Disabled by Culture

This blog is mostly for quotes. The main topics are LGBTQ-stuff, feminism, trauma, dissociation, and child development.

The courts often defer to medical evidence with regard to transgender people in a wide variety of contexts but then often disregard or implausibly explain away the overwhelming weight of medical evidence when considering the necessity of transgender health care. The state often requires transgender people to have been evaluated and treated by transgender health experts or to have received specific forms of transition-related health care before giving them access to gender-matched ID, appropriate sex-segregated systems, or remedies for discrimination. At the same time, the state often denies access to transition-related health care to Medicaid recipients and people in state custody. This double bind assaults the dignity of transgender people and has a profound impact on trans communities, with disproportionate effects on those who face other forms of marginalization, such as racism and poverty. State systems that deny coverage for transition-related health care while requiring this care in other contexts thereby create a hierarchy of race and class in which rich, predominately White trans people—because they do not need to rely on the state for health care—are the only transgender individuals able to gain access to a wide variety of basic services and opportunities on anything approaching an equal basis with non-transgender people.
Unraveling Injustice:  Race and Class Impact of Medicaid Exclusions of Transition-Related Health Care for Transgender People by Pooja S. Gehi and Gabriel Arkles (via sociolab)

Feminist imagination and daring to dream: bell hooks and Melissa Harris Perry

redlightpolitics:

On Saturday morning I watched the conversation between bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry. I sat there and, half way through, I realized I was seeing the feminist event of the year. This is not hyperbole, these two Black women, exceptional thinkers each in their respective fields, sat down and dissected in a bit over an hour and half, many of the issues that currently affect our politics. After I was done watching I searched for commentary across feminist media or at the very least, political analysis from woman centered media. There was hardly any. There were plenty of links to the video but hardly any acknowledgment of the substance of their conversation. I was mostly interested in a follow up; namely, where do we go from here? Or better said, where do we stand, in relation to what bell hooks, one of the greatest public intellectuals of our time, exposed in regards to the white supremacist, imperialist, capitalist patriarchy? The truth is, as far as feminist media goes, it seems we go nowhere.

On Friday I quickly scribbled a post expressing my distaste for both Jezebel’s coverage and head patting of and the words of Joss Whedon in regards to defining feminism. As it often happens, I wrote that post in haste and mostly because what I wanted to say was too long for a Tweet. I was equally disgusted by his erasure of our collective feminist history, attempting to rename something that does not need renaming, especially from a cis, white man and by Jezebel’s uncritical praise of his attempt. My quickly written post has been shared hundreds of times both on Twitter and Facebook and someone in the comments linked me to a discussion of the post taking place on the Facebook page of Guerrilla Feminism. I read the comments of the post and laughed heartily. Mostly I laughed in disbelief because I cannot comprehend how many self identified feminist women are willing to defend a white, cis man in detriment of radical, liberating, empowering feminist analysis. Guerrilla obviously means nothing when pop culture is digested in patriarchy approved palatable sound bites. In one swoop Whedon erased the collective history of the feminist movement, tried to appropriate it for his own marketing purposes by renaming it, made a spectacle of himself by claiming we are “over” racism, negating the very existence of intersectional analysis and even gave us a dose of Orientalism through his cunning use of the word “Taliban”. And here, in a page named Guerrilla Feminism, dozens of women are willing to not merely give him a pass but vindicate him because what? He gave them Buffy? The political co-optation of pop culture consumerism in exchange of an emancipatory analysis of what Whedon represents, who he is in terms of a symbolic presence for us as women and, for those of us of color, as the embodiment of the colonizer. But… he gave us Buffy.

There is a direct correlation between the lack of coverage of bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry’s conversation and the amplification (and staunch defense) of Joss Whedon. Both exist within the same historical wrongs of white feminism. Both are part of the same neoliberal ethos that has taken over mainstream feminism. Two Black women intellectuals challenging a racist, capitalist patriarchy are not to be looked upon as role models. The key to understand this is their Blackness. This neoliberal feminism seeks empowerment by encouraging women to be more like white men. For this media, Whedon is a feminist icon; bell hooks and Melissa Harris Perry barely register in the radar.

In the conversation bell hooks spoke about her dislike of media (mainly films) that do not have imagination. She spoke of her desire to see a media that offers us a newly empowering vision of who we are. She was specifically talking of her dislike of certain slavery centered films that focus on suffering. In turn, I started to think of how neoliberal feminism has actually eschewed all imagination and dreams to negotiate a better social standing within the existing power structures. We no longer have dreams or imagination. We are told we should better negotiate within what already exists rather than attempt to wish for something different. This is the kind of feminism that would rather appease than challenge. These are the kinds of politics that would rather praise a white, cis man than listen to radically new ideas from Women of Color. This is patriarchy approved feminism. There is nothing empowering or liberating in the long term; there is no rethinking of existing power structures and resource distribution. This is a feminism of bootstrapping, where the best we can do is individually aspire to be in a boardroom. Women are encouraged to not just participate but uphold the very same system that is the source of our problem. Praise Whedon; ignore bell hooks.

