'The Baseline Is, You Suck': Junot Diaz on Men Who Write About Women

The Atlantic: It sounds like you're saying that literary "talent" doesn't inoculate a writer—especially a male writer—from making gross, false misjudgments about gender. You'd think being a great writer would give you empathy and the ability to understand people who are unlike you—whether we're talking about gender or another category. But that doesn't seem to be the case.
Junot Diaz: I think that unless you are actively, consciously working against the gravitational pull of the culture, you will predictably, thematically, create these sort of fucked-up representations. Without fail. The only way not to do them is to admit to yourself [that] you're fucked up, admit to yourself that you're not good at this shit, and to be conscious in the way that you create these characters. It's so funny what people call inspiration. I have so many young writers who're like, "Well I was inspired. This was my story." And I'm like, "OK. Sir, your inspiration for your stories is like every other male's inspiration for their stories: that the female is only in there to provide sexual service." There comes a time when this mythical inspiration is exposed for doing exactly what it's truthfully doing: to underscore and reinforce cultural structures, or I'd say, cultural asymmetry.

stfuconservatives:

fatespectrum:

“Political Correctness” is a reactionary term against the loss of privilege.

panasonicyouth:

Laurence Berg, Canada Research Chair for Human Rights, Diversity and Identity, disagrees with the
idea that PC language and policies are oppressive. Why? Because he doesn’t really believe that PC policies existed in the first place.

“What [they]’re calling the ‘PC movement’ I would call a social movement by marginalised people and the people who support them,” he said. “[A movement] to use language that’s more correct—not ‘politically correct’—that more accurately represents reality.”

Berg is referring to a way of thinking that many of us students were too young to catch the first time around. For us, the term ‘politically correct’ survived the 90s, but the term ‘human rights backlash’ did not. Will Hutton, former editor-in-chief for the UK publication the Observer, described in his column how the term ‘PC’ was never really a political stance at all, contrary to popular belief. It was actually perceived by many as a right-wing tactic to dismiss—or backlash against—left-leaning social change. Mock the trivial aspects of human rights politics, like its changing language, and you’ll succeed in obscuring the issue altogether.

 Berg believes this is what political correctness is all about: “The term politically correct is a reactionary term,” he said. “[It was] created by people who were worried by [social] changes…that affected their everyday understanding of the world in ways that pointed out their role in creating or reproducing dominance and subordination.”

According to Berg, the indignation people feel against PC ideas reflects the discomfort we feel when language and politics begin to pull away from the dominant values we grew up with—in other words, white, middle-class values. It’s no small coincidence that the concept of political correctness originated in the 80s and 90s, just after human rights concerns and visible minority groups started getting real attention in politics and the media.

Berg explains that in its original context, PC was a pejorative term used by people who felt they were losing something. Exactly what they were losing is very hard to describe, especially to them. But many sociologists and historians today have come to a consensus on what they call it: it’s a loss of privilege—and in terms of race, a loss of white privilege.

This is fantastic and also helps explain why whenever I hear someone use the term “PC,” I sort instantly shut down and dismiss what they’re about to say.

Seriously, if you’re one of those people who says “I’m not PC/I hate how liberals want us all to be politically correct,” we aren’t friends.

(Source: torayot, via jillianomicon)

1,463 notes

freececemcdonald:

Hello CeCe Supporters!

The Call-In campaign for CeCe to get her correct dosage of hormones was an incredible success!  The prison’s health administration were so “inconvenienced”, they were compelled to clear the issue immediately.

CeCe is doing fine and looking fabulous.  She is steadily devouring the books that everyone is sending - currently she is reading Angela Davis and is totally inspired.

She spoke a bit about the push from some supporters to launch large-scale campaigns to get Gov. Mark Dayton to pardon her, and/or to have her moved to a women’s facility.  She talked about how these campaigns would not only not benefit her, but how they exceptionalize her in a way that she doesn’t want.  

The pardoning process would not only be painful for her, but were she even to get considered, it wouldn’t be until after she served her sentence.  She thinks about people incarcerated for much longer terms than she, and for incredibly minor offenses (mostly drug related). Even if the emotional hardship of the process was something she felt up for, and even if the slim chance of it working actually succeeded, the outcome of her getting a pardon while others sat in prison is antithetical to her values and the whole reason she is struggling against this racist system in the first place. 

