On Rihanna And Relapse

•March 10, 2013 • 1 Comment

TRIGGER WARNING for violence and abuse (please disregard this post if discussing intimate violence is a trigger for you).

I am really tired of people judging Rihanna for going back with Chris Brown.  Of course I want her to get away from him and make herself safe, but to call her names for going back to him is just heartless (it’s like saying, “get confident, stupid!”–it is also abusive!).  And I think it might be a good idea to suspend judgement if you, personally, have ever gone back to a person, situation, or substance that YOU loved but is bad for you.  Yeah, you know those cigarettes are bad for you, but knowing that doesn’t stop you from chain-smoking, right? Alcohol in excess is bad for you, but are you “stupid” because you relapse?  Are you an “idiot” who deserves abuse because you keep procrastinating on going to the gym?

Or are you in need of more help and support in kicking a bad habit??

Going back to an abuser is does NOT make someone stupid or deserving of more abuse.  We ALL go back to those things that are familiar, or we find to be comforting, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is bad for us.  When you are guiltily smoking that cigarette and cursing yourself, do you think someone calling you “weak” or “stupid” is going to help you kick that bad habit?  NOT USUALLY.  Most of us would say that gentle rebuke with stronger reminders about the worth of the person is the way to recover from a relapse.  The person is probably already internally talking negatively about their “weakness” to themselves, in fact. They know what you think, and often berate themselves that they don’t measure up to others’ standards.  They might think this is what they deserve, or that they are too weak to change. Ever felt this way about anything that made you feel powerless in this world? Then it’s time for some compassion instead of angry judgement.

Going back to an abusive partner, friend, or family member MAY mean that the survivor needs more support and/or help getting out of an abusive situation. It may mean that they are scared to leave or for things to change. To know instead that “relapses” might be part of the process is a healthy way to think about change, and shaming and ridiculing those who relapse just reinforces the abuse.  Unless you have been a victim of intimate abuse, then keep your judgements to yourself and work on YOUR shit instead of feeling better by cutting someone else down.  And furthermore, if it is your first instinct call out someone struggling with violence in their life, you should seriously check yourself.  So, feel free to call out Chris Brown on his violence and misogyny, and I’ll even agree with you that he is a piece of shit as long as he doesn’t get help for his abusive patterns…but STOP JUDGING and NAME-CALLING RIHANNA for relapsing. The relapse is often part of the abuse, and your asshole comments aren’t doing anything but showing your insensitivity/privilege/internalized oppression.

You want to HELP stop violence, don’t you?

Recent article of Chris Brown being an abusive, misogynist asshole at Huffington Post.

 

Advertisements

I Want to Live My Ethics, and I Want to Love You, too

•March 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Here’s a revision of an old piece, which is about to be included in an anthology zine and will probably appear in Bitch King #6.

I Want to Live My Ethics, and I Want to Love You, too

So many activists act like we are only fighting to change the political and economic system. So many activists seem to think activism is being concerned with local, state, and federal governmental and economic policy.  So many people act like abuse and oppression happens to other people, in other communities, but not ours. So many people act like they could never perpetuate abuse and violence, and look for it on others before they look into themselves. So many people channel their legitimate anger into scuffles with police, or in composing angry missives to Wal-Mart instead of examining the oppression they perpetuate in their everyday lives. So many people think that *only* creating our own little cliques to protect ourselves from pain is activism (this is very necessary work for healing, but if it’s the only thing we do, do we risk feeling “safe” for substantial change?).

***These systems we are forced to live in compromise, manipulate, and control our relations with each other.  Recognizing and fighting this is just as important in our activism as deposing a dictator.***  

 

Do you think that inequality stems from ignorance?  Or have you lived a life where you can clearly point to the hierarchies that make up our everyday world as the causes of our suffering?  I believe that denying the real hierarchies that rule this world, THE VERY HIERARCHIES THAT YOU OR I MAY SIT ON TOP OF, perpetuates injustice and suffering.  Instead of feeling guilty (which is an avoidance of responsibility), why not acknowledge it and do something?  Are you afraid to lose your status?  Are you afraid of what happens when you disobey?

