I’m too Radical for the Violence of the so-called “Antifas”

Writing

I think that the only way I can make this comprehensible to you is to talk in terms of pain. We can follow the faultlines along my body, and trace the damage. Let’s start at the feet, the nerve damage the developed when he would hold me down while he raped me as a toddler. The nerve damage from the hard labor. I’m 29, and some days my compression socks are the only thing standing in the way of me being fully bedridden. These aren’t from the Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. We’ve traced my injuries back to every single memory. The damaged shoulder is from it being dislocated by my parents when they raped me and I struggled.

The knee? I injured that resisting rapes (it turns out that if a small child locks her knees together, it takes a lot of force to separate them and my knee paid for that).

The neck? Is that from the attempted stranglings?

Those scars on my wrist? The time they tried to kill me.

My hands? Hard labor, intentionally sprained wrists and the push to succeed did that.

My ankle is worse because of the rapes while I recovered from surgery after I broke it.

You can see the damage of oppression in my medical chart.

All this physical evidence and no one saw it until my husband did.

Why?

Because I was poor. Because I was white. Because I was accomplished. Because I didn’t look and sound like a victim. Because I was resistant.

Resisting made things so much worse. They did everything they could to break me. They raped me in front of my siblings. They beat me. They punished me when I volunteered to take those hits for someone else. There was nothing they hated more than after ALL THAT, after decades of torture and abuse, after even being exposed to the different forms of oppression at Stanford, I was still kind. Resistant as hell, but not once could they convince me to hurt innocent people. They couldn’t make me into a monster.

If you think that in the course of this time I never wanted to be violent or that being resistant without being violent was easier, you have no fucking idea what you are talking about. It took a tremendous amount of discipline and strength to endure all of that and come out the other side still preaching love and nonviolence. But I have been tested and I have been through the fire, and I have risen out of the ashes over and over again to say the same thing.

We can talk about the morality of violence. It is just wrong to hurt innocent people, if you don’t think so, then you are the monster. But doing violence changes you in ways you can’t take back. I know because I watched the way they destroyed my sister. Her fury and the way she beat my brother and me was never a sign of strength but a sign of profound pain. I didn’t envy her, I just felt bad for her, which is why I often took those beatings.

But violence is also ineffective against actual monsters because we will never out-monster them. True pyschopaths and sociopaths WANT us to be them. They won’t respond badly to violence because that is the world they believe in. We will never be as cruel as them. We will never be able to hurt people as well as them. This is asymmetrical warfare and when you up against a stronger enemy, you have to be more careful and strategic.

There are so many times I would have died if I had made a single mistake. Had I been just a few seconds delayed, the fire might have engulfed my brother and me both. Had I freaked out instead of putting the fire out while in extreme pain, I would be dead.

If the train hadn’t come at exactly the right time, something I had planned and stalled for, I would be dead.

And if I hadn’t told my neighbor to keep an eye on the house the night they tried to stab me, I would be dead. There was no room for error. I could not make mistakes. I could not let emotions drive me. I had other people’s lives on the line, and had I died, more would have followed.

So I’m not someone who is saying this without experiencing oppression. If you know an American with an more harrowing story of oppression, I’d like to meet them so I can have more friends. I’m not saying this as some pansy nonviolent advocate. I have family in the military, and I believe there is a time and place to fight. I’m not saying this because I’m conservative and I think peace and harmony are more important.

First of all, if you showed up to the radical circles I hang with, we’d all be like, “I don’t know her.” I was giving lectures on the way racism is used to divide the masses in 2010 before it was cool. I helped start the movement for poor and working class kids on college campuses. I’m an anti-racist trained teacher with a Master’s degree in education who once got in trouble in grad school for including the Black Panthers in her curriculum. I’ve worked at domestic violence shelters, as a special needs paraprofessional in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the Bay. I wrote one of my admission essays on how the homeless man on the bus who was missing an arm and a leg was the person society should most revere.

You wanna play out-radicalize, kids? Well, you in the big leagues now, sweethearts. And in the big league, we do our homework. So you can’t make that argument.

I disagree with you because I think what you are doing is wrong and ineffective based on life experience and a comprehensive study of social movements around the world. I’m against it because I don’t think it is going to work, and seeing as how I’ve never seen an explanation for how pepper spraying old people would have stopped Hitler, I’m not holding my breath that you even know why you are doing what you are doing.

But this isn’t even close to our only option. And these so-called “antifas” aren’t even close to our only option for leadership in solving the serious problems we face. They don’t know this because they have NO FUCKING IDEA what they are doing. Do you really think MLK didn’t weigh the benefits and consequences of your actions? That you are better at the game than him? That you know more than your grassroots folks? That you know more than people who have been studying and doing this for longer than you’ve been alive? Is it because your parents told you that you were special too many times?

But I also want to be clear. I think the so-called “antifas” are weak willed children who demonstrated that they aren’t fit for leadership. I don’t think they are “strong” or showing Trump who is boss. I think they are fucking babies. I endured actual torture for years and I still have the discipline to plan my actions around how they affect others. I have severe PTSD. My childhood makes McCain’s torture experiences in Vietnam look relatively tame. And I am telling you that this violence and chaos is not strength.

It is the refuge of weak-willed monsters. And if you think it is going to be you dumb fucks that are going to turn me into a monster when my own mother couldn’t do that, you are arrogant at a disturbing level.

I blame your parents, for raising you to believe you are gods among men.

And babies, my sweet, dear babies, I know exactly how to take down Goliaths.

 

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Sanders is Right and You NEED to get Over Yourselves

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I’m going to concisely state who the Trump voters were, since exit polls and data are apparently only useful when we aren’t making a rhetorical point that feeds our ego.
1) Trump didn’t get anymore Republican voters than Romney did, except he got a higher share of MINORITY voters than Romney. Trump had vocal nonwhite supporters like, Diamond and Silk.
This means that not all Trump supporters are white. And if you believe that all Trump supporters hate immigrants, it also means that people of color can hate immigrants too. Which is totally possible, because they are human beings who have different experiences and perspectives and don’t all think alike in some magical hive mind. Not all Trump supporters voted against immigrants, by the way. Some of them felt they were voting against Hilary Clinton’s foreign policy, among other things. You would know this if you asked them. It’s April, so you are out of excuses.
2) Some people crossed over, like 20 percent of Democratically aligned men. But also the folks that didn’t like us for many solid reasons.
In case you need to hear it from a white man with degrees in a respectable publication, here’s one of the great sociologists breaking it down for you.
 
This is ALWAYS the reason the Democrats lose the elections they lose. This was not unusual and it wasn’t unpredictable.
3) If you think the Trump supporters are the only racists and sexists in this country, I have very bad news for you: I got hit on recently while my husband was in the room and in a meeting for an organization that serves sex trafficking victims. The person knew I was a sex trafficking victim, too. So if you think the only people in this country that have issues they need to work on are the people who voted for Trump, you live in a much nicer world than the one I live in.
Damn near everyone I’ve ever met in this country is bigoted in some regard or another.
BECAUSE THESE IDEOLOGIES ARE TAUGHT. SO IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THEM, CHANGE THE CULTURE, EDUCATE AND LIBERATE THE PEOPLE. ALL THE PEOPLE.
Sanders is right, we should treat the Trump supporters like human beings. Not because they were poor (THEY WEREN’T) but because we live in this country with them and people in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones.

Get over yourselves. We have too many problems for you to be sitting around patting yourselves on the back. If you need help figuring out what is more important, I’ll be happy to provide you with a list.

Code of the Social Justice Warrior: How Wealth Disparity Creates Ineffective Activists and How to Fix It

Writing

Author’s Note: We write this not to divide the left, but to reclaim it for the academics and working class activists that made us proud to identify as liberal.

A petite, Asian girl walks into the center of a “safe space” for unburdening herself about the racial tension she faces. Ten seconds into this confession, the multiracial, cis and non-cis gendered crowd screams at her until she cries. These same Social Justice Warriors demand colleges punish students who use the words “Free Speech,” but consider it “respectability politics” to ask that SJWs not break windows. As hate crimes and victimization of homeless black and trans youth rose, black and trans college students focused on getting Deans fired for writing emails discouraging the policing of Halloween costumes. Self-described activists hold a self-described direct action at the University of Missouri, only to physically attack the press members who show up to give them coverage. Liberal professors, who were once afraid of being rooted out as “cultural Marxists” for using “offensive” texts like those by Mark Twain or Harper Lee, are now scared of their liberal students getting them fired for using “offensive” texts like those of Mark Twain and Upton Sinclair. When a female academic tries to challenge a male-dominated University over sexual assault policy, the Social Justice Warriors angrily protest her for weeks. They then scream bloody murder when anyone fails to challenge the “heteronormative culture” around sexual assault. It is the first priority of SJWs to teach the people the truth about oppression, except the expert on American segregation in the west can’t talk on a panel about segregation because she is white.

These bizarre examples are actually a consistent set of behaviors enabled by the effects of a growing wealth disparity. Everything commonly associated with the ills of Social Justice Warriors can be traced to, and fixed by, the close analysis of how the wealthy are increasingly divorced from helping the most marginalized members of every race and gender. Where noblesse oblige traditionally motivated the rich to charity balls, SJWs are additionally motivated by the systemic misuse of postmodernism, Critical Theory, and intersectionality. What results is a socially fragile ecosystem which will crumble if even remotely challenged. This fragility can only be sustained through the kind of massive purges that led to college “civil rights advocates” making a mockery of Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent struggle and calling John Lewis a “sellout.” So-called “urban fighters” attacking Killer Mike for being politically active in national elections. During the 2016 election, they acted as though Amy Schumer  was seen as more deserving of personal vitriol than Donald Trump (who was only “as bad as the neoliberal Hillary”).

Academia on the left have been unsurprisingly silenced in any attempt to create a historiography of Social Justice Warriors. On the other hand, while conservatives and the purged victims of SJWs have had more freedom to write, their one-sided, negative experiences have led many to understandably see SJWs as cartoonish, compulsive liars with no motivation beyond implementing their impossible dystopic vision. They have also tended to focus on the more practical aspects of “fighting back against SJWs.” For instance, alt-right icon Vox Day’s “SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police” does a wonderful job pinning down the behavioral traits of an SJW while leaving less practical psychological and sociological explanations for another day (1). This article hopes to elucidate those very philosophical, sociological, and psychological factors.

SOCIAL VALIDATION AND DISSONANCE

To begin with, consider fancy charity balls. If the rich can just donate $2,000 to Orphans ‘R Us, Why go to a $2,000 per plate fundraiser where $1,500 goes to expenses?

In the television show Billions, the main character attends a charity ball with his employee. When the presenter asks who will give $500,000, the main character urges his employee to also donate that amount to prove that he gets paid enough.

