philosofunk

what if the worlds/were a series of steps/what if the steps/joined back at the margin


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Why Transgenderism Should Not Be Classified As A Mental Illness

A mental illness “is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom”. Currently, transgenderism is classified as a mental illness, it is called “gender dysphoria” by the DSM-5. However, it should be noted that what constitutes a mental illness has changed over time, for example, homosexuality was a mental illness until the 1970s. Essentially, “DSM-IV notes that “… although this manual provides a classification of mental disorders, it must be admitted that no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of ‘mental disorder.’ The concept of mental disorder, like many other concepts in medicine and science, lacks a consistent operational definition that covers all situations. All medical conditions are defined on various levels of abstraction”.

With this in mind, there are clear mental illness. Afflictions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are real illnesses that impair, cause distress, and severely cause suffering for the person with the illness. However, manipulation of science for the benefit of overarching social norms is also a human phenomenon which has historically had tragic endings, such as classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. There is evidence to support the claim that there are biological components to transgenderism, as there are obviously biological components to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, to argue this is the entirety of a reasonable assertion that biological components equate a disorder is incorrect.

For some, being transgender is a disruptive experience. Most likely everyone has adjustments to make and changes to adhere to as a result of being transgender. For most, having mental illness is disruptive, and most everyone has to make adjustments and changes as a result of having a mental illness. However, similarities are not exactitude. For transgender children, most happily embrace their identity because they have not been conditioned to fear gender blending and transgenderism. For mentally ill children, most suffer and are in a level of pain because they are experiencing symptoms of serious illnesses.

Gender is a socialized institution. Sex is a biological component of an animal. One prescribed set of criteria exists for one sex and another for the other, however, that paradigm is incorrect and misleading itself. There are actually naturally many biological sexes, including intersexed persons, and there are many gender combinations that play off the diversity in natural biological sex. This has not yet been a legitimized concept within the heteronormative societal structure because it threatens the idea of the gender binary and that heterosexualism is the normative and default sexuality.

If variation in biological sex is natural, and gender is a social  construction, then how can it be logical that transgenderism is a mental illness? It makes much more sense to accept that transgenderism is a natural outgrowth of the diversity nature has to offer within the animal kingdom than to label it a mental illness. The upset and instability that transgender people may experience due to their identity has less to do with the chemicals in their brain and more to do with the nonacceptance transgender people experience in daily life.

Gender dysphoria supports itself as a mental illness by claiming sufferers are experiencing distress due to not being the opposite gender. While this may be true, it should theoretically be easy to transition into the other gender; the person dresses as that gender, adapts the mannerisms of that gender, and goes by a name identified with that gender. The experience many have, such as Caitlyn Jenner, is one of fear that they will not be accepted and rejected by others around them because of their gender identity, one which has been labelled as both abnormal and a mental illness. This then causes them distress and harm which then gets labelled as a mental illness.

The next goal of the trans movement must be to get “gender dysphoria” of the DSM-V because it is degrading to those who identify as transgender and disrespectful to those with legitimate mental illnesses; people should not be labelled as mentally ill just because they are different.


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What Transgenderism Is

Today I was surfing Reddit.com when I found an excellent thread called “ELI5 [explain like I’m 5]: How are transgendered individuals different from other dissociative disorders?”. Oh boy, I thought, there is so much ignorance in that one small statement. I am a person who has a hard time remembering that ignorance  does not always equate meanness or small mindedness, it just means a person doesn’t understand certain concepts or lacks all the facts or hasn’t done the research to properly articulate a point on a certain subject. I am ignorant to certain topics, such as car mechanics, but that does not mean I am not intelligent. So, I had to take a minute to remember that just because this person severely lacked an understanding of mental illness and gender identity does not mean that they are being intentionally malicious. They started the question like this:

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So this person is familiar with certain mental health terms but has a poor understanding of what they mean or how they are applicable in the real world. This was important for me to note, because “the more I think about it. The more it makes zero logical sense” was an indicator to me that this person doesn’t really think about things outside their own perspective, and is hopefully operating on a smartphone because their grammar is horrific. From point one, it is important to remember that a solipsistic perspective is one that has incredible difficulty imagining the other side.

