Archive for February 19, 2015

How this Racial Issues 101 is Different

Explanations, disclaimers and stuff before I get into the nitty-gritty
*In case you weren’t sure, yes I am a white chick. I don’t claim to be a Perfectly Enlightened White Ally ™ just a person who’s been working on her “racial homework” for a while, formally and informally, by talking to people of various backgrounds, reading books, going to workshops, discussing stuff online.
*This is directed towards white Americans, while trying not to talk down to them, get them to realize/repent of their privilege, feel guilt and shame, invalidate their experiences of *not* feeling privileged by taking into account economic class, region, living in rural, suburban or urban environments.
*I am going to start out talking about race in terms of Black-White relations, not because issues with Latino/Hispanic Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders and American Indians don’t matter, they definitely do and don’t get talked about enough- but the current events have been mainly surrounding African-American communities and their (mis)treatment by police and the criminal justice system.
*This is specific to the United States, though there are of course similar problems and issues in other countries, but the history and how race is socially constructed and viewed is different.
*I think there are problems with the whole discourse of “privilege” in general, and stuff that’s arisen around it (like yelling virtually or in person “Check your privilege” at people who disagree with you, and obsessively going after people for making insensitive comments online and expecting everyone to having the equivalent of a Master’s Degree in Race Relations Tumblr-approved Social Justice style, personally handed to you by Kofi Annan.
* White Conservatives are not necessarily racist, and white liberals are not necessarily magically immune to racism. Supporting or opposing particular policies like affirmative action, bussing school integration programs and so forth does not necessarily mean a person is or isn’t racist.
*Racism is an annoyingly imprecise term that everyone seems to use differently. There are actual dictionary definitions and such, but everyone comes into a race conversation with their preconceived ideas about it. I am going to try to use more specific terms even if they are longer like “xenophobia” and “ethnocentrism” I will be defining these terms as I go.
*I may sometimes bring in comparisons from other identity groups that I belong to, such as being bisexual and autistic. These are going to be imperfect comparisons of course, as different systems of oppression work differently, I do not believe in The One Oppression to Rule Them All (the closest might be class, but It’s Complicated.
*I will be linking to articles that provide additional information, please keep in mind that linking does not necessarily mean I agree with everything that the writers say on their other articles, websites, books, interviews et al. Please be careful to take note of commenting policies on blogs/websites, especially those kept by people of color. I don’t want to be known as That White Chick who sent a bunch of troll traffic to flood someone’s safe space.
*I’m not discussing/analyzing the Saga of Ferguson/Black Lives Matter movement at this time.

*Constructive criticism from people of color is very welcome and encouraged. Content may be potentially triggering to both people of color and white folks- though I will be discussing things more abstractly, not discussing graphic violence or anything like that, just to be clear.
*Constructive comments/discussion from white folks is also welcome and encouraged.
*Accusations that I “hate/am attacking white people/America/European-based cultures/support the Vast Jewish Feminist Gay Marxist Conspiracy” etc. and other such nonsense will be blocked and deleted.
*I am not here to be your social justice-themed therapist and neither are any people of color who come to this blog to comment, so don’t annoy them with “Do you absolve me of all my white guilt?” and such.

OK, on with the show!

February 19, 2015 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

Vanatru Symbol Found!

Awesome! Get to work, artsy folk!

EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

Calling all Vanatruar: PLEASE USE THIS SYMBOL!

I have long been frustrated by the lack of a single clear symbol for modern Vanatru suitable for a pendant. Mjolnir and Valknots are popular among modern Asatruar. The most popular symbol for the Vanir are knotwork boars, and various Trees but they’re used among Pagans in general, especially Celtic pagans, so it’s not a clear message when we use them to represent Vanatru.

So I have been searching for some time for a suitable symbol, preferably with some historical basis, but not already in common modern use, that can represent Vanatru clearly when we wear it. I have hoped to find something simple and striking, such that it is instantly recognizable even when drawn casually by a person who isn’t much of an artist.

Well, I do believe I’ve found it!

This version has 9 bristles and 4 legs, deliberately. Historical…

View original post 581 more words

February 19, 2015 at 6:44 am Leave a comment

#Black Lives Matter is Not Racism 101

Throughout the past year, I’ve watched many organizations, both political, religious and civic, particularly those with predominantly white leadership, grapple with the desire to make a statement of solidarity, support, concern or otherwise in regards to the Black Lives Matter series of tragedies and responsive events (my inner political science nerd has trouble calling it a movement yet) The problem is, that some of these groups have not done much in the way of previous work, study or discussion to develop better racial understanding. I have especially noticed this among GLBT, Pagan and Heathen organizations, many of which are comparatively younger organizations, historically very white and not always inclusive of people of color, particularly in leadership positions. As a result there’s been a lot of turmoil in many communities, and long-suppressed tensions have arisen, friendships, professional and organizational partnerships have been threatened or even broken.

There is a large gap in understanding of racial issues between Black and White Americans. It’s always been there, since the first African slaves and free African immigrants alike came here. The gap has changed in nature over time, but it is still far greater than many White Americans realize, and Black Americans while painfully aware of our ignorance, are still surprised by the depth of ignorance. I’ve explained to some Black folks, that in fact, some white folks genuinely *do not realize* why blackface is offensive. White folks who think their racial humor is funny or “ironic” believe that blatant racism is of course, a thing of the past, and so they are being clever/vintage/retro when wearing t-shirts with slurs that their grandparents might’ve uttered but they never heard. White people I know all seem to have their own personal definitions of racism, generally carefully constructed to exclude themselves.

Black folks have been doing work in their communities and broader society in education, health care, criminal justice, employment and many other issues, both on their own, and sometimes with support and partnership of white activists and predominantly white organizations. There is a lot of frustration that they have to be the ones constantly educating whites about race, telling them many of the same things they’ve been saying for years, while white folks argue back and don’t listen. Then self-proclaimed white allies come along and give talks or write books on white privilege often getting paid more do so- or just getting paid, period than Black folks who have been saying the same things for years.

Meanwhile, white progressives/liberals in academia and the professional non-profit establishment have been highly inconsistent about considering the role of class issues when discussing race, thus alienating whites from poor or working class backgrounds. Whites who grew up bullied as a minority in mostly Black and Latino neighborhoods, and whites who grew up in dying farming communities who watched tax dollars being spent on cities feel resentful and angry. When they express their frustrations, they are told that they need to “check their privilege” and that they are racist.

Technology evolves rapidly- making smart phones, and thus access to the Internet far more available to different classes and ethnicities than ever before. Mobile-friendly websites like Twitter and Tumblr grow and spread messages, gossip and information-good and bad- like wildfire. The online community, which thus far tended to slant to educated white men in industrialized countries, finds itself in culture shock at this broader diversity. Isolated teenagers discover others who share their identities, concerns and interests in a way that was never before possible. People are educated, misinformed, and misinterpret, form friendships and communities and end them.

We need to take a step back from this, folks. Several steps back, so we can take a good look at ourselves, our past, our present and future. We need to do our racial and cultural homework before we can write or present our senior paper.

February 19, 2015 at 1:58 am Leave a comment


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