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xoài phạm #moonbat everydayfeminism.com

3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism

The scenario is always the same: I say we should abolish prisons, police, and the American settler state — someone tells me I’m irrational. I say we need decolonization of the land — someone tells me I’m not being realistic.

Whenever I hear this, I stop and think about the world we’d live in if previous European colonizers were berated with the same rhetoric about rationalism as we abolitionists are today.

Would it have been enough to stop them in their tracks?

What if someone had told them that the creation of the American nation-state of settler-colonizers who displace and murder the Indigenous inhabitants — and the development of the white supremacist, anti-Black, capitalist, cisheteropatriarchy — was a project too hefty to accomplish?

What if those imperialism-driven Europeans, all passionate and roused about Manifest Destiny, were encouraged to stop and reconsider whether their violent plans were rational?

We might possibly have a world that isn’t filled to the brim with oppression.

There may not have been the centuries-long (and still ongoing) ravaging of every continent and the development of anti-Black chattel slavery.

We many never have had the tentacles of the white supremacist patriarchy spanning the entire globe, regulating gender along a binary and fostering rape culture.

We may never have had carceral forms of justice that render certain people disposable.

And the Earth’s lands, skies, and water definitely wouldn’t be irrevocably devastated.

But it makes sense why many of those who are committed to social justice subscribe to the same language of rationalism as their oppressors. Marginalized folks are taught from infancy that they need to behave in a respectable manner to be treated with decency. We face so much violence, to the point where the violence becomes the norm and our resistance is what feels extreme.

We’re painted as aggressors even when we are consistently the victims. The media treats Black victims worse than white killers. People see trans and gender non-conforming people in bathrooms as threats rather than as targets of abuse.

When we are told repeatedly that everything we do is an attack, we internalize the idea that we need to quiet ourselves, to take up less space. And so we begin to limit ourselves to tactics of resistance that are easy to digest — and we create those limits under the guise of being rational.

Not only is this urge to be rational holding us back, it unintentionally validates the logic of white supremacy as natural and positions the desire to fight oppression as excessive and outrageous.

For those of us who are trying to burn the colonial project to the ground and build a new world, we have to stop placing limits on ourselves in a world that is already at our throats.

Abolitionists, those who are invested in abolishing police, prisons, the settler colonial nation-state, cannot afford to be held back by what is deemed rational. In fact, rationalism has no place in abolitionism.

This is not to say that there are many roles to be filled among those who resist, none of which should be placed in a hierarchy of value. People come from different places of knowledge, ability, and history which makes each person equipped to participate (if they so choose) based on their unique position in society.

But when those who are the loudest, the most disruptive — the ones who want to destroy America and all of the oppression it has brought into the world — are being silenced even by others in social justice groups, that is unacceptable.

Pushing the boundaries of how we can shape our resistance beyond what’s rational is urgent and necessary.

And here are three reasons why.

1. Being Rational Has No Inherent Value

When I talk about abolition, whether that be of prisons, immigrant detainment centers, the police, or the government, I am instantly derailed by strangers and even friends. They tell me that it isn’t rational.

They say this as if everyone seeks to be rational, as if prisons, themselves — which have grown more than 400 percent since 1970 and which has predominantly impacted communities of color, especially Black and Indigenous communities — are rational. As if being rational has indisputable value.

At first, I took their reactions to heart. I thought maybe being rational really is necessary if I wanted to achieve my goals of eradicating oppression.

If I’m not rational, then I must not be thinking correctly, which makes me incompetent and unqualified to even have political opinions.

Or so I thought.

The truth is, this constant emphasis on rationalism is a load of toxic garbage (and this is me being gentle with my words). It reeks of the rancid odor that develops when we squeeze our vast imaginations into tiny boxes labeled “pragmatic,” “rational,” and “reasonable.” Being rational can often mean being willing to accept some aspects of oppression and watering down my politics.

In fact, by American standards, my very existence is irrational. For many, I simply do not exist as a queer, Vietnamese femme who is neither a man or a woman. Living in my body, wading through my truths, is not a rational act. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Based on my experiences as a marginalized person, being rational just means going easy on my oppressors.

The narrow bit of room that rationalism gave me wasn’t enough for me to envision new possibilities for my gender, to escape the confines of impending manhood. It wasn’t enough for me to understand my personhood as infinitely more complicated than the models of personhood fed to me by white cis people.

From my vantage point, rationalism — or whatever you want to name it — did more harm than good.

