Whites Don’t Want Peace — We Simply Want the Comforts of the Violent “American” Identity

EssayThing

Let’s suppose for a moment that we could have a peaceful revolution.  Most European colonizers (or white people) in the United States would still be against this type of revolution.  But we’re talking here about a socialist revolution: a mass struggle to replace capitalism with socialism.  That is, we’re talking about a revolutionary movement to replace a system where only a few people control the wealth of society (capitalism) with a system where the workers who produce their wealth have power over the means of production (socialism).  If we could have such a revolution, and not be required to inflict any violence, whites would be against it anyway.

Why is this so?  Because whites don’t want to give up the unequal power that we have under the current system.  We enjoy the advantages of capitalist exploitation.  After all, we fought very hard, and spilled a lot of blood, in order to get those advantages.  In fact, this war– the “American Revolution”– is still going on.

The greatest part of a revolution’s work starts after the war for a people’s independence is over.  This is where a free nation begins to build up its institutions and to resolve the various contradictions of the society now under its control.  Now the masses are constantly being organized by this new revolutionary system to defend its arrangement of power, and not just in the military.  The people are educated by the ruling class to defend its laws, its morals, its “way of life.”  And if this arrangement of power is democratic capitalism, and the nation that gained independence is the United States, then the masses under capitalist power will be engaged in a constant struggle to defend the institutions and structures of the United States, because we have been educated to do so.  And this is the ongoing revolution of “We the People”– which is to say, European colonizers (or whites) on occupied Native land.

Therefore, whites don’t want another revolution.  We have our hands full with this one.  Even if we experience some exploitation and violence under the system of democratic capitalism in the United States, whites will still try to resolve these contradictions through its existing institutions and structures.  We fear any “outside” threats to “our” institutions and structures: “our” government, family, workplaces, schools, churches.  If we had been occupied by a foreign power, or if we had been violently removed from our lands in Africa, and were forced to build up the wealth of this “free nation,” then it might be a different story today.  But, as things are, this isn’t a question of equal rights, or “liberty and justice for all”– it’s about power.  Otherwise, we might ask ourselves: why didn’t we stay in England, or Germany, or Italy, or any other country in Europe and fight for a just and equal society in those countries, in our homelands?  The answer should be quite obvious: we wanted to enjoy the benefits of the “American” occupation of Native land, even if this meant colonial genocide and capitalist exploitation.  That is, even if this meant violence.

If you love “America,” then you love violence.  There’s no nation in the history of the world that has committed violence on the same scale that the United States has.  And this is the violent revolution you support if you identify as an “American”: the struggle to overthrow the power of the King of England in order to occupy a continent (plus Hawaii and Puerto Rico), and then enjoy most of the benefits of a system of global exploitation.  If you don’t want violence, then get rid of “America” and destroy capitalism.

But, of course, that would require violence– and we’re against that.  So whites try to figure out how to be progressive and nonviolent at the same time.  We think we can have a revolution led by Bernie Sanders, a U.S. Senator.  We want to be like Sweden or some other Scandinavian country and have all that free stuff– healthcare, schools, roads without potholes– which we then call “socialism,” because we’re sticking it to the rich.  But where do these riches that are being distributed among whites come from?  Africa, and Asia and Latin America.  And how do we continue to get this wealth?  Through violence.  Imperialism.  Capitalism.  We can call it “socialism” all we want but it’s still just white supremacy, or the white minority capitalizing on the global advantage of power that was gained through imperialist violence by Europe: through the political power that comes out of the barrel of a gun.

So white people don’t want a peaceful revolution.  Martin Luther King Jr., who was a religious leader and not a political leader, tried to show us the way toward a peaceful society.  He talked about a “revolution of values.”  And then we murdered him.  You might argue that you didn’t murder Dr. King because you weren’t there in Memphis and you personally didn’t pull the trigger.  But that’s not the point.  The point is: Dr. King was leading a movement to redistribute “American” wealth– a Poor People’s Campaign that was going to march again on Washington– and the capitalist system of power in the United States would not allow that to happen.  So it used violence against Dr. King.  And, nearly fifty years later, white people still enjoy the benefits of that violence.  But not just the violence against Dr. King.  We’re talking about a world economic system that must violently protect its interests.  And there isn’t a socialist movement anywhere on the globe (peaceful or otherwise) that capitalism hasn’t violently moved to destroy– backed by the power of the United States, and its Senate full of wealthy white cis men, supported by white voters.

