Decolonize your identity
How “Reverse Racism” rhetoric adds to my oppression

My experiences on putting myself more out there during my time of recovery, has been extremely difficult. I received such a lash from white people who felt the need to counsel me on how to be better heard, as if marketing has anything to do with resistance, sheesh. They felt I needed to change my approach on the issues I was calling out in spaces I shared with other white folks. Issues that revolved around my struggles and the struggles of others around race, class, gender and ability.

This reinforcement in policing the tone and voices of people of color, is highly problematic! This reinforces historical colonial power structures of privilege and visibility. Structures which continue to privilege white folks whenever the topic of race comes up, yet dismisses the tensions and built up stress of being unheard; that of people of color. Our emotional reactionary positions in struggle is considered irrational or that we somehow self inflict our own silence by not being come. Basically, if our needs aren’t being meant, its because we can’t control ourselves or our anger. Its our own fault we aren’t heard.

This idea that the way we articulate and tone our responses to criticism and shutdown rhetoric, in order to be heard and be granted validation, is completely ridiculous. We are told to keep our emotions in check and tht in order to help white people better digest our experiences/frustrations is complete bullshit. We aren’t allowed to express anger within the context of a white power structure? Racism is a system of subordination and we only reinforce, propagate and preserve these by silencing people of color.

It is a constant drainage for people of color to play this submissive role to these white capitalist power structures, especially for queer/trans folks of color, indigenous peoples, womyn of color, and all those forced out into the margins of a capitalist/gentrifucked world where our anger, comes from a place of daily struggle and labor drainage. I have decided this, I am not letting white people into my safe space of healing anymore. I work with white people, live with them, but sharing intimate struggles is something I have to start taking a more conscious action of, I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DO THIS!

I hate revisiting the same argument over and over again with white folks who claim to be anti-racist and anti-capitalist that say white privilege and the discourse of critical race theory is racist. Ugh! Really grrl?

I am not going to explain over and over again to people that you can’t be racist to white people. That requires for me to constantly open myself up to anxiety, having all my work of self education be dismissed, and have my experiences with institutional racism, racial profiling and living with a single mom of color being harrassed by police completely shutdown, the emotions behind it be completely ignored, and put me in a shitty “I’m all alone in this” mood.

This constant challenge from white people, the dominance they have in space to mob me, the visibility they have to share this “reverse racist” rhetoric as valid, really pisses me off. People of color are too scared to even acknowledge this because being mobbed by white people is a pretty real thing. “No your wrong, racism is only preserved cuz you keep talking about it”, or “oh no, here comes the race card again”. My narrations around racism and white privilege are often called negative or racist. -_-

The dominant narratives around white people’s anger around these type of situations are given as valid, while people of colors anger is seen as irrational, emotionally driven therefore holding no credibility, and automatically given the “crazy black woman trope”. Pretty similar to the “angry feminist. manhating” trope. These tropes easily spotable in tv and pop culture to help preserve that challenging racism or sexism can go “too far”.

White people can’t experience racism when racism is historically a colonial built system, privileging even lower class white people. Ignoring this, is ahistorical and promotes colorblind politics, overlooking the work of people of color where we have created solutions through literature and academic work within a social constructionist framework of study.

Our constant struggles with socioeconomic systems that grant white people access to resources and discredits the inherently racial struggles of our ancestors is never heard, never taken seriously enough, and almost always dismissed and trivialized.

When white folks claim racism applies to them, they ignore that racism was built upon a white power structure and within a western imperialist growth context. Economic capitalist systems are beneficial to this social construction of race which was built to help the colonized world develop a labor system in which they could avoid the hard labor of industrial growth. Prosperity came at a high price for us, low price for them.

By continuing to not listen, you derail from our recovery and healing. Your being the asshole, not us. Learn to be loving and compassionate, get over your feelings of defensiveness, its counter productive.

It’s apparent we can’t share spaces of healing with white folks and we must create our own spaces to properly heal and find empowerment in our voices and anger. If you aren’t able to listen, step back, allow us to heal in the way we need to heal, allow for us to take action the way we must, then you are not our allies.