Some of us place so much value on being rational that we’re unable to recognize that when someone tells you to be rational, they may just be telling you that their ideas weigh more than yours.

The rhetoric of rationalism can be used as a seemingly benign disguise for social control.

2. Rationalism Is a Tool Made to Hurt Us

In the context of anti-oppression work, limiting ourselves to rational thinking means that we’re choosing to use the tools that make sense to our oppressors, which are usually tools made to hurt us.

Rationalism means we’re working within the framework of a system that was built to harm us in the first place.

And that, for me, is completely irrational — and it’s violent and oppressive to expect that of anyone who suffers from the exploitation and abuse of this system.

But to take it a step further, rationalism is subjective.

For those who are most impacted by the prison industrial complex — Black and Indigenous folks, trans and gender non-conforming folks, people with disabilities, those who are undocumented, and those who sit at the intersection of multiple identities, among others — abolitionist politics are entirely rational.

When your life and the well-being of your family, chosen and otherwise, is under attack by the prison system, for instance, abolition is common sense. Investing in prisons only makes sense for corporations, for governments, for oppressors whose power is fueled by the abuse and deaths of marginalized people.

In a world truly committed to justice, nothing would be more rational than abolitionism.

Yet, social justice liberals who spew negative rhetoric about rationalism tend to be against abolition, instead preferring reformist politics over anything deemed too “radical.” Why are we trying to be steady and gentle with systems of oppression while the systems get to inflict violence among large masses of people?

When we limit ourselves in our dreams and our goals, the oppressor has less work to do.

When we restrict ourselves in the name of being rational, we create barriers for ourselves — we place the world we want to live in farther from reach.

Since what’s rational is subjective, it is thus indefinable. The only reason why rationalism is believed to have inherent value is because it echoes the oppressor’s way of thinking.

When oppressors have the power to decide what’s rational, they get to commit irrational acts and claim them as rational justifications for oppression.

Take colonialism as an example: Colonizers enjoy claiming that those they’ve colonized are less civilized, despite the fact that colonized peoples often come from older and more complex civilizations than those of the colonizer.

And non-binary people are told their whole identities are irrational, even though non-binary people have existed much longer than the American settler state.

When the state gets to decide what’s normal enough to be rational, they get to decide who becomes the reviled Other – the groups that are subjected to targeted abuse.

Moving beyond the logical confines of our oppressors is necessary for us to envision a world free from the systems that kill us.

3. We Are Enough Without Rationalism

As Assata Shakur has said, “No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them.”

We should be constantly interrogating why being rational has been presumed to hold inherent value, and we should be asking ourselves where we got that idea in the first place. The institutions that taught us what we know should be placed under suspicion.

For many of us, schools are where many people are conditioned to become either complicit or complacent to systems of oppression. In fact, one could argue that institutions of education are not to make the people more empowered, but to stomp out their autonomy and make them more likely to invest in their downfall.

And before school, we are socialized into being obedient through the ways that oppression influences the way we raise children and build interpersonal relationships.

This is exactly why people believe that police and prisons equal safety, when that is not the case.

People have been conditioned to believe that prisons will keep their communities safe, when carceral state is the very thing hurting them. And more police does not mean more safety, especially when the police get to murder people with impunity. What does it mean when we feel an inclination to trust the institutions that are killing us?

The extent to which we’ve been led to love and trust our oppressors is so deep that we’re entrusting ourselves to our murderers.

The longer we postpone abolition based on “logical” arguments, the longer we’re denied basic autonomy. It’s a fallacy to believe that we’ll be given a more opportune time to abolish prisons and decolonize, because the role of the state is to never provide that opportunity.

When we frame abolition and decolonization as “long-term” goals, we operate under the belief that these goals can only happen in the distant future. We need to instead reframe abolition and decolonization as urgent, immediate goals.

If we look back at history, we would recognize that there are tons of examples of movements that may have been deemed irrational but ended up succeeding, the Montgomery Bus Boycott being one of them.

Many people know the Rosa Parks from learning about the boycott but don’t recognize how radical is was for around 42,000 Black Americans to boycott the public transit system for over a year.

Their goal was to ensure that Black people had the same treatment under the public transit system as whites and they never compromised their goals, even as transportation was denied to them over the course of a year. Without transportation, Black lives were completely disrupted. They had to either walk (for those who had that physical ability), or they had to find other forms of transportation.

As a result, they found a new way of operating — they relied on one another.

