An enormous confetti bomb of white privilege and transphobia has exploded through my entire life in the past week, and as I’ve been doing a lot of pretty important writing about it, I’d like to share some of it with you here. There are two core issues at work here. The first concerns SlutWalk, and the second concerns the environmental movement. In both cases, the best of the worst of white privilege and transphobia have precipitated. All in one week! If you’re having a bad day, I’d advise against reading this post until you’re in better spirits.
Also, profanity warning, and trigger warning for racism, mega radfem transphobia, and misogyny.
Almost as soon as I hit the publish button on my last post, which is a rather brutal criticism of systemic racism against indigenous peoples in Canada, I learned that the third year of the ever-controversial SlutWalk Vancouver had been announced, and is set to take place on June 2nd. For the sake of transparency, I signed up to volunteer last year for the express purpose of bringing my dissenting opinion directly to the demonstration. Also, one of the organizers last year (and this year) is an incredibly racist woman I used to have the misfortune of living with, and when I finally couldn’t take any more of her shit, we didn’t part ways amicably. Unfortunately, last year, I became ill shortly before the event was taking place, and had to cancel on my commitment last minute. This year, I decided to publish this open call to boycott SlutWalk in its third year, detailing one of the central problems of unchecked racial privilege and colonial ideology as my primary reasoning (which I learned about by listening to dissenting women of colour, who brought this criticism directly to the first-year and second-year organizers, several times, in several mediums including face-to-face interactions). Here’s a sample of what I’m talking around:
But this indigenous woman, who had been working doing community outreach directly in the DTES for years, called [the first-year organizers’] bluff. She plainly stated that no one from SlutWalk Vancouver had come into the DTES to enquire into how they could get the indigenous communities involved in their action; but rather, that their approach to this aspect of their event was to wait for women of the DTES to come to them and ask to be involved. “And why would they?” she asked. “The word ‘slut’ is heavily racialized.”
She explained to them that by choosing to call it “SlutWalk”, the Vancouver organizers had automatically excluded the possibility of involving indigenous communities because by virtue of its name alone, it was unsafe to even consider participating in it. By incorporating the word “slut” into its branding, its name is a thoughtless reflection of a lifetime of being treated as being sexually available simply for existing while visibly racialized, from a very early age. By promoting the idea that the purpose is to “take back the word slut”, the organizers had extinguished the prospect of involving women of colour and their communities, because the word “slut” is not theirs to take back—for it was never theirs to begin with. For women of colour and especially indigenous women, she told them, clothing has nothing to do with their experience of slut-shaming. They are branded as “sluts” on the basis of their skin colour alone, no matter how they are dressed and no matter even how young they are.
Now, I happen to be white, but I also happen to have life experience that has taught me powerful lessons in what it is to be seen as sexually available simply for existing—I am an incest survivor. I side with women of colour on this one, because what they’re saying even speaks to my experience as a whitey. That nagging feeling during the momentum of the first year that something about this event wasn’t safe enough for me. I also included these thoughts in that first entry on SlutWalk. But there are still more troubling layers of racism involved in SlutWalk, far beyond one of its organizers in Vancouver being known to me personally for her racism, and even beyond the alienating namesake of the event. I’ll warm you up a little with a quote from the very same post, located a little further down:
SlutWalk organizers were very generously given the benefit of the doubt in the first year. Despite the fact that Robert Pickton had already been arrested, charged, and put through an internationally acknowledged criminal court trial for serial murder; and despite the fact that Thomas George Svekla (who is believed to have viciously murdered more Edmonton-area women than even Pickton boasted about in relation to his victims from Vancouver’s DTES) had also already been arrested, charged, and put through a criminal court trial for serial murder; SlutWalk organizers all across the country were given the benefit of the doubt that perhaps their knee-jerk response to the inciting incident didn’t permit them the privilege of thinking through the impact of calling their action “SlutWalk”. Despite the fact that it is reasonably well-known that indigenous women are up to eight times more likely to be exposed to sexual violence than white women in this country, SlutWalk organizers were given the benefit of the doubt. Despite the fact that it is legitimately clear that both Canada and the US are continued colonial occupations of the ancestral homelands of indigenous peoples; and that it is reasonably well-known that in order to establish these “countries”, indigenous women were not only explicitly targeted for sexual violence, but stereotyped as wildly promiscuous in order to legitimate these attacks upon them, were colonized through mass rape and sexual slavery, and have been persistently targeted for eugenicist “experiments”, SlutWalk organizers were given the benefit of the doubt. And despite the fact that this is a clear and distinct repetition of history that had already played out in the colonization of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, by many of the same European colonial powers, SlutWalk organizers were given the benefit of the doubt. Despite the fact that virtually no colonial government has ever been held accountable for these horrendous atrocities against women all over the world, SlutWalk organizers were given the benefit of the doubt. I could continue in this very same vein, but at this point, literally everyone who is sufficiently literate and with an active social conscience should already see the point.
