The Personal is Political

This is a blog where I will be spouting out all of my personal political arguments, thoughts and beliefs. I encourage interaction and you're more than welcome to submit or ask questions. I identify as a feminist and most of my personal philosophies are built around social justice concepts. If you want to jump right to stuff I've written myself check the "the personal is politic" tag. Creative Commons License
The Personal is Political by Ragen Ashlie Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Brokers and attorneys were not the only white professionals who preyed upon Chicago’s African Americans. They were also hurt by merchants who sold them overpriced, high-interest items on credit and then garnished their wages when they missed a payment. The obvious common denominator between the contract sale of property and the installment sale of smaller items lay in white professionals’ ability to manipulate African Americans’ desperate need for credit. Both created debt peonage, and both would have to be stopped if Chicago’s burgeoning black population was to have a fair chance to prosper.

For my father, the issue was not simply that merchants charged high prices and outrageous rates of interest on goods that they sold on credit but rather that the law gave them the right to collect the wages of their delinquent customers. In Illinois, creditors were allowed to lay claim to over a quarter of their debtor’s paycheck—a stark contrast to the laws of New York, which allowed only 10 percent of weekly wages to be subject to garnishment. Illinois law also made wage garnishment extraordinarily easy. It permitted the use of “wage assignment” forms—contracts in which the customer promised that if he or she was late with a payment the merchant could go directly to the customer’s boss and collect a portion of his or her wages. No court was necessary. Illinois also allowed retailers to require customers to sign “confession of judgment” forms, which nullified in advance their right to defend themselves in court should their creditors pursue legal action against them.

Of course, an individual was in principle free to choose whether or not to sign a wage assignment or confession of judgment form. In reality, the choice was not so evident. The forms were usually buried within long, complicated installment sale contracts. People believes that they were making some small purchase—a watch, or a ring, or dancing lessons—for a mere “five dollars down.” They rarely realized that by signing these forms, they were putting their wages at risk.

The result was a situation ripe for abuse. By the late 1950s, the actions of “credit racketeers” who stood outside factory gates and combed Chicago’s black and immigrant neighborhoods, selling cheap or worthless items for little money down were well known among advocates of the poor. The credit racketeers’ goal was not to make sales per se but to get signatures on wage assignment forms. Once they had the signatures, unscrupulous merchants could go to their victims’ employers and ask for whatever sum of money they thought they could get away with. The city’s largest employers of unskilled labor noted the results. When the Inland Steel Company’s “garnishment administrator,” Dorothy Lascoe, began to investigate some of the garnishments she was processing, she found merchants who demanded sums of $550 when their customers only owed $250 and creditors who collected wage garnishments for months without ever applying the money they were collecting to the debt they claimed to be owed. As Lascoe explained: “The debtor is not properly protected by the law because, under Illinois law, the merchant does not have to prove to the judge how much a person still owes him.”
Beryl Satter, Family Properties: How the Struggle Over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America (via thecurvature)

(via the-uncensored-she)

Snowpiercer is a truly chilling dystopia, then, because its world is fully self-contained, and sufficient. But the most insane thing about it is that it makes sense. And it crystallizes something firghtening about the psychic geography of late capitalism, a technologically-enhanced state of affairs in which the function of the oppressed masses is less and less to work and be exploited than to be excluded and to suffer. The first world, the movie might seem to argue, works less to provide its citizens with pleasure than to shape their desire by constructing others through their pain, lack, and death. Instead of giving Texans a health care system, for example, late capitalism gives them the illegal immigrant, to hate, to fear, and to dis-identify with. Prisons do more and more of the system-maintaining work that was once done by schools and hospitals: instead of giving us something to want, they give us something to fear, hate, and kill. And so, we eat ourselves.

fromthepalaceofthedogs:

appropriately-inappropriate:

@emiello

"Well I’ve experienced this sort of stuff:"

Oh, god, here we go.

"lesbians policing other multisexual women’s use of terms like femme"

How dare those uppity dykes not want us using their words? You know, the ones they…

Ok, so, I’m on a clock and don’t have time to go into everything so I’m just going to pull out a few of the most horrible things in here.