It is no mistake that women wear their fanciest jewelry and men wear their fanciest clothing at these events. Charity, when “performed” in public, comes with the social reward of the admiration/envy of others. The most extreme donors (those who donate the most) are socially validated as good, valuable members of the community. The billionaire would not have forced his employee to donate that much money if the amount given was kept private. So, as a public event, charity always risks becoming a “performance” motivated not by good will but by an urge to be socially validated.

Now, consider a rich, Beverly Hills brat forced by his parents to serve food for a single day at a homeless shelter. Prior to seeing the homeless, the brat considered himself the most oppressed person he knew. His adolescent struggles with girls and a scream or two from the parents remain the most “emotional discomfort” he has experienced to date.

At the homeless shelter he runs into a bunch of homeless youths his age. But, to his surprise, these youths look relatively clean, go to schools near his, and want desperately to stop starving. Suddenly, the brat’s problems seem so insignificant that feeling bad about girls becomes a source of guilt.

Like every other person, the brat wants to see himself as a “good, valuable person.” Any facts contrary to this interpretation creates “dissonance” between the brat’s ideal world and the current one. When the brat feels pained by a girl rejecting him, his urge to feel sorry for himself is in dissonance with his understanding of others suffering being so much greater. This cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable, and the human brain copes with this by reducing dissonance in whatever way possible.

There are a multitude of ways to deal with cognitive dissonance. The brat could reduce dissonance by believing the homeless youths deserve their current position or are not even worthy of sympathy in the first place. Alternatively, the brat could reduce dissonance by evolving into a champion for homeless youths, fighting tooth and nail to give them housing and support. This has the added bonus of social validation by bragging about “performing activism” to girls. If the brat is truly sympathetic to the plight of the homeless youths, regardless of his motive he may be a greater savior to them than the nice-but-idle masses.

But what if, after one day at the homeless shelter, this champion is suddenly given free reign to single-handedly design a multi-million dollar “House the Homeless Youth” program. If the champion is not in touch with the day-to-day problems of the actual grievance group (the homeless youths), his policies may end up not benefiting or even hurting other youths his age.

Similarly, if the consequences for and input from the grievance group can be ignored, the brat may be completely satisfied with just the reduced dissonance and social validation from “performing activism.” The fact that the grievance group is left worse off is not relevant to the brat’s feelings of success and moral superiority.

WOKE? WASN’T SLEEPING

A working class woman, born destitute in North Highlands in a majority-minority neighborhood, would be extremely confused upon entering Stanford University to find students asking her if she was “woke.” They informed her that woke people knew that “the system” was oppressing the poor, that mass incarceration was based on racial dynamics, that employers discriminate based on physical traits, and other such revelations about “the man.” The woke must fight this oppression and do their best to “wake” others to fight it!

Her confusion stems from the fact that, according to this definition, everyone over six years old who grew up in a working class neighborhood is woke. Even the most rabid, slobbering stereotype of a white trash racist is well aware that discrimination against blacks exists. The difference is that the working class racists either don’t care about discrimination, are in favor of the discrimination, or don’t consider anti-black discrimination as severe as the discrimination they face. It is extremely hard to find a working-class black, indigenous, LGBT, etc. student who was “woke” by college. That’s because, since birth, they are the most direct targets of all systems of oppression.

However, it is hard NOT to find “woke” marginalized upper class students on college campuses. This creates a relatively unique possibility: activists seeking to “perform charity” for a grievance group they are disconnected to while simultaneously identifying with that grievance group. From an outsider’s perspective, what appears to emerge from this dynamic is similar to a scenario where rich, white men go “perform charity” at a fancy ball dedicated to helping rich, white men get richer. And to the outsider’s surprise, everyone at the ball screams down and insults the homeless man who suggests that they are only helping when they give to those with less money. However, to understand the rhyme and reason behind this shouting, we must take a quick look at the academic theories Social Justice Warriors have exploited to argue against basic facts of reality.

IDEOLOGICAL ROOTS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS

A tumblr of the Social Justice Warrior’s most bizarre quotes rightfully appears incoherent to anyone not already versed in the legitimate academic theories that SJWs abuse for rhetorical gain. Most SJWs do not actually understand postmodernism, intersectionality, or Critical Theory yet will bludgeon their opponents with them. When properly demystified, however, their misuse by SJWs will become apparent.

In fact, a proper understanding of intersectionality is key to the undoing of the entire movement.

The SJW’s approach to the goals of academia is best understood as a fundamentalist form of Critical Theory: the idea that social and philosophical theories are only “critical” to humanity insofar as they can be used to “liberate” humanity. It is not enough for a theory to simply describe or explain society; the theory must reflect or critique society in a way that battles ideological obstacles to the people’s enlightenment. While Critical Theory originated in the neo-Marxist Frankfurt school, American universities stripped its application to social class in response to anti-communist pressures. Instead, critical studies of every other marginalized group (ethnic, feminist, gender, etc) filled that theoretical vacuum.

The next puzzle piece involves the misuse of that most obnoxious of theories: postmodernism (2). While the term is tossed around everywhere, the common factor between them is that postmodern works involve some recognition of the “rules” or “artifacts” behind traditional subjects of study. A postmodern movie might break the fourth wall in order to alert viewers to the fact that they are watching light projected onto a wall. An artist takes a crap on cardboard and calls it art because it is created with the goal of getting traditional art critics to say “crap on cardboard isn’t art.” Recognizing the hidden assumptions behind how scientists talk about fertilization lead to new discoveries on how eggs react to sperm. Postmodernism’s method of deconstructing once-unquestioned assumptions has increased academia’s ability to perceive commonalities and differences between cultures. (3)

However, whereas scientists, anthropologists, and other discipline-specific departments have mostly used this analytical lens responsibly, Social Justice Warriors drowned in it. Instead of recognizing decades of work in post-positivism and other theories that do not resort to nihilism, SJWs weaponized postmodernism to argue that objective truth either did not exist, could not be determined, or was personalized to each individual’s life experiences.

Their argument revolves around their favorite aspect of postmodernism: the existence and pervasiveness of “narratives.”

Postmodern narratives can be viewed as the languages, stories, myths, assumptions, ideas, beliefs, and worldviews that humans overlay on the “raw reality” existing outside their minds. A twenty dollar bill in its “raw reality” is no more valuable than any other green, paper rectangle. However, when everyone in a society believes in a “money narrative” then suddenly the green, paper rectangle gains “twenty dollars” in value without physically changing. If, the next day, society stops believing the money narrative, the twenty dollar bill goes back to solely being a green, paper rectangle. The money narrative has no reality outside of society’s beliefs.

At the same time, this doesn’t negate the fact that a “twenty dollar bill” is worth twenty dollars. That twenty may decide whether a working class family eats which may decide whether or not a child lives. The effects of the narrative on the “raw reality” of that family is immense. Yet the narrative has no existence independent of a society’s shared belief system.

An activist from a starving family would find nuance in the statement “money is a narrative.” However, what if the activist kept arguing “money is a narrative” without encountering any starving families until after he designed a “comprehensive anti-poverty plan?” Fighting the narrative of money itself could be seen as valuable (not to mention socially validating), even though the working class family would starve for lack of money.

Once weaponized, postmodernism can be used to refute or at least nullify almost any statement that does not explicitly differentiate between “raw reality” and “narratives.” To those without extensive philosophical education, these arguments can feel intellectually overwhelming. However, at their core, weaponized postmodernism is quite simplistic.

Their first step is to note that no intellectual concept, by definition, can be reduced entirely to “raw reality.” The next step is to also point to the fact that the metrics by which we measure the success of theories (accuracy, coherence, statistical probability, practicality, completeness, simplicity, soundness, validity, etc) are also irreducibly bound up by narratives. Because two people can hold mutually exclusive narratives about the same “raw reality,” we must either say that “one narrative is true while the other is not” or “the narratives are equally true.” (4)

Another technique is to discredit the opponent by accusing them of being unwittingly biased by a narrative. For instance, an SJW responding to this article would say that the overuse of “he” in situations where “she” or “they” were also appropriate proves the author is under the influence of misogynistic impulses. They will, by now, have also prepared to attack this article for the insensitivity of using a word like “abuse” when talking about how they are treating academic theories. (5) My transphobic biases, it will be said, are also evident since earlier I mentioned LGBT youth instead of LGBTIQ youth. And as a last ditch effort, it will be said that the very act of challenging the SJWs is indicative of or a precursor to a denial of racism, sexism, classim, etc. Once the source is successfully discredited in the minds of other SJWs, the intellectual merit of the argument can be ignored. Whether or not non-SJWs are convinced is beside the point, since anyone who is not an SJW is not “woke” and therefore will by definition be incapable of understanding the “woke discussions” of “woke people.”

Applying this weaponized philosophy has some familiar results. When presented with scientific evidence, an SJW may counter that “western science” is a narrative that is no more superior than narratives based on “traditional knowledge.” Trying to find similar rhetorical ground with a common metric (accuracy, soundness, validity, etc) will be met with another sneer and the (technically correct) proposition that the value of any metric is bound up in yet another narrative. For an outsider, this appears to be a complete denial of the very utility of truth and reason. And when postmodernism is taken to absurdist lengths, it is.

However, while postmodernism gives SJWs cannon fodder against hostile facts or critiques, it creates a huge social problem for them. If there is no objective truth, how do activists figure out which grievance group is most deserving of help? Without modification, SJWs run into a stalemate where no one can agree on who is more oppressed because this fundamentalist postmodernism recognizes each individual’s lived experience of oppression as “equally valid.” The performance of charity becomes impossible as the ability of activism to sustain social validation degenerates. Their social ecosystem, it could be said, collapses.

The SJW’s solution came in the form of hijacking and bastardizing yet another theory: intersectionality. Intersectionality, as originally intended, explores the interconnections and interdependence of multiple systems of oppression. A black, working class woman faces different struggles from a white, working class woman. Both face different struggles from a black, upper class woman. However, SJWs abandoned the intellectually rigorous side of intersectionality: how systems of oppression interact to effect the most marginalized.

Instead, intersectionality became a simplistic arithmetic: having a particular trait assigns you to a “race privilege” system or “gender privilege” system. The SJWs flipped intersectionality into the study of “oppressive systems in isolation.” Instead of intersectionality as a matrix of oppression, intersectionality became a hierarchy of oppression.

How oppressed an individual is can be determined automatically by how superficial their marginalized traits are. Dark skin and transexuality, being most immediately observable, rest at the top of this pyramid. The very concept that “being white and poor” could under ANY circumstances be more oppressive than “being rich and latino” is heretical under this ideology. A white former child soldier and sex trafficking victim with AIDs is less oppressed than Oprah Winfrey. Black women who grew up in Beverly Hills scream down at poor, white transexual boys who were raped for their sexual preference (6).