However, whites confuse “peace” with “comfort.”  The destruction of socialist movements around the globe has helped to make the white population of the United States more comfortable, not more peaceful.  So our struggle isn’t about ending violence, or about promoting equality and justice.  If this were the case, then we’d recognize that violence is always needed in order to stop violence.  The U.S. government has shown over and over again that it will use extreme violence to get in the way of any movements to redistribute wealth and power.  A greater threat of violence is required to stop this violence.

And the threat of violence is violence itself.  This is why there isn’t a cop on every street corner.  More importantly, this is why so-called people of color put up with white individuals and our toxic behavior on a daily basis.  The threat of greater systemic violence is backing up our individual white behavior.  In fact, if you don’t like all the “divisiveness” and bad “race relations” in this society, then get rid of the unequal advantage of power held by whites– by getting rid of the white supremacist system.

But we won’t do that, because– when push comes to shove– white people want this unequal advantage of power.  It means comfort, security, the “American” lifestyle.  When whites talk about freedom of speech, individual rights, and all those good things in a colonial and capitalist society, we’re talking about white supremacy.  What’s freedom anyway unless it applies to everyone, and is a ruling principle that is enforced– through violence when necessary?

If whites truly wanted freedom, peace, equality and human rights– which means these would apply to everyone in the world– then we would be required to create a greater threat of violence than the violence of the system that is getting in the way of this progress.  Yet the contradiction is this: by showing a far greater threat of violence, we may not need to use it.  Because, in order to escape our violence, or survive under its power, the ruling class (racist, sexist, transphobic, capitalist) may simply give up its control.  After all, that’s why the oppressed peoples of the world gave up their control in Africa, Asia, the “Americas”– on account of the greater threat of violence by Europe and its system of power, capitalism.  It’s not because capitalism has promoted human rights or any other progressive values.  It’s because whites have held the advantage of power.  And, as European colonizers, we don’t wield this power out of the goodness in our hearts, because we’re “decent, kind hardworking Americans.”  We just want to describe (at times) our violence with nice, gentle words in order soften the language of colonial genocide, and the harsh reality of our crimes against humanity.  At other times, we vote for Trump.

So, let’s say we could have a peaceful revolution.  First, it would have to be a very uncomfortable revolution for white colonizers, otherwise we don’t really want peace.  Second, we’d have to show the threat of extreme violence against the ruling class: Wall Street, the government at all its levels, every institution of capitalism.  Yes, we could talk about a peaceful solution … as long as there was the alternative of extreme violence.

But whites in the U.S. do not have a Malcolm X among us as a counterweight to a Martin Luther King, because we don’t have a Dr. King among us either.  Whites lack any conscience, or any religious or spiritual weight of morality, that hasn’t been taught to us by a white supremacist system.  Whites have the conscience of the white colonizer, because that’s our training, that’s how conditions under a white supremacist system have shaped us to think.  And no white colonizer is going to lead a “revolution of values.”  Certainly no wealthy, cisgender white man in the U.S. Senate.  So we can forget Bernie Sanders and his fake revolution.

In fact, the only socialist revolution for white colonizers in the United States is the African and Indigenous revolution– the organized struggles of Black and Brown people for power.  If colonized peoples don’t get power, on their terms, it isn’t really socialism.  It’s just capitalism with another name.  Why?  Because anything white workers produce is still due to a global system of theft.  There’s no such thing as a “locally grown” product on stolen land, when the wealth of an entire society is based on the violent subjugation of African and Indigenous peoples.  And even the whites in Europe– on their own land– could not survive, or at least enjoy their lifestyle in the “developed” nations of Europe, if this development hadn’t come at the expense of violently exploited Africa and the so-called Third World.

