Dear Liberal Allies – what your college courses on oppression didn’t tell you
I’m not angry or upset about anything in particular at the moment, but I thought I’d take a little time to write something out that had been bugging me about allies. It’s certainly not all-encompassing or totally comprehensive, but I hope it’s something I’ve been thinking about in terms of being a good ally and a good neighbor, especially here on Tumblr.
Before you step in to help us out, I’d just like to clarify a couple things.
You and I, we may have taken the same seminars and maybe even read the same Audre Lorde excerpts or Ronald Takaki books, but know this: we learned very different things in very different ways
For students of color, for gay students, for trans* students, for the children of immigrants and refugees, these classes aren’t always about learning new concepts when it pertains to us. It’s more about learning the names of things we already knew fairly intimately. Do you understand that? You learned it another way. You went in, you got this set of key words and a list of definitions. Your learning was, in all likelihood, “Here is this word. This is what this word means.”
For you, it was “Xenophobia: a strong fear or dislike of people from other countries.”
For us, it was “Xenophobia: the time that boy in my kindergarten class spat on me because I couldn’t speak English yet. Or when I saw that clerk yell at my mom in the grocery store because her English wasn’t clear enough. Or when USCIS had us confirm our American citizenship with the same set of papers seven times over the course of sixteen years because they wanted to confirm that we were, in fact, actual American citizens.”
For you, it was, “Racism: unfair treatment of people who belong to another race; violent behavior towards them.”
For us, it was, “Racism: that one time I saw that manager tell that sales girl to follow my dad around at Kohl’s. Or that one time my neighbor’s kid got shot by the police and they tried to cover it up by convincing everyone he was in a gang because he was Hmong, but we knew he wasn’t. Or that one time my dad told me I shouldn’t rollerblade to the library because I’m not white and it’s not safe for me.”
For you, it was, “Homophobia: a strong dislike or fear of homosexual people.”
For us, it was, “Homophobia: that time in the sixth grade when Ryan shoved against a glass door and banged my face in it while yelling, ‘faggot!’ at me until the teacher stopped him. Or when my Catholic high school’s president told me that, though he loved me as a child of God, he still believed I was sinful when I suggested that we start a GSA.”
For you, it was: “Classism: prejudice or discrimination based on social class.”
For us, it was: “Classism: that one time when my best friend came over to hang out in high school and her parents didn’t want her to come over again because they didn’t like our neighborhood. Or that one time when your friends had no idea what food stamps looked like and you were too embarrassed to explain what they were.”
So while you were learning that these academically-framed phenomena were real problems, we were just getting little figurative nametags for awful things that we already knew. Your weekly vocabulary list was, to us, just a hollow shadow of our lived experiences.
So my point is this:
If you didn’t live an experience, then step aside. Because we knew this stuff before our professors told us what to call it. We learned it from the bottom up, you learned it from the top down, and that’s not even a metaphor.
When you step out of class, you get to be like, “Oh, awesome. I am learning how to be a good ally and a better human being. This will help me.” For us, it’s more like, “Ah, so that’s what they’re calling it nowadays. When exactly did they say change was going to come for us?”
So in practice, here’s what all this theory looks like: you don’t always have to speak. I mean, certainly, you should totally call someone out on their oppressive bullshit. But if you identify as male, you don’t get to tell people what is best for women as though you have that authority. If you’re white, you shouldn’t be trying to “uplift” people of color by the grace of your intellect or your words. Nobody’s looking to be ‘rescued’ or ‘pulled up from out of their unfortunate circumstances’ as you may be tempted to believe.
All anybody’s looking for in an ally is someone who knows that “empowerment” means taking a step aside in a place where you know you have privilege. And if it is, for example, a PoC-to-PoC conversation, a woman-to-woman conversation, a queer-to-queer conversation, etc. about this stuff, and that isn’t who you are, you don’t need to be chiming in.
Just take our word for it, let us talk, and let us vent. We’d like you to give us room, and if you have to be helpful, then help make room for us by giving up some of your proverbial social girth.
Because the bottom line is that our academia has made a commodity of our lived experiences as teaching moments for you. And if you think your academic knowledge is more valid than our lived experiences, then you’re definitely not part of the solution.
Yes. Everyone should read this. Everyone.
Where does Walt and Jess’s relationship go from here?
Gilligan: That last scene had a very nostalgic and bittersweet feel … and it feels like a goodbye scene between those two characters. … Jesse is coming into his own. He was much less an assistant and more of a partner [this season] … The partnership does seem to be fractured; there’s no repairing the fracture
Male privilege is oversexualizing a normal part of a woman’s body to the point where she is punished for wearing a pair of shorts at school. They are legs and they get me where I need to go. I don’t “display” them for your enjoyment, I just made a mistake by assuming that partially exposing an appropriate part of my body on an 80 degree day wouldn’t land me in detention.
there’s nothing you can do.