In the unlikely event that two SJWs get into an argument, the winner by default is whoever ranks higher on this Intersectionality Pyramid. A pyramid which, it should be remembered, considers poverty to be a less oppressive “privilege system” than even the mildest microagression against a marginalized race or gender. How SJWs manage to peruse the most basic works of Zinn or Freire while failing to grasp the basics of intersectionality is beyond the scope of this article.

A noteworthy aspect of this simplistic, compartmentalized “privilege systems” worldview is that oppression is not based on “being black” but by “having dark skin.” This is because of that pesky little irritant to the many who have tried to manifest race as solely a function of skin color: recessive genes. The existence of “white women” with two biologically African parents forced them to resort to the term “white-passing” (7) in order to ignore the genealogical roots of black men and women who did not have the appropriate skin color. This has devolved into accusations of “colorism” as darker-skinned, rich blacks harangue lighter-skinned, poor blacks for having so much more privilege than them. This entire dialogue would come as a great surprise to those of all skin tones who lived through the “One-Drop Rule” era.(8) Within society, the definition of race has never been exclusively the domain of one party. The complexity of race stretches far beyond the intersectionality pyramid’s naive, one-dimensional “darker skin equals lacking more white privilege equals more black.” As Langston Hughes put it:

“You see, unfortunately, I am not black. There are lots of different kinds of blood in our family. But here in the United States, the word ‘Negro’ is used to mean anyone who has any Negro blood at all in his veins. In Africa, the word is more pure. It means all Negro, therefore black. I am brown.”

The intersectionality pyramid, a static representation of fluid power relations, is the SJWs solution to social validation in the face of postmodernism. It is also at the core of the SJWs most bizarre behaviors (re-check the SJW Tumblr quotes and see if they make more sense now). Hierarchical intersectionality, or the Intersectionality Pyramid, is a pseudo-intellectual bastardization of what promises to be a truly cross-discipline, holistic understanding of systemic oppression. Many pockets of academia still hold to the actual definition of intersectionality, but they risk targeting by SJWs if they dare say so in public.

But why target academics whose policy positions are so close to the SJWs? Why purge every intellectual? Why consider it success to take up lofty goals even when the activism is ineffective or even counterproductive? And why are they so scared of working class activists actually speaking their mind?

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Imagine a charity ball full of the coolest, rich white people around. The cause is “helping white men.” There is a photo of a homeless man on the billboard with the words “white man” over it. Instead of outbidding each other for validation with greater and greater sums of money, these donors can only bid more and more extreme “ideological performances.”

However, a performance is only validating if it is considered “successful.” So while “let’s violently overthrow the government” is an ideologically extreme stance, the failure in performance would invalidate the worth of that stance. A statement without performance is the charity ball equivalent of publicly refusing to pay for whatever amount was originally bid. It would be better to be silent than risk that humiliation.

This means that donors get the greatest social validation with the least risk if they take as extreme a stance as possible while simultaneously taking on as vulnerable an opponent or as easy an obstacle as possible. “Let’s overthrow the government” can be socially validated when accompanied with “by blocking a freeway to increase awareness.”

But say then that a homeless white man enters the charity ball and says “why not just spend time feeding the homeless? You’d do much more good that way than by any of these extremist stances coupled with easily attainable, instantly gratifying goals.”

If this hobo is correct, all the social validation that the rich, white men have received from charity balls over the years would be revealed as a self-serving sham. The cognitive dissonance from this fact would be overwhelming. This homeless man is a greater threat to the charity ball than the very existence of homelessness. However, because the donors don’t believe in harming white people, they won’t call security. Instead, they will tell the other cool kids that the white man is a “traitor” who does not want to help other white men. When confronted, they can only defend themselves by saying “homelessness is based on money which is a narrative, so by spreading awareness of the microagressions against rich whites we are attacking the money narrative and thus eliminating poverty.”

Lacking this reaction, either the hobo must be destroyed, his ideology must be invalidated, or the charity ball degenerates into a madhouse of socially co-dependent children seeking comforting words. No matter how smart, charismatic, strategic, and invaluable a dissident may be, he must be purged or silenced or else the movement collapses under its own anti-intellectualism. But where does the SJW’s “charity ball” take place? Is it an actual physical location?

VIRTUAL BALLS

Charity balls have a set time and location for “performing charity;” there is no such thing as “flash mob charity benefits.” This is because socially validating charity can only be performed in front of an audience. The performance ends once the charity ball ends because that is when social validation through charity ends. But what if charity goers had to live inside a continuous charity ball? What if there is no chance to stop “performing” without risking social alienation in an enclosed environment?

College campuses, insulated from outside opinions, act as the perpetual “charity ball” in which Social Justice Warriors must either constantly perform or lose social validation. But, in the end, the only necessary elements are a closed social network and a group-oriented ideological firewall against dissonance-inducing facts. So it is not surprising that what began in colleges migrated to online social networks. There is no need for a physical charity ball when social media acts as a perpetual, virtual arena for social performances. And, enticingly, instead of simply shouting donations into the ether, ideological bids made online become permanent visual monuments to be tagged and shared in perpetuity.

More interestingly, this can explain the phenomena that Vox Day perceives to be the “infiltration” of SJWs into institutions outside of college. In previous generations, student activists whose actions were guided by a need for social validation performed activism until they graduated. After that, they would then enter environments where social validation no longer depends on activism. The socially malleable hippie, upon entering the financial industry, soon seeks social validation through money, power, and other markers of status in those circles.

But with the predominance of social media, alumni SJWs no longer shed their extended social network when they graduate. Instead of occasionally keeping in touch with close college friends, every public update means exposure to the same social network that only sees validation through performed activism. The alumnus SJW becomes a node between the SJW-dominated college network and the alumnus’ post-graduation social and employment-based networks. The ideological bidding process which once ended in college now continues as long as the alumnus seeks social validation from that group. SJWs who enter environments with this pre-existing network may not even feel the need to make “new friends” since they already have so many sources of social validation.

However, to do so creates a “siege mentality” as the SJW alumnus finds increasing dissonance between once-validating ideological bids (“overthrow the government by blocking freeways”) and the day-to-day encounters with social and employment networks that do not value that kind of extremist rhetoric. In response, the SJW may attempt to increase the number of “woke” people in their new networks so as to receive validation for continuing old behaviors. Or, if the SJW socially “disavows” their work colleagues and depends solely on the alumni network for validation, they may engage in daily “performed activism” regardless of how grating and demoralizing it is for those around the alumnus.

With this in mind, it is not that hard to predict what a SJW almuni would do if given the power to introduce new people to the environment (such as an SJW boss with hiring power). Namely, they will fill the environment with those who reinforce the socially validating processes they have spent years adhering to. It is also not hard to predict what the SJW alumnus would do to anyone in that new environment that directly challenges their supremacy: work colleagues and employees would become the new targets of the SJW’s “bidding process” at their perpetual, virtual charity ball.

But what exactly is this “bidding process?” Do a collection of egomaniacal bloggers select targets while chomping on lit cigarillos in a shadowy corporate room? Or is it something much more familiar?

MEAN CIS-GENDER, GENDER-CONFORMING HETERONORMATIVE FEMALE YOUTHS

In order to explain the systemic targeting by Social Justice Warriors of individuals and groups, we need not break new theoretical ground. It should be remembered that the aim of SJW performances is to take as extreme a position as possible while choosing victims weak enough to ensure success. These dynamics play out in a manner best categorized by Rosalind Wiseman, known for providing the source material behind the movie “Mean Girls.”

Rosalind describes the two primary mechanisms which lead to the targeting of victims in social arenas. The first, and most well known, is when the “SJW Queen Bee” chooses a target as a means to validate their status as top dog. The Queen Bee is determined mainly by their relative position on the intersectionality pyramid. Those lower on the intersectionality pyramid are unable to ever reach the heights of “really marginalized.”

In order to make up for their low status on the pyramid, these pleasers and wannabes will choose whatever targets they can successfully bully into submission. This is usually the case with white, heterosexual SJWs. They wish to be the Queen Bee’s sidekick but are unlikely to gain that status due to low ranking on the intersectionality pyramid. In order to prove themselves to SJWs of a higher status, they are especially intent on “outbidding” each other in extremist performances.

A figure many victims of SJWs also recognize is the Torn Bystander who is conflicted between considering themselves “nice people” but also wanting social validation from SJWs.  They are usually the unwitting middlemen of the Queen Bee and Wannabees. This is because the easiest way for a Torn Bystander to reduce their own cognitive dissonance is to try and convince the victim to act in a way that placates the Queen Bee or Wannabees. This can be disastrous for the victim, since the Torn Bystander’s version of placating can include asking the victim to resign from their job. While standing up for the victim would also reduce dissonance about being a “nice person,” the Torn Bystander considers the personal social cost too great.

As some commentators noted, once an attack has started there appears to be a “swarm” of SJWs joining the attack. These are the wannabees, sidekicks, and others who want to tear off some social validation before the victim is totally consumed by the Queen Bee and adventurous Wannabees.

A Social Justice Warrior might object at this point, claiming that the problem lies not with the SJW ideology but with the implicit influence of a capitalist environment. If the SJWs had prior control over the education system and environment, these problems might disappear.

Unfortunately for that SJW, this question has already been asked and answered. And the answer isn’t pretty.

SOCIAL JUSTICE GUARDS

In 1965, Mao had a problem. If Communism was correct, then a revolutionary change in China’s base and superstructure should have ended divisions among people based along class lines. However, over ten years had passed and the new generation of Communist youth were showing some disturbing trends. His attempt to right the ship, his infamous “16 Points,” triggered the Cultural Revolution and the violently radical “Red Guards.”

In Communist China, children were initially divided into “good-origins classes” (parents were involved in the revolution or were peasant/factory workers), the “enemy classes” (parents were capitalists, had a history of publicly denouncing Mao, or were Nationalists), and the “ally classes” (parents were peddlers, store clerks, teachers, doctors, etc.). Revolutionary cadre (offspring of party members and military officials) were “more good” than the offspring of peasants and factory workers. The offspring of non-intelligentsia ally classes were “more good” than the intelligentsia ally classes.

