xenologer: (objection!)
My dad posted this article on Facebook, and I ended up sort of wall-of-texting at him. In the interests of not having to type this again in case I need it, I'm saving it here.

I'm not terribly fond of people using some highly-fictionalized privilege-friendly white-coddling version of Dr. King's work as a stick to hit people with who dare bring up race like there might still be racism and like maybe we still have work to do and white people still need to check ourselves.

In The De-Christianizing of Dr. King, Peter Heck complains that there were no direct references to Christ or God on the monument or in the selected quotes.

My first thought was yeah, well, they somehow managed not to explicitly mention race or racism, either. If they won't let him be a hero to Christian social justice activists, at least they're not letting him be a hero to black people either. (And yes, I find both of these two things inexcusable, though hardly inexplicable.)

The sterilization of Dr. King's positions and work is really interesting, if sort of maddening. To hear the way he's discussed now, he was a nonconfrontational and nonthreatening friendly black Santa who didn't challenge anybody's ideas of justice, racial equality, or what kind of social justice battles Christians could be considered OBLIGATED by their religion to fight (but which many of them just try not to think about). He asked politely and quietly for equality and eventually it was handed to him because he was nice enough to say please and then sit down and wait for white people to be comfortable with his ideas.

I mean, by all serious accounts I've read (by which I mean to exclude the children's books they have people read in grade-school American history courses), King was considered a dangerous radical. Sure, you had X running around being even more of a scary angry black man, but it's not like people saw King during his time the way memorials like this seem to be trying to get him viewed in hindsight.

Everybody LIKES Dr. King because at this point in our culture you sort of have to like him as a symbol of... of well, whatever we're calling the best American ideals and behavior at any given time. What not everybody would like is being faced with someone like him today. When King died, wasn't his approval rating only like 30%?

Then again, I have basically the same view on Jesus. Americans are sort of all required to at least have some vague bland fondness for him as a symbol of kindness and generosity, but it's a lot easier to feel that way about him when he died way too long ago to turn over anybody's tables or assail anyone in the face with a whip.

As long as Jesus is this amiable white guy telling us we're God's favorites and not telling us that means we should change how we do things or think about our fellow humans a certain way, Jesus is great and we're all allowed to sign on with a loose version of his ideas. As long as Dr. King is this amiable black guy telling us we can all get along and not telling white people that it requires we change how we do things and think about our fellow humans (both black and Asian) a certain way, King is great and we're all allowed to sign on with a loose version of his ideas.

I think maybe it's because he said a lot of inflammatory things that are actually still basically true. It'd be a lot easier to honor the real work he did and the real reasons he did it and the real people he was working for if we didn't still have his opposition hanging around acting like mentioning racism is a dirty trick conversation ender. (For example, this article condemns people who call out racism today as though they were somehow BETRAYING King's legacy rather than continuing it.)

I don't think the people who put up this monument would enjoy or appreciate the Dr. King who really existed and was such a controversial figure in his time.

Honestly, though? I don't think the guy who wrote this article would, either, and I don't think he'd get on with Jesus any better. Just a lot of dangerous radicals bringing class warfare and race relations into everything and bothering all the comfortable privileged people who just want to live their lives pretending that nobody else's problems have anything to do with them.

I mean, what King would have to say to Peter Heck, who wrote in this very article:

While King dreamed of the day when ours was a colorblind society, the left seems intent on bringing color into every political discussion. In just the last two years, liberals have used race to condemn conservatives for their opposition to high unemployment, increased debt, stimulus spending, climate change policies, the occupy Wall Street protests, and for the mere observation that food stamp usage has skyrocketed under President Obama.


Sounds like somebody still doesn't want race discussed at all, and isn't even open to CONSIDERING whether racism might need to at least be an explanation on the table. What would King have thought of that?

Despite new laws, little has changed...The Negro is still the poorest American -- walled in by color and poverty. The law pronounces him equal -- abstractly -- but his conditions of life are still far from equal. -- Negroes Are Not Moving Too Fast, 1964


Heck is right that King's work is being sterilized of much of its substance to make him a less threatening and challenging figure, but I'd find Heck's criticism a lot more compelling if he were not doing the exact same thing. Just as he derides the planners of this monument for recasting King as the kind of guy who didn't work from Christ's teachings, Heck recasts King as the kind of guy who didn't want to have conversations about race and racism (that are uncomfortable, but mainly only for white people).

