∞ “My Thoughts on the Block Bot, as a User and a Member of the Blocking Team” by Sarah Brown.
“I blocked most of them manually, but a common technique of harassers is to create new accounts and try again from there, so it was difficult to keep up, and the ones that got through were often very distressing. I can sometimes look at what these people are saying, as long as it’s on my own terms, and when I’m able to walk away, but to have them impose themselves, when I may be having a bad day or whatever, is not good.
I signed up for the blockbot, after being sceptical of it for some time, but found that the blockers, most of whom are women, are generally sympathetic to the harassment transgender women face from the transphobic fringes of the feminist movement. As a result the bot was a good match, and I increasingly discovered, some time after the fact, that people had been trying to harass me and the bot had already blocked them for me.
My mental health is much better now. Some of that is because I’m no longer in office and face less stress generally, but undoubtedly some of it is not having to deal with constant harassment, or exposed to constant microaggressions associated with being a member of a minority community (people persisting in those tend to get blocked too, but at a lower severity level – you choose which severity level you sign up to). I have since joined the team of people who maintain the block list and decide when to add new blocks, and they’re a great bunch of people.”
∞ “Episode 12 – Power and Privilege in the New Working Order” at Mindful Cyborgs, with hosts Klint Finley & Chris Dancy and guest Shanley Kane.
“I always like to start all conversations about micro management with sort of talk about what our mythology of management is and the things that we believe about management and that’s when we become managers that we try to represent so often times the mythology about management is that managers are better or more confident that employees, that they always know what’s best, that they need to be in control, that they really need to like be the boss, they need to have power and they need to be right and they need to be more right than the people around them.
When you become a manager in that sort of the mythology of managers, you are feeling the need to crew out this mythology all of the time and when that mythology is based in power dynamics and negative power dynamics, then you get situations where managers are doing all of these microaggressive acts. There are a bunch of different categories and you mentioned body language and touching so there is a ton of sort of physical cues that we give each other about who’s in power and who’s not are really example I think as this concept of management by walking around.
I think what’s really interesting is that was really held up as a positive and beneficial practice in the workplace but what does it mean when you have a manager who can just walk around into everyone’s space and sort of have a full view and then a symmetrical view into employees and what they’re doing. There are some power dynamics that are around sort of space and body language but there are other ones around the way that managers talk to their employees, the way that they characterize their employees and so on.”
∞ “Wait, do people think I’m a dude? On digital microcelebrity and gender” by Robin James.
“Women’s expertise is constantly undermined and trivialized. For example, holding pop music in low regard (thinking it can only ever be frivolous, ideologically overdetermined, or sold-out) is one way of trivializing a field in which women, especially black women, have made hugely significant artistic, cultural, and economic impacts.
Women academics, writers, and journalists also face constant challenges to their expertise. There’s the calling someone “Mrs.” instead of “Dr.” microaggression. There’s mistaking someone for staff, or, as is often the case with me, for a student. This latter example is, in my experience, common to face-to-face interactions: every time I can remember having to respond to the “What are you writing your dissertation on?” or “Will you get a Ph.D. after your MA?” question with “Umm, I have tenure” has been IRL.”
∞ “Academic Cowards and Why I Don’t Write Anonymously” by Tressie McMillan Cottom.
“I start by giving them permission to write as anonymously or small as they need to feel safe because there are few havens of safety for black women anywhere and the Internet is just Anywhere with a keyboard. And I would double dog dare anyone to call them cowards for doing so. Double. Dog. Dare.
Their safety isn’t just about protecting their privilege but their well-being. In addition to the daily work almost all black women do to manage microaggressions and shifting contexts in their public and private lives I have had my address posted to unsavory websites and not-so-subtle threats to everything from my person to my career. One dude’s note about how he needs to know if I’m attending an academic conference so he can “send his homeboy” to handle me lingers.
Outliers, sure, but those are some of the more extreme responses to me…and I write about higher education, sociology and Miley Cyrus once. Not exactly hot button stuff. I cannot imagine if I were calling my administrators and colleagues out on structural inequality, racism, classism, and sexism. That’s not to say it doesn’t need to be done or that it shouldn’t be done by faculty, academics and grad students but let’s be crystal clear: not everyone has the same amount of skin in the game.”
∞ “Open Door Policy” by Andrew Hickey.
“Let me tell you about this “open-door policy” that we supposedly have. There are various ways that people can come over here, and the rules differ depending on where the person is coming from, why they’re coming over here, how much money they have, and so on.
I have no experience of most of these (except distantly, when I was working on a psychiatric ward with a few patients who had developed mental illnesses as a result of the asylum system, which was trying to throw them out of the country back to countries where they would be tortured), but I *do* have experience with what most people think of as one of the “good” or “acceptable” kinds of immigration.
My wife is American, and for various reasons when we got married it was better for us to live in the UK than the US. Most people I’ve spoken to about this — in fact *everyone* who hadn’t found themselves in the same position — thought this goes as follows:
We get married, she becomes a citizen.
The process is actually this [note that the process has changed, for the worse, since we did this.”
∞ “Leave to Remain” by Miranda Ward.
“When I was younger I used to fantasize about having a button I could press that would pause the world around me while I caught my breath, had a nap, figured out a solution, came up with something witty to say. My current situation is the opposite of that fantasy – someone has pressed the pause button on my life, and I am suspended, watching the rest of the world go by.
