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Dear White Women

December 13, 2014
White Silence

I see you. I hear you. I read your comments. I know what you think because you make it clear.

If Mike Brown had never gone into that store, if Eric Garner had just done what he was told, if Tamir Rice hadn’t been allowed to play with a toy gun, they would all be alive now. What happened to them was sad, but they brought it on themselves, right?

You show no sympathy for Mike Brown or Eric Garner or the other black people killed by the police. You show no empathy for me, as a fellow woman, as a black woman who has once again watched her country fail.

(OK, fine #NotAllWhiteWomen. I get that, but if you’re not doing these things then I’m not talking to you.)

I, on the other hand, have empathy for you. I get where you’re coming from. I do. I am female too and I live in the world and in this country. It has been made clear to us from the beginning of our lives that we are not valued either. Further, it has been made clear to you, White Woman, that Black Men are the greatest danger you could possibly face.

Now that isn’t true but the lie is hard to overcome seeing as it has been repeated so many time and in so many ways.

Like I said, I get it. I do.

But it’s not OK and you need to stop it. You need to reach down into yourself and find both sympathy for the dead and empathy for those still living. You have to. This is not optional. You have to do it for your own mental and emotional health. You have to do it for your spiritual health, assuming you believe in such a thing. You have to do it because to do otherwise is to ally yourself with your own enemies.

Does this surprise you?

Nope. Sorry. The people who most benefit from things like this, not just to police officers that are killing people but the politicians and regular citizens who see violence against the people they don’t value as a tool of control? They hate you too. They hate you and they hurt you.

It’s not like the people who are defending the Darren Wilsons and Daniel Pantaleos of America are respecting and valuing women while they disrespect and devalue People of Color.

That doesn’t happen.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that at least some of the people reading this have been in abusive relationships. Because, you know 60% of women have.

I need you to remember what that was like. Remember being in the thick of it. Don’t look back on it from a place of (what I hope is) improved mental health and physical safety. That’s who you are now.

Remember who you were then.

Remember the person who defended and made excuses for her abuser.

Remember the woman who explained away bruises and tears.

Remember the first time.

Remember the tenth time.

Remember the hundredth time.

Remember.

Now remember what your abuser said to you.

If you didn’t make me so angry.

If you did things right.

If you were more respectful

That person convinced you that you were responsible for your abuse. They convinced you that you were to blame and that only you could improve the situation. They convinced you that if you acted in a specific way, which they defined and changed at will, you would be safe.

They did. That’s why you stayed.

Domestic-violence-007

Please don’t think I’m blaming you for staying. I’m not. I am one of you, not a White Woman, but a survivor of abuse. I stayed too.

I stayed for a lot of reasons but the primary reason was gaslighting. I bought in to the idea that my understanding of relationships; that they should be based on shared respect and autonomy, on valuing the basic humanity of your partner and working together toward a better life, was wrong. I allowed myself to be convinced that I was misremembering every snide remark, every deliberately hurtful action, every dollar spent to keep us poor and desperate.

And I stayed, just like you. Not only did I stay, I tried to be less provocative. I tried to be what he wanted me to be because I believed that it would stop if I could just figure out the magical formula that would make me acceptable and respectable.

Because gaslighting fucking works. It’s horrible if you are subject to it, but it’s effective. That’s why they keep doing it.

You dressed like a slut. If you had just worn clothes that were decent you would have been fine. You deserved it.

You didn’t have my dinner on the table. If you could just keep house properly you would have been fine. You deserved it.

Why are you crying? Words don’t hurt. You’re so emotional. You’re overreacting. If you would just stop being such a crazy bitch you would be fine. You deserve it.

And you know what? America has been gaslighting our black citizens since about 1619.

Civil rights Violence

Taryvon was just a thug. He wasn’t a kid walking home who was attacked for walking while black. If  He deserved it.

Mike Brown stole! He attacked the officer! If he had just not committed a minor crime, if he had just been respectful to the officer he would have been fine. He deserved it.

Eric Garner was illegally selling cigarettes. If he had just accepted the three police officers surrounding him and aggressing against him after he broke up a fight and helped his neighborhood, he would have been fine. He deserved it.

Black people are just thugs.

Black people deserve it.

It’s not true.

