Welcome to Issue 15.4 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
It’s Thursday, I thought yesterday was Thursday all day, the literal occupation outside of New York’s City Hall is not a top news item (much like its 2011 predecessor), for a moment it seemed like I was gonna write about key lime pie, this is the seventy-fourth issue of Digestable, and here we are.
So a moment of honesty, building on a couple days of this problem: the world’s attention is slowly but surely turning away from demands to defund the police and examine/dismantle white supremacy. The news cycle is like the Borg; you make a big hole, it learns how to fix that hole, and then continues on its deathly hive mind mission. Ok, a little harsh. Maybe more like a self-healing mat that absorbs a little slice from an x-acto. You get the picture.
As I hinted at yesterday, I’m going to spend today writing a little more deeply about some of the pillars of white supremacy that exist not just in our systems and structures, but inside of us (especially white people).
Let’s get to it. In my (small) experience with these pillars, I’ve found/learned that there are some helpful phrases to calm and challenge the voice of white supremacy inside of you and the big voice that can come at you from other people. White folks, it’s easier for us to call this stuff out than people of color, and especially Black folks. Do it!
For each pillar, I’ll give a brief description, and then one useful phrase or question to use for the internal voice and the external voice. I’ll be referencing both my own experience and this zine by Tema Okun.
A note: I’ve paired a few of these. They’re not the same per se, but talking about them together can be useful.
Perfectionism: Pointing out inadequacy in work, not recognizing work that has been done if the whole is not ‘perfect,’ confusing the concept of making a mistake with being wrong.
For yourself: Does this work/project do what I intend it to do?
For others: Can we make specific suggestions about how to address this mistake? Can we appreciate all the good work that has been done?
Sense of urgency: Rushing when there is no real deadline; valuing product over process; sacrificing input/ally involvement in the interest of speedy completion.
For yourself: Is this a real deadline, or one that was made up to create structure? What do we lose when we adhere to it?
For others: What are we gaining by speeding through this process? Are we being realistic about our ability to do this well on this timeline?
Defensiveness + Paternalism: Criticism is viewed as threatening; new ideas are quashed as ‘wrong’ or ‘distracting;’ feedback is ignored as ‘not the point’ or ‘inappropriate for right now.’
For yourself: Am I feeling threatened by the feedback or idea that’s being presented? Why?
For others: What are our shared values? Can we focus on adhering to those, rather than (potentially old/problematic) processes or decision-making structures? Can we leave some room for discussion, rather than jumping to conclusions?
Either/Or thinking: Relying on ‘this or that’ rather than ‘both and’ when talking about a process/product/idea. Y’all, this is literally the application of false binaries. At the top of my personal list of ways to divest our brain from white supremacy. Binaries are dangerous and unhelpful!
For yourself: Am I missing some nuance here? Is there a third, fourth, fifth, option?
For others: Is there gray area, or middle ground? Are we simplifying something really complicated in the interest of speed?
Power hoarding and fear of open conflict: Little interest in sharing power; people in power don’t believe they are hoarding power. Those in power squash conflict and blame conflict on those who bring it up.
For yourself: Who’s making decisions? Are questions coming up and not getting answered?
For others: Can we talk about who is in positions of power here, and if that makes sense based on people’s roles and experience? Is this power structure helping us do our work/whatever we’re doing better?
Individualism: Lack of experience/interest in collaborating, lack of accountability outside of hierarchy (me, person above me, etc), competition.
For yourself: Am I trying to do something myself that’s better done with others?
For others: Can we bring questions and problems to the group, rather than deciding how to address them alone?
Objectivity: The belief that there exists a ‘neutral’ or ‘apolitical’ point of view; that emotions are a distraction from truth.
For yourself: Am I ignoring my own, or someone else’s, feelings about this?
For others: Are we simplifying this problem, rather than accounting for all the experiences and opinions present in the room?
For more words on this, do check out Tema Okun’s zine, spend some time thinking/ writing about these pillars, talk to your friends about them. This is big inside work.
I don’t have an animal for today; I just have a tweet about an animal. Hehe.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
I have been on the Internet for a very long time. And I have seen many explosive ~*Hot Goss*~ stories over the very long time I’ve been on the Internet. I was there in 2006 when Brandon Davis called Lindsay Lohan a “fire crotch” while Paris Hilton stood next to him and laughed. I was there in 2012 when Katie Holmes surprisingly divorced Tom Cruise and escaped from the influence of the Church of Scientology with their daughter Suri – whom Tom still does not have a relationship with to this day. And of course, I was there in 2014 when Solange attacked Jay-Z in an elevator after the Met Gala, while Beyoncé silently watched from a corner.
But none of these stories have excited and satisfied my appetite for celebrity gossip more than the scandal of WAGatha Christie. And since there are more things I don’t want to write about than do (Jeffree Star is trash, we BEENT knew, please stop buying his makeup), I’m going to take you, dear reader, down this magnificent memory lane and into one of the most perfect pieces of ~*Hot Goss*~ to have ever graced tabloid pages and celebrity news sites around the world.
In October 2019, British tabloids were set ablaze by a good old-fashioned fight between WAGs – or the wives and girlfriends of British footballers. The suspects were two extremely high-profiled WAGs: Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, both of whom are married to pretty famous footballers in the United Kingdom. And scandal began when Coleen noticed that extremely personal information about her kept being reported in the British tabloids. The kind of information that only someone with access to her private Instagram account would know.
Coleen Rooney, genius investigator of the ages that she is, quickly theorized that one follower in particular was the person who had been selling her out. So she set a trap, blocking everyone except her main suspect from viewing her Instagram Stories. She fed false information to see if these stories would make their way to the tabloids. The suspect fell for this trap hook, line, and sinker, and these false stories were reported in The Sun as gospel.
With confirmation of the suspect in hand, Coleen Rooney got to typing on her Notes app – and this statement sealed the deal. Read for it yourself here:
“It’s…………………….. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
My god, months and months later, this sentence still makes my heart prolapse into my ass. IT’S JUST SO DELICIOUS. No plot twist, no ending to a saga has been this satisfying and gasp-inducing since M. Night Shyamalan graced us with The Sixth Sense in 1999. And as you can see by the Miss Marple-levels of deductive power, WAGatha Christie became the perfect moniker for this perfect serve of a story. Truly, Coleen Rooney’s talents are wasted thirst-trapping away as an Instagram influencer when this woman clearly needs to be put in charge of Interpol.
Anyway, Rebekah Vardy is now attempting to sue Coleen Rooney for defamation but it doesn’t matter. Coleen won this scrumptiously fair and square, and I can’t wait to see the film adaptation in five years.