First Blog in Months: A Reality check about class Struggle

So much of queer/race/trans/gender class struggle discourse focuses on working class/middle class struggles. Truth is that most folks of color are too occupied dealing with struggles with poverty, homelessness, mental health, state violence and police terror. Living on the streets and dealing with bureaucracy to get housing and basic need resources take up all my energy. I don’t usually have time to write down a blog, make a zine, buy vegan friendly/organic products etc like so many of the queer/trans folks of color who part of the gentrification of our neighborhoods and policing poor folks of color on fighting the system with conscious consumption. I live in a environmentally racist community where there is no real grocery stores. The only things around here is liquor stores and drugs. I recently moved into the tenderloin after couch surfing, increased meth use, and struggling to find some permanent housing and this idea to get these communities healthy while ignoring racism, classism and the oppression of capitalism is not a right route for solutions. This is what class struggle is. I am not going to be writing that much today but I do have some writings in preparation. So just be patient, I will try to finish my next blog very soon. 

NEXT BLOG: Racism, Class Struggle, and Transitional Housing

thewanderingbard:

I tried to explain this to my sister the other day, and she is so deep in white privilege that she can’t see out of the tunnel. I told her that it’s impossible to be racist against white people, and she called me a liar.

Pro-tip: Racism is a social construct devised by those in power to oppress…

barricadeponine:

you can’t be racist against white people

  • you can’t be racist against white people
  • YOU CAN’t BE RACIST AGAINST WHITE PEOPLE
  1. YOU CAN’T
  2. BE RACIST
  3. AGAINST
  4. WHITE
  5. PEOPLE

you can’t be racist against white people

occupygezipics:

This protester in Gazi, Istanbul sends a message of solidarity to #direnankara from behind the barricades. Gazi is in dire situation tonight with reports of multiple wounded demonstrators. There is no coverage, no media and no live social streams coming in from Gazi.

occupygezipics:

This protester in Gazi, Istanbul sends a message of solidarity to #direnankara from behind the barricades. Gazi is in dire situation tonight with reports of multiple wounded demonstrators. There is no coverage, no media and no live social streams coming in from Gazi.

Hegemony: Applying the “Trickle Down Theory” to the way we talk about race, class struggle and gender

Sometimes it is just too painful to listen to my co-workers conversations. They can be mean, bigoted and completely oblivious to the ways in which they perpetuate and propagate oppression. Some of these people I have heard talking like this can be a person of color, a womyn of color, and/or be from a poor/working class background. Why do we talk down on others who may have gone through what we have gone through? Or come from communities with struggles we are familiar with?

Some of these people are from similar backgrounds who will talk down on the people from their communities. “I think women should be drug tested to obtain food stamps. They abuse the system. I don’t even understand why they have so many damn kids in the first place.” It makes me so upset that people talk down on others who are in the same communities they are in, but where does it come structure of dialogue root from? 

We know that hegemony is a certain structure, or political ideology in which propagate the needs of the elite ruling class, but how does hegemony produce itself? I have talked before about how pedagogy creates a white washed reproduction of systems of inequality. This happens in the way we learn about history, how education is framed to reproduce jobs and career goals, and how our capitalist economy is reinforced through education. What about all other conventional knowledge that is obtained from everyday conversations? 

This is where “trickling down” comes in. We know that the trickle down theory is a way for neo-liberal economics to legitimize “tax breaks” for big business’s so that they can “prosper” and “trickle down”  that prosperity by creating job opportunities and better economic situations for working class/poor people. Of course this form of capitalist economics doesn’t do shit or work at all to solve economic issues.However, what about the “trickling down” of dialogue structures? 

Constructed opinions and talking points meant to reinforce and protect the needs of the ruling class can be demonstrated to the example above. Discrediting welfare services so that government spending can be directed elsewhere, like towards catering to the needs of the ruling class through military spending and prison industrial growth, is a pretty damn good reason to make single moms of color look unfit or undeserving of having access to financial resources/financial assistance. This is the “trickle down” phenomena and how we retrieve consent from the american people to be against poor working class people of color, working class struggling single moms of color, etc. 

Dialogues on race, class and gender are inherently privileged. I have experienced this. Those who are from an underprivileged standpoint have experienced this in their frustratingly responsive demands for economic justice. Those who have had their need for economic justice dismissed due to class privilege, cis-gender privilege, white privilege, able body privilege, male privilege,etc, have experienced this. I know that I have even experienced this on a academic level where white privileged folks discredit arguments that point out economic and racial inequality. 

So many times my demand for privilege consciousness has resulted in some individual retaliating and isolating me as the “asshole” in the conversation. Language and dialogue is inherently privileged, trickling down to preserve power, in order to shift away sympathy or empathy on the struggles of poor people, and to give validation and credibility to the rhetoric of the ruling class. I have experienced this from my own community. This inherited way of creating discourse on these issues are meant to separate people within’ the same communities. It is meant to be a barrier for creating solidarity.  