You know it’s not true, just like it wasn’t true when your abuser tried to gaslight you into responsibility for your abuse.

Remember, as well those moments when you had taken so much that rather than staying silent and accepting the abuse in the hopes it would lessen the duration of each incident, you let your pain show through.

Remember what happened? Either your abuser showed what you couldn’t admit at the time was satisfaction, because that’s the point of abuse, for your abuser to feel their power over you, or they doubled down on the gaslighting.

They made it about them. They told you how much It hurt them to hurt you. Or maybe they didn’t even admit that they were hurting you. Maybe it was just another example of you being “crazy.” Oh how good they were to you that they would stay and put up with that kind of “insanity.” Aren’t you grateful? Don’t you feel sympathy for their pain?

You know what is true? Not only did you not deserve to be abused, you deserved a healthy and respectful relationship.

Not abusive is the absolute minimum that a person should be able to reasonably expect from an interaction with another human,. This applies to relationships between individuals and interactions between the society and the citizens that make up that society.

I mean, clearly it isn’t, but it should be.

Now I want you to remember something else. Remember the moments when you felt like you couldn’t take any more but did.

Not the moment you decided to leave, that is coming up. I mean the moment you kind of got through to your abuser for a minute and convinced them, somehow, that maybe they should not abuse you so constantly and overtly.

The abuse didn’t stop, of course, but you may have had a moment or a week or a month of respite. You had a period of time wherein maybe instead of screaming in your face that you are a cheating slut and punching you, your abuser just checked you text messages and stalked you.

It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been, so it felt like good. You forced your abuser to step back and mitigate the worst of the abuse and that made you feel powerful and in control. It also created a situation where you were more accepting of “lesser” abuse.

Yeah, abuse skews your perceptions. Because what the fuck is lesser abuse? I typed it and I don’t really know what it is.

It skewed to perceptions of black Americans to the point wherein lack of respect and recognition of our basic humanity felt like good as long as we had access to lunch counters and didn’t have to sit at the back of the bus.

We convinced ourselves that not being overtly abused was the same as not being abused at all. But we were wrong.

Just like you were wrong when you believed that being stalked was the same as not being abused.

We, all of us were wrong.

Why? Because we were trapped in the idea that this relationship, be it personal or societal was the best we could do.

And that’s not our fault. It’s an extension of the gaslighting. It’s what they told us and told us, over and over again, in shouts and whispers, with fists and bullets, until we believed it.

Now I want you to remember the moment when you were done.

Whatever it was, whatever thing or thought or feeling that led you to get out and first I want to say that I’m glad. I hope you are healthier now. I hope you are happy. I hope you are safe.

Second, I bet that the moment we knew we had to leave was very similar for all of us. No matter the actual form it took, at its core, that moment is the one wherein we stopped buying in to the concept that a little bit of not abuse is the same as healthy and happy and safe.

It is the moment you knew that you had value, that you have a right to respect, that you deserve better.

Let me say that again:

YOU DESERVE BETTER

And so do we.

You deserve to live life happy, healthy, and safe.

So do we.

You woke up and valued yourself enough to step, or run, away from that unhealthy, unsafe environment.

We woke up too but we can’t really just dump our country. I mean, some people can but those people have already moved because they had the money to do so.

For the rest of us, while we appreciate the fact that we don’t have to sit in the back of the bus anymore, that America has stopped the larger, more visible abuse, the more insidious “lesser” abuse continues. It is American society reading our texts and stalking us. It’s not healthy. It’s not safe. It’s not the kind of life we all deserve.

We deserve better.

We deserve not to be criminalized for existing.

We deserve the same basic steps that our justice system says are our right.

We deserve to not be summarily executed because we have been accused of a crime.

We deserve to be able to adjust our waistline or reach for our phone and not have the whole world respond as if that is a threat.

We deserve that, just like you deserved not to be abused.

Everyone deserves to live a life free of abuse and when you White Woman, person I can usually count on to be my ally in struggles against the 1% and misogyny or for Gender and Sexual Minority rights and marriage equality, refuse to stand with me on this issue of race and the value of black people in America you ally yourself with my abusers.

You become just like the person who hurt you.

You hurt us through your indifference and your willingness to gaslight us.