 

WE ALL WERE RAISED TO NEVER QUESTION HIERARCHY (in our family, in our schools, by our government, through “rehabilitation” in various forms).  Being socialized to equate questioning authority with getting in trouble or BEING trouble begins in our families.  This, followed quickly by everything else in the world, teaches us that obedience is goodness.  We fear conflict, we fear pain, we fear digging into deeper truths, and our family is the first place we learn this.  As we go out into the world, questioning the hierarchies associated with gender, skin color, nationality, sexuality, level of ability, economic class, languages spoken, ethnicity, and other identity markers, we find trouble, even amongst those we trust the most.  We are taught everyday by every institution that people who question the status quo have something “wrong” with them, when the history of our world shows that these folks are usually visionaries.  These visionaries can see far into the future, can see how our assumptions now affect the future, how what is too painful for us to acknowledge now will affect generations to come.  This is why the first rule of Fight Club is to QUESTION THE STATUS QUO, even in a subculture.  You may see your values and beliefs as rebellious, your group of friends as cutting-edge or doing something new.  But if this “new” thing just creates a new hierarchy with you at the top, NOTHING IS CHANGING but who is in charge.

 

Just listening to some rebellious music and organizing some protests doesn’t mean that I have completely unbrainwashed myself from this system.  Just because I work everyday teaching critical thinking and critical language use doesn’t mean I am exempt from perpetuating hierarchies. Just hanging with some awesome artists and activists isn’t enough to change this fucked up world.  We all need to question hierarchy in the government and in our RELATIONSHIPS.  Until you are willing to dismantle the deeply entrenched colonialism, white supremacy, misogyny, heterosexism, and cissexism that WE ALL PERPETUATE EVERY DAY IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER, then I am not sure that I want to organize with you.  In fact, sadly, I am not sure I want to hang with you.  I am tired of being triggered by this harm when I really need people who recognize their privilege and ACKONWELDGE IT AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT instead of blaming Nazis, politicians, or evil dragons for the abuse we do to each other.  OUR DENIAL IS KILLING PEOPLE & DESTROYING SOLIDARITY.  That pain goes somewhere–we hurt others and ourselves when we deny the reality of abuse.  Emotional, verbal, physical, sexual abuse is real, and it is destroying us, internally.  We face violence from those “outside” our cultures, and it is devastating.  But to face violence from within can be soul-destroying.

 

This is the work of a lifetime, and it’s what is necessary to call myself a radical and an activist.  I hope that within my lifetime I can get those closest to me to understand this, feel and know this, and understand why my concern for living my life in accordance with my values is so important to me.  I am saying that I have, in some small and large ways, experienced what happens when you speak against a hierarchy.  Clearly I have experienced this in my job, my schooling, in interactions with the state; what I refer to is the pockets of resistance we make to survive this violence—our subcultures.  From the smallest punk scenes to the largest arts festivals, I have seen what happens when you question authority in a subculture that pretends its hierarchies are revolutionary because it’s “us” instead of “them” in charge.  It is just as painful, and perhaps even more painful because I really believed in my subcultures.  I trusted my friends and fellow artists.

 

This is what I am saying, my loves:  we can’t make any change in our fucked up government until we change how we relate to EACH OTHER.  Ask yourself:  Do you pay attention to how you dominate a room? Do you self-reflect on how your behavior can hurt people, even if it wasn’t intentional?  Do you think about who’s at the top of your personal hierarchies/beliefs systems and ask WHY?  Do you ever think about the people who aren’t “in” when you live this way? Who do you listen to, and who do you ignore?  What constitutes credibility to you?  What little things can you do everyday to CHALLENGE HIERARCHY, the cause of all this suffering??  How can we move to a world where we don’t have to pay money to rich people just to exist?  How can we come together while respecting difference?  How can your behavior reinforce hierarchy or dismantle it??

 

Dig Deep Into Your Calvinist Self and Find Your Masochistic Joy

•December 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Dig Deep Into Your Calvinist Self and Find Your Masochistic Joy,” she said.

Classic Inland Empire:

•November 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

One of those times that I wish I had a smartphone to prove I am not making this up: on my commute home, I see a NOTW sticker that quotes the book of Matthew scripture “Blessed are the peacemakers.”  The accompanying graphic was of a dove being shot out of a gun.  A DOVE being SHOT out of a GUN. That was hilarious/terrifying in and of itself.  But he best part?  The sticker placed strategically so that the DOVE of Gun Peace was hooting at a “Baby on Board” sign.  Best minivan ever.

