSG. It was all 'Hee! Canada Urban SciFi Actors! Woot!'.
PS: Don't even talk to me about how they chose to represent Synaesthasia and how I feel about a WoC doing the grunt work of a whole damn lab without more compensation than a pat on the shoulder and a good job, but all the expectation the work should be done. Sweet Mongrely Christmas, that's some bullshit right there.
"Going native" is a colonizer's expression, right? It's about longing, but also about contempt; it's What These People Need Is A Honky, it's about being a better native than the natives, it's about "native" meaning "primitive," "erasable". And it's also about fear: the fear of the arrogant, that if they stop erecting boundaries, they'll dissolve into the Other. - 2009, CoffeeandInk @ Livejournal.
Someone else did explore the the thoughts I'd found bubbling up to think more on later and posted about at this early entry; about the concept of the term 'Gone Native/ Going Native'.
ASIDE:Seriously since last year, since the beginning of this year, it's been amazing to me how much I wasn't at my best in 2009 at all. How clearly I wasn't thinking. How I just wasn't making connections as fast as is probably normal for me. And to think I'm still dealing with exhaustion and depression, just not at quite so heavy a megaton of weight.
Another good quote from Coffeandink
, same essay: " Cherryh, for example, isn't great at racial diversity -- lots of white and default white people in there. But the way she thinks about otherness and conflict and alien contact undercuts some of the manifest destiny/white man's burden implications of older sf.
This also explains why, as much as I near hunger for conversation on the Series (having read it twice now, 12 books, in the space of a 2 month period and seriously considering yet another re-read) - I can't last more than two mins tops skimming through boards that deal with the topic, or Cherryh's own blog hosted fan comments. It hits me right in the gut that these readers are all white and heavily unexamined in their privilege. Who they focus on, why they focus on them, the power and importance they want the white male human character to have or think he deserves, the little micro-aggressions showing that the Atevi are side-kicks in a story about the progression of their own homeworld. The very present hovering oppressive feel I get reading their words of 'What those aliens needed was a honkey. Yay!'
I feel I will lose everything that soothes me about these books, if I venture forth to dicuss them outside certain circles - subtle things like Caejeri as immigrant within his own culture.
PS: I don't read Mospherians as American AT ALL. They're space faring Canadian/Australians to me. With Ogun becoming, what I think, far too many Australians wish would happen to that land's continued Aboriginal Tribes People
Had a conversation with a good friend who managed to put to words some of what I was feeling and helped me sort out a portion of my WTF. Appropriation doesn't seem at first glance like the right word, but it's about what is being appropriated. Appropriation has the impact I want. I am concerned about people getting to play dress up in regards to gender as if such an act is a free act and something to take for granted. And if it is 'club performance' that's some privileged shite right there, because there are many people who don't suddenly stop being transqueer or living lives on the border when they 'leave the party' and 'wipe off the makeup'.
I recognize that's likely not the intent or goal of the party. But many insensitive things in this world aren't intended to harm or oppress but they do. The fact that the people participating can't grasp the oppression doesn't make it any less real or mocking.
If it turns out to be a space where some folks feel free to express who they are, because they're hiding among 'revelers' and so technically 'they could be straight, cis, whatever' because 'it's a party' - I can't and won't begrudge them that; it's an odd broadening of the closet for a few hours. For me though, the very fact that it's a 'dress up party' - not a 'We're having a party and we've decided that prescribed gender roles can kiss our ass - dress how you want' - that disturbs me.
I recognize now, as well, how I saw it presented; that isn't it amazing that so and so has put their costume together and looks fabulous - that upset me too. Again the best phrase I have for it is that 'Someone's life shouldn't be your play space'. That's where the word appropriation feels most apt. That's where I start thinking about headdresses and culture and white folks dressing up as slaves and or confederate soldiers etc for a ball - because it's just for fun. Context? What context?
This isn't the same thing as drag - which is a distinct style of performance with distinct rules and roles. This is clearly a costume party and the theme is gender. And it freaks me out that it's this party version of the argument; all gender is performance and socialization and isn't real, therefore anyone can put on or take off anything. Which is often used as a tool of oppression.
And none of this even gets into the self appointed gate keepers in the world who demand certain dress to either prove or disprove a thing and the people who, for their own lives, can't dress as they would like. It was still appropriation for non NDN folks to dress up using certain feathers and certain designs even when it was illegal for NDNs to practice their traditional religions. It was still playing dress-up as if it had no context, no history, no pains.
Again, I'm sure the organizers will take care to gate keep the party and try to keep absuive elements from crashing the 'fun'. But that isn't the same thing as a safe space to me.
Someone in my comments talked about PoC feeling unsafe when everyone around them is being culturally appropriative. But what about someone who is trans, being surrounded by people treating gender and gender fluidity or androgyny etc as a costume for the night - thinking it's giving them great insight. Is that safe? Are you sure that other people deciding when it's a great idea to 'play with gender presentation' and when it's not, isn't oppression?
