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Marriage Equality and Other MOGAI/Queer Rights

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Thought I'd post this with a bit of background: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/c...rriage-20167816

 

Longstory short  NM has no laws about same sex marriage but has a law that makes it illegal to discriminate depending on sex or sexual preference. The result has been clerks giving out close to 900 marriage liscences to same sex couples. Now the clerics orginzation is requesting the court to rule on whether or not these marriages are in line with NM law.

Yup. After being like the one state with absolutely no laws on it whatsoever, we seem to have finally entered into the battle for rights. My inbox was getting tons of political updates on it a few days ago. =U

 

I do hope for the best. School got kind of busy, so I'm not as up on it as I'd like to be. Thanks for the reminder to go update myself!

 

I've seen "white girl tears" "male tears" "white boy tears" "straight people tears" etc. a lot when it comes to ~Tumblr Social Justice Warriors~ and it's just...

 

Wow. Okay, no, not okay. Sadness and unhappiness are not measured on a universal scale, it is acceptable for a person to be unhappy if, relative to the level of comfort they usually experience, something is not going right.

 

The idea of "if you have X privilege you don't get to be sad" is BS because by that logic, only one person/group in the entire world would ever be allowed to complain at any given time because everybody else would have it better.

 

This is not at all what "privileged tears" are about. "Privileged tears" are when a person of privilege invades the safe space of a marginalized group, derails the topic, and tries to make things about them. It's also used when a person of privilege comes into a topic without any education on the subject and spreads misinformation to deny the oppression being discussed.

 

Ex. A blog that focuses on rape culture education brings the intersectionality that black women are at higher risk than white women for rape, and native women, by far, have the greatest risk of being raped.

A person of privilege (a white cisman or a white ciswoman) interrupts the discussion to say "but we're all just people and we're all at risk for being raped, and why do you even need to bring this up and treat white women like we're so much safer than other women".

It could be said that the person of privilege is spouting "white tears" or "privileged tears".

 

I'm sure this gets misused, but the idea behind "privileged tears" isn't that you can't be sad if you're in a position of privilege. In fact, I see blogs having to explain this to concern trolls all the time. Of course you can be sad. You can be discriminated against. But to invade into a conversation about racial inequality or racialized sex or gender equality with something that happened to you to prove that intersectionality doesn't exist is problematic and, in this case, racist. There are other safe spaces to talk about what you've experienced and there are plenty of ways to bring what you've experienced to safe spaces in a way that doesn't deny the oppression/s of other people. That's what the whole 'tears' thing is about.

 

And it's fine if you don't take that route, but I feel it deserves an explanation here.

 

But why should a white person be a rallying point for the rights of African Americans?

 

This exactly. It's frustrating to read up on a subject, write about a subject, hold discussions on a subject, and become well educated on a subject and continually be silenced because you experience said subject while the face of someone who hasn't put any of the same kind of time and research into the subject and who does not experience the subject is the only voice getting out there. And then these people use their role of "ally" to escape and brush off critique of their problematic behavior.

 

It's a really tricky thing in social justice because various oppression institutions and structures teaches us not to value the opinions of the oppressed, especially when they speak on their oppression. Instead we laugh at them and silence them and don't take them seriously. Best way I can explain it is with the results of a recent study: when told that certain police actions were racially unequal and racist against darker-skinned people, white people actually supported these methods and actions more than before.

 

Oppression structures teach us that marginalized peoples are bad, they are evil, and they will kill you if you allow them to rise up. They are a danger. Therefore, they deserve the inequality so that you can stay safe.

 

And that is really the crux of the problem we're getting at here.

 

It's great to be an ally! But be an educated ally who doesn't speak over the group you are allied with, who knows how to properly react when called out, and who uses their privilege as a platform to give voice to the people who are being silenced.

Edited by SockPuppet Strangler

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I need to butt in here with a sensible tumblrpost. These were from a post about the Macklemore thing:

 

looks like it’s time for another round of DO YOU WANT TO WIN OR NOT for the glbt community.

 

    i have been singing this song since 1988.

 

    DO YOU WANT TO [removed expletive] WIN OR NOT

 

    DO YOU WANT RIGHTS OR NOT

 

    DO YOU WANT RESPECT OR NOT

 

    DO

 

    YOU

 

    WANT

 

    TO

 

    WIN

 

    OR

 

    NOT

 

    i don’t want to hear any more [whining] about how the people using their position of privilege to support us are too privileged to support us. that is dumb as [removed expletive].

Exactly. It’s okay to think it sucks that there are people who will listen to a gay guy but won’t listen to a lesbian. I mean, that is the problem under discussion. But the thing is, you can’t forget that it’s actually true right now, and build strategy based on the idea that it isn’t, and expect to get anywhere. Look at the situation which actually exists, look at the tools you actually have, think about your goals, make a plan that adapts the things you have to the goals you’re pursuing.

 

Alternatively, run around whining that things aren’t already done, then refuse to do anything that could possibly lead to them getting done.

 

Problem: You’re on fire.

 

Conventional strategy: Stop, drop, and roll.

 

Tumblr social justice strategy: Stand in a light breeze of oxygen-enriched air complaining loudly that no one should be on fire in the first place.

