Posts tagged power
Getting Shit Done: How The Cannibal Left Is Actually A Good Thing

But if your “friends” are unwilling to listen to you, are unable to recenter your feelings even just once in awhile, they aren’t exactly friends. If your friend or your ally insists on ignoring or fighting any kind of pushback or criticism because “infighting hurts the movement” then the movement isn’t actually going to go anywhere. Indeed, the push and pull of criticism and discussion is actually the only way anything has ever actually gotten done. Critiquing our allies – like Sojourner Truth critiquing the whitness of the suffragette movement or transgender people critiquing the cisnormative nature of the LGBT rights movement – is precisely how progress is made. Ignoring those call outs, ignoring that criticism, only works to keep privileged power structures in place.

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Faith

This is a good virtue in theory – that we have the grace to see how much God loves our fellow humans and to treat them with utter, sacrificial kindness. But in practice, this doctrine turns into a cudgel, allowing people who are participating in unloving behavior to claim the upper hand the second you step out of line. Over and over, in discussing theology and women’s studies with white, cisgender, heterosexual men, I find myself on guard for the inevitable moment when I go “too far” or don’t respond with enough deference. Even if I am, in many cases, actually more knowledgeable than the people I am talking to, I still must be the gracious educator, the one who must set everything aside to help Poor Little White Boy figure out why his condemnation of LGBT people isn’t actually loving.

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The Internet's Race Wars: Toxic Twitter, Criticism, and Forced Teaming

The prevailing whiteness of such critique of the “toxic” social media battles cannot be ignored – and it cannot be wiped away with an acknowledgement that the person writing is white. When discussing any kind of interpersonal conflict within social justice issues, the race and the social location of each participant must be taken into perspective. But when begging for grace, progressives, and progressive Christians, in particular, find themselves begging for grace for those critiqued as opposed to grace for those hurt by the original offense. The re-centering of the privileged is quick and subtle.

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Hey is For Horses: How to Take Rejection Like a Human

Telling a man no is a very delicate process for a lot of women. Even when I departed from the Worst Date Ever, I quietly said, “It was nice meeting you. I’ll call you,” and then vowed to never respond to him again as I walked away. Rejecting him to his face seemed like a dangerous move, and in a world where women have been stabbed for refusing to respond to street harassment, it’s a reasonable assessment to make.

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Practical Praxis: The Terrible Bargain of Kindness

But revolution does not discriminate with regards to kindness. All too often, “kindness” is used as shorthand for nice, polite, and inoffensive. And all too often, a lack of this politeness is used as a method of dismissal for very valid critiques – it is often invoked as a reason for banning, blocking, or ignoring. And this perpetuates a world in which only those people of the marginalized group who are willing to fit into the ideals of their oppressors, who are willing to act whatever way is most non-threatening, are the ones who are listened to.

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