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robertogreco : allies   13

Cassandra Plays the Stock Market | Quiet Babylon
"I imagined her playing the stock market. She starts buying dot-coms in 1994 and gets out in 2000. She sees the housing crisis from miles away and has sold all her subprime holding by early 2008.

But her story is a tragedy, so then I imagined her getting put away for insider trading. They don’t have any solid evidence, but no one believes her defence and the jury becomes certain she’s guilty. She’s the only person punished for the collapse of the banking system. Thankfully, it’s a white collar crime so pretty soon, she gets out. She’s like Martha Stewart.

I feel like I know a lot of people who kind of see themselves as a Cassandra. I feel that way sometimes, myself. We look at the world, we notice a lot of obviously terrible decisions that people and institutions are making, we point out that things won’t go well, no one listens to us, and then things don’t go well. We console ourselves that we’d seen it coming. It’s kind of a romantic feeling. You feel like you’re smarter than most people.

I was talking to my wife Pamela about all this and she gently pointed out that in my white-collar retelling, I’d missed the whole point of the Cassandra myth. In the story, things don’t go at all well for Cassandra. Her city burns. She is assaulted and kidnapped and eventually killed by the invaders. Cassandra doesn’t get to insulate herself from the worst of it. She suffers the consequences along with everyone else.

She is bound to the fate of her people. As we are bound to the fate of ours.

It’s not good enough to be right.

A funny thing has happened in my professional circles since the election.

In the wake of these terrible events, pretty much all of my colleagues have discovered the renewed importance of whatever it is we were working on in the first place. I, of course, have discovered the renewed importance of understanding the role of fiction and speculation in shaping the future of the world. I think we should be suspicious about this.

At the place where I work — a university — there has been a particular renewal in talking about how important it is that we teach everyone more critical thinking. The feeling is that the outcome of this election is the result of people being duped, and that if they’d had better critical thinking skills, that people would have been somehow inoculated against the bad ideas, and better able to think for themselves (and vote the way we thought they should).

I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit hanging around the online communities of the kind of people we are worried about reaching here, and I am here to tell you: They are using their critical thinking skills.

They are fully literate in concepts like bias and in the importance of interrogating sources. They believe very much in the power of persuasion and the dangers in propaganda and a great many of them believe that we are the ones who have been behaving uncritically and who have been duped. They think that we are the unbelieving victims of fraud.

Which is not to set up some kind of false equivalency between sides. But I do want us to consider the possibility that we don’t need to talk across that barrier, and that it might not be possible to talk across it. That we need to consider that if it’s true that vast swaths of the voting populace are unbelieving victims of fraud, that there’s not much we can do for them. That we may need instead to work to invigorate our allies, discourage our enemies, and save the persuasion for people right on the edge.

But, again, I’m saying all of this to you as someone who has not figured this out."
timmaly  future  futurism  speculation  cassandra  2017  fraud  kazysvarnelis  robertsumrell  gigurdjieff  belief  criticalthinking  allies  persuasion  speculativefutures  predictions 
july 2017 by robertogreco
How to Tell the Difference Between Real Solidarity and 'Ally Theater' -
"This woman’s need to take up space in some way, any way, her need to perform allyship, publicly, so everyone can see how “good” she is, how different she is, is so overwhelming that, seeing my tweets, she can’t bring herself to just shut up. It should be obvious that the very last person I want to hear from in that moment is a random ass white woman. I just tweeted about the significant pain and harm white women have caused me and this woman’s response is “thanks for saying that.”

Girl, if you don’t GTFOH.

And she’s certainly not alone. A LOT of people do this. A LOT of people perform “allyship” in ways that are actually really harmful. This, folks, is ally theater. And there is a big difference between it and real solidarity. Lots of differences, really. Here are a few that I experience regularly:

1. Real solidarity doesn’t require an audience to witness what a good “ally” you are

Lots of so-called “allies” are in it for the cookies and it shows. Boy oh boy, does it show. Even if they think it doesn’t show, it shows. Cookie-seeking “allies” require an audience for every performance, from bit part to starring role. Fighting oppression, for these folks, isn’t worth it unless everybody can see them doing it.

On social media, their “allyship” often looks like sharing or retweeting other people’s racist or misogynist or transphobic comments and attaching their own outraged pushback, as if to say, “OMG look everybody! This person is so oppressive! Watch me check them! Look! Over here! See what I’m doing? Loooook!”

It never occurs to the cookie-seeker in question that 9 times out of 10, no one was ever going to see that random racist/misogynist/transphobic comment made by an egg account with 12 followers in the first place, if not for them RTing it. But, hey. Needlessly exposing oppressed people to more violence is worth it if everyone gets to see what a great “ally” you are, right?

