Fatihah Iman talks about allies and all the hand-wringing some shitty white person did over how, if you don’t tone-police yourself, you’ll drive away all the Minority Warriors who want to be your allies but constantly dehumanize you or fail to listen to you.
What all of this comes down to is – how should we treat our allies? Here we are, dealing with our ‘corner of oppression’ – how do we interact with people who appoint themselves as our helpers?
And here’s what it comes down to for me: I didn’t ask you to be my ally. I didn’t ask you to pick up my banner and champion my cause; you are doing that off your own initiative. So ask yourself: why are you doing it? Is it because you like the idea of swooping in and saving people? Is it a White Knight Complex? Are you doing it because you want Muslims to give you cookies and awards for being nice to them, so you can feel better about Islamophobia? Or is it because you genuinely, deeply feel that the way Muslims are treated is wrong and appalling, and you really genuinely do want to help out and try to correct that wrong?
Someone reviews a Stephen King book, not the height of literature in the first place, as though it was a videogame. Appropriate.
Roland’s journey is a somewhat linear one. There’s little sense of agency for the reader, no optional footnotes to break up the main storyline and once finished there’s not much incentive to read it through again. While this might have been state-of-the-art storytelling back in 1982, in the days of Choose Your Own Adventure books and modern interactive fiction it’s antiquated and constricting.
Shweta Narayan posted a piece of fiction, Thorns.
She yelled, “GET YOUR GODDAMN SWORD OUT OF MY THIGH, ASSHOLE!”
He sniffed. “Well,” he said, “if you’re going to be so mean and rude you won’t have any allies at all will you.” And he stormed off.
The princess sagged against the thorns, worn out and bleeding. Soon afterward a nice white lady came by. “Oh,” she said, “your ritual scars are so cool! I’m going to dress up as a sexy thorn-princess for hallowe’en check out my ketchup blood and oh it’s okay if I do this in brownface right? Because my people are boring and civilized and don’t have a thorn ritual and I want to be accurate.”
“What,” said the princess, “the everlasting fuck.”
The lady replied, “Look, I’m just RESPECTING your culture, you should be flattered!” And she flounced off.
The Hathor Legacy on film schools and the Bechdel Test.
Only to learn there was still something wrong with my writing, something unanticipated by my professors.My scripts had multiple women with names. Talking to each other. About something other than men. That, they explained nervously, was not okay. I asked why. Well, it would be more accurate to say I politely demanded a thorough, logical explanation that made sense for a change (I’d found the “audience won’t watch women!” argument pretty questionable, with its ever-shifting reasons and parameters).
At first I got several tentative murmurings about how it distracted from the flow or point of the story. I went through this with more than one professor, more than one industry professional. Finally, I got one blessedly telling explanation from an industry pro: “The audience doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”
“Not even if it advances the story?” I asked. That’s rule number one in screenwriting, though you’d never know it from watching most movies: every moment in a script should reveal another chunk of the story and keep it moving.
He just looked embarrassed and said, “I mean, that’s not how I see it, that’s how they see it.”
One of the things that bothers me most about all the discussions I have had about Occupy is various white peoples’ protests that they feel “abused” and hurt by being called racist, white supremacist, misogynist, etc., as if those critiques were personal attacks and not serious critiques of the efficacy of the Occupy movement. Yes, it is serious to call out someone’s oppressive actions, but rather than being scared to engage or angry, I think it would do white folks some good to step back and think about why People of Color would say those things about them. While being called these names may hurt, there is very little material impact to a white person being called a racist. However, People of Color feeling that many members of the Occupy Oakland movement operate from a place of privilege and regularly act and talk in ways that reveal their covert support for white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and etc. comes from a daily experience of how racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other oppressions regularly, materially impact our lives. It keeps us from trusting many Occupy organizers and therefore keeps us from wanting to work with them.