Intersectional Justice Exemptions in Our Movements

The Interspecies and Intersectional Justice conference would’ve been the 2nd best conference I’ve seen or heard, or at least complementary to The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter. I’m still watching the IIJC, 1 vid per week-end.

[Some talks not to be missed: Dr. A. Breeze Harper’s, who mentioned and had organised The VPBLM, and among others I linked below (besides the problematic one), Aph Ko’s talk:]

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BUT there is so much wrong with the presentation that followed Aph’s powerful talk!

Watching Zarna Joshi of Women of Color Speak Out and her erasure of indigenous cultures and her ally theatre, I’ve been on a rollercoaster of feeling nauseated, annoyed, disgusted, etc. In her introduction (at least she seemed honest therein, not counting crucial omissions such as she’s a Brahmin [the most caste-privileged]). One part of her talk is coming up in the 1st link that follows. 38m40s “Pythagoras theorem comes from ancient indigenous wisdom of India, it is in the Hindu scriptures and was there for a lot longer than Europeans had ever heard of mathematics…”

Not only is Hinduism not indigenous, but it  has been destroying indigenous cultures and languages, and continues to do so. Shakahara (is a Sanskrit term for vegetarianism, it stands for plant-eaters*) was also co-option.

Co-option of indigenous beliefs and her tone and lack of humility when corrected by a Xicano/Latino/Aztec at the end. Joshi had been, in her talk, speaking of Native people of respective land masses as one entity. She implies Hinduism, the world’s 3rd largest religion and a feudal system that excludes indigenous (and Dalit), is indigenous when it’s an estate and part of at least two others in India.

She doesn’t, and in any case is the worst possible person to, speak about land grabs and absurd violence against Adivasis and Dalits [Content warning for link: brutal rape and violence I could not even read through].

Did Joshi learn the name of any of the indigenous peoples of the lands she has been talking about, like the Niger Delta or Congo? Or does she know there are over 3000 ethnic groups with distinct cultures in Africa. Joshi merely says when corrected in Q&A, that there are many languages, and customs in different parts, and that Africa is not a country, as if we don’t know. She lives on Turtle island.

This is like Arundhati Roy calling herself black in ELLE magazine, except for the latter, black folks could tell it’s BS. Brahmins and Banias act like they have no lanes when it’s convenient to them, as do other savarnas. Some have been calling Roy a Brahmin (she doesn’t need to be from a Hindu family to be one, she is in any case Savarna).

Brahmins and forward castes (savarna) are to India what white and white-passing people are to South Africa (the minority that controls institutions, are visible in the media etc.), the “divinely-appointed”, the holders of knowledge (they co-opted from Dalits and indigenous peoples – whose land they also stole and keep stealing); they experience some racism in the Global North/West, but surely like the Japanese woman who asked a question, regardless of skin colour (there is admiration or objectification of their respective cultures). Joshi keeps her patronising Brahminical tone and detracts from the latter question, explains her coined term “colonial hangover”. Assuming that it was metaphorically from the spiking of drinks or drinking water of the colonised people, this is NOT a hangover unless you grew up a rather privileged British Brahmin whose experience is in no way comparable to even a British person of a lower caste or a desi of another religion. I think her following suggestion of “colonial education among your communities” is a subconscious slip of her tongue. Then, never did she ask the woman if she had answered her question. We know more about Japanese exploitation of South Korean women, than we know about ongoing rapes of Adivasi and Dalit-Bahujan women by Brahminical men, or threats (CW for link: writer meena kandasamy getting a threat wishing for her gang rape pornography, because she tweeted about attending a beef-eating festival), and apathy by Savarna women who practice something akin to white feminism – Braminist feminism.

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This depicts Krishna (whom Joshi prayed to, softly-but-in-the-mic, at the start of her talk) suckling a cow, pushing away the calf, while a woman reprimands him. More about Krishna.

Browsing 3 short un-numbered pages of Joshi’s male guru, Swami Mukundananda’s Spiritual Dialectics:

1. I came across casteist spin that help young and naive(?) Hindus think there is no casteism, in other words, the Indian version of “I don’t see race”. However, she is someone navigating the world as Zarna [Brahmin name].

