Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Archive for the ‘Sociology’ Category

What Will You Do When They Come for You?

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It’s June 26, 2018 on Tuesday and I have just reset my alarm for 8:20 AM trying to snooze with my pup for a few more minutes. I hear a loud knocking at the door. No one ever comes to my house and knocks on the door unless they are bringing my delivery food. And there’s a difference anyway. You know the difference between loud knocking and police knocking. I don’t care what anyone says, there’s a difference.

I get out of bed make sure that my dogs are on the other side of the baby gate so they don’t run out and try to protect me or scare anyone. Piper is a Staffy. A “bully” breed that people are unnecessarily afraid of. I look through the peephole and whoever is there has positioned themselves so that I cannot actually see anyone. I can hear that tell-tale police radio so I know to whom I’m opening my door. I open it just a crack and they ask me to “verify my address”. The address is literally on the mailbox? I see the papers in one officer’s hand and automatically understand what is happening. A few weeks ago two other officers showed up at my door looking for someone asking the exact same questions. That person does not live here, I have lived here for a year, no I do not know them, I don’t know if I get their mail because I don’t pay all that much attention. If it’s junk I throw it away, if it’s real I RTS.

“You don’t look at your mail?” His question drips with suspicion and contempt.

I have experienced this before. In family court. Things that are truly normal activity are seen as weird, unnatural, not-normal. Like running out of milk occasionally or making your 6-7 year old make their own lunch. I now realize after some hours this was part of the trigger for me. Being gaslit by a person in authority.

These officers ask the same questions as the previous ones. “Is anyone else in the home?” No. “Have you seen this person?” If I had, I wouldn’t know it. If I had I wouldn’t tell you anyway… “How long have you lived here?” A year.

I’m getting really frustrated. Don’t you have a department that’s literal job description is “Detective”? You don’t know after multiple attempts to come here, leave cards to call for this person, that they are not here?

Why do you keep coming here? “Ma’am we’ve been ‘respectful’ and you’re being hostile.”

Here we go.

This is scary. Having cops bang on my door at 8:00am in the morning is frightening. I am on probation and while I know that I have not violated my probation in anyway, I am scared.

“Why are you scared?” Because I don’t trust cops.

The younger officers nods but then the older, larger one asks, “Why?” He gets a little closer to me. I’m against my door on one side and the stoop rail on the other.

Are you kidding me? Do you even watch the news or understand your own department?

“Who is your landlord? Do you have a copy of your lease?” You mean readily available? Sure, Officer, let me just pull it out of my ass…

“What is your landlord’s last name?” Dude, I don’t know. In my phone he is Sahil Landlord. We barely talk. I pay my rent early and don’t cause any problems so I’d have to look on my phone for anything. He scoffs again that I don’t have his last name at the ready.

Do you all know your landlord’s name or the managing company right off hand? No? Exactly.

“Ma’am you’re being hostile. Do you have I.D.? We are going to need to see it.”

I go inside and lock the front door behind me. I am shaking. I left my purse in my car and I park behind my home.

I unlock and open the rear-door and I jump because there is a very tall officer standing right in front of me. He seems almost as stunned as me to be confronted by a petite white woman with blue hair, a DC comics nightgown, and my hair tied up in bare feet.

I’m getting my ID. I literally open my car door and yank my purse. He does nothing, still surprised. I wonder if my demographics were darker, taller, male, or louder would I be alive or in jail, tazed or shot? He never asked if I had any weapons or what I was doing.

Then I see something move out of the corner of my eye. It’s another officer. My home has been surrounded.

I go inside, shaking, crying, so overwhelmed at what feels like a huge intimidation and violation. All I did was reset my alarm for 20 more minutes.

I walk to the front of the house, by now Piper is very concerned and I make sure she is in the back of the house. I don’t want her to react and get hurt.

I unlock and open the front door and hand over my license.

It would have been super helpful if you guys had let me know my home was surrounded. I had to go to my car and had no idea. That doesn’t seem very safe for me.

They ignore my concern.

“Go ahead and run that,” the larger one says.

Why? I haven’t done anything wrong. If you’re just checking it’s me.

“You have the right to be hostile, I have the right to run your license.”

You have the right to be hostile, I have the right to run your license.”

No other reason. Just to remind me who is in charge.

I’m going to need everyone’s name and badge number, your cards if you have them.

The younger one nods. The older one affirms verbally. Annoyed.

They keep asking me why I am afraid. I have GAD so by this time I am shaking and I feel that old familiar panic rising in my chest. I don’t trust cops. Cops are scary. Why do you keep coming?

“You are continuing to be hostile. We didn’t bang on your door. This is the address we have on a lawful warrant.”

