Monday, October 25, 2021

CONTINUING DISCUSSION OF RACISM, CLASS AND THE MOVEMENT

Home Forums Organizing for Social Change CONTINUING DISCUSSION OF RACISM, CLASS AND THE MOVEMENT

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
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  • #85846
    oldhead
    Participant

    This is intended as a continuing thread which can be resurrected at will when more immediate issues do not supersede it. Its purpose is to explore the dynamics of race and class in the movement and in general, as the two are closely intertwined. More specifically, it is aimed at overcoming divisions and divisiveness in the movement grounded in class and race. I’m also posting it to provide a “safe space” where those who were left feeling dismissed, invalidated or “triggered” in the wake of the “somewhat controversial” (MIA’s description) blog on “racism in the movement” can try to get some resolution. It is open to all comments which are not blatantly or deliberately racist, and no one here will be deferred to as “the expert.”

    I also want to emphasize that this is NOT a space for people who want to argue that white privilege doesn’t exist or that racism is not a major problem for the movement.

    With that said I’ll start off the discussion, but I don’t care for now if someone wants to take it off on a tangent:

    Since everyone (including Hillary Clinton for chrissake) has been talking about “systemic” racism, I think we should quickly see if we’re all basically talking about the same thing, for one. Then I think it would be good to explore if there are significant differences between how one is best addressed vs. the other. I believe there are, but have never really tried to articulate them. Thoughts?

    #85969
    oldhead
    Participant

    Kayla wrote [referring to http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/07/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-class/ ]:

    The part on class is very important. I often hear class being left out, or even dismissed when brought up creating additional problems…Hoping more people will join, and hopefully try to reconcile. Think we really need this, to make things better for all of us. Very trying times now.

    So maybe I can fuse these discussions, though first I would say that I don’t see any reason to euphemize the situation by pretending this was not prompted by the recent “racist movement” article, which can be criticized on many levels but certainly did force the issue into the limelight. However, the way it was handled, both pre- and post-publication, cannot and should not be ignored. A lot of unnecessary confusion and antipathy was created among people who at that moment more than any other should have been united fighting Murphy, and why this was allowed to happen needs to be explored so it doesn’t happen again.

    The reason I included classism as part of the topic is that in the U.S. race and class are inextricably intertwined. The corporate class is overwhelmingly white, and as such uses racism to maintain its hold over the population, a dynamic which plays out in may ways.

    As for the article, this is the sum-up quote for me:

    “All will be well, we lead our students to believe, if members of historically excluded groups are allowed to enter, in proportion to their numbers in society, the ranks of bosses, administrators, generals, and capitalists”

    This is the essence of what I and I believe others have been pointing out when challenging (don’t want to get hung up on the term) “identity politics.” Basically people wanting an equal share of the corruption, no matter what the effect is on the rest of the world, i.e. humanity.

    When I see all the academics who were sitting on the sidelines in the 60’s and 70’s with their fingers in the wind, and who are now professors being paid for intellectualizing what they were never a direct part of, it makes me think of the adage, “Those who can’t do teach.” I think the author touches on this in his own way.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by oldhead.
    #85996
    kayla
    Participant

    I do see a lot of these words, often used to either automatically mean something is correct, or should be dismissed. Guess the best thing we can do is try to offer the other side, when it’s not given, but also leave room for others. Right now race, and class, within the psychiatric liberation movement has come up.

    It would be nice to hear from more people on both sides of this. However specifically people have felt the psychiatric liberation movement has been racist. For example if any black person feels they want to be part of what we talk about here, but they don’t feel as welcome, then at least getting to a place this can be talked about. Maybe we won’t always agree, but I’d like to think we’re at least more open than other groups who claim to be accepting of race. Personally think it’s not always the case. Think class may play a role as well. Also think there’s a lot of false divide between voters.

