NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Post No Lose 2013 (TW)

July23

*Serious Trigger Warning on this one, folks. I cry a lot, talk about my struggles and feeling excluded and bullied.
Thank you for watching, listening and supporting. ♥

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7 Comments to

“Post No Lose 2013 (TW)”

  1. On July 23rd, 2013 at 5:54 pm Laura (dusty_rose) Says:

    *hugs* I’m so sorry that you had such a bad experience at NOLOSE. 🙁 That’s so awful, to be excluded and bullied at a place that should be positive and supportive. I’m sending you healing vibes! <3

  2. On July 23rd, 2013 at 7:23 pm Sophia Says:

    I find it problematic that you felt ignored because on 3 different occasions I tried to speak with you barely acknowledged me and you kept walking or looked through me. I am not sure why you think that fat positive spaces are exempt from the issues we experience in any other communities. Concerning having your words misrepresented: I invite you to consider that you wrote them and that this is where editing is important and asking for feedback. You essentially said that when you were told that white girls cant dance, and that you cried to your mom to change you, you essentially said that you wanted to be black. And that was just one of I think 3 racially charged aspects. I understand its painful to pushed into the margins, but take this as an opportunity to to see what POC experience all the time in ALL communities. Granted, there is no real effective parallel, but being invisible is painful, really painful. Using NOLOSE as a vacation, as a self professed activist, is really interesting, because it is an activist space where we do WORK. And I feel like you were extended an OPPORTUNITY to be accountable and instead you are crying and not seizing the moment to align yourself in solidarity. I invite you to consider that we all experience pain and this community is not exempt. I realize this may be harsh, but I dont feel the need to placate your feelings. If you are physically harmed, speak up, if you make a mistake, speak up and own it, and heal. If people talk about you, question them and realize we are ALL healing. NOLOSE may not be the right space for you if you are not willing to be accountable. We are all trying to be accountable for the mistakes we made there. There is no escaping making mistakes in such a vulnerable and intense community and experience. You are making excuses and not strides, concerning your role in the events of this weekend. NOLOSE is a complicated and imperfect event, as are many activist events. But you have to be committed to do the work, because you will be held accountable. I am not sure why you ever thought that equality is what is experienced at NOLOSE. I hope you can push through your tears and become determined to do the work.- Sophia

  3. On July 23rd, 2013 at 7:28 pm Sophia Says:

    I hot add too soon. But I wanted to add that this is a very forgiving community and people cant be accountable unless you tell them they harmed you. This goes for the person talking about you and who pushed you.

  4. On July 24th, 2013 at 8:31 am Sprout Says:

    Why are you assuming that the friend who said “white girls can’t dance” is black?

    There was no race specified.

    She wasn’t trying to emphasize the racial aspect she was trying to express that she wanted to do what she felt at the time, out of pain, was needed to be accepted which I think ALL of the human race is trying to do.

    It’s why anyone changes certain aspects of themselves to fit in and feel accepted.

    She was talking about why she was hurting about being told she can’t do something she loves. And honestly, she’s not the one who said the initial hurtful statement. Why aren’t you mad at the person who shut her down with one sentence? Saying that she can’t dance because she’s white is an extremely racist thing to say.

    I feel like the bigger picture of what was trying to be expressed was missed and I understand why she’s hurting then and now and what she was trying to get across.

    It takes courage to say what she did and I find so many people get so caught up in the details and forget what the bigger idea was meant to be.

    And I’m preeeeetty sure, knowing this beautiful person and knowing how she thinks/feels, that she tries her damndest to be conscious of others and their feelings pretty much all the time. And if she felt like this was going to be this big of a deal, she wouldn’t have said it.

    My .02

  5. On July 24th, 2013 at 1:03 pm Alena Says:

    I’m glad you posted the essay you wrote in your next post because I think it speaks for itself. Not only is there no overt racism, there is no unintended racism. Implying the race of a speaker when sharing an experience you had when you were a kid doesn’t constitute racially charged language. Simply referring to race is not racism. It’s absurd for anyone to suggest that this speech should have been edited to omit this detail – it sounds like a request for self-censorship for the sake of political correctness.

    Personally, I have a hard time believing anyone was “hurt” by this. I think this is a case of a few overly sensitive people taking themselves way too seriously and using pseudo-intellectual rhetoric to “put you in your place.” You tend to emphasize the fact that you don’t have an extensive formal education, and I think that your critics have honed in on that as a vulnerability in an attempt to “school” you because they have a chip on their shoulder.