A fact that is apparently not acknowledged often enough is that both Pickton and Svekla explicitly targeted indigenous women. Pickton explicitly boasted that he knew no one would come looking for them, among other sickening remarks about how much he had been getting away with. Another fact that is perhaps not openly acknowledged often enough by me personally is that I was homeless in Edmonton while Svekla was preying upon up to 75 Edmonton-area women, most of whom were indigenous. I was living in a women’s homeless shelter, and I was seriously weighing whether or not to attempt survival sex work to get out of there, in large part because although men living in the men’s shelter at the time could continue to receive social assistance, women in the women’s shelter couldn’t. In that homeless shelter, while I was living in it, one of the survival sex workers (possibly two) that Svekla is believed to be responsible for murdering, was also living there. She disappeared shortly after I got out by agreeing to move in alone with a complete stranger, and was found in an utterly horrific state which was described in detail by local papers. And where did I head to when I left Edmonton? But the very city where 49 women disappeared on Pickton’s pig farm. To suggest that this history hits close to home is to have already understated it. And I’m not the only one who works to raise consciousness about these events, either. I talk about one other woman whose demonstration at City Hall was co-opted by someone involved in SlutWalk in the first year, in this entry about the history of SlutWalk racism (which also features a couple of important images, so you might want to actually read the full text):
While it would appear that this image isn’t an exact copy of the protest on the steps of Vancouver City Hall, it is nevertheless immediately reminiscent, and I would have an extremely difficult time believing anyone who argued to the contrary. I actually confronted this very fact three years ago, and the only answer I received in regards to this issue was that it’s ”a stock photo”. Given the nature of the City Hall protest and the initial purpose of SlutWalk, the two are inextricably linked. But given the immediate conceptual problems of racial privilege that SlutWalk promotes as if it was anything else, whereas the City Hall protest was concretely and directly confronting racial privilege, the two protests cannot be said to be working in the same direction. SlutWalk works against everything the City Hall protest worked towards, whether it means to or not, and this particular image solidifies that relationship by co-opting the central visual trigger with a blatant disregard for where it comes from. Where that visual trigger comes from isn’t some stock photo website where someone paid a couple dollars for the rights to use an image. In Vancouver, that visual trigger comes from a heinous serial murder spree during which indigenous women, engaging in survival sex work in the most socially marginalized area of the city, were explicitly targeted. I don’t know what message the organizers were actually intending to send out to the general public with this choice of imagery, but it reads implicitly as making light of these horrific injustices.