Let us be conscious of the way people talk around us. Lets not discredit those who choose to challenge those that have dialogues that harbor racism, classism and cissexism. Lets not discredit those who get upset of how people talk about class, race and gender in hierarchical and oppressive ways. Lets all try to put in a little more practice in challenging others. The only way to break down structured inequality can only start in the way we talk about things. 

Legacy of Bigotry: Institutionalizing attitudes towards drugs

Getting arrested for being high in a motel, walking around talking to myself, um that was traumatizing. I actually thought i was in the middle of resistance towards institutionalized repression of speech. I was walking around looking for Angela Davis and the guards were chasing me because I thought for some reason that someone else was trying to be silenced for calling out white privilege… okay. This is hard to explain, but that is how fucked up i was on meth.

So they take me into the back where I am sitting there with a cop, and I kept try to explain to them that I was being chased by the security for speaking out against oppression. The cop smelt me once and asked, “have you been high on meth?” I was so scared to lie when he could obviously smell me. So now I am being arrested and what do I do? I start crying. You would fuckin cry too! Don’t lie. They fuckin handcuff you, those shit hurt. And sitting in the back of the police car handcuffed felt like I was fuckin dehumanized.

The whole ride to the police station i was sobbing in the back of the car ranting about how fucked up it is that police arrest people who were emotionally and mentally impaired. I think I actually got to him, there was a few times I think he felt bad for me. He better have felt fuckin bad. Pig. I don’t care if he started feeling sympathetic, he needs to throw down his badge and fight in the resistance before I can give any cop validation.

I mean, why the fuck else do people use drugs? Because life is shit! I mean of course drugs are used for recreational reasoning’s as well, feeling good is a part of the human condition. But drugs also can remedy the emotional stress and oppression that is caused by bills, stress and overwhelming inherited situations. Its a forced position that people are put into because their bodies, their minds have been subordinated by the system. Sure mental health impairments range in all socioeconomic class status’s but why is it that poor communities, especially those of color, are the ones punished for it? 

When I get to the police station, I am made to stand against a wall…  facing the damn wall. I am so nervous, then they take me to get checked in, I guess that is what it was… i was so damn high. They check my blood pressure and everything. The girl who checks me in lets me know my blood pressure is too high and that i need to drink lots of water to try it and bring it down. I told her that it may be because I had anxiety and was feeling nervous. “Why you so nervous?” she asks me. What the fuck? Seriously? Why else am I nervous? Ugh! So they have to hook me up to an IV and hospitalize me making me spend my jail time in the hospital, handcuffed to the bed. So they put me in an ambulance and there I go! Shit it was ridiculous. 

I get to the hospital and only receive an enormous amount of negative attention and attitudes from the nurses. Probably for the reason I was in there for. “Sir, do you realize you could die?” or “Sir, do you know what will happen to your body if you keep doing this to yourself?” They just kept asking me all these stupid questions to “get me to realize I was making bad life choices”. Ugh! They did not want to put me in a robe and most of the nurses did not want to go near me. When my mom gets there, she starts getting so upset with the nurses for leaving me in my street clothes. The nurses reply was, “he is old of enough to dress himself ma’am.” Seriously? I was so high I couldn’t move and I was having hallucinations, I couldn’t put on a damn robe either with an iv and things on my chest. 

Its really disturbing how much shame is institutionalized towards drug users who are dealing with a real struggle. Its fuckin bullshit that the shift in accountability leaves from the economy, the oppressive nature of our system and the stress it manifests, and this shift is on to the individual. It is an overwhelmingly damaging system in which marginalized people’s mental health is so trivialized in the way this is handled. There is no legitimacy in the way drug “abuse” is handled. 

It only gets worse for the people who are dealing with this when communication is completely cut off by these institutionalized attitude’s. They produce this construct of dialoguing about drugs in which shaming the individual is the first reaction when someone tries to discuss with friends, family, coworkers, etc.

I used it, I had no idea what meth was. I always equated it with marijuana in fact. That is how ignorant I was to how damaging it could become when I tried it. So I used it and I already was having tons of sex because it was my way of validating my body when I felt people had no desire for it. I grew up chunky and socially marginalized. I was the loner kid with glasses who ate lunch by himself because I had no idea how to talk to people. So naturally, other gay people at my school really didn’t find me attractive or maybe I just was so insecure I didn’t know they liked me. 

