Word Matters/Words Matter:

On ableist language, the words we
use and alternative discourse

Also posted on the Facebook page of Radical DISability
https://www.facebook.com/notes/radical-disability/word-matterswords-matter-on-ableist-language-the-words-we-use-and-alternative-di/1746544745582960

This is a work in progress of a collection of links on ableist language, with the most recent additions on the top of the page.

 Links

Alternative Discourse

When we give up ableist language we leave room for actual analysis and discourse. Ableist language is essentially supremacist, so if we’re really fighting for social justice, stigmatizing people with cognitive, physical or emotional DISabilities not only perpetuates the marginalization of DISfolx, but also obscures the real problem with what every behavior or ideology we’re calling out. For example, when we say “Stupid White Men”, we not only disparage people with cognitive DISabilities, we also give capitalism, imperialism and institutional racism and sexism, a pass. We fail to provide real analysis, and instead resort to lazy name calling. When we CALL IT WHAT IT IS, instead of using ableist slurs, we actually provide the possibility for deconstructing systems of oppression instead of simply rebranding bigotry to fit one’s own entitled supremacy based on superior intellect or ability.

Stay tuned. More to be added in the future!

Cross Generational Trauma: a resource of links

Cross Generational Trauma: a resource of links
(Work in progress. I especially need links regarding restorative justice. Also, please post your favorite links on this issue.) Links on the ongoing exploration of cross generational trauma, something that has impacted my lineage and my life tremendously and must inform our activism and policy as we try to create systems of support and determine reparations. Some links posted for future reference. Please feel free to comment on the links and critique their premises. Some basic concepts to consider as we recognize and explore recent evidence that it’s not just socialization and psychological behavior that explains the cross generational transfer, but that the trauma actually is in our DNA.
  1. The wisdom of our ancestors– what has been lost, stolen, forgotten and abandoned– language, customs, wisdom, healing, is also in our DNA. We embody in our cellular memory all the hurt, but also all the love and knowledge of our ancestors.
  2. It stands to reason that it is not just victims who carry the DNA memory, but also the perpetrators. They two carry with them– entitlement, power, abusiveness, violence, guilt. Their inheritance isn’t just the monetary inheritance of centuries of theft and enslavement and exploitation, but the entitlement of and power gained from the abuses inflicted on our ancestors.
  3. That is, power and powerless carry with us, into each subsequent generation this relationship of owner and slave, colonizer and colonized, Abuser and abused, Victimizer and Victim.
  4. I reject the rejection of the term victim. The assertion by many that we choose to be victims, we perpetuate the systemic and cultural tendency to blame the victim, either for their victimization in the first place or in their healing and response afterward. By thinking we, individually can step outside of this history without collective work and collective healing and accountability is to side with oppression and perpetuate abuse. Blaming the victim is the religion of systemic and cross generational trauma. Another term for victim that can be used, is “target” and the term “survivor” is also acceptable, but with the understanding that there is nothing more moral about being a survivor than having not survived. It is NOT a choice. To privilege survivors over those who were massacred is to embrace essential white supremacist ideologies of fitness and worthiness.
  5. I reject the idea that soldiers are victims. Soldiers are perpetrators. If perpetrating violence is traumatic, then that’s easy– stop perpetrating violence.
  6. Trauma is insidious– it can make us lash out at the what triggers us, which may NOT be what caused the trauma or the flashback at all. Like the child who dives under their chair when a plane passes over head, miles from the location of the trauma of war, where passing overhead planes meant the dropping of bombs, those of us in communion, where spaces are actually safe, are not the source of the trauma, just because we are the location of the trigger. It is the work of our PTSD healing to learn to recognize the difference between danger, and the flashbacks that come up when we are safe.
  7. I also want to point out that POST Traumatic Stress Disorder, may not be accurate. Much trauma is not only in the past, the distance past and our DNA, but is ongoing. It is exceedingly difficult to recuperate from ongoing trauma because the wounds are not only fresh, but are constantly being reopened.
  8. Terms like “Children of the Holocaust” and “Post Traumatic Slave Disorder” are headlines here, for the much larger body of work on trauma among Jews and African Americans, respectfully. I use those terms because they also reflect the narrative within those communities, even where the issue of cross generational trauma may be greater than the scope that term may imply.
  9. too often because of its scope and intensity, 6000 years of who Jews are and what we’ve done and what’s been done to us gets encapsulated in the 6 years of the Shoah, and now it Israel. As if aside from 6 years of being the victims of genocide and 60some years of being the perpetrators, is the sum of all we are. (That’s not the narrative, the narrative is that there is some redemption and deliverance for the years of suffering, via Zionism).
  10. The Shoah (Holocaust) came out of years of abuse and genocide– expulsions, crusades (where many Ashkenazi Jewish towns were massacred by the invading armies on their was to the Holy Land), pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, ghettoization, more expulsions, humiliations, incarcerations, segregation, discrimination, etc. Jewish trauma, specifically in Europe, reaches back hundreds of years. For Jews who were not in Europe, the Shoah impacted them in Northern Africa, and the trauma for non-European Jews was most experienced as colonization in the particular geographies of location. The Holocaust studies on cross generational trauma can inform the larger discussion on cross generational trauma, but it is not an isolated event. That degree of racism doesn’t just pop up like a camping tent and disappear just as quickly. The study of Holocaust survivors and their children is very important to this discussion on cross generational trauma, and it provides a very clear and distinct set of data, but there may also have been a predisposition to those genetic changes and the other changes that were passed on to children, due to the centuries of abuse and a much slower genocide, particularly for European Jews. (And by European Jews I am referring to Jews who were geographically in Europe, which would predominantly be Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, but would also include many North African Jews and Middle Eastern Jews, in Europe.)

