ok yall…a lil piece on white feminists

July 24, 2008 at 9:42 pm (anti-classism, anti-oppression, anti-racism)

from resist racism

we heard it before

racism 101

now i love the site resist racism, especially since they have created a shorthand for racist ish you hear so often that really, you dont feel like going through all the arguments (again!) for why ‘that thing that you said was racist…’

only recently i have realized that white people think that one of the worse things to be called is: racist. i am still not sure why this is. white folks, imho, have never really explained why being called a racist is like so horrible and shuts down the conversation immediately. and we folks of color have to find ways to deal with your racism without calling you a racist, or implying that you are a racist. (but that is for another discussion) and why is the burden on us, to prove that we dont think you are a racist…

this discussion is a lil piece about well…white feminists. and i know some sane white feminists out there. good friends who have my back and will go down in the trenches with me and fight as hard as they can to call out the bullshit that gets passed around as ‘logic’. cause racism is very logical. and it is a logic that is hard to fight. been re-reading toni morrison’s playing in the dark. but just because it is logical, that dont make it right.

and i used to think that organizations that didnt heal from their racism would end up disappearing from the earth like dinosaurs, cause antiracism will win the day, antiracism being evolutionarily advanced and all. but now i am pretty sure that racist organizations are racist because racism is a successful survival technique and if you want your organization (non profit, corporation, etc) to survive try to become as racist as possible. maybe i sound cynical and ‘nihilistic’ but take a look at history…oppressive organizations, nations, etc have a longer survival rate than anti oppressive ones. and i dont think that is just correlation, i think that is causation. but this isnt a post about racist organizations, so i dont want to derail the topic again.

but that is to say that white people know that if you are racist (within boundaries, i mean you cant go yelling nigger in an open theatre, but you can listen to a poc talking about racism and focus on how angry and bitter they sound instead of the content of what they are saying…) that will help them go very far. think about it, if it is a competition and you can prove that poc (because of their anger or lack of experience being white, or whateva) are not qualified to do the job, then you have made the chances of your success much better. that is just capitalism. and playing the game well.

this is a lil piece on white feminists…okay about one particular bratty white feminist. this about a chick who used to be a friend until she ‘discovered her voice’. and turns out that her ‘voice’ is a controlling racist classist silencing kind of voice (and if you are white and trying to figure out, how can i claim to be antiracist and still silence a poc? keep reading and i will give you a step by step guide)…but i got to start at the beginning.

here is the story: she pulled some classic racist, classist shit. and i confronted her about it. i did not do it nicely. i responded to the violence of her racism and classism. and being nice to violence is not effective. one has to push back (even if it is only verbally).

hint: racism and classism are forms of violence. same way as a white person yelling: nigger is a form of violence. and self-defense, while it may be violent, is not morally wrong.

and her response to the self-defense, was, well…classic.

1. she decided to go with: ventriloquy. as in: i have a friend who is less privileged than me who agrees with me

2. then, i got the: you are an angry and violent person

3. then we got the: my defensive responses to you confronting me is not about my privilege

4. also, got to include the: i apologize ‘if you were hurt’. i do not apologize for being racist or classist because i am just a human being and we all make mistakes. and i am working on being anti-racist and anti-classist…and that is all i can do.

dear white folks, please dont do (or say) these things…they are stupid.

but honestly, folks, this post is not even about white feminists…it is about the new anti-racists. she is the ‘evolved’ anti-racists. lets call it anti-racist 2.0. ten years from now people of color are going to be griping and swearing that they ever supported this whole: white anti-racist movement. because it is insiduous.

so let me show you what i am talking about.

1. what is an anti-racist? she reads a few books by people of color. maybe she takes a diversity/anti-racism workshop (hang the diploma on your wall!). she lived a neighborhood with a bunch of brown folks. shes got some friends of color. she has told someone else when they have said something racist. she dated someone of another race. she likes ethnic restaurants. she supports obama. adopt some brown child (or at least play ‘aunti’ to one), join a community/social justice organization with brown folks in it. she traveled to brown countries, join an all-white anti-racist group therapy for her ongoing education. etc. (damn, that is alot of work!)

