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Studio Glibly @NoTotally
, 17 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I haven't been able to muster much optimism for what feels like forever, so a friend asked if I'm at least heartened by the mainstream noise over child detention. The answer is "not really."
I thought for a while about why I feel that way, and I think it comes down to the mistaken feeling (mostly white) people seem to have that not-bigotry is the same thing as anti-bigotry.
See, I think that as long as those two things are getting confused, we're going to continue to see the stage set for more and more drastic abuse, because it lets dehumanization slip by.
Not-bigotry is having POC friends. It's putting up signs that "all are welcome here." It's believing that your beliefs alone are part of a multigenerational groundswell that will make bigotry fade because of population math.
Anti-bigotry is, among other things, acknowledging targeted oppression. Realizing that burying the who and why of those targeted allows the conversation to ignore underlying and systemic issues, which guarantees further abuse.
That, I think, is why so many people who see themselves as progressive are (mostly unknowingly) arguing against children in cages but accepting families in cages as a reasonable solution.
I tweeted recently that when the conversation moved into the national dialogue, it went from "brown children" to "children." Why is the latter more effective in inspiring outrage? Who made the choice to drop the specificity?
People are feeling like there's a moment here, and it's terrifying to me that the accepted "progressive" narrative is whitewashed; it affirms that POC need to be viewed non-racially to garner sympathy.
The obsession with Trump, his family, and his administration as the be-all, end-all of these atrocities is another variable: it says to me that public derision for a singular figure also needs to be present to generate this outcry.
"Can you believe what this president is doing to children" essentializes the situation into a false framework; "can you believe what America's doing to brown children" forces us to confront the fact that our entire culture is built to work against those deemed subhuman.
Of course I'm mad at people who still- today!- act like none of this could have been predicted: those whose version of "consciousness" was simply not publicly disagreeing with those of us who they privately deemed paranoid, hysterical.
But even as they're coming out of their shells and admitting that they didn't think it could ever get this bad, they're still omitting the part about these children that makes them marginalized in the first place.
They're still shying away from confronting the fact that no one man, no one administration, could do this without a system that allows- that in many ways is built on the back of- the suffering of marginalized people.
Why shine a spotlight on them, if they're otherwise broadly on "my side?" Because they're in a position to earn victories, and they can set the terms of what the country might look like after that confetti falls.
Think long and hard about what that victory should look like: focusing on "children" without seeing anything else is a tacit agreement that brown families in cages is fine, as long as they're together.
Focusing on a single administration means not acknowledging that our systems are built on laws that allow- and politically encourage- the suffering and dehumanization of marginalized people.
Deracinating the conversation and calling this "Trump's America" instead of simply "America" trims the brush but ignores the roots. I'm not optimistic because I know that that which remains unrooted will simply grow again.
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