been thinking a lot about my problems with a particular ready-to-pounce hypercritical activist discourse vs. the evident foolishness and oppressiveness of mainstream liberal norms of polite discourse
I think the difference here is that there is rage or flippancy and then there is people being sanctimonious and they’re not the same; in fact if anything prescriptivism re: tone is more similar than different to the hypercritical leftie prescriptivism re: language that I can’t stand; also that I associate this particular sanctimoniousness with white bourgeois social norms and a comorbid inflated sense of entitlement
going to keep chewing on that one for a while
4-year-old hit by drunk driver. Drunk driver serves six months. Mother charged and faces THREE years.
[Raquel]Nelson, 30 and African-American, was convicted on the charge this week by six jurors who were not her peers: All were middle-class whites, and none had ever taken a bus in metro Atlanta. In other words, none had ever been in Nelson’s shoes:
They had never taken two buses to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart with three kids in tow. They had never missed a transfer on the way home that caused them to wait a full hour-and-a-half with tired and hungry kids for the next bus. They had never been let off at a bus stop on a five-lane speedway, with their apartment in sight across the road, and been asked to drag those three little ones an additional half-mile-plus down the road to the nearest traffic signal and back in order to get home at last.
And they had never lost control of an over-eager four-year-old as they waited on a three-foot median for a car to pass. Nor had they watched helplessly as a driver who had had “three or four” beers and two painkillers barreled toward their child.
That’s right: Because Nelson did not lug her exhausted little ones three-tenths of a mile from the bus stop to a traffic signal in order to cross five lanes of traffic, she is guilty of vehicular homicide. Because she did as her fellow bus riders, who crossed at the same time and place, and because she did what pedestrians will do every time – take the shortest reasonable path – she is guilty of vehicular homicide.
The drunk driver has a history of hit and runs. He served six months in jail. Nelson faces three years in jail. Justice?
this is what I’m talking about when I say that mothers get harsher sentences than the person who actually killed the child does.
this is fucking horrific, all of it - and while this is the first time i’ve heard of a mother being legally punished for someone else’s deadly drunk driving, i know it’s not the first time a child has died in the past couple of years because cobb county/atlanta-area city planners couldn’t be bothered to put a crossing walk near a place where a lot of poor and transit-dependent people are known to live and workfrom catacabra
broke vs poor
This is a copypasta of a comment I made elsewhere in a slightly different conversation, but I’d like to say something about the difference between being broke and being poor. I am not saying any one person is one or another because I don’t know shit about other individuals’ lives specifically, but I do know that class is about much more than current income. So here goes.
"class mobility is possible of course but it doesn’t happen overnight and something like winning the lottery doesn’t magically change it. class is a lot about the work you do, the work your FAMILY does, the level of education you have, the level of education your family has, and so on. it’s also about your cultural norms and who your peers are. it’s so much more complicated than simple income. middle class people don’t become not middle class anymore if they get laid off and have to go on unemployment.
some people are broke but not poor. they don’t have money because they spend what they earn and so can’t afford extra stuff they want. some people are poor but not broke. i’m poor but i have some extra money left over from my tax return so i bought myself a couple cool things the other day, and i’m going to the movies on tuesday. i’m not broke, i have money. but i’m still a single mom who works part time for minimum wage and receives state help.
my bf is in the first camp. he has been “broke” for most of his adult life. he doesn’t make much money, just enough to get by. he still grew up middle class in a house with two working, professional parents. everyone else in his family went to college. we have different backgrounds and different experiences with class even though we’re mostly at the same level right now.”
In addition, I’d like to say that class mobility IN EITHER DIRECTION takes times. A middle class person is still middle class even if they’ve been homeless for a week. But over the years that can change. This is why people who choose to be homeless for whatever reason (not common of course but it happens), often find themselves trapped there against their will after a while.
Class is an INCREDIBLY complicated societal mechanism. I think we owe it to ourselves to not ignore this complexity and not boil things down to “how much money do you have in your pocket? none? congratulations, you are poor!”