Let’s start with the nonsense about monosexual somehow being the worst most oppressive thing in the world. Are you somehow unaware that literally every since axis of oppression when named “lumps” people in with their oppressors? Because your use of this argument makes me thing you’ve never critically analyzed it so let me break it down. Let’s start with sexuality. Since you call yourself a lesbian I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re actually aware that lesbians aren’t a monolith and are aware that assuming all lesbians are a monolith is oppressive as fuck just as assuming any group to be a monolith is oppressive as fuck. So the term lesbian then lumps a lot of people in with their oppressors. Lesbians of Color are lumped in with white lesbians by the use of that term and white people are the oppressors of People of Color. Vitriolic transphobes who are lesbians are also being lumped in with trans women lesbians with the use of the word lesbian, lesbians with disabilities are lumped in with hatefilled ableist lesbians and so on and so forth.

Let’s take it elsewhere, let’s look at race. When we talk about race we’re lumping cis het people of x race with trans and homosexual people of that race. Hey look! When we talk about race we’re doing literally the exact same thing you’re claiming monosexism is doing! We’re lumping people in with their oppressors. Wow, it’s almost like because of intersectionality there’s no possible way for any one group to not include some portion of oppressors and oppressed with the same label. Have you really never once considered that? Because, really, I just don’t understand how you can make the argument that monosexism lumps people in with their oppressors with a straight face when I damn sure don’t see you making that argument about any other axis of oppression out there. Argue that you don’t think monosexism is real, fine, whatever, but this idea that it’s invalid because of this lumping together nonsense is some of the most illogical bullshit I’ve ever heard and I really can’t comprehend how anyone can think it’s rational or reasonable at all.

Now let’s look at your “where were you?” stuff and discussion of closeting. Are you really unaware for the shared history of bisexual and lesbian women? Really?! Do you really think that bisexual women who dared to admit to their attraction to women weren’t also institutionalized and correctively raped? Because they were and still are all over the world today. That’s a verifiable fact. So in the 50s when that shit was happening to lesbians it was also happening to bisexual women all over the place. The only way it wasn’t happening is if people were successfully closeted. Lesbians who were successfully closeted and bisexual women who were successfully closeted got the STRAIGHT PASSING PRIVILEGE of not being correctively raped, beaten, abused, institutionalized “for their own good,” anyone who wasn’t (or isn’t now) successfully closeted faced (faces) those dangers. This shared history exists whether or not you want to admit to it and your refusal to admit to it and draw lines in the sand saying somehow we weren’t there is seriously fucked up and terrible and I don’t understand how you can’t see that.

And you already seem to understand how closeting works. It’s fucking terrible. It’s stifling and inauthentic and forces a person to deny themselves. It’s one of the actual worst things that exist. Why can you understand that for homosexual people but you can’t understand that for bi people? Do you really think that bi people don’t suffer from being in the closet? Really? Do you honestly believe that bi people being in the closet isn’t a thing or isn’t common? Or is it that you get that it’s a thing (even a common thing) but you just don’t think it’s terrible for us or you don’t care? Because really, this shortsighted refusal to engage in empathy is astounding.

Finally, as to your whole wanting the conversation to be fair thing. Nobody is saying we can’t talk about lesbian feelings but we are saying that those two conversations need to be different because, hey, they’re two different conversations! When bi women want to talk about biphobia, about the lateral violence mentioned that is it’s own conversation that should be able to exist all by itself. We shouldn’t be required to talk about everyone else too in order to make our stuff valid. Just like if you want to have a conversation about violence lebsians face you shouldn’t be required to make that conversation “fair” by including anyone or anything else. That conversation gets to stand on it’s own as valid and legitimate. And considering that there’s already a history of people who aren’t lesbians derailing conversations about lesbian specific issues by demanding to be included when the conversation isn’t about them at all I’d think you’d be able to understand this without it having to be pointed out to you.

