Juniper Rants


Juniper Shoemaker is a very busy woman. She’s working on her biomedical PhD while filling in the gaps that an B.A. in English will leave in one’s science education. Plus she’s got her own set of personal challenges she’s meeting at the same time. I admire that woman beyond words.

And oh, the words. She doesn’t have a lot of time to blog, but when she does, or even when she leaves a comment somewhere, she is always worth reading. Her latest blog post is no exception.

Juniper is tired. Yes, I know. She’s a grad student, but even here, she’s remarkable. You see, it isn’t so much the lab hours or the academic load that’s leaving her exhausted. Juniper’s tired because she’s continually dealing with people who can’t or won’t think outside their own circumstances, even when their own experience gives them the tools to do just that.

I’m tired of white feminists who don’t give a damn about bigotry against black people even as they’re castigating “the black community”, which doesn’t fucking exist, for not giving a damn about bigotry against gays and lesbians. No, wait. It’s more specific than that. I’m tired of white feminists who refuse to condemn bigotry against black people with the same compassion and attentiveness with which they condemn bigotry, namely sexism, against white women. In order to get taken seriously, I must confine myself to discussions of explicit statements of bigotry against black people, but you don’t have to do the same when it comes to bigotry against white women? You get to talk about “context”, “tone” and “implication”, but I don’t? You’re capable of developing a nuanced understanding of manifestations of sexism against white women, but you still think that my anger and hurt and frustration are only legitimate if they’re in response to cartoonishly overt manifestations of racism against blacks?

And this:

I’m tired of the idea that you have to be indifferent to an issue in order to skeptically evaluate it. By the way, why does this rule never seem to apply to skeptics who crow fervently about their opposition to “political correctness”– whatever the hell that is– and who eagerly accept every sensationalist claim ever made by someone styling himself as an evolutionary psychologist? Why does this rule only seem to apply to “liberal” skeptics, skeptics who are angry about sexism against women and skeptics who are angry about racism against brown people? Anyway, this idea is poppycock. It is entirely possible to fairly and skeptically evaluate an argument while simultaneously harboring intense feelings about the issue in question. There is even a neurological, not a sociological, hypothesis that the brain’s ability to generate emotions is inextricable from its ability to logically evaluate the world. Moreover, you are fucking insulting me by asking me to be indifferent towards questions such as “Are blacks really dumber than whites?” By ignoring my efforts to treat all questions as worthy of investigation and support intellectual and academic freedom in favor of condemning me for so much as one quiver of my mouth, you are being hypocritical, you are being irrational, you are being breathtakingly cruel, and you are insulting me to the very bone.

This. Because the idea that those in the majority don’t have any stake in these questions is ridiculous. Because thinking so is a marker of an idea that hasn’t been even superficially examined, much less had real critical analysis turned on it. Because the people who talk like this ignore the analysis presented to them in favor of whining that their territory is being invaded and their freedoms threatened. Because the position that the burden of proof lies with the social minority to show that cultural context is behind the poor treatment they receive is just an appeal to tradition, and one generally made from an extremely limited viewpoint.

Because no one should feel “surrounded by an abject lack of introspection,” invisible, worthless, alone, particularly not Juniper.

Comments

  1. says

    What is so hard for people about looking at the person in front of you and seeing … a person. Not a uterine-American, not a Korean-American, not an African-American, not a BA(English), not a A person. A person who is stressed out and plugging away, who needs an occasional smile or kind word, or at the very least no additional shit? Is just not making life harder for others such an incredible imposition on one's oh-so-utterly-important life?

  2. Juniper Shoemaker says

    You know what else went into the aether? My comment, which I wrote on the same day I wrote one on Jason's link to my post. Maybe I forgot to click "Publish".Anyway. Thank you for the link. I came back here to take comfort in it. I still feel surrounded by a lack of introspection, but I am going to have to ignore it if I want to understand anything that is going on in my current biochem class.