It is important to note that transgenderism is not a mental illness. Body dysmorphic disorder has nothing to do with transgenderism, dissociative identity disorder does not either. Body dysmorphic disorder is when a person obsesses over perceived flaws with their body. This is different from being transgender because having the social and physical identity of the wrong gender is not a perceived flaw, it is an identity expression that exists on a larger scale than is widely accepted by heternormative society. For transgendered individuals, something isn’t incorrectly perceived, there really is something wrong with the discrepancy between the identity they had accumulated versus the identity they feel comfortable with. People with body dysmorphic disorder often have the perception that they have fat where there is none, for example, something which has little to nothing to do with identity. Dissociative identity disorder is when a person has more than one personality states, which means they can become confused, withdrawn, or apathetic to their surroundings when they are in an altered state, that being the other personality. It is not like what Hollywood has typically portrayed the illness as, a person with a bunch of wild personalities going crazy. It is more likely that a person experiencing an episode of disassociation would become markedly different in attitude, rather than a sudden bout of ranting and raving. Certainly, a transgendered individual can have both these illnesses but neither is the cause of being transgendered.

A redditor (user or Reddit.com) more or less explained this point:

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Unfortunately, this did not fully clarify the point for the inquisitor:

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It is important to look at the number of “points” this received because it is indicative of how cis-gendered people view this issue. On reddit.com a member can up-vote something if it adds to the discussion, or down-vote something if it does not add value to the discussion. Sometimes dumber things can get up-voted depending on the relevancy to the reddit.com culture. This post got up-voted 52 times, meaning at least fifty-two people shared similar sentiments. This is a medium up-vote, its not hundreds and certainly not thousands like some posts get, but its enough to indicate that this is a shared feeling among cis-gendered people enough to not get down-voted like it would in queer circles or academic circles.

It is also important to read the last paragraph thoroughly. The poster says “it really bothers me that people are taking their own lives when they are such great people”, so this person is admitting that they feel no malice against transgendered folk, and that they just really do not understand what transgendered people are going through. Since there is no way to listen to tone on internet posts, so the last sentence can either seem condescending or genuinely confused depending on the reader’s internal reading voice.

Panda-pup has a fantastic explanation for sparkreason:

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It is a calm, comprehensive rebuttal. Transgendered individuals do not enter into altered states nor do they imagine things about their body to be true that are not. They soberly have understood something about the discrepancy between biological sex and socialized gender, and that they are not personally part of the heternormative gender binary that has been traditionally presented as normal. In fact, there are many genders and gender expressions like there are sexualities and sexual expression. For example, a person can be hetero-romantic and bisexual, or homo-romantic and pansexual. A person can have a penis and be a woman, this is a difficult thing for some people to understand because we have been taught to believe that biological sex and gender are the exact same thing. To live as a woman or to live as a man is definitely a lifestyle choice, they are not the same type of life. Obviously being human we have things in common, but there are clear differences in the identity of a woman versus the identity of a man, including masculine women and feminine men. To be genderqueer, or a clear combination of masculine and feminine qualities, or androgynous, or a clear ambiguity of masculine and feminine qualities, is also a clear lifestyle and identity choice. To be cis-gendered is for your biological sex to match your prescribed gender, which is what the majority of people are. However, there is logical and reasonable explanations to having a transgender or gender fluid identity.


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On “Authenticity”

I live a colorful lifestyle. Instead of corporate riches, I have chosen the wealth of freedom, bohemianism, liberty of knowledge, and learning hardcore street smarts. In the span of things, I am a bohemian at this point in my life, fleeting and flowing around without many things bogging me down, trying to find my place in the world. One thing that I have learned for absolute certainty, is that when there is a lack of resources, there is a wealth of what could be deemed “authenticity”.

Many years ago, for a university class called “Feminism Gone Wild”, I wrote a paper evaluating the concepts of authenticity, credibility and respectability with regards to African-American cultural values. I chose to evaluate Lil’ Kim (authentic and credible as a female rapper derived from both her hardcore lifestyle growing up in Brooklyn and inherited from Notorious B.I.G.), Oprah (respectable for being an American powerhouse, authentic for having lived through true hardships of the American South, and credible for representing female Black power in America) and Kobe Bryant (his reputation called into question due to rape allegations, but his ultimate solidification as a figure representing authenticity, credibility, and respectability within the African-American cultural dynamic allowed these allegations to have little negative affect against him) which resulted in a very entertaining college paper. Hopefully, I will find it again some day. Writing this paper expanded my alertness concerning reputation, behavior, and the values of a certain group one is operating within.