While Education Minister Yang Xiufeng fought for a science-oriented curriculum to modernize China with expertise training, Mao cared more about instilling revolutionary ethics through schooling with minor attention paid to “bourgeoisie book learning.” Ironically, this resulted in a generation who only understood Communism through editorials, a smattering of party history, and a simple textbook explanation. Neither articles by Marx nor even an entire book by Mao was required reading even by high school seniors (at the time they had 12 year schooling like America). Instead what counted was the “emotive and moral elements” and how students acted out those elements in everyday life. (9)

This led to a distinction between “formal activists” who signed up to get ahead in the party and “informal activists” who helped others without official support. While there were formal activists who were truly interested in helping fellow students, at the same time the limited membership in official activist groups meant those classmates were also competition. Since deciding who had the “most good” attitude could only be determined by observing behaviors, increasingly absurd rounds of “play-acting” ensued. Students fought to wake up first and sweep the floors “anonymously.” Some wrote “secret diaries” full of praises of Mao and left them open on their bed. When presented with speakers from tragic backgrounds, former Maoist youths recall the temptation to publicly demonstrate the depths of their feelings by breaking into tears. The other easy means of demonstrating purity was by “criticizing and publicizing other’s flaws in small group sessions.” For the activists who were truly genuine in their commitment, this hypocrisy rankled them even more and increased pressure to perform what they considered “real activism.

Party campaigns and even school administrations encouraged this mix of “truly felt values and play-acting” since it encouraged conformity even when students were not totally heartfelt in their commitment. Others thought that repeated posturing, even if phony, would eventually internalize in the stragglers. Good Origin students who weren’t interested in politics were pressured to join the Communist League in order to be “awakened.”

However, Mao began to see his enemies among the corrupted good origins class to be a greater threat than than those in the now-suppressed former capitalist class. He tried to mobilize the students to campaign against his enemies within the Communist party by releasing “16 Points on the Cultural Revolution” on August 8th, 1966. But to Mao’s apparent surprise, students only responded to Mao’s directives “in a manner that was most favorable to their class circumstances.” The sons of well-connected party members and military officials announced their endorsement of the “Bloodline Theory” which privileged university and league admission to whoever was born into the “most good” class regardless of political attitude. They argued that only a small minority of the revolutionary cadre were bad apple “capitalist roaders” and so the class as a whole still warranted respect. Although ostensibly for the working class (pre-revolutionary peasants and factory workers), the Bloodline Theory in practice led to cliques of revolutionary cadre taking advantage of resources at the expense of the working class of good origin. The “purest” good origin students declared themselves to be the “Loyalist Red Guard.”(10)

An important aspect of the Bloodline Theory is that along with class label, students inherit their parent’s “class feelings.” Regardless of their behaviors, a student of the wrong class can never be trusted because he cannot be separated from his “class feelings.” As purists competed with each other, factions emerged that even denied “good origin” class to the offspring of factory workers whose grandparents were not also factory workers.

This environment created enormous pressure on students from the “allied classes” to demonstrate their devotion to Mao. These students along with purged good origin students merged into a “Rebel Red Guard.” The Rebel Red Guard believed that political attitude in the present, not class inheritance, was what was important. Because they could not rely on inherited class, they could only surpass the Loyalist Red Guards by emphasizing a willingness to die in defense of Mao and his ideals. Their targets, unsurprisingly, were Mao’s purported enemies in the good origins class. The Loyalist Red Guards, on the other hand, targeted those of non-good origins.

The Loyalist Red Guard had a very basic reason for trying to keep the focus on teachers and other non-good origin victims; their parents and elders were part of the “good origins” ruling group Mao wished to target.

It began when Mao asked that the students participate symbolically in a protest against a good origins playwright and newspaper editor he considered a threat. Interviewed activists at the time remember not knowing the exact issues involved but that they were exhilarated at the chance to take their “petty campus activism” to a national stage. They became enraptured with a “grand drama” in which they were the sole legitimate defenders of good in the face of “demons.”

Things began spiraling out of control when Loyalist Red Guards at Peking University hung posters claiming the campus was controlled by “bourgeois anti-revolutionaries.” Within days, revolutionary cadres across the province were hanging posters denouncing their school’s administration and teachers. An activist competition between informal groups sprung up to see who could produce the greatest quantity. When entire walls, from floor to ceiling, were covered with these posters, new posters were overlaid on them (see photo at top).

The play-acting used to torment fellow students then turned on the elders. The majority of teachers were from non-good origins, making them targets for verbal and physical attacks. The author notes that the good origin, high class parents showed little consideration for what happened to teachers since these parents were “of considerably higher political status than even their school’s party head” and thus “already stood little in awe of the teacher and school head’s authority.”

Being targeted by a poster could mean the end of a teacher or administrator’s job, if they were lucky. The less lucky were imprisoned in classrooms and brought out only to be berated and beaten by Red Guards. Teachers could be targeted for not emphasizing Mao enough, for “laziness in labor,” for their style of clothes, and for every “slip of the tongue” ever made. When speaking of their enemies in the non-good origin classes, former Loyalist Red Guards use words like “demons” and “devil” with conviction. The dehumanization made the murders and torture that much easier.

The author also noted a stark difference in the goals of the Loyalist Red Guards versus the coalition making up the Rebel Red Guards. Namely, Loyalists wanted to abolish entrance examinations for universities (making admission entirely origin and attitude-based), keep attacks focused on those who weren’t of good origin, and ensure that there was freedom of speech to criticize individuals (a freedom which did not extend to criticizing Mao or Communism). Meanwhile, Rebel Red Guards were focused on overthrowing elements of the upper classes that they thought were trying to undermine Mao’s directives.

Eventually, Mao had to send thousands of soldiers into the cities to put down the marauding Red Guard factions. Even with a decade of time and a total blank slate on how to shape the minds of the youths, Mao had failed at trying to erase the effects of class from a nation of self-described Communists. Ignoring this “Great Contradiction,” as he later described it, was at the heart of why the revolutionary cadre got out of hand. As Mao learned the hard way, even total control of the economy and culture cannot fix the exploitation of “performed activism” by the ruling classes.

Does this mean social justice itself is impossible? That because Communism is flawed beyond repair, there is no way to reconcile democracy with a nation where children aren’t starving and veterans are not homeless?

Far from it. However, the answer lies not in trying to control others. In fact, it lies in exactly the opposite direction.

TAKING “SOCIAL JUSTICE” BACK FROM SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS

Equity and other admirable causes of social justice must be taken back from those who exploit activism for personal social validation. However, this is actually not as hard to attain as might be imagined. By incorporating two practices to liberal discourse on the college campus, Social Justice Warriors will be forced to either take more reasonable stances or silence themselves for fear of seeming a fool. These practices can be dubbed Critical Criticalism and Your Ears or Your Head.

The first practice, Critical Criticalism, posits a basic standard for any self-proclaimed social justice ideology. Namely, that regardless of how moral, valuable, noteworthy, or beneficial some aspect of a critical theory may be to humanity, the whole must stand up to intellectual rigor. If not, then no matter what benefits the ideology may bring, it will remain unstable and open to challenge by anyone with intellectual rigor. The only way for direct beneficiaries of that system to ensure the continuance of their benefits is to silence any voices that challenge the provision of those benefits. This culture of withholding criticism creates inefficiencies as proactive intellectuals are purged and submissive ones are too intimidated to point out even the most disastrous tactical decisions by the beneficiaries. Many would rather watch the movement crash and burn than risk the repercussions of being socially purged.

However, any ideology that can withstand intellectual challenges has no need to silence opposition regardless of who is benefited or harmed. The heart of individuality is the ability of an individual to challenge the collective beliefs and actions of the whole. So it is no exaggeration to say that individuality can only co-exist with social justice when criticism remains an acceptable intellectual activity.

The second practice can be called “Your Ears of Your Head.” In short, any attempt to ameliorate a grievance group’s problems will likely fail without input from relevant members in critical planning stages. This “relevance” must be intersectional: the needs of working class blacks and latinos are best understood by students who are working class blacks and latinos. The input of rich blacks or latinos is needed to plan social interventions to help racially marginalized students in higher socioeconomic rungs.

When the leadership is held by those members of the grievance group who best understand the on-the-ground struggles of those they seek to emancipate, student movements have found success. This is also why upper class college students in marginalized demographics have found success in advocating for policy change that benefits themselves (trigger warnings, safe spaces, changing words on buildings on college campuses). Meanwhile, their leadership in advancing any kind of “social justice” for working class marginalized demographics has been almost non-existent.

At the same time, the leadership from first generation and working class student groups has led to many noteworthy advances for other working class youths both on and off the campus. While SJWs at UCLA shouted down mothers whose sons were gunned down by illegal immigrants, homeless UCLA students created the Bruin’s Shelter for other homeless students. While Stanford University SJWs protested the appointment of Donald Rumsfeld to the semi-independent Hoover Institute, the student-founded First Generation and Low Income Partnership (FLIP) succeeded in creating the first “First Generation and Diversity Office” in the nation.

And recently, as UC Berkeley’s “First Generation Professionals”  mentors working class law students and its sociology department engages in cutting-edge research on social class, a gang of cowardly, masked SJWs harassed and attacked civilians who were hoping to see a gay conservative speak about radical ideologies. This makes sense. What harm would the rich marauders come to, having the campus shut down? They can afford to choose another campus to wreck (11).

That said, over the past few years there have been multiple incursions by Social Justice Warriors into university First Generation and Low Income groups which has led to the purging of some of the country’s most effective student activists.

While there are many ways to determine which working class members are most qualified to lead movements that aim to alleviate the intersectional oppression of marginalized groups, suffice to say the leaders should not be those who would continue to demand the maintenance of the intersectionality pyramid. Any leader who fears Critical Criticalism will inevitably create a movement based on silencing the intellectuals. Any movement where intellectuals dare not correct tactical mistakes is inherently ineffective.

Challenging the intersectionality pyramid is not only career suicide for professors, it is social suicide for working class activists in movements led by the middle and upper classes. Without reservation, we can say that all the smartest, most successful working class activists we know have been purged or silenced by Social Justice Warriors over the past five years. Why? Because it would be heresy to allow the priorities of the working class to ever raise above the priorities of the richest, most pampered student who also belongs to a marginalized race, gender, or sexuality.

Yes, it is terrible being a trans youth, even if you are rich. But “my parents are ashamed of me” and “my friends think I’m a freak” is not quite as severe as “my parents kicked me out, I am constantly sexually assaulted while camping on Skid Row, and the police beat me especially hard when they pick me up because I make them uncomfortable about their sexuality.”

SJW’s fair no better on race. They call the dissident working class blacks “coons” and “uncle toms” because they refuse to play the rich man’s game of radicalized, trivialized one-upsmanship against increasingly vulnerable victims. They call them “coons” because these dissidents attack oppressive institutions instead of offensive people. Because these dissidents see others as “potential brothers” instead of “obligated allies.” Because they insist on having goals and strategy instead of instant gratification and herd instincts. Because they refuse to back down from the claim that they are here to liberate “the people” not “my people.”

