exactly that

I am talking about you

From Anna, on tumblr, with permission:

I think the fundamental problem is I am being too subtle.

Principles of Anti-Oppression, from the Los Angeles Direct Action Network.

  • Power and privilege play out in our group dynamics, and we must continually struggle with how we challenge power and privilege in our practice.
  • We can only identify how power and privilege play out when we are conscious and committed to understanding how racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression affect each one of us.
  • Until we are clearly committed to anti-oppression practice all forms of oppression will continue to divide our movement and weaken our power.
  • Developing an anti-oppression practice is a life long work and requires a life long commitment.  No single workshop is sufficient for learning to change one’s behaviours.  We are all vulnerable to being oppressive and we need to continuously struggle with these issues.
  • Dialogue and discussion are necessary and we need to learn how to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to have effective anti-oppression practice.  Challenge yourself to be honest and open and take risks to address oppression head on.

What Anti-Oppression does not involve, a short list, by Anna:

  1. Implying that people are faking an oppression.
  2. Erasing the identities of people you are angry with, including gender-identity and racial identity.
  3. Jumping to conclusions.
  4. Not asking for clarification.
  5. Assuming people who are not you are arguing in bad faith, while you are arguing with nothing but the best of intentions.

I am, frankly, a bit appalled that more people seem to have read & responded to my earlier tumblr about When We Want Reasonable Responses Vs When We Want Reactionary Responses when melouhkia added to it about being patient with the Tumblr Staff.

Gentle reader, I am very happy for that post to be referred to at any time, most especially when one is hoping to create a dialog, or solve a problem.  But honestly – it was not about Tumblr Staff.  It was about you.

We must continually struggle with how we challenge power and privilege in our practice.  Badgering a woman who has a disability, a child on summer break, and lives on the opposite side of the planet to respond immediately, on your terms, and then implying that she is not really disabled and is just whining – this is not challenging power & privilege in our practice.  Supporting someone who does this is also not supporting challenging of power & privilege. And yes, one can not know that is going on – one rarely does, since that is not a pretty story, and does not fit into the approved narrative.

Describing a woman who has made repeated public posts about her racial identity being erased as XX”crying white woman’s tears”XX [CORRECTION: having “fragile white woman syndrome”] also does not challenge power & privilege.  Supporting someone who does this does not challenge power & privilege.

Completely neglecting that someone has repeatedly identified as not being on the gender binary, while talking about them as though they are – that is also NOT challenging power & privilege.

Specifically stating that one wants to center voices that are not able-bodied cis-gendered men is something I am rather surprised to see considered anti-feminist, anti-ally work – especially since defining it that way still erases members of FWD who are not cis.  I am also rather surprised to see it considered appropriate ally-work to erase someone’s disability because it’s suddenly inconvenient to acknowledge as a factor.  I’m surprised to learn it is okay to claim a woman is white when she is quite loud and proud about not being white.  I’m surprised to learn it’s ally-work to erase trans* contributors – perhaps because they do not identify as having a binary gender?

We need to learn how to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to have effective anti-oppression practice.

Sincerely.  This is as unsubtle as I can imagine being.  This is about you. It is about me.  It is about us.  But mostly: I am talking about you.

***

I have some thoughts to follow up with…but I have A LOT OF WORK TO FINISH , and have already forgotten my MRT in this mess. When I get a little caught up I will catch up with my thoughts if it isn’t time to catch the bus.

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Comments on: "I am talking about you" (3)

  1. # Erasing the identities of people you are angry with, including gender-identity and racial identity.

    And disabled identity (which you mention later in the post), which happened to me just the other day when someone described me as “disabled” in quotation marks. As I said to you at the time, this person would have been the first to be screaming if someone had described her as a “woman” in quotation marks!

    We need to learn how to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to have effective anti-oppression practice.

    Yes. Yesyesyes. I don’t think we can move forward at all without this happening.

  2. THANK YOU.

  3. […] Anna, at Adventures of an Anna, sums up my current frustrations with certain blog drama in this post and the less subtle follow-up. (Via Random Babble.) […]

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