We already know that just because something is run by feminist white women, doesn't mean it's got intersectionality automatically in the bag.
ETA: To those of y'all who've met me - you know how I treat crap/abusive comments.
Really Mass Effect 2? When I do see PoC, they're ALL Mercenaries? That's how brown people do? Run drugs and guns and illegal stuff along with more 'obvious' others who are physically alien? Seriously?! SERIOUSLY?
PS: Note to myself, when looking up information on game be prepared for phrases like "I don't wanna come across as queer or nothing..." and "If there's actual homos* playing this game, they should form a petition!"
Sometimes I forget, I really do, for all of five minutes wanting to immerse myself in a fictional world, of how many people in the world would rather I be dead, silent, dead and silent or would just stop bringing stuff up.
*homos is not a 3 letter starred out word.
This was/is a reply to a comment where someone asked me to clarify my thoughts (it also concerns Sucker Punch - the movie):
I believe the point of rape culture IS that things deemed female are lesser and are for exploitation. It is possible to survive and to survive successfully by sharing tips and protecting others. It is possible to be innovative in dealing with the situation; but any true self-determination comes from going outside or against rape culture, from dismantling it as a culture by going counter-culture, attacking its assumptions, pointing out it itself exists and is rampant and destructive. And there will inevitably be a price for that.
To stay within rape culture and its mores and expectations and claim to find agency is fallacy. To stay within rape culture, to play the game and think 'But I did this, or I did that' is to think a leash equals freedom. This is a War of Attrition; it is as much warfare as class warfare where the wealthy with greater resources attempt to beat the poor into submission as a serving class that should be grateful they get anything at all. It is as much warfare, a mental, cultural, social warefare as institutionalized racism, with its constant micro-aggressions that erode at the spirit.
In rape culture there is a way to be for men and women and to me one can only find any measure of self by removing one's self, mentally, from it and fighting against it.
So to say but these characters found agency despite dressing in the trappings of rape culture, engaging in actions of rape culture, where the story-line is an aspect of the war against women within rape culture with depictions of the cruelties and savageries of rape culture for entertainment (mindless action movie etc...) and then say 'But they found agency'. How? At what point was anything against rape culture? At what point was anything not reinforcing the mores? How is that not a mockery; the gendered equivalent of a play about the free coon, the lazy injun, the dog eating Chinese, etc?
Or more succinctly: The Master's Tools Cannot Dismantle The Master's House. There is no beating them at their own game.
At what point was there anything more than a wink wink, nudge nudge? At what point was it made clear that it is not movie fantasy that women were treated thus by the mental health care system? That there are women alive today who'd been through being made so small, being pinned so helpless?
Get what you will out of the movie, people find inspiration where they may. But to say this is an example of anything finding agency within rape culture is to reduce agency to mere survival. Within rape culture there is survival. Against rape culture, there is agency. I am not demanding every woman take the risks of stepping outside of it to fight it (a mental outside step), but to me one will never equal the other.
I deal daily also with racist culture, I don't find my agency within it; appeasing, ignoring, blocking, being a part of it.
I realize now, that I engage in a kind of Matrix style dual (sometimes more than dual) reality, where I see rape culture, racist culture, ablist culture, queerphobic culture and I do my best to survive within in it, but find my agency outside
of it. And I am not sure at all how to explain that. It seems so instinctive, like surviving in American culture but finding strength outside of it. This living in two or more worlds is normal to me. How strange is it to you?
ETA: Discussion of the duality is welcome. I do not want to discuss Sucker Punch, whether or not Sucker Punch is feminist. Didn't see the movie, don't want to see the movie, not all that interested in the movie.
But sometimes they want you to call - and calling strangers would wipe me out for the rest of the day. And sometimes, it's some organization I'm not too familiar with no matter how official it might be and the thought of leaving my personal information somewhere to make my support 'official' breaks me out in a cold sweat. While I know part of it is my imagination picking up anxiety for a whirl around the block and it is less likely, in theory, for names and addresses to leak out to hate groups etc... It still leaves me wanting to back the hell away.
I wish I knew why I had such hard reactions. If it is something in my past, my brain definitely is all 'We will not be remembering. No thank you'. Which only makes me go 'uh oh' all the more.
When any questioning of authority or behaving outside of prescribed norms could mean death via the oppressor/colonizer, then parents would rather whip their children than have the oppressor do it for them. It would actually be a beating of love. A saving beating. But once we get past (which is not how thing stand even today) the need to imprint the unfairness of life in which those with control the lives of those without - then perhaps spanking really could fade into the background. There would be less cultural need of it, as a point of survival in the world.