The reason I resent this feminism is because it fails us on multiple fronts. To begin with, it offers no strategies for survival. In order to survive we need to better negotiate spaces within what currently exists. This feminism offers none of that. It only offers middle class aspirational career advancement that is outside the reach of millions. On the other hand, it builds no long term strategy. In this neoliberal feminism there is only the individual in the present time. There is only now and no second thought as to how the aspiration to be a CEO directly conflicts with resource distribution not just in the present but also for future generations. The feminist legacy of this neoliberal ideology is actually more depletion, more deprivation for the have nots. On the racist front, this feminism erases the multiplicity of experiences of both People of Color living in Western countries and those who live in the Global South. In both cases, regardless of geographic location, this feminism seeks advancement within a system that has created the institutional and political framework where People of Color can never be truly free. This feminism is a continuation of colonial strategies that have cost billions of lives. A feminism for the few. A dreamless, barren future for the rest.

I have no intention of negotiating my dreams so that they are patriarchy approved. The last thing I want is for my politics to be in line with those who are directly part of my problems. I negotiate my survival like everyone else but I also realize one of the reasons I live in the margins and will continue to do so is because I still dare to dream. I also realize that the kind of dreams I have will not be realized within my lifetime. That doesn’t mean I will stop aspiring to them. Radical imagination requires a leap of faith. I know that when I am no longer here, someone else will pick up and keep on dreaming. With each new dreamer will come a new imagination and with it, a step towards the kind of change I yearn. This kind of radical imagination I hope for cannot be co-opted by neoliberal feminism because it never is patriarchy approved. It is, above all, about dismantling what currently is. And no matter how much I need to negotiate for survival on a day to day basis, my imagination is the one thing that I will not.

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ETA: Also, read this excellent post by Sara Salem about the conversation between bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry.

(via feministbatwoman)

We can’t keep raising generations of kids of color on the notion that there’s only room for them to be bad guys or doomed sidekicks or another generation of white kids thinking they’re closer to God because of how they look. We can’t keep promoting hetero/cis-normative sexist and racist ideas in our literature. That is the default setting. If you aren’t consciously working against it, you are working for it. Neutrality is not an option, and the luxury of thinking it is has to go.
— Daniel José Older, “12 Fundamentals Of Writing ‘The Other’ (And The Self)” (via larmoyante)

(via flowerkitten)

African-American children with autism are being diagnosed almost two years later than children of any other ethnic group [in the United States], holding up their treatment, and in turn, their quality of life, according to research.

When white children were misdiagnosed with autism they were usually told they had ADHD, but Mandell discovered that Black autistic children were told they had things like psychoses, mental retardation or selective mutism. This, along with the fear that Black parents have of reporting their child’s behavioral issues due to the fact that their children are removed from the home as a result more often, makes it hard for Black children with autism to get the treatment that they need.

Black Children and Autism: The Difference Is Black and White (via genderblinditem)

my first diagnosis was a psychotic disorder btw

(via soflyniggaswannastalkme)

(via c-aries)

It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on this earth as though I had a right to be here.
— James Baldwin (via bunny-gal)

(Source: gentlerecovery, via heartonaconstantrun)

gradientlair:

Let ‘em know! These are some of Crommunist’s tweets in reference to an article on Reason stating that America was founded by the “opposite” of victims, to which he asserts, wouldn’t that be victimizers? And if in that case, correct

This “personal responsibility” and “bootstraps” and “American exceptionalism” narrative pushed is so offensive since those who state it want zero responsibility for imperialist White supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy and the related oppression while ignoring privilege. Yeah okay, whatever. It’s built on victim blaming and exploitation and genocide with a system of capitalism that could not exist as is today without slavery.

And for people of colour who buy into this narrative, the politics of respectability cannot save us. Neither can believing we are responsible for racism. 

See the collection of James Baldwin’s writing in The Cross of the Redemption for exquisite writing on the lies used to maintain White supremacy through everything from semantic warfare to re-writing history. It…explains a lot.

They are unable to conceive that their version of reality, which they want me to accept, is an insult to my history and a parody of theirs and an intolerable violation of myself.

James knew…

(And do not derail this post by mentioning the IrishThank you.) 