You hurt us with your colorblindness and you insistence that our pain, black American’s shared pain has so little value that we cannot name it. You hurt us when you tut and wag your finger and tell us that all lives really matter and I shouldn’t concentrate on “just” black lives.

You hurt us when you shake your head at the violence in Ferguson and ignore the 100 days of peaceful protests that preceded it and when you ignore the blatant provocation of the authority figures in that community.

When you do this, when you devalue our pain, when you try to co opt it and make it about you, when you tell us that we deserve the abuse that is heaped upon is, it chokes me. It chokes me with anger. It chokes me with disappointment. It simply chokes me and I can’t breathe.

White Silence

Photo credit to Rose Colored Photo.

It chokes me, because I know that you can do better than this. I know, as a fellow survivor, that abuse is not an easy thing to live through. It’s not an easy thing to leave behind. I know that you can do better than this, in your everyday life, in conversations and online.

I know that you have both the fortitude and the integrity to shut down other people when they start to act like the people who abused us both.

I know that you have the ability to look silently outraged at someone until they stop trying to convince you and everyone who is listening that Tamir Rice deserved to be killed for playing with a toy gun.

I know that you have the strength to ask why it matters that Mike Brown may have stolen some cigars and to point out that petty theft isn’t actually a crime that one can be executed for in this country.

You have the responsibility to speak out in spaces where my voice, and the voices of the people who look like me and are most directly impacted by the issue of racism will never be heard.

I know that you can do this because to think otherwise lessens you as a person of strength who survived so much and I won’t do that to you.

I believe that you will do this because to believe otherwise brings back that choking sense of disappointment and righteous anger and I can’t breathe.

I Can’t Breathe

December 4, 2014
PoliceBrutality

These are just the cis-gendered males.

The grand jury in Ferguson, MO decided not to indict Darren Wilson, largely because they were given incorrect instructions as to the letter of the law.

Of course I was angry. But more than anger, what I felt was an overwhelming sense of being not at all surprised and sadness. It was this crushing, blinding sadness and it choked me.

I can’t breathe.

John Crawford was shio while shopping in an open carry state. He picked up a BB gun in a place where white men have carried assault rifles in an attempt to prove a point and the grand jury in that state declined to return an indictment.

The level of despair that knowledge brings up in me is so overwhelming I can’t breathe.

Tamir Rice was shot while playing with a toy gun. He was 12 years old.

I. Can’t. Breathe.

And now, to see the grand jury in the Eric garner case refuse to return an indictment, even after viewing the video evidence, after being told that the NYC coroner ruled the death a homicide and learning that the choke hold applied was outlawed in 1993?

I Can’t Breathe

When the people of Ferguson react with violence at the lack of concern the people who are supposed to protect, serve, and represent them they are doing it because they can’t breathe. And when you’re being choked you flail. You lash out at anyone in your line of sight, anyone who you can lay your hands on, even if they are friendly because you’re desperately trying to stay alive.

They Can’t Breathe

When a number of Caucasian friends decided to try to fill up my BINGO card as fast as possible I ended up unfriending more than a few and got even more sad.

White Racism BINGO

WE CAN’T BREATHE

When I watched other Caucasian friends discover that people they liked and admired are, in reality, just really racist and hateful I felt bad for them. When they made it clear that while they were in pain, this issue was the thing they wanted to focus on, I was extremely proud to call these people friends.

BUT I STILL CAN’T BREATHE

When the society that is choking us spends as much time as it possibly can telling us we deserve it

WE CAN’T FUCKING BREATHE

I wanted to be eloquent about this. I wanted to cite statistics and quote sources. I wanted to incorporate the words of people more skilled and well known than I am. But…

icantbreathe

The Week In Aggressions, Because Some of Them Are Pretty Macro

October 27, 2014

When someone posts a rape threat to your blog because they don’t like the facts you posted or the opinion you posted or the fact that they can’t use their internet penis to scare you off the internet.

That happened to me in the past seven days. And on average about once a week.

When someone on Facebook specifically tags you in a post and requests that you prove that “The Talk” that all people of Color, especially males get from those parents who are responsible. In this specific case it was to seek proof that a mother who told her son “don’t run from the cops or they’ll shoot you wasn’t “just being paranoid.

That happened to me in the past seven days.

