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arvan's picture

This is a comment on some things in Indian politics and US politics.

I’m not from India nor did I ever vacation there.  I don’t take yoga and I don’t own the Kama Sutra (why bother, when I can download it for free, anyway?)  So, I’m not an expert and I’m probably more wrong than right.  No cookies for pointing that out.  That said, here goes anyway.

Recently - Arundhati Roy agreed to write an introductory essay to “Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical edition by B.R. Ambedkar" which she titled, "The Doctor and the Saint: An introduction”.  Hindu nationalists like the BJP love to get their outrage underpants all bunched up whenever Roy does anything other than keep her mouth shut, basically.  Roy’s introduction to Ambedkar’s work may cause Hindu nationalists like the BJP to be outraged that she dare to say anything that is anti-Hindu (which is basically anything that is not unquestioningly pro-Hindu/BJP). The BJP is for all intents and purposes, India’s GOP.  So, their outrage comes as no surprise for her association with a speech that Ambedkar wrote to challenge progressive Hindus on their own desire to reap the benefits of caste are antithetical to their stated organizational goals and perpetuating the targeted oppression of lower castes.  

Ms. Roy is fairly leftist, challenging empire, corporate-military capitalism, caste and so - she’s an easy and constant target for people born into wealth and status and whose bank accounts seem to do very well when the ultra-nationalist BJP gets their way.  

arvan's picture

Privilege within communities working to lessen privilege

Audre Lorde once spoke at a feminist conference, noting that she was the only black lesbian there and one of only two women of color.  She was pointing at privilege and exclusion within a group formed to remedy and address privilege and exclusion.  In this address, she pointed to the language and organizational structure adopted by feminists to address patriarchy was formed by patriarchy to reinforce patriarchy.  That language and organization are the "master's tools" she speaks of and her assessment is that by using them, privilege will not be eliminated, but instead renewed and sustained.  

That metaphor has resonated with me since the very first time I heard it.  I started blogging for a number of reasons, including identifying, owning and interrupting privilege.  I have come to some conclusions which I will share in this post, namely:

- Privilege is always happening, in everyone's life and in every group.

- I can only interrupt, acknowledge and impact my own privilege.  This seems to be true for us all.  It is also true for groups.

- Denial sustains and reinforces privilege and honesty creates an opportunity to interrupt privilege.

The very instant any group or community is formed or declared, exclusion and privilege are established and instituted.  

Exclusion: some people are in that group and some are not.  

Privilege: the group has leader(s) / former(s) / administrator(s) / public & private voice(s) in some form or another who agree to their ability to declare the identity of that group.  There is also privilege in the selection of new members to the group or the expulsion of current members.

This can be problematic for any group whose stated goal is to address or lessen privilege.  This is often a group whose members and lives are often largely defined by their experiences of having been excluded by privileged persons and groups.  How such an organization or group addresses its privilege and exclusion will impact how successful they are in their efforts to impact privilege elsewhere and as a group or individuals.

arvan's picture

Confessions of a Gender Traitor

I confess. 

I am a gang member. 

I have benefitted from my membership in this gang, all my life.  Everything in my life has come to me easier than it has for most of the planet, because I belong to this gang.  My clothes, food, shelter, luxuries and freedom are the spoils of my membership.  We live a life of ease, gluttony, vanity and waste built on the backs of oppression, deceit and cruelty.

We are a gang that brutally oppresses half of the world's population with rape, murder, starvation, torture, disease, forced and unpaid labor, humiliation, lack of education and food and shelter.  The mother of almost every child on the planet is the target of our oppression - controlled by words, weapons & fear and deprived of a voice or respect as human - as equal.

This gang also fights among its own ranks.  The gang at the top of this pyramid of brutality, ignorance and brutality is run by several thousand gang members who use raping, pillaging, murder and destroying the entire planet to luxuriate in and hoard the wealth of the planet.  For every bite of food we eat, thousands of people die of starvation.

The annals of history are written by this gang, obliterating the thoughts, words and lives of all foes, vanquished or living.  For four thousand years we have forged the planet around us into instruments of war, torture, enslavement and despair.  We have roamed the surface of the planet in packs, armies and alone in dark alleys with an unquenchable thirst for the blood of our fellow humans.  Those whom we do not kill outright, we eliminate in history, we remove their names from their own stories and place the names we choose to honor in their places.

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