Over the course of the last month, in a post I hope to follow up on, I have gone through some intense personal experience, trials and tribulations of the very definition of a person and what it means to be human. As a bohemian, as to be expected, I am not a part of the elite class, but a part of what could be referred to as the underclass, the outlaw caste, and/or the fringe. Some of the people I have been friends with could be identified as “hardcores”, in the sense that when they fuckin’ do something they fuckin’ do it and they don’t fuck around about it even (and especially) if they are fuckin’ around. I am quite certain there are those who would refer to me as hardcore as well due to my high tolerance for chaos, fringe culture, strange experiences, and ability to carry on through extremely bizarre circumstances. To a degree, I always knew I had this in me I just did not know how it would manifest while I was growing up.

One thing I know for sure as a result of finding all these beautifully unconventional people is that, identity cannot be bought. No matter how much money you may or may not have, you cannot don another outfit and become another person. You cannot escape the wounds of moments past and turbulent emotions to flee into another version of one’s self. An orange is an orange, it is citrus, a bursting flavor of cleanliness, and it is vibrant in it’s color, so much so in the English language it is simply identified as an “orange”.

There are three types of people in the world: unmovable objects, unstoppable forces, and essences. It should be fairly obvious to one’s self what one is, and if one is strong in one’s identity, others should have no problem identifying it.

There is a fantastic documentary called “Paris Is Burning” about the Vogue Scene lived among the Black gay community in New York City during the 1980s and 1990s. Madonna took voguing from these people, a certain style of attitude, dress, and ultimately dance that she turned commercial and benefited astronomically financially while the founders were living in varying stages of decrepit urban hardcore living. These people were not elite, not rich, but wealthy in life and in struggles. Many were banished from their families and became their own families as a result. This is an extremely common experience for those of us among the fringe, an extended family beyond the bounds of blood, something forged must deeper of the mind. People who have not been a part of fringe movements may understand this in theory, but to actually feel like one is coming home to a family that was not created out of blood but mutual identity is a contrary familial experience to blood bonds. Neither one is richer or more rewarding in and of itself, but both have features that are both advantageous and disadvantageous. The documentary is a rich and insightful glimpse into how these people made it work, something of a catchphrase among American gays. Many of the people featured in “Paris is Burning” probably also suffered death from the AIDS epidemic, the name of which President Reagan refused to uttered until millions of Americans had died, because who cares about queers and junkies right?

The thing is, there are those of us who care about the people on the fringe. We care because they make the world infinitely more interesting. The people who live on the outside, who live in mystery and shadows, the people whose faces you look at and you see a vast novel behind the visage, the pages in the mind’s eye hidden in the pupils, those are the gems in the dust.

What is a house?

Does a house end when the wind whips your breath from your nose? Does a house end at it’s roof? Are the people within the house part of the house? The warm smells in the house, is that part of the house? Is the laughing, the crying, the sorrow, the seizing excitement, the shouts, the stealthy silence, part of the house? Where does the house end? Do you carry the house in your heart when you step into the world?

This corporate society can sometimes get me down. I don’t like measuring peoples worth based on their monetary value. I don’t like to see people as worth more than others simply because there is a financial system that has been rigged to keep few extremely rich with money and many extremely careful about money. The solve for this problem is beyond me, minds far wiser and of more education and intelligence have tried and failed, debated and philosophized about this matter. Simply, those of us who have infinite worth but are money poor must be proud. We must be proud for the beauty of our poverty, how objects take on new worth, how the sentimental value of something is beyond what the financial measure. We must also pity the extremely wealthy, those who have poverty of knowledge in the beauty of objects, who have become so jaded to the things that come with financial wealth, those who are tied like a chain to the monetary system and those who fear it’s collapse because “What if I’m poor?!?!”. The worst has already happened to us, we are poor, but we are fierce and we are more brave than those with a thousand rooms in their homes.

