I am in a weird position.
White, straight, privileged. Living in Europe.
Wait! I am–
Good honest fe–
This post — like the previous one — was waiting for a while to be written. It just needed a trigger.
Take a good look at this blabbering from Sadie Smith in the New Statesman:
I’ve had to start differentiating between feminism – good honest feminism in all its manifestations from Luce Irigaray, to Greenham Common, to Andrea Dworkin and even (although the Lord knows, she’s not to my taste) Camille Paglia – and what I’ve started calling the Online Wimmin Mob. The latter is meant to sound insulting. Borderline misogynist if you like, and there’s a reason for that: the Online Wimmin Mob don’t seem to like feminism. There’s not much evidence that they like women very much. Perhaps this is the reason that they don’t want you to be a feminist either.
In other words: “Hello. Let me explain you how it works. On this side, on my side there is ‘good honest feminism’. Because. Name dropping. And one is FRENCH! On the other side is a screaming mob of females and other people PRETENDING to be feminists, but I think they actually HATE WOMEN!!! And look! I am smart. I am witty. I studied. I even wrote a paper about feminism!”
To back that last statement: (quoting Sadie. I made all the difficult and intellectual words and stuff in the title of that dissertation bold for you — as a service)
I’d like to present to the Court this as evidence: my dissertation title at university was “How far has a philosophical dichotomy affected changing attitudes towards women?”
Pick the intellectual peanuts out of that one, ladies.
“Hahahaha! Take THAT you fake feminists!”
Sadie Smith (or someone close to Sadie Smith) has been called out. Her response as a “feminist” and a person is not: “hmmmm, maybe these people have a point and maybe I crossed some line.” No. It is: “Help me! THEY ARE MOBBING ON ME!!! THEY CALLED ME WHITEY!! THEY EVEN DARE TO CALL ME CIS!!” (Read the article) Tears. Tears. Tears following in many many words in the New Statesman which is according to its own words: “Irreverent, beautifully written and witty, the New Statesman is the essential read for bright thinkers everywhere.”
Poor Sadie. I understand your pain. I suffered and cried too about stuff and things and myself. I might even become your ally of oppressed intellectual white fem– wait!
A disclaimer: this is not about Sadie Smith. I do not know Sadie Smith. Also Sadie Smith is not the first to write something like that article in the New Statesman. What this is about is about being white, straight, privileged and: “I was just being helpful and joining the conversation and everyone suddenly starts attacking me on my privileges and my whiteness and show me that they hate me”.
How the protective eggshell broke
Until approximately now (2013), the mental world of heterosexual white (penis bearing) people from Europe and America has been neatly shielded and only slightly challenged in their private little versions of the universe.
Any voice “against us” or “against our lifestyles and things as they are supposed to be” or from the “weird and crazy people” has been muffled and ridiculed by the regular media. Very likely because the people working for this regular media had no interest to seriously show any other view than the one that confirms what we think we already knew as white and — mostly — heterosexual people.
Muffled. Muted. Discarded. Distorted. Falsified. Ridiculed.
We have only recently and reluctantly reached the enlightened stage where OMG!!! homosexuality is not an abomination or a disease! and OMG!!! woman too have a brain capable of reasoning!
Then internet came. And many people who were muffled and muted until then (“We do not want your kind. We do not want to hear your voice” or: “Tone down! You are not supporting your cause by calling us names! You make people angry when you point out their flaws!”) are now finding that they are not alone in whatever is going on or whatever is done to them. From discrimination to denial to abuse to being silenced down as a deliberate process.
In the mean time, the protective eggshell we white, “sane”, “straight” people built around our white communities are cracking. Other voices are seeping through those cracks. Other people become visible pointing fingers. “We suffer by the way you treat us!” “We are here too!” “Now YOU shut up!” and: “NO you will NOT silence us anymore! This time YOU shut the fuck up.”
OMG WTF! We were wrong??!!
