28 8 / 2014
And if Michael Brown was not angelic, I was practically demonic. I had my first drink when I was 11. I once brawled in the cafeteria after getting hit in the head with a steel trash can. In my junior year I failed five out of seven classes. By the time I graduated from high school, I had been arrested for assaulting a teacher and been kicked out of school (twice.) And yet no one who knew me thought I had the least bit of thug in me. That is because I also read a lot of books, loved my Commodore 64, and ghostwrote love notes for my friends. In other words, I was a human being. A large number of American teenagers live exactly like Michael Brown. Very few of them are shot in the head and left to bake on the pavement.
The “angelic” standard was not one created by the reporter. It was created by a society that cannot face itself, and thus must employ a dubious “morality” to hide its sins. It is reinforced by people who have embraced the notion of “twice as good” while avoiding the circumstances which gave that notion birth. Consider how easily living in a community “with rough patches” becomes part of a list of ostensible sins. Consider how easily “black-on-black crime” becomes not a marker of a shameful legacy of segregation but a moral failing."
10 7 / 2014
"I’ve really tried to understand the Israelis. I used to work on a farm in Israel. I speak Hebrew. I watch their news. All the time they talk about fear. How they have to run to their bunkers to hide from the rockets. How their children can’t sleep because of the sirens. This is not a good way for them to live. We Palestinians don’t talk about fear, we talk about death. Our rockets scare them; their rockets kill us. We have no bomb shelters, we have no sirens, we have nowhere we can take our children and keep them safe. They are scared. We are dying."
24 6 / 2014
I was in Melbourne over the weekend and split a few bottles of wine with someone I worked with last summer. We got to talking about refugee and asylum seeker issues and movements like Not In My Name and We Are Better Than That.
I get that they are well-intentioned; I understand that they’re all about busting myths about refugees and promoting general goodwill towards refugees and asylum seekers. I absolutely agree that you should tell your government when it does something you don’t agree with.
What doesn’t jive is how these movements separate activists from their countries’ shitty immigration policies. Take responsibility for what your government does. Saying you had nothing to do with a policy decision doesn’t mean you’re absolved of all guilt. Don’t selectively celebrate things that your government does; part of conscientious citizenship is participation and distancing yourself from decisions like the Malaysia Solution weakens public discourse.