Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people.
“I would like to know what it means to have ownership of a word, and also why it is inappropriate for people to use said word if they do not own it.”
I received this question and wanted to address it publicly. The first thing that needs to be explained is the word, “ownership.”
When someone talks about ownership they don’t own it the way a person would own a car. They are talking about an ethical or moral ownership.
Words have meaning.
You wouldn’t think this would be an outlandish statement but to many, it is. How often do you hear, “It’s just a word?” Words are the number one form of human communication. There is no such thing as “Just a word.” With that said, lets move on to what it means to “own” a word.
Owning a word usually means, “Taking it back” or “reclaiming” it. When a word is designated for a specific hate fueled use toward a specific group of people, it is those specific people that “own” that word.
I’ll be using the word n*gger as an example. This word has a very specific target and a very specific purpose. It was/is 100% negative and it was/is used to be a dehumanizing term toward one specific group of people. When Black people “reclaimed” the word, it was then taken to be used in a positive and jovial manner. They being the sole target, they could also be the sole reclaimer.
When a non-Black person uses this particular word, your intent may be anything but racism. However, the purpose of this word is racist. There is literally no other purpose. The sole reason it is not racist when a Black person uses it is because Black people are the sole target. The fact that Black people have taken this word and made it a common use of Black language, doesn’t change the fact that it has always had, does have and will always have negative and hate fueled racist connotations connected to it.
This is why it would be inappropriate for a non-Black person to use this particular word.
The only, absolute ONLY thing that doesn’t make this racist when a Black person says it, is that Black people are the specific target. With all this said, not all Black people say this word or want to be called this word by other Black people. None the less, it can not have the same connotations when coming from a Black person as from a non-Black person. Even when said in anger.
Racial slurs are usually a very different type word simply based on history. For example, the word f*ggot is a word that once had a different meaning but now means something very specific (within the USA) the N-Word is very specific to it’s terminology. There was never a “Different meaning” to it.
None the less, with the word f*ggot (within the USA) it’s usage has a specific meaning. Only a gay person can/should use this word.
For the bigots: Yes, I know. You have freedom of speech and no one can stop you from saying a word. Yes, you are quite the bad ass and we’re all scared. No really. We totally are. Anyhoo, if you’ll scroll back to the top you’ll see that I made it clear that the “ownership” in question was a ethical/moral ownership. Meaning, you can run around using your freedom of speech to say all the bigoted things you’d like. Just don’t forget that ethical people have the same freedom. When they call you a racist, a homophobe, a sexit, etc. They are utilizing the same freedoms that you are. You CAN but SHOULD you?
This week’s Summer Spotlight is going to put the spotlight on an initiative that makes the healing of the spirit and mind affordable, welcoming, and for Queer/Trans* People of Color. Welcome to Wild Seed Wellness. Their Goal?
Wild Seed Wellness (WSW) has an intentional and evolving commitment to being: Affordable, Accessible, Interdependent, Knowledgeable, Radical, and Creative
Wild Seed Wellness was founded by Massage Therapist (C.M.T.) Ana María Agüero Jahannes, She decided to center her focus on the needs of Queer/Trans* People of Color due to the unique ways their identities interact with stress. Clients have come to them talking about how they deal with the presentation of their gender, and how they often have few spaces that give them room to celebrate and validate their bodies. Ana wanted to fixed this, and she did by creating a space for QTPoC to congregate and heal safely.
In order to do this groundbreaking initiative justice, Ana has agreed to do an interview, and she has many lovely and informative responses! Let’s get started, shall we?
What was it that inspired you to get into therapeutic services?
In 2011, I founded Wild Seed Wellness in Oakland. Wild Seed Wellness offers affordable massage therapy for queer and trans people in color. Through Clinical Deep Tissue, Trigger Point Therapy and Thai Massage, I aim to find people who are ready to make a commitment to their own healing and want my guided, goal-oriented support.
In 2009, I was working with the Safe Outside the System Collective at my crush org, the Audre Lorde Project in Brooklyn. The S.O.S. Collective was really pushing boundaries of what it meant for QTPOC to live safely. We were talking about a Burn Out Retreat for staff and volunteers, but unfortunately I transitioned from there before I ever was able to participate. Nevertheless, it planted a seed. During the succeeding time of liberated exploration, I made freelance photography and massage therapy main hustles. Deepening my roots in queer and trans people of color spaces, my “clients” were all peers. And we were all burnt out. I recognized in me a desire to be a part of what now seems like a “self-care” generation of radical community organizers and activists reflecting on interdependent strategy.