Black taxi drivers lowered their prices dramatically, Black people with cars began supplying rides to those without cars, and churches bought cars and station wagons to help those who didn’t have access to a vehicle. They organized carpools and collectively established on pickup and dropoff locations.

That was how Black community members developed their own autonomous, sustained transportation system for thousands upon thousands of people that didn’t involve the American settler colonial government.

How rational do you think that was?

They of course encountered backlash and horrific violence throughout the boycott. Leaders were arrested and laws were created to justify their imprisonment. Homes, churches, and cars were riddled with bombs and bullets from snipers even after the boycott ended.

It’s important to recognize that there are people who face so much violence in their lives that they simply don’t want to subject themselves to the violence that comes along with protesting oppression. It’s important to understand that some people are so marginalized and have so much trauma that they may not have the capacity or desire to engage in ways that may trigger unwanted memories and emotions.

And the conditions of those of us who are farthest in the margins are another reason why these abolitionist goals are so necessary.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott didn’t intend to abolish the nation-state, but it had goals that were unheard of and it created its own system of transportation that allowed Black people to take care of each other without the state. The boycott is a model of possibilities. And there are many others.

There are possibilities that we haven’t dreamed of yet because we are too invested in resisting in a rational way.

Sure, there are ways to hold space for both the smaller policy changes and the large-scale structural changes. But when we choose to tell ourselves that destroying a violent system is too big of a task for right now, we willingly give up both our time and our power.

Every minute under the carceral, colonial project is inconceivable violence. We too often place abolition as something only possible in a far-off future, which means we’re allowing the right-now to be stolen.

The only logical time for abolition and decolonization is now.

Rather than spending time and energy worrying about whether our movements are rational, can we direct that time and energy towards recognizing our brilliance?

***

When we invest in ourselves, in our own power, we have no need for the oppressor and their rational politics. We can be strategic without holding ourselves back. We already have the tools we need in us to win.

We are already lovers, healers, artists, creators, and so much more.

We have the power to think far beyond the education we’ve been given, beyond the carceral state, beyond the gender binary, beyond capitalist relationships, beyond the colonial project.

We are dreaming up ourselves, each other, and the world we want to live in. We can’t let rationalism steal our dreams.

And we have to trust and love ourselves enough to make those dreams a reality.

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Nico Dacumos #fundie everydayfeminism.com

The article title is "Should Light-Skinned People of Color Voluntarily Exclude Ourselves from People of Color Spaces?"

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could get all the cool stuff that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) get? Like…

Richly artistic cultures that have been setting trends in music, dance, art, and fashion for hundreds of years
Ancient and powerful cultural and spiritual practices passed down through generations
Seasoned food

Without all the problems like…

Disproportionate incarceration and extrajudicial murder
Higher incidence of low self-esteem, depression, and suicide
Decreased life expectancy

There is a way to get lots of the good stuff and avoid lots (but not all) of the bad stuff!

It’s called being light-skinned or white-passing!

Really though. Don’t get mad, my fellow light-skinned and white-passing BIPOC. I’m not saying that we don’t face many of the same problems as other BIPOC. But it’s ridiculous to deny the fact that our experiences are easier than darker-skinned people’s.

There are too many concrete statistics to the contrary.

To be fair, us light-skinned and white-passing people cannot just snap our fingers and nullify colorism. We cannot return our privilege to the Privilege Store.

But, there are some things we can do to address our privilege, like not automatically assuming that we are entitled to be in all BIPOC spaces all the time.
Are Separate Spaces Based on Race Racist?

Dig, if you will, the picture:

A group of gazelles gathers by the watering hole to strategize about how to avoid being eaten by lions. Also just to kick it and admire each other’s stripes and horns.

A group of lions gathers on the plains to strategize about how to catch and eat gazelles more effectively. Also, just to play a round of golf and talk about wealth management.

Lions find out about gazelles gathering together and get very upset, calling the gazelle’s separatist meeting unfair and reverse speciesist. They demand that lions be able to attend gazelle meetings!

After all, aren’t gazelles allowed to attend lion meetings? It’s just a coincidence that gazelles who attend lion meetings sometimes get mauled and eaten.

You think I’m being funny but I’m not.

See, the way that this society is set up, Black, Indigenous and People of Color — especially those who are Black and Brown with darker skin tones — spend an inordinate amount of time trying to avoid the dangers of racism that are instigated by white people.

