I know most people who read me are not supporters of 44.5, so yeah analogies of choir and bubble and WTFever here. But I am SO annoyed at the whole “NFL players should be fired if they don’t stand for the Pledge” BS. Where the fuck is your “both sides” bullshit rhetoric now? You want to talk about disrespecting the flag?? The Confederate Flag is HELLA disrespectful, you baboon. And FFS the Nazi flag is WORSE.
Just a reminder, folks, that as we’re making sure to define alt-Right for what it is… using white supremacy as the way in which we define them harms anti-racist conversations in the long term. The term “white supremacy” is used also to define a system of normalizing white people at the expense of POC, and creating a white Christian perspective on American culture that centers political, social and economic power in white hands. White supremacy is a system all white people inadvertently … well, some inadvertently, some deliberately – participate in here in America, and it is oppressive and detrimental (I know, redundant) to people of color in this country.
This means that if framing alt-right as white supremacy succeeds, anyone with good intentions hearing the word will have a gut-level “oh God no I’m not like them.” This will hobble anti-racist efforts trying to educate others using white supremacy to describe the system rather than the belief.
The alt-right are white nationalists. That includes white supremacy.
Just a reminder to those who might not know about it, for those who are in marginalized communities, our fight is not a sprint, where something positive happens and whoo we’re done yay we’ve reached the finish line confetti awards and yay what a great runtime! No, it’s every single day for most people. Just turning on the computer can be an exercise in awfulness. Or turning on the TV. People get exhausted having to deal with life as it is plus deal with people who don’t believe your lived experience plus deal with actual active hate plus be asked to educate others on how life whaps marginalized people upside the head. This is constant. There are no breaks. Because of this, we need to assess our abilities in context – both those of us affected and those of us who wish to be allies with others.
Some people do well on marathons and some do not. I am one of those who does not, so I look at the fight as a relay race, and when I can, I take the baton and I go with it, confident enough in my friends groups that someone else will take the baton for me when I flag or stumble. I try to do the same for my ally work, with an awareness that I might fuck up – and I remember when I get tired I get defensive, and try to account for that in any reactions.
But no matter what, I *have to take the baton sometimes.*
Allies, so do you.
One of the more pernicious things I see in American – well, in Western culture is this idea that if a being loves you, any action they perform is immediately not abusive or not hurtful. Or is excused from any possible perception of harm.
Or even, if a being has no hate whatsoever in their heart for a group, their actions, whether inadvertent or deliberate, are acquitted from any possible wrongdoing or negative impact.
This is bullshit.
I’ll say it again – this is BULLSHIT.
Just because you love someone does not automatically mean you will never ever do anything shitty to them in your life. As a matter of fact, it might make you MORE likely to do something shitty to them because we humans have this instinct to protect the ones we love, and our current mechanisms of trying to protect each other are often REALLY crappy. (See: not letting kids have adventures because they might get hurt.)
And it goes from top to bottom – when I was really outspoken about my atheism I used to get a lot of “But God loves you” or “But Jesus loves you” pushed at me as a method of trying to get me to accept Christianity. I had a lot of angst about this one until I started responding with “well yeah, so does my father, but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for me to interact with him.”
The lack of hate does not wipe out the fact that someone might be really hurt – even terribly endangered – by something you do. Even love does not wipe out the fact that someone might really be hurt or terribly endangered by something you do. And sometimes you have very good reasons for doing the thing and sometimes your reasons are… not so good. Or mistaken. Or based on data that is biased or invalid for this other person.
Don’t make the additional mistake of then telling that person that their pain is wrong, or that YOU are hurt by the fact that they are experiencing pain at all.
That is when the love starts going away. That’s when those who are hurt cannot believe in the love.
I am terrible at being honestly myself. I am also terrible at NOT being myself. Conundrum! I am, as a white person, allowed to be weird. But as a woman, I’m expected to fit certain parameters of behavior that I have a hard time matching.
It means that the friends I have who are insisting on their identity? Yeah, I will fight for them with every breath. This matters a LOT. I want everyone else to have the opportunities that I don’t.
