On the expectation of free labor to diversify your spaces

[Copy/Pasted from an early AM twitter vent this morning 12/21/16]

I’m in a mood, and I’m irritated. I want to talk about value of work, specifically diversity work & people’s expectation of free labor. So I’m lucky, and in a good position where sometimes people come out the gate with what are your rates & fees? This does not always happen though, don’t get excited. Like I said I’m in a good position.

However…there’s the pervasive idea that we should provide our expertise, our skills and knowledge for little or no pay. How about no? A lot of places want to be seen as progressive, diverse and doing the right thing but they don’t want to invest time & resources. Or they think it’s as simple as invite a few brown folks and a queer person, give them top billing one year & we’ve done it! Uh no.

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See, we can see right through that bullshit. Especially when your convention committee doesn’t change, your policies don’t change. You can’t put the current hyper visible POC in your field up as your diversity! And expect us to flock to your event. Again, we see you.

Here’s my main gripe though. Reaching out to people to get help but not offering compensation at the same time.

It’s always “Let’s have a coffee, let me buy you lunch and pick your brain…”

This isn’t about greed either. This is about valuing someone enough to “pick their brain” but not enough to pay them.This is doubly true when you expect someone to help with event they may attend but won’t offer some kind of comps or payment.  Helping the community is great, but it doesn’t negate the value of that persons time.

Even asking someone to take the time to chat with you, have an email exchange or Skype call should be considered work.I think it comes down to people not seeing it as “real” work. Also, acting as if someone asking for compensation is wrong? Or insinuating they don’t actually care because they wanna eat?

Nah, we all got bills and if you want my time & expertise? FU Pay Me. Nobody expects teachers to work for free, or other laborers so why us? Because a lot of the work is emotional labor. To unfuck the ways that events and orgs have failed on representation is a lot hard work y’all. So stop asking for free labor under the guise of doing better. Improvement takes effort, time and money. Investment not hollow promises.

When you ask someone on how to do better, ask what their preferred compensation method is. Fucking pay people for their time.

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 Fuck You Pay Me available from Geek Calligraphy, purchase one for your workspace!

Last thing, think real hard on how you react to black Womens, lgbtqia & other folks asking to be paid vs whites.Look at all the extra shit people want from us to prove we’re worth the time, effort & money to support. Look at how angry people get when we dare to say our time & knowledge is valuable. Y’all have seen it, people bring accused of running scams, that we should help for $0.

However, white folks come up with the weirdest shit for a kickstarter or crowd funding that overfunds but we can’t make the minimum.So if I’m bitter? It’s with damn good reason. Tired of being told the work is valuable, needed but when we ask for help? Support is nil. TL;DR, stop asking people for free work. Value our skills enough to offer payment when asking for said work. Exposure kills, it’s not money, not valid currency anywhere.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this. It probably won’t be the last either. As long as people continue to undervalue, or assume no value for the hard work that is required to achieve better representation, more diversity and make it stick; we’ll keep having this damn go round and around until people get it.

Other writings I’ve done on this topic & related issues: 

You Wanna Diversify huh? That’s Nice, Pay Us

On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Thoughts on diversity, conventions & cost

Emotional Labor, OT edition for POC, LGBTIQIA & others — Fandom edition

On the value of black women’s work

So yesterday I couldn’t sleep and twitterpated all over about the Safetypin box and the reactions to it. Notably that some dude bro who didn’t know anything about the creators (Leslie Mac and Marissa Johnson)

I collated those over on Medium for anyone who wants to peep  that first. On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Today, I had more twitterations on the idea that Safetypinbox HAD to be a 501 c 3 charity or people felt uncomfortable with where the money was going. IE These two black women can’t be trusted. Those thoughts and some more to follow because I am fed the entire fuck up with how people want the benefits without realizing the human cost behind it. What follows are my tweets c/p from 12/6/2016.

I keep seeing people throw out that *should* be a 501(c)(3) charity. Because that gives *them* comfort somehow. Let’s talk.

One, if this was charity work then fine. It’s a service however. Says so right on the website.

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Go read it over, then come back.

Two, do any of these people talking about how easy it is to become a 501(c)(3) know anything about the process? At all? Guessing that’s a no. If you have to file the 1023 form, (30 pages long btw)have the $400 or $850 filing fee & get it done quickly? 180 day window for decision.If you qualify for 1023 EZ filing? Still $275 & 180 day decision window. So it’s not easy to start a charity. But that’s not the issue here.

The real issue is two black women have done the same thing white activists are lauded for & y’all mad.

They are putting a dollar value on the free emotional labor that people expect of black women all day, every day. I should just start posting the requests to pick my brain, get a cup of coffee to get a read on something I get re: games diversity. Y’all expect black women especially to do this heavy lifting for the good of the community, for free cause it’s better for all.

Fuck that

It’s unsurprising to see who has some shit to say in the face of black women going fuck you, pay me for my time & knowledge. Like people who go follow black women, expect to be educated & have their ignorance lifted but won’t drop a tip or support their Patreons. Out here treating us like Hazel, like we’re supposed to hold your fucking hand & let you sip from the Chalice of Wokeness for free!

Nah, we all gotta live. Stop devaluing our labor, our knowledge & expecting a handout to rise beyond your ignorance. Google is free y’all. So stop acting like we’re asking for too much when we say pay up for that time you asked us for. We value our work, our expertise. Since you asked for our help? You must value it too. So put your money where your mouth is or be quiet.

I salute you y’all for getting that money

That said, I had the usual rando’s and well, actually’s roll through my TL. Once I was properly up and about, I had a few thoughts on the people who follow me on various sites, say they learn from me etc. Yet, people don’t value work all the same. Even had someone who inferred I was saying pay me to tweet.

I got nothing to say about that except that added 2+2 and got yarn. If anyone following me thinks that’s where I was going, then leave now. Ain’t nobody said pay me to tweet. For those curious I said the following:

So I’m up and I been thinking. Remember when I asked people why they follow me? Realize what the majority of answers were? To recap: Because they learn something, because they get a POV unlike their own. I.E they get value from my tweets.

Or the articles I write and share here, or the collated, nicely bundled and edited twitterpations I put out on Medium. Still with me? I have over 6700 followers (for now, watch I drop some after this tweet). Some are bots that will drop off & don’t count. Let’s be generous and say 1500 are not real accounts that haven’t dropped off. That leaves over 5500 people reading what I have to say daily.

If half those folks dropped a donation or even supported my Patreon at $1 each? I’d be A-OK. But I guess there’s a line for some. Ok. Same for other black women on here & other platforms. People listen but they ghost out when we pass the hat or ask to be compensated. [this is where some people got stuck and probably thought I was saying pay me to tweet. Which I wasn’t but whatever]

I’m mad but I’m also tired, tired of the expectation of free labor from some. Not everyone does this but it happens too often.

Here’s the thing, no one is obligated to do a damn thing. Ain’t nobody gotta follow me, or donate or support me on Patreon. Point was it would be great if the same people who say they learn from what I say, who say they enjoy my work and consider the other things I do off twitter to be important would throw some coins my way.

It’s been almost a year since I lost my day job, just 9 days away from that anniversary so I’m probably noticing this more keenly than usual. But I’m real tired of black women’s work not being valued. For POC/LGBTQIA/Disabled/Neurodivergent folks to have the burden of free emotional labor dropped on them but when they ask for compensation? Then they’re greedy, not helpful, scamming… it goes on and on.

Just tired and full of thoughts that needed to get out. Consider what you are asking when you ask us for that coffee chat, a quick lunch or a few minutes of our time. The cost is usually higher than what you think.

