Afghan Air Force 2nd Lt. Niloofar Rhmani walks the flightline at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan prior to her graduation from undergraduate pilot training May 13, 2013. Rhmani made history May 14, 2013 when she became the first female to successfully complete undergraduate pilot training and earn the status of pilot in more than 30 years. She will continue her service as she joins the Kabul Air Wing as a Cessna 208 pilot. (Scott Saldukas) x
(Image Description: a blind black woman and a blind Klansman walking across a crosswalk. The original tumblr post’s author supplies the title of Love is Blind”.)
Let’s talk about The Kumbayah Myth.
In the Kumbayah Myth, racism will just stop if everyone just started acting nice to each other, and the only reason we still have racism is that people are silly.
Part of the Kumbayah Myth is the erasure of history, violence and power. In this falsehood, either no one is really at fault, or, actually, EVERYONE is at fault, so everyone is equally bad. This actually exists only to make white people feel better and never have to change their behaviors.
Go look at Without Sanctuary and maybe read up on The Reconstruction and come back and tell me it’s all equal and IF ONLY Black people were nicer shit would have been different.
Now, let’s talk about this picture I linked. It says, “Love is Blind” and has a blind black woman and a blind Klansman walking across the street holding hands….
Well, even the symbolism fails, because:
a) The black woman is basically minding her own business
b) The blind Klansman DRESSED UP AS A KLANSMAN- even blind he still HATES PEOPLE.
c) AND WE’VE JUST EQUATED A BLACK WOMAN, by nature of simply BEING A BLACK WOMAN as equivalent to a murderous terrorist.
Oh. Ok. If only those damn Black women would stop being so Black, the KKK wouldn’t HAVE to lynch, murder and burn them in self defense.
You know, tit for tat, right?
But let’s keep going- the only reason, at least, we’d see this picture working is because HE DOESN’T KNOW SHE’S BLACK. Otherwise, he’d push her into traffic and claim, “I’m blind! I didn’t know what was happening!”
What the world needs is not more hugs. It needs you white people to stop killing people of color. It needs for you to stop defending murderers. It needs for you to stop equating dark skin as violent threat, and therefore, justifiable homicide in self defense. It needs for you to recognize that YOU, collectively, pull this shit, and no, it is not “equal”, there is no “reverse racism”.
Love is not blind. Hate is blind- it refuses to see what it does, it demands no one speak of it or say a thing. And it kills and conveniently forgets a moment later.
Then demands hugs and holding hands and singing kumbayah, and wonders why everyone is so mean to it.
This argument is like, legit going on in my Facebook right now. ALL OF THIS. JUST ALL OF IT.
All of the above commentary, plus a little extra. In addition to everything said above, which I support the sentiment of entirely, this picture and the above commentary really bother me on a whole host of levels because of the way they use visual disability. The original poster (bankuei) states that the image depicts ““Love is Blind” and has a blind black woman and a blind Klansman walking across the street holding hands.”
Why does this bother me? Well, let’s start with four general reasons. These reason can also be read as a general commentary about ableist language and how incredibly damaging it really is even when it gets used by others in the battle against other ‘isms’. I would like to believe that there was no malicious, no ableist intent, on the part of the original tumblr post’s author (bankuei), but ableism is still ableism even without intent and it is just as damaging.
First complaint. This language is really ableist. LOVE is not BLIND. Seriously, an emotion does not have a physical disability. Please stop using my disability as a synonym for “lack of prejudice/discrimination”. The blind face a ton of prejudice and discrimination and guess what, just because you are blind does not mean you completely miss prejudice or racism or any other ‘ism’ when it occurs. Enough said. Please stop using ableist language. It’s not symbolism or an analogy It is ableist.
Second complaint. She doesn’t know he is a Klansman because she is blind? Both the author and the individual who made the image fall victim to this type of logic. If you think race (in the case of the woman) or a radical, oppressive political identity (in the case of the member of the KKK) are something a blind person misses because they are blind, you do not understand visual disability at all. Seriously, the ways these identities have been worked into language, the ways we interact with each other, the ways we navigate the world, etc. are incredibly nuanced and complicated. You do not need to be able to physically see them to know they exist. This complaint is especially true if you consider the original post’s comment about “love” and the implied relationship. Sight is not the only way a person would be able to understand someone else’s identity or proclivity to be an oppressive, violent scumbag and this is especially true as relationships form across time. Completely ignoring how blind individuals can and do navigate the world, the author takes their ableism in their analysis a step further; “The blind Klansman DRESSED UP AS A KLANSMAN- even blind he still HATES PEOPLE.” WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!?!?!?! Please stop privileging sight as a key component of navigating identity, identification, and the world as a whole.