Evidently, between the two pieces of writing, I managed somehow to hit a nerve with the third-year SlutWalk Vancouver organizers (my guess is because I’m white, my criticism is visible to them — otherwise, I’d have just been ignored). After the known-racist one wrote me to whitesplain the criticisms of unchecked racial privilege away, I updated the first entry with a screenshot of this rather damning private message, which indicated that she neither understood what white privilege means, nor even believes it to exist. Then I received further correspondence from the other third-year organizer, asking-not-asking for me to take the screenshot and any references to her fellow organizer down. After trying to police my tone when I didn’t immediately concede, I decided to take it down, and assured her that if she finds herself missing it, it’s now part of a whole new entry which includes her correspondence too. Here’s my writing detailing the completely useless and wildly immature correspondence I received, and how I addressed it, both in the conversation and outside of it. Meanwhile, several other people began giving positive feedback that indicated that I have made them think twice about attending the event. Apparently either that or the way I tore them several new assholes over their correspondence with me made the organizers even more upset. So one of them (the known racist who thinks white privilege doesn’t exist) decided to violate my privacy and out me as trans. For extra irony points, this actually occurred while I was addressing Vancouver Parks Board with my experiences and observations of others’ experiences, as an openly trans and genderqueer person, who does not feel safe using their facilities when they are open to the general public. Here’s where I wrote about that (which, again, includes images):
Alice deleted the comments before I could have taken a screenshot of them myself, perhaps expecting that this would magically erase any trace of her decision, even though in one of the photos, several other people were tagged. My friend, on whose photos these comments were posted, was reasonably uncertain of what she should do about the comments, as she had never before known my birth name and simply found these gestures both confusing and incredibly creepy. The several other people who were tagged on one of the two photos have also not known my birth name over the entire duration of our acquaintanceship. It suffices to say that Alice intentionally and successfully violated my privacy, and outed me as a trans person, even though she did then delete the comments within the hour. I guess she was hoping no one got any emails about it. LOLWHOOPS!
That seems to have effectively shut them up and fired several hundred cannonballs through their little white settler privilege parade float. I’ve since moved on to expressing dissent about recent insight into a radical environmentalist group (Deep Green Resistance) which has been exposed for promoting transphobia (which it also doesn’t believe is a Thing — it’s almost like there’s a pattern forming here or something):
From the article wherein DGR compares claims of transgender identity to claims of transracial identity (I have much more to say on that, too, momentarily), Scofield writes that many radical feminists “believe the only reason a man would transition to a woman is to rape women, while any woman that would transition to a man only does so to escape sexism and assimilate into patriarchy.” These are all-too-common aspersions cast frequently by radical feminists, which again exploit social constructions of gender, to essentially scaremonger the general public into thinking that transgender individuals are simply elaborate con artists with no morals. As one stealth transwoman (among several who are known to me) once put it, it’s utterly astounding that men actually believe she has endured social rejection and emotional abuse by family members, friends, and greater communities; moved across the country several times; maintained hormone replacement therapy that has forever altered her body’s chemistry and physique; and even underwent a sex reassignment surgery at the risk of possibly never coming out of the operating room or never being able to climax again for the rest of her life; all just to fool some poor unsuspecting guy into sleeping with another guy. That’s right. She was referring to prospective male partners, whose crises emerge from a profound sense of homophobia. It is at this point that I am happy to point out that the radical feminism movement is led by lesbian separatists. Although, apparently these are women who are also rather tragically homophobic, for “lesbian” often does not mean to them what it means to anyone else.
I actually had respect for the founders of Deep Green Resistance, and I’m not alone in that. In fact, they are the very people whose film I linked to in a previous post — a film which passionately calls for concrete action to bring down oppressive colonial structures that threaten the environment and ultimately the future of the human species that depends upon it to live. Admittedly, that particular piece of writing wasn’t my best work (I never said I’m a professional, I just blog here), and perhaps the film also could have been better produced (except who would ever take the risk of funnelling corporate cash into it, and at what cost to the dominant message of the film?) Are you familiar with when I wrote about calling for a voluntary boycott of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris, on the basis that their racism is unacceptable? That, at least if you are going to continue using their ideas, you should flat-out refuse to give them credit for it (however, I want to be clear in that I’m not talking about promoting plagiarism or intellectual theft, so much as thinking twice about using their ideas, especially in writing) in order to send them the message that you won’t tolerate their racism? This is the same kind of decision I and many others now have to make in regards to DGR. “But that’s about transphobia!” you might say. “Are we supposed to boycott shit over transphobia too?” Well, yeah, actually. That’s what social justice and privilege-checking involves sometimes—letting go of it or even taking a stand against it when you find out how it contributes to systemic oppression. And in the case of DGR, it’s also about racism:
To Keith, gender is a fiction novel—until it doesn’t read the way one’s chromosomes do, then it’s real and biologically determined, so live with it instead of going to such elaborate lengths to trick her into buying your false narrative. For her gender narrative is so clearly objectively true and superior for absolutely no reason whatsoever. And to Keith, gender isn’t a biological or essential fact. That is, unless a given person’s essential gender “condition” (i.e., genetic phenotype or biological sex) doesn’t align with the fictional narrative being projected in the presence of a deeply unsettled radical feminist, in which case then it is an essential fact, and your body is just a walking record of human rights violations and women’s systemic oppression. Oh yeah, and all of those human rights violations and oppressions originate from violence against people whose biological “gender” is “woman”, WhichNeitherIncludesTranswomenNorTransmenBecauseYou’reAllFakingIt AndNoneOfYouEverWereOrEverWillBeWomenEvenThoughAllTransmenAreWomenPretendingToBeMen, even though gender isn’t real and yet would necessarily have to be for any part of that statement to be even remotely logically consistent or make any sense at all.