Consider the following scenario:

Someone tweets something offensive at a queer person of color. Does solidarity look like:

a. retweeting the offensive comment with a “OMG this is so messed up!” thrown in

b. responding to the vile comment, making sure to include the queer person of color it was directed at in the response, so they can see you being an “ally” and sticking up for them

c. responding only to the commenter, without RTing and without including the queer person of color in the response at all

Anything other than c is ally theater.

Real solidarity doesn’t require an audience or a pat on the back. If a troll gets checked and absolutely no one is around to hear it (or hear about it later), it still makes a sound. I promise.

Also, it’s very possible that the person at whom the offensive tweet was directed doesn’t want to engage the troll. You forcing them into an exchange is violence, not solidarity.

Bring Mia McKenzie to your college or community event!

2. Ally theater features lots of poorly-disguised cries of “not all _______” and “I’m not like other ______”

Overt cries of “not all white people”, “not all men”, etc. have become so common that they’re a joke among socially-conscious social media types. Some privileged person jumps into a conversation about privilege with “not all ______” and we laugh or roll our eyes or mock them or all three at once. “Not all” is oftentimes just straight-up derailment, an attempt to erase the realities of systemic oppression. Other times, it’s the person’s way of saying “not me” or “I’m not like other (insert oppressive group)”.

When it’s used simply to derail, it’s standard trolling. But when it’s used to say “not me!” we’re well on our way to ally theater.

I say “well on our way” because this is where it gets tricky. Because, see, “not all ______” has become such a loathed phrase, such an instant eyeroll, that experienced allyship performers know better than to say it. Saying it marks them as a troll and jeopardizes their standing as an Ally with a capital A and a gift certificate to Famous Amos Cookies.

The fact that they can’t say “not me!” doesn’t make the need to express “not me!” go away. The need is there, tugging at their ego like a high school handjob. Afterall, how will people know that they are an Ally with a capital A and a gift certificate to Famous Amos Cookies if they don’t make it clear they are NOT LIKE OTHER WHITE/STRAIGHT/CIS/ETC. PEOPLE??? They must find other ways to express the same “I’m not like other ________” sentiments without using the dreaded “not all”.

And now we arrive, right on time, at ally theater.

Consider this scenario:

A black woman tweets “Ugh this white woman just reached out and touched my hair without my consent! Why are white people so gross and entitled??” Does solidarity look like:

a. replying with “wow what is wrong with some white folks? I’m white and I would never think of doing that!”

b. replying with “many of us white people have been raised to feel entitled rather than to respect PoC”

c. replying with “sorry that happened”

d. not replying at all

Anything other than d (or sometimes c if you actually know the person) is ally theater.

Real solidarity isn’t about telling marginalized people, either directly or indirectly, that you’re not like the others or that you, as someone who is not like the others, are equipped to comment on how bad the others are.

Because 1) the only real way to not be like the others is to just not be like the others and 2) no matter someone’s personal views on any ‘ism’ or how great of an “ally” job they think they’re doing, they still benefit from being in a privileged group. The system is set up to benefit them and they don’t get to opt out because they think they’re down. In other words: they are like the others. That’s how privilege and supremacy work.

3. Real solidarity isn’t worn like a nametag

What is thing folks do where they put “ally” in their Twitter bio??? “Teacher, gardener, white ally. #BlackLivesMatter.”

LOL, no. Leave.

I’ve said this before, but “ally” isn’t a label we give ourselves.

Earlier this year, I was speaking at a university and a student of color shared with me her frustration with a white student who, whenever she was approached about some oppressive thing she did or said, got in her white girl feels and cried about how the PoC student was erasing her identity as an ally.

I was like:

[GIF]

“Ally” is an IDENTITY now??? Ugh. *dives off cliff*

Listen. Solidarity is action. That’s it. What we DO in solidarity is all that counts. How people with privilege listen to what marginalized groups ask of them and do that is all that counts.

Claiming “ally” as an identity and then using it to shield oneself from the criticism of those one says they’re an “ally” to is the opposite of solidarity.

Someone putting “ally” in their bio is a really easy way to let me know that they are, in fact, a cookie-seeker and, #sorrynotsorry, but I don’t bake.

So, there you go. Three important differences between real solidarity and ally theater that we can use to sort out the riff raff. Because, y’all: the riff raff desperately needs sorting out.

And if you’re a white and/or straight and/or cis and/or abled, etc. person trying to be in solidarity with oppressed people: before you jump up to perform “allyship” ask yourself, “is what I’m about to say or do in any way beneficial to the person I’m about to say or do it to? If so, how?”

If you can’t come up with a good answer, it’s likely just ally theater. Please back away from the stage."
miamckenzie  2016  allies  allyship  race  racism  solidarity  identity  activism  allytheater  performance 
july 2016 by robertogreco
On Making Black Lives Matter: The Way Forward from Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Alva Braziel
"Last week, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and St. Paul, Minnesota. Five police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas and seven others were injured. And then, on Saturday, Alva Braziel was shot and killed by police in Houston, Texas. To bear witness to so much senseless violence, so much senseless death, is unbearable.

