In the wake of the supremely awful badness that was the 2016 US elections (which saw the rise to power of a racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, ableist rapist), think piece after think piece has been written about liberals needing to reach across the aisle and work with conservatives. We’ve heard that we need to break bread with Chitler supporters. That we need to sit down at the table with them and hear what they have to say. That it’s some sort of high moral calling to reach out to conservatives and empathize with them. The latest bout of the “shake hands and play nice with the bigots” nonsense comes from Anthony Bourdain, who recently said that Chitler’s rise to the presidency is the fault of Eastern liberals (content note for casual ableism):
Happy Holidays all.
I’ve been largely silent on the blog front for a while now, dealing with personal issues, a loss in creativity, and a general feeling of despondency over the election of Chitler (Dana Hunter’s nickname for Trump, which merges ‘cheeto’ and ‘Hitler’). My personal issues are subsiding and I feel my creativity returning. Can’t do anything about the horrifying election we just had, unfortunately. While trying to cope with the knowledge that the next four years are going to be difficult for many people, I came up with a little diddy which has me smiling ear to ear, even as I’m simultaneously repulsed. So of course, I had to share it with everyone. Sing it to the tune of Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer:
More than 800,000 people serve as local and state law enforcement officials in the United States. These police officers are charged with upholding and enforcing the law, maintaining order, and providing general services. To carry out these duties, police officers possess certain powers, granted by the state. If the situation calls for it, police officers can frisk, detain, and arrest civilians, as well as seize property. In addition, depending upon the situation, police officers are empowered to use force to defend themselves or civilians (the amount of force extends along a spectrum from police presence through deadly force). Given the powers that police officers have, it is incumbent upon them to maintain a level of professionalism in the course of their duties and to wield their powers responsibly and ethically. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of cops engaging in a range of irresponsible, unethical, immoral, and/or illegal activities from bribery and unjustified arrests to illegal search and seizure and the use of excessive force. Here are five examples of
Contains ableist slurs, racial slurs, and homophobic slurs
There are words in the English language that many, Many, MANY people use without giving thought to. These are words that were once medical terms used to describe people with mental illnesses. While these words are no longer used by medical professionals to describe people with mental illnesses, society at large still uses these words. These words are connected to the perceived intellect of others. Invariably, they are used to disparage others based on intellectual ability.
These words need to be abandoned by everyone bc they have the effect of maligning those with mental disabilities. And people with disabilities are deeply marginalized in society.
Generally speaking, it is socially unacceptable to use racial slurs against black, Asian, Indigenous, or Latinx people. As a society, most people agree that using such slurs is denigrating to blacks, Asians, Indigenous folks, and Latinx people. Likewise, it is frowned upon to use slurs that denigrate gay or lesbian people. That is bc those words are demeaning and disparaging to Lesbians or Gays. Because PoC and LG people are deeply marginalized in society, most decent people agree that using such slurs is unacceptable.
But we have a long way to go before we purge ourselves of another group of words. Words that draw upon the actual or perceived intellectual ability or lack thereof of others. Words that are ableist.
White supremacy is a complex social phenomenon comprising actions, beliefs, and habits that enforce an artificial hierarchy of racial order that places white people at the apex, and all other races beneath them. One of the primary manifestations of white supremacy is racism-a system of oppression that concentrates the overwhelming majority of social, political, and economic power in the hands of white people and simultaneously enforces cultural norms and economic policies that disenfranchise, marginalize, and oppress People of Color while also downplaying, dismissing, or outright erasing their achievements and accomplishments. The roots of white supremacy and racism in the United States can be traced back to the brutal invasion of this country, the genocide of the Indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Africans, and the establishment of a nation designed to benefit Europeans at the expense of everyone else. Today, white supremacy and racism continue to be firmly enmeshed in USAmerican society, with no corner of our culture immune to their pernicious effects. Here are some of the links and articles I’ve read in the past week, with subject matter ranging from stories about the effects of the twin ills of white supremacy and racism on politics and culture to tales of their victims or the beneficiaries:
I woke to two sounds. To my cat, sitting on my chest meowing as if to say “wake up and feed me ya lazy bum”. This was a new experience for me. Although I’ve had Cassie for more than 8 years, she never sleeps in my room with me. Mostly bc I didn’t want cat hair all over my clothes, but also, I like my sleep. The idea of having a four-legged feline alarm clock wake me every morning isn’t appealing. Still, I just got her back from the veterinarian after having a serious health scare and I wanted to monitor her closely. So I bit the bullet and let her into my sanctum (which she promptly took over, taking half the bed at times, and leaving me with only two pillows, rather than my customary three). Her comfort is important and she seems to appreciate having me at her beck and call.
