Is it even possible to watch a recording from a liberal protest without hearing these words directed at those who do not form part of the protesting group?
- You’re taking up our space by being here.
- This is not your space; if we ask, you should leave immediately.
- You’re a guest in our space, even if you consider yourself an ally, so step back etc.
- Be quiet and don’t pretend you’re one of us; this event is not intended for you.
As demonstrations usually take place on public property, often outdoors, and one cannot legally be barred from attending (or not easily anyway), why are social justice activists behaving as if they temporarily took ownership of any area they gather in and could expel any unwanted presence at will?
The thing is, when holding public events, a group is apparently trying to engage the community; it’s unproductive for no one aside from its members (and among them, only those with stamped opinions) to be allowed to actively participate, either as an interviewer, a dissenter or an “ally”.
Whereas it makes sense – regardless of the petulance – for them to try to silence opposing views, their attitude towards their allies is quite surprising and can only be explained through the arrogance of feeling in command of a group, movement, event etc, micromanaging everyone else’s involvement, down to which subjects can be approached and by whom.
Being an ally to these types looks more like community service, served by repentant, apologetic second-class people who can’t sit at the same table with the rest and must always be on their toes, awaiting education, directions and the permission to speak from group leaders. They are reformed offenders, oppressors by birth; they can never be fully trusted, let alone form brotherly bonds with the group. They are looked upon with a queasy coldness, sometimes a hint of pity, in the knowledge that they are trying to be less flawed but will never, ever get there.
Here are a few examples.
Although the quotes refer to a single type of event – in this case a positive one – the same rhetoric can be read and heard regarding a vast number of similar ones, whether celebratory or anger-fuelled.
Even if you’re the ally of the year, you’re entering Pride with a lot of privilege. Using that privilege thoughtfully is crucial — especially at a time when the threats of homophobia and transphobia are so apparent.
“The most important thing a straight ally can do is make sure they aren’t taking up space for LGBT people — especially in talking about and dealing with the tragedy in Orlando,” Fallarino says. (…) It’s a time when allies need to account for their unearned privilege, especially when entering our space. (…) If you can muster the bravery, call out hecklers so your LGBTQ friends and peers don’t have to.(…)Bottom line: Never be off of your ally grind — especially in a space where you are a guest.”
“Evaluate your behavior before deciding to attend Pride. Recognize that this space is the most comfort and celebration most LGBTQ people get all year. And we want you there — but only if you deserve to be.”
“We want you, as a thoughtful ally, to celebrate with us. But we also need you to accept that this celebration was not intended for you. This is a moment for the LGBTQ community, and by entering this space, it’s important to accept that your good time is secondary.”
“After all, that’s the main role of a straight ally at Pride and beyond — to lift up a community in celebration and solidarity, while helping clear space for us to be ourselves.”
The same attitude can be found here relating to anti-racist activism.
The single most important thing we can do to be better allies is to listen across difference. (…) The other side of the coin of listening is that we can always do a better job of stepping back, asserting ourselves less into spaces, and, in doing so, allowing those to whom we ally to speak their truths. (…)
Though being a better ally can mean that we must talk less, that doesn’t mean that we ought to be in total silence.
We surely need to defer to those with whom we are acting in solidarity, but we also want to make sure that we are not leaving those to whom we want to ally ourselves to be the only ones speaking. Thus, there are times we should be speaking up, times where we can amplify the voices of others with our collective perspectives. It’s just important to be sure we’re amplifying, not overshadowing.
This is unadulterated cult mentality, which applies to socialism. Allies, comrades, cult members all act as amplifiers of a collective perspective and are not permitted original ideas, as they detract from the “common work” and “overshadow” the knowledge of those who are supposed to hold the one true knowledge. They are only permitted to shut up, listen, learn and intervene when needed (when numbers are needed) as backing vocalists.
One thing that I constantly find is the SJW obsession with these “allies” joining them in order to obtain some form of notoriety; it comes up so often and rephrased in many ways. Citing from the same source:
One of the ways that we can step up more regularly is to fill in supportive roles. (…) Sometimes supportive roles are the most important ones for allies to fill, and while you definitely aren’t going to get credit for them, you shouldn’t expect credit for your work as an ally. (…) Allies should rarely be the center of attention in work for justice.