This means, the question for progressive whites ought to be: are we for a system that promotes equality, justice and human rights, or are we against it?  If we’re for it, then we need to show a greater force of violence than what the current system is showing.  Maybe we won’t have to use this violence.  But why should “America” stop being violent only because “progressives” don’t like its behavior?  Why would heterosexual cisgender men stop their misogynistic violence while they still have the advantage of power, while a system built on patriarchy (as well as white supremacy) is empowering their dangerous behavior?  And most of the work of undoing racist, patriarchal violence can’t even begin until oppressed people win power for themselves, and gain control over their own institutions.  We haven’t even started to deal with patriarchy and white supremacy because anti-patriarchal and anti-racist institutions are still under the control of capitalism, which is dominated by the white population in general, and particularly by wealthy, white cisgender men (whom white women, cis and trans, allow to remain in power).

If we want a peaceful revolution then we will have to work extra hard for it because it will take millions of more people to create this extra threat of violence, at such a level that violent action won’t become necessary.  And this means rejecting the “American” identity and all the transphobic, misogynistic and white supremacist ideologies that “America” represents, so that we can build something new.

In fact, if we start to build something of our own, something that is apart from transphobia, misogyny and white supremacy, we won’t have to worry about being violent against the capitalists.  Because, as soon as they see we have any power separate from the existing system, they will attack us– then we will be forced to defend this new thing that we’ve worked so hard to build.

But my guess is that the white masses won’t start to build and organize for a kind of power which is separate from the “American” identity, and is compatible with Black Power– power for the African masses of the world.  Whites don’t want peace.  We’ve been thoroughly trained to hold this mediocre and politically unconscious acceptance of white supremacy, and only to believe in progressive movements which can be no threat to white supremacy (or “America”) and the violent system of global capitalism.

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Whites Don’t Want Peace — We Simply Want the Comforts of the Violent “American” Identity

Cisgender People Are Too Violent to Deserve “Openly Transgender” Women

CircleThingEssay

The language of “openly transgender”– which is all over the internet today– reminds me of a question made to myself back when Matt Damon first rose to stardom in the movies: is this really going to become a thing?  Really?!

I had no desire, in the years before and after Matt Damon’s curious ascent, to be “openly transgender” … that is, until Janet Mock, through her writings and her show So POPular on MSNBC-Shift, taught me to embrace my transness.  But, if my (sometimes faulty) memory serves me correctly, Janet Mock also hasn’t focused on this terminology of being “openly transgender.”  In fact, she taught me that a trans person, like a queer person, has a right to their own agency, or control of their own narrative, and it’s their choice whether to “come out” or not, and whether to “pass” as cis or not.

In a society which hadn’t been stratified by class, where some identities (white, cis, rich) hadn’t been placed on top of others (or the Other), and where this unequal power was not then exploited by the few for profit, the question of living as “openly transgender” might have been only about the individual and their personal choice.

But in the global economic system of capitalism, and in the capitalist democracy of the United States (a white nationalist settler colony of Europe), who we say we are, on an individual level, is governed by a violent hierarchy of power which elevates some classes at the expense of others.

And who supports this violent hierarchy of capitalist power in the United States?  The white population does: the class of European colonizers, the majority of whom are cisgender.  But, within the white settler population of the U.S., even those who are transgender still try to identify with institutions and structures controlled by wealthy, white cisgender people.  Whether we support this system of oppressive power or we do not, it still supports us: regardless of our gender, sexuality, religion, or any other class categories of exploitation and oppression.  It is white people who benefit from the capitalist oppression of Africans/Black people and so-called people of color, because– as a class, not merely as individuals– the resources of the world economy flow in our direction, through its imperialist violence.

So being “openly transgender” or “out” as white trans women– just speaking as a colonizer who is a woman– is not simply a matter of personal choice; it’s a question of leveraging an unequal amount of power in a system (a cis-stem) created by whites and for whites.

What does it really indicate then to be “out” as a trans woman in a society that treats each person as a means to some other end (greater profits), rather than encouraging a person’s development to their highest potential, both for themselves and as a member of a community?  What it indicates, in part, is that– while we are focused on our personal growth– the capitalist system is focused on increasing its own power, which is the power to oppress communities whose labor, resources, land, culture and lives are the basis for all the power and riches of this system.