On social media, people are grieving and hurting and raging. On the streets of cities across America, people are protesting. They're saying, "Enough." In Baton Rouge, the police force has become a small army, replete with SWAT teams and officers in full riot gear. There is a new iconic image reflecting these turbulent times: Ieshia Evans, a young black woman in a flowing summer dress facing a militant line of Baton Rouge police officers.

Against the backdrop of a contentious election cycle, it is easy to feel like the world is coming apart, like the world is coming to an end. It is easy to feel unsafe, helpless, hopeless. I am feeling all of these things while also trying to resist such defeat. I am trying to recognize that the world is not coming to an end, the world is changing.

I was talking to my mom on Friday, when things seemed especially hopeless. She asked, "Why should I have to wake up every day and address God about the safety of my life?" She told me about how she and my dad had talked to my brothers, my nephew, reminding them, reminding all of us to be careful when we're out in the world. She told my nephew to keep his wallet out, in the center console, so it is visible and easily reached if he's pulled over by the police. As we spoke, I thought about my own obsessive ritual when I get in my car—making sure I have my license, registration, current proof of insurance—because if pulled over for Driving While Black, I cannot afford any missteps. They might cost me my life.

This is no way to live, this is not freedom, always holding your breath, always feeling like a target, always worrying about the men and women you love, hoping they won't run into a police officer who cannot control his fear.

As is often the case during times of social upheaval, most of us are wondering how we can productively contribute to positive change when change feels impossible. There are no easy answers. For white people, being an ally to the black community is often framed as a way forward. Allyship is a nice idea, certainly. It's a way for people to say and demonstrate that they care and (want to) help even if they cannot fully understand the lived experiences of marginalized people.

But in the wake of last week's violence and unrest, I've seen what often happens during difficult times—people who consider themselves allies, well-meaning people, to be clear, ask what they can do to help. They ask for guidance, as if black people, in this instance, have the solution to the ongoing problem of systemic racism, as if we have access to a secret trove of wisdom for overcoming oppression.

I've seen allies share their laments in a way that focuses on their emotional needs. I've seen them demanding the emotional labor of people who have nothing left to give.

The problem with allyship is that good intentions are not enough. Allyship offers a safe haven from harsh realities and the dirty work of creating change. It offers a comfortable distance that can be terribly unproductive.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2015, upon the release of his book Between the World and Me. When I asked him about allies, he said, "I think one has to even abandon the phrase 'ally' and understand that you are not helping someone in a particular struggle; the fight is yours." I mulled his words over for weeks because they were so pointed and powerful. Those words began to inform the ways in which I try to support other marginalized people—making their fights my own because that's the only way forward.

Black people do not need allies. We need people to stand up and take on the problems borne of oppression as their own, without remove or distance. We need people to do this even if they cannot fully understand what it's like to be oppressed for their race or ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion, or other marker of identity. We need people to use common sense to figure out how to participate in social justice.

Don't tell us about your racist uncle or grandfather or sister or cousin. Don't try to unburden yourself of guilt that isn't yours to carry. Actively listen when marginalized people tell you about their oppression—don't offer your pity (which only helps you) and don't apologize. Listen and do your best to understand what it feels like to live with oppression as a constant. Speak up when you hear people making racist jokes. Speak up when you see injustice in action. Inform yourself about your local law enforcement and how they treat people of color. Vote. Take a stand instead of waiting for absolution from people of color. We don't have that kind of time. We're fighting for our lives."
roxanegy  2016  race  racism  allies  allyship  blacklivesmatter  ta-nehisicoates  oppression 
july 2016 by robertogreco
bell hooks: Buddhism, the Beats and Loving Blackness - The New York Times
"G.Y.: Absolutely. You’ve talked about how theory can function as a place of healing. Can you say more about that?

b.h.: I always start with children. Most children are amazing critical thinkers before we silence them. I think that theory is essentially a way to make sense of the world; as a gifted child growing up in a dysfunctional family where giftedness was not appreciated, what held me above water was the idea of thinking through, “Why are Mom and Dad the way they are?” And those are questions that are at the heart of critical thinking. And that’s why I think critical thinking and theory can be such a source of healing. It moves us forward. And, of course, I don’t know about other thinkers and writers, but I have the good fortune every day of my life to have somebody contacting me, either on the streets or by mail, telling me about how my work has changed their life, how it has enabled them to go forward. And what greater gift to be had as a thinker-theorist, than that?"