As for being transfered to a women’s facility, her thoughts are:  Prison sucks.  Period.  CeCe is not safe in any prison, women’s or men’s.  Prisons are not safe for anyone.  Period.  CeCe asserts (as do we) that incarcerated individuals should be able to decide for themselves where they would be safest within the system.  For now, CeCe is fine being in a men’s facility.  For supporters to push for her to be transferred from one hell to another only serves the purpose of misdirecting energy away from the real problems of incarceration in america, and the problem of the Prison Industrial Complex as a whole.  

To sum it up:  CeCe does not want supporters to launch long-term campaigns on her behalf that exceptionalize her situation..  Also importantly, these specific campaigns: a pardon from Gov. Dayton and getting transferred to a women’s facility, wouldn’t actually be beneficial to her at all.  Short term campaigns such as call-ins to administration, and media blasts, are targeted efforts that let the DOC know that CeCe has widespread support, and it sends a message that we are watching them and will respond to prisoner’s needs - CeCe’s today, and other incarcerated transpeople tomorrow.

CeCe sends her love and gratitude to everyone who called-in on her behalf.  She wishes that every wrongly incarcerated person had the same incredible support that she has, and prays for a world without bars, a world without cells.

Towards Justice,
CeCe McDonald Support Committee

freececemcdonald:

Hello CeCe Supporters!

The Call-In campaign for CeCe to get her correct dosage of hormones was an incredible success!  The prison’s health administration were so “inconvenienced”, they were compelled to clear the issue immediately.

CeCe is doing fine and looking fabulous.  She is steadily devouring the books that everyone is sending - currently she is reading Angela Davis and is totally inspired.

She spoke a bit about the push from some supporters to launch large-scale campaigns to get Gov. Mark Dayton to pardon her, and/or to have her moved to a women’s facility.  She talked about how these campaigns would not only not benefit her, but how they exceptionalize her in a way that she doesn’t want.  

The pardoning process would not only be painful for her, but were she even to get considered, it wouldn’t be until after she served her sentence.  She thinks about people incarcerated for much longer terms than she, and for incredibly minor offenses (mostly drug related). Even if the emotional hardship of the process was something she felt up for, and even if the slim chance of it working actually succeeded, the outcome of her getting a pardon while others sat in prison is antithetical to her values and the whole reason she is struggling against this racist system in the first place. 

As for being transfered to a women’s facility, her thoughts are:  Prison sucks.  Period.  CeCe is not safe in any prison, women’s or men’s.  Prisons are not safe for anyone.  Period.  CeCe asserts (as do we) that incarcerated individuals should be able to decide for themselves where they would be safest within the system.  For now, CeCe is fine being in a men’s facility.  For supporters to push for her to be transferred from one hell to another only serves the purpose of misdirecting energy away from the real problems of incarceration in america, and the problem of the Prison Industrial Complex as a whole.  

To sum it up:  CeCe does not want supporters to launch long-term campaigns on her behalf that exceptionalize her situation..  Also importantly, these specific campaigns: a pardon from Gov. Dayton and getting transferred to a women’s facility, wouldn’t actually be beneficial to her at all.  Short term campaigns such as call-ins to administration, and media blasts, are targeted efforts that let the DOC know that CeCe has widespread support, and it sends a message that we are watching them and will respond to prisoner’s needs - CeCe’s today, and other incarcerated transpeople tomorrow.

CeCe sends her love and gratitude to everyone who called-in on her behalf.  She wishes that every wrongly incarcerated person had the same incredible support that she has, and prays for a world without bars, a world without cells.

Towards Justice,
CeCe McDonald Support Committee

(via jillianomicon)

1,937 notes

i-wakeupstrange:

epistolaefeminae:

“Telling people who are bedbound that they could work if they tried harder, and telling those with severe mental health difficulties that they have been allowed to languish on benefits for too long, all equate to the same thing: you have a bad attitude. You could be cancer-free if your approach to life didn’t stink; your bipolar disorder is because of your inability to look at the best in a situation; and that amputated limb would have grown back if you weren’t such a pessimist. Now get a job.”