Just doing our jobs. Just doing our jobs…

Like serving “legal” warrants haven’t gotten the elderly shot and a baby mutilated from a flash bomb launched into his crib here in Atlanta.

He just keeps talking over me. They have tactical gear. Those eye cameras that look like Google Glass. Side arms, yellow tasers, steel-toed boots, and bullet proof vests. They are tall and menacing.

Why do you keep coming?

“That was a different agency ma’am.” In a way that is intended to make me feel small and stupid. Neither time did the officers identify their agency, so how would I know? Do they not ever interact with each other and you know, share known information?

I feel profound sadness at interacting with four black male officers. I am not afraid of their skin, I am sad they are working for an institution that hates them. An institution whose history included chasing and enslaving their ancestors. I am just sad.

Colonial socialization is a hell of a drug. I’m profoundly aware of my own internalized racism, sexism, queerphobia…classism.

Conveniently, I never receive any names or badge numbers.

I want to know why they don’t know that person doesn’t live here.

My girlfriend has seen a police officer parked across from the house several times this week. We thought it was because the house across the street from us has had some “suspicious activity” (read, comings and goings, loud arguments, drinking on their lawn, living without electricity. None of these are illegal except for the electricity which is literally an illegality to support capitalism) in the past. The Dekalb SWAT team has been there before.

But now…now I think maybe they were watching us. But surely they can see that it’s just me and my girl and sometimes our dogs.

I need to move and I’m glad I’m gonna do that but that doesn’t actually solve the problem.

Why do they not know basic information? Is it really good I was home? Would I have come home to my home ransacked as I did when I was robbed? My dogs shot and left afraid to die alone trying to protect our home?

Even if I did know the man’s name, I would never have given it up. I would never throw a black man under the militarized, overbearing police bus. It’s a tank really.

Until recently, I’ve never seen police in my area. I find it so interesting that now that investors are buying up houses to remodel and flip…there’s suddenly a police presence. When and why did they suddenly decide to start giving all this attention to my little, mostly quiet neighborhood?

My whiteness protected me today. I know that for sure. But I also know that I signal my queerness through a rainbow sticker on my window, my queer af haircut and color, my queer tattoo, and I’m a woman whose size was clearly an advantage for the officers at my door.

It’s no secret that I don’t like cops. I blast it on social media every day. The way things are going I don’t know…people post online about professors all the time. Who is a leftist, who is anti-cop, anti-ICE, anti-Prison and corrections. They get addresses wrong all the time. They get addresses right all the time…

So sure, file a report. File a report with a racist, sexist, queerphobic, militaristic, fascist agency that literally polices and investigates its own self.

Bureaucracy is not benign. Just doing one’s job is how bureaucracy engages with authoritarianism. Systematic violence and oppression.This is how bureaucracy supports human rights violations.

I am definitely not a victim here. I know my whiteness saved me. But if you stop caring when they come for other people what are you gonna do when they start coming for you?

Written by thelittlepecan

June 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Sociology

MAGA: Sociology is Magic

Okay I want to explain something.

I’m GRATEFUL for #MAGA Hat student in class today. He is the literal embodiment of why I teach.

We are politically socialized by our families and our religion. We don’t even begin to develop a political ideology apart from our parents until we start to develop our lives apart from them.

(Insert #notall)

This is my Every Student™. My student who came in thinking sociology is an offshoot of psychology. My student who is only there because it fulfills Area E.

We discussed Marx Friday and this student probably talked to his parents about his first week of college. College. Not class.

We start with Marx.

“We should all be Marxist in the sense that…”

Their fears come true.

So, this hat.

Yeah, it was distracting. For me it represents so much.

Hate. Fear. Intimidation. Violence.

But this is a child whose world until now has been small. That’s what college is for, a world expanding experience.

This is LITERALLY #whitefolkswork.

It’s also literally my job.

I don’t demand political agreement. Some of my most conservative students have and are my best students and they take all my courses. They are my favorite. They push back against me and keep me always standing on the data and not shifting sand.

What they do have to do, is learn and engage with the material.

I think sociology is fucking magic.

It is the imagination of the object and subject. The special glasses that never again allow us to see the world and be pacified.

I believe in its power to open eyes, hearts, intellect.

It isn’t perfect. Fraught with racism, sexism, queerphobia, classism, ableism…white supremacy.

But my classroom is constantly arching toward inclusivity, toward justice, toward an equitable world, toward a revolutionary pedagogy.

I believe in what I do

I’m grateful for MAGA Hat.

I have this opportunity. I have this small precious chance to open the door to seeing the world a little more compassionately for this student.

I have this chance to show him what it is like when students of color’s voices are centered. When we talk about disability rather than ability. When we queer the neutral and “normal”.