I’m not saying they should – but the tone is just unnecessary. It’s just nastiness after nastiness meant to ensure these people don’t step one inch out of place. Instead, as mentioned in the same article, they are supposed to put their lives or freedom in danger by participating in dodgy demonstrations which border on (or turn into) illegal behaviour.
The attitude is so estranged from normal human interaction, which entails connecting emotionally and intellectually, or some kind of warmth at least, between people who work together for a common cause. Or at least an ounce of niceness would do.
We at Another Round get TONS of questions from white people asking us how they can be better allies, and while we appreciate the drive to be better—people of color can’t be expected to be everyone’s diversity counselors. It’s an unfair burden. (source)
I have read quite a few opinion pieces written in an angry tone, on how POC don’t have to educate anyone, don’t owe anyone their time etc. In what context is it acceptable to demand support from others, to the point of claiming it is their duty to work with you, while treating them like smudges of dirt on your shoe?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying there’s any value in the white guilt indoctrination; its value can be seen from the attitude and violence it produces. I’m not saying anyone is better off delving into this radicalism. However, the bad attitude, which would put off even the most open of people, has to be pointed out.
Let me put it this way: you do not start a successful collaboration from a high horse, preemptively warning your would-be collaborators of any errors you think they might commit based on their presumed flaws of character. If somebody wants to work with you, it’s useful to show civility and at least not throw invented accusations at them. How would you like to be greeted by a new acquaintance in this manner?
Welcome; I’m glad you came. I’m sure we’ll enjoy our time together. But first off, I have to warn you not to shit on my carpet. This is your chair; if you sit anywhere else you’ll be out of here in two seconds. Also, DO NOT put your purse on this table. Now, would you like a cup of tea?
The proof that social justice activists see themselves as a pseudo-army resides not only in their aggressiveness but in this obsession for hierarchy, for lining up their little soldiers in orderly fashion, according to their “right” to speak and the value of their opinions.
And the little soldiers would do just about anything to become accepted by this crowd. There is a video on YouTube of Lauren Southern attempting to interview an “ally” of the transgender community, attending a demonstration. The ally would not give her own opinion in her own words, lest she overshadowed those who had a genuine right to speak. By this she was basically saying she was there to inflate the number of participants. Moments later, Lauren Southern was reprimanded for interviewing so many white males on this issue. Forget about being a person around these types – you are your gender, your skin colour, your social status etc.
And finally, everyone’s favourite acid trip, which is Everyday Feminism, explains why.
Know Your (Lack of a) Role: Honoring Healing Spaces as an Ally
You arrive at an awesome conference brimming with solidarity. Scanning through the program book, you spot the perfect workshop title, and you’re pumped for the conversation! Someone finally gets me!
Then! The italics below: “Closed to trans identified participants only.” “POC only.” “For those who identify as women.”
Oof. The deep, gut-punch realization that even though you come with golden intentions and this potential conversation sounds safer than any you’ve encountered, this space isn’t for you.
Why can’t I join? Oppression also hurts me as an ally. Can’t we join together?
It sounds like you’ve come across a healing space.
I love the phrasing; it reminds me of nature programs. It sounds like you’ve come across a strange, rare animal you’ve never seen before.
It also reminds me of places of worship, submerged in religious dogma, where there are strict rules about who can enter, where to sit, what to wear and what to say.
It’s in these moments that we need to remember that being committed to a cause does not make us immune to perpetuating the problem. An ally taking up airtime in a healing space not only silences the voices of those directly experiencing oppression, but replicates the exact oppression we’re trying to address.
Which means an ally is also an oppressor, regardless of the good intentions.
Wait, are you advocating for segregation?
Segregation isn’t a choice. It’s forced removal. Segregation doesn’t challenge oppression – it strengthens it.
Actually, the definition of the word does not include state policies or any mention of force, merely describing it as the separation of one group from another.
Unlike healing spaces, safe spaces don’t require that someone share a particular identity. Safe spaces simply require members to be accountable for the influence of the power and privilege they carry. So healing spaces may also be safe spaces under those agreements. Or they may not. (…)
Asian Employee Group is a healing space marker because it indicates a choice on behalf of Asian employees to create community free from white supremacy. (…)Thus, the existence of this group challenges that status quo.
I’m sure referring to your employers and coworkers as “white supremacy” is conducive to a very relaxed, respectful working environment. And very realistic as well.
