Accountability

Yesterday I witnessed some Twitter drama go down between four women that I follow. One of them made a statement about men, women, and domestic violence, and another woman called her out for trans erasure. Everything went to shit very quickly after that. Some nasty slurs were tossed about from the woman who had been privilege-checked to the other three.

I was stunned. The woman who used the slurs is a mother of color and a lactivist, like me. She’s got a blog with a much larger following than this one, and she spoke at the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association Conference – something that I was sorry to have missed when I couldn’t make it to the conference.

A dozen of the anti-oppression activists who follow me also follow this woman. People who blog regularly about oppression, marginalization, privilege-denying dude, and derailing for dummies. People who have no qualms about calling out folks who are not familiar with the dynamics of privilege and oppression quickly, loudly, and forcefully. People who pride themselves in their activism.

None of these people said a goddamn thing.

So what is this, then? What the fuck are we doing here? We bloviate on and on about how we’re gonna change this and that and the other fucking thing, and the importance of words and their impact on how we perceive the world around us, and the necessity of privilege checks, and blahfuckingblah. And when a stranger says something fucked up, we pounce on them like a trap snapping tightly over a mouse. But when our own fuck up, we look the other way? We don’t say shit? We give them a pass, why? Because we’re afraid that they might stop linking to our fucking blogs?

Personally, I feel like I’m at a crossroads. I started blogging, and then I started getting noticed by like-minded bloggers, and it was all very exciting and warm and fuzzy. But by saying something about this, I may be cutting myself off from those people. A large part of me doesn’t want that, at all. And another part of me wants exactly that, if this is the way it’s gonna be.

I get it. It’s hard to say this shit to your friends. To people you admire. To someone you wanted to meet in person someday. It hurts, it makes you sick to your stomach, you wonder if it’s even worth it. But if it’s not worth it to dig your heels in and say “No, that’s wasn’t right” in your own house, then what the fuck gives anyone the license to do it anywhere else?

This whole situation is so fucked.

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One Response to “Accountability”

  1. choleandjo Says:

    GLSEN uses “oops, ouch and educate” for exactly this situations. I always reserve the right to say “ouch!” when something harmful (intentional or not!) comes up… which is a signal to you, if you said it / did it, to say “oops” and have the opportunity to apologize… and then there is an opportunity for education from both ends… what I heard / how it impacted me as well as what you thought you were saying / doing (if it was, in fact, unintentional and if you are able to have the conversation while still recognizing that regardless of intention you hurt someone else).

    (Of course oops can also be said without someone saying ouch, like when someone makes an offhanded comment that they then realize was somehow derogatory)

    I think many people have that innate defense mechanism built in where they become somewhat vicious when they perceive they are being “accused” even when the person doing the “accusing” is not really accusing at all.

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