Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why I AM Not Celerbrating Helen Keller Mythbusting Blogswarm Day!”

I make it a point to write about the struggles that I face as a disabled woman.  It took me a very long time to own this identity, and systemic disableism is a large part of the reason.  I realized that if I wanted change, that I had to add my voice and my experiences to the struggle, even when it hurt  me to do so.  Accepting owning and advocating for issues about disability does not mean that I in anyway disavow the other parts of my identity. 

PWD are celebrating Helen Keller Mythbusting Blogswam Day.  It is being lead by Feminists With Disabilities (FWD).  Nowhere do they even bother to mention that today is already a day of celebration.  Today is Juneteenth
Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.   (source)
Oh, and it is most certainly an international celebration.  Today, the descendants of those that took the underground railroad to Canada have a huge picnic in downtown St.Catherines, Ontario -- and similar celebrations are occurring in other border towns.

I tweeted about this and commented at FWD, and at this time I am still waiting for some kind of response as to why they thought that it was okay to hold this holiday today, without even the smallest recognition that it is Juneteenth -- and what this day means to Blacks.  As far as can tell, it seems to signify that the racial part of my identity is unimportant, and that my disability should be at the forefront. Well I decide when the different parts of my identity come into play.
 
Even on Feministe where a post is currently up, there is NO mention of Juneteenth -- and to add insult to injury, the comments were closed, effectively silencing any protest on the part of Blacks.  If it sounds like racism to you, that is because it most certainly is. Erasure is very much actively promoting racism and to disallow Blacks the opportunity to speak (yes, I am talking to you S.E and the other Feministe bloggers) is disgusting. 

What we have here is a complete and utter intersectionality fail.  Would it really have been so hard to mention Juneteenth and to acknowledge that today Blacks might be celebrating two holidays, given the terrible horror of slavery and the fact that we continue to live with its after effects?   If White disabled people have it rough, let me tell you unequivocally that POC with disabilities have it worse by the very fact that we have to deal with more than one stigmatization.

Yes race matters.  You don't get to erase my identity for your liberation.  You don't get to silence me and pretend I don't exist.  You don't get to ask me to participate in events celebrating the disabled community, and ignore the way that racism assaults me on a daily basis.  You don't get to use your White privilege as a weapon against me and then pretend that we exist in solidarity.  So no, I will not be celebrating this fucking holiday

Editors Note:  It seems that FWD is incapable of putting up an editors note to acknowledge that they participated in racism and erasure -- and so I have decided to list every single blog that is participating in this blatant act of racism as a form of protest.  Please take action and let these bloggers know that their racism is unacceptable.  I will update this post with new links as they are added.

It's Helen Keller Myth Busting day (Hoyden About Town)
[Helen Keller Mythbusting Blogswarm] "Where do I live again" Orientation (Halfway Up Rysy Peak)
Helen Keller Myth Busting Blogswarm (Rolling Around In My Head)
Some things I didn't know about Helen Keller (Views from the Reading Room)
Helen Keller Mythbusting: Of Politics and Disability (Astrid's Journal)
HKMB: Seven Blink Women in History who were not HK (Disability Studies, Temple U)
Helen Keller Myth Busting Day (Feministe: Note comments are closed!)
Each one of the above bloggers answered the call to blog about Helen Keller on Juneteenth and did not acknowledge the appropriation of this day.  Each one of the above bloggers listed their posts at FWD.