We find home with each other. We can go home wherever we are.


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“The Wire” Was Ahead of It’s Time (Part 1)

Note: I am not finished with the entirety of The Wire. Currently I am on season four, episode seven. Why do I love television so much? Because it’s story telling with words and images that is the same every time, there is no variation, there is no retelling, it is the one time presented, and you can analyze it over and over again. It’s not like oral stories passed on, the story itself remains the same but the significance changes over time. It is filmed in one era but can be viewed in another, making the experience different. The technological and anthropological significance of television is one that is truly intellectually underrated.

The Wire might be one of the most bad-ass, gritty, and provocative television series off all time that was not only revolutionary for it’s time, but the social concepts explored in The Wire continue to be possibly more relevant today than at the time of it’s broadcast during 2002 to 2008. The early millennial had not socially approached it’s next revolutionary epoch in America, the likes of which we are seeing in the next wave of liberation movements (gay rights, the fight for racial equality, a focused discussion on what modern feminism is), most likely because Bush was in office and everyone was really patriotic because of the post 9/11 environment and focused on several international wars we had going on. From a national perspective with white Americans in charge, there wasn’t a lot of time to talk about race. So unfortunately for The Wire, while it was critically acclaimed and an arguable work of television perfection, was praised and watched, but the saturated racial environment explored by The Wire wasn’t raw like it is now.

Flash forward, and under our first black President, a barrage of social changes are accomplished. Gay marriage is legal in 36 states, marijuana is fully recreational under one state and medicinally available in 23 states in some form, and there is a frank national conversation about how rape victims are treated in this country from a non-male solipsistic perspective. Granted, this did not all occur at once under President Obama (gay marriage and medicinal marijuana were “a thing” before his administration though clearly the ability of both those movements to gain momentum forward increased dramatically under Obama), but the more liberalized political and cultural environment and clearly brought changes.

However, as a nation, we are seeing a discussion on race relations that still has the ugly unsettled undercurrents and full swirl tsunamis of white supremacy and hatred against non-whites that pervades in the hearts of some in this country. With all footsteps forward come backlashes, and as everyone knows the scope and breadth of hatred is long-winded. Ferguson was a national tragedy, disaster, and embarrassment to justice. It also caused Chris Rock to make one of the funniest jokes I have ever heard concerning how social relations now function in the new cyber world, “I found a new app to tell which one of your friends is a racist. It’s called Facebook”, referring to the number of pro-Wilson sentiments that many white Americans were exposing, some in the process exposing the ugliness and irrationality of their racist thoughts. Indeed, I defriended at least two people as a result of their hateful racism displayed on my Facebook feed.

Back to The Wire, the first season is pure gold. I am a cinema and television junkie, and The Wire proved so masterful in it’s story telling, character building, and plot development, that the next seasons unfortunately haven’t captured the same gold shine, though they do gleam as works of the most advanced and rich television series to date. However, the rest of the seasons are not without merit. The first season is a work of drugs, sex, money, power, politics, and what lays beyond the veil of civilized and polite company. The rest of the seasons tell the tale of how it gets to be that way, and unfortunately some of the sexiness wears off. Season Four is spent examining the broken lives of Baltimore’s children, hardly a “sexy” topic and nor should it be, but one of incredible seriousness that shows the generational impact of times that came before a person was born.

John Rawls is considered a father of “liberal contractionalism”, or the philosophical concept that all human beings have an inherent obligation to one another by virtue of being human. On your first day in Philosophy 101 class in college, you are taught Rawl’s “Veil of Ignorance”, a mind exercise that asks the person to erase any and all concepts of identity. Pretend that there is no civilization, you have no identity, and you don’t know the significance of any identity characteristics behind “the veil”. Now, while you’re behind this veil, you create what you want society to look like.

Is it based on your identity characteristics, and which ones, and why, and for what reason, and how?

Most likely you would say something along the lines of an equal society, because human beings are by virtue, of merit in and of themselves.

