the letter z

Omg, omg, omg, omg…

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-01-25

Why did I not hear about this earlier? Why? This fucking made my day.


Can you tell I’ve gotten over this yet?

Posted in Uncategorized by z on 2011-01-08

We are involved in the business of no less than liberation of people. We may be more or less involved in the liberation of some specific subset of people, but more or less, when we discuss theories and beliefs, bring up news articles about oppression, we do so to an end of achieving freedom for people.

Most of the time, in addressing oppressor-oppressed relationships, what we talk about boils down to a simple request: that the oppressor group in an instance essentially should respect the oppressed group as fellow human beings, as opposed to murdering them, or harassing them, for instance.

How do we convince one group of fellow human beings to treat another group of fellow human beings in the same way, we ask each other? How do we stop the oppressor-oppressed cycle, here? Diversity is one of the common key words that are used in these discussions; we deconstruct insularity and us-versus-them mentalities by sheer exposure: we are all fellow human beings here, eking out our same existence, having the same thoughts, dreams, and hopes as everyone else. It’s a noble riposte, amongst the other defenses in our repertoire.

Do we really believe it?

Mainstream feminist theory is a convenient case study. There are several classical branches of feminist thought, socialist feminism, liberal feminism, postmodern feminism, etc. When we talk about feminism, do we actually talk from a position that respects a multitude of feminist schools of thought?

Let me address this by bringing up an example, early May last year this article was reposted on Feministe, regarding a well-publicized incident of a police officer murdering a black man and the subsequent lack of action by the police force.

The event isn’t what I’m talking about here, it’s the language used in the response to it. It is formed as a “vow” in formal language, and starts off with a statement that has a goal of diversity and inclusivity to stakeholders in feminism:

We as women, transgender people, two-spirit people, queers, gender-oppressed people, and allies of the Bay Area mourn the loss of Oscar Grant;

Very commendable: it’s not often that feminist discourse explicitly speaks to those other groups. However, further down:

Whereas police violence comes 10% from individual bigotry and improper training, and 90% from a capitalist state system designed to protect property, not people;
Whereas such a property-focused police system, controlled by the rich and influential, enacts and supports gender-based and sexual violence;
And Whereas such a system can never be adequately reformed, based as it is in the fundamental inequality borne of a patriarchal capitalist system:

What does this tell anyone who doesn’t hold a socialist feminist mindset?

This isn’t addressed to you. Move along.

Look, the rest of the sentiment is very inspiring, and this is a repost from someone’s personal blog, and there’s leeway to be afforded there, but the point is that it was reposted on Feministe, a popular feminist reader with no aspirations to adhere to any specific feminist ideology.

Furthermore, this sort of thing seems to pop up in other places, too. I’ve talked earlier about QT’s recent anticapitalist slant, of course. Pam’s House Blend ran a piece recently about the exclusionary tactics of one particular trans community leader; even though I personally don’t agree with those exclusionary views, criticism still needs to be handled carefully against members of your own community.

Ultimately, by decrying one ideology, you implicitly exclude those who believe in it, by supporting one ideology, you implicitly exclude those who do not believe in it. That is what we are talking about here, belief. No one has ironclad proofs that if we all implemented the strategies and behaviours of one ideology, that the problems inherent in existence would fade away. But what becomes popular becomes de rigeur, and we play this implicit exclusion game when we allow ourselves to say to those in our community “This is what we believe, and so should you”.

It’s a thin line to walk, to honour diversity in ideology as I am proposing we do, by all means. But I think we need to try. They are our people, our fellow human beings. We all have the same goal of liberation in our minds.