For all American grad students who get tuition waivers.
This is extremely important for you to be aware of. Please spread the word.
If this passes, I’ll be forced to try surviving in a major US city on less than $1000 a month. This bill will kill higher education.
Guys, I made a thread about this on my Twitter earlier. I make HALF of what this guy earns in my grad program. If the government taxes my tuition waiver as income, I’ll lose $4k of what I earn in a year! Which means that I’ll be taking home under $10k a year! There’s absolutely no way I’d be able to support myself. Please, please, please call your representatives if you can. Urge them to vote no on this tax plan! It would be utterly heartbreaking for me to lose my dream so close to the finish line because of something as banal as taxes.
I haven’t been putting politics on this blog as much lately, but this hits me directly, along with many other vulnerable populations in this country.
Betsy DeVos faces absolutely stunning ‘silent’ protest at Harvard
While Trump’s swamp-addled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tried to speak at Harvard University to sell her special privatization of public school branding “school choice,” she found herself the subject of an incredibly powerful and well orchestrated “silent” protest. Silently standing up as the DeVos speech got under way was one young woman, holding up a sheet with “White Supremacist” emblazoned in red on it. Then another young man stood up silently with a sign reading “Our Students Are Not 4 Sale!” As security tried move protestors along by speaking to them, more and more students unfurled signs saying “Protect Survivors’ Rights,” “Our Harvard Can Do Better,” “Reclaiming My Democracy,” and “Dark Money,” amongst others. During her stupid speech promoting charter schools, she tried the rhetorical oratory trick of asking a rhetorical question.
DeVos: So what do we do? Increase funding? Does that solve the problem?
To which a student responded “Yes.” In the silence of the room, the answer is clear and perfect. Students responded with snapping instead of clapping during the protest—keeping the volume of the event very low. Later on, during a question and answer section one student asked one of those questions you wish a senator or a reporter might ask.
Student: So, You’re a billionaire with lots and lots of investments, and the so-called “school choice” movement is a way to open the floodgates for corporate interests to make money off the backs of students. How much do you expect your net worth to increase as a result of your policy choices and what are your friends on Wall Street and in the business world—like the Koch brothers—saying about the potential to get rich off the backs of students?
DeVos was pushed through the nomination process even though she was so clearly unqualified to even write a book report let alone run our country’s Department of Education. Please watch the whole clip. It is really very powerful and is definitely a type of protesting that could be very effective at times, forcing the subject of the protest to grin and bear it.
This is really amazing. I’m so proud of these students!
Betsy DeVos faces absolutely stunning ‘silent’ protest at Harvard
hey sarah i was wondering if you have any advice on living with a parent that is a trump supporter? I don’t really know how to cope with sharing a space with someone who stands against everything you believe in? I find it demoralizing and honestly heartbreaking to witness someone you love have these horrible beliefs and Idk how to not feel like shit about it?? Ive tried to just ignore it + practice my beliefs quietly bc I mean I love them but my conscience can only stand for so much
Hey hon! Sorry it took a while for me to get to this.
I wish I had a good answer, but this is something I’ve been struggling with a lot myself. I don’t live with my parents anymore, but I am Facebook friends with them and when I do spend time with them, it can be difficult. They tend to talk down to me as though if they speak more forcefully, they’ll somehow change my mind. They think being progressive is a phase. My dad has actually said that when I’m older, I’ll be a Republican again. It is indeed demoralizing, and it can really be a drain.
My parents and I have largely resolved not to talk politics with each other, even though this isn’t always possible. I also decided, in the days after the Charlottesville incident, that I should focus only on what I can control. I can’t change my parents’ beliefs, as much as I want to, but I can continue to speak out on my platform and do what’s within my power to live a compassionate and open-minded life. You are still living under your parents’ roof, which can be even more difficult, but I would attempt to find some way to engage with your beliefs in your community, whether through your public library or local non-profits or something else, so that you can feel like you’re contributing. You can even make a little game for yourself. Every time they say something that conflicts with your beliefs, add a quarter (or dime, or nickel, or penny) to a jar. When it gets full, or maybe once a month, donate that money to an organization that does work in something that’s important to you. This way you can still feel like you’re being helpful and strong without having to compromise your living situation.
