Storify: "Stand With" Hashtags and "Right Now" Activism

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

Catching up on the #IStandForDiversity hashtag which was changed to #ISupportDiversity hashtag. Despite the change, the creator of the hashtag--a black woman--was subjected to a sea of harassment on Twitter.

Saying "stand with" is ableist ERASES THE CONTEXT OF THAT WORD in which an ACTUAL WOMAN stood up for 12 hours. Okay?

Second of all, ableism is not about whether 100% of people can do a word. For example, not 100% of people can "support" things. If you're out here saying that "take a stand" sounds like a physical, not metaphorical, thing but that "support" does NOT sound physical???? I have noodly arms and can't support a damn thing. Your hashtag is ableist against me, per your non-standard definition of ableism.

Ableism is NOT and has never been about whether you, personally, can perform a word being used. Ableism is about systems of oppression. I'm not gonna tell other people how to feel on this, but I'm weary of able allies being shouted into using a hash I find LESS inclusive. Because "stand with" has an actual history referencing a historical event. I know we don't like to remember anything before 2016, but.

And that's not getting into the fact that I find it really suspect to hear white disabled people were fussing at women of color over this. We all have things we need to work on, intersectionality-wise, but white people do NOT need to be calling out women of color, imho. If you don't like a hash, don't use it! Make your own! But women of color, esp. black women, aren't here to work for us white people. Do NOT demand that a black woman leverage HER platform, HER audience, HER voice to suit your white butt in the name of Intersectionality.

A black woman invented that term and I'm pretty sure she did not do it in order to give white people a stick to thwack women of color with. If a woman of color did or does object to another woman of color using a word or hash, that's NEVER my place to "moderate". I would never tell other disabled people what to think, but especially disabled women of color. BUT. White disabled people don't get to rally behind a woman of color in order to attack another. That's NOT how allyship works.

If two marginalized people have a disagreement, you can sit with your privilege on the sidelines. You don't get to run in from the stands. NOW THE RANT IS OVER. I'm real tired of white people who use intersectionality as a get-out-of-privilege-free card. For the record, I never give permission for white people to use my words on ableism and transphobia against women of color. I'm actually kinda sick in the realization that someone has surely done this. Don't. My activism isn't here to arm white people against WOC.

Again, please do not use this rant to go after disabled women of color who did object to the term. That's missing my entire point. Marginalized groups deserve room to disagree without more privileged people running in from the stands to play ball.

An aside after someone asked about the history of the word.

"Stand" is a complicated word. It's related to stance, thus situation (location), thus viewpoint (as from a high place). I would personally never object to an "I Stand" statement because I-language is descriptive. "Stand With" without the I is potentially more thorny if it's a call to action, which is why I urge the I-language.

An aside after several people asked about the Wendy Davis hashtag.

...I'm hearing from a LOT of people today who didn't know about the "I Stand With Wendy" hash. I feel old. Links incoming. Here is an index of my posts on the Wendy Davis filibuster. I 100% urge you to get this book which, full disclosure, I am the editor of. At the very least, the "Look Inside" note to the reader is really important and will help a lot, I think.

The "Stand With" + "I Stand With" (clear I-language to clarify the Stand With isn't a command) hashtags were born because she was standing.

Recap later in the day.

I want to repeat: I am not here to tell disabled people how to feel. But.

A, I cannot encompass any explanation for why I Stand is ableist. I-language is a statement of fact. I sit. I stand. I eat. I poop.

B, I cannot encompass any explanation for why "stand" is ableist but "support" is not. Both "stand" and "support" have physical and metaphorical uses. They are not coded into laws intended to discriminate, as ableist words are. Some people can and cannot physically stand. Some people can and cannot physically support. I see no reason one is bad and one is good.

C, Objecting to #IStandForDiversity right now, in this case, contributes to the harassment of a black woman advocating for diversity in lit. If you really have a bone to pick with "I Stand" hashtags, so help me but you can do it next week. This conversation isn't going away.

But D, I would question the value of erasing the historical context of the I Stand hashtag meme--an act that removes women from history. People have been choosing to stand as an act of protest for centuries. I don't feel comfortable telling them they can't say "I Stand".

A talk on "Right Now" activism.

I want to jump off from this thread to talk about a Thing, inspired by a conversation in my DMs. (1/ ?)

The internet has created a culture where Now is the only thing that matters. There's no time to wait & think because we need action NOW. (2)

There's some validity to this! If we want a hashtag to trend, we need everyone to tweet about it NOW. I get it. (3)

But this has inadvertently created a culture that values quantity and immediate action over quality and thoughtful action. (4)

Some other folks have talked about how harmful it is to call out folks for not acting NOW. (5)

Because this has a tendency to harm people with mental illness or simply marginalized people who CAN'T go "all in" on everything. (6)

But, in talking to someone in DMs about the "ableism" pile-on, I realized that there's another downside to "acting now". (7)

We've witnessed a LOT of pile-ons this year where people with a little more experience had to come along behind playing clean up. (8)

There's a thing that happens where someone says "Thing is Bad!" and people in good faith leap on that IMMEDIATELY. (9)

"Thing is Bad, pass it on!" "Thing is Bad, tell the others!" "Thing is Bad, sound the alarms!" People spread the news in good faith! (10)

And then come Wednesday you have other voices coming along to explain, wait, Thing has context or is complicated or has reasons. (11)

Think of how many well-meaning cis women jumped on "menstruators" thinking PP meant pejorative "bleeders" instead of inclusive language.(12)

And so many of us are left going "oh crumbs, I didn't realize there was a larger context, but I was part of the initial call-out". (13)

I understand, I do, the need for people to speak out Now. But I wish people could remember the value of NOT speaking Now. (14)

There's SO MUCH value in listening, processing, NOT talking. In thinking and hearing and gathering. In waiting. (15)

I would much rather act thoughtfully at the right time than act like a helpful lemming running after every hash. I'm guilty of this! (16)

Maybe when you see a hashtag that needs help trending, we can say "I'm listening to the voices in # hash". (17)

That's a mention and affirmation without necessarily starting a wave of "thing is good/bad!!!" that might be more complicated later. (18)

I don't know if any of the above is practical or achievable. But I do think the over-valuing of "now" activism is hurting folks. (19)

Allies do need to be more involved and I don't mean any of this as excuses. But I'd like to see people move from "now" to "this week". (20)

I think our conversations might be more nuanced if they could last longer than a day or two. Mine are, anyway. (21) Fin. (Probably.)


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