Topics:

Children of the Holocaust

(And other Jewish traumas, but this was the title of the book that started the current discussion on cross-generational trauma)

Post Traumatic Slave Disorder and Cross Generational Trauma in African Americans

Native Americans and DNA evidence

Childhood Trauma, particularly ongoing trauma and violence

General Research and Cross Cultural Considerations

Responses and Resources for healing:

Restorative Justice

(What it is and what it isn’t)

Meditation and Healing

Bearing Witness

Plus Sized Women of a Certain Age

Or: Who Brought Girdles Back?

All the plus models are young, all the older models are thin and some of us wear flats! So what’s up with the heels and the spanx? Our grandmothers wore girdles. We gave up that shit in the 60s and now the fashion industry is convincing an entire generation of young women to bring them back.#spanxaregirdles #nospanxnothanx #heelsdontdefinebeauty#wecantalllooklikejanefondalillytomlindianekeatonandkateysegal #pantsuitsareugly  What do women of a certain age wear? Plus Model Magazine????

You can follow me on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/emmarosenthal

Facebook screenshot of the fb post from my page, with the text of this blog post

Inspiration Porn: links on the subject

This is a constant work in progress with newer articles and finds posted to the top of the page.
 One PWOD activist chastised me for using the term “inspiration porn” because it detracted from and minimized the damage and injury of “real porn” , but inspiration porn IS real porn. It is the depiction of a dehumanized and objectified person as other, for the gratification of the gaze of the viewer. It is everything porn is– exploitation, dehumanization, objectification, commercialization, abuse. We deserve to use that term an name our experience without the additional gaze of those who think liberation, revolution and justice doesn’t include us or can be carried out without us.

Dangerous Neighborhoods: Cyber abuse, harassment and threats: Women online.

BY Emma Rosenthal

A constant work in progress, new material to be added until the abuse stops. 

Most people when abused, cyber stalked, harassed and bullied, quietly go away. This makes it easier to start over. There is no trail of them making a fuss. Fewer people will know about the abuse. Because abuse attracts more abuse. Once you are marked as a target there is a popular notion that you brought it on yourself, that there must be some truth to the accusations, that you are an easy mark.
I am not a good victim. I go down screaming. I leave nail marks in the wall. I spin the wheel of the car to escape. I write about it. I will tell the story. I want my victimization to be known. I want those who read this language to be warned. I leave a map so others will know where it is safe to tread. I do not give my abuser the luxury of moving on, not that easy.
I am disappointed in many people who run away. Who do not talk down the abuse, who pretend it is not their comrade or their community. Who participate in the illusion that it is ever about the victim or their reaction, or that this is at all personal.
There are models of community accountability. Public ostracism, threats and character assassination is never acceptable. We must start to understand too, that when one person is targeted, none of us is safe. Bullies will choose the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t make the online abuse any less a community issue. Supporting the victim is a collective responsibility. Failure to do so is a collective failure.
Abusers that go unchallenged will continue to abuse, will gain power each time they are allowed to get away with the abuse.
 Those committing character assassination must hurl accusations they know are not true. If they were true, one could rebut, respond, make amends, demonstrate accountability. This would not serve the assassin. For the assassin it is important to destroy the opponent, not change them. A series of false accusations, to which the accused can’t honestly confess is much more powerful in providing the illusion that the person under attack is not willing to dialogue, not willing to take responsibility. But one cannot be responsible for the false accusations hurled at them, like stones at a stoning. It is the fault of the one who throws.
In our on line lives, proof is so much easier than in our analog world. Before believing an abusive tirade or an underhanded compliment demand proof. Don’t go along for the ride. Accountability requires evidence. Make them show receipts.

LINKS:
(Most recently added articles, first)

The Amazing Disappearing Emma

Or “Emma, Emma where have you been?”

Well I’ve not been here or my other blogs as much. Mostly I’ve been on facebook, where interaction is more immediate. I post my informal rants, which initially would have shown up here, on facebook, where I can have more interaction. People respond there. The comments here are not as interactive and not as frequent. There’s a hierarchy between blogger and reader that isn’t a factor on facebook. So facebook changed the way I use blogging.

