because I’m awesome and stupid, this morning I decided to drop-kick the newspaper into the front yard, wearing my very old and tired but favourite brogues. I kicked the newspaper so hard I broke my shoes. I’m full of great idea’s at 6.30am in the morning.
Please substitue the word “children” for “99 percent of the idiots using the #peace tag on tumblr.”
I always get too angry to articulate why images of malnourished African children bothers me. Why it is racist. Why it’s wrong.
This article above helps.
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
The way you think about the entire world beyond you is probably wrong.
But let’s start with Africa. Because chances are you paid the 30 dollars for that stupid fucking Invisible Children starter kit. That at one point in time you participated in a 30 Hour Famine at church. Or you “adopted” a starving child with a few friends after you saw a 5 minute infomercial. Possibly you really like Bono. Or Blood Diamond made you feel really bad. Hotel Rwanda made you cry. Maybe you have one of those shirts with the heart in the middle of the continent. Or that you really want to internationally adopt an “orphan.”
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
Did you know that the UNICEF definition of orphanhood as the loss of one or both parents. Did you know that children are adopted by white parents all the time when their biological parents are still alive. Did you know that foreign adoptions happen all the time because parents see themselves as too impoverished or incapable to raise their children on their own. Did you know that Madonna, the supposed savior of Malawi, abducted her child because international adoptions aren’t even legal in that country.
Did you know that the never-ending stream of donations you send to Africa is destroying local economies and small businesses. Did it ever occur to you that your donations are putting people out of business. Did you consider that you might be creating poverty just for participating in a capitalist system that steals from the poor and then throws them whatever is left over and calls it “charity.” Did it never occur to you, while you were donating money and feeling good about it, why it is that your dollar is needed in the first place.
Did you know that organizations like World Vision (the asshats who brought you the 30 Hour Famine) have set up camps for survivors of war and violence in Uganda, where they regularly impose Christian teachings and values through a process called “sensitization,” in order to get survivors to think more like they do. Did it ever occur to you that there are thousands of languages, cultures, and lives that are being homogenized by “charitable” organizations, and that it’s on your dime.
Did you know that money you donate comes with strings, and sometimes it doesn’t even come at all. Did it occur to you that organizations don’t spend their money unless they want to, and that frequently comes with stipulations. Did you consider that maybe there are places in Africa and elsewhere that really need your money or economic support, but don’t give a fuck about your hegemonic religious values. Did you have any clue that organizations like Invisible Children take in millions of dollars annually, but don’t even spend a third of it in Uganda.
Did you have any idea that countless charities, hospitals, adoption agencies, etc., set up in Africa are illegal, and done without credence to national or local government. Have you heard of volunteer tourism? Did you have any idea that completely untrained and uneducated people are hauling ass to Africa, and building charities that board, educate, and treat young children illegally with absolutely zero recognition of the law of the land in which they are in.
Did it ever occur to you that maybe some people in Africa are doing just fucking fine. They have a house. They own shoes. They have parents and siblings and food and an education and a favorite restaurant and hobbies and ambitions and a happy life. Did you consider that maybe your stupid generalizations and conceptualizations bother and insult them, and make it more difficult to be them.
Did you ever consider that Africa is a living, breathing continent of millions of people who are different. Economically, socially, religiously, lingually, culturally, ethnically different. And that your stupid fucking pictures of malnourished kids, your idolization of Angelina Jolie and Madonna, your ridiculous Invisible Children bracelet, your idiotic KONY 2012 posters are racist. They’re simplifying a place that is not simple. They’re portraying an enormous continent as singular, backward place. Instead of more complicated than you have ever bothered to understand.
You operate autonomously, offering your “help” where it has not been asked for. Blindly donating your dollars and your time without having any idea how it is being spent.
There are people there. Governments. Cities. There are people living their lives in a continent that you do not understand, but you claim to help.
This rant was long-winded but I’ll conclude.
Just please if you take nothing else away from this. Be critical of the shit you are fed. Africa is a continent. And at least take the time to learn about it before you even consider throwing money or used books or Toms sneakers at it.
I am now officially in love with whoever wrote this!
