anti-oppression

Getting called out and how to apologize

Oh no! You accidentally said something super hurtful, and someone called you out on it. Now what?

Apologizing can be one of the most difficult things to do. We are all in different places in our learning, and we all mess up in big ways. Here are some tips for making meaningful apologies:

- acknowledge and own what you have done wrong. Use “I” statements (for example “I am sorry that I….”

- say why what you did was problematic. For example, say something like “What I just said was super transphobic. When I said that, I was perpetuating negative stereotypes about trans people, and that’s messed up.”

- commit to change your behavior. For example, “I’ll be sure not to do that again.”

- support the person you harmed in their self care. Say, “I know you might be feeling really hurt right now. Is there anything I can do to support you?” Offer to buy them lunch, or to take their shift at work so they have time to care for themself. Know that anything you do won’t make up for what you have done, but is part of your process of accountability

Strategies for Solidarity:

- Step back. Let the people you are trying to be in solidarity with do what they need to do on their own, and then volunteer your time and resources to help out

- Be sensitive. Recognize when your being at an event would disrupt the space/ prevent others from being there, and don’t go. For example, if there’s a panel about transphobia with limited space and you’re cis, you going might prevent trans people from being there. And if you’re white and there’s an event specifically for people of colour, you going can make people feel unsafe

- Be supportive. Support the decisions of the people you are trying to be in solidarity with

Visit Teen Health Source for more information on sexual health, puberty and relationships. And, if you live in Toronto, you can speak to a trained peer volunteer who can answer your questions by text, online chat, or phone

anybody who is jumping up to defend lady gaga or chalk her perpetual rotating fuckery up to sheer ignorance....

lets be real about something

aside from the white vegans who she probably pissed off with her meat dress

lady gaga has fundamentally made her career offending those who the majority of white society wouldn’t stick up for anyways and constantly write off as being “over-sensitive” any time they bring up how a white wonder child of society has done something offensive 

trans* folk, people of colour, people with disabilities 

i’m probably missing a few categories/she hasn’t gotten to them yet 

either way

the more you defend her

or even say “well i’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she just doesn’t know what she’s perpetuating”

you’re basically excusing a long tradition of white performers/celebrities getting away with doing offensive shit because the other drop of the shoe is that “they just didn’t know”

people like lady gaga make enough money to buy herself a litany of doctorates in every subject area she’s fundamentally offended

and even on a more basic note, she could just use google like everybody else

the problem is she doesn’t want to, doesn’t care to, and will never have an incentive to unless her fans grow a little moxie and really hold her accountable for being the privileged fucked up person she is. 

stop making excuses for why a white, cis, able bodied, wealthy woman should be able to piss off so many people yet subsequently somehow “not know” what she’s doing is offensive

cause if you choose to keep excusing her, even in the most passive of ways, all because you like her caterwauling on top of overplayed techno beats

well congrats for helping the white supremacy hamster wheel continue to turn rust free 

…[I]t’s crucial to understand what differentiates liberalism from radicalism. I think we can avoid a lot of useless discussions and group traumas by understanding the underlying philosophical currents in various approaches to social change. One cardinal difference is idealism vs materialism.

Liberalism is idealist; the crucible of social reality is placed in the realm of ideas, in concepts, language, attitudes. And liberalism is individualist. The basic social unit is the individual.

In contrast, radicalism is materialist. Radicals see society as composed of actual institutions–economic, political, cultural–which wield power, including the power to use violence. The basic social unit is a class or group, whether that’s racial class, sex caste, economic class, or other grouping. Radicalism understands oppression as group-based harm.

So for liberals, defining people as members of a group is the harm. Whereas for radicals, identifying your interests with others who are dispossessed, developing loyalty to your people, is the first, crucial step in building a liberation movement.

Liberals essentially think that oppression is a mistake, a misunderstanding, and changing people’s minds is the way to change the world. That’s where you get this tremendous emphasis on education as a political strategy. So for instance, instead of identifying the institutions that destroy communities of color and strategizing how to dismantle them, we’re supposed to go to Unlearning Racism workshops and confess to being racists. Please don’t misunderstand, this is not an excuse to avoid examining whatever privilege we have. And if we’ve behaved dishonorably, we need to make amends. My point is that however important personal accountability is, it’s not political action.