 

 

I’m fed up

I thought about writing out my thoughts on all the killings and shootings of our people instead of a long thread of tweets. However, I’m not doing that for two reasons.

One) it’s like the second I talk about one person’s murder by cops, another occurs in hours if not days and it’s exhausting emotionally, physically to wake up to the same news, same situation, same cycle of victim blaming of the newly murdered and sympathy for the killer in blue.

Two) When I share my thoughts, my pain without fail someone takes it as some academic lesson, some object lesson on racism instead of hearing out their friends pain about another black life taken. They share it as a lesson to other white friends who don’t get it. My pain is not a soundbite, it’s not a handy lesson to pass around to show how woke you are.

It also happens without fail someone will whitesplain back what I’ve said or try to play devil’s advocate when I speak from my heart. That usually happens more on twitter than here but it’s irritating and hurtful that people who follow me would rather turn someone’s very real hurt into an academic circle jerk on whether the things I’ve said are valid because they don’t see it in their lives.

I’ve got filters upon filters on Facebook, and a private, locked twitter. That’s where I’ll be having a lot of these conversations or venting going forward because my pain over more black murders isn’t there for people who don’t get it and thank me for sharing on breath, yet continue to be clueless and hurtful in the next.

So you want to describe a POC character…

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Ok, so I get asked for advice and my thoughts on a lot of things relating to diversity and representation. Lately I’ve been getting asked about the proper/authentic/least offensive way to describe or write POC characters.

There’s been a tumblr post going around about not using food as descriptors for non-white characters. Some people don’t understand why this offensive and a racist action. There’s so much to unpack in why you shouldn’t use food words as a descriptor of POC characters, that this could be a long post; but here’s trying after a disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER: I do not claim to speak for all POC, all black people, all women. This post is informed both by my personal experiences as a US born and raised black woman who has spent a lot of time discussing, writing about, talking about race, feminism and representation. Do not take this post as your get out of fuckery free card, with the claim a black woman said X so it’s ok! I will not be happy with you at all and woe unto you if you do this and try to use my words as a pass to be wrong.

Take my words as you will, understand that I, as a marginalized person have experiences that you (privileged folks reading this) do not. This is not a time or a place for well, actually in the comments. Nor is it the time or place for countering with your one black friend said Y in response to my Z. So with all that being said, here we go.

So I often get asked about describing POC accurately, authentically and the like.  What follows is an excerpt of an inquiry, with no names attached as the net can be vicious. But I wanted an example. This is a great question, it wasn’t worded in a way that screams EDUCATE ME, (well not to me, but YMMV)

“…on the description of skin color/tone while avoiding anything that might end up being racist. For example, some sites I’ve checked have said to stay away from food related analogies (“caramel colored skin” for example) while others have said that describing it that way is fine. In the absence of using food related descriptors (unless that’s acceptable) what WOULD be acceptable? Or should you always stick to literal colors?”

So let’s break this down. First and foremost, do NOT describe people of colour with food words. Just no, not coffee, caramel, cafe au lait, chocolate, cinnamon, or other descriptors such as that. Let’s leave dusky off that list too, or tanned. We’re not tanned, sun kissed, toasted. We’re lovely, lovely shades of brown, you can use that word as a descriptor.

Why not you ask? I mean people like food right? Well, let me tell you a thing.

Well, to describe People of Color, going forward referenced as POC, emphasis on the PEOPLE part, at the least it is othering non-white characters in your narrative, and at the worst, you are fetishizing non-white characters by giving them exotic descriptors that don’t tell you anything about them besides they remind you of a favorite desert or your am cuppa.

It’s tied in to the dehumanization of people of color in media, in life and history. If you can imagine for a moment,   (assuming you are not a POC and reading this post) how would you feel if you were always described as milky, mayonnaise, mashed potato, and other kinds of food words as stand-in’s for your skin colour? You wouldn’t would you?

I know some white people get bent out of shape when described with such words, even as inoffensive as ‘mayo’. I mean mayo isn’t a great condiment, but no one has died from being called mayo-white. So consider the weight of words, the cultural ramifications tied to describing a POC as sinful as cinnamon, luscious as dark chocolate, or worse, tying food descriptors to moments of intimacy in a work.

I’ve seen too many people describe fair skinned POC (assuming they actually are writing them as a POC) as lapped up like cafe au lait, devoured like a chocolate bar, etc etc. Just stop. Additionally, it’s tired, it’s cliched and shows me you can’t play with words well enough to come up with a new way to describe people. It’s laziness, and if you as a writer can’t come up with something better, it makes me wonder about the rest of your word crafting.

Secondly, there are plenty of ways to describe POC with words like brown, dark brown, light brown, sandy brown, so many words that can be used to describe us that don’t need to be related to food, again it’s delicious but we’re not edible. We’re people, people! That would like some depth in our descriptions.  We’re not coffee brown either, considering coffee can be had from a milky white with enough extra cream to a very, very, dark black. We also don’t taste or smell like chocolate, coffee, or cinnamon. No person does, even if they work in a coffee factory with a chocolate shoppe across the way.

Third, and it might seem repetitive but this is important. Do the work, look to authors you feel have done character description well and learn from how they do it. Look up resources on writing the other, especially if you get a second or hell a third set of eyes on your work and get feedback on the descriptions. Or use Google, it’s there for a reason. It’s a SEARCH engine, so search things. Keep a dictionary and thesaurus bookmarked for your use.

That doesn’t mean use 10 dollar words and three paragraphs to lovingly attempt a non-racist description of your POC characters. A few words will always do instead of purple, flowy, overdone prose.  Lastly, ask a POC to review your work. If you don’t have any POC friends that’s another matter for a different post. But if you don’t have someone you can trust to review your work? Pay someone to do so, because this is one of those free emotional labor things we often get asked to do.

Speaking of resources, here’s a few to get you started:

10 Great Resources for Writing Cross Culturally (which has it’s own listing of good resources)

Relevant to this post: Writing with Color Tumblr: Description Guide, Part I – Food descriptions

Writing with Color tumblr: Description Guide, Part II – Describing Skin Tone

Writing the Other: A Practical Approach- Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward

Writing the Other workshops – Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford Brownpaper tickets. Check their sites for up to date schedule and availability

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About “Save the Pearls”

So… I’ve had some time to ruminate on this ‘book‘… “Save the Pearls”. I put book in air quotes because this doesn’t deserve to be called a book. It’s a self serving, poor me, white people are OMG oppressed in this far flung, post apocalyptic, fictitious world so this is totally ok, AMIRITE?! oppression fantasy brought to you.

Here’s the “About” blurb. I apologize in advance for any rage you may experience, but I didn’t write this. Bold commentary mine.

Would you betray your loved ones—and maybe your entire race—to avoid a horrible death?

In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to an overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden Newman’s white skin brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. The clock is ticking: if Eden doesn’t mate before her eighteenth birthday, she’ll be left outside to die. (Humanity is fucked then if people who don’t mate by 18 are left to die, shortest dystopian epic ever)

If only a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class would pick up her mate option, she’d be safe. But no matter how much Eden darkens her skin and hair, she’s still a Pearl, still ugly-cursed with a tragically low mate-rate of 15%.

Just maybe one Coal sees the real Eden and will save her-she has begun secretly dating her handsome co-worker Jamal. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she is thrown into the eye of a storm-and the remaining patch of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land.

Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change-but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty-and of true love.