The other sound came from my laptop. You might be thinking that the sound ‘Krakoom’ on a laptop was a bad thing, but it is not. Those ‘Krakooms’ are nothing more than the sound of thunder from a Youtube video playing ‘Soothing Thunderstorm’. I find the sound of thunder and rainfall relaxing; the sounds enable me to relax and drift to sleep with ease. Without such sounds, I find it difficult to sleep. I hear the crickets outside. I hear the snoring of the dogs one room over. The traffic on the street near the house can be heard. Such sounds…such erratic sounds annoy the fuck out of me, making it difficult to relax. Such is the curse of having good hearing. Good hearing is a good thing in the right context. After all, I’ve been complimented on my hearing multiple times in the past by guests at my bar (back when I was gainfully employed). Patrons appreciate having someone who overhears-however unintentionally-their drink order and begins preparation before they’ve even said ‘hello’. But that’s a radically different context than trying to sleep. When it’s time to sleep, I need no extraneous sound. I need the equivalent of white noise-a consistent, soothing sound.
Cat fed, I proceeded to feed myself. And check the dogs. And hydrate myself. Once those tasks were done, I began to ponder what to accomplish today. Before making a ‘to do’ list, though, I decided to open Facebook and see what was going on with my friends and in the world.
That would prove to be a mistake.
Because three stories in and I was reminded how little African-Americans are valued in this country.
Three stories in an I’m reminded how little justice there is for African-Americans in the United States.
Three stories in and I’m ready to declare today ‘National Burn It All Down’ Day.
When I was a child, I wanted to be Spider-Man so much. I would run around the house with my fingers in the same shape the wall-crawler formed his when he THWIP’d his webs. I would pretend to stick to walls and be super-strong too. One time, I even injured myself, bc I was pretending I was swinging on a web. I had taken a rope and flung it around one of the prongs on those old standing metallic coat racks and actually put my weight on it, and of course the thing fell and hit me. On the head. I would have been fine, with perhaps nothing more than a bruise, if I hadn’t been in the habit of removing the plastic caps that go over the metal hooks. As a result, the metal hook hit my forehead with enough force to make me bleed. I recall walking into the bathroom telling my mom that my head hurt. If I recall correctly, I was 5 or 6. So yeah, you can imagine what it’s like for a parent to see their child bleeding from a head wound (it wasn’t terribly bad, once all was said and done, but that instinct of “OH MY GOD MY CHILD IS BLEEDING” is pretty intense). Needless to say, after that, I stopped trying to swing from things, and i learned my lesson about taking the plastic caps off metallic rods.
As I got older, I stopped wanting to be like Spidey. Not bc he wasn’t cool anymore, but bc I began wanting to fly. And that’s a feeling that has remained with me since I was a teenager. While I don’t remember my dreams in any significant detail, I *do* recall many nights (one even relatively recently) of dreaming of flying. Though vague, the details I do recall that my dreams involved flying all around the world. About the only joy I got out of the 2013 movie, Man of Steel, was watching Superman fly around the world, bc it reminded me-viscerally-of my dreams. The vicarious thrill I got out of watching that scene was *almost* enough to make up for the dreariness of the rest of the movie.
Unfortunately, we humans aren’t gifted with superhuman (or supernatural, whatever the case may be) abilities. We can’t manipulate the weather. We aren’t masters of magnetism. We don’t transform into half-ton jolly green balls of unbridled rage. Yeah, we’re pretty much powerless.
Or so I thought until today.
Today is a landmark day in human history. It has been discovered that we humans do indeed have superpowers. But #NotAllHumans. Unfortunately the majority of our species will have to muddle through life without experiencing the fantastic power that some of us possess. Apparently I am one of the recipients of this power. So too are all my fellow Orbit bloggers and anyone else who fights for the cause of queer rights. What power do we have?
We have the power to kill God.
A friend on Facebook reposted this Tumblr meme today. As I read it, I nodded along, thinking “yup, pretty much”. Racism and sexism in the United States are systems of oppression that discriminate against and marginalize People of Color and women. There’s nothing controversial there. A group of individuals holding prejudiced or bigoted beliefs who have the ability and resources to see their beliefs preserved in the cultural fabric, leading to the oppression of specific social groups at all levels of society-that’s what makes something a system of oppression. It is that system that makes racism and sexism so awful. A no-brainer, eh? To *some* of us it is. To others, all of that is highly controversial.