If the situations ever do come up where your parents are willing to listen to your worldview, take advantage of it. But don’t let this situation cause your mental health to suffer or your relationship with your parents to become unsustainable. You do still depend on them right now. There will be a time when you don’t, but for now, focusing on what you can do, instead of what you can’t.
with the crazy nazi people & our crazy nazi supporting president, I don’t just want to TALK about making a difference, I want to DO something. but I don’t know where to start. or what to do. my area is super small & conservative so i don’t know of any marches or protests I could go to. & the last few times I tried talking to my family members about issues or tried correcting behaviors it didn’t go over well & they made it clear that they would not agree with me. tips on where to start?
I’ll be quite honest, this is something I’ve been struggling with a lot, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve quite come up with an answer. I try to keep this blog pretty positive for the most part, but I’ll admit that I’ve been having some pretty nihilistic thoughts about the future of this country lately.
It can be so, so frustrating feeling like you’re not in a position to do anything. If you’re limited by geography, the most effective thing you can do is continue to live your values. Stand up to everyday racism and bigotry. Maybe donate, if you have a few spare dollars, to anti-fascist or racial justice organizations. Be a comfort and an encouragement to marginalized people you know in real life and online, and let them know that you’re safe for them. In this crazy world, just saying “You’re safe with me,” can go a long way.
Also, continue to exist. Sadly, I feel like things are going to get worse before they get better, but someone is going to need to be around to rebuild and clean up the mess. I honestly think our generation is going to be the one to do that. It’s going to be extremely difficult. It may mean losing relationships that mean a lot to us, because we have to take a stand for morality and justice. People that you were convinced would do that alongside you may not, and that’s going to be very painful. But it’s important to keep standing up for what’s right even among those you love, even when they scorn and mock you and try to tell you that you’re brainwashed or overreacting, because someone has to stand up. And the more we stand together for what’s right, the more we lift up our marginalized friends and neighbors, and the more we say no, we won’t accept this, the stronger we’ll be. And that strength might not stop things from falling down around us, but it will mean that we’ll still be standing when the dust clears.
As for me, I’m going to keep writing, because the world needs stories. I’m going to keep speaking out on my different platforms, even if it feels like a fruitless effort. I’m going to continue working on my doctorate, because the world is still going to need scholars and teachers. I’m going to grit my teeth and stubbornly keep going, even when it all feels meaningless. Because nothing ever stays terrible forever, and I’m clinging to the hope that when the terrible things are over, we’ll be able to create something new and better in its wake.
Let’s stick together, and come out the other side of this stronger than anyone believed we could be. Who knows? Maybe the Millennials will be the next Greatest Generation–but even better.
Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, entire White House: We never collided with Russia or knew they were hacking the election.
Don Jr.: WE COLLUDED WITH RUSSIA GUNS UP LET’S DO THIS LEROOOOOOOOOOOOY JENKIIIIIIIIINS
I realize most people on here are too young to remember the Bush years but when you guys frame your SJ posts as “you hate[x]!!! why do you hate [x]???” it sounds an awful lot like how Bush supporters would scream WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA???? whenever anybody would criticize the president.
So that’s something to consider if you want to reach people over 25. Because most of us have an extremely negative conditioned response to that type of rhetoric.
There’s a surprisingly sharp generation gap on Tumblr–when I first got on the site in 2011 it was between high-school age and college age, but I don’t think it’s defined primarily by life stage or maturity level, because it’s tracked steadily upward ever since. Anecdotally, right now the split seems to be centered around age 23, plus or minus a couple of years on either side, which corresponds roughly to the birth years 1990-1994. My hypothesis for the generation gap boils down to “how old were you on September 11, 2001?” Those solidly on the older side of the gap were at least vaguely aware of a pre-9/11 political landscape, witnessed how disruptive the first term of the Bush administration was, and have a visceral reaction anything that smacks of neoconservatism or Religious Right propaganda. Those on the younger side attained political awareness in a world where the changes wrought by the Bush administration were the new normal, and their right-wing bogeyman uses Tea Party and GamerGate rhetoric.