It does not fit our whitewashed white people’s world with white people’s truths to be pointed on our flaws by people who are not white and who are not originally born or educated in whitelandia. We are not used to hear people call back at us when we throw our toxic shit down the shaft. We made systems for that for fuck sakes! Shut up! We love to live in a world where we — the “Western” people — are benevolent, developed, smart, smarter than the rest. Where we can tell OTHERS how things work. We rather are not reminded to our colonial pasts where we murdered and enslaved people. Or the damage done by our political meddling in places we had no business to begin with. Because: “that is in the past” and: “now things are different” and “we needed the oil/diamonds/copper/bauxite/whatever”
“Don’t we donate millions to poor needy countries?” Don’t we appreciate exotic cultures? Exotic people? Look! Sad little starved kids! Happy people with white Christian people looking at water-pumps we gave them. We threw food on them from our airplanes. “Now You Finally Have Local Water Sources! (So shut the fuck up)” we will sigh from our couches in our happy little houses.
It does not matter that our society is as repressive and oppressive as the ones we like to point at. Instead we screech: “LOOOK!!! Country XYZ all have dictatorships! They murder people!!! Inequality!!!! Wimmins rights are trempled!!!! They kidnap foreigners!! They murder foreigners!! They kill each other!!”
We like to take one specific event and shout at the people around us: “LOOK!! YOU SEEE!!!! IT IS TERRIBLE!!”
We like to twist and warp reality so we can look elsewhere and brush our own shit under the carpet when we think nobody is looking.
Coming home or: “Racist, who? Us?”
Visiting my home town and my own family is a delight in this. Fed by only one source of information (Dutch television and radio) I hear things that make me crinch every time. “LOOK! I read this book of this horrible housing situation in India!! Corporate people! Conspiracies! Corruption! People being bribed. THIS IS INDIA!!!”
“No dad, this is a work of fiction. Situated in an imaginary land called ‘India’.”
“Book! India! Written by someone with an Indian name! So realistic!”
To try and discuss this is the same as discussing the ridicule of religion when I was 14. “It is bullshit dad! All bullshit. They are telling you a bullshit story based on bullshit assumptions. Brainwashing you with bullshit to make you believe in bullshit. The Catholic church were the first to make the concept of Hitlers 1000 year Reich working around 1500 years ago!”
It is part of the upbringing of my fathers generation to NOT question things around you. That books of fiction are in many cases written by people who are full of shit (any bestseller author who is not, anyone?) and that the best you can assume about those kinds of work is that the author at least tried. To do. Whatever.
My OWN work is full of bullshit assumptions. And sad to say: I am quite ignorant myself and that ignorance can lead– and has led to toxic things as well.
“Shut up whitey” or why “people hate us”
Most popular culture produced by white people involving non-white people is condescending. The writers are in most cases not even aware of how insulting the things are to the people they write about. When writing about “The Muslims” or “The people from Africa” or “The black people” or “The things that happen in Thirdworldia” or whatever, a lot of blind assumptions and generalizations are made about those places and people that are mostly insulting bullshit.
Let me show you how this works
Dutch people: all drug addicts, child beaters, perverts and murderers?
I then collect all kinds of “facts” which apply to very specific events. Yes: there are people who beat their children in the Netherlands. Yes. People use drugs in the Netherlands. We even have addicts living on the street. We have homeless people. Perverts? Yes. People are murdered too!
Repeat these “facts” in a proper semantic context and you get a one-sided image of the Netherlands that is as true as any work of bullshit fiction. Enter the house of a friendly Dutch family and try not to think: “which of those three poor Dutch children has– maybe– bruises?”
Do this long enough and it no longer feels like a joke. When you encounter talks with people NOT living in your country and all they know is bullshit about you and your people, it soon becomes old and painful. Even shameful. “What did we do to deserve this hate?”