I’m going to end with a link about why using the term “sexually available” is a problem. Since you’ve already outright mocked this once I can’t imagine you’ll care or understand but it bears repeating that by furthering this idea of availability you’re contributing to violence against bisexual women which is an act of oppression. This isn’t about “offending delicate sensibilities” (way to call us oversensitive, it’s not like you don’t know how shitty that is from personal experience, why the fuck would you do that to us when you know how shitty it is? what the fuck is wrong with you?!) it’s about the fact that this idea of sexual availability directly causes the rape and abuse of bi women. How could you want to be any part of that?!

iwriteaboutfeminism:

Chaos in Ferguson. Sunday night, part 4

[part 1] [part 2] [part 3

(via filthyyuckysteveandbucky)

I can’t really be suggesting that heterosexuality is somehow taught, can I? That it is somehow part of the curriculum?
I would argue that it is very much part of what schools aim to teach. Why else would educational institutions so enthusiastically promote social norms which exclude queers? My own teaching colleagues have criticised my decision to tell my students my partner’s name, Emily, as it’s too much information about my sexuality; straight colleagues wear wedding rings or take the title ‘Mrs.’ Facebook memes celebrate ‘mums and dads’ kissing in front of the kids to show them what loving relationships are like; television programmes depicting same-sex kisses are firmly placed in later timeslots to ‘protect children’. Kissing my partner in the supermarket attracts disgusted glances from people who steer their children quickly away; a family wedding with children present can include more than one gently ribald reference to the wedding night or the honeymoon. In short, heterosexuality is relentlessly advertised by those who practice it; queer sexualities are always taboo in ‘family friendly’ spaces.
I can’t accept that. I can’t accept that there was only one black woman in the entire film, who delivered one line and who we never saw again. I can’t accept that the bad guys were Asian and that although in China, Lucy’s roommate says, “I mean, who speaks Chinese? I don’t speak Chinese!” I can’t accept that in Hercules, which I also saw this weekend, there were no people of color except for Dwayne Johnson himself and his mixed-race wife, whose skin was almost alabaster. I can’t accept that she got maybe two lines and was then murdered. I can’t accept that the “primitive tribe” in Hercules consisted of dark-haired men painted heavily, blackish green, to give their skin (head-to-toe) a darker appearance, so the audience could easily differentiate between good and bad guys by the white vs. dark skin. I can’t accept that during the previews, Exodus: Gods and Kings, a story about Moses leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, where not a single person of color is represented, casts Sigourney Weaver and Joel Edgerton to play Egyptians. I can’t accept that in the preview for Kingsman: The Secret Service, which takes place in London, features a cast of white boys and not a single person of Indian descent, which make up the largest non-white ethnic group in London. I can’t accept that in stories about the end of the world and the apocalypse, that somehow only white people survive. I can’t accept that while my daily life is filled with black and brown women, they are completely absent, erased, when I look at a TV or movie screen.s
omgpurpleann:

sevensneakyfoxes:

carolyn-claire:

frecklestherobot:

purplexeyed:

Fuck the word “Mary Sue”. It is literally shorthand 90% of the time for “your character is female and doesn’t act how I want a female to act so I don’t like her.” Or “your character is female and a self-insert/wish fulfillment and that makes her bad.” As if a large chunk of male characters AREN’T self-inserts or wish fulfillment characters.

You know what I’ve noticed? That the qualifications of realistic or relatable are only applied to female characters in these genres. No one questions that Steve Rogers apparently learned French, computer and technology skills, an advanced fighting technique, and had the free time to catch up on history and pop culture between The Avengers and The Winter Soldier. But Skye is good at computers and can learn how to be an agent rather quickly? MARY SUE WHO DESERVES TO DIE.

SO many male characters are Marty Stu self-inserts, like, pretty much ALL of them. Men don’t care; hell, they’re into it. Women don’t care if male characters are “too good to be true” either. Why is that? Why are we so ready to buy into those ridiculous male characters but balk at the female ones?