•October 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I love this.

Adventures through Heteronormativity

Today we’re talking about allyship.  Wait.  That’s not totally it—we’re actually talking about the easiest ways to be a huge tool.  This is in fact a list of horrifyingly common pitfalls to avoid.  TW: mentions sexual assault and misgendering

“Let Me Tell You What a Good Ally I Am!”

If a corner stone of your allyship involves trying to show off what a good ally you are, you’re doing it wrong.  Anything that vaguely resembles “I have a friend who is ___, therefore I’m super accepting” is a bad idea.  We do not deserve cookies and gold stars just for being decent human beings and not being overtly hateful.

  • My friend so-and-so, who’s Latina, says blah, blah, blah.
  • So-and-so’s brother Jason—well, she used to be Jason when she was a boy…now she’s Jackie…
  • My gay best friend and I…
  • I’ve known so-and-so since before zie had [insert medical history here].

View original post 380 more words

I WANT TO LIVE MY ETHICS, and I want to love you, too.

•October 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So many activists act like we are only fighting to change the political and economic system. So many people I know seem to think activism is being concerned with local, state, and federal governmental and economic policy.  So many people act like abuse and oppression happens to other people, in other communities, but not ours. So many people think that *only* creating our own little cliques to protect ourselves from pain is activism (it is very necessary work for healing, but if it’s the only thing we do, we risk feeling “safe” for substantial change) .  So many people channel their legitimate anger into scuffles with police, or in composing angry missives to Wal-Mart instead of examining the oppression they perpetuate in their everyday lives.

***These systems we are forced to live in compromise, manipulate, and control our relations with each other.  Recognizing and fighting this is just as important in our activism as deposing a dictator.***  

WE ALL WERE RAISED TO NEVER QUESTION HIERARCHY (in our family, in our schools, by our government, through “rehabilitation” in various forms).  Just listening to some rebellious music and organizing some protests doesn’t mean that I have completely unbrainwashed myself from this system.  Just hanging with some awesome artists and activists isn’t enough to change this fucked up world.  We need to question hierarchy in the government and in our RELATIONSHIPS.  Until you are willing to dismantle the deeply entrenched colonialism, white supremacy, misogyny, heterosexism, and cissexism that WE ALL PERPETUATE EVERY DAY IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER, then I am not sure that I want to organize with you.  In fact, sadly, I am not sure I want to hang with you.  I am tired of being triggered by this harm when I really need people who recognize their privilege and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT instead of blaming Nazis, politicians, or evil dragons for the abuse we do to each other.  OUR DENIAL IS KILLING PEOPLE & DESTROYING SOLIDARITY.  That pain goes somewhere–we hurt ourselves and others when we deny the reality of abuse.  Emotional, verbal, physical, sexual abuse is real, and it is destroying us.

That is the work of a lifetime, and it’s what is necessary to call myself a radical and an activist.  I hope that within my lifetime I can get those closest to me to understand this, feel and know this, and understand why my concern for living my life in accordance with my values is so important to me.  This is what I am saying, my loves:  we can’t make any change in our fucked up government until we change how we relate to EACH OTHER.  Ask yourself:  who do you listen to, and who do you ignore?  What constitutes credibility to you?  What little things can you do everyday to CHALLENGE HIERARCHY, the cause of all this suffering??  How can we move to a world where we don’t have to pay money to rich people just to exist?  How can we come together while respecting difference?  How can your behavior reinforce hierarchy or dismantle it??

•June 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

oakland occupy patriarchy

The H.E.A.T. Conference is Just Another Excuse to Police Us!

 

The H.E.A.T conference organizers claim that their intention is to combat the sex trafficking of children and find “solutions” to “respond” to children coerced into sex work, in order to “Stop Human Exploitation and Trafficking.”  We are here to expose the blatant LIE in this claim. The official, police-sanctioned campaign to combat the commercial sex trafficking of children is nothing more than a patronizing, patriarchal guise that is being used to support intensified repression of sex workers and the further empowerment of police agencies at their expense.  This conference is actually a launching pad for measures that will increase policing, such as national coordination of police surveillance and the introduction of ballot initiatives to further criminalize prostitution in California.  This is yet another instance of police and the criminal justice system colluding for increased policing in places where sex…

View original post 724 more words