Heck has himself remade King in his own image, and while he's not the only one doing it, it puts him in a damn poor position to gripe at anybody else.
xenologer: (everybody's aunt)
I think one reason some kinds of people prefer individual acts of charity to large systematic changes with charitable aims and impacts (such as tax-funded social programs) is that if everybody is giving to a comparable degree, they don't get to feel special anymore.

To someone like me, though, giving to the poor is not something I'm doing above and beyond the call of human duty. It's a baseline of dignity and respect, and I'm not special for doing it. With that mindset, I guess it's natural that I wouldn't understand why some people need to feel like they are making a grand and unexpected benevolent gesture.

Sure, that's probably better for the ego, but my ego wasn't actually involved in the first place. It's just a decent thing to do. Not an extraordinary thing: decent.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.

edit: Originally posted at http://xenologer.dreamwidth.org/350821.html, where there is excellent discussion happening.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.

edit: Originally posted at http://xenologer.dreamwidth.org/350821.html, where there is excellent discussion happening.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.

edit: Originally posted at http://xenologer.dreamwidth.org/350821.html, where there is excellent discussion happening.
xenologer: (objection!)
There's something I understand better now than I used to back when I was self-identifying as a theist. I, too, was really upset that atheists were so prejudiced and bigoted and just pigeonholed any religious people they knew and assumed that if you aren't an atheist, you're an enemy. Or something.

I understand marginalization and privilege a little better now, though. Only some of it is from beginning to identify as an atheist. A lot of it's stuff I've heard from LGBT people and people of color and feminists and just... y'know, people who have experience with this stuff. Here's what I've learned about generalizing about the members (or affiliates) of organizations that hate me (or you, or someone else, or whoever).

It's hard sometimes, when someone walks up wearing the badge and uniform of one's oppressors, to assume that they don't want to be associated with the other people wearing it. It's hard for me (for example) to see someone who self-identifies as Catholic and not see an ally of the homophobia, misogyny, and just general callousness that characterizes that organization. They may not personally hate women or gays or child rape victims, but they're comfortable affiliating with an organization that plainly does, and I have to wonder at that rate whether they're true allies.

Sadly, that type of Christianity is still setting the tone in a lot of the country. While I'm supportive of the efforts of other Christians to clean up their image, I no longer feel like I should suffer at the hands of the Christian cultural system and simultaneously do their PR for them. When more Christians are like Quakers, I'll talk about them like more of them are Quakers.

I get that it's got to suck having people running around acting a fool who are using teachings from the same book as you are to do some terrible things to innocent people. It always sucks to feel like someone else has enough control over your reputation to screw with it by being bigots and just generally showing their whole ass to the world.

That's the thing, though, about continuing to wear the badge and uniform of a group that--for a lot of people--has done them nothing but personal and very tangible harm. Depending on how badly they've been hurt and for how long and how much hope they have left, they might just assume that you're an ally to the people who hurt them. They're not assuming this because they're bigoted, or bullies, or intolerant. They're assuming it because they're tired of giving chances to people who put on that uniform and then getting kicked in the face for it. So... they stop taking the risk.

I'm not quite there yet, but I've seen people get there, and it's hard for me to begrudge them. It's not hate. It's hurt, and it's weariness, and they're right. They should never have had to always be the one giving out chance after chance after chance to people who didn't take it. It's hard exhausting work, and the people I know who've given up on trying to find common ground with Christians? That's why.

So this is why I've stopped saying, "Not all straight/cis/white/etc. people are like that! Please only talk about your painful experiences in a way that protects my feelings!" and it's why I think it'd be great if Christians did, too.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Obligatory mention of the attacks in Oslo.

Obviously the groups he was a member of and who were his (apparent) ideological guiding posts are appalled, you guys, just aghast and amazed that someone went out and did what they all seem to want done.

Sound familiar to you? Sounds familiar to me. Remember, kids. Every politically-motivated right-wing white murderer is an isolated case and not a real terrorist representative of any kind of trend and remember that people on the left are just as likely to gun down strangers. Right? So let's ignore the right-wingers and get back to being scared of brown Muslims.

More links!

Anders Behring Breivik was deranged, but also a serious conservative political thinker! Didn't complain enough about Jews in his manifesto, though, so Richard Spencer is going to fill in some gaps by linking to Kevin MacDonald. Can't make this shit up, guys.

The Political Ideas of Anders Behring Breivik

Okay, so. I resolved not to post anything about Amy Winehouse (because the Norway incident is obviously kind of a big deal), but this blog entry sort of made me curl up in a ball, so I judged it worthy of passing on. It's only partly about her. It's about the people like her that we can't see because there's no money in dragging them out to die in front of the world. Read it.

Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different from Amy Winehouse (H/T stoneself)

Unrelated, and in (sort of) better spirits: Scarleteen is one of the best things on the internet. I think if my hometown had had sex ed that looked more like this website, I would have seen a lot less rape and unplanned pregnancy among my peers through junior high and high school.

How You Guys -- that's right, you GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape.

It’s obviously hard for guys to really look at this stuff, but it’s also hard for women to know that rape is nearly always a crime done by men (as well as to live in a world where it’s something we are afraid of). We love the men in our lives dearly, very much want to be able to trust men, and we think of men, as a group, as our brothers. Suffice it to say, it’s also really tough for us to have to know that our actual brothers, our fathers, our boyfriends, our male friends, might be or have been rapists: it’s a terrible betrayal. So, while we women can’t personally understand, in some ways, how it’s got to feel for guys to be suspect with rape, or to know that it’s a crime almost exclusively perpetuated by a group to which you belong, in plenty of ways, we feel your pain, because men belong to at least one of our groups too: to the all-people group.

That's all I've got for now.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Obligatory mention of the attacks in Oslo.

Obviously the groups he was a member of and who were his (apparent) ideological guiding posts are appalled, you guys, just aghast and amazed that someone went out and did what they all seem to want done.

Sound familiar to you? Sounds familiar to me. Remember, kids. Every politically-motivated right-wing white murderer is an isolated case and not a real terrorist representative of any kind of trend and remember that people on the left are just as likely to gun down strangers. Right? So let's ignore the right-wingers and get back to being scared of brown Muslims.

More links!

Anders Behring Breivik was deranged, but also a serious conservative political thinker! Didn't complain enough about Jews in his manifesto, though, so Richard Spencer is going to fill in some gaps by linking to Kevin MacDonald. Can't make this shit up, guys.

The Political Ideas of Anders Behring Breivik

Okay, so. I resolved not to post anything about Amy Winehouse (because the Norway incident is obviously kind of a big deal), but this blog entry sort of made me curl up in a ball, so I judged it worthy of passing on. It's only partly about her. It's about the people like her that we can't see because there's no money in dragging them out to die in front of the world. Read it.

Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different from Amy Winehouse (H/T stoneself)

Unrelated, and in (sort of) better spirits: Scarleteen is one of the best things on the internet. I think if my hometown had had sex ed that looked more like this website, I would have seen a lot less rape and unplanned pregnancy among my peers through junior high and high school.

How You Guys -- that's right, you GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape.

It’s obviously hard for guys to really look at this stuff, but it’s also hard for women to know that rape is nearly always a crime done by men (as well as to live in a world where it’s something we are afraid of). We love the men in our lives dearly, very much want to be able to trust men, and we think of men, as a group, as our brothers. Suffice it to say, it’s also really tough for us to have to know that our actual brothers, our fathers, our boyfriends, our male friends, might be or have been rapists: it’s a terrible betrayal. So, while we women can’t personally understand, in some ways, how it’s got to feel for guys to be suspect with rape, or to know that it’s a crime almost exclusively perpetuated by a group to which you belong, in plenty of ways, we feel your pain, because men belong to at least one of our groups too: to the all-people group.

That's all I've got for now.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Obligatory mention of the attacks in Oslo.

Obviously the groups he was a member of and who were his (apparent) ideological guiding posts are appalled, you guys, just aghast and amazed that someone went out and did what they all seem to want done.

Sound familiar to you? Sounds familiar to me. Remember, kids. Every politically-motivated right-wing white murderer is an isolated case and not a real terrorist representative of any kind of trend and remember that people on the left are just as likely to gun down strangers. Right? So let's ignore the right-wingers and get back to being scared of brown Muslims.

More links!

Anders Behring Breivik was deranged, but also a serious conservative political thinker! Didn't complain enough about Jews in his manifesto, though, so Richard Spencer is going to fill in some gaps by linking to Kevin MacDonald. Can't make this shit up, guys.

The Political Ideas of Anders Behring Breivik

Okay, so. I resolved not to post anything about Amy Winehouse (because the Norway incident is obviously kind of a big deal), but this blog entry sort of made me curl up in a ball, so I judged it worthy of passing on. It's only partly about her. It's about the people like her that we can't see because there's no money in dragging them out to die in front of the world. Read it.

Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different from Amy Winehouse (H/T stoneself)

Unrelated, and in (sort of) better spirits: Scarleteen is one of the best things on the internet. I think if my hometown had had sex ed that looked more like this website, I would have seen a lot less rape and unplanned pregnancy among my peers through junior high and high school.

How You Guys -- that's right, you GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape.

It’s obviously hard for guys to really look at this stuff, but it’s also hard for women to know that rape is nearly always a crime done by men (as well as to live in a world where it’s something we are afraid of). We love the men in our lives dearly, very much want to be able to trust men, and we think of men, as a group, as our brothers. Suffice it to say, it’s also really tough for us to have to know that our actual brothers, our fathers, our boyfriends, our male friends, might be or have been rapists: it’s a terrible betrayal. So, while we women can’t personally understand, in some ways, how it’s got to feel for guys to be suspect with rape, or to know that it’s a crime almost exclusively perpetuated by a group to which you belong, in plenty of ways, we feel your pain, because men belong to at least one of our groups too: to the all-people group.

That's all I've got for now.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Obligatory mention of the attacks in Oslo.

Obviously the groups he was a member of and who were his (apparent) ideological guiding posts are appalled, you guys, just aghast and amazed that someone went out and did what they all seem to want done.

Sound familiar to you? Sounds familiar to me. Remember, kids. Every politically-motivated right-wing white murderer is an isolated case and not a real terrorist representative of any kind of trend and remember that people on the left are just as likely to gun down strangers. Right? So let's ignore the right-wingers and get back to being scared of brown Muslims.

More links!

Anders Behring Breivik was deranged, but also a serious conservative political thinker! Didn't complain enough about Jews in his manifesto, though, so Richard Spencer is going to fill in some gaps by linking to Kevin MacDonald. Can't make this shit up, guys.

The Political Ideas of Anders Behring Breivik

Okay, so. I resolved not to post anything about Amy Winehouse (because the Norway incident is obviously kind of a big deal), but this blog entry sort of made me curl up in a ball, so I judged it worthy of passing on. It's only partly about her. It's about the people like her that we can't see because there's no money in dragging them out to die in front of the world. Read it.

Yes, I’m an addict too: Why I’m no different from Amy Winehouse (H/T stoneself)

Unrelated, and in (sort of) better spirits: Scarleteen is one of the best things on the internet. I think if my hometown had had sex ed that looked more like this website, I would have seen a lot less rape and unplanned pregnancy among my peers through junior high and high school.

How You Guys -- that's right, you GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape.

It’s obviously hard for guys to really look at this stuff, but it’s also hard for women to know that rape is nearly always a crime done by men (as well as to live in a world where it’s something we are afraid of). We love the men in our lives dearly, very much want to be able to trust men, and we think of men, as a group, as our brothers. Suffice it to say, it’s also really tough for us to have to know that our actual brothers, our fathers, our boyfriends, our male friends, might be or have been rapists: it’s a terrible betrayal. So, while we women can’t personally understand, in some ways, how it’s got to feel for guys to be suspect with rape, or to know that it’s a crime almost exclusively perpetuated by a group to which you belong, in plenty of ways, we feel your pain, because men belong to at least one of our groups too: to the all-people group.

That's all I've got for now.

Firearms

May. 30th, 2010 12:34 am
xenologer: (heritage)
A lot of people I know hold the (in my opinion, rather unnecessarily extreme) position that nobody needs to own guns, and that things would be better if nobody did. These people are usually the sorts of well-meaning leftists that I agree with on damn near everything else.

However.

Here are the facts: I don't need some middle-class, white, nominally-Christian straight man telling me that I am safe without a gun. What does he know? Does he live with a target on his back because he's a woman? Because I do. Does he live with a target on his back because he's an ethnic or religious minority? No? Because I do, at least in the latter case. Does he live with a target on his back because there are seriously people in this country arguing we should burn fags not flags? Does he live with a target on his back because he's poor and nobody cares what happens to poor people?

Then why in the world should I let him look me in the eye and tell me that I'll be okay without a knife in my pocket? Without a gun in my bedside table? He lives in a completely different universe than I do, a universe in which nothing about him screams, "If you brutalize me, nobody will care."

I don't want to hear from that guy that I don't need a gun. Let him live in a world where a glance, a word, or a gesture can be a threat, and then he can tell me when I should feel safe, and what I should need to make that happen.