I also want to become myself. Someday.
This is freedom. Evolving, growing, getting to become oneself and not be attacked, yelled at, whatevs by random assholes on the street. And that’s the thing – I know lots of really wonderful people who are politically right and would never. Would never. WOULD NEVER.
Voting Trump in to the White House meant that those who WOULD do that kind of bullshit are now given license to be really explicit and loud about it. Flying a Nazi flag in San Francisco. Yelling at trans and gay people. Telling black people to go to the back of the bus. (I mean, what the FUCK.) Yelling at Muslims/Latinx/etc. to go “home” even when they’re born here. I mean, this is loud and large and *everywhere.*
it must be nice.
it must be nice.
to have whiteness on our side.
I will use my whiteness for good. Or, fuck, I’ll try.
CW: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, police brutality, really seriously gross murder details, talking about white people (and acknowledging I’m one)
Are you ready? *deep breath, squares shoulders*
So I didn’t read or see any details about Mr. Sterling until after 3-something pm my time yesterday, because I fucked up something at work and was paying attention to fixing that fuckup.
(Side note: What LUXURY that is. That’s privilege, folks. That someone can be brutally murdered within a certain community and no one is texting me to cry about it, no one is sending me DMs to express their pain and outrage… I could easily have made it through the entire day without more than a cursory awareness of what occurred.)
And then I saw it. The photos were bad enough, but the videos? Father of five. Looking at the cops with complete incomprehension on his face. Thrown across a car and onto the asphalt by these cops, one of whom knelt on his neck and screamed in his face before taking out his gun and pressing it against him.
I fought not to throw up, even before I heard the shots.
I can hear the coming justifications now – criminal, selling illegally, he had a gun, he didn’t get on the ground freaking fast enough, he fought. According to the convenience store owner, Mr. Sterling didn’t do a damn thing wrong before the cops started yelling. And I defy ANYONE who isn’t a martial arts expert to not struggle when someone is kneeling on your NECK.
Anil Dash spoke truth to ignorance here:
— Anil Dash (@anildash) July 6, 2016
It’s nothing more than white supremacy to think that somehow, this man on the street, someone respected by the people around him for *pulling himself up* after his criminal past, is more deserving of this treatment than Travis Kalanick, who comes from solid upper middle class roots, who has disclaimed any and all responsibility for the assaults that have been perpetrated by his employees (consultants or no) while breaking multiple laws in his effort to “disrupt” the industry.
And then this morning. HOLY CRAP. I can’t EVEN fathom what the fuck happened there.
HE WAS IN THE CAR. He was INFORMING THE OFFICER HE HAD A CONCEAL AND CARRY PERMIT.
This officer freaked the hell out because a law-abiding black man had a gun, because the ONLY thing he could imagine, after asking a man for his license and registration, was that he was going for that gun. I simply cannot FATHOM that there was any reasonable, logical reason for an officer to then shoot this man in front of his girlfriend and a 4 year old who was sitting in the back seat.
WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID? White people, WHY? Black people are NOT perpetrating violent crimes against us at ANY rate half as close as we perpetrate on ourselves. (Yeah, you talk about black on black crime – lemme talk about white on white crime sometime. Psh.) And yknow, we even might deserve what we’re actually afraid of, but it *isn’t happening* and we need to take a good hard look at ourselves and why this gut-level reaction is happening.
Because these are people. And they’re good people. And it is completely insufficient to say that they’re one-off reactions because we KNOW that isn’t true. Good people are being murdered – yes, murdered – and we are writing it off.
Stop looking at what you yourself would do (or think you would do) to people of color, white people. Start looking at what far too many specific assholes do publicly, and then recognize that for everyone who does something publicly, there are *five more* who will do something horrible to a POC’s face that we never see, and then look at what those numbers look like as a statistic about us.
Stop defending yourself. Start defending LIVES.
Because anyone who dares say All Lives Matter? I dare you to start ACTING like it.