“Is it really true 1 out of six families in the Netherlands has at least one child being molested either by family or someone IN the family or neighborhood?” “Did you really — at one time — had a political party called ‘Martijn’ protecting the interests of pedophiles?”
The fact that many people OUTSIDE Europe and America are NOT coming over here to bomb the shit out of our homes and our governments and NOT killing every fucking Dutch, American and European tourist respectlessly pissing over them and their culture in their Dutch/European/American racist ignorance is almost a miracle and — above all — a sign of incredibly civilized behavior towards us.
Addressing stupid fucking ignorance
The people who point out that we are white and privileged and who tell us to shut the fuck up do not “hate” us.
In a case like that of “Sadie Smith”, something happened that triggered other people to address specific outings made by her or someone close to her. Words she used, ways of expressing herself, ways to address specific people or specific groups.
These people are people who are no longer silent and brushed away, but who can respond directly and to you personally. They are no longer alone. They might and probably will address your stupidity. Your laziness when it comes to describing, addressing and understanding anything that is outside your field of experience. Your lack of empathy and insight towards people alike them. Addressing and attacking your self-centered and incredibly masturbatory view on the world around you.
“Shut up whitey” means many things. One is: “You are misinformed and have no right to join this conversation. Go back to your room and read. Learn. Not what YOUR culture has whitewashed. Not what supports YOUR world view. But what comes closer to the facts of OUR reality you refer to.”
In this, the ones who tell you to shut you up are not the ones who have to “PROVE!!” that you are wrong. “Go on PROVE TO ME I AM WRONG”. No: shut up. Piss off. Grow up. Read. Learn. You are not the center of the universe. You have never been. Your little pretty white world within the pretty white eggshell is not The Reality. The experts and journalists and teachers you rely on are probably just as misinformed as you and just spouting everything they consume out as diarrhea in your face.
Responses like that are a way to discover if you have been mislead and lied to about certain things. If certain parts of your history is whitewashed and falsified. And probably you discover that the world you believed existed contains even more bullshit than you already suspected.
People do not hate you when they engage in a conversation. They probably do not even know you. They simply respond to your words. And sometimes this is a knee-jerk response. Most of the times they have very good reasons. (This “they” excludes: racists, fascists and other brainwashed cultists.)
They might hate and despise what you represent, but they do not hate you. Probably. Yet.
But! I only tried to help!
Now let’s take this to the next level. Suppose you find a group of people you “sympathise for”. Their “cause”, their “problem” and you want to “help” them!
Instead of staying the fuck out, you decide to become an ally, because that is the new cool. After this old thing of adopting stray cats or dogs from the pen.
You start reading whatever. You feel triggered. You get involved. Then things explode in your face. From this Sadie Smith article again
I, too, have not been allowed to join, which I think is highly unfair as I too can be just as pretentious and full of my own self-importance, while simultaneously adding nothing that makes my pontifications in any way relevant to anything that is going on in the real world. I’d like to present to the Court this as evidence: my dissertation title at university was “How far has a philosophical dichotomy affected changing attitudes towards women?”
Half of the article is basically full of tears like this: “Why can’t we be friends? Why do you have to be so mean to me? I can be mean too. Aren’t we all on the same side?”
Let’s call this kind of shit ally-ism. Ally-ism is something tricky. It has several phases.
- Discovery — OMG!! Something something I did not knew existed is broken! People are suffering! It needs to be fixed!
- Establishing your own role — Why are you doing this? What do you get out of this? What do you know? How much do you know?
- Glory and admiration — You! Awesome! Person! Helping these poor needy people! Your face on billboards, people applauding when you enter the train! Awesome you!
- Shared pity/anger/whatever — You! Poor you! Also affected by something like this. Alone in your suffering. Nobody understands you but fellow victims! Let’s cry and roar together. BOOHOOHOO! ROAR! BOOHOO/ROAR!
- Shared experiences — You! Also went through something similar.