I'm going to stand with Macklemore on this one. Here's why:

 

Oppressors will never listen to the people they are oppressing. That disregard is the whole root of oppression. Privileged allies are necessary because oppressors will listen to them. Use them as a mouthpiece because the people who need to hear the message the most, who need to change the most, are usually people who will not listen to you. The people who are listening to you are people whose minds are already open, if only a crack; a privileged ally can reach other people whose minds are not, and if you cut off those allies then you may never reach those closeminded people. If you never reach those closeminded people, you will eventually wind up with tumblr, but in real life: a huge echo chamber where people parrot each other endlessly and wonder why nothing has changed. You'll get public acceptance, but not much beyond that. You can speak up for yourself until you're blue in the face, but you're not going to get anywhere if no one new listens to you. It doesn't matter how many people should; ideally everyone would listen, but this isn't an ideal world and you need to work with what you're given, not the ideal situation. Representation in the media is a step, not the whole journey. Criticizing Macklemore just because he has the spotlight, just because the cameras and the media focus on him and not Mary Lambert, is a lot like declining a hammer because it's not your hammer and pounding the nail in with your fist instead.

 

Allies have volunteered to be your mouthpiece; it's counterintuitive to tell them to get out just because their horn doesn't play the same notes as yours. You probably need the notes they can play for your orchestra. You have to use them to extend your reach, because when society has cast you down to the bottom of the ladder, you'll get messages to the top much faster if you accept help from people who are willing to help pull you up. Or do allies have to endure ritual humiliation before they're allowed to bring awareness to the issue at hand?

Edited by Lythiaren

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When people calling themselves my allies pick and choose which of the LGBT* spectrum they'll be supporting by which ones blend in the most to heterosexist society, they're not my allies.

 

When they use derogatory slurs to refer to me and people like me, they're not my allies.

 

When they tell me I'm overreacting to situations I feel unsafe in because of the attitudes being presented by others, they're not my allies.

 

When they profit off of my culture and struggles and give nothing back but 'awareness', they're not my allies.

 

I'm allowed to be disappointed, to not like a thing or how it's marketed and presented, even if someone made it for me and people like me. I'm allowed to be critical of it, its creators and its presentation. Getting told to shut up and be grateful for the measly crumbs I'm getting really sucks. I want things to be better and I am demanding that they get better, because I know firsthand that the idea that 'no one will listen to you, minority person' is not true. Sticking up for myself and for my fellow queer people affects positive change, even when I 'break cover' and out myself. I appreciate my allies, but I don't need to hide behind them in case big bad society takes a swing at me. I'm bullheaded enough to keep pushing on my own.

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In my opinion, unless they're being a jerk about it, nobody should be looked down upon for things over which they have no control.

 

Straight white males didn't choose to be straight white males any more than homosexuals chose to be attracted to people of the same sex as themselves, or any more than trans*people chose to be born with a body that didn't match their brain. They didn't choose to be straight white males any more than I chose to not be attracted to anyone.

 

If you devalue, say, straight white males and think their emotional investment in a cause is worth less than that of other people because of something they can't control, how are you any better than the people oppressing and discriminating against you for things you can't control? Yes, yes, I know you're not legislating to take their rights away or anything, but we're talking about more than just lawmaking at the moment. We're talking about humanity.

 

The proper response when a straight ally makes a mistake because they don't fully understand but nonetheless feel strongly enough to support you is not to mock, vilify, or marginalize them. The proper response is to educate them. Don't get smug and haughty at privileged allies just because they can't possibly know what you've gone through. When an ally makes a mistake, educate them about that mistake. Disapproval should only be reserved for people with a messiah complex and people who want to oppress you, not people who just care and don't fully understand.

 

Disregarding any strategic benefit allies afford, pushing someone aside because of things over which that person has no control is not cool, whatever your reasoning. If you have a problem with someone's attempt at helping, rather than bashing everyone who's ever shared specific uncontrollable characteristics before they slip up, HELP THEM. Otherwise you just look like a big tool.

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In my opinion, unless they're being a jerk about it, nobody should be looked down upon for things over which they have no control.

 

Straight white males didn't choose to be straight white males any more than homosexuals chose to be attracted to people of the same sex as themselves, or any more than trans*people chose to be born with a body that didn't match their brain. They didn't choose to be straight white males any more than I chose to not be attracted to anyone.

 

If you devalue, say, straight white males and think their emotional investment in a cause is worth less than that of other people because of something they can't control, how are you any better than the people oppressing and discriminating against you for things you can't control? Yes, yes, I know you're not legislating to take their rights away or anything, but we're talking about more than just lawmaking at the moment. We're talking about humanity.

 

The proper response when a straight ally makes a mistake because they don't fully understand but nonetheless feel strongly enough to support you is not to mock, vilify, or marginalize them. The proper response is to educate them. Don't get smug and haughty at privileged allies just because they can't possibly know what you've gone through. When an ally makes a mistake, educate them about that mistake. Disapproval should only be reserved for people with a messiah complex and people who want to oppress you, not people who just care and don't fully understand.

 

Disregarding any strategic benefit allies afford, pushing someone aside because of things over which that person has no control is not cool, whatever your reasoning. If you have a problem with someone's attempt at helping, rather than bashing everyone who's ever shared specific uncontrollable characteristics before they slip up, HELP THEM. Otherwise you just look like a big tool.

This. I have on MANY occasions been blasted for standing up for gays and lesbians (and in fact all other groups of humanity, as I believe in equal rights for EVERYBODY) - because I CAN'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE to be POOR THEM, so go away etc.

 

I happen to know MANY gays and lesbians personally and understand more of than my detractors think; I was at Uni in the UK pre-Wolfenden and often acted as cover to keep gay friends out of JAIL, for god's sake. But even if I hadn't, and even if I understood NOTHING - I will still stand up for them - because they have the same human rights as I do.

