The Silence of Our Friends

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Art of Stealing Human Rights

UPDATE: Hello to those of you who have been directed here from Feministing by that racist/sexist whiner Tom Head. Yes I think he is a racist and sexist bastard because he sent you here in the hopes that you will bash me, a woman of color, on behalf of him a white man. I have something much more interesting for you to read instead. BfP's site is having server problems and she has a guest post here. You'll be interested since it's in answer to Samhita's post at Feministing.

I thought it was about time I did a post or two or a dozen about my heritage and while googling Tobique (my rez), I came across this:

Extracts from a speech given by Gerry Gambill at a conference on Human Rights at Tobique Reserve in New Brunswick, in August, 1958. In this speech he warned native people about how society goes about taking away the Human Rights of native people.

On the Art of Stealing Human Rights

The art of denying Indians their human rights has been refined to a science. The following list of commonly used techniques will be helpful in "burglar-proofing"
your reserves, and your rights.

GAIN THE INDIANS CO-OPERATION- it is easier to steal someone’s human rights
if you can do it with his OWN co-operation. So...

1. Make him a non-person. Human rights are for people. Convince Indians their ancestors were savages, that they were pagan, that Indians were drunkards. Make them wards of the government. Make a legal distinction, as in the Indian Act, between Indians and persons. Write history books that tell half the story.

2. Convince the Indian that he should be patient, that these things take time. Tell him that we are making progress, and that progress takes time

3. Make him believe that things are being done for his own good. Tell him you’re sure that after he has experienced your laws and actions that he will realize how good they have been. Tell the Indian he has to take a little of the bad in order to enjoy the benefits you are conferring on him.

4. Get some people to do the dirty work. There are always those who will act for you to the disadvantage of their own people. Just give them a little honor and praise. This is generally the function of band council, chiefs, and advisory councils: they have little legal power, but can handle the tough decisions such as welfare, allocation of housing etc.

5. Consult the Indian, but do not act on the basis of what you hear. Tell the Indian he has a voice and go through the motions of listening. Then interpret what you have heard to suit your own needs

6. Insist that the Indian "GOES THROUGH THE PROPER CHANNELS." make the channels and the procedures so difficult that he won’t bother to do anything. When he discovers what the proper channels are and becomes proficient at the procedures, change them.

7. Make the Indian believe you are working for him, putting in much overtime and at a great sacrifice, and imply that he should be appreciative. This is the ultimate in skills in stealing human rights; when you obtain the thanks of the victim.

8. Allow a few individuals to "MAKE THE GRADE" and point to them as examples. Say that the ‘HARDWORKERS" AND THE "GOOD" Indians have made it, and that therefore it is a person’s own fault if he doesn’t succeed.

9. Appeal to the Indian’s sense of fairness, and tell him that even though things are pretty bad it is not right for him to make strong protests. Keep the argument going on his form of protest and avoid talking about the real issue. Refuse to deal with him while he is protesting. Take all the fire out of his efforts

10. Encourage the Indian to take his case to court. This is very expensive, takes lots of time and energy and is very safe because laws are stacked up against him. The courts ruling will defeat the Indians cause, but makes him think he has obtained justice.

11. Make the Indian believe that things could be worse, and that instead of complaining about the loss of human rights, to be grateful for the rights we do have. In fact, convince him that to attempt to regain a right he has lost is likely to jeopardize the rights that he still has.

12. Set yourself up as the protector of the Indian’s human rights, and then you could choose to act only on those violations you wish to act upon. By getting successful on a few minor violations of human rights, you can point to these as examples of your devotion to his cause. The burglar who is also the doorman is the perfect combination.

13. Pretend that the reason for the loss of human rights is for some other reason, other than the person is Indian. Tell him some of your best friends are Indians, and that his loss of rights is because of his housekeeping, his drinking, his clothing.

14. Make the situation more complicated than is necessary. Tell the Indian you will have to take a survey to find out how many other Indians are being discriminated against. Hire a group of professors to make a year-long research project.

15. Insist on unanimity. Let the Indian know that when all the Indians in Canada can make up there minds about just what they want as a group, then you will act. Play one group’s special situation against another group’s wishes.

16. Select very limited alternatives, neither of which has much merit, and then tell the Indian that indeed he has a choice. Ask, for instance, if he could or would rather have council elections in June or December, instead of asking if he wants them at all.

17. Convince the Indian that the leaders who are the most beneficial and powerful are dangerous and not to be trusted. Or simply lock them up on some charge like driving with no lights. Or refuse to listen to the real leaders and spent much time with the weak ones. Keep the people split from their leaders by sowing rumor. Attempt to get the best leaders into high paying jobs where they have to keep quiet to keep their pay check coming in.