"G.Y.: Is there a connection between teaching as a space of healing and your understanding of love?

b.h.: Well, I believe whole-heartedly that the only way out of domination is love, and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love, and that includes teaching. I don’t do a lot of teaching these days. I am semi-retired. Because, like any act of love, it takes a lot of your energy."



"G.Y.: You’ve conceptualized love as the opposite of estrangement. Can you say something about that?

b.h.: When we engage love as action, you can’t act without connecting. I often think of that phrase, only connect. In terms of white supremacy right now for instance, the police stopped me a few weeks ago here in Berea, because I was doing something wrong. I initially felt fear, and I was thinking about the fact that in all of my 60-some years of my life in this country, I have never felt afraid of policemen before, but I feel afraid now. He was just total sweetness. And yet I thought, what a horrible change in our society that that level of estrangement has taken place that was not there before.

I know that the essential experience of black men and women has always been different, but from the time I was a girl to now, I never thought the police were my enemy. Yet, what black woman witnessing the incredible abuse of Sandra Bland can’t shake in her boots if she’s being stopped by the police? When I was watching that video, I was amazed the police didn’t shoot her on the spot! White supremacist white people are crazy.

I used to talk about patriarchy as a mental illness of disordered desire, but white supremacy is equally a serious and profound mental illness, and it leads people to do completely and utterly insane things. I think one of the things that is going on in our society is the normalization of mental illness, and the normalization of white supremacy, and the evocation and the spreading of this is part of that mental illness. So remember that we are a culture in crisis. Our crisis is as much a spiritual crisis as it is a political crisis, and that’s why Martin Luther King, Jr. was so profoundly prescient in describing how the work of love would be necessary to have a transformative impact.

G.Y.: And of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t find an important place in your work for rage, as in your book “Killing Rage”?

b.h.: Oh, absolutely. The first time that I got to be with Thich Nhat Hanh, I had just been longing to meet him. I was like, I’m going to meet this incredibly holy man. On the day that I was going to him, every step of the way I felt that I was encountering some kind of racism or sexism. When I got to him, the first thing out of my mouth was, “I am so angry!” And he, of course, Mr. Calm himself, Mr. Peace, said, “Well, you know, hold on to your anger, and use it as compost for your garden.” And I thought, “Yes, yes, I can do that!” I tell that story to people all the time. I was telling him about the struggles I was having with my male partner at the time and he said, “It is O.K. to say I want to kill you, but then you need to step back from that, and remember what brought you to this person in the first place.” And I think that if we think of anger as compost, we think of it as energy that can be recycled in the direction of our good. It is an empowering force. If we don’t think about it that way, it becomes a debilitating and destructive force.

G.Y.: Since you mentioned Sandra Bland, and there are so many other cases that we can mention, how can we use the trauma that black people are experiencing, or reconfigure that trauma into compost? How can black people do that? What does that look like therapeutically, or collectively?

b.h.: We have to be willing to be truthful. And to be truthful, we have to say, the problem that black people face, the trauma of white supremacy in our lives, is not limited to police brutality. That’s just one aspect. I often say that the issue for young black males is the street. If you only have the streets, you encounter violence on all sides: black on black violence, the violence of addiction, and the violence of police brutality. So the question is why at this stage of our history, with so many wealthy black people, and so many gifted black people, how do we provide a place other than the streets for black males? And it is so gendered, because the street, in an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, is male, especially when it is dark. There is so much feeling of being lost that it is beyond the trauma of racism. It is the trauma of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, because poverty has become infinitely more violent than it ever was when I was a girl. You lived next door to very poor black people, but who had very joyful lives. That’s not the poverty of today.

G.Y.: How is the poverty of today different?

b.h.: Let’s face it, one of the things white people gave us when they gave us integration was full access to the tormenting reality of desire, and the expectation of constant consumption. So part of the difference of poverty today is this sort of world of fantasy — fantasizing that you’ll win the lottery, fantasizing that money will come. I always cling to Lorraine Hansberry’s mama saying in “A in Raisin in the Sun,” “Since when did money become life?” I think that with the poverty of my growing up that I lived with and among, we were always made to feel like money is not what life is all about. That’s the total difference for everyone living right now, because most people in our culture believe money is everything. That is the big tie, the connecting tie to black, white, Hispanic, native people, Asian people — the greed and the materialism that we all invest in and share.

G.Y.: When you make that claim, I can see some readers saying that bell is pathologizing black spaces.

b.h.: As I said, we have normalized mental illness in this society. So it’s not the pathologizing of black spaces; it’s saying that the majority of cultural spaces in our society are infused with pathology. That’s why it’s so hard to get out of it, because it has become the culture that is being fed to us every day. None of us can escape it unless we do so by conscious living and conscious loving, and that’s become harder for everybody. I don’t have a problem stating the fact that trauma creates wounds, and most of our wounds are not healed as African-Americans. We’re not really different in that way from all the others who are wounded. Let’s face it — wounded white people frequently can cover up their wounds, because they have greater access to material power.