So for the record, Bush-era “innovations” that unnerve the FUCK out of people on the older side of the generation gap:
– Casual acceptance of fear as an excuse for hatred and pre-emptive retaliation
– An “ends justify the means” approach to stamping out the slightest trace of vulnerability, no matter how repressive the means, or how slight or unlikely the potential harm
– “If you’re not marching in lockstep with us, you’re one of THEM, why do you hate all that’s good and noble?” / “Dissent and safeguards against the abuse of power just give aid and comfort to the enemy” / “Don’t you SEE that insisting that the protections of civil society apply to THOSE PEOPLE is just going to GET OUR PEOPLE HURT, YOU’RE HURTING PEOPLE YOU MONSTER”
– Anything that smacks of religious-fundamentalist logic or rhetoric
These things are not normal. These things are not how just societies are built. They are the hot water that an entire generation of lobsters has been raised to swim in without noticing. The undercurrents in the internet movement calling itself Social Justice that disturb the older generation are, essentially, the dirty tactics of the Bush administration and its unholy marriage of neocons and fundies–rebranded with a new set of acceptable targets, but with the tactics themselves unquestioned. Are they the younger generation’s fault? Fuck no. They’re what happens when the most culturally and politically powerful nation on Earth tries to pretend it’s moved on from the Bush years, but without ever having confronted the devastation those tactics left in their wake, dismantled the self-sustaining fear-and-repression machine, or held the perpetrators accountable for their officially-sanctioned torture, shredding of civil liberties, and thinly-justified wars of aggression.
So if I were to do the annoying geezer thing (at the ripe old age of 27) and Address The Youth, I guess what I’d say isn’t just that most people over 25 get an overwhelming urge to throw up in their mouths at the slightest sign you’re playing “but why do you hate freedom” Mad Libs. (Although that’s true.) It’s more than that. It’s that “why do you hate [x]???” belongs to an entire toolbox of fear/attack, ingroup/outgroup, and absolutist tactics that we’ve left lying out without bothering to re-affix the giant warning labels that they aren’t normal, or necessary, or even effective over the long term, however tempting they may be for a quick fix. And that it’s okay to refrain from using them.
The bad guys will not win if you ease off the attack a little and give your opponents room to tell you where they’re coming from. Opening yourself up to argument-counterargument with Bad, Unacceptable, Forbidden ideas is a form of vulnerability, but finding and evaluating the weak spots in your beliefs ultimately strengthens them and strengthens your ability to win people over to your side. Doubling down on the repeated assertions that you shouldn’t even have to argue and that disagreement is harmful or immoral is an alluring way to get what you want in the short term, but it produces superficial compliance out of fear rather than genuine agreement, and the backlash it causes is ultimately more dangerous than the vulnerability of opening yourself to disagreement. And it blinds you to the possibility that you may not be entirely in the right. This isn’t some MRA sneak attack to manipulate you into ceding ground. This is how discussion normally works in a functional society. You have been handed a dysfunctional, toxic system for exchanging ideas, in online SJ as well as in wider politics–and no, it’s not normal or effective, and no, you do not have to buy into that system’s claims that it’s the only thing standing between the innocent and an orgy of destruction and victimization.
The strangest thing about this is that I would not consider myself particularly old (does anyone?) but I was in my late teens on 9/11, and yeah. This is exactly what I find unnerving about the approach of some younger people to SJ issues. For a long time I just put it down to (im)maturity, but I’m really starting to think that there’s something fundamentally toxic and broken about the way our country has been approaching these things for the last 15 years or so. That kind of black and white, ‘if your fave is problematic then they’re basically the antichrist’ thinking that demonizes and squashes any kind of disagreement is really unhealthy, and it’s something that is learned.
Same, I’m 30, married to someone older than me, and we have a lot of friends in their 40s/50s. People I encounter on a regular basis comment on what a “baby” I am. I was 15 on 9/11. I’m not like. Ancient. But there is a definitely a difference between how people my age discuss issues versus how younger folks discuss them. Neons have really done a number on out ability to talk about stuff.