18. Speak of the common good. Tell the Indian that you can’t consider yourselves when there is a whole nation to think of. Tell him he can’t think only of himself. For instance, in regard to hunting rights, tell him we have to think of all the hunters, or the sporting good industry.

19. Remove rights so gradually that the people don’t realize what has happened until it is too late. Again in regards to hunting rights, first restrict the geographical area where hunting is permitted, then cut the season to certain times of the year, then cut the limits down gradually, then insist on licensing, and then Indians will be on the same grounds as the white sportsmen.

20. Rely on some reason and logic (your reason and logic) instead of rightness and morality. Give thousands of reasons for things, but to not get trapped into arguments about what is right.

21. Hold a conference on Human Rights, have everyone blow of steam and tension, and go home feeling things are well at hand.


You could easily apply most of these to many situations since these are common strategies of the wealthy/powerful against the poor/weak, especially the legalities, stalling, and projection (claiming the Indian is the greedy one). I immediately thought "Condi Rice" when I read 4, it's all about finding the sell-out, not just in the Native communities but any community you want to steal rights from. She is also an example of 8. You just gotta love when white people throw up the good exception to point out that you're a loser, or the bad exception to point out that you're all lazy, ignorant, criminal, drug users, alcoholics, violent, on and on.

Number 7 angers me and I've been meaning to post on this in particular. It isn't just the government that does this, it's your average privileged liberal asshole. Yes this is particular to our side of the fence because conservatives are open about their hatred. What I am talking about is when some condescending jerk pats you on the head and you tell him you resent it, or simply disagree with the ideas he is putting forth. He will get all pissy about how ungrateful you are, and that you should be thankful that he even pays attention to you and talks to you at all. YOU CAN NOT EXPECT HIM TO TREAT YOU DECENTLY LIKE HE WOULD A WHITE PERSON, YOU HAVE TO BE THANKFUL FOR IT. The last time I saw this in action was some white male buttmunch (Tom Head) pulled it on Nubian over at Feministing when she thought that Jessica's book cover sucked. He patted her on the head and she slapped his hand. His patronizing comment is about a third of the way down this thread.
I usually agree with Nubian, but in this case I'm not sure where she's coming from...

...I'm sorry, Nubian, you know I love you and your blog to pieces, but your argument in this case makes no blooming sense to me at all.

After Nubian says love or not, the cover is wack, he has this to say:
I have backed you up pretty consistently in the past, but you are so far off base here--and with so much cruelty and betrayal thrown in for shits and giggles--that I can't support you, and am frankly beginning to wonder if I had the wrong impression of what you were doing all along. I am an incredibly stupid and gullible man, and my obviously unappreciated loyalty to you and to your blog is Exhibit A.
I don't see what's wrong with the title. I do see a problem with the cover photo in that it's a missed opportunity--it's a McBody, basically--but you know, the nastier and more unfair the criticism of Jessica gets, the more it grows on me. If this keeps up, I'll absolutely love that cover by the time the book goes to press.
Nubian has been so consistently nasty to Jessica in recent weeks that I can't really blame her for saying "I'm done." It's a waste of time to argue with people who are full of hate and uninterested in a two-way discussion.

This is not to say that I don't think other criticisms of the cover are valid--including my own! But let's be fair here.
jpjesus, the ones I saw earlier today were vicious and hateful, concluding with a comment by Nubian to the effect that she would never visit Feministing again anyway (which kind of undercuts the whole "she just wants a dialogue" argument--she doesn't, she wants to make one-way smears). If the discussion has improved since then, that's great, but I'm in no mood to waste time on the blog of somebody who has specifically told me that she doesn't give a damn what I think and has dismissed me out of hand. What would be the point?
You've always had, and will continue to have, my support--in no small part because you've always included and supported me in this movement when other people have tried to push me out. You have always spoken for the imperfect, struggling human beings who make up real on-the-streets feminism, not the hateful and purely abstract blogging community. I'm sure none of the people who participated in Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Summer '06 would be satisfactory to Nubian either. She has already made it clear that I wouldn't.
I think that handling this the way Nubian is handling it--where she is saying some truly ugly stuff, and has made it clear that she is making one-way accusations and does not want to have a discussion--is mere "disagreeing." ...