But of course one outgrows this naivety, even in a diaspora where Hindu traditions remain very 1752. Anyone in social justice is likely to have realised the oppressiveness, on Turtle Island e.g., one would realise most organisers are upper caste whether or not one reads BGD (see Gee’s statement in interview linked); and if one is oppressed, one is probably more aware from early on. Cf white kids and black kids but in casteism, there is no parallel with colourism among black people, although there is also colourism for women.

Zarna and I are the same age (idk her but she likes to talk about her past activism, and mentions her age then) and from diasporas, she, from the 1st world and I from the developing. I don’t know any anti-casteist movement here in Southern Africa, but I know some UK and USian groups. For someone who boasts about her excellent British education to have researched Adivasis to erase them [to the point of not using the word ‘Adivasi’ at all (lest someone looks it up and figures her out?), to call Hindus indigenous] then claim a right to talk about African indigenous peoples and First Nations, like Zarna did, is absurd.

2. He claims that Buddhism came after the Vedas. This is more erasure.

3. He uses ableist discourse that uses disabled people to make a point.

That account he gives of 3 Blind men each touching different parts of an elephant’s body once and arguing over their conclusions, is not how Blind people operate, unless this was a game being played by a sighted person where Blind folks were used as animals would be, and they are only allowed to touch one part for a second and guess. They wouldn’t draw a conclusion based on that. The elephant of course stands there like a non-interactive object, neither warm nor breathing. The animals in the reader’s imagination are the Blind, it could’ve been a story that uses 3 monkeys to make the same point.

But let’s not dis her Guru, whom she only praised in that presentation (and whom she also writes books for). Also note that the term ‘shakahari’ (she firmly says to the audience “you’re not a vegan, you’re a shakahari (plant-eater)”) is considered outdated by someone in Bangalore, who had not heard it since high school, or it is simply not used outside of Hindu religious discourse.

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Krishna’s sexual harassment is not only ok but revered up to this day, worldwide (in a framework that says women can’t climb trees in this case?).

Joshi’s talk with Q&A was 3 and 4 times longer than lauren Ornelas or Brenda Sanders respectively. As if we needed over an hour of erasing indigenous peoples with a patronising tone and spreading misconceptions along with information that is also important but not her own research. Her 1st world Brahminical discourse is not the only one, she erased indenture and erased complexities such as French colonies forcing Indians after indenture, to register babies with Christian first names. Only one’s middle name could be Indian until they changed the legislation in Reunion island.

This is a Brahmin woman spreading misinformation to an audience who is already misinformed, about India – a country where the Dadri lynching was perpetrated by upper castes and where tribal people in Jharkhand’s Latehar live in fear and are more severely affected by drought, after the lynching of 2 young boys. Nowhere did she mention the lynchings, this is about the shakaharis she is so proud of!

Here is Joshi, claiming to be intersectional, pretending she and other Hindus are indigenous which is like Zionists claiming they are Mizrahim**, Palestinian or both***. How could that amazing conference end on the such a low note, and of all the moving and well-researched and well-thought-out talks there were, hers is the only one scheduled to go live? This is likely Photon Factory’s fault, not Christopher’s. I googled – Joshi was presumably never asked in a public way to not co-opt (assuming I could give permission to share this [nope, do not share with whites and Brahminists], it puts me at risk but I’ll share this with a few organisers), and her talk was dispersing of misinformation, which has been viewed live and later by many hundreds.

If anyone reading this knows Adivasis or Dalits who want to write about this, they may by all means use this, without crediting me.
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PS. It’s taking me a while to get the timestamps because Joshi’s Braminical tone is frankly triggering, more timestamps coming up in comments below.
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Acknowledgements:

Adivasi and Dalit activists doing tireless advocacy or awareness work in India and diasporas. My focus is toward South India, as are my examples, being Dravidian myself. Every womanist, feminist or social justice activist, among Indians or diasporics I know, knows how damaging casteism is. But more know they’ll get away with it. Here is an Indian journalist thinking she’ll get away with being anti-indigenous Soni Sori, pictured, was attacked with a corrosive substance and she was fighting for her life at the time. Rupa was dragged on social media by Dalit activists but otherwise, she can get away with it – Rupa still seems to be a journalist, thus caste privilege works like white privilege.

. Gee Semmalar for telling me Joshi is a Brahmin name, and for clarifying that Brahminism/Vedic religion unlike Aryan religion came after Buddhism.

*Jayaprakash Satyamurthy for the link and for telling me more about ‘shakahari’.

