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View Diary: How to be a Male Ally (59 comments)

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  •  I don't think you followed me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    undercovercalico
    I am understanding what you are saying. People should not try to become allies of a particular cause, let's say feminism, when they do not share the experience or gender because they might be subject to critique?
    That's certainly an interesting way to reword what I said, so I'll try to clarify, but first I'll quote something from the comment I was replying to:
    So you've done this in the context of a diary in which you're telling us what your experiences, but there are no women's voices here: no stories, no sources, no quotes, no links.... Nothing for us to listen to except for your (male) voice.  Right?
    These aren't the words of someone who feels that OP is making a valid contribution to the discussion.  And quite possibly, as a male, he is not.  It seems to me that his time and energy would better be put toward the myrid of other perfectly legitimate liberal causes that could also use attention.  He wouldn't distract from useful feminist discourse by dragging the discussion off topic as its determined whether his contributions are legitimate in light of his maleness, and he might actually be able to make a useful contribution elsewhere.
    Are you saying as a man you do not want to ally yourself with feminism because I might say something that hurts your feelings?
    I'm going to toss this question back at you.  Why willfully subject yourself to that?  What's the point?  The parent comment wasn't criticizing what OP said, he was attacking the legitimacy of OP's statements, and in all honesty I don't see much point in participating in a group if you're constantly having to deal with that.
    We should only break bread in a quest for change with people who are exactly like us?
    You're reading a lot into what I said.  I just don't want to break bread with people who treat me as a doormat.  I don't see how that necessarily means that I don't care about women or LGBT issues.  It's just been made clear that white men aren't really welcome.  And just to reiterate, I support the cause.  I really do.  I'm just not interested in being a part of it.

    Since we're talking, let me ask you something.  How do you personally feel that white men can contribute to feminism as a movement?

    •  Thanks for the reply..... (0+ / 0-)

      Well, first you are assuming that the comment observing there was a lack of female voices came from a woman. It is possible a man said it. Simply observing that does not suppose the comment in the diary is not valid. It assumes including other voices might have added to it.

      Yes, I would be interested in being an ally to a group that might offer me critique. The only way to learn how your thinking is framed by various positions of power or privilege is to be open to constructive criticism. Would it be an enjoyable experience? No. I am human, I have an ego, I have feelings, I want to think of myself in the best possible way.

      Can you define what you mean by being treated like a doormat? Does somebody disagreeing with you relegate you to doormat status? Explain what that looks like from your perspective. I am interested.

      •  Sure. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        undercovercalico
        Well, first you are assuming that the comment observing there was a lack of female voices came from a woman.
        If you read the comment in question as closely as I did, you will discover that a man did say it.  Check the last sentence.  I just didn't think it was relevant.

        As far as being treated like a doormat, there are two things that come to mind offhand.

        First, what I said in my previous comment.   The statement I referenced is not critique.  It's calling the validity of the article into question because of the person who wrote it, as opposed to the content of the article.   That's not a critique of anything at all.

        Secondly, constant twisting of words, like I'm seeing here.  "I don't care to participate in a community that treats me poorly" becomes "I don't care about women, minorities, and LGBT people."

        I have no problem with criticism.  By all means, criticize what I'm saying.  That's what discussions are about.  My argument hinges on the assertion that questioning the validity of someone's argument just because of their race and gender doesn't constitute critique.  How do you respond to that?

        •  But I am not questioning the validity of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          churchylafemme

          your argument because you are a man. You said you do not care to join up with movements that treat you like a doormat. How is me exploring that in essence treating you like a doormat? If I for example thought your concerns/ideas were not valid why would I even bother engaging? Nor did I imply that you did not care about a particular group, I did imply that I thought you did not want to say join up with active feminist groups  (or others ) for example because your did not want to be judged or critiqued. I think that is an important thing to explore because it might be at the heart of why sympathetic people hang back form active participation in many social justic movements. I think men can be feminists but I think they have to arrive at that piont on their own, I cannot force, or persuade.

          I am a white person, how valid would it be if I wrote about racism without including the voices of POC in my diary. I could certainly write about what I have observed as a white person, but I am not a POC and therefore cannot really imagine that experience. I cannot feel that experience and I cannot suffer direct damage as a result. I can empathize, or attempt to. So, that is where the critique of not including women's voices came from.

          I am still missing the doormat part.

