This week’s reading list has three parts. Part One features Black authors writing explicitly about anti-Black police brutality. Part Two features Black authors writing about subjects other than police brutality, because maybe it’s in your best interest not to subject yourself to more mental anguish than is necessary, and because Black people deserve to write about […]
“Beyond The Mysterious Beyond” are repeated lyrics in the song of the same name from The Land Before Time 7, a delightful children’s movie that has kept coming to mind over the past several weeks, as I’ve graduated from University and moved to New York City.
Woah, back it up, Yes I did say I graduated, yes I’m fine, and no it doesn’t mean I exist on some new ethereal plane of existence, it just means -apparently- that I’ve completed what only 7% of the world has completed(that’s not a lot.) Supposedly this puts me amongst some of the world’s great achievers, yet I see only that it shows the immense privilege I’ve had growing up.
Do to my class in society there was always the unspoken assumption that I would one day graduate from University so I never expected it to be seen as an achievement. That is until I got there and met people who were the first in their family to graduate, or were working 2 jobs to help pay for school, and then I finally heard the statistic that only 7% of the world population has a college degree, and with all of this together I am left wondering – is it a privilege to have this degree, an achievement, or both?
Now possessing this degree, I sit on my bed in Astoria, New York wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do with it. Having this degree won’t make it easier to undermine capitalism or the patriarchy, aside from allowing access to certain spaces within these structures, the most uneducated person has as much potential to take down our oppressors as I do with my BA. Should a pursue a professional path as an actor, or let that go for a short time to focus on work that could really get in the way of capitalists making money – like union labor work?
Honestly I don’t know.
I am Christian
In that I believe in the transformation of the world through service to one another and seeking unity in Cosmic Love, which I call Christ.
I am Satanist
In that I challenge authority for authority’s sake, just because one may be the origin of something doesn’t mean they have the unquestioned right to control it and everything connected to it.
I am Pagan
In that I believe everything is sacred, that life is a cycle, and that we need to be spiritually and mythically connected to the land on which we live.
I am Progressive
In that I am open to new ideas and new ways of doing things and am optimistic that there is a progressive spiritual drive toward unity & diverse community in the Universe.
I am Radical
In that I believe in consistently challenging the status quo and getting to the root of our world’s problems.
I am Socialist
In that I believe the world needs to be reoriented towards a moral economy centered on individual and community self-determination and equal access to all resources.
I am Feminist
In that I believe in the complete equality of all people, regardless of ability, gender, sex, race, age, ancestry, etc…
I am Creationist
In that I believe in the power of creating things. Creating art is one of the most powerful things us human animals can do. Art, when done well imitates the process of creating life and bares all its mysteries. Art when done is pleasant, garish, beautiful, ugly, haunting, and shallow all at once. Art is eARTh. Art is necessary.
TRANSform is a new student movement comprised of Trans* students and allies at Butler University. We formed in mid-march of 2016 in response to the lack of response and initiative from the University regarding the needs of Trans* students. Having spent months in fruitless conversations with administrators regarding gender-inclusive restrooms, pronouns, gender identity, names, and so forth it became apparent that unless action was taken, and a movement initiated, that there would be no meaningful change on Butler’s Campus- as it is whatever changes they are implementing are of low priority and will be implemented too late to benefit those of us who are graduating this coming may.
TRANSform exists to say enough is enough, we are planning a series of actions on campus that are intended to grab Butler’s attention and shake them out of their private cis-privilege worlds.
Why are Trans* Rights important? Because Trans* people are people too and too often we are assumed to not even exist. Everyday one will hear the phrase “men and women”, which even if the speaker intended to include binary trans folks, erases those of us like myself who either identify as Non-Binary, Third Gender, or Agender.
Simply waiting for a culture shift to take place is hugely problematic. There are real people being erased everyday. There are real people living in depression everyday. There are real people dying everyday. And while we at Butler do have it much better than many in America, we are all housed for one; the attitudes of people on campus who don’t believe we deserve to be considered human are not being challenged and they are going to leave this school with hostile attitudes towards their fellow earth-inhabitants. Not. Cool.
Why Now? Because this is often a matter of mental and physical health, with varying levels of severity. Because I have friends who won’t come out publicly as trans for fear of reprisals both personally and in the professional world. Because Trans Rights are Human Rights and a school like Butler University, famously founded by an abolitionist, one of the first three US universities to admit women, and to graduate both white women and black men and women, needs to get back to its roots as a radical institution that challenges systems of oppression and power.