The mental gymnastics required to talk like that with a straight face must be utterly exhausting. No wonder Keith let that little gem, which basically amounts to Grey Owl’s autobiography, slip out in such shitty linguistics, effectively revealing her deep contempt for indigenous peoples and a profound ignorance about their cultures. Yeah. That’s right. Cultures. The plural of one singular culture. The reality of a rich diversity of cultures spanning two continents, as opposed to the Pan-Indian narrative she has so vaguely painted a portrait of, as if straight out of the literature she must have learned everything she ever wanted to know about “native people” in order to validate her contempt of them.
You know who else is getting exhausted around here? Me. I’m getting tired of finding out about amazing people with revolutionary ideas, who still haven’t learned how to check their social privileges, and who, as a result, insist on excluding as many people as possible from working towards a better world for anyone other than themselves. It’s a good thing that on the last day of this past week, I finally found an outlet for comic relief after reading a second anti-colonial group’s declaration of siding with DGR. This second group is called “The Crimes of Colonialism” (COC), and essentially calls all who are born genetically female a bunch of cunts. Several times:
Yeah, that’s right. COC’s vision of systemic male violence means that while unemployed men are suddenly becoming business partners with Colombian drug lords, the only commodity women in the same economic position are left with is the ability to fuck anything that fits into their birth canals. This means that, contrary to reality, COC believes that not only does sex work not require any degree of intelligence or skill at all, but no woman would ever choose to engage in sex work unless she had been involuntarily stripped of all other options first (see what I did there? Stripped!) I guess all those law students who work as high-paid dominatrices, escorts, and strippers to circumvent cyclical dependence on student loan debt are really just pretty fucking stupid, huh. Then I wonder how exactly they got so good at acting like they were smart enough to go to law school in the first place!
But wait! That’s not the end of it. The article states that “the X chromosome carries a couple of thousand genes but few, if any, of these have anything to do directly with sex determination.” See how much fun trying to play geneticist is?! Believe me, it’s even more fun making fun of people who have no idea what they were talking about when they used Fox News as a citation.
Not to mention that two settlers living in North America are likely to have more in common genetically, regardless of their race/ethnicity, with each other than the darker-skinned between them has with a random guy hanging out in Nigeria, precisely because of fucking crimes of colonialism. Dumbasses. Moving on.
I just can’t wait to start slamming more radfems who think the term “cisgender” is offensive. Or for that matter, to pass out quarter-page flyers at SlutWalk Vancouver that explains how incredibly racist the event is, both in concept and in leadership.
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There you are! No mask. You look like a great1canadian1satan for real, mister.
There are times I’ve seen the divisions that keep progressives from getting any power, and I’ve thought, damn that’s stupid. But then I see situations were divisions turn out to be completely justified. See something a little bit hinky (Is that supposed feminist actually transphobic?), poke the hornet’s nest, and see the bullshit that comes flying out.
We’re never going to be 100% on the same page. Being absolutely understanding and sensitive to every group under the sun is impossible. But we ought to be able to do better than these jerks. And if “jerks” is racialized or problematic in some way of which I was unaware, let me know, and I’ll look for a better word.
Actually the only real problem I have with that response is the part where you called me Canadian. I just live here by virtue of birth lottery. I don’t subscribe to the domineering colonial civic identity.
