A misogynist by any other name would smell just as putrid

On August 10 earlier this year, I concluded that the weakly supported theory of autogynephilia (AGP) remains popular among a certain subset of sexologists because of its utility for dismissing trans women. A careful look at the methodology that produced the theory quickly demonstrates its fatal flaws, and yet the theory is, to this day, occasionally cited as a reason to dismiss a trans woman’s opinion as unreliable. In brief review, the theory posits that there are two (and only two) etiologies by which gender dysphoria is produced in trans women: The first, the bizarre and easily falsified notion that it is easier to be a trans woman than an effeminate gay man; the second, sexual arousal at the thought of oneself as possessing culturally female attributes. The former are confusingly named “homosexual,” (as in women attracted to men), the latter “heterosexual” (as in women attracted to women). Science!

Ray Blanchard was only able to propose this conclusion by ignoring vast portions of his data and framing his subjects as liars, thus rendering his theory unfalsifiable when tested with his own methodology. The theory, naturally, doesn’t pan out when investigated by Blanchard’s peers.

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When they start babbling about thought police

One of the many reasons I have difficulty assuming right-wing commentators engage in good faith is the abundance of projection I see in their accusations. Universities, often maligned as bastions of “thought policing” and “safe spaces” (that’s a bad thing?), are now being targeted by right-wing harassment campaigns for saying something they don’t like.

This time, the outrage machine geared up as it often does, with a minor conservative media outlet — in this case, the Daily Caller — chopping my tweets up into a misleading mishmash that transformed a nuanced diagnosis of white male frustration into an attack on white people in general. When the Daily Caller posted the article to Facebook, moreover, the intention was clearly to incite: “Absolutely unforgiveable” (sic) read the post, which by now has been shared nearly 2,000 times and commented upon more than 3,000 times.

Hate mail and death threats began to roll in. “I will beat your skull in till there is no tomorrow.” “Soon all you p‑‑‑‑‑s will get exactly what you deserve.” “Do the world a favor, and kill yourself … I’ll help you find death sooner than later.” One called me a “pig f‑‑‑er like Obama,” adding homophobic slurs for good measure. Many called me a “cuck” — a favorite racial and sexual insult of the alt-right — while others urged me to move to North Korea or Venezuela. One “love note from a WHITE American” wrongly identified me as a “greasy South American a‑‑hole.”

From there, the contagion was rapid, with Stephen Bannon’s Breitbart News and even Milo Yiannopoulos’s own website running their own cribbed copies of the same story. Then came FrontPagethe Blazethe College Fix and the campus mercenaries at Turning Point. Soon, the manufactured story had hit the conspiratorial fringes of Infowars and online forums across the right: from “blue lives matter” to those preparing for the inevitable rapture.

Read more here.

-Shiv

Anti-black racism and challenges to the state

Zoe Samudzi is the sort of writer I appreciate, with the ability to connect two seemingly unrelated phenomenon by their rhetoric. Here she examines the parallels between the defamation of anti-fascist groups and black liberation:

Anti-fascists displaced the Berkeley Police Department in their role as community protectors (despite the claims made in media accounts of the day), a role the police abrogated following that brief but tense standoff. The potential significance of that power unquestionably represents something fearful to people who endorse the state’s sole capacity to act as the arbiter of justice. There is a reason that Dr. King, whose words are constantly weaponized by centrists to discredit anti-facist (and specifically forceful Black liberatory) action, referred to the “white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to ‘justice’” as “the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom” as he addressed the world from Birmingham City Jail in 1963. Any media that is understood to be legitimate in the United States defaults to protecting the state’s monopoly on violence and its mechanisms even when it, despite the freedoms afforded by our beloved First Amendment, brutalizes and silences dissent. It is no mistake that liberal and so-called “progressive” politicians, such as Nancy Pelosi and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, have tended to respond to militant anti-fascism with the racializing languages of containment and punishment inherent to the carceral state. There is nothing surprising about Mayor Arreguin’s suggestion that the state “should classify [antifa] as a gang” while many city and state law enforcement officials in California, even while describing the murder of Heather Heyer as an act of domestic terrorism, refuse to classify hate groups as gangs or domestic terrorists (despite fitting the state’s definitions) because “law enforcement officials are wary of being perceived as investigating any person or group for political views.” Black and Brown communities are overwhelmingly targeted and criminalized by anti-gang measures, and these injunctions, along with the emergency ordinance passed by Berkeley City Council, lay the foundation for a liberal “solution”, compatible with fascism, to the anti-fascist “threat” posed by opposition to white supremacists.

Read more here.

