On Ableism and Animals

[We need to crip animal ethics, incorporating a disability politics into the way we think about animals. It is essential that we examine the shared systems and ideologies that oppress both disabled humans and nonhuman animals, because ableism perpetuates animal oppression in more areas than the linguistic. To me, far from proving that animal justice is impossible and silly, the complexity of sentience and the vast array of mysterious life and nonlife on this planet show that we need a nuanced understanding of different abilities and the different responsibilities those abilities engender.

The problem is not reason itself but rather the ways in which reason has been held up as separate from and more valuable than emotion, feeling, and other ways of knowing and being. This definition of reason stems from a history of patriarchy, imperialism, racism, classism, ableism, and anthropocentrism, and too often carries these oppressions within it. These issues are particularly important to keep in mind when theorizing liberation for those who do or may lack “reason,” such as nonhuman animals and individuals with significant intellectual disabilities.

Intellectual inferiority has been so easily animalized because animals themselves have long been understood as intellectually inferior. The association of animals with cognitive deficiency must be challenged, not only because many species exhibit signs of human intelligence and because animal minds are complex in their own right (in ways that often cannot easily be compared and contrasted with human capacities), but because intellectual capacity should not determine a being’s worth and the protections they are granted.]

On Ableism and Animals | An excerpt from Beasts of Burden, which was published by The New Press in February 2017

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To the Anemic Pedants Amidst Our Pseudo-Progressive Academic Narrows | Or… Someone has a Beef with Slavoj

Hamid Dabashi draws a sharp line in the sand between European and post-colonial philosophers in this provocative introduction to Can Non-Europeans Think?

[Other people are also entitled “to recapture” – as, of course, is Žižek – a world beyond their imagination. Žižek is correct that “In no way does my basic vocation have to be drawn from the past of peoples of color.” But those very “people of color” (as he categorizes them, according to his prerogative) do not only have a past; they also have a present, and a future. Žižek is blinded to that present unless he assimilates it backward into his present, and is indifferent to that future unless he gets (singularly) to define it. He is unconditionally correct that “In no way do I have to dedicate myself to reviving some black civilization unjustly ignored.” But a “black civilization” unjustly ignored is peopled by other people, by other thinking people, kicking people, people who talk, and talk back, and talk past Žižek. He is entirely entitled to say “I will not make myself the man of any past” – and he should not, as no one should. But the people of color he just buried alive in their past are also living and breathing a present of which he seems to be blissfully ignorant. He is, of course, pulling my colored beard when he says, “My black skin is not a repository for specific values.” But mine is, and I am a living repository of not just “values” but universes, emotions, words, sentiments, rebellions that he and all his Horatios have not yet dreamt of in their philosophy.

Žižek and his fellow philosophers are oblivious to those geographies because they cannot read any other script, any other map, than the colonial script and the colonial map with which Europeans have read and navigated the world; conversely they cannot read any other script or map because they are blinded to alternative geographies that resistance to that colonialism had written and navigated. The condition is exacerbated any time people around the world rise up to assert their geography as the ground zero of a world historical event. At these times Žižek and his followers are all up and about trying to read the world back into what they already know. There is a new condition beyond postcoloniality that these Europeans cannot read, hard as they try to assimilate it back into the condition of coloniality. The task is not a mere critique of neo-Orientalism, which always is commensurate with immediate and short-sighted political interests, but to overcome “Europe” as an idea and make it behave as one among any number of other exhausted metaphors, neither less nor more potent, organic, or trustworthy. Europe was “the invention of the Third World,” as Fanon fully realized – both in material and normative senses of the term. I have already argued that we need to change the interlocutor with whom we discuss the terms of our emerging worlds. We should no longer address a dead interlocutor. Europe is dead. Long live Europeans. The Islam they had invented in their Orientalism is dead. Long live Muslims. The Orient they had created, the Third World they had crafted to rule and denigrate, have disappeared. If only those who still see themselves as Orientals would begin to decolonize their minds too.]

Fuck You Žižek!

Honest Injuns*: Policing Native Identity in the Wake of Rachel Dolezal

[One of the most common questions I receive from readers is how to check their lineage for Native American ancestry.

