[personal profile] teafeather
I read a lot of content related to social justice, but I'm afraid of participating in those communities. It's not that I don't have experience as a marginalized or oppressed person that I can draw upon. It's because I do.

I don't want to have a pity party or play Oppression Olympics, because nobody wins at that. I want to show how even people involved in social justice movements can fail to recognize how their own privilege (in various categories) can exclude people in marginalized groups.

Class, and education as a component of class, is one of the main issues. I'm in a lower socioeconomic bracket, and have less education than my parents. I flunked out of college, twice, because of mental health issues. I didn't try a third time because the money available for my education ran out, and so has my confidence in my ability to succeed at any kind of higher education institution. I make a couple dollars over minimum wage in a so-called "unskilled" job at a gas station. I'm not starving or homeless, but I do live a fairly frugal lifestyle with a few cherished small luxuries, mostly afforded by the fact that I have never owned a car because I've been legally blind since my late teens. Of course being blind makes some things more expensive, but that's not really the topic of this post.

What I'm trying to get at is that a lot of social justice talk comes from college educated, middle class people. I'm not hating on people for their success, and I'm not cursing sour grapes, but I do feel left out because a lot of social justice related talk uses vocabulary, concepts, and references that I don't have access to because I didn't get exposed to them in school. Also, as previously mentioned, I'm blind so I can't access a lot of materials on my own. Your textbook changed your life? Great! I'd love to read it! But the library for the blind doesn't have it and I can't read regular print books. I used to be able to scan print books but my scanner broke a few years ago and I no longer have access to the (extremely expensive) OCR software I used to use, so even if I replace the scanner it wouldn't be much good to me.

What I'd like to see is more freely available educational materials, in accessible formats, so I don't feel like an ignorant jackass every time I want to express something or inquire further into an interesting concept. Stuff that goes beyond 101. It's my hope that there are people out there who want to educate people who can't afford to pay for it.


Date: 2011-04-09 05:24 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I'm college-educated and an activist, although I've learned FAR more on my own than I ever did in school. I teach pervasively; you're welcome to hang around and read or ask questions. Sometimes I'll do educational posts on various topics -- you can find some of those in my Memories or the "how to" tag. I'm also open to questions. And, I'm brokeass broke; we haven't had a job in this household for over 3 years. Most of the earned money coming in is from my crowdfunding and freelance work.

When I do activism, I pick what topics interest me and I push them in ways that I think will make the world a better place. This isn't a close match for other people's patterns, and I don't care. I'll ally with whoever is with me on Topic X.

So if you feel like the available communities aren't doing you any good, make a new one that is tailored for people with low/no income and/or little formal education. There is, sadly, no shortage of people in those two categories. Lay out the profile to explain what some of your goals and expectations are, and see who shows up.



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