Posts filled under: wtaf
Usually I don’t bother. I really don’t. I can’t be wasting spoons on shit like "Tone arguments are terrible! Here’s why I can still use them instead of you!"
Then this entire question of good faith/bad faith comes up.
Let me tell you something about “good faith”, my duckies.
if I didn’t check myself properly & screw up, the person I hurt has every right to hold that against me for the rest of my life. You know why? Because my feelings don’t matter. Not one iota. Theirs do. The conversation is about them, & their needs. & while the onus is on me to apologise, they do not have an obligation to accept the apology. If I come over and smash your house up, and then knock asking to be let in, would you open the door? Do I even have any right to demand you do that after behaving in such a heinous manner?
Of course not.
To break someone’s house and then assume you will be let in and complain when you don’t is an abuse of privilege. To demand an assumption of good faith, that is abuse of privilege. To erase someone and then tell them to get over it, that is abuse of privilege. & making it about the privileged person’s feelings on the subject is an abuse of privilege. & above all, it is legitimate critique, because the onus is on ME to check & double-check my bowling technique (cricket metaphor, what to do) to make sure I don’t injure anyone. As I said to thenakedsamba yesterday, a marginalised person does not derive some grotesque pleasure from being angry. From not forgetting. Because we can’t handwave all that oppression away.
& we have every right to slam the door in your face & tell you to bugger off.
P.S. Why is it that all calls for ~solidarity~ within the social justice movement come from the top?
So Western Feminist lady wrote disaster porn. Thurs and I couldn’t not comment, of coursely!
The earthquake happened while I was in Boston. By the time I came home, it was already huge news. The only thing that seemed to matter, that seemed at all meaningful, was footage of the catastrophes. When I had a spare moment, I’d watch it. Sometimes just the same video, on a loop, over and over. And I’d wonder what I was going to say.
Jaded: Western Feminist Trope # 1: Re-center a national disaster unto self. Check.
Thurs: So this disaster has nothing to do with me? JUST YOU WAIT O READER! As a Nice Imperial Peep, I haz magic wand that I will use shortly… don’t adjust your screen.
The earthquake, the tsunami, the volcano, the maybe-meltdown. So many people have lost their homes; so many people have died; the danger is so far from being over. And, thanks to 24-hour news and amateur YouTube videos, nearly all of these events have been captured on film. Thanks to the Internet, nearly everyone has blogged about them. There’s something uncomfortable about watching that footage. It draws you in; it refuses to let you stop watching. You click “replay” compulsively, hoping that the next time you see it, you’ll comprehend it all. The shaky camera, the kitchen drawers falling open, the cloud of ash, the supermarket aisle covered in shattered glass and spilled wine: It seems almost ordinary, especially if you watch it (as many people do) on tiny, low-resolution YouTube windows. But you know that something beyond your experience, something massive and with unimaginably awful consequences, just occurred. You saw it. But you didn’t see it. You didn’t understand.
Jaded: Western Feminist Trope # 2: Invoke loss that goes on an epic scale to your experience. Then again center self in discourse, focus on your discomfort. Jane Eyre taught everyone well, no? Check.
Thurs: Thurs: My feelings! Y U NATIVES NO CARE ABOUT THEM RE!
There are moments when it feels like you’re gawking. You gasp at the sight of the tsunami tossing boats and cars around as if they were toys, at how impossibly tiny these human artifacts seem compared to that mass of water. But you are also aware that you’re watching with the same sick fascination that makes people stare at car crashes and post celebrity death photos to the Internet. At these moments you’re a monster, a voyeur. But at other times, watching seems compassionate, necessary, the only connection you have with all that suffering. You can send a few dollars to the Red Cross, as is typical in these situations, but while that might help, it won’t bring you any closer to the actual experience. You want to see what happened, to feel — as much as it’s possible to feel — what it would have been like to be there. It’s not enough to give financial aid; you have to know, or try to know, what these people are going through. Even though you never really will.
Jaded: Western Feminist Trope # 3: Repeat Tropes #1 and #2. Now, use this knowledge to know, to cut and subtly castigate and carve the Other, because neo-colonial heritage would be a *shame* to squander. Check.
Thurs: On a serious note, I find the privileged gaze of white people wanting to have some connection to a disaster than happens to an ethnic minority (thereby erasing anyone else who may have been present), and by extension wanting to ~experience~ something that happens to an ethnic minority so much that they rehash and rehash these tropes endlessly in writing and books; this to me is symbolic of something very, very disturbing.
on a less serious note: Y U NO PAINT SHIPWRECK WHEN I TELL YOU TO RE
And you have to weigh in. You have to Tweet about it, or write blog post, or at any rate say something. You have to express compassion aloud; who are you, talking about all your tiny little hurt feelings and minor victories, if you’re not taking a moment to cry here? If you’re not taking even a moment to recognize how many thousands of lives just ended? And then there’s the guilt of doing this, of advertising how truly compassionate and aware your Internet presence is, as if the most important thing about all this horror is how thoughtfully you, personally, are dealing with it. And then there’s the guilt of not saying anything at all: You tell people everything. If you don’t tell them about this, they won’t know that you care. And if you tell people you care, you’re only promoting yourself. And long after you’ve said something, long after everyone’s #prayersforjapan have been registered, there’s the pull of the footage.
