Spillover #28

A red "Keep Calm" poster with the caption KEEP CALM AND STAY ON TOPICComments on our 27th #spillover thread have long since closed, so it’s definitely time for a new one. Some reminders:

  1. #spillover is part of our comment moderation system for keeping other threads on-topic. It is intended as a constructive space for tangential discussions which are veering off-topic on other threads. This is part of our blog netiquette, which has the general goal of making it as simple as possible for commentors to find discussions focussed on topics of particular interest without entirely stifling worthwhile tangents of sorta-related or general interest. #spillover is also a space for those ongoing/endless disagreements and 101 issues that just keep on popping up.
  2. Commentors are encouraged to respect the topic of each post and be proactive regarding inevitable thread-drift in long threads: we hope that commentors will cheerfully volunteer to take off-topic responses into #spillover so that each post’s discussion gets room to breathe and tangents can be indulged in a room of their own.

More detailed outline/guidelines were laid out on Spillover #1.
The Moderator Team will enforce topicality where necessary, and off-topic commentors who ignore invitations from others to take their tangents to #spillover are one of the reasons commentors might consider sending the moderators a giraffe alert.


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28 comments for “Spillover #28

  1. a_lawyer
    June 2, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    What the heck is with the “no skin in the game? thing? Colonization happened–lots of places, it’s pretty much a world tradition–but what to do about it, and which ones get something done, and to who, for who, and who bears what responsibility for doing what in response to what acts of their long-dead uncontrolled part-ancestor(s), is very much a matter of debate. Change affects both sides. Everyone has skin in the game. If you assert that I don’t own my land, for example, it’s difficult to imagine how you could logically combine that with the “…so back off and concede the conversation, it doesn’t concern you.” Or how you could ever consider that an assertion like that can end “…full stop,” unless you like tat being said to you.

    Besides: Lots of folks live in the U.S., right? Has anyone given up their land to return it to the local NA tribe? Ceded their US citizenship and left the country? Treated all their stuff as stolen and their benefits as unearned and their Shit: if you’re going to practically reject the colonization claim, seems like it’s a lot less assholish to be up front about it.

    • PrettyAmiable
      June 2, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      We were dicks to Native Americans.

      YES. Do you think anyone here is disputing this? Do you think I am disputing it? I mean, I keep putting it in every post merely because I am certain someone will otherwise accuse me of god knows what, but it is obvious by now.

      …Full stop.

      Given that you ignored literally everything between those two quotes where I outlined how every single person benefits from colonialism, I couldn’t give a shit if you didn’t like my “full stop,” especially when you claim I made an assertion like “you don’t own your land.” You do – but it’s stolen land. If I buy a stolen bike, it’s still my goddamned bike, but it doesn’t erase the fact that it was stolen from someone.

      • PrettyAmiable
        June 2, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        And no, I didn’t think anyone was arguing that we weren’t dicks to Native Americans. You ignored literally the content of the entire paragraph except the two sentences that were irrelevant, ffs.

      • June 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm

        Legally, if you buy a stolen bike, the police can confiscate it from you and give it back to the original owner. It isn’t yours.

    • Angel H.
      June 2, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      You are not the one being oppressed by colonization and the continuing genocide of the NDN people. So no, you don’t have any skin in this.

      Colonization happened–lots of places, it’s pretty much a world tradition–but what to do about it, and which ones get something done, and to who, for who, and who bears what responsibility for doing what in response to what acts of their long-dead uncontrolled part-ancestor(s), is very much a matter of debate.

      Don’t give us this tired-ass “white guilt” argument. (“Why should I be responsible for something that happened hundreds of years ago?”) And the only people who have a right to tell us how colonization should end is the NDN population.

    • Aaliyah
      June 3, 2015 at 4:09 am

      Colonization happened–lots of places, it’s pretty much a world tradition–but what to do about it, and which ones get something done, and to who, for who, and who bears what responsibility for doing what in response to what acts of their long-dead uncontrolled part-ancestor(s), is very much a matter of debate.

      Colonization – and all the genocide, resource seizure and racist exploitation that define it – continues to happen to this day. And colonizers today are as complicit in colonization as their ancestors were.

  2. pheenobarbidoll
    June 2, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    This? This is some fucking bullshit right here. Everything you just said a lawyer is insulting and ridiculous. COLONIZATION AND GENOCIDE OF INDIGENOUS IN NORTH AMERICA IS ONGOING, NOT JUST IN THE PAST YOU UTTER ASS.
    You need to sit down and listen for once. Maybe someone will explain in little words so that you understand.

  3. ludlow22
    June 3, 2015 at 12:17 am

    I still feel like 99% of the responses are to a different argument than the one I’m making, but happy to let it lie here.

    • Angel H.
      June 3, 2015 at 8:14 am

      No, we understand your argument – that not every colonizer receives a direct benefit from colonization. The problem is that whenever someone says that you’re wrong, you A: move the goalposts and B: blame it on everyone elses lack of reading comprehension.

