Anonymous asked: The Irish are oppressed by the English, you dumb shit. Did you not take history?


This is the thing people, particularly Americans, most often fail to grasp when they’re yammering on about Irish history as if it’s some kind of relevant counterexample in discussions of white privilege:

The Irish were never oppressed on the basis of their whiteness, because when the Irish were being oppressed, they weren’t white.

"What does that even mean?" you ask. "Of course the Irish are white. Look at them! They LOOK white!" But "white" describes a political category, not an actual phenotype, and so when someone looks "white" to you it’s because you’ve been raised to see a certain spectrum of physical and cultural characteristics as falling under the "whiteness" umbrella.

Much like you’ve learned to see a certain spectrum of light as falling under the “blue” label rather than the “green” label, or to perceive certain spaces as “clean” and others as “dirty” — but if you’d grown up in a different culture, you might intuitively see “blue” and “green” as the same color. And, as someone who spent years as a professional cleaner, I guarantee your house looks much dirtier to me than it does to you. (Seriously, dude, clean your bathroom.)

Likewise, to you, Irish people “look white” — but if you were an English person in the 1800s, they wouldn’t have.

Like I said above, “whiteness” is a political category. It’s not a biological characteristic; it’s not even an ethnicity. Some white people also have ethnicities, such as German or Irish or Scandinavian folks with a specific cultural history. But there is no universal cultural tradition associated with “white people” in general. “White” is just a vague label that society sticks on people to denote that they’re supposed to be “in charge.” In fact, the idea of whiteness in the US was developed specifically as “an effort to mentally distance slaveowners from slaves.” Before that, there weren’t “white” people in the US; there were German people, English people, Spanish people, Finnish people, Irish and Italian people, etc. Saying someone is “white” is a euphemistic way of saying they’re the boss.

Furthermore, who gets counted as “white” — i.e. who society deems “the boss” — changes over tim-

BLAAAARGH. Fuck it. I can not actually explain the social construction of whiteness as it relates to Irish-American history in Tumblr-speak right now. I have to leave to drive nine hours to Idaho in a minute, and I’m sucking at organizing my thoughts.

Here is a mass of links instead:

Supreme Court cases where people sued for legal status as “white” in the early 1900s:

- Takao Ozawa v United States- United States v Bhagat Singh Thind

What’s important about these cases is not that they were eventually denied, but that their claims were considered legitimate enough that their suits made it all the way to the Supreme Court — and that, ultimately, the court’s argument for denying them whiteness was that “the Caucasic division of the human family is ‘in point of fact the most debatable field in the whole range of anthropological studies.’”

In other words, “Nobody really knows what whiteness is anyway, but we know it when we see it.”

By 1923, courts had vindicated a “common-knowledge” standard, concluding that “scientific evidence” was incoherent. Legal scholar John Tehranian argues that in reality this was a “performance-based” standard, relating to religious practices, culture, education, intermarriage and a community’s role in the United States.[2]

- Wikipedia: Definitions of whiteness in the United States

Here’s that link again, tracing the development and shifting of “whiteness” as an identity over the course of US history.

Here’s two links about the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia, who are phenotypically European but who are racially oppressed and therefore do not have access to political “whiteness” — although they would likely have access to white-passing privilege in some places outside of Scandinavia, but so do a lot of mixed-race and light-skinned People of Color, and white-passing privilege is not the same thing as white privilege.

- Sami History: Norwegian-Danish polices in the North

- Discrimination Against the Sami

Here’s a link to a somewhat cheesy Daily Mail article about Barack Obama’s Irish relatives, but the point is that I’m sick to fucking death of white people who are trying to handwave away white privilege on the basis of their “Irish blood” conflating “Irish-American” with “white people” — because there are a huge proportion of Irish-American Black folks in this country, and their ancestors have probably been here way longer than yours have.

- Many African Americans are trying to trace THEIR Irish roots after being inspired by Barack Obama

This is just a link to a tangentially-related 23andme post about white people discovering through recent genetic testing that they have African ancestry, and how that should complicate our understanding of racialization:


Ahahahahahahah, oh man. So, I don’t usually do follow-up questions, but I’ve gotten this response so many times to my rhetorical question “who are the Irish oppressed by" when this racist wrote in submitting them as evidence that white people are oppressed, that, hey, why not do a follow-up.

I was just going to let the irony sink in, but, I don’t know, it hasn’t.

Here’s a follow-up, then, genius: what color people are the English?

I’ll wait.


They’re WHITE you STUPID MOTHERFUCKER!!!!!! It’s almost
like they weren’t oppressed for being white, you fucking idiot.



Oh my god, how does it feel to be so so so stupid. It must be incredible.

- Our Hidden African Ancestry

And, on a personal note: I was once one of those embarrassing “Irish-Americans” who thought that because some of my DNA comes from people who immigrated here from Ireland 150+ years ago, that made more “Irish” more than anything else — and that this entitled me to study Irish history as if it was “my” history and, like, make stupid noises about it on the Internet. Then I actually went and lived in Ireland for a while, and you know what I learned there? I’m American.

