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13 years ago @ TransGriot - How Do I Feel About Th... · 0 replies · +2 points

Excellent post, Monica. It demonstrates the complexities of intersecting oppressions. I've thought about this very situation and it's hard to sort it out.

On the one hand, black queer people face racism in the gay community, so the very place where they want to experience solidarity in their queerness is where they experience division and exclusion -- and whiteness once again asserts its privilege.

I'm not sure their experiences in the black community are exactly the same situation.

On the one hand, black queer people experience homophobia in the black community. But on the other hand -- and I think we see this on the dimension of gender, too -- black queer people may sometimes/often experience race as more omnipresent and oppressive than sexual identity (depending on the situation and context). For example, not every queer person is immediately identifiable as queer, but every black person is immediately identifiable as black. So it may be that the need to have solidarity on the level of race, within a racist society, becomes identified as more important than the need to have solidarity on sexual identity or gender -- and hence some members of the community are expected to put aside their other experiences of oppression to have solidarity in the area of racism (which leaves black queer people in a position of real internal struggle, because they have to choose between race and sexual identity).

While this situation appears to be similar to what happened within white feminism, where gender was assumed to trump race, it's not the same, because white feminists were in a privileged social location by virtue of their their whiteness, whereas black queer people are in a marginalized position on both dimensions and within both communities.

If all marginalized groups could understand the connections and inter-relationships among the different dimensions of oppression, then we would understand that each of us needs to have solidarity with every other person who is oppressed on any dimension. Otherwise we just end up reproducing oppression within any given identity group.

Having said all that from my perspective as a white queer woman, I recognize that I cannot really know what it is like to be a black queer person, so I offer these comments respectfully in a desire to engage in dialogue on this issue.

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - Boys Can Learn From Wa... · 0 replies · +1 points

My son was born in 1982 and stereotypes of all kinds were so virulent on TV that I raised him without one until he was age 13. Although I know this decision has its downsides, he became a voracious reader. Despite efforts to restrict the bombardment of cultural messages when he was little, he still absorbed them from the very air he breathed. At times I wondered if one mother could counteract all that. However, I'm happy to report that I'm very proud of my 26 year old son, an independent thinker and cultural critic. Recently, he solemnly told me that he's very aware of power issues between him and his new wife, because he is older and has more life experience, so he realizes he is the one responsible to equalize the situation and that he tries very hard to do so.

My message to moms of young boys: Persevere with whatever you are doing to teach them values of justice and equality. Don't despair if you think it's not getting through. Wait until they grow up. You'll be surprised.

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - Black and Blowing Mom ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Unfortunately, events like these become part of the "education" of students of colour living in privileged (read: White) areas. Thank you for publicizing it, Renee.

I recently graduated from McGill, and there were all kinds of shenanigans on stage from students who I would have hoped were a little more mature. Youthful exuberance. But everyone got their diploma.

Justin Denney had the realities of racism brought home in a painful way at a moment that should have been one of celebration. I hope he is able to turn it around for himself and not let himself get derailed in his path to his future. Privilege can mask some of the effects of other oppressions -- perhaps he is learning that no matter how good his grades, how nice his home, how educated his parents, he is ultimately still a Black man in a racist society. What will he do with that? What will we do with that?

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - The “R Word&rdqu... · 0 replies · +2 points

Are you making your comments from the perspective of someone with AD/HD? If you know anything about the epxerience of the more severe forms of AD/HD, you would know it can destroy many opportunities for children and adults. Without access to treatment, those people have less chance to access social goods and resources. In my previous post, I was pointing out that not all adults and children have the same chance to get treatment.

I have had enormous struggles in my life due to AD/HD. What freed me to succeed at the things I knew I should be able to do --but couldn't -- was getting treatment. Or you should talk to my family member who lived on the streets for a summer because his brain was in such a fog he dropped out of school early and was unable to work. Diagnosis and treatment worked miracles. He's now making more money than most people his age at a career he loves.

Children with ADD aren't a burdent to be fixed. How dare you say that I said that? But ADD for many people can be a heavy burden. And everyone deserves equal access to help.

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - The “R Word&rdqu... · 0 replies · +2 points

Actually, I do have a disability. I don't know why you assumed I'm non-disabled. And my disability affects my brain functioning.