So sex became an addiction you might say. It eventually led to me using and I liked it. I liked how I felt. I felt aroused and turned on. It is hard to explain but it made me feel needed by the people who were using the drug with me (this is called party’n’play in the gay community). Point is, I used, I liked it, and its completely embedded in our culture, in our communities, and yet I am the one holded accountable in all of this.

That is what being real about drug use is about. People fuckin like drugs. It helps them to get past emotional bullshit. I began to use more and longer once I realized that when i stopped using, the reality of the “consequences” (my family asking why i was gone so long, coming down and looking like shit, etc.), would come rushing back, along with my emotions. The longest I used was 5 days without sleeping, no eating, nonstop high. I knew if I stopped, I would have to realize what I have done. Meth helped me to not care, to shut down those feelings and emotions. 

Soon I started to go to work, looking like a fucking tweaker. Its so fucking shitty to go to work, have people look at you like they are wondering what is happening to you (going to work looking shitty, being absent so many days of work, looking like you lost a ton of weight, etc). Not only are you doing this shit with no space where you can freely talk about this without being shamed, judged or policed, you have to keep this part of your life a secret. Well its no wonder that so many people who are struggling with drugs don’t tell their coworkers, their family and their friends. They have to worry about losing their job, their family, their life! You don’t fuckin create a space to communicate this shit, don’t expect us to tell you about it. Then people cry about why we lied to them?

This is a way of reproducing these institutional attitudes and how we legitimize mass incarceration. Painting a fake reality that we have resources available to get clean or something. Its bullshit, creating rhetoric that drug users have every opportunity to deal with their drug “problem” and can fix it before it becomes chronic. 

Best part yet, is when people who tweak talk shit about other people in the community who also tweak as “sketchy” or as people who will steal from you. What I mean by that is even if they know how much meth fucks with your health and prioritization on survival (getting shit because you need it), they ignore it and produce hierarchical ways of perceiving their fellow tweakers. Let me try to explain this better, its like you are going through shit that you don’t understand. You don’t understand why you can’t stop using. You can’t understand why you would take your sisters car to get high. You don’t understand why you need it so much. And yet the people you tweak with you hope can validate the altered behavior you have been conducting, all of a suddent make you feel like shit. Because they respond negatively about your behavior. “Dude, just stop using then?” Like its that simple. You are using too and can’t stop but since you can manage your behavior better or maybe you just don’t want to admit you do “tweaky” shit when your high, you create an indifference to someone else’s behavior.

Its amazing how much institutional attitudes trickle down to the “tweaker community”. Shaming people who can’t control their “addiction”. Saying, “don’t tweak with that guy, he acts sketchy when i tweak with him and acts hella paranoid”. We are so consumed by these narrow, institutionalized attitudes we start harboring oppressive and hierarchical critical perceptions. People who do the same thing when they tweak, they call out someone who is just as sketchy as they are, or maybe more so. Its a form of ableism or able bodied privilege. Some people handle drugs differently, it affects their mind differently. Because someone else’s body handles the drug without altering their behavior so much, they assume that the other person “can’t handle themselves or just uses too much. 

Its as if the trickling of these institutionalized attitudes have left behind a legacy. A legacy of bigotry. A legacy of racism. A institutionalized imprint as I have heard Angela Davis say in an interview once. The imprint of slavery. The imprint of racism. Thinking about how the War on Drugs has progressed from fear of the “dangerous class” to the point in redesigning oppression to look like its keeping our streets clean. But everything has a connection in how we see, perceive, and react to drug use. All of the attitudes presented here in this blog is a trickling down of years of marketed fear and misunderstanding of drug use. Its a legacy of bigotry. A legacy of colonization. 

NOTE:
I realize that I did not talk about my hiv status in this blog but will talk about it in future blogs. When using meth during sex with other gay men, its called “party and Play”. Code word for men looking for other men to have sex with while doing drugs. This interaction and the way people hide their hiv status will be something I will discuss in future blogs. 

First let me say this is a great post! I am curious though, about whether or not you are all surprised. It sounds like you feel that gay white men should know better? They may be gay but they are white. I would assume that being white and that privilege that goes along with it has not ceased to be their master status just because they are gay. Sadly being marginalized does make people any more understanding or cognizant of marginalization.

I am not surprised but more trying to take a humble approach, a plea i suppose to wake their ass up. I suppose I don’t need them to create spaces and that as QPOC we can pretty much do that shit. Maybe it was a rant, idk. I just wrote it. 