Sorry about that. I have a weird relationship with my American descriptor. In my dreams, I’m moving to Prague to be a Great1Czech1Satan. But if you say no to being Canadian, then no Canadian are thee.
Thank you kindly. I personally think the idea of a great Czech Satan to be far superior to any of the American variety, but I’m really also aligning myself here with encouraging self-knowledge and self-pride over national or civic pride.
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Does that read? ASCII art ain’t what it used to be. 🙂
YES MOAR PLZ
I can nae do it! Too difficult without fixed character widths!
But I’m glad you appreciated it.
What would you like to call it? Is “Take back the night” OK or do we have to come up with a new phrase? “My body–my decision”? “Mistress of my fate”?
Yes means yes got my vote.
sorry, i’m generally a lurker more than a poster, but i had a question:
how is the word ‘slut’ racialized? here in america, this is not the case. any demographic is equally subject to it as a condemnation of their character; even men, increasingly.
cultural word usage varies, i understand, but i don’t get the racial context of the word in canada.
I honestly am running out of ways to communicate this. I’ve written an exhausting amount. It’s time for you to do the work of finding another voice if you can’t understand mine and genuinely want to know. Such as the open letter from Black Women’s Blueprint that I linked to in at least the first two entries I talk about in this post.
Literally, I’m handing you the explanation you so desire. Repeatedly.
short answer: women of colour are sexualized much moreso than white women, to the point where the term used is hypersexualized.
that is to say, the way women in general get treated as sex objects in media? women of colour get it worse. much, much worse. like, take the term “dusky maidens” and think about it for a bit; what pops into your head? what sort of skin colour do you think it’s referring to (hint: “dusk” generally doesn’t refer to bright white things)? if you’re still confused, you need to, ahem, shut up and listen.
June 2nd, you say? I might be there, as long as it’s okay for me to just stand around holding flyers and listening to music. I’m not in much of a talky/explainy mood after this past month.
@11. Thanks I will try some further investigation
@12. i guess this just does not match my observation of the use of the word in American english (specific to my Californian/San Diegan cultural background, nor for my time immersed in Army/military culture). But I have learned to acknowledge my experiences are not definitive. Now I’m going to be hyperaware of the next usage I come across, observe the races of namecaller and their intended victim. Perhaps I just don’t have enough experience interacting with women of color, even though I am currently in a relationship with one. I will definitely be asking her when I get home… yeah, see I’ve never even heard anyone ever use the term “dusky maiden” in conversation…
Not denying anything you guys are telling me, obviously, this is all just so outside my human experience, it seems very strange that the word “slut” should have a racial component at all.
Thanks guys, for helping further my education
@11. Did my homework, looked up that open letter you referenced. It seems more than Canadian colloquialism to be more of a Southern US colloquialism, but yeah, growing up in suburban California, that racial component was completely absent from the cultural usage of the word in the socially liberal environs I grew up in (I guess I’m fortunate in that small way, that it had already been expunged by the time I was exposed to the word). Most intriguing.
And my girlfriend, a woman of color raised in the San Antonio area of Texas (historically very racially charged culture), also had no idea of the racial component behind the word “slut”. Perhaps black culture had already been entirely successful in thoroughly expunging the racial component of the word by the time we were born and started listening to the language being used around us as of the early 1980s…
I don’t mean to accuse anyone of hypersenstivity toward issues of gender or race, but protesting this event FOR THIS SPECIFIC REASON (whatever else may be wrong and protest-worthy in it) seems…
thanks for your patience in engaging with me on this, I am ever the newly-arrived anthropologist: eager to learn, just ignorant.
Unfamiliar W/ Your Ways
genderqueer caucasian male from San Diego
I can’t tell how much you’re actually reading or not. The word itself isn’t some sort of racial slur. It’s the very concept of “slut”.
Allow me to try YET AGAIN.
Women of colour experience slut-shaming on the basis of their racial features (such as skin colour, the shape of their eyes, bone structure, etc), often years earlier than white women experience slut-shaming on the basis of their choice in clothing.
