Like a lot of people with mental illness, I spend a lot of time fronting. It’s really important to me to not appear crazy, to fit in, to seem normal, to do the things “normal people” do, to blend in. It’s a form of assimilation for safety, but something deeper than that, where hiding my own identity for survival is also tearing me apart…
As a defense mechanism, fronting makes a lot of sense, and you hone that mechanism after years of being crazy. Fronting is what allows you to hold down a job and maintain relationships with people, it’s the thing that sometimes keeps you from falling apart. It’s the thing that allows you to have a burst of tears in the shower or behind the front seat of your car and then coolly collect yourself and stroll into a social engagement…
We are rewarded for hiding ourselves. We become the poster children for “productive” mentally ill people, because we are so organized and together. The fact that we can function, at great cost to ourselves, is used to beat up the people who cannot function.
Because unlike the people who cannot front, or who fronted too hard and fell off the cliff, we are able to “keep it together,” whatever it takes.
The guy who drew this [tw for image of native woman with a knife through her face, wearing a headdress] is cool with appropriating a symbol that was already appropriated in the name of murder, war and genocide. One of those fucks who thinks that he’s ENTITLED to “reclaim” it.
SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU
HOW MANY CELEBRATIONS OF GENOCIDE DOES YOUR BODY HAVE ROOM FOR
APPARENTLY A LOT
Is he talking about the Manji because that is not the same as a swastika…
Can I just say how much White privilege that show is drowning in? Everytime they show something about Western body modification, first off, everyone they show is White and they never, EVER get into the whole smog cloud of White privilege that surrounds those folks in their pursuit of even more extreme mods. Hint, it has to do with the fact that their unadorned, White bodies are not stigmatized or demonized to begin with!
They even want to think of themselves as pioneers even as they steal mods from cultures of color wholesale and then begin the bleaching process. What they’re calling “suspension” is a wholesale rip off of the Native American Sun Dance. Try and get them to admit NA’s had ANYTHING to do with it. Go ‘head. I’ll wait. And they do this while constantly calling our cultures, even those within the West, “primitive,” “savage,” “barbaric” and “abusive” for doing what they’ve renamed “individual expression” and “creative.”
I remember being a teen in the 80s, when the modern, Western body mod culture really, supposedly, just started taking off. Black girls, including me, were getting their SECOND set of earlobe piercings while our White counterparts were begging and offering their parents rights to their firstborn to get their first set of earlobe piercings. Hell, many of us were even getting our cartilage pierced. Our men were starting the trend of men getting earpiercings. Were we called “avant garde?” “Fashion forward?” “Adventurous?” No, we were “low class,” “ghetto,” “niggerish,” and we were called all that by those who’d later snatch our style and deem themselves “artistic” for it while never acknowledging where they got it from. This from the same people who sneer at the practice many communities of color have of piercing their female infants’ ears. They thoughtlessly hurl the accusation of “abusive” at that practice utterly ignorant or non-caring as to the seriousness of that accusation and how precarious it is to hurt at parents of color in Western countries that are quick to snatch our babies away from us.
Meanwhile, we had to worry about how our very modest modifications would further hinder us in the job market. These folks are complaining that they can only get marginal jobs or jobs as “freak show” performers with their extreme mods, when employers wouldn’t employ a Black man with ONE earlobe piercing or a Black women with a double set! Then as the body modification trend gained momentum, any early contribution to it by communities of color, especially Western ones was deleted and simply not acknowledged. We were even sneered at for not being modified ENOUGH and for being too conservative and cowardly to get more extreme mods even though some of us did and were thrown even further into the “ghetto” territory in their minds.
I’ve written before of how the White body mod community is racist as hell. I’ve written about my experience at the one, and only, tattoo convention I attended. Well, I have another experience to share. Again, it happened in AZ when I briefly worked on the campus of ASU. Eric Sprague, also known as Lizardman, was walking around the campus handing out flyers for a performance and his troupe were going to give. He was walking towards me as I was walking. It was about 9 in the morning so there were not a lot of people around. He was handing out the flyers to the passersby. As I neared him I gave him a friendly smile expecting to be handed a flyer. He looked at me as if I’d just spat on his shoes, proceeded to quicken his step and almost trotted to the person about 25 feet behind me to give them a flyer, a middle-aged, White male professor. He purposely didn’t hand me one. Now he saw me. He looked right at me in my face. And I wasn’t in a crowd of people. I was also in my early 30s, but I looked young enough to be a student which you’d think would be his target audience. The thing is, I was BLACK and the ONLY person of color in that area of the campus at that time of day. My Black ass didn’t rate getting a flyer or seeing his performance. He didn’t need or want my nigger money. That’s one of many reasons I stay rolling my eyes when White body modders bitch about not being able to find work.
