December 2017
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31


if you mourn only for the deaths of white people, your empathy is broken. and racist.


icon: "snarling (a photo of a snow leopard snarling in profile with teeth bared, whiskers back, and ears flattened)"

I realized today that I give a lot of seemingly compassionate people the benefit of the doubt when they don't deserve it. I assume that the reason that they don't talk about or publicly express any empathy for the many, many black people, trans people, disabled people, and women who are murdered in their own country, state, city (often at the hands of those who are supposed to protect or love them) is that they don't want to talk about death or murder or torture. I subconsciously assumed that they maybe can't deal with how awful it is, maybe they are too emotionally fragile. I can understand that; sometimes that is me.

But no. Now that some white people got killed in a different city, a different country, a different continent, these same people are all focusing on death with expressions of deep emotion, showing solidarity by covering their face with a flag. Clearly they are capable of talking about suffering, of expressing empathy publicly. They just don't feel like that about black people. Maybe they don't know that trans, disabled, and female people are murdered regularly and that's why they don't show any care about that, but there has been enough national coverage of the death toll of being black in the US that I really doubt that could be true about black people. So if you're a white person who hasn't shown any empathy or mourning or symbols of solidarity for black people killed in the US in the past year and you're doing that for those killed in Paris*, I'm noticing, and I'm judging you.

*Note: obviously if you have a personal connection, that's different. It always hurts more when it is your friend who is hurt or in danger.

See also:
http://www.outwithgeorge.com/blog/2015/11/14/our-mourning-is-broken-paris-and-privilege
http://stateofmind13.com/2015/11/14/from-beirut-this-is-paris-in-a-world-that-doesnt-care-about-arab-lives/
http://m.mic.com/articles/128551/terrorist-suicide-bombing-attack-on-beirut-lebanon-kills-43-and-injures-hundreds
https://newmatilda.com/2015/11/14/paris-attacks-highlight-western-vulnerability-and-our-selective-grief-and-outrage/
http://www.countercurrents.org/swanson141115.htm
http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/why-our-conversations-about-paris-have-been-broken-from-the-start/

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Comments
mlknchz ══╣╠══
We have no way of knowing the ethnic, gender, disability or sexual make-up of the people who were murdered last night. I do not for one second think they were all white, able, straight, cis people, and I also don't think anyone else thinks that either.
I agree that we need to feel equal outrage and sadness towards people being killed in our own communities, but I have to say I think you're way off base in ascribing a "poor white people" motivation - or even any thought to race at all- to people expressing their feelings about the events in Paris.
belenen ══╣contemptuous╠══
If you think not thinking about race means there's no racism, clearly you don't understand racism.
b00kl0ver ══╣╠══
toll_booth ══╣╠══
From the moment the feigned sympathy for Parisians begin, I knew deep down that something was off about it.

This post and a couple other posts on FB helped me understand why. Thank you.
aliki ══╣╠══
Yeah. You said it a lot better than I could express in words why I've been feeling so pissed off on FB. And the damn "french flag profile pic" is just pissing me off so bad, and people on my FB keep saying "why you gotta hate, can't we just kumbaya this out?" and I'm like, no, white people, just stop...
aliki ══╣╠══
Also, when I saw this meme image circulating on some FB friends' pages, I realized that fuck yes, it's a white thing. We don't give a shit about the Asians or the Middle Easterners or the Central Americans... just the white folks in France. That's why FB hasn't made profile pic flags for any of these other countries. That's why nobody else is "mourning" the Mexicans or the Japanese...

soundofsunlight ══╣idkman╠══
Yeah, the only difference I can see, of why Paris is getting attention while Beirut, Baghdad, etc. are not, is that France is a predominantly white country, and white people can identify with that. Whereas other groups of people are different enough that they don't register as "people just like us"? But what gets me is that this lack of understanding can lead to such lack of empathy. Is it so hard to see others as people just because they're unfamiliar? That frustrates me so much.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.