Whenever I see post colonials making remarks on how a post colonial child of x country would never even think of doing what they've seen American children doing. I realize now that 'American Child' often equals 'White Child', because the perceived permissive attitude IS shocking when it seems like EVERY child is a 'young (noble) master', at ease with a particular sense of themselves. The ability to demand, to act out, to talk back, those are acts of privilege it is shocking to see in children when one comes from a background where tight self control within (imposed) limited boundaries has been passed on generation to generation for bare survival. It is submitting to authority, yes. But somehow these arguments using the phrase leave out the context of why there is/was a NEED to submit.
Actions, traditions, social philosophies do not arise in a vacuum, however much those currently in charge would like the current general populous to believe so.
I admit to being against hard spanking, defined as welt making/bruise making. And yet I too can see situations that would instinctively make me want to spank; a frantic fear pushing me. That's another thing, these discussions don't ever seem to mention fear propelling a parent, it's always these grandiose arguments about 'beating in anger'.
It confuses me that there are those who believe in social justice and equality, who think the concept of child autonomy and child rights foolish or who cannot see it all ties into - if there is a world with social equality, the need to instil the length and shape of life saving limitations and boundaries is so much less. Just as the need to instill 'proper fear in a girl child' is less. And so on, and so on.
The trickle down theory of oppression works so well - maybe that's why various government entities and politicians thought it would work with money and prosperity.
Additional Thought: Hmm, I forgot the part where instilling the rules can be as much about survival as indoctrination in the status quo. What makes it different? Fear vs Anger/ A Need to Dominate? Whether or not there's a hug at the end, and a caretaker applying ointment? Whether or not there's an apology? Whether or not you ever grow up to understand it really MIGHT be true that it hurt them more than it hurt you (the child)? [Though I'm not sure I believe that, maybe equal hurt]
How do you determine what lesson is being taught? The things that are said during the spanking? If it's spanking (as previously defined in this piece) or a beating? If the point is to warn or to crush? Why do people think this is not complicated?
Does anyone ever stop and consider the lines of connection between villains and horrors in media/modern storytelling? How they relate to the fears of the specific cultures, to humanity and how those fears are still heavily weighted towards heightened othering vs unfathomable creatures in the dark of shadow or space? It just hit me, the whole possible Mortal Kombat movie, with the trailer - how someone with a medical condition becomes this scary flesh eating creature. It just kind of hit me, how much is said about a society or perhaps human society as whole and their attitudes towards what does not fit. How it is heavily bent towards the knowledge that those society ostracizes have every reason to be resentful, that the oppression is real, the lack of care real, the leaving them to flounder real.
But somehow guilt, perhaps, makes it so that via horror, it cannot be that individuals want the chance to live their lives - it must be that resentment and anger festers and bam....As if those who aren't oppressed just MUST be the center of the world for those who are and all things must filter through not being like them, wanting to be like them, hating that one cannot be like them, needing to crush them.
Privilege coming with a strong belief in a spotlight.
Hmm, I guess perhaps others have had this thought before, remarking on the narcissism of privilege and even how that plays into an inability to empathise. But I just got struck really hard with how it plays out in horror/supernatural/things to be afraid of stuff. Not just 'I am the center of the world / My culture, my type, my family, my heritage is the center of the world therefore all must be jealous and plotting against me' But 'It must be so pitiful to not be me. Imagine the horror, the disgusting, useless, unattractive, painful horror of it all'
Huh. But where did that come from? It didn't start with chattel slavery. Is it a factor of scarcity socio-economic political philosophy? Whomever has more must be better than the pitiful who have, or seem to have less? Even including whomever is designated AS having less, because what they have is not exactly the same as what those who believe they have all that matters may own?
Are scarcity models working against the world even now? So that the reaction to we need to share more and better and change models because the earth is not infinite and infinitely self healing, becomes 'must have and keep mine in order to survive when there is none'? And nothing said about how changed models of sharing and going slower could increase prosperity for all, because of the strong belief that the prosperity is already held by one group, and cannot be -
Ah! The scarcity model is that prosperity cannot be produced at all, simply shifted around? It is not infinite. There is no way to generate it among many for many?
Hmm. "I have mine, anything that subtracts from mine, even if it generates broader prosperity for all in the long run, is stealing mine!" - Which I suppose would include taxes on the currently prosperous.
Hmm, there's more to it. There's some click I'm missing between scarcity philosophies and monsters and dehumanization.
When you're watching an anime and find yourself complaining about the portrayal of the wheelchair using character:
1) What? They gave her that old hospital creaker? This world has fricking 3D environments and she's in an uncomfortable creaker with the handles still on the back? Not even motorized?
2) And why are people pushing her around like she's got no mobility of her own. Yes she wheels (very uncoordinatedly) occasionally. But it's a lot of people going 'We go here now'. How RUDE and Inconsiderate no matter the circumstances.
3) How did they get that wheelchair, up to a SECOND FLOOR cafe. And how did they get her seated at a balcony table, but nothing is moved out of the way? They're really going to potentially sit a table behind her and trap her there or make that table get up when she has to move?