(via unconforming)

If you blame Native American communities for their poverty, remember that the entire continent was stolen from them.
If you blame Black American communities for their relative poverty, remember that Black Americans were stolen from a continent, trafficked, and enslaved for nearly 300 years.
Tell me again about how your family ‘started from nothing’ when they immigrated. Didn’t they start from whiteness? Seems like a pretty good start.
The American Dream required dual genocides, but tell me again about fairness and equal opportunity. Tell me about democracy, modeled after the Iroquois Confederacy. Tell me your proud heritage, and I will show you the violence that made it so.

Study: Whites Think Black People Feel Less Pain

mercurialme:

futuresoundslikejinglebells:

sonofbaldwin:

I keep coming back to this topic because it explains so much about this country, its history, its people, and its institutions in regard to black people.

-shudders-…

I tried to bring this up to one of my doctors when trying to explain something to her and she stopped the whole conversation to focus on denying this. It wasn’t until I gave the source that she started to consider that it might be valid.

ethiopienne:

gradientlair:

Naomi Campbell on racism in fashion

Ah. So basically Naomi Campbell discussed how institutional racism impacts the fashion industry and the White male interviewer wanted it to be about her personal “anger” in incidents unrelated to fashion. Naomi Campbell discussed her passion about making the industry diverse and the White male interviewer wanted to parse “good” angry versus “bad” angry. Naomi Campbell discussed how there is a systemic issue in the industry and the White male interviewer wanted to discuss how Naomi herself, individually succeeded so doesn’t that exceptionalism prove that racism in the industry isn’t an issue? Ugh.

They literally are operating from different frames of thought; hers shaped by reality of what she sees and documents (with actual numbers in some instances) and his based on White male privilege and individualism fostered by both exceptionalism and stereotypes, which will never speak to systemic issues.

This interview is a microcosm of what it is like to confront White privilege, racism and White supremacy on any issue. Even those who want to “find out” more and may even compliment us often cannot think past their own privilege. One of the key problems involved in thinking shaped by White privilege is the role individualism plays, intellectually. To them, everything at worst falls under a negative stereotype and at best can be summarized by positive exceptionalism. NEITHER of these speak to institutional, structural and systemic issues of racism.

Oh and notice how she parsed racism here. As the act that the people who work for the designers engaged in, not whether or not the designers or their people are “racist.” This is important. Because Whites love to escape “racist” as a label. Okay, fine. Let’s talk about what they DID and SAID, and intent is irrelevant, as she mentioned they may not “know” what they did with their casting etc. Her own words reveal this the chasm between the way they think…

I’m not here to talk about me, I’m here to talk about balanced diversity.

I’m not angry. And I don’t like the thing of the ‘angry Black woman’ either; this is not what this is about. 

We feel passionate. Feeling passion about something doesn’t mean you have to be angry.

Naomi = brilliant.

A+ commentary, both gradientlair’s and Naomi’s

(Source: naomihitme, via ceeainthereforthat)

irresistible-revolution:

one of the most pervasive consequences of having academic feminism be centered on white women for so long is that white women have a real hard time accepting that they are colonizers and imperialists JUST LIKE WHITE MEN. They perpetrate structural and intimate violence on the bodies and psyches of WOC to a degree that’s appalling and transgenerational and ONGOING. But this violence is masked under the guise of ‘feminist solidarity’ or ‘inclusion’ or ‘diversity’ and that makes the violence all the more traumatic/ harder to discuss/ easier to hide. white feminists and white women in general have such a hard time conceding that the very ideas about womanhood they promulgate are premised upon the violent erasure of me and mine. they think they r practicing feminism but they r just enacting white imperialist supremacy. over and over again.

(via autie-baeddel-cat)

gradientlair:

So there’s this thing that I’ve always known about, that @Karynthia, @Blackamazon, @so_treu @weseerace and @bad_dominicana discuss often, about how terms, ideas and scholarship that Black women create are not associated with their originators or even with any Black women at all (and not even speaking of just plagiarism; I mean erasure). Or worse, they’re used against Black women. Or even worse, people actively fight the terms’ existences especially within mainstream feminism.
Womanism. Intersectionality. Matrix of domination. Misogynoir. Four of the many concepts that are fought tooth and nail to not exist (especially the latter since it’s newest). Subject to the scrutiny of imperialist White supremacist capitalist patriarchy (this is bell hooks’ combined term) and how it shapes epistemology. Eventually once accepted, then they are disconnected from its originators often for the purpose of silencing other Black women. There’s people who use the terms and ideas to push their agenda (agendas that usually exclude Black women) yet none of the originators are anywhere on their sites. No tags. Not mentioned in conversation or teaching. Nowhere. And even when they discuss modern issues in feminism, they refuse to name Black women currently doing the work. They gladly name any White woman they’re referring to. 
This is not about Black women wanting “White approval” as utterly boring and predictable Whites and some Black men (who also try to silence Black women with other Black women’s words) will suggest, a notion I already deconstructed in the past. It’s about a long history of taking and erasure. Taking. Erasure. This has a history as certain aspects of Black progressive politics are regularly appropriated and then used by Whites to shame or exclude Black people. 
Anytime I mention Black women’s work, all of a sudden it becomes “unethical” or “greedy” to credit our work or idea spreading and education is deemed “impossible” if our names, contributions, ideas and praxis are mentioned. I am fascinated by multi-degreed, multiple column-writing White feminists who can’t figure out who coined “intersectionality” or what it actually means. This is willful ignorance shaped by a need to erase Black women’s work/relevance in feminism on the surface and marginalizes Black women, in general. 
View high resolution