The problem with SlutWalk is that it explicitly and exclusively centers the experiences of white women—by emphasizing slut-shaming in relation to clothing choices, but also by its namesake, which caused enormous controversy to erupt continuously, and which has yet to be answered to because it sure seems like the only people willing to keep organizing also think things like racism is somehow a sexual preference.
Setar I didn’t realize you were a Vancouver local. By all means, bring an mp3 player like I will be, and I’d be happy to have someone next to me helping hand out flyers.
yeah, just consulted an elderly Texan woman of color I work with. She also had no idea of a racial component to the term. She told me “slut” is slang for prostitute, which indicates a limit to her knowledge of our language, as I know it has always had a broader meaning closer to “wench” or “hussy”, at least for the last few centuries of usage, but still… unless in CANADIAN COLLOQUIALISM the word “slut” carries an indication that the person is a minority…
I feel like this specific complaint is misplaced, and whatever else is detestable or protest-worthy in the SlutWalk or of the SlutWalk organizers (I understand you’ve got a beef with one of the women), this argument lacks validity. My girlfriend is offended by a white canadian transsexual taking offense on behalf of her race, anyway, which is ironically very racist in its own way. I am not offended the same way, as i see the real value of advocating as an ally from outside the persecuted/oppressed group, but I see her complaint as perfectly legitimate…
As a Canadian transsexual atheist (I’m assuming from this being FTB and all) you are already alienated from mainstream heteronormative religious white American-centered culture plenty; you’d think you’ve got enough on your plate to focus on without inventing outrage over a now thoroughly race-neutral term. Again, a disclaimer, I don’t know what other (perhaps more) legitimate beef you’ve got with the SlutWalk folks, who may deserve vehement condemnation on their other merits. I just hope your other complaints have more validity behind them than getting offended on someone else’s behalf at the long-since-neutralized racial component of a word on the grounds that you are insisting (through thousands of words) that it has one. That’s called an assertion, a thing that doesn’t get much traction around atheist circles, not without substantial evidence to back it up. And your anecdotal evidence of an indigenous woman feeling maligned by the word slut simply for being who she is… again, unless you’re going to explain the differences between canadian and american slang, this doesn’t mean anything. It sounds like she is speaking as a woman, not as an indigenous woman. Whether or not that resonated with you for whatever reason is like a Christian witnessing to you on the street about how great Jesus is in their life. Ok. What else have you got, something I can say “oh yeah, I see now how this indigenous woman is considered a slut just for being indigenous, how unfair.”
At least in America, slut-shaming is universal. Yes, some of our subcultures (black entertainment) are way way worse about women’s equality issues than others, but the word slut is race-neutral, culture-neutral, even gender-neutral.
Please, PLEASE explain how Canadians assume different things about the usage of the word slut, because from an American perspective, your complaint wholly lacks substance.
sorry Hafisch, looks like we commented at roughly the same time. I understand better your distinction now, and I will have to consult my girlfriend to further investigate the heightened slut-shaming of minority women. I am incredulous, of course, but I love experiencing the emotional transition from incredulity to enlightenment.
Hooray for constructive discourse communities!
It still amazes me that I can specifically request that I not be described with a civic identity that I outright reject (as frequently as I am able to do so), and yet I start being called Canadian again, on two different blogs straight away.
@18. Haifisch, lol sorry but to you can’t pretend you are some kind of uberglobal citizen whose lifestyle and opinions were completely whole-cloth inventions….
You’re talking to an America-hating American, but I still would never pretend that I am not a product of the world I was raised in. That would be obtuse (and rather blind to a lot) of me. That being said, since you did say that in your blog post (this one or the last one), I apologize for calling you Canadian. I thought it was relevent to the cultural perspectives we are all carrying forward with in this conversation.
Now all this being said, my girlfriend admits that while black culture as a whole tends to be hypersexualized (positive and negative sexual stereotypes for both of the major gender roles featured by their culture), this has nothing to do with being slutty, being called a slut, or anything like that. She’s calling shenannigans on your protest. A racist lady in charge is one thing, but your clutching of pearls at the title of the event? Sorry, can’t get on board, that ship is full of holes.