Acclaimed writer VICTORIA FOYT <—- acclaimed by WHO? blends equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this captivating dystopian novel set in a terrifying future, which is all too easy to imagine. <—- only if you are a white person who is terrified of becoming a minority and what it could mean if *gasp* there are more of them than us.

The first installment in the Save the Pearls series of fantasy romance novels, Revealing Eden recently won the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award in the Young Adult Category, the Best YA Fantasy Award from Books & Authors, and was runner up in the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival!

NO, JUST FUCKING NO. Save yourself the trouble and embarrassment of attempting to make a “statement” when all you’ve done is show how very, very little you know of how the world works. This attempt at showing some alternate reality, where white people are oppressed, devalued and dying out because they have a low mate rate because they can’t survive a super heated environment due to their lack of melatonin is perverse.

It’s a sad attempt at showcasing their own little world view (emphasis on little, since their writing and attempts and stemming the tide of their own fail on FB shows how narrow minded the author is) and trying to make some kind of … argument for something…

The author has posted a response on the Facebook page, here and many people have responded. It looks like the author is deleting comments that disagree with her post, her book and this whole concept. Here’s what I had to say:

Intent means nothing. Look at the vocabulary used in the book. Coals for dark skinned people, supposedly those that are “Coals”a re more worthy and valuable. Do you understand that coal does not have value except as fuel, something to be used and tossed away? Yet the poor, oppressed white people in this book are still called “Pearls”. Pearls, a semi-precious item in today’s world, something of intrinsic value, that is coveted, and treasured by others. 

The snippets I’ve seen are poorly written, the cover is offensive and you jumping up and down saying I’m not a racist is full of fail. Try harder, do some research into what words mean as well as caste systems, and try again once you have some research, some facts and can do better than this…whatever this is.

In choosing to KEEP TALKING instead of listening to the numerous POC (and non-POC) voices telling her how racist, fucked up, vilifying and fetishizing this thing is, the author is trying the usual tactic of repeating ad nauseum, but I’m not a racist! I’m not a racist! And this goes back to Jay Smooth’s point of how to tell the difference in someone doing/saying something racist, but that doesn’t mean they are a racist.

I’d liked to have given the writer of this fictitious world the benefit of the doubt, but when her responses basically boil down to OMG YOU ALL I AM NOT RACIST, STOP PICKING ON ME. I AM CRYING ALL MY WHITE WOMAN TEARS, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M DOING HERE!!!

I can’t do that because of her oh so special comment here:

Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash. The first young African American reader who responded to me loved the book. But then, she’s the kind of free spirit who would eschew limiting herself to a single category.”

That gave any inclination I had to be civil in this post went right the fuck out my living room window.

“IF SUCH A CATEGORY STILL EXISTS?” You know what Victoria Hoyt, FUCK YOU. I’ve been reading since before you were thought of you privileged dumb ass. Who the fuck do you think you are to make such a statement? Clearly reading, writing, and comprehension are skills you lack based on the this thing you are attempting to pass off as a serious look at “reverse-racism”, what-if scenarios.

Here’s something for you to read, print, and tack it next to your monitor because you need a lesson in how not to continue to fuck up regarding race issues:

I didn’t mean to and other such nonsense from allies:

http://racismschool.tumblr.com/post/22807040831/i-didnt-mean-to-and-other-such-non-sense-ally

Also, the Invisible Knapsack from Peggy McIntosh is required reading for you (and anyone else dumb enough to think your book is anything but an epic case for race fail).

I’d say just fucking Google it but it’s clear that using research tools and methods and actually trying to sound like an intelligent human being is beyond you, so have a freebie.

Ahem, back to what I was saying… oh yes how this attempt at post apocalytpic dystopia (read white oppression, mandingo fantasy gone wild) is a piece of tripe.

In going back to the site (shudder) to get more reference material I found this “video-log” of the main protaganist. SHE IS IN BLACKFACE, FUCKING BLACKFACE YOU HEAR ME. (video is here, watch at your own risk, I am not responsible for any damage caused after viewing it)

Just… really? Mate rate? Is that what people have been reduced to you in your fantasy world? Mate or die? If that’s the best you can come up with as a plot device, I would skip this tripe anyway but the whole thing about “Coals” and “Pearls” just cements the fact you are naive, privileged and have no clue about real world race issues.

Let me tell you something… words have meaning, they have value. Tossing about words like Coals, savage, beastly in reference to the antagonist who discovers her father’s experiments and tosses her out in the rain forest does not endear me, you want-to-be wordsmith. It shows that you still buy into the savage, hyper-sexualized, black man trope. It shows me that you couldn’t be bothered to try and find some way to describe the superior, darker people in this book without finding a way to still reduce them to nothing by your choice of words.

The fact that whites are described as “Pearls”, something precious, to be coveted and desired, “saved” shows your oppression fantasy quite clearly for the world to see, and it’s ugly. You should cover it up. I also want to know in what world (oops, yours apparently) that the girl used in the YouTube video would be considered ugly? She looks like someone dabbed her in brown shoe polish and she needs a bath but she is not ugly. I suppose there are people who tell her, you’re not bad looking for a Pearl in your book? (my guess is not really).

Someone with some sense, and a red pen should have stopped you when you pitched this idea to begin with. Someone with sense and editorial knowledge should have sat you down and explained how racism actually works in the real world, how the caste system works in the real world before letting you attempt whatever the hell you have let loose on the world.

Congratulations, you have created something I hold in greater derision that 50 Shades of Grey. You have also shown that you need some very harsh life lessons in order to see that racism is more than you conceive of in your attempt to show people the wrongs of racism. You failed Hoyt, seriously, epic-ally failed in Eden.

Also, other people have taken this concept and done it WELL. [Noughts and CrossesBlonde Roots] You should read their books, take notes and once you come out from the cave of Tropes, caricatures and fallacy that your characters reside in, perhaps learn to listen and try again, or not. I’m sure none of us would mind if you stopped attempting to teach people about concepts you don’t even understand yourself.

Dear Dan Savage, just stop talking about Bisexuals, it’s clear you know NOTHING about us.

I already didn’t like Dan Savage… but goddamn now I’m just bursting with anger. How the fuck, just how the everliving fuck does he even fix his mouth to spout the shit about bisexuals that he continues to let out into the ether?

Via AngryBlackTumblr: Bisexuals You Need to Come Out to Your Friends and Spouses—Now

Dear Dan Savage,

You know his claim as to why Bi’s NEED to come out? So we can basically stop whining about being invisible and do something and claim our spot in the community. You know what, fuck and you Savage.

No one should be forced to be out, in case you haven’t noticed not everyone can safely be out no matter their orientation. A lot of people can’t be out because they will lose their homes, their jobs, their kids, be threatened with bodily harm, and the list goes on. I should not have to declare myself at the LGBTQIA community border for your comfort. I don’t have to declare my orientation so you can pigeon hole me, continually treat me as a red-headed step child in the family because I supposedly can run back to hetero privilege whenever I get too scared.

You don’t speak for me Savage. You don’t get to draw lines in the sand and declare that my bisexuality is valid only because of my age. You don’t get to deny those teen boys (notice girls aren’t even on his radar as valid) their orientation because you claimed being bi as a teen. You are not them, they are not you and you are not the fucking mouthpiece of the entire LGBTQIA movement.

You preach that it gets better for some, but you are employing the same divisive tactics that anti-gay leaning folks use on the community. Just stop talking about things you don’t know, you don’t understand and for fucks sake stop posturing yourself as the be-all-end-all pundit of queer issues. Stick to what you know, which isn’t much.

