The Fediverse and Accountability
This is an older, previously privately published post. In light of news regarding Twitter, and a large influx of new users to the Fediverse, I am posting this to give certain users an insight into the racial dynamics of the space.
This post is about 2 years old. Much has, and hasn't, changed.
Maybe I should read up more on what restorative justice *is* versus how it is used in certain spaces, because I am sure that is related to accountability, but that will be for another time I think. I’m plagued by differentiated thoughts on accountability on the fediverse, and the mechanics of it on that space in particular.
The members of the fediverse at large, have this developing social contract for a specific kind of politic and means in which we collectively participate in the discourses and deal with certain kinds of behaviors. That’s fine. It’s not about always agreeing, I don’t think we should because for me that is the real echo chamber. Like I said the other day with regard to a white person telling other whites what POC want. I don’t need nor want white strangers on the internet telling others what I and other POC want; it homogenizes us as a simple group, without our consent or input, and creates a false echo chamber of agreement amongst the global majority … and that is literally impossible to do. That echo chamber becomes nothing more than a tool of silencing and erasure created within the white imagination, within a single white person that permeates to other white people. No thank you. Not ever.
That being said, it’s interesting how discussion or fights unravel in the space. Honestly it’s not too different from twitter, and I understand and also go the route of ignoring or blocking straight off the bat when someone comes at me froggy. I have far more patience than other people when it comes to questions regarding racism though. But it’s not every day we extend compassion to others that could be willing to learn instead of asking hop scotch questions to justify their own behaviors.
Something that I have noticed though, as one of the only Afro-Indigenous femmes that is visibly of color (that’s to say not white passing or ‘pale’) there was this long period of time in where when people would harass me, or ‘do a racism’ as people on the TL say, and it was … looked *at*. The TL was almost always a voyeur, but to me that’s because anti-blackness is something that Black folks are expected to be dealing with. A white person dumping something violent into my mentions to defend the honor of someone white passing is acceptable, because of the very nature of its function, protect someone with more approximity to whiteness than I.
When, specifically Latine & white passing Indigenous folks were victims of racism, the townsfolk of the fedi came out in droves; it ran a few people off of the TL and if I remember correctly, closed instances. If it was because the admin and mods were harassed to the point they couldn’t deal with their mistake and work at actually correcting their behavior (very unlike the other people who haven’t changed once), then I do not believe in that form of ensuring accountability. It’s just loud, screaming voices progressing us collectively to no where. But that’s just the empath in me wanting to see a change, because otherwise, my descendants won’t stand a chance in this world, will they? No one learned anything.
Accountability is demanded from all of us when we mess up and don’t look at updated pronouns, as we should and I have posted ages ago that we need to be better at checking bios before assuming pronouns are the same. That is good practice. Period.
We are expected to take accountability for our words or thoughts when we are ableist. As we should, not all disability looks the same, there isn’t the same access to care, and not all behaviors should be assumed to be understood as a social norm that every one does. Not how it works.
This is not to say that people coming into their politics are going to be perfect and understand everything, I frankly DO NOT expect white people to know how to be anti-racist just because they signed up to a cool instance on the fedi. I am not naive, and no one else should be. But for me the key difference is the internet has a variety of outlets where we can learn from and voices we can compensate for teaching us. I sit and learn from Transwomen, Jewish women, Korean women, Black disabled Muslim women every day. But I listen (or read) their words with intention to gain an understanding of their perspective; and I never speak over or for them.
Returning to accountability; It was only until the latest harassment campaign that unfurled from two non black people of color creating a false narrative, and using me as their dog in a fight that had nothing to do with me, was cross instance and very public on the TL. Since then more white people have started to notice how much I actually deal with in this space. One of NB-POC has since been banned from other instances, and deleted their old main account. But where is the accountability? Where is the accountability from their end to what they have done to me over the last few months, that they demand from white people that they inevitably run off instances? Is their behavior all right because they are ‘benevolent’? Is it all right because they are Indigenous or Asian and therefore it can’t be had? Am I not eligible for seeing accountability and apology because I, what? Make people feel uncomfortable about themselves? Or do we allow NB-POC to be colorist and give flippant apologies because their brand is shit posting? Do we allow for white passing people to decide and dictate what is anti-blackness because they aren’t white? Or because they have two Black friends that said its ok to say Marcia don’t deserve to see people say “I told person A that you are a colorist and a bad person because you talked about color dynamics and therefore you deserve an apology in public”.
The harassment is one thing. I can deal with that. Because it inevitably ends until the person gets bored with getting no where.
It’s more about the people that have cultivated the scenario that leads to harassment and a slandering of my name simply because I spoke the truth. How others are afraid of saying ‘yo you really, really messed up, and this is violent behavior’. This ignoring of what the violence actually was, is what troubles me most. It is apathetic on the abusers part, and they are protected by their status. A white person that asks you about your past anti black behavior isn’t racism no matter how much you try twisting it; its you using a racial dynamic to avoid accountability for abuse you enacted within a different racial dynamic. How quaint and transparent.
Thing is, people have lied and lied. And I have proof. What they have is a twisting of situations (again, thats not what i said tho is it?) I have hard proof. Your favs are liars, colorists, anti-black and ahistorical for the hopes in gaining clout in a space that doesn’t give a fuck about clout.
I want for those that demand, harass and expect accountability for those that have wronged them to bring that same energy when they do something to me and mines. And I won’t get that unless I go on the TL and publicly name names and post the screenshots. It is a double edged sword with a perfect point and sides that have a sharpness to them; If I do this, I will be seen as an aggressor, if I don’t I have to continuously watch people that have been atrocious skip about the TL with their ignorant hot takes, content they mined off me, and, whew…what gets me most is the protection from criticism because they’re “POC” or this or that. We are dangerously close to using identity markers as currency or social capital against our better interests and honey, I have no problem stating that. We’re also, not always right just because we said something. I could be very wrong in many parts of this post. You tell me what you think. I’m not so arrogant to think I always know how something functions. If you think you’re spot on about race, gender, ableism, you’re not and go read a book.
Unless we all have to take accountability for our actions, accountability, restorative justice, or whatever else we can call it, doesn’t exist in the space.