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Madison, WI





Essays and Non-Fiction


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Open Letters, Rants, and Soapboxing

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<embed movement= whiteliness> From left: Courtney Love from Hole, Marilyn Monroe (Center,) and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and, more recently, Le Tigre

What began as a movement, seeking to abolish rape culture and the victim blaming that arises in cases of sexual violence, has evolved into another type of issue altogether and far too often. The visibility of Whiteliness, as self-producing, can be conceptualized through oppressive communicative tactics such as hate speech. In particular, the word sl*t, is naturalized to a point of reclamation. When pejorative context and meaning is given to words out of Whiteness, it is harmful. Resistance to imposed and assumed patriarchal connotation creates an urgency for reclamation of such, as their (white women) own, but has proven to be counterproductive to healthy dialogue on actual resistant techniques.

According to Avory Faucette, a queer feminist activist and writer, “It is never okay to tell someone to set aside race while we focus on gender or feminism for a while. “Gender is informed by race.” Because individuals carry so many identities, we need to acknowledge those variations. Faucette continues, “We need to accept that maybe the thing we’ve been fighting for our whole lives isn’t as important as another thing that is hurting someone else.” For the term “sl*t” and for the category of Woman in general, these categories are the One/Other, Person/ Non-Person, and stacked with white women on the top. According to Linda Martin Alcoff and Marilyn Frye, Whiteness is a mechanism, “fractured by class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, and ablebodiedness.” Whiteliness can be defined as a socially constructed racial status that grants an all access pass to an automatic, sometimes not so “blatant and obvious,” privileged placement in society. She elaborates on the invisibility of those privileges,“By the way, this isn’t always blatant and obvious. It happens when a POC raises what seems like a minor point in the language of a document, and a white leader in the group says you know, we’re really voting on the main resolution right now. It happens when a group of mostly white feminists suggests that one of their POC members be in charge of “dealing” with a race issue. “Don’t tolerate this bullshit.”

Questioning the creation and perpetuation of racialized pejorative usage may be a new, but vital, part of the dialogue within a modern understanding of Whiteliness. “When white feminists proclaim that white women are primarily women, this is an extension of an essentially white privilege.” (Alcoff, Visible Identities, 210) The cause and effect, of this irrational backwardness is explained by Alcoff as “alienation” and as an “unintelligible mess.” This process is dehumanizing. Faucette’s advice for cultivating a new mode of communication is to, “start identifying our f*ck ups, and not just learn from them, but acknowledge the hurt they cause other people.” Alcoff suggests working together through a futuristic transformative approach in which we share history and share present cultural elements rather than a set of obscure fundamental centrisms. She writes that, “we must tell the full story of white racism in all its complexity.” (Alcoff, Visible Identities, 217) To paraphrase Alcoff, “In order to conceptualize a nondominating and antisupremacist identity” we basically need to abolish the dichotomous version of self and look for ways to acknowledge the past but also work to creating an “inclusive human community.” As multi-dimensional beings, we must create new strategies for building and securing a protective layer, rich in truth, education, necessity, and survivalism, between ourselves and the oppressors or oppressive tactics. Pejoratives do hurt people and identity does matter since those who divert from norms are subordinate and servile. -Nik de Leon

Anarcho Feminist Dialogues: Preview  

Fall 2012 Project!