What this equal society looks like, is up to your imagination. But remember, when the veil is lifted and you are in a wheelchair, without physical beauty, of the ethnic group out of favor, and of a limited economic status, do you want to be considered of less value than a physically beautiful able bodied person who is part of the majority ethnic group with a lot of disposable income? Remember now, you didn’t know your identity and what it meant under the veil. You were just asked what equal treatment of human beings looks like.

After The Wire runs us into the underworld, introduces us to where political contributions come from in inner city urban areas, what people do when they are put in potentially deadly environments, and a healthy swig of cop culture, it brings us to what happens to the children when they grow up in this environment. And this is what America was not ready for ten years ago, an examination of what police violence, racial tension, economic degradation, illegal drug markets and poor understanding and treatment of people living with addiction can psychologically wreck on children.

Ol Dirty Bastard of the Wu Tang Clan, one of the greatest hip-hop groups to help tell the struggle of the African-American identity and experience in inner city America, once said “Wu Tang is for the Children!”. Most people rarely understood the extreme wisdom of this rambling man, and what he meant was, us, the Wu Tang, we tell the truth. The truth, what you let children know and how you let them know it, is how they know the world. Wu Tang wasn’t about lying to the children, it was about enlightening them to the harsh reality with their story-telling.

In Part II, I hope to offer an analysis of why America needs to rewatch The Wire in order to pull away our veil of ignorance. 


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I’m a Queerist, and That’s Not a “Thing” (Yet!)

I *love* the1janitor on Youtube.com. He’s a social commentator known for witty remarks and wise insights. I think he is hilarious as a human and a cute dude. Often entertaining, he provides solid observations into things people might get too excited about to otherwise be articulate about. On this video, he talks about how the gender binary “isn’t a thing”.

“____ is not a thing” is a figure of speech coined by millenials, people of my generation, to illustrate the point that a commonly thought of phenemeon does not exist, and is sometimes asked as a question like “I got to Binghamton University the bearcats are our mascot. Are bearcats a thing?” (Yes they are!) Contrary to popular belief, the gender binary, or the thought that there are only two sexes, those being male and female, is not really a thing.

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT is often a reaction to this assertion. Maybe not as much in 2014, now that Facebook gives the option to define one’s gender beyond “male” or “female”, and that the non-heterosexual social movement of the early millennia has had such success.

Several years ago, I composed an academic paper about the atrocities intersexed and transgendered people have historically faced as a result of the medical institution’s endorsement that the gender binary “is a thing”. Did you know that often, when an intersexed baby is born, that baby does not actually have life threatening condition simply for being intersexed? It is actually better for that baby to grow up and choose what identity they will live under, and receive proper medical care for intersexed persons, not for persons born of normative male/female characteristics. Yet it is the norm that doctors make intersexuality out to be dangerous to the health of the baby to vulnerable parents, convincing them their child has a life threatening condition and that they must choose a sex, either male or female, for that baby right now and then authorize immediate surgery to make the baby “normal”. This can have devastating consequences for intersexed individuals both medically and in their identities as people.

My paper was called “Medical Ethics and the Transgender/Intersexed Communities: A Plea for Understanding and Reconciliation” and focused on how heteronormative gender codes have caused medical ethics to compromise the integrity of legitimate identities of transgendered/intersexed peoples and suggest harmful courses of medical actions. My plea for “reconciliation” in this paper focused on how the vast troves of power the medical community possesses could change the perception that the gender binary is “a thing” and cause recognition that gender and sex identities that run contrary to the male/female binary are legitimate identities. Some people aren’t intersexed nor trans. They decide to be “genderqueer”, or a combination of male/female features and characteristics. They are both male AND female while being neither male nor female. If you have a hard time comprehending juxtapositions or paradoxes, their existence will probably infuriate you. Please try to not let their existence make your head explode, and maybe try to work on your critical thinking skills.

In order to do this paper properly, I had to read a lot of feminist literature. Feminism, by definition, endorses the gender binary. You can try to argue with me about this if you would like, but you will lose (please try, though! I love a good, spirited debate). Historically, feminism has been very hostile in many cases to intersexuals and transgenders. Some of this literature was so hateful that I actually cried while reading it despite the fact that I am neither intersexed nor transgendered. I suppose maybe the tears came from the feeling and knowledge that my former feminist identity was being hatefully ripped to shreds by these really fucking mean women. I could not, in good conscious, continue to be a feminist knowing that this was a large part of the history of the movement. In modern feminism, I have not found this issue to be resolved or even of particular concern to many feminists. People having freedom to choose their identities and express themselves with liberty is a big concern of mine, it is part of my identity, and I had to let the label of “feminist” go.