This would explain a lot about how fandom conversations have been going down recently. The absolute us/them nature of some of them, and the way SJ tools are used to bully people in order to win an argument.
I thought it was largely to do with Tumblr being a poor design for actual conversation, but this makes more sense, given the patterns I’ve seen.
I…think that most of the people on Tumblr will get older. The no holds barred, right or wrong, FUCK YOU surety is part of being a teenager. Then you get it knocked out of you and learn to nuance. Both phases have value. What I’m saying here is that I think it’s more developmental than generational.
I don’t understand what this has to do with 9/11
9/11 largely serves as a convenient symbolic marker for a severe shift in public discourse– I was 14 when it happened and I very clearly remember the before-times socially and politically and the after, when there really was a huge public shift in the way things were discussed, and how people in my age group and a little younger responded to things like “national tragedies,” “us vs them,” good vs evil" etc?
Kind of dumb example but I think is illustrative– when we were 12/13, the year before 9/11, a group of kids went to DC and New York and visited all the war memorials. People whose uncles and fathers had fought in Vietnam visited the wall and Arlington, were moved, went through all the ceremonial stuff, but not to the point of dramatic hysterics. Maybe two/three years after 9/11, many of the same kids went to Pearl Harbor while we were on tour in Hawaii and everything was prefaced with this really jingoistic Us Vs Them language, and half the group spent the entire time bawling performatively. There were also a lot of recriminations for not engaging in the theatrics, because it wasn’t showing Proper Respect to Our National Heroes, none of whom any of these kids could have known because they all died in 1941.
My little brother is only 22 months younger than me but he doesn’t really remember the day at all, and doesn’t really remember anything about the politics or big news stories from beforehand, whereas I very clearly remember having an opinion about the 1996 election and my The Talk with my mom was kicked off because of the Clinton impeachment. 9/11 kicked off a lot of the worst of what we see in American political discourse today, and so people who don’t remember it as clearly or the time before may have different outlooks, especially in the States.
On the one hand this is a fairly enlightening take on the somewhat rabid state of what passes for online discourse these days.
On t’other, remind me again why we haven’t built a wall around America yet?
This is a fascinating conversation. I think there’s more to it than this–the way digital social spaces intersect with social phenomena informs the discourse hugely–but there’s a lot here worth considering.
It also occurs to me that a lot of us who were old enough not only to remember 9/11, but also to be aware of the shift in public discourse around it, are also old enough to remember the Cold War, or at least its last lingering throes.
I’m 32, and I grew up with parents who were very active in the nuclear freeze movement. One of the fundamental truths I absorbed very early was that us-vs.-them absolutism and refusal to compromise and engage in good faith with ideological opponents wasn’t just stupid; it was deadly–potentially on a massive, global scale. I remember projects to hook U.S. kids up with penpals in the U.S.S.R. in hopes that we’d learn to see each other as people and so maybe not end life on fucking Earth if by some miracle our parents didn’t beat us to the punch.
And that approach was critical to the peace movement in general: humanizing the enemy. Trying to find points of connection; to learn to disagree humanely. That was a core, fundamental value of my childhood, in ways that were very closely and directly linked to the contemporary geopolitical scene; and they’re philosophies that continue to profoundly inform and steer my discourse and my approach to conflict–personal and political–as an adult.
Which is part of what scares the shit out of me about the discourse I see online, especially from the left: it’s all about radical dehumanization. I see people who are ostensibly on my side casually call other human beings trash or garbage or worthless. Scorch earth. Go to unbelievable lengths to justify NEVER engaging. Meet overtures to peace or steps toward change with spectacular cruelty.
I mean, I’ve seen variations on this exchange more times than I can count:
“[group x] are people, too.”
“No, they’re not.”
And then people LOL, and I don’t even know where to start, because–No. You do not say that. You do not EVER say that. EVER.
