Posts tagged oppression.
— Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism pg 203 (via jhameia)
i despise the term “social justice.”
it makes the issue sound abstract.
it makes it sound like talking about oppression and inequality is a hobby. like something we do in our spare time for kicks but forget about completely when we’re not blogging.
there is nothing fucking abstract about these topics.
when i talk about the oppression of women, of the queer community, of PoC - that’s not me blowing hot air about academic topics that i view objectively. i am talking about shit that directly affects me every fucking day irl. i am talking about the inescapable truths that i face every day and they are sucky and dangerous and upsetting and scary and VERY, VERY REAL.
what you guys refer to as “social justice” with a smirk and a scoff are issues that shape and affect my fucking life. “social justice” does not stop when i get off tumblr for the night and go out with my friends or go to class or go to see a movie or watch tv. this isn’t about fucking blogging. it’s about discussing and fighting against a real, concrete system that is specifically engineered to make the world scary and dangerous for me and people like me.
there is absolutely nothing abstract about that.
THANK THE FUCKING LORD SOMEONE ACTUALLY SAID THIS.
It’s not a new idea–we’ve certainly seen it raising its ugly head in media repeatedly, but it’s become popular again–the “flipped prejudice” fiction. Victoria Foyt’s racist Save the Pearls did it for race and we now have the homophobic versions: a Kickstarter for the book Out by Laura Preble and the film Love is All You Need. I hate linking to them but they need to be seen. They both have the same premise: an all gay world that persecutes the straight minority.
So that’s more appropriating the issues we live with: our history, our suffering, and then shitting on it all by making us the perpetrators of the violations committed against us. How can they not see how offensive this is? How can they not see how offensive taking the severe bigotry thrown at us every day and throughout history–bigotry that has cost us so much and then making our oppressors the victims and us the attackers–is? This is appropriative. This is offensive. It’s disrespectful — and it’s outright bigoted.
Y’know, if you actually want to talk about prejudice and persecution and how they can affect people’s lives, why not use actual marginalised people? You want to show how a person navigates a society that has extreme prejudice against their skin colour? Why not make your protagonist a POC? You want to show a society that persecutes people based on who they’re attracted to and who they love? Why not make your protagonist gay?
Oh, but then that becomes a specialist subject, right? A “niche,” dealing with marginalised issues. A POC book. A gay/lesbian book. Totally inappropriate for mainstream audience–when we can take the same story and flip it to bizarre bigot world and make the poor straight, white person the persecuted victim and we’re back in mainstream land. Funny, that.
And don’t tell me it’s for marginalised people, so we can see a world where we’re dominant. Would I like to read a book where marginalised people are the majority and in charge? Sure–but not through the eyes of a poor, oppressed straight/white person who is suffering so awfully at the hands of the big, mean, prejudiced gay/black people. Because maginalised people being cast as evil villains? Been done, and it’s not fun.
If you needed any more proof that this is offensive, just take to the ‘net and start googling these storylines. Google “heterophobia” google “straight or white pride.” Google “reverse racism”; google “anti-white racism.” Google “Christian prejudice.” You probably got some truly vile sites and vile people right there. These memes already exist: from the oppressors, from the hate groups. and from the bigots trying to create the idea of these oppressive minorities have to be fought, controlled and kept in their place or you will become the victims. We already have this narrative: it’s in the mouths of the hate groups, the pro-segregationists, the politicians and the religious leaders denying human rights. In the shadow of these organisations, these books and films read more like cautionary tales– warnings for straight and white folks–than a call for empathy.
Just stop. You want to include marginalised people, then do it. But don’t make free with the severe issues that have shaped and attacked us for generations and appropriate them for your own ends. And certainly don’t do it while making our oppressor’s the victims and the persecuted the attackers in these lazy, shallow, ridiculous worlds.
— Daaaayyyyyuuumm! Paul and Renee lay waste to the entire “flipped oppression” genre as a way to cultivate empathy in privileged folks on the R today! (via racialicious)
— Assata Shakur (via planetsconverse)
We do not publish “reverse discrimination” stories. ”Reverse discrimination” stories are single issue stories that follow a predictable premise: what if [privileged real life group] was actually discriminated against/oppressed/un-privileged?
Examples: what if most of society was gay, and straight people were the discriminated minority? What if most male babies were killed and men were kept just for breeding? What if everyone was intersex, and cis-sexual people were considered “freaks”? Etc.