2. she has made a commitment (maybe even a tshirt or a poster) that she will continue to work on being anti-racist. she recognizes that anti-racism is a life long project. that she will never be perfect at. of course she will make mistakes, but, hey at least she is trying!

3. she does or says something fucking racist as hell. (woops! well, she knew that she was going to make a mistake!)

4. she gets called on it by a person of color. (this is a really important step. if she got called on it by a white person, the rest of these steps will not happen…because she will own up to her wrongness, not feel super-defensive, and want to make sure that she does everything possible to prove to her white friend that she really is anti-racist…we will return to this important difference a little later)***

5. she gets defensive about it. forget everything she learned in anti-racism 101 and just have at it. (i mean come on, it takes alot of work to be an antiracist white person, she had to give up sleeping in on saturday mornings just to make it to that antiracism workshop and all that spicy food gives her heartburn…but she does it anyways, because she is committed!)

6. she calls/emails all her white anti-racist friends (maybe even some friends of color, but probably she will forget to cc them, cause how can you expect her to think properly while getting attacked like this?) tells her side of the story. in the telling, she acknowledges that of course she knows that she is not perfect, and has made a couple of (little) mistakes but dammit, she is trying to be a good person.

she conveniently forgets to mention 70 percent of all the racist shit she did/said. and focuses on that one little comment that she made, that was misinterpreted by the poc, and blown way out of proportion.

7. the other white anti-racist tell her how they have realized that being anti-racist doesnt mean that they have to agree with poc interpretation of everything. and how she needs to stand up for herself. and how feeling guilty is not being anti-racist. and how some poc really are just angry and bitter. and that is not the white anti-racist fault. i mean even bell hooks says that.

the white anti-racists all feel better about their newfound understanding of anti-racism.

8. the white anti-racist friend goes to the person of color and ‘stands up for herself’.

9. the person of color calls her out on all the racist bullshit she said in defense of proving that she was anti-racist.

10. the white person responds by quoting bell hooks (or other person of color) or tim wise (or other white anti-racist person) and gives the poc a lesson on the ‘proper way to communicate her anger’ and how the poc is ‘misdirecting her anger’ and that white person refuses to be ‘talked to in such a disrespectful way’ (never mind all the shite that the white anti-racist has just said…i mean what did the poc expect?) and how the white person is no longer in that ‘immature’ stage of anti-racism where she just apologizes for her racist behaviour/words and asks for how to change herself (cuz some people are just never satisfied)…she has now matured and is ready to ‘stand up for herself’. and poc are no longer going to victimize her by making her deal with poc’s personal issues around blame, and bitterness, and yes anger.

now. this also applies to anti-sexism, anti-classism, anti-heterosexism, anti-ism, etc. some of the words and names change. but the pattern stays the same…poc or working class or woman or queer or whateva it is are no longer going to bully the privileged. because the privileged are have read your analysis, your writers, your struggle, taken it out of context, and can now use it to silence you. or at least educate you on how to be a ‘good oppressed person’. and not one of those intimidating and scary marginalized people.

and this is the new anti-racists, folks. the thing is they become anti-racists so they can look good to other white folks. poc are just the means to an end that does not help us in anyway. they just want to prove to other white folks that they are one of the good white folk.

it is like one white antiracist feminist straight chick told me: why do all those women of color keep stealing the few good conscious white guys out there? and like another anti-racist straight white chick told me: he says he only dates women of color, but i figure, i can convince him im not like those other white girls.

good luck poc.

anti-racists 2.0.

its a brave new world.

or maybe it is just the same old shit.

