bossymarmalade: blue eye with lashes of red flower petals (Default)
miss maggie ([personal profile] bossymarmalade) wrote2009-03-04 11:34 pm

sees fire

Oh, Internet.

It used to be good. I thought it was good, because I didn't really know better (although I knew enough to use a pseudonym, because I am a woman of colour and I was young), and I thought you really listened. I thought we were the same.

Then you started behaving hurtfully. I suspected it was my fault, my lack of education or my colonized mindset or any number of things I've been raised to feel ashamed about, but I had to face the facts.

You were full of people who saw me as shallow, or nothing, or lacking "good faith". And I decided it was getting too hard to be with you anymore.




You see, I couldn't just decide not to have a conversation about race anymore, because it follows me home. My race issues ARE my home. Other people can pick them up when they want to look at something shiny, something exotic tasty foreign bright colourful strange exciting; they toss them around, try them on. Start to explain them to me and find different names for them, like classism and learning experience.

And then they get confused that those race issues, shiny, aren't also malleable submissive accepting pliant silent cowed controllable; they drop them, scowling, and complain that I should have warned them they might get pricked, especially as they were so well-meaning in their actions.

Well, I say, maybe you shouldn't touch things before you learn about them or know how to treat them with respect.




The funny thing is, I ended up making more friends than anything else from this fight. Because I was finally able to see that I *wasn't* alone in feeling the way I did, and even though some white "progressives" will panic and act poorly when they think they're being accused of racism, actual white allies will not. They will stick around and apologize if they've hurt me, and they won't pretend that they're the Only Brave Ones who Speak The Truth, and they'll make a real undeniable *effort* to own their privilege and not co-opt spaces in discussions that aren't about them.

I realized that how pseudonymous people act on the internet to each other is an excellent marker of their good conscience.




And the whole *other* set of friends I met? They're not golden-skinned, not exactly, but their hearts and minds are a different matter. They, like me, go home with their race issues and live them and love them and know that for all the pain there, our complex intersecting dark light in-between loud proud strong wounded eloquent issues were also a place of comfort and pleasure and beauty. When they say things I'm unsure about, I don't assume they missed something; I assume I have something to learn. I've read their joys and their laughter and found that they understand the cathartic power of mocking the wilfully ignorant, because this is (one of the many) coping strategies that chromatic people have developed, valid even if outsiders don't understand. I found that there was an entire new vocabulary opening up to me, words that felt round and sour-salt and soft in my mouth, nestling in my cheek and throat to wait until the time I'd need them.

I didn't realize how many people would listen to me speak and offer me love.




I don't make modest proposals (because I have never seen anybody appropriate Swift and do it properly).

And I would never dream of telling anybody to "let it drop" when what "it" is ... is themselves.

My good conscience is intact, because it stands in companionship with all of you. The people allowed into my space have been supportive and investigative and witty and wise, and I cherish that because I know, now, the value of safe space. As well as the value of maintaining a voice no matter what, and the way a community can hold you up when you feel all slumpy and disillusioned.

I tend to wryness more than to sentiment, dear ones, but I cannot help but feel as though this is a gorgeous moment, right here. We're having conversations. We're going to keep having them. There's a whole big internet out here for us to finally talk.

This is my voice: maggie, brown and soft and sour-salt.

I want to hear yours, now and for the longest while.




follow-up, and why i decided not to reply to comments here
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[identity profile] delux-vivens.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 08:32 am (UTC)(link)
I cannot help but feel as though this is a gorgeous moment, right here. We're having conversations. We're going to keep having them. There's a whole big internet out here for us to finally talk.

woohooo!
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also.

[identity profile] delux-vivens.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 08:32 am (UTC)(link)
I would never dream of telling anybody to "let it drop" when what "it" is ... is themselves.

This.

Re: also.

[identity profile] vito-excalibur.livejournal.com - 2009-03-05 09:13 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com - 2009-03-05 14:54 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] karenhealey.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 08:33 am (UTC)(link)
That's beautiful.

Yes, yes, yes.

[identity profile] maevele.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 08:34 am (UTC)(link)
i'm awestruck. thank you
ext_3152: Cartoon face of badgerbag with her tongue sticking out and little lines of excitedness radiating. (Default)

[identity profile] badgerbag.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 08:46 am (UTC)(link)
Beautiful and true! Also win!

