exactly that

Posts tagged ‘why am I still a feminist?’

Another Social Justice Blogger Killed In Action…

Expanded from my Tumblr.

My friend Ceceliea, of Anishinaabekwe, has closed her blog.

She has been a Native American social justice advocate, working for the good of Native women in Michigan and also online. Recently she was bullied by women while trying to assert her right to be involved in conversations about women of color in feminist spaces, mainly mainstream feminist spaces, and was bullied out. If she is comfortable, she may share more of the specifics of her story here.

Not just by White women, mind you. Other women of color insisted that she didn’t fit into their spaces because she is of mixed heritage. (I can relate.) Finally she couldn’t take it anymore and her beautiful voice is now private to only a select few people. She has burned out and has fallen back.

She is another to add to the list. I told you, they don’t go away.

This is tragic because she is a fantastic and wonderful force of positive energy for Native women and for all women, really.

This is the shit that pisses me off.

First, that she was another blogger bullied off the ‘nets.

Second, that Native issues get swept aside, because we aren’t brown enough sometimes to be listened to when we engage in discussions about how privilege has destroyed our people. Even among Natives, it is tough, because some of us apparently don’t look the part enough. Thirdly, how being mixed blood somehow erases our WoC/PoC status, how we are supposed to surrender our identities to another party who has decided that we are somehow Not Non-White Enough to not be white. In threads I am assumed to be white, and when I say I am Non-White I am assumed to be Black. Maybe Latin@. No one ever considers that I could be any of the myriad other options until I assert.
No, I don’t believe in Reverse Racism, but there is a hierarchy within the Non-White community, especially online, where those of us with non-black, mixed ethnicity heritage are somehow considered not enough of whatever to engage, and we are turned away — stripped of our identities, our experiences are erased, even though some of us have grown up straddling worlds where no one has really accepted us.

And you know what? This is bullshit, because I will tell you what. I live in places where I am looking at the future, and I see mixed ethnicity people in it, more and more.

Military families are increasingly mixed-ethnicity. Military marriages are inter-racial/trans-racial (OK, the language here is new to me). Granted, most of them don’t look like mine, where we get the total spit take where people see me (the Native woman who apparently isn’t dark enough) and the Asian man and it comes off as a bit of a mind-fuck, but it is a common thing. The children here are mixed ethnicity. The children growing up today are like me. The military is the most culturally diverse organization the U.S. has to offer (though it is still working on how to handle that) So we are going to have to figure out how to include people like me and Cecelia into this conversation on ethnicity and race. We have to figure out how to deal with ethnicity that isn’t cut and dry. And fast.

It is so horrible that Cecelia closed her blog. Her voice being gone is like a death in this world, and for those people who were part of it being gone, congratulations on causing that death. Pat yourselves on the back as you add another tick mark to the wall.

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If only they wouldn’t act like KIDS…

A mostly white kitty with tan and black stripes and a black smudge on his cute pink nose sits up with a tired a bemused face. Text reads "You have woken me... and where is your offering...?"
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So I didn’t have to read more than a paragraph or two of this to be annoyed.

I am not even sure that “annoyed” is the proper adjective (or past participle, wev) here.

These kinds of posts in feminist spaces make me want to toss in my feminist card and return my free toaster oven (it doesn’t work on the 220 volt anyway). The first thing that these kinds of posts do is set expectations that are too high. Whether or not these posts say it directly, and irrespective of later claims and clarifications in comments by the authors, they are expecting children to behave at an adult threshold. They are expecting children to comply with behavioral norms established by and for able-bodied adults. They are also putting the onus on able-bodied adults to “control” that behavior, only mildly admitting that children do not yet have the faculties to reach those thresholds.

The only nod I will give to this post by Jill, who has privilege coming out her nose here in this very U.S., East Coast centric post, is that she isn’t calling for parents and care-takers to hide indoors with the windows locked for 18+ years. Children do need to learn how to live in our world, and how to behave in public and interact with people who are not them and their parent or parents/caretakers. But here is a newsflash for the child-free crowd: part of socializing children is also about teaching them that they are not the center of the universe. That is why we take them to places that are not “kid friendly”. That is why we go to restaurants that “couldn’t advertise any harder that children will be bored out of their skulls“, because they need to learn that they need to live in the grown up world too. That is why we tote the big bags full of crayons and toys and snacks and enough stuff that makes it look as though we have moved in. That is why it takes some of us two hours to leave the house (the “we” that means whoever this includes, not necessarily me, even though I once fit into this, but this is a very privileged set of parents and caretakers) with youngins. We work over time to make sure that our kids behave. Most of us.

Another newsflash might be that “behave” isn’t synonymous with “control” because it seems to escape the attention of many a Feministe reader and commenter that children are people. You can’t control a child any more than you can control a 30-something grown woman who is a fully formed human being. They have feelings and needs and desires…the big difference here, and it’s a big one, is that they lack the capacity of communication that allows them to express these things clearly to the people in charge of satisfying these needs. And I don’ t know about you but that sounds like it is fucking irritating. I sometimes get sensory overload and just can’t communicate that, and I am an adult so people tend to listen to me more than they do to children (I am struggling for a Dumbledore quote here but it is escaping me, so I will have to watch Prisoner of Azkaban later). We as parents try to modify behavior. We try to communicate with children. We try to listen to them and validate them. What I find that most people who don’t have children mean by “control” is that they want us to grab a crying, frustrated child who is overloaded with feelings that they can’t express (an action that would get an adult punched by another adult, I am sure) and try to cover their mouths or even spank them. People assume that if they don’t see a parent physically engaging with a child or verbally (and sternly) having a dialogue with a child that they are taking a laissez-faire approach. We are lazy, the admonished “rather be friends” parent.

Again and again I see in comments that if such behavior in children was displayed by adults, such as a fight with a significant other in a restaurant, they would be expected to leave the public space for the sake of others. Well, of course they would. This equating of adult behavior that is inappropriate for public consumption to a child’s behavior is absurd, because you can not expect children to hit the same bar of behavior as adults. They are not adults. I don’t even expect 17-year olds to hit that same threshold, but I so see them as nigh adults, and expect a level of appropriate behavior. Because they are humans and individuals. Capable of behavior that is appropriate to them, and most of them surpass and exceed the threshold that even I set (which is higher than most, because of my weird notions that they are potential adults and all). We can not possibly expect them to behave like adults. They are not adults. This is a terrible straw argument. Plus, comparing typical child behavior to inappropriate behavior of adults (fighting, drunken conduct) is insulting to children. They are humans.

Also, I would like to note that any behavior that children might engage in that is outside of smiling demurely is not “misbehaving”. Children occasionally cry. They tend to be loud sometimes. Every now and then they want or need something and they don’t know how to tell you that, or they are bored, or they are tired, or any number of things we can’t predict from the Pandora’s box of their range of emotions, and they will find a way of communicating this. It happens, so far in my experience, all the way up until eight, and counting. This is not “misbehaving”. So far, it is behaving. I have seen this “misbehaving”, and a toddler dropping a crayon on the floor in a restaurant to see the response of a person picking it up. Again. And again. And again. Is not “misbehaving”. Read a baby development book for Ceiling Cat’s sake. That is typical development. They like reactions. In fact, if you ignore it, they usually stop.

Which brings me to my next point. (more…)

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