I find it fascinating that every day you go to the supermarket, and you look at the people, and you look at us, and you look at all of this media that is parading the sorrows and the mental illnesses of the white rich in our society. And it’s like everybody just skips over that. Nobody would raise the question, “why don’t we pathologize the rich?” We actually believe that they suffer mental illness, and that they deserve healing. The issue for us as black people is that very few people feel that we deserve healing. Which is why we have very few systems that promote healing in our lives. The primary system that ever promoted healing in black people is the church, and we see what is going on in most churches today. They’ve become an extension of that material greed.

G.Y.: As you shared being stopped by police, I thought of your book “Black Looks: Race and Representation,” where you describe whiteness as a site of terror. Has that changed for you?

b.h.: I don’t think that has changed for most black people. That particular essay, “Representations of Whiteness in the Black Imagination,” talks about whiteness, the black imagination, and how many of us live in fear of whiteness. And I emphasize the story about the policeman because for many of us that fear of whiteness has intensified. I think that white people, for the most part, never think about black people wanting to be in black only spaces, because we do not feel safe.

In my last book, “Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice,” I really wanted to raise and problematize the question: Where do we feel safe as black people? I definitely return to the home as a place of spiritual possibility, home as a holy place.

I bought my current house from a conservative white male capitalist who lives across the street from me, and I’m so happy in my little home. I tell people, when I open the doors of my house it’s like these arms come out, and they’re just embracing me. I think that is part of our radical resistance to the culture of domination. I know that I’m not who he imagined in this little house. He imagined a nice white family with two kids, and I think on some level it was very hard for … [more]
bellhooks  2015  georgeyancy  buddhism  christianity  spirituality  religion  race  class  patriarchy  racism  classism  mentalillness  money  greed  mentalhealth  society  capitalism  consumerism  materialism  domination  power  gender  feminism  idenity  listening  love  humor  martinlutherkingjr  cornelwest  allies  influence  homes  intellectualism  theory  practice  criticalthinking  pedagogy  writing  children  unschooling  deschooling  teaching  howweteach  oedagogy  solitude  workinginpublic  publicintellectuals  narcissism  healing  malcolmx  blackness  whitesupremacy  abandonment  betrayal  anger  masculinity  markmcleodbethune  resistance  safety  whiteness  terror  wealth  imperialism  inequality  pathology  poverty  truth  truthfulness  sandrabland  thichnhathanh  activism  estrangement  everyday  humanism  humanization  humility  grace  change  changemaking  transformation  canon  empowerment  composting  desire  lotteries  lorrainehansberry  araisininthesun  culture  trauma  sorrow  leadership  psychology  self-determination  slow  small  beatpoets  jackkerouac  garysnyder  beatpoetry  ethics 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Chris Brecheen - Being an ally is a lot like being a fan...
"Being an ally is a lot like being a fan of a sports team. You’re there to support them, you spend money on their merchandise, you identify yourself as such so that your team feels the love and the world knows you're there, you cheer for them, you tell others about them, you gush about why your team rocks to anyone interested in sports (and maybe a few who aren't), and you jump in if someone's talking trash about your team or your sport. You bring a megaphone and a big foam #1 glove, and maybe if you're good at what you do, you lead the bleachers in a cheer or two and get a few seconds on the JumboTron.

But you're not part of the team. You don’t get your name on the roster. You don't hang out in the locker room. You don't sit in on the strategy sessions. And if someone from the team is doing a press conference, you fucking sit down and give them the microphone."

[via: https://twitter.com/LeslieMac/status/578259470863708160/photo/1 ]
allies  race  racism  sexism  activism  sports  analogies  support  howto  chrisbrecheen  2015 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Julie Pagano - Diversity for Sale
"When it comes to diversity in tech, things are changing. As with almost every other subject, people are ready to “disrupt”… and turn a profit."



"The (not so optional) Second Shift

One of the ways that companies “profit” off diversity is leveraging free labor to support the diversity efforts that promote their company. Diversity is important, but not valuable enough to compensate many of the people needed to make it happen.

This work often falls on “diverse” employees. They are frequently asked to volunteer for outreach with students to help the pipeline, recruiting for hiring, and general diversity events to show how much the company cares. This work becomes a second shift, something they have to do on top of their regular job. Issues like stereotype threat and unconscious bias often mean that people from marginalized groups already work harder to see the same (or less) progress in their careers. It all adds up to a lot of extra work for people to manage. They don’t have to volunteer, but they “probably should” if they care about diversity.

Organizations don’t just ask their own employees. I have heard of numerous cases of people being asked to help with diversity consulting for free or some menial compensation like free lunch. One of the top tech companies once asked me to come give a talk for their women in tech group and let them record it to help future employees for the low low price of free lunch and a tour. Many code schools rely on free labor from mentors to keep their programs running.

