exactly that

Warning, this post if very rambly…

I went to a very whitewashed high school in the U.S.

My U.S. History teacher had a fucking shrine to Monticello in back of the room, and we learned about what a Great Guy Christopher Columbus was. He was seriously a hero.

We were taught that the Trail of Tears was a necessary means, and that the gov’t was Really Very Sorry for it.

Mad Ann Bailey was a Women’s History icon.

No one ever mentioned that my tribe was the only one to hold off the French oppression. In fact, most people have never heard of my tribe at all.

(You don’t “look Native”!)

I took the standard history I was fed.

I grew up scraping together pieces of my heritage because I only had parts of it to keep. I won’t rehash it because the people who know me know how difficult and personal it was to hold together and how fucking hard it is to assert my right to keep my non-white identity.

I can barely keep up w/ my own heritage and the emotional toll it takes on me, because discussions about race are extremely personal for me. Just because I don’t blog loudly and publicly about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t touch my life deeply on a daily basis. I don’t have to pass a litmus test to get cookies. I bake cookies if I want them.

So, I don’t think that I need to explain in great detail, that when I was enjoying an internet free day, while my partner, in my single computer home, was playing EVE Online and I was tucked into a great Space Opera novel (Spin, I recommend it), that shit went down that I was unaware of…

I didn’t check my email, my backends, or anything that day… in fact that email couldn’t have hit my inbox any more than an hour after that first angry comment went into the mod queue at FWD, which is a site that has a comments’ policy that clearly states that we have bloggers from four countries in several different time zones and that comments (all comments are in full mod all the time) can take up to several days to respond to or even approve. That first comment was given fifteen minutes time before the next came in, and then they rolled in again and again. On a website where the mods have disabilities and have to manage spoons that need to fuel their on and offline lives…

Then came the abusive — yes, abusive — comments asking if we didn’t have the spoons to deal with our racism… calling into question our disability status while many of us were sleeping or spending time with families or taking self care time. Something we have a right to do and that the internet has no right to take away from us. All within a couple of hours’ time… (but I hadn’t seen any of this yet) I would never dream of calling into question another person’s racial/ethnic or disability status when they have laid it out publicly so often…I would expect to get that shit called out quickly. That doesn’t fly in my playground…ain’t how we roll on my rez (OK, that is how they did roll on the rez, and maybe that is why I am so protective of people I love now, because calling that shit out is racist/ableist and I ain’t gonna do it)…

Then, Father’s Day was observed for us here on the base near where I live, even though we are currently living in the Republic of Korea, which I will point out is in the Eastern Hemisphere and in the same date and time zone as parts of Australia (you’ve heard of them, right? It’s another country, and continent), and we had plans to go out and spend some great family time together, after we finished up the grocery shopping. I made a list, and noted that the Kid is on school holiday, so I needed to incorporate home lunches for two into that, and was going to plan for home made bread which I remembered might be more fussy than my Korean oven would allow right now, with it’s temperature numbers missing, so I needed my Laser Gun (thanks s.e. for helping me choose!) thermometer, and decided that before I forgot I needed to really quickly close my Amazon cart…

I always leave my email open, but since we have multiple computer users Apple does this neat thing where we can have different screens running at once, and I used the “apple + left arrow” to scroll over to my screen to open a new tab and saw at the top of my inbox an angry email calling out myself and my fellow FWD blogger, Chally, for not addressing the issue of racism at FWD, since we were “POC”s and such…

That was the official moment that I learned what the fuck “Juneteenth” was. So, my ignorant ass had no idea that any internet crime had been committed. And suddenly I had to spend two hours derailing my family’s plans — because that is how OCD works — and had to catch up on WTF was going on. But our policy states that we have that long mod time to allow us to work on an international schedule and to make every attempt to contact the original poster… none of us can move unilaterally in this situation and I don’t know why the fuck this is still being explained b/c you all could read it if you were so inclined (which many of you are not or you would have)…

We have this in place to protect us from reacting too quickly and rashly to things, and it has been this way since the beginning…but I suppose it is less fun to read silly things like comment policies and intro posts than it is to run amok all over the internet w/ whatever information you believe is the truth and tear people’s lives apart — some of those people being people who have mental illnesses that are affected by this kind of abuse — there’s that word again — and create more page hits and fun bandwagons to endorse for yourselves…

Because I have read the posts, I firmly maintain that there was no fault at FWD. I think that Anna and s.e. didn’t need to apologize for shit — and I realize that this will be unpopular because everyone fell all over their damned selves to rally around the loudest person yelling — because the Helen Keller Blogswarm invitation was clearly an invitation to write about what was important to each of us, and about intersectional issues. The date wasn’t specifically chosen by FWD, but by a larger group celebrating a well known, international disability rights activist. If this meant that Juneteenth was important to you, then by all means, write about that. It would have been productive, and it would have been eye-opening instead of destructive. If I am accused of Tone here, fine. Accuse me of tone. But claiming that an invitation to write freely in any space in the internet about anything that you desire is erasure is disingenuous (so sorry you were caught doing some shit you shouldn’t have and this is how you reacted, but we didn’t deserve this kind of fucking abuse). At best, really. And more obviously a way to openly attack a group of vulnerable people by using the privilege of voice, platform, and popularity. Details are made up and twisted (comments closed specifically to shut down Black people? That is some incredible foresight to close comments on a personal blog months ago and to request the same permission weeks in advance!) and no one bothers to do the required reading before throwing a hat in the ring and trashing bloggers’ names.