No love,

Me
ETA: Just a few links I found while Googling Dan Savage + Bisexuality. Almost all links point to some bi-phobic shit he’s said in the past and never apologized for. Come at me again with how he’s not bi-phobic and I’m going to laugh at you.

Queer Women of Color Still Face Racism During Pride, Among Other Things (Repost from Spectra Speaks)

In response to mainstream prides everywhere, including both the racism and sexism that pervades the larger gay community, Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) hosts OPTIONZ — in its fifth year — tonight, a highly anticipated annual pride party specifically created to provide a space for lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender and queer women of color and their friends, supporters, and allies during pride. But as excited as I am about QWOC+ Boston’s work in ensuring that we — women of color — are celebrated and visible during pride, that this is not the main subject of my post. If you follow QWOC+ Boston, you may have noticed on Facebook or any of our other social media channels, that our OPTIONZ party needed to be relocated to a new venue.

The reason for the venue change is that, last-minute, the previous venue, Caprice Lounge, presented me with some new terms: “No Hip Hop music, because of issues we’ve had in the past.”

Now, QWOC+ Boston has had a long-standing relationship with Caprice; we’ve been hosting events at their venue for the past three years. The reason, they gave, for the new policy was due to some recent violence that ensued after a Hip Hop show they hosted. Besides the fact that we’ve never had a single fight break out at a QWOC+ Boston event, it seemed ludicrous that the management had decided to villainize an entire genre of music based on a one-off incident. Something else that really pissed me off is that after informing us that we could not play Hip Hop at our party, we were offered a slew of other genres we could play as substitute including… (wait for it)… Rock music. So while we’re on stereotypes, it’s okay to play angry white man music, but not angry black man music? Wow.

Racist stereotypes aside, I was also only told that we could not play Hip Hop music on Tuesday (just two days before our event), which also seemed shady and manipulative. There had been no mention of this during our earlier communications. So, despite the fact that they’d been pushing for a large venue deposit to be made and incessantly trying to get me to sign a contract that would guarantee them two thousand dollars from the bar (of which I’d be liable if it was not met), I’m just floored that they had the audacity to limit whatever kind of music we played at our party.

So, guess what I said? HELLLL NO!

Okay. Not exactly in those words. I needed to be realistic. Despite the outrage expressed by community members after I’d relayed the incident — including the collective push for us to say goodbye to Caprice, I wasn’t sure it would be possible to find another venue, not during one of the busiest seasons of the year — weddings, graduations, prides etc — with just TWO days to go before the event.

So, rather than be seduced by the opportunity to give Caprice a self-righteous middle finger — and run the risk of having to cancel our pride party altogether —  I told the event coordinator at Caprice to send me the contract with all terms laid out; I would look it over and get back to her. In the meantime, I reached out to other venues comparable in size, and after just one day of mass emails and phone calls, I got lucky.

Market Lounge was big enough to accommodate us. Moreover, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to use the space (since they had no competing events during our event time). In fact, they seemed excited about getting the business of over 150 pride-ful peeps on a Thursday night. We had struck gold! Or so everyone thought…so  the applause began.

Great decision. Excellent. Yay for saying no to racism! But what I didn’t tell people, was that the new venue had a similar (albeit less overtly racist) dress code policy; a variation of the all too familiar Boston ‘dress code’ which goes something similar to “No hats, no sneakers, no do-rags, no athletic wear… women in dresses/skirts, men in collars etc” was prominently displayed on the wall by the entrance to their establishment. Here’s the picture on the right.

Making a decision based on who was less racist seemed impractical, so we went with this new venue because they were responsive, accommodating of our group last minute, the management agreed to not enforce their dress code policy during our event, and most importantly, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to bring them business (vs. Caprice that was essentially trying to make us pay them to go against our ideals).

Here’s the thing folks… I’ve been an event organizer for over five years, and I know first hand that most — if not all — downtown club venues have similar racist policies intended to keep “those people” out of their clubs. It doesn’t take a genius to note that these policies are overtly racist. In fact, as you read through the banned items of clothing, you’re almost expecting to come across, “No Black People,” towards the end of the list.

Venue policies are a stark reminder of Boston’s deeply rooted history with racial segregation, but racism isn’t the only issue queer women of color have to deal with.

If I turned my nose up at every venue that had a racist policy, homophobic and/or sexist staff etc, QWOC+ Boston would never have succeeded in pushing the physical boundaries of our community and creating new safe spaces for LGBTQ people of color in the manner in which we have. I daresay our willingness to push through the discomfort of so many tough, frustrating, awkward interactions has created more “ally venues” today for LGBT people of color — and the larger gay community as well as evidenced by a number of organizations / producers hosting events at venues after we’d done so successfully — than if we immediately walked away whenever we faced policies we didn’t agree with.

But this is not to say that we should ignore blatant signs of discrimination. There are venues that I’ll never send a dime of business (and LGBT organizations that I simply refuse to work with) until they’re willing to meet us halfway on the issue of white privilege/racism, male privilege/sexism etc. However, if we are to charter new territory, we must be patient, and more importantly, we must learn to speak the language of the gate keepers. In this case, that means knowing how to use money to send a message.

You should know that once I told Caprice that I was moving the party to a new venue, they came back with an O.K. to play whatever we wanted. This made for a great opportunity to explain that we would NOT be working with them this time around. And whereas, the loss of business may not result in the dissolution of their policy, the owner will remember that he lost a big event — a pride event, big dollars consumed at the bar, ouch — because he dared to broach the subject to the queer women of color who had been repeatedly giving him business for the past three years. (Incidentally, we first worked with Caprice during the second year of OPTIONZ, because we were in a similar situation; the venue we’d been in talks with slapped us with a racist dress code last minute, and wouldn’t budge on enforcing it. Caprice opened their doors to us then, and we’ve been working with them since. Isn’t it ironic, that the venue that has been the most flexible and easy to work with as far as hosting QWOC+ events, is the one being villainized for being racist today?)

I keep going back to the strong push I felt from our community to say F-U to Caprice and stand against racism, and can’t help but wonder if another ism or form of discrimination would have been met with the same level of engagement (and anger). What if I told you that via my work as an event organizer, I’d run into minority-owned/run venues with similar racist music / dress code policies? Can we remind ourselves that in women’s spaces /feminist circles, there is still so much language riddled with homophobia and transphobia? Shoot, I still pray for the day when sexism will be met with as much anger and outrage as racism from Boston’s LGBT community, when the political war being waged against women (via Planned Parenthood funding cuts, the GOP redefining rape etc.) will be treated as seriously by QPOC as they do AIDS/HIV prevention.

It’s easy to call out isms when the perpetrator is perceived to be a straight white man — the icon of patriarchy, which most of us can relate to wanting to take down. But the reality of being a queer woman of color is that you’re burdened with calling out offenses and violations against multiple facets of your identity, and forced to reckon with the harsh truth that your allies in one arena can be your oppressors in another.

Activism, for so many of queer women of color, is a constant negotiation of which ism to address. We don’t have the luxury of snubbing everyone that offends us, or we would have no where to go. We can’t — and shouldn’t have to — fight everyone. As a direct consequence, for queer women of color, standing up for what is ‘right’ in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia — all issues that significantly impact our community — can sometimes mean drastically limiting access to resources that we need as a community. So, whereas we should never compromise our ethics (as in this case — for the sake of a good party), QWOC+ Boston’s work isn’t just about one event, not just about today. I don’t think that I speak out of turn when I say that we all work our asses off so that tomorrow can be better, for everyone.

