Archive for May, 2011

This shit. Again.

May 3, 2011

Yes, I am breaking my hiatus for this shit.

And I’m going to do the white feminists who may read this an extra-special and exceedingly rare favor:

I’m going to bite back some of my anger, my disgust, and my dismay. Just for this post. I’m going to play your game. And not because I think it will do any good (I don’t).

But. I’ll do it this once. Here goes:

When people complain about “call-out culture,” that reminds me strongly of when people complain about others being “too politically correct.” The complaint almost always comes from those who have the most privilege, the most institutional power, the biggest voices (in terms of being taken seriously by society at large). And they are almost always complaining about those with the lesser amount of privilege, the lesser amount of power, the smallest voice.

The excuses that I hear for why those who call out others should be dismissed are rather similar in both situations: “They just want to feel like a better person, they LIKE making mountains out of molehills, they just want to spoil our fun!”

The excuses that I hear for why those who are called out made the mistakes that they did are likewise similar: “I didn’t know, I didn’t mean to, I didn’t have time.”

And when those who have been hurt insist on having their hurt recognized (which sometimes means they let their anger show), then the Big Voices say things like “We’re all in this together, your anger is silencing me, kumbayah!”

“Silence” is a loaded word. Marginalized people do not use their marginalization to “silence” others. In fact, reality bears the exact opposite is true.

When people in a position of power tell those who do not share their power that there is a limited “correct” way to express anger at being marginalized, the conversation becomes about How Marginalized People Say Things (And How That Harshes Our Squee) rather than What Marginalized People Say.

People. This is 101 level, Derailing for Dummies shit.

If someone approaches you about an axis of oppression that they are vulnerable to and that you can only daydream about, give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume that when someone says “I feel hurt and excluded” that they decided to speak up because they feel hurt and excluded. If a marginalized person lashes out and hurts your feelings, take a breath and then think about WHAT they said rather than HOW they said it. They might not necessarily be right. But honestly? They probably are.

This notion that marginalized people are causing a rift in feminism (or whatever anti-ism space) and that things would improve if only we’d swallow our anger (how is that NOT a tone argument, by the way?) has got to fucking go.