 

I don't know what it is like being a Palestinian refugee either - and I will march in support of them. If I get my facts wrong - I still support them in spades - because they have rights too. I REALLY resent the idea that if I don't know stuff, I shouldn't defend another group. (Oh, and by the way - I don't believe in the Great Sisterhood of Women, either. So hit me. I am simply human and do my very best to be humane with it.)

Edited by fuzzbucket

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Allies should also take responsibility for their own education, however. When I can, I do educate, but sometimes I can't because i don't have the resources, time, energy or patience.

 

When I took up my workplace on the homophobic slurs that they let pass constantly and without comment, each and every one of my allies asked why I was so concerned about words, especially words that aren't frequently applied to lesbians. They argued that I was interfering with the other workers free speech. They said that slurs weren't bad unless they were actually directed at someone. I had the same conversation over and over and over again for two weeks, while also having to present my arguments at work and deal with the stress of outing myself very publicly there. I educated, I wrote letters, I argued, I cried, I yelled, I ranted.

 

I won, my workplace got better, but some of my allies didn't stop fussing about little technicalities in my arguments. So around week three I just gave up and stopped discussing it rationally with them because they weren't listening and I couldn't take it anymore. They still let their boyfriends get away with using homophobic slurs, they still argue when I decide to try again and take another shot at explaining why they need to stop that. Other than their one stupid blind spot they're still my friends, but I don't count them as allies even though they do so themselves.

 

And that's just one example. I am an advocate for the queer people around me and that means i engage in these conversations all the time. Some days it's nice and I get the warm fuzzie of helping someone understand, but a lot of the time it's beating my head against a brick wall of obstinate refusal to empathize. It is hard to keep educating and convincing people, which is why sometimes we just give up trying. Macklemore's never going to know or care that I don't like his song and that I wish he'd toss the proceeds to a shelter for queer youth and maybe pump up Mary Lamberts song a little more. If he does, awesome. If he doesn't, he's nothing new. Maybe the next one will be better.

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There is one trouble with that. I am with you ALL THE WAY, and have spent many happy hours in the coffee room explaining to the unenlightened that Paul is a very nice man who prefers to share his life with other men and that does not mean he is about to jump every male child who passes his window and so on - but in one way - they don't need to "understand" that - they need to ACCEPT it. IN the same was as they accept that I would not sit there saying "eeeew hetero sex is so ICKY and the very thought makes me ill." (I recently had a terrific row with a gay man on another forum (nothing to do with sex; it is "just" a special interest forum) who posted exactly that - and he would not back down. He said it was his right to say that, even in public, and that was how he felt about it. This is an otherwise well educated guy that in other areas I get on well with. That is actually just as bad.

 

We need acceptance (NOT tolerance - big beef of mine !) all round. We don't all have to agree; we do all have to be accepting and courteous. From genuine acceptance come automatic equal rights, I think. I don't know that we all need to "understand" as long as we don't interfere and discriminate or bully.

 

All you and I need to do, werejace, is just say - over and over - "that is offensive and unacceptable." It doesn't matter WHY it is unacceptable - it simply IS. Just as saying "God sucks" to a Jehovah's Witness over coffee is, or putting a Page Three boob calendar where woman who hate those have to see them.. And ultimately - in the UK at least - you can make an official report on co-workers who behave like that - and believe me, I would.

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I know about workplace discrimination laws-that's what I used to make my case to management and stop the abusive language going around. I know that there are a variety of tools we can use to promote acceptance and understanding, and that sometimes you just have to cut your losses and yell in someone's face until they leave you alone. When I engage in good faith dialogue with people, my goal is to promote acceptance through understanding. When I tell a guy at a party to shut his stupid mouth because he won't stop yelling homophobic slurs, I have acknowledged that it isn't a teaching moment. When someone calls themselves my ally, but lets homophobic behaviour and language pass, how should I treat them? Why should I consider them an ally when they have demonstrated that they are not?

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-wants to headbutt herself into the conversation about hate towards cis straight white males-

 

this is something that makes me so angry because ok

i spend a lot of time on tumblr and most of the stuff i see is very embracing towards people of literally all gender identities and sexualities and races

and so many people there are so open-minded about it and it's really great

but the kind of hate i see more than anything on tumblr is hate towards cis/het white males

on tumblr large amounts of people will threaten death to you if you express homophobia or transphobia or racism or sexism but

a text post along the lines of 'wow all these cis straight white guys must be completely terrible people like they're cis so they must be transphobic and they're straight so they must be homophobic and they're white so they must be racist and they're MALE SO THEY MUST BE SEXIST TOWARDS WOMEN RIGHT'

and so many people are just totally ok with that

and i just

it makes me very very mad

 

-steps out-

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I know about workplace discrimination laws-that's what I used to make my case to management and stop the abusive language going around.

Be careful with that. Unfortunately, there is no law in most states that protect people with different sexual orientations and you can LEGALLY get fired if they suspect you of being gay. They can simply claim it's against their religion. Which is about the dumbest, most disgusting loophole in a law i've ever heard of, but it's true.

 

I'm not saying what you did was wrong. I'm just saying, be prepared should anything come up.

Edited by MysticTiger

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Be careful with that. Unfortunately, there is no law in most states that protect people with different sexual orientations and you can LEGALLY get fired if they suspect you of being gay. They can simply claim it's against their religion. Which is about the dumbest, most disgusting loophole in a law i've ever heard of, but it's true.

 

I'm not saying what you did was wrong. I'm just saying, be prepared should anything come up.

I live in Canada, had retained a lawyer and had the backing of my union reps by the time I went to management. Even if they had fired me, it was better than seeing my friends hiding in back offices and bathrooms so the guys on the floor wouldn't see them having a panic attack.