The pause button on my life was pressed by the UK Border Agency. Three months ago I applied for indefinite leave to remain here in the UK, where I have lived with my British partner for the past seven years. I have held, over the course of these years, a student visa, a post-study work visa, and an unmarried partner visa, and I am now, at last, eligible to apply to settle permanently.
The application process is like taking a leap of faith into an abyss. You take the “Life in the UK” test (“Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE? Getting to know your neighbours can help you to become part of the community”). You fill out a 50-page application form. You send a large envelope containing bank statements and pay slips and utility bills and your passport and, for reasons I cannot quite fathom, a photocopy of every enclosed document. You pay a £1,051 fee. And then you wait.
So I am waiting. A curt letter, sitting on my desk, informs me that until six months have elapsed I cannot inquire about the status of my application. I am advised not to make any travel plans. If I do need to travel, I can request that my passport be returned, but this comes at a price: my application will be voided, considered withdrawn.”
∞ “fear & loathing at the medical plaza” by Ciara Xyerra.
“then i had to go to a different place to get the wrist braces & the guy that worked there started flipping out about all the paperwork involved in filing a claim with medicare, which then segued into a lengthy monologue about how he’s a republican & he thinks people in lawrence are too closed-minded because they live in their cozy little liberal bubble, but he still hates the tea party & actually read all 1000-whatever pages of the affordable care act & thinks it’s a wonderful step in the right direction toward the socialized medicine that all people need & deserve. i had no idea what the hell was going on. he was all, “sam brownback invited me to his inauguration & i called him up & told him to invite someone who doesn’t think he’s a worthless piece of shit!” then he was all, “i don’t understand why anyone would think anyone was scamming disability or welfare or workman’s comp. none of those programs actually pay enough to live on! why would anyone WANT to be on those programs if they didn’t NEED them!” & the whole time, i was standing there with the $21 i had to pay for the co-pays for the braces, & he was literally just reclining in his chair, refusing to take my money until he finished his rant, which probably took half an hour, minimum.
so, yeah! why would anyone want to be on those programs if they didn’t need them! answer me that, cruel DDS examiner who kicked me off disability because i was misinformed about the extent of my arthritis & haven’t attempted suicide enough times to be credibly depressed.”
∞ “borderline personality disorder, psych wards, & friendship” by Maranda Elizabeth.
“I’ve been admitted to hospitals four times in the last month and a half (twice I went to the ER & was sent home, once I was brought unconscious by ambulance to the ER, and then I was transferred to the psych ward for about a week). In April, I went to the CAMH ER. When the intake nurse started filling out my forms without asking me questions, I interrupted to tell her not to check the ‘female’ box, but to scribble in ‘non-binary, “they” pronouns’ blah blah boring shit I’m sick of talking about.
She cheerfully said, “Non-binary! I’ve never heard that term before! What does it mean?”
“It means I’m not a girl and not a boy,” I mumbled. “With so many gender options on your forms, working in this kind of environment, this term really shouldn’t be new to you.”
“Hey, I’m here to learn, too!”
I took a deep breath.
“I know. But you’re the one getting paid for this, and I’m the one in a suicidal crisis. Your education is coming at the expense of my mental health and your lack of knowledge directly harms queers and trans* folks coming to the ER. I don’t have it in me to teach you right now.””
∞ Caroline Woolard’s bio.
“Understanding artists as long-term residents, Woolard works on the rise of the BFA-MFA-PhD, the Social Life of Artistic Property, footnote systems for research-based art, socially engaged failure, compensation in the arts, and incommensurability. Forthcoming writing will focus on a project at MoMA that closed last June, as well as the implications of debt and duration for social practices. By 2018, Woolard hopes to celebrate the creation of a new community land trust in New York City with community organizers, computer engineers, and artists who are dedicated to lifelong commoning.
From 2008-2013, Woolard was supported by the infrastructure projects mentioned above, as well as unemployment benefits, transformative organizers she met as the media coordinator for SolidarityNYC.org, a Fellowship at Eyebeam, a residency at the MacDowell Colony, Watermill, iLAND, and a major grant from the Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund.
Woolard is currently an Artist in Residence at the Queens Museum, a lecturer at Cooper Union, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the New School. Woolard is proud to be an organizing member of BFAMFAPhD, New York City, To Be Determined, Trade School, and the Pedagogy Group. Caroline Woolard serves on the Board Of Directors of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, participates in the education working group for the New York City Community Land Initiative, and lives in a 17-year-old collective house in Brooklyn.”
∞ “Our Approach: Change Not Charity” at Crossroads Fund.
“Crossroads Fund’s Theory of Change
Crossroads Fund leads in the philanthropic sector by supporting innovative organizing models that build strong movements for racial, social and economic justice. By creating relationships between donors, grantees, grassroots groups and community members, we strengthen leadership, build sustainable communities and transform unjust conditions, institutions and policies to create greater equality and opportunity for all.
Small Grants – Big Change
At Crossroads Fund we believe that big change can come from small beginnings. Some of the biggest victories we’ve seen in this city, from accessible public transit for people with disabilities, to the successful campaign to abolish the death penalty in Illinois, started out as small grassroots movements that were considered too radical for most funders. That’s where Crossroads Fund comes in. We give small grants to new and emerging groups, providing critical support from the beginning. We are often the first foundation grant that our grantees have applied for or received.”