(…)I sat and watched as they leaned in and their eyes lit up at meeting someone who shared their story – who not just knew of it, but felt it.
Inside, my mind swirled: Why aren’t they including me? Neither of them has even looked at me in 30 minutes. I want to participate in the conversation, too!
And yet: I don’t have anything to share. I don’t actually have this kind of ancestral understanding of my gender. In fact, my ancestors probably colonized their land.
I sat in silence and mourned the distance I felt given my lack of a shared identity.
But what would it have meant for me to step in and ask my friends to take care of my feelings? What might it have done to their stories?
The celebration and solidarity they had built might have been muddied or shifted focus.
Sorry to say, but ignoring someone for half an hour straight, after having set up a meeting with them, is dead rude. However high the intensity of the conversation, two people don’t just forget that a third one is sitting right beside them. But that’s OK apparently, because her ancestors must have colonised their ancestors’ land. Which pretty much excuses any level of rudeness today.
I was privileged to witness this healing conversation between two new friends, a place free from the impact of the dominant group. To insert myself into the conversation would be to centralize my whiteness in a space that was reveling in its absence. Instead, my role was to step back.True solidarity means knowing that though we may experience oppression ourselves, we also can act in the role of the oppressor.
Reveling in its absence? So the conversation was not about gender, but about the absence of whiteness? All I see here is self-loathing, self-deprecation, to the point of accepting other people being uncivil and thinking that asking to be treated like a human being and not an accessory, to be used when needed, is “oppressive”.
The world has few healing spaces for marginalized identities.Systems of oppression set the context in which marginalized groups are kicked to the curb in favor of privileged or dominant groups.
The pinnacle of irony is when a group voluntarily segregates itself, rejecting any intent of deeper interaction from the majority, and after that still calls itself marginalised by said majority.
As an ally, I know that my experiences with oppression do not give me access to all experiences of oppression or relieve me from responsibility for my privileged or dominant identities.
I’m interested in finding out how this plays out in one’s daily life. It seems that the same person who is otherwise a friend to those needing healing spaces, once they are in those spaces, is suddenly reduced to a “white person” and thus deserves less respect than in different environments. That is one odd way of approaching friendship.
And I honor that sometimes I can’t contribute shared experiences to the healing spaces of others because my own privileged or dominant identities contribute to their need for them.
Yes, yes, whites are nuclear waste. You’re personally responsible for any negative experience of the people you befriend and treat with consideration.
A queer women’s group has opened up at the LGBTQIA+ center. You’re new to town and want to find community. You identify as a trans man, but didn’t feel safe when you attended the queer men’s group. You wonder if maybe you could check it out.
Here’s a new one: apparently there are those who don’t feel safe even in safe spaces. A trans man who doesn’t feel safe around men, although he identifies as one. Because they have, you know, penises. And the trans man is well aware of possessing a vagina. And as we all know, a person with a vagina is meant to be afraid of a person with a penis, even if said penis has no reaction to vaginas whatsoever. And, you know, these safe spaces where people go to whine into a tissue are meant to be all about rape. Nice scenario.
What do you do?
Check in with yourself and the space. Is this space exclusive to those who identify as women? Or is it for those who somehow identify with a female gendered experience?
Identify what you are seeking from this space. Are you looking to discuss your experience being misgendered female? Or are you looking to socialize? These are different things that will differently impact the healing space.
Know thy self!
The last bit of advice is delightfully ironic, as there seems to be so much confusion not only regarding these spaces but in these people’s minds in general.Their identity and those of others seem to always get in the way of human interaction.
You’re with a group of straight friends, and they want to go dance at a gay bar. (…) Check in with yourself and your group: What are your intentions? Are you looking to dance or do some experiential learning? Is there any other way you could achieve those goals? If you do choose to go, minimize your impact on the space. Rolling 12-deep and loudly staking out the center of the dance floor is different from subtly participating in the existing culture of the bar.
Right. A bar of all places is where you go for an educational experience. It’s not like you can be around these people just to have a good time together; the only type of interaction you are permitted with them is one of quiet, respectful learning about how you oppress them. And if you do go to the bar, just sit awkwardly in a corner, because that makes others feel very comfortable around you. Feel and behave like the leper that you are.
And always remember – your personality doesn’t matter. All that matters is the little role the SJW hierarchy has put you in. Welcome to socialism; please leave your dignity at the door.