Tony Stark is the biggest self-insert, self-indulgent male fantasy FUCKING EVER (genius, billionaire, ladies man superhero who has a pithy comeback for everything?  COME THE FUCK ON), and yet I never see a single comment about how he’s unrealistic.  NOT. ONE.  Or any of the other male characters out there.  I never see a single comment about mary stus or unrealistic male characters.  It’s ONLY WOMEN.
I think the larger problem is that EVEN WOMEN have trouble envisioning women as being anything other than flawed, weak characters.  When they’re smart or pithy or rich while being pretty?  MARY SUE!  OMG UNREALISTIC!  OMG ANNOYING!  We can’t seem to accept these characters, and almost seem to view them as a THREAT.  I still remember back in the SPN days when people lost their SHIT over Jo because she was a “threat” to the guys on the show (god forbid anything get in the way of the slash pairings).  And so she was UNREALISTIC and ANNOYING!  BLAH BLAH PATHETIC EXCUSE BLAH!
No one is saying that every female character should be the pinnacle of perfection, but the fact that women who receive the same treatment as a lot of male characters (aka they are given power and perhaps one or more positive characteristic) are the only ones getting called out on it?  Troubling.
Fuck it.  I love mary sues.  WHAT THE FUCK IS A MARY SUE ANYWAY?  Because these days it seems like a mary sue is a character that is pretty damn awesome.  So bring on the mary sues.  What’s WRONG with having a character that’s fucking awesome that you can relate to or want to swap places with?

I wonder if that person who is sick of Skye and Clara is also sick of Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker and Frodo Baggins and Jon Snow and Bruce Wayne?

omgpurpleann:

sevensneakyfoxes:

carolyn-claire:

frecklestherobot:

purplexeyed:

Fuck the word “Mary Sue”. It is literally shorthand 90% of the time for “your character is female and doesn’t act how I want a female to act so I don’t like her.” Or “your character is female and a self-insert/wish fulfillment and that makes her bad.” As if a large chunk of male characters AREN’T self-inserts or wish fulfillment characters.

You know what I’ve noticed? That the qualifications of realistic or relatable are only applied to female characters in these genres. No one questions that Steve Rogers apparently learned French, computer and technology skills, an advanced fighting technique, and had the free time to catch up on history and pop culture between The Avengers and The Winter Soldier. But Skye is good at computers and can learn how to be an agent rather quickly? MARY SUE WHO DESERVES TO DIE.

SO many male characters are Marty Stu self-inserts, like, pretty much ALL of them. Men don’t care; hell, they’re into it. Women don’t care if male characters are “too good to be true” either. Why is that? Why are we so ready to buy into those ridiculous male characters but balk at the female ones?

Tony Stark is the biggest self-insert, self-indulgent male fantasy FUCKING EVER (genius, billionaire, ladies man superhero who has a pithy comeback for everything?  COME THE FUCK ON), and yet I never see a single comment about how he’s unrealistic.  NOT. ONE.  Or any of the other male characters out there.  I never see a single comment about mary stus or unrealistic male characters.  It’s ONLY WOMEN.

I think the larger problem is that EVEN WOMEN have trouble envisioning women as being anything other than flawed, weak characters.  When they’re smart or pithy or rich while being pretty?  MARY SUE!  OMG UNREALISTIC!  OMG ANNOYING!  We can’t seem to accept these characters, and almost seem to view them as a THREAT.  I still remember back in the SPN days when people lost their SHIT over Jo because she was a “threat” to the guys on the show (god forbid anything get in the way of the slash pairings).  And so she was UNREALISTIC and ANNOYING!  BLAH BLAH PATHETIC EXCUSE BLAH!

No one is saying that every female character should be the pinnacle of perfection, but the fact that women who receive the same treatment as a lot of male characters (aka they are given power and perhaps one or more positive characteristic) are the only ones getting called out on it?  Troubling.

Fuck it.  I love mary sues.  WHAT THE FUCK IS A MARY SUE ANYWAY?  Because these days it seems like a mary sue is a character that is pretty damn awesome.  So bring on the mary sues.  What’s WRONG with having a character that’s fucking awesome that you can relate to or want to swap places with?

I wonder if that person who is sick of Skye and Clara is also sick of Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker and Frodo Baggins and Jon Snow and Bruce Wayne?

(via sweetdreamr)

actualmenacebuckybarnes:

meltingpenguins:

ace-vibez:

fandom-universe:

kungfucarrie:

The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “we’ve always done it this way.”

"Come on, let’s mix it up!" The heart surgeon says.

"B-but we’ve always done it this way!" The other replies, "this is how you replace a heart valve."

"That’s the most dangerous phrase in the human language!" The first surgeon replies haughtily as he inputs a fruit loop into the patient’s heart. "This will be his valve. He will be a fruit loop in a world of Cheerios."

