Friday 7 June 2019

Bees and bombs

Todays soundtrack, the awesome Sade

Some peeps have been relaying to me that they wish I’d shake this bee out of my bonnet.

While were are wearing bonnets…who saw the beginning of the 3rd series of the The Handmaids Tale last night? Great stuff! I love it when the revolution gets into the bomb throwing phase.

I suspect these screens crowded with so many words are just not what some people signed up for. I can understand why there are some women who find so much assertiveness quite disturbing. Nice to be nice to the nice…a maxim for well behaved dignified women who just make their point and leave the room clutching their handbag. And everything stays the same, no applecarts are upturned, no faces get bee-stung. Peace reigns in the valley. Except for those disgruntled feminists in cellars chanting “hubble, bubble toil and trouble”, cackling evilly over cauldrons as they concoct their next bomb.

My tirades of the last 10 days aren’t just about kimono. That was the tip of the iceberg moment that blew the lid off the pressure cooker. This so called kimono campaign has all the gravitas of a high school TV drama. The one that comes from the script when the mean girls gang up on the ugly girls and don’t get it when the fuglies resist. Much confected outrage ensues.

This is a round up of my fugly rebellion:

·         *   I’m resisting being bullied. I do have a choice to say “No I don’t agree with your contention about kimono and will go on using the word” and the consequences will be getting slammed on social media, platforms on FB other bloggers and sewists will have to disassociate themselves from me least they become tainted with my status as persona non grata - aka racist white supremiscist imperialist bitch Trump supporter

·        *    I’m angry about people who take political stances that effect the reputation and livelihood of small businesswomen but they will only interact with their “side” and actively strive to shut down any divergent opinion. Then they virtue signal about their own openness, inclusiveness, diversity and having the courage to stand up for what they believe in….absolute tosh, woe betide you fart on their parade.

·       *     Apart from the virtue signalling flapping of angel wings there is also the tiara to be won for displaying the most valour in the face of oppression.

That last point is the holy cow I’ll be milking today:

 Phrases and sentences taken from Emily Itos PomPom interview

·         trauma and harm we have faced as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) in a white supremacist society gets ignored and then compounded by the theft of appropriation.
·         the violence of assimilation
·          a more dominant culture taking from another less dominant culture
·          taking from the origin culture…therefore perpetuating a colonial power dynamic?
·         peoples of the origin cultures almost always get erased
·         If you are a white maker who is inspired by BIPOC cultures, what work are you doing to unlearn the racism that is embedded in our society and within you?

I’ve just turned 60 years old, Ms Ito looks perhaps half my age. There is no doubt at all that she is a proud campaigner for BIPOC rights, she flashes that around with great pride, keeps a detailed tally of all the micro aggressions and macro accomplishments at pushing back white supremacy. After all being Japanese-American gets her a free pass and automatic membership as BIPOC, she doesn’t have to win or buy her way in by conspicuous acts of advocacy and vociferous rejection of white imperialist privilege.

I was born in 1959 in a community of people coming from many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. I went to school with a whole lot of kids I didn’t even realise whose parents had been European migrants after WW2. In my 30s I connected the dots to understand why the parents of the kids with last names like Vercoe, Mrsich, Govorko, Mueller, Fooy, Urlich, Leeuwenberg, Kerkoff, Brych and lots more, spoke with accents. In my school were also kids with the last names of Paki, Kururangi, Tepapa, Pene, Kauwhata, Kahu, Pomare, Rangitahi and Waipapa. Another mob were McGregors, Stuarts, Baxters, Smiths, Hughes, McClean, Goldsmith, Derbyshire, Bergquist, Brown, Davies, Hill and a ton more.

We were kids coming together from many nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. Mostly I remember we all got on pretty well. Our teachers also come from similarly diverse and mixed backgrounds. None of us were born racists, it was a construct we learned either from our parents or took on from the outside world. Many of us grew into adulthood without adopting that ideology; just because some of us were born “white” didn’t mean racism was coded into our DNA and had to be consciously rejected - we just never took up with it in the first place.

The 1970s onward was time of rapidly growing awareness about racism. In society and academia a powerful critique was demolishing the ugly pillars of how it was perpetuated. I wasn’t in a coma walled into a cave at that time (actually I lived on an island….nother story). I bet Emily Ito and Aja Barber weren’t even born in 1985 when I was at the anti apartheid protest in Auckland. Some of my flatmates were the notorious “clowns” who were beaten up by the Police, gaoled and fined. Google it if you can be bothered.

However, far from celebrating the challenges and benefits of growing up in a multicultural society Mrs Ito only bewails the tough bits…. “the violence of assimilation” “dominant culture takes from less dominant culture” “origin culture almost always gets erased”…refer to above for a fuller catalogue of the oppressions shes had to battle.

Perhaps Ms Ito would have had a happier and less oppressed childhood if her mother had stayed in Japan and she’d gone to school there? In a previous blog I pointed out that Japan is not a multicultural society, the govt works hard to keep out other nationalities by denying citizenship and stopping long term residency. Does that make Japan a racist country? Perhaps individual Japanese people welcome people of other nationalities and cultures and don’t feel threatened by others wanting to assimilate into their culture so I’m not suggesting that the Japanese people per se are racist. It just looks like it from the outside.

Emily Ito and Aja Barber have visited their own version of racism and imperialism on me by dismissing me as a stereotype white supremacist woman who is either consciously boasting my privilege or so haplessly ignorant I’m not smart enough to understand how individual and institutionalised racism works. I was getting it before you two were even born and I abhor how it works.

I may look all white on the outside but I’ve had my own cross to drag up Calvary too. And we’ll talk about being martyred on crosses tomorrow.

I have some work to do on that Sencha Kimono (do you like the onomatopoeia of Sencha sounding like censor...!)

first long version sample of the Sencha Kimono

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