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The proper response when a straight ally makes a mistake because they don't fully understand but nonetheless feel strongly enough to support you is not to mock, vilify, or marginalize them. The proper response is to educate them. Don't get smug and haughty at privileged allies just because they can't possibly know what you've gone through. When an ally makes a mistake, educate them about that mistake. Disapproval should only be reserved for people with a messiah complex and people who want to oppress you, not people who just care and don't fully understand.

This, so much.

 

Too often people resort to ONLY lashing out and attacking people who are privileged rather than trying to educate them.

 

I mean, I get it. We're all human, sometimes we lash out in anger when attempting to educate is the better way--I've done it before, we all do it at some point. But some people (like the ~Tumblr Social Justice Warriors~) use demonization, discrediting based purely on privilege and not on the mistake made, cruelty, anger, mocking, etc. as their PRIMARY method of dealing with allies who mess up.

 

That should not be the go-to method for handling ally screw-ups.

 

Especially when members of the marginalized group who make mistakes have those mistakes totally ignored. Because guess what? Just being part of a group doesn't automatically make you an authority on it! You can still get your facts wrong (especially if you're just starting to accept your place in that group). Especially if you live in a "better" area for that group or you don't see as much of the internal issues where you live.

 

 

Re: Allies educating themselves:

 

Yes, of course allies should try to educate themselves. But where is the best place to get accurate information, if not directly from the people they are trying to help? I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people throw around incomplete or inaccurate information because they TRIED to educate themselves but the information they got wasn't from very good sources (either the sources had bad info, or just not enough). If they'd ASKED people, they could have gotten their facts straight so much sooner. ESPECIALLY when there's conflicting information out there. Or if they have no idea where to start.

 

Not having the time/resources is okay, but you shouldn't be nasty about it--I've seen people scream at others for daring to ask questions instead of "educating themselves" (er, I'm pretty sure they were TRYING) rather than a polite "I don't have the time/resources right now, sorry." and, if possible, giving a tip on where to head for more information than you can provide at present.

 

Not saying you are nasty about it, WereJace, but I see people get nasty about it rather than being civil. (Like, being nasty as a first attempt, not a "I give up, leave me the hell alone" after dealing with the same person for a while)

 

 

@glamoursea2--That's the "~Tumblr Social Justice Warrior~" side of things. The decent part of the Tumblr Social Justice side isn't bad, but the ~SJW~ people... They have problems. Their culture is just so toxic and hateful. I've actually seen some very good posts about how it's actually very much like a cult that recruits members with a "good thing on the surface" appearance then guilts and bullies them into staying and demonizes those who don't stay, that drags them further and further in with emotional manipulation. I can't find the posts now, though, I'm really not keen to dig through my blog for that (I'd be at it for hours at least, and not guarantee I reblogged it). But yeah, stay away from that part of Tumblr if possible. DO NOT get dragged into it, it's very hateful and toxic and I'm seriously concerned about some of the people in that part of it. That level of hatred towards themselves for being born with some kind of privilege just... It's not healthy.

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This, so much.

 

Too often people resort to ONLY lashing out and attacking people who are privileged rather than trying to educate them.

 

I mean, I get it.  We're all human, sometimes we lash out in anger when attempting to educate is the better way--I've done it before, we all do it at some point.  But some people (like the ~Tumblr Social Justice Warriors~) use demonization, discrediting based purely on privilege and not on the mistake made, cruelty, anger, mocking, etc. as their PRIMARY method of dealing with allies who mess up.

 

That should not be the go-to method for handling ally screw-ups.

 

Especially when members of the marginalized group who make mistakes have those mistakes totally ignored.  Because guess what?  Just being part of a group doesn't automatically make you an authority on it!  You can still get your facts wrong (especially if you're just starting to accept your place in that group).  Especially if you live in a "better" area for that group or you don't see as much of the internal issues where you live.

 

 

Re: Allies educating themselves:

 

Yes, of course allies should try to educate themselves.  But where is the best place to get accurate information, if not directly from the people they are trying to help?  I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people throw around incomplete or inaccurate information because they TRIED to educate themselves but the information they got wasn't from very good sources (either the sources had bad info, or just not enough).  If they'd ASKED people, they could have gotten their facts straight so much sooner.  ESPECIALLY when there's conflicting information out there.  Or if they have no idea where to start.

 

Not having the time/resources is okay, but you shouldn't be nasty about it--I've seen people scream at others for daring to ask questions instead of "educating themselves" (er, I'm pretty sure they were TRYING) rather than a polite "I don't have the time/resources right now, sorry." and, if possible, giving a tip on where to head for more information than you can provide at present.

 

Not saying you are nasty about it, WereJace, but I see people get nasty about it rather than being civil.  (Like, being nasty as a first attempt, not a "I give up, leave me the hell alone" after dealing with the same person for a while)

This.

 

OK I'm not gay - though I don't see myself as dead straight either; I am a believer in "it depends who I fall in love with, then anything could happen."

 

But take another issue.

 

Mental illness.

 

I've done time in the bin and have a long history. I am TOTALLY unashamed of this and will even joke about it to try and get past the stigma others see. And MAN do they ever. Too many people who have done their time will never tell anyone because of the reactions.

 

When I got back to work after a long time off, I was in a room with several people and someone asked me a question - I forget what - it was an ordinary thing - and the 18 y/o secretary asked where I'd been. I told her.

 

"No you weren't." (nervous giggle.)

 

"Yes, Shazz, I was." (accompanied by manic stabbings and "insane" gestures from all my mates....)

 

"But - people like you don't go into G....."

