Saturday, February 10, 2007

Some linkages

Donna at Silence of Our Friends links to the transcript of MLK's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," via The Angry Black Woman. Turns out, it's still pretty good.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

... My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant ‘Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Donna's commentary is worth checking out as well;

as is her earlier, separate post, quoting a speech by a Gerry Gambill, On the Art of Stealing Human Rights. Some excerpts:

5. Consult the Indian, but do not act on the basis of what you hear. Tell the Indian he has a voice and go through the motions of listening. Then interpret what you have heard to suit your own needs...

Make the Indian believe you are working for him, putting in much overtime and at a great sacrifice, and imply that he should be appreciative. This is the ultimate in skills in stealing human rights; when you obtain the thanks of the victim.

9. Consult the Indian, but do not act on the basis of what you hear. Tell the Indian he has a voice and go through the motions of listening. Then interpret what you have heard to suit your own needs

14. Make the situation more complicated than is necessary...

18. Speak of the common good. Tell the Indian that you can’t consider yourselves when there is a whole nation to think of. Tell him he can’t think only of himself...

Donna notes that

You could easily apply most of these to many situations since these are common strategies of the wealthy/powerful against the poor/weak, especially the legalities, stalling, and projection (claiming the Indian is the greedy one).

...Number 7 angers me and I've been meaning to post on this in particular. It isn't just the government that does this, it's your average privileged liberal asshole. Yes this is particular to our side of the fence because conservatives are open about their hatred. What I am talking about is when some condescending jerk pats you on the head and you tell him you resent it, or simply disagree with the ideas he is putting forth. He will get all pissy about how ungrateful you are, and that you should be thankful that he even pays attention to you and talks to you at all...

Donna links this specifically to other white/POC dynamics; perhaps there are more connections still.

Heart: "This lawsuit was not about defining who a woman is" it was about the right of equality groups, including females, to define the boundaries of their own spaces."

[Bint Alshamsa]: If a group discriminates against transpeople, then it isn't actually an equality group at all.
This idea about some supposed "right" you mentioned, sounds (to me) A LOT like the arguments posed by those who have sought to discriminate against other groups. What is the difference between a women's group that would like to keep out women with disabilities and one that seeks to exclude trans-women?

As a person who has lived with and without disabilities, I have seen how differently one is treated by the world based on one's perceived status as either "healthy" or "sick". Does that mean that I should be excluded from groups that are supposed to support female victims of rape? Isn't rape something that happens to disabled and trans-women too?

Elsewhere, the Goldfish has some wise words:

Anti-discrimination law is not about protecting people’s feelings. On the contrary; in many ways, anti-discrimination legislation is all about forcing people to behave contrary to their feelings. The law cannot and should not dictate what you think or say, but it can and should dictate what you do as regards your treatment of other people. I cannot agree with everything our own government has done in tackling discrimination, but the principle behind such legislation is very clear.

...The chief reason the Equality Act 2006 is causing a rumpus is that it outlaws certain forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, as well age, ethnicity, religion and disability. Cardinal Cormac O'Murphy, who is head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has suggested that this will force them to close their many adoption agencies because they will no longer be able to discriminate against same-sex couples simply on the grounds of sexuality. And naturally, if these adoption agencies close, a great number of children will suffer.

...The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual behaviour is wrong...Fair enough. The Catholic Church also teaches against premarital sex and extramarital sex. It also still teaches that the only way out of a valid marriage is death...

...people make a choice to follow these rules, and I for one have never had any problem being a friend and family member to some of those that do, despite the fact that I, and many others, follow a very different set of rules.

But because difference exists, it would be an enormous problem if Catholic adoption agencies only put children into the care of parents who followed their own rules to the letter. Indeed, my local Catholic Adoption agency, Adoption Yorkshire state on the front page of their website;

We welcome interest from people of any or no religion although we are only able to accept applications from people in Yorkshire, Humberside and Cleveland.

So clearly, they wouldn’t reject a couple because they had lived together before they were married, or a couple that denied the truth of the Bible or even worhipped more than one god. The suitability of individuals and couples as parents is absolutely paramount – and indeed, the vetting process for adoptive parents in the UK is famously gruelling.