***my partner just pointed out that there is another possibility at step 4.  that she will tell the white person to shut up, because they are racist too.  like: im not racist, youre the one whos racist, because you are saying that the poc doesnt have power in the situation.  im not racist youre the one whos racist because you are exoticizing the poc.  im not racist, your the one whos racist, because you are just saying im bad because im white, so i have to be wrong in the situation…

wow.  anti-racist white folks are crafty.  like Fox.

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so iguess the democratic nomination is over and i feel…sad

May 25, 2008 at 2:09 am (anti-classism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism, prisons, women of color)

here’s the thing.  i will be so happy ot have the first black president.  i think that is awesome.  and i would have been happy to have the first woman president.  (but i have to say that i became quite disenchanted with the clinton campaign after south carolina…really, bill, barack won sc, jesse j won sc, and so did you win sc, pres clinton…but you didnt bother to mention that…) and there have been moments when watching barack (ok i admit it) i tear up.   i mean i think he is…well…sincere.

but this latest kerfuffle that hillary want barack dead is just ridiculous.  of course she wants barack dead.  if i were her i would want barack to die.  whateva the path to nomination is, she has no doubt, and i have no doubt that she would beat mccain and frankly if barack died it would be easier to beat mccain.  i mean acually barack dying is one of the surest ways to the white house.  we blacks (and yes i am speaking for all of us) would flock to her campaign and to the polls with a level of unmitigated grief and love that would be unprecedented in general elections (this is my theoretical secret to dems winning the whtie house…not that i am a democratic…people underestimate the black vote to their peril.  we may not be many but we come to the polls in incredibly low number…and when we come to the polls in high numbers we turn an election…and we will come out for barack…that is what barack is betting on…a couple of percentage points in a couple of key states with afr-am pop’s that normally cant be counted on…white working class is one thing…but the black working class remembers revolution…heard it on the laps of their parents and grandparents…and we had a dream…and that dream is about to come true…if we vote…the first black president…i will address the idea of the first woman pres in a second)

and she the clinton, who yes insulted us, but we liked the nineties better than the aughts (or atleast financially i did) and we should be angry about our great black hope covered in the morass of assassinations blood and we would be energized to change the election…

so of course she wants barack to be killed in a hail of bullets.  it is romantic.  violent.  beautiful. i mean when bobby kennedy died that was a ‘moment’ in the course of history.  it changed people’s lives.

and of course it cropped her mind.  when the msm calls barack the next kennedy.  well, we know what happens to kennedys.

so ted kennedy is in the hospital.  or just out of it.  and she thought bobby.  barry. barack.  evolution?  im not sure.  a path to the white. house.  god damn suree boy!

i aint hating.  i am a writer.  and as for violent. beatiful. romantic. nothing beats the assasination of a dream.  the murder of hope.  and another hope blooming in its place.

and it would rock if we had a woman represented as president.  even more exciting if i felt a kinship with her.

which brings me to a tiny side point.  the racism and the sexism has been awful in this campaign.  but honestly as a black woman it was hard for me to feel as empathetic about the sexism that hillary endured as opposed to the racism.  and i have been wondering why.

here is the closest i got:  because the sexism that i saw in reference to hillary was so different from the sexism i have encountered as a black woman.  because white folks and black folks (okay all folks) view black women as diametrically opposed to white women.  a white woman when she is seen as not following the gender script is seen as angry, masculine, aggressive, hypersexual, which is the normalized version of black woman identity.   the darker you are the more aggressive (especially sexually) and angry you are seen.  you are masculinized.  not seen as vulnerable, feminine, soft, reserved.  i tried to ask macon d over at stuff white people do why this was….i have seen the phenomena but i dont understand the underlying causes.

so hillary crying and that being sympathetic… i wonder if a black woman had done that if she would have been seen as sympathetic (ok hillary got slightly chocked up she didnt cry…but damn msm had a field day with it)  or would she have been seen as deficient, ‘as not being strong’.  and who would have been the women who would have flocked to the polls to support her.  would white women have flocked to the polls to support her?  yes, oprah cries and ‘gets emotional’ but oprah aint running for president.