And the despicable truth is that intellectual working class blacks and LGBTIQ, ESPECIALLY conservative ones, are more of a threat to the SJW’s social fabric than any oppressive institution run by rich, white men. They purge and attack their own kind because to do otherwise risks reducing the Social Justice Warrior’s ecosystem into the absurdity that underlies it. Even acknowledging the existence of black or gay conservatives is so dangerous to the SJW ideology that such people are immediately labeled race/gender traitors or useful idiots.

For too long, rich college students have been allowed to hijack social justice for perverse, self-serving needs. They have institutionalized their own biases instead of liberalizing academic discourse. They ruin lives and mock the destitute without a second thought as long as the victim does not appear too high on the intersectionality pyramid. And may god have mercy on the soul of any black transexual, rich or not, that dares point out all the roots of intersectional oppression.

Two stark choices remain. Either the Social Justice Warriors must adopt “Critical Criticalism” and “Your Ears or Your Head” or they must crumble like every anti-intellectual, quasi-fascist, reactionary, rudderless, paranoid faction before them.

NOTES

1. The Alt-Right is a funny lot. According to Vox Day’s “16 Points on the Alt-Right,” this group “doesn’t care what you think,” believes in securing a “future for white children” that is “unadulterated” by immigration, believes white people are more intelligent than black people, believes “diversity + proximity = war,” yet will throw unimaginable temper tantrums when it is publicly suggested that they are in fact “racial supremacists.” That said, this may well be a misunderstanding, and the Alt-Right is in fact a radical indigenous rights advocates for Native Americans. As the 16 points note, the Alt-Right is ” opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples.” As the comments section of our social media feeds are likely to soon show, quite a few in the Alt-Right certainly do care what others think. The previous sentence will be erased if we are proven wrong.

2. For the sake of clarity, I am restricting discussion to postmodernism that is NOT based on philosophical idealism or anti-realism. Similarly, I am consciously avoiding discussion of how pre-existing mental precepts can influence the very act of perception.

3. It’s also enabled a lot of extremely untalented artists to get filthy rich.

4. More exotically one could also argue the narratives are both equally false, both simultaneously true-and-false, or incapable of receiving a truth value of any sort. The SJW assumes their audience is unaware that these possibilities exist and therefore lets them conclude the “natural” answer is that a contradictory narrative prove that the audience holds a “personal truth” that is equal to the speaker’s “personal truth,” but there is no “objective truth” to be argued over. Once you lift the smoke and mirrors, this line of reasoning is analogous to “you and I can have different opinions over the best flavor ice cream, therefore ice cream does not exist.” Or, as the upper class activist might say “the ice cream I am holding in my hand does not exist.”

5. Not to spoil the surprise, but on several occasions a child sex trafficking victim was accused of “abusing” SJWs that she was verbally critiquing.

6. Trigger Warning: This article contains references about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

7. “White-passing” is yet another foreign concept in most working class neighborhoods. It takes middle and upper class de facto segregation to keep races so far apart that they don’t dare “interbreed.” Barring incest, it takes an extraordinary amount of effort for a working class family to maintain the worthless concept of a “pure white lineage.”

8. Under the intersectionality pyramid’s definition of race, an interesting thought experiment arises if we imagine a world where Rachel Dolezal  is unwittingly raised, since birth, to think she is black and permanent make-up makes the rest of the world think she is black. If she fails to experience “white privilege” and instead experiences institutionalized oppression, would she be capable of “racism” towards white people? Or would she only be “prejudiced” towards white people? What if she hated “other” black people? Intellectual rigor demands answering, not snidely dismissing, these kinds of questions.

9. This and other selections concerning the cultural revolution were taken from Jonathan Unger’s “Education Under Mao: Class and Competition in Canton Schools, 1960-1980.”

10. To know Mao’s thoughts on the Bloodline Theory, it should be pointed out that the theory’s main proponent was soon arrested and publicly executed. A breakdown of which Red Guards were exiled to the countryside after the Cultural Revolution reinforces this interpretation.

11. Any leftist or ideologically-driven anarchist engaging in violence are at best morons and at worst agent provocateurs. Compare the abject stupidity of the Antifa’s screed arguing for violence versus a rigorous analysis of nonviolent versus violent revolution. To put it very mildly, this “ideology” is not compatible with Critical Criticalism.

Actually Teaching Racism to White People is Kind of Like Teaching Anything to Anyone: Hard as Fuck. Here is Some help from ACTUAL Educators.

Writing
I’ve been seeing posts about how hard it is to teach racism to white people.
And I just want to validate this: teaching is really hard. Teaching racism is just as hard as teaching anything else, though I’ll take it over teaching math, which is why I was a history teacher and not a math teacher.
There is actually A LOT of great anti-racism curriculum out that has been made. Unsurprisingly, it has been made through churches, small state and private schools that normally don’t get attention, and private organizations that don’t get the backing from big names like Stanford. Here are just four who have resources online which are available to you, IF you CHOOSE to do this work. No one HAS to.
It is a choice and it is work. If you are truly interested in learning about how to teach anti-racist curriculum to white people, I’m always happy to be a resource or direct you to resources. I have watched MANY people across disciplines do this work successfully.
We all understand that it is extra hard to teach adults. Some things calcify overtime and adults are less inclined to sit through lessons given by other adults. The people who choose to do that work are special angels. If that is beyond you, that is ok! Focus on the kids. Try to remember that children are what they are taught and that there is nothing inherent to racism. Children need all the mentors who will tell them the truth that they can get.
Here are those resources (and a big ups to the many grassroots organizers and unsung heroes of the people that put these together, that was work too!)
1) Howard Zinn, the writer of A People’s History of the United States, got his start with SNCC as one of the curriculum designers for Freedom Summer. Before he died, he and his students and disciples started putting that work together and expanding his curriculum. Those resources are here.
2) If you are more interested in teaching through art, Barnard has it’s own curriculum for that. It is pretty comprehensive and has clear lesson plans. A rare blessing indeed. You can find their work here.
3) I’m personally extremely partial to the work done by Teaching for Change. Their resources and readings are some of the best I’ve seen and though they don’t have lesson plans yet, I worked with A LOT of their curriculum and would be happy to share that with anyone because I am a dirty socialist who doesn’t care about getting credit for my work. Their book is beautiful, and they are backed by a lot of really important thinkers around these issues. You can start here.
4) I wanted to find a faith-based organization for those working in more rural and religious areas. Christianity and Catholicism both have deep strands in their ideology that are anti-racist. Christian and Catholic leaders have both been at the forefront of fighting against other people who would claim to do these things in their lord’s name. If you aren’t sure how to put anti-racist curriculum into terms the religious might understand, I suggest that you look for a progressive religious leader in your area. I’m also happy to help with this, because even though I am an atheist, I was fortunate to be surrounded by that strand of Christianity throughout my life. Fortunately, some resources are already online for this work, here is one example.
I hope the comforting news in the midst of what must look like a mountain of work is twofold:
1) There ARE resources and help available and you are not alone in this struggle. You are not new to it and there are people doing this work successfully, even if you don’t know their names.
2) This country already has the basis to convince people not to be racist, we just need to get better at making those arguments.
Which isn’t to say that you will successfully reach everyone, every time. Some people will be too angry to learn. Some will be too hungry to learn. Some will just be enormous douchebags you can’t control, but if all of us are trying our best we’ll make some progress.
That’s how ideological change happens.
That’s how you change hearts and minds.
And remember that if you were lucky enough to encounter anti-racist curriculum in your school experience, that someone had to go through a lot to put it in front of you. Be grateful, and pay it forward.
All my anti-racist teachers deserve a medal and a parade. And ain’t none of them have asked for one.

Stop Letting the College Kids Be in Charge

Writing

I got dragged into meetings a lot while I was in college, because if you are really a threat to the status quo, people will try to change your behavior. Fortunately for me, people took the time to help me develop, so as irritating as these meetings were, occasionally I learned something important from attending them.

I was talking to one of the university administrators that dealt with diversity issues and who was also queer identified. Complaining about my classmates and the enormously awful things they used to say in class This isn’t mild microagression stuff where people were being vague in their bigotry either, this is stuff like, “poor people deserve to go to war more often because they are better at killing. ” And stuff like, “don’t you just hate everyone in your neighborhood because they are like, trash, and you aren’t.”I mean, don’t get me wrong, I got the milder stuff too. Except when people asked me where I was from, they were sometimes black. The world was dark for the most outspoken, strongly self-identified working class activist on campus.

But the administration team had high expectations for me, and so they said, “honestly, Heather, a lot of this has to do with your age. Your classmates are still learning. So are you.”

Boy was that administrator right.

I WAS A FUCKING NIGHTMARE IN COLLEGE.

You know how radical the current crop of college activists is? Yeah, well, add some actual well-read Marxism, some righteous anger about having been poor and abused, and the influence of punk rock. I probably had a conduct disorder, but I was at Stanford anyway. And I drank, like a fish, to cope. So a typical Friday night involved me making my classmates cry about how privileged they were for sport. All the kids coming up after me who think they do this now are just pretenders.

I talked about incest at actual dinner parties. Freshman year, I made one of my male classmates hate me forever when I made a public performance of my personal protest about his having the Latina girls in my dorm do laundry. I made people break down in class, often. Men feared me, and some would go to parties just to see what crazy stuff they could get me to say.

And I was pissed about really valid shit. Don’t get me wrong or mistake what I am trying to say. I was right to be angry about classism, about sexual violence, racism and I was right to hate everything about that culture. But I had no idea how to express that anger in a constructive way, and I was too angry to see anyone else’s pain even when it was obviously there.

This was partially a function of my age. At 19, no matter how smart you are, or how much life experience you have, or even how talented an activist you are, there are certain things you just don’t know that you still need to learn.

One of those things, impulse control which (as evidenced by the professor that just got beaten by her own students) is a challenge that developmentally comes with time. Another thing is how to not follow a crowd, or not act like a complete asshole just because everyone else is doing it. I learned that one much younger than most, but others tell me that ideally children are supposed to learn that sometime before college. Based on the behavior of the college students who keep having struggle sessions against other marginalized people, this is clearly not a skill many of our college students (who to be honest are almost entirely rich and middle class) currently possess. No one who is getting lectures should be giving lectures.

I was part of the founding team of folks who were working on class and first gen issues. My work at 19 can be traced to the existence of first gen offices and the resurgence of class identity on college campuses. I’m damn proud of what I accomplished as a dumb kid, and my resume is far more stacked than most of the kids that are operating now.

BUT EVEN WITH ALL THAT, I can promise you that I am grateful everyday that an administrator or professor at Stanford encouraged me while keeping my voice on campus.