(Source: hexgoddess)from rare-basement
a friend of mine posted the following on my facebook wall the other day, probably in response to this post of mine
I saw on your tumblr that there are some problematic issues surrounding white cis queer folk using the term “fierce”. I tried to look up why that would be but didn’t really find anything. I was wondering if you had the time/inclination, could you maybe explain why that is to me? I’m totally not doubting you or trying to imply that a lengthy explanation is needed before I stop using a term that’s problematic, I just am kind of curious and would like to know more.
i wrote the text quoted below in reply, and i think it gets at most of what i think about the term - though there’s a lot more to be said about the specifics of what’s happening with the way that a lot of white queers variously fetishize and hate on non-white femininities, especially black femininities (at least in the south)
i feel like in a lot of white-centric queer spaces, particularly gay male spaces, there can be this weird mix of on the one hand outright declaring non-white (and often working-class) femininities to be nothing more than tacky failures to be appropriated for campy humor, and on the other hand i think there’s more complicated white guiltish stuff going on, especially when white gay men appropriate styles and cultural codes they associate with non-white femininities because they feel an emotional or cultural connection with racially marginalized femmenesses due to the marginalization of their own queer femininity
plus there’re all these narratives/stereotypes that are like 'black women are so sassy and in-charge and sexual' or 'latinas are so tough and loud-mouthed and brassy' etc converging with gay male identifications with a certain construction of strong sexy women
thank you for asking! i’ll try my best to think this through:
many uses of the word ‘fierce’ are in my experience strongly associated with gay/queer/trans communities of color, and are particularly linked in a lot of people’s minds with more femme-gendered black gay men and black trans folks, especially not-wealthy ones
and i often see white queers - mostly but not only gay men, some of them middle-class or wealthy and some of them not so much, many of them them openly racist or at least not really interested in thinking about how racism benefits them in and outside of queer spaces - who i feel are deploying the term in a particular way to kind of, hmmm, either to derisively or “affectionately” mock what they see as the campy ghetto-fabulous tackiness of such folks (which is clearly racist and classist and often straight-up misogynistic and anti-femme)
or to do this more complicated appropriation thing where white queers use the word in an attempt to signal a knowledge of or connection to PoC/black queer cultures because they want to kinda go culture-slumming and feel like they’re part of something cool or trendy or exotic etc - without actually giving much of a shit about racism or capitalism or gay/queer/trans people of color
and also there’s this thing a lot of white culture does where white folks can deploy what they accurately or inaccurately imagine to be black vernacular in order to construct themselves as being down with black people, and thus reassure themselves and others that they’re cool good white people and couldn’t *really* be racist (even when they, well, emphatically are)
i don’t think all uses of the word ‘fierce’ by white gay/queer/trans people constitute an attempt to mock or appropriate - but i do think creepy racist sexist classist uses of the word aren’t that uncommon
poverty draft / never heard of financial aid
I hear anarchists say things a lot about “fuck the troops” and I want to agree but only to a certain extent. Yes, I am angry at the size of the military budget, and I’m angry that in the US that is billions of dollars that could be spent on schools and libraries and health care, and that military spending is prioritized. I would most likely not have nice things to say to someone who was enthusiastically joining the military and excited about imperialism and killing brown people. But that’s not necessarily everyone who’s in the military.
Most of the people I hear saying things about “fuck the troops” are white kids who never had to worry about how they’d pay for college or the fact that their high school left them with no usable skills. They want to get out of the neighborhood they grew up in because it’s suburban and boring, not because it’s poor and dangerous. They have never been around guns or gangs. They have never lived in a warzone in a US city, so they can easily say “fuck you” to someone who would go fight in a warzone overseas. I didn’t grow up in these environments either, so I’m not going to say “fuck you” to someone making those choices.
The poverty draft is very very real. It works. It may get even heavier if the DREAM Act passes, since in its current version, young undocumented people can get on track to citizenship by going to college or joining the military. A few years ago, I was organizing counter military recruitment at a couple high schools here. The main thing we ended up doing was handing out FAFSA forms. Kids had never heard of financial aid. Never heard of it. What were their school counselors doing? I’m not going to say “fuck you” or wish bad things on kids of color who have been denied resources and information, and made choices I don’t agree with because of that lack of information. If a kid has never heard of financial aid for college coming from anywhere but the military, and has never heard of a way to get out of the hood except going to college, who am I to come in and hate on them? I would rather say “fuck you”, if it needs to be said, to comfortable college kids not having to make this choice and not paying attention as black and brown youth are sent out to the front lines.