There are a few companies now that – for a pretty penny – will search your DNA for ethnic markers and give you a sort of roadmap of percentages. I’ve had friends use these companies and haven’t heard anything negative from them, so I imagine the information they provide is legit.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to figure out your genetic heritage. I fully support that.

But I wonder: For those who find they are some percent “Native American” (and let’s not forget we’re talking thousands of unique tribal nations in that vague descriptor), what will they do with that information?

In discussing Rachel Dolezal, the national conversation centers on her claim to Black identity, what she calls “the Black experience” (as if being Black, or any race, can be packaged into a singular experience). I am in full support of these discussions.

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But no one outside of Native thinkers bats an eye at her assertion that she was born in a tipi and her family hunted with bows and arrows. In fact, Dolezal’s parents, who swore up and down that Dolezal is Caucasian without a hint of Black, noted that, in fact, one or two great-grandparents were Native.

Debbie Reese (Nambe Pueblo) addressed this on her (fabulously educational) blog,American Indians in Children’s Literature:

“The lack of questioning of that born-in-a-tipi story, however, points to the need for children’s books and media that accurately portray our lives in the past and the present so that people don’t put forth stories like the one Dolezar did, and so that that those who hear that kind of thing question such stories.

“Dolezal’s story about living in a tipi is plausible but not probable. The power of stereotyping is in her story, and in those who accepted it, too. That is not ok. Look at the images of Native people you are giving to children in your home, in your school, and in your library. Do some weeding. Make some better choices. Contribute to a more educated citizenry.”]    Read the full article here | Righting Red

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Photograph found in author’s post in Righting Red

 

 

Organ Harvesting, China and the Falun Gong

[Since the crackdown began in 1999, hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been arrested and detained. Researcher Ethan Gutmann estimated that at least 15 percent of the population incarcerated in labor camps for the purpose of “re-education” is made up of Falun Gong practitioners. These findings are supported by the US State Department. According to human rights groups, detainees have been subjected to forced labor, torture, arbitrary execution and organ harvesting. In 2009, The New York Times reported that “at least 2,000” people had been killed since the crackdown began…..

During a Falun Gong rally in Taiwan in 2006, four demonstrators play in an action drama against what they said was the Chinese communists’ killing of Falun Gong followers and harvesting of their organs in concentration camps. China recently placed the outlawed group at the top of its list of terrorist organizations, despite no history of violence against others….]

Read the full story here | LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

Falun Gong | WIKIPEDIA

Why is Falun Gong Banned? | NEWSTATESMAN

Organ Harvesting in China | New York Post

 

 

Ideology, Legislation, and Drug Consumer Complicity: Sean Penn Talks About “What Came Before the Question” about El Chapo Interview | Sunday 1/17/16

Gunduz Agayev is Back

Artist and activist Gunduz Agayev has, once again, released a series of powerful and thought-provoking images to inspire the masses to think for itself.

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Agayev shared on Facebook: 

In the past men created a God of war and blamed mythic Gods for the wars. However, throughout the history only men were responsible for all the bloodshed. Alas, many of us still do not understand this and want to evade the responsibility.

War is a death, a suicide. Nations massacre one another and the whole mankind. Nevertheless, men are able to inhibit this plague. Fortunately, men also invented peace. It is a way of struggle against war. It must be every man’s duty before humanity to continue this struggle.

Imagine: If Children Had The Childhood They Deserved

 

 

 

When We Put Guns in the Hands of Ideologues. Of All Sorts.

[San Bernardino is No. 13—the thirteenth mass public shooting in the United States in the past week. Most of the others—in Boston, Houston, Sacramento—haven’t received much national news attention, because Americans are still absorbing the horror of what happened last week, when, on the day after Thanksgiving, a man named Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., was arrested after going on a rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, killing three people and injuring nine others. It’s too soon to know what led to the killings in San Bernardino, but it’s a strange fiction to pretend, as we often do, that we have yet to understand what led us to this broader moment. Some of the reasons are in plain sight, and have been for decades….]

Read the full article | Evan Osnos for THE NEW YORKER

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