the center is for suckers

I’m getting pretty fucking sick of cisgender, heterosexual, professional/upper class white dudes lecturing leftists on how shit our policies are and how little we’ve done for the Democrats. It continues today in the New York Times, in an opinion piece titled, “Back to the Center, Democrats,” by Andrew Stein and Mark Penn. Here is a taste:

Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.

This piece is full of useful advice for Democrats, such as, “restore the sanctity of America’s borders,” “reject socialist ideas,” “give up on both building walls and sanctuary cities” (side note: pray tell when progressives were into building walls; pretty sure that was all conservatives, and frankly, fuck you both for equating xenophobic walls and sanctuary cities), be nicer to the Catholics, and back tougher anti-crime/pro-police bills. You know, if I were going to write a parody of the asinine think pieces about how Democrats really need to get back to the center, it would look a lot like this loose stool Penn and Stein managed to squeeze out. Continue reading the center is for suckers




I am Asian American. I’m not a model minority. I am queer and a woman. I’m not a reason to go to war or economically devastate another country.  I made these specific signs because my people, my groups of people, have been used in service of oppression. Continue reading DO NOT WEAPONIZE US

white women, are you fucking kidding me

Yesterday, Libby Chamberlain, founder of the secret, Hillary-supporting Facebook group “Pantsuit Nation,” announced that she was going to publish a book based on the posts in the group. She said that the profits from the book will support her new nonprofit and other progressive organizations, such as the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. She said that nothing will be published in the book without express, written permission from the poster.  The comments exploded. Some are angry that she is going to be making a profit off of the group, even if that profit is not necessarily financial. Others are defending her, claiming that this will amplify the voice of Pantsuit Nation and raise money for good causes.

To be perfectly frank, for me, this is just the cherry on top of a year in which liberal white women* disappointed me more than I could ever have predicted.  These disappointments varied in degrees of seriousness, but altogether, they paint a picture of the tightly-woven fabric of liberal white women’s bullshit. Continue reading white women, are you fucking kidding me

trump and trigger warnings

The aftermath of the general election has looked something like this: a huge increase in reported hate crimes, a terrifying lineup of potential cabinet appointees, and truly the least passionate, least moving comments about all of this from our president-elect. “Stop it,” he said to hate crime perpetrators.  Not the most effective way to end terror, usually.

The aftermath has also looked like this: protests across the country about the results, a huge surge in donations to progressive organizations, and increases in volunteers for these organizations.  Some things are good; many things are bad.  We need more time than we have, to heal, to organize, to process, to grieve, to plan, to gather our courage and screw it to the sticking place.  And yet, even though we lack time, many people are already working and acting to mitigate the negative effects of the future administration and to continue to move forward from where we already are. Continue reading trump and trigger warnings

what was good about this election?

It’s almost over!! Haha just kidding! Well, kind of. But that’s not the point of this post. Anyway, this morning, I read a post about how to deal with negative emotions surrounding the election, particularly fear, stress, and anxiety.  It made me think about just how much a presidential election matters.  No, the president we choose in this one election is not the only thing that will determine our political, social, and economic future.  But our president is our head of state, as well as our head of government; part of their job is to represent the people of the United States to the world and to ourselves.  Our president reflects who we are as a country and a people (even if that’s an impossible thing to do), and that reflection can have a deeply negative emotional impact on those of us who are unrepresented.

Whenever I talk with my mom, she brings up the election and how anxious she is about it.  I talked to my former supervisor from my college, and she said the entire trimester has been emotionally colored by the election.  No matter which candidate you support (if any of them), it is hard not to feel despairing about the way that elected officials treat each other and discuss people in the United States, about the amount of money in our political system, about how difficult it is to feel heard, and about the widening of the wealth gap.  A lot of people are voting to prevent a candidate from assuming the presidency rather than to get someone they admire and believe in into office.   In short, everything feels super shitty.

I’ve been feeling all these negative emotions too. But, inspired by the post I read this morning about being mindful in the face of election-induced anxiety and fear, I want to think about the thing that could be positive about this stupid election: a LOT of people are dissatisfied with “the system.”  Continue reading what was good about this election?

locker room talk

Trump is at it again!  Within the last week, a tape from 2005 was leaked in which Trump said disgusting things about women that I don’t really want to repeat here.  Trump has defended himself by saying that his comments were just “locker room talk.”  There has been a huge backlash against his use of the phrase “locker room talk” by many people, and rightly so.  His aim with the phrase is not to point out the cultural nature of sexual violence, but to ask that people ignore the violence he perpetuated. And yet…I think he has a point when he calls it “locker room talk.” As many activists, academics, and survivors have already established, sexual violence is not an individual problem. It’s a cultural, institutional, and structural one. That means that sexual violence is not only perpetrated by actual rapists and abusers; it is also perpetrated when anyone uses or excuses sexually violent language, when an institution retraumatizes a survivor, when anyone touches someone without their consent (in a sexual way or not), when anyone makes the choice to ignore sexual violence happening around them.

Male camaraderie is often (but, of course, not always) built upon an ethic of violence.  Men often use misogyny, homophobia, racism, classism, and other forms of violence to bond. That means that some men who have never raped and will never rape anyone might laugh with another man about rape.  That means that some men will say things that objectify and degrade women, even if they never physically hurt a woman.   We can’t act like Donald Trump is wrong when he implies that it’s normal for men to talk that way with each other. The whole problem of sexual violence in our culture is that sexual violence is normalized. If rape and sexual assault and harassment and intimate partner violence were seen as unacceptable, we wouldn’t be living in a rape culture.

We should not excuse Trump’s comments, but we also need to contextualize them.  Trump is foul,  but he’s not the only who is.  Locker room talk is real, and as much as we need to hold Trump accountable for what he has said and done (at least 3 women have accused him of rape, including his ex-wife, a former business partner, and one who says he raped her when she was a young teenager), we also need to hold ourselves accountable for our own complicity in rape culture.  When people find themselves furious at one person for saying something particularly sexually violent, but not at the laws, businesses, law enforcement agencies, advertisements, and individuals who also perpetuate rape culture, that is a problem and a part of enforcing a culture of domination and exploitation. We DEFINITELY need to hold those accountable who claim to be disgusted with Trump’s words, but who perpetuate gendered and sexual violence in other ways (looking at you, every prominent Republican who has decried his comments!). And we cannot treat this as an anomaly, because it isn’t.  We live in a world where people say things like this every damn day, and until that doesn’t happen anymore, Trump is only a tiny part of the problem.