True Freedom

12 Jun

I have come to define true freedom as the ability to rise above one’s biases (unconscious), interests (rational choices – cconscious and unconconscious), identities (social norms, narratives) to act, speak in a manner that grows, strengthens common good.

I was going to say Commons, but that word has been overrun by the snake oil salesmen of the sharing economy. For whom to borrow from Zygmut Bauman – the Commons is yet another virgin field for capitalism to despoil .

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/18/capitalism-parasite-hosts

The common good needs placing above the overriding me-me-me of the cult of positivity that is the Western individual. The common good also needs defining beyond ubuntu – ‘motho ke motho ka batho ba bang’ – a person is a person through others.

It means not hiding behind intent when called out for racism, sexism, class or any other form of systemic domination.

It means being committed to an unlearning of the master narratives of what bell hooks terms ‘White supremacist capitalist patriarchy’.

I add ableist to that definition because ableism is a core Western narrative embedded in its philosophy and everyday discourses.

In many ways it means decolonizing the mind.

Shared from Google Keep

Affected to Thriving (reimagining victim/survivor)

20 Jan

A while back @chiefelk tweeted that we need to reexamine victim/survivor discourse. The idea struck a chord with me. In a society that values, success, heroism, violence, and a generally saccharine, highly disturbing form of optimism; no-one wants to be labelled a victim. We rush to proclaim ourselves survivors.

How often have you heard the statement “I am not a victim, I am a survivor”

The victimizer and their ever so polished allies, rush to silence the victim and say things like ‘victim card’, ‘stop the pity party’, ‘race card, race card’, ‘stop the excuses’, ‘chill bro, just joking’ and launch many other genuinely heartfelt missiles.

If the victim responds in anger or in emotion, this is taken as a sign of irrationality and as validation of victimizer’s position. And thus the dance of domination continues merrily on.

The intended unstated goal is to silence the victim by shaming them for being hurt. Shame and guilt are powerful paralysing emotions.

“I am not a victim, I am a  survivor” contains an implicit judgement of those who for whatever reason, have not been able to recover.  It plays to the liberal ideology of the individual and neatly masks the social forces at play.

The victims, who struggle or who speak out are constantly shamed by pointing at the survivors. For a glimpse of how this works, look  at #notyourinspiration or inspiration porn. Another example of the tragedy of inspiration porn, is the saga of the Oscar Pistorius.

There are many examples,

– hiding systemic racism “Mandela forgave, why can’t you”, “we are post-racial, we have a Black President (Obama);

-hiding patriarchy “Why was she drunk at the party, she was asking for it”, etc., etc.

This is overwhelmingly saddening

  1. The mind is not a machine, using the survivor metaphor is a sophisticated form of “get over it”
  2. A survivor remains defined by the event. Just surviving does not mean, one is whole again

Agency is often cited as the way forward. Agency, however, is not freedom. Agency is room to manoeuvre within the invisible restrictions that society continues to impose. So, even the capacity to recover is mediated by social structures.

The idea is to move from victim/survivor

                                         TO

Affected > hurting > healing > thriving.

I hope to expand on that in a future blog.

The dance of my social identities

18 Jan

Introduction

Identities are problematic things on which we fixate and which exert a strong influence on our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. This has been proven scientifically over and over again, yet liberalism continues to harp on about the individual. That is a  story for another day. Today is simply a reflection on my personal social identities and how I relate to them.

I am aware of my various social identities. I choose the ones that I incorporate into my personal identity. I choose how to relate to the rest. I do this consciously so that I can be aware of the subconscious impact of my identities when statements (espoused theories) clashes with my actions (theories-in-use).

Without this commitment and willingness to fearlessly be willing to confront myself, I risk being a pawn playing my unconscious part  in maintaining hegemony.

Blackness:

I choose to integrate my Blackness into my personal identity, because as a South African Black male born at the height of apartheid, it has been core to resistance against one of the most heinous systems of domination, modern humanity has devised.

“To be Black is to acknowledge the heritage of struggle, the ancestors who maintained their dignity under trying circumstances, and fought for their rights.

To be Black is to know that the system of White supremacy and domination has not yet come to an end and requires that we continue what our ancestors began.

To be Black is to stand for social justice.

Masculinity

Yes I am a man, a fact I base on having a penis but I completely, thoroughly and with contempt reject any notion that a third leg, should confer on me power over others (women and men whom I can dominate).

I note also that as Bell Hooks puts it, we live in ”white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” therefore  my assigned dominion is Black women and Black men. Others like Whites occupy a different realm and beyond my place.