and i feel like what white women want from black women is for black women to represent and inspire them to ‘strength’ towards a ‘manliness’ and a ‘go gett-m-ness’ that white women feel like they lack. attitude.  a sort of diva self-appreciation.

how easy is it to empathize with someone who is from a different social group with you and still see her weakeness as strength? then speak out for michelle obama.

so racism/sexism that i experience is different than the sexism that white women experience.  because you know that dichotomy that says that women can only be a virgin or a whore?  yeah, black women for the most part get to experience the ‘whore’ part.  so aggressive.  so hypersexual.  so experienced.

and i feel sad.  because the idea that hillary wants obama to die.  is to be expected.  but the fact that t he only good black leader is a dead black leader.  that has me sad.  and the fact that ‘oppression olympics stands in the way of: when we advance we can all advance–is sad.

i guess the question i should have asked was: why is it that no one notices that black women vote overwhelmingly for obama and not hillary.  and our votes ( and the majority of black folks voting for obama are black women.  too many black men are not allowed to vote.  that is the effect of the prison industrial complex) are not counted by msm.  when folks say that women overwhelmingly vote for hillary.  well, black women do not overwhelmingly vote for hillary.  and even though ‘working class white men’ vote for hillary and that is the sort of statistic that accounts for too much of msm’s analysis.  the fact that working class black women vote barack…means what?  not worthy of comment.

if i thought that hillary would make my life as a working class black female easier.  i would vote for her.  no really i would.

but the idea that she wants him dead.  well, i mean, that is just obvious.  you dont run for president without having entertained the thoughts of ordering an assasination or two.

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changed the submission deadline!

March 31, 2008 at 6:47 am (anti-classism, anti-heterosexism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism, Motherhood, women of color)

hey folks,

so i extended the submission deadline to revolutionary motherhood publication.  now it is april 30th…and i am reposting the call as well…

Revolutionary Motherhood

Call for submissions

Due by April 30th, 2008

We are creating a global multi-media publication called Revolutionary Motherhood inspired by the Incite! 2008 Southwest conference and the workshop entitled: Revolutionary Motherhood.  The intention of this publication is to inspire, connect, and organize women and transfolk of color who perform motherhood and daughterhood to co-create life-affirming, mutually liberating communities.

Please send submissions to mai’a at primitivedragonfly@yahoo.com

Please check out revolutionofthelilies.wordpress.com, guerrillamamamedicine.wordpress.com and www.freewebs.com/revolutionofthelilies for more information.

We are asking for articles, essays, interviews, black and white visual art, photography, poetry, etc .

 Exploring themes and questions such as:

What does it mean to be a mother?  What does it mean to be a daughter?

What does it mean to give birth?  How do we give birth as empowered women and transgendered folk?  What is the transition into motherhood?

What is revolutionary motherhood?  How does our experience and performance as women and transfolk of color intersect with our experience of mothering?

What are the daily acts of resistance in which we engage as mothers and daughters?  How did motherhood change our vision of resistance, revolution, and radical action?  What is our relationship to activism and the activism world through the experience of motherhood?

What is the experience of mothering those who are older than us such as parents, grandparents, etc.?  What is the experience of mothering those who are not biological descendents such as students, godchildren, stepchildren, etc.?

In what ways did our mothers model ‘revolutionary motherhood’? What is revolutionary daughterhood?  As a daughter, how do we relate and engage with the mothers and daughters in our community?  Who and what inspires us as mothers and daughters?

What does it mean to be the revolutionary mother of a boy-child/a son?  What is the experience of being a son?  How do we respond to the demonization of mothers of color who care for boy-children/sons? 