Of course, we are a peaceful happy little discourse community here at freethought blogs and I think its fair to say we agree to disagree, and part ways amicably. I will still read your work every time Crommy hosts it. I look forward to more of your insightful work, and remember being quite intellectually stimulated by your previous work. You are a fine author, keep it up.
Is your gf illiterate, or do you just persistently treat her as though she is? Because so far, you’ve used me as a mouthpiece for your ideas, and used her as a mouthpiece when you’re talking back to me.
So go ahead, criticize me however you please if that makes you feel better. I don’t see myself the way you want me to, to make your criticisms fit. I’m in the process, as it happens, of exploring ways to learn precolonial languages that are indigenous to the territories on which I live, as well as learning a whole new way of living here, in addition to learning a whole new way of looking at the world and interacting with everything in it. Seems to me that this isn’t quite the peace-crying hippy bullshit you are more than happy to slap on me when I make a simple request that you not assign nationalistic pride to me.
It’s too bad you’re not “buying” the argument, both because I’m not selling it and because it is my personal reflection upon an argument originally advanced by a woman of colour who works among the most socially marginalized, over-policed neighbourhoods in my area — people who are homeless, poor, struggling with addictions and transgenerational trauma, and most of whom are people of colour themselves. It is an area where 67 women (most of whom are of indigenous heritage) disappeared, and only the families and a few of their non-indigenous allies became incensed.
But you know. Some random white chick in Toronto being blamed for her rape on account of her clothing — now that’s somehow more worthy of a rally in the streets. Don’t get me wrong. That cop was a shitbag to her. That’s what cops do. But if you still believe your gf (who you treat as though she was illiterate) is spokesperson for all Black women, then you go on ahead and have a good chuckle for how I’m just clutching pearls (in your infinitely wise opinion).
Long time reader/lurker, first time poster.
Jamie: I love your posts. Thank you for all that you do.
Unfamiliar with history, culture, and a whole shitload of other things: The stereotype of women of color, especially black women, as essentially and naturally promiscuous, aka sluts, has a long nasty history in the United States, one embedded in the earliest days of colonization and extending until quite recently. (And since nobody inherits history as a genetic component, the fact that the girlfriend you claim to have who is a woman of color–I really really really hate when the “my best friend/girlfriend/spouse” card comes out–does not know that history does not mean it didn’t freaking happen.)
And there have been African American women criticizing the “slutwalks” as well–I’m not sure how many links I can post without getting into moderation, so here are just a few.
NOw how much deeper are you going to be digging that racist hole you’re stuck in?
Huh, because we’ve met (it…didn’t go well, and I’ve learned a bit since then — including that I just do a lot better when I can control sensory input like with headphones, otherwise all the sheer noise is overwhelming). and I could have sworn that I told you my commenting handle.
at any rate, too much blargharghohfuckingHELL stuff has happened in the past six or so months for me to be as talky and overenthusiastic as I was. I explicitly want to not deal with shit while pushing back, unless it’s major shit (or I’m snarking at someone who thinks their assholery can be heard through my headphones).
…as an aside, apparently I suck at presenting androgynously, everyone keeps reading me as male. is there anywhere I could possibly buy trans*/GQ pride stuff to pin on my shirt, or do I just have to make some stuff of my own? -does not want to give any outs for being gendered male, at all-
Thank you for those many extra links and for your comment, most of which I will assume was directed at the commenter who is using their gf and myself as interchangeable mouthpieces in a conversation that is really happening between her and I.
The plot thickens. I did not know we’ve met before. You might have to teach me some more about when and how it happened. If and when I do remember, I might be particularly defensive still if it didn’t go well the first time. Or possibly not. Or depending on the nature of that interaction, I might have as formal request for you (e.g., I am submitting a written statement to police this week about an incident that was very much a not-good one, involving a protest situation that escalated into serious aggression and threats of violence, and one person involved was a FTB regular, but I do not have their contact info).
