a lot of tumblr sj discourse is too liberal (as opposed to radical/revolutionary) in terms of what we expect from allies, or from ourselves as allies. we talk a lot about how allies should behave in activist spaces -being quiet, listening rather than speaking, relinquishing our privilege whenever possible- and that’s good, absolutely. however, we don’t talk as much as we should about what allies should do once we leave those activist spaces and go into the real world, where no amount of allies being quiet will do as much damage to our oppressive situations as us leveraging our privilege for the benefit of our causes.
don’t misunderstand me, i’m not saying at all that, for example, white people should feel free to speak over poc as soon as we leave a space where that is widely considered unacceptable. i’m saying that a white person in mainstream white society is in a position of power that we should actively take advantage of and use to promote awareness and solidarity with poc. it’s absolutely vital that we -white people, straight/cis people, men, able-bodied people, neurotypicals, affluent, etc- call out other privileged people and hold them to the same standards we hold ourselves to. it’s vital that we use the fact that other privileged people will take us more seriously, even if it’s unfair, so that we can educate those outside of activist spaces about the oppression and injustice that colors our lives. most of all, it’s important that we use our greater resources, resources the oppressed may not have access to, to provide and protect the ones that are actually fighting the battles for their own liberation that we will never truly understand, but can only do what we can from the sidelines
we absolutely have to protect bi women who are in relationships with men because there are still people who use these women to say that bi women are “fake/really straight” or are traitors to wlw or deserve to be abused by men. it’s not about forcing lesbians to care about relationships with men, it’s about getting everyone to care about bi women
Call-out culture and the fallacy of community accountability creates a disciplinary atmosphere in which people must adhere to a specific etiquette. Spaces then become accessible only to those who are familiar with, and able to express themselves with the proper language and adhere to the dominant customs. Participation in the discourse which shapes and directs this language and customs is mostly up to those who are able to spend too much time debating on activist blogs, or who are academics or professionals well versed in the dialect. As mentioned previously, the containment of radical discourse to the university further insulates the “activist bubble” and subcultural ghetto.
In addition to creating spaces that are alienating to those outside of our milieu, anti-oppression discourse, call-out culture, and the related “communities” leads activists to perceive themselves as an “enlightened” section of the class (largely composed of academics, students, professionals, etc. who have worked on their shit and checked their privilege) who are tasked with acting as missionaries to the ignorant and unclean masses. This anarchist separatist orientation is problematic for any who believe in the possibility of mass liberatory social movements that are capable of actually transforming society…
The retreat to subcultural bohemian enclaves and activist bubbles acknowledges that revolutionary change is impossible, and as a substitute offers a counterfeit new society in the here and now. We understand that such a proposition is appealing given the day-to-day indignity and suffering that is life under our current conditions, but time and time again we have seen these experiments implode on themselves. Capitalism simply does not offer a way out and we must face this reality as the rest of the class that we are a part of faces it everyday. No amount of call-outs or privilege checking will make us into individuals untainted by the violent social relationships that permeate our reality.
With Allies Like These: Reflections on Privilege Reductionism, Common Cause Ottawa
Ryan Lotche: *vandalizes a gas station and lies to Brazilian authorities about being robbed*
White ppl: HE’S JUST BEING A KID, YA KNOW?
Florida Teen: *stabs three people, murdering two of them, and eats one of their faces*
White ppl: I dunno… he was a good kid. A real nice boy.
Any Black Man: *gets shot by a cop for minor violations*
White ppl: THUG! SCOURGE OF THE EARTH! HOW DARE YOU BREAK LAWS.