Exploring Disability Justice

sins invalidCheck out the upcoming Sins Invalid show, happening October 14-16 in San Francisco!!

In our recent September dialogue, we set out to explore concepts and practices of disability justice in our lives and movements. Below are the resources we compiled for the dialogue, some background, and the questions we explored. Notes from the dialogue can be found here.

The term disability justice was coined out of conversations between disabled queer women of color activists in 2005, including Patty Berne of Sins Invalid, seeking to challenge radical and progressive movements to more fully address ableism (see ‘Principles of Disability Justice’ in the resources section below for more info). Disability justice recognizes the intersecting legacies of white supremacy, colonial capitalism, gendered oppression and ableism in understanding how peoples’ bodies and minds are labelled ‘deviant’, ‘unproductive’, ‘disposable’ and/or ‘invalid’. In our dialogue, we will explore ways to challenge the interlocking systems of ableism, white supremacy and gendered oppression.… Read more

Moving into Radical Self-Worth to Better Support our Movements — part 1 in a series

our liberation is intersectionalIn our struggles to take down white supremacy and patriarchy, we must each heal the ways we have internalized these systems of oppression. Otherwise, we end up recreating them — even in our liberation movements. This healing means different things to different people. We write this piece in particular for those of us who identify at what we often call the intersection of race privilege and gender(ed) oppression. The two primary authors of this piece identify as white, queer women (though those labels never seem sufficient), but we recognize that people invested in this conversation might identify elsewhere on the spectrums of race and gender. We write this in hopes of starting a conversation that we think has been missing. We write it because we need to acknowledge that not having this conversation is causing real harm to our mental health, to our resilience, and to our ability to sustain hope.… Read more

Creating “Safe” Neighborhoods: A reflection on my neighborhood’s private patrol — and what to do with my disapproval

Like many Oakland progressives, my political alarm went off last year in response to the trend towards middle income and affluent neighborhoods hiring private security guards. For Oakland at least, the private patrol debate is relatively new, but it raises many familiar concerns about racial profiling and the feeding of racialized fears by misrepresenting the dangers of city life. Here I reflect on my learning from engaging in the patrol debate in my own mostly white, mostly home-owning neighborhood.

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Since the hiring of private security strikes me as yet another example of those with class privilege investing precious time and money in methods that disproportionately target black and brown people and contribute to the increased privatization of our lives,  I felt grateful not to be in a neighborhood contemplating a patrol — but soon enough it was my turn. In mid 2013 some people in my area began meeting to plan the hiring of our own security guard.… Read more

Reclaiming Mother’s Day

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 5.32.16 PMAs Mother’s Day approaches, the White Noise Collective is once again faced with more questions than answers about this national holiday with a rich but forgotten history. We all agree that the current mainstream celebration of Mother’s Day — adorned with endless plastic, fuzzy and floral ways to express your annual appreciation to your mother — are at best a capitalist co-optation of a holiday that was originally meant for a completely different purpose.

Harnessing fierce maternal love in all its forms, we offer this blog with a compilation buffet of food for thought and critical reflection on the his/herstories of Mother’s Day.

In its inception, Mother’s Day was intended to be a day for women across the world to band together in opposing war and promoting peace. As Ruth Rosen writes in her article about reclaiming Mother’s Day, “The women who originally celebrated Mother’s Day conceived of it as an occasion to use their status as mothers to protest injustice and war.… Read more

WPC 15

As the White Privilege Conference launches in Madison this week, the White Noise Collective is reflecting on all of the amazing and difficult learning that happened for us last year at WPC 14 in Seattle. We continue to explore ways in which we can end up perpetuating the same white supremacist mentalities we aim to bring awareness to and disrupt.

Read more of our learning and reflections from last year: http://www.conspireforchange.org/?p=1054

Best of luck and learning to all of you in Madison this year!

Liberate Halloween Action Kit!

They’re ba-ack! (shudder) With Halloween quickly approaching, and costume shops like Spirit Halloween opening their doors, many of us are cringing at the thought of another Halloween full of racism, sexism, heterosexism and the full range of offensive apparel we annually witness.

