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

(-_-" and once again I realize that the ways that I react to events in my life is consistent with my experiences... I keep written evidence and screenshots of everything that ever happens, I seek validation that something was really as awful as I felt, I don't feel safe unless I know that I'm right and I have indisputable means to prove something happened - whether audio recording, text, pictures, etc.)

I was already in a bad place to begin with, and there was the issue of people I trusted saying hurtful things... I  could have dealt with the appropriation part in another way, had it not been followed by what came after. It wasn't the original post that made me so angry and hurt, it was the tags and the co-signs. But part of WHY they were so hurtful wasn't just in the fact that they were flat out denying that they saw a problem with cultural appropriation (and whining about how they couldn't know these things, and liking and wearing things from POCs cultures should count as POC recognition omfg wtf was that shit), but the fact that they were saying that intent makes a difference. That if someone doesn't intend to hurt you, you shouldn't be hurt or offended, and that all of us who were or are hurt and offended and angry are just totally overreacting, that it's no big deal, that it's ok because THEY said it was ok. Like that's not abuser logic, not the same exact shit... It's manipulation. You can behave in an abusive manner and never consciously intend to hurt someone. You still fucking hurt them. Abuse and oppression do not require conscious intent. Not in a society set up to give you power, to keep you and people like you in power. "It's harmless!" Yet we're flat out telling you no, it's not. Maybe it doesn't impact you, but it does a world of damage to the other person/people. And the fact that you think that your feelings matter more than the person you've hurt is fucking gross.

You honestly think it doesn't matter that they're bleeding because you didn't stab them on purpose. In fact, you generally don't even see it as stabbing. More like "appreciating their skin" and how nice it looks on you.

People who can say intent matters in a situation are most likely the ones not dealing with the consequences, or are in a position where they are able ignore or brush off another's pain -- and not only that, they rationalize it by attempting to manipulate the victims into believing it's all in their heads ("it's not [what you think it is]. you're just trying to find it everywhere. you see it in everything. you're imagining things." as though seeing it in everything means it's not actually there, because they don't want to see it. But it's not them that's the problem, it's you~~.), that it's their own fault for getting upset about it in the first place, that they should be grateful to be hurt in that way ("I'm just appreciating your culture!"). And in doing so, they make themselves out to be the victims instead. They are magically absolved from all wrong-doing. It's the victim's fault.

They engage in abusive, oppressive behavior, and, when called out, react in an abusive manner, part of which is invalidating their victims' feelings - and then set themselves up as the actual victims.

And it frustrates me out of my mind, because I KNOW what I see. I refuse to let you make me doubt myself. Not anymore. I know what I see, so why don't you? Why instead do you ignore the pain you've caused, while in the same breath condemning EXACTLY what it is you're doing??? And it's such a massive betrayal. I flat out told you that what you thought was harmless felt like a knife to the back, over and over again, and you came back at me with "no it's not, it's harmless, you just want to see it as hurtful" and "how dare you get so angry! Why should I listen to anyone so angry?" Because your feelings about it mattered more than mine. Your feelings about how I said it mattered more than what I said. Nothing I or anyone else said mattered even a little bit, and so long as you had other people agreeing with you, there was no reason for you to consider that you were hurting people.

How the hell can I ever trust you? Why should I? Not only do you continue to bring up some of the worst parts of my childhood and teen years, you actually believe in it and use it to justify the horrible shit you're doing now. How the hell can I ever trust you? Why should I?

Cuz, just like back then, you have me sitting here trying to figure out if somehow I did fuck up, if somehow I was wrong to be so angry that all my white friends were co-signing a post that said their intent didn't mean they were doing something racist, if somehow it's all just me and I'm hallucinating (I still haven't figured out if those are real or if I've been lied to)... I already know that my reality will always be different from yours. But you're trying to convince me that yours is universal, that yours is the only one that matters, that mine is a lie. I'm not crazy for knowing that racism and white privilege are real and painful and have a massive impact on my life and the lives of other POC. And over and over again, you tell me I'm imagining it or just looking for trouble. It's not your fault racism exists. It's not your fault I think your actions are racist and abusive. Sure, people are dehumanized and sometimes even killed because of the shit you do, but it's their own fault, never yours. We're the crazy ones for thinking we're being oppressed, right?

And once again, you've proven to me that it's not worth it to put my trust in anyone. The closer I let you get, the more you're going to hurt me. And you won't ever give a shit when it happens, because "intent matters."

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