Fannish insanity and social justice rage, all in one helpful place! eleanor_lavish on LJ and AO3, if you're wondering why all this seems eerily familiar...
I need white people to stop pretending consent was possible during slavery.
Stop lying to yourselves that those black cousins are the result of illicit love affairs & grasp that slaves could not say no.
When consent is not an option, when you’re only seen as 3/5ths of a human being & you have no legal standing? You can’t say yes.
I need white America to sit down for a sec. Look into the faces of black Americans with the same last names & figure it the fuck out.
Our ancestors were raped by your ancestors. Regularly. Some of the kids were treated kindly. Most were not. They were sold.
White mistresses punished the slaves for “tempting” master & congratulated themselves on that bloody work. Read the narratives.
Not the cleaned up ones either. Read Incidents in The Life of A Slave Girl & understand that Mammy was a victim, not the one who loved you.
She couldn’t care for her kids, couldn’t choose her husband or their father most of the time. She was a slave.
Millions of people died on the Middle Passage. Millions more died here at the hands of your ancestors. Own that.
Now you want to sing Kumbaya & keep oppressing our communities & erasing our contributions. Spare me the tired bullshit.
Male slaves fared no better. There’s a long history of them being raped, tortured & killed too. That was slavery. Stop romanticizing it.
Our children were fed to alligators as bait (feel free to look that up) died of starvation or exposure & that was slavery too. Yep, we were livestock & you use sickly livestock as bait.
Stop watching Gone With The Wind & fantasizing about beautiful plantations if you can’t accept what happened on those plantations.
House slaves had it better in the sense of access to food & possibly better treatment, but they were still slaves.
14 year old slave girls weren’t falling in love with the men who could beat them & everyone they loved to death.
Read the tales of enslaved women who killed their children to spare them. Read about people beaten to death as an example.
Sally Hemings could have left Jefferson in Paris. Of course her entire family was still in his power. And his “love”? Didn’t free her. Ever.
Go look at the pictures of former slaves backs. Whipped until they bled & left to scar so they were maimed for life & couldn’t run.
Also before you talk about the cleaned up narratives, remember that the people relating their stories knew lynching was always possible.
Records of slavery were deliberately destroyed so that former owners wouldn’t have to pay anyone.
That “peculiar institution” was generations of blood, pain, & terror. That’s what built America. Never forget that.
Now stop talking about anyone’s white ancestors like they deserve the fucking credit for the success of people descended from slaves.
American slavery began in 1619. June 19, 1865 was the last official day of slavery. Do the math on how long it takes to heal that wound.
After slavery was officially over? Black codes & Jim Crow laws followed. America’s history of oppression is longer than that of freedom.
Also before any d*mb motherfuckers land in my mentions. I have a degree in history. I will read you to filth & bury you in sources.
Trust & believe there is no country here for people who want to romanticize a system that is still grinding away at my community.
All this fluffy fucking talk about American history to coddle white kids feelings & engender patriotism? You won’t get it here.
My ancestors built this country, I served this country & I will tell the damned truth about this country. Don’t like it? Fuck you.
Now let me get in my feelings about slavery before Africans were brought here. Because we weren’t the first people enslaved.
We were deliberately sought out for our skill sets & resistance to disease. Know why we were resistant? We’d had contact for years.
All of that “My ancestors never owned slaves so it has nothing to do with me?” Go look at those NDN ancestors again. See how many were free.
While you’re in there checking that out? Look up those old country ancestors & see how many benefited from slavery indirectly.
Also while we’re talking about NDN relatives? Yo, learn a name besides Cherokee. Better yet, learn about the genocidal tactics they faced.
Look up immigrant groups becoming white in America. Find out who had to bleed so they could gain access to white privilege.
Let’s really talk about the Red Summer of 1919 & how it wasn’t an unusual occurrence. Tulsa, Rosewood? They were just famous.
Let’s talk about welfare & who could access it. Hell let’s talk about who is collecting more of it right now.
Let’s talk about the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action (spoiler! White women!) & what it means to attack black people instead.
Shit, let’s get into the Great Depression & the Great Recession & who is hurting the most financially through both.
Let’s talk about conditions on reservations, in the inner city, & the violence faced by POC who try to leave those areas.
Hell, let’s talk about why we don’t see shows that reflect the American population set in the past, present, or future.
Go read Columbus’ diaries & see what “civilization” really meant to the people he encountered.
For that matter go read up on King Leopold & the Congo. I’ll wait while you cry.
That’s the thing about whiteness as a social construct in America. It’s not about white people, it’s about white power over others.
When we’re talking about white privilege? We’re talking about what it takes to shape this society based on oppression.
America is a young country with a lot of power because of genocide, slavery, & continuing oppression. Individuals build institutions.
All of these conversations aren’t about bringing out white guilt, they’re about ending this institution developed over the generations.
Also let’s be clear that America is sick with this ish across the political spectrum. It may manifest differently but it exists everywhere.
Before I go, let me also suggest that people who are curious about anything I tweeted about take a tour through Google with terms.
