— Laurie Penny (April 2012)
— Laurie Penny (April 2012)
Many of my friends have been asking me what Idle No More is about: where to begin, what’s happening, why now, what’s next, etc. Although I’m well versed in many of the issues Idle No More addresses, have studied post-colonial theory, and have even covered some of the resistance to colonialism (in Caledonia/Six Nations, Grassy Narrows, and Sharbot Lake) - this feels like an overwhelming question. Partly because… well, it is an overwhelming question. Idle No More is a complicated movement because it is tackling a messy, tangled history - the history of colonialism, and the many incarnations of resistance to it.
That said, I’ve been consuming content voraciously, so here’s the best of what i’ve come across.
reblog and add your favourite analysis/resources!
by A.D Song and Mia McKenzie
White people who are confronted with their white privilege and the white supremacist acts they perpetuate have been known to cry, “You’re being a reverse-racist!” That is completely true: people of color have the power and control to create, perpetuate, and maintain brutal systematic reverse-racism that oppresses white people every day. As such, we have created this handy list on how to continue this oppression.
1. Enslave their bodies.
Ship them from Germany, Sweden, and other exotic countries. Force them to build entire cities, roads, bridges. Force them to plant and harvest all the food everyone eats. Let an entire economic system be built on their backs, with their blood and sweat. Later, deny them access to the system they have been used to build, and accuse them of being extremely lazy.
2. Steal their land.
If they were here before you, steal their land. This is essential. Basically, just go in there and take it. If you have to kill some of them to get it…no worries. If you have to kill almost all of them to get it…shit, no worries. After you steal their land, make sure you create laws to keep them from ever returning to it. If they try to return anyway, build fences, and let bands of POC vigilantes patrol the borders with guns. If they somehow get past the borders and into your country, no worries, you can always just deport them.
3. Enslave their minds.
From these systems, build a long lasting institution of reverse-racism until all the violence and microaggressions make many white people into suspicious people with a lot of internalized self-hatred, health problems, and mental illnesses. Then deny them access to adequate mental health care. Or, adequate health care of any kind, while you’re at it. Cause, you know, fuck ‘em.
4. Wipe out and/or appropriate their customs.
Since many of their customs are savage and unworthy of preserving, wipe out their traditions of eating mashed potatoes and meatloaf, playing miniature golf, buying khakis at Banana Republic, and sleeping with thousand-count Egyptian cotton sheets. For the customs you think are kinda cool, culturally appropriate from them. Sometimes wear a beret and lederhosen, because Swedish culture is really exotic even though it’s inferior to ours.
5. Break their espresso machines.
With baseball bats or large hammers. Or, you know, just unplug them all.
6. Call them “cracker”.
As people of color, we have been rightfully accused of being racist to white people, especially when we call them “cracker”. As we all know, calling them “cracker” is egregiously offensive and horribly shocking because of this long, violent, reverse-racist history.
7. Just keep being terrible to them.
Do everything you can think of to make it so that white people make less money; their children are shot by cops; white women are at higher risk for assault and they are exotified until they no longer seem human; white men are beaten and thrown into jails because they look “suspicious” and “threatening”; they are racially profiled everywhere they go.
8. Make sure most representations of them in the media are negative.
They should almost always be portrayed as pasty, stringy-haired, rhythm-less, sexless, uptight, and booooring. Also, there should be very few representations of them and when they’re portrayed at all, they should always only be the comic relief, the silent exotic sex object, the Debbie Downer, or the incompetent sidekick. They are only allowed to be easily forgettable, one-dimensional character. Sometimes use POC actors in white-face to portray these white people. By presenting this ONE image of them all the time, you will be able to convince the rest of the population that all white people are like this, thus ensuring a widespread belief in their inferiority.
9. Keep telling them how beautiful they are not.
White people know they will never be beautiful with their boring sour cream complexions and blonde hair (that was actually caused because of mutations). Plaster people of color on every magazine, show them in every television show and movie, and praise them as the most beautiful. When white people cry at these injustices, bottle their tears and sell them as health creams for people of color. Nothing like a soothing lotion made from the pain of white folks!
10. Finally, force them underground to become even whiter, albino people while you laugh manically like the cruel, bloodthirsty, oppressive person of color you are. Take their thousand-count Egyptian cotton sheets to make POC-supremacist flags and hoods and march through the streets, spreading fear and terror. Every time a white person thinks your behavior is unfair or wrong, tell them that they should stop being so sensitive. We live in a post-reverse-racial society now. Jeez.
*Digging this blog? Support it and queer, trans*, and gender-non-conforming writers of color! We need you! Please go HERE!!
A.D Song was voted “most likely to be a bitter old cat queen who capitalizes on punching people in the face”. They is a glitter, floral, black pleather-wearing androgyne who experiences repeated hair woes. Ze are really into vegan food, DIY, glitter, combat boots. She is not interested in your racist, anti-trans*/anti-queer, transmisogynistic, white supremacist ideas; He is a highly allergic & will bite your head off. Fear the yellow peril.
Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She just finished a novel and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.
