Sunday, June 13, 2010

What Are The Most Significant Issues Facing Us, You, Our People, Your People, and Your Environment?

 [the image above is from here]

The terms "you and your people" and "your environment" are meant to be interpreted however you wish. Sometimes I think of "my people" as "non-heterosexuals", as "white gay males", as "economically privileged", as "queer (outsider) queers", as asexuals and celibates; sometimes as White Jews, as Jews of all colors, as people of European descent, as Westerners, as "English-as-a-First-and-Only-Language speakers"; as "disabled people", as "survivors of sexual abuse"; sometimes as "radical activists", "pro-Indigenists", "white anti-racists", sometimes as "pro-radical feminists", as "radical profeminists". (Needless to say, in some cases, "my people" could fit in a walk-in closet!)

I personally don't identify myself in terms of my astrological sign, my age, my musical tastes, or my eating habits. With regard to age, I don't identify with it probably because I'm not an infant, a child, a teenager, nor am I elderly--I don't experience or suffer much in the way of ageism, in other words.

I might think of my environment as "Earth", the region of the world I live in, the particular ecosystem (however destroyed) I am part of; or more culturally and socially, such as "a predominantly white and middle class section of town", or "an environment where consumerism and liberal humanism are valued above almost everything else". Or I might think about my environment in terms of what the greatest pollutants and toxins are in this area.

I leave it to you to define and discern the people with whom you most identity, or with whom you are most readily (if inaccurately) socially most identified.

Today I am thinking about the fact that I live in a country built and standing on what its appointed privileged spokespeople deny: the atrocities it commits, will commit, and has committed here and globally. The media and government denies this country is white supremacist; the media and government will not even use the term "male supremacist" or "male supremacy" or "male privileges and entitlements". What does THAT tell you?  This country's mass media and government don't identify "heterosexism" as a significant social problem; nor, for that matter, do white het Leftist men, such as those who contribute to Tim Wise's discussions on Facebook. Misogyny is turned into an interpersonal matter, not an institutional one. Racist-misogyny is not understood at all in dominant media or by governments whose policies and practices target women of color specifically in atrocious ways.

I live in a country that educates people from everywhere, but is the most ignorant about itself and only teaches some things, neglecting very important areas of knowledge, experience, and information.

And part of this lack of education, this growing up in the U.S. as a white class-privileged person, means I can, if I so wish, be completely out of touch with what most of the world's people, aka "humanity" is experiencing, struggling with, creating, and celebrating.

I recently filled out a survey by WEAVE, and they wanted to know what issues the person taking the survey felt were most pressing and important to focus on, given that they can't do everything.

I'm curious to know what you feel the most important and pressing issues are in your own life. I'll give a list, and rank or list them according to what is most important at the top of your list. Note: more than one item on the list can be at the top: there can be co-firsts, co-seconds, or clustered/interlocking concerns listed as first, second, or third, etc. Ranking can be ignored altogether, replaced with a simple or not simple statement of what's most pressing in your life.

And please feel free to add issues and topics that aren't on this list:

Poverty and economic justice, employment opportunities, living wage issues
Corporations and the politics and values of corporate-ruled societies
Consumerism and alternative economies; barter economies
Classism, the rule of the wealthy, discrimination against poor and working class people
Asian American struggles for liberation
Mexican Immigrants' Rights in the U.S.
Chicana struggles for liberation
Latina struggles for liberation
Liberation Theology
Thealogy and Goddess Worship
Marxism, Socialism, Communism, and efforts to disrupt and radically transform capitalist systems
Male supremacy/patriarchal atrocities/misogyny
Women's empowerment, creativity, herstory, and cultures
Herstory vs. His-story
Mens Rights and Men's Wrongs
Father's Rights and Father's Wrongs
The myth of misandry
The politics of stigma and status
White supremacy/racism
People of color's empowerment, creativity, herstory, and cultures
Indigenism/the rights of Indigenous people
Environmental justice/addressing ecocide/concern for the health and well-being of non-human beings
Animal Rights
Land ownership
Expression of gender variance/genderqueer issues
Transgender issues in society, transgender people and women-only spaces
Transgender discrimination inside and beyond queer communities
Intersexuality/enforced sex assignment/forced surgery on babies and young children
Academia: issues, politics, debt
The social politics of intelligence
Support services and communities of support for the oppressed and assaulted
Rape and sexual assault of women
Incest, child sexual abuse, child molestation
Prostitution, trafficking, sexual slavery, holding slavers, traffickers, pimps, and procurers accountable
Ending battery and other forms of violence in the home, against women and children
Stopping sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, including by age, gender, race, disability, and sexual orientation
Stopping street harassment, stranger rape, and men's public entitlements to have verbal and visual access to women on demand
Intimate partner rape, marital rape, date rape
Drug rape, criminal voyeurism, and men's sexual predatory tactics and crimes
Campus violence
Community violence
Womanist and Feminist theory
Women's Studies
Sexism, racism, classism, and heterosexism in media
Lesbian Separatism
Women-only spaces, the rights of women to have their own spaces
LGBTI issues and communities
Lesbian/woman-centered politics vs. gay/man-centered politics
Queer communities of color
Blackness, Whiteness, and the politics of enforced or chosen racial identification
Ethnicity and cultural identity
Government corruption/State corruption
Parental custody, support for mothers, court injustice, giving custody to abusers
Parenting, child-rearing in communities, raising children to be strong, wise, caring, self-respecting, and socially aware
Consciousness issues
Indigenous philosophies and religions
Goddess spirituality, G-d, meditation, prayer, spirit, the spiritual dimension of life and being
Paganism, aetheism, and polytheism
Christianity and being Christian
White Christianity vs. Christianity for people of color
Islam, being Muslim
Islamophobia and bigotry against Muslims
Judaism, being Jewish
Discrimination against people who are from or appear to be from the Middle East and Central Asia
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and resolution of conflict, Israel's apartheid practices and policies
U.S.-Israeli collaboration
Anglo-, Western-, White-, and Euro-centrism
Anarchism, revolutionary approaches to social change
Personal resistance work
Coalition politics, building community and alliances across differences without ignoring differences
Focus on specific activists and authors, such as the work of:
Marimba Ani
Nawal El Saadawi
Malalai Joya
Ruchira Gupta
Chandra Talpade Mohanty
Audre Lorde
Andrea Smith
Patricia Hill Collins
bell hooks
Andrea Dworkin
Catharine MacKinnon
Sheila Jeffreys
Ruchira Gupta and Apne Aap
Yanar Mohammed and the liberation of Iraqi women
Malalai Joya and the work of RAWA
Indigenous activism in the Americas, Indigenous American cultures, politics, social and environmental and issues
Indigenous and colonial Australian and New Zealand cultures, politics,social and environmental issues
Indigenous and colonial sub-Saharan African cultures, politics, social and environmental issues
Indigenous and colonial East Asian cultures, politics, social and environmental issues
Indigenous and colonial South Asian cultures, politics, social and environmental issues
Political conflicts and cultural histories in Central Asia and the Middle East
Indigenous and colonial North American cultures, politics, and social issues
Indigenous and colonial European cultures politics and issues
Pornography as an industry and its influence on sexuality and society
Sexual behavior, sex education, sexual health
The intersections of gender, race, class, age, ability, and sexuality
Asexuality and celibacy
Pregnancy and childbirth issues
Reproductive health, reproductive justice, abortion politics, women's rights over their bodies
Social and political issues with pharmaceuticals and corporate medicine
Hospitals, hospitalisation, health services
Mental health, mental illness
Addiction and compulsion issues: drugs, sex, pornography, alcohol
What to do with our rage and disappointment, despair and fury?
Hunger, famine, and the politics of food distribution
Homelessness and economic instability with regard to shelter and safety
Health care options other than those that are corporate, patriarchal, heterosexist, and white supremacist 
Ageism, care of and for the elderly, being older in an ageist society
Visual and performing arts
Theatre, cinema, television, mass entertainment media
The politics of news media
Oil economies and the politics of fossil fuel acquisition and consumption
Sustainability, environment, and human and non-human ecosystems and community
Conservatism, Liberalism, and Radicalism
Western Modernism and post-modernism
The politics of theorising and abstraction
The West and the East: concepts and realities
The economics and sexual and racial politics of Global North and the Global South
War, warfare, and the military industrial complex
U.S. Empire, Western Cultural Imperialism and Exploitation
Women, Law, and Justice
Crime and Punishment
What to do about Sex Offenders and other Male Perpetrators of Racist-Misogynist-Heterosexist Crimes against humanity
Homophobia in school systems
Racism, heterosexism, and classism in school systems and academia
Fraternity violence against women
Genocide and white's war against people of color
Human Rights and Women's Rights: What's the Difference?
Gynocide and men's war against women

To WHM who are dads: Make It A Happy Father's Day--Stop Raping Your Daughter and Beating Your Child's Mother

 [photo of a family in Australia is from here]

And if you are a father and don't do either, and don't abuse your sons, or abuse your daughters in any way, or abuse or control your spouse (of whatever gender) in any way, please organise other dads in order to stop the fathers who are sexually, emotionally, and physically abusive to their children and spouses. And if you're white and class privileged, stop whining about the "Rights" you don't have and start dealing with the Responsibilities you have to be humane, and work to make room for more marginalised men to be good fathers: gay men, working class men, ethnically despised and invisibilised men, men of color, and disabled men.

And if you're a good father--married, partnered, or single--please stop expecting a Thank You from their mother (or anyone else) if you do things such as:

--change them, if they are infants and toddlers
--figure out what they're crying means
--get food for them
--cook food for them
--feed them
--take them to school or friends' homes
--attend to their wants and needs
--put them to bed
--spend time with them
--appropriately and respectfully parent them in any way

Stop expecting any more applause for what you do that women get for parenting.

And, if you're an excellent, loving, caring, non-abusive, anti-homophobia, anti-racist, tender father who is fully respectful of women, THANK YOU! I love seeing excellent fathers parent their children. It happens too little, though, in my experience. What I see more is fathers trying to control their children and gender them in ridiculously stereotypical and homophobic ways, and use their children in despicable ways when divorcing the child/ren's mother.

To all the great GAY dads out there: thanks for all you do to raise healthy children. I had a very good dad and was blessed. He died way too young but long enough to raise me. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

And to all the MOTHERS: THANK YOU for ALL YOU DO that is taken for granted, un- and under-appreciated, and disrespected, all year long.

And to one woman in particular, who is also mother, I am wishing and praying for you to be reunited with your daughter very soon, and for each of you to be free and safe from the male abuser who was with you and, against all humane measures of justice, is currently with your child... for now, but hopefully not for long.

[photo of parent and child in Mumbai is from here]