Some of the second shift work is less blatant. If you are a member of an underrepresented group, you are often expected to be the very model of a modern minority techworker. People will ask you about diversity at the company you work at, and you will feel obligated to speak positively about it. You become walking, talking marketing material. Criticism of their diversity efforts and stories about negative experiences run a risk, so most don’t speak up… there’s a reason this piece is written anonymously.

Now that diversity in tech is a commodity, everyone wants in. They can profit off it, use it for exposure, or even turn it into a redemption story. The most privileged people in tech are now leveraging the stories of marginalized people for their own benefit. Sometimes this comes at the expense of the very people they claim they are helping."



"Many of the examples I cite throughout this piece are about women despite the many other underrepresented groups in the tech industry. Much of the “diversity” being commoditized is nearly as homogenous as the industry itself. So many of these efforts focus on women, and while it is not explicitly stated, mostly middle-to-upper class, straight, white, cis, able-bodied women.

It’s easy to focus on that group. They’re the low hanging fruit. They have access to technology. They go to the “good” universities. They’ve been primed by Lean In, and they’ll work twice as hard for less pay. Companies can blame motherhood when they leave, and then start all over again by pushing more of them into the pipeline.

These women suffer from being commoditized, but many also profit off it. The poster child for this is Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In. She has created an entire empire around her self-help book that purports to provide advice for all women, but is mostly applicable to well-off, heterosexual, white women who aspire to motherhood and leadership roles.

It is unpleasant to be tokenized and profited off of, but at least it opens some doors. You may be a minority, but there are likely enough of you to form groups in your workplace or community. There are dozens of organizations targeting your needs and advocating for you. If you want to start your own women in tech group, you won’t have trouble finding support and press. Many other people are not so lucky.

Black and Hispanic programmers find it difficult to find jobs and are often paid less if they do find them. Often, there is nobody else like them in their workplaces, maybe even not in their professional communities. There are very few organizations to support them. Some people will have their identities erased entirely by being thrown into an “other” category, or by efforts which completely ignore the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and other sites of oppression. When people from these groups ask for more attention or criticize the homogenous nature of many “diversity in tech” initiatives, they will often be dismissed as difficult or divisive.

When diversity is seen as something to profit off of, the people and organizations who see it that way benefit the most. The “easy” underrepresented groups get a mix of help and exploitation. Meanwhile, the most marginalized people, who would benefit the most from support, tend to be left out in the cold to fend for themselves."
technology  diversity  gender  race  juliepagano  2015  allies  siliconvalley 
february 2015 by robertogreco
I don’t know what to do, you guys | Fredrik deBoer
[See also the notes in this bookmark, which reference this article at one point: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:13419c858fc0 ]

"So, to state the obvious: Jon Chait is a jerk who somehow manages to be both condescending and wounded in his piece on political correctness. He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. That’s true.

Here are some things that are also true.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19 year old white woman — smart, well-meaning, passionate — literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word “disabled.” Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20 year old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn’t a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20 year olds from rural South Carolina aren’t born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33 year old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22 year old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to “man up” and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don’t know how metaphorical language works or else we’re bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself.

These things aren’t hypothetical. This isn’t some thought experiment. This is where I live, where I have lived. These and many, many more depressing stories of good people pushed out and marginalized in left-wing circles because they didn’t use the proper set of social and class signals to satisfy the world of intersectional politics. So you’ll forgive me when I roll my eyes at the army of media liberals, stuffed into their narrow enclaves, responding to Chait by insisting that there is no problem here and that anyone who says there is should be considered the enemy.

By the way: in these incidents, and dozens and dozens of more like it, which I have witnessed as a 30-hour-a-week antiwar activist for three years and as a blogger for the last seven and as a grad student for the past six, the culprits overwhelmingly were not women of color. That’s always how this conversation goes down: if you say, hey, we appear to have a real problem with how we talk to other people, we are losing potential allies left and right, then the response is always “stop lecturing women of color.” But these codes aren’t enforced by women of color, in the overwhelming majority of the time. They’re enforced by the children of privilege. I know. I live here. I am on campus. I have been in the activist meetings and the lefty coffee houses. My perspective goes beyond the same 200 people who write the entire Cool Kid Progressive Media.

