On Social Critique and Rage

The following are short rants that came to me in moments of concentrated rage, which I’ve been trying to expand into full posts – until I realized that the power of each rants’ punch lied in the brevity of the critique. Why am I sharing them? Because damnit, I’m tired of ranting in my head at the craziness of the world. If anyone’s ever thought/felt/expressed anything similar to what’s included below, take heart: you are not alone (also, you should probably introduce yourself in the Comments section. Because community, or something).

An open letter to people with financial privilege:

Next time you see a racialized/immigrant person being ticketed for unpaid bus fare and you think, “Good! Why should they ride for free while I pay with my hard-earned money?”, reflect on cases such as Lucia Vega Jimenez: a Mexican hotel worker arrested for unpaid bus fare. Which led to her detention in a Canadian Border Services holding cell, awaiting deportation. Which led to her committing suicide instead of being forcibly returned to whatever reality she came to Canada to escape. Between your moment of self-righteous indignation and checking Twitter on your smartphone, consider for a second that maybe there’s more going on in that person’s life that’s preventing them from paying the $2.75 to get to wherever they need to go. Consider that maybe, just maybe, the world doesn’t need to conform to the rules you’ve deemed worth your time.

Also, you should probably mentally berate yourself for being such a little shit.

Dear non-black queers:

Do me a favour, mi beg yuh: stop co-opting Audre Lorde’s work. Stop appropriating her writing that speaks to the African-American, feminist, lesbian experience to stand as the theoretical representation of your non-black, non-working class concerns (especially if you’re cis-male! holy eff!) – which is not to say that anyone’s barred from reading another’s work due to presumed racial limitations; intellectual cross-pollination is the best tool we’ve got to counteract ignorance. But if something she’s said rings true to your experience, then acknowledge that where she’s writing from holds no resemblance to your individuated position, thereby rendering a fair portion of the nuances within her writing inapplicable/inaccessible for your needs. To put it another way: concede that you’re connecting with her writing solely on a metaphoric level, instead of staking claim in her words without self-reflection, without justification – like a teenager rushing to the mall in search of the latest fad.

Can you do that for me? Give your buddy Christina one less reason to seethe at night.

Please and thank you,