Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bye... for now?

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Hello again. It's been a while, I think. A lot's changed, even in the past few months. And as much as I love certain things about this blog, it also holds for me a lot of regrets. But that's life, right? Constantly changing, growing, learning.

I think moving to Tumblr (which became more permanent than I'd realized it would) was a good move. I think I'm becoming a better person because of it. I... I had a lot of letting go to do, and a lot of "soul-searching," so to speak. I know that some things I did were absolutely right - letting go of old "friends," fighting back against abuse (and I am so glad to be able to put a name to some of the things I've experienced over the course of my 24 years.) My life, while still hard to deal with, has gotten better. I have awesome friends. I have a girlfriend now (yep, still bi), and she's really cool. I'll be visiting her soon (oh LDRs... literally cross-country...) I'm slowly but surely getting back to the idea of grad school. I'm surviving. Soon enough, maybe I'll start living.

I no longer identify with a lot of the things I used to. I also know that I said a lot of really fucked up, problematic things. And I've probably mentioned this before. But the person I am now knows better. And I'm sorry.

I don't know if I'll be back on this blog again. Part of me still can't face who I was. Another part of me is just too exhausted to continue - I've almost entirely stopped writing, these days. As well as pretty much everything else.

And part of me feels like perhaps this blog has run its course, and it's time to leave the old me behind.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


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Personal things. Incredibly personal things. I'd typically keep this to a private blog, but I think I should just... It's always been one of those things where I'd have to say it in order for people to know (and even then, they'd still doubt me and tell me I'm lying or just trying to be special...)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

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If I ever stop crying, I want to talk about My Chem. I've been with them for 11 of those 12 years, they've been with me for the absolute worst of them, and I feel like a part of me has just died a little. Or a lot. There is maybe 1 other band that could make me feel like this.

So many of their songs are about goodbyes and moving on. But for once, they're not really helping me feel any better.  Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, March 18, 2013

White Feminism, We Meet Again...

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I'm just going to make my own post instead of reblogging on Tumblr. This is that thing I wanted to talk about last night but said I already knew the answer... And the fact that I keep seeing this quote pretty much just reinforces it.
Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety in the streets, for child care, for social welfare, for rape crisis centres, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says, ‘Oh, I’m not a feminist’, I ask, ‘Why? What’s your problem?’  
--- Dale Spender, Man Made Language.  (via izzyinvisible)
What I wanted to talk about is the massive disconnect that seems to exist every time white women talk about sexism and feminism. And I don't mean the feminists who understand intersectionality and why it matters, and those who actively try to combat -isms within the feminist movement and recognize that the movement needs to be more inclusive. This isn't about you. (You probably already know my issues with the above quote anyway.)

I specifically mean those who don't. This is entirely about those who don't, or who think they do but don't, and the women who can't translate one to the other. tl;dr - why don't you omfg. When I'm seeing the same women constantly talking about sexism but can't seem to grasp the idea of applying the same exact concepts to dealing with racism.

The same white women who will in one breath say that men's opinions on sexism don't matter because they don't understand and could never, and in the next, stick your nose into a conversation about cultural appropriation and racism like you understand, like your opinion matters. Like white women talking over women of color is NOTHING like men talking over women. Like you're not privileged at all over WOC.

You'll defend the racist rich white woman who regularly steals from, mocks, and belittles trans* women and WOC, because you think she's a feminist icon. (See: Madonna, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lawrence, Laci Green, Ke$ha, Lena Dunham, to mention women constantly on my dashboard; Margaret Sanger, etc.) You refuse to understand that in many of these cases, the harm they do to other women tends to drastically overshadow whatever little good they do. The good that they do is only for you, at the expense of other women. 

You want to talk about how feminism has never practiced any cruelties? Believe that no violence has ever occurred or been supported in the name of feminism? (Because of course nothing that ever happens to other women counts as violence...) Racism is violence. Ableism is violence. Cissexism is violence. Classism is violence. So much of white women's empowerment involved forcing Western beliefs and practices on Indigenous and Black women. Stealing and/or killing their children. (Funny that the quote should come from a white Australian feminist....)  Using their bodies for science, and other things I care not to mention right now. Praising white mothers, demonizing mothers of color. Calling a little Black girl a c*nt and then arguing why it's "not even offensive omg why are you making such a big deal out of it FEMINISM YAY."  You attack hijabis in the name of "saving them" from their own culture, you mock weaves and steal dreads and the fashion of WOC. You want equality for women in the workplace, and oh god could I go on forever about this, but you steal their fashion and their culture and the credit and give them nothing in return. Call their businesses quaint and steal their products for your own. You refuse to acknowledge that so much of what you know and love and worship came from WOC. You say it looks better on you anyway.

