“The problem with English is this: You usually can’t open your mouth and it comes out just like that—first you have to think what you want to say. Then you have to find the words. Then you have to carefully arrange those words in your head. Then you have to say the words quietly to yourself, to make sure you got them okay. And finally, the last step, which is to say the words out loud and have them sound just right.
But then because you have to do all this, when you get to the final step, something strange has happened to you and you speak the way a drunk walks. And, because you are speaking like falling, it’s as if you are an idiot, when the truth is that it’s the language and the whole process that’s messed up. And then the problem with those who speak only English is this: they don’t know how to listen; they are busy looking at your falling instead of paying attention to what you are saying.”—
In a way, immigration is already a queer experience. Immigration creates ruptures of time, place, homeland, family. It creates scattering, and forces a breakdown and rearrangement of identity. Immigrants are made to reformulate their communities and support systems. Detention centers are harmful for everyone. Our solidarity is with all immigrants and undocumented people, not just those whose genders and sexualities fit under ‘queer’. Our commitment is to detention abolition broadly.
For us, #queeringimmigration means challenging immigration dialogues to include an analysis of gender and sexuality-based violence, and challenging queers to show up for immigrants of all genders and sexualities. To support immigrants constantly and materially. To show up.
Juan Carlos Romero seems like a typical New York City college student. He has a shy smile featuring wire braces, and he lives with his parents and sister in the melting pot neighborhood of Jackson Heights in the borough of Queens. But he shrinks from talking with friends at school about spring break plans or summer vacations.
“It’s disheartening, I don’t know too many undocumented people, so when they talk about traveling and doing all sorts of fun stuff, I just have to stay away and avoid those conversations,” said Romero, 20.
He and his sister, Denise Romero, arrived in New York from Mexico with their parents when they were 8 and 10 years old, respectively. Like many of the other estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, the Romeros knew life in New York could be tenuous. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security, more than 1.8 million people have been deported since President Barack Obama took office. That number is expected to reach 2 million this month.
“Americans define racism as individual, overt and intentional. But modern forms of racial discrimination are often unintentional, systemic and hidden. The tropes and images of the civil rights era reinforce the old definition. People taking on new forms constantly look for our own Bull Connor to make the case. We can find these kinds of figures. But there’s inevitably debate about whether they truly hit the Bull Connor standard, as we can see in popular defenses of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Rick Scott. Politicians, employers and public administrators have all learned to use codes for the groups they target. The notion that all racism is intentional and overt is a fundamental building block of the false solution of colorblindness.”—Rinku Sen, at ColorLines (via thesmithian)
“If someone calls you out on your white privilege, they are not marginalizing you. Plain and simple. They are asking (or telling) you to be aware that you were not born in a vacuum and that your skin color and ancestry have a very specific meaning in this country, a meaning that affords you and your ancestors certain advantages, perks, or benefits that a large portion of this country do not experience and are prevented from accessing, simply because of their skin color, nationality, ethnic and/or cultural practices, sexuality, and so on. You can deny it all you want, but that doesn’t mean the system will cease to exist with your denial. Your denial means that you are individually choosing to continue to support a system that has, I’d argue, the most far-reaching and damaging effects on communities of color in this country. Your denial of white privilege doesn’t mean that less Blacks and Latinos will be incarcerated in their lifetime; it doesn’t mean that Black, Latino, and American Indian women will no longer be making the lowest income among all groups in this country; it also doesn’t mean that queer youth of color will suddenly no longer experience disturbing rates of homelessness in Los Angeles County. Your denial of your privilege perpetuates inequality and is offensive to us folks of color who have to fight uphill against a system that devalues (and sometimes exploits) our cultural practices, our languages, our countries, our his/herstories, and our unique experiences and struggles in this country.”—Affirmative Action Is Not Reverse Racism: Check Your Privilege (via musaafer)
Migration is beautiful mostly for the colonizer, who gets to dabble in “exotic” foods, be enriched by our “exotic” tongues, obtain a cheap labor force, and benefit from the innovation that new migrants bring. But migration can also devastating and disruptive for the vast majority of us—who are uprooted from our homelands, live without seeing close family members for years, continuously traumatized by assimilation efforts, and virtually imprisoned within the walls of the U.S.
“You know what’s really, powerfully sexy? A sense of humor. A taste for adventure. A healthy glow. Hips to grab on to. Openness. Confidence. Humility. Appetite. Intuition. Smart-ass comebacks. Presence. A quick wit. Dirty jokes told by an innocent-looking lady. A storyteller. A genius. A doctor. A new mother. A woman who realizes how beautiful she is.”—Courtney E. Martin. (via youremyconsolation)
“A woman of color’s self-love is political and radical, and it is unsettling for the status quo because she is choosing bravely to dismantle the narratives of racist aesthetics against her. So when people bully a girl of color for being content and satisfied with her appearance - a reality that is subjected to racist, sexist slurs in cosmetic industries - and when they tell her to be “humble” which is normative code for “Nah, you’re not special, you’re not light and delicate in a Eurocentric way” then she has every right to chew their hearts and spit them out. A non-white girl’s self-love is revolutionary and anyone trying to water it down needs to back right off.”—
The revolution will not be cited. It will not have a bibliography, or a title page. The revolution will never happen in the seclusion of the ivory tower built by racist, sexist, and classist institutions. Professional academic researchers in the social sciences of many colleges and universities exploit the struggles of oppressed peoples. Oppressed peoples are left stranded with little to no resources after researchers leave their communities high and dry.
Researchers steal value from oppressed peoples by making them the subjects of theoretical research without lending them access to information that could better help their communities. Articles, books, and dissertations written about marginalized populations are written for academics, not working people, and as such have little impact on the people whose lives are the subject of this research. Liberal academics and social scientists are more concerned about developing the wealth of academic literature than addressing the immediate material concerns of the communities they research.
So, there’s a post by Michelle Goldberg being shared and re-tweeted that talks about the Toxic Twitter Wars of Online Feminism. This post a classic example of how white supremacy functions as an online phenomenon.
“I spent much of those first few years in the States watching Nightline* with my parents,” Roben says, “and witnessing Dad freak out women at the supermarket. You see, he liked holding hands of complete strangers to get his heavily accented point across: ‘Hi. Would you geeve to me a date?’ He was trying to buy pitted dates.”—Roben Farzad in this NPR story on Iranian-American Jews. (via fesenjoon)
The internet, always on top of it, responded with #DeportBieber, which put young undocuyouth in an interesting position — basically they were asking, “Should we support this douche?”
I think Prerna Lal had a pretty spot on commentary over at Racefiles — bringing to light the racial disparities when it comes to white vs people of color interaction with immigration enforcement. After all, undocumented people of color have been deported for much less.
Hence, with the magic of selfies, microsoft paint, and understanding of white privilege #undeportable was born.
#Shouts to Yessica Gonzalez for sending the spawning Snapchat!
“We are feeling like homosexuality is a crime everywhere … there is not any protection here,” said one of the men.Their yearlong journey across more than 10 countries to seek asylum in the United States.
“Because we were not in our country, we could not use our own language, and so when we spoke our voices came out bruised. When we talked, our tongues trashed madly in our mouths, staggered like drunken men. Because we were not using our languages we said things we did not mean; what we really wanted to say remained folded inside , trapped. In America we did not always have the words. It was only when we were by ourselves that we spoke in our real voices. When we were alone we summoned the horses of our languages and mounted their backs and galloped past skyscrapers.”—From We Need New Names, a novel by Noviolet Bulawayo