Intersectionality: Of being HIV Positive, queer, and a person of color who is struggling with meth use

I haven’t posted for awhile for so many reasons. Depression, stress, the overwhelming nature of our economy, but I really wanted to get around to talking about state violence and the War on Drugs. 

It is so common to see queer and trans youth of color being consumed by drug use and not having any space to be real and open about their feelings. I feel that more than anything, our own objectified identities force us to look for love in all the wrong places, places that are hopeless. 

The history of drug use and the racialization of the “war on drugs” or the “get tough movement” is a clear political tactic for white americans to hate black and brown people. If you watch some of the video’s that shows interviews with Michelle Alexander, author of the book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness”, she talks about the Reagan campaigns. She talks about it aiming towards poor and working class whites and having them look at people of color as the one’s destroying their communities with drugs and violence. 

I remember partying with this white middle class older mans house and feeling safe there. His pad was nice, cozy, expensive and safe from violence, policing, and the daily subjection of humiliation and marginalization out in the streets. Of course this isn’t to discredit the fact that like me, he must have been struggling with this in his own way. 

I bring this up because the drug itself effects people in harmful and destructive ways, yes. But clearly white privilege and class privilege can keep away some of the more worse shit that can occur when you use drugs and end up on the streets. 

  • First your accessibility to resources are at a much more convenient level such as food, water, vitamins, whatever you may need. There is a lot of work that needs to be put into staying healthy when you use. Either way it does fuck with your health and deteriorates it. But having access to this stuff helps a shitload. 
  • Second, middle class folks don’t usually have their communities swarmed with police. Usually communities of color are usually the ones being “surveillanced”.
  • Third, black folks and folks of color make up a disproportionate amount of the prison population. You do to the fuckin math. 

If we are to create viable and real solutions for our communities, we need to be real about drugs. They feel fuckin good. They make sex good. They have permanently altered my perception in sex and pleasure. 

I have done two workshops in both SF State and at a Ladyfest event. In both i tried to be comprehensive in decolonizing our perceptions, reactions and approaches to drug use, one that does not further harm the individual. I used knowledge I already knew about gentrification, the prison-industrial complex, hegemony and the War on Drugs to really try to get people to think about the way they have handled drug use in the past with either themselves, with others and maybe even with patients in hospitals. 

I came with up with my own terms and language throughout this process. Institutionalized shaming in hospitals, law enforcement and even education on drug use. The 12 step program and even the language we use to discuss and dialogue about these issues have negative connotations (“addict”, “relapse”, “rehabilitation”). Looking at this comprehensively and critically in how language revolving drug use is constructed to marginalize drug users (especially those of color) is crucial!!! 

Its also important to recognize how much more emotionally draining and disenfranchising it can be to be hiv positive in all this. It changes everything. 

It seems as though race, capitalism and heterpatriarchy places a fundamental role on how hiv positive queers can be marginalized. 

Privilege means being able to clean yourself up (put on new clothes rather than walk around with rags), become a bourgeoisie consumer, afford fuckin meds to maintain your viral count, not have your race associated with your drug use/hiv status and have a financially sustainable situation so you can buy your meth and still not be looked down on. FUCK!  

Privilege means not running around to try and find a place to stay so that you are not out on the streets, can stay away from police brutality and where you can stay away from the risk of being arrested for public intoxication. Privilege means that because of your drug use, your community will not have to pay for your mistakes by having the state funding for public schools and basic need services be cut away from your community “because they are lazy and they use their welfare for drugs”. 

Privilege means that even though you are hiv poz, your whiteness and socioeconomic status will still keep your marginalized sexual experiences much more manageable while a person of color is not only receiving racism on grindr or adam4adam, but fuckin classism and hiv-phobia. 

In the fuckin consumer culture we live in, it seems that in the lowest part of our socioeconomic ladder, its people of color who receive all of the most shittiest parts of our consumer ways and must pay the poison that is produced by capitalism. 

Its not just time to create economic justice or agriculture resistance, its time to fight against the state violence that marginalize the mentally impaired and the ones struggling with the health complications that are produced by capitalism (obesity, drug use, alcoholism, mental health, etc.). 

As radical queer anarchists, we need to stop perpetuating police framed approaches to drug use and alcohol abuse in which we don’t shame other people’s bodies. Solutions that do not force us to give up our autonomy without consent. Its time we start dialoguing about intersectionality, harm reduction and fighting the war on drugs. 

In further blogs I want to talk a little more about my growing schizophrenia because of my drug use, my hiv status and how I am dealing with that, about my arrest and court experience, and hopefully other aspects of this.