So, as we march, rally, dance, and speak out during pride, let us not forget those of us who are marginalized within the gay community, those of us who don’t have the luxury of approaching “Equality. No More. No Less,”, per the 2011 Boston Pride theme, as an isolated single issue. Most of the time, I hear louder, more aggressive forms of activism (against one kind of ism) encouraged and celebrated. But today, I feel humble as I reflect on the patience and perseverance that must have been maintained by my mentors and predecessors against so many injustices, that have enabled me to come this far. I celebrate you. I salute you. And I wish you all a happy pride.

WGYB Project is still alive, and we’re still taking your stories

We Got Your Back Project is still alive and still seeking submissions!

I had a chance to talk the project up at Gay Is the New Black? Event hosted by JF tonight. Hopefully this will generate some interest and new submissions.

Can I ask a favor? Can anyone who comes across this post please signal boost this project for me & whereisjoy? We don’t want to see it die but to thrive it needs stories, your stories so that our POC-LGBTQIA youth know that they are not alone and just because someone says its gets better, that it may not apply to them.

Sumbission Info

Submission guidelines are below. If you come across something you think would be good for posting, please email us at wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com or tweet at us WGYBProject on Twitter.

Thanks for your interest in contributing to the “We Got Your Back” Project! We are accepting videos and written statements that share how the lives of LGBTQIA people get better when we have each others back. Give some hope to LGBTQIA youth by telling them how your own life improved. To submit, send an email to wegotyourbackproject@gmail.com We request that posts meet the following guidelines:

Videos: Please keep videos to no more than 8 minutes maximum. If you have a video on YouTube or Vimeo, please submit a link to the video and a brief description.

Length: 2,500 word maximum. (Please note, longer posts may be broken up into several posts on the project)

Language: Feel free to use adult language, however please warn for swearing or other adult and/or potentially triggering language in your post at the beginning. If you do share potentially triggering material, we ask that you use the “more” tag to put it behind a cut.

Permission to repost/share your content: Please indicate to us whether or not you consent to the sharing of your material outside of this project when you submit your post and/or video.

Black is… black ain’t…

Black is beautiful, just so we are motherfucking CLEAR. Black ain’t “less desirable than other races”,

“inherently less attractive than other races”

tumblr_llb9rsnCiZ1qzo0zoo1_500

So… we are in the throes of yet ANOTHER online storm about black folks. Black women’s looks, black women’s bodies, black fathers and the old ass trope of omfg black folks are on the internet too!?! How about that has been dragged out and beaten again for what its worth. (A hint – Not much). I tried to be eloquent and wordsmithy, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m sick of being polite about people telling me how I should feel about how I look.

So many people have waxed eloquently on this topic that I’ll give you links and such… but for what my 0.02 is worth; I’m so fucking sick of being told that I’m not beautiful or attractive or worthy of love and affection because I’m “strong” or career focused or “the strength of the family.”. I’m really fucking sick of the idea that everyone gets a say in how I feel about myself as a black woman. I’m tired of everyone getting to hold up the brown paper bag to check my blackness, and worthiness of having a say in racial debates because I’m fair skinned and obviously “not really black.”

I’m tired of pseudo scientists speculating on the attractiveness of myself and the bounty of black women everywhere. Who the fuck decided that this guys opinion was worth anything to begin with? I don’t even know what an evolutionary psychologist is, do you? Someone explain what that means and then you’d better have a really, really good reason as to why some “evolutionary psychologist” gets a say on black bodies and beauty. I’ll be here, so when you get a clue, come holler at me. Until then, all these faux pop psychologists and arm chair thinkers can shut the fuck up about our bodies, our beauty and everything else in-between.

I leave you with some great articles and a repost of a lovely image snagged from the Angry Black Tumblr.

You Keep Saying Black Women are Ugly Worthless Whores and We Refuse to Believe you by Karnythia

Racialicious: Repeat Offender: Satoshi Kanazawa’s Other Greatest Misses

Angry Black Tumblr: The Article is now gone, but more thoughts

Angry Black Woman: Initial post on this article; noting original title was “Why are Black Women Ugly?”

ABW: Screencap of the article in question, after the title was changed.

ThinkGalacticon 3 Needs you, yes you!

*waves from the ThinkGalacticon 3 ConCom*

Hi all, here is my hey, you should come to the nifty local con post, better yet, you should be on panels and volunteer post!

So ThinkGalacticon 3 is happening July 8-10 at Roosevelt University. We have the fabulous Hugo and Nebula nominated Nora K. Jemisin as our SFF Notable Guest.. We also have the awesome Adrienne Marie Brown as our Activist Notable Guest.

So, what do you need from little old me you might be asking? Well, we can always use Volunteers. we also still need the following ConCom positions filled (from the website):
* accessibility coordinator
* sustainability coordinator

If you would like more information and are interested please email us! [info@thinkgalactic.org]

Volunteer refunds: Those who work 4 hours or more get $20 or half-off, which ever was lower. Being on panels counts as volunteering. There will be volunteer forms at the registration desk. We will put up more information on volunteering soon.

We also need programming suggestions! You can suggest programming here Don’t be shy! If there’s something you want to suggest for a panel, go on and suggest it!

If you are going to be at Wiscon, what a coincidence! We’ll be there too! There’s going to be a ThinkGalacticon party, and we’ll be taking registrations as well.

Lastly, local authors if you are interested in doing a reading at TG3 or if you would like to have a vendor’s table at the Bazaar, please let me know via comment here or email at tdepass [at]gmail [dot] com. My role on ConCom is Event coordination, so if you have any questions regarding events during TG3, I’m the person to poke at.

Lastly, please register for TG3! It’s affordable even in this economy! You can get registration info from this embedded link

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day… “What Would Martin Do?”

In honor of today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, I’m sharing the winning essay in the American’s for Democratic Action’s contest: What Would Luther Do? I’m pleased that the winning essay is by my good friend Joy E.

Remember, that even though Dr. King is immortalized for his “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King’s legacy is more than one speech, more than one action. Read Letters from a Birmingham Jail, and his other works. See the whole man, not an idealization remembered once a year for stirring words. Remember his actions, his humanity and most of all that the Dream he had is not yet realized, not so long after his assasination and we have a long way to go until it is realized.

To answer the question of How Long? The answer is still Too Long and a Long way to go…

First  Place – Joy E. of Chicago, Illinois

If Martin Luther King, Jr. could visit our country this January, he would see a nation much changed and yet the same. Imagine King catching a bus in downtown Montgomery. Perhaps he would select a seat in the front, next to someone tired from a long day’s work for little pay. Through the bus window, he might see dilapidated schools and foreclosed homes. If he were to open up a newspaper, he would read of another war with no end in sight. If King returned to this country of sweet promise and bitter disappointment, he would once again take up the struggle of the poor. King would organize against the interlocking evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. And he would invite us to join him.

In the 43 years since King’s death, we have not fulfilled his dream of equality. Poverty is rising. Health care is out of reach for too many Americans while our military budget grows. Ours is a political landscape that King understood all too well.

In his speech Beyond Vietnam, King decried the way the war on poverty was abandoned for the war on communism. Today we still choose fighter jets over unemployment benefits. The soldiers who fight and die in our army are still overwhelming our nation’s poor. If he were here today, King would say again, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

King cried out for the poor of Vietnam recounting American’s role in their history. “We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village,” he said. “We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon.” Today, King would similarly mourn the poor people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would point out that we once supported the Taliban, the mujaheddin, and Saddam Hussein – over the protests of Iraqis and Afghanis. We remain the enemy of the poor in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere our government supports the rights of corporations over the rights of poor people.