      • June 3, 2015 at 9:31 am

        right here, what she said. Ludlow, you keep saying “Give me a specific example” and people have GIVEN you numerous specific examples, and you keep going “Oh, no, but that’s not the Magic Specific Example I am looking for.”

    • Aaliyah
      June 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      I don’t think so. The initial example you gave – and which you still stand by, AFAIK – was that of a homeless and poor non-indigenous person who is starving and doesn’t have access to any resources such as bank accounts, housing, education, etc. Your argument was that this person’s lack of resources implies that they don’t benefit in any way from colonization, despite being non-indigenous.

      When pheeno and trees – indigenous women who know infinitely more about life as indigenous people than any non-indigenous person on Feministe – pointed out the numerous ways in which colonizer privilege isn’t cancelled out by lack of access to resources along class lines (because classism and colonization are not the same), your response was an overly defensive “But I’m not saying that colonizer privilege doesn’t exist! Only that some non-indigenous people aren’t colonizers.” And then you kept asking for the elusive Sufficient Concrete Example, as if pheeno and trees hadn’t already given you plenty of concrete examples of how all non-indigenous people benefit from colonization.

      But as those two and others have pointed out already – and in much better words – in a situation of colonization, there is no such thing as someone being non-indigenous and not a colonizer. The idea that some people don’t benefit from colonization who aren’t indigenous implies that there are some people whose experiences in the world are comparable to that of indigenous people – because the crucial difference between non-indigenous and indigenous people, in terms of their structural relation to colonization, is precisely that one group benefits from colonization and the other doesn’t. In particular, your argument implies that poor non-indigenous people experience the same intersecting oppressions as poor indigenous people simply because the former doesn’t have as many resources as all of the other colonizers.

      Along all other lines of oppression, there is a chasm of difference between life as an indigenous person and life as a colonizer. And there is no exception to that rule, because oppression is systemic and therefore leaves no one untouched by its effects – whether that affected individual is oppressed or is an oppressor.

      • ludlow22
        June 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm

        Only that some non-indigenous people aren’t colonizers.

        That exactly not what I’m saying; thanks for proving my point.

  4. trees
    June 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Just wanted to repost this here since this is exactly what I’ve been thinking during this whole discussion:

    pheenobarbidoll says:
    June 2, 2015 at 11:46 am
    My bad. I forgot that non NDNs get to dictate what is or is not e experienced as racism by NDNS. Carry on, oh wise colonizers. Your opinions are ever so unique and new.

    • ludlow22
      June 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      I’m not talking about ‘racism experienced by NDNs.’ I’m talking about the specific question of whether every non-NDN’s life is provably improved by colonization. I don’t accept the attempts to collapse the latter into the former.

      • PrettyAmiable
        June 4, 2015 at 12:01 am

        This is you moving the goal posts, by the way. I’m pretty sure the original comment was about benefiting from colonization, not that all non-NDNs are better off than they would be in an alternate universe where colonization didn’t happen.

      • June 4, 2015 at 1:01 am

        the specific question of whether every non-NDN’s life is provably improved by colonization

        One immediate thing: If colonisation of North America ended – fully just ended, no more White government of any kind at all, just ENDED – every single non-Native citizen in the continent would be a stateless refugee illegally living in a country. Every single non-Native citizen would be stripped of property and the right to own property; they couldn’t pick a random roadside dandelion’s head off and nibble on it without engaging in theft. I’m sure we can agree that that being a stateless refugee would be a provable worsening of life conditions even for a homeless person who accesses no governmental benefits.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        June 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm
      • June 5, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        OMFG that law. I just. I can’t even. I… wow… wow.

  5. June 3, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Oh, ffs. I just turned up and read this entire clusterfuck on both threads.

    Hey Ludlow! I’m an immigrant to Canada, I’m still on a student visa. I don’t own property, etc, etc. Let’s look at the benefits that accrue even to me:
    I get healthcare coverage from my college and province that are built off revenues from stolen land.
    I get to attend an institution of education built, again, on stolen land.
    I get free rights of passage over stolen land and the right to find legal housing on that stolen land – and the mere act of finding this housing does not potentially jeopardise my nationality or that of my potential children, fyi.
    I swim in a pool that offers me a student discount – using govt benefits for students that is, again, made from stolen revenues.
    I eat food grown on stolen land. (So does literally every human being who live(s)(d) in North America. If an adult mentally ill human being who uses no govt programs starves to death, homeless, that wouldn’t change the fact that they ate stolen food their whole childhood. If a newborn, homeless infant starves to death that doesn’t change the fact that they were gestated on stolen food. In small, small words.)
    Hell, I don’t get to do this, but calling oneself a Canadian or US citizen is itself a coloniser privilege.

    If anything, I think pheeno and trees et al are being generous in restricting their assignment of coloniser privilege to actual citizens of North America. I’d go so far as to say that everyone from casual tourists on up who has ever been to Canada or the States has implicitly and explicitly benefited from colonisation.