 

I said that yes they did, and they come out and carry on living.

 

Shazz is now a campaigner for mental health issues. How else would she have learned that ordinary people go mad; it isn't just axe murderers and druggies in there. But - she would always have defended the rights of the people in that hospital - even though - as you see - she had no idea who they were, what they were like. You can be determined to be accepting without knowing what you KNOW in your heart should be accepted. The same applies to people who need to be shown how things are. It isn't their fault they haven't the experience yet. Welcome them yo your supporters list and explain.

 

Excuse me while I go polish my axe ninja.gif

Edited by fuzzbucket

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This, so much.

 

Too often people resort to ONLY lashing out and attacking people who are privileged rather than trying to educate them.

 

I mean, I get it. We're all human, sometimes we lash out in anger when attempting to educate is the better way--I've done it before, we all do it at some point. But some people (like the ~Tumblr Social Justice Warriors~) use demonization, discrediting based purely on privilege and not on the mistake made, cruelty, anger, mocking, etc. as their PRIMARY method of dealing with allies who mess up.

 

That should not be the go-to method for handling ally screw-ups.

 

Especially when members of the marginalized group who make mistakes have those mistakes totally ignored. Because guess what? Just being part of a group doesn't automatically make you an authority on it! You can still get your facts wrong (especially if you're just starting to accept your place in that group). Especially if you live in a "better" area for that group or you don't see as much of the internal issues where you live.

 

 

Re: Allies educating themselves:

 

Yes, of course allies should try to educate themselves. But where is the best place to get accurate information, if not directly from the people they are trying to help? I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people throw around incomplete or inaccurate information because they TRIED to educate themselves but the information they got wasn't from very good sources (either the sources had bad info, or just not enough). If they'd ASKED people, they could have gotten their facts straight so much sooner. ESPECIALLY when there's conflicting information out there. Or if they have no idea where to start.

 

Not having the time/resources is okay, but you shouldn't be nasty about it--I've seen people scream at others for daring to ask questions instead of "educating themselves" (er, I'm pretty sure they were TRYING) rather than a polite "I don't have the time/resources right now, sorry." and, if possible, giving a tip on where to head for more information than you can provide at present.

 

Not saying you are nasty about it, WereJace, but I see people get nasty about it rather than being civil. (Like, being nasty as a first attempt, not a "I give up, leave me the hell alone" after dealing with the same person for a while)

I think it really depends on the individuals involved, and the question. I have been aggressively rude to people who have just had the misfortune of bad timing before, and also to people who were 'just asking questions' to see how fast they could make me angry. I know some of the bloggers I follow on tumblr are combative, while others just have moments, the same as anyone else. I know a gay man offline who has a very low 'straight people' threshold, and his reactions do verge on inappropriate. These people do exist, but at the same time so do 'subversive' jags who are 'just asking questions' to get a rise out of queer people. The question being asked also influences the response-some things are more personal than others and some things are more likely to be taken as offensive.

 

I wouldn't equate being queer to mental health status, but the combination of the two is interesting from an intersectional standpoint. I am both a lesbian and I have depression, and my experiences and those of other queer people with mental health issues have a strong intersectional element to them. Our queerness is attributed to our mental health issues, or vice versa, quite frequently. Those of us who have made suicide attempts are generally treated as though it was solely the queer issues and not the imbalanced brain chemistry that sent us to that point.

 

I will admit to having a moderate bias against white cisgendered straight men. That comes from my experiences with white cisgendered straight men-I've been wary about them since long before tumblr. More than any other group, they have been responsible for most of the teasing and harm that has been done to myself and my queer friends. I am far more likely to be snappish with them than with members of any other group of people.

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This, so much.

 

Too often people resort to ONLY lashing out and attacking people who are privileged rather than trying to educate them.

 

I mean, I get it. We're all human, sometimes we lash out in anger when attempting to educate is the better way--I've done it before, we all do it at some point. But some people (like the ~Tumblr Social Justice Warriors~) use demonization, discrediting based purely on privilege and not on the mistake made, cruelty, anger, mocking, etc. as their PRIMARY method of dealing with allies who mess up.

 

That should not be the go-to method for handling ally screw-ups.

 

Especially when members of the marginalized group who make mistakes have those mistakes totally ignored. Because guess what? Just being part of a group doesn't automatically make you an authority on it! You can still get your facts wrong (especially if you're just starting to accept your place in that group). Especially if you live in a "better" area for that group or you don't see as much of the internal issues where you live.

 

 

Re: Allies educating themselves:

 

Yes, of course allies should try to educate themselves. But where is the best place to get accurate information, if not directly from the people they are trying to help? I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people throw around incomplete or inaccurate information because they TRIED to educate themselves but the information they got wasn't from very good sources (either the sources had bad info, or just not enough). If they'd ASKED people, they could have gotten their facts straight so much sooner. ESPECIALLY when there's conflicting information out there. Or if they have no idea where to start.

 

Not having the time/resources is okay, but you shouldn't be nasty about it--I've seen people scream at others for daring to ask questions instead of "educating themselves" (er, I'm pretty sure they were TRYING) rather than a polite "I don't have the time/resources right now, sorry." and, if possible, giving a tip on where to head for more information than you can provide at present.

