growth and accountability and history
August 24, 2014
one of the things that happens, esp. if you”ve been participating in some kind of community (but esp. an online one) is that ppl fuck up. more specifically, there are some who fuck up in a big way and get themselves put on other ppl”s lists as
“remember that person who did the thing?”
and it”ll come up every so often. and ppl will be like
“hey, i”m seeing person x on my dash/TL again, aren”t they the person who did this incredibly fucked up thing? did they apologize?”
this”ll happen bc many of us, you know, tend to stop associating with ppl who”ve hurt us. so it can be jarring to suddenly see their name one year later.
when this happens ppl will always be ‘omg, people grow. ppl do fucked up shit. learn. and grow. but you keep bringing up this thing that happened five years ago”
its an interesting dynamic.
first. bc of the same old double standards. regardless of which camp you belong to, there is likely someone you know that, on a regular basis, has a post like this made about them (ie “remember when they did this thing and never apologized?”). i have friends AND enemies on tumblr/twitter/whatever who this happens to. it literally happens to ANYONE with enough notoriety that ppl will watch everything they do. but what i often see is that ppl will usually say “it is okay when ~the past~ is brought up for this person, but not that one”. interestingly, i”ve noticed that the people whose pasts are eternally relevant and need to be brought up if they so much as SNEEZE are, um, ppl usually oppressed along several axes. This def. happens to qt Black ppl. and most qtpoc that i know. but ur favourite cis white blogger? ur favourite het man? “why can”t u let the past stay in the past, that was soooooo long ago”
second. the interesting thing i”ve noticed about the ppl who TRULY attempt to grow, learn, and make up for their fuckups usually don”t deny what happened. they”ve made some kind of apology somewhere. they also, and this is important, don”t usually give a fuck when their past harms are brought up. indeed, these ppl will OFTEN talk about this past without provocation. “i used be super fat phobic a few years ago, but i”ve been learning better” (this is actually ME. i”ve said this)
its weird. we can talk ALL DAY long about the necessity of addressing shit that happened hundreds of years ago, whose legacy and ongoing life we grapple with today, but somehow we are just supposed to forgive and forget someone who hurt us a year ago? five? ten? why should things work like this?
how can u claim to have ‘learned” from your mistakes if you refuse to own the fact that YOU made them? that you HURT people and that there may be spaces/ppl who will never welcome you and will always remind and remember the harm that you”ve caused.
after my most recent anti-Black fuck up, i have zero expectations that the person i harmed will ever talk to directly to me again. why should they? i also think they would have EVERY right to put me down on some list of anti-Black pilipinas. simple truth. and if, for their friends and ppl they cared about, they were to tell those ppl to avoid me bc of my anti-Blackness…
why the fuck is it a problem that they would take steps to protect themselves AND the ppl they care aobut from someone who has already prooved that they are harmful/unsafe?
i do hope that i”m growing and learning and working to dismantle my anti-Blackness so i don”t fuck up like that again, but my growth and work isn”t dependent on their specific validation. if in 10 years from now, we somehow bump into each other and they are like “oh, i remember you, you”re the fucking asshole who barged into a conversation about anti-Blackness and talked over me” all i can do is shrug, say yes, maybe apologize if they let me, and walk away.1
so growth. and accountability.
what of it?