Jaded: Western Feminist Trope #4: Ignore abilities of many, many people who may not be able to speak, write, tweet or even think about it — geopolitical location to said disaster notwithstanding — and subtly guilt people who can’t. Lol silly pesky people with disabilities that you hadn’t *intended* to hurt but did anyway. Check.
Thurs: Y U NO APPROPRIATE SOMEONE ELSE’S TRAGEDY RE. EKDUM KAMAAL, I WILL DEMONSTRATE HOW FOR YOU.
Maybe watching catastrophe is just a basic human need. Long ago, when I was in college, I took an extremely boring class on “Art and the Sublime,” which consisted mostly of reading Kant and looking at 19th-century paintings of shipwrecks. The professor, a lovely German woman with an incredibly heavy accent, kept trying to impress on us all the human imperative to depict the immensity and terror of the natural world: To confront, through art, forces that are large and inhuman and capable of destroying us all without feeling or regret. It compels us, she said, because it points us to the limits of human understanding. I didn’t fully understand her until I watched the footage of the disasters in Japan. This was not art; it was just reporting, just raw footage, sometimes just a blur of light and noise captured by somebody’s camera phone. But I understood, finally, why so many people painted shipwrecks. Reducing this sort of death and destruction to something visible, recordable, is the only real control we have. A tsunami is more powerful than any human. But a recording of a tsunami — a human creation, dependent on human understanding and human technology for its existence — is the only way that the power of a tsunami can be known.
Jaded: Western Feminist Trope #5: Further your agenda, by pantlessly turning lives of people in said natural disaster with anecdotes of a Tsunami you didn’t experience! But it’s a okay, because imagination is errything okay? Okay. Also: Check.
Thurs: All I need to do is wave magic wand and Privileged Voyeurism becomes ok! I will now make sweeping assumptions about the human psyche using this here convenient disaster. (Also: a lovely German woman with an incredibly heavy accent? Srs?)
The fact is, we are all very small. Everything we build, everything we have, everything we know, exists at the mercy of large and inhuman forces that can destroy us, at any moment and for no reason. This fact cannot be bargained away. All we can do is record it; claim it, somehow, by showing people what we see. And when we’re on the outside and safe, all we can do is keep watching.
Jaded: Western Feminist Trope# 6: Wax on philosphical so much and so think that Quaint And Exotics Native doesn’t see when or how ze is now under spell of #global sistersong and suddenly struggles are stolen ahem sympathised with because disaster is socoolthing, no? Also: REPEAT WITH ME: CHECK!
Thurs: Oh, what did I tell you, it’s jadu! THIS is how you do disaster porn with ableism on top. CURTAINS PLZ, I will be here all weekend!
Oo-er. I go off to my Nice Azn Bed for Sleepytimes and come back to find Thursday has had to fling keoi-de chillies all over the place. Pfft. Keoi didn’t even save any sambal for me, the chillies are all gone!
I really really hate this argument of ‘But [X] is also an oppressor.’ Power and oppression intersect in all kinds of ways, alright? Your gracious host here, I am privileged. I’m cis. I’m Chinese. I’m middle-class. I’m Anglophone. In my society, that’s privilege. I’m also marginalised: queer, disabled, a woman, a rape survivor. It is possible to be privileged as well as marginalised, on different axes, at the same time. And because privilege and oppression derives from societal context, the same person can experience a certain aspect of their life differently in different places.
For example, I mentioned earlier that I am privileged for being Chinese in Singapore. This privilege would be different if I headed north to Malaysia, because there there would be institutionalised discrimination and economic/class privilege accorded to being Chinese. And if I shifted west, again the circumstances would change.
What I loathe to bits about people handwaving discrimination, prejudice, bigotry and bile against certain cultures is that they do not take into account the differing spheres of privilege. Do China, Japan, Korea, India, my beloved Singapore — do they have histories of oppression or human rights abuse or imperialism or aggrandisation? In some eras, yes; in some space-times, yes. Do many powers in the West? Yes, too. But it’s not a zero-sum tu-quoque game. It’s about recognising that this white/Western country and this non-white/Western country may both have histories of oppression but that on a global framework the white/Western nation is privileged.
For some reason I keep ending up doing 101s. *stares at hands* Out, out, damned spot.