- Empathy — You! Can imagine how it is. You! You might be able to help. (If you are not also a predator or an emotional vampire that is.)
- Preying on the weak — You! Smart you. Selecting this group of individuals to prey on their meat and their mind like a vampire. Nom nom nom!
- Staying (the fuck) out of it — You! You have nothing to share, nothing in common. Wise choice.
- Hate and dismiss them — All! Them! Horrid people! Why are they born!
- Taking action — Doing stuff
- See the results — Things will happen
- Trainwreck — OMG! You fucked up! Damage all around you. Crash! Blam! Crash! even more.
- Rejection — OMG! WTF! They do not want you! Why!?
- Success — Yes! Yessss! You got what you wanted. You! Awesome you!
Make a next step — Which is usually whatever from point 1 and point 2 on.
No fucking clue
The thing is: most people offering themselves as allies are still having no fucking clue what they are doing.While they usually THINK their agenda is “doing good (for others)” (unless you are dealing with a sociopath/predator, then it is “getting something from you and who cares if and how much you will suffer as a result”), in most cases it is an ego-game. Glory! Have pity on me too, I suffered as well! Nom, nom, nom, “look at all these precious succulent little hearts and minds to harvest and devour…”
Allies are suspect. Either they are idiots who have no fucking clue what they are doing, or they are hunting for prey. Only in a few, few, very few cases, “allies” are really able to connect and help. And mostly you do not hear from them and they have been there all along outside of the spotlights. Helping. Producing results.
As for the results, “success” is measured here on the side of the “ally”. That success can include glory, sobbing together, drawing attention to themselves at the cost of you, destroying other people’s lives even further by ignorance, stupidity or deliberate action.
How Mother Theresa — probably and likely — was an asshole
Let’s take a short look to a women who might be called the holy patron and saint of all “allies”: Mother Theresa.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries. They run hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; children’s and family counselling programmes; orphanages; and schools. Members of the order must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and the fourth vow, to give “Wholehearted and Free service to the poorest of the poor”.
Awesome! Such good causes! What a woman!
Christopher Hitchens (whatever) wrote a book about her, called: “The missionary position“. In it, Mother Theresa comes out as a sociopath who uses the suffering of others to enrich her own bank-account and gain more and more power as a public figure.
It is relatively short and worth reading to pas the time when you are pooping. From the wikipedia page:
The book presents broad criticism of Mother Teresa and her missionary activity, particularly that she acted as a political opportunist and dogmatist to the detriment of those served by her charities. The book unfolds as an argument that Mother Teresa (born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) does not deserve beatification and elevation to sainthood.
Hitchens details Mother Teresa’s relationships with wealthy and corrupt individuals including Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and his wife Michèle Duvalier, enigmatic quasi-religious figure John-Roger, and disgraced former financial executive Charles Keating. Hitchens argues that her support for unscrupulous figures contradicts the alleged humanitarianism of her work.
Hitchins describes a visit of Mary Louden to one of the clinics in India. How the suffering are not allowed to be relieved by painkillers and how sisters without any medical experience are hindering the process of healing by not taking appropriate action.
“The Missionary position” from page 39 on:
Mary Loudon, a volunteer in Calcutta who has since written extensively about the lives of nuns and religious women, has this testimony to offer about the Home for the Dying:
No chairs anywhere, there were just these stretcher beds. They’re like First World War stretcher beds. There’s no garden, no yard even. No nothing. And I thought what is this? This is two rooms with fifty to sixty men in one, fifty to sixty women in another. They’re dying.
They’re not being given a great deal of medical care. They’re not being given painkillers really beyond aspirin and maybe if you’re lucky some Brufen or something, for the sort of pain that goes with terminal cancer and the things they were dying of . . .
