Thursday, May 01, 2008

tangentially

am now ruminating on a comment on this thread at The Angry Black Woman. well, there's a lot to talk about wrt that thread in general, but following this particular train of thought seemed like it might be a derail there, so bringing it back here.

the comment:

#
Julia, on April 30th, 2008 at 9:51 am Said:

An interesting thing to me about cookies is that it seems to pop up more often in white/POC interactions than it does in interactions between other groups. For instance, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a straight ally want cookies from gay people. It seems like most straight allies have gay friends or support the gay community out of basic human decency, and the cookie thing just isn’t as much of an issue. Obviously, I only have personal experience with one small corner of the world, so maybe cookie-begging is more universal than I think it is. Either way, there’s no Nice White Lady equivalent for other ‘isms (if there is, it’s not as widely propagated), and I think that’s just evidence of the culturally entrenched desire white people have to feel powerful over POCs. It’s really fucking depressing.


I -have- noticed that, well, yeah, online at least, there isn't as much -obvious-
friction within at least the -progressive-to-feminist- 'sphere wrt
straight/gay as there is white/PoC, no. not at the moment anyway.

otoh...I'm sitting here thinking: how much of that is actual "better
decency" or better comfort zone, whatever, and how much of that is
just the sheer overwhelming heteronormativity of the whole fucking
joint in the first place, and how -used- to it a lot of us are?
'cause you know, a lot of the time, it's easy enough to tune out; it's
not like we haven't had tons of practice. I have, okay.

or...I dunno...but, yeah, anyone remember the aftermath of the '04
election? All the yapping and snarling and selfish selfish SELFISH
gay people for demanding -marriage- in such a crucial year, we RUINED
it for EVERYBODY? I do. among a number of people who damn well
should've known better (thinking of certain virtual comms, for instance, Democratic
Underground, other such places i haunted then).

and boy, i can remember at least one "friend" who clearly wanted a
cookie for deigning to come stay at my apartment while she checked out
the Dwama school even -after- I came out to her, as uncomfortable as
she was, because, you know, she ellipsed, I might put a -move- on
her.

or, y'know, how -hard- it was for blahblee because of hir religious
background and garsh can't help one's instinctive recoiling, i mean i
LIKE you as a PERSON and all but...

mm. I dunno.

Thoughts? Comments?

16 comments:

Alon Levy said...

Are cookies metaphorical in this context? Or are these literal cookies?

Ravenmn said...

Thanks for the link. That discussion is fascinating.

Do you think it can have more to do with numbers or visibility within our own communities? If there's only one of you, we want cookies for somehow remembering that you're "special" and we happened to remember it.

Although on a much smaller level than racism or heterosexism, I get a little bit of that from Christians who manage to remember I might be celebrating a high holiday.

betmo said...

i can't really speak to anything other than being an ally- i am a pasty white, almost middle aged woman who isn't a feminist or lgbt. i didn't grow up in a 'normal' household though- we didn't have enough money to be handing out cookies all day for doing what you were supposed to do. you just did it. so, it really baffles me- the whole notion of being rewarded for doing the right thing; the human thing.

my own thought is white folks don't rub elbows with black folks enough and they certainly don't rub elbows with enough lgbt poc. our comfort level is non existent when you put any combinations of gay and skin color together. and there isn't any excuse and there isn't any reason for it. we just don't see people as fellow human beings- and that's just sad.

actually, i would find it insulting to be trained like pavlov's dogs to respond a certain way to poc and lgbt folks- by getting cookies.

Daomadan said...

That comment stood out to me as well. I don't know, I hear straight people often saying "I have a lot of gay friends!" as a way of indicating they're open minded. But do I see them at rallies or fighting for my rights as a queer American? No. And it pisses me off. How can you say you have "gay friends" and then not support our rights? Or just assume that is enough to make you an ally?

Personally, I don't want to be anyone's "GAY or QUEER friend". I want to be their FRIEND.

Rachel said...

Cookie-begging is alive and well in the "I'm gonna be friends with those poor, poor trans women" crowd.

But just look what happens when you ask one of them to please accompany you to the women's bathroom in a crowded, unfamiliar restaurant...on pride day...and they roll their eyes.

GallingGalla said...

That was me, g-ddess dammit, forgot to set name/url

belledame222 said...

Are cookies metaphorical in this context? Or are these literal cookies?

You know, I do often think, "damn, if we're gonna keep using that metaphor, can someone at LEAST bring out the snacks? i'm hungry now, dammit."

it's definitely well overused.

i just finished an entire box of Mystic Mints, tangentially. well, over the course of three days, but still. and i'm NOT SORRY

you know, they sell those "gourmet," organic cookies in some of the stores around here, all natural blahblee, and i hate to say it but frankly they're NEVER as good as the giant corporation-made, transfatty -crap.- Mystic Mints. Mallomars. fucking -Hostess Cupcakes.-

meh, i'm a yahoo at (rapidly congesting no doubt) heart, i guess...

belledame222 said...

yeah, i remember a former friend who said on at least one occasion, rather dramatically (she was given to the dramatic):

"I have five--FIVE...transsexual friends..."

there was a point to whatever she was yappin' about other than that, but that definitely stood out, that bit;

and i remember thinking, even then, although i was much less able or willing to articulate any of this shit:

"That's nice. I wonder if it's as exciting for them as it is for you?"

of course, this was the same woman who tried to set me up with some other gay woman she knew, perfectly nice woman, i mean, i liked her a bunch, we went to the movies, whatevs;

but, i didn't realize until afterward--I should have, considering we'd all gone out, this other woman, the friend, the guy she was cheating on her husband with oops what a giveaway, and me, and she'd given him a Meaningful Look as they left us alone, but i didn't tweak.

till later, at their Christmas party, when friend was well into the maudlin stage of drunk, and something or other it came up i hadn't seen ___ in a while, you know, I just -hadn't-;

and friend slurs, "I -try.- I -try- to..."

whatever it was, the gist was clear: she knew two! two lesbians! who both were Nice! and into books and movies and everything! of COURSE they must hit it off and have chemistry and fall in lurve! because they're the ONLY TWO LESBIANS ON THE PLANET.