**My Mizrahi friend, billie rain.

***Laura Schleifer for the link.

Ramadan recipes and more

I see a few gluten free recipes here by One Arab Vegan. I may have eaten mathrooba with soy mince only, only here we call everything that looks like this chutney or I may have eaten it in Capetown, I ate a Muslim friend’s mother’s vegan cooking many times without knowing the names of the dishes. Here, often we don’t know what region it’s from. Our Mauritian biryani is defo Muslim Indians/Pakistanis. There’s vermicelli basbousa too – it’s what I’d get from neighbours for Eid, before I went vegan and gluten-free, sugar-free, etc. During Ramadan, Bhai Dado often brought me the bestest naan ever while he’d have bought some for his family before Iftaar.

Ramadan had been a time to look forward to when I was young, stranger to the faith, without fasting, while I could still eat gluten and sugar. I guess it was mostly for the naan, they made their special one during Ramadan. I have never tried making naan.

Illness or allergies became a polite way to refuse food. Nothing consequential in my case (outside my culture) but see the post on Muslims with eating disorders.

There are recommendations at the bottom of One Arab Vegan’s page on fasting for Ramadan, staying hydrated, and fighting social stigma.

What it’s like recovering from an eating disorder during Ramadan

On Ramadan Muslims

If you are not Muslim and clueless on etiquette.

Naartjies and oranges

I wrote this 2 months ago and did not publish it, for some reason. It’s possible that a friend was here on holiday and we had a similar discussion which got really intense and while I should worry about the guilting and shaming of me, I worried about whether she’s depressed (and would be more depressed reading this) after I offered perspective on her own practices that deviated from the mythical purity of veganism. White veganism makes one hold or have shame and guilt around certain needs while consuming and taking food pics to contradict that shame and guilt.

I realised a bit more what POS people are with this social media citrus uproar (as Lawrence Carter-Long put it), people are still being ableist about this 2 months on.

I already consume little (within a much more limited range than vegans) but I was shamed by former friends who, I then argued, consume more, smoke etc. I’ve struggled a lot with self-esteem, then vegan self-esteem (guilt of not doing enough, I just made the word up) that I wouldn’t have it. These two white vegans shamed me for menstruating “unsutainably” while one of them had a sewing machine and could actually do something (which they’d do as work) instead (for which I offered to pay her), but shaming was easier. I must add: not everyone can use menstrual cups. Bodies don’t work the one and only trve way you learned in biology (or even medicine, the students I knew have been as ignorant as some doctors).

When disabled folks say eradicating something is not possible bc [insert needs], people would shame them, while being the ones who are consumerist with their wants: using loads of coconut water from Thailand for competitive athletic performance not health, it’s got a label and aluminium. Or them using all sorts of coconut things in a land of no coconuts. Or using processed moringa package wrapped bc it’s the latest superfood trend (which exploits labour and encourages monoculture in my country too, ok? As in it’s local to me, the state is white supremacist af & at the every least, if you had needed to remove those tinytiny twigs from the leaves yourselves, you’d never consume it). Or all the superfoods (probably unnecessary in their diets) and all the packaged meals they buy, serve or offer.

[An old local séga about moringa, and its dishes by working-class/ economically oppressed people, the dishes Marclaine sang about are vegan btw]

Wholefoods is probably targetting a class and race but other stores, if they did this, could cater to a need. Whereas the trend of white people making raw things with coconut oil or paleo things with packaged and imported coconut flour is a trend. When we use coconuts (not harvested by monkeys here, and in 2016 there has been 1 human death in the harvesting, reportedly an accident with the ladder and a rare occurence) the only waste is the natural husk but things get made by people: mulch, and since forever, coconut brooms with which in Mauritius, we all clean our yards. Bottled coconut water is a new thing here but no label, recyclable and lightweight. Contrast with glass bottles and the weight that gets shipped from Thailand to Capetown probably by air bc though it’s not refrigerated it’s shelf life wouldn’t permit several months shipping surely. Or worse, there is cling-wrapped half-husked green coconuts at PicknPay and Wellness Warehouse. Please let’s have a 2nd social media uproar on this bc this is actually bad and cling-wrapped (several layers) is not recyclable (unlike the Wholefoods plastic tub?).

