Friday, June 25, 2010

Things I have been thinking about...

Partly these have just been things that seem to keep coming up in my head, and partly these thoughts have been coming up because of what happened between Womanist Musings, FWD/Forward and later Having Read the Fine Print... I don't know that it is useful, warranted or even necessarily any of my business to recount those events here.

In fact I've sat at my computer just staring at it far more times than is usual in the past week trying to sort out whether to speak up about what I think about those events and it's possible that it being 3AM is what has finally worn me down, I dunno. One part of me says that showing support and expressing critique are always things we should do, another part says that I am sticking my nose into a conversation I was not invited to nor involved/wanted in, like overhearing a discussion and turning around to say "well you know what I think".  I'm sick of being that stick-my-nose-in person and so even as I type and plan to publish this post I don't know which way to go...

I say all of this to give some context to what I'm going to say next, which is expanded from something previously published on my Tumblr.

Are all these tools we social justice types are learning really any good if we can turn them on each other so easily? Or is that a risk with any kind of tool or weapon?

And what does it mean that we so easily and vehemently turn on each other for our -ism's?  Especially when we already know that society has infected all of us with its poison -ism's?

What does it mean that, if we are angry, if we are in pain, and we respond to that pain by lashing out in an abusive manner, that we don’t own up to that abuse later?  Especially when we already know that dealing with pain in an abusive fashion is what we have been taught to do, is what has been modeled for us, is what we have been subjected to by others? When we KNOW we are trying to create a different model?

We have, most of us actually imo, internalized a seriously fucked up way of relating to Other people and as far as I can tell that doesn’t go away just because we’re social justice activists/feminists/womanists/liberationists. But why isn’t this something I actually see more people actively working out for themselves?

Is it just too painful to do in public?

If so, why is it that other such painful processes, like purging ourselves of cissupremacy and racism and ablism and such, is expected by so many to be done in public?  Surely all these things are forms of abuse towards fellow human beings too?  But, when it comes to each other, there are no holds barred?

If we are not safe in being accountable to each other, how can we ever truly be vulnerable to each other in the way necessitated for those purgings/exorcisms?

Is this community? Is this love? Is this solidarity? Is this creation?

I guess this all swirls around something I asked on Twitter a few days back: What would social justice look like if we all truly (truly) acted towards each other with compassion? #thingsihavebeenwondering
Because it seems pretty obvious to me that most if not all of us (including me) really are not.

And I continue to doubt myself.  I doubt if these questions are as valuable as they seemed when I first got them stuck in my brain.  But... I suppose that is in part what this space is for, my trying to puzzle stuff out, not just to post when I have all the answers.  We'll see what comes of it...