4) Put the woman in something BRIGHT for pete's sake! Why is her clothing for the big dramatic scenes, a farking grey dingy hospital gown thing with BUTTONS?
I can't even get into the wheelchair using woman semi abandoning her child due to illness, having a guilt complex about it, and STAYING AWAY LONGER. Cause y'know, ablism is like air. It's everywhere.
PS: I admit that the mother does admit she was wrong in the end, somewhat pitiful, she apologies and realizes that trying to shield her child from the 'awful awful truth' was pure BS and at least talking about stuff instead of running away would have been wiser. But I am still peeved about that wheelchair.
More at this link over on DW. For myself, last year's attempt to re-read through beloved books seems to have prepared me for this. My reaction is not 'OH NO NOT MISTY!' But rather - Yup, she was about on schedule to show her ass. Thank goodness for a black US president, yes? Or so many of us would still be giving these people money.
ETA: Note, desc of book content is spoilery and potentially triggering. I can't believe I didn't think to mention how upsetting it is. **faceplam**
I guess it says something, that I'll see an Angel episode on tv, and settle down to watch - but find myself actively avoiding Buffy eps altogether. It probably also says something that I had the opportunity to read plenty of the S8 comic - for free. And didn't; so turned off was I by what I'd seen of the promotion. There is an interesting essay here on the deeper failures of S8. I agree with much of what is said, especially the bit about prexisting models of heroism and how that fits within the kyriarchy (even if londonkds doesn't use the term).
If you followed and read me back then, then you know that S6 lost me. I came back for S7, because, well, I never saw the last episodes of Hercules (wanting to wait to watch them w/ my last gf - that never panned out, and now I loathe Kevin Sorbo just too much). But I did see the last episodes of Xena (as unsatisfying as that was) and I wanted to see what was happening with Buffy - and there was an actual to goodness black man in Sunnydale. Hello!
I admit I did blame Marti Noxon for S6, because, well I was told it was her fault. And I wanted to blame whomever's fault it was, and loudly. Oh so very loudly. I saw my heroine die there. And in S7, I was watching for Dawn.
( Some Spoilers For Those Who Care -- Also Blather )
I would just like to say that it is entirely possible to have, enjoy, request and write about Person in Authority vs Person not in Authority, kink fic, WITHOUT having to bring up; The Holocaust, Natural Disasters & Human Suffering. Chattel Slavery, etc... So you like situations where someone is attracted to someone they have control over, or where someone is attracted to someone who has control over them and whom they should dislike. All fine and dandy. FIGURE THAT SHIT OUT and realize you can subtract the kink from the 'trappings'. Since said trappings tend to be lowest common denominator, easiest dehumanizing and trivilization of the pain of a group of people (who are traditionally undervalued).
And if, if it's REALLY necessary to you, to have the Nazi Uniforms involved in your sex fantasies, to have it be a white slave owner and a black slave (with whippings and the like) - then yes, you will be judged and you should take a deep hard look at what prejudices are underpinning your sexual psyche and recognize what's motivating you, and DEAL WITH IT TO BECOME A BETTER HUMAN BEING. Because again, you can have your kink without the offensiveness and the whole 'Your Kink Is Not My Kink', I would sincerely ass hope was not meant to hand-wave and pass over when someone's sexual fantasies and enjoyment comes at the expense of other people's painful history.
And no, I don't actually care who thinks I'm infringing on free sex/ sex positive whatever with this post. Because I equate them with the people who think I'm infringing on free expression when I say stuff like 'Headdresses Are Not COSTUME JEWLERY' and they say shit like 'You Can't OWN A Culture'. There is nothing POSITIVE in promoting the trivialization of chattel slavery, the Shoah, various natural disasters in less developed or just plain Non American (US) parts of the world. If you have to
erase ignore true historical context, intergenerational trauma and institutionalized bigotry and hatred in order to just so you can get your rocks off - then SOMETHING IS WRONG.
It's probably just me, but every time I read a transcript of some new message or video by 'Autism Speaks'; I can't help thinking of it announcing the latest goings on of the 'FEEL SORRY & PITY ME, MY LIFE IS RUINED BECAUSE I HAVE A NON-NEUROTYPICAL CHILD' brigade. Sometimes it mentions the people who ignore Autism until it's their child and I end up feeling that describes those who make up that organization. There's all this focus on how difficult it is, how wearying, and makes me remember the way people acted and often still act at the thought of having a Down's Syndrome child. It's this big production full of old stereotypes about families being too fragile to handle the work of 'dealing' with a non-neurotypical member. There's a great deal of privileged ablism and scape-goating; 'Oh noes, our family, our marriage, our sense of being 100% superior in our normalcy - all gone... all ash' [cue mournful music ala 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'].
