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Black Lives Matter, But Thank You for Flaunting Your Racism

23 Dec

Ew. Ew. Ew. Next time a white male says to me, “All lives matter,” I’m not going to freeze up. I’m going to say, “Check your privileges.” If only I’d said it today. I could have done so much better.

I was at the post office to ship two boxes of gifts—one for a friend who lives in St. Louis. The white male behind the counter said he grew up in St. Louis. He should have stopped with that. That’s a normal thing to say if you see a St. Louis address on a package. But he didn’t stop.

He talked about living in different parts of St. Louis. He talked about moving to different neighborhoods and even mentioned a specific intersection that I tried to picture. He mentioned a family member moving out of the city and into a certain part of the county.

He proudly stated that four of his cousins work for the city of St. Louis. When he said that they work in law enforcement, I started getting uncomfortable. I lived in St. Louis for about a decade, so I know what it’s like to be harassed by St. Louis cops for being female and for having an Indiana license plate. I remember the stories that black and female friends recounted about their experiences being harassed by cops in St. Louis. I’m pretty sure every ticket I’ve gotten was in the St. Louis area, and that was a lot of tickets. A friend of mine called St. Louis “a fascist police state.”

He said that one of his relatives worked twelve hours a day in Ferguson—as in when the cops killed a black kid and there was a huge Black Lives Matter protest that made national news. I saw a powerful play about it. I said, “I’m glad I left St. Louis before that,” because I was thinking about how overtly racist and hostile St. Louis is.

It wasn’t until well after I left that I realized HE WAS BOASTING BECAUSE ONE OF HIS RELATIVES WAS ONE OF THOSE POWER-TRIPPING RACIST COPS IN FERGUSON. You know, the ones with a tank.

It wasn’t until he said, “All lives matter, I say,” that I finally froze up in shock and couldn’t make eye contact with him anymore. He’s lucky I’m so slow to process. I’m ashamed that I didn’t call him out.

I used to work in retail in St. Louis, and I have horrible memories of racist white people coming into my workplace. (Not to mention of course fundamentalist Xians jamming their religion down my throat, anti-vegetarians, ignorant hicks who claimed I have an accent and asked where I’m from and ridiculed me when I said that I was born in Indiana… and sexual harassers.) And that was before that sexual predator neo-Nazi narcissistic sociopath started squatting in the White House and emboldening white surpremacists. But I don’t live there anymore, and today I was on the other side of the counter.

So, yeah: the post office needs to tell their employee to read So You want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Olua … and he and I both need to read the book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

The last thing he said was, “Merry Christmas.” Another assumption.

I should have replied, “I celebrate Hannukah. But thanks, I look forward to giving feedback.”

Islamaphobia sneaked into my dreams

27 Apr

I had a dream in which the government was so anti-Muslim that they were doing raids on homes.

I was an adult daughter in a family that lived in an apartment…or apartments that were next to each other, and we were Muslims.

My mother was hastily taking certain items, things that looked Islamic, and hiding them. I went into another room and started doing the same with figurines and stuff of mine. My sister noticed what I was doing and suggested I hide them in a certain place. She was lounging with a book in a little room–it looked like her bedroom–right outside the kitchen, the room where I was hiding stuff.

I didn’t trust her. At this stage, my items were on a wheeled tray just around the corner from her room, and she’d seen me put things there. While I knew she wasn’t looking, I began hiding my items inside a secret cupboard in the back of a kitchen cupboard. My sister didn’t know about that hiding place. I hadn’t finished doing this, when I heard banging on the front door and knew raiders were there to search our house.

Before that, I had a dream inspired by V. S. Schwab’s novel The Near Witch. There was a moor and a lot of strong wind.

As if I haven’t had enough Gaslighting

5 Oct
Every woman and girl in every patriarchal country has been gaslighted since the day she was born. The past two weeks have been a nightmare, not unlike being in an abusive relationship.
Today I realized that, emotionally, the past two weeks have felt like being in an abusive relationship.
The abuser in this relationship is the Senate judiciary committee. The abuser is the government of this fucking country, which has told every woman and girl, and every survivor of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape, that they don’t matter and that they are invalid. It has told yet another sexual predator that he’s so fucking valid that he’s fucking entitled to be on the Supreme Court, taking away women’s reproductive rights.
This calls for a REVOLUTION.
Facebook had an event on September 27: a rally in Portland, in support of Christine Blasey Ford, across from the courthouse. It began at noon, and I didn’t get organized in time to leave by 10 am…so I posted a comment on the event page.
“It’s too late for me to drive the 2 hours, so instead of attending, I’ll be revising a story about sexual harassment. But I’ll be with you in spirit.”
Just this morning–days later–an entitled male troll fucking reacted with a “laughing face” and commented, “What do you mean revise? Make stuff up?”
I became so furious that my hands were shaking as I typed. At first, I was going to reply before blocking the fucking piece of shit, but I remembered my usual policy of not replying to trolls. I didn’t want this smug and arrogant misogynist and possible sexual predator to have the satisfaction of thinking he’d succeeded. So I deleted what I’d started to write with very shaky hands, blocked the parasite….yelled KILL ALL MISOGYNISTS a few times, and then found the event again and posted this comment:
“The only good troll is the one under the Fremont Bridge. “Revising” doesn’t fucking mean “making stuff up.” It means revising, asshole. As in adding more details. Your attempts to gaslight and invalidate me only prove that you’re devoid of any redeeming quality.”
 I then posted a variation onto my Facebook page:
“The only good troll is the one under the Fremont Bridge.
“Revising” an autobiographical story about sexual harassment doesn’t fucking mean “making stuff up.” It means revising, asshole. As in ADDING MORE DETAILS. Your attempts to gaslight and invalidate me only prove that you’re devoid of any redeeming quality.
And I really, really enjoyed blocking your evil, soulless, entitled ass.”
As a fiction writer, I do indeed make things up. I look forward to writing a story in which a group of vigilante feminists chop rapists, sexual predators, the politicians who gaslight us and reward sexual predators, and gaslighters. At the very least, I could post it on a fan fiction site as Dietland (by Sarai Walker) fan fiction.