After all, what could possibly be scarier to the gay-hating misogynist theocrats who want people like me to disappear than the idea of gays with guns? It's been suggested that this is the real reason why people are afraid to have gays serve openly in the military: the potential horror of a half dozen men with M16s turning around and asking, "Who you callin' a faggot?"

Newsflash to the TEA Party: Middle-class straight Christian white people aren't the ones under siege. It's us.

Gun rights for everybody means for me, even if it means I'm protecting myself against the racist paranoid conspiracy theorists in the NRA who fought hardest for those rights in the first place. Thanks, guys. Now stay off my goddamn lawn.

Firearms

May. 30th, 2010 12:34 am
xenologer: (heritage)
A lot of people I know hold the (in my opinion, rather unnecessarily extreme) position that nobody needs to own guns, and that things would be better if nobody did. These people are usually the sorts of well-meaning leftists that I agree with on damn near everything else.

However.

Here are the facts: I don't need some middle-class, white, nominally-Christian straight man telling me that I am safe without a gun. What does he know? Does he live with a target on his back because he's a woman? Because I do. Does he live with a target on his back because he's an ethnic or religious minority? No? Because I do, at least in the latter case. Does he live with a target on his back because there are seriously people in this country arguing we should burn fags not flags? Does he live with a target on his back because he's poor and nobody cares what happens to poor people?

Then why in the world should I let him look me in the eye and tell me that I'll be okay without a knife in my pocket? Without a gun in my bedside table? He lives in a completely different universe than I do, a universe in which nothing about him screams, "If you brutalize me, nobody will care."

I don't want to hear from that guy that I don't need a gun. Let him live in a world where a glance, a word, or a gesture can be a threat, and then he can tell me when I should feel safe, and what I should need to make that happen.

After all, what could possibly be scarier to the gay-hating misogynist theocrats who want people like me to disappear than the idea of gays with guns? It's been suggested that this is the real reason why people are afraid to have gays serve openly in the military: the potential horror of a half dozen men with M16s turning around and asking, "Who you callin' a faggot?"

Newsflash to the TEA Party: Middle-class straight Christian white people aren't the ones under siege. It's us.

Gun rights for everybody means for me, even if it means I'm protecting myself against the racist paranoid conspiracy theorists in the NRA who fought hardest for those rights in the first place. Thanks, guys. Now stay off my goddamn lawn.

Firearms

May. 30th, 2010 12:34 am
xenologer: (heritage)
A lot of people I know hold the (in my opinion, rather unnecessarily extreme) position that nobody needs to own guns, and that things would be better if nobody did. These people are usually the sorts of well-meaning leftists that I agree with on damn near everything else.

However.

Here are the facts: I don't need some middle-class, white, nominally-Christian straight man telling me that I am safe without a gun. What does he know? Does he live with a target on his back because he's a woman? Because I do. Does he live with a target on his back because he's an ethnic or religious minority? No? Because I do, at least in the latter case. Does he live with a target on his back because there are seriously people in this country arguing we should burn fags not flags? Does he live with a target on his back because he's poor and nobody cares what happens to poor people?

Then why in the world should I let him look me in the eye and tell me that I'll be okay without a knife in my pocket? Without a gun in my bedside table? He lives in a completely different universe than I do, a universe in which nothing about him screams, "If you brutalize me, nobody will care."

I don't want to hear from that guy that I don't need a gun. Let him live in a world where a glance, a word, or a gesture can be a threat, and then he can tell me when I should feel safe, and what I should need to make that happen.

After all, what could possibly be scarier to the gay-hating misogynist theocrats who want people like me to disappear than the idea of gays with guns? It's been suggested that this is the real reason why people are afraid to have gays serve openly in the military: the potential horror of a half dozen men with M16s turning around and asking, "Who you callin' a faggot?"

Newsflash to the TEA Party: Middle-class straight Christian white people aren't the ones under siege. It's us.

Gun rights for everybody means for me, even if it means I'm protecting myself against the racist paranoid conspiracy theorists in the NRA who fought hardest for those rights in the first place. Thanks, guys. Now stay off my goddamn lawn.
xenologer: (vengeful)
Evidently complaining about racism, homophobia, and misogyny is just as bad as complaining about black people, gays, and women. Solution: refuse to have a problem with anything ever. Safe! (Bonus points for silencing minorities who don't realize yet that anger makes them bad people. TOP SCORE.)

I am really tired of being called angry and hateful because I have the gall to dislike the people who feed a system that shits on me (and several other sorts of people who may or may not be a lot like me) every day. I am particularly bothered by all the "bullying" language being thrown around. Here's what I feel is happening (and this is just my perception, but since it's coloring my reactions, I feel obligated to explain it).