 

Not saying you are nasty about it, WereJace, but I see people get nasty about it rather than being civil. (Like, being nasty as a first attempt, not a "I give up, leave me the hell alone" after dealing with the same person for a while)

 

 

@glamoursea2--That's the "~Tumblr Social Justice Warrior~" side of things. The decent part of the Tumblr Social Justice side isn't bad, but the ~SJW~ people... They have problems. Their culture is just so toxic and hateful. I've actually seen some very good posts about how it's actually very much like a cult that recruits members with a "good thing on the surface" appearance then guilts and bullies them into staying and demonizes those who don't stay, that drags them further and further in with emotional manipulation. I can't find the posts now, though, I'm really not keen to dig through my blog for that (I'd be at it for hours at least, and not guarantee I reblogged it). But yeah, stay away from that part of Tumblr if possible. DO NOT get dragged into it, it's very hateful and toxic and I'm seriously concerned about some of the people in that part of it. That level of hatred towards themselves for being born with some kind of privilege just... It's not healthy.

I have a hard time believing that everyone is lashing out at people just because they have privilege. Why do I have a hard time believing this? Because I know community you're talking about and I just don't see that happening. Everyone deserves a safe space and for many people, tumblr is the only place where they can be with people who have their similar experiences, the only place where people have educated themselves just as they have, the only place they have to escape. So if you see something you see as destructive, just remember tumblr is a safe space for them and they're talking to people who have that same safe space. They need to shed the prejudices of the day, the random glares, the harassment, the feeling of being weighed down, beaten down, tired, and done. Probably a lot of the words you're talking about aren't even meant for you. They're people in a safe space ranting to each other and getting their anger out because they can't dare show any anger while at work or with friends or even with family.

 

As for asking marginalized people in order to educate themselves. Let's not generalize. How are they educating themselves?

 

Are they looking up any of the volumes of books people have written? Any of the volumes of pages on blogs and websites? Are they researching who the author is and making sure it's someone who experiences that oppression? Are they looking at alternative view points and looking at the critique of those for possible problematic elements (for example, looking up the various branches of feminism and seeing the critique of radical feminism for its cissexism and transmisogyny)? Are they looking up 101 and educational blogs and reading their resources and FAQ? Are they spending time getting acquainted with educational blogs?

 

Or are they bursting into an upper level discussion on the oppression mostly by people who experience that oppression and asking ignorant or 101 questions and demanding an answer because ~~~hey at least they bothered asking~~~?

 

What kind of approach are they using?

 

Have they made sure that they're asking in an appropriate place? Has the blog expressed the attitude that they're willing to answer questions? Has their question not been asked recently or in an easy-to-find place? Have they done their research and are trying to get clarification? Are they just confused about something and trying to understand it?

 

Or are they bursting into a random blog they discovered was run by someone who experiences the oppression they have a question about, asked demeaning questions or phrased the question in a way that makes it clear they're trying to frame the person for something instead of actually educating themselves?

 

What kind of tone are they using?

 

Is their tone respectful and polite? Have they read over their question to make sure it's not aggressive or accusatory? Are they asking for clarification and not trying to get into ridiculous 'what if' situations to prove some point or something? Is it clear they've done some education and just need some help understanding something? Are they truly asking for educational purposes? Have they come in with an open mind (is their question really a question or are they just looking for confirmation on their bias)?

 

Or is their question ignorant because they haven't tried educating themselves at all and they've burst into a space demanding answers because they're an ~~~ally and they deserve it~~~ even though their question is ridiculously specific and extremely condescending?

 

I've seen self-identified allies burst into safe spaces far too often, demanding answers to 101 questions that are easily researchable, even though the blog has clarified several times that they're not an educational blog far too many times. I've seen self-identified allies invade spaces using a condescending tone to spread misinformation in an attempt to call out marginalized peoples, then demand the people they just attacked educate them once called out far too many times. I've seen self-identified allies come in and try to take advantage of educational blogs by not even looking over the resources the blog has offered, just wanting an ~~~easy answer~~~ to their question, then spamming the blog, usually with ~~~righteous anger~~~ when their question isn't answered far too many times. I've seen self-identified allies flip their lid when the answer isn't one they wanted far too many times. Allies need to be aware of their tone and resources already offered when they approach their education. Marginalized peoples aren't here to be your dictionaries or to do your homework. You're asking them for clarification when they've already written about it or shared resources which have written about it. I've seen several resource posts go around tumblr, especially ones with free resources so everyone has access to them. Information isn't hard to find and it's a reasonable request to expect people to be able to do a little research into who they're reading to make sure they do know what they're talking about and they're not just Tim Wise or something. You have to do that for research projects for school, so I'm not sure why social justice type of education should have any different standards in that respect.

 

And if you approach someone to get educated and are met with anger, you need to evaluate your question and your approach. And if you can't figure out what you might have done, try to put yourselves in the shoes of the person you just asked.

-Maybe your question was triggering

-Maybe they've had a worse day than usual and just really wanted to relax and get their mind off things

-Maybe they've gotten that several times and are tired of answering it over and over again

-Maybe your approach was problematic and you just don't realize it. If there's an oppression you face, try rephrasing it to see how it would come off if addressed to you.

etc.

 

To be honest, if you can educate yourself about this stuff, if you can read about this stuff, if you can hear about it from those that face it and not get angry and not expect people who face that oppression to get angry, then that terrifies me. Because that's exactly how insidious oppressive structures and institutions of power are. They they teach you to feel less sympathy with marginalized groups. They teach you to see any amount of marginalized people as a threat - if any are around in a group, it starts to get too much (looking for the study - it was a classroom of like 1/3 women and men and women both saw this as women being in the majority, and another where if women spoke only like 20% of the time, men thought they were dominating the conversation, can't find either one right now). They teach not to listen to marginalized people when they speak about their own oppression.