Bad attitudes do not cause disability any more than good attitudes guarantee health | | Independent Editor’s choice Blogs

I am rooting for Oscar Pistorious because, hey, he’s basically representing everyone like me this Olympics! Plus he seems like a cool dude. However, it is tiring having to slog through inspiration porn in every article. Attitude isn’t everything.

I’m a pretty positive person, but for crying out loud, no one is like that 24/7! Sometimes I whine and I moan and I complain and I cry because this shit sucks and, guess what? I’m never getting better. It’s a fact.

And I feel a lot more hindered by all this pressure to be always be ~positive!!!~ than I do by my actual handicaps.

I definitely hear that. Having to navigate other people’s patronizing attitudes and willful ignorance saps so much energy (including the energy to keep up a “positive attitude!!!”) that I could be putting towards, you know, managing my chronic illness. Especially when some of the people acting that way are medical professionals.

14 notes

"What is harder for the nonpoor to see is poverty as acute distress: The lunch that consists of Doritos or hot dog rolls, leading to faintness before the end of the shift. The “home” that is also a car or a van. The illness or injury that must be “worked through,” with gritted teeth, because there’s no sick pay or health insurance and the loss of one day’s pay will mean no groceries for the next. These experiences are not part of a sustainable lifestyle, even a lifestyle of chronic deprivation and relentless low-level punishment. They are, by almost any standard of subsistence, emergency situations. And that is how we should see the poverty of so many millions of low-wage Americans—as a state of emergency."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed (via itsnevertoolatte)

(via jillianomicon)

2,338 notes

"

I think that kasdayeh is right about geek culture, but there’s an important facet of that she left out: lack of education about society. Guys on Reddit are very typically coming from STEM fields - a lot of engineers, a lot of programmers. I really think the complete lack of basic understanding of social justice on Reddit, the lack of understanding of how past oppression continues to exert force on the present, is reflective of a larger failure of a good humanities education. It’s reflective of the increasing early specialization we require of college and even high school kids. Their STEM curriculums don’t require much of a humanities or social science foundation, so they grow up completely unequipped with the tools required to think critically about society, and totally unaware of how social structures shape everyone’s lives - and it’s especially invisible to them as mostly white, middle-class, straight males, who are told their experience and identity is the “default.” A lot of Redditors believe that if you can’t write an equation about it, it’s worthless bullshit. So despite little knowledge about it, they are confident in their own “educated” judgment, and dismiss sociology, history, literature, anthropology, etc. as “just opinions” and reject whatever doesn’t match up with what is immediately intuitive to them - which they’d never do for hard science.

That becomes really clear in the feminist subreddits, where the rather extreme anti-feminist fringe group called Men’s Rights rules the show. They regularly dismiss basic gender theory and sociological findings that don’t match up with their worldview, and people who have degrees in gender-related fields get kicked out for saying that men as a whole are not oppressed. They define “egalitarianism” as a middle ground between feminism and misogyny. It’s just ignorance. SRS is the only place where you find a high concentration of people who are actually quite well-educated about gender, race, class, and sexuality, and it’s telling that the rest of Reddit hates it.

Redditors think the fact that the pretty girls in high school could reject them, and that men are held just as accountable for unplanned children as women, constitutes oppression, because they don’t have an education in what oppression really is. They think privilege means “how nice people are to you.” It’s basic failures of education like that, resulting from our totally lopsided devotion to STEM fields at the expense of others, that creates the whole problem.

"

http://www.reddit.com/r/SRSDiscussion/comments/x8c3g/why_is_reddit_so_antiwomen_the_atlantic_wants_to/ (via abbysucks)

(via latkje)

16 notes

thalamtnafsee:

I think this deserves a standing ovation in front of the mainstream feminists who have constantly dehumanized and demeaned our existence as Muslim women by suggesting that we’re oppressed people. This deserves a standing ovation in front of the hundreds of men who have claimed that the religion of Islam does not tolerate liberated and free women (which is, of course, contrary to the teachings of Muhammad). This deserves recognition; Muslim women are participating in wrestling, swimming, shooting, and other physically demanding sports while wearing the physical hijab.

