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posted by [personal profile] dashingdeviant at 03:40am on 08/05/2009 under
(posted in the feminist community over at LJ, which gets frustratingly navel-gazey)

So, there was a navel-gazing post here that was deleted that came across as a total "love me, I'm a liberal" and "give me my good ally cookies" post. And this is why I personally hate the term ally. The people who have privileges I don't who are side by side with me, speak up and take action on issues that affect me and their privilege lets them ignore, I know are good people who get it. They don't need to tell me they're my ally, I know they're with me, because I'm side by side in struggle with them. And when I go out and stand up for things that I have the privilege to ignore, that's how people know I'm in solidarity with them.

Really, all this talk about thinking differently and how much someone recognizes their privileges now and is a good ally,leaves me unimpressed and not wanting to hand out cookies. To everyone navel-gazing about their privilege and how good of an ally they are, were you in the streets on May Day? Do you know how your community treats houseless people? Have you tried to do anything about it? Do you know how busted the DSM-V committee stuff is for both trans people and sexual minorities? Educated anyone on it? Done anything about how the continued increase in militarization here and abroad affects poor and working class people, people of color, and especially poor and working class POC and is a significant part of the US's imperial ambitions ever increasing? Done anything to try and stop it? How's the police brutality where you are -- done anything about that -- political pressure, copwatching, etc? Know anything about the intersection of fatphobia and sexism that is behind United Airlines new policies? Done anything to support people stigmatized by psychiatry so that they don't get forced hospitalization and forced treatment? Done anything about how the prison-industrial complex is wiping out communities of color, and basically uses prisons as slave labor for multinational corporations and the US military?

I get it, you care so much that you navel gaze all day about how you've got privilege, and that you really wish that people weren't oppressed. Going on and on about it makes it all about you, and a whole bunch of talk about your experiences coming to terms with your privilege was oh so hard for you is just empty talk, and guess what? Being oppressed is a lot harder. And in case anyone hasn't noticed, we live under a massively oppressive system that is crushing our hopes and dreams and killing us and our friends and families every day. The system isn't going to smash itself while you navel gaze. We all need to work to tear it down, and a lot of that work is going to be hard, thankless work, a lot of it is going to be anonymous, a lot of it is going to be frustrating because it seems like we rarely win, but together we are strong, we can do this, and we can live in a world where we aren't oppressed, where us, our friends, and our families are safe. But you can't be involved in struggle for recognition, to soothe your liberal guilt, or to get praise from people. You have to be in it because you absolutely know that there is no other moral way to be in this world but to keep on fighting to change it. And we can change it, because if we all unite together in solidarity, there is nothing in the world that can stop us. And when you navel gaze and make it all about you, you stop yourself from actually doing the work. When you get wrapped up in yourself and dissecting every minute detail of how you've come to terms with your privilege, you're doing the system's work for it.

You don't have to be marching in the streets or taking part in direct action to actually do something; we all have our own preferred tactics, and as long as you're listening to the oppressed group that you're working with, and do things with that group rather than for them, you're doing something worth doing. Don't tell me you're a good ally because you try not to say busted things. Do things in solidarity with people, and people'll know the type of person you are by your actions.

I don't give out recognition for people making the only moral choice -- to engage in struggle -- and I don't expect recognition for what I do.
Mood:: 'frustrated' frustrated
location: Camp Good Neighbear
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