In a world of measuring how “woke” we all are, maybe I can ring the alarm clock and maybe he will stop hitting snooze by December.

Nonviolence as Privilege

"There is a pattern to the historical manipulation and whitewashing evident in every single victory claimed by nonviolent activists. The pacifist position requires that success must be attributable to pacifist tactics and pacifist tactics alone, whereas the rest of us believe that change comes from the whole spectrum of tactics present in any revolutionary situation, provided they are deployed effectively. Because no major social conflict exhibits a uniformity of tactics and ideologies, which is to say that all such conflicts exhibit pacifist tactics and decidedly non-pacifist tactics, pacifists have to erase the history that disagrees with them or, alternately, blame their failures on the contemporary presence of violent struggle."-How Nonviolence Protects the State (Peter Genderloos 2007)

Love doesn't stop bullets
Love won't stop a car
Love won't change mandatory minimums
Love won't stop asset forfeiture
Love won't bulldoze prisons
Love doesn't stop gentrification
Love won't put women on the bench
Love won't pay your ER bills
Love don't pay the rent
Love won't stop fists
Love doesn't prevent sexual violence
Love won't impeach an illegitimate president

And when love can do these things, it is because that love is founded on righteous indignation backed by fury and fueled by resistance.

"It is our duty to fight for our freedom."

Mother Assata said we should love and support each other, but that love she spoke of was prefaced by the admonition that we have a bound responsibility to fight and fight to win.

There's no fence sitting in this struggle, My Loves. You need to stop trying to compromise on the humanity of your siblings.

The center will not save you.

Aluta continua.

Nazi Punks Fuck Off

Written by thelittlepecan

August 15, 2017 at 10:07 am

Posted in Sociology

What Do You Really Mean when You Say, “Fuck the South?”

A friend of a colleague posted this old article today on their wall. It’s from 2004. The year Swiftboating became a thing and the War on Terror was in its full horrific glory.

I get it. We, The Southeastern US, seceded from the Union in order to protect our Nation’s greatest shame, the enslavement of human beings. We would rather have protected the wealth of enslaved people than the wealth of morality. Our states seem to universally support right wing policies that hurt children, the poor, the disabled, veterans, black and brown people, immigrants, women and queer people. If you hit the oppression BINGO and belong to multiple identities here, our Southern leaders are really good at giving you the best ever of prizes.

I could spend time on refuting the facts of the founding fathers, who they were and where they came from, but probably a good listen to the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast recording will suffice.

I’ll refrain from addressing the cultural gems that are in the South: you can look up Nashville Hot Chicken, Delta Blues, and the Gullah Geechee on your own because Google is a thing.

I could get to the roads thing I guess, but it’s also pretty easy to Google “who pays for roads?” and learn that SPLOST and tSPLOST pay for lots of infrastructures.  It is certainly true that we don’t carry our weight when it comes to federal dollars in and out.

I wonder why that might be? Much of those lost taxes wouldn’t be paid for by most of us, since the South has some of the highest poverty in the country, especially when combined with the Appalachian region that overlaps the South. Hmm, who can and should be paying taxes and aren’t? I believe it might be new movie lots and production houses, car manufacturers and the music industry who all get huge tax breaks in order to move their businesses here, a right to work state, where they don’t pay their fair share AND *bonus* can ruin lives of workers at any time.

Is it possible that in the same way a gerrymandered district with no chance to elect a Democratic congressman in Georgia’s 6th was out voted by the wealthiest, whitest areas of the district, the entirety of the South might not be being represented adequately accurately, or fairly by those who have been elected?

I wonder why Dems can’t make gains in the South? Is it just because we are white and racist and classist? Sure, some of us are.

Though, lots and lots and lots of counties have 50% or more black populations.  Since the South has the largest concentration of black Americans/residents in the country, I’m going to go ahead and posit that racism and classism prevent the South from getting the representation we deserve and want, rather than the supposed fact that we are voting for what we have en masse. Black men represent 37% of the prison population, in a majority of states, those convicted of felonies are stripped of their basic human right to participate in the democratic process.

What about the poor and how they vote? Georgians overwhelmingly supported an expansion of Medicaid. Who chose not to do so?  Old, rich, white men in Atlanta.  That wasn’t put to a popular vote and gerrymandered districts made voting those same old, white men out of office difficult (see again GA 6th and Jason Carter’s bid for Governor.)

When you say fuck the South, you are saying fuck the most vulnerable and well, the other side is already doing that.

Written by thelittlepecan

July 3, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Sociology

Queer in the Academy

I wrote a guest blog for Edge for Scholars on being a queer scholar and how being out and proud makes me a better educator.
Welcome to Class, I’m Alana and I’m Queer.

