[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Confronting Prejudice on the Free B

Subject: Confronting Prejudice on the Free Burma Movement

Dear Nick:

I agree with you that it is important to confront sexist, racist or
homophobic attitudes within the Free Burma movement.

A few months ago, one Free Burma activist made some homophobic remarks on
soc.culture.burma. I sent the activist a private message gently pointing out
that I knew that several Free Burma activists are gay and that his remarks
were offensive. He replied back right away to apologize and promised not to
make such remarks in the future. Since then the person has not made any
similar homophobic comments.

It is important to confront prejudice.  But I think it makes sense to send a
private message first. A private message gives the person who made the
offensive remarks a chance to reconsider their attitudes without losing face
in public. That may well nmake it easier for the person to accept the
criticism and change their behavior in future.

Just a thought...

Simon Billenness

>From: statusquo@xxxxxxxxxxxx (Nick Jehlen)
>Well - my sincerest appologies - for some reason I got the impression after
>reading some of the posts on this list serve that people might be
>interested in subjects a little deeper than "SLORC / Anti-SLORC" - such as
>how do we build societies, governments, and movements that reflect true
>social-justice. Looking at the mail I recieved for pointing out that our
>private communications are an important factor and reflect how we deal with
>and respect different members of the movement and people outside the
>movement, I guess that's not the case.
>I should point out that I did not wish for this to be a long drawn out
>discussion of Dawn Star's letter (mistakenly posted to this list). I'd
>rather we started dealing with sexism (among other things) within the
>movement so that when the people of Burma defeat SLORC (and other peoples
>around the world do the same with their oppressors [and we will]) we can be
>moving toward true freedom, instead of just "defeating the SLORC". In my
>opinion, that means working towards justice in terms of gender, race etc.
>now, not waiting for an "appropriate" time.
>Of course, I've tried this before, with other groups, trying to bring up
>internal problems instead of just the simpler external goals, and I've been
>shouted down before as well. But from my experience, if issues such as
>racism and sexism are not dealt with up-front, people who would otherwise
>be excellent organizers often decide it is not worth it if they are going
>to have to put up with people who fail to treat them with respect. Sorry to
>use you're letter as an example dawn star, but I've seen to many people
>just brush off sexist attitudes and complaints about them because they
>"distact from the movement's real goals". As I pointed out in my post, dawn
>star is no more guilty of sexism than I am - but I hope that by the time
>SLORC is no more
>This is not a private post, because this is not a private issue. I really
>would rather this did not turn into a yelling-fest about private vs. public
>posts (or really about Dawn Star's letter - I'm not trying to point out
>that Dawn Star is the problem,far from it)
> - I would hope that we could discuss sexism as a part of the movement. I
>also hope I'm not the only one who's worried about sexism and how it
>affects us - if I am tho, I'm happy to be the only one saying anything.
>Nick Jehlen
>>From: "dawn star (Euro-Burmanet)" <cd@xxxxxxxxxx>
>>statusquo@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote so dawn star replies
>>listen statusquo,  i apologised  and thats it for me, i said i was sorry
>>i used the public transport system,by error of key tap,  and i am not
>>going on with this, because its private, but i will say, if you think
>>thats offensive, learn whats really offensive, come to paris, or go
>>to burma, and learn for yourself, or maybe you already have, and in that
>>case,  have a nice day,no more comment here, now get to work or have a
>>nice day, and stay off the public system if its private what  you have
>>to say, dawn star out
>>> From: statusquo@xxxxxxxxxxxx (Nick Jehlen)
>>> >From: "dawn star (Euro-Burmanet)" <cd@xxxxxxxxxx>
>>> >
>>> >dear john and conference burmanet people,
>>> >
>>> >about a rather flippant query about the french female sex,
>>> >sorry for the remark on the main net line, thought it was personal,
>>> >please excuse the chatter
>>> >out, and back to work
>>> > dawn star
>>> Dear John, dawn star, and everyone else,
>>> Well, that's the most offensive thing I've seen in email in a long while -
>>> and that's saying something! I suppose it should serve as a reminder tho -
>>> not that we need to be careful about what we post to the listserve, but
>>> that attitudes like that ("preferably very young, and charming and sexy and
>>> they do not go in for all that feminist get tough maleness, they can exceed
>>> without it, with their own intelligent feminism") abound in all movements.
>>> I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I still am. "feminist get tough
>>> maleness"? Did you mean to say "self-confident, willing to make up their
>>> own minds"? I guess I should be glad that this got posted on the list-serve
>>> - at least we'll all remember what pigs we can be when we think no one else
>>> is listening. Instead of appologizing for posting this on the serve, try
>>> not talking about women in demeaning and objectifying ways - even in
>>> private.
>>> Nick Jehlen
>>> P.S. Please don't take this as a self-righteous letter - I've said some
>>> pretty offensive and stupid things in my time - but I'm working on changing
>>> my own sexist ideas - I hope we call can.