And I could also add in a part about how the start of white feminism (which completely ignores the efforts of Native women, btw) and the women's suffrage movement was in part due to Black men gaining rights (before white women). Or a part about how white feminism tends to vilify Black men while giving white men a pass (see: Chris Brown, Michael Vick, vs. Hugo S., Alec Baldwin, Jeremy Renner, Michael Fassbender, Robert Downey Jr, etc). Because even though they have male privilege over you, your white privilege still oppresses them too, and your empowerment has historically been used in ways that hurt them, especially as children. But let's keep this simple today and keep the focus on women.

And it brings me right back again to the same question I started with - why is it that you can understand one form of violence but not realize or care that you're perpetuating others?

Why is it that you can believe in and use anti-oppression rhetoric for one issue, but not comprehend and translate the SAME EXACT IDEAS for another?

I used to think it was nothing but cognitive dissonance, but therein lies the problem - there is no dissonance. There should be. It is a HUGE problem that it doesn't even faze you. And that is the sole reason why I'm writing this. 

If someone says, ‘Oh, I’m not a feminist’, I ask, ‘Why? What’s your problem?’”

Because mainstream feminism has historically been heterosexist, racist, classist, cissexist, ableist, etc., and as evidenced by that quote, continues to ignore that fact. All of the things mentioned in that quote have at some point been enacted in such a way that excludes or hurts many who are not cis white women. And it continues to ignore, erase, and contribute to the oppression of poor women, trans* women, and women of color, and any intersections thereof. And pretending otherwise ensures that your moment will never truly achieve equality for anyone who's not just like you.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Intent matters."

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Something else I've been thinking about, and why Sunday's events were so triggering for me.

TW:  Emotional abuse and gaslighting, discussion of intent in regards to racism and other forms of oppression

Family History

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(note that everything below is pretty much coming straight from my mother. Everything below that's in italics is me.)

I'm pretty sure that was the first time mom actually told me about the day she moved to the US. She said it was hot and humid that day when she stepped off the plane. It was over 100 degrees and more humid and sticky than she had ever experienced. (I thought that was weird, because that's what I've been told to think of when I think of South America and rainforest regions, but she said it wasn't like that.) She said the stench and the tall, dirty buildings [in NYC] made her want to go back.

Also, I managed to get a straightforward conversation about race politics in Guyana. (Keep in mind that most of this is about the 70s and 80s and my mom was a teenager. I don't know if she knows how things are right now. We have relatives there but I doubt they discuss such things on the few occasions where we hear from them, and the internet only tells me so much.) She was categorized as "dougla" because she's mixed - a Guyanese person of African and Indian/South Asian descent. It's a racial category that's non-hereditary and is based on appearance more than just ethnic background. And apparently it's now considered a slur kind of...? Not surprising. It's just like "coloured or quadroon or octoroon," she said. And that's why sometimes Guyanese people identify as West Indian - because while they're not technically West Indian, they have a lot in common both culturally and ethnically with people in Trinidad and other West Indian countries.

Her mom is really light-skinned and was considered Portuguese, almost white, even though she's part Black. (I forgot exactly what mom said. Close enough. Grandma is super light skinned and while I've recently learned that her natural hair color is actually black, for as long as I can remember she had reddish-blonde hair.) Which explains why Grandma is about as bad as any USian white racist her age :-\ Colorism is apparently a huge part of their categorization. Not surprised. I'd read about it in Brazil (and of course in the US), but it's the first time I've really had an opportunity to hear such a detailed first-hand account from and about my own family.

I just wanted to write this down so I could think about it later and compare it to ... I'm reading Bonilla-Silva again and he got me thinking about my own history in relation to everything else I've learned. (Though really, when am I never not these days... It's like I'm trying to rebuild my identity from scratch, you know? Take away all the internalized hatred, and who or what is left? Is there anything I could learn to fill in the pieces?) Yeah... I have a lot of thinking to do.