gradientlair:

So there’s this thing that I’ve always known about, that @Karynthia, @Blackamazon, @so_treu @weseerace and @bad_dominicana discuss often, about how terms, ideas and scholarship that Black women create are not associated with their originators or even with any Black women at all (and not even speaking of just plagiarism; I mean erasure). Or worse, they’re used against Black women. Or even worse, people actively fight the terms’ existences especially within mainstream feminism.

Womanism. Intersectionality. Matrix of domination. Misogynoir. Four of the many concepts that are fought tooth and nail to not exist (especially the latter since it’s newest). Subject to the scrutiny of imperialist White supremacist capitalist patriarchy (this is bell hooks’ combined term) and how it shapes epistemology. Eventually once accepted, then they are disconnected from its originators often for the purpose of silencing other Black women. There’s people who use the terms and ideas to push their agenda (agendas that usually exclude Black women) yet none of the originators are anywhere on their sites. No tags. Not mentioned in conversation or teaching. Nowhere. And even when they discuss modern issues in feminism, they refuse to name Black women currently doing the work. They gladly name any White woman they’re referring to. 

This is not about Black women wanting “White approval” as utterly boring and predictable Whites and some Black men (who also try to silence Black women with other Black women’s words) will suggest, a notion I already deconstructed in the past. It’s about a long history of taking and erasure. Taking. Erasure. This has a history as certain aspects of Black progressive politics are regularly appropriated and then used by Whites to shame or exclude Black people. 

Anytime I mention Black women’s work, all of a sudden it becomes “unethical” or “greedy” to credit our work or idea spreading and education is deemed “impossible” if our names, contributions, ideas and praxis are mentioned. I am fascinated by multi-degreed, multiple column-writing White feminists who can’t figure out who coined “intersectionality” or what it actually means. This is willful ignorance shaped by a need to erase Black women’s work/relevance in feminism on the surface and marginalizes Black women, in general. 

(via hwaemelec)

There’s a form of mental torture called “gaslighting,” its name taken from a play in which a man convinces his wife that the gas lights in their home she sees brightening and dimming are, in fact, maintaining a steady glow. His ultimate goal is to drive his her into a mental institution and take all her money, and soon the woman ends up in an argument with herself about whether she’s losing her mind. American race relations have a similar narrative: An entire set of minorities confident that the everyday slights they’re seeing are real and hurtful, and an entire set of other people assuring them that they’re wrong.

Kanye West Knows You Think He Sounded Nuts on Kimmel (via beepboopboopbeep)

Yo, you guys should really read this whole article.

(Source: interweber, via agirlcalledchris)

The Zimmerman Verdict: A Conversation with bell hooks, October 4th, 2013, at Ohio State University. The interviewer is Sharon Davies, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. 

The podcast is available here. The podcast is about 4 minutes longer.

  • Interviewer: Why do you think that a critique of capitalism from the point of view of reproduction is necessary?
  • Silvia Federici: Because it allows us to rethink capitalism as a whole. When you look at the question of reproduction you see something fundamental about the capitalist organisation of work. You see that capitalism is forced, as a system, to devalue reproductive work. You see that in the history of capitalism, certain patterns are continuously returning. Both slavery and the devaluation of women’s work are materially rooted in the capitalist need to reduce the cost of producing the working class. Capitalism needs to cut the cost of producing life, producing work or producing labour-power to a minimum. In the same way as capitalism appropriates the natural world for nothing it also appropriates the work of the people it enslaves and women’s domestic work. The moment we understand that, then we have to take an anti-capitalist perspective, because we see that sexism and racism are structural elements and a structural necessity of a capitalist system. We cannot have capitalism without some form of racism or some form of sexism. That is why, no matter what kind of struggle we are involved in, we need to begin to create an alternative to capitalism.