A lot of people have a "zero tolerance" view of disliking other people the way that my junior high had a "zero tolerance" policy toward fighting. I ran afoul of this policy, and I think that the way it played out says a lot about how I approach these situations.

I was being bullied by a girl who not only followed me around the halls, but cornered me for what was clearly going to be a fight. It didn't come to that, but the administrators told both of us that fighting is wrong, wanted both of us to apologize, and we both got a suspension for in-school violence.

Seeing the connection? For those who aren't catching it, I'll beat the dead horse. Sometimes it isn't right to paint all parties to a conflict as though they are all equally wrong and all equally bad and all equally to blame for the situation. There are situations where this is the case, but they are far more rare than a lot of people would like to think.

The people who treat hatred of homophobia as though it were as bad as hating gay people, the people who treat revulsion toward racism as though it were as bad as revulsion toward other races, and the people who treat bitterness at misogyny as though it were as bad as bitterness toward women? They are doing to marginalized people what my school administrators did to me when I was a kid, and I don't stand for it now.

Just because there's a conflict doesn't mean everybody involved is a bad person, and just because someone finally hits back doesn't mean they're just as much of a bully as the person who's been brutalizing them all along. Conflating these two things is not only logically screwy, but it only serves to shame and silence people who are trying to finally stand up for themselves.

So yeah, I'll say it. I mistrust conservatives, mainly social conservatives. I mistrust social conservatives because people who identify that way have tried in many identifiable and clear ways to make my life less fulfilling than theirs, because I belong to several classes of people who have faced identical objections over and over to our desires to live as equal citizens in this country (whether it's my voting rights as a woman, my right to be free from religious coercion as an atheist, or my right to equal contractual rights when it comes to civil marriages).

My dislike is different from that of homophobes, religious zealots, or sexists, or racists, because I am not trying to deny them any rights except for their perceived right to hurt me. That means the roots of our dislike, as well as our intended aims, are not just a totally different animal, they're a whole world apart.

Every time somebody equates the two, calling both me and the people who hurt me "bullies," I kind of want to bite them in the face.
xenologer: (vengeful)
Evidently complaining about racism, homophobia, and misogyny is just as bad as complaining about black people, gays, and women. Solution: refuse to have a problem with anything ever. Safe! (Bonus points for silencing minorities who don't realize yet that anger makes them bad people. TOP SCORE.)

I am really tired of being called angry and hateful because I have the gall to dislike the people who feed a system that shits on me (and several other sorts of people who may or may not be a lot like me) every day. I am particularly bothered by all the "bullying" language being thrown around. Here's what I feel is happening (and this is just my perception, but since it's coloring my reactions, I feel obligated to explain it).

A lot of people have a "zero tolerance" view of disliking other people the way that my junior high had a "zero tolerance" policy toward fighting. I ran afoul of this policy, and I think that the way it played out says a lot about how I approach these situations.

I was being bullied by a girl who not only followed me around the halls, but cornered me for what was clearly going to be a fight. It didn't come to that, but the administrators told both of us that fighting is wrong, wanted both of us to apologize, and we both got a suspension for in-school violence.

Seeing the connection? For those who aren't catching it, I'll beat the dead horse. Sometimes it isn't right to paint all parties to a conflict as though they are all equally wrong and all equally bad and all equally to blame for the situation. There are situations where this is the case, but they are far more rare than a lot of people would like to think.

The people who treat hatred of homophobia as though it were as bad as hating gay people, the people who treat revulsion toward racism as though it were as bad as revulsion toward other races, and the people who treat bitterness at misogyny as though it were as bad as bitterness toward women? They are doing to marginalized people what my school administrators did to me when I was a kid, and I don't stand for it now.

Just because there's a conflict doesn't mean everybody involved is a bad person, and just because someone finally hits back doesn't mean they're just as much of a bully as the person who's been brutalizing them all along. Conflating these two things is not only logically screwy, but it only serves to shame and silence people who are trying to finally stand up for themselves.

So yeah, I'll say it. I mistrust conservatives, mainly social conservatives. I mistrust social conservatives because people who identify that way have tried in many identifiable and clear ways to make my life less fulfilling than theirs, because I belong to several classes of people who have faced identical objections over and over to our desires to live as equal citizens in this country (whether it's my voting rights as a woman, my right to be free from religious coercion as an atheist, or my right to equal contractual rights when it comes to civil marriages).

