being able to take time off from work/school (especially for long periods like w/ occupy wall street), being able to get arrested without getting deported (which is what happens to non-citizens when they get arrested), not having disabilities that prevent you from being there, not having children to take care of
you get the idea
sometimes i get annoyed with activists who assume that everyone can go to these things
I get really pissed at people who make excuses for not supporting causes they claim to back. Of course spending 12 days camping out in an unsheltered park in the middle of a seasonal change requires a certain amount of privilege, but I feel there’s a connotation when people say “privilege” in this context. This is not just an observation that some people can afford to sacrifice their time and put themselves on the line, while others cannot; I’m perceiving this as a veiled attack, a writing off of the protesters who stay or try to stay, a “well you don’t have that much to worry about, do you?”
A lot of earlier movements required the sacrifice of time and effort, don’t tell me that there were enough black people with privilege to attend the Million Man March. It’s a two-pronged plague of complacency and disorganization both without and within the protest. I’ve been down to Wall St and talked, not to very many people to be sure, but they’re trying to keep things together—organizing for coats and sweaters and food and mattresses and sleeping stuff to be donated and distro’d amongst the people. I looked over the crowd and, yeah, it’s a lot of young people. Students, working young people, and of course a lot of homeless people [so very privileged to have the free time to be out there, eh?], and it’s people of all races, too, not just trendy white college kids, though it’s harder to tell looking at heads poking out of tarps by streetlight. But of course, even going down there, talking to people who’ve been, etc, it’s still very vague what the demands of the protest are, other than attempting to create a physical representation of unrest within the 99% of the population that do not make up the wealthiest 1%. On the outside, I feel people are complacent, “oh I need to do this and that, I don’t have time to involve myself at all, besides, there’s people down there who will figure out this shit for me.”, we’ve become a culture of nostalgia and observation over action and planning.
No, of course no one expects a full-time student with a part or full-time job or a working family with young kids, or someone who has a mental or physical hindrance that will prevent them, and perhaps make it unsafe for them, to be there, or that very many people who’d risk deportation if they were arrested should, but fuck the people who think everyone down there in that park is just doing to be hip, or because they have the time, or that they’re not sacrificing anything to be present, even for a few hours, even for a day or night. Sure, they have privileges, like anyone, a major one being in the right place [NYC] at the right time [these past few weeks], and/or, the ability to get here [as, as far as I know, no one’s organizing buses to wall st.], but don’t take it out on people who are trying to cut though our complacency and get more people to spread the sentiment and go down to the protest and actually engage in this current issue rather than observe it from the outside. Seriously, a rallying cry can’t fucking be “DO IT, ASTERISK, IF YOU DON’T HAVE ALL THESE PRIOR CONDITIONS AND COMMITMENTS” [because, fuck, what about the people there who DON’T have those “protester privileges” who are still down there or still want to fucking do it anyways, you wanna exclude them “for their own good”?]
Anyway, long story short, if you’re not down there, think about that and own it, for whatever reason, instead of presuming the privileges of the people protesting just because not having those privileges is “risking it”.
Maybe I’m just pissed because I get pissed when I or the groups I’m in get lumped as “well-off white college kids rolling in buckets of privilege” when we’ve got issues and lacks-of-privilege that are being outright ignorned by that some snarker wants to assume comes hand-in-hand with every white/college/young person’s privilege. [Yeah, taking 6 classes, looking for a job, promoting my art, maintaining a 3.0, being unsure of my enrolment status still, and not having money for supplies, food, or even train fare means I’ve got this silver platter that my ability to protest is handed to me on. Yet I still went down there, even helped liberate a little food, and am planning on going down again during the day tomarrow. I don’t have time, money, etc for this, but I’ll spread myself thin.] And I’m responding emotionally to tone because fuck this shit, this is no formal debate, I feel very assumed just because other people in my situation can’t juggle all this shit we’ve got, and other people have more to juggle. Sure, not everyone can do it, but no one needs the fucking defence, in my opinion, unless they feel fucking guilty for knowing they could do something more. You can’t, you can’t, you aren’t doing anything more, then—own that, don’t make an excuse because life handed you a larger shit-list than others, because fuck knows there are people with just as large and larger shit-lists who are out there, doing, showing solidarity or just being around. No one wants anyone to break over this, [except maybe Donald Trump, please imagine his suit ripping like it’s molded on to him and he’s actually a piggy bank and money pours out. because I did and I think it’s important.], but just being down there isn’t a mutually exclusive statement.
-signed a cranky, underslept, broke full-time fourth-year art [comics] major, who’s exasperated by assumptions of class and intersectionality and has a headache.