So I invented something called “Queerism” or being a “Queerist”. In high school I defined as “bisexual” because I knew I liked boys and girls. Then, in college for about a year I labelled as a lesbian, but after awhile started having sexual relationships and then again romantic relationships with men. I could have gone back to the bisexual label, but one of the men I became involved with men was a pre-op transman, or a person born into a female body but who defined as a male and assumed the appearance of a male but had not undergone any surgery to physically alter his body. He did not fit the gender binary. I started to get to know things about the world and have experiences of all the worldly things that are complex and wonderful that make us individuals, and during the course of these worldy experiences that I discovered that sometimes I am attracted to people who do not fit the gender binary. This coincided with the semester I wrote the medical ethics paper on transgendered and intersexed people, so with all this knowledge I took on the queer label, instead of reassuming the bisexual label.

I have since come to know many non-normatively gendered people I have in my life. But many people wouldn’t see my former lover, or my family member, or several other of my friends as beautiful. They would see those people as disturbing, immoral, wrong, something to be destroyed. HBO currently has on demand one of the most heart-wretching documentaries I have ever seen (I’m a huge documentary junkie, I would definitely qualify myself as an authority on documentaries and this one was very well made, as most HBO docs are). It is titled “Valentine Road” about the murder of a teenage genderqueer boy. Non-normative gendered persons are staggeringly more vulnerable to being murder victims, a social fact that is found far less disturbing than it should be. I believe that queerism, as opposed to feminism, is needed as a national discourse because the recognition of genders and sexes other than the male/female binary will literally, quantifiably result in less violence in our society and lead to a more authentic, liberated identity expression that is actually more in align with what is natural, contrary to how we have been conditioned to recognize as true. For some people, a queerist movement is a matter of life or death.

If you think that the gender binary is “not a thing” and that genderqueer, intersexed, and transpeople should be able to live in the world with their full identities not only recognized but viewed as legitimate, then join me, friends, in making Queerism “a thing”.


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Christie and Me

Last week was Easter, a usually peaceful and family oriented holiday for those who practice Christianity. My family and I are not Christian, my parents were raised Catholic and converted to Tibetan Buddhism which was what I was raised, though during my childhood I was treated to Easter baskets and have fond memories of Easter like visiting my grandparents and throwing eggs up to the ceiling to crack them, an unusual Easter family tradition. Unfortunately for some families in California, Easter was not so peaceful this year.

To back track a bit, let me explain why I as a white woman have such an interest in combating racism and white privilege. My last post on Chiraq and Chief Keef admonished the state of violence commonplace to many Black Americans. I sent the post to a friend of mine who has wildly different political views than mine and told me that I have “too much white guilt”. Indeed, many other white people do not understand my undertaking of joining the fight against white privilege and many people of color are also inquisitive and surprised at how dedicated I feel.

 When I was little, I had a Korean friend named Christie who was one of my favorite people in the world. My mother is a very socially conscious person, and her intent in raising me was to follow in that vein. I have absolutely no idea how this conversation started, I could not have been more than seven at the time, but somehow we got to talking about race. The area I grew up in was mostly white, but I had friends of other ethnicities, a friend named Josie who was Black, a friend named Ihina who was Indian, so I understood that people came in colors other than white (or peach, as I affectionately call my skin tone). What I remember of this conversation with my mother was me saying,

“But Christie is white” because Korean people have light skin complexions which to me at the time was similar to my light toned Polish complexion, to which my mother said,

“But not everyone thinks that” which I am assuming was followed by a bit of a more nuanced explanation of what race is. The tone of the conversation had to do with why people would not like Christie because she was “not white”, which broke my heart because who on Earth would not like Christie? She was sweet and fun and smart and played a great game of hide-and-go-seek. This then prompted the devastating thought, which has shaped my worldview ever since, that because there were people who would not like Christie on the simple basis for what she looked like and who she was born to, there were people who only liked me because of what I looked like, and if I did not look the way I look (blonde hair, blue eyes) then they would not like me.