#I’ve always imagined that it’d be the ponds who would tell doctor about river going to the library #he’d visit them and they’d talk about all the things they’ve been up to #and suddenly rory would say ‘oh and river is a professor now!’ #and amy would clap her hands and say ‘yes! and she’s going to this expedition now. she’s going to a planet made of books! how cool is that?’ #and doctor would say ‘goodbye’ to them and he’d go to the TARDIS and he’d try run away from this #but then he’d spy that there’s his old screwdriver laying on the console #his old but improved screwdriver. and he’d understand that you just cannot run from everything. #so he’d go to his favourite barber to get a new haircut #and once he’d be back he’d find a new suit in his wardrobe #he’d put it on and he’d find the bowtie river loves the most #and he’d set the coordinates to her new house (because she’s out of prison and she has a house now) #he’d land without the noise to surprise her #and he’d knock on her door and he’d greet her with ‘hello wife’ or something equally cheesy #so that she’d know that he is her doctor. her husband. #and he’d say that he’s taking her to see the singing towers and she wouldn’t believe him at first #because she’d asked him to take her there for a long time and he’d never wanted to do that #she’d ask him why now and what changed his mind #and he’d only smile and tell her to get dressed and hurry up ‘because we cannot miss it river’#and they don’t miss it #they go and see the singing towers and river is so happy and grateful that he finally took her there #the towers sing and the doctor cries #because he knows that this is the end for him #and he knows that soon - very soon; too soon - he’ll send her to her death #he’ll send her to the version of himself that does not know her; the version that will shout at her and distrust her #the version of him that does not love her while she loves him with her whole heart (via your-bespoke-psychopath)
times when jaime lannister was in love with brienne of tarth
Oh, did you want us to fill in the list? Okay cool, I’ll start:
- When instead of letting her die, he jumped into a bear pit weaponless (and one-handed) to save her.
- When they reach King’s Landing at last they find Loras waiting to have Brienne executed (brat still blames Brienne for Renly’s death) and Jaime has a long talk with him and convinces him Brienne might be innocent
- when Cersei gets jealous that Jaime might care for Brienne
- when Jaime gives her Oathkeeper as a gift; he, the Kingslayer, names the fucking sword Oathkeeper and gives it to her. he has never had this kind of respect for anyone in battle since basically Rhaegar.
or (actual fucking quotes, so):
“I am grateful, but…you were well away. Why come back?”
A dozen quips came to mind, each crueler than the one before, but Jaime only shrugged. “I dreamed of you,” he said.
- he actually dreamed of her. he who has not cared for another living woman besides Cersei.
- “Blue is a good color on your, my lady,” Jaime observed. ”It goes well with your eyes.” She does have astonishing eyes.
Brienne glanced down at herself, flustered. ”Septa Donyse padded out the bodice, to give it that shape. She said you sent her to me.” She lingered by the door, as if she meant to flee any second. ”You look…”
“Different?” He managed a half-smile. ”More meat on the ribs and fewer lice in my hair, that’s all. The stump’s the same. Close the door and come here.”
She did as he bid her. ”The white cloak…”
“…is new, but I’m sure I’ll soil it soon enough.”
“That wasn’t… I was about to say that it becomes you.”
Plus, well, JAIME AND BRIENNE’s characterization in general, duh. This shit is canon in the books, it’s not made up. It’s part of Jaime’s development to bond with a person, Brienne, so diametrically opposed to what Cersei is/represents to him, with a set of beliefs so different from his own. The result is that she mellows her hard Ned-esque rigid black-and-white views, and he learns more about what it means to be true to someone and keeping an oath.
And you’re in denial if you can’t see it.
^ Rereblogging for that perfect addition.
“The fundamental difference between the 19th century romantic novels and the contemporary romances that borrow heavily from them is in the self-possession of the heroines. Although the unmarried and all but dowerless Elizabeth Bennet and the orphan governess Jane Eyre are in positions of greater social vulnerability than their contemporary counterparts, neither 19th-century heroine is willing to sacrifice self-respect in order to gain financial security or love. …By contrast, the scenes in which Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele literally fall at the heroes’ feet and rely on the heroes’ strength to stand foreshadow each heroine’s willingness to stay in a relationship with a man whose dominance overwhelms her sense of self, and without whom she seems lost.”
Kristina Deffenbacher, Professor of English at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/159709-lesser-shades-of-jane/#.UCHs_6LE1jI.facebook
What 19th century romance novelists were doing, which most modern ones are not, is very carefully examining, discussing and criticising the world around them in a conversation that was almost entirely held between women. Novelists during this period, especially romance novelists, were almost exclusively women, as were their readers. Men were still expected to read and write poetry if they were going to read and write any kind of art, because poetry was the higher art form, and also accessible only through the classical education that was denied to most women at the time. So women wrote (and read) novels, which were derided as ‘low’ forms of entertainment until men like Walter Scott and Charles Dickens came along and legitimised the medium by writing the first ‘historical’ and ‘state of the nation’ novels.