And I got tired of writing up every, single. time. I. endured. humiliation. or. abuse.

With DISability, it’s everywhere, every time we leave the house, and often in our homes too.

I’ve changed the way I write DISability. I used to write it “dis-ability”, but write it “DISability”, now. Both writings emphasize the social construct of DISablement– that it is what is done TO us, that it is not what ever condition or nonconformity we have, but rather, the social construct of isolation, segregation, institutionalization, discrimination, clientization, infantilization, etc. But “dis-ability” won’t show up in an internet search for “disability”, and “DISability” does. So I think that’s an improvement.

I’ve also (going back to the indignities) added the lexicon that distinguishes caretaker from caregiver. How significant and curious that these two words are considered synonyms. Since when is “taker” and “giver” the same? So I use “caretaker” to mean an abusive person who is assigned or assumed the care of a DISabled person, as opposed to “caregiver” who is someone who gives empathic, attentive and loving care. Clever, huh? Thanks! I think so.

I’ve also been really, really busy, and focused on survival, the house, getting through the day, managing my health, dealing with the imposition of aging, staying closer to home.

Recently I’ve limited my social interaction, including on facebook, which is perhaps why I’m blogging again. The abuse of DISfolx is just so rampant, and socially tolerated, especially in social justice, human rights and educational communities and environments.  It’s just unbearable. As I’ve said before, I can expect a humiliating, dangerous or violent experience almost every time I leave the house. So I’ve withdrawn a bit. I go out when I have to, shop on line when I need things, work out of my home, create community closest to where I live, and budget the amount of abuse I have to sustain. Or so I thought. I was happy working here, at DragonflyHill Urban Farm, working with people I love, creating a supportive community, where each person’s needs isn’t seen as a burden, but an opportunity for greater sustainability. (For example, my inability to stand for long periods of time, means I need meals prepared for me, resulting in our huge community breakfasts, and everyone starting the day together, with a healthy meal.) And then the city proposed a home sharing ordinance that would wipe us OUT. I’ve been writing about that a lot on the DragonflyHill blog, and will be writing more, in the coming days. I’m especially interested in how the rhetoric against home sharing pretends it’s a violation of housing, human, DISability, workers, rights, when it is ESSENTIALLY about all of those. Home sharing provides jobs and housing for people, many of whom are outside of the labor force, including people with DISabilities, undocumented workers, formerly incarcerated and otherwise marginalized folx.

There’s also the illusion that it’s passive income, when it is not. We work so hard here–all of us– essentially domestic work, which is why those pretending home sharing is taking away jobs and housing, can get away with that assertion. Shame on them for perpetuating and exploiting devalued and essential domestic labor as easy and valueless.

Getting this business off the ground has been a daunting task, and what little strength I have has gone into this. I think we’ve finally got to a point where I can clear my head enough to even consider blogging again, more regularly. Social media is mostly my job on the farm, and I think I’ve finally found my groove.

Andy, Xeres, Glenda and I have also launched, are launching The WE Empowerment Center, to make the benefits of nonprofit status and the nonprofit industrial complex, more accessible to ordinary folx. We’ve streamlined the application process and made it easier for people who may not have the organizational social capital to get in the game.

We have facebook pages, blogs, web pages, and EVERYTHING!
https://twitter.com/DHillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/DragonflyhillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/weempowermentcenter

And, I’ve updated my photography page, complete with images of the house and everything we did to get it ready for where we are today.

emmarosenthal.smugmug.com

And yes, I COULD get my own URLs for each of these, but I like giving credit to the interface I’m using. It’s more of a commons, a gathering place. So smugmug, or wordpress, brings it all together.

So see you on my other sites, and here, between the sheets, In Bed With Frida Kahlo.

STOP POSTING FAKE NUDE PHOTOS OF FRIDA

A whole new album of several fake Frida photos is out and about on facebook. All of these photos put Frida (as photographed by Imogene Cunningham) on the bodies of white actresses and models: Donnette Thayer, Madonna and Patti Smith. In the case of Smith, the photo is from the cover of the album Horses, as photographed by Maplethorpe. This gross appropriation of the bodies, faces and labor of women, women of color, dis-abled women and gay men is hugely problematic. So just stop doing it.

The original photo of Frida Kahlo, as taken by Immogene Cunningham. Frida is standing, draped in a reboso, a beaded necklace, earrings, her hair pulled back. She wis wearing a pleated skirt. Only her wrists, hands face and neck are showing.
Frida Kahlo photo manipulations https://www.pinterest.com/angrylamb…
Her Body Is Not Your Playground by Mia McKenzie http://stfuconservatives.tumblr.com/…

Patti Smith, late 70s, she is standing, expressionless, with a white shirt, suspenders, with a black jacket draped over her shoulder. Her mid length black hair, is cut with bangs. Photo by Maplethorpe