What are the specific ways that violence intersects with the experience of motherhood? In what ways does the anti-violence movement need to be more responsible to the experience of mothers of color?  How do we respond to the violence in the medical establishment in terms of pregnancy, birth, child-rearing, elder-care, etc.?

What are specific ways that the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality play with the acts of mothering and daughtering?

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more info on revolutionary motherhood

February 24, 2008 at 10:26 pm (anti-classism, anti-heterosexism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism)

for those of you who are interested in being able to get advanced copies or more information about the revolutionary motherhood publications please sign up to the listserve: revolutionarymotherhood@yahoogroups.com.   thanks lilia.

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call for submissions: revolutionary motherhood

February 23, 2008 at 7:36 pm (anti-classism, anti-heterosexism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism, women of color)

Revolutionary Motherhood

Call for submissions

Due by March 30th, 2008

We are creating a global multi-media publication called Revolutionary Motherhood inspired by the Incite! 2008 Southwest conference and the workshop entitled: Revolutionary Motherhood.  The intention of this publication is to inspire, connect, and organize women and transfolk of color who perform motherhood and daughterhood to co-create life-affirming, mutually liberating communities.

Please send submissions to mai’a at primitivedragonfly@yahoo.com

Please check out revolutionofthelilies.wordpress.com, guerrillamamamedicine.wordpress.com and www.freewebs.com/revolutionofthelilies for more information.

We are asking for articles, essays, interviews, black and white visual art, photography, poetry, etc .

 Exploring themes and questions such as:

What does it mean to be a mother?  What does it mean to be a daughter?

What does it mean to give birth?  How do we give birth as empowered women and transgendered folk?  What is the transition into motherhood?

What is revolutionary motherhood?  How does our experience and performance as women and transfolk of color intersect with our experience of mothering?

What are the daily acts of resistance in which we engage as mothers and daughters?  How did motherhood change our vision of resistance, revolution, and radical action?  What is our relationship to activism and the activism world through the experience of motherhood?

What is the experience of mothering those who are older than us such as parents, grandparents, etc.?  What is the experience of mothering those who are not biological descendents such as students, godchildren, stepchildren, etc.?

In what ways did our mothers model ‘revolutionary motherhood’? What is revolutionary daughterhood?  As a daughter, how do we relate and engage with the mothers and daughters in our community?  Who and what inspires us as mothers and daughters?

What does it mean to be the revolutionary mother of a boy-child/a son?  What is the experience of being a son?  How do we respond to the demonization of mothers of color who care for boy-children/sons? 

What are the specific ways that violence intersects with the experience of motherhood? In what ways does the anti-violence movement need to be more responsible to the experience of mothers of color?  How do we respond to the violence in the medical establishment in terms of pregnancy, birth, child-rearing, elder-care, etc.?

What are specific ways that the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality play with the acts of mothering and daughtering?

 

 

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who will fund the revolution then?

October 21, 2007 at 5:34 pm (anti-classism, anti-oppression, Uncategorized)

this was a crazy weekend.  we had friends from out of town who came for the prenc welcoming committee.  and once again we talked alot about organizations, privilege, rights, oppression, etc.

and i started to wonder again if the reformist: changing the institution from the inside is ever effective.

i cannot think of a time when people from the inside of an unjust institution have changed the power relations in the institution significantly.  i mean more than a reshuffling of chairs but a paradigmatic transformation of power from the haves to the havenots.  i mean a successful revolution.

my partner says that the only successful transformations have occurred when people inside the institution were working with people outside the institution to transform the institution.  maybe.

i keep thinking of our friends in tuwani who said that it didnt matter who became president in palestine, because it wasn’t the person that was the problem but the chair.  (imagine a chair) whoever sits in the chair becomes corrupt and we have to get rid of the chair.  that community gave me so many glimpses of what revolutionary anarchist society would look like.  it turns out that it looks a lot like sheep. (they were shepherds)

so one of the women who visited us was studying to be a nurse midwife.  another friend wanted to be teacher.  both of them are counting the years of school before they reach their goals.  both of them consider themselves to be revolutionary.  and very committed to destroying the exploitative system currently in place.

