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one thing i’ve learned to do through activism is realize that i cannot separate my own individual actions from the greater “Movement.” this means not to get offended, or defensive, when someone has a legitimate complaint about a group i affiliate myself with. it’s not helpful to say “well, I’m not like that, so obviously the whole group isn’t like that, so you have no right to express your disappointment” or my favorite, “most people are -ist, this isn’t a reflection of the group but of people as a whole!”
it’s much more productive, in my experience, to acknowledge that person’s experience & frustrations, validate what they’ve gone through, and then actively work against perpetuating it in the future.
there are certain aspects of people’s personalities that often draw them to certain movements & they can’t be separated into little boxes where you can pinpoint whether it’s their classism, racism, sexism, ableism, or whatever else makes them an insufferable and alienating person within your particular activist group. these general trends are apparent and should be acknowledged.
like, as a point of context, i have engaged in a lot of environmental activism which is often criticized as a very white upper-class movement. and that criticism is really true and it just always seems more productive to me to just accept the criticism and try hard to change it, rather than just deny it and alienate all those people who are criticizing you for it.
Ethan has left for his summer job hanging out with birds. I dropped my car off to get its brakes checked (the guy seemed to think it might just be warped rotors in which case I may not have to replace them), so hoping that doesn’t cost too much money. I’m going to drive 6 hours to Lansing, Michigan to visit my best friends from college who go to grad school there tomorrow. I’m really excited to see them and hang out with them!! The only thing I gotta do is get this proposal for my PhD advisor done, but I’m like 90% done with it so I should be able to finish it tonight and still get enough sleep to make it to Michigan by mid-afternoon. I am happy I get to see good friends directly after Ethan leaves, plus my cousin is staying with me on Thursday, and then I might go out for drinks with people from my old job next week too.
Then there’s a lot to look forward to even beyond this month! I’m going to see the Mountain Goats June 11, then I’m going to the American Society of Mammalogists meeting from June 14-18 in Philadelphia to present my research, I’m going to visit my family in Connecticut the week of the 4th of July and they said they’re gonna take me to the beach (!!!), and once all that is done Ethan will be back again! Then we’re visiting Ethan’s family in Massachusetts and seeing the Mountain Goats again at the Newport Folk Festival. After that, we’re moving to Lafayette, Indiana.
This summer is going to fly by.
is it weird that i am very much below the poverty line and definitely POOR, but because i live like 10x more comfortably than i did when living with my parents that i sometimes feel almost… middle class? like, it’s laughable because i’m absolutely nowhere near middle class, but compared to what i used to deal with, this seems like royalty.
i don’t really know what it would feel like to actually be making above the poverty line… (if i ever get to that point).
MLK Jr. didn’t ask for rights, he wasn’t pandering or sweet to the forces that oppressed him. He was a threat to whiteness through and through.
MLK Jr. wasn’t violent not because he wanted to gain some brownie points from whitedom but because he KNEW, FIRSTHAND, what violence does to a people, both those who are abusing and those who are being abused.
MLK Jr. didn’t dress in his Sunday best and speak clearly with diction so as to pander or kiss up to white folk. He did it for himself and for his people, to show what form his black identity took. That we in this society read speaking fearlessly and intelligently with passion and power in the face of oppression as “white” is beyond me, because that’s a black attribute through and through.
MLK Jr. didn’t have a problem with individual white people, but with their racism and ignorance on a whole, with their white supremacist society, and with their complacency and willingness to see it perpetuated at the detriment of him and his people. He knew that those who were quiet, who made excuses, who willfully stayed staunch in their ignorance and hatred were just as much a part of the problem as those who were more blatant and aggressive in their hatred. Any compassion coming from him was borne from himself, NOT from anything white people did, not something they at all merited or deserved.
The general way his legacy is portrayed, this whole “Peace & Non-violence” shit is all a ruse to make it about white people. “He was so nice to us, he was polite and peaceful, that is why we chose to give black people rights!”
My fuckin’ ass.
If MLK jr. was so accommodating and nice to whiteness, then why was he was arrested so much and assassinated, huh?
What’s more, white people didn’t give shit. Black people fought for those rights and ripped them from their aggressors’ hands.
That’s how it’s always been. The oppressor is never going to willingly give up power or own up to wrongs and abuse. To destroy oppressive systems you have to be a threat to the way they run, to the privileges and the benefits the people who run it and who get privileged by it gain. Things will get uncomfortable and shitty and you’ll be falsely accused of being violent/aggressive/bitter/stuck in the past/oppressive/over-emotional/uppity, and sometimes, you risk everything for it, but that’s just them trying to silence you, to kill your collective voice by making an example of some of you, to separate you from your justified and righteous rage, the only thing that gives you power and that lends you the voice necessary to hold them accountable.
More importantly than what he was to white people and white supremacy is what he was to black people and people of color. We waste so much fuckin’ time analyzing shit from a white perspective we don’t even talk about how important what he did was for African Americans and other people of color.
That’s the shittiest thing to do to him, to ourselves. Let’s take some time to rethink how we talk about these things.
So I think I need to add some southern schools to my “apply for PhD” schools. The thought of spending the winters with pain-free joints, never dealing with winter weather conditions/driving conditions, and seeing so much awesome wildlife is really appealing.
The only bad thing would be being so far away from my whole family & friends.
So like. Feeling like shit for most of the year vs. never seeing friends/family. I dunno.
also, I haven’t done any work this week lol.