My dislike is different from that of homophobes, religious zealots, or sexists, or racists, because I am not trying to deny them any rights except for their perceived right to hurt me. That means the roots of our dislike, as well as our intended aims, are not just a totally different animal, they're a whole world apart.

Every time somebody equates the two, calling both me and the people who hurt me "bullies," I kind of want to bite them in the face.
xenologer: (vengeful)
Evidently complaining about racism, homophobia, and misogyny is just as bad as complaining about black people, gays, and women. Solution: refuse to have a problem with anything ever. Safe! (Bonus points for silencing minorities who don't realize yet that anger makes them bad people. TOP SCORE.)

I am really tired of being called angry and hateful because I have the gall to dislike the people who feed a system that shits on me (and several other sorts of people who may or may not be a lot like me) every day. I am particularly bothered by all the "bullying" language being thrown around. Here's what I feel is happening (and this is just my perception, but since it's coloring my reactions, I feel obligated to explain it).

A lot of people have a "zero tolerance" view of disliking other people the way that my junior high had a "zero tolerance" policy toward fighting. I ran afoul of this policy, and I think that the way it played out says a lot about how I approach these situations.

I was being bullied by a girl who not only followed me around the halls, but cornered me for what was clearly going to be a fight. It didn't come to that, but the administrators told both of us that fighting is wrong, wanted both of us to apologize, and we both got a suspension for in-school violence.

Seeing the connection? For those who aren't catching it, I'll beat the dead horse. Sometimes it isn't right to paint all parties to a conflict as though they are all equally wrong and all equally bad and all equally to blame for the situation. There are situations where this is the case, but they are far more rare than a lot of people would like to think.

The people who treat hatred of homophobia as though it were as bad as hating gay people, the people who treat revulsion toward racism as though it were as bad as revulsion toward other races, and the people who treat bitterness at misogyny as though it were as bad as bitterness toward women? They are doing to marginalized people what my school administrators did to me when I was a kid, and I don't stand for it now.

Just because there's a conflict doesn't mean everybody involved is a bad person, and just because someone finally hits back doesn't mean they're just as much of a bully as the person who's been brutalizing them all along. Conflating these two things is not only logically screwy, but it only serves to shame and silence people who are trying to finally stand up for themselves.

So yeah, I'll say it. I mistrust conservatives, mainly social conservatives. I mistrust social conservatives because people who identify that way have tried in many identifiable and clear ways to make my life less fulfilling than theirs, because I belong to several classes of people who have faced identical objections over and over to our desires to live as equal citizens in this country (whether it's my voting rights as a woman, my right to be free from religious coercion as an atheist, or my right to equal contractual rights when it comes to civil marriages).

My dislike is different from that of homophobes, religious zealots, or sexists, or racists, because I am not trying to deny them any rights except for their perceived right to hurt me. That means the roots of our dislike, as well as our intended aims, are not just a totally different animal, they're a whole world apart.

Every time somebody equates the two, calling both me and the people who hurt me "bullies," I kind of want to bite them in the face.
xenologer: (let it be)
I think I might be a libertarian-socialist.

Or:

When did capitalist right-wingers get so trusting, anyway?

Here's libertarian-socialism in a nutshell (at least as I understand it, and if someone can correct me in the comments, PLEASE DO, because I will consider your insight here to be a personal favor).

Libertarians don't want the government controlling their behavior, because having your freedom curtailed by people who are not accountable enough to you SUCKS, and shouldn't happen. Coercion is terrible, and you shouldn't feel coerced by your government. People like myself take this one step further.

I feel that corporations and powerful individuals have too much power to control my life and coerce me, and they're even less accountable to me than the government. At least the government I can vote in or out. Therefore, the answer seems to me that we should be as wary of companies or individuals with power as we are of governments.

There is more stuff here, but it is long. )
xenologer: (let it be)
I think I might be a libertarian-socialist.

Or:

When did capitalist right-wingers get so trusting, anyway?

Here's libertarian-socialism in a nutshell (at least as I understand it, and if someone can correct me in the comments, PLEASE DO, because I will consider your insight here to be a personal favor).

Libertarians don't want the government controlling their behavior, because having your freedom curtailed by people who are not accountable enough to you SUCKS, and shouldn't happen. Coercion is terrible, and you shouldn't feel coerced by your government. People like myself take this one step further.