Actually on further reflection, Down's Syndrome 'Oh noes' is just the most recent and familiar to me within the scope of my years of living. But the 'OMG, this thing has HAPPENED!' and particularly 'Who will care for my child after I'm gone!!!!' - That shit is in Dickens. That's Victorians wondering about those who are blind or deaf or couldn't walk; A particular class branch of parents who seemed to focus on 'Why did this happen to me' and not on finding ways to help their children be.
I wish their words didn't make me feel as if it was a big parade of them being resentful about having to work and pay attention to their own children and not be able to let the tv, and social pressures and culture and a cheap au pair, or even cheaper immigrant Nanny 'mind' their child.
I don't want to think of people dealing with autism as burdens on their families in need of a cure; little burden invalids. I want to think of how the world would be a much better place if there was consideration for those who are different; who need more quiet, who need aides perhaps to help them live, who need attention paid in their learning process. These are things that would benefit everyone, if there was awareness of environment, and one on one teaching and more reflections of varied methodology in the education process.
I don't want to feel sorry for the children of those involved in Autism Speaks, at how their family members are treating them as a trial and a cause and fashionable event (with reflections, to me, of $2000 plate dinners to help 'Heal The World Of Aids'; that remind me of $100 plate dinners to help 'Heal The World Of Heathens'.)
A little blonde, blue eyed girl child likes Star Wars. Boys at her school tell her different. She starts wanting to take a pink water bottle to school. Her mother has means and opportunity to write about it all in an editorial for a Chicago news source. People write in, email in, sign up for accounts to comment, news travels to Star Wars peeps who do things, want to send things etc... BUT...
But I find myself wondering about the little girls and boys who aren't white, who get told there's no one in Star Wars like them, or that they have to be an alien to count. And while I don't begrudge a child, I begrudge the system that makes me wince knowing that if it wasn't a little blonde, blue eyed child, with a parent with means and access - it'd just be one more smear of bullying on a family's attempt to survive.
I've done a lot of thinking on my own about consumerism, the pressure to push gender biased on things, etc. But the books I read didn't discuss what it's like dealing with those messages and not being white. What it's like dealing with bootay in thongs in rap videos, and being black. Or what it's like that there are girls who fall all over themselves over Bishies, but ignore actual Asian boys.
I can't go 'Geek Girls Unite' just like that. I actually feel somewhat angry at being asked to jump while asking 'how high'.
And I can feel the exhaustion hitting already at the thought of idiots gong 'Why are you bringing race into this blah blah ignorance cakes'.
ETA: Comment I left elsewhere
I had not considered 'coddling' as the reason I was so twinge-grr about it all. I thought it had lots to do with her looking the part of blonde, blue eyes, chubby rosy cheeks - which people like to believe is the only way to be ALL AMERICAN. AND then treating her tenderly BECAUSE she's a girl.
And me thinking of all the other kids who just have to -deal- with stuff like that, sometimes harsher, where their parent can't go call for help on a system with loads of viewers and basically go 'Here, make my kid feel better, internet'
I don't approve of corporations stepping in, branding while offering their supposed help in areas where the government was meant to be the support network web keeping the underclasses, the lost, those in need of help, afloat.
That said? I SURE AS HELL DO NOT BELIEVE FANFICTION counts as one of those events/opportunities being lost to budget crunches and cuts and desperately swallowing Brand Control (the kindness of mercenary strangers) in order to survive.
Fiction Alley = Our 501(c)3 is just as deserving as any other is just plain wrong.
Note: I say this knowing that fannish writing, fannish community and fannish support have in my life and the lives of others, been therapy, a shoulder to lean on, and an emergency resource. We still don't compare to DV shelters, afterschool programs, in school programs, the homeless, etc...
ETA: Provide free therapy to families who have experienced sexual abuse or... keep the Harry Potter play fic. Oh Burn Yee Into The DEPTHS Fiction Alley.
Certain events and remarks in comics have formed my view of J. Michael Straczynski (not very good). But I've still been able to enjoy B5 (re-started with season one, last week and continuing through).
Then, while looking for geeky meta on B5, I found this:
Should a ship have been named after Cortez, considering what effect his arrival had on the native Americans?
If Cortez had NOT landed in northern Mexico, do you think it would have remained undiscovered until now?
Fact #1: somebody was bound to discover the Americas.
Fact #2: any sufficiently advanced civilization or culture will inevitably attempt to exploit any civilization or culture not sufficiently advanced to fight back on a level playing field.
Blaming explorers for exploring has always seemed to me really kind of silly; do people *really* think that if Columbus hadn't landed here, it'd be 1994 and we still wouldn't know the world was round and that this continent was here? It doesn't matter who discovered it, the same result would've come. Somebody had to discover it sooner or later.