The problem is often the branding, that label may not be recyclable but hey, like your stickers on your fruits from the market! I used to collect a lot more of display plastic from fruits as a kid! An uncle sells fruits and kept them for us kids. This reminds that maybe you don’t see all the waste your food produces and you don’t care. In contrast, it’s easy to target vulnerable people who are visible, or outspoken about a need or struggle.

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         An illustration of how much invisible waste is produced by an ‘Apollo dan Bol’

The outrage was about naartjie or ‘mandarine’ (tangerine), it doesn’t seem hard to peel, to me who occasionally have dexterity injuries but I never tried then (intolerant to citrus), and it wouldn’t make a difference if I had – if it is hard for others that is what is relevant.

Someone also tweeted that they have citrus peel allergy. What would be preferable, gloves (if even a solution, non recyclable afaik) or biodegradable recyclable containers? It’s not up to you but to the person.

 

Endorsement by Coldplay and Bey

If Coldplay’s Hymn for a Weekend were about cultures from East Africa to Assam, would it have been different? Probably not – they appropriated and mislabelled Asian cultures before. The video features religion prominently, it is set in Mumbai and then covers only 2 other Indian states. Coldplay uses Holi and Sadhus but also Kathakali and Bharatnatyam dancers, as if this is an advert for the tourism office of India. Then Beyoncé’s jewellery seems inspired from Ivorian Coast bridal face veils, the rest of that African attire is similar to North Indian bridal wear.

The timing of the release is inconsiderate and illustrates the disconnect Coldplay (and Bey) have with Indian cultures. In the aftermath of the suicide of Rohith Vemula, we can only expect to hear from certain people on this now, and not others – the most oppressed, whose views would be more important. I had heard of Coldplay and Yoncé and have equal unfamiliarity with their songs; I had never heard of Sonam Kapoor who, after googling, looks familiar. Bollywood* is not my culture but it’s almost all there is on TV that is non-white and subtitled. I watched 1.5 Chinese serials living in Mauritius, and I do catch Bolly movies (not in entirety) on TV and I don’t bother to know actors’ names or the film title. They’re always terrible, and I wasn’t even aware of the anti-blackness. Then it’s always some Kapoor or other; another Kapoor, Ekta, has been writing for TV since she’s 17 to make her own money and have a more luxurious life (kinda like Rihanna except EK has no talent so to speak**).

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Now I know Sonam’s the highest paid Bollywood actress, so Coldplay, how much did you pay the poor children you featured? It seems all over Desi media that Sonam is the mystical muse, what then is Beyoncé? Was Bey alone not enough? Her voice is also central to this obviously. An Indian filmmaker shot this. Some complained about the name Rani but Bey was the protagonist in a film called Rani according to the script. The biggest problem is not Yoncé’s dress or mehndi-ed hands, the biggest issue is Coldplay using poverty and religion. The issue is the endorsement, of Coldplay BS by Yoncé and of the religion by Coldplay who has tons of white privilege and could have used it to critique what it is using as aesthetics but instead, it’s using poverty as additional aesthetics with the video not being a commentary on the link between this oppression and religion.

On many levels, from incense (there was incense, right? or it’s implied in the background) in the video being made by child labour in India. If they were fishermen’s children maybe they have to work too. Maybe Holi is the only day some of those children get to play but they got enslaved by Coldplay on that day I presume. Rih too, was guilty of appropriating while collaborating with Coldplay. I didn’t know that song or collab even existed. I don’t follow Beyoncé for wanting to encourage plant-based lifestyles or anything. I keep up to date via friends who are fans. There would be music videos at a gym I pretended to work at (as a desi in the Cape Colony, one can pretend to work (or gets mistaken for an employee in) many places, apparently we all look alike) or if I caught Bey on TV between other programming, I’d watch. I didn’t know what Coldplay looked like to be honest, their music never seemed good enough to bother. Coldplay’s trend of using Asian cultures and asking influential black women to join them is more problematic than any appropriation there, but there’s the endorsement of the Hindutva by everyone involved this time. Beyoncé knew she was helping Orientalism though she might be unaware of the rest. Coldplay otoh went to India and Chris Martin even worked with Oxfam India!

For Harriet has a piece. [Along the lines of what I’d been tweeting yesterday] A reply to it:

Jason Jeremias*** said “Operating under the umbrella of Western culture through the orientalist gaze erasing the diverse plurality of Indian culture and celebrating the Hindutva culture that is murdering Dalits, tribal peoples, and Muslims, you do. It’s a wavering on imperial imposition for the benefit of the so-called artist. The vast community may not benefit, but Beyonce does, and thus is appropriating.”