-Shiv

The greatest tragedy in Sarah Ditum’s mind is treating white women like adults

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: Sarah Ditum is constitutionally incapable of directly stating what she means. She has been trained in a feminist tradition that trades almost exclusively in equivocation and doublespeak. This is one aspect of debunking TERFs that makes the task so grating–the ambiguity, rather than being a sign of the TERF’s lack of principles, instead reflects poorly on the critic since we sometimes guess incorrectly at what they’re trying to say. From there they can swoop in and claim that they actually meant something else, which, again, should be considered evidence that they are shitty communicators rather than evidence the critic has misunderstood. So I confess, I’m at a backfoot here, squinting at Egyptian hieroglyphs without the benefit of a Rosetta stone.

Feminists have spent decades trying to get the value of women’s unpaid labour recognised, to basically no avail. The trouble all along, it turns out, was the framing: instead of saying women deserved credit for their contribution to the economy, feminists should have said that women deserve blame. Because blame is one commodity where people are happy to give women their due. The obvious absence of women from the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia – where female counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed by a car allegedly driven by an alt-right supporter called James Alex Fields – could have lead to a discussion about the male near-monopoly on violence. Instead the impulse to cherchez la femme kicked in early and hasn’t let up since.

This isn’t particularly difficult, Ditum.

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Wait, which NFL were you watching before?

Content Notice: White supremacy, sexual assault.

Before Colin Kaepernik took many a white supremacist’s advice and “protested quietly” (which, spoiler alert, still pissed them off), the same league in which he competed routinely defended and employed players who assaulted their wives or mass raped drunk students. It’s in this context that a boycott of the NFL has finally spawned, stating that the NFL’s continued reluctance to employ Kaepernik supports white supremacy.

I’m glad that the conversation for black liberation is picking up some traction, but if you’re only now boycotting the NFL, I have to ask: Where the fuck you been? Damon Young is wondering the same.

I get that, for many of these fans, the Kaepernick blackball is the straw that broke the camel’s back. But again, the NFL been trash. They give no fucks about Kaepernick because they’ve given no fucks about anything other than getting your money and removing whatever might be in the way of getting more of it. You can’t give any fucks about black people if you don’t give any fucks about people. This is how they’re able to reason that Kaepernick remains unsigned because he’d be a distraction while players accused of distracting-ass shit like rape and aggravated assault remain on NFL rosters, and a Hotep preacher accused of killing two actual people is thought of as the best person to mentor Kaepernick into respectability. Having Kaepernick exist as your NFL straw in 2017 is like boycotting Trump because his hair is the color of Clorox.

So am I saying don’t boycott? No! Yay boycott! Boycott the fuck out of them! Throw boycott parties with complementary avocado toast and chorizo frittatas! Just remember that the NFL is trash, has been trash, and will continue to be trash even if Kaepernick is on a team.

I’m glad they found their back bone. I hope they keep it.

Read more here.

-Shiv

Thoughts on the Omar Khadr settlement

Stephen Harperbot’s many grave atrocities are still haunting the Liberals today, and much to my chagrin the Liberals have been slow to act on many of them. One such Ghost of Xmas Past is Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was taken to Afghanistan at the age of 15 by his father, a man allegedly affiliated with Al-Qaeda. At some point during his stay in Afghanistan, Khadr was either involved or simply proximal to a combat between AQ and the United States Army. Khadr was wounded during the combat, and was alleged to be responsible for the death of one American soldier. He was captured, and tortured “enhanced interrogated” by both Canadian and American intelligence in Guantanamo Bay. He confessed (as victims of “enhanced interrogation” are wont to do) to a series of war crime charges and sentenced to 10 years prison during a military tribunal, in violation of his rights as a minor to be tried as a minor, based on evidence extracted from torture. In addition, his war crime allegations are a violation of the Geneva Convention–if Khadr was an active combatant, as the “evidence” claimed, then killing another active combatant is supposed to be within the “rules of war.” In other words: Khadr’s trial was a clusterfuck, and nobody involved at any point stopped and said “are we the baddies?”

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Notes on selective white outrage

Madelaine Hanson has some notes on the UK’s far-right and their “Muslims arr commin for arr wimmin!” trope.

Anyway, when there were (and there was) thousands of other rape, abuse, sexual violence and stalking cases committed by white guys against ‘our women’, Lo! Tommy Robinson was nowhere to be seen. Nor was any other outraged white right wingers. Because, if you hadn’t noticed, the crime isn’t abusing women, it’s being a muslim and abusing a white woman. In fact I’d go further than that, it’s being a foreigner/non-white and abusing a white woman. It stinks of racism and reminds me of the lynching of black men who touched white women in the South.