To respond to your comments, let me say that I see myself as someone who occupies a social location that is both privileged and oppressed. Thus I participate in systems of oppression by benefitting from my unearned privilege. To try to dismantle these unjust systems, I try to be an ally to marginalized people, as imperfectly as that may be. In that effort, I recognize do that people who directly experience a certain form of oppression are the experts in that area.

I've considered your feedback carefully, but I think it's rather a stretch to suggest that I was trying to speak for people with IDs. The article was my critique of an ad campaign, from the perspective of someone who understands all oppressions as being interconnected. In no way was I speaking about people with IDs as a whole. Nor was I chastizing the organization as a whole. I hope that clarifies things.

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - The Game Of Life And T... · 2 replies · +1 points

I really like your bottom-line answer:consent.

Kate Bornstein says all acts that are "safe, sane, consensual, loving, and respectful" are OK. And although people may vary in their understandings of some of these terms, at least there is a general consensus on "consent" as defined under the law.

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - The Game Of Life And T... · 1 reply · +1 points

First, I am far more concerned that a gay child who is only permitted to see heterosexual families will grow up to hate themselves and attempt suicide, which gay/lesbian children do at an alarmingly high rate.

Second, it is far far easier to live life in our society as a straight person. I can't imagine that a child who would otherwise grow up to be heterosexual would -- as a result of playing this game -- decide to be gay instead. This whole idea is so ludicrous I don't know how halfway intelligent adult would believe it. I appreciate that you are trying to work this out, but you need to make a serious effort to inform yourself about sexual diversity instead of continuing to hold the prejudices you have been taught.

Now, I don't know what you mean when you say that heterosexual relationships are safer. Are you talking about AIDS -- because it's spreading most rapidly among heterosexuals, including youth. Or are you talking about violence, which is epidemic among opposite sex couples? What do you mean by safe?

Both gay and straight relationships can be horrendously destructive; both can be incredibly loving, intimate, and long-term. It has nothing to do with the gender of your partner. Probably the biggest problem faced by people in same-sex relationships are the kinds of attitudes you are expressing in your comment. And I must say that it's not easy for me to reply politely to you when you have just pathologized and stigmatized my long-term relationship.

People with your kinds of attitudes bear considerable responsibility for the suicides of those you have taught to hate themselves.

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - Queer Is A State Of Mind · 1 reply · +1 points

Thanks for adding another perspective to the conversation!

In thinking about it, I wondered if all sex workers would understand what they are doing as a queer activity -- it's a diverse group and people are in it for different reasons. But I love the idea of including sex work into my understanding of queer.

I hear what you're saying about labels. What I object to are labels that force us into an identity that is determined by someone else. But all labels can be subverted and queered -- and they are also very useful for identity politics. Mostly I see labels as something we use for our own end. The ways we label ourselves is often a shifting, fluid process, too. Today's label doesn't always fit my understanding of who I am tomorrow. To me, that's a queer way of using labels. But I do agree that labels can be very empowering. When I was younger and feeling like a misfit in the heterosexual world, I did not have access to a "label" that would help me to understand myself (such as lesbian) and identify with others "like me".

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - Queer Is A State Of Mind · 0 replies · +1 points

Your attitude could make you a good ally, though.

13 years ago @ Womanist Musings - Queer Is A State Of Mind · 0 replies · +1 points

Michelle, they are not hypothetical lesbians. I know several couples exactly like this.

I guess I didn't make it very clear that I was only exploring one aspect of queer. Nor would I ever say that a state of mind is more important than the reality of oppression/privilege. I can see why you strongly disagree.

My own approach to oppression is to recognize both the structural and individual perspective. The way we think about our identity and the identities of others is indeed one element of the picture -- take internalized oppression as an example. But I would never want to separate that from the structural elements. Sigh. These are some of the difficulties of writing a brief blog article instead of a book that contextualizes all the ideas properly. And because it's a guest post, you also don't have the benefit of having read a series of my posts so you could understand my broader perspective. But that's what comments are for. And your comment and a couple of the preceding ones will make me think about how to write posts that can be read on a standalone basis. So thank you for calling me out on that issue.