Afraid I can’t help with how people will read you, but I can say that I am not going with my face uncovered. I’m leaning strongly towards the way I appeared when I was last face-to-face with Genocide Awareness Project, since updates in regards to this SlutWalk issue and the antagonism I have experienced now include an open declaration on the part of the organizer who violated my privacy and outed me as a trans person, that she thinks racism is a sexual preference, and that allegedly numerous women I’ve never met think I’m utterly terrifying by virtue of written word alone. People I’d be happy to scare all the way back home by the way I dress. Androgyny takes a bit of work, and doesn’t happen overnight, in any case, so don’t be hard on yourself if you are persistently read wrong.
In the week since this all happened, the antagonism I am receiving from that SlutWalk organizer has far surpassed my tolerance of it, and she has revealed her motivations loud and clear. I’ve written this about it:
I also stood out in half-naked clown attire, holding a sign that read “this man is a homophobe”, and following around a man who has threatened me and several others with serious violence while calling me and several other people fags and other assorted homophobic/transphobic shit, whilst silently pointing at him. He called 9-1-1. I wrote this about interacting with Vancouver police when they showed:
I also had to deal again with Burnaby RCMP over the attempt on my life last December, and I received a phone call from Coquitlam RCMP which resulted in another hour-and-a-half audio-recorded statement in relation to their own officer who, last July, was exposed on national television as a creep and a pervert, prompting me to publish all about my three years’ acquaintanceship with him. Seems that code of conduct investigation is now several hundred pages long, thanks in part to my statements now totaling nearly 4 hours’ length:
I could not make this up if I was paid to. I can’t even believe the sheer enormity of what happens in my life week after week some times.
Jamie: I”m sorry for the sloppiness–yes, the majority of my comment was addessed to “unfamiliar w/your ways” whose handle I riffed into “unfamiliar with history, culture and a whole shitload of other things,” but did not clearly indicate that.
I loathe the kind of passive-aggressive over privileged rhetoric that “Unfamiliar” was coming out with, so much so I was sloppier than I should have been.
Thanks for this information. I have been woefully unaware of what’s going on in my city. In both of my cities! (I’m from Edmonton.)
Svekla received minimal media attention because though he is suspected of murdering 75 women, he was only charged in relation to 2, and persistently denied being responsible, even claiming that he was being framed for them.
While these women were disappearing, horrific details of their post-mortem states were being published in the papers. I honestly wonder how many people are unaware, and how to wake them up. We all need to get involved to take a stand.
Oh no, not that…-reads the links in your next comment- …fuck, that asshole. And this just has to be the week that work starts demanding I have less time to recover cause the fucking freeway needs to be built.
And sorry for not replying sooner. I had a reply written up a couple days ago, but got distracted and thought I posted it when I hadn’t.
Considering that. I’ve picked up an internet stalker thanks to my activity on the Atheism+ forums, and, well…it wasn’t too hard to block them from contacting me (yay for The Block Bot), but I dunno if I can be too careful. The stalker might see this and take the liberty of passing on pictures of me they dug up to the racist asshole =/
Huh. The racial component of the term “slut” is new to me, but I won’t pretend that doesn’t make it true.
I have lived most of my life among well-educated people, mostly white. “Slut” amongst white people is definitely dependent on what a woman is wearing or how she is acting, with a connotation that she is lower class if she falls into that category.
I have not realized before (though now that I think about it, it rings true), that a woman of color, regardless of how she is dressed, is perhaps more likely to be considered available for sex. Which is not to say that well-dressed white women don’t get sexually harassed–they certainly do–but perhaps not in the same way?
This is not exactly a topic of conversation that comes up a lot, so I can understand how white people (such as me) would not necessarily have a lot of experience with the concept. My best friend is Japanese, and this information brings up a lot of old memories from when we were teenagers and she would get a lot more harassment of a particular type than I would.
Proof of concept: there are terms such as “Jungle fever” and “Yellow fever” to connote a man’s overpowering fascination with women of color, with a strong connotation that it’s the woman’s fault–that she has some sort of magical power, and it is her intention to seduce the man, simply by walking around in public while brown/nonwhite.
There is no corresponding term for white women. White women are divided into whores and madonnas, but the very existence of that second category for them means they don’t have quite the same problem as nonwhite women.
Setar: already sent in lengthy statement backed by two people.