I thus choose not to integrate a submissive masculinity into my personal identity.

I choose to have dominion over no-one. I make no claim to deserving respect based on my masculinity.

I pledge to work against patriarchy in all its malevolent forms.

Homosexuality

Yes, I am primarily attracted to other men about 95% of the time, with the occasional attraction to a woman. I have heard it defined as homoflex.

I, however, choose not to integrate homosexuality into my identity. My sexual preferences are greatly enjoyable, exquisitely orgasmic and sometimes orgiastic but they place a limited role in my identity.

I note with alarm, the growing trend of homonormativity with its politics of respectability before inclusiveness.

Religion

I was born and raised a Catholic. My confirmation name is Thomas and my saint is doubting Thomas the Apostle. The Catholic Church, therefore will claim me as a member for eternity, unless I commit a heinous deed and the Pope excommunicates me. One can dream.

Nowadays I adhere to the Buddhist notion that the existence / non-existence of God is irrelevant. I thus choose not to make an identity out a personal spiritual beliefs. I assert that in this regard, there really is no difference between an Atheist and a member of  religion. They both have made an identity out of their beliefs. The modern Atheists merely add smugness.

I choose freedom.

Conclusion

There is also the terrifying mediocrity of middleclassness, but that is for another day.

This post was inspired by a @fistvoices tweet which said something to the effect of “I am not a man, deal with it’.

These are some of my identities, in the brilliant words of @fistvoices  ‘deal with it’

And while you at it, go forth and narrate yourself

The tweet that caused all the trouble

30 Dec

Perhaps it is because I awoke to a rather emotional but unnecessary altercation, but I was left disturbed by a tweet that passed acrosss my TL by @ntsikimazwai

‘Hello ladies: I wonder who is gonna get raped today?’

Anyway as per the nature of my Twitstream, much discussion ensued. This is not an attack, just a reflection on my thoughts.

My mind flashed red, red, red – ‘Casualisation’

I remembered a scene from a TV show I saw back in the day. It was  set in a township somewhere between here and nowhere.

Three young Black males were sitting smoking, playing cards  when one said ‘I am bored. Let’s go get get a girl’. They all smiled and silently moved out got a girl and proceeded to rape her, dumped her and continued ‘sitting, smoking, playing cards, and so forth.’

There was something about the tweet, that brought that back, visions of people sitting around having crumpets, and asking ever so by the way ‘Who is gonna get raped today? Tea?’

On further reflection, it was also more personal. The memory of my own incident of child sex abuse.  I hesitate to define it even more clearly that, even though it is almost 3 decades later.

What I remember most was the complete casualness with which it was done. Like it was…. just ordinary and yet three decades later the shame, the self-loathing, self-questioning can still arise and cause a faded, fragmented replay of the event.

Anyway that is why the Tweet disturbed me, because to many perpetrators, it really is that casual. The only reaction that tweet statement would cause them is ‘Hehe!’

Khotso!

Red October, Corrective Rape, and Idiocy

14 Oct

This bit from a blog by @AlbertBrenner1 at http://praag.org/?p=11057 concerns deeply.

“It only took six tweets of 140 letters/characters each to confirm said theory.This was how it was done. I simply asked her if she supported black lesbians protesting against “corrective” rape. She answered in the affirmative, of course. Then I pointed out that rape affects all women, not just black lesbians. Meaning that black lesbians form a sub-group protesting that which affects them specifically namely “corrective” rape. But, as mentioned before, rape affects all women, not just black lesbians.

From this it follows that it is logically and, even more importantly, morally inconsistent to laud one sub-group (black lesbians, in this case) for their “discriminatory” form of protest – i.e.they only protest against corrective rape, and not all rape – whilst demonising another (in this case, Red October whites) by accusing them of partaking in a “discriminatory” form of protest.. based on the fact that crime affects all, not just whites. Ergo, the rationale underpinning the protest by whites against their slaughter at the hands of blacks is no different to that of black lesbians protesting against corrective rape. Yet, the former is demonised while the latter is lauded and applauded by Britten and her MSM ilk.

It suffices to say that that which is good for the black lesbian goose is not good for the Red October white gander. This means that people like Britten discriminate on the basis of race – in terms of the above-mentioned biased sentiments expressed publicly. Given the above context, and what we know from all the standard definitions of racism, this would make Britten a racist.

– See more at: http://praag.org/?p=11057#sthash.wwWl3nfQ.dpuf

 

What concerns me is that it equates the protests by Black Lesbians on corrective rape to the Red October protest by some Whites focussing on rape of White women by Black men.

