Protected: Indigenous feminism by a white liberal passing as Native American

Very important article. We share different wounds from colonialism and different traditions but this is a crucial part of shared history which is not spoken about. h/t Lauren Chief Elk

Unsettling America

By Andrea Smith, Unsettling Ourselves

We often hear the mantra in indigenous communities that Native women aren’t feminists. Supposedly, feminism is not needed because Native women were treated with respect prior to colonization. Thus, any Native woman who calls herself a feminist is often condemned as being “white.”

However, when I started interviewing Native women organizers as part of a research project, I was surprised by how many community-based activists were describing themselves as “feminists without apology.” They were arguing that feminism is actually an indigenous concept that has been co-opted by white women.

The fact that Native societies were egalitarian 500 years ago is not stopping women from being hit or abused now. For instance, in my years of anti-violence organizing, I would hear, “We can’t worry about domestic violence; we must worry about survival issues first.” But since Native women are the women most likely to be killed…

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Dear “Old White People” – No, I don’t “work” here

I’ve had similar experiences with white folks in South Africa, white people (age 30+) with kids or not. Their tone often changes a lot when they’ve realised their mistake, not because they’re apologetic but I’d guess they look down on POCs and more so on POCs working in certain sectors. I greet store employees as I would any stranger I’m trying to speak to in a public space, these white people have often not greeted me while mistaking me for an employee! And these people have strange thinking – I’m always with a walking stick (I’m yet to see an employee of these places using one – these tend to be jobs where one walks a lot) and they’re always sighted people (who were just reading product labels on shelves).

You're Entitled To Be Wrong

PSEUDO DISCLAIMER: The following post is about the author’s retail experiences with “old white people” who have mistaken her for being a store employee. For the record, the author isn’t stating that all “old white people” assume – erroneously or otherwise –  that ‘shoppers of color’ are retail store clerks. Furthermore, the author’s blog post is not meant to disparage those hard-working individuals who are employed by retail and/or restaurant establishments. We at ‘You’re Entitled To Be Wrong’ do not discriminate against people based on age, race, sex, gender, class, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. We only have it out for those individuals who make stereotypical assumptions because they’re culturally lazy and myopic.

Shoppers carrying bags cross Broadway near Macy's in New York (Photo: Jeremy Bales-Bloomberg News, August 9, 2008) Shoppers carrying bags cross Broadway near Macy’s in New York (Photo/Jeremy Bales-Bloomberg News, August 9, 2008)

I’m not much of a shopper. The best thing to happen to me when it comes to shopping is the…

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Because I Always Thought Zines Were Some White Anarchist Shit: Thoughts on the Commodified Fuckery of Mainstream Media and the Assumptions of What’s Radical

A very important piece I found via Google Search. Author’s “What are we waiting for?” reminds me of when I spoke out on a similar issue with trusted folks, they said the anarchist quietly promoting white privilege and oppressing (me) or downplaying POCs is needed in their respective circles, they couldn’t overtly say something against him. More about this soon.

Opine Season

Chaun Webster Chaun Webster

That’s right, I said what many of us in communities of color who are aware of zines have been thinking for quite some time; it’s some white anarchist shit! Zines, for those who are not in the know, are usually an inexpensive production of print media that can be quite elegant but are often alternative of the cut, paste and copy sort.

They are often seen as a radical space for knowledge production that is subversively undermining the dominant modality of media production.  Zines and zinesters, however, rarely hear the critique of people of color (POC) communities surrounding the assumed maleness and whiteness of this form of media making. Not only is it that those organizing the conferences, at the tables, and of the class privileged positions to own mechanisms of production are too often white and male, it is furthermore that the content of those zines are…

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Brown Asexuality

This essay in academic language explains asexuality and asks how it can be seen as queerness before speaking of intersections with disability; and I discovered Things That Make You Acey focusing on aces of colour. The first part of the first link is all the introduction you’ll ever need if you’ve never heard of asexuality, unless a diagram will do, and note that ‘aces’ is used to mean ‘asexual’.

I’m writing about one of many issues specific to being a POC and asexual outside asexual communities. With there being low to zero visibility of asexuality and few asexuals, I met one ever, and one demisexual, when I was lucky to live in a big country. That, in contexts similar to the following, I need to even focus on the person who offended me claiming offense makes it time consuming for people of colour to raise such issues. This is also why this post has not been shared widely, I have not even shared it myself.