Of course, I still think that learning about the history and culture of my ancestors is neat. But I’m an American who’s distantly related to some (mostly dead) Irish people. That’s it. And being an American of any race or ethnicity carries a shit ton of privilege with it. So if an actual Irish person is talking about the privileges or lack thereof associated with contemporary or historical Irishness, I suggest you shut the hell up and listen.

Look, nobody is saying that white people can’t be oppressed. White women are oppressed all the time for being women. White queers are oppressed for being queer. White people with certain ethnicities or religious or cultural backgrounds are oppressed by other white people for religious or ethnic or cultural reasons.
Whiteness not a universal insurance against other forms of oppression. (Although, TBH, it’s a pretty solid buffer against most of them.) But nobody is oppressed for being white. So if you perceive some white people as being racially oppressed, it’s probably worth asking yourself:

1. Are/were these people actually racialized as “white” in this culture?

2. Is their race the reason they’re being oppressed?

TL;DR: White Americans with Irish ancestory who want to use Irish history as a counterpoint in discussions of white privilege, please just shut up. You are so embarrassing.

Trying to draw parallels between the way racialization is politicized in US history and the way it’s politicized in the US today, much less with the way that contemporary lines of racial identity are drawn in Ireland or other countries outside of the US, is way more complicated than you think. You probably don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

< /rant >

Okay, I’m going to Idaho now.

Anonymous asked: I'm sick and tired of people saying white people can't be oppressed. White Americans aren't oppressed, but have you ever heard of this place called Ireland???







Oh word, and who are the Irish oppressed by?

So I’m Irish and in my 31 years living in, let’s see, five different countries in three different continents, I’ve never once experienced oppression based on my Irishness.

A hell of a lot of people have been really nice to me because of it, though. Maybe the anon is mistaking “people being nice, interested in my background, maybe having some misconceptions about the country but nothing that has caused me any hardship whatsoever” as “oppression”.

Seriously, anon. Please learn something about this place before you start citing us as your example of oppressed white people. Cause from where I’m sitting here in Ireland, I’ve no shortage of white privilege and you can fuck off if you want to pretend otherwise.

Fun fact: Irish flags are burned each year emblazoned with the words “Kill All Irish” at loyalist bonfires in Ulster in an event called “Eleventh Night”.

Yes, I am aware of that. You did notice the bit where I said that I was Irish, yes? 

Now, precisely how does sectarianism in Northern Ireland relate to USians talking about how Irishness is an oppressed class? In one circumstance in one part of the world with a very specific history, there is a society divided into two communities. Some of whom, yes, despise each other. 

To simplify that down to “people burn Irish flags in loyalist bonfires, therefore Irish people are oppressed” ignores the deeply fucking complicated past and present of NI, and generalises that to the entire rest of the fucking world where, no, Irish people aren’t oppressed. 

In the past, yes, we were. “No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish” is a horrifying historical artifact. However, for Irish people (as opposed to POC), it’s a historical thing. It doesn’t matter that that history is relatively recent. What matters is that here and now, white Irish people are considered white. 

You being Irish has what to do with anything?? Is that not akin to a black person saying “Well /I’ve/ never experienced discrimination, so clearly it doesn’t happen.”??

In one part of the world it happens. The anon says that some white people can be discriminated against, so it is a valid example. He does not say some whites in the US are discriminated against, he refers to whites in general. And WHY only focus on the US?? That is ethnocentric at is core, there is much more of the world than the United States.

Pointing out that example does not generalize anything, it brings attention to a certain example of oppressed Irish peoples. Rather, you saying that since Irish people are not discriminated against in the REST of the world, you are ERASING the experiences of those in an area where the discrimination is very much real.

Supporting the anon’s point further: the Sami Peoples face ample discrimination in Scandinavia, and are white. Just because Sami outside of that region do not face discrimination does not mean the discrimination there cannot be ignored.

In a good portion of the world Muslims are not discriminated against. In Europe and North America, they face discrimination. The fact that on a global scale some Muslims do not face discrimination does not change the fact that there are some who do.

For most of the world, the Baha’is are not discriminated against. In Iran, on the other hand, they are massively discriminated against, having graves desecrated, pilgrimage sites demolished, children denied education, and leaders imprisoned without charges. Just because the majority of the world does not discriminate against this group does not mean their situation in Iran can be ignored.

Likewise just because most of the world doesn’t discriminate against the Irish, doesn’t mean it is okay to ignore and shrug off a region which in as recent as 2000, signs were posted demanding the native Irish people living in the area “get out” of their own home.

We’re not talking about Islam, about the Baha’i, or about the Sami. Please don’t appropriate their experiences?

However: it is nice that you admit that the Baha’i aren’t discriminated against outside Iran, nor the Sami outside Scandinavia. I’m not going to second that- the only way I could do that would be to point to my Good Baha’i Friends and I’m not gonna stoop to that bullshit.