In a nutshell, except there is much unnecessary backlash on Bey. One may wonder if there is one good thing that can possibly come out of this video which is the potential of Yoncé to counter Bollywood’s colourism but they may have ruined it by featuring Sonam, and some are wondering what Yoncé is wearing on her face. Some are suggesting a Bollywood actress should’ve been featured instead of Yoncé, uhm, there was one already so do they mean another one lipsyncing to Mangeshkar’s voice? Wait, do they mean to Yoncé’s voice? That’s offensive. The aesthetics of voice is relevant. Bey’s cleavage is also being used to sell and/or enforce something and in the context of Hindutva’s war on Dalit women’s bodies (from popular culture to rape and murder) since this is a different setting, whoever made the decisions, she’s now partaking in this violence from the position of the Hindutva by uncritically featuring in this Coldplay song, not as herself. Hindutva maintains a caste system where white people are welcome to join the priestly caste and class, regardless of social class. It feeds off white supremacy.

Regardless of what you think of the video or my words, you want to read the context (hyperlinks): what Holi is actually celebrating (wherever) or whose India we are talking about. And some of the issues I have with Coldplay now, I also have them with MIA jsyk

singers in yellowface/ brownface including Beyonce.

Mainstream singers fetishizing Asia

*Once a friend asked for film recommendations, I’d watched 2 ok ones over 3 years – none were Bollywood (there is other Indian cinema, ideologically but also regionally) One was Dor, which is a 2006 remake of a 2004 Malayali film. Couldn’t they just dub it and add their songs? This kind of normalised thing ties in with colourism of that industry (and culture).

** I’ve watched a few of her soapies. I heard the highlight of her work was Tulsi’s portrayed realism, I had a glimpse during my vacation but Tulsi was still played by a young [who passes as old bc of sizeism] light-skinned, straight-haired and physically attractive person. Generally a curly-haired actress would be the villain, often Bengali women; and same trope for less-light skin in men (sometimes in women).

***Quoting white-passing men bc brown women I see are like (innacurary and misplaced anger perhaps) “I said this once @Kat Blaque and I’ll say it again:

So who’s profiting off this shit? The white british guy (really??) prancing around my people or the poor underprivileged kids they used to yet again portray India like some poor, third world country?

And Beyoncé is getting her Madonna on I see.
Not knowing what the fuck she’s doing with her hands, but “it looks sooo prettyy”!

End of the day, no matter how many natives they included in the video, those people won’t be seeing SHIT of that money.

Sonam Kapoor was seen for like 3 seconds in the video and she was all excited and shit like memsaahib threw her a cookie? My people need to get off white people’s d*cks. Especially the white American d*cks.

So when it comes to our clothes, mehndi, use of bright colors and all those pretty looking cultural aspects, people look and care? But they look the other way as soon as our social issues are being discussed? Fuck the fuck off.

Also, did anyone notice the misuse and mixing of cultural and religious customs? No? THEY DIDN’T EITHER BECAUSE THEY DON’T CARE. It just all looks soooo pretty!

Whenever we ourselves dress or practice our religion in western countries, it’s frowned upon or met with racist allegations. But when rich popstars do it, “it’s soooo edgyyy” and “OMG Yoncé looks sooo prettyyy”? F*ckouttahere.

I’m just gonna leave this here” — Aashna Devi to Love Life of an Asian Guy (where I also found the Yoncé mosaic). She posted the screegrab below and I did learn thanks to her that Coldplay is USian. So in this, I guess I knew Bey the most.

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Bowie, a queer icon?

Julie Burchill was a fan of David Bowie in her adolescence. I was not, I might have first heard of Bowie in relation to Iman. There were about 2 supermodels close to my skin colour; and music magazines weren’t easily available on my island.

Content note: Rape, rape culture; rape humour and details in the xojane piece.

I’ve been thinking of how abusers are charismatic in life as in culture. Some, without even knowing the celebrity is a rapist or abuser, may not understand what the big fuss is about their work then on the whole, it’s almost as if there have been efforts to propel abusers to the forefront of culture. That they make “art” and get funds or the opportunities to make more funds is one thing; it’s another that Iggy Pop, a rapist, is asked to make a tune for kids! That just feeds into my impressions that white culture is deliberately constructed in this way. The terrible reactions or endorsements from our friends, colleagues or strangers following DB’s death reinforce my impressions. These conversations did not start with DB’s death but with the news of his last album. […] His death opens a space of public discussion that goes predominantly as headlines tell us, it is dishonest in more than one way and please don’t call it disrespectful when there’ll be other discourses.