I was the only asexual in a queer community in my city, centering around an organisation, it was multiracial but with identity divides – gender then social class lines which overlapped with race. Still I felt many of the individuals were the issue, that the organisers were trying and I tried to be nice to everyone (and not speak about race or differences). I was also not writing about racism back then, I got along with the white folks.

So this organisation was to feature a section on asexuality on their website, perhaps as a result of informal discussions I tried starting when someone had given a talk mentioning fluidity and I mentioned romantic and demisexual orientation would’ve made things clearer? They privately asked a white friend in another city, who isn’t asexual, and hasn’t been part of either community, to write it. I assume they only asked her, well, she asked me for articles, explaining what it was that she had to write. I gave her some links though she does asexual awareness (but in different contexts). I don’t know if she really needed articles or suggestions, or if she was letting me know about this in a round-about manner, I never saw the end result if she wrote it. I told myself perhaps she is rather known, people from outside this community don’t know my name. I hadn’t been asked if I write or if I could co-write and I was finding excuses for them, or answers to questions that arose in my mind.

People of this local queer organisation knew me and everyone knew that I was asexual, I’d outed myself socially and in certain forums pertaining to that organisation. I had also tried asexual awareness in a smaller queer organisation but they’d felt aces shouldn’t be part of the LGBTIQ which I think they refused to expand from LGBT, period; their crowd and event-planning seemed LGB-geared but at least the city had ‘T’ support nearby. I didn’t go around the city trying to do asexual visibility; the intersex org founder was well-known, she gave talks and eventually described herself as asexual so she put the word out there and answered the occasional questions.

To contrast with a situation afterwards where I was “needed” by the white organiser who had asked my non-ace friend to write the article: At an event, where the amazing Zanele Muholi was taking photos (as I’ve seen her do for other events over years: a talent perhaps not widely known of hers is that she must be excellent at reading minds by looking at faces – not once have I had to tell her to unpublish a photo of mine – because I’m not aware she ever published one where I could be identified. I’m posting one where I’m most identifiable! It’s not by her, I can see her sitting in the audience but at that event, she was taking photos from the front too), the white organiser in question decided to take a photo of me, without permission, after a wink and a smile to me.  POCs are taught to smile back, I did though uncomfortably. There was a speaker at this small event too and I decided not to disrupt the event with any sound or gesture. I was looking for the white woman in question, after the event, to assert my rights on the photo she took but couldn’t find her after stopping to greet a coupla folks. The photo of me was promptly published with photos of the event, for the WWW to see on their public page, she took it down after my email.

There was a well-known activist at my table but in her photo, I was the focus. She didn’t put it back with me cut out and I mean she hadn’t moved around to get him as the focus and I could’ve turned away from her camera. She took it from a distance instead of approaching us.

Hopefully one does not need to go through countless experiences of finding oneself being used as a token, to understand what I mean. I mentioned none of that in my email to her. It could be that people who are not neurotypical do not want their photos even taken (I dunno how much I am neurotypical, but like hell I don’t want to have my photo taken.. and it usually is, without permission, by white people and even when they ask and you say no there is that “but it’s for/not for…” in a whiny voice at best, or they’d act offended, ok I’m now talking about another Capetonian, not her).

I shared some links about not-randomly-taking-folks’-photos as accessibility and mentioned lack of access of the event, wheelchair users and so many others would’ve been excluded, while it excluded no member of the community (or it could be I had always been to events upstairs), it excluded our friends. I also spoke about brown communities that she seemed to know nothing about through her action, with her assumption that our faces can be happily pasted publicly and that there is no impact thereof, and no closet (I don’t mean for asexuals, for simplicity’s sake, assume I am referring to my orthodox muslim friend, a closeted gay, who had accompanied me).

There were actually all 3 issues, or 4 – my orthodox muslim friend was in the above-mentioned photo.

The back of the heads of an audience at a talk in Kaapstad by a white gay speaker who researched black lesbian corrective rape for the HRC. I never received the full report that I signed up for, gay speaker, so I forgot your name.

The back of the heads of an audience at a talk by a white gay speaker who researched “corrective rape” of black lesbians for the HRC in Capetown. I never received the full research report that I signed up for, gay speaker, so I forgot your name.

Endnote: I don’t always write this badly, I’ve been sleep deprived for months because of nepotism, apathy and cishet straight male-messiah complex.