“why are these scientists talking about pluto when they should be curing ebola” because they’re astrophysicists not molecular engineers or infectious disease specialists you’re getting mad at the wrong people 

*walks into Starbucks and violently shakes the barista* LOOK WHERE THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO GET A NEW BED FRAME THEN????



Oh hey this is me. I need to turn this into an article so I can explain because I see in notes people thinking “black parenting” = abuse & like…nope. So far from true. It does mean we can’t handwave any misbehavior as just kids being kids. Not if we want our kids to have a chance. Twice as good to get half as far


And Thank you, Karnythia.


(This isn’t saying anything new, it’s just taking another angle on a commonly discussed topic in case some people find this angle easier to relate to or engage with).

Most people can tell the difference between communities where they matter and communities where they don’t. It’s often really hard to nail down, specifically, the set of differences between these communities, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get a feel for it. There are places where people see you and people like you as a peer, a partner, a friend, and there are places where they see you as an imposition they tolerate for the sake of politeness, or a potential threat, or a waste of time and energy.

So lots of people go into a community and they get a visceral sense of ‘wow, this is a place where people like me aren’t welcome.’ And it’d be nice if they could pin it down beyond that – say ‘this is an interaction I had which sucked’ or ‘these are the rules that exclude me’ or ‘this was the thing which made it clear to me that people like me were unwelcome’ – but often you can’t pin it down that precisely. You know perfectly well what you experienced, but all of the evidence that got you there is nothing all by itself, or is almost completely intangible. Sometimes communities have an explicit rule that everyone is welcome, and if you say “I’m unwelcome” they will point at the rule and say “no you’re not”. But you are.

I know a lot of people who are confused or stressed by the discourse surrounding microaggressions. They read through lists of them and see a mix of some things that are obvious misconduct and some things that look harmless, that they do all the time with people of every background, that don’t seem horrible at all. So they dutifully memorize every list they run across and anxiously try to avoid it in future, even though they don’t have any idea why it’s bad, or else they unhelpfully argue with people about how it isn’t that bad.

But I think the actual thing with microaggressions is that feeling of ‘people like me are not welcome’ or at least ‘people like me are only conditionally welcome, welcome if we’re friendly and careful and unthreatening and reassuring and match other peoples’ narratives about us and aren’t angry and don’t make anyone uncomfortable and toe the party line’. It’s really helpful for people to collect and corroborate and discuss and complain about all of the little cues which add up to that impression, but scrupulously memorizing the list of cues and avoiding the things on your list won’t actually make spaces where people feel welcome. The problem is the ‘this space is not for people like you’ thing.

I think this is also what’s going on with a lot of discussion of bad allies. Lots of bad allying seems to amount to ‘loudly saying that people are valued while continuing to be the kind of space where they are palpably not valued’. 

Which, of course, isn’t worse than being a space where people are not valued while not even giving lip service to the idea that they should be, but it can be uniquely frustrating because in a space that says ‘we hate gay people’ you can say ‘I am uncomfortable there because they hate me’ while in a space that claims to be supportive and fails at it all you can really say is ‘uh. it sucks, for some reason’. Or you can give reasons that seem trivial and insignificant and which, if they were fixed, wouldn’t actually be sufficient.


I think white supremacists lean really hard on the framing that they’re not destroying peaceful integrated multicultural societies, they’re just noticing that those never existed anyway or are about to collapse anyway. 

And of course it’s a transparent lie. There are lots and lots of societies that have had successful peaceful integration. Racists and xenophobes are the force making integration difficult and dangerous and fragile; there’s not some other force that they are just innocently noticing. (Bad economic conditions and weak governments and violence all contribute to making racist and xenophobic movements more appealing. But it’s important to observe that the ‘failure of multiculturalism’ is still caused by the racists and xenophobes acting, it’s not something that happens separately from them.)