They didn’t have enough drips. The needles they used and re-used over and over and over and you would see some of the nuns rinsing needles under the cold water tap. And I asked one of them why she was doing it and she said: ‘Well to clean it.’ And I said, ‘Yes, but why are you not sterilizing it; why are you not boiling water and sterilizing your needles?’
She said: ‘There’s no point. There’s no time.’
[…] an American doctor told me that she had been trying to treat this boy. And that he had a really relatively simple kidney complaint that had simply got worse and worse and worse because he hadn’t had antibiotics. And he actually needed an operation. I don’t recall what the problem was, but she did tell me. And she was so angry, but also very resigned which so many people become in that situation. And she said, ‘Well, they won’t take him to hospital.’ And I said: ‘Why? All you have to do is get a cab. Take him to the nearest hospital, demand that he has treatment. Get him an operation.’ She said: ‘They don’t do it. They won’t do it. If they do it for one, they do it for everybody.’ And I thought – but this kid is fifteen.
Nice when you have AIDS or tuberculosus.
Hitchkins remarks right after that:
Bear in mind that Mother Teresa’s global income is more than enough to outfit several first-class clinics in Bengal. The decision not to do so, and indeed to run instead a haphazard and cranky institution which would expose itself to litigation and protest were it run by any branch of the medical profession, is a deliberate one. The point is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection.
I understand the attraction of “ally”-ism. It serves many possible personal goals. From “getting attention” to “feeling valuable” by “helping”. The thing is: fuck off. Fix your own life and your own world first.
Most “allies” try to fix stuff in other peoples lives so they do not have to look at the mess in their own. It is a flight. An escape (unless the person is a sociopath and/or predator, in that case it is a hunt for new victims). The “other” in this is completely random. The “fix” is usually something completely random as well. The “other” can be a neighbor or someone online. The more unknown the person is, the better, because once you do not like the game of “offering help” anymore it is very easy to walk away without damage to yourself.
A part of it can be a genuine but misguided “boyscout/girlscout sense of obligation” mixed with the idea that they can save the person. Like this: “Someone is crying HELP! Let’s help! Oh he/she is bleeding! What did Internet say again about this situation? No! Don’t call the ambulance! It is all under control!”
Most “allies” are selfish ignorant assholes trying to “do good” because it makes them look better. Most “allies” do not give a shit about the people they pretend to help.
The best thing to do as a potential new “ally”, is to stop yourself from “helping” and stay the fuck out.
Closing: the tears
Boohoohoo, they do not want my help
So. You discovered they do not want your help and might even seem to hate you because you are something something.
And probably they are completely right.
And probably you are an idiot to step in, in the first place.
Probably others very much similar to you stepped in before. Probably, they learned some very hard lessons from that and saw right through your little shield of pretense that in fact, you pose a danger to them as well. In short: sure you can wear a white coat and claim to be a surgeon but this is not kindergarten.
Boohoohoo, they called me out
And there you are, strolling around in the right neighborhoods where people suffer like some superhero, pretending to be an “ally” and offering your fake help and your useless advice when people cry out. But when a bystander (and one of their friends) start asking you: “so what is it exactly you do? And HOW do you think you are qualified again?” you start spluttering and defending yourself, not willing to admit that indeed you have no business at all to interfere.
Probably you have been used to receive shoulder-pats until then (“How cute! What good advice you gave me! You are such a nice boy/girl!”) and so being called a fraud out loud probably hurts.
The spluttering that follows is usually like this: “But I am a nice boy/girl. I really do mean good. What do you mean ‘Fisher Price’ is not a real brand? Why are you talking so mean to me? I am on your side.”
Or — when this is not the first time you have been rejected — something stupid like this follows: “You assholes. You are just something something, splutter splutter racist sexist hurtful slurs” followed by something in the line of: “you DESERVE to suffer/die/whatever when you reject the help from helpful people like me!”, exposing yourself exactly for what you are: a useless unsympathetic fake asshole pretending to help while you really do not give one single shit about the person or people you “reach out” for.