white folks, you gunna learn today

y'all need to understand something real basic 

in a white supremacist society, it doesn’t take a whole lot for brown people to endure violence or even harassment at the hands of the government or those working for it 

think about how phrases like “excessive force” and “police brutality”

think about how often they are used with respect to the violence committed against people of colour in the mainstream media 

think about how last month a pregnant black woman was tasered by the police and not once did the chicago sun times video description or video itself used the phrases “excessive force” or “police brutality”

think about how many people of colour have been gunned down by police

and how quick our society is willing to write those situations off as “isolated incidents”  "not motivated by racism"

do we really have to flash back in time to black people being lynched, blasted with water hoses, or having attack dogs sicked on them for y'all to understand

that no matter how non-violent

no matter how peaceful 

no matter the intentions motivating an action or behaviour 

our bodies will never be safe until white supremacy is dismantled

because agents of the government {especially police forces}

will always be swift to silence people of colour who show dissent

and dissent is a spectrum not defined by people of colour

or even known to us until we are staring down the billy club or the fatal bullet

its defined by our society that wants to silence our voices permanently.  

white folks

the day people of colour will truly be safe

is the day our collective society learns to value brown bodies

as being worthy of humanity and protection and safety and care and love

think about it

because we’re tired of not only doing the thinking for you

but living these nightmares 

colorlines.com
Black Lives Matter Partners with Reproductive Justice Groups to Fight for Black Women

It is time for our politicians—it is time for the masses—to understand that its time to trust Black women, and policymakers need to make real investments in Black women’s health, in quality education (including comprehensive sex education) and in faith and healthy communities. This starts by acknowledging the expertise and leadership of Black women as the agents of change in our own communities. 

a tinychat conversation about the racial politics of asking for online donations

talking with two people in tinychat into the wee hours of the morning got me thinking about something. 

i know plenty of people have said it before, but i’m going to say it from my own seat. 

any time i see a call for donations by a person of colour i automatically cringe. i cringe inside not only because i’m working a free fucking internship and i have no money to give them myself, but because i know somewhere down the line in the litany of reblogs somebody is going to pop into the conversation questioning the desperation of the person of colour who made the post in the first place. somebody is going to come out of pocket with their racist, classist bullshit doubting whether that person is truly worthy and spouting their epically less than helpful “words of wisdom” that basically amount to “if you’re financially struggling. why don’t you get off your ass {or your blog} and get a damn job”. and nine times out of ten, the person calling a POCs financial desperation into question is usually a white person.

and no matter how many other POCs reblog that post saying “well if you don’t believe that person, don’t reblog the post” or even giving well reasoned explanations on how the lives of many POCS are not an endless cash flow, it never seems to make a difference. it never seems to work 

and honestly, that shit blows me 

it blows me because how many examples exist out there of white people attempting to change things because many are in dire financial straits?

it blows me because what is Occupy Wallstreet? a white person’s revolution hoping to change the economic and political infrastructure that subsequently influences economic policy in this country 

its blows me because what are socialism, communism, anarchism, and other leftist movements in this country? attempts by white people to change the socio-economic status quo by way of redistributing the wealth and giving the proletariat, a phrase which places its origins in the working class struggle of white Europeans, a better standard of living and living wage at that. {along with changing the political infrastructures that allow wealth to be concentrated in a minority of the population}

most importantly, it blows me because do you know how difficult it is to put yourself out on front street as a person of colour who is admitting to the world that they need help?

do you know how difficult it is, how it feels as a POC {specifically a black woman} to stare down the stereotype of the welfare queen knowing hey without welfare some people of colour may not even be alive or able to get by? 

do you know how it feels to basically be told you don’t deserve the help you’re so desperately asking for? to be made a rhetorical problem by white politicians {of all stripes really, its not limited to republicans} seeking to solidify their political power through promising they will get rid of people abusing welfare? and the people abusing welfare is most often thought to be you regardless of how true that is 

its basically being told that sorry, because you didn’t work hard enough by our standards and now find yourself struggling, you don’t deserve to be helped because how can we really trust you brown person when you say that you’re actually financially struggling. for all we know you might be pulling the wool over our eyes. 

funny how a POC who makes a post is thought to be yanking your chain, yet Amanda Palmer, a wealthy white musician, raises over a million dollars via kickstarter for her new album and tour but GOTDAMN SHE’S AN ENTREPRENEUR. 

its being told, sorry, you don’t have a right to a liveable holistic standard of living unless you’re willing to burn yourself out attempting to accomplish what, for many, is the impossible. and we, the harbringers of white supremacy, get to deny you the right to not run yourself into the ground trying to survive on the petty basis that we’re not willing to believe you’re actually struggling.

or the bar is set so high that only a few POC would be able to obtain it. and such a bar is predicated in notions of the good, worthy deserving brown person who meets all of white supremacy’s criteria. 

