Posts tagged ‘antioppression’

December 24, 2011

Say what you want, but no guarantees I’ll listen

You’ll often see people loose their shit over their right to say whatever they want. They’ll see a post like this, and go, “I have the right to free speech.”

Which, of course, is true. You, and everyone else, has the right to free speech (this is excepting the cases of hate speech). What is not true, is that you have the right to be listened to. So, when a PoC (or otherwise marginalized person) tells you that they don’t require your opinion, they aren’t saying that you can’t have an opinion or that you can’t express that opinion. They are simply saying that they don’t want to hear you damn opinion, so kindly keep it to yourself. Or express it somewhere else.

This is one of the main reasons why we at the Biyuti Collective don’t do comments. Because we don’t want to hear the opinions of trolls or whomever. We just don’t want to hear it. You can say it all you want, just say it to someone else. Say it somewhere else.

Privileged people like to scream about how they are being silenced by things like hate speech laws or whatever. They want to ensure that their rights trample all over everyone else. The problem is, is that they don’t want the right to free speech but the right to be hateful and to shit that hate all over the place (especially in the faces of the people they hate).

It is the height of privilege to think that everyone must listen to what you say. Not so. I don’t have to listen to racists. I don’t. I don’t have to listen to homo-haters. I don’t have to listen to trans-haters. I don’t have to listen to their hateful speech, their bigoted comments, or their dumb as fuck opinions (about anything). Y’all can say whatever you want. But I don’t have to fucking listen. At all. Or ever. And I’ll be damned if anyone can compel me to do otherwise.

If you knew what real silencing was, you’d have a real different opinion about free speech. If you knew that people listen to your hateful words far more than they listen to anything I say, you’d get the hell out of my face about your right to free speech.

September 24, 2011

The oppressive dialogue of choice

I’ve been meaning to write this post ever since I had a really intense debate with a friend regarding the nature of choice.

I’ll say straight off that I did a really bad job of expressing my position. Partially because I didn’t have the right vocabulary and words to express it.

My friend has always been a great advocate for the importance of choice in life. She believes that everything in life is about choice. She also, as a consequence, believes that we ultimately are responsible for our lives, since everything is about the choices we make.

Now my friend is intelligent and knows there is inequality in the world and that everyone does not have the same choices available to them. However, her position is that there are always choices that people can make to better their lives. To survive. I’ll certainly grant her that.

However, when I read stories like this, where people, in order to survive are eating cow shit, I think the entire argument is flawed and prevents real change from happening. I’m sure for every person eating cow shit to take their medication there are those who are holding on to their dignity as human beings and dying because they won’t eat cow shit to survive. I want to live in a world where no human being ever has to face a choice like this.

Pointing to a few exceptional people who have not only managed to survive but thrive in oppressive conditions and saying that they made better choices helps absolutely no one. It is very similar to how the model minority myth has continued to be used to oppress both Asians and other people of colour. How it is used to erase the realities that people are living in. How we make the oppression of marginalized people their own fault, because they could have made better choices.

I did agree with my friend that there are always choices, but I disagree that no one is trapped by circumstances. The people of Swaziland are trapped. They have the choice to eat cow shit so their HIV medication works or die of AIDS. What else can you call a situation where there are no good choices available other than being trapped by circumstances?