1. A land full of people can be 'discovered', as if it were just laying about dormant.
2. It is apparently the way of life to have dominance and submission in all things - it is not a philosophy (a conquering vs cooperative philosophy)
3. Bringing up the atrocities of Europeans on Indigenous Americans is 'blaming explorers for exploring'.
I still really like and enjoy and will continue to enjoy B5. There's just too much else in it to like; all that nineties diversity of characters and background characters and efforts of thoughtfulness. But JMS is now firmly cemented in my mind as 'old bastard, good for nothing, needs to die out, white male asshole
'. And now I understand better the consciousness plotholes on the show (And all that Ivanova: "Have I mentioned I'm Russian? Because I am. Russian that is. I'm a Russy Russy Russian.")
ETA: Just pinpointed why 'Fact #2' bothers me so much. It's 'The White Man's Burden' rationalized.
Standing in the kitchen, trying to make myself somthing simple to eat - all I seem able to handle these days (but at least I phrase it as 'these days' and recognize it as a phase and not the state of things FOREVER') - I realized that I really hate when life reminds me I'm dealing with mental illness. Physical stuff I seem to handle somewhat better. And yes, I roll my eyes and laugh a little as I type that, because I'm currently learning to tell the difference between depression, anxiety and pain.
I am completely serious. It is my therapy homework. 'Each of these things is not like the other. Each of these things is just not the same'.
But there is an inner block, an inner something that wants to say 'No, I used to be like that. But I'm better now' - when it comes to days where I can't think straight, don't want to do anything, have to force myself to eat, need to search for something to look forward to to get out of bed or something I feel obligated to do; feed the cat, or be there for a friend ( note: obligated = love. If I don't love you, I'm not lifting any fingers). There's this internal stigma against my brain being so obvious about not working.
I find no stigma in being multiple.
I find, in general, no stigma with juggling anxiety or sadness/depression.
I do find stigma at having run out of functional.
I don't know if I'm judging myself for not monitoring well. Or if I'm judging the state of not being functional with a lot of mental tapes full of subliminals I can't even hear well enough to describe. But I know what stigma and shame feel like and I'm feeling it, along with the related frustration (though at this stage it's more like an itch because I'm so far under functional).
I can realize, rationally, that I'm falling into 'Shoulding All Over Myself' - that I feel like I should be able to handle, should be able to manage, should do this, should do that, should NOT be freaking out or feeling numb, or dry gears. But it's not really changing much. At least not right now.
Honestly, part of me is hoping it's just October. That it's suicide anniversaries, and mental tensions about who I spend the holidays with (my mother's usual haranguing sure to birth forth any moment now (Yes I phrased it that way on purpose. Her desires are a lovecraftian Athena with ONE goal), and the cold, and glim, rain and shadow and lack of sunlight.
But I don't know. And I hate not knowing. I hate feeling like I'm backsliding. I hate the thought of phonecalls making me want to curl up in a ball and cry because while I may have the physical energy I don't want to force my brain to handle things and end up deeper in that non-functional hole.
Right now I'm hating that my physical and mental highs and lows do not seem to match up. I'm loathing having to look suspiciously at supplements and wonder if they're affecting me. And I am in no way pain free through any of this. I just have more cope to fiddle with on the physical than the mental as I hike up this mountain called life; great views, a bitch with the oxygen and temperatures.
When I sat down to write about this though, I saw a couple of those 'It gets better' posts that people have been doing as a 'do gooder' add on to the recent media promoted death of queer teens. Earlier today I'd already commented on how much I think that's a lie and the real message should be 'You Get A Chance To Find Community. We're Here'. And I don't really give a fuck who thinks I'm recruiting.
But writing this now, I realize I really am ANGRY, because that feels a lot like what I'm struggling with re: Mental Health. The lie that got into my head that I should -get- better eventually, and be cured. That I did everything 'right', found a health professional, have a treatment plan, etc... so once I get over a hurdle/problem/complication/situation/mental grah - it should be over. In the past.
Except of course that life doesn't work that way. Living might be linear, but life experience is NOT. What I have now is support and resources and tools for handling things, even when I feel dismal about it all. I'm writing right now, as a tool, I'm speaking to the one or two members of the world community from which I get support, I am being a resource. That's what I have now, that I didn't have in the past, for both dealing with mental illness AND being queer.
And that's why I don't care how moving a youtube video is about 'it gets better' and why it only irritates me. Because SOCIETY DOESN'T CHANGE THAT FAST. It's not a state of two different worlds and once you reach a certain point, VROOM, you step through to 'THE BETTER LIFE'. Setting someone up like that, is setting them up for real hurt and disappointment. It's me struggling with extra depression, over being fucking depressed despite supposedly stepping through into 'THE BETTER LIFE'.
It doesn't get better. It should. We all wish it would. Many of us are working to try and make it so, a little bit at a time. But the 'better' doesn't come from suddenly attaining some magical state. Adulthood is not a cure for gueerphobia or queerbullying. Treatment is not an insta- cure for mental health. What does help, what lends us all more lengths of cope, are community support, tools to manage and resources.