i’m so epically sick of of the “forever suspicious” shitting on people of colour who are asking for help from their loved ones on tumblr 

and i’m so sick of white folks not checking each other on the inherently racist rhetoric that comes with “suspecting” that a person of colour is lying about being in dire straits and openly expressing it time and time again.

especially those who claim to be anti racist

especially those who claim to be about the class struggle and quote from the book of “white male revolutionaries talking about class struggle" 

come collect your people

and start educating yourselves on how POCs are constantly accused of jacking jobs 

jacking resources 

in a system they didn’t create 

barely benefit from

and struggle to access successfully 

without shame or fear

youtube

“Stellenbosch University is committed to the use, safeguarding and sustained development of Afrikaans as an academic language” -Stellenbosch University Language Policy

“Luister is a documentary about the lives of students of colour who attend Stellenbosch University, a South African institution of higher learning. In a series of interviews, students recount instances of racial prejudice that they continue to experience in the town of Stellenbosch, and the enormous challenges that they face due to the use of Afrikaans as a language of teaching at the university. Luister is a film about Afrikaans as a language and a culture. It is a film about the continuing racism that exists within a divided society. It is a film about a group of students whose stories have been ignored. Luister is the Afrikaans word for Listen.”

I’m vegan for more than just the animals. Yes the animals are a giant part of why I am vegan, but its more than that. My veganism intersects with feminism and anti-racist/anti-oppression views and actions. I want total liberation for all humans, non-human animals, and ecosystems.

As of right now, we are ruining the world, millions of people and animals are dying because those in power look at us at commodities, things to exploit and profit from.

I think its EXTREMELY necessary and important that all vegans and feminists (pretty much everyone) learn and understand what is happening in other communities outside of your own. People are dying, we need to do something about it. We can’t wait any longer.

another thing i didn't miss about tumblr

atheists who sip that white supremacist kool aid 

honestly, how are you going to harp on a 16 year old black Olympian for thanking god because she won a gold medal?

considering that she barely gets mainstream news coverage that isn’t unapologetically racist and sexist 

considering credit isn’t being given where credit is due for her huge role in bringing the U.S gynastics team to the top {i mean how are you going to have a picture of the team without her in it, let alone mentioned in the caption}

considering people would rather harp on her momma, her daddy, her hair, her resemblance to a squirrell {still puzzled over that one, but not really} than her success and triumph

yeah, if i were her i’d be thanking god that they at least let me hold the goddamn gold medal at this point 

since the way things have been going she shouldn’t expect much else 

How do we change the world? Persuasion is for liberals, so I’ll leave that to them. Political action is ultimately about force.

There’s a continuum of tactics between nonviolence and violence, but they all start with the understanding that institutions only change when pressure is applied.

In the immortal words of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.” There’s an underlying truth here as well, that doesn’t get articulated as often as it should. I learned this from Gene Sharp’s work, especially The Politics of Nonviolent Action, which every activist should immediately, run don’t walk, read. His books are profoundly important. His ideas have been used in liberation struggles all over the world, from South Africa to Eastern Europe. He points out that power depends on obedience, and we don’t have to obey. The moment the oppressed withdraw our consent, the powerful are left with nothing.

Sharp identifies a range of tactical approaches, but they break down into two categories: acts of omission and acts of commission. Omission includes things like boycotts, strikes, nonparticipation in illegitimate governments. Acts of commission would include sit-ins, obstructions, and occupations like the forest defense elves in the trees. But either way, nonviolent action is an attempt to coerce an institution that holds power to change.

There’s a tremendous misconception, particularly in the USA, that nonviolent action is about somehow trying to educate or convert those in power. It’s not. That’s pacifism, not nonviolent action. I mean, does anybody really think that the owners of the bus company in Montgomery, Alabama had a sudden epiphany? ‘We’ve been so terrible to Black people, oh my god, segregation must end!’ Of course not. The boycott brought them to their knees. There may or may not have been individuals whose consciences were awakened, but that wasn’t the point. People withheld their economic power until the institution–in this case, the bus company–caved in.