Seriously, this is a beautiful and much-deserved takedown.
I’m really disgusted to hear of Erik Sprague’s behavior; he is someone I’ve known for a while and honestly this makes me decidedly uninterested in speaking to him further.
I have/had been involved with the West Coast body modification community online and in person since about 2001, 2002-ish. And I must say that the racism that I witnessed and experienced on the West Coast from time to time was nigh unavoidable and certainly present, but couldn’t hold a candle to the racism I witnessed and experienced on the East Coast.
I never did a suspension or ritual type things because I found them to be appropriative and of somewhat questionable taste, and a lot of white d00ds talking about how “spiritual” it was and how it was like a rite of passage in general just made me roll my eyes…as a Lakota person, it made me uncomfortable.
I think a lot of my drifting away from the whole “scene” had a lot to do with getting increasingly uncomfortable with everything i was seeing from people within and the scene, especially on the East Coast. At least on the West Coast and in and around LA there were a ton of mixed people and people of color…on the East Coast it was awfully like being at some kind of creepy white supremacist party.
Wayyy too many white people into Body mod are having their cake and eating it too: privileged as hell and also feeling like they can just get together and have a BAWWWfest over how “oppressed” they are.
And honestly there’s….much more to it that is even allowable in polite conversation.
on the East Coast it was awfully like being at some kind of creepy white supremacist party.
as an east-coaster i can whole-heartedly agree. any attempt at punk is a largely white male-dominated group reaking of entitlement, appropriation, and cheap, oft illegally attained beers. just cruising for a bruisng. east coast rrrriot girls try to get me to join because “omg i didn’t know people like you like music like that" and i’m sure i’m all exotic and all compared to your middle class suburban garage meetings but no dice. i’m sure that you can get a tap on the hand for your poorly designed attempt at painting gang symbols around town, but i know my place in your attempts, and the exit is about four turns before yours.
you ain’t my cousins.
not reading the comments is a good rule to live by usually, but one i haven’t been abiding in this case. and i’m seeing some seriously disturbing shit going down in said comments.
quick recap for those playing the home game: Dear White People has pulled ahead in an Indie Wire poll to send an indie film to Tribeca. Support for the film exploded when those behind DWP posted about it here on Tumblr. It took exactly no time at all for those supporting the movie formerly in first place, Hybrid Vigor, to start crying foul.
They’ve run the gamut of all the reasons why DWP can’t simply be legitimately beating out their movie. It’s gotta be bots, manipulation, or that mythical race card we poc love to play. So sayeth Hybrid Vigor’s creator, in the grand tradition of colorblind liberal bullshit, “This contest is not about race. I’m really upset that there are some people trying to make it seem like it is. This is about filmmaking.”
Supporters of HV and buttmad racists alike have now gotten cozy in the delusion that DWP has been vote-rigging with proxies, thanks to one fucking guy named Pavel blathering about how he intentionally tried to use proxies to vote up one of the other movies and, le gasp!, only 81 our of 2500 proxies worked! that conclusively and undeniably means that the other 2419 were all used to vote for DWP!
Now, this same dude is threatening to release an application to help others hack the poll.
Let me just say that again: one fucking guy is claiming that some super flimsy anecdata about proxies proves foul play on the part of DWP supporters and thus has taken it upon himself to offer to create and release an application to help others hack the poll.
Someone tell me again about how movies like Dear White People “aren’t relevant to everyone” after seeing the way white folks respond to the unfathomable notion that a movie by and about black folks is beating whatever whiny introspective white nonsense they’ve got to offer. Someone tell me how this isn’t racism at work when the first, the only, explanation they reach for is “bots! manipulation! proxies!” They’ve already assigned guilt in their minds and are responding as if that shit is fact, with the threat of real, actual vote-rigging.