All of you are my role models; go kick me some misogynistic ass ladies!

(via thewherefores)

10,436 notes

Step 232: Be thoughtful and polite to people with disabilities

adulting:

And now, a wonderful (and useful) entry, courtesy of Sovin, on etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities. Sovin?

1. If you see someone with a visible disability (or someone tells you about an invisible one!), it’s pretty natural to do a double take, especially if that person has a pretty/cool cane/crutch(es)/chair/etc. But gawking or saying “But you don’t look sick/seem so able/etc!” is really hurtful. If you catch yourself doing so, please apologize - that means the world!

2. “I hope that you have a system that works for you/that your [medication, therapy, medical device] is working well for you” is a much more cool, adult response than “I hope you get better/don’t need it soon.”

3. Most people don’t mind polite questions! “May I ask about [behaviour, disability, or device]?” is preferable to “Why don’t you…” questions or comparing people to stereotypes or media examples (usually incorrect and occasionally really offensive!).

4. I love witty humour! But please think twice before making jokes. “I should be holding the door open for you!” when someone with a cane is holding the door? That stings, a lot.

5. Try to think about other people’s limitations! If you want to invite a friend to go somewhere, is there wheelchair access? A person with a cane may only have one hand - how much can you carry/hold/easily open doors with the same? Try to keep pace with them, don’t walk ahead, then forget or pause to wait every few feet, it can be really embarrassing.

6. If it looks like someone is having trouble, asking sincerely if you can help is great! Assuming that someone wants help or how you can do it is rude and inconsiderate.

7. If you see a person with a disability using or doing one thing one day but not the next, that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. Sometimes I can walk across the room without my cane, sometimes I can’t; that doesn’t mean that I’m lying about needing it, and it’s a hurtful thing to hear.

8. Don’t touch a person’s medical device without permission. Ever. It’s rude, invasive, and threatening. They aren’t toys; they’re necessities, aids, and, for a lot of people, the basis of their independence and/or health.

9. Don’t offer unsolicited advice about treatments or health concerns. You may just want to help, but it comes across as condescending and rude if you treat someone like they haven’t done their research, especially when many people spend a lot of time considering how to best take care of their health.

10. People with disabilities are people! They aren’t objects of pity or inspiration, and they aren’t martyrs, no matter what the after school specials say. Be respectful and treat other adults like adults, apologize if you make an error, ask about their experiences rather than assuming, and you should get along just fine!

(via jillianomicon)

[tw: discussion of police brutality, etc]
thepeoplesrecord:

Report: NYPD broke international law with OWS brutalityJuly 25, 2012
A report by a group of civil and human rights attorneys released Wednesday morning paints the clearest picture yet of the New York City police department’s aggressive tactics and over-policing, all of which resulted in the systemic suppression of the basic rights of Occupy protesters.
The report, which chronicles events from late September 2011 up to July of 2012, extensively documents numerous ways in which the NYPD acted with excessive force, attempted to intimidate and harass members of the press, expelled activists from public space due to the content of their speech, and ultimately concludes that authorities broke international law in their handling of Occupy Wall Street.
The executive summary states, in plain language:
“The abusive practices documented in this report violate international law and suppress and chill protest rights, not only by undermining individual liberty, but also by causing both minor and serious physical injuries, inhibiting collective debate and the capacity to effectively press for social and economic change, and making people afraid to attend otherwise peaceful assemblies.”
The authors of the report make several recommendations. First, they call for the city to enact a new, public protest policy, to be created in coordination with civil rights groups like the ACLU. Second, that Mayor Bloomberg establish an independent review of the policing of Occupy Wall Street since September 2011. Third, that New York State create an independent inspector-general to oversee the NYPD, and, if the state fails to do that, the report calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to step in to investigate the NYPD.
“The report calls for investigations and prosecutions of officials, and for new protest policing guidelines that ensure the NYPD respects core civil liberties and human rights,” said Sarah Knuckey, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law and Research Director of Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law, one of the report’s main authors. “If these things are not done, the U.S. Department of Justice needs to step in and investigate official misconduct, and bring charges where appropriate.”
The authors have filed the report – which focuses primarily on New York City, though subsequent reports will focus on other cities – with the DOJ, as well as with the United Nations as a formal complaint.  They have also submitted it to the mayor’s office, the NYPD, and the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).
Many involved with Occupy will be familiar with much that’s in the report, but its sheer scope makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And for international authorities who may be less well-acquainted with the less covered – though equally important – aspects of police repression, the report will likely prove a valuable tool.
“[This report] should serve as a wake-up call to the sleepwalkers who have not yet realized that the serious problems with the way New York City has been exercising its police powers are a real public health emergency that we have to deal with head-on and collectively, in a comprehensive and sustained way,” Gideon Oliver, president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, told AlterNet.
Most shocking is the section titled “use of force”, and the accompanying 36-page table that documents 130 incidents of violence police committed against Occupy activists. The list of incidents by its very nature couldn’t be exhaustive, but is intended to show the wide range of force police used against activists. Some of the incidents are quite serious; punching, over-hand swinging of batons, and “intentionally applying very hard force to the broken clavicle of a handcuffed and compliant individual.” Reading through the table leaves one with a dizzying sense of brutality, as ten months of condensed violence flash before one’s eyes.
Source