In other words, capitalism– a world economic system built for the benefit of the white minority– has its own contradictions which it needs to resolve, on its terms, by reforming itself from within.  Historically, capitalist democracy in “America” has meant access to wealth and power, as well as “liberty and justice for all”– for all white cisgender men who have property or money.  However, over the decades, more and more whites are making it clear we want to have what the rich white cis men have.  So we create pressure on the system– through political force or mass energy– which then threatens to pull this system apart.  The very thing that is keeping the capitalist system intact– which is its violence against “people of color,” or the global majority– is also dividing it: this means that white women (cis and trans), white gays, poor whites and other groups who benefit from the political category of whiteness also experience discrimination and marginalization within the colonial population.  That is, we experience discrimination and exploitation by capitalism, but we still enjoy the protections of whiteness, whether we’re poor, middle-class, wealthy, cisgender, transgender, “straight,” gay, or whatever.  So the struggle of marginalized whites, within the white identity, is to gain access to some of the same benefits of colonial violence as enjoyed by the wealthy, white cisgender men who founded this nation-state for their own empowerment.

This fissure in our individual experience– whether to “live a lie” or to live “openly” and express our truth– is a reflection of a contradiction that exists at the class level of the colonial society:

Transgender women are white, so we enjoy the power of whiteness.  However, we’re transgender and we’re women, so we’re also exploited by a system that is transphobic and misogynistic.  Therefore, in order to resolve this contradiction, transgender white women leverage the unequal power we have as whites and try to gain access to the benefits of a system whose power (that we are now taking advantage of) is based on colonial violence against Africans, Indigenous peoples– and, specifically, against Black trans women and trans women of color.  If we can’t gain access to these benefits of capitalist oppression, we might choose to struggle on the side of the oppressed and move to overthrow the whole system.  So, capitalism– in order to avoid a revolution which threatens to tear apart its foundation of colonial violence– moves to reform (to re-form) these unstable contradictory elements, and (for this reason) it empowers white women, and specifically white trans women, to be “out” or “open.”

On the individual level, this choice to be “openly transgender” (when it is a choice), can be an inspiration, a feelgood story for the ages.  Capitalism needs feelgood stories because it continues to inflict an enormous amount of damage and suffering all around the globe.  The United States must promote itself as a country that supports freedom, justice, democracy– progressive ideals.  But if you gain power and wealth as an “openly transgender” white woman, in a system whose power and wealth comes through violence against the world, then your power to rise has been built on the increased oppression of transgender women outside the white identity.  We may believe it is our own choice to live as “openly transgender,” but we’re still playing by the rules of a system of power that is transphobic, misogynistic, white supremacist and capitalist.

And who, exactly, are we “open” to anyway?  Racist, transphobic, and sexist white employers.  Racist, transphobic, and sexist whites in government, Wall Street, media, and our neighborhoods, churches, families– all the institutions and structures controlled by cisgender whites.  So it’s not just a feelgood story.  It’s about a violent capitalist system that is moving to resolve any threats to the power of its racist ruling class by promoting some ideal of visibility and acceptance that mainly benefits whites who already have money; or, even if we don’t, we are still identified as “white,” enjoying the colonial privileges carved out for us by bourgeois society.

And who benefits the most from some of us being “openly transgender”?  Cisgender whites with unequal power and unequal wealth who can pat themselves on the back for acting so decently– so “progressive”– in their acceptance of transgender women, even as they (like the white population in general) won’t recognize the humanity of Black people, because we support systemic violence on a daily basis against Black women– specifically, against Black trans women.

The ideal of being “openly transgender” actually puts up walls and gates around transness, and closes off who gets to be recognized as fully human, because this racist arrangement of power, and the people who benefit the most from its violence (whites), aren’t ready to view Black people (of all genders) as human.  If we were ready, whites (trans and cis) wouldn’t support a world economic system built on violence against Africans, wherever they live on the globe.  How can you say you embrace people for being “openly transgender” when this system of racist genocide in the U.S.– that you won’t move against– is gunning them down day after day just for being “openly” Black and African?

Cis people– cis whites in particular– aren’t struggling to be less violent by allowing a few “openly transgender” women gain power within their institutions.  Cis whites are just moving to resolve the contradictions of a system built on violence, so they can enjoy greater wealth and greater power for themselves.  If we want each individual to live openly and freely as a person who is recognized by society as fully human– not in spite of their differences, but because of their differences– then we must organize to bring down a system of power that categorizes some identities as more exploitable and (therefore) more profitable than others.  Otherwise, white trans women are just leveraging the power of our class category of whiteness, and banking on cisgender whites to treat us as human (whether they truly believe it or not), while this same system promotes, then absorbs, the benefits of our personal struggles, so it can then go and inflict more violence on Black trans women.