Meanwhile, the reaction of your typical white person to BIPOC expressing the levels of anxiety and terror they must manage while navigating emotionally, economically and physically violent white supremacist spaces is ¯\_(?)_/¯.

Pop Quiz!

In this context ¯\_(?)_/¯ means:

IDGAF
Hands thrown up incredulously as if to say, “I don’t know understand why you feel that way! I don’t see color!”
“Why couldn’t Kanye just accept that Taylor was the better artist? What’s the problem?”
All of the above.

Answer Key

Why, when BIPOC decide to gather for various reasons in the face of a society that systematically seeks to subjugate them, is it such a problem for white people?

Could it be that white people are afraid of what could happen if BIPOC divested from white institutions and ways of being and sought self-determination and independence instead?

BIPOC throughout history have spent much time and energy building our own spaces only to be met with disapproval, petty meddling, violent threats and horrific violence.

In the face of all this, BIPOC have even taken the time to explain to white people and our own people why it is okay and possibly advantageous to have separate spaces.

Yet we still encounter white people who want to know why it’s okay for BIPOC to gather but not okay for white people to form their own separate groups.

Problem is when white people gather separately we end up with groups like the KKK, Stormfront and the Trump White House (please avoid ‘splaining about how the cabinet is not actually completely white).

Bottom line: When life, wellness, and happiness are at stake, Black, Indigenous and People of Color have a right to gather without white people in order to address issues that are important to them.

Or even just to gather socially without the fear or inconvenience of having to worry about whether white people will insult them or act awkward.

Similarly, darker-skinned BIPOC may also desire spaces where they can process and organize around the unique issues they face because of their closer proximities to Black and Indigenous skin tones and facial features and that us lighter-skinned people do not have to worry about.
I’m Stalling

It’s easy to create a funny and provocative headline before you have to actually write it. Then you talk about it with people and realize that everyone has so many feelings. But feelings are okay, even my own, so let’s keep going.
Psst… I’m Not Making This Issue Up

In some areas, separate spaces are simply not possible because of lack of large populations of BIPOC. So this question is a moot point.

However, I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 11 years, a place considered a mecca for social justice activism and vibrant BIPOC culture. I have been a part of many groups and events organized exclusively for BIPOC.

And every time I have been a part of putting together or attended such a gathering, the issue of whether very light-skinned or white-passing BIPOC should attend has come up.

At the very least, people have expressed annoyance that white-passing people seem to feel entitled to BIPOC spaces and/or get upset if someone questions whether they are BIPOC.

While some might argue that such comments are petty or inconsequential, I think it’s worth taking a pause to consider any issues that darker-skinned BIPOC bring up regarding colorism.

Besides, these tensions make sense since they arise out of the reality that colorism has been present since the first times Black and Indigenous women were raped by white men during colonization and slavery and then gave birth to mixed-race children.

To this day, light-skinned and white-passing BIPOC still receive economic and social advantages over their darker brethren despite all the writing, scholarship and discussion around colorism that is out there.

It must be very frustrating to know that someone of the same race as you can enjoy benefits that you cannot access and to know that they never have to worry about things that you worry about every day simply because of the lightness of their skin and facial features that are considered “finer” — AKA more European.

It might also feel startling to walk into a space that was advertised as BIPOC-only and see blond-haired, blue-eyed people who look whiter than the marshmallows in an Ambrosia salad.

Rather than being defensive or complaining about how we are being excluded from spaces, light-skinned and white-passing people might take a moment to think about what the impact of our presence is in the spaces that we inhabit.

Because let’s face it, us light-skinned and white-passing BIPOC — especially those with white parent/s — still get pretty defensive sometimes when BIPOC vent about the racism or poke fun at the cultural habits of white people.

Other BIPOC don’t really deserve to have to deal with our growing pains of sensitivity, defensiveness, and fragility when they were hoping to be in spaces that are safe from racist or colorist microaggressions.
Appearance Vs. Identification

Because identity is considered deeply personal, we are discouraged from questioning another person’s identity.

Being able to determine whether someone appears to be Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color is complicated and contested, and often depends on many different factors and contexts. For example, some BIPOC may only be seen as such when they are with other BIPOC.

But the examples of former NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal and respected Indigenous Studies scholar Andrea Smith, people who were enriched through claiming BIPOC identities even though they may not have any BIPOC ancestry, have highlighted that there might be a problem with uncritically accepting self-identification.