I wish I was more knowledgeable - because I'm in no place to go do research as if making a big article. But this whole thing tickles something in my mind about the move from actual manufacturing to the service industry, combined with thoughts on homesteading and real estate.
How does the move from facilitating people having their own space on the web (for their thoughts, to interact with family, whatever, but it's their interweb real estate) to... helping advertise on said real estate (which apparently no one wants to carve out, maintain and sell anymore) - how is that supposed to make money?
The internet is the ultimate undiscovered country. It never ends. There's enough for everyone, just buy a server and offer space with a service.
But... I... huh?!
Isn't there supposed to be innovative services to attract people to WANT to have their own space on the web? Isn't that the excitement in social media? That the internet is more than a bully pulpit, it's community (which wasn't news for many communities already on the web, but whatever).
And Video Egg? Seriously? 6apart will be merging with Video Egg? Going from 'Claim your own space, create your own community' transformed into 'We will build it, in order to tempt and hopefully trap your eyeballs. We will groom you to want what our investors say you want'
Advertising Driven Consumer Culture is fricking facist, yo. And destructive to the fabric of life.
I'm just having nightmares of a world of Feed + 1984 (aka the Fox News Empire) + Harrison Bergeron.
I'm watching this documentary about the slaughter of dolphins - The Cove. How dolphin capture is a thriving industry for parks (amusement) and how those not pretty enough etc for display get slaughtered. And I watch these white people, in particular this one white woman cry about it. And I find myself thinking - they wouldn't cry like that over people - black people. But they'll always cry over animals.
I guess because animals are absolutely helpless and dependent and brown and black folk keep determining to help themselves, fend for themselves, be independent, speak for themselves, tell their own stories, protect themselves, inspire themselves.
You can project with an animal. You can think it graceful and beautiful and full of mystery and project you bond with it, that it is grateful, that there is some sort of mutual empathy going on. Some mystical connection beyond words (Cetaceans aren't discussing cultural appropriation with New Agers after all).
I arch a brow at statements like "Just because they seem to smile doesn't mean they're happy all the time." And then I look at the people who don't project that kind of compassion on other human beings and call them either too angry, or obviously unbothered. Because it's easier to project on a beast than a human being demanding you notice their humanity.
This... this irritates me. I'd like to be able to give a damn about the fate of the Earth's animals, without noticing how much attention ISN'T paid to racism, heterocentrism, sexism and cissim.
Fandom can be an amazing place. It has the potential to be an amazing place. I've learned so much, been exposed to much - who could have guessed? From indepth academic meta on Marlowe and Shakespeare to Critical Anti Imperialist Theory to the Invocation of Historical Repetitive Thematic Imagery & Statements in Storytelling to The Sexual Revolution & You. It can be this amazing place to grow and explore. I believe in Fandon U. And yet...
The isms have been spraying all over the place like a viagra bukkake party. And no one seems to want to even say excuse me for hitting you with splooge. They grumble instead. They side-eye. They talk about schisming, and the olden days and PC Policing. There is lamentation that the space has slowly been acknowledging it is affected by the attitudes and policies of the rest of the world.
Sometimes my subconscious supplies musical bits of protest to go along with all the crap I keep seeing; Integration No! Segregation Forever!. It feels a fitting match for the declaration of continued safe space for privilege & continued dehumanizing and uncaring of others.
There's so much; Why are they speaking up now? They never had a problem before! Some people are just looking for things to be offended by! This is all a grudgematch! Grudgewank! They're trying to destroy fandom by watering it down! They're trying to destroy fandom by making things impossible! They want too much!
I've never seen so many people complain so hard about not being written off; about their peers trying to engage them. In my exhaustion it's become amusing to see people huffing up indignant against being called out on things vs being written off as archaic and small-minded and being the part of humanity that needs to die off and drop to save the rest.
Would people rather be pushed into the category of hopeless cause - like the KKK and Tea Partiers? Apparently yes. Apparently it is less painful and discomforting for them to be written off than to be challenged to be as decent a human being as they think they are.
Because change is bad. And they've got their own - so let those others scrounge. And there are individuals behind the isming, delicate individuals who do not deserve upset. Because they're the victims here, they're being attacked by progress and revolution drains their spoons.
I appreciate fandom - but I am exhausted by seeing, time and time again, the scrabble to retain the status quo with intimidation & silencing to maintain power. Who knew Fandom wasn't an egalitarian University, but instead a cut-throat Principality and that anyone who disagreed with the majority automatically became a pleb and traitor.
Despite the conversations going on in the last month and a half ... someone decides to do a bandom concentration camp h/c-bingo fic, with an image of gates. The gates. That iconic image of Auschwitz's gates. Yes. With notes of: Frank and Gerard are two American soldiers in WWII, captured by the Nazi’s and taken to a concentration camp for homosexuals.
I am no expert on WW2 and the camps. But I can count three things wrong with that sentence.