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is probably one of the subtlest and smartest critiques of the way women like Elizabeth Bennett - self-possessed, opinionated, well-read, passionate - were portrayed in the media in the late 18th and early 19th century. A young, ‘over’-educated woman with opinions of her own was probably the most derided figure in the medium, soundly mocked as utterly self-deluded, ugly, undesirable, raised by fools and liked only by fools; at best she’d end up eventually repenting all her previous opinions and meekly settling down to spinsterhood, at worst she’d end up dying tragically by the end of the novel whilst its real heroine, a stereotypical feminine angel, married happily having surrendered herself entirely to her husband. Pride and Prejudice turned this formula on its head, making Elizabeth the desirable heroine because of her opinions, her education, her self-possession, and fiercely criticising the idea that a woman who gives up her entire self to (the idea of) a man/a marriage, can ever be truly happy (see, Mrs Bennett, and Charlotte, even Lydia).
In essence, the original, great romance novelists of the late 18th and early 19th century, were doing their best to engage with and subvert the problems they saw for women in particular in the world around them, especially in the ‘pop culture’ of the age, commentating in the only medium available to them. The current generation are interested only in pandering to popular culture, not taking it apart and shaking it up and calling out its bullshit - and therein lies the problem.
For my fellow writers:
- yeahwriters - lots of prompts, images, quotes and motivation
- writeworld - prompts, quotes, references, tips
- fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment - character, plot development and vocabulary tips
- writingprompts - amazing and original picture prompts
- dictionaryofobscuresorrows - words you might not know and their meaning
- wordjournal - more words
- shannahmcgill - writing tips
- archetypesandallusions - creative writing tips
- kingdomjournalist - writing tips (not only how to write but also how to prepare emotionally)
- livewritedream - bit of everything (prompts, tips)
- mooderino - concise and to the point questions that help you build characters and stories
- thewritershelpers - quotes, advice, book/author recommendations
- writingquotes - what the url suggests
- get-scribbling - prompts
- writing-problems - to know you are not alone in your struggles
so what’s with all the outrage in the breaking bad tags?
people are bitching about walter white being a sympathetic portrayal of a privileged white male drug dealer. now, while i understand why that particular trope is so problematic — do you even watch this show?
breaking bad has never been about a poor white man falling victim to a broken system and trying to beat that system through any means necessary. no no no no no. no. that’s only the story that walt tells himself and anyone who will listen to him. the system was only broken for him because he blatantly sabotaged it, quitting his job and turning down help left and right. he shot down every safeguard he had in order to protect his choice.
and that’s the real point of breaking bad. walt made a choice in the chaos after he found out he had cancer and realized he had nothing to lose.
he chose to be evil.
the joke is that walt was always evil. he always wanted to be a drug dealer. he always wanted to tell his boss to go fuck himself. he always wanted to tell his wife to climb out of his ass. but it wasn’t until that moment that he had the balls to act on any of those things, so he took that chance and ran with it.
straight off a cliff.
into a pit of fucking evil.
and if you pay attention, you can even see how walt creates chaos once things start to settle down. remission? lots of money? absolutely ideal set-up with gus? he does something reckless and things go to hell again. why does he do this? because he is completely in denial and sees himself as a victim of circumstance, so he needs to recreate the circumstance — chaos — in which he’s “allowed” to be heisenberg.
i mean fuck. heisenberg created the uncertainty principle, guys. it’s a clue.
if people don’t realize how manipulative and evil and unsympathetic walt is by now then i just don’t even know what to say. i adore him, but only as the brilliant unapologetic self-deceptive badass villian that he is. he is not the victim. he even says so himself, remember?
“i am the danger.”
tl;dr: please find another reason to hate breaking bad.
that has been devin’s rant of the day.
One thing I really LOVE about Katara is that she’s a woman who really OWNS her anger.
Like, girls are taught to never get angry. Never be rude. Don’t yell. It makes you unlikable. It’s not lady-like.
And Katara just says fuck you to that. She’s sweet, and mothering, and caring, and nurturing almost all the time. But when she’s angry? She’s ANGRY. And she OWNS it.
She yells at people, she threatens people. Sometimes she’s vain and jealous on top of it all too, and she owns up to that. It takes a special kind of courage and strength to look someone in the eye and honest to god YELL at them.
Especially the fight above. Paku is an elder, a man in charge. He’s in a privileged position of power over her. And Katara doesn’t take that shit anyway.
God damn A+ Female empowerment right there.