That comment is the only acceptable response to this quote

No, no actually it isn’t.

Do you know what the quotes means.

If you say the phrase is making no sense and is ridiculous, you are saying

'Let's take away the few rights women, poc, queer people etc have, because white cishet men have always rules stuff and it must continue like this'

you are saying

'beating children has done me and my parents and grandparents no harm, so I shall beat my child if it brings home a B.'

That’s what you are saying if you declare the sentence ridiculous.

Let me bring this up since someone decided to make a ridiculous, shitty example out of a medical situation. I’m a biostatistician PHD candidate, and one of my professors told me this story:

For a long time, since before the 70’s, there was this belief, even among top-ranking cardiologists that taking beta-blockers was bad for people at risk for heart attacks. There was literally no scientific literature on WHY this was bad, it was just a predominantly-held belief within the medical community. (This is actually extremely common. Most doctors treat patients on 40% “widely held medical belief” that has never been proven on paper).

The first man who actually decided to TEST the effect of beta-blockers on at-risk populations found that HEY ACTUALLY BETA-BLOCKERS PREVENTED HEART ATTACKS.

How did the scientific community react?? Were they completely logical and objective in accepting his findings?? HELL NO

They smeared that guy’s name through the mud, no one accepted his results, they claimed he was putting his patient’s life at risk for  even TESTING this thing etc. etc.

It took a good 10-15 years of tests on beta-blockers (a fucking uphill battle) before the medical community finally accepted this as a treatment for people at risk for heart attacks.

But meanwhile, think of all the people who DIED but COULD HAVE LIVED THANKS TO THIS TREATMENT but DIDN’T because stuffy old white guys decided “this is the way we always did it!!!!”

Here’s a source (it’s a scientific article just read the conclusion)

(via filthyyuckysteveandbucky)

the-uncensored-she:

smenkhkara:

has a muslim man ever played abraham lincoln

has an aboriginal woman ever played elizabeth I

has a black man ever played george washington

has a turkish woman ever played eleanor of aquitaine

no?

then why the fuck would you get the whitest white men to play Ramesses II and Moses

Hollywhite-supremacy.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
why is "hate breeds more hate" a bad thing to say?
thepersonalispolitic thepersonalispolitic Said:

lookatthisfuckingoppressor:

Oh so many reasons.

1) it equates the anger of the oppressed to the hate of their oppressors.
2) it blames oppressed groups for their oppression. Bigotry doesn’t exist because people hate bigots. It exists because oppressed people oppose it. It exists because of bigots and because of privileged folks being complicit or tacitly condoning systems of oppression.
3) it’s fundamentally untrue. Hatred of oppression doesn’t lead to more hatred; it leads to progress.
4) it is used to attack any attempt by oppressed people to obtain liberation. Point out that something or someone is repulsively racist and all of a sudden you’re “breeding more hate”.

It’s a fundamental misrepresentation of reality that blames victims and excuses fucked up behavior.

geekygothgirl:

1863-project:

tigertwo1515:

did-you-kno:

Source

Damn


OKAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT ROBERT SMALLS (BECAUSE HE HAS A NAME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH).

ANYWAY.

Robert Smalls was born into slavery in 1839 and at the age of 12 his owner leased him out in Charleston, South Carolina. He gravitated towards working at the docks and on boats and eventually became the equivalent of a pilot, and in late 1861 he found himself assigned to a military transport boat named the CSS Planter.

On May 12, 1862, the white officers decided to spend the night on land. Smalls rounded up the enslaved crew and they hatched a plan, and once the officers were long gone they made a run for it, only stopping to pick up their families (who they notified) along the way. Smalls, disguised as the captain, steered the boat past Confederate forts (including Ft. Sumter) and over to the Union blockade, raising a white sheet his wife took from her job as a hotel maid as a flag of truce. The CSS Planter had a highly valuable code book and all manner of explosives on board.

Smalls ended up serving in the Union Navy and rose to the rank of captain there. He was also one of a number of individuals who talked to Abraham Lincoln about the possibility of African-American soldiers fighting for the Union, which became a reality.

