Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don’t get used as a tool for other peoples battles

Many of us are easily be grabbed by our emotions and deployed for the use of winning the battles of others who have hidden schemes and agenda (that don’t profit us one bit) lying below the surface. Over and over again I see black women fall into this trap. Because we feel harshly treated and victimized by society we tend to project our feelings of the injustice unto others and the situation they are undergoing, reading their situation as the same oppression and victimization like we are suffering. We rush into battle for them because they are like a proxy of our situation. This particular response of black women has been used against us to our great detriment.



Many years ago I worked with a woman who had this ongoing litigatious campaign against the company we both worked for. I think she was an anti-capitalist of some type who was just out to undermine companies, one after another in her grand scheme to impose a different social order. No one knew about it till she had sprung into action and launched a series of industrial tribunal cases against the organisation. She used to go around collecting 'evidence' and grievances from unsuspecting staff who she would then cite in her latest complaint without them even being aware they were about to be asked to answer for themselves. You can imagine how this could suddenly put the career prospects of a hard working staff who had no prior issues with management in jeopardy. By the time she left she had taken down about three other staff members whose situation within the organisation became untenable, many were long term workers who fell for her sob stories and curious ability to charm and win over folk.

Even though I believed she was a bit 'off' and tended to avoid her and her overtures for me to jump on the 'grievance' train I still had some sympathy. I framed the issue as 'The big bad corporation crushing its lowly put upon workers'. One day during a 'union' meeting someone said, 'What happens when this company folds because she wins a multimillion pound lawsuit'. Do you know that faster than you could say 'zombie followers', my priorities suddenly straightened out. In a flash I saw the critical issues at hand and what was at stake where before I had been overcome by her cry baby antics and my imposing of the 'victimized worker against evil capitalist corporation' frame on the situation. The truth was if she was awarded a substantial sum the company would fold and with it the jobs of over 27 staff members!
Love Damian Hirst's Art Design for the Olympic Stadium 
We have to be careful about imposing popular framing on every situation without doing investigation into the facts. There are folk out there framing narratives and creating memes about issues so that the lazy 21stcentury western citizen will vote, organise or oppose issues based on their quick imposition of these readily circulating view points. You cannot be naïve in today’s society, in fact there is no excuse, because it is relatively easy to seek and find clarity on any issue. Folks who have less than progressive intentions are co-opting civil rights, freedom of speech, gender equality and all sorts of other progressive ideals to further their own agenda.
Stop letting your emotions get the best of you.

Not every crying person is a victim, not every battle is a 'civil rights' battle which should be taken up and embraced by black people because 'we know how it feels'. Some people are rightly being brought to justice, are rightly being scrutinized or opposed for their views.

When I gave it some thought, I realized that this particular worker never did any work, she was forever chatting, doing other stuff on the computer, rejecting management direction and directives. There was even talk of a mental illness but no matter, she did eventually win a big payout after many years and an upheld appeal. The amount appeared as a debt in the company's statement of accounts for many years till it was finally cleared off. Now that there is a backlash against Wall Street and greedy corporations it will favor litigatious employees and career grievance collectors, your company could be at risk.
So we finally saw what she was about but it was too late. I still wonder why we were so taken in to the point were a number lost their jobs to an obvious trouble makers antics. My conclusion is that because the company is set up to work around 'social justice,' accusations of discrimination and victimization would elicit a strong response in many of us staff who would then forget to think and be objective. Indeed as an organisation the whole personal responsibility side of things was discredited and seen as victim blaming. It just took one person shouting discrimination, sexism etc to plug into our blind spots and emotions.
I want to emphasis that I am not saying that we have run out of civil rights issues that need addressing, bit we have to be careful that others are not manipulating us into serving their interests to our own detriment.

Be Knowledgeable
Read broadly - if you are an all-round knowledgeable person who has the basics when it comes to most most relevant and current social issues from finance to global warming, your broad base understanding can provide some protection against being easily taken in.

London Olympics is Over, It was amazing, I am exhausted...

The Queen arrives for the Olympic opening ceremony
I know I should put down a few thoughts about the London 2012 Olympics but I am emotionally exhausted from cheering- and laughing and crying -on the best of British! Let me just say it brought out the best in everyone in such an amazing and never to be matched way, I absolutely loved every minute and was happy to play a small part in selection of volunteers who really made the games giving thousands of hours for free to sort out lost americans, and hand out free ice-lollies. They did us all proud...

