7 Jul 17:29
3 years ago
♥ 61 notes



A look at race, gentrification, and local queers in The Bay.

wrote a post on this and then accidentally deleted it - hope to write more in a while

in the mean time, do read this essay if you have the time and energy to do so; it’s a really on-point critique of how fucked the social practice of queer migration to the SF bay - and a lot of rad queer culture and activism in that area in general - can be around race, gentrification, what counts as visibly queer or looking non-normative, and more

eta: and obvs similar dynamics happen in a lot of places, including here in atlanta which is a weird hub of rad queer kids tending to move in and out with a really quick turn around, like it’s a practice city where queers train for a while before going on to SF or NYC or portland

(cities which, significantly, also have way way more access to certain types of government and non-profit resources than we do, so this is not at all just about the pursuit of cool, and the overlaps in motivation can be complex)

n.b.: i think it’s pretty likely that i’ll move to the NYC area at some point

A lot of really important commentary and work being done around this topic. Everyone should read the essay over at http://www.thebayisnotanisland.blogspot.com/

22 Jun 20:54
3 years ago
♥ 665 notes

Trans* Racism, Queer Racism



I would like to call out my fellow white trans* and genderqueer folks on some serious racism and cultural appropriation I see within the trans*/GQ spaces we dominate. This racism carries extra weight when we are educating cis folks on what language to use when referring to trans* people(s).

First: the term “Two Spirit” belongs to First Nation/Native American/indigenous people. Period. White trans* folks should not use it for ourselves nor should we be telling white cis people what it means without explaining who can (and can’t) use it. (Note: Saying “I’m kind of like a Two Spirit person” or “I would like to use that term for myself since I think it’s really beautiful, oh but I won’t” still counts as appropriating that term.)

Second: your birth/government name is not the same thing as a slave name. I was recently in a closed, mostly white trans space when someone made this comparison. Specifically he was suggesting it as a great, snarky come-back for anyone to use when cis people ask “So what’s your ‘real’ name?” General rule: if you want to talk about an overlap between your oppression and someone else’s whose oppression you don’t share, you should speak from your personal experience of privilege, not your assumptions about their experience of that oppression.

Lastly, and these ones apply to all white queers: 

1. Don’t write-off the term “men who have sex with men” as being the same thing as gay men. Gay was named for/by white men and lots of MSM of color don’t use that term for themselves, for various and diverse reasons.
2. No, your experience of being in the closet in white middle-class America is not the same thing as the experience of being DL in a community of color — and no, that’s not because “people of color are more homophobic than white people.” Again: speak from and about your privilege, not for and about someone else’s oppression.

Quoted from here (and whoa, for once, I actually recommend reading the comments).

(via teapower)

A Few Good Reasons Why White People Should Not Wear “Mohawks” or Dreadlocks:

Created by Qwo-Li Driskill and Colin Kennedy Donovan for Planting Seeds Community Awareness Project. www.pscap.org,

The struggle against racism is more than just not saying racist comments or knowing that the United States was built by slave labor. It is also a struggle to recognize and understand the ways racism/white supremacy are woven into every aspect of life. One of the ways racism plays out which is often ignored or not seen by white people is through appropriation, “the act of taking or making use of without authority or right.” Appropriation ignores the lives and struggles of oppressed communities, and instead takes what is seen as interesting, useful or beautiful, disregarding our cultures and lives. In the US and other countries, appropriation is part long histories of racism and genocide. Colonial governments and peoples appropriated the homelands of First Nations/Native people. Europeans appropriated the bodies and labor of African peoples during slavery. While our bodies, homelands and labor continue to be appropriated, so do our cultural symbols/lifeways. The New Age movement, for example, appropriates (and twists) the spiritual practices of First Nations, Asian, African and other cultures. Among progressive/radical white people, the problem of appropriation continues to damage communities of color. Mohawks and dreadlocks worn by non-Native/non-African people is one form of appropriation that often goes unnoticed and unchallenged and is often misunderstood. Healing the legacy and current reality of racism and colonization means looking closely at the ways we perpetuate these forms of violence. It means, in part, letting go of cultural symbols that have been appropriated from people of color/non-white people and instead looking deeply at the complex ‘issues that surround race and racism.