After the war, Smalls bought his owner’s old plantation in Beaufort and even allowed the owner’s sickly wife to move back in until her death. He eventually served in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1865-1870), the South Carolina Senate (1871-1874), and the United States House of Representatives (1875-1879) and represented South Carolina’s 5th District from 1882-1883 and the 7th District from 1884-1887. He and other black politicians also fought against an amendment designed to disenfranchise black voters in 1895, but it unfortunately passed.

Smalls ended his public life by serving as U.S. Collector of Customs in Beaufort from 1889-1911. He died in 1915 at the age of 75.

And now you know Robert Smalls.

WHY IS THERE NOT A MOVIE ABOUT THIS MAN oh wait nevermind. *cough*entrenchedracisminhollywood*cough*

(via geewillikersguys)

People today don’t even know who Jesse Owens was. They don’t have no idea what happened in 1936 [at the Olympics in Berlin]. That’s what’s scary, because our history is being lost. The world should recognize how Owens transcended race. His life was so remarkable. And he came up during the time of no drugs, no steroids, none of that, yet his record [winning four gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics] stood all the way till Carl Lewis [who matched the performance at the 1984 Games]. He really put the U.S. in the forefront of the world for taking down the German empire. It’s funny, because when he got back to the United States after winning those four gold medals, there was a ticker-tape parade to the Waldorf-Astoria—and would you believe, they wouldn’t let him in the front door? He had to go in the service elevator. It’s very epic, very beautiful to play him and introduce him to a new generation.

Anthony Mackie, in an interview with Interview Magazine

The rest of the interview focuses more on Mackie’s role as Tupac Shakur in the upcoming Notorious, but his comments on Jesse Owens are spot-on. You can learn more about Owens and why he’s so important at the website run by the Jesse Owens Trust.

(via nudityandnerdery)

(We know more about white criminals than black heroes.)

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

willow-wanderings:

thebicker:

^^^^^HOW PRIVILEGE WORKS.

YES THIS IS EXACTLY IT.

(via lipsredasroses)

rapeculturerealities:

So, I’ve been seeing this a lot lately and I feel the need to write a stand alone post about it. There’s this argument out there that bisexual women have some version of privilege because they’re “sexually available” to men and lesbians don’t have that because they’re not “sexually available” to men. I keep seeing this over and over again about bi women being “available to men,” those are the words used, and I just really need to talk about how really horrible that is. 

So a disclaimer before I begin - yes, bi women get treated differently by straight guys than lesbians do, I’m not going to argue any different, it’s a thing, it happens.

So the thing is… You know how really actually truly believes that women, any women, are “sexually available” to men? Rapists do. Rapists believe that all women either are or should be sexually available to them and that’s a big part of why they rape, abuse, sexually assault, and harass women. This is a fact and it’s a serious rape culture issue. And you know who’s not “sexually available” to men? FUCKING EVERYONE!!!  NOBODY is available to anyone! People might choose to have sex with individual people and that’s their choice but NOBODY is just available to anybody for any reason.

Straight women are not “available” to men either (despite what rapists and abusers would like to think). Some straight women may choose to have sex with some men some times but they’re damn sure not just “available” to anyone (not even their intimate partners who might feel that the relationship means an availability exists which it doesn’t). When you claim that bi women are “available” to men you’re stripping them of their agency, you’re saying that everything is all about what the men want and think and that’s rape culture.

And yeah, some men do think that kind of shit, that’s totally a thing, but those men are fucking rapists and abusers and them thinking that is totally 100% on them. It’s not something bi women create via their sexuality anymore than women who get raped by their husbands have created those men thinking they’re available via their agreeing to marry them. It’s something rape culture has created by virtue of commodifying and objectifying women and their sexuality and telling men that women are or should be their property. So yeah, it exists but it’s damn sure not a privilege! It’s a rape culture issue, it’s a method of oppression, it’s something women, all women, SUFFER not something that benefits us!

A lesbian being perceived as a “challenge” by abusive men is the obverse of women who aren’t lesbians being perceived as “available” by abusive men. These are different sides of the same coin, it’s all about control and conquest and objectification. It’s all oppression. It’s all terrible. None of it’s privilege. And ALL of it is created by those men, it’s their responsibility, it’s in no way the fault of any of the women who deal with it.

~ Rage