And I can so easily imagine how terrifying it must be to grow up in that–to be 15 or 16 or 17 and just becoming, and trying to find and place and grow into yourself in that kind of violence, and–
–to paraphrase someone profoundly and complexly flawed and still a person worth paraphrasing: Remember, babies, you gotta be kind.
Rachel is so very, very spot-on here.
There’s a lot of good stuff here, and part of what it boils down to, especially with regard to fandom, is:
1) “This piece of media upholds a status quo or supports a position that marginalizes people” != “This piece of media is worthless and anyone who likes it is a horrible human.”
2) The flipside of the above, which is “I like this piece of media” SHOULDN’T = “This piece of media is perfect and I will shut up anyone who criticizes it.”
It’s okay to like problematic things. It’s okay for other people to like problematic things.
It’s not okay to say that because you like something, it’s not problematic and people can’t talk about how it’s problematic.
It’s also not okay to say that because something is problematic, other people can’t like it, that they’re wrong to see things that speak to them in it, etc. (Note: I’m not talking about if the problematic elements THEMSELVES are what they like.)
I just thought I might add something to this conversation from the other side, since I was 1 when 9/11 happened. I can’t remember what the country was like before Bush, I can barely remember the Bush administration itself, and when I was reading earlier in the post one of the things that hit me hardest was the line:
Opening yourself up to argument-counterargument with Bad, Unacceptable, Forbidden ideas is a form of vulnerability, but finding and evaluating the weak spots in your beliefs ultimately strengthens them and strengthens your ability to win people over to your side.
I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t fall into the trap of hateful rhetoric that’s everywhere in our media, but even I realize I’ve internalized this idea that looking at the other side’s beliefs is somehow a poisonous and traitorous thing to do. The phrasing that @shinelikethunder used perfectly describes the line of thinking that I’m trying to get out of my head and my thought process. That conceding on any point is giving up or giving in.
More importantly, I didn’t realize that this wasn’t always true, that this thought process isn’t normal to some people, and I have to thank everyone for having this discussion so that I could find out. I thought it was just an American thing. For example: Trump, his nomination, and his presidency haven’t surprise me that much. He is only the continuation of what I’ve seen in my life to be standard politics, and his hatred a normal thing.
Anyway, I just thought it might be useful to have input from the younger side.
That last bit does give some context to the young/old break on Clinton, actually. The idea that the two candidates were “equally bad” because neither was perfect did seem to have a stronger expression in younger voters. And I usually hear it explained as older voters being more cynical/inured to ‘politics as usual’ but I think there’s something to the idea that that the older you are, the more likely you are to see sitting down with the opposition and hashing out the argument as normal. Likewise changing your opinion based on new information/arguments.
I think the late Cold War did have a profound impact on Gen X and early Millennial attitudes toward disagreement. My mother used to tell me stories about nuclear war drills, when she hid under her desk as a child, knowing that wasn’t going to do a dang thing for her because by then everyone had seen the photos coming out of Japan. There was a kind of resigned, helpless terror in her voice when she described those drills to me, because we were still living in the Cold War at the time. We’d stopped the drills, though. They gave no comfort anymore. (We still had bunkers under many of the local public buildings, though.)
It’s why I had a Chinese pen pal, even though it was weird as heck to see the black marker lines across parts of her letters. Even though the remaining sentences didn’t always make sense.
Because Gen X didn’t just see 9/11.
We saw the Wall come down. If you’re old enough, you know what I mean without thinking. That’s how big a deal those images were. Photographs of ordinary people with crowbars and sledgehammers climbing all over the Wall and smashing it to pieces. It was the physical representation of the iron curtain falling. (If that man builds his dream wall and we don’t do this, if we don’t rise up as a mass with simple tools and take it down with our own hands, then my last faith in humanity will be destroyed.) My whole world up to that point was divided into thirds. Suddenly one of those divisions crumbled.
We saw the tanks drive over the children in Tiannamen Square, children my own age camped out in tents on that early morning, sleeping, unaware. Children with dreams and bodies and hopes. Gone. (We also saw the man who stood in front of the tanks and stared them down. The man who with his own body refused. That moment of defiance, when the tanks paused and would not move forward.)