Source: Bowie a queer icon?

Fallism and appropriations

As my non-Azanian Southern African South Asian brown crippled voice matters little on this issue, I’ll only write on what I have not seen discussed (with what I have in mind) such as, predictably, the yoga instructor’s photo by #FeesMustFall activist Wandile Kasibe. On social media I have been boosting voices around #RhodesMustFall #RememberMarikana #OpenStellenbosch #FeesMustFall #EndOutSourcing #DecoloniseLabour #Brixton142 #Justice4Zola among others – I mention the hashtags so I can can use abbreviations, and for the unfamiliar reader (who can look them up), I have not being writing on these protests as this was the time to listen more than usual. I’ve been listening to many on social media, while wishing that this was at the time when I was dealing with UCT’s institutionalised racist ableism and rape culture, with only one SRC’s support. Reading the fierceness of some black womxn has given me hope and strength. I should ask a few more protesters if there was no disability justice movement at universities. There is now (23/01) UCT for Disability Justice talking inclusivity. Before, I saw tweets from black or mixed-race students with invisible illnesses but I don’t see how these protests could’ve been accessible to many disabled people who wished to join, solely because of institutional and police violence. There are many ways in which the disabled excluded can help abled protesters such as to direct protesters via social media when there were cars from another university, in solidarity, picking up students at one in the middle of police violence; providing shelter or skills; or community care; of course, social media is a great tool. As someone who is overseas and unemployed, and not black or indigenous to South Africa (=NIBPOC hereafter), I felt all I could do was boost voices. In contrast, the safety of #ZumaMustFall march shows how institutions and the SAPS contribute to ableism (1).

infographic about university fees protests

infographic about fees protests

Who were #ZumaMustFall? Overall white racists,  not only Madiba-face/blackface and those with apartheid flags, but those who know where their financial interests lie and do not care at whose expense it is. Those white people have appropriated Fallism regardless of what is said(2). When Zackie Achmat said he supported the #ZMF march and a woman of colour commenter said #ZumaMustGo, why didn’t that become the preferred #? WOC have to be ignored? It was very intentional I’m sure from the WOC and from the campaigners (as Wandile Kasibe and others calls the #ZMF “protesters”) to ignore voices on their side and not. Writers who are white and not among the campaigners may disagree with the campaign and find it hypocritical but don’t go as far as to speak of it being the appropriation of black struggle. Remember that this march was organised on a public holiday (Reconciliation Day) when people who live at great distances from the city due to exclusionary urban planning policies for mixed-race economically oppressed people too, had no transport to come to the march if they had wanted. Assuming there are DA supporters among them who wanted to go (like a 67 y o woman who called me ‘one of her children’), did any of the ZMF campaigners offer transport?

Police using teargas on students at a peaceful FMF protest.

Police using stunt grenades on students at a peaceful #FMF protest.

I imagined every South African was learning something from #RMF, #FMF and #EO, I was quite surprised when it seemed white liberals and anarchists in iKapa, had not even learned to self-censor on social media. Some white people I have known for years and they could’ve been mistaken as being ignorant before, except who think they’re always entitled, but they have gone full racist with the campaign. Not only calling BPOC reverse-racists, but also calling white people who are listening not oppressing, racists. Sometime before the march, some of them had been clearly micro-aggressive with me if not on the fence i.e. oppressive with their silence. There’s been a culmination, I found the spoons and mental strength to speak out this year about racism and ableism, I fell back to reality with in-private microaggressions and online friends complete ignoring me; also when I looked for white allies to step up after Amelia Mulder (#ZMF campaigner), Justin Goro and Karen Johnson were racist to me in a forum I created, white people who upon joining read guidelines against racism put since years. I can name them or I can make the group publicly viewable today and link to their comments. So I had allowed racism because it was only directed towards me (never that simple, but to white folks it is – we have to know and care about their fragility, right?). A space dominated by such or hippie/yoga-type white South Africans. I have to write something bc a white woman unduly called a white reporter racist and we have over 50 white friends in common, from all countries. On some other similar rant of hers, a racist responded with a diluted “anti-racism” – a straight white enabled cis man firmly against identity-politics, who tokenises and gaslights for “intersectionality” performance. There are white people who are listening since long but for the wrong reasons, the more ally-performance speak they know the more they can trap or use you. I’ve experienced something similar to what Kamanzi refers to:

To Adam Haupt’s article, Brian Ihirwe Kamanzi said “Eish Adam Haupt as you might expect I’m not so on board with where this is going. For me the central question is not collaboration on marches it’s “What is the political project” This question goes to the heart of what corruption “is” and what is to be done to “power” but it also helps us locate power so we can be clear about who to direct our efforts to. Depending on your vision for tomorrow collaboration with certain groups and collectives maybe be just unprincipled at best but disastrously counter productive at worst.”

Kamanzi added “I worry we are quickly reaching the day that making intersectional spaces becomes a Trojan horse for white involvement.”

The 2nd photo below is by Wandile Kasibe, the 1st seems unattributed.

Police using bullets on 2 black students vs policeman taking a photo of white 'protesters'

Police shooting rubber bullets on 2 black students vs policeman taking a photo of white campaigners

Then there are white people who are honest like Megan Furniss who admitted she had been jealous of the student movement, she was also tweeting from the march feeling embarassed about what she overheard from other white people. She laments that it’s a hard and quite lonely path but she and white folks unlearning should be challenging other white people, calling them out which quite frankly is their job, not mine or IBPOCs’. I have a hard and lonely task myself, with POCs, when it comes to black struggles or certain others and like others IBPOC a daily task with entitled white people, and some of us, another added task with ableists, and so on.

Moving on to Alta Lourette’s photo which annoyed people, and her condescending words about it as she went on to appropriate slang from the Cape Flats, turn a common expression (among indigenous and mixed-race descendants of Khoi/ San and others, who by the way have asked to stop using the word ‘coloured’ which is akin to ‘k…..’) into a laughable acronym. Alta looks white, she’s completely white-passing (+ she’s been displaying a lot of white privilege). The photo shows her wearing a Nelson Mandela tshirt (that upset black and brown people) and leggings, in a lotus pose on the road in front of the crowd of white participants facing Signal Hill, their backs turned on her.

I’d tweeted “Ignorance of their bigotry/ appropriation of Fallism is bliss & she is unaware of the African origins of yoga too I bet”

You can see Lourette’s words and photo here on twitter too. On Facebook there were a few good comments, here’s one

Nadine Angel Cloete said: my bru, i didn’t even want to acknowledge this craziness….i mean even the appropriation of ‘aweh’..nee gazzie ek kannie

Dannielle Gordon: “Pity you were not doing your downward dog asana wot wots at the marikane[sic] protest marches nor the marches where kids are getting caught in gang cross fires….or wait how about sevice delivery protests?? Why were you not posing there? This a more aesthetically pleasing march ….more naval gazing to be done? More of the stunners and the hippies around to see you…oh please!!! White bourgeoise hipocrasy us white brethren are fraught with!!” Dannielle means Marikana and navel gazing, and probably stoners. What I have to say wasn’t in any of the comments.

I saw that this is yet more black appropriation and erasure although, yes, this erasure has first been done by Brahminism in India and the fact that yoga originated in North/East Africa is overlooked or ignored. There are google results about that however, more than about origins in Latin America too. At this point even all the research I can do does not confirm what role Dalits played in yoga instruction because their culture and history that has not been erased is only being documented now. We only know there are ‘temple prostitutes’ called yoginis, to this day some Dalits are forced by religious heads to give their girl child away into (state-condoned) rape slavery; and commonly Dalit women are not allowed to report rape. A religion was built around oppressing them within a hierarchy, before among other injustices, any Dalit woman was forced to uncover their breasts and pay taxes depending on the breasts size!!! Now they are not given the human right of reporting a rape, this is not what one sees discussed around the Nirbhaya/Jyoti case, these women are not included in those talks, I suppose like hijras and transwomen who are included by Dalits, but also discriminate against Dalits. Lourette’s “The more you are grateful the more life will throw things at you to be grateful for.” means with oppression, corruption & power, you’ll get more.