In response, we offer up a toolkit to those who wish to be a part of resisting the dominant paradigms that plague this season. Let’s make this be a season to reclaim and expand our expressive imaginations from being steered into narrow, tired, offensive and uncreative marketing channels.

Not sure what exactly is so offensive about certain Halloween costumes? 

The Sexy Debate

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The “sexy” costume phenomenon is complex. On one hand, women ought to be empowered and have the freedom to dress as they wish without fear of the all-too-common repercussions – slut-shaming, violence and objectification. We ought to be able to dress as we wish without having to fear that we are reproducing tired, binary gender stereotypes.… Read more

Reflections on White Women by White Women in Light of the Zimmerman Verdict.

While the “social media moment” may have passed, the Zimmerman verdict represents just one of countless examples in an on-going pattern of unrecognized white privilege lending justification to violence against black men.  The need remains to continue the conversation about this case, particularly with respect to this pattern. One element of the pattern that is specific to white women is our stereotyped role as virtuous victims who need protection from “bad guys.” Looking at the Zimmerman trial with an eye to this narrative reveals how the verdict was shaped by the white female judge’s decision to frame the case in terms of Zimmerman’s fear, the white female jurors’ description of their key decision as a response to fear, and the significance of the white female neighbor in justifying that fear.

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The virtuous victim narrative runs throughout the history of our country, reinforced to this day by media representations of white women.… Read more

A Visual Response

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How does experience of white/female socialization create a brick-wall enclosure, holding in my dream of myself and others? How do my thought patterns, my conceptualizations of relating to myself and others, enforce these bricks?

I feel I’ve made these bricks to model a brick I was handed at birth, collecting more over my lifetime, painstakingly making them in my mind’s workshop, firing them in my heart’s oven. The momentum in my life of white suprematicist privilege and body/beauty norm, nationality, literacy, class privilege overlapping with my experiences of gender, sexuality, and ability oppression create complexities that cannot be encompassed in brick walls. I feel a need to express my complexity through working collaboratively with others to tend spaces that allow for dialogue between multiple complexities. Beyond the brick story, into the living story.

I don’t want to make more bricks. I want to tend dirt and see what grows.

Protests Today Over Irvine Eleven Verdict

Protests erupted across the country this Tuesday, October 11, in the wake of a guilty verdict in the case of the Irvine Eleven. On September 23, a California jury found 10 of the eleven Muslim students guilty of disrupting the Israeli ambassador’s university speech about U.S.-Israel relations. The Orange County jury declared 10 of the 11 University of California, Irvine students guilty of two misdemeanors each: conspiring to disrupt a meeting and disruption of a meeting. Charges against the eleventh student were dismissed before trial. The defendants were given three years of informal probation (!), plus 56 hours of community service. The judge also ordered them to pay $270 in fines.

Six defense attorneys argued that the students, seven from UC Irvine and three from UC Riverside, were only following the norm of other college protests and were being singled out because they are Muslim and Arab and the speaker was Israeli.… Read more

Protests Planned in Response to Guilty Verdict for Irvine Eleven

In Orange County, California, it may have become a crime to be a Muslim and an activist.

On February 8, 2010, eleven Muslim students on the University of California at Irvine campus disrupted a speech by Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. in protest of his refusal to acknowledge Israel’s war crimes and violations of humanitarian law in the Gaza strip. The students were hauled out of the speech, arrested, and now face criminal misdemeanor charges. They may serve six months in jail. On November 10, 2010, five Jewish students in New Orleans disrupted a speech at the Jewish General Assembly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a similar protest. The students were escorted out and released. No charges were filed.

Almost a year after the Irvine protest, in early Feb 2011, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed CRIMINAL charges against the 11 Muslim students, 8 from UC Irvine and 3 from UC Riverside, charging them with two misdemeanor counts, for conspiracy to disrupt a speaker and for disrupting Oren’s speech.… Read more