But, I’m not trying to appropriate anything. I just appreciate other cultures. Isn’t that okay?

Appreciating other cultures does not mean you need to appropriate any aspect of them. A true appreciation of other cultures means fighting against the forces trying to destroy them, not taking them on as your own.

It’s just a Mohawk. I don’t think of it as a Native thing.

And therein lies the problem.

But, I wear my hair this way as a statement against oppressive cultures and governments. How is that racist?

You can take a stand against oppression and dominate cultures without appropriating the cultures of the people being hurt by them. Appropriation actually enforces oppression, it does not stand against it. Appropriation is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

This is a free country. Can’t I do whatever I want?

This country has never been free for people of color/non-white people. Certainly, you can choose wear your hair however you want. Historically, however, people of color have not been able to make that choice. For instance, in the US and Canada Native children were forced to cut their hair and wear it like white people’s in “boarding” or residential” schools created to destroy First Nations’ cultures. Slavery was an act of owning humans. Enslaved people had no legal right to do anything with their bodies. Their bodies were private property. When white people wear “Mohawks” or dreadlocks it twists those hairstyles into symbols of privilege rather than symbols or survival and resistance.


I often see a lot of people in the radical queer/trans/gender variant movements wearing these types of hairstyles. It’s important that we take this into consideration and educate our comrades and allies in these movements to do the same thing as well.

29 Oct 3:51
3 years ago
♥ 22 notes

# dadt


CHOI: And we all do not think that when we join the military we’re just going to kill people of color. I certainly did not think that as a person of color. And as my mom is an orphan of the war, she certainly told me that your job in the military is not to create havoc, but it is to…

29 Oct 3:45
3 years ago
♥ 6 notes


“Hard on the heels of my discussion about liberal sexism, I think it’s time to talk about hipster racism. I’m borrowing the term “hipster racism” from Carmen Van Kerckhove over at Racialicious, because it really is a perfect word to describe the phenomenon, and I note that other people are using the term as well. Hipster racism is a pretty pernicious problem, and it seems to be growing.

What is hipster racism?

Hipster racism involves making derogatory comments with a racial basis in an attempt to seem witty and above it all. Specifically, the idea is to sound ironic, as in “I’m allowed to say this because of course I’m not racist, so it’s funny.” It’s an aspect of a larger part of the hipster culture, which wants to seem jaded and urbane and oh-so-witty. Using language which is viewed as inflammatory or not appropriate is supposed to push the boundaries and make someone look edgy, but it only really comes across that way to people who buy into that system. To everyone else, it’s just racist.

The thing about using racist content in an “ironic” context is that it still perpetuates racist ideas, and it is, in fact, racist. While people may ardently claim that they are not racist, the people who engage in hipster racism are overwhelmingly white and middle class, and they clearly have some unaddressed racial issues which are being subverted in their attempts to be edgy. Sometimes, they are actually explicitly racist, and they are using hipster racism as a way of presenting their racism in a way which will be acceptable within their social groups.

Hipster racism often hides under the unassailable guise of satire. People who suggest that something is racist, and not actually funny, are told that they obviously just don’t get it, and that the whole point of humour is to push boundaries. They are told that the racism is so obvious and overstated that it’s meant to be laughed at, and that people are laughing at the racism and the racists, not supporting the ideas which are supposedly being mocked. But, oddly enough, a lot of racist satire doesn’t read that way, and it ends up just being racist, full stop.

Much as people seem to think that having gay friends makes it ok to make homophobic comments, or that having female friends makes it ok to be sexist, hipster racists often draw upon their anti-racist credentials such as “having black friends,” “dated an Asian girl once,” or “really liking Mexican food” to fight accusations of racism. If they even bother fighting the accusations, that is, because most live in an insular world where they will not be challenged.

The other favourite hipster defense is, of course, to claim that people are being “too politically correct” or “too sensitive.” This is supposed to be a pithy insult which indicates that the person pointing out offensive behavior is too uptight, and not really part of the freewheeling hipster movement, but in fact, it’s just silencing. Saying that people deserve to be treated like human beings and that discourse should be respectful has nothing to do with being too sensitive, and everything to do with genuinely believing that people should be treated equally.

