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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 37,173

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Moving the Margins to the Centre: Shifting from Anti-Racist to Pro-Black

(I thought this a thought provoking read, I've excepted her salient points, the whole article is good)

Understanding anti-racism work as being fundamentally pro-people of colour and pro-black in the way you are pro-women forces you to actively engage with, and support these avenues that promote non-white life whilst stressing commitment to corresponding political action within your feminist space.

So what does that look like in reality?

Learn: contextualise, locate and attempt to understand the varied and complex ways systems of domination work historically and in the present. There are books, videos, lectures, events – an abundance of resources for you to learn and critically think about how systems like white supremacy, colonialism, slavery and imperialism work to frame varied and complex experiences of inequality and oppression. It harnesses the possibility of limiting reduction, being able to identify more broadly as ‘women’ (or ‘men’) whilst offering the room to confront the fundamental differences that accompany that very same category or how that category is defined (e.g. indigenous meanings or concepts of gender or sexuality).

Decolonise: If someone calls your privilege out or identifies ways you may be reproducing racism don’t take it personally. The reason why systems of domination are so effective is that they are reproduced not only through institutions and structures, but through real and living people. Having been socialised into society, and not outside of it, every one of us will be guilty of doing so even if it is subconscious. As bell hooks succinctly puts it: “labelling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.” Step outside of yourself and think about what or when you may be at risk of doing so and challenge that. Always acknowledge the limits of your knowledge and experience and learn how to use those limits as an excuse to do the radical: go beyond them. It’s likely a whole world will be revealed in a new light, offering agency and possibility for transformation in very personal but political ways.
Responsibility and accountability: At every opportunity think about what you can do to incorporate or support People of Colour or other marginalised groups. Support spaces of agency or self-determination run and organised by these groups. Consider how particular agendas affect different people (e.g. Slutwalk or women and board representation). Encourage other white women or others with privilege to engage in the same way. Even if you feel that your work does not directly relate, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore or negate what you can still do outside or beyond it to make your politics more inclusive and progressive.

Listen: one of the most powerful critical thinking skills is listening. Recently, I came across quote that forced me to contemplate the power of listening and what we in fact miss out when we don’t: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” (Stephen R. Covey). Listening, like decolonising and learning processes, allow us to understand the limits of our knowledge whilst opening up avenues for debate and discussion. Melissa Harris-Perry in her Wellesley Commencement Speech makes a poignant point about the distinction between choosing to be silent and being silenced. As feminists we often have to find our voices and use them to challenge the silencing patriarchy enforces upon us, of being able to say what we need to say. However, choosing to be silent is a resource and tool or as Harris-Perry puts it: “a vital precursor to voice”. Choosing to be silent in the face of those who have less privilege opens up room and space to listen in order to understand, to learn, to engage with and ultimately to enhance resistance based on the agency we all have and use.


"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply"--- love this

My job at the abortion hot line

The murder trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has exposed frightening corners of humanity — 30-week fetuses, jars of baby feet, venereal disease, snipped spinal cords, a refugee drugged to death, and unfortunately, more. Whatever the verdict, we may never understand Gosnell’s motivation. But what of the women who streamed into his allegedly filthy clinic for years? Who were they? Why would some of them have been seeking such late-term abortions? Why would they put their own lives at risk? As it happens, I think I have a pretty good idea.

I was 21, and for nine months in the mid-1990s, I worked as a hotline counselor on the toll-free line at the National Abortion Federation, a voluntary membership group of several hundred providers nationwide. Overtly, the job went like this: Women called to ask for a clinic near them, and I provided the address and phone number. Each clinic had been vetted by a NAF inspector. The clinics I could mention were not the only clinics out there. They met certain standards and agreed to pay a membership fee for the referral service.

But the job involved much more than that. Women had questions. I had answers. Some, anyway.

My guidelines and fact sheets were contained in a thick black-covered binder, which I scanned early on. Basically, I was to remind callers I wasn’t a doctor, and refer them to expert counseling services if needed. I wasn’t working for one of those church-based pregnancy counseling centers. I didn’t try to sway anyone, nor did I discuss the matter of “Should I or shouldn’t I?” Rather, I was like a crossing guard for abortion. The women knew where they wanted to go. I just helped them get there.

The phone rang every few minutes, all day long. Answering it was at once intimate, anonymous and terrifying.


Bra Company’s ‘MILF’ Ad Campaign Seems Like a Pretty Bad Idea

There are bad advertising campaigns, and then there are bad advertising campaigns. With “Are You a MILF?” True & Co., the online bra company with the magical algorithm that’s supposed to make in-store bra fitting a thing of our shameful, barbarous past, has probably launched a campaign that’s just a misguided exercise in punning, and, really, who doesn’t appreciate a good pun, hmm?

MILF, in this instance, means “Mom I’d Like to Fit,” and True & Co. launched what is probably a star-crossed campaign as part of its Mother’s Day. “Are You a MILF?” is meant to, according to the company, “celebrate the moms in our lives,” but the fun doesn’t stop at merely repurposing an acronym made famous in American Pie. According the Lingerie Talk, True & Co. has managed to add another creepy component to the MILF promotion:

Readers are encouraged to submit photos of their moms to be included in True’s online MILF Gallery. Entries will be included in a Mother’s Day contest, with the top prize being a $100 gift card for a bra make-over.

Customers will also receive temporary MILF tattoos (above) with each sales order until Mother’s Day.

And may I just say ewwwwwww.
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