    However, within all of that, there is some truth. Of course we’re going to be affected by some of this as well. Just hope we can realize a lot of these said solutions on anywhere on the pollitcal spectrum, can be corrected to psychitric opression. It’s been talked about, but think it should continuously discussed. Right, now race should be discussed, and I know that other factors contribute as well. However, just trying to think how this can resolved, and right now I think we at least need to get people on all sides talking. It was less about what was said, for me, and more about feeling psychitric opression was being pushed to the side again. However, do think there should be a discussion of racism, and our movemt that addresses everyone’s concerns.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by kayla.
    #86025
    oldhead
    Participant

    [quote quote=85996]It would be nice to hear from more people on both sides of this.[/quote]

    Not sure what this implies actually. I don’t know what “sides” you mean. Hopefully everyone agrees that fighting racism and understanding the role of white privilege is something we all should want to do. I’d say if there are “sides” they are primarily over how to do it.

    Talking about “being accepting of race” seems to imply anyone has the right or ability to be otherwise, it’s like saying “I accept the universe.” Is there really a choice, and why would it be an issue anyway? Saying you accept something implies that you have the power or legitimacy to reject it.

    Anyhow, I’m not saying that’s what you consciously meant, and I think you’re open to learning and exploring issues many want to avoid as besides the point, rather than jumping into the fray and risking being targeted for criticism. This is a good thing.

    One more thought — it might help to conceive of the problems we are examining from an understanding that unless we’re part of the 1% (or so) we’re all part of the same movement, whether it’s “moving” at any given time or not, which is the movement to overcome capitalist/corporate domination of our planet. Psychiatry is a tool of this domination and is used against EVERY oppressed group large and small. So there’s no way the struggles of ANY group targeted by psychiatry can be seen as separate from the whole; it’s an interwoven fabric. And from a simple perspective of self-interest it makes sense for all groups to unify in this fight against a common enemy. Trying understand one another is a prerequisite if we want to unite. (It’s also a good way to be in general.)

    And yes, it would be good if some of those who were actively grappling with these issues a week ago would return to resume the “forbidden” discussion.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by oldhead.
    #86027
    kayla
    Participant

    I said sides, for lack of a better word, I guess. Just wanted to hear from someone, or really anyone who finds said stuff in artical offensive eg saying psychiatric slavery.

    However, I meant sides the same way you meant it. Hoping if we can get more people of color to chime in, so perhaps we can all get a better perspective. Like I said, I do think it would be better in a conversation with more dialog.

    I agree we should talk about how to deal with any racism, and privilege form within. Guess, I’m more trying to at least start that conversation. However, if there’s any way you think would work better, to do this.

    Trying to speak specifically to the people who agree with the artical, but also encourage them, and everyone to join the discussion for now. Just don’t want things like this to go unresolved. There’s enough problems outside, and am just trying to encourage we try and see where everyone’s coming from. Am trying to do that as well.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by kayla.
    #86032
    oldhead
    Participant

    You’re doing just fine. We both seem to be treading water here trying to start a conversation and waiting for others to join in. Meanwhile it’s fine with me if we just talk to each other. Like I mentioned I think that, between this “racism” article and Murphy, people are still burnt out & frazzled, and not feeling conversational. (Personally I’m dealing with a sick and very precious cat, who has been taking up almost all of my energy this weekend.)

    Anyway, part of the problem is the way in which the conversation was simply terminated, but not before the authors took turns lobbing a few more verbal grenades which people were not allowed to address. (Not to mention re-opening the thread to include an additional supportive comment before re-closing it.) But it does seem like a lot of people may just be relieved that the thing is no longer on the MIA home page (which is also odd since yesterday it was at the top and cited as “most popular”).

