When marginalized people say [insert privileged group] do/don’t do x, they aren’t saying “every single member of that privileged group.” They are saying, as a political bloc, that (for example) straight white men don’t care about women’s rights or queer rights or people of colour, etc.. Not that you, [specific person], don’t. And we know that, again as a bloc, straight white men don’t care about women’s rights or queer rights, etc. because we know how straight white men en masse vote. And how much power they wield. And how they wield it. Continue reading “Why #notall_____ is a Derailing Tactic”
I’m obsessed with neoliberalism. I’m fascinated by it as an ideology, and I’m fascinated by how successful it’s been in such a short time. Mostly, I’m fascinated by how pervasive it is–infecting every corner of life in the Western world–and yet how successfully it has remained invisible.
Like it’s brother capitalism, it’s become an ideology that just is. Ask most people what neoliberalism is and they’ll shrug. But ask them their views on government’s role in society, on privatization, on healthcare or welfare or trade and they’ll be either espousing or critiquing neoliberalism.
Because it’s become the toxic water we swim in–that is, invisible yet fundamental to shaping how we live–I thought it might be useful to offer a little primer on neoliberalism as well as some of the ways we see its impacts. Especially because a lot of writing on neoliberalism is far from accessible, and that is one of the ways we remain unable to fight it. When we don’t have language for what we’re fighting, nor the full scope of the problem, it’s hard–if not impossible–to mount an effective and broad opposition.
So first, what is neoliberalism? It’s a political ideology (that is, a way of understanding, organizing, and governing the world) that emphasizes and prizes individualism over collectivism and encourages consumption as a source of identity and the primary way that we engage with society. Continue reading “A Primer on Neoliberalism”
As we see racists and rapists and homophobes and trans-antagonists and all sorts of bigots and their hateful ideologies emboldened we need to act. But the reality of being in some axis (or axes) of privilege is that we have to actively unlearn a lot of toxic shit and then we have to learn how to engage wisely and productively.
Recognizing that a lot of people–especially a lot of white people–want to do something but that a lot of us have never learned how to talk about these kinds of things I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned in my years as an educator and activist.
Now, I want to be clear: This is for when you are engaging as an ally, not when you are personally impacted. If you are personally impacted you react however you need to react in that moment and later. Whatever way your body reacts is wise and productive. Continue reading “Strategies for Talking to Fellow White People (and Other Privileged Folks)”
Although I keep my own Facebook page pretty locked down for the sake of my mental health, I often respond on friends’ posts when someone is being oppressive or just generally shitty. Through doing this I’ve catalogued some of the myriad ways people try to derail conversations where they are clearly in the wrong, obfuscate who has said what to draw silent observers to their side, and shift the blame so that they can’t be taken to task for the shitty thing they’ve said so they bear no responsibility for their harmful actions.
Nearly all of them are based on one of two principles: 1) Make someone feel like they’re overreacting or 2) Make them question their own perception of reality.
I’m sharing these because, until I started to see them as part of a bigger picture, they worked really well on me. They made me feel unable to trust my own perceptions, responses, and feelings. They made me question my grip on reality and whether I was “overreacting.” Continue reading “How to Derail, Obfuscate, and Shift the Blame When You’ve Messed Up”
So you’re on Facebook, let’s say, and you see a conversation happening about something you’re quite sure you have a lot of knowledge about, and you’re ready to jump in with guns a’blazing.
And so you do! Generously spreading your knowledge all around. Jumping in to active threads to post about your lived experience, thoughtfully challenging others’, just all around engaging in some really pointed, high-level, political debate.
Weirdly, however, it’s not being received as the act of generosity it was. In fact, they’re being pretty rude about it. And entirely missing the point. And getting pretty emotional. And, fuck, if they keep talking like this they’re just going to drive away all of the people who would be inclined to help them, right?
And, weirdest part of all, this isn’t the first time a bunch of people have been overly sensitive and completely missed how generous your contributions are. Has the whole world gone mad?? Continue reading “So You Think You Should Respond to That Facebook Post About Race/Gender/Etc”