Author Topic: Foppery  (Read 240 times)


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« on: September 27, 2021, 10:43:35 pm »
This article really resonated with my own experiences:

I had been doing anti-racism work long before the summer of 2020, so I didn’t understand why – increased volume aside – some of these interactions felt so different to the usual business inquiries I receive. I felt there was such a sense of ownership over me, my time, my words, what I should talk about and when. The more boundaries I put up, the more they would trample over them.

Not only huge volumes of emails and requests to “quickly pick my brain”, but also WhatsApp and text messages from friends and colleagues (some I hadn’t heard from in years). They weren’t checking in to see how I was. They were using me as a priest at confession, to whom they could start offloading their own sins and shame about racism.

I had extremely similar encounters back in the years when we used contact forms to interview prospective volunteers, and this is the main reason why we eventually shut down that system.

I have always asked for only two things: what skills/knowledge/resources the sender was offering us, and whether they had a project to suggest. Instead, 99% of the senders insisted on telling me the story of their lives in as much detail as possible (as if I would care). And somehow, despite the autobiography, they still manage to fail to tell me what their skills/knowledge/resources are, let alone suggest a project. Well, I thought, at least the autobiography shows they can write lengthy prose. But when I ask them to try writing an actual article about a particular subject (unrelated to themselves), they stop replying.

When one white woman didn’t get an immediate response from me, her tone mutated from the previous “with love and light” signoff to telling me my activism was “bullshit”. Another flooded my Instagram DMs to “find out” if I had received her email. When she didn’t get an immediate reply, she went through my followers list and contacted a mutual colleague, asking if she could hurry things along.

There was a distinct and clear difference between the intention behind these kinds of interactions and the usual inquiries: these were self-serving. This was a stage performance, a way to manage their perception, so their ego could feel better about all that’s wrong in the world.

Many came swooping in with a freshly ironed superhero cape, it having only just occurred to them that they, too, could do something about racism.

Yep, I got those too: those who weren't even volunteering at all, but come in to tell me what content I should include on the site next. I always respond: why don't you produce it? If I like the look of what you have produced, I will add it. They stop replying. In their minds, because they like the look of what I have already produced, I have to do all the subsequent work that they (who have produced nothing) think needs to be done.

What we really need white people to do is consciously, consistently and intentionally unlearn racism. It’s no secret that shame and guilt go hand in hand with unlearning racism – but you can’t do this work in any meaningful, or truthful way without experiencing these feelings at some point and you will consistently feel uncomfortable. Trying to do anti-racism work while remaining comfortable, to actively avoid confronting feelings, is just not possible.

I just need them to voluntarily refrain from reproducing. It is much easier.

Performative allyship has very little to do with reducing harm to Black folk and ending systems of oppression. It happens when you want to skip to the end bit. Performative allyship is leaping from half-listening, straight into action.
There’s an impulsive desire to fix, to be the hero of the story, to swoop in and rescue and, for some, it also comes from a place of superiority and/or a desire to be forgiven. It feeds into something called the “White Saviour Industrial Complex” – a term first coined by Harvard professor and novelist Teju Cole in 2012. “White Saviour Industrial Complex is not about justice, it’s about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege… There is much more to doing good work than ‘making a difference’. There is the principle of first do no harm. There is the idea that those who are being helped ought to be consulted over the matters that concern them,” explains Cole.
Being an ally means being able to recognise this. To me, an ally is a person who advocates and works alongside the Black community, who uplifts communities for a shared common goal driven solely by the cause – not so that they can look good.

Then there were those who, when asked for their skills, boasted to me at length about their psychic powers or communion with supernatural beings. I told them to use their psychic powers and/or order the supernatural beings to assassinate Netanyahu. They stopped replying.

anything worthy of seismic change will not happen without discomfort, consistency and a whole heap of courage.

The only volunteer who demonstrated all these qualities:

If someone is in any doubt, they should ask themselves: am I acting because it’s the right thing to do, to centre the needs of others, or am I doing this for myself, to feel better and make myself look good?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2021, 10:45:10 pm by 90sRetroFan »

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Re: Foppery
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2021, 12:01:08 pm »
Well, if there's any truth to this:
Even though most people believe they are self-aware, only 10-15% of the people we studied actually fit the criteria.

It would at the least explain why most people seem to be ego driven primarily. This is why I've been exploring the idea of strapping Westerners to chairs and ramming fistfuls of psychedelic mushrooms down their throat's hoping for the best as a last ditch attempt at finding some humans buried deep down in their psyches, in this thread: