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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.”

A Use for Trolls

27 Feb

I’m not sure if this will be small parts of a larger work—probably—but I could put trolls into fiction, with tiny roles. Bit parts. Bit parts…with little bits. Here’s an example, using today’s troll:

The enormous green troll grabbed by the ankles a smug and arrogant white boy, a ninth grader who skipped class that day. He’d been known by his classmates to harass girls since kindergarten and often wore a red baseball cap with white letters saying, “Make America Great Again.” The troll lifted this boy up into the air and swung him around. The boy’s head kept thumping against the ground, and he became unconscious, his smug smirk fading.

Chinese Authorities and Underwear

27 Feb

I’m scrolling through a travel journal and reformatting it. It’s from my trip to India, Nepal, and Tibet in 2008. I came across this:

 

I recall reading that, for whatever reason, China doesn’t allow you to bring more than twenty changes of underwear. When I read about that, I imagined what it could be like when a Chinese authority looks through my suitcase.

“You have too much underwear! You are a member of a splittist faction!”

“No, that’s just a rip in the seam.”

“Why you have Dalai Lama pictures in your underwear?”

“I figured of all the places that would least likely get looked at carefully…”

This is so crazy—I’m in Tibet for real! I’d like to take a picture of a yeti, but I won’t be out in the wild, and I doubt a yeti would be circumambulating the Jokhang Temple.

 

The Flores Agreement

22 Oct

The Dump administration is violating the Flores Agreement, which states that children of immigrants should not be detained for more than twenty days. We have until November 6 to give feedback about the Flores Agreement.

You can send your letter via email or snail mail.

For email, the subject line must include: DHS Docket No. ICEB-2018-0002

The letter goes to:  ICE.Regulations@ice.dhs.gov

Or:

Debbie Seguin, Assistant Director, Office of Policy/ U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security/ 500 12th Street SW/ Washington, DC 20536

Below is the letter I’m sending (probably by both email and snail mail, actually):

Dear DHS AND HHS,

You need to honor the Flores Agreement. This is just common sense for anyone with a conscience. The agreement allows for twenty days of detainment for immigrant children, and only twenty days…which is twenty too many. Many of these refugee children have been detained considerably longer than that, which is illegal.

There is absolutely no excuse for treating desperate asylum seekers like criminals and separating their children from them, let alone continuing to keep their children separated from them, let alone keeping the children in cages.

Only under extremely desperate circumstances do people take their children and leave their country of origin to enter this country. They’re fleeing from, for instance, a domestic violence situation in which the entire town sides with their abuser against them, and their life and that of their children is in danger.

The refugees—including the children—are already traumatized. Tearing children from their parents and treating them like criminals is child abuse. While the children are detained, in some cases they are subject to psychological, physical, and even sexual abuse. These are many layers of abuse and trauma, and this country is contributing to much of it. Even during the Japanese internment camps, children remained with their parents.

And by the way, insisting that people write letters like this in English is just more racism and xenophobia.

Cordially,

Susan E. Wigget

Dietland Fan Fiction

6 Oct
Sarai Walker wrote a wonderful feminist novel called Dietland, which is a lot more than a criticism of fatphobia and diet culture.
Below is a tiny bit of fan fiction I wrote, possibly the beginning of something:
Jennifer straightened up over the mound of dirt, leaned on the shovel, and surveyed her work. The mound was an oval, about six feet long, and covered the remains of a sexual predator whom overtly misogynistic politicians elected for the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. Yup, the entitled parasite wouldn’t be getting away with anything ever again, not in this lifetime. Jennifer sighs in relief and smiles faintly.
Her smile fades, and her sigh becomes shaky, as she mentally reminds herself: so many more sexual predators and their supporters to go. I can’t dilly-dally here.

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.

Nazibook

18 Aug

Facebook says that the neo-Nazi hate group page, Proud Boys, doesn’t violate their policies.

Just…wow. I reported the page, and they sent me a response refusing to take it down. Someone mentioned that Zuckerberg is a Dump-supporter, and someone else said they rarely take it down the first time you report it, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
Um,  your white supremacist policies, you mean? Your pro-neo-Nazi policies, you mean?
Fortunately, there was space for a comment, and I spelled out to them the fact that it’s a neo-Nazi group. I wonder if that’s even sufficient, especially with a white male supremacist in charge of fb. I would totally dump fb, if there was social media that was technically about the same–with groups and events, etc., but politically didn’t suck.
Now I feel like continuing to read the book Fascism Today: What it is and How to End It, by Shane Burley.