 

You're going to come into contact with anger, and if you're really an ally, you're not going to let that stop you from educating yourself. Read what the person is saying, learn from it, and move on. If they're making social justice posts but just don't want to be your social justice tutor, read what they're posting. Check out blogs they're re-blogging from and read those blogs. Understand that marginalized people have a right to be angry. If you can't face that anger, then don't hang out in higher level social justice blogs.

 

If you see a post going around ranting about x privilege you have using general terms, but you know you don't do x problematic thing, you let that post roll off. That post says "all white people" because most white people do that without thinking, without accountability, and those who clamor "but I'm not like that" are only taking the time to call out those marginalized people. They rarely, if ever, stand up and call out their fellow privileged people for that harmful behavior.

 

To be quite honest, a lot of the time, I prefer those angry posts. I extremely and sincerely appreciate the tamer educational posts people make - I know that can be extremely taxing just doing that - and I gobble those up, too. A lot of times those can be nice for going deeper in depth to an issue. But I also gobble up angry posts, yeah even those towards white people or white women or able-bodied people or thin people and etc. Because that raw, pure emotion tells a whole 'nother story in its own, one that is often more heartbreaking because there's a person you are reading there, not just a conglomeration of examples of people. I'm also someone who believes that people tend to get even more honest when angry, and that's what I'm looking for. That pure honesty that isn't going to hold my hand. That pure honesty that's going to shake me by the shoulders, scream at me for doing something problematic, that's going to motivate me into doing more activism than usual, that's going to make me really understand how this problematic element really affects people in that raw, emotional way. Am I welcome in many of the angrier conversations? Not if I'm going to sit around asking basic questions and accusing them of doing something wrong, certainly. But most of the time - why do I need to be a part of that conversation? I'm being allowed an extremely honest view into the mind of an oppression I don't face. That's a privilege, and I'm going to treat it as such.

 

And if you're not the kind of person who can take both those kinds of education, then that's fine. But I don't think it's anybody's place to evaluate the response of a marginalized person when facing up against oppression or an oppressive person or situation. I don't think it's anybody's right to judge someone for how they act in their safe space.

 

I think sometimes it can also really help people understand just how much what they're doing hurts people. It's one thing to go "hey, that word you just used is a slur, and I'd appreciate if you wouldn't use it". That works for some people. They respect that person enough to understand the word hurt them and they shouldn't use it. Others, because of the nature of oppressional systems, just aren't going to hear or want to listen. Maybe getting angry, showing them just how much what they said sucks isn't going to help them understand. But maybe it will help nearby people understand just how much it hurts. Maybe it gives you the mental strength to make it through the rest of the day. Maybe you do it so you don't cry, but either way, that person of privilege is going to write you off as emotional, which, of course, isn't something marginalized peoples can ever be.

 

Just remember, when confronted with anger, whether you agree with it or not, that you have no idea where that person is coming from. What kind of microaggressions have they been brushing off all day before you came along and piled another one on? What if your behavior, comment, or question was triggering? What if they're tired or done and just want to relax for the day? If someone lashes at you when you're just trying to educate yourself, recognize that anger as a protection mechanism. Accept that the person just can't deal with you right now. Move on and ask someone else somewhere else. When you ask the next person don't complain that 'you got snapped at by some big meanie for asking this before'. Just ask your question. Because, in the end, you know what the anger of a marginalized person does to a person who has privilege in that respect? Nothing, really. Hurts their feelings. But they can walk away and get sympathy from hoards of people for what happened. When they tell others about the situation, people will listen and take their side. But when a marginalized person is approached by ignorance, it can be a danger to their mental health. When a person of that privilege gets angry with them, they're reminded of their lesser, inferior position in society. They go out the next day, fearing for their life, because the anger of privileged peoples can mean they are raped, beaten, abused, or murdered. I'm not going to argue about each and every specific instance of anger. As WereJace said, sometimes we snap when situations build up. It may not always be right. But if you have that privilege, just shake it off, and move on. Because that anger is a reaction to living in a system that thinks it's okay to rape and murder you and then let the rapist/murderer off free because, hey, your life means nothing compared to theirs.

 

And there is a wariness that needs to be taken into account when you're a marginalized person calling out a person who faces a different oppression than you, but this is where intersectionality comes in, and that's a whole 'nother question.

 

But, to be honest, it's getting extremely triggering sitting here watching people condemn marginalized people for their anger against their oppressors, without even bothering to think about or care about why marginalized people might react with anger in favor of feeling sad because people of x privileges are getting their feelings hurt, without bothering to analyze if perhaps those ~~~allies~~~ aren't acting too much like allies after all. This forum has seen me go through enough breakdowns already, and I still need to make it through the rest of the week, including an all day field trip this weekend, so I will not be checking back on this conversation for a long while.

 

Mental illness.

 

I've done time in the bin and have a long history. I am TOTALLY unashamed of this and will even joke about it to try and get past the stigma others see.

 

<3

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I live in Canada, had retained a lawyer and had the backing of my union reps by the time I went to management. Even if they had fired me, it was better than seeing my friends hiding in back offices and bathrooms so the guys on the floor wouldn't see them having a panic attack.

Ah, Canada does have a law against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, then? That's good. :3

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Just a small..aside, so to speak, maybe lighten the mood..

In a small chatroom - nothing social rights, trans, discrimination etc, related - I was asked by a woman who said she had nothing against gays "And who is the girl in your relationship?".

At home infront of my pc I got mad, very mad *g*, but I managed to stay polite and asked that woman

"Well, when You 're sleeping with Your husband..who's on top?"