It’s not that I won’t answer questions, but there are books out there that I think everyone should read on slavery, whiteness, & America.
broooer replied to your post: things i want from a wizarding movie set in 1920’s…I am desperately sitting here going “latino wizards give me south american wizards of all sorts”
yeah seriously tell us how wizardry’s done in the new world tell me how the wizards from france and spain and britain stamped out the brujos and the medicine men and set up their own schools tell me what the fuck the british raj did to fucking india because the patel twins are going to school in scotland and what are they told about their history, tell me about native american kids learning to say wingardium leviosa with hate in their hearts and tell me about wizarding rabbis bickering about whether you can use potions on the sabbath tell me about the slaves on their ships with their wands broken, mouthing curses in the dark tell me about the runaways that made it with garter snakes wrapped around their wrists that told them when they tasted dogs in the distance, tell me about the underground railroad and abolitionists with unbreakable vows and home-spun invisibility cloaks and disilusionments, using obliviate, using imperio, knowing that they served a higher justice, tell me about what happened to black wizards in the fifties, about what gates they were storming in the sixties tell me about queer wizards taking love potions every morning in their coffee to stay married to their husbands and their wives because what else could they do?
the world only begins and ends with straight white christians if you don’t bother looking any farther than that and too many people don’t and i am tired, tired, tired
President Barack Obama, in a surprise appearance at today’s White House press briefing, delivering remarks without notes.
(Please note, this is not a partisan post or blog; I’m not taking any position on the President’s words, which I heard only minutes ago and haven’t even fully processed; this is that rare occasion where I’m just passing along something I find newsworthy without editorializing.)
President Obama made four major suggestions in his remarks, beyond the protests and vigils, in the aftermath of this tragedy:
(Long rambling about rape culture below. Because I’m a lady on the internet, so that’s, like, my job, right?)
This essay is really compelling to me because it touches on something that I spend a lot of time thinking about. In our oh-so-charming rape culture, there is no woman I know who hasn’t likely felt scared by a man alone in an elevator late at night, regardless of ANY of his characteristics beyond “appearing male.” It’s the result of being taught that being raped is a problem of not being safe enough, that our words/actions could cause an attack, that we could do something to deserve it (like, you know, be in an elevator while being a woman). And it’s a result of the simple fact that 1 in 4 women are raped and not only by obviously scary rapist dudes in obviously unsafe locations. I read this story and despite the description of how safe a building Questlove describes, I wouldn’t even blink if someone used the same setting to tell another story about how a tenant raped another tenant inside their superlux apartment. Rapists live in hard-to-get-into condos too.
Now, is it possible that, consciously or not, the woman in that elevator, or any woman, is disproportionately scared of Questlove because he’s Black and our society, along with all the rape culture bullshit, is also institutionally racist and teaches us to see Black men as violent? Absolutely. And that’s not okay because it’s not true and Black men are not any more likely to rape a woman in an elevator than any other man (I haven’t done any research but I feel comfortable with this assumption). So I see his point and I see that it feels hurtful. I sympathize with him. But, I still can’t help but empathize with that woman.
I walk home at night alone a lot. Most nights. Often pretty late. And because of all the aforementioned stuff, I spend most of those walks monitoring the people around me, waiting for someone to catcall or tell me to smile or say something that might even be charming if I weren’t so anxious (a la Questlove’s “flirting”), or worse. I usually cross the street if I’m about to walk near a man walking alone and I’ve even gone into a vestibule other than my own to wait for a guy behind me to pass my apartment. If you’re not a woman, ask a woman you know & she’ll confirm this is not just a me thing- it’s pretty universal. So I’m walking home, and I live in a relatively diverse neighborhood for this town, and every time I cross the street because I see a man alone coming towards me and he happens to be Black, I start thinking about this question. I’ve probably made someone feel the way Questlove feels in his story- like he ain’t shit because there was no danger and I just crossed the street because I felt unsafe because of something about him. And I always want to somehow explain that it’s not about him, or what he looks like, or something he did; it’s just about not feeling safe, ever.
So this essay is sticking in my brain for reasons unrelated to what it’s trying to say and why it’s being posted everywhere. Questlove is very eloquently trying to explain what it’s like to be a Black man in a racist society, one that specifically paints Black men as a threat. But he uses an example that I can’t help but see as part of what it means to be a woman in a rape culture that says women are responsible for preventing assaults on their body. And I understand his larger point and I sympathize, but I can’t get past the circumstance of the specific example. Not because it’s that the way the woman felt, the way I so often feel, is worse than how he felt. But because it’s easiest to identify with the person closest to you in a given story, I guess. And because I don’t know how to solve for x here given the variables we have- without racism then I could just argue that in our culture men need to understand that women never feel safe and they all, including Questlove, need to behave accordingly; without rape culture, I could assume that lady was being kinda racist, stay with the point of the piece and feel like Questlove deserves better. But with both, with what we actually have in the real world, we’re all just stuck there in that elevator, no simple solution, everyone feeling like crap.
i don’t ever want to criticize what women do to feel safe in rape culture, but statistics about white vs black incarceration, historical hysteria from white men about black men being with white women, and knowledge about intersectionality means that for me as a white woman, i tend to assume i’m more likely to be safe alone in an elevator with a black man than a white one, precisely because his male privilege intersects with his racialized experience. any white man knows he’d get away with attacking me, given the statistical probabilities that i’d report him/that it would be followed by charges/that he’d then be convicted. i figure most black men would never make the assumption that they’d get away with it as easily as a white man, because he knows he’s already likely to end up in jail for no real reason and that culture constructs him as violent and as especially dangerous to white woman, so as a white woman i can’t imagine assuming i’d be worth the risk of exercising his considerably reduced male privilege. maybe the black man with me in the elevator with is actually a rapist, but he’s probably smart enough to know when to act and when not to, and everything i know about rapists says they act when they think they’ll get away with it. schrodinger’s rapist is a great way to explain the problem of living in a rape culture, but i think it’s worth remembering that not all men experience their male privilege the same way.
Man, all of this commentary is aces, and I still don’t know how I feel about Quest’s article, but this is a lot of it. Privilege and power and race and rape culture and fear and frustration are all rolled up into a sticky mess in that elevator, and untangling it might be impossible, but I like that we all want to TRY.