What does it mean to be a white person producing knowledge on race and racism, and potentially profiting off such analyses? By Harley Wong With the bold text “The Image of Whiteness” superimposed on a family portrait of United States Secretary of
In understanding the way power dynamics work in favor of cisgender people, those who are allies for the TGNC community should take care to better understand the ways in which they can support us. Navigating my trans identity isn’t an
If your allyship only extends as far as your comfort, you are not an ally.John Brown was an abolitionist who died in 1859. He was hanged after a failed attempt to attack a federal arsenal to provide arms to a future slave rebellion. He was a flawed human being but he lived by his principles and died by them. And in 2018, that's the kind of energy allies really need to have. I'm not saying you need to attack the government (but that's absolutely an option that is open to you, put a pin in it), but I am saying that you need to sacrifice your own privilege in order to fully combat oppression and make a real change in the world. And if you're not willing to do that, fuck you then. You read that right. In 2018, in a world where rapists are being voted to the Supreme Court and there are literal Nazis in the street, we just don't have time for platitudes. We just don't have space for people who are merely paying lip service to a cause without fully investing themselves in the cause. This message is specifically going out to white people and men. In 2018, you need to do way better than you are. You need to engage. You know it's bad out there, you know that people who have far less privilege are taking the brunt of the abuse while still fighting against oppression every day. As a real ally, you should be engaging those systems in conflict from the door. In Brown's time, he saw what the pro-slavery group was doing and imitated their tactics to further his side. He rejected his own privilege. He helped slaves escape, he formulated plans to create a stronger system of safety and escape and fought for full-scale end to slavery. We can find people like Brown throughout history, many have been turned into memes that we share because we love a good hero. People who rode bikes through war zones to deliver coded messages, women who seduced Nazis to shoot them in the head. Sometime in the last few years the title of ally has been co-opted. It has come to mean a person who is just not a flaming a bigot. But go into any ally group and you'll see, quite quickly, that there are lines to how far they'll go. They believe in equal rights but won't step to their dad when he makes a sexist joke. They're not racist but won't confront their neighbor on their “all lives matter” sign.
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Everything we know about obesity is wrong, and everything about who we listen to on the subject of fatness and fatphobia is bullshit.By Hess Love I can't blame Michael Hobbes for writing “Everything you know about obesity is wrong” or for writing what seems to be meant as a compassionate piece. It was well written, factual, and even my fat Black ass learned something. It is not necessarily Hobbes who is the problem when it comes to thin white people writing these articles. It's the people who value to voices of thin white people who write about fatness over the voices of actual fat people. Those that rely heavy on “Ally Culture” to introduce them to perspectives outside of their own experiences—the Jane Elliott or Tim Wise effect. It's a phenomenon where those who have the most privilege exercise that privilege in a way that ironically continues to elevate them and sideline the voices of the marginalized people they attempt to speak on behalf of. I cannot count the number of people who bypass my fat Black ass and my social media posts about fatness and fatphobia, bypass me and my physical and rhetorical loudness, but shared Hobbes’ article with glee. A performance of acceptance and progression that they themselves do not possess. I, and many other fat Black women, have been saying the very same things that Hobbes writes in his article for years, but they don't listen to us. Our society sees Blackness, fatness, and oftentimes even “womanness” as unhealthy, disqualifications, and ultimately as sins. Many people believe Blackness is the mark of Cain, that fatness is the mark of gluttony, that untamed womanhood is the mark of disobedience and chaos. A walking embodiment of the Pandora's Box, “apple-shaped” bodies symbolize the forbidden fruit that caused the world to fall. To embody all of those things in a Judeo-Christian society, and then to have the audacity to talk about our right to happiness, leaves us being unheard. Happiness, in the form that people feel it is, is supposed to be, and the way that they have been programmed to believe it is, is not a right of ours. We are a living and breathing sin in a world where people hate both the sinner and the sin, no matter how much they tell themselves that they can separate the phenomenon from its actualizer. But fatness is not a sin, and fat people do not need visiting pastors to proselytize on our humanity despite our conditions. Fat people do not need translations of how we move in the world. The language that we use to talk about our experiences are not foreign, however our bodies are seen as alien and intrusive. To exist as a fat person is to be seen as a societal burden, so to talk about that existence, especially in a way that indicts society, is seen as a nuisance.
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