Third complaint. The creator of this image is ableist. The two figures are depicted on a crosswalk in front of a red car about to finish crossing the intersection (upper right of the image) and about to pass behind a gray car that has just finished crossing through the intersection and is now beyond the cross walk (bottom left of the image). Hmmm…so is that red car running a red light? Highly unlikely considering the gray car just made it through the intersection itself. Maybe they both ran the light. Or maybe the two caricatures just walked out into oncoming traffic without waiting for a red light. Yeah, hahahahaha. Super funny. Another really good one because hey, blind people cannot cross the street! Hahahaha, no wait, that’s messed up. Please stop depicting images of blind individuals not being able to carry out basic mobility tasks (and yes, this is another really common theme).
Fourth complaint. Not only is the language and the imagery itself ableist, but the author uses this ableism as a means to another end: addressing racism. The original post states that if the KKK member knew his companion was Black, ”he’d push her into traffic and claim, “I’m blind! I didn’t know what was happening!”” Yeah, because someone who is blind cannot possibly know there is traffic there unless they can see it clearly! I mean hey, they already just walked into oncoming traffic, right?. Ha, great joke; I am rolling on the floor laughing. In an attempt to address that this Klansman is a scumbag and is obviously racist, you just made another ‘blind joke’.But using ableism as a tool against racism doesn’t stop there. It gets taken a step further when the author claims that LOVE isn’t BLIND, HATE is BLIND. Really? That’s the conclusion? I am pretty confident that hate itself does not have a visual disability. In an attempt to address one ‘ism’, you just used another and threw another community under the bus (so to speak). Please do not use ableist language in an attempt to illustrate why this image is racist as all hell.
Please do not use ableism in your social justice battles. I wholeheartedly support the sentiment in the original post. The author is right on in many ways. But horribly wrong in others. Let’s not push each other’s heads under water in our own attempts to not drown under oppression. Thank you for listening.
This additional commentary from blindjewwanderringinthedesert is so very important. We can not use and perpetuate another form of oppression (here- ableism) to address another (here- racism). Thanks so much for adding on and clarifying this, as it is so important and is a point that many people in the SJ community (myself included) can be so prone to miss.
(Source: , via iridessence)
[laughs to keep from crying]
(Source: siddman, via robyewest)
so every year after the juniors finish reading The Great Gatsby my high school english teacher throws a Gatsby party at his huge house and everyone shows up in period clothing and Charlestons to 20s music and my english teacher just wears a suit and stands off to the side staring wistfully out the window the entire night
you guys think I’m joking??
American evangelicals in Uganda.
Style has a profound meaning to Black Americans. If we can’t drive, we will invent walks and the world will envy the dexterity of our feet. If we can’t have ham, we will boil chitterlings; if we are given rotten peaches, we will make cobblers; if given scraps, we will make quilts; take away our drums, and we will clap our hands. We prove the human spirit will prevail. We will take what we have to make what we need. We need confidence in our knowledge of who we are. — Nikki Giovanni (via blackcontemporaryart)
The thing about cultural appropriation is that the appropriator does not have to face the same consequences that we do for practicing our culture or faith. For them, it is an accessory that can be taken on or off at will, while for us, it is a way of life. …in a society where immigrants and communities of color are marginalized at every level, we can’t pretend that power relations do not exist when we have this conversation about appropriation. Sharing and exchanging cultural and spiritual practices is great, but it gets more complicated when we’re not all on equal footing. It gets more complicated when meaningful things are taken, commodified, and exploited for a profit, with little respect shown to the community they were taken from. —
- Turbans on the Runway: What does it mean for Sikhs? by Sonny Singh Brooklynwala (July 10th, 2012)
That’s what yo ass get — African American Proverb (via blackproverbs)
African-Americans are not merely another maltreated minority on the scale of non-WASPs. They are a community whose advancement was specifically and actively retarded by American policy and private action. The antebellum South passed laws against teaching black people to read. In the postbellum South, black communities were the targets of a long-running campaign of terror. The terrorists took very specific aim at the institutions of African-American advancement. They targeted churches. They targeted businesses. And they targeted schools. In the mid-20th century, as we have been documenting, it was the policy of this country to deny African-Americans access to the same methods of wealth-building, that it was making available to whites. —
You know those gamers who spam a certain action button to get from A to B instead of just walking