Freedom Summer participants weren’t given the control over their movements either. They operated, with extensive training, under the direction of activists like Bob Moses and Fannie Lou Hamer. And, frankly, I believe that the entire Civil Right’s movement of the 60s, pretty much got off the rails the minute the rich kids got back to their campuses and started treating activism like a popularity contest and rock concert.

That’s who I blame for the failures of the 60s and so does most of the rest of the country.

The elite college grads don’t have a great track record overseas either: the entire Cultural Revolution can be traced to largely the same phenomena.

Don’t get me wrong, we need their voices and we need their work. And they need to be trained during these years, but I think they’ve demonstrated that they can’t be IN CHARGE OF SETTING THE AGENDA and making the final call about tactics anymore. No one gave me that power at 19 and I had very serious problems, like PTSD, to discuss. I’m not sure why we are allowing them to set the agenda now.

What I am even more grateful for, is that I was raised with an ethos that you respect your elders.

These college kids think they know better than the people who have been doing it longer than them. And here’s the thing, those people are just as smart as them but have more experience, which makes them MORE QUALIFIED TO BE IN CHARGE. The fact that the college kids can’t recognize that makes me worry about the future.

Being in charge is a real and painful responsibility. I know because I never had a childhood, and I’ve been appointed a leader in my community for longer than I can remember.

It is hard. And if it is fun, you are doing it wrong. The responsibility and the the enormity of the task should haunt you.

Playtime is over when lives are at stake, and since I saved my brother from a fire when I was four, I’ve been keenly aware of that responsibility. So it worries me whenever someone wants to be in charge, but what worries me even more is when people lack the self reflection to even recognize when they shouldn’t be in charge.

One of the best classroom teachers I’ve ever met once said to me that the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher was the process of self reflection. We have to instill the belief that people should examine themselves.

All day, everyday.

Not scream about how mean people are when they point out that your tactics are likely to backfire during planning discussions where we are supposed to be professionals who care about others and serving the masses.

But I’ve also been loved by elders, and there’s something special about the people who DON’T HAVE to take an interest in you, who don’t have to deal with your incredibly shitty attitude, and who take aside the time to save you. I’ve got tons of those, and I learned from them.

They taught me that I was no smarter than prostitutes, or my grandparents or my teachers. They taught me that even if I was, I still had things to learn. They taught me about when grown folks was talking and in the process taught me how to be a grown folk.

At 19, I would have been a BAD LEADER for a national movement. I would have been mostly because my rage was still uncontrolled, but also because there are a lot of things that come with life experience. I have gained a lot of empathy and ways of speaking in the last few years just from my relationship with my husband. The fact that I fell so in love with someone with such a different background changed everything about how I approach my work. The fact that I’m now married has forced me to accept responsibility and maturity in a way I otherwise wouldn’t have. Pre-married Heather was likely to light some fires and go out like a crazy person when Trump got elected. Married Heather has responsibilities and has to plan better.

I was a much worse activist before I became a teacher, and I wouldn’t be half the teacher I am if not for the mentoring and wisdom of an veritable army of older men and women who guided me through that process. And I know this because I’ve had the time and distance to reflect on my actions and behaviors. 19 year old Heather was not this smart, reflective and mature, and 19 year old Heather was arguably one of the most qualified college students of that time to be leading a movement.

So here is my plea to the adults: Let’s stop pretending we don’t know this is true because we are afraid of discouraging people. Anyone who is unwilling to put the work in, and listen to other people or reflect on their behavior does not have leadership qualities in the first place.

Anyone who resorts to physical violence or emotional bullying hasn’t learned how to behave like a grown up. They’ve demonstrated that they are not developmentally ready for the task.

Real leaders can control their behavior. These should be baseline qualifications for who gets mentored and handed the microphone. Even Malala had her dad, and Malala has yet to see her best work. I can basically guarantee that.

College is a special time and place, and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to argue, debate, and learn from my classmates. I’m a better speaker, writer, and activist because of every white boy who was willing to engage me and learn from me, and I think most of them would say they are better at what they do because of their friendship with me (unless they were traumatized by what I did to them in which case, I’m sorry, I was young).

The funny thing about those white boys is that they are people too. (Edit note: ACTUALLY IN COLLEGE IT WASN’T JUST THE WHITE FOLKS. AND ALSO IT WAS GIRLS TOO, STOP LETTING THEM OFF THE HOOK, SOME OF THE GIRLS SAID SOME OF THE WORST STUFF, THEY DON’T GET A PASS BECAUSE OF THEIR GENDER. NO ONE GETS A PASS. NOT EVEN ME).

They were people when they were learning in college, and as awkward as it was to be invited to lunch to talk about my childhood like a token, I’m happy about every lunch I went on. Either they learned something or I learned how to talk to people better. If all of our activists behaved this way, it’d be a lot easier to push an anti-racist, pro-working class and feminist agenda.

So here is my plea: stop treating this struggle like it can be run by a bunch of self-contained and disconnected brats who have no life experience.

There are people who are really truly suffering who need our help and these college kids need to be trained before they are useful. No one should be leading on a national level without some frontline service work behind them. They should have some actual success and the demonstrated commitment to the cause of the suffering of all before they are given a national platform to operate. They need to learn how to do research, and care for kids, and show up and take down chairs, and sweep floors before they can make themselves useful to any of the people they claim to serve.

They need to know what it is to serve.

They need to know who the masses are.

They need to not put their issues at the center of the struggles for people more marginalized than them.

They should be able to recognize those people without their professor’s checklist for what the marginalized are (First of all, most of the professors can’t remember either because they haven’t seen the masses in a long time, but secondly, the word oppressed has meaning and they should be able to recognize it independently without help before the training wheels come off).

The fact is, we aren’t even serving them when we give them as much power as we have over the last few years. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. The adults fucked up real bad by abdicating their responsibility in the name of self esteem.

And like adults, we should roll our sleeves up and get to work.

It’s already too late.

Because Trump is President and the left lost so badly, they still are trying to develop amnesia about it.

But the conservatives may be in power a long time, so the time to be forgetful is over.

Now is only the time to plan and to sweep and to teach.

Some of you must remember what that’s like?

You sure remembered it in my case.

And for that, I am grateful.

Fuck You and Your Privilege Knapsack

Writing

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been dealing with an actual flood of recovered, horrible memories and the resulting somaticized pain that accompanies their discovery. What follows is a list of reasons I no longer have to listen to anymore privilege lectures from anyone unless they qualify with the conditions below. Try to make it through this whole list before you vomit.

1) I’m an actual childhood sex trafficking victim. Yeah. That’s my starter. Should be sufficient. Before you romanticize that or imagine it was less bad than it was, let me make things clear. It started when I was at least 6. My mom knew about it. My father was the one who sold me, and it happened SEVERAL times with multiple men at truck stops.

2) I was born the bastard of drug addicted psychopaths. My familial attempted kill count is now up 5 independently confirmed. These were not all the same family member. This does not count the drug fueled mock execution when I was six.

3) I’ve been homeless, my neighborhood was in a food desert, and I’ve lived in government housing. When my neighborhood finally got a library, it was an hour walk away and contained none of the classics.

4) I have severe chronic pain from the rapes, beatings and manual labor I endured as a small child. X-rays show the development of arthritis in my spine which doctors could not figure out the cause of until learning about the abuse.

5) I have gone hungry quite a lot of times. This was sometimes done on purpose to me by my mother to force me into the sex trafficking. I have permanent nutritional deficiencies.

6) My high school counselor told me people “like me” didn’t need to go to college. She was black. Working class whites are extremely under-represented in the media, and when they are portrayed, it has been in a degrading and derogatory manner (see: Shameless, Sons of Anarchy, The Outsiders). Because I’m mixed race and also not totally white, I often fail to pass even when I am in academic settings, where I speak the academic language. There are still words I mispronounce because I never heard them said out loud. When I got to college my classmates actively went around correcting my speech and speaking down to me. They called me “articulate.”
7) When I got to college, treatment for my mental illness, PTSD, was not covered by my insurance. No members of the mental health staff qualified to handle it. I am frequently interrogated by authority figures as to whether or not I even have PTSD. When they finally believe me, I am profiled because of it despite having put one of my abusers away for life.
8) I have been denied medical care because of my class background. I’ve been denied access to places because of my appearance.
9) When I got to college there were no support services for people like me because I was poor and white and therefore didn’t fall under the umbrella of existing organizations. I had to create those resources.
10) I’ve been pulled out of school to baby-sit my sister. I also had to teach myself how to read. I was the first in my family to go to college and had to figure out how to apply to on my own.When I took the SATs, I had to ask my friend’s mom for a ride because the only testing center was too far for the first bus to reach in time.

These are just ten off the top of my head. For the last many years I’ve been getting privilege lectures from people who claim that my white privilege somehow protected me from the horrors I’ve been trying to be upfront about.

Instead of letting me speak, many of you thought it was better FOR THE CHILDHOOD SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM to be told that her white privilege made her irrelevant.

All of these things happened to me in California.

I did not live through the Dustbowl.

So from here on out, the only people allowed to give me any privilege lectures are those that can check ALL OF THESE off their personal lists. And I would suggest that maybe the rich only lecture each other and keep their mouths shut around the poor. I didn’t hide these facts about myself; I was ignored and gaslighted into silence. From now on, if you have some residual societal anger you wish to express you can punch upwards and take them out on someone who has power. Taking them out on me just makes you part of the sociopathic brigade that has destroyed my body but not my spirit.

YOU TRIFLIN’ BITCHES HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO DESTROY THAT BECAUSE I AM A GODDAMN WIZARD AND A MUTANT. Be grateful I am not also vengeful.

Or am I?

How Real Men Would Handle Milo

Writing

I’m sick of these so-called “anti-fas” cowardly fucks on the left who claim they are fighting on behalf of the oppressed while showing up in masks hurting innocent citizens and failing to actually effectively get our message across. They make us look weak and they make it hard to determine who the actual fascists are. They also just look like cowards. This is NOT how real men handle their problems where I come from, so let me show you how this is actually done.

Your issue is with what Milo is saying, right? You believe our side is right, correct? You believe we got the evidence and we are strong enough to handle a debate like grown ups, right?

 

Ok, well, then I’m calling Milo out.

Milo, I challenge you to a debate. You pick the stage and the time and I’ll be happy to come and debate you on some issues I think are important to our side. Here are some terms I think both sides can agree to.

