Dialogue principles

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spacefem
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Dialogue principles

Post by spacefem » Fri Feb 3, 19:44 2017

I approve of this article from Feministing: I'll pass on "unity" and the women's march.

The gist, for the link-phobic: it's easy for the most privileged to say "let's put aside our differences and support what we all believe in, shall we?" And then talk about unity, and pretend like problems aren't really problems. Hell, that's what Trump supporters are doing with their "support your president!" quips, saying we shouldn't be protesting at all. Sit and be quiet and don't complain.

So within our feminist movement, if we're organizing big marches everywhere, let's make sure we're not demanding Unity from all participants. Feminism has made some bad calls in history pushing race/class/gender identity/sexual orientation issues aside with a "this is not the time".

Dialogue is our goal. Asking everyone for stories, asking everyone what would make the world a better place, taking everyone seriously. Don't claim that your event is all about unity, but do claim it's all about dialogue.
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Re: Dialogue principles

Post by melsbells » Sat Feb 4, 15:05 2017

Thanks for this link. I really want to think of unity in the feminist movement as intersectional support and hadn't really considered how the term is used to erase concerns. All that despite being aware of the lack of non-pink pussy hats and declarations from women who will not be marching alongside their sisters of color in other protests.

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Re: Dialogue principles

Post by tomokun » Mon Feb 20, 15:44 2017

This is just a really great place for me to mention that this forum is truly great. I'm not certain how far long-term members have strayed from here, but I have yet to find a forum that is as inclusive and debate-friendly as this one. In other groups I lurk in, I JUST lurk because speaking up even in support can open up a whole mess of drama. :p

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Re: Dialogue principles

Post by rowan » Mon Feb 20, 16:36 2017

^I like that you ask questions with actual intent of discussing and learning, unlike a bunch of people who wander here.
melsbells wrote: I really want to think of unity in the feminist movement as intersectional support and hadn't really considered how the term is used to erase concerns.
This, I feel so much. I like the concept of "unity" but it has to be support for marginalized people. I think "solidarity" is a term that encompasses intersectionality more, though of course we have to be careful not to change that meaning through appropriation. Unity is used so much for erasure, I'm seeing that a lot in the "science march" stuff, it's really hard for me to want to go when so many of my friends are being told to STFU for asking for accommodations/accessibility options and for bringing up racism in science and stuff. It's making me really wary, and then they start into "well this isn't partisan" and I'm like have you even been paying attention to which party has been destroying science? Not that I don't have issues with the democrats, and certainly not to erase stuff scientists do that's crappy, but don't say it's not partisan when what you mean is "I wish it weren't partisan"

Anyway. It's just white people in power marginalizing the people who are doing the actual work of changing things. Again. >.<
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Re: Dialogue principles

Post by DarkOne » Tue Feb 21, 7:19 2017

I have mixed feelings about the points in the article. I'd never considered the concept of unity t be problematic, but after reading this, I have no problems ditching a requirement for unity and advocating instead for inclusiveness and dialogue even if it is at the expense of offending a few in the majority. But I'm struggling to understand the rationale behind some of the "answers" the author demands specifically of white women.
- I need to know that when Trump comes for my undocumented family, these women will literally put their bodies on the lines for us.
- I need a contract. A declaration. A signed statement that assures me when shit hits the fan and our Black, Muslim, undocumented, Native, queer sisters’ lives are in jeopardy, white women will be the first ones there.
- I need to know that white women understand that they (and their mothers and their grandmothers) voted in Trump.
- I need white women to recognize that many of us have been struggling our entire lives. Racism is not new to us and resistance has never been optional.
- Beyond marching for a day, I need white women to commit to the lifelong struggle against hatred and oppression in all its forms.
The last two seem like "check your privilege" requests... fine. But what in the world are the first two demands about? Are they meant to be hyperbolic (in which case, *literally* demanding civil disobedience is very confusing)? Why is it reasonable to expect white women to be the first ones there, as opposed to just "there". Is this a request for some sort of symbolic (or real) reparation from the white women??? I don't get the logic behind these.

And then I read the line about women of color "entering this conversation from a place of anger and betrayal", and I think after the election we all looked for someone to blame. For me, it was my white male conservative "every guy talks like that about pussy" colleagues, my oblivious-to-sexism-and wage-disparities stay-at-home-mom neighbors, my bible-thumping-"I don't buy the black lives matter movement" female engineer co-worker. But I wonder if the author's anger is misplaced. Is it fair to pin the Trump victory on the white female vote? I'm no voting demographic analyst, and it's hard to find data specific to white women (it's all "women" or "white") but the few articles I've browsed suggest that the voter turnout and margin for whites and women was not significantly different from the previous few elections and that shifts in other demographics (low black vote turnout, high margin for non-college grads] likely played a bigger role in this election. So what's her point in trying hold white women responsible for Trump's win -- especially the white women marching, who are likely not Trump voters?

The author has valid points regarding the dangers of blind "unity", and I don't take issue with her protesting the protest if she feels the execution of the protest has further marginalized an already oppressed subgroup. But I was turned off by her blame-assigning rant near the end of the article. If dialogue was her desired outcome, I guess she did manage to get me engaged, but she's almost pushed me to the opposite camp with the bar she has set.
Last edited by DarkOne on Sat Feb 25, 18:13 2017, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dialogue principles

Post by melsbells » Sat Feb 25, 15:46 2017

DarkOne wrote:But what in the world are the first two demands about? Are they meant to be hyperbolic (in which case, *literally* demanding civil disobedience is very confusing)? Why is it reasonable to expect white women to be the first ones there, as opposed to just "there". Is this a request for some sort of symbolic (or real) reparation from the white women??? I don't get the logic behind these.
I think the first two demands become reasonable when we put it in the context about how [quoteBlack, Muslim, undocumented, Native, queer sisters’ lives[/quote] have been used by the Feminist movement in the past. That the most vulnerable among us have been expected to
literally put their bodies on the lines
. Women who currently have more power in society compared to other women, will have less risk to themselves or their livlihood by participating in the same actions. So if a call for Unity requires a low wage earning woman to call off work and march, likely losing her job and sole source of family income, then how much more does a woman who can take time off without reprecussions need to sacrifice that time for the sake of unity. This difference in risk extends beyond job security. I certainly don't know what the author's intent was, but I have a hard time viewing the demands are unfair. I don't think the author's even calling for white women to take the same amount of risks that she is being expected to take.

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