Because a movie about black kids is in the lead.
But it’s not about race, you guys. It’s about ~filmmaking~
You know what?
I wish someone would have given my white parents less of a “break” when they destroyed my beautiful hair by washing it everyday with bullshit-drying-ass Suave.
I wish someone would have cut my white parents a little less “slack” when they were putting me through excruciating pain by ripping thru my naps with a small-toothed comb.
I wish someone would have called my white parents out when they thought it was cute to put me in a red bandana & refer to me as “Aunt Jemima” or when they’d make jokes about adopting me just so they could put me to work on the farm (i.e. be a slave).
I wish someone would have let my white parents know that, despite all their good intentions, the weren’t fucking trying hard enough to make sure I interacted with other black people and that I was picking up on their subtle cues that I should fear/avoid black people—people who looked like me.
I wish someone would have suggested that my white parents make sure I have black role models so that I wouldn’t grow up hating the way I looked & wishing on every shooting star that god or some magic fairy might make me “blonde and skinny and white” just like my cousins.
I wish someone, anyone really, would have educated my white parents about the prevalence of sexual abuse perpetrated on interracial adoptees by their (usually white) siblings so I might have avoided being raped at age six.
I wish one of you know-it-all white folks who’re coming out the woodwork to bequeath us angry darkies with your great alabaster wisdom would have been there to let my parents know that they needed to get educated about the racism I would inevitably face so that I wouldn’t have had to get psychologically fucked up after years of dealing with it alone.
man so I just got back from my grandparents’ place
(it was pretty awesome to just talk in mandarin for like three hours ‘cause I never do that)
my grandma made these pork chops that my brother likes, and she was packing up a couple for me to take home for him
and I was thinking about the whole ~*environmentalism*~ thing
because yes—of course we should conserve resources—of course it’s vital for us to be doing all we can to save our environment
but then I was thinking about how on all those DIY websites and on etsy and in like Real Simple and those other magazines, like—I’ve seen DIY patterns for how to make plastic bag holders and stuff, ‘cause apparently you can reuse plastic bags! what a novel idea!
and then I realized
if you’re white and you take your old t-shirts and make a plastic bag holder to hang in your kitchen, then omfg you’re so environmentally friendly how cool A+ 4u!!! u so hip & trendy omg I wish I could be like you!!!
but if you’re an 82-year-old chinese woman
who pulls a couple of scratched but clean styrofoam plates from the cabinet
and your 82-year-old chinese husband hands you a clean plastic grocery bag from your last shopping trip
and your 21-year-old chinese-american granddaughter slips the pork chops covered in those plates into the plastic bag and ties it off to take home
being cheap-ass asians.
no one’s gonna write up a piece for a magazine about how environmentally friendly you’re being.%www.tumblr.come’s gonna look at the meticulously washed containers (jars from condiments—plastic tubs that used to hold various other foods) and the drawers stuffed full of plastic bags and think, “damn these are some role models for small things you can do around the house to cut down on waste.”
no one’s gonna look at the dinner table and see plates piled high with chicken feet and pig ear and tripe and think, “wow look at that, no part of the animal goes to waste; what role models—if we’re gonna eat meat, we might as well make sure that animal is fully consumed instead of just eating choice cuts and throwing away the rest.”
no one’s gonna see the tiny garden of tomatoes in our backyard, the little apple trees and peach trees that once a year bear fruit that’s not that sweet ‘cause we don’t bother to hardcore garden—no one’s gonna look at that and think, “wow look at that, farming in your own backyard!”
they’re gonna see my aunt and uncle, who have trouble speaking english, who dress in old t-shirts and cheap patterned pants, who take care of the house while my parents are out, and they’re gonna think—
“wow look at these immigrants and their backwater ways”
you know what, we’ve been ~*environmentally friendly*~ our whole lives, and it’s only when we get more and more americanized that we start wasting more. my dad’s recently been developing this giant hard-on for costco, and costco is like—you buy ginormo quantities of everything, ‘cause it’s cheaper, only do you actually ever use that much?