Black trans women deserve to thrive (and not just get by) in a world that’s better than this– far better.  And cisgender people– as well as white trans people– don’t deserve “openly transgender” women, not unless we can move as a society to uplift, respect and recognize the inherent value of humanity in a world where it is safe to be yourself … a world free from European capitalist domination.

 

Cisgender People Are Too Violent to Deserve “Openly Transgender” Women

Oppressive Power, Not Preference: How the Behavior of Cis/Het Men and Cis Lesbians Who Say They Won’t Date Trans Women Is STILL Transphobic

EssayCircles

English is more or less the “official” language of capitalism and imperialism.  This means if you only want to sell a six pack of beer, or a “legal” prescription drug, or a movie starring Matt Damon, then the English language will probably suit your purposes just fine.  But if you want to talk about the systematized violence or inequality or injustice that is necessary for capitalism and imperialism to operate, you may find that English is an inadequate language.  What’s more, the fact that the English language has been imposed on the globe by white people means the very people whose oppression allows this system of power to function (through their stolen labor, land, lives, resources and culture) may not even have the words to describe their experiences of oppression in a manner that is adequate.

And this takes us to the word “transphobia.”  The social construct of gender, like the social construct of “race,” has been imposed on the people outside Europe (including “people of color” in the United States) by Europeans (that is, by whites), on account of the power of imperialist capitalism.  And, yes, there are Black/African transgender people, just like there are Black/African women (cisgender and transgender).  This means the systematized violence of transphobia, like white supremacy and like misogyny, is mainly directed at Black trans women, as well as trans Latinas, Indigenous trans women and trans women of color.  So capitalism has not only imposed this system of violence on the colonized peoples of the globe, but it also imposes the language used to communicate their experiences of oppression.

However, since this backward system of power educates whites– and specifically cisgender whites– to think in such backward ways, you might have been told: “I’m not transphobic.  I don’t fear transgender women.  I just don’t want to date them.  That’s not transphobia, that’s just my preference.”  If you are a cis person who accepts the inadequate language of this global economic system (which is inherently oppressive), and you have taken capitalism’s definitions literally, then you will end up having a limited understanding of your transphobia.  But if you truly want to understand the meaning behind this language, then you’ll take the terminology of “transphobia” or “transphobic” with a grain of salt (another nice homely phrase from my English forefathers).

If transphobia is literally about “fear,” it’s not about a cis person’s fear of trans people (and specifically trans women)– it’s their fear of themselves.  Capitalism causes you to fear parts of who you are and then it opportunistically leverages these contradictions– it capitalizes on them– so that cisgender people will behave in reactionary and violent ways.  But capitalism doesn’t do this just to be mean or hateful.

The capitalist system of power incentivizes transphobic behavior because any effort to establish true equality among the genders (there are more than two) would cut into its profits.  As someone once said, you can’t serve God and the devil at the same time.  So a society has to make a choice: either it promotes a system of equality, or it promotes a system in which those who have an historical advantage as a class or political category (white, cisgender, heterosexual) then exploit their unequal level of power in order to create greater profits.

The capitalist system of power may reform itself in reaction to pressures from below, whenever its forms of violence have stretched society to the point where these forms have become less profitable, but capitalism cannot resolve the primary contradiction within its basic structure: the few who are wealthy and powerful only possess this wealth and power on account of the violent exploitation of the many, who are made powerless.  The only resolution to this fundamental contradiction of capitalism is socialist revolution, led by the many classes or communities of people under the control of the racist, sexist, transphobic ruling class of this imperialist system.

Therefore, capitalism– since it cannot resolve the basic contradiction at its core– works on the contradictions of each individual inside each class, so that they will attempt to resolve their own contradictions on terms which are favorable to the ruling class.  Thus, if we are talking specifically about transphobia, it’s not just about the fear or even the hatred of transgender people– of trans women.  That terminology is inadequate.  In fact, some day we may not even be “transgender” at all.  We may call ourselves something else because the conditions which have shaped our identities will have evolved to the stage where new language is required, or new uses of old words, to describe changes to the conditions which form our reality.  And these changes– which are natural, because nature is in a constant process of change– really get under the skin of the reactionary capitalist class, which always favors the status quo.  They want everything to be static– drastic changes are bad for business, at least changes that they can’t control.  But any time you push down on something– or on someone, some identity– the natural process is for them to push back.  This makes the individuals who are aligned with the forces above (white, wealthy, cisgender) uncomfortable– so they react.  They even believe that they are under attack.  “Don’t call me racist!”  “Don’t call me transphobic!”  “Don’t call me misogynistic!”