Not only are these “single issue” stories about discrimination (usually by authors with no real life experience with the forms of discrimination described, it’s just made up), these stories do not further our mission of promoting the inclusion and representation of real life minorities in spec fic. In fact, these stories do exact the opposite — they pretend that privileged, majority authors can understand and write about the dis-privileged/minority/oppressed perspective if they just turn the tables in a simplistic, linear thought experiment.
These stories also often frame the real-life oppressed people as the new oppressors: violent, insensitive, bigoted, etc. We believe the spec fic world does not need more “Poor oppressed men! Poor oppressed straight people! etc.” stories. These stories only marginalize already marginalized people even more. Please let minority/dis-privileged authors speak for themselves.
“I’ve been REGULARLY getting plots pretty much like this in the Expanded Horizons slush pile for the four years we’ve been running the magazine. They’re standard fare, even though we have several explicit guidelines telling writers not to send them…which is less a “guideline” and more of a “no really, don’t send us this crap” rule…
“These stories are a dime a dozen. I’ve seen it with LGBT issues, with racial issues, with gender issues, and with other axes of identity. The concept is not new, not creative, not original, not fresh, and not clever. For any axis of real-world privilege, there are sci fi authors (and would-be authors) who think they are so clever for making themselves (as real-world privileged people) the “new oppressed people, oh woe is us!”
“…The sad truth is that this is the status quo of the slush pile, even for a magazine that explicitly demands that these stories not be sent to it. Usually, in my opinion, the authors are not explicitly setting out to be -ist, but they really misunderstand very basic things about How Oppression Works, and it shows, and it hurts.”
“But why would a PoC take part in something if they thought it was racist?”
Because in this land where PoC are more at risk for being jobless, a job is a fucking job.
For a million dollars, I would do everything I think people should never do. Because I need a million dollars.
It’s really not hard.
And when the people who have money and connections are largely white, they can EASILY make PoC tap-dance without effort.
This post really needs that Dave Chappelle gif with him saying “I’M BROKE NIGGA I’M BROKE!” just to top it off.
The idea that “we all do it”.
You are familiar with the theme, I promise.
“We’re all a little racist.”
“Everyone engages in cultural appropriation.”
And so on.
Although the intended message is supposedly, “we’re all human and we make mistakes”, that’s not really what’s being said. These phrases are messages of absolution. After all if everyone else is doing it, it can’t be that bad.
It’s even more complex of course. It’s a refusal to admit guilt. It is a way of implicating everyone else so that there can be no guilt. “If I’m guilty then so are you and therefore you can’t judge me!”
It is also a stunning display of an inability to conceive of reality outside one’s own reality. What is true for the speaker must be true for all.
The obvious answer to all of this is that no, we aren’t all a little racist. We don’t all do those things you say we do. This is a scary thought, one that is generally discarded immediately as impossible. Don’t even try to explain the structural issues involved in the term racism, because merely calling someone ‘white’ is morally on par with slavery and genocide. No really. No, that’s not ridiculous at all! You’d have done the same to us if the situations were reversed. Why? Because human beings are all the same (re: European).
Didn’t black people enslave other black people? Didn’t some indigenous peoples keep slaves? Ghengis Khan! Look at what he did! How very European of him! Haven’t you read Lord of the Flies? Violence and struggles for power are the essence of the human condition! I know this because European philosophers have told me so!
The extraordinary paradox involved in all of this is the straight up fact that at the same time these people are swearing up and down that human beings are all the same…they are also firmly entrenched in the idea that human beings are not in fact the same. “We are all equal…but some of us are more equal than others…”
Blacks are violent.
Native Americans are alcoholics.
Hispanics are lazy.
Asians are smart…but Asian (to different to be white).
Italians, Germans, Irish, Spanish, Ukrainians, Russians, English folks…are white.
And all of this, my friends, is backed up by classical European logic. Great men who invented rational thought have managed to create systems of thought that allow all of these things to make sense! If you don’t understand how, then you are not rational. Not logical. You may even be mentally deficient.
Yup. It takes an astonishing intellect to rationalise all of this.
And if things had been different….if Europeans hadn’t rampaged across the face of the earth murdering, raping, looting and terrorising every corner of every continent…
Well gosh. Someone else would have done it.
Because we all do it.
The false equivalence logic and the pre-emptive violence logic.
Of course, if you just transpose it, it becomes so clear how bullshit it is:
“Oh, well you said something mean to me therefore you would do exactly like I would have done- that is, get a gun, stalk you for 3 years, shoot your family then eat their carcasses, right? After all, we’re all a little mean. I HAD TO DEFEND MYSELF BY DOING IT TO YOU FIRST.”