  • This is an intellectual and academic debate, which means intellectual and academic rules hold. No fallacies and both sides get a fact checker of their choosing to check the other side. As a classroom teacher, I banned the basic fallacies including ad hominem and hasty generalization, but I’m willing to talk out a list in advance of possible fallacies we can take off the table as well as other logic rules you might want to hold me to.
  • Three topics chosen each, in advance I’m telling you mine are: poverty, education, and veterans issues. I think the questions should be chosen and moderated by an independent body and given to both sides in advance for research purposes in the interest of fairness and because I want this to be a thoughtful and intelligent debate. You are welcome to pick any topics you like. For the purposes of preparation, I’ll be happy to give you the contents of my body of work.
  • I want a panel moderation that represents a broad ideological spectrum of hard hitting elders. We can negotiate how that is selected and who will serve on that panel. I suggest three, one selected by each of us, the third selected by the other two panelists.

Email me if you down to handle this like a real man. The rest of these leftists are pretenders. My email is Mrs.Raffin@Protonmail.com

 

My First Rally

Writing

I remember the first rally I was involved in planning quite clearly, though I never talked about it until now. The reason I never talked about it is because I don’t really consider it a big deal and I don’t really think of it as mine. This was a community victory, that I was proud to be part of, and I didn’t feel the need to bring it up until I kept having other leftists tell me who was in my community. You see, according to the left, white people and black people always live apart, never intermarry and apparently never go to school together before college. This was news to me and if you had told me this when I was a child I would have laughed in your face. When I tried to laugh in the left’s face for the same offense, I got called racist and then told to shut up. Because clearly the goal of the left is to end racism by stopping poor whites from suggesting that they live with, love, and feel a part of the black community. That’s obviously a problem worth fighting. Still, I didn’t want to bring these inconvenient facts about my upbringing up because I was trying to keep my mouth shut for the good of the group. But because the left went and got Trump elected and have clearly demonstrated that they have NO IDEA what they are doing, I’ve decided to stop doubting myself and explain to you why I think this whole idea is complete bullshit.

 

I grew up in a black community. The whole time. I have black family members and neighbors. I love them. And if you try to do anything to them, I will fighting cut you the same way they promised to cut people for me when I was a 15 year old girl and the other white girls at my high school were threatening to jump me and the black girls told them that if they came for me, they’d better come for them too.I have not forgotten who I still owe. And I owe the black community a lot. They have been my home and my shelter even when I was cast out from my actual family. And then I got to college and this curious thing happened and people kept telling me that I hated black people. This was extremely confusing, because my first thought was, “why the fuck would I hate my own people?”

 

You see, the idea that we are somehow separate was not mine and I know this for a fact because I remember the community I was raised in. I went to high school with the children of actual Black Panthers and the real grassroots folks of Civil Rights. They were vets, factory laborers, and yes, hookers and drug dealers too (if you are judging right now, you have the problem, people need to feed their kids). Though you certainly could not tell who’s parents held what job by their race (that’s right kids, trafficking can happen to anyone even white girls who went to Stanford!). I don’t remember EVER being in the racial majority in school and I don’t remember ever being that upset about it. It never really seemed strange because these were my neighbors and friends. We grew up together. We got in fights. We fell in love. We died beside each other in battlefields. We were married into each others’ families. The very first question everyone asks me when they visit Stanford for the first time is, “why are there so few interracial couples?” And maybe this world isn’t yours. Maybe that’s not in your sociology books or it doesn’t reflect your lived experience. I don’t know, but it is mine, and I’m proud of it and I’m sick of apologizing for it. We did some beautiful things in this world.

 

When I was 14, I had just been elected class president. In February, it was brought to my attention by my people that our school, despite being majority black, didn’t have a Black History Month Rally. We found that rather egregious, so in addition to the normal basketball homecoming festivities, we decided it was time for our school to represent basic reality. Although I helped plan the basic logistics of that rally, I had very little to do with it day of, and in fact sat in the audience. Instead, I handed the microphone to my good friend who gave what I still consider the best spoken word piece ever written outside the Civil Right’s era and then the black community ushered in their own traditions because it was THEIR show.

I’m not here to change that. Black people have their own histories and struggles and pain, and some of that struggle has been in common. Some of those issues we can fight together on, but no movement for justice in this country can happen without black leadership. I know this, everyone who truly does this work for any period of time knows this. If given power, the first thing I will do is hand over the mic to my black friends, family members, community leaders and activists LIKE I HAVE SINCE I WAS 14.

When they tell you that WE HAVE TO BE separate, know that is their game. Know that it has taken an army of subversive poor white folks who have believed that we can love each other to get me to this point. We don’t have to let the likes of Steve Bannon and Richard Spencer speak for us. First of all, they ain’t working class and secondly, they don’t know our people. And if they so much as look at my community the wrong way, they aren’t going to have to worry about sucker punches. I don’t sucker punch. I bare knuckle box because I was raised right by a community that loved me, and by a community that was majority black. There ain’t nothing those racist pieces of shit can do to me to make me forget that and don’t for a second think they haven’t tried.  Know that I also know it has taken an army of subversive black folks who have also believed in love to get me to this point too. They all paid the price for it. And I know who I owe and who I serve.

Sanders isn’t Holding the Democratic Party Hostage. I AM.

Writing

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-d-rosenstein/bernie-sanders-should-not_b_13913148.html

Here’s how delusional the Establishment is, they think that they don’t have to examine their behavior after suffering the most devastating and humiliating loss in modern history to a racist man who joked about sexual assault on film. And apparently it’s mean to even suggest otherwise. They also think it is mean to even suggest that they lost and have to give up some power to the people in the party who suggested that their tactics weren’t going to work. They think it is being HELD HOSTAGE when their working class says, “hey, you have to represent us.” WHICH IS SANDERS’ JOB. This is just his job, it is the job of representatives to say, “you have to represent the people, and I’m going to push you to.” This whole article is a transparent attempt on the part of party elites to tell the working class members of the party that they aren’t allowed to talk. These are classic silencing tactics and there is no reason why we should listen to them. They think their platform was “the most progressive in history” and never ask who it was the most progressive for? I don’t remember there being a whole lot in there for the poor, even though we tried to push that in there, and I seem to remember several people telling me I had to accept this to “Stop Trump” or else. Well, they failed to stop Trump, so I’m not sure what excuse they have to keep me quiet now. And they think that all the Sanderistas are independents who aren’t actual members of the party. Despite the fact that this has been proven to be false several times.

So, allow me to pop some bubbles and bring them up to speed on the actual hostage situation they are now in.

1) You lost. You lost big and because you lost, the elements of the party, which are the Sanders folks, now get to take the party over because that’s how the game is played. You can whine about it. You can fight it. But this is inevitable. And it ain’t a hostage situation. This is a hostile takeover and the name of your enemy isn’t Bernie Sanders. The name is Heather Raffin and if you were real feminists you’d give a bitch credit. There are a bunch of me around the country who are sick of you failing to represent us. Who are sick of being treated poorly and who are sick of people bullying us into supporting a party that not only doesn’t represent us in any tangible, meaningful way, but is also actively oppressing us while expecting pats on the back in the process. We DON’T HAVE TO DO anything for you. You need to explain us why we should help you.

2) I’ve been a card carrying Democrat since I was 18. I’ve registered voters. Caucused for you. Increased turnout. I come with a veritable army of working class people that will follow my votes with me and if I leave the party, they will decide what to do themselves like adults, but I promise you that they trust me a lot more than they trust you. TEST ME and see what happens.

3) Your platform was not the “most progressive” in history. It was progressive FOR RICH PEOPLE. It had no tangible benefits for the poor. For that, you have to go back to FDR and LBJ, but you don’t remember that because y’all don’t remember your roots. Well, your working class hasn’t forgotten. We remember and we pass that shit around through oral history. And we are taking the party back for their rightful owners whether you like it or not. You can get out of the way or you can fall. The choice is yours, but don’t blame it on Sanders. You brought this on yourselves.

4) You fucks have been running around laughing about how funny it is that white trash like me will die under Trump. You’ve been doing nothing while my friends have to worry about their baby dying. You have sat back and passed symbolic legislation that puts the poor in more danger while exploiting our labor and expecting pats on the back. This makes you my enemy, not my ally. According to the laws of MY PEOPLE, I have everything I need to justify using everything in my arsenal to take you out. And yet, here I am kindly giving you a warning about what is coming for you if you don’t change your tune. That’s because, unlike you, I have a sense of honor and dignity. That’s me being nice. You should be grateful we are being so kind. You are lucky you are getting this much warning after how you treated us. If I were you, I wouldn’t complain about it.

5) The Republicans are offering to talk about class and to deal with the issues the working class face, you are not. They’ve mentioned this to several Sanderistas in public while you’ve been publishing this bullshit. GIVE ME ONE GOOD REASON WHY I SHOULDN’T TAKE THEM UP ON IT?

That’s right folks. If you don’t change your tune, we have an alternative. In exactly a month, if the following conditions aren’t met, I will LEAVE the Democrat party and encourage the rest to come with me. I will re-register as a independent and support candidates regardless of their party affiliations who back the needs of the working class exclusively. I will continue to organize the working classes, and I will do absolutely everything in my power to take down what remains of the rich among the left who can’t pull their heads out of their asses and do what is right for the poor. From here on out, I am making it my personal mission to COME FOR EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU RICH FUCKS THAT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE POOR. I CONSIDER YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY.

If the following conditions are met within the next month, I will remain within the party and continue to try to work within it. NOW YOU ARE IN A HOSTAGE SITUATION. I hope now you’ve learned an important lesson about checking your fucking rhetoric.

1) You don’t have to make Keith Ellison the head of the party, but I want a Sanderista, and I consider the placement of Rahm Emmanuel as the head of the party a Declaration of War.

2) I want a party platform that includes the input of actual working class people with progressive economic policies that include things that benefit working families and large swathes of the population. I want this process to include actual consultation with the working classes and I want it working class led.

3) I want a microphone and exposure given to working class people similar to what was given to Diamond and Silk. http://www.diamondandsilkinc.com/

4) I want the rich members of the party to stop engaging in bigoted rhetoric towards members of the poor, including poor whites. I want them to accept a backseat role in activism. I want them to give up leadership positions to working class and grassroots activists and I want the focus of the left to change to problems of the poor.

5) I want the party to deal with voter suppression and to admit that there were problems during the primaries. I want the party to advocate for a national holiday for voters so that everyone has the opportunity to vote and I want the left to organize voter ID drives like they used to do.

6) I want the adults on the left to actually get the bullies under control. No more ruining the lives of innocent people. This means no more going after people’s jobs for tweets. This means no more purging of dissenters. This means that the college students are exposed for the brats they are. This also means that the left disavows and repudiates any tactics that puts innocents and the working classes at greater risk under a Trump administration.