This is noxious, and problematic.

Black Lesbians are a highly marginalised group in society whose voice is rarely heard, listened to or taken seriously, there is no-one else to plead their case. That they focus on a form of  rape that affects them more than anyone else is not problematic. What is problematic is that society ignores their plight.

Then looking at the issue of White women being raped by Black men, this particular narrative has a long history and it has been argued is core to the development of the Afrikaner masculine identity. Their duty is to protect the purity of White women against the savages. To ignore this history is at best an omission and worst deliberate deceit.

Red October merely takes its place in this long tradition of Swart Gevaar, that was the bedrock of Apartheid and has recently had some rather tragic consequences in the case of Oscar Pistorius and the death of Reeva Steenkamp.

To argue that to demonise Red October is to be racist, is  to be full of it, and by it I mean South African White Privilege.

If we then look at another angle –  many White women have pointed out to @steve_hofmeyr that they were raped by White men, meaning that by racialising the rape of White women, Red October seeks to minimise/erase a significant problem within the White community by projecting it onto Swart Gevaar.

Lesbians by focussing on corrective rape, due to their lack of social power and the specificity of corrective rape, do not in any way erase or minimise anybody else’s narrative of rape. They protest a specific form of patriarchal domination.

Red October trades on specific narrative that sustained racial domination in South Africa for hundreds of years.

I am not going to comment on the writings of those attacked by @AlbertBrenner1 as his own writing is in itself heinous.  And he had the temerity to say I must read Biko to understand, sickening

Unempowerment

20 Sep

One of the tragedies of the South African debate is that it boils down to people who have benefited and are benefiting from privilege telling people who have not, how to behave and succeed.

http://storify.com/thabo99/unempowerment

I put together a storify of one such tweet convo. I accept that this all very well intentioned but it needs to change if we are to succeed as a country.

Tweet:  Instead of being a ‘blamer’ (as encouraged by politicians) accept responsibility for you own future.

Now this seems to be a tweet about empowerment but it is disingenious.

1) If one cites social contexts/obstacles one is a BLAMER who is influenced by unnamed POLITICIANS (in South Africa, normally code for the ANC)

2) References to continuing sexism, racism, other forms of discrimination and their effects are dismissed as displaying a lack of responsibility or more colourfully as playing the victim card.

I challenged this and got even more of the same.
Tweet:  Is it possible you have an external locus of control?

3)This clearly shows the type of thinking behind the original tweet.  If you do not succeed it is because you have no will power and are externally controlled. The same sort of logic is used to blame poverty on the poor.

This is really not about empowerment but about perpetuating the status quo.

All agency is bounded by the society it takes place in. A wise person said that we talk about agency and not freedom, precisely because what we have is not freedom.

When we perpetuate the view that the victims of social power, are suffering from playing the victim card, we hide our complicity in maintaining the unjust social order.

If one really wants to be empowering, instead of blaming the politicians and those disadvantaged by societal operations, one can say something like

– Seize the day. Learn something new, make a new connection, act on that dream

There are like a million of these, but shifting the blame is not empowerment.

White Identity Politics stink

30 Nov

The role of identity in arguments is not something that we often confront . The very structure of rational argument is meant to portray a certain objectiveness that is distinct from the individual.

The argument, however, is constructed by an individual and it is important to ask “whose rationality?’

This point is brought home to me, when I try to dissect arguments of White Liberals, what they often overlook is the centrality of their social identity, their Whiteness to their arguments.

A case in point is @mynameisjerm blog where he says ‘we should worry less about racism and more about discrimination’ http://jerm.co.za/some-thoughts-on-racism/

I will add the twitter discussion on another day

The argument relies on defining ‘racism’ mainly as belief and distinct from action. Discrimination is the action.

Given the liberal notion of the sanctity of the self, it becomes clear that since racism is nothing more than a personal belief it is ok and should not be counteracted.

Discrimination, as a purposeful action based on race , is therefore unacceptable. BEE becomes immoral and unacceptable whilst racism being a product of the mind is protected.

So for the racist person, as long as intention cannot be proven, it is not discrimination. If intention can be proven, you are an idiot and deserve punishment . Hidden Implication: Unintended outcomes of unconscious racism and structural inequality are irrelevant . Note that these rarely affect Whites.

BEE and Affirmative Action are clearly based on race and are intentional so by this line of argument they are unacceptable.

The primary difference is that BEE and Affirmative action are felt by Whites and therefore relevant.

The argument Is an exercise in White Identity Politics under the cover of non-racialism and rationality.

It stinks.