Jan. 28th, 2017

rynling: (Cecil Harvey)

Yesterday I wrote that I was sobbing because of the fallout of online harassment, but let me tell you a secret: that was not the only reason. Early yesterday afternoon my boss told us all to go home and take care of ourselves. This country has a long and sordid history of silencing minority voices and turning away refugees, but ONE DOES NOT FIRE ALL THE AMBASSADORS, especially NOT ON HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY.

I'm currently reading a brilliant but horrifying book titled Depression: A Public Feeling, in which the author posits that depression is not always innately personal or mysteriously biological, and that persistent anxiety can be one of the results of social, political, and legal oppression. It's a slow read, because I keep having to stop and cry. I just... I know that feel sister (and even if I don't, I can sympathize).

The National Women's March last Saturday was kind of a big deal for me. Various people have criticized it for various reasons, and their criticisms are absolutely valid (for example, WHAT THE FUCK was going on here). Personally, though, I refuse to regret my participation. I have felt so hopeless and so alone for so long that I can't even begin to describe what it meant to stand in a crowd of more than three million people holding signs saying things like "Black Lives Matter" and "LGBT Rights Matter" and "Reproductive Freedom Matters" and "Immigrants Matter." It's not exactly a secret that one of the key strategies of fascist regimes is to divide and conquer, and it meant so much to me to see everyone supporting each other with my own eyes.

A lot of the pictures reproduced in the news have shown groups of young white women wearing cute pink hats and waving clever anti-pigshit signs, but on the ground the march did not look like that at all. The crowd was probably only about half white, and everyone was so close together that segregation wouldn't have been possible even if it were planned. There were tons of men, and tons of kids and old people, and tons of women in hijabs. There were also a bunch of teenagers and college students cosplaying feminist pop culture icons, from Wonder Woman to Frida Kahlo to Princess Leia. The DC police were super supportive, there were no agitators, and nobody got (physically) hurt.

It's entirely possible that the march was nonviolent because it was coded as white, and I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that, if white privilege is what it takes for protestors not to be antagonized, then so be it. Earlier this week a number of my friends on Facebook were actively recruiting white people to join them in the Philadelphia protest, and the positive response they received was overwhelming. It's weird to say that people are enjoying themselves as if this were one big street party, but that's infinitely better than people getting burnt out and becoming indifferent.

I'm still scared, though. I'm still very, very scared.


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