jennifergearing: photo of jen looking at the camera (Default)
2010-07-04 06:59 pm

I hate the world, today.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, quoted here:

"The suggestion John Howard should be labelled a racist, what a load of nonsense, he's most certainly someone who's not."

Thanks for the punch in the gut, Prime Minister.

As always, 'political correctness' is to be swept aside and rejected. Which means, y'know, that calling people racist for panicking about a fucking minute number of people because they've become the fucking go-to. Fucking 'BOAT PEOPLE' ARE YOU SERIOUS.

I think I've ranted in the past about why political leaders rejecting political correctness is fucking ridiculous, but seriously. Political leaders are giving cover to the racist "concerns" about border protection and "non-integration" of (let's not mince words) brown/black/yellow migrants, and the discussion calling this OUT is political fucking correctness? SERIOUSLY THAT IS FUCKING BACKWARD.
I know I'm being all capslock and shouty, but I'm not even angry, y'all. Okay, so someone's going to call me all oversensitive and whatever but I read than this morning and I was practically fucking sobbing.

Because whilst I get that badmouthing a former PM is pretty bad form, so it's not like she was going to be all "yeah, he was a racist douchenozzle amirite?", she's a politician. One thing we're used to with politicians is that they're great and getting out of answering the question. And sometimes party line means they can't answer the question. It can be irritating, but I'm generally okay with it. She could've dodged the question (and the one about same sex marriage, since we're here). She didn't.

And in that one line; I feel like a rug's been pulled out from under me.

I still feel the same way about the way she moved into the top job; I'll still get fucking shouty at anyone who refers to it as a coup or whines about how they didn't vote for her.

But I don't feel the same about her. The very cautious optimism I had has been dashed.

I'm not surprised; not really. But I'm disappointed, so very much. Despair is near, today.
jennifergearing: photo of jen looking at the camera (Default)
2010-06-14 12:50 pm

Not Your Science Project (A Rant)

Chally recently posted at Feministe about her experience of a racist comment in the classroom when she was in highschool. She didn't recount the comment in question, but she did go through some details of the aftermath.

This brought back to me a news report I heard on the radio recently about the recent furor in the Rugby League NSW State of Origin team camp when player Timana Tahu walked out and quit the side for the second game of the series after assistant coach Andrew Johns made a racist remark about Qld player Glen Inglis. It was reported without specifying what Johns said in the report I heard on TripleJ.

I recall being quite impressed with JJJ for not giving details of the remark, though I am unsurprised other news outlets have reported the specifics.

The reason I was impressed with the JJJ reporting, seems connected, to me, to the comment thread in response to Chally's post. There are a number of comments, from folks who afaik identify as white, who seem quite insistent on knowing what the comment that Chally's teacher made was. I can't help but wonder, if Chally did specify the comment, how many people would be commenting about whether the comment was racist, or 'racist enough' to warrant Chally's reaction to it.

And suddenly, I'm reminded of a comment thread some time ago, where, to be honest I can't even remember the post topic, but the thread ended up being about whether PoC was a valid term to use to describe PoC/non-white/racial minorities in Australia. The thread resulted in me staying the hell away from blog comments for a good 3-6 months. The best way I could describe it was a bunch of whitefolks having an abstract discussion about what racial minorities should call themselves. I remember commenting about feeling like a unicorn amongst all the white people talking about how their non-white friends never described themselves as PoC; and I remember talking about the reasons I use it and the reasons some of the people I know use it as a sign of alliances. I remember one white woman in the thread leaping on the comments of another non-white woman who talked about not liking it much, and pretty much ignoring my comments. I do recall one of the blog owners called her out on that, but I don't think it was responded to.

That comment thread made me feel like some kind of science project under a microscope; being poked and proded and talked about. It was dehumanising and hurtful. The fact that this same white woman, some months later, came back to the blog in question and participated in a round of discussion about feeling 'unsafe' at that particular blog caused my blood pressure, and my desire to set things on fire, to spike to an all time high.

That's why I completely understand that Chally didn't specify her teacher's comment, though there are a number of reasons why she may have chosen not to do so, and I don't presume to know what they are. Because I have no doubt in my mind that the comments would've included multiple discussions of how, 'objectively', the comment wasn't racist, or okay, it was racist, but it wasn't 'racist enough' to warrant Chally leaving the class. And why I wouldn't be surprised if there are discussions going on right now about whether Andrew Johns' comments were 'racist enough' to justify Tamina Tahu walking out on the NSW team; whether he should put his career before his 'sensitivity' when what we're talking about is him seemingly put a position between his career and having to sit through comments that disparage his humanity as some kind of motivation to do his job competitively.

This is why racial minorities have closed communities. This is why one of the unspoken rules is that intra-POC discussions are locked, to avoid white folks playing 'gotcha' and 'lookit the racist PoC' as much as possible. I am tired of being a science project. I am tired of whitefolks having 'objective', abstract discussions about the realities of my life and the lives of people I care about.