so their plan seems to be to gain more institutional power (degree, title, expertise, education, money, etc) in order to deconstruct that power.  well, i cant help but wonder why do they need that level of security.  and if i can trust ´leaders´who need institutional power to feel as if they can lead.  maybe the people should decide their leaders and not just the institutions. 

right now i am reading the revolution will not be funded.  and while i am not sure if i am ready to give up on the ngo model completely ai m more and more questions the activist-for-a-living model that i once aspired to.   i met paola rojas at the incite conference (she wrote the article  are the cops in our heads or in our hearts that i posted earlier) and she said that she was walking away from the activistforaliving model after being really successful at it and wanted to work as a doula. 

but then who will fund the revolution?  and why is ist when we talk about ´resources´it is always a euphemism for cold hard cash?  what are our resources?  what do our communities have in abundane that can sustain us just as well or better than money?  what about open spaces, does someone have a home that we could use as an office while they are at work (this was a great idea over a drink at a poetry reading that just opened up my directions i hadnt thought of before) who would be willing to cook a meal or give a massage or teach salsa or found a bunch of printer paper that just ´fell´off a truck?  maybe rather than putting our energy primarily in getting the insitutional power, could we see ´people power´and `power to the people` as more than just membership numbers and dues…and stop using the– non profit as a vanguard for the people– model. 

 and eliminate the radical vs reformist dichotomy…inside the system vs outside the system.  stop seeing the ´system´as central and start seeing the everyday peopel who are fighting against violence as central.  stop seeing the institutional prestige as our ticket to being radical and see the all the places that people already daily are organizing outside of the nonprofit model as the places that we need to learn form and support. 

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are the cops in our heads and hearts?

August 4, 2007 at 11:20 pm (anti-classism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism, women of color)

If our commitment to organizing is to build with those who are most marginalized, if we want to prioritize poor and working class women of color in the U S, most of whom are responsible for the care and survival of children and/or other family members, then it is essential that we look for alternative models to movement-building. We must also recognize another major challenge observed from outside the U.S.: the dismantling of “community”, social connections and relationships of solidarity and love. If we are faced with these conditions, it seems crucial that we try forms of organizing that center the daily experiences of those caught in the crossfire of all forms of oppression. From Latin America we can draw examples of the gigantic efforts for daily survival by the oppressed, an effort that involves strengthening the communitarian spaces and ties they are constructing and re-creating every day. It is not enough to center poor and working class women and queer folks of color’s experiences to organize around if the mode of organizing is still very similar to how male dominated labor or U.S. style community organizing operates. In this model only those who have the privilege and/or obligation of being full-time organizers because they are single without dependants, or fathers who do very little parenting, or people who can afford to pay others to do the caretaking of their families can actively participate, let alone lead our movements. Ultimately, political involvement that comes at the expense of our relationships with loved ones and the larger community is not truly libratory (19).

–rojas

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may day

June 3, 2007 at 8:01 pm (anti-classism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-sexism, women of color)

this is a post from a beautiful blog that i am borrowing and sharing.

http://atthekitchentable.blogspot.com/

on May Day: Women of Color Making Connections Between Immigration and Rape Culture

Since it is May Day, one day of many to celebrate the contributions and demand the rights of immigrant workers, it seems appropriate to share a historical precendent through which Women of Color in London organized at the intersections of immigration policy and sexual violence.

