It appears as though we have reached a new low in “political” discourse. It’s really quite unfortunate.
This is taken from a Facebook thread, which I know is not the best forum for political debate, but on which we all probably expend more energy than we should.
I’m not saying that Saffo’s or Skanda’s rhetoric here is in any way representative of queer or identity politics as a whole, though I’m sure we’ve all had the misfortune of having to engage in conversations like these, which enlighten no one and are good maybe only for a laugh. In fact, my friend Jasmine Curcio posted this blog entry written by her friend K. Miriam from a couple years back, which is quite illuminating. She went through all this back in the 1980s. As she recorded in her brilliant reflection, “Hit me with your privilege stick!”:
It was the eighties. The atmosphere was ripe with immanent denunciations. Politics in the still-breathing lesbian community had begun to hollow out into a ritual called “name the racist (classist, homophobe etc).” Who would be next in line to confess her privilege? Once she confessed, she too could be admitted to the ranks of the righteous, entitled now to “call out” any others on their particular “isms”… She now had an Id-entity. Indeed the self became implicitly re-imaged a container-entity either filled or emptied of privilege-chips.
Anyway, the most telling moment in this particular encounter, perhaps, is when Skanda dismisses both Arya and I as “white” “straight dudes.” Okay, I can accept that I’m straight. Whatever. And sure, I’ve got a Scotch-English last name and am fairly pale, and not overly attached to my Jewish ancestry. So I’m white. But Arya is neither white nor straight. I’m fairly certain that this fact doesn’t determine his politics, too.
Who’s making the assumptions here? Continue reading