Tag Archives: intracommunity issues

Community Memory and the Search for Unassailable Abuse

Would you be okay with allowing everything you and your community have ever done to be forgotten, like it never even happened? I wouldn’t.

I don’t want ace community advocacy to be nothing but a sandcastle. That’s what it comes down to. I don’t think our conversations, debates, insights, projects, and accomplishments should be so ephemeral that only five or ten years down the line, you hear someone saying “how come nobody’s done this?” about something you’ve already done.

This post is about that kind of breakdown in community memory, but it’s also about why it matters. In this post I’m attempting to patch a memory gap about conversations that have already been had before — important conversations about objectifying rhetoric, poisonous community dynamics, and the search for unassailability. Ignoring those conversations runs the risk contributing to activist burnout, stifling our stories, and creating a treacherous environment for survivors of violence and abuse.

Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image: Candle Lights by Esteban Chiner, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Aces Have More Than a Day: Failures of Community Memory & Advocate Integrity

Given that everybody makes mistakes, what do we do once we’ve made one? Ideally, we apologize, make things right if we can, and commit to doing better in the future. In other words, everything that didn’t happen after Faith Cheltenham erroneously claimed that BiNet USA owned legal copyright of the bi pride flag, kicking off a chain of baffling missteps that may have permanently damaged the reputation of the entire organization. It’s one thing to spout out nonsense on the internet, but it’s chilling when the person doing so is operating at the helm of an advocacy group and stubbornly doubling down against all legitimate criticism.

This incident was still fresh on my mind when I learned about another, completely separate fiasco unfolding in the ace community: one part ignorance of the past, one part refusal to heed other’s concerns, equal parts unnecessary stress and headaches for everyone.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Kishjar.]

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The Glossary & the Gristmill

This post is my entry for this month’s Carnival of Aces, on the theme of “telling our stories.” In it, I’m trying to make three main points: One, aces cannot live on glossaries alone — we need stories, not just to demonstrate what ace experiences are like, but also to address internal intracommunity dynamics among ourselves. Two, because stories are so important, it is doubly a problem when our fellow aces foster an environment that makes sensitive and painful stories that much harder to tell. In other words, I’m saying our own community is contributing, in part, to why it feels like certain stories can’t be told. Three, there are things we can do and things we can use to foster a different environment — that is, to do right by each other and to make our stories easier to tell.

[Content Notes: this post does contain some discussion of violence, including sexual violence, conversion therapy, and murder. There’s an especially severe section on disrespectful treatment of these matters with a separate, additional warning — you’ll find it between the second header and the third, enclosed with the tags <severe section begins here> and <end severe section>.]

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white ace stuff again

So, uh, remember this conversation?  And this part?  From when I said “White aces need to talk to each other about this”?  Yeah.  So.  I came across this post and that’s immediately what I thought about, ’cause…

I wish every white person at one of these protests would commit to doing one-on-one relational work with other whites to deal with their racism

This frustrates me because I’m in a very “liberal” academic space and my white classmates are always having lil breakout groups to discuss allyship, meetings to talk about how they can support black and brown efforts and organizing

But they seem to have zero idea how to actually talk about racism to other white people who don’t already agree with them

And from there another person reblog-commented with a story about trying to talk to another White person about a racial issue & it going better than expected, followed by some general tips for the same kind of general situation.  They seem like mostly decent ideas, and the one I want to highlight is this one:

1) Have people re-examine their own thinking. Don’t tell them how to think or how you think. Ask them questions that have them explore their thought process.

…And, um.  It depends on what kind of mess you’re dealing with, but I think that’s a set of tactics worth keeping in mind, and it’s this kind of thing that has helped me… manage some vile conversations, without getting as deep in worst case scenario as it could’ve, I suppose.

And if White aces want to do something about White aces making the ace community alienating and unsafe, I think working on productive confrontation techniques is a necessary step.

On Solving the Problem of 101 Material

Here are some of my thoughts so far:

  • We have consistently seen some of the same problems repeated in “introduction to asexuality” material.  In contexts where unsafe, exclusive, and damaging material keeps getting spread around, it’s not enough to say “go make your own”.
  • As Sciatrix pointed out, most of the people making these significantly flawed materials appear to people who never engage much/at all with community discussions above the 101 level.
  • One way to remedy this might be to spread 301 discussion in a more accessible way.
    • It’s hard to follow a full discussion on tumblr unless you’re following the participants, and since much of the asexual community is adhering to tumblr as its center, I think Agenda-style linkspams of recent kerfluffles and debates posted to tumblr’s asexuality tag could be an idea worth considering.  This would come with its own challenges, however.
  • It could also be worthwhile to put together some resources on How to Not to Hose Up Your 101 Powerpoint 101, which is what I’m thinking of doing. Continue reading