[tw: discussion of police brutality, etc]

thepeoplesrecord:

Report: NYPD broke international law with OWS brutality
July 25, 2012

A report by a group of civil and human rights attorneys released Wednesday morning paints the clearest picture yet of the New York City police department’s aggressive tactics and over-policing, all of which resulted in the systemic suppression of the basic rights of Occupy protesters.

The report, which chronicles events from late September 2011 up to July of 2012, extensively documents numerous ways in which the NYPD acted with excessive force, attempted to intimidate and harass members of the press, expelled activists from public space due to the content of their speech, and ultimately concludes that authorities broke international law in their handling of Occupy Wall Street.

The executive summary states, in plain language:

“The abusive practices documented in this report violate international law and suppress and chill protest rights, not only by undermining individual liberty, but also by causing both minor and serious physical injuries, inhibiting collective debate and the capacity to effectively press for social and economic change, and making people afraid to attend otherwise peaceful assemblies.”

The authors of the report make several recommendations. First, they call for the city to enact a new, public protest policy, to be created in coordination with civil rights groups like the ACLU. Second, that Mayor Bloomberg establish an independent review of the policing of Occupy Wall Street since September 2011. Third, that New York State create an independent inspector-general to oversee the NYPD, and, if the state fails to do that, the report calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to step in to investigate the NYPD.

“The report calls for investigations and prosecutions of officials, and for new protest policing guidelines that ensure the NYPD respects core civil liberties and human rights,” said Sarah Knuckey, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law and Research Director of Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law, one of the report’s main authors. “If these things are not done, the U.S. Department of Justice needs to step in and investigate official misconduct, and bring charges where appropriate.”

The authors have filed the report – which focuses primarily on New York City, though subsequent reports will focus on other cities – with the DOJ, as well as with the United Nations as a formal complaint.  They have also submitted it to the mayor’s office, the NYPD, and the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).

Many involved with Occupy will be familiar with much that’s in the report, but its sheer scope makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And for international authorities who may be less well-acquainted with the less covered – though equally important – aspects of police repression, the report will likely prove a valuable tool.

“[This report] should serve as a wake-up call to the sleepwalkers who have not yet realized that the serious problems with the way New York City has been exercising its police powers are a real public health emergency that we have to deal with head-on and collectively, in a comprehensive and sustained way,” Gideon Oliver, president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, told AlterNet.

Most shocking is the section titled “use of force”, and the accompanying 36-page table that documents 130 incidents of violence police committed against Occupy activists. The list of incidents by its very nature couldn’t be exhaustive, but is intended to show the wide range of force police used against activists. Some of the incidents are quite serious; punching, over-hand swinging of batons, and “intentionally applying very hard force to the broken clavicle of a handcuffed and compliant individual.” Reading through the table leaves one with a dizzying sense of brutality, as ten months of condensed violence flash before one’s eyes.

Source

(Source: thepeoplesrecord, via jillianomicon)

490 notes