She fell silent rather quickly *g*

I stll think it was a good answer *g*

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Ah, Canada does have a law against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, then? That's good. :3

We do, plus the company in question had a very clearly worded policy document about harassment and hate speech. (I had like...six copies of it by the time I finished everything.)

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Re: the anger at potantial allies thing.

 

I understand why people get angry. Trust me, I do. I know the stuff I encounter as trans, and I only live part time (and the stuff directed at me when I'm not recogniseably trans? Often the same issues lesbians and feminists bring up). There have been threads here that have literally made me bang my head against a desk.

 

I'd like to think that, regardless of how it's upset me, I've tried not to come off as hostile.

 

Why?

 

Because hostility turns people away.

 

It doesn't matter if you've had a bad day. It doesn't matter if you've been asked the question a gazillion times already. It doesn't matter if all you really wanted to do is relax.

 

Your hostility could be the thing that turns someone from indifference to active opposition. It could be the thing that turns them from support to total indifference.

 

It can de damned hard to bite your tongue at times. I know it can. It can be damned hard to walk away. And the stupid sometimes makes you want to scream.

 

I've also been on the other side of it. I think many of you guys will have seen my posts stating that I am extremely wary of feminists. I've had just one too many nasty encounters. Now I may well just have caught those people on a bad day - and yet where I actually really *would* like to be an ally, I really can't say I'm anything other than avoidant. Because all of their bad days, all of their frustrations, put togther made for repeated bad experiences.

 

If you want people to support you, then you *need* to show them the friendly face. Not just when you feel up to it but all the time. If you need to rant (and God only knows sometimes we all do) the place to do it is not a publicly accessible place.

 

And you know what? I do this RL on a day to day basis. It's not an understatement to say utility companies are not popular, and I'll face a lot of annoyance about the fact that I exist and am there when I ring on doorbells. But you know what? Smiling, being friendly and polite, results in even some of the most hostile of people being much, much happier. I've left houses occasionally wanting to scream because of the people I've just met, but I'd only make things worse for everyone if I allowed that to show.

 

Anger at innocents is never justifiable, in my opinion. Yeah, if you've got track history on a person being annoyed with them is slightly more allowable. But lashing out at someone because they're asking the wrong question at the wrong time? Sorry, absolute no-no for me.

 

I was always told if you can't say something polite, don't say anythng at all; and personally I think that holds doubly true for the internet. Responses here are typed. No one will run after you if you go take 5 mins to cool down before responding. And y'know what? Taking the time to cool down and come back with a non-hostile answer may just win another person around to active support.

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Playing nice can also have the negative effect of codifying the behaviour and making the other person feel as though what they did or said was acceptable, which only makes it more difficult to break them of the habit or belief later. It isn't as though there isn't a middle ground. It's possible to be polite but cool, or to be angry and calm. Obviously for self-preservation reasons, being genial and such is a valid approach, but realistically speaking human beings are human beings and they just can't maintain that Stepford facade all day every day. Anger has a place, and sometimes that place is public. As with any other approach it has downsides, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

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Playing nice can also have the negative effect of codifying the behaviour and making the other person feel as though what they did or said was acceptable, which only makes it more difficult to break them of the habit or belief later. It isn't as though there isn't a middle ground. It's possible to be polite but cool, or to be angry and calm. Obviously for self-preservation reasons, being genial and such is a valid approach, but realistically speaking human beings are human beings and they just can't maintain that Stepford facade all day every day. Anger has a place, and sometimes that place is public. As with any other approach it has downsides, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

As stated above, I disagree. I really *do* think that the places for real anger and venting is in private, not in public. Despite knowing *precisely* how hard maintaining that facade can be, ultimately I think doing so is important.

 

It's possible to be friendly and polite while disagreeing with people. It's possible to be friendly and polite while correcting them. It's even possible to be polite while making it very clear that what they are doing is not acceptable.

 

At the root of it, let's face it, hostility does not gain support. No one is going to go "Wow, that person is really angry at me, I'd best start supporting her wholeheartedly!". They'll usually either default to "Wow, where'd that come from? Best avoid this one, they're unstable.", "Geeze, I didn't do anything? Why are they so angry at me?" or "Huh, if that's what [x movement] does to people I want nothing to do with them.". In other words, they back off and become defensive. A defensive mind is not an open one, and someone who is frightened to engage isn't going to start supporting you.

 

You're never going to make new friends by being angry at people you've just met. Ranting at poeple won't change hearts and minds, and changing hearts and minds is what is required.

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I maintain that is an unrealistic expectation to have. I think it is a great goal, but it is also one that many will fall short of. Why does a person who gets emotional or angry about these issues deserve to lose support? Why should the person causing harm be shielded from the emotional impact of what they've done? Everyone deserves compassion, even those who respond to their circumstances with less than utmost nobility. If you're (general, nonspecific 'you') unwilling to examine the reasons behind an angry emotional reaction from someone, why should you be counted as an ally?

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Sure it can, for as long as you can keep it up.

 

As I've stated earlier, I have become angry with people before, though rarely as a first response. I try to educate, but there comes a point where I am unable to completely conceal my emotional response. If I am stern or terse with someone-not yelling, no abusive language-why is that response unwarranted?

 

Edit: I have also had several successes with people I did yell at-they realized they had done something wrong, educated themselves on what that was and apologized.

Edited by WereJace

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Why?

Because hostility turns people away.

 

It doesn't matter if you've had a bad day. It doesn't matter if you've been asked the question a gazillion times already. It doesn't matter if all you really wanted to do is relax.

 

Your hostility could be the thing that turns someone from indifference to active opposition. It could be the thing that turns them from support to total indifference.

THIS THIS THIS.

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