When a male posts his opinion of Jian Ghomeshi’s firing which includes the sentence “if Gomeshi’s personal sexual life is the whole reason behind this, CBC deserves to lose this 50 million dollar lawsuit,” but responds to women posting the accusers side of the story with “I refuse to speculate.”

That happened to me today..

When in the course of that same conversation a commenter brings up BDSM and goes out of his way to mention blackmail and “misunderstandings.”

That happened today too.

When people think a Ray Rice jersey and a female doll made up to look beaten is a clever Halloween costume.

RayRice Dad

 

When a white couple dresses up in black face as Ray Rice and Janay Palmer.

 

Ray Rice Adult

That happened to the whole damn world this week.

This

FergusonPumpkins

Happened to all of us too.

No, I’m not going to go point by point and explain why demeaning the pain and fear that PoC labor under every day as “being paranoid” is racist and makes it clear that you have a serious compassion problem.

I am further not going to help someone who appears intelligent define the word IF or the word SPECULATION or explain how using one means you’re doing the other.

And if you can’t figure out why domestic violence and black face aren’t funny you are lost and need to back away from my blog right now.

I can’t with this shit anymore.

STOP BEING HORRIBLE PEOPLE. I don’t have time to explain this over and over again.

Why is this complicated?

 

 

 

Never Forget? Can We Stop With This Now, Please?

September 11, 2014

isobeldebrujah:

Further thoughts

Originally posted on What a Witch:

So everyone knows what today is. Everyone knows that a bunch of people died due to extremism and today everyone is going to bombarded with two things; idiotic “Never Forget,” signs, images, bumper stickers and what not; as well as multiple television shows and movies attempting to retraumatize the public for cash.

And all we’re going to be told today is that we should never forget. Yeah…thanks. I needed that reminder because the image of two people holding hands as they leapt to their deaths from the higher floors of the North Tower, so as to have some human contact in their last moments on earth, was going to go away any time soon; just,you know, pop right out of my head.

You know what we shouldn’t forget?

We shouldn’t forget that there were actually four planes that crashed that day. One took out a building full of soldiers. One…

View original 697 more words

On Ferguson And Race…Sort Of

August 15, 2014

Dear Ali,

I fear you’re in for serious disappointment if you keep looking for ways to “create a dialogue” with your Caucasian peers.

As you can see

Here

Here

Here

Here

And in many of the comments on your own post, it is pretty much impossible for People of Color to talk honestly about race the ways in which it impacts our lives without being subjected to at least some level of racist backlash.

Watching the derailment and devaluation of the experiences of PoC?

Yeah, I’m done with that forever. i mean it. I’m done. I cannot with this anymore.

So here is my idea. Rather than taking on the every bit responsibility for keeping the conversation civil and, you know existent, we should instead raise the bar. Maybe, instead of asking again and again and again for meaningful, rational dialogue and being met with hate and derision we should, instead require more of our Caucasian allies. It’s time that we require them to listen.

It’s time for some monologue.We talk. They listen. We share our experiences, you know, the constant fear and pain that comes from being at best, a second class citizen and they support us. that’s how it needs to start working from now on.

Seriously, racism is a thing; a systemic thing that negatively impacts everyone but has a greater negative impact on PoC while benefitting Caucasians. Sexism is also a thing that harms everyone but causes greater harm to women while benefitting men.

Are you not tired of having to explain this all the time? Of having to justify and qualify and convince?

But you know what? Some of the very same feminists who were all over #YesAllWomen as a rallying cry to share our pain about sexism cannot bring themselves to show the very little respect it takes to listen when PoC try to do the same about racism.

We have to be done accepting that. Forever.

We have to be done accepting tone policing and white women’s tears and the concern trolling over “black on black crime,” which ignores the facts of crime, and statistics and how words and rational thought work. Instead, we need to just call them out for what they are.

In case anyone reading is confused what they are, are tools used to protect the system of racism that provides privilege to Caucasians.

The people who use those tools are not our allies. They might call themselves allies. They might appear to be allies in certain situations but if they are unable to resist the urge to take up the tools of their privilege in order to listen to us then we can no longer pretend that they are our allies. Neither should we want them on our team because clearly, they do not really want to help make things better.

When men and anti-equality women do this kind of thing we make it clear that they are in the wrong and in many cases go so far as to mock them for their ignorance. I’m not making a value judgment about that reaction, I’m simply saying that is what happens.