...even the weather behaved itself.
over to you Rio!

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9 comments:

Andrea said...

I defintely have to co-sign this 100%. I have had soooo many people try to pull me into their non-sense, starting in my teens, but I could always sense that they were either lying or attempting to use me to their own ends, so I never fell for it. There are people who want NOTHING at all to do with Black women (gay men/racist homosexuals), but feel we OWE them allegiance because they are discrimated against. LOL.

Well, boo hoo. Deal with the issues that affect your group your own damn selves, just like we always have done!

samadhi101 said...

My old government professor, a BM (he always brought up that he's married to a WW lol, kinda weird he always tried to make his marriage a topic) wrote his own textbook and I noticed he talked about womens suffrage, which we all know was about WW trying to vote and he talked BM getting the right to vote and nothing more. I mean he literally erased all BW contributions during the Reconstruction Era and fight for civil rights afterward. He basically gave an elementary school level lesson about the post Civil War era. I thought it was disturbing how he didn't even acknowledge how racist Susan B.Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were and how they were against BM gaining the right to vote! Well, I didn't mention all that to him, but I asked him after class why he didn't mention BWs support and why no one addressed the needs of BW (this was last year, I was really naive!). He said "Well, yeah. We have to focus on the men first, then BW can get what they want." *scoff* Funny how the script is the same for every group BW blindly support: In some way it'll benefit us... eventually...maybe *eyeroll* Aside from a few normal life problems, my life is free from any unnecessary stress since I let all other groups handle their own "problems" now. "Whats in it for me?" is the first thing that comes to mind when any group tries to recruit me.

E.A. said...

Black woman = society's pet activist. (Minus the dated '70s fro and fist.)

Women, it's 2012. We've only got to be the champions of our OWN issues. Every other battle we fight in is expended energy used to prop someone else up with our efforts. Like Khadija said, always ask yourself "cui bono" in any situation, and your priorities should likely sort themselves out!

samadhi101 said...

Haha, wow, Halima I thought that picture of the queen parachuting into the stadium was fake, until I watched the video lol I admit I didn't catch all of the Olympics but how did I miss that, haha?

Aisha said...

Another wonderful post! It is very important to know one's own "blind spots" to avoid being taken advantage of by others. I had a recent run in with an Internet personality who claims she is all about women's rights, fighting misogyny, etc. Right up my alley. However, I realized that she is a total hypocrite who co-opts these issues in hopes of making her life as a prostitute easier. She doesn't actually care about other women. She also has gender identity/male jealousy issues and despises feminine women.

I think I would have seen this woman's true motives earlier if I focused on what she actually did instead of her women's rights rhetoric.

@samadhi 101

I was just doing some research on Susan B. Anthony. I didn't know she was racist. My understanding is that she was friends with Frederick Douglas and initially supported the Abolitionist Movement. When she realized that Black men only cared about their voting rights and not women's, she dropped the cause and focused exclusively on women's suffrage. I will have to do some more research.

Aisha said...

P.S. I enjoyed watching the BBC live stream of the Olympics. Being able to watch the events in real time was wonderful. I also prefer the commentators as opposed to NBC. It wouldn't have been the same without it.

ak said...

Hmm interesting. From what Aisha said even Susan B. Anthony may have asked herself 'Cui bono?' way back in the day when she was alive! I can't even say I blame her whether she was white or black honestly.

I've long heard that Martin Luther King was sexist and discounted women in his own way and even Malcolm X came across as sexist in his autobiography which I read quite a few times years ago.

But yeah too many black women have been taking up the causes for every group under the sun for too long and they like to champion every single straight black men under the sun the most.

Why the BW never ever, or ever stopped, asking themselves what was in it for them or tried to find out how they could benefit from involving themselves with other groups is beyond me.

Let them ALL sort it out for themselves black women of the world! Because when you're all crying out for help, they won't even give you a clean or even a dirty handkerchief to dab your eyes with or blow your nose with! It's just the plain truth.

Zoe said...

Absolutely great post. Black women have their own problems to deal with. No need to fight for gays, bm etc.

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