So cis people don’t like to be called transphobic, just like whites don’t like to be called racist.  Of course, if we really didn’t want to be identified as racists, white people would move against this system that empowers all whites to be racist, and struggle to tear it down and then replace it with a system that is not racist.  Since we benefit from capitalism– a white supremacist system– whites refuse to dismantle it, and this makes all white people racist.  A similar (or connected) mass movement against capitalism would be necessary to get rid of transphobia; but, instead, cis people (cis whites in particular) want to argue about the meaning of the term “transphobia.”  They say, “I’m not afraid of transgender people– they can do whatever makes them happy, but I just refuse to go on a date with a man.”  And they say this because they are afraid of themselves.

Fred Hampton, that great revolutionary in the Black Panther Party, said, “If you’re afraid of socialism, you’re afraid of yourself.”  Capitalism causes us to be afraid of ourselves.  The term “transphobia” insufficiently describes capitalism’s violence against transgender people, just like “racism”– and even “white supremacy”– are other words in the English language (useful for selling Viagra) that are mostly unhelpful in any effort to resolve this violence.  The language itself– the language for this violent behavior– helps to keep the violence intact.  Capitalism’s terms encourage even more violent and reactionary behavior (“I’m not afraid of Islam, and I’m not Islamophobic– I just think Muslims are evil terrorists!”).  That’s a violent reaction.  However, these are the words we have today– until we eliminate the current global system of power– so we’ll have to deal with that reality.

And the reality is: white people aren’t scared of Black people or Africans, we’re scared of ourselves.  Capitalism has been able to keep African people powerless.  But this system can only commit its violence on such a massive scale because it has the support of Europeans (whites).  Since we support this kind of violence– in order to keep Africans powerless, for our benefit– we’re frightened of ourselves, not of them.  Whites project our own backward, inhumane behavior onto Black people and onto so-called people of color (who are the majority of the world’s population, and soon to be the majority in the United States).

Everything evil and violent about ourselves must be displayed in reverse by the people we attempt to dehumanize.  That’s why so many of us are scared of “crazy” and “erratic” homeless people who bother us during our holiday shopping by asking for handouts: homeless people have zero power, while the owners of the shopping malls and the wealthy advertisers on Wall Street have all the power … yet we fear the person with no money, and no power?  No– we’re actually scared of ourselves, because we support a system of power that creates these violent conditions and perpetuates them, in large part out of our contempt for women, transgender people, the poor, the homeless, the disabled, people of color, and any identity who has been stripped of power by this system.

So that’s one way to describe the “fear” of transphobic people.  Cisgender heterosexual men and cisgender lesbians aren’t afraid of trans women, not unless they wish to demonize us as hulking monsters lunging at them in the dark (like white women have historically treated Black men).  Cisgender heterosexual men and cisgender lesbians who say they won’t date trans women are transphobic because they fear themselves, not us.  Capitalism is working on their own contradictions in order to create this negative pressure inside cis/het men and cis lesbians– this lack of balance within themselves– as they get all out of whack in their thought processes.  Then they take the volatility of their contradictions out on trans women– but only because they are empowered to do so.

If you only want these violent attitudes to be about your opinions– merely a personal preference– then dismantle capitalism.  The same is true of the racism in all whites– if we don’t like being called racist, then we need to get rid of a system that empowers us to act violently against Black people and people of color (cis and trans).  In other words, we need to resolve the basic contradiction of our individual power at the systemic level, and stop fearing our power as a class of whites who support a social structure which forces us to resolve all our contradictions at an individual level.  Since all the power that we have (or anybody has) comes from a system of power, we end up resolving our own internal contradictions on terms that favor the transphobic, racist, sexist ruling class of imperialist capitalism.