we buy more and we go through electronics faster and all of that because that’s what america’s consumerism has taught us to do.
so you know what—while I may adhere to many principles that environmentally friendly people do (reduce, reuse, recycle, all that good stuff)—I will never identify as environmentalist.
it’s a very white movement. it also like—it gives off imperialist/colonialist vibes to me too, what with people going overseas to ~*preserve the environment*~ elsewhere.
and it’s like—dude if y’all white ppl didn’t have such a boner for environment-destroying industrialization, if y’all white ppl never set that as the standard for ~*progress*~
half these places
wouldn’t even be struggling with their environment in the first place.
and then white ppl are all like ~*oh we have to have renewable energy*~, oh what about biofuel!!
iirc indonesia’s been struggling with its forests and such because people decide to replace the forests with crops that they can grow for ~*environmentally friendly renewable fuel sources*~
“environmentalism” just so often feels like a way for white ppl with extra money to circlejerk themselves into feeling better about the destruction they’ve wreaked.
until you look at my family and see environmentalism instead of cheap-ass asianness
until you look at PoC who ride their bikes to work as environmentalism instead of ~*oh well it’s probably because they have to*~
until you stop being gross about being ~*environmentally friendly*~
I will not identify as environmentalist.
I’m going to attempt to reply without overshadowing anything you’ve said (because I found it 100% right on point esp. with what I’ve seen in the diy/crafts reuse movement); I want to share two photos, and maybe a small story.
[Images: two photos of a collection of shopping bags.]
This is my mom’s bag collection. She has more in my dad’s workroom and in her car. I used to be embarrassed by it when my friends came over, laughing about things like, “omg, your mom is such a bag lady ololo” and I’d just sort of awkwardly stand there… “yeah, sure she is! crazy bag lady, haha”
she’s never bought a plastic bag for any of the garbage cans in the house, nor for the recycling. Her crazy old lady bag collection is precisely for that- to be used later as garbage bags. Sometimes, if she has an exceptionally pretty bag, she’ll use it to hand a gift over to someone, instead of going to Hallmark and shelling over 5 bucks for a decorated paper bag.
My favorite thing is, the shifty looks I’ve gotten from friends and co-workers when I bring lunch in the same styrofoam container, in the same plastic CVS bag that I keep in my desk drawer, drinking tea/coffee from the same plastic cup, and eat with the same disposable utensils for weeks on end (sometimes, I use the same napkin for weeks). Oh, and when I talk about buying things using coupons? OH MAN, THE LOOKS I GET THEN. Hilarious.
I don’t get why all that stuff can’t be considered environmentally friendly either. It’s seen as cheap, or it’s seen as disgusting. In a roundabout way, here’s the story I wanted to tell- several years ago, when I was interviewing my mom about her time living in civil-war-infested Lebanon, she told me the most important thing I think I could have ever learned- “when you have nothing, you learn how to save everything”. You learn how to save oil from cooking and how to clean paper plates. On one hand, the above statement explains why my mom hoards all the free swag she can get (pens, toilet paper, toiletries, napkins, notepads, cups, tea bags, straws), and why she’s reluctant to throw things away. On the other hand, it also explains why she’s been accused of being cheap and tacky. I mean, how dare she reuse shit that you can just throw out, amiright?!?!
When you have nothing, you save everything.
When you have everything, you save nothing.
I grew up using old margarine containers as Tupperware for sending food home with people. No one called that environmentally friendly until white people started doing it too.
The thing that’s gotten me in the solar plexis; is ‘shopping bags’. Everyone these days wants their ‘cloth shopping bags’. Everyone’s so proud to bring their shopping bags to the grocery store. The grocery store will give you a little change back on your bill if you bring your own bags.
I have relatives who’d show up with those peppermint striped shopping bags; and see no point in repacking things in separate plastic bags. And I grew up hearing all this noise about ‘immigrants’ and ‘black people’ and even had those relatives not want me to shop with them, because ‘you’re young, no one needs to see you doing this’. As their way of protecting me from people talking.
From scarification to cloth sanitary napkins to herbal supplements and toothpaste to bags, to sewing your own clothes - NOTHING is ‘good’, until white people do it and focus it through themselves like an effing prism to ‘remove color’.