What I think happens, as far as I can see through the eyes of my great grandparents to now, is that history moves in waves. We forget and relearn important lessons, not as individuals, but as societies. I’m sorry for those who were born into the 21st century’s version of McCarthyism. You shouldn’t have to carry this. But please be aware – it can be unlearned. My mom unlearned it. Our survival does not rely on defeating everyone who dehumanizes us, because that’s literally impossible – they make up something like 50% of the world on a good day. Our survival relies on humanizing as many people as we can and forging connections that make most folks think twice before they spout words that encourage others to murder. Vulnerability relies on great courage, yes, but the ultimate reason the Wall came down and the ultimate reason the tanks stopped for one man was this: the wall had human guards; the tanks had human drivers.
There is a person on the other side. They disagree with you, or are pressured by circumstance, or have been fed propaganda. You may not be able to reach them, and you’re not obligated to put your life on the line to do it for someone else’s sake. But if you want to have any chance of connecting at all, you have to first recognize their humanity. Then you have to encourage that recognition to spread. Only then will we all recognize what boundaries are, what normal and reasonable treatment of other humans looks like. And yes, in the US, we have yet to ever have a moment where this was really true for marginalized people, which makes it all the more urgent that we accelerate the humanization process, crack the shell of the fear game, remember what it’s like to un-Other another human being. If we could do it for the USSR, we can do it now for the other half of our country.
This is very interesting.
I hope that the global nature of the internet will begin to serve the same purpose as those penpals in China or the U.S.S.R. Though the internet is rife with the toxic rhetoric already described, alongside that rhetoric we also see unlikely friendships being forged. I have friends from nations that a younger me would have probably been scared of, thanks to the political environment of my formative years (I was 7 on 9/11–old enough to remember it but not to understand the contrast of before/after). My father was a soldier–I was neck-deep in the performative patriotism (I used to wear flags in my hair on national holidays, all the way up until I was 17 or so). I have since greatly expanded my worldview thanks to college, and I have unlearned that blind patriotism. But I am also the lobster in the hot water–there are a lot of things about America’s cultural identity that I’m still not aware of, though I try and learn every day. I’m very curious to see how America’s cultural identity shifts as the millennial generation starts gaining real power in the next ten years or so. If the Big Orange Bigot doesn’t get us blown up first.
President Trump’s Lies, the Definitive List
haha sick one! anyway, am I going to lose my health insurance in a few months
Guys. I get it, this isn’t ensuring you a living wage or banning AHCA.
But the courts have used Trump’s tweets to strike down the travel ban. This is important, even if it has a dumb name meant to needle him. His tweets are official correspondence, meaning they can illuminate his legislative intent, meaning they need to be on record. This can save lives. Using his tweets in court has saved lives. You can care about this AND your health insurance.
the misogyny speech
my favourite thing ever in the history of this universe is the misogyny speech. i love it. i love it so much.
for those who don’t know what the misogyny speech is: australia’s PM julia gillard was our first female prime minister and was bullied relentlessly throughout her career by sexist politicians saying that as a woman she was unfit to lead. and then. then. one day, julia gillard snapped.
the resulting three-minute speech, known simply as the ‘misogyny speech’ in australia, was possibly the most epic smackdown seen in australian political history, surpassed only by “i wanna do you slowly”. it was incredible. students memorised it and marched through the streets yelling it. a national australian choir arranged it as a five-harmony piece. even hillary clinton went out of her way to meet julia gillard and tell her how fucking awesome the misogyny speech was.
i, personally, have the misogyny speech memorised. because i live in tony abbott’s electorate, and my dream of dreams is to see him at the shops one day and follow him while yelling it.
the misogyny speech: as australian as vegemite.
may the op one day fulfil their dream of dreams
it’s long but honestly every second is worth it the whole speech is incredibly inspirational
“that’s a direct quote by the leader of the opposition so I suggest those groaning take it up with him” Julia Gillard was taking no more shit what an inspiration
My skin is clear, the sun is shining, and my crops are growing in abundance. GOD bless this.