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+1 vote
After considering the quote," black people weren't made slaves because they are black, they were called black because they were enslaved", and an epiphany where I came to consider gender as simply rules for the two sexes, I wondered why smash racism and sexism when you can smash race and sex as social constructs? This isn't to say I want to live in a world here everyone looks and acts the same, but a world where the way someone looks has no affect on assumptions, the way they are treated, etc. And a world where peoples genitals have no bearings on duties they "should" preform, colors of clothing they should wear, basically whether they choose to express masculinity or femininity in differing ways at different times in general. How can this be approached in a world where certain issues affect certain groups(however you define those groups). It seems that a colorblind mindset in today's world would keep someone from addressing issues like racism and sexism but most ways that people talk and act against them would make what I'm suggesting impossible?
by (910 points)
I think just because someone oppress me because of my given identity does not mean that i have to put my resistance based on this identity. I should put forward my uniqueness, not my race or sex.
i would agree with your comment. being oppressed for a given identity (which may or may not be your own) means.... you are being oppressed. your resistance to that does not need to be based on that identity, and i would argue that making it so is somewhat limiting. (although of course at times it might also be empowering, eg having allies in that resistance). i resist oppression because i despise it, and i refuse it at every opportunity. not because of the justification/rationalization someone else makes for oppressing me.
dd: getting rid of race and gender would be fucking awesome!!!  but holy shit what a maze - of complexity and baggage and ideology and victimization and opposing perspectives and what have you - to navigate in order for that to happen.  like the fall of civilization, i'd love to see it, but i can't imagine it happening in my lifetime.

that said, it can't hurt to try it in your own life!
Ofcourse, it's like my definition of anarchy-- no one being oppressed ever. Unachievable? Most likely. Definitely something to work towards though.

1 Answer

+1 vote
my knee jerk response is i don't like it. i like people being different. and i think it's unavoidable for people to group ourselves around differences/similarities. but even if it weren't unavoidable...

it just seems like targeting the labels people have for the similarities/differences (of course we could cogitate on the labels and who creates/enforces them) is not actually getting at the problem, which (i think) has to do with the assumptions people make about the *consequences* of those similarities/differences.

i don't know. maybe it just seems like a world full of individuals in which there is no way to make assumptions or guesses about who someone is, is both a long ways toward the theoretical understanding of each of us as atomized, isolated units (which is horrible to me) -- and -- wouldn't be as much fun as the pattern-making and -breaking we do now.

on the other hand, perhaps this is just another case of i'm-too-broken-to-know-a-good-thing-when-i-see-it,-or-to-enjoy-a-less-broken-world."
by (53.1k points)
dot, I very much appreciate your honest reflection and the depth of your thoughts which I may not able to grasp at this moment. Although after re-reading your comments a few times I do see a glimpse of what I think you're trying to say...but like you, I need a little more time to think about it.

Sometimes I read something, have insights and some clarity about what I read, and yet by the time I start typing I seem to have lost part of the thread of the thing. Like you, I think words often get in the way. But it can be fun (and alternatingly or simultaneously frustrating) to explore the ideas and words, wherever they take us.

funky, my former life also was immersed in computer software design/development...and yet now I can't even operate someone's cell phone when they ask me to take a picture for them! Abstractions can be fun too as long as I remember that's what they are.

Unlike much other communication I'm involved with on a daily basis, I almost always feel my energy used here is well worth it. These conversations help me to explore, clarify, challenge, and re-imagine my thoughts and my life.
to perhaps clarify a bit (maybe just for myself), it is the abstract *expression* of ideas - rather than necessarily abstract concepts themselves - that i often have trouble with. certain kinds of writing, for example, can be very difficult for me. eg, i have yet to read society of the spectacle in full. some ways of communicating just don't work well with my (fried?) brain.
also, dot, i think i get your point about wanting to have some way(s) to know something about another at first glance (or similar). that can clearly be useful. i just think that particularly in the case of gender and race (and unfortunately, many other identifiers), what we presume to discern from those identifiers is far too often inaccurate; based on stereotypes, cliches, lies, and other potentially invalid sources. which of course does not invalidate those times when those first impressions are accurate. nor does the fact that the same identifier will mean different things to different people and in different contexts.
i'm not sure if i'm thinking of it more from the outside (how do we recognize others) or from the inside (who do i feel dis/connected to or why or for what).
and yes, i think it goes without saying that how it happens now is A Problem. we all agree on that.

thanks, baa.

"i don't know. maybe it just seems like a world full of individuals in which there is no way to make assumptions or guesses about who someone is, is both a long ways toward the theoretical understanding of each of us as atomized, isolated units (which is horrible to me) -- and -- wouldn't be as much fun as the pattern-making and -breaking we do now."

see I just think that atomized isolated units is just a really harsh way to put people acting freely as individuals, without social constraints on who they should group up with look like or act like. as for pattern making and breaking, some people will always do things similar to others, however, I don't think this necessitates a "group" or if it does, not one that the "group" or being in that group or having x charictaristic affects peoples behaviors, but rather that peoples behaviors determine the group.