King wrote, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” But that world revolution is still alive today and brings hope even to our country.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, America, and around the world, millions of poor people are building a nonviolent movement for a peaceful, just future. We should not need to Dr. King to entreat us to join the right side of the world revolution. The poor are calling us to join them. Just as King heeded their call, may we see their cause as ours.

More on Moonfail… and how Wiscon has disappointed me

So there’s plenty more going around the web on the lack of response from Wiscon’s concom, especially after the governing body SF3 has suggested that E Moon’s (link goes to the post that kicked this off) GOH invitation be rescinded. There are others who have spoken far more eloquently than I ever could, those that were deeply involved in the whole thing that have stepped away from being on concomm or the programming comm and have said NO to Wiscon because its failing to meet its own expectations by not rescinding her invitation, and by expecting Muslim attendees to be walking teachers to correct her failure to see them as human beings, and in her own words as good citizens. That’s utter bollocks, and imposing an unfair burden on Muslims that would be attending the Con.

The other issue I’m having is seeing how this is affecting so many people, and how little it seems to matter to those who can make the decision to disinvite her. Is the pain of even one member of the community insufficient to move the concom to a decision? Do they need to see people canceling their memberships, their rooms and more declarations of how done people are with Wiscon to be moved to action?  Is it going to come down to money lost versus doing the right thing to get some kind of action to occur?It shouldnt be a matter of just dollar but of sense, and of what the Con supposedly stands for and not forgetting that in the face of controversy.

I’ve only gone to Wiscon once, and I greatly enjoyed it last year. I got to meet many wonderful people who I’ve remained connected to since Wiscon 34. I was afraid to even attend this year post race-fail, and frankly after seeing all of the hemming and hawing on making a decision about Moon’s GOH invitation and the idea that Muslim attendees should be walking teachable moments instead of making Moon see where she screwed up and making her accountable for her words; which are on the internet for the world to see and repeating them is not maligning her, it’s called quoting people I’m angry that I even gave Wiscon this one year of my time, money and experience. I’m disappointed more than angry about all of this.

I hope that Wiscon makes a decision, and soon about rescinding Moon’s GOH status before anyone who cares just gives up and goes away. I know I’m getting to that point and I’ve only gone once but was excited about returning to Madison next May, already booked a room and was planning on how to get there even if I don’t have a job by next spring. But instead I’m going to join the folks sitting, waiting and wondering what is going to finally happen.

Lastly and most definitely not least, I hope that people have not forgotten about Nisi Shawl, the GOH for Wiscon 35. I feel like she has been overshadowed, overrun by the utter fail of Moon’s idiocy and hate speech and forgotten in this. I hope to be there to support and celebrate Nisi as she should be celebrated for all she’s done. It was wonderful meeting her last year and I want to keep her in people’s minds as they make up their mind about attending/not attending/giving up on Wiscon altogether.

In short, I hope there’s some action sooner than later and I can resume plans to attend in good conscience.

Wiscon 2011 and how the emoon situation is making me rethink attending

So, it’s not news about the whole emoon Islamaphobia post that is now shut down by the author. It isn’t news that many fantastic people have written their piece about her idiocy Link Roundup @ karnythia’s LJ and some great posts on this by Asim are here, here, here and response to the Wiscon concom not rescinding her GOH invite is here and now comes the decision by Wiscon to keep her as a GOH. That discussion and the fallout over her remarks is now overshadowing the fabulous Nisi Shawl as 2011 GOH, and it pisses me off that this RaceFail redux 2010 edition is ruining the con for so many before people have even booked tickets to attend.

The whole situation reeks of hatred, vitriol, over the top uber patriotism that we were all treated to immediately following 9/11. I can understand the position that the Wiscon concom must be in, to have to deal with yet another race fail type thing and not just by a panelist or attendee, but having to deal with such remarks by one of the incoming GOH’s has to be hell to deal with. I concede that it’s not an easy discussion… but, and there’s always a but… allowing her to remain GOH, and trying to frame it as a teaching moment does two things in my head (and this came up in conversation with [personal profile] karnythia this evening.

1. It puts the onus for teachable moments on the attendees, to task them with making others understand when they are at the con of their own reasons. I don’t go to cons to be on the hot seat for explaining and teaching others, if I wanted that I’d be on panels (not like panels are all about teachable moments, but you get what I mean I hope!) and I don’t want to spend my time that could be spent at panels, socializing and having a good time at con turn into being a walking ask me board, or the token (fill in the blank) that you can ask questions you may not ask others.

2. The fact that she deleted all the comments and shut down any chance of discourse on that post tells me quite clearly that there is NO INTEREST in dialog or learning from what has happened due to her post, her words that are now out there on the internet for eternity. I don’t see why allowing her to remain GOH is supposed to be some great opportunity for dialog when it’s clear that there is no interest in her part and anyone attempting to dialog will likely be labeled as one of those mean people who just won’t let it go, or just won’t see what she really meant, and stop being so mean to her! [that’s my assumption, since most online interactions about race, and privilege usually go in that direction]

It also makes me feel as if the con does not care about the people that were hurt and offended by her words. The people she painted in such broad strokes as barely civilized and should be grateful for being allowed on the hallowed ground of the USA. I think because she is a professional writer, I think more care should be taken with what you say, online, in text and have the realization that once your post it out there, it’s out there. Considering all the discourse I’ve seen on this issue alone, people have long memories and they won’t forget her words just because the con is next May.

I know I won’t forget this whole chain of fuckery, hate, racism and Islamaphobia that is rearing it’s head, and making me rethink Wiscon. It makes me wonder if the concom holds to the values they espouse and if anything will make them take notice of how this has damaged how some people may think about Wiscon, how it may influence people to skip the con altogether instead of giving any money to an organization that would have her as a GOH, well nothing outside of money. If people start canceling their registrations or skip it all together, would that send a message that is loud and clear or would it be chalked up to those oversensitive people who undoubtedly refuse to dialog, even after all this programming was created to address the issue…

I could go on, but that’s veering off into rant territory and I think this post is barely cohesive as it is because I’m pretty rageful at the disregard for any people who would attend Wiscon, and for those that don’t feel safe now and are already planning other things in place of attending Wiscon.

I’m still on the fence about attending, but I’ll have to climb down one side or the other soon.

Repost of: Navigating Through this Post Racial Society; via Neo_Prodigy on LJ

Reposting from Neo_Prodigy on LJ.

Navigating Through This Post-Racial Society

Neo_Prodigy once again nails something on the head so hard it howled for mercy that has been milling around in my head regarding the reaction to Lebron’s leaving Cleveland and how Lebron’s non-decision overshadowed the news of the cop that was convicted of the lowest possible charge in the murder of Oscar Grant.

Long post is long but worth every damn word and graphic within.

Where Oscar Grant Meets Lebron James

This post shares some cold hard fundamental truths about this society.

Two black brothers with two very different stories, yet the underlying message of “white people own, operate, execute, and enforce this shit” could not be clearer. In the same country where video evidence of a white police officer murdering a black civilian can result in an involuntary manslaughter conviction, is it really any surprise that a white (basketball) owner feels so entitled to a player’s black body that he would resort to name calling and tantrums?

The days of literally owning our bodies are over, but the remnants of our time under white supremacy linger. Dan Gilbert’s bitchfit over losing his most prized possession, while excellent fodder for late night talk show hosts and bloggers, is nothing compared to the pain Grant’s family and our community experiences as we add another name to the ever-growing list of brothers and sisters slaughtered by those ordered to protect and serve. Malcolm X’s words are still new: “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.”