In November 1982 a broad coalition of organizations came together to put together a one day event (sound familiar yet?). The coalition included English Collective of Prostitutes, Housewives in Dialogue, Women Against Rape, Wages Due Lesbians and others who had collaborated to takeover a community center in their region (Camden). Only a few days after their first big event “Bringing it All Back Home:Black and Immigrant Women Speak out and Claim Our Rights”, the conference attendees supported the English Collective of Prostitutes as they occupied a local church to claim sanctuary from the constant police harassment and brutality they were experiencing. If you can’t tell…I am inspired and thrilled by the bravery of these women (mostly women of color, mostly with threatened immigration status) who not only demanded fair wages for the “private” labor of nurturing, but who also repeatedly took over public spaces and spoke out against sexual violence.

Anyway..at this particular conference Women Against Rape released a statement entitled “Racism is Rapism” which explicitly calls out the way in which sexual assault impacts the most vulnerable among us through the same mechanisms as racism, classism and xenophobia:
“On arriving in another country, we have found ourselves threatened again by the tacism which stems directly from one government after another saying ‘you are not welcome, don’t expect any rights!’ Such policis set us up as easy targets and legitimise every kind of racist attack against us, whether from immigration officers, the police, the courts, employers or individual men.”

They also protest the absurdity of immigration laws that make residency contingent on staying with a husband and explain the complexity on going to the violent state to mitigate intra-community violence.

“We have been afraid to go to the police for help, particularly when attacks have comefrom within our own community, since we have seen how a woman’s cry forhelp has been usedas an excuse to rampage in our community, particularly if we are black.”

and
“We have seen how sexism combines with and reinforces racism….
As women we have all experienced, if not rape itself, then the threat or fear of rape. We know how rape has been used to limit our movement and our lives. We refuse to be locked into our homes or into our countries. A WOMAN’S PLACE IS EVERYWHERE!”

Just another example of the history we move in…
love,
lex
p.s. hey Emily…wanna post that info you were sharing about responses to sexual violence in the civil rights movement?

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toward a definition of ‘natural’

November 14, 2006 at 6:24 am (anti-classism, anti-oppression, anti-racism, Motherhood, women of color)

since representation and technology form an intrinsic part of human ‘nature’ and human lives, the distinction between the natural and artificial is problematic if intended as a reference to specific characteristics of human bodies, characteristics or abilities. instead this dichotomy serves as a linguistic device employed in order to justify preferred (‘natural/normal/healthy’) forms of life.

–lucy yardley, the quest for natural communication

so what are the ‘preferred’ forms of life?

let us remember that the concept of ‘natural’ childbirth or lifestyle is dependent on the concept of the ‘artificial’. that the normal birth concept is dependent on the existance of the technological and medicalized models of birth.

so natural/normal birth did not exist before modern western birth culture.

and who has a natural/normal birth? predominately pregnant middle and upper class educated white women who have the economic and racial privilege of having choices. so a small segment of birthing society, privileged women, is allowed to be ‘normal’. and as for those for who do not have access to these choices, well, they are condemned to an abnormal unnatural pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. …these women have ‘typical’, ‘common’ childbearing experiences.
and the predominately pregnant middle and upper class educated white women are a numerical minority, ‘normal’ized and ‘natural’ized. how does this normalization occur? by exoticising and imitating and co-opting the practices and images of (primarily)3rd world brown women childbearing cultures.

would these brown mamas be welcomed in a home birth class like the one i was kicked out of? or would they be told that they had ‘issues around culture and anger’ that could not be fixed? would they be told that they were in ‘culture shock’?

if we understand that the natural/normal concept is really code for ‘preferred’, are ‘naturalized’ elite women stating that they would prefer to be a third world woman? of course not. no, it is the elite white women who has the preferred childbirth. it is she who has the preferred (natural) body. it is she who is normal. and she, her body, her lifestyle, her childbearing, her mothering, and inevitably, her children who set the standard through her privilege and access of what is normal and natural.

and as for the rest of us, we are either allowed to follow, or we disappear.

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myths and rebuttals about new orleans public housing

September 27, 2006 at 8:05 pm (anti-classism, anti-racism, new orleans)

i adore clear thinking.

gbitch 

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