Amanda Taub says political correctness “doesn’t exist.” To which I can only ask, how would you know? I don’t understand where she gets that certainty. Is Traub under the impression that the Vox offices represents the breadth of left-wing culture? I read dozens of tweets and hot take after hot take, insisting that there’s no problem here, and it’s coming overwhelmingly from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Well, listen, you guys: I don’t know what to do. I am out of ideas. I am willing to listen to suggestions. What do I do, when I see so many good, impressionable young people run screaming from left-wing politics because they are excoriated the first second they step mildly out of line? Megan Garber, you have any suggestions for me, when I meet some 20 year old who got caught in a Twitter storm and determined that she never wanted to set foot in that culture again? I’m all ears. If I’m not allowed to ever say, hey, you know, there’s more productive, more inclusive ways to argue here, then I don’t know what the fuck I am supposed to do or say. Hey, Alex Pareene. I get it. You can write this kind of piece in your sleep. You will always find work writing pieces like that. It’s easy and it’s fun and you can tell jokes and those same 200 media jerks will give you a thousand pats on the back for it. Do you have any advice for me, here, on campus? Do you know what I’m supposed to say to some shellshocked 19 year old from Terra Haute who, I’m very sorry to say, hasn’t had a decade to absorb bell hooks? Can you maybe do me a favor, and instead of writing a piece designed to get you yet-more retweets from Weird Twitter, tell me how to reach these potential allies when I know that they’re going to get burned terribly for just being typical clumsy kids? Since you’re telling me that if I say a word against people who go nuclear at the slightest provocation, I’m just one of the Jon Chaits, please inform me how I can act as an educator and an ally and a friend. Because I am out of fucking ideas.

I know, writing these words, exactly how this will go down. I know Weird Twitter will hoot and the same pack of self-absorbed media liberals will herp de derp about it. I know I’ll get read the intersectionality riot act, even though everyone I’m criticizing here is white, educated, and privileged. I know nobody will bother to say, boy, maybe I don’t actually understand the entire world of left-wing politics because I went to Sarah Lawrence. I know that. But Christ, I wish people would think outside of their social circle for 5 minutes.

Jon Chait is an asshole. He’s wrong. I don’t want these kids to be more like Jon Chait. I sure as hell don’t want them to be less left-wing. I want them to be more left-wing. I want a left that can win, and there’s no way I can have that when the actually-existing left sheds potential allies at an impossible rate. But the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism. And I’m left as this sad old 33 year old teacher who no longer has the slightest fucking idea what to say to the many brilliant, passionate young people whose only crime is not already being perfect."

[also posted here: http://qz.com/335941/im-fed-up-with-political-correctness-and-the-idea-that-everyone-should-already-be-perfect/ ]
freddiedeboer  politics  politicalcorrectness  discourse  2015  culture  pc  jonathanchait  liberalism  liberals  amandataub  megangarber  alexpareene  left  patriarchy  marginaalization  weirdtwitter  gender  race  ableism  racism  sexism  homophobia  inclusion  exclusion  intersectionalpolitics  progressivism  debate  discussion  prohibition  allies  kindness  empathy  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Expressions of Solidarity | willowbl00
"I wonder if, what Scott means, in this whole storm recently, is actually:
“Your struggle is my struggle. While I had a really rough time growing up, it must have been just as hard for people like me, and even harder for those facing structural oppression. I want to fight these systems with you. When you say I’m ‘privileged,’ I feel like my experience is being discounted and it makes it difficult for me to be in solidarity with you.”

I feel like this is what Laurie is asking for. I know it’s what I would ask for."
willowbrugh  lauriepenny  scottaaronson  2014  privilege  solidarity  allies  oppression  feminism  racism  race  gender 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Ferguson: White Bodies Bearing Witness » Cyborgology
"The mobile phone camera has become an embedded tool of protest. It has given rise to the citizen journalist and is a key mechanism by which surveillance is countered with sousveillance. In a New Media & Society article earlier this year, Kari Andén-Papadopoulos names this phenomena citizen-camera witnessing. This is a ritual through which bodies in space authenticate their presence while proliferating images and truths that contest with the stories told by The State. The citizen camera-witness is not merely witnessing, but bearing witness, insisting upon articulating, through image, atrocities that seem unspeakable. Indeed, as W.J.T. Mitchell compellingly claims: Today’s wars and political conflicts are to an unparalleled extent being fought on behalf of, against and by means of radically different images of possible futures.

The failure to indict Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown and the protests that continue to follow, set the stage for drastically different futures. The way we tell this story will guide which future is most plausible, most logical, and most likely.

The key image makers include State representatives, mainstream media, Darren Wilson supporters, and those protesting against the Grand Jury decision. These voices vie for space in the construction of the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson story. The story told by those in the first two categories is largely one of violence and mayhem at the hands of an unruly crowd. The story told by Wilson supporters is similar, but with a clear reverse-racism twinge. The story of those in the last category is one of systemic oppression, a story in which black bodies—especially black male bodies—are in persistent danger of physical harm, inflicted by those charged with public protection.

I stand with this last category, and am committed to promulgating their version of the story. But in watching this story and in spreading it, I’m struck by the method of its telling. In particular, the citizen-camera witnesses not only point their camera phones at the crowds, at the police, and at the built environment, but also point the camera at themselves. They don’t merely imply their presence through video footage, but explicitly locate themselves—their own bodies—at the heart of the story.