An anarchist once accused me of sounding too unradical for going so far as to say that, if Congress is already okaying military spending $80 billion at a time, they might as well thrown in a little extra to make sure kids have some decent armor and aren’t all getting killed. What I meant was that I’m tired of kids my age and color being killed to benefit the desires and gluttony of white supremacy. If that means that money goes in to decent armor, so be it; I’ve been working against this war since before it started, so it’s not like I support the war itself in any way.
I want kids who got sucked up in the poverty draft to get home okay (and I want them to resist the war along the way), and I want them to find some sort of healing after they get home, and I want them to be able to attain all the things that they are suffering through war to get. I do not want bad things to happen to them. I want bad things to happen to the capital-M Military, to the industry that is using them as fodder, to imperialism, to the generals, to the line of reasoning that brown bodies are expendable. Hate the king, not the pawns.
lol oppression aka queer aesthetics and normalization
aaka mewmew has
no few reservations about being grumpy on tumblr
i am not posting this to be mean or grumpy but just to comment on the nature of tumblr, which i like to do from time to time.
[…]i find it interesting that i can post a picture of a pretty stand mixer or something from hyperbole and a half about avoiding people for the internet (which is still getting reblogged from time to time, even though i posted it months ago) and that will get 300 reblogs in an hour
and i can post a screenshot of mubarek resigning, or something about something oppressive, or a picture of fat identified folks looking fucking hot, etc etc, and it will get maybe three or four reblogs
what is the point of tumblr? what are we here for? how can we mix the gawking and admiring of beautiful things/art/lovely objects with actual constructive thought and discourse?
finally reblogging this because i’m kind of legit pissed at the queer tumblrverse for having only given this photo from fuckyeahhispanicbears eight notes so far
eight! what is that shit?!
this photo is fucking awesome y’all
no, seriously, it’s one of the best sexyphotos i’ve seen on tumblr in a while
i love the hot chubby cub, obviously, and i love his cute undies and his pose: and, as much as that, i love that it’s clearly in a family home, i love that he took a sexy photo of himself - i think with a timed camera - in a room that was probably decorated by his mom or his auntie or his abuelita, i love the gold-tone drapes and the mismatched sofa, i love the family photos, i love the oldass computer, i love the vacuum in the corner and the soda bottle in the foreground
idk, like - and this is not not not a personal attack on any of the people who’ve said whatever in response to transartorialism’s original post - but a chunk of the response has been like “yeah! isn’t is weird how i can post a cute pic and get dozens of reblogs and post an actual idea and get like three??”
- but that’s kind of exactly the point: it’s pretty overwhelmingly urban skinny white kids with a certain cool hipsterish queer fashion who get 30, 50, 100, 400 reblogs
not chubby brown guys who take pics of themselves in their family’s livingroom, you know?
and partially it’s straightup body-normalizing stuff ‘cause he’s a chub-of-color but i also think the photo’s setting is at least as important; i find it really beautiful and charming and, just - it means something to me that this sexy photo is happening in a family home with family pictures on the wall, and not in some cool kid’s apartment in the city where they live with their cool kid roommates or whatever
there’s the life-style normalizing: the normative queer-white-middle-class assumption that you move away to the city and live ‘on your own’ and don’t (need to / want to) stick around to pay your share of your family’s rent or take care of your little siblings or your grandparents or whoever else
i mean i definitely know queer and otherwise not-het adult folks who live with their biological families, and they are all working-class or poor and almost all are not white: the expected queer life trajectories are very! raced and classed!
even though i’ve followed the normative queer young adult life path pretty closely, i can’t believe / would like to not believe that there are really so few people around here who have some - some sense of emotion and eroticism around the home-ishness of this photo, some idea of what it could mean, some sense of pleasure around the queer norms it subverts
i’m grumpy that this photo only has eight notes right now
whatevs! toxicass normalizing queer aesthetics and thought patterns
something i can’t quite put to words
i’m reading a bunch of articles for orientation and general article-writing purposes, and they run the gamut from “feminist pedagogy” to “queer pedagogy” to “feminist writing center theory” to “queer composition.”