It also reiterates a point “afro_dyte” made in the past: that the unquestioned assumption that a Black person’s body, a Black person’s space, a Black person’s time (or other POCs for that matter), has no innate value (save the value White people give it), which makes it impossible to violate.

This also puts in perspective some wank I endured online a few years back. A few years back I spoke out on offensive tropes concerning gay men and demanding better on a writing forum and a condescending white woman rolled on to my blog and made with the trolling. After asking her to leave and then being forced to ban her, I found out later that she made some friends-locked post and all of her buddies came over and began flaming my blog. After tearing each and everyone of them a new asshole, they pulled some Rosewood shit in crying that the Negro Savage was being meeeeeeeeeeean to the poor innocent white woman. And what was interesting was when I called them out on how wrong they were for flaming my blog, my personal space in the first gawd damn place, they acted nonplussed because I was getting all “uppity.”

More than the usual sense of entitlement, ignorance, arrogance, and just grade-A bitchassness, there was something about that whole troll situation that got under my skin and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. While I dealt with trolls before this was unsettling. A bunch of white folks acted under the assumption that a POC’s space and time had no value save what they gave it and therefore they felt completely justified. IE, in spite of the fact they were wrong about the whole argument and situation, in all their white privilege, they felt entitled to roll into my home unannounced, unwelcomed, take a steaming shit in the middle of my living room and get outraged because I refused to wipe their asses.

And then they wonder why the Negro savage gets all Negro and savage.

Mel Gibson’s Racist Rant

And clearly someone’s Nazi ass didn’t learn his lesson from last time.

White Peepul: The Following Video Is A Surefire Way To Wind Up On The Back Of A Milk Carton”

A couple of points:

1. There IS a difference between being accused of being a racist and committing a racist act.

2. Being called on racist activity IS NOT more offensive than the act itself.

3. Just because you aren’t intentionally doing something racist or bigoted out of malice or hate DOES NOT mean that your actions aren’t racist, hurtful and destructive. Intent does matter but only so far as whether or not I’ll forgive you and try to educate you or whether I just throw up my arms and walk away shaking my head, less I risk catching another assault charge.

4. Just because you say something bigoted in a polite or diplomatic manner does not negate the fact that you are saying something bigoted. Too many times I’ve seen folks pull this shit. Whether you’re screaming “Fuck you nigger!”, “Faggot!” or justifying institutional oppression with “The police are well within their rights to racially profile blacks and Latinos because numbers show they’re the only ones committing crimes” or “Publishers/Media Execs are totally justified in whitewashing or making with the gay erasure because they don’t generate sales and it’s all about numbers,” you’re still saying something bigoted (and for that matter inaccurate) and others are well within their rights to get outraged and call you out on it. And speaking of calling out, that’s right Scans Daily, I’m looking at you, yet again.

5. When you do say bigoted shit, you don’t get to get mad or dictate the terms of the discussion or police people’s reactions because someone is outraged over something bigoted you said.

As a friend of mine once stated, “When it comes to race, a lot of people (including people of color) assume – if not outright state – that White is a lack of race, an empty ethnicity, the default, normal, invisible. As a result, when it comes to matters of race, Whiteness becomes impartial, objective, unbiased, rational, common sense. I’m sure you can imagine how this plays out in racial discourse. Whiteness is positioned as true and therefore right. Of course, no one thinks that consciously (duh!), but it often comes out in how, in a weird sort of way, White people seem to act like they’re only White when the topic of discussion is racism and not every waking moment of their lives. And this confuses the shit out of me because that’s like a straight person acting like they’re only heterosexual when the issue of gay marriage crops up. Or a man acting like the only time he notices gender is when people bring up sexism. To which the only prudent response is to disengage before the intensity of delusion makes your head explode.”

Lost In Translation

H/T to heavenscalyx for the following:

Addendum: In the second panel in the top right, the other more prominent translation is- All my friends are white. All the men I fuck are Black. But the only men I even remotely consider for a serious meaningful relationship are white.

heavenscalyx also recently made some excellent points on Racefail that I think eloquently sums up a lot of what we’re witnessing:

What none of my fellow People of Pallor seem willing to suggest out loud (so, of course, I’m going to do it) is that it’s probably no coincidence that RaceFail has happened so vividly in the post-Obama-election world.

Because, really, isn’t it the same fundamental fear that motivates the Tea Baggers and the Birthers and even the various extreme white supremacist groups that causes all these white folks to drop their pants on the Internet?

Fear takes the filters down. Fear makes even reasonable people unreasonable. Add extra fear — the fear that they really haven’t come so very far after all — in the hearts of white people who consider themselves broad minded liberals, or at the very least, educated and “color blind”, and the filters really come a-tumblin’ down to let out all the defensiveness to cover the shame and embarrassment.

Because I have no doubt that on some level, people are ashamed to realize that there’s a corner of their minds that doesn’t believe that “all men are created equal.” They push that knowledge down, cover it up with stuff, and hope no one notices this pile of ugly baggage in the corner.

This artificial Fear of the Other is programmed into us by our society and culture — that’s what institutionalized racism (and sexism and homophobia) IS, after all: the fear that the oppressed people will do to the privileged folk just what the privileged folk have done to them. It is, I daresay, practically impossible to excise. Further, I believe that there isn’t a person in this country who is without it, no matter what they may claim.

The only way to beat the Fear of the Other and all its horrible, devastating consequences is to be aware of it, to pay attention to it, and fight it by not letting it win, by consciously trying to keep it from getting its sticky little tentacles into less formed minds, and by keeping a constant monitor on our interactions with others.

Originally posted on tanyad @Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment here, or there

My two cents on the utter idiocy being displayed around health care reform

I’ve been watching the utter lunacy unfold around the health care reform bill, debates in DC and both those who support and oppose the changes. I’ve seen the teabaggers accost a man with Parkinson’s disease, conservative nutjobs say that Obama is using an 11 year old boys tragedy for sympathy and as a ploy? We’ve also had some pundit suggest that Senator Reid’s wife get put down because of her recent injuries.

I really wonder what the hell is wrong with the people who are so vehemently against healthcare reform? Are they rich enough to endure injury and medical bills without insurance? Do they have money stashed away in case of emergency, enough to cover unexpected surgery or an extended hospital stay? I’m going to go with a resounding NO.  I’m thinking the people who are out in the street screaming about “their tax dollars going to the undeserving” and acting as if the government is siphoning money directly out of their checking account don’t seem to understand that their tax dollars go toward services they may never use, but also towards roads, tollways, schools, and other public services that they use every single day, but would howl to the heavens if they had to suddenly start paying for their mail to be delivered, or their garbage to be taken away.

I’m not sure why these folks can’t see that they could be one medical emergency away from ruin, and healthcare reform, if it existed would help them not be in financial ruin due to sudden illness, a prolonged stay or the toll even a sudden death can take on a family due to funeral expenses. It seems as if they are so focused on not letting illegal immigrants have healthcare, and making sure no one can have an abortion on the governments dime, that they have lost (or to be frank, they never really had a grasp on the issue to begin with) the focus of healthcare reform. The point is to give ALL AMERICAN’S health insurance, not just the ones they deem worthy of being/remaining/regaining their good health.