    You’ve been more than gracious in trying to understand why they feel the way they do. I don’t think you’ll get an explanation, not because “POC” are tired of providing an explanation to white folks, but because there is simply no substance to the accusation that there is racist content in your words. To imply someone is racist is a serious accusation, and to imply it when there is no solid evidence of it is defamation.

    While I don’t disagree with Sophia, who comments that this is only a taste of what POC experience, I whole-heartedly beg to differ with the idea that no one else can understand. There are other forms of ingrained, institutionalized discrimination – sexism, ageism, abled-bodism. There is no trophy for most oppressed. To decide that one group has been wronged to a greater degree than another is counter-productive to the whole point espoused by nolose. How can anyone do any “work” in such an environment? [As a side note I take issue with the term “POC”. If the intention is to diminish racism, then white people need to be included in the conversation, not treated as if they don’t have a color. This is an objection that has been vocalized by quite a few well-respected, non-Caucasian scholars. If the intention was to commiserate about their woes at the expense of Caucasian allies, job well done! I suspect that is what happened at the conference].

    Sarah, I’m willing to bet that there other, more well-established events that workshop the same issues that nolose attempts to address. I’ll check in with some activist profs I know and compile some resources. I’m sure you can bring your perspective to events where you would feel wanted. I have a feeling that the negativity you experienced was only propagated by a select few, and that in general the people that attended are lovely. From what I observed, nolose has a problem with keeping things sincere – it seemed comedic pretentious. As Sophia mentioned, some people were working through their own issues at the conference, and you were, unfortunately, caught up in their own confused, insecurities and projections. I wouldn’t take it to heart, doll. Some people will just never learn how to survive themselves.

  6. On July 24th, 2013 at 2:05 pm Avery Ray Colter Says:

    I was just re-listening to a speech KPFA pulled from the archives of Price Cobbs, co-auther of Black Rage. Interestingly, at one point he says (and this was way back in 1965) “White people haven’t changed the way black people have. Black people have been transforming, and it’s been painful. Pain is part of the process of growing up, and white people need to grow up. And by pain I don’t mean the liberal kind of ‘I feel guilty’. I mean the kind of pain when your daughter comes home saying she wants to be white. Why? ‘Oh because Wendy is white and that just seems like the thing to be.'”

    It seems we have a white girl who had just that kind of pain at 4 years old. Is it her fault that when she was 4, her parents neglected to have the conversation that this was how black kids were made to feel in a lot of ways and so they look for ways that white people might look inferior at certain things? If we all have to feel some pain in growing, so be it, but does it aid anything to act as if a particular person’s pain has no content because it is pain others have suffered? Cobb himself said that one of the best reasons to work to combat bigotry is that those who are infected by it and allow it to set in become incomplete human beings. We have here someone who by her own description had an artifact of racism unaddressed in her youth in a way which hampered her complete development. She seems to have worked her way to a conclusion that she does not need to be ruled by this artifact of racism. I do happen to think that this story was racially charged. It is charged whenever someone is driven to wish they had a different body than they do. But it is important to know where it comes from, that “whites can’t dance” is a trope POC would likely never have concocted if the past were not so full of white people making up “scientific” explanations for everyone else’s supposed lack of aptitude at one thing after another.

    Activists come together to work. But a comrade is more than a coworker, a cadre more than an assembly department. Che himself said a revolutionary acts out of feelings of great love. I hope love makes its way in somewhere here, because I look to you all as great leaders and hope it doesn’t come to you giving up on each other.

  7. On July 24th, 2013 at 6:37 pm Michele Gillaspie Says:

    Sarah, I am going to take up space here for a minute to respond to Sophia.

    Sophia, I’d like to reiterate the comment Devra made at the community meeting, and say that I think it’s important that we try to maintain the courtesies and respect we give each other at the conference in our online spaces. Your comments here are (as you readily admit) harsh and it appears your intent was to be deliberately hurtful. I’m going to grant you the benefit of the doubt that you might be unaware your communication came across this way, and ask that you re-read your words and see if you can maybe see and acknowledge that? This is not the first time I have observed this phenomenon in your on-line writings in fat community space, and it does differ considerably from the way you present in person.

    I would also like to say that I have real problems with your suggestion that “perhaps nolose is not the place” for Sarah if she does not meet your personal bar for what accountability looks like. You are not the nolose accountability police. As an individual community member, it is not your role to tell anyone that they are not welcome/should not be there. That’s the Board’s job.

    My final comment is to acknowledge that what is centered in your activism may or may not be centered in mine, and so our reasons for coming to the annual conference may differ considerably. I respect that you are there “to work”; I ask that you respect that other individuals may have other agendas for their conference experience, including the desire to relax and enjoy not being body policed for a brief weekend.

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