Author’s Note: These are my thoughts on how to construct a roundtable I’m working on for this weekend. Please, any constructive feedback is welcome.
I’m white. I grew up in a middle class family and according to the Census Bureau I am clearly middle class now. I have an advanced education. I am very privileged. Let’s just start with that. My experiences with oppression are minimal compared to others, though I do deal with the misogyny and those struggles with being a member of alternative/queer community.
What is an ally?
Well, Funk and Wagnalls tells us this about allies as a noun. “An ally is a state or ruler leagued with another by treaty; an associate; a kinsman (kinsperson).”
Dr. Frances Kendall tells us that an ally is someone who “work(s) continuously to develop an understanding of the personal and institutional experiences of the person or people with whom they are aligning themselves.”
Both of these definitions require the acknowledgement of privilege. Most of us in the community to which I plan to speak understand what privilege means. That it is not something we gained or earned, it is not something to feel guilt about, but it is integral to understand that we have it and others do not. It is something to be checked and checked continuously.
What does allyship mean?
For me, allyship means several things:
1. Aligning oneself with those who do not have privileges that I enjoy.
2. Attempt to focus one’s attention on acknowledging this privilege.
3. Take steps to focus society towards making these privileges as rights that all people enjoy.
4. Call out microaggressive behavior when one is in the presence of it and acknowledge when one has been the perpetrator of it.
Can anyone just be an ally?
Well, no. Ally is a term given. It is earned. Just like other terms of integrity and honor, allyship is something that is something one must continually strive to achieve. For instance, Tim Wise is one of many white allies who acknowledge white supremacist misogynistic society and yet, often winds up speaking over those with marginalized experiences rather than shutting up and listening. In other words, don’t speak to hear yourself talk about how awesome you are. (Yes, I get the irony of my post here and my calling out of Wise.) I have (hopefully) learned that I can be racist, I can be homophobic, I can be misogynistic even as I strive to be an ally..
Which brings us to microaggressions…
Dr. Sue at Fordham University is one of the foremost experts on microaggressions. You can read about his work here. I’d like to use this roundtable to discuss what microaggressions are and listen to the experiences of those of us who have been both perpetrators and victims.
What happens when I’m a perpetrator?
1. Acknowledge this has happened. Do not get defensive when someone expresses their offense. This is not the fucking political correctness police, this is a person…a human giving you an opportunity to give love, understanding and education.
2. Apologize. It’s okay to say your sorry. “Love means never having to say your sorry…” No. Love means saying you’re sorry when you are wrong because of love.
3. Listen. Hear the person you have been aggressive towards. Really take a moment to understand that you have hurt them and why they feel hurt.
Sleeping on the couch: sad face
Being wrong the pits
Give yourself over to it
Or fuck it up, sigh
I’ve been in a running slump. Since December…but if I’m honest with myself it’s been a slump since last summer. Didn’t train for my marathon, really after Peachtree, it was a hot mess.
Well, fortunately, I have friends. AND I have a new friend who can’t run right now and is living a little bit vicariously through other people who care for her.
I promised her I would run.
I’ve always tried to remember that there are those of us who love to run, but we can’t always do it.
So I should, when I can. Which, so far, is all the time.
I’m a lazy ass.
I was looking for a place to wear it. Gorgeous new bikini. Part of my plan to love my body more and give fewer fucks about other people.
So, I ran (I ran so far awaaayyy). Then I came to the pool. I showered and put on my new Sorella bikini. Slipped on my cork heeled sandals…and found a place to put my lounge chair, book and cooler.
So I’m here…spotting the other beautiful fat women and men. Considering the courage it takes all of us just to share in this little spec of summer fun.
And I’m feelin’ good. (Cue Nina.)
Adult swim comes and I set down my autobiography, tuck my beverage under my beach chair…and I stroll.
I don’t walk quickly or run. I’m not ducking.
My head is held high.
I’m prepared to tell any fat-shaming ass to go fuck himorherself, but I’m really not expecting it.
I’m making the assumption that I’m beautiful. I’m sexy and everyone else here thinks so, too.
Or they aren’t paying attention…and that’s just fine.
Today is a win in my journey to body love.
Don’t like it, well, that’s probably real sad for you.
Which is stupid, right?
So, I had cosmetic surgery recently. I have a lot of feelings about it, not the least of which is-how does a body positive, sex and image advocate decide to do that?
And I know that post-surgery blues and questions are common.
But I realized at lunch today…alone, because I like to take myself out, a lot…that I think about my body constantly.
And not in a good way.
In an ever perfecting way.
Stand up straighter.
Walk more confident.
Pull up your jeans.
Suck in your stomach.
I think I have a gorgeous face. Beautiful hair. Awesome ass…and super cute feet.
Have you seen my legs?
But all together I think I hate it.
Why would I spend so much time criticizing it so much otherwise?
And I don’t think I should change.
I think you should change.
I think you should stop expecting women to look any type of way. I think you should stop over sexualizing female bodies and thinking that some ridiculous Photoshopped version of Jennifer Lawrence is ideal or even realfuckingistic. I think you should stop judging your worth by your pant size and see that you are an academic a mother a wife a teacher a motherfucking life changer and get on the bandwagon of your own goddamned self. This life you have is amazing and if you don’t press the gas, someone will stomp on the fucking brakes.
that’s to me. And you, if you need it.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.
Dear Mrs. Pecan,
I am a dual enrollment student, so I am now approaching the time to be submitting applications for colleges. I am currently in the process of completing my application for the University of North Carolina. I was wondering if you would be willing to write me a letter of recommendation to supplement my application.
I have chosen UNC as my first choice because of its outstanding sociology department, which I would not have been interested in without your guidance. Your class has opened my eyes to a world of social injustice and to the idea that there are factors that are out of control that determine a person’s social lot in life. I want to pursue a degree in sociology, and use that degree to make a difference in the life of others. Since you were the driving factor in my choice to pursue such a degree, I think you would be the perfect person to write this recommendation for me.
If you are willing to write this letter, I would greatly appreciate it if you could submit it to the common application program, for which I will send you the link, and also produce a few hard copies enclosed in an official envelope to conserve confidentiality.
Whether or not you choose to write a recommendation for me, I still thank you for the incredible experience I have gained from your class. I have learned more than I ever thought, and the things I have learned have inspired me to want to make a difference in society in whatever way I am capable. For that I am extremely thankful.
Fuck all, you made me cry. Where’s my damn pen?