I feel that corporations and powerful individuals have too much power to control my life and coerce me, and they're even less accountable to me than the government. At least the government I can vote in or out. Therefore, the answer seems to me that we should be as wary of companies or individuals with power as we are of governments.

There is more stuff here, but it is long. )
xenologer: (let it be)
I think I might be a libertarian-socialist.

Or:

When did capitalist right-wingers get so trusting, anyway?

Here's libertarian-socialism in a nutshell (at least as I understand it, and if someone can correct me in the comments, PLEASE DO, because I will consider your insight here to be a personal favor).

Libertarians don't want the government controlling their behavior, because having your freedom curtailed by people who are not accountable enough to you SUCKS, and shouldn't happen. Coercion is terrible, and you shouldn't feel coerced by your government. People like myself take this one step further.

I feel that corporations and powerful individuals have too much power to control my life and coerce me, and they're even less accountable to me than the government. At least the government I can vote in or out. Therefore, the answer seems to me that we should be as wary of companies or individuals with power as we are of governments.

There is more stuff here, but it is long. )
xenologer: (creator destroyer)
I'm reading discussions about the idea of a communist "vanguard" for the working class, and trying to sort out my feelings about the whole thing.

The bare bones idea seems to be that you can't wait for a group of people who've been marginalized, denied educational opportunities, and denied opportunity for political expression to figure out how to start a revolution and then do it effectively (since all that crap piled on them seems aimed at preventing precisely that). The solution some people have come up with (if I'm understanding what I'm reading correctly) is that what's needed is for a "vanguard" of intellectual working-class-allies to agitate the working class, get them all riled up and carve out some room for them to express themselves and start exercising the power they were always told they didn't have or deserve.

This sounds fairly reasonable, especially because it's speaking to the part of me that gets very frustrated with low-income self-identified conservatives who repeatedly vote against their own self-interest (oddly, in the name of protecting the sanctity of self-interest itself). However, I feel like I have to check that part of me. That part of me also says that these low-income self-destructive conservatives are obviously too stupid to know what's good for them, and clearly a bunch of educated elites like me (since, though it seems odd to me, an education is kind of an "elite" quality, for good or ill) to come in and take their whole lives and all their problems out of their hands so that someone who knows what to do can make it all better.

How fucking disempowering is that logic? That's why I resist it. If I look at people who disagree with me as though they must be saved from their own decisions, I stop being the person who's trying to help them realize their own power.

Seems to me that's the power and the danger of the "vanguard" notion as well. Obviously not all corners of middle- or working- or lower-class society are going to be class-conscious enough (or have the energy to spare, or have safe enough conditions, though those are obstacles I don't see mentioned much in leftist discussions) to go out and kick patriarchal classist capitalist ass. Obviously those people who have a better idea should lend those skills to something useful instead of using them to further their own power.

But they can use this to further their own power. We've seen this with TEA Parties organized by multi-billion dollar insurance companies that are agitating less-conscious working-class people to give their power over from working for their own welfare to working for the welfare of their oh-so-helpful-and-sympathetic new corporate masters. That's the really nasty thing about astroturf organizing like this; it uses people's suffering and gets them all riled up to diffuse that bitterness and hope in a direction that accomplishes nothing and is therefore "safe" for the companies holding their leashes.

How to organize without doing that? How is it possible to get people interested in a cause without taking their energy and directing it as a commodity belonging to whomever can take it?

I think it comes down to something I learned in a women's empowerment circle (and yes, I attended one for a little while, and still would be if my work schedule allowed it). There is a huge difference between offering support to someone while she works through her problems, and taking her problems out of her hands to solve them for her. One of these affirms her right and ability to control her own life, and one undermines it even as it attempts to assist.

It seems to me there's a place for a "vanguard," but the term makes it sound cohesive enough to worry me. The only reason I'm even conceding the term is that--should the seemingly-impossible occur and a revolution come or... or something--these people will have power. They will. Since I am firmly against power being wielded in secret (since power that is openly named can be more easily held accountable), naming this kinda-sorta-group of people is okay with me right now.

I'm just trying to sort out my feelings on the whole thing, and trying to figure out just what it is that people are advocating when they talk about a "vanguard." I guess it might just be like any "ally" out there. White allies to POC are good, but shouldn't use their advantages to take over anti-racist work. Same with hetero and cis allies to LGBT people, men who support feminism, etc.

Maybe this is a case of an archaic word being jammed into a discussion which has moved beyond it. I'm still not sure what I think; I'm just rambling here and hoping it goes somewhere useful.

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