          •  The root of the problem... (0+ / 0-)
            But I am not questioning the validity of your argument because you are a man. You said you do not care to join up with movements that treat you like a doormat. How is me exploring that in essence treating you like a doormat?  Nor did I imply that you did not care about a particular group, I did imply that I thought you did not want to say join up with active feminist groups  (or others ) for example because your did not want to be judged or critiqued.   I think that is an important thing to explore because it might be at the heart of why sympathetic people hang back form active participation in many social justic movements.
            You're hitting on the root of the problem here.  I'm about to unload on you, so I apologize in advance.  Just to avoid being a complete hypocrite, I want to make one thing absolutely clear: I am referring here to one segment of the community, not the community as a whole (nor you personally).  But it's not necessary for the entire community to be made up of bad apples in order to make it unpalatable to people who might otherwise be interested.

            I tried to take part, I really did.  I listened, I read, I empathized, I understood.  There isn't much about the plight of women, minorities, and the LGBT community that you could say to me that I would find at all surprising.  It just gets frustrating and tiresome having there be an entire segment of the community that feels that it's okay to make sweeping generalizations about white men (or straight men, or straight people, or white people, or cisgendered people, or whatever), and never be challenged on it.  I get sick and tired and frustrated of trying to argue in favor of feminist views and having tons of extra time to distance myself from all the hateful filth that comes out of the fringes.

            The first time I head the word "cis", it was between the words "die" and "scum".  That's the way most people hear it first, and in all honesty I have better things to do than waste my time trying to get people to actually consider a viewpoint when a hateful radical fringe is working so hard to push people away and making horrible first impressions, which are particularly hard to wipe clean.

            Criticizing the words of the radical fringe?  Say that what they're doing makes what you're trying to do vastly more difficult?  That's taboo.  An as a white man, that must mean that I don't empathize with them.

            I do, though.  I get why people are angry.  I'd be angry too in their position, and to the extent that I'm able to understand it from my own position of privilege, I am angry on their behalf.  I'm just tired of exposing myself to those people who think it's okay to spew their hate and filth and bile on anyone and everyone who happens to have the same skin color and equipment as the people who have mistreated them in the past.  I'm done.  I'm just not interested.  

            It's depressing.  Why do it?  What's my role?  What do I accomplish by subjecting myself to it?  Who have I benefited?  Not me.  Not anyone else, as far as I can tell.  I lack useful experience and my ideas aren't needed.  I have real expertise in other fields.  Does the fact that I agree with feminist ideas mean that I have a duty to participate in feminist activism over any other kind of activism?  Or would it be okay if I try to take a stand and fight the good fight on my own, with my pride intact?

            To your credit, you seem very nice.  You personally aren't treating me like a doormat, but then I never claimed that you were.  It's not the entire movement that's like this, but it doesn't need to be.  Just understand that you're speaking with a person who has already experienced the whole thing.  I'm not talking out of my ass.  While my negative experience hasn't changed my views on feminist ideas in any way, it's cemented my opinion that I'd be both more helpful and more satisfied elsewhere.

            •  Well..... (0+ / 0-)

              there is plenty in various feminist groups I disagree with and I am not sure I agree with who gets chosen as a spokesperson and why.

              I don't believe in beating a dead horse, you gave an explanation. It creates some interesting parallels that are piontless to expand on. Hopefully, you are putting that expertise in other areas to good use.

          •  Something I want to add, since I can't edit... (0+ / 0-)

            Someone said this to me in another comment thread here:

            If it's important for you to be able to assert your position over someone, then yeah, you need to find somewhere you're more comfortable.  But I think that's a problem.
            How am I supposed to take that?  Look closely at the above paragraph and consider the obvious implications.  What do you suppose that this person who knows me only from the few paragraphs that I've already typed thinks of me?  Do you see why I find this shit depressing?  Can't I have motives that are good?  Or does it all have to be about asserting my dominance or whatever other things men have apparently been socially conditioned to do?

            I'm just so damn tired of it.  And yes -- by the way -- it is hurtful, not that it's going to ruin my day.  But here I am being reminded of precisely why I no longer want to be around these people.

    •  Oh, hey... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, undercovercalico
      These aren't the words of someone who feels that OP is making a valid contribution to the discussion.
      Nah, you don't get to put words into my mouth.  Sorry.  You seem to have a problem with this, and that may be why you feel like certain movements are "hostile" to you.  

      If I didn't think the OP was making valid points I wouldn't have bothered to respond.  I think the OP was making valid points that are somewhat complicated by the form he chose to make them in.  That's a far cry from "attacking [his] legitimacy"; it's asking about questions of privilege and how they relate to the discussion.

      If I can't ask those questions because you feel uncomfortable, well... that's on you.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:39:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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