I think this is so important because the main divide isn’t between violence and nonviolence. It’s between action and inaction. Properly understood, both militancy and nonviolence are direct confrontations with power, confrontations backed by the threat of force. Both strategies require planning, discipline, and sacrifice. Both kinds of activism will bring the full weight of the wrath of the powerful down upon the actionists. The moment you’re successful, the moment power is threatened, you will pay, sometimes with your lives. The divergence is that proponents of nonviolence chose tactics that don’t physically harm people.

white people, when you get called out........

what happens {or better yet what should happen}:

  • you apologize for being offensive


what happens going forward:

  • you learn how to be a better anti-oppression ally on your own 
  • you learn to actively listen to POCs
  • you learn the ways in which you can “interrupt racism” (i guess is the catchy way of saying it nowaways) without talking over people of color 
  • you learn not to ask POCs for cookie for doing a good deed. want a cookie? wait until the girl scouts come knocking at your door 


DONT: 

  • offer an explanation as to why you were offensive 
  • trot out the “oppression is oppression is oppression regardless of who is doing it” card 
  • trot out dictionary definitions of words like racism and homophobia because you fail to realize definitions of oppression terminology was generally coined by folks who want to maintain power structures that benefit them. and most importantly, no.1.curr
  • trot out the instance where a marginalized person was mean to you and therefore that somehow justifies what you just did {case in point, i love how white people who are called out on racism have all been bullied by these magical black people who are never given more details than just “the black people who bullied me throughout life”}
  • dismiss the validity of white supremacy or white privilege 
  • trot out the token friend who validates all of your fucked up behaviours and would probably throw anybody with any sort of anti-oppression consciousness under the bus in heartbeat just to get next to you 
  • trot out “we’re all human beings, doesn’t matter whether we are black or blue. sorry, the only blue people are in Avatar and i’m willing to bet if you offended them badly enough you would get got by them too
  • trot out quotes by POC social justice leaders as if to post-racialize them and subsequently make an excuse for your bad behaviour. case in point: MLK or Audre Lorde. our leaders didn’t exist for you to use their words against us to be a racist asshole. 
  • ask the offended person "can you please be my personal tutor in this specific anti-oppression praxis?”
  • and with that, don’t use that person as the “hey i did this thing and i’m not sure whether it was offensive so please help?” buffer. you gotta learn how to G up and work your way through situations on your own 

notice how the do list is longer then the donts

that’s because even in a white supremacist society, its really not that hard to hold yourself accountable if and when you fuck up

Anti-Oppression Activism 101 by Allan Johnson
  • Allan Johnson suggests the following behaviors for creating a world in which systems of oppression will fail to thrive:
  • 1. Acknowledge the problem:Break the silence on which continued oppression depends. Once you become aware of the problem, hang on to that knowledge. It is easy to slip back into the bliss of willful ignorance, because life is simpler that way.
  • 2. Pay attention:Be open to the idea that much of what we have been taught to believe is not necessarily true. Those beliefs are a product of the oppressive systems in which they are maintained.
  • 3. Take small risks - do something:The more we attend to what is happening, the more we will see opportunities to do something about it. Stand up, volunteer, speak out, write letters, sign petitions, show up. Plant seeds of doubt about the desirability and inevitability of the way things are and, by example, plant the seeds of what might be. Choose, and model, alternative paths - creating tension in the system. As Gandhi put it, be the change we want to see happen.
  • 4. Dare to make people feel uncomfortable, including ourselves:Small actions may seem like they do not amount to much, until we notice our own resistance to doing them. If that resistance is a measure of power, then the action itself has the power to be an influence. It may feel uncomfortable to challenge the assumptions of others, but discomfort is an unavoidable part of any meaningful process of education.
  • 5. Actively promote change in how systems are organized around patriarchal values and male privilege:
  • (a) Speak out for equality in every sphere;
  • (b) Oppose the devaluing of women and the work that they do;
  • (c) Support the well-being of mothers and children and defend women's rights to control their own lives;
  • (d) Object to the dismantling of welfare and attempts to limit access to health services;
  • (e) Speak out against violence and harassment against women wherever they occur, whether at home, at work, or on the street;
  • (f) Support government and private services for women who are victimized by male violence;
  • (g) Volunteer at the local rape crisis center or battered women's shelter;
  • (h) Call for and support clear and effective sexual harassment policies in workplaces, unions, schools, professional associations, churches, and political parties, as well as in public spaces such as parks, sidewalks, and malls.
  • 6. Pay attention to racism and other forms of oppression that draw from the same roots:Whatever we do that draws attention to those roots undermines all forms of oppression. Make contact; connect to other people who feel the same way.
  • 7. Remember that you do not have to do it all:All we can do is what we can manage to do. Think small, humble, and doable rather than large, heroic, and impossible. Do not paralyze yourself with impossible expectations. Small acts can have great implications. If evil can be perpetuated when good people do nothing, then the choice is not between all or nothing but between nothing and something.
  • Edited by Paula K. Lunderberg-Love & Shelly L. Marmion, "Intimate Violence Against Women:When Spouses, Partners or Lovers Attack." Praeger Publishers, 2008. (p. 156 - 157)