    Pheeno, trees, jesus, I’m sorry I wasn’t in this discussion. This is some amazing shit right here.

    • rincf
      June 3, 2015 at 11:01 am

      By this definition literally every single person in the world is living on stolen land. You can say its true if you like, but then its essentially pointless because no one is innocent. You’d be hard pressed to find even 1% of the world population who didn’t gain their current territory through warfare and varying levels of native extermination.

      • June 3, 2015 at 11:23 am

        OK, you’re so clueless about world history and the history of the First Nations/Native Americans that I’m not going to address the fact that your argument is full of shit.

        But even if literally no one was innocent.

        So fucking what?

        My point isn’t that every non-Native being in North America is literally Hitler. It’s that living on stolen land accrues you benefits, even if they’re minuscule, and that it’s wildly inappropriate to whine like a huge pissbaby about having to do the bare, skeletal minimun of acknowledging it in small words on the internet.

      • ludlow22
        June 3, 2015 at 10:11 pm

        OK, you’re so clueless about world history and the history of the First Nations/Native Americans that I’m not going to address the fact that your argument is full of shit.

        But even if literally no one was innocent.

        So fucking what?

        My point isn’t that every non-Native being in North America is literally Hitler. It’s that living on stolen land accrues you benefits, even if they’re minuscule, and that it’s wildly inappropriate to whine like a huge pissbaby about having to do the bare, skeletal minimun of acknowledging it in small words on the internet.

        I agree with all of this. Actually, I agree with almost everything you wrote here. The fact that we still disagree about my earlier posts should be an indication that the nexus of my argument is what it’s being represented as.

      • ludlow22
        June 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm

        isn’t*

      • June 4, 2015 at 1:23 am

        @ludlow

        Okay, you say the nexus of your argument isn’t what it’s being represented. To copy your original comment from the Elliot Rodger thread:

        My argument is that there isn’t a single discreet, tangible, concrete way that a homeless, starving person who doesn’t receive any government assistance is better off because of the US’s history of genocide.

        In the light of that argument, I think my examples here and elsewhere on this thread – being in possession of statehood as a citizen of Canada or the US, having been able to eat stolen food long enough to be starving instead of dead, access to land and resources (yes, even if you’re homeless and starving, you’ve still not been deported, so by definition you have access to land, and you’ve still not starved to death, so by definition you have access to resources) even if said access is horrifically limited – should have sufficiently proved your point.

        Re this argument you made:

        I’d argue it’s relatively easy to locate white people who are totally cut off from the benefits that accrue from colonialism, as a result of their other identities

        I…agree? It depends on where those white people are? I don’t think some random white Greek dude living as a fisherman in Corfu benefits from the indigenous genocides of North America. I don’t think my German crafts teacher friend who’s never so much as been to North America benefits from the systematic murder and theft of indigenous lands over here, even if she is the most cream-cheesulous lady to ever white that I know. I don’t think that pheeno or trees would argue that they do, either.

        However, if you’re going to argue that any of those non-profiting white people are found carrying US or Canadian citizenship, you’re full of it, though. My white wife, who’s struggled with poverty, homelessness, mental illness and disability from a very young age? Yeah, still benefiting from colonisation when she was dealing with that, still benefiting from colonisation now she’s not dealing with (some of) that, and she’d be the first to point it out. You’re moving the goalposts like WHOA, trying to make this argument about hypothetical non-white people, when what pheeno took issue with in the first place was explicitly about white people.

      • trees
        June 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

        The fact that we still disagree about my earlier posts should be an indication that the nexus of my argument is what it’s being represented as.

        This seems to be a reoccurring theme.

  6. pheenobarbidoll
    June 3, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you to those who get it. This entire ” debate” has just been [beyond ridiculous (- mod)].

  7. pheenobarbidoll
    June 3, 2015 at 10:59 pm
  8. June 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    @mac: ” I don’t think some random white Greek dude living as a fisherman in Corfu benefits from the indigenous genocides of North America.”

    Perhaps if he’s never eaten a single piece of food, worn a piece of clothing, or used any other good or service originating in the USA or Canada or Australia or New Zealand. Using Facebook? Well, that’s a US-registered company, located in annexed indigenous land, so there you go – benefiting from colonisation.

    And on a meta level, the fact that the country he lives in enjoys a standard of living greater than that of the rest of the world is a product of colonisation. Even former colonialist countries that no longer hold colonial territory, like Italy or Sweden, still benefit from the wealth they exploited from that territory, and pass it down to their citiens, who benefit.

    Of course Greece never colonised anybody, but it still benefits from being part of the “European” club of nations, a group that is defined by its members’ status as colonisers, and whose wealth continues to be propped up by the liquidified benefits of colonisation.

    So, yeah, Europeans benefit from colonisation even if they’ve never set foot in the USA.

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