[identity profile] indirajames.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 08:59 am (UTC)(link)
This is amazing and you are wonderful.

[identity profile] ciderpress.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 09:03 am (UTC)(link)
I love you and your amazing voice.

No one dictates when and where we have conversations about ourselves in our own spaces nor how our voices sound and what we say. Those who impose themselves and think they have the right or the power to ask or order, those are the deafening silences we do not have room for in our spaces.

[identity profile] trumpeterofdoom.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 09:03 am (UTC)(link)
Bravo, Maggie. Bravo.
copracat: dreamwidth vera (Default)

[personal profile] copracat 2009-03-05 09:05 am (UTC)(link)
All of it, really, but this:
Well, I say, maybe you shouldn't touch things before you learn about them or know how to treat them with respect.

and this:
And I would never dream of telling anybody to "let it drop" when what "it" is ... is themselves.

What you said, maggie, what you said.
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

[personal profile] oyceter 2009-03-05 09:22 am (UTC)(link)
Oh thank you, and yes a thousand times.
ext_161: girl surrounded by birds in flight. (Default)

[identity profile] nextian.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 09:30 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you.

This is beautiful and funny and true. Like most of the things you say. And it is a perfect antidote to falsehood.

[identity profile] mattador.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 09:41 am (UTC)(link)
Hunh. You made me reconsider, in part, what I'd thought about the post this is responding to. It's somewhat eye-opening. Thank you.

[identity profile] mirandir.livejournal.com 2009-03-06 02:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Ditto.
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[identity profile] chickenfried-jo.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 09:50 am (UTC)(link)
omg...thank you so much. this. just...this.

[identity profile] chalcopyrite.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 10:05 am (UTC)(link)
This. You. Yes.

Thank you.

[identity profile] tekanji.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 10:44 am (UTC)(link)
This is amazing. You are amazing.

[identity profile] color-blue.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 10:52 am (UTC)(link)
I adore your voice, and adore you, because you speak truth so beautifully, and I feel so privileged right now to have been here to read this, and I want to keep having conversations like this, though hopefully deriving from less fail, because they are amazing and you are amazing, the way you spin worthless straw into pure gold.
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[identity profile] spiralsheep.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 11:06 am (UTC)(link)
YES, THIS.

P.S. I nominate you for today's Hivemind representative sockpuppet.

[identity profile] ange01.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 11:33 am (UTC)(link)
This was beautiful.
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[identity profile] abydosangel.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 11:56 am (UTC)(link)
This. Is. Beautiful.

Thank you.
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[identity profile] aelfgyfu-mead.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 12:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for such an eloquent response.
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[identity profile] cathexys.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 12:43 pm (UTC)(link)
This? Is not only gorgeously written and smart and powerful but also an insightful analysis that exhibits the power of the word.

You? Are amazing!

[identity profile] callmesandy.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 12:47 pm (UTC)(link)
You make reading my flist awesome in all things you post on all things that are you. :)
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[identity profile] musesfool.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 12:57 pm (UTC)(link)
And I would never dream of telling anybody to "let it drop" when what "it" is ... is themselves.

Yes. This. Thank you.

[identity profile] beachlass.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 01:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes and yes. What a beautiful-resisting-affirming post to wake up too.
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[identity profile] beledibabe.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 01:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Here via [livejournal.com profile] copracat.

I'm still absorbing and stretching and shifting, bumping against previously unrecognized obstacles, nudging aside barriers. Learning. Your response is enlightening.

Thank you.

[identity profile] fengi.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 01:22 pm (UTC)(link)
They are cliches but:

1. This.

2. Win.

[identity profile] akamarykate.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 01:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm here via [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong's linkage...I read the links on that page in order, and felt like I'd been punched in the gut--until I read this. Now I'm breathless, but in the best way, the floaty, "amen" breathless of reading something so gorgeous and true. I'm in awe.

[identity profile] pantryslut.livejournal.com 2009-03-05 06:36 pm (UTC)(link)

felt like I'd been punched in the gut--until I read this. Now I'm breathless, but in the best way

Ditto this. (I'm here via [livejournal.com profile] badgerbag.) Thank you.

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