Saturday, June 24, 2017

FAQ: PFL Edition

Inspired by parents, professionals, and other abled people who think that they have a right to tell us how to refer to ourselves and then get snotty when told that's inappropriate.

Q: May I humbly request you change to using person first language?

 A. No.

Q. I demand that you use person first language.

A. No. What happened to humbly requesting? 

Q. Let me tell you all about it! You must be unaware!

A. You may not. I am quite aware.

Q. But it puts the person first! It's more respectful!

A. It is not. I actively selected identity first language. Telling me how to talk about myself is disrespectful.

Q. But I need it to remind myself that my child is a person.

A. Woah there. "I can't think of my kid as a person" is really very much your problem. Why would you think that would win me over? It makes me very worried for your child.

Q. Person first language is correct.

A. No, it is not. Stop trying to tell me what to do.

Q. There is no need to be so rude!

A. Okay so you come into my space and demand I talk about myself in the way you want because otherwise you cannot remember I am a person and that isn't rude?!?

Q. I'm trying to help you by pretending I think you're a person. This is why you don't have allies! 

A. You acknowledge not thinking I'm a person and come into my space to tell me how to talk about myself. You're no ally.

Q. How will I learn anything if you don't use person first language?

 A. If you need to be reminded every other word that I'm a person, you're not quite up to the level of this blog. This is not a Disability Rights for Beginners blog.

Q. You're so rude!

A. But telling me how to talk about myself is not rude. Ohkay.

Q. You have poor social skills because you have autism.

A. I am not the one struggling with social skills here in this situation. You should be embarrassed at your behavior. I'm getting second hand embarrassment for you.

Q. So you'll be changing to person first language?

A. Piss off and don't piss back on again.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dear PSU, it IS partly your fault: an open letter

Dear Mr Wiewel and the entire PSU board,

I am sitting at home by my computer instead of attending class today, in light of the terror attack on the MAX on Friday. Sure, possibly Micah Fletcher is attending class, but I suspect he is braver than me, better than me, less likely to die from relatively mild injuries than me, and less likely to be targeted than me. So don't try to use another student against me. That's disrespectful to him.

This letter is about you and the choices you have made, or failed to make, that are why attending class is currently not a thing I feel safe doing.

It's funny, the emails you send the school, Wim. Out of one side of your mouth, you're declaring Portland State a sanctuary campus. Out of the other? You're saying we can't prevent Nazis from using our campus as a platform. They're entitled to air their views, you say.

We've all heard their views, Wim. Their views are that a large proportion of the campus population doesn't deserve to live, much less be on campus. I'm certainly not supposed to be, between my gender and my disabilities and my race. Nor are many other students, those you allege to want on campus. But not enough to stand for them.

Remember back before the election, Wim? Remember the students parading about shouting anti-Latinx slurs, anti Black slurs (you've never pretended to care about ableist slurs so I'm not getting into that, we call that Tuesday at PSU, but that's another letter), pretending to build a wall? They were harassing students. They were making students feel unsafe. But "they have a right to free speech".

People have had knives and guns pulled on them on campus, Wim. By the same folks who were parading about. From folks who video and doxx people who attend PSUSU and other progressive groups' events. This is not free speech, Wim, this is threats. This is inciting violence, though one could argue it is already violence. We have a right to privacy. We have a right to not be harassed for our very existence.

But you, members of the board, who refuse to have an open meeting where students can hear and see what's happening, you support these men in harrassing students. You won't stop them, you see, not even from threatening folks with weapons, because "freedom of speech". Freedom to brandish weapons on campus isn't in the first amendment, bro, but apparently you missed that.

And now, Wim, people are dead. People are dead because this city has a Nazi problem that you allow to breed on campus. You won't find a marginalized student who hasn't been made to feel unsafe by Nazi symbology, slurs, posturing, or transparent threats, but you have to support the freedom of speech of the poor oppressed white men quoting Hitler.

Now people are dead. The man who killed two and seriously injured a third was targeting teens of color, Wim. Three men stepped in, but what if they didn't? They'd still be alive. The girls would likely be dead.

Do you know what the man said? He said he stabbed the men because criticizing him, telling him to stop, violated his freedom of speech. He said killing people for telling him "you won't do that here" was patriotism. He said killing them was his right because he wasn't allowed to spew whatever venom he wanted unchallenged.

Does that feel uncomfortably like what you've been saying in your emails? It should, Wim. Because you're coddling men like the terrorist, you're saying that it's their right on campus to spew whatever hate they want, to back it up however they want. You're not drawing a line, Wim.

You're going to have to take a stand. The powers that be at PSU are going to need to choose: is this Nazi territory, or is it going to be on the right side of history? Right now you chose the former, and now people are dead. You currently support an environment of white supremacist recruitment and action.

Pick a side, Wim. And be honest about it. I can't be the only person afraid to go to school. If you want me and people more marginalized than me on campus, show us. Take a stand.

class of 2018