Here is a collection of great posts from folks who have supported UBUNTU’s work and helped us scatter our sustaining, transforming, loving cyberseeds into the wind. Thanks yall!
Being Poor, Being Trans
In which brownfemipower shares some insights from a conversation that she (a Chicana mother and full-time grad student who has had incredibly frustrating experiences with the welfare system) and a friend Jay (who is a white trans man who has had difficult experiences with the health care system and insurance companies). The post looks at connections and common elements of structural oppression in both of those experiences and sheds some light on the costs of being poor and being trans. It’s a good read, check it out –
“So the two of us started comparing notes and really getting into the nitty gritty of what it is like to survive and negotiate the welfare and health care industrial complexes as a poor woman of color and a white trans man.”
“For both of us, there’s a lot of safty issues as well as self-preservation issues. Structures of power would rather Latina women who keep popping out babies so they can “live” on welfare just disappeared. Structures of power would rather trans people who feel they have a right to assert an identity and exist in this world would just disappear. We both exist as problems that structures of power have to deal with–and structures of power alternativelly strangle or ignore us, depending on its mood. It’s not uncommon for a woman to go three months without getting her food stamps. It’s also not uncommon for trans people to have to “start at the beginning” with each and every interaction with the health care complex….”
“So Jay and I started wondering not only why it had to be this way, but what we could do about it as well. Of course, we both think that long term solutions involve directly confronting the structure of power through the creation of alternative systems. But for the immediate time, what could we do?
And here, Kevin from Slanttruth offers an important piece from Suzanne Pharr “The Common Elements of Oppressions” that is very much in line with the approach UBUNTU has articulated in our founding document about the interconnectedness of oppressive structures. A few of my personal favorite highlights are (but please, please go check out the whole thing – it is most definitely worth the time):
“Blaming the victims for their oppression diverts attention from the true abuser or the cause of the victimization. For example, a commonly held belief is that people are poor because they are unwilling to work. The belief is supported by the stereotypes that poor people are lazy, abuse welfare, etc. What goes unnoted is the necessity for poverty in an economic system in which wealth is held and controlled by the few. If the poor are in poverty because they deserve it, then the rich need not feel any guilt or compunction about their concentrated wealth. In fact, they can feel deserving and superior.”
“We must find ways to build coalition, to make broad social change for all of us. There are many more people who are considered the Other (though called, ironically, the minority) than those who are defined as the Norm. We must become allies in a movement that works against power and control by the few and for shared power and resources for the many. To do this work, we will have to build a program that provides an analysis of the oppressions, their connections, and together we must seek ways to change those systems that limit our lives.”
I also think Kevin has been right on the money about the Duke lacrosse case for quite some time now. In A Response he writes:
“Why is it that when a woman of color alleges wrong-doing against white men, the white men get the benefit of “innocent until proven guilty,” but the woman is imediately considered possibly a “liar”?”
And, he has been showing us (UBUNTU) love – posting up our statements, etc. – from Slant Truth, even while we were out of commission too:
Anyone know what happened to I Am That Survivor? I checked the feed today and did not find what I expected. I tried to go to the blog itself and found myself somewhere I did not want to be. Judging from the disgusting content I found instead of a wonderful blog, I suspect they are under attack by assholes with nothing better to do.
” You Can’t Keep Good People Down” (and he even uses my favorite “keep your head up” Frederick Douglass quote!)
But when the cause is just you can’t keep good people down. You can try to beat down valid resistance with lies, propaganda, attacks (physical, emotional, digital), but know that good people will rise again and keep up the struggle.
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning, they want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted. . –Frederick Douglass
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Thank you! Thanks yall for your support and for your own great work!