But here is an example of the transphobic behavior we’re talking about, or the contradictions within the cis person which cause them to fear themselves:

A) You say you are attracted to women.

B) You say you won’t even think of dating trans women (who are women).

C) So you say you are attracted to women but also that you are not attracted to women, or won’t date them.

That’s a contradiction.  And capitalism empowers you to move in just one direction in order to resolve this contradiction: you must behave violently against transgender women and rule us out in advance.

This is not just a “matter of taste”: it has nothing to do with us having blue eyes or brown eyes, or being tall or short.  It’s not about preferences.  And if you say you only date skinny women, you’re probably fatphobic too.  That’s your problem, until your behavior is empowered by a system that is fatphobc– then it’s the problem of fat women.

Furthermore, this contradiction in your behavior is not the same thing as saying you only date women who enjoying skiing or you only date women who listen to country music.  Historically, and in measurable or systemic ways, women who don’t enjoy skiing don’t have less power than women who do enjoy it.  And, if you rule out in advance all women who don’t listen to country music, you’re probably doing us a favor.  But if you rule out trans women, as a cis person, that’s an expression of power.  Historically and materially, trans women have less power than cis people.  So you are leveraging that advantage of power, apparently because something about trans women creeps you out.

You don’t realize that you may have even dated a trans woman at some point, and enjoyed it, but you just didn’t know she was transgender.  Then you find out, and just like the cisgender man said on The Breakfast Club show, now you want to kill her.  From my perspective, any man who says he is attracted to Janet Mock, and then– after finding out she’s trans– says he would kill her, has serious issues with himself, not with her: he’s frightened of his own sexuality and identity as a cisgender heterosexual man.  Such a person takes the toxic ideology (of transphobia, misogyny, misogynoir, and transmisogynoir) that capitalism has filled their mind with, and then they strike out at the perceived source of this fear, because they are powerless to move against the actual source of their discomfort … that is, unless they get over their own transphobia, and resolve their internal contradictions by choosing to uplift the marginalized in society, or the persons– the women– who lack power.

The reason this country hates Black women (including white women, cis and trans, who treat Black women with such violence) is that we fail to resolve our own contradictions in terms that will uplift them, and we choose instead to capitalize on the power that the system gives to us (the only power we have as long as we refuse to move against capitalism).  Black women in “America” don’t have the power to hurt white women– so why do we treat them so awfully?  It’s because we’re afraid of the power we have as white women, which can only move in one direction– against Black women– while we still allow this racist, sexist, transphobic system of capitalism to remain in power.  We’re afraid to give up the toxic power that has created these contradictions in our own isolated lives.

So, if you are a cisgender heterosexual white man who refuses to date transgender women, you’re transphobic– but it’s not because you’re afraid of us, you’re afraid of the toxic power of capitalism that has created these contradictions inside you.  As long as you support capitalism, you are only empowered to move in one direction in your attempt to resolve these contradictions: against trans women.  It’s capitalism that put these backward ideas in your head.  But, rather than struggling against the system which created these unstable ideas, you react– you get scared that you may lose your power over others, which is the only power you have been granted– and you move in a reactionary direction.

No one can be progressive or revolutionary and be transphobic.  This goes against the very definitions of “progressive” and “revolutionary.”  And, in order for society to progress to the next stage of history, it is necessary for each one of us– at least those who value egalitarian principles and human rights– to struggle with all reactionary elements in society, beginning with ourselves and our own behavior.

A person who is truly progressive or revolutionary will move against all reactionary behavior, including their own, and will try to eliminate from their lives any acts that are opportunistic or capitalize on unequal levels of power.  Dating, sex and marriage are inherently political acts within political institutions, activity which connects them to economic and social power as well: the ability to act in political, economic and social ways.  And such ability to act begins (or ends?) at the personal level.  Our personal lives will continue to be governed by unequal levels of class power until we have progressed to the point where our negative needs and wishes– based on hierarchies of power– are finally eliminated, and we only enjoy for ourselves that which does not come at the expense of anyone else.

At that point, you can call it “just a preference”– but, until then, it’s about power, and so it’s still oppression.

 

Oppressive Power, Not Preference: How the Behavior of Cis/Het Men and Cis Lesbians Who Say They Won’t Date Trans Women Is STILL Transphobic