Friday, March 13, 2009

I declare a moratorium on the following:

  • Accusations of jealousy are verboten. Srsly. No exceptions. They just turn us into a stereotypical cat fight between bitches. And it's unfunny. Doesn't it remind anyone of teh menz accusing women of being jealous of their success? Anyone?

  • Using the phrase "good hair" or "nice hair." Uh, unless you want to unpack for me what you mean by "good hair," you can take your white supremacist ideas about hair and fuck off.

  • Getting defensive. When someone starts getting defensive with me, on one hand, I think it's a good thing because it lets me know that I've found a blind spot. And on the other hand, it lets me know that the person's got issues and fuck, there goes another potential ally I have to write off til they're done with the 101-y stuff about race/weight/age/sex (as in, you know, fucking)/gender/able-ism/genetics/LGBTQI/evolution/religion.

    Some variations on a theme include calling the other person crazy, oversensitive, lacking a life, jealous (see above), emotional, stupid, over-invested, and so on.

I'd also like to be able to declare a moratorium on the following, in a perfect world (in no particular order):
  • legacy admissions to colleges

  • foreclosures

  • student loan repayments

  • secret courts and jails

  • regular courts and jails

  • military spending

  • the DEA

  • border "patrols"/roving gangs sanctioned by the state

  • my dog's tail whacking me in my face

  • any company operating under ownership of rupert murdoch

  • the occupation and "settling" of the palestinian territories

  • rush limbaugh's ability to communicate with the public

  • hate speech

  • lobbying efforts by any organization with an operating budget over $1 mill


  1. great list! I don't have anything to add!!!! :-)

  2. Yes, often accusations of jealousy imply values other than those actually held by those who are supposedly jealous. Too often it's used in a way similar to advertising and marketing, where people are persuaded to desire something in peer-pressure fashion. It's annoying. When speaking of men or women specifically it becomes an insult to our sensibilities, as if we just can't help but envy others for having qualities that are, whether in truth or fiction, more desirable to the other sex. I think such messages are especially harmful to children, who are less certain about who they are and what they want.

    I don't think by "good" the person ever means "well-behaved", but other than that I won't presume to unpack for them. I usually only say it when there's something specifically extraordinary about a person's hair, whether that is the way they have it colored/styled or just that the texture is appealing, either to the visual or tactile senses. What about delivering a vague stock compliment about hair is white supremacist?

    I don't know about # 3. People get defensive when they feel threatened. That isn't always because of a blind spot. It might be because of something crazy that happened to them in the past and is being triggered by current experiences. Still, I know exactly what you're talking about, something that happens in a more specific context, like discussion or debate.

    Oh, the tail-whack to the face! Always when you least expect it, like a sucker swat with a shelf-duster.

    You are giving Rush entirely too much credit. More discriminating listeners do not like to call what he does communicating. Well, okay, I suppose in the sense of spreading a disease that would be correct.

  3. Unleash, "good hair" has been used for a long time to define a very narrow and ever changing type of hair as good, and of course, women of color especially, do not have good hair. Sort of like the word picnic. Seems pretty innocuous now, but given the history of the word, it's better just to avoid it.

    I trust that you'll take me at my word that I never want anyone who gives even a little bit of a shit about me to use the phrase "good hair" in relation to me and mine.

  4. I can't blame you. "Good hair" just sounds stupid, anyway.

    15 years ago I worked in a grocery store, and for the first few months there I worked mostly with young black men. If I may make an observation about them, based on my experiences, they are more fun to work with, on average. Also, contrary to racist characterizations I had heard from some people (not in my family), they were no lazier nor incompetent than any other workers. But, to get to my point, there were times when they would joke around by calling a "nappy alert" across the aisles when a person with really bad hair came through. What I'm wondering is if that adjective, "nappy", is racist. I guess it's one I'm unsure about, although it did seem to be applied far more often to black women than any other people.

    As far as "picnic" goes, what do you call them? And are you saying the French hated blacks?

  5. Unleash, yeah, that may be true, but the fact is that the word can be offensive now that there's been that story attached to it.

    As for nappy hair, that has a particular history of use in the african american community. There are lots of natural hair bloggers out there who are naturally nappy and proud of it. I don't think their hair is bad either. It's their hair and they wear it, not me.

  6. Hmmm. I see what you mean, but there's something troubling about knowing that words can become so easily spoiled. So... if there's a word I don't like, I should just spread a racist or sexist rumor about it, so that less people will use the word? I get that you are opposed to language with subtle or subliminal meanings that are, basically, opposed to feminism and the fair treatment of people. I suppose there's no way to truly salvage a word, once it has been tainted like that, but (call me weird but) I hate to see good words go to waste and people struggle to come up with suitable replacements, especially because the suitable replacements don't usually represent the positive or informative aspects of the original word's history.

    No, seriously I don't think or speak of people's hair as being "bad" anymore than I say it's "good", which is never. To be clear, I was trying to represent the opinions of my co-workers briefly, while playing on the contrast between what is typically called "good/bad" hair. Like you said, it's their hair. Why should I care so much as to criticize?

  7. Unleash, maybe the good hair/bad hair thing is another beauty standard enforced mostly by women. So, if you're not privy to a lot (and I mean A LOT) of conversations women have about their looks and evaluating other women based on their looks, then of course it doesn't make sense to you.

    As for reclaiming, I do think it is possible for words to be reclaimed. But, only within a narrow context. It's not possible for whites and other non-blacks to reclaim the N word or for men to reclaim the C word. I'm not even sure how I feel about transwomen using the C word.

    As for finding a replacement that isn't quite as good, well, I couldn't care less. Cry me a fucking river. Seriously. If that's the most offensive and soul-crushing thing that's happened to someone in recent memory, well then, I'd like to have that life.