The first correspondence I received was originally posted on this entry, as part of my open call to boycott SlutWalk Vancouver in its third year and in future years. But as I’ve since received further correspondence, and the issues I addressed in the original piece of writing calling for a boycott, as well as in this piece of writing calling out the entire movement for its collective racism, are of significantly greater importance than the correspondence I have received from the two current organizers of SlutWalk Vancouver’s third year, I’ve decided to move it all to this entry. Let’s take a look, shall we?
In the interests of transparency, I posted a link to the open call to boycott, without further comment, on the Facebook page for SlutWalk Vancouver. I posted it as a link on their wall and as a comment on the page’s primary graphic, which is advertising the event to take place on June 2nd this year. Not only was I banned from the page within hours, but the admin responsible for this decision rather curiously felt compelled to write me a private message about it as well (apparently she is still an organizer for this event). In it, she states that I am “more than welcome to my opinion” (Gee, really? Until now, I didn’t realize I’d need permission!) but that my words “aren’t helping anyone” and “don’t belong on the group” (Well, I guess that’s why I posted them here). I replied by addressing her apparently exceptional definitions of the words “help” and “anyone”. She has since replied a second time, claiming that women of colour have unanimously supported the event through email correspondence, and that the only people who are dissenting on the principle that the event is racially exclusive (or essentially, white supremacist) are doing so by asserting their social privileges as white people to accomplish that—which is literally the exact opposite of white privilege. Here’s a screenshot of the entire reply within which these claims are contained:
I didn’t think I’d ever have to say this again, but in the interests of transparency, this is a woman who repeatedly told me that because of a single bad date with one Chinese woman, she finds virtually all Asian women of any ethnicity at all completely unattractive. She continued to repeat this story even as she knew I was dating someone of Chinese heritage at the time, and even after I informed her that this is just plain racist of her. And I meant really racist. It now seems blatantly clear to me that the purpose of the community forum last year was not to air and address the issue of race in the “branding” of SlutWalk, but to attract adequate support for silencing women of colour (unless they agree with white women who don’t “get” what the problem is) and keeping their experiences of more frequent and more escalated sexual violence out of Vancouver’s SlutWalk in 2012 and in future years.
From Alice’s own words, anyone can reasonably surmise that she neither understands the concept of racial privilege, nor believes it to even exist. Also, Alice apparently believes that everyone’s politics are just mere opinions, all of which are welcome—unless you’re a woman of colour addressing her through any medium other than email, or you happen to be me reminding her that women of colour brought this issue up in a face-to-face community forum (as well as through several other mediums and multiple efforts). Paying selective attention to people of colour and their white allies on the basis of whether or not they agree with privilege-blind white people is exactly what racism looks like. Selectively promoting “awareness of rape culture” on the basis of whether or not a given issue keeps white women in a position of top priority is also exactly what racism looks like. It was already high time for a total boycott three years ago, but here is the other organizer (using an obvious pseudonym), shooting another cannonball through their own campaign:
In other words, SlutWalk Vancouver’s newest organizer believes that holding a white person publicly accountable for saying something racist is a more important (or perhaps even greater) “offence” than repeatedly saying something egregiously racist, silencing women of colour, listening only to those women of colour who choose not to challenge your racism, and then erasing any trace of dissent that you can hit the delete button on (no matter how important and valid you rather disingenuously declare it to be). I also added that she needs to check what the term “personal attack” means, for that matter, because something seems just a little fishy about this arrangement of priorities. I was met with tone-policing:
You see, I’m not used to getting “fan mail” from people who disagree with me and, as a result, seek to control exactly what I say and the precise manner in which I am permitted to say it. Not from this blog anyway. But I am used to passive aggression, to the point that I am so acutely aware of when it is present, that it actually does make me quite legitimately angry. And that’s nothing new, because it’s always made me angry. What’s new, relatively speaking, is my understanding of why it makes me angry. Teachings I have received from various people of indigenous heritage (many of whom I consider my chosen family) have been instrumental in helping me expand my conceptions of hostility and violence in distinctively meaningful ways. Learning about their history as a people, and my relationship to that history as an individual, has helped me to rearrange my own priorities when it comes to the kinds of issues my own blood family used to get passive aggressive about throughout my entire (horrific) childhood. For instance, when one is talking about genocide sanctioned by the Canadian government (a colonial institution constructed upon genocidal principles), this probably isn’t the time to get upset about how my relationship as an individual to that genocide is being described (i.e., I am a settler here, but this word is not an insult or pejorative). Or, in a perhaps marginally more relevant example, when one is talking about the entire history of colonialism and the present day colonialist political atmosphere of the country in which systemic racism still runs rampant, resulting in thousands of indigenous women disappearing and their families being denied justice, maybe this isn’t the optimal time to claim that being described as saying racist things or failing to understand what racial privilege even is is some sort of a personal attack.
But wait! I’m a “terrifying jerk” and “kind of a bully” for saying it:
Boycott this shit.