Another issue is Lourette claiming yoga is accessible. In the way the march was, ironically: physical distances to hippies, fancy gyms and studios on unceded stolen land aside, it carries oppressive discourse disguised as something that will benefit all people and it has appropriated from the people it oppresses (at least in part). It’s supposed to be selfless but in fact it’s all ‘me and my privilege matters’, as Lourette’s post reads. What is the price tag to her yoga class? And yeah I know there are other yoga teachers who share freely with TB patients at Crossroads, I know, I made sandwiches regularly when they were giving those as lunch. I also know it’s only breathing exercises they taught and I know too well how oppressive they can be with chronically ill people. I’m someone who both volunteered (in other ways too) and paid for yoga classes because yoga accessibility (albeit limited) comes at a higher price. Then the new agey bullying like Lourette’s means life will give you elevators, cars, sign-language interpreters, free medication, it will throw all the bigots into a blackhole and throw at you all the access you need for a decent life? Yeah well the most basic access can be a privilege, meanwhile there is yoga for your pet in Camps Bay while you yoga?

Image shows white participants to the ZMF march walking, one man wearing an Anonymous mask and one woman holding up the strange painting a face with a white stripe in the middle of his face and a bunch of hair tied up with red and also painted white, a red tie Is this supposedly Zuma with blond hair and a dog-like face?

Is she selling a painting of Zuma? Others were selling #ZMF tshirts.

“My POC conclusion from a long overdue call-in today is white feminists have the luxury of ignoring even general sexism when it suits them bc ultimately white patriarchy will hurt black, indigenous women, woc & [gender variant, feminine and not] poc first and foremost.” – my page

I can’t see their different oppressions separately. There is Jodi Allemeier, white woman I didn’t know but heard of, whose white privileged piece I have seen other white activists sharing lately. I recall her mostly from her 3-y-o piece in Women24 in favour of sexual violence or VAW. It’s long and a futile read, I’ll link my response to her too, I’d say read that if you’re reading and must pick one. There’s also everyone we know in common, white South Africans, who stayed completely silent or apathetic. Furthermore, and I’m sure she still wants people to believe it, she mentions One Struggle 2012 as if it was something intersectional(3). It was instead oppressing along all intersections, it was the Trojan horse Brian Ihirwe Kamanzi speaks about, which one straight white cisman and white women, who had moved to //Hui !Gaeb, (he in particular) fooled me into sending into some movements. I’d really thought it was an intersectional effort for a month. Allemeier, by the way, was one of the speakers in that conference, right before she wrote that sexist wreck and I don’t know if some white and whitewashed women are thinking maybe Jodi’s still some kind of authority, now on “anti-racism”, or if she has the ally-theatre expertise they need. Let’s face it, she worked for and with the South African Vegan Society, for long it was headed by said white tokenistic closet-racist man (as were Anarchist bookfairs) and for some who know this and shared her #ZMF article, it’s clear what they are.

There are also some resources being shared by that clique that are subtly racist or problematic. I trust that people can discern and also pay attention to the white people who like, endorse or agree with them.

I’ll end with a reminder that Veganism has a Serious Racist Problem; and a request to please only share this (my) blog post (if you must, that is) with indigenous/ black people, POC or mixed-race people (because my webs got hacked into/ I don’t have time for derailing or racism).

1) “Ableism: a set of institutionalized attitudes, policies and systems which dehumanize, pathologize, criminalize and either desexualize or hypersexualize people whose bodies* do not fit into socially constructed notions of what constitutes a ”normal” human being/body.” — Edward Khanya Ndopu

2) #RhodesMustFall was from March, then there was a Namibian petition about taxes (taxes must fall/ figures must fall) but applying it to people or icons was the deed of black students who had been through the more than straining violent protests, arrests, fundraising for bail, academic exclusions. I’d say they inspired the first use I found of ‏‪#‎ZumaMustFall,‬ 9th day of the FMF protest, days after NMF, before the article in the Sowetan? Here is the first #ZMF I found anyway.

3) Hyperlinked is a long and jumbled post, I was in a state like post-trauma for months while writing it and find myself in that state when I try to edit.

Geography lesson: //Hui !Gaeb or iKapa is the unceded land known as Capetown, demographically the whitest city in South Africa. They’re not yet embarassed about the name ‘City of Capetown’, it’s a city not a town so switch to an indigenous name already! Camps Bay is where Oprah Winfrey and other celebs buy mansions. Otherwise only some white people can afford to stay there.