Since my last Occupy related post on Friday, things haven't got much better but at least they didn't get much worse (and by not much worse I mean that I'm probably going to get my modly powers revoked and they're REALLY not happy about my blog). It is amazing to me how hard people will fight against something if that something includes acknowledging their privilege, or that they were/are wrong. I've been there multiple times, but most recently; I had a former friend tell me before I moved that in the past I had said and done things that had hurt them. My response was essentially "Well, I didn't mean those things like THAT, so ya, that's just your opinion." Ouch. It wasn't until I read Liss' post on Magical Intent (go on, go read it!) that I realized how incredibly wrong and terrible my response to their feelings was. Via Shakesville:
Magical Intent is the principle by which someone who has said or done
something offensive, hurtful, rage-making, marginalizing, and/or
otherwise contemptible argues that the person to whom they've said or
done it has no right to be offended, hurt, enraged, alienated, and/or
otherwise disdainful because their intent was not to generate that
In other words: "I didn't intend for you to feel that way, so if you do feel that way, don't blame me! My intent magically inoculates me from responsibility for what I actually said and how it was received!" (Sound familiar with my struggle lately? It should, because that's exactly what's been happening. The whole post, and it's second part, is worth reading and bookmarking and sharing, so go read, bookmark and share!)
Bryan, if you're reading, I'm deeply sorry. Someday I hope you can forgive me. I don't deserve it, but I can hope.
We learn (I hope), we grow (I hope), we move forward (I hope) because the world only spins forward. Progress is the only way to go because dammit I refuse to stand still and I definitely am not going backwards. Whether Occupy Nanaimo is ready to realize it or not, words mean things and intent isn't everything, infact, it's practically nothing, especially when it comes to online communication. The words we use and the actions we take aren't just the means to an end, they ARE the end we'll end up with.
This is why I believe so strongly in the principles of non-violence and non-cooperation for Occupy in general. If we use these tools to create our better world, we'll eventually end up in a place where violence is never the answer, where it's not even contemplated as an option. Signs like the one I posted on Friday (the photo and ensuing discussion have been taken down) wouldn't exist because hey, the person who made the sign wouldnt' equate fatness with greed and would dream of alienating her bigger sisters from the march. Noone would use racist, sexist, abelist, violent, homophobic or otherwise harmful language for the same reason; we recognize that words have power and those words have no place in that society. I'm a dreamer, I'm all in, and dammit, I expect MORE from the people who are my allies. I expect MORE than hiding behind excuses of 'that's not what a mod's job is'.