However, we know that one’s race and skin tone determines material factors such as health, income, and life expectancy, so to pretend that how one is perceived by the world at large has no correlation to how one might choose to identify doesn’t make sense either.

If a person has a BIPOC parent or grandparent and looks white, is treated as a white person, and was raised culturally white for most of their life with little exposure to other BIPOC, where does one draw the line?

Part of the problem may be that in the US we tend to talk as if race, ethnicity, and culture are equivalent, rather than related.

For example, a person can have mostly white European ancestry but due to their family immigrating to a Latin American country, may have been raised Latinx and strongly identify with Latinx culture.

Generally, Latinx people in the US are considered BIPOC. So a person with mostly European ancestry could be BIPOC in this instance and may show up to the next Black and Brown kick back wearing hoop earrings and a huipil blouse.

Does this section make you feel uncomfortable? It makes me feel uncomfortable! Maybe that means we are getting somewhere.

Or maybe it just means that this is a fraught subject. No one wants to go around policing membership into BIPOC-ness when it was white supremacy that created these imaginary categories in the first place.
These Final Thoughts Will Probably Not Feel Very Satisfying But They Are Important

Should you exclude yourself from people of color spaces as a light-skinned or white-passing person?

I can’t answer that for you. There may be no answer.

However, problems arise when us light-skinned and white-passing BIPOC fail to ask ourselves this question or freak out when others ask it.

Next time, before entering a BIPOC space, I would like to encourage light-skinned and white-passing people to read this helpful article by transpinay philosopher b. binaohan and consider the following questions:

Why do I want to be a part of these spaces?

Is it solely to be accepted, to be reassured by other BIPOC that I belong?

Is it to build community with the loved ones and inner circles of people who constitute the spaces in which we might have the most impact in our work to change the world?

Is it to hold space and compassion for the anger and resentment that darker-skinned Black and Indigenous people might have as a result of bearing the brunt of white supremacy’s abuses?

Is it to build solidarity with BIPOC communities so that we can fight injustice together?

Is it to move back by not dominating discussions and not rushing to take on leadership roles that could be filled by darker-skinned people?

Is it to humbly ask what we can contribute to the struggle?

Is to strategize around how we can use our perceived proximity to whiteness in order to destabilize white Supremacy?

***

I think you know where I’m going with all this, right? Humility, compassion, and patience are traits all people to strive toward, but it may just be a prerequisite for those of us with more power seeking connection, support, and solidarity from our communities.

Feeling entitled to space and the emotional labor of reassurance or favorable treatment is what often gives us light-skinned and white-passing BIPOC a bad name.

So keep this in mind — it may just be the reason why your people give you side-eye when you walk into a room.

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Laura Kacere #fundie everydayfeminism.com

As we’ve seen the issue of marriage equality gain success, swooping the nation in election after election, we have to question its position as The Gay Rights Issue™.

Fighting for sexual liberation and equality is, of course, so much more than fighting for the right to marry, but how is the positioning of marriage equality as the major issue also promoting homonormativity?

Marriage as an issue sets up the requirement that all relationships should mimic this heteronormative standard of sexuality and family structure. It promotes the idea that all people want to emulate straight monogamous couples.

When we focus only on this issue, we exclude polyamorous and other non-normative relationship structures as acceptable, as well as, of course, those who don’t want to get married.

Even as marriage becomes inclusive of a particular kind of queer relationship, it perpetuates a policing of other kinds of relationships, maintaining the borderline of what is an “acceptable queer relationship.”

The focus on marriage challenges very little, prioritizing the legal sanctioning of one’s relationships over real relational and societal transformation.

By showing that people outside of the heterosexual norm want the same things that “traditional, straight America” wants, the marriage equality movement fights to gain access to this social institution by reproducing, rather than challenging, heterosexual dominance and normativity and using this as a basis for who deserves rights.

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Janani Balasubramanian #fundie everydayfeminism.com

The Matthew Shephard Act is harmful for two major reasons: First, it uses the name and experience of a white cisgender man to exemplify queerphobic hate violence, whereas 89% of folks killed in LGBT hate violence are people of color, and three-in-four are transgender women.

The brunt of this violence, then, is not directed at white cis men, but at folks who are further marginalized within the LGBT community.

Shifting attention to “gay” as a singular identity, rather than the multiple oppressions that most survivors of hate violence carry distracts from the intersectionalities of race, gender, and sexual oppression.

Campaigns that center white men as the main targets of anti-LGBT violence are missing the point. More than that, they’re wrong.