growth, education, and community accountability
February 13, 2013
I’ve been think about this a lot since i saw this post by Taleth. There have also been some posts on my dash recently about keeping receipts and allowing for growth.
and there are parts of the post that I don’t quite agree with (and she did say it was only beginning thoughts). but i was mostly struck by the notion of community accountability and community building.
(the first problem i have with her post is that… wrt to blacklisting/standards too high, is that when speaking about a loosely and asynchronous, geographically diverse online community like tumblr is actually understanding what this community is. what are its contours? how do we determine in group and out group? because if we are going to hold people accountable for their communities we need to be able to identify two elements
- the community
- members of the community
now. the major problem with doing something like this on tumblr, is, well determining what the communities are. like. pro-injustice people like to call us ‘social justice tumblr’ but i don’t know, tbh, who that actually is. since communities – like classes/categories/sets – are defined by their members. and i don’t really know anyone who self-IDs as social justice. and I don’t doubt that they exist. but this isn’t the group I’m a part of – even if i personally don’t really care one way or another with being labelled as sj.)
So. anyway. assuming that we can ID a coherent community (i have thoughts about this but my parenthetical statement was threatening to takeover this post). But just assume for now.
It is true that people change and grow over time. That thoughts and perspectives and views shift and change as we all learn more. Okay. But.
This burden is, to a certain extent, an individual one. Because no person has any right to expect that their education/growth over-ride another person’s ability to protect themselves and determine their own boundaries. My education cannot come at the cost of someone else’s mental health (especially if I’m privileged over them or have otherwise oppressed them).
What does this mean? We should all expect, as life goes on and we decolonize and struggle to be less oppressive (and we are all oppressive or complicit) that we will fuck up and people will not want to associate with us anymore. And they will be right to. And forgiveness is not always possible.
How does this relate to keeping receipts or making lists (like we do at the radar)?
First. If you are growing and learning, you’ll likely understand the need for receipts. But real understanding of your fuckups should mean that the receipts aren’t necessary because you make your mistakes known or keep your own receipts of them.
Example: one of my early ‘popular’ posts was something massively transmisogynist. I deleted from tumblr ‘cause radfems were co-signing it (which is when I knew i needed to apologize) but you can find the post still on my wp blog (in adddition to my apologies). Yet. The damage is done: there were (and likely still are) many trans women who were hurt by that post. Regardless of how much I’ve grown since then: that hurt remains. So too does the damage. Perhaps I’ve been added to a list, perhaps not. Perhaps i’ve also been blacklisted. This is okay.
Second. I actually can’t remember if i had another point. My brain has lost track of what i was saying.
Um… i hope this makes some kind of sense.