“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”—Fyodor Dostoevsky (via austiae)
A few people have alerted me to this video of toddlers and you can watch as a little boy hugs a little girl multiple times and each time he does, she pushes him away. A few of the times, he seems to be prompted to continue by the person with the camera. It’s a full two minutes and nothing changes – he hugs her, she pushes him away, he gets up and hugs her again and she pushes him away again.
Clearly this isn’t street harassment because they know each other and it isn’t sexual harassment because they’re toddlers and don’t have an understanding of all that, but it is a problematic situation in which adults are standing by and letting (encouraging?) this little boy to do something the girl doesn’t want him to do and then instead of helping her use her words to tell him to stop, they’re letting her push him down over and over.
The he writes, “I could be the misogynist here and make some comments about just how badly the lady little treats this fine, young man, but women are pretty great. Maybe this kid needs to get a job, buy a sweet ride (Power Wheels, perhaps?) and learn some Karate, proving himself a worthy love interest?”
And I find that very problematic. Implying that this little toddler and all women who reject men are stuck-up, bitchy, and only after good-looking or rich men is harmful. Instead of looking at the actions and saying, this girl doesn’t want to be hugged, they are focusing on the poor boy and how mean she is. She may have 10 reasons or only 1 for why she doesn’t want to be hugged by him and all of them are valid and should be respected.
No means no, even when you’re a toddler. Especially when you’re a toddler. Fifteen percent of sexual assault and abuse victims are under age 12. Teaching kids how to protect themselves at a very young age is crucial to helping them know how to prevent or get help if they are victimized and can teach them skills they can use all of their life.
This attitude that women owe men attention no matter what contributes to how, when some men are ignored or rejected by the women they harass on the street, they call them a bitch, a ho, throw trash at them, chase them, or tell them they were ugly anyway. Instead of thinking logically about all the reasons why a woman may not respond positively to a man who hollers at her on the street, men feel it is an affront on their masculinity and lash out.
Another problematic aspect of the video is the number of people who applauded how persistent the kid is. Some people in the comments of posts talked about being disappointed he never got her in the end. Guess what, you don’t always “get the girl” in the end. No means no! 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually in the U.S. We need to teach kids, especially boys because they are the bulk of the stalkers, not to follow or keep hugging etc women and girls who clearly don’t want that attention.
So those are my thoughts on the video, what are yours?
Unfortunately we don’t live in a “culture of consent.” Consent doesn’t mean a damn thing to most people. Instead, people feel entitled to do whatever the fuck they want simply because they’re physically able to and that is my biggest problem with the toddler video. That little boy wants to hug the little girl and is physically able to do so therefore he does DESPITE the fact that she repeatedly uses negative feedback methods to communicate her non-consent. She actively denies her consent to his invasion of her physical space and not only does he ignore it but the adults ignore it too. This is a teaching moment and both of those kids are learning valuable lessons. That little boy is learning that it’s perfectly fine for him to do whatever the fuck he wants and that not only will there be no negative consequences for violating consent but there will actually be positive consequences for it considering that the adult involved is encouraging his behavior. Meanwhile the little girl is learning the same thing - other people will violate her consent as though they have the right to do so, people who see it happening will encourage it and provide positive reinforcement for that behavior no matter how hard she fights to maintain her own agency, and in the end the only person she can count on for protection or to care about her consent is herself.
Since shit like this is what kids are being taught from day one it’s hardly surprising that when they grow up to be adults they act the same way only it becomes rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. This is rape culture in action and the only hope for ending it is for us to actively create a culture of consent, a culture in which consent is the most important thing in any and all interactions no matter what.
“I think the reason why twentysomethings are so fixated on age is because we feel a pressure to be a certain way at 23, at 25, at 29. There are all of these invisible deadlines with our careers and with love and drinking and drugs. I can’t do coke at 25. I need to be in a LTR at 27. I can’t vomit from drinking at 26. I just can’t! We feel so much guilt for essentially acting our age and making mistakes. We’re obsessed with this idea of being domesticated and having our shit together. It’s kind of sad actually because I don’t think we ever fully get a chance to enjoy our youth. We’re so concerned about doing things “the right way” that we lose any sense of pleasure in doing things the wrong way. Youth may be truly wasted on the young.”—Why Do Twentysomethings Always Feel So Old | Ryan O’Connell (via infra-redactivity)