...actually, no, that's actually true.

but ANYWAY: yeah, she was annoying. i do believe that was the last time i saw -her-, that "friend." passed out on the sofa, in fact. and it was a party, and they hadn't even bothered to clean out the cat's box in days.

/petty betching

Kristen said...

I can't read that comment string without flying into a rage that would put every pencil on my desk in great peril. My answer to the cookie question is this. Do you really want an ally you have to "bribe"? And what is this bribe other than another example of entitlement.

Think about all those "Nice Guys" who feel they deserve sex (a cookie) for not raping women.

So under the cookie theory someone should go right ahead and provide them with the cookies they're obviously "entitled" to. Right?

No way. Its still a feeling of entitlement no matter how you dress it up.

belledame222 said...

K, as I said over there:



I think part of this is, what we’re really talking about, one thing, is the “social contract.” What do you do with people who won’t live up to it. Yeah, basic decency -should- be enough, and sometimes people do get nudged back into it through appeals to empathy and logic; but, yeah, there are those people who seem to be stuck in the “reward/punishment” model, and nothing else seems to work.

So the question is, I guess, how important to you (general you) is it that this person/people stops whatever behavior it is; and how much effort are you willing to put into, well, basically doing behaviorism with them. If you genuinely don’t give a damn, then by all means, fuck ‘em.

But if it’s, like, realpolitik indicates that unless this person in a powerful position does x or stops doing y, it’ll have a bunch of ramifications here, here, here, here, and here, and if it does seem like a small cookie might help get this person to, if not do x, at least stop doing y, then hey, sure, here’s a Nilla wafer. you still don’t get the good stuff.

but i mean…it’s kind of awful to think of it, like, training the dog not to piss on the rug? but sometimes…

mostly, I think the real question here isn’t really so much,

“should there be -any- difference between the way people respond to someone who does the bare minimum of ‘decent’ and to someone who doesn’t even do -that-”

as

“should people fall all over themselves gushing with praise when someone who damn well should’ve known better finally, grudgingly, does the bare minimum of ‘decent,’ and it’s clearly a token gesture mostly meant to cover their own ass; while, meanwhile, the people Someone has hurt keep right on hurting, with no cookies or even biscuits, really.”

The answer to #2 is clearly, as others have said, “Hell No.” And there’s enough of it happening even as we type that yeah, I totally get why people’d just as soon stop right there. Fuck ‘em all and let Maud sort ‘em out.

That said, for -whatever- it’s worth, in -general-, understand, (I’ve been on the cookie-doling side in other contexts, am not asking for a cookie in this one, just to be clear), I do think that okay, wrt #1, it’s often worth at least -acknowledging- that so-and-so did blahblee, finally. The “cookie” might be as small as “okay, we stop the lawsuit now.” Or, “okay, I stop calling you this particular epithet and back off somewhat for a while.” As long as the person understands that yeah, they did “x” and the result is “y,” and “y” is something they might want more of, that’s incentive for them to keep doing “x.”

This is not to say that if they promptly start whining because it’s not ENOUGH, dammit, one shouldn’t mercilessly mock them for being a whiner and point out exactly what they do and do not -get- merely for having done “x,” and that if they want y squared they -also- have to do “z,” “a,” “b,” and…you get the idea.

repeat as necessary.

ButchFatale said...

Yes, yes! I have a "friend" who likes to say things like "well, I'm about as left as you can get on this, but . . . " and then insert something about patience or how unrealistic I'm being. I really wanted to ask him when "as left as it gets" became basically two steps left of the democratic platform. But clearly what he was trying to say was "yes, you should be important, but sadly you're not. shut up while i tell you about my brilliant thoughts. I'm a straight white guy in designer shoes, so I know where you're coming from."

You know, and the psychologist who thought I'd want to "educate" her about queerness and genderqueerness and I don't know fisting or whatever while I was trying to hold things together with both hands. Cuz having a lesbian sister and hanging out with her friends is really good background for dealing with genderqueer youth.

And the folks (my health ins. rep at work) who, when I say something about not being able to get legally married say "Well, but that'll change". You know, so just simmer down, dyke. We're letting you have stuff so quitcherbitchin.

I'm sorry, what was the question?

belledame222 said...

it's always whatever comes AFTER the "but" that matters, innit.

welcome, butchfatale.

Stephen said...

When I came out to my step-mom, she was generally supportive but I did get this "cookie" vibe from her.. She told me (quite proud) that I could remain a god-father to one of her kids and that it didn't bug her. Which left me wondering why would it?

But I congratulated her.. Picking my battles.

belledame222 said...

hey, welcome, Steve

belledame222 said...

er, Stephen, sorry, I don't know why I automatically jumped to a nickname...

anyway, yeah, exactly, pick your battles. it does get tiring sometimes...

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