But when it comes to race we are expected to keep trying, keep policing our tone, keep engaging with people who belittle and discount our pain and fear until they are comfortable.

I’m inviting and advising you, along with all PoC and our actual allies to stop that right now because it’s not actually helping. It’s just us, spinning our wheels.

Oh and actual allies? A lot of this is on you. You’ve got to be the ones to step up point out the tools used by false allies and the instances when they are used. Because in the wake of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Ezell Ford and so many others, it is clear that the lives of PoC have no real value to our nation and our voices mean less than nothing.

Shame USA

Yes Robin Williams’ Suicide WAS Selfish. That’s How Depression Works

August 13, 2014

We need to stop lying to ourselves about suicide. It is entirely selfish. It’s also giving in whether you like to think if it that way or not.

Selfishness in not a bad thing. We’ve been taught that it is, but let’s be honest, when all the wires are straight and the messages are getting through properly, selfishness is a thing that, at worst, make you kind of a jerk and at best keep you alive. We evolved the urge to take the extra food or the spot closer to the fire as a survival instinct. Yes, sometimes that instinct is now used to take the last cookie or cut off another driver but it is not, in and of itself, a negative emotion.

Look, I struggle with depression. I know the way it feels. As I’ve previously mentioned, I feel it as this crushing weight with teeth and claws and a map to the tender parts of my soul. My level of depression is not impacted by how much money I have, how many friends I can contact, or how cute my outfit is. It can have an impact on those things but it is not impacted by them. Because depression makes me want to not go anywhere, including work, nor talk to people, nor dress in anything but pajamas.

And I’ve had suicidal thoughts; not that I actually want to die so much as how awesome it would be if things suddenly just stopped. Which, I guess, is the lazy person’s version of suicidal thoughts.

And when those happen, the lies depression tells you really kick in. The lies tell you that death is the best answer. Things will stop hurting and since you don’t matter, the world will be so much better off without you.

You spend a not small portion of your time doing any and everything you can to drown out the relentless drum beat of stupid, ugly, worthless all day every day.

And that is hard.

It’s not a thing that I can control But it is a thing that I can fight. And the fight is what matters.

Because the when depression talks, it lies. Anyone who suffers from depression knows that. That’s why we don’t listen.

Except Robin Williams listened. He slipped, one time. He stopped fighting. He knew that depression was lying to him, as evidenced by the fact that he was seeking treatment, but he listened anyway. He gave in to that selfish urge to listen to the lies and end the pain.

It was a mistake, a selfish mistake. We all make those. The lies of depression don’t make the decisions less selfish. They make the sufferer look at the consequences through a fun house mirror where pain is joy and loss is benefit.  The thing about suicide is, you can’t fix it after the fact. You can’t decide to share the cookie or let the next guy merge before you because you’re gone. You’re gone and the people left behind are suffering.

Hey you know what, I’m not only someone who fights depression, I’m the adult child of a parent who listened to the lies.

I promise you one thing, no matter how much counseling they get, no matter how much they are assured that their father loved them, Robin Williams’ kids will be left with one crushing truth for the rest of their lives.

Their father did not love them enough to stay.

Maybe that’s selfish too, which is how grief works. Neither depression nor grief is logical.

Our job, as survivors is to push through the lies and keep fighting.

Call someone, even if it’s just to hear another human voice who cares.

1-800-273-8255

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t do well on the phone  reach out to IMALIVE. They do online chat and counseling.

Don’t let anything, even the hateful voice in your head, extinguish your light.

dead-poets-society-quotes-15

 

Dear Liberals of the World,

July 29, 2014

And people who want to claim that they are compassionate or just, you know, functioning under the basic rules of human decency.

IF YOU CAN’T EXPRESS YOUR OBJECTIONS TO ISRAEL’S ACTIONS IN REGARDS TO GAZA WITHOUT RESORTING TO ANTISEMITIC SLURS YOU DON’T GET TO CALL YOURSELF A LIBERAL OR REALLY A DECENT PERSON ANYMORE.

 

That is all.

No really, this isn’t one of those things that requires a lengthy explanation or examples or footnotes.  This is basic shit. Get it together.

Just fucking stop it.

Now.

WTF Banner

 

 

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