But if I may: Making something All About You when it isn’t is awful. Someone I once respected taught me that. Once again, taking something that wasn’t specifically aimed at excluding an obscure U.S./North American holiday (but was intended to include it if any author wanted it to) and making it so, is selfish, so obviously a cry for page hits and fabricated drama, and once again centering a discussion that shoves people aside and silences voices that aren’t as popular or powerful as your own. Once again, this forcing of a race issue to be Black or White is erasing people who fall in between. Where is the outcry when Aboriginal/Islander/First Nation/Indigenous holidays get no attention? Where is this outrage when our people are misidentified or white hipsters appropriate our traditions? Sport’s teams our names as mascots? Where is the cry of racism when mixed ethnic people are labeled Black or White, and their identities erased? Where is the Day of Emancipation celebration for Indigenous people in the U.S.? (We don’t have one because we are not free.) Where is the freedom from oppression for PWD? (There is none!) These identities also intersect within my own body, both of those having extremely high instances of sexual assault that is ignored by law enforcement, placing bodies in situations where pay is cut/lower than livable, benefits are denied…the list goes on. And yet, instead of bullying anyone off the internet I was/am proud to be part of something that cherishes all voices and wasn’t working to hurt some in the name of my own singular, louder voice…

I am not going to ask permission for this one: I appreciate being tokenized about as much as I appreciate being erased. I have drafted and re-drafted an email response to that original email, before I gave up and realized that no response will suffice, especially after being publicly flogged for having the audacity to be offline with my family for days. I have a right to self-care and non-internet time. I have a right to value time with mine. No one can take that from me, as my body tried to take that from me, and as this abuse now tries to take more of it from me mentally, I will not stand for it as I now need pain pills to cope w/ the flares this added stress is causing.

It is equally racist to call me out because of my ethnic heritage and demand that I stand with you. Yes, “POC” can be racist too, and this action was racist. Expecting me to stand in solidarity (as baseless claims and hurtful half-truths were slung) based solely on my non-white status is a racist act. Telling a person to don white sheets is hateful abuse. Emailing me and expecting me to react instantly is a North American-centrist attitude, and expecting that I could/should respond while I was sleeping because you said so smacked of an attitude of colonization. Too many times am I erased because my color is not the right color, and finally, when it is convenient to you, I am expected to fall in line and fight, or be called a colluder. Fuck that.

I have a right to decide where I lay my loyalties, and I have decided that I stand with intersectionality, and with people who don’t need an Either/Or, because there isn’t a limit on pixels or tube space. We can have all of it. We can share the space and overlap our margins, and that is what I am striving for. No one gets to tell me how I use my spoons or what battles I fight. I resent being chided like a child, as if somehow I can’t understand my actions. I will not be colonized, not by White people nor by anyone who forces any label on me. Not with any form of guilt (I spent enough years as a Catholic TYVM). My people still live in poverty and in special places set aside for them. Slavery has not ended. I know racism, I don’t need a primer or a racesplainin’.

Oh, yeah? Closed comments? That was a lesson I learned from a very wise person indeed. You call it silencing? I call it self-fucking-preservation from your fucking abuse. I won’t take any more of your public floggings, and is sure as hell won’t happen in my fucking space. Anyone who comes here will know the dog damned truth.

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Comments on: "The One Where My Boundaries Were Also Violated…" (1)

  1. […] Just over a week ago, the team behind the blog FWD/Forward decided to hold a “blogswarm” dedicated to busting myths about Helen Keller and demonstrating that there was more to her than the “water over the hand” clichés commonly taught in schools (you can find some contributions in the comments to that post). When the event finally kicked off, Renee, the author of Womanist Musings (and of the ridiculous article about an innocent life-sentence prisoner I commented on here) blasted them for ignoring the Black American celebration of Juneteenth (19th June), the anniversary of the taking of Galveston, Texas, by Union troops during the US civil war, which resulted in some of the last slaves being freed when the army broke the news that the law had changed two and a half years ago. (I asked sis. Margari Aziza what she thought of all this; you can find her answer in the comments.) Ouyang Dan of FWD/Forward has since posted this response. […]

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