It is thus rather difficult for me to imagine why homosexuality - which is surely no worse that worshipping several gods - can render a couple unsuitable as parents by default. Unless of course, a prejudice is not merely a matter of faith, and is to do with daft old ideas about homosexuals being out to corrupt the young, homosexuality being something a person is taught, homosexuals being inherently promiscuous and all that nonsense which the Church has stated that it rejects.

The very nature of anti-discrimination law means that if a law is sound, there should be no exceptions. It...doesn't mean that people must stop believing what they believe.

It only means that exactly the same rules apply to everybody and everybody can expect fair and equal treatment.


Mandos said...

By the way, reading that thread...

The Supreme Court of Canada *declined to hear* an appeal of the BC Court of Appeals. As I've always understood it, in Canada that means that it's basically final, Now And Forever, or at least until some legislature revisits the issue. But an argument based on the existing Charter of Rights and Freedoms will not work anymore, Now and Forever, and the BC Court of Appeals has basically written the book on this part of the story.

Mandos said...

I was talking about the Bint Alhamsa thread, by the way.

Also, I agree with you re bonding over racism. I work in a field which is definitely male dominated, but there are enough women in it that a woman walking into a meeting hardly gets a second glance. But a black person of either gender is definitely an oddity, despite the fact that a large proportion of the population around here is black.

(Us Asians get counted with white people in the whole Model Minority thing.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, earlier BD wonderred about why transfolk would enter the radfem side of the movement. I don't want to get into a comments thing, but drop me a line at the mail which is g if you are still wanting to talk about it. my username is flowerofdecember

word verification: imszq

Thirza said...

Interesting that the Indian is a he all the time, particularly in light of the fact that many aboriginal nations in North American were/are matriarchal.

Womansspace (Not Heart) said...

"Heart: "This lawsuit was not about defining who a woman is" it was about the right of equality groups, including females, to define the boundaries of their own spaces."

It's always interesting to look at what is spoken at what isn't. The unspoken seemingly unconsidered content is about who is female and who isn't. The thing is Heart's understanding of that is fresh out of patriarchy and stated so explicitly.

I must be behind the times. I understand what an affinity group is but what is an equality group and who says who is equal?

But here's why I say that Heart is situational:

The Atlanta Golf course respresents an equality group. White men represent an equality group.

The problems with this line of thinking TO FEMINISM is vast, just so vast and the very arguments Heart is making shatter and contradict so many things she's said before. This really bothers me as in the early eighties, I used to admire Rita Mae Brown especially for Plain Brown Wrapper. In the latter eighties, I read an interview with her and it was asked why Plain Brown Wrapper, was the only one of her books not to be republished. "When you're young, you have to make noise to be noticed", responded Brown.

Oh Maude! What she was saying was that all the things I had taken in from her and had appreciated so much, were noise? Really?? Please, I paid for you to sell me noise? And I took your "noise" into my heart?

But this isn't the 1980's and this isn't Rita Mae Brown. This is a woman who has been a good feminist who like, Brown is busy dismantling the good work she has done. You know what? It's much easier to tear a house down than it is to build one - all except one house of course which is the master's house which is the house that heart is now reinforcing.

Doesn't she see these things? Doesn't she care about what she's undoing? It is not a question even of how fast can we walk backwards and here's why. Heart will never be able to talk about the Atlanta Golf course again, even as a metaphor because the Altanta Gold course is clearly an equality group. It's such an equality group that's more equal than anyone else.

Plainswoman, if you see this, I just wanted to let you know that I'm really impressed with your and Bell's poltics. I need insights like yours.

Womansspace said...

I started to "equality group" that if equality group is the same as minority group then I was wrong. But it still applies.

A grievous poltical error that trans has made has been the establishment of a third gendered class - unless they want to be, in which case I can't understand them at all and they seem quite alien to me.

I can only see the outcome of the the Supreme Courts non-hearing as understanding oppressions in terms of some two dimesion understandin of oppression.

Heart is quite wrong about one thing, "it's not about deciding who is a woman." Of course it is, that's just double speak. If there are places where all women can participate and someone cannot, they are not being acknowledged as women. There isn't anything new about this as heart said it in the thread. I also think that the trans movement is incredibly responisble for this in the way they have defined themselves.