THIS IS A START TO FIXING THE PROBLEMS YOU NOW FACE. You guys can fall in line on this or you can fall. I don’t care. We got three years before 2020 and I have the more compelling narrative on my side and the facts. You wanna underestimate us, go ahead. Every time you do, you make this much easier for me. You wanna try to purge me? Go ahead. You make this easier for me. Ignore me? Go ahead? You are proving my point. I suggest you take the deal I am offering you now and save the position you presently hold because we don’t even have to let you have that.

Trump got elected on your watch. So we don’t owe you shit.

This isn’t a hostage situation. YOUR ASS IS BEING RIGHTEOUSLY DETHRONED AND MY NEW NAME IS KHALESSI.

Sanders was as nice as y’all were going to do. You should have gone with him. Attack him again and see what happens.

Some Things You Can’t See or Hear When You are Yelling

Writing

I’ve be re-learning how to cry. Or rather, I’ve been crying uncontrollably in public while I walk down the streets of Los Angeles because apparently when you repress everything for 28 years to survive, eventually your body rebels and betrays you.

 

So as I was sobbing uncontrollably after an acupuncture appointment in the middle of day, in yoga pants and wearing the kind of sunglasses that make New Yorkers long for their dungeons, I thought a lot about how this probably looked.

 

What did she have to cry about?

 

This little white girl in her yoga pants.

 

It’s only been ten months since I left my PhD program and started getting called a trophy wife. I think about this as I lie in bed sobbing because its been days since I’ve been able to move. And worse still, days since I’ve been able to read and write.

 

But if you looked at me on the street you wouldn’t know this. And if you saw me crying, you wouldn’t know that its because for the last few months, as I’ve been working my way up Maslow’s hierarchy, I’ve finally had to face the painful realities of my life. Twenty-seven painful, brutal years, that I can never get back.

 

How bad could my problems have been?

 

Well I was born the bastard of a meth addicted teenage mother with a  sadistic streak. And she married a man that held a gun to my head when I was an infant and she threatened to leave. And he kicked her down a flight of stairs while I was still in her arms because I was the constant reminder of his failure.  And this only half the times I know for a fact that an adult tried to kill me. She left him for beating her , only to move on to a pedophile that the D.A told us was a “2 percenter” in the seriousness of his crimes and pyschopathy. She didn’t leave him until I made it about my sister, she had long known and was complicit in what he’d done to me. I put him away when I was 13 after 10 years of sexual, physical and verbal violence. Which makes it sound nicer than it is, because its better described as torture. And when he left, my big sister took over the physical abuse and the rest of my family? They kept up the verbal abuse. The systematic hate they heaped on me because I was the constant reminder of what we were. They kept it going even while I was in college at Stanford (ever got called a whore by your grandfather before trying to deliver the eulogy of your prematurely dead grandmother during midterm season? I have).

 

All this time I was living the most ridiculous stereotypes you have of the poor. If the poor person were in a third world country. Like the fact that I now have permanent nutritional deficiencies because of what I didn’t eat in my youth. Or the fact that I almost died from a disease we eradicated in the 1960s. Or the fact that I went to a high school with no textbooks, where violence was the norm and where my counselor told me “people like [me]” didn’t need to go to college. I know the exact procedure for a drive by and how to make a prison shank.  You wouldn’t know this by looking at me, and if I tried to explain, you’d say, “but she’s white.”

 

But don’t worry. It’s happened hundreds of times. I get that it’s not what I look like.

 

I should, statistically have been a crack whore, and I’m not.

 

No, I’m a Stanford grad. Twice.

 

And you wouldn’t know that by looking at me either. You wouldn’t know about how alone and alienated I felt. About the work I did to make sure no one who was poor like me would ever have to suffer like I did. You didn’t watch me dedicate my few healthy days to research and to advocating for the poor. You didn’t see me dragged in on administrative meetings designed to silence me. And you didn’t watch me fight behind the scenes all those years to be included in discussions about oppression. Or to be called what I was, because the administration tells you they expect you to be ashamed of what you are.  Not first gen. Not even low income, as if you can sanitize reality to make it go away. “I’m poor white trash.” I tell the admin this before they introduce me at a Stanford staff training.

 

I do it because the look of horror has begun to amuse me. I do it because I know how lies lead to oppression. I do it because of the words, “what happens in this house stays in this house.” Words I heard after a beating because Child Protective Services is investigating. You wouldn’t know about the nights I woke up crying in my sleep in my dorm room, unable to speak because I knew if my classmates knew the real reason, it’d only”make them uncomfortable.” I start to enjoy their discomfort. I get very good at never telling anyone what is actually going on because I’m so afraid they can’t handle it. I try to find positive pathways to manage the two pieces of me, I go into education. Eventually I’m ripped into more than two pieces.

 

I made sure no one was around when I worked at the high school and they expelled a boy who was “living under a bridge doing meth” because “he’s an adult now.” He was sixteen. He loved Black Flag. He still had his baby fat and fear in his eyes. He reminds me of my brother. You didn’t see me as I privately went to go cry when there was nothing left I could do. And when I get into grad school that year my boss  will question my right to a fellowship for the poor who want to be teachers focused on saving those kids.

 

“But she’s white.”

 

I finally enter the classroom and no one sees me throw up in-between classes. Because I’m good, I’m so good at covering up what I’m feeling because my mom laughed at me when I cried. And if it isn’t safe to cry in front of your mom, its not safe to cry in front of anyone. And because you don’t know this, you don’t know how much I’m struggling in graduate school. How many times I’ve been dragged into meetings because my classmates don’t like that I make them feel inferior. They didn’t know that I had spent my whole life feeling inferior. And when they look for an excuse to kick me they’ll use my health even though they admit I’m excelling academically.

 

“We don’t see how you could be doing so well if you are that sick.”

 

“I can perform under just about any conditions, I’ve been doing it my whole life.”

 

I’m a walking and talking cause of cognitive dissonance. I learn how to identify when it is happening and to push through. It’s my secret weapon in the classroom.

 

You can’t tell from looking at me, how bad my health is. You can’t tell that I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 25 because my family told me I was making it up and because my doctors don’t believe uneducated trailer trash women. When I’m finally diagnosed, it’s a genetic condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia adds to my fun. When I’m finally diagnosed, my doctor is angry because the damage and conditions are so obvious. Just like that time my mom almost let me die from pneumonia because I was being dramatic when I told her I couldn’t breathe. I was prepared to “fake” my way right to my death, but then it becomes visible. And before long, I am in a wheelchair, braced up, and told it’s game over. This is my new normal. This is my new normal because no one believed me because of what I looked like. I learn that my class matters when my aunt dies the summer before Stanford. She was 50. They caught her cancer too late to stop it because they didn’t believe in her pain. I learn that too, when my cousin kills himself that summer and I go to grief counseling only to be told it was “expected for someone from his background.” It’s not until I can wear my Stanford shirt to the doctors that I can finally start self advocating because they finally start listening.

 

And when I stay in the classroom after the repression and years of neglect to my health takes it toll, you didn’t see me struggle to stand while I taught my students complex historical thought. When I finally have no choice but to leave, I spend three years in recovery. Not working was never an option for me, despite what my advisors and more privileged friends seemed to believe. Because you see, to heal in a safe space, I would have needed a safe family and that was never an option. So instead of healing, I bounce from one explotiative relationship to another. First my parents torment me and under feed me until I get a concussion, then my fiance crosses the line into what my friends called rape, and then a former teacher exploits my labor. By the end of my “year off” I’m still profoundly sick. I’m off to a PhD program in battered conditions.

 

I leave because I can’t imagine it’ll ever be any different.

 

I leave because I don’t know how I’ll be safe if I don’t find somewhere to hide.

 

I leave because god damnit, I miss an intellectual life.

 

They apparently couldn’t tell from my application that I had applied in a post-concussive state with spotty internet and money I raised from friends from undergrad. They didn’t see it in my application, when my mother mocked me and my step-dad told me to give up. They didn’t see me write my personal statement about school segregation while unable to walk and they didn’t see the experiences I had drawn from, the ones so familiar to me that to talk about them sounded like a fish talking about water.

 

And so I move away to grad school and not long after I drop out. And lots of friends have lots of opinions about it. But they didn’t see how sick I was. That my hair was falling out. They didn’t see how bored and tokenized I felt. They didn’t see the professor who was inappropriate, again. They didn’t see me get excluded from the very thing I was there to study because I was white. And when they called me white, they didn’t see a bastard from a multi-ethnic family, or the Indian blood that flows through my veins as a result of interracial marriage. They saw a white girl in a PhD program who went to Stanford. And so they were wrong about half of me.

 

And you wouldn’t know it from looking at my husband, but it’s him that’ll finally save me. You wouldn’t think he sees beauty from pain, just from looking at him but he falls in love with my pain all the same. If you just looked at our demographics, you might be confused as to how we got together, even though we are both certain it was fated to be. Neither one of us believes in fate. We’re both atheists. You wouldn’t know that by looking at us either.

 

You didn’t watch us plan a wedding around a strong desire to avoid my family. We elope instead because I’m too scared to be in public with any of them. And some folks judged me when I got married and moved to Los Angeles and cut off my whole family. Because they didn’t see the continuing abuse and boundary violations. And they didn’t watch my husband find me a new number and address. And its because you don’t know how badly I wanted to escape my name and my past, you judged me when I took his name. They didn’t have to walk me through repressed memories as I began to deal with my life, they didn’t see how expertly he did it.

 

And if you saw me on the street today, you’d have all kinds of cute labels. None of which would tell you how I continued my activism even when I was homeless. They won’t show you the hours I continued to mentor former students while I was incredibly sick. Lots of people assume I’m stupid because of what I look like, because boobs and intelligence are somehow mutually exclusive.

 

I tell you all of this, so that no one will have to go through what I went through. But also because I am afraid. I am afraid that we live in a world that no longer sees the virtues of breaking down the walls that divide and hide us. I am afraid that we are hurting everyone who doesn’t look like our statistics by demanding that they justify their existence, as I often have to do. “Where the fuck are you from” and “What are you” because my origins don’t fit into the preconceived narratives we’ve allowed to define us. But I’m also sad, because I want all of you to actually see how beautiful life is outside the bounds of these walls. The places of complexity and nuance. The places and people that cause cognitive dissonance, that make our civilization more complex and real by showing the absurdity of our systems. Because humans aren’t statistics and because demographic data doesn’t define reality And I’m afraid we’ve bowed to absurdity because we can’t stop yelling and hating and excluding. I learned one thing from being in a house where everyone yells at you, no one can hear you when they are yelling.

 

Every time someone points out that the walls are ultimately constructed, we are forced to remember that they can be torn down.
And if the only good that comes out of my experiences is that I’m part of the wrecking crew, it will have been worth it.