on competing callouts and the callout as derail
February 15, 2014
with the recent thing happening via calling Dr. Kortney Ziegler PHD out on his transmisogyny and the belief that the anti-Blackness of the situation is not being recognized, i feel like it is time to discuss a thing that happens (with far too much frequency) amongst oppressed ppl. it is a special kind of derail that i”m going to call the ‘callout derail”.
this is a thing that often (mostly) happens between two oppressed people. but what is critical about the callout derail is that the derail must callout an axis of oppression that the other does not experience or share.
the tactic works because it usually has the effect of subsumming the previous discussion/callout but leaves the person unable to contradict the callout without, in so doing, instantiating the charge.
it relies on abusing a few different principles of liberatory discourse.
first, that the oppressed name their oppressors.
and only the oppressed can name their oppressors. there is no discussion here. if an oppressed person names someone as their oppressor, that is the end. all that remains is for the oppressor to adequately deal with the charge or, as often happens, leave the field. Or, worse, defend themselves.
second. default positions.
whenever a Black person calls me anti-Black, they are simply stating the truth. a matter of fact. why? because as a non-Black person, my default position is anti-Blackness. end of the fucking story.
the burden of proof, the onus is always on me to demonstrate that I am actively working to unlearn my own anti-Blackness and to work in solidarity with Black people.
defending myself against any charge of anti-Blackness is, by nature, anti-Black. it requires me to disregard the lived experience of Black people, as well as denying the reality of how oppression (in this case anti-Blackness) functions.
third. eternal relevance.
again, as we all know, our oppresion and the reasons for it, are always relevant. there is no conversation or discussion wherein the Blackness of a participant is irrelevant. likewise, there is no discussion wherein the gender of all parties is irrelevant. these things are always relevant.
so how do we break down what happened with #holidayhandout?
It starts with a Black trans man asking what about the men? on a tag started by a trans Latina to support trans women.
The Black trans man denies the fact that he has privilege as a man
and after he is called out for being transmisogynist, partially attributes this to his Blackness
the order of how this happened matters. because it is easy to see, in the thread, that once he names voz as being anti-Black, all focus is taken off of his transmisogyny. it is, without a doubt, a derail.
it is a derail that works because Dr. Kortney Ziegler PHD has every right to name any non-Black person as anti-Black and one of his oppressors. and he doesn”t actually need to defend this position, since, as noted above, the burden of proof is on the other person, not him. moreover, the claim is tautologically true: all non-Black people are anti-Black.
so what do we do here? how can this be resolved?
perhaps it can”t.
especially since both conversations are necessary. we need to discuss the transmisogyny of non-trans women. we need to discuss the anti-Blackness of non-Black people.
both need to be dismantled and taken apart. all the people implicated in either (both) need to demonstrate that they are committed to dismantling them. and neither can be dismantled while the other exists.
to a certain extent… we can use context to sort out what is happening on a case by case basis. even so… even if the callout is a derail, that doesn”t change the truth of it. and this truth is something that absolutely must be addressed and dealt with.</p>