Written by thelittlepecan

June 15, 2017 at 11:48 pm

Posted in Sociology

Does a year make any difference?

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I’m trying to decide how I feel today. I want to mourn, but I don’t want to center myself.

Let’s talk about Marsha. She wasn’t a drag queen and she wasn’t white. She was a black trans woman and she was a revolutionary.

Yeah, #HappyPride…but let’s remember that corporatization of everything is the path of the destruction of all things. The movement doesn’t stop with marriage-do you think trans people have no barriers to marriage?  When there are still barriers to bathroom access? When there are still barriers to dancing?

I saw one of Karen Handle’s commercials. Well, one by an outside org, but you know what I mean. Blaming Syrians for all of ISIS. As if ISIS isn’t killing Syrians.

Blaming Muslims for PULSE. As if queer people can’t also be Muslim and want to dance. As if many Muslims aren’t brown like Latinx people are sometimes brown and find themselves on the same shitty end of the privilege straw.

It’s worse today than it was last year.

At least 12 trans persons, mostly trans women of color, have lost their lives this year.

http://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community-in-2017

Hate crimes against Muslims have increased each year.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/11/hate-crimes-against-muslims-us-continue-rise-2016

Queer Muslims continue to experience erasure

http://queermuslimproject.tumblr.com/

They experience death in some countries.

In Chechnya gay men are being detained and executed extrajudiciously.

Here are the queer Latinx persons who were murdered last year.

http://blacklivesmatter.com/in-honor-of-our-dead-queer-trans-muslim-black-we-will-be-free/

 

Fight for the dead by protecting the living.

#resist

Written by thelittlepecan

June 12, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Sociology

The Queerification of Me: Coming Out in the Wake of Pulse

The first time I fell in love with another woman, she held my hair as I vomited violently into the toilet and then she held my secret while I came to terms with being pregnant at 17 years old.

And then she kept my secret for 10 more years after I had my first abortion.

She loved me unconditionally when my first husband demanded I sever ties with her.

A demand that came only after determining that we were too intimate and therefore too powerful to be allowed a relationship.

Women who love each other are dangerous, y’all.

She is my first love..

However you think I mean that I can pretty well guarantee has no relationship with reality.

She still loves me unconditionally. And it was never our time and maybe it never will be, but my assumption has always been the porch in a rocking chair with sweet tea and bourbon while we laugh at the tricks gravity has played on our once lithe bodies after our husbands die and our children go on with their lives.

I’ve never “come out” to anyone. I have used passing as a way to hide away from hard conversations. I have used passing as a way to advance my own privilege. I have used passing as a way to self-denial.

Not today, Satan.

I’m a queer, pansexual, cis-gendered white woman married to a cis-gendered white male…*

And I think I’m just about tired enough of participating in my own erasure.

My marriage looks straight to you, but it’s not, so let me say that again for those in the back–MY MARRIAGE AND NON-MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIPS ARE NOT STRAIGHT.

The love of women, genderqueer and non-conforming, and trans personalities and bodies and minds and souls will always be part of my relationships…if I’m fortunate enough to find those people who wish that with me.

Until someone threatened to out me at my job I let passing be enough…and then and ONLY then did I accept that I got to decide if I’m queer.

My family, my heart, my people and those families and hearts and peoples from communities I wish to ally and align myself with have been brutalized.

And I am broken.

But y’all, they done fucked around one too many times, though.

It’s always one too many times.

So, I’m broken, yes. I’m devastated and I don’t know moment to moment how I’m going to look the world in the eyes and say,  “Today I can.”

But I will.
Because I am tired and I am angry.

 

I’m here.

I’m queer.

 

You can get used to it, or we can burn it down.

 

 

This was my “coming out” statement on Facebook following the Pulse Nightclub shootings. I was on my way home from attending the NNAF abortion funds conference as a board member of the Magnolia Fund (please give them money). A radical, feminist, women of color centered space where I could #shoutyourabortion (well, should MY abortion) through the We Testify initiative. I could love on women and say #menaretrash and feel myself in all my feminist, loud, queer, awkward intelligence.

And then I got on the plane to go home and I saw.

And we sobbed silently on that plane all the way back to Atlanta from Houston.

I wrote about solidarity, but I also needed to be in solidarity with myself. With who I am.

As I prepare to go through relationship changes and personal changes and school and career changes, I acknowledge that I have a right to take up space in the queer community and in the world as a whole as a queer person.

Queer

 

*I realized after the fact that this might be read as thinking my cis-gender or race were being erased and that is absolutely not the case so while I leave this writing in its original form, the only parts of my identity I felt were being oppressed were those related to being a queer, non-monogamous woman.

Written by thelittlepecan

May 8, 2017 at 10:13 am