    One of the most disturbing aspects of the authors’ approach was taking people’s opposition to the position taken against “slavery comparisons” to mean denial of the existence of racism and privilege. Not to overplay the “age card,” but I and others in the movement have been pointing out white privilege probably since before the authors were born.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by oldhead.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by oldhead.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by oldhead.
    #86177
    Ria
    Participant

    you said:

    More specifically, it is aimed at overcoming divisions and divisiveness in the movement grounded in class and race.

    and also…

    I also want to emphasize that this is NOT a space for people who want to argue that white privilege doesn’t exist or that racism is not a major problem for the movement.

    if you state that you will not tolerate criticism, you more or less ensure divisiveness. whereas if you say, “I would like to say a thing and you say it and we can discuss how we agree and differ”, that really does foster communication, as I see it.

    I will say and think whatever you like. I do not expect you to agree with my thoughts and feelings. please do not expect me to fall in line with yours.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Ria.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Ria.
    #86201
    oldhead
    Participant

    I would reply differently depending on whether your motivation is to indeed deny the existence of racism and white privilege, or to make a point about “free speech.”

    If it’s the former, I started the thread largely to discuss strategies for fighting racism and white privilege, not arguing about whether they exist, or whether the Earth is round, etc. If you want to argue about those sorts of things you can always start your own thread, no need to “fall in line” with anything, though I doubt you’d have much company.

    Is there something specific on your mind?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by oldhead.
    #86233
    Deena Hoblit
    Participant

    I may have misread your post. Are you trying to get a consensus of how we define racism? Or are you asking for our perspective on the weight of class and race within the mental healthy system?

    #86237
    Deena Hoblit
    Participant

    I’m not sure that these factors are as impacting as you might think. It would be easy to write off my view on race in psychiatry as a symptom of white privilege, but class is more problematic. I grew up with the kind of privilege and opportunity that only certain levels of affluence provide. My father’s background is in chemical engineering, but most of his career has been spent managing media and OSHA in instances of serious safety oversights for what is now AstraZeneca. For example, illegal dumping of chemical waste resulting in photos of a river of so many thousand suddenly dead fish rotting on the surface…. so not only did I grow up with wealth, I also grew up with a father who worked for a company that profits from the systematic abuses of the mentally ill. Neither of those made any difference for me. I still lost just short of five years of my life, and I still spent the better part of my life being a guinea pig for pharmaceutical companies. From my experiences, that psychiatric label defines us as disposable people. That seems to take precedence over everything else about us.

    #86295
    oldhead
    Participant

    Hi, good to hear from you. I don’t know how important it is to come up with a consensus definition of racism. I’m more interested, yes, in examining how both race and class “intersect” in the anti-psychiatry movement (though I should probably use a less loaded term than “intersect”). Also, I don’t think you were around last week to experience the now-infamous “racist movement” blog, which left a lot of people feeling dismissed and attacked and was then closed to further comments; anyway this left a number of people in need of some “closure” (also maybe not the best term).

    I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from arguing whether race or class is “more important” as a factor in psychiatric oppression; both play key roles and it depends a lot on the individual. You’re right that class status is no protection if you don’t “get with the program.” I would presume that your own experiences with psychiatry also involved at least some elements of sexism as well (not based on anything you said but on “business as usual”).

    #86299
    Deena Hoblit
    Participant

    No, I clearly missed anything about a “racist movement”. Do you mean people encouraging racism or an attempt at a discussion?
    Either way, I want to clarify that my comment was not intended to belittle or discount anyone else’s personal experiences.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Deena Hoblit.
    #86302
    Deena Hoblit
    Participant

    Also, Oldhead… I hope your cat is feeling better.

    #86317
    oldhead
    Participant

    Thank you. She’s going on 15 and has dealt so far with hyperthyroidism and cancer and just had some kind of eye hemorrhage. But she has lots of stamina so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    As for the article, I hate rubbing salt into a collective wound but you should know: https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/12/racist-movement-cannot-move/

    #86319
    uprising
    Participant

    Sorry to hear about your cat, oldhead. 🙁

    I stopped by to recommend a supplemental video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuYsHAEVJM0

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