I have become sort of well-known for my walls of text in conversations of privilege and marginalization, and one of the reasons I post them is because simply telling people to educate themselves doesn’t work. I mean, realistically, we are all grown adults who know how to use The Google. Given sufficient interest in not hurting each other’s feelings, a person so motivated could just… go find one of the many many places on the internet where this has been explained and just learn how on their own.
Realistically, though, people are kinda lazy… particularly when the only thing at stake is someone else’s feelings.
Consequently, while these insufficiently-motivated people are not entitled to any more expended energy on behalf of others than they’re willing to give, I actually happen to care about what’s going to happen the next time they run and act a fool and hurt somebody, and right now I have the spoons to… well, spoonfeed some people.
So, I had this long rant that was building up in my head to refute Bishop Harry Jackson’s idiotic claims that birth control for women is a eugenics program against black people. He claims that contraception is a “silent effort of the powerful to control black breeding”. Really. That’s what he said.
Then I realized that my argument was much, much simpler and doesn’t necessitate a huge diatribe. So here. I’ll let you read his remarks and then make a few brief comments of my own.
Bear with me, because this is going to get autobiographical.
As a young, frail, impressionable child, I was exposed to a near lethal dose of lefty academia, multiculturalism and completely unsupervised– even unquestioned introspection and contemplation. Needless to say, I am a warped, depraved human being.
As a three-year-old on my way to day care, I interrogated my mother on how she would vote on Issue 1. When asked, I had to explain to her that this was a public transportation levy. As she tells it, after stating my opinion on the subject, I seamlessly resumed whining, on the verge of crying, about how much I wanted chocolate milk and sweet tarts. Several years later, when a republican gubernatorial candidate visited my elementary school, I announced to a crew of cameras that my parents did not vote for this man. If you’re wondering, yes, they aired it. Fast forward to age 10 when I started bending my blossoming gender into the shape of thrift store suits (I did not know this was a weird thing to do at the time), age 12 when I ate my last piece of meat, age 13 when I came out, age 15 when I got in a series of battles over censorship of art (I painted classically) and wrote some abysmal political poetry, age 17 where I started an internship at the local college QUILTBAG (it was just GLBTQ back in those days) center, and I’m skipping some things, but I think the thing that really changed everything was 9-11-01, that happened near the close of my tender 18th year of life.
Amidst all the brouhaha about “religious freedom” that has become attached to the discussion about reproductive rights and contraception, it has become clear that the word “freedom” is not a simple word when belief gets thrown into the mix.
Do you remember the old adage that “Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my face begins”? It’s simplistic yes, but it’s the root of distilling the complexities of these political fights. Certainly, in a country as large and diverse as the United States, you can’t please all of the people all of the time (to steal yet another old adage). There will always be policies that help one group that other groups don’t like. It’s sometimes difficult to even find the middle ground with so many different belief systems and ideologies.
But what isn’t difficult to figure out is this: if your “freedom” actually requires the REMOVAL of someone else’s freedom, there is a serious problem with your understanding of the concept.
This is a guest post from my friend Sarah in response to Rush Limpballs’ latest antics and this article about whether we can reclaim the words “slut” and “ho”, or whether we should ditch ’em entirely amongst ourselves.
When I was in my twenties, I *was* a slut. I was not ready to settle down, and I claimed the hate term for my own as an act of personal and political aggression:
“Yes, that is what I am. You want to pass judgment on me? You want to make something of it? Just try. I’d rather sow my wild oats now than tie myself down before I’m ready, try to repress myself, then break up my family ten or twenty years down the pike when I have the midlife crisis everybody jokes about. Being a slut now seems rather more responsible and self-honest than the alternative. Oh, and you want to call me a whore, too? Go ahead. I’ll give you too much information about the year I spent as a pole dancer, or the occasional rent-a-whip gigs. You don’t get to make me feel ashamed of myself. Only I get to do that. Your offended morality is your problem. It’s not like I’m trying to proposition you, is it? Oh, and about the words “bitch” and “dyke” – I’m already there. I don’t see any problem with being either of those, either.”
It’s not like I’m forcing you to be me.