What keeps me in therapeutic services, now in 2013, is my own process of healing. I have always been a gymnast, dancer and athlete, very conscious of my body’s extraordinary ability. But now more than ever, I feel empowered in my self-discovery and prioritize time to tap into deep, intrinsic knowledge, learn experientially and gather new information. It’s fascinating.
While learning a new language is a big commitment and anything but easy, it also enables us to communicate more readily with more people. Why not start with the alphabet? Try learning to sign the alphabet.
*I was unable to find a Native sign language alphabet video but one of the videos did lead to an interesting website. It won’t teach you about the native sign language alphabet but still a very interesting project to support!
It might take you a while to spell out what you want to say but it will help to start the communications!
Bring the joy of communication to someone who you’d otherwise have a more difficult time talking to!
*Note: Remember, learning to sign the alphabet is just a jumping off point. It’s not fair to ask someone to sit, wait and try to figure out what you’re saying while you spell out each and every word. Still, it’s a good start!
**Second note: I only know American sign language. If you know any of the other languages and feel that the videos I picked aren’t correct or you have a better suggestion for a video, please let me know. I’ll make sure all videos are updated before the challenge starts.
Does anyone know of a reputable place to help trace your lineage through DNA? I received a question asking for a good place. I did a bit of research but frankly, they all seem to be pretty much the same and that isn’t comforting.
Has anyone ever used one the kits from somewhere with positive results? Is there a company you vouch for? Any suggestions?
Go to Youtube and find a video of something that you loved when you were a little kid. A Cartoon, toy commercial, music video, etc. Something to reminisce as well as let your readers know about something that made/makes you happy!
Sharing something that brought you joy will be certain to bring joy to others!
On this Father’s Day/Second Mother’s Day, I am disheartened (though not surprised) by the amount of negativity. My Second Mother’s Day post was really a love post to my own Mother. Somehow, that turned into people saying horrible things about single Mothers.
Not single parents, mind you. Just single Mothers.
I know some of you have/had amazing Fathers. They should be celebrated. I am not trying to take anything away from you or them. Today, for me and mine, it’s a second Mother’s Day. That doesn’t make it any less of a Father’s Day for you and your’s.
With this, I am taking another hiatus. There is to much negativity here and playing on Tumblr is so much fun…until some a-hole forgets that not every post is specifically written about them.
If you’ve sent messages, I’ll be back to you by Tuesday. Otherwise, queue is set. I’ll see you in in a few weeks.
Be good to each other.
Some of you are still arguing with this horrible person over the Second Mother’s Day post and you should really stop. Their blog is only 2 months old and they post racist crap like this. They are a nasty, hate fueled person and their goal is to hurt people.
They are not worth your time and that post was supposed to be a good wish but has turned into an ugly argument over how every single Mother is a single Mother because she didn’t know how to “Keep her man happy.” (An actual quote)
Stop talking to them. Never talk to them again. This is a shit human being.
With Father’s day fast approaching, I would like to send a shout out to the people typically ignored on days like this:
- To the people with abusive fathers
- To the people absentee fathers
- To the people who don’t know their fathers
- To the people who cut their fathers out of their lives
- To the people with conflicting feelings about father’s day because their own father was a piece of shit but other men they know and love are awesome dads
- To the people who learned how not to be a shitty dad by not doing what their father did
- To the people whose fathers are deceased
- To the people whose fathers are locked up or deployed and/or can’t come home
- To the people trying to mend broken relationships with their fathers
You are not alone. If you don’t want to celebrate father’s day or you don’t want to talk to your father, that’s perfectly fine. Do whatever it takes to make sure you are healthy and happy.
cheers to us!
For the Mamas who had to be both Mother and Father, today is your day.
Just want to point out that I ain’t see shit like this for single father’s on Mother’s day. (nothing against the person I reblogged this from)
1-As long as I am the product of a…
Classic example of aint shitness. Second Mother’s Day more like Bitter Bitch Day or we could just shorten it to “Everyday”
Just for clarity, who is the bitter bitch? Me for respecting a Mother that did everything she possible could to take care of me on her own. Her for being alive and having zero to do with this conversation or you for being such an inferior little nothing that the idea of a woman being held up in a positive way so threatens you that you need to run to your nearest tower to abscond with what little depth of person you have left?
Your inferiority is not my problem. It damn sure isn’t my Mamma’s problem. That ugly face you see in the mirror is YOUR Mother’s fault, not mine.
For the Mamas who had to be both Mother and Father, today is your day.
Should a failure to plan or a failure to work things out with another human really be something to celebrate?
Should a single parent suffering and sacrificing for their child be something to celebrate? Yes, it should. I feel sorry for you, your parents and every person that comes into contact with you. You loathsome creature.