This was a lot for a seven year old to take in. It would go on to influence my defense of my love for hip-hop/rap despite being a suburban white girl (many of my fellow female peers saying to me “why do you like that its sooooooo misogynistic” to which I would roll my eyes because the rocknroll their parents were fans of surely did not champion feminist causes) and my general suspiciousness of other white people who insist “I am not racist” only to go on to make subtle (or blatant) racist comments. Whiteness is a club, there are rules, regulations, specified correct patterns of speech, to which I say fuck it all while looking like an Aryan princess (tall, attractive, blonde hair and blue eyes). People often get confused as to why I am so adamant about challenging this social structure that serves to bequeath the world to me. My rejection of these codes of conduct run further than what I am willing to examine in this post, but surely I will explore them further at some point in the future.

Then there are people like those a part of The White GeNOcide Project (spelling theirs). Slogans include sentiments based off of fear that diversity is a violence to white people, fear of miscegenation and the destruction of the “white race” and other things. If you clicked the link above, you read about how these people put “pro-white” racist sentiments in Easter eggs (without the permission of the property owners they disseminated these eggs on) to unsuspecting small children who were just trying to have a nice Easter. Jesus Christ (forgive my blaspheme). This is a violence done unto small children, their parents, and the community at large. This is the action of a group of hateful, smug persons who believe that their radical ideas give them the right to disregard commonly held beliefs of social propriety because they must save their fellow whites. Their arguments run like many self-proclaimed revolutionary beliefs do, declaratory, self-serving, without intellectual rigor, and wide sweeping, “ONLY White countries are expected to be for everyone. ONLY White neighborhoods are “not diverse enough”. ONLY White people are denied a place to preserve ourselves.” (if you’d really like to test the limits of your stomach, here’s a link to their version of events).

From my understanding of the holiday, Easter is supposed to be a joyful day where the savior came back to Earth and his followers could appropriately celebrate. From my understanding of Christianity, all humans are God’s children and thus valuable. From my understanding of white supremacists, their logic and ability to run arguments regarding the perceived “supremacy” of people with a melatonin-based genetic mutation boil down to something about Darwinism, hegemonic notions of dominance which equate superior human content, and blurry feelings that manifest in to utter hatred. The academic term for this is “fear of otherness”. They seem rather drunk on their own belligerence, demonstrated by this recent action of attacking the thoughts of children on a holy day of peace. I wonder what they thought they were going to get out of this perversion of a children’s’ religious activity. That these children would go on to become a part of their Aryan army? That these children would think “Yeah! Fuck Diversity! Diversity sucks!”? That the parents of the children would go “My god, we’ve been wrong this entire time thank the lord that these people have demonstrated the error of our ways!”? It seems that their actions have played into the hand of people like me, people who think that these people are illogical, fearful, and because of the immense amount of hate they hold in their hearts, socially out of touch and socially awkward toward normal folks.

But more broadly, even though the actions of Project GeNOcide are extreme, the basic sentiments of white solipsism are prevalent, like my friend who believes I have “white guilt”. This is a problem related to identity politics; many white people who misunderstand why demolition of the white privilege system is necessary assume that the idea behind this demolition is that white people should be ashamed of being white. My comeback to this accusation of having white guilt is that no, I am not a “guilty” person but I am a proud Polack (Polska na zawsze!) who recognizes a socially unfair and unequal system perpetrated against many of my fellow humans. Too many white people do not understand why the fight against white privilege is important and assume that it is an attack on their identity, an extreme manifestation of which is Project GeNOcide. We don’t have to be ashamed of who we are, but we should not participate and perpetrate a system that equates the color of our skin to the content of our character. 

Admonishing these weirdos who are a part of Project GeNOcide starts with examining one’s own experience in the world and how one benefits from a system of oppression, humiliation, denial of dignity, and implied superficial supremacy. I alone am often unsure of how to participate in this battle as a single white person. But I have an idea that it starts with recognition of what I have and what others are denied, and that I would be denied if only I had been born a different person. Its not about the content of my character, its about the color of my skin.

Hey Project White GeNOcide, get off my lawn.