I want to make the case for citizen-camera witnesses to be thoughtful in their use of this videographic tactic. In particular, I call for these witnesses to consider their own bodies, and what it means to have particular kinds of bodies within the imagescape. I argue that the role of protestors with white bodies, those antiracists who stand in solidarity, should be one of quiet support. White voices and faces already overpopulate public discourse. Absolutely turn your camera outward on injustice. Always do this. But think carefully before turning the camera on yourself.

The war for possible futures, fought in images, has far reaching consequences; for some, those consequences are literally life and death. The stakes are highest for those with bodies of color. These are the bodies in danger. These are the bodies that should be at the center of the story."
photography  videography  testimony  witness  bearingwitness  2014  jennydavis  citizenship  protest  ferguson  video  photographs  discourse  voice  cooption  ethics  solidarity  allies  listening  support  howto 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Allies, Friends, and the Value of Utopian Visions | tressiemc
"I am fortunate to claim economist Sandy Darity as a friend and mentor. I asked him once, after a barn burner of an academic lecture on reparations, why in God’s name would he go all in on something that doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of ever happening. “That’s what they once said about abolishing slavery,” he said.

I shut up.

And, I got to thinking.

For about six years now, I’ve been thinking about what it means to go all in on the improbable.

Ta-Nehisi Coates reintroduced the subject of reparations to public debate recently. I’m no Coates or Darity but I’ve been around just long enough to know how these debates are often truncated and misconstrued by the well-meaning and nefarious alike. I saw it happening in the responses. I jotted off a thing about how education is the exact wrong prescription for cumulative denial and violent extraction of capital from black lives. The Washington Post ran that thing. I stand by it.

I stand by it knowing that tomorrow I will read the latest scholarship and policy on education and access and inequality and I will do my damn job. I will see us moving the same ball and I will do my job. I will even, most days, enjoy my job. I will read supposedly sober critiques from disciplined conservatives that pull every slight of hand to look serious while avoiding taking any real stance. I will ignore the emails, social media taunts and thinly-veiled threats.

I will do it knowing that no one is about to go all in on reparations legislation this week or even this lifetime.

This is how these things work. Until they don’t.

Sometimes, all of the Times that have mattered actually, a conversation will meet a moment will meet a movement. And, our collective social evolution relies on the zealots who took a stand from time to time.

I’m not saying I’ll be one of them. But I am saying I won’t stand in their way.

Can we say that for our allies? The ones who are fine with reparations in theory but cannot go so far as to deal with its practical application for living victims of apartheid. They, the ones who are happy to talk about slavery given the comfort of space, time, and probability statistics but go silent when reminded that there are living victims of Jim Crow or new victims being made in places like New Orleans as we speak? Can we say the same for friends of equality who cannot imagine justice for people “like you” in an alternate reality even when the stakes are so very low? I mean, if its so ridiculous, so improbable this idea of reparations why can so few allies and friends and progressives and liberals be bothered to even venture utopian futures where black folks have something akin to justice?

It is not unlike creative geniuses who, with the power of CGI and a billion dollars, can imagine green extraterrestrials and shimmering vampires but not black people.

Anyway, I wrote a thing about reparations. I know it won’t matter but that is why I wrote it.

In the meantime, I’m headed to New England to bump up against some bright brains as I work on the here and now of inequality regimes, social media, digital geographies and credentials. It’s my job. I like it.

You can catch me at the Berkman Center in July and mostly here on the blog as I hand a book over to my publisher, usher some pubs through brutal revise and resubmits, and dream of allies and friends."
conversation  utopia  tressiemcmillancottom  small  multiplicities  multiplicity  2014  allies  writing  whywewrite  thinking  probability  improbability 
june 2014 by robertogreco
What happens in the dark?
"Things like this happen when you give a book to a group of people, a set of potential allies, ahead of time—when you give them just that, time: to read it, to love it, to make it their own and share it with people of their own. It takes patience (never my strong suit) but the reward is real: a group of allies larger and more far-flung than any you yourself could ever assemble.

I use the word far-flung with some precision. Right now, publishers beyond these borders are taking the book and truly making it their own, translating it into Italian, German… Please allow the following series of exclamation marks to represent the magnitude of my delight: !!!!!

It’s like the planning before a surprise party. You: bring the balloons. You: buy some noisemakers. You: translate the message on the cake into Italian. And you: watch the door. We’re all in on this now. The room is dark and the book is glowing. It’s almost October, and there are footsteps in the hall.

Soon, the lights will come on."
teamwork  patience  sharing  publishing  robinsloan  allies  collaboration  books  mrpenumbra  2012 
august 2012 by robertogreco

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