Yes, I think a good portion of the teabaggers ire is racially driven, since they seem to have come out of the woodwork once Obama was elected and sworn in. You’d have thought the End of Days was upon us with the way they keep going on about wanting a return to the good old days, and wanting “their country” back. No one has stolen your country, no one has moved you to a point in time where whites are disenfranchised and out in the street and blacks are suddenly the majority. Their insistence on pushing back against the President’s (non-existent) Socialism and Communism are making their idiocy plain for everyone to see as well as their racist reasoning for their actions. When you call Congressemen Nigger and even spit at them, your racist ass is showing for the world to see.

But I digress a bit, I was going towards the point that the people the Teabaggers and staunch Rethugs are trying to deny healthcare to are not all illegals and poor, undeserving people. They are young people,that have only minimal coverage via their university or their parents insurance that will cut them off at 22 or 23.  These are folks who are suffering from the economic downturn and have lost insurance after losing a job. Even those that may have insurance but it’s coverage is minimal, and often times things are refused coverage being cited as “pre-existing” conditions or there’s always a loophole that some penny pincher finds to deny someone coverage and they can be destroyed by one medical emergency. I give these examples not just for their truth, but because I know people who are in these situations.  A friend is now facing bankruptcy and fiscal ruin before 30 due to one ER trip, surgery and then back-pedaling by her university insurance on covering any of her care.  Another has been uninsured for years, but dealing with chronic pain, and has to deal with the rather poor treatment of healthcare staff should she run out of medication and needs to seek out more; they have treated her as if she must be an addict, when she simply is in pain and needed help.

Another young woman I’ve come to know of is suffering to the point where she can’t even bathe or dress herself without assistance, but SSI refuses her claims, saying she is able bodied enough to hold several jobs. How blind can our system be to such people? How blind can these people who claim to be such great patriots and arbiters of justice be to see that these are the people that would suffer along with their “enemies” of America that they claim would just suckle from the government teat of free healthcare for all at the cost of their “tax dollars”! What they fail to realize, they have no control, and never did have any direct control over where their tax dollars are spent. As far as I know, all my tax dollars could be funding a neighborhood school that I’ll never utilize, or for a highway in Iowa that I may never drive over, but that doesn’t mean I should be out protesting in the street about not using “my tax dollars” for schools or roads I may never use. It’s stupid, and shows an astounding amount of ignorance on the part of those that would deny their fellow Americans a shot at being healthy, even if they never are sick a day in their life.

In closing off this ramble, I really wish those that oppose healthcare reform would actually take a moment and read through what is being proposed instead of hearing my tax dollars supporting others, that I deem unworthy of basic needs like health, and well being. It sickens me that there are those that would deny another person the right to good health because they refuse to educate themselves on healthcare reform and on what it could actually do for them. See Michael Moore’s Sicko, (and here’s a link to the fact file regarding the films topic) and look up the ways in which companies profit of your poor health before you complain about reforming our broken system; and if you have decent insurance, be very grateful you do have it. Be so grateful that you help pass healthcare reform instead of obstruct it.

Now I’m off to see if reform finally will begin to happen or if the obstructionists will get their way and keep the system broken.

My $2.00 worth on White Privilege

After discussions, upon discussions where sometimes I feel like the person I’m talking with genuinely “gets it” and many other times where people just can’t/won’t/refuse to understand their privilege, I’ve decided to spell it out for people and hope they actually read, comprehend and think about what’s coming in this post.

What’s about to be said here is based on MY experiences, what I’ve read by other people who have done research on the topic and who have shared their insights with me over the years. This is fueled by hearing one time too many.. but I’m POOR  I can’t be privileged! I don’t treat people like that, stop accusing me of being racist! etc….

Continue reading “My $2.00 worth on White Privilege”

For all the people who think POC Fans of Sci Fi didn’t exist until the internet? GTFO of my sci fi you dumbasses

Stolen off LJ from kittie_kattie

I have a new level of non existance: Apparantly PoC didn’t start getting into sci-fi/fantasy until the interent showed us the way. Seriously? What the fuck is that shit?

*~*~* wild unicorn herd check in: “If you identify as a POC/nonwhite person and you read or watch scifi or fantasy, give yourself a name check in this thread.

I am particularly wanting shoutouts from people who do not live in the US and who have still managed to read genre fiction.

I’m tired of people trying to render us invisible unless they have been given a memo about our existences.” ~ delux_vivens.

I’ve failed to effectively discuss RaceFail 09′, and I’m thoroughly, entirely past fashionably late on discussing it, but the sheer stupidity of the idea that POC weren’t fans UNTIL the internet astounds me. Well, not in that I can’t believe it way, but in the someone actually let that come out of their mouth and actually thinks its a plausible explanation? Here’s a newsbite you silly people, just because you don’t see it? Doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because you don’t see alot of people of color at conventions doesn’t mean that we are not fans of Sci Fi, etc.

Learn a lesson and realize your validation means fuck all to us. We have been existing and will still exist whether or not you realize it, see it or acknowledge it. I was raised on Star Trek original series, Battle Star Galactica, read comics till I fell asleep, dreamt of traipsing amongst the stars well before some of you probably were around. Stop thinking that if you say something enough its going to become true. Stop thinking we need your hey, I see you there kind of validation to go on with our daily lives.

We don’t need you to co-sign on the fact that black folks like something other than hip hop, malt liquor, soul food and blaxpoitation films.For the last time WE DON’T NEED YOU OR YOUR VALIDATION TO EXIST!

Karnythia speaks up about the Great SF Race Fail of 09′

So folks have had enough of the SF communities epic fail at depicting CoC (characters of color). There has been massive wank, fail and omgwtf is wrong with you fuckers all over the internets. Well LJ’er Karnythia has spoken up about Race Fail 09′. She has encouraged folks to link away so I’m doing that.

For clarity, here’s  a link to the timeline of race fail 09, posted by Karnythia from Rydra_Wong‘s link spam.

Don’t be e-bullies kids… it’s not nice mmmkay? It will also get you kicked in the e-nads thusly.

This is what I had to say to karnythia’s post:

On a serious note, I had never heard of the fuckwads that are primary to this fiasco before this week. Now that I have heard of them? I’ll be even more selective in who gets my hard earned cash for reading material.

I had a chance to catch up on this epic fail of all fails via [info]ryda_wong‘s linkspam, [info]delux_vivens, and other folks and all I got is who the fuck do these people think they are? E-Bullying, making not so vague threats as if you really have the power to do something to up and coming authors? Intentionally “outing” bloggers in some perverse tug of war and power trip? You fail fuckwads, and all you’ve done for me is make me more eager to support ventures like [info]verb_noire, not pay for your shitty writing and keep my money for those who will act as if I’m a person, not the exotic other that you just can’t understand… that you can’t personify as regular fucking people and not these mythical things that you now refuse to deal with.

No loss to us, in case you hadn’t noticed dumbasses. From the bits I’ve read from the principal players? No one will weep if you never write a fucking word again. So take your crappy ass toys and leave, we’ll be over here making progress against your epic fail.

Edited at 2009-03-05 10:23 am (local)

Pfleger spoke the truth, and now folks are pissed off

While I don’t agree with the method of delivery by Reverend Pfleger, I do agree with the message. Why is no one talking about McCain’s hateful minister? Hmmm?

Rev. Pfleger: ‘They want to kill me…it’s been ugly’

June 1, 2008

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, who helped reignite Barack Obama’s pastor problems by mocking Hillary Clinton, said this evening he’s received “thousands of hate threats” since his videotaped pulpit rant.

“They want to kill me,” Pfleger told parishioners during a service in a St. Sabina Church chapel on Chicago’s South Side this evening. “It’s been very ugly.”