JAPANESE government just confirmed that the latest earthquake in Japan has shaken the nuclear plant and thus confirms there is going to be radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. Please remain indoor for the first 24 hours. Close doors and windows. Cover neck skin (throat and tyroid area) because radiation will hit there first. Radiation will hit Philippines starting from 4pm today. Please inform your loved ones in the Asian countries. (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia) Thank You.
- not everyone can send money due to not having any, someone else controlling their bank account, or the sheer red tape of donations or even not having enough spoons to walk down to the bank and transfer money. some people with disabilities can’t use phones either so phone donations are sometimes out of the question.
- not everyone’s God is the Abrahamaic God, so laughing at the “illogic” of praying is ridiculous. sometimes prayer is the only thing someone can manage, that does not lessen their capacity for action. assuming that people are stopping ~all action~ to pray, why, you think they can’t pray AND act by helping in shelters or something?
- saying people only get hit by natural disasters because they don’t believe in the Abrahamaic God is preposterous and by extension trying to proselytise on that basis is not only hurtful to the people affected, it’s also against the bits of your holy book that remind you about humanitarian needs.
- using a natural disaster that is still affecting people as a backdrop for a story/fanfic/whatever… SO MUCH NO.
- citing a country’s history as reasons why you should not be compassionate makes you… well you guessed it, a shitty excuse for a human being. because no matter how you look at that… it’s just fucking racist.
- citing a country’s present actions [e.g. whaling] is racist too, just fyi.
because if your ends were that noble, you wouldn’t need to co-opt human suffering to achieve them.
Approximately 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted every year in military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army. Since 2000, more than 6,500 children have been taken into custody, some as young as just five years old. Most children are arrested for the crime of throwing stones, either at settlements, the wall or Israeli military vehicles. Generally the process of arrest is spurious; always it is terrifying. The army will arrive in a Palestinian town or village between the hours of 2am and 4am. They will enter the homes, conduct searches and the line the villagers up outside their doorways. Identity papers are checked and then, usually at random, boys are picked from the line ups suspected of committing an offence, and are whisked off into custody. They are then hooded, handcuffed and bundled into the back of a military jeep, where they are frequently forced lie on the floor and regularly subjected to physical and verbal attack by young Israeli soldiers. Upon arrival at a detention centre they receive threats of, and sometimes actual, physical abuse. The children are denied access to lawyers and their families often only learn the location of their son or daughter weeks later, courtesy of the Red Cross. During interrogation, the child is presented with two options. Plead guilty to throwing stones and receive a prison sentence of three to four months, or plead innocent and spend a longer period than their possible sentence awaiting trial, before an appearance at the military courts where they will almost certainly be found guilty and receive an even tougher stint in jail. Unsurprisingly, most plead guilty.—
Israel’s actions in relation to the treatment of minors – cuffing, shackling, physical abuse, denial of access to legal representation and the widespread use of custodial sentences - represent serious breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the UN Convention against Torture and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mahmoud, guilty or not, is just a small part of this conveyor belt military judicial system, that does not seek to differentiate between guilt and innocence, but simply to punish a sufficient number of children so as to neuter an entire generation’s dissent. The military courts may not be as visible as the wall, the destroyed homes or the check points, but those that have experienced them will testify that they are just as depraved a tool as any in this brutal occupation.
Additionally, white activism, especially white anti-racism, is predicated on an economy of gratitude. We non-whites are supposed to be grateful that a white person is willing to work with non-white people. We are supposed to be grateful that you actually want to work with us and that you give us your resources. I would like to know why you have those resources and others do not? And don’t assume that just because I have to ask you for resources that it does not hurt me, pain me even. Don’t assume that when you come into the space, that doesn’t bother me. Don’t assume that when you talk first, talk the most, and talk the most often, that this doesn’t hurt me. Don’t assume that when I see you get the attention and accolades and the book deals and the speaking engagements that this does not hurt me (because you profit off of pain).—
Not a lot of irony is more bitter than the racism of anti-racism.
Know what I do (and my brother does too and I’m outing him)? Sometimes, if a situation is gonna be pretty delicate and the white people around who want to be involved, at least in showy ways, are people whose actions I don’t fully trust to not be problematic, disrespectful and destructive? Sometimes I don’t invite white people to the stuff I’m working on. I’ll tell them about it later and they can tell me all about how it’s not radical enough for them or whatever other things they read in a Crimethinc/Derrick Jensen book—but I’m not gonna leave the chance for them to derail my work with that shit til after I’m done. Wait, that’s exclusive?
sounds like a load of petty infighting and generalizations when what we need is solidarity. with so much going on how can one even rationalize taking the time to register the color of ones skin?
One moment, I’m going to call up everyone so we can sing Kumbaya all nice and loud while you people ignore that Certain People exploit our pain, appropriate our anger, and then run us over several times while claiming to be helping us.