They (the far white-right patriots) use ‘muslim’ as an ideological cover for their xenophobia. Controversially, I’d argue that some of their criticism of Islam, Islamists and indeed South Asian/Arab cultural misogyny isn’t completely wrong, but their motives for it come from completely the wrong place. It doesn’t come from a desire for an end to honour killings, acid attacks and female slavery, it comes from very angry, very racist hatred of the ‘other’. They don’t argue for stricter punishment for acid attackers, they argue for the deportation of Pakistanis. They don’t argue for Salafi women to be given police protection from abusive family/spouses after leaving abusive marriages, they argue for hanging to be brought back in relation to Islamic murders. They don’t argue for longer sentences for child groomers, just for less immigration from Central Asia. It’s transparent.

Read more about it here.

-Shiv

Complaints over tame protest prove that it’s not about the method

…It’s about the message.

In October of 2016, teachers across Seattle organized a campaign to wear a shirt displaying “Black Lives Matter” at work. Despite the fact that the actual substance of this protest was, as far as protests go, utterly mundane, it still prompted complaints.

Tony discusses:

How do you “work quietly” to resolve systemic racism? How is anyone going to be aware that this is a problem if you’re quiet about it? How would you even devise plans on closing the gap if you don’t discuss said plans? I also have to laugh at the idea that you can “leave the politics out” when you’re talking about the opportunity gap. The gap exists in the first place bc of politics. The gap is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is the result of policies put into place by prejudiced white people that sought to advantage themselves in all the ways, and ensure that African-Americans had access to nothing (bc to them, we were property). Century after century, Blacks had no opportunities. No wealth or land. No education. None of that magically changed when segregation ended or when the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. Nothing leveled the playing field between whites and blacks such that equal opportunity was had by all (attempts have been made to compensate for the centuries of no opportunity, cf. Affirmative Action). Sooooo…given that the opportunity gap exists bc of politics (specifically, white supremacy), how can politics be removed from any discussion on closing the gap?

Wearing a t-shirt is now, apparently, disqualified as “quiet work.”

Read more about it from Tony, though be warned the white fragility is in full force. You may need to position a pillow between your head and your desk.

-Shiv

Damn right, she’s angry

The inestimable Ijeoma Oluo has a few thoughts about the “angry black woman” trope:

I used to work very hard to avoid that descriptor. I used to busily reassure people that no, I am not angry. I used to force smiles and swallow pain and reassure everyone that I was fine.

But I am not fine. I am angry.

And I have a lot to be angry about. I am angry that I have to see so many black men and women murdered by police without any justice. I am angry that my 15-year-old son is already terrified of cops. I am angry that black households have, on average, 12 times less net worth than white households.

I am angry at the unchecked rise of racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism in America.

I am angry that this country elected an ignorant and unqualified bigot into our highest office.

I am angry that my 9-year-old son feels utterly failed by the adult society that was supposed to protect him from racist hate.

I am angry that the color of my skin is one of the biggest indicators of not only the quality of my life, but also of my life expectancy. I am angry that my son’s transgender classmates are being told by our federal government that they cannot use the restroom in safety. I am angry that this administration is gleefully deporting brain cancer patients and domestic violence victims. I am angry that my fears look so similar to the fears that black people had in the 1950s.

I know why I am angry, and I know who I am angry at.


am angry at school systems that refuse to treat implicit bias and the criminalization of black and brown youth as the emergency that it is. I am angry at politicians who knowingly activate and exploit voter bigotry with phrases like “black-on-black crime” and I am angry at the voters who fall for it, despite all of the scholarship out there that shows such dogwhistling to be a racist trap.

I am angry at media that constantly portrays my people as violent and unpredictable. I am angry at business and community leaders who will stoke xenophobia to distract from their exploitation of the poor. I am angry at those who value their comfort so much that they’d rather call me a liar than face the truth of how this country treats so many of us.

It would be appalling to not be angry at these things. To ask me not to be would be to ask me to divorce myself from reality.

Read more of Oluo’s powerful declaration here.

-Shiv

Fact check: Deaths of despair and “white working class”

The Brookings Papers on Economic Activity published a report about its findings on so-called “deaths of despair”–overdose, suicide, and other sort of high-risk activities taken up by those with an inclination to self harm due to severe depression. This report divided the subjects by their racial demographics and found that it was the “white working class” who was actually dying the most, proportionately, from these deaths of despair. The news followed suit. But I had spotted a sleight of hand shortly after opening the report that made me suspicious of the methodology: White people were divided by whether or not they had attained a high school diploma, yet all other racial demographics were generalized into a single measurement.

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