The very hipster lifestyle is, in some ways, racist, and definitely not very introspective when it comes to race. Hipsters are a driving force behind gentrification, driving out low income people and people of colour. They consistently co-opt and appropriate elements of other cultures, piecemeal, and often without any cultural sensitivity or respect. They regularly draw upon the work and legacy of people of colour, usually without crediting them, and most of their contact with people of colour comes in the form of the service personnel serving them their food, cleaning their wine bars, and picking their organic produce.

As hipster racism has become more widespread, it’s also crept into more general society. Racist content appears in films and television shows, disguised as “satire,” it’s on the cover of major magazines, it’s in the pages of respectable newspapers. While explicit racism is viewed as socially unacceptable, racism disguised as irony or satire is evidently perfectly acceptable, especially if it comes from middle class white people with trust funds. Indeed, I recently read a New York Times article in which the author suggested that people feel “relieved” when they are no longer “harassed by prevailing cultural sensitivities,” because apparently the idea of treating people with dignity or confronting your own racism is a burden.

I think that this concept is also pretty closely tied in with liberal sexism, because the core defense of practitioners of liberal sexism and hipster racism is “but I don’t really feel this way, therefore it’s funny/acceptable.”

But, guess what? It’s not.

16 July, 2009 – 10:34 am
By s.e. smith”
—This Ain’t Livin

26 Oct 20:28
3 years ago
♥ 85 notes



Based on my rantings here and on the Gawker blogs some people might get the idea that I don’t care for White people or spend much time around them. On the contrary, the vast majority of my friends for the vast majority of my life have been White. Most of my closest friends still are.

In fact, that is a huge part of the reason for all the ranting. People of color are confronted constantly by a multitude of tiny racist infractions committed not by Tea Partiers or rednecks in pointy hats, but by their closest friends and family members.

White folks: there are some things that your colored friends can’t or won’t say to your face out of love/shame/hurt/embarassment/fear of reprisal etc. But sometimes you need to be told. Listen up.  


Many POC are warned, sometimes explicitly, sometimes not, by relatives and friends that it’s all well and good to have white friends but to watch out because they could turn on you. Now does this mean that all white people would do this? No, of course not. I’ve seen plenty of white folks in the recent discussion that were great anti-racist allies. Does this mean that white folks and POC can’t be friends? Again: No, of course not but what it does mean is that white friends who don’t understand race and all it’s implications may hurt you deeply, consciously or unconsciously. It’s not about a friend you’ve hung out with for years one day turning on you and yelling a racial epithet or trying to beat you up or anything of that nature. No, it’s about the smaller things. As my friend and housemate Jackie put it “People can die by a thousand cuts.” and it’s much more painful that way

It’s about silence when someone says something racist when we’re in a group, leaving me to stand alone and isolated as the sole “overly-emotional” POC if I choose to bring it up. *cut*

It’s about the “Well, he didn’t mean it that way” that shows me that someone else’s comfort means so much more to you than my hurt. *cut*

It’s about taking the easy road and implying that I’m overly emotional and dismissing any point I may have rather than insult you’re other (read:white) friends. *cut*

It’s about the disbelieving stares of instant denial when I talk about something racist that happened to me that day. *cut*

It’s about patronizing or staring at me like I’m lying or crazy when I name an interaction we just had as problematic. *cut*

It’s about not backing me up when I publicly discuss race but emailing me privately to voice your support. *cut*

It’s about knowing that I cannot discuss something with you that affects my life everyday for fear that you’ll ignore what I say or divert the conversation making the pain worse. *cut*

It’s about wading into a discussion on race, saying something stupid being hurt when people call you on it and then flouncing off in a huff thereby making a good segment of the conversation about you and your pain. *cut*

It’s about you, having spoken out against other oppressions now using your privilege to attempt to silence me or other POC. *cut*

It’s about you accepting the pats on the shoulder and comfort for your pain while I get anger and hate spewed at me for mine. *cut*

It’s about having this conversation over and over again and feeling like nothing changes and no one learns anything. *cut*

via Words From The Center, Words From The Edge Cut #999

Bolded because this sums up my Friday night. These cuts end friendships.

(thanks so-treu/janedoe225