So here's my thought. Fandom is full of white entitled, currently able bodied, UScentric assholes who don't listen, don't read, don't want to learn and don't give a damn as long as two white men can fuck somewhere.
PS: Don't believe me? Here's the warnings for said fic:
Beating, abuse, non important character death, scientific experiments, starvation, physical and emotional damage.
I do not have a problem with public shaming as community rebuke.
If you don't feel ashamed and uncomfortable about the thing that you are doing that the community is crying out as O SO WRONG - then you have no problem. Especially if it's fandom. Especially since you're not an effeminate gay man, or butch woman, or transgenderd individual or interracial couple, among many others for whom community rebuke can include beatings and death.
A community up in arms about isms is not bullying. It is not mob rule. It is community awareness. To take a few individuals misbehaving out of a larger group whose main point is 'YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER!' is to minimize the importance of the community coming together to define what they will and won't have as part of that community.
Bullying is when the oppressed or weaker - who trying to stand up for themselves - are told they have no voice, deserve no voice, and even if they were to speak with ambrosia sweetened words from on high - it would not be delicate enough for the egos of the witting or unwitting oppressors.
Meanwhile my pre-banned list gets longer and longer and I've got to transfer all those names to ProCon so their journals don't show up in my browser.
PS: Don't think we don't know what it is you really mean when you invoke the spectre of 'mob violence' wink wink, nudge nuge, knowing look. We do. At least you're not saying the -name- but you're still insinuating voices raised against oppression is a physical threat to your delicate white well beings
PPS: Calla @ DW (if you're curious)
Son of Post Script: There's a form of discrimination happening within fandom and these debates, and that's sadder and more dangerous than the stuff being debated in the first place. - from ananke @ dw.
When I had this thought, my first reaction was - Willow, you're over-reacting. And yet, the thought niggles and needles and burns at me.
Here it is:
If you replace Latino from Arizona's triple threat; show me your papers, we're not studying your history, and we don't want your babies claiming anything of ours ; if you replace it with Jew, doesn't it seem a little familiar?
Isn't this how it went? The dehumanization and total othering? The insistence at separating who was a true citizen and who wasn't? The upset over perceived influence in the system (that mural for instance)? The need to stamp out any and all examples of roots in a culture and place? (the ethnic studies) The claims of being taken over and losing some fundamental part of nationality? And what happens to the property of individuals who get declared 'illegal' and deported? (The rounding up and sending away) Who gets what's left?
Isn't the saying 'Those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it.'
Promisethestars: May I ask, are you yourself Jewish? I wonder if that isn't perhaps that underlying cause of your anger towards me. If you aren't, is there some other personal reason that you are upset?
You really are a reflection of society at large, aren't you. Not Special Even A Little Bit.
Big Bang apparently means a resounding explosion of FAIL.
Note: The previous quote is in response to someone pointing out the erasure of making a vocal and adamant Jew, into a Catholic Priest, for a fic. Is this what's meant by 'But in fanfic you can FIX IT ALL!'?
PS: Japanese Internment Camp AU.... ETA: Found not to be particularly faily.
Someone braver than me will have to read it- the cut tag of "Your name sounds Japanese. Your people belong here in this stupid shithole, not us Koreans. " is too much for me. I need to finish this laughing till I weep, shock and horror thing I've got going.
PPS: I see a mention somewhere, and I go 'nahh' and then I click because it needles at me, and then there it is. Big and bold. For real. No exaggeration. That isn't looking for something to be offended by. That's... no, that comment must be an exaggeration. That entry MUST be an exaggeration. And then it isn't.
Heaven & Intellect,
Defend me from well meaning liberal white people who insist they're not racist, they have no racist thoughts in their head - they don't even see colour or think about colour and what do you mean that's a/the problem?
Defend me from poverty porn and national tragedy porn, genocide and mass graves, torture and dead children as the backdrops to 'it's just fiction!' porny fanfiction.
Everytime I think I can heal and turn back to fannish endeavours or fandom - something like this happens. Followed by a fauxapology.
Urban Fantasy is all about the climb of white women to meet up and match to heroic white male heroes. I can't even find tales with brown protaganists in children's books unless they're picture books. But none of this is 'hurting anyone'. It's all 'just fiction'. And there was never any intention to be _______ fill in the effing blank.
Note: If you're not Jewish and self-identify as white, don't even comment. I loathe you right now. Yes you're being stereotyped and washed with the same brush. Deal with it.
Dear friends of mine.
I will NEVER call the police on you if you tell me you've been having some suicidal thoughts.
Ok, no more internet for me. Too. much. ignorant, selfish people.
I think I've reached the point if I saw someone white drowning, or run over by a car - I'd just stand and watch and not try to help at all. This disturbs me, because I don't want to be the sort of person who can't see the humanity in others. And yet, the constant inability to see humanity in me and mine is having this really interesting affect.