most of them suck and i really hate that, because i want there to be great stuff out there that really works and really gets at how composition/writing center work/pedagogy can be less shitty.
but it’s mostly things like this (from “cluelessness and the queer classroom,” by donald hall):
…the problem is not that students cannot argue; it is that they argue with an often rigid and even sanctimonious basis in traditional notions and wholly uninterrogated belief systems [like thinking gay people are going to hell].
and i don’t know what to do with that. i agree that homophobia is damaging and limited, and that it is logically difficult to support; when it comes up in student writing, it’s often accompanied by the unsuccessful rhetoric of students who haven’t learned the academic writing game yet.
but i really resent this idea that students who are homophobic are stupid, or bad thinkers, or just haven’t had enough queer theory yet to realize they’re wrong. not because homophobia is right, obviously—but because i think this gets deployed in an equally shitty power-y way by (oftentimes white, cis male, and middle-class) professors against a lot of groups that are already marginalized.
also, coding homophobia as “sanctimonious,” “traditional,” and “wholly uninterrogated” doesn’t leave room for the conservative and incredibly intelligent students who i sometimes tutor who are NOT sanctimonious about their homophobia, who can rhetorically support homophobic arguments or choose not to support queer arguments, and who are frighteningly untraditional and very subtle in supporting oppression.
i can’t think of much else to say besides this: composition and rhetoric isn’t a value-free system where “progressives” are always right and people who are homophobic/oppressive are just stupid and unenlightened.
“growing permanent underclass”
“Last week I partook in Tribulation Trail’s brand of hell house pageantry, which brings participants—a total of 25,000 every October—on a 90-minute walk through the South Georgia woods. […]
lucia is amazing
you should read this article
i mostly found this article really useful, but i’m kind of troubled by the things the author doesn’t say about race in the piece
she intelligently and sympathetically emphasizes the whiteness of the working-class folks who organize and participate in such events and surely implies reference to their racism, but kind of drops the ball in actually talking about it and kind of smooths over issues of racism and racial difference when talking about the u.s. working class
this excerpt contains the full extent of her reference to race in the article:
Our tour group was asked to imagine that we were in the days just following the rapture, and the Antichrist (whose speeches involved a lot of Obama-flavored language about “change”) had established a totalitarian government after duping the masses with his political charm. […]
I thought about Joe Bageant, author of Deer Hunting with Jesus, who writes about the political and religious lives of working-class white Americans—i.e. the people make up the majority of Tribulation Trail’s cast and audience. Bageant argues that working-class whites have become a “growing permanent underclass” in a class war in which they are exploited by the elite right and neglected by the left. Given the violence directed at this group—whether physical violence inflicted against youth who are economically conscripted to fight in Iraq; economic violence inflicted by regressive tax policies; or psychological violence inflicted by a culture that tends to belittle poor whites—is it any wonder that Tribulation Trail enacts violent scenarios without directly deeming them “scary”? Is it any wonder that its vision of hope is located in something beyond immediate material realities? […]
Quite literally the recession was present from the beginning to the end of Tribulation Trail. In the second scene, Jesus returned to rapture a woman as her unemployed husband berated her for trying to convince him to go to church: “Did your God find me a job today?! I’m not ready for your God!” The Antichrist enticed recruits with offers of work and food. Before the first execution scene, we watched a video drawn from news broadcasts. It emphasized images of (white) US combat soldiers (in an army that is disproportionately working-class) and clips of floods ravaging people’s homes (in a year when thousands have lost houses to foreclosure).
how does one deracialize either the ways that aggressive army-recruitment campaigns work (the army is surely quite disproportionately non-white in addition to being disproportionately working-class) or the place that images of ‘floods ravaging people’s homes’ have in a post-katrina u.s.?
i feel like talking about the very real and serious exploitation of poor and working-class people who are specifically white without talking about how those people also get very real and serious economic and social benefits from individual and structural acts of racism can come dangerously close to excusing that racism, normalizing it, or deeming it secondary to class struggle - all of which are pretty contrary to the ways in which i’d want people to approach both anti-capitalist and anti-racist analysisfrom transartorialism