...Nubian is doing a shady and intellectually dishonest hatchet job here. Don't mistake that for disagreement.
I have learned exactly two things from Nubian's criticism. First, she hates Jessica. Second, she hates me. Third, she is not interested in seeing either of us redeemed in her eyes through dialogue.
and how about this little tidbit of projection and whining
And no offense, but when Nubian starts throwing around phrases like "capitalist whore" and says to a longtime vocal reader and supporter "at this point, i don't care if you love me or not and whether or not you agree with what i say," it IS personal. I wasn't the one who made it personal; Nubian was. I was more than happy, as you will see if you read up, that I was more than willing to respect Nubian despite her incoherent smear against Jessica--until she disavowed Feministing in her own blog comments, and essentially flipped me the bird for not blindly siding with her in this strange little jihad.
or this tear jerker *snort*
I don't think Nubian's criticisms make any more sense than Althouse's, but if y'all see something to them, I guess I should respect that. I'm backing out of this thread. For my part, I'm disappointed in Nubian and will not be participating in blac(k)ademic again. I have seen a side to her that has surprised me.

I have a long and distinguished history of backing up friends of both genders, so the "chivalry" smears are not really appreciated, but I guess those loyal to Nubian are understandably upset at me for my criticisms of her.

This thread has really been an education for me, on so many levels, on where I really should be spending my time. It would probably make more sense if I put time spent blogging on national/international feminist blogs into the Jackson Area and Mississippi NOW web sites instead. There is something to be said for face-to-face relationships; the friendships I've made over the Internet seem strangely ephemeral, and I have been hurt many times by how expendable other people consider those friendships to be. This week it was Nubian. Next week, it could just as easily be Jessica. I need to invest less of myself in this sort of thing or I'm going to be hurting for a long, long time.
(That was, BTW, my last post in this thread. After being essentially called a misogynistic racist by people I had considered allies five minutes ago, and watching the crickets chirp as absolutely nobody went "Well, I'm sure he meant...," speaks volumes about my misplaced priorities. Lessons learned, my friends. Thank you.)

I know I posted way too many quotes but would you believe I even left some of that nasty whining shit behind? You can see the progression. Sure he loves her so damned much which is why he can turn on her in a split second, now that's true love. How dare that black woman challenge him??? Well she needs a smack down for disagreeing and not telling him he's the best master and hoping he'll throw her a milkbone for being such a good pet. FUCKER!

4 comment(s):

I posted during that whole ridiculous explosion, and honestly, Tom Head's ranting made no sense at all. By that point, I don't even think he remembered what he was engaging; he started attacking the idea of criticism rather than the criticism itself.

I honestly don't know how Nubian remained relatively calm throughout that post; I was livid.

By Blogger Sylvia, at 1/23/2007 5:01 PM  

Oh I know, I remembered being upset and the lessons that I personally took from the incident, but it wasn't until rereading it that I remembered how angry it made me and how unfair I knew it to be towards Nubian. I couldn't believe how he went on and on and on about it and kept bring her up and how she was so "mean" to him. But when you read her actual words all she did was disagree with his take and show that she didn't appreciate his patronizing tone. That shouldn't have been so bad that she deserved him going off on her or all the whining. She didn't disrespect him, he disrespected her, and when she pointed it out he was livid.

By Blogger Donna, at 1/24/2007 9:25 AM  

No, she disrespected Jessica. And as I said in the thread, I have a history of backing up my friends. (Look at the Althouse thread for another example of Tom Head flying off the handle backing up Jessica.) I had actually corresponded privately with Nubian for some time leading up to that thread, and thought we had a pretty decent Internet friendship going. That thread was an education for me on just how ephemeral Internet friendships are, and it was useful for me. In some ways I'm kind of glad it happened.

If you want to call me a racist misogynist, there's nothing I can do to argue with that. I'm a white male, so the shoe fits to some extent. But it's a really cheap insult, and one that completely ignores the inconveniently complicated facts of the situation.

And if you want to call me whiny because I'm more interested in being honest about my vulnerabilities than I am in being macho, there's nothing I can do to argue with that, either. I don't usually hear that from people who describe themselves as feminists, but I do hear it, and I'm used to it.

Hating random people on the Internet is easy. I'd long since left this behind me until I ran across your thread, and Nubian--who I actually thought I did know reasonably well in a virtual way, and had corresponded privately with, and defended, many times--doesn't need my permission to hate me. Neither do you. But I wish you had put a little more effort into reading my posts in other threads so that you would understand the context of what I was saying, because I think it is damaging when you call me a racist and a misogynist. I know I'm not a perfect person, but damn.

Then again, I've called people racists and misogynists enough times that maybe I have it coming.

I'm getting a lot out of your blog, by the way. Other than the whole hating Tom Head part, I mean. For whatever it's worth coming from an entitled white male, I think it's some damned insightful stuff.



By Blogger Tom Head, at 2/24/2007 6:33 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Tom Head, at 5/23/2007 7:58 PM  

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