First video in a long time. So cute.
OMG! THIS FUCKIN CAT! HE DID NOT WANT TO BE LEFT OFF THE CAMERA! I AM STILL LAUGHING!
First video in a long time. So cute.
OMG! THIS FUCKIN CAT! HE DID NOT WANT TO BE LEFT OFF THE CAMERA! I AM STILL LAUGHING!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Education is a something that can be empowering, liberating and revolutionary. It can be something that helps us to deconstruct the systems of oppression around us. It can be something that helps us to learn the root of our identity; reconnect ourselves with our indigenous ancestors. It can also be something traumatizing and emotionally triggering. It can force us into a position of feeling unsafe among individuals who are from a different side of the socioeconomic spectrum, making it hard for them to understand our life and struggle.
During my years of going to school, I have witnessed and experienced the institutional barriers that limit the potential of being a poor queer person of color with learning disabilities. Its not an easy road and is chronically life damaging to a persons self esteem and financial sustainability.
The thing is, most people don’t get this. In fact, they seem to repeat rhetoric that we can all be too familiar with. “I know school is hard mijo, but you can do it. Your so smart, you just have to try hard”. I know my family means well, but their experiences are different than mine. At the same time, my experiences aren’t yours and you may have not even have had the opportunity to attend community college. Maybe you just stopped going to school after you graduated from high school. There are lots of reasons why, especially when talking about poor youth of color.
Some of these reasons are due to the lack funding of education in poor communities of color. That sense of entitlement in having a place in our socioeconomic hierarchy is usually non-existent. The state has a certain way of preserving our social status’s and keeping us from gaining any kind of power. If they did want us to achieve gaining power, they would have just given up some of their power without making us work so damn hard for it. That is the truth.
Many youth of color attending higher education recognize this. However, their solutions seem to reproduce hierarchical systems of oppression. One example I saw was during the Occupy protesting and I saw a massive amount of professors at Universities doing walk outs in solidarity of Occupy and demanding better pay.
Yes I agree there is a disproportionate amount of financial resources being given to school district university authorities rather than the professors, however the change should not be better pay for professors, but a structural change in economy.
What I mean by this is that, we need to stop putting so much focus on getting students into college to create reform change. What we should not be doing is making the capitalist economy more inclusive to marginalized people, like us becoming lawyers and professors to be financially stable. We need to create a more mutual based economy, on a give/share basis. We need to stop telling our kids that they need to go to college when it is obvious that they are trying their hardest, yet they continue to experience too many barriers that pull down their self esteem down and make them feel like failures. We need to create a dismantle of state power by creating d.i.y. grassroots organized education. Its time we stop using the institutional state controlled education to create change.
I do understand the importance of education but it seems also, that education is limited to those who already have access to the academic resources we take for granted. We should not be limiting those resources to those who were able to make it into college. We should be not just holding LGBT conferences for college students who can afford it?
Why are we not creating educational resources that are accessible to all people, homeless to middle class? Why do I hear the same argument? That argument being, that as queer people of color, we have to use our intellectual privilege to try and create the changes we want while we are attending school or while we teaching classes as professors. That is reform politics. That is not the kind of changes we need. We are limiting change to the intellectually privileged.
We are reproducing a sort of hegemony that limits power to those who have intellectual access to it. To create queer conferences on university campus’s, to create dialogue for other queer identified students on campus with marginalized backgrounds, is to reproduce the same power structures that marginalized us before we got into college.
We are reproducing a sort of pedagogy that reproduces the teacher/student relations, that being an authoritative power structure. What we should be doing is dismantling that power structure to create anti-authoritarian/anti-authoritative pedagogy. A critical pedagogy that puts learning back in the hands of a collective society. A curriculum that isn’t dominated by cis-privilege, white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc. But a curriculum that is collectively and constantly developing answers to our social and economic issues.
Truth is, we are not all stupid. We simply haven’t had the structural opportunity to find our potential. We have just been told all our lives that we are destined to be janitors, construction workers, and factory workers. We haven’t been told, we deserve a better way of life.
I ask you to build to new movements, that dismantle the current education system that helps to reproduce a career goal motivated system. You don’t have to quit your position as an educator? You don’t have to stop going to school? But we should be redirecting our goals and structural dialogue towards creating more educational spaces that go beyond the school campus. We need a change in revolutionary thinking!
That is part of the reason I made a blog. So i can get these issues to light.
That is great. My heart goes out to you and your loved one. But truth is, marriage is not a goal for everyone. Creating resources for queer and trans* brown and black youth who are struggling to survive on the street while on meth, doing sex work, and sleeping on my streets is my goals. I am tired of seeing the fight for marriage equality.
Thank you for giving me so much data, but it really just proves how economically dependent we are on the Military-Industrial complex and how limiting it can be for people of color, queer people, and especially for trans* people/gender non-conforming folks to their options towards sustainability.