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oh hey. guess what? for probably the fourth time since i’ve been on tumblr, i unfollowed a slew of tumblrs that mostly reblog pretty recycled skinny white models fashion shit. i end up clicking the follow button after seeing something right up my alley, with proper credit and beautiful photography or clothing. but at some point something in me snaps. i’m on my dashboard, click next page, scroll past, but can’t help but feel like perhaps my body should look more like the bodies in those photographs. that my body should be different, smaller, shorter, so i could wear the pretty dresses they wear. that i wish i were richer, that i had a sugar daddy, that i had the kind of fantasy life which somehow simultaneously allows my body to magically be straight-sized and have designers knocking down my door begging me to drape their sequined couture on me.
now, i’m not linking to the tumblrs i unfollowed because it’s not a criticism of them, or what they choose to post. it’s more about what to do as someone who is critical, who challenges a lot of the drivel served to us by the status quo, but still happens to love creative makeup, fantastic designer clothes, runway catwalks, and creative fashion photographers. in short: a feminist who loves fashion, but has a whole lot of issues with capital F Fashion.
i post a lot of that kind of thing here, too, but often struggle with it… i struggle because it feels like the same kind of representation you see everywhere, all the time, constantly. i came across that photo of aubrey plaza i just posted (which i love!) when i followed this link about the top twenty five under twenty five by elle magazine. after clicking through 6 profiles, i felt so frustrated and angry.
when each person is profiled, half of them are referred to not as their job, but as their relationship to men. meghan fox, “teen-boy-movie staple.” bar rafaeli, “leonardo di caprio’s on again off again.” janelle monae, “singer, diddy protege.” mila kunis, “actress, male obsession.” not to mention their definition of activist is dangerously close to carefree white girl territory, lauding lauren bush and isabel lucas (being a pretty rich white girl born to the right family). i know the writer/magazine is probably intending to be tongue-in-cheek and sly about some of these, but it’s really kind of shocking how pervasive it is to see in a magazine geared towards women’s fashion…
and it gets better. i don’t know if it’s because of how the magazine phrased the question, but under the header “to do before age 30” almost every single woman profiled responds something about marriage or babies, or both. even if it’s “marriage, i don’t care about. but i want two kids.” like model bar rafaeli it’s still so focused around what these young women’s relationships to men are. it leads me to believe the actual question must have been something more like, “do you think you’ll get married and have kids by 30?” as opposed to, “what are your goals before age 30?”
maybe it’s because i’ve just turned twenty six and am thinking a lot about how i’ve long left the term “girl” behind and have been focusing a lot on my career goals, but for some reason this whole profile just made me feel like shit. even though i like some of those profiled, i hate the way it’s presented…
we criticize women who are career driven, yet we give them no peers to look up to and admire. when women are asked about their goals and futures, whether they be writers, actresses, musicians, artists, we always frame it around relationships (to men) and whether or not they’ll have babies. and if they do get married and have families, we ask them how they balance or juggle having a career and a personal life. we so very rarely ask the same of men. i can’t help but wonder if the same profile of “elle’s top 25 men who are 25” we would hardly have any reference to marriage or babies.
grah. i’m just getting this out to get this out but i’m constantly struggling to find a balance between my desire to consume fashion, to look at and admire beautiful dresses, without falling into a pit of body hate despair, of exhaustion of seeing the exact same kind of girl and woman idolized over and over and over. where is the space to laud and celebrate the kind of people who really shake things up, but don’t happen to fit into cookie cutter celebrity world?
for some strange reason i deluded myself into thinking that that’s what fashion blogs might offer as an alternative but these days i feel worse perusing those than i did reading thrifted copies of vogue and elle.
they feel like little, mostly insignificant struggles for the most part but i do think they have some impact on the bigger picture at the end of the day… if that’s the only way we talk about women it’s going to lead to shitty perception. if we think the only value women have is in their appearance and whose arm they are draped off of then that’s what a lot of girls are going to aspire to.
i’m definitely still not in a place where i can write about my experience at the g20, even a year later. i can’t even re-read what i wrote about it at the time. but all weekend i kept on hearing reports and remembering things i’ve spent the past 12 months trying to make sense of.
but one thing i just want to put out there: yes, it is incredibly important to recognize the injustices committed on the day of the g20 in toronto last year. yes, i support calls for a public inquiry. yes, i think the government/police should be held accountable for their rampant disrespect of basic human rights and their acts of violence. but most importantly, i think they need to be held accountable not only for the injustices committed on the streets of toronto in the few days around the g20, but the injustices committed every single day. how come, a year later, we are hearing the sensationalist stories of “innocent bystanders” who were subjected to police brutality, but hardly a word is being said about why people were out in the streets protesting in the first place?
harsha walia wrote this on june 29th, 2010:
While I think it is important to highlight the inhumanity and violence of our detentions, it is critical to remember that humiliation and dehumanization is the purpose of the prison-industrial complex. I was personally not expecting a better ‘experience’ than the horrific one I did have given the inherent nature of the police state. For those ‘innocent bystanders” (who were explicit about not being protestors), this is an opportunity to be made aware that the horrors they experienced at the hands of the police or while in detention are not unique moments in Toronto or Canadian history. We run the risk of exceptionalizing this moment, at the expense of normalizing the daily violence of police and prisons and the criminal (in)justice system for Indigenous communities, people of colour, low income neighborhoods, street-involved youth, and trans people.
unfortunately, i think she is right. that is exactly what is happening. we’re centering the stories of “innocent” bystanders who also happen to be (generally speaking) privileged white people who were just in “the wrong place at the wrong time” instead of taking the time to talk about why a police state is harmful to all people, whether it be at a massive protest movement for human rights in the country’s largest city, or on a daily basis all across canada. there’s a lot more to say and unpack, that’s all i can really formulate for now…