~TRANSform Your Expectations
This post is a link to the blog Double Consciousness, a blog run by BUST the B.U.B.B.L.E. out of Butler University. Today the movement released their demands for addressing issues of racial diversity on campus. I share their demands as a statement of solidarity.
~Create don’t Kill
We demand there be a plan to increase the number of scholarship dollars awarded to students from marginalized backgrounds, including low-income or racial minorities, be increased by 10% over the …
Source: OUR DEMANDS, from Double Consciousness: Black Perspectives at PWIs.
(Note: This post uses words that exist only in english, and are in high volume usage only among the GSRM community.)
Remember the moment when you realized not everyone in the world was a “Man”, and you began to feel weird about “Man” or “Mankind” when referring to the human race?
If you don’t remember, you should know not everyone in the world is a “Man.” There are women, womnyn, bois, gyrls, Demigender, agender, non-gender, genderqueer, and genderfluid people all over the planet. So referring to the human race as “Man”, “Men”, or “Mankind” is ignoring entire groups of people with your language.
We call this androcentrism. What is androcentrism you ask? According to Wiktionary androcentrism is defined as “the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing male human beings or a masculine point of view at the centre of one’s world view and its culture and history.” Androcentrism erases the viewpoint of female humans and femininity in academia, history, and public opinion.
Another form of bias is Non-binary Erasure, defined as “the common but wrong idea that there are only two genders. This comes with the expectation that everyone should fit into only one of the two parts of the gender binary. Nonbinary erasure is connected to dyadism, the belief that there are only two sexes, and biological essentialism, the belief that one’s body is what permanently makes somebody who they are.”
Often understanding and using language to battle these concepts is called Political Correctness, but it has nothing to do with politics and everything to with simple respect. We show respect by asking for people’s pronouns instead of assuming they use He or She. Respect is not assuming someone is female because they are in a dress or male because they have a beard.
Respect is not referring to groups of people with language steeped in Androcentrism and Non-binary Erasure. Examples again include “Man”, “Mankind”, “Dude”, “Bud”, “Bro” and most innocuously “Guys.” There is nothing wrong with these words in and of themselves, and certainly not when referring to a single male identified individual.
But why, when referring to groups of people, do we default to calling everyone Guys? I see it all the time, women referring to groups of women as “Guys”, teachers referring to a gender-varient class as “Guys”, friends referring to each other as “Guys”.
There are problems with this on a few levels, one is that in our language we do use “Guys” to refer to exclusively male groups, i.e. “I’m going out with the Guys tonight.” So why the general use of the term? The second is that constantly using it is mis-gendering the f*ck out of everyone. Three is the assumption that even in all “male” groups, there is no gender variance.
So please, for the love of humanity, say “Folks”, “Y’all”, “You All”, “Friends”, “Humans”, etc…
Anything other than Guys.
In a convo with my brother I was confronted with the question of why I wouldn’t watch Sopranoes because it is violent, but I do watch Game of Thrones. The fact is, I don’t watch GoT anymore either(or at least I watch it far more critically.)
Here’s the thing, Game of Thrones is a very problematic show, it is sexist, racist, and extremely violent, anyone who has watched it can probably point to at least one violent scene that they felt went too far for whatever reason. For me it is the many ways it is violent, from turning consensual sex into rape with the male participant actively ignoring a woman saying “no”, to holding the camera on a man’s eye’s being gouged out for what feels like forever, to the burning of children and overly long fight sequences that add nothing to the dramatic narrative other than “looking cool.” These, and not only these are problems rampant on show, simply part of the way American culture glorifies violence at the expense of human relationship.
To put this in perspective, for most humans culture shapes who and what we are and how we interact with the world. Media plays a massively important part in our culture today by propagating films, tv, literature, and video games that present “violence against” as the way to solve our social problems. When we are constantly fed violence, and a gender identity that makes up around 40+% of the world population is raised to value aggressiveness and rage over compassion and humility there is no way for society to manifest itself other than as a violent war machine.
We saw it with the Vietnam War, we saw it with Iraq, and we’ve been seeing it in the constant race war that the US Government has been waging on its own citizens. Violence is the weapon that empires use to keep their subjects subjugated, there is nothing good that comes out of it. When violence is brought into the equation all that is left is broken homes, missing or dead family, and people who are so angry that they band together and lash at whatever their told is responsible for the problem. Trump’s supporters and ISIL are some relevant examples.
I do not wish to participate in this culture of violence, so I choose not to consume violent media. I do not believe that violence will ever produce social good and I am really tired of seeing show after show and movie after movie that paint violent action as the be all, end all.
In the words of Audre Lord, “The Master’s Tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
Create, Don’t Kill.