But thank you for pointing out that oppression and discrimination can be a local thing that don’t affect people outside of a particular context.

Actually, the fact that I’m Irish is really important here. It means that I grew up hearing that British people were Bad No Good Terrible Awful, that in the North the Irish were the good guys and the loyalists the bad guys, plain and simple. That I remember clearly as a kid hearing about yet another set of people being killed and saying “well, it’s only a few this time”- obviously thinking that any set of deaths in the single figures wasn’t even worth thinking about. It also means that I’m close- like, one degree of separation close- to people connected to the groups that did these things. 

Y’know what else my Irishness means? It means that I read my history, and I know how Ireland’s protestant minority were hounded out of the country after we achieved independence. Does that mean that Protestant/loyalist/British people are an oppressed class, now? They sure were for a while in Ireland. It’s within living memory, even.

I also live a couple hours drive from Belfast. Been up there a handful of times in the past year alone. Nice city. Me and my distinctly-Irish accent haven’t ever had a problem there. 

It’s true that I do not and haven’t lived in NI. 

I feel like I’m at a serious disadvantage in this conversation though. I’ve been really open about my own situation, and I have no idea if you’re someone who read about NI once or has been living there all your life? 


Elected and appointed African female heads of state

1. Monique Ohsan Bellepeau, Acting President, 31 March 2012 - 21 July 2012 (Mauritius)

2. Joyce Banda, President, 7 April 2012 - 31 May 2014 (Malawi)

3. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President, 16 January 2006 - Incumbent (Liberia)

4. Ruth Sando Perry, Chairperson of the Council of State, 3 September 1996 - 2 August 1997 (Liberia)

5. Carmen Pereira, Acting President, 14 May 1984 - 16 May 1984 (Guinea-Bissau)

6. Rose Francine Rogombé, Acting President, 10 June 2009 - 16 October 2009 (Gabon)

7. Catherine Samba-Panza., Acting President, 23 January 2014 - Incumbent (Central African Republic)

8. Sylvie Kinigi, Acting President, 27 October 1993 - 5 February 1994 (Burundi)



A silent protest in Love Park, downtown Philadelphia orchestrated by performance artists protesting the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The onslaught of passerby’s  wanting to take photos with the statue exemplifies the disconnect in American society.  Simply frame out the dead body, and it doesn’t exist.  

Here are some observations by one of the artists involved in the event:

I don’t know who any of these folks are.

They were tourists I presume.

But I heard most of what everything they said. A few lines in particular stood out. There’s one guy not featured in the photos. His friends were trying to get him to join the picture but he couldn’t take his eyes off the body.

"Something about this doesn’t feel right. I’m going to sit this one out, guys." "Com’on man… he’s already dead."


There were a billion little quips I heard today. Some broke my heart. Some restored my faith in humanity. There was an older white couple who wanted to take a picture under the statue.

The older gentleman: “Why do they have to always have to shove their politics down our throats.” Older woman: “They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.”

One woman even stepped over the body to get her picture. But as luck would have it the wind blew the caution tape and it got tangle around her foot. She had to stop and take the tape off. She still took her photo.

There was a guy who yelled at us… “We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!”

"One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’

Back at the Bottom of the Well »

I wake in the middle of the night from some kind of strange nightmare. It has an epic, sweeping, Dune-like scope and is mostly focused on how totally and completely dead I’ll be when, eventually, even the mere fact of my existence will have been obliterated from history millennia ago and there will be nothing left of me in human memory “besides interesting amounts of hair and spit.”

I wake up spooked and quivering and, as you do, I start writing a blog post in my head. Because in the face of death, human beings create. Blogs.

I also wake up with the warm, solid, softly-breathing body of my sleeping lover curled against me, and I mostly lie there in the dark feeling deeply grateful that I am not alone. And thinking fretfully about how much it sucks to wake up from a nightmare into an empty bed — which, at some point, I will. Sleeping alone sometimes is about as inevitable as eventually being nothing but hair and spit.

So, here’s what happens in my head when I notice that I am comforted by the presence of my friend: I tell myself not to get used to it. I tell myself that a fear of isolation is a weakness. That isolation is unavoidable, that everyone dies alone, and that if the thought of loneliness scares me, I need to toughen up. That being with someone else because I don’t want to be by myself is some bullshit. Then, I realize my brain is being an asshole.

Read more…

“The Never Call: There are some people who love to text so much that the phone part of their cell phone has become completely obsolete. They’re like Tobias Funke the never-nude from Arrested Development, except instead of refusing to take off the last bit of clothing for a completely irrational reason, they are scared of a wonderful and time-honored mode of communication.”

The Nine Types of Text Messaging Monsters - Texting - Gawker

oh that is me. to a tee.

(via madeleinepascal)

I am one of those people. But let me explain something to you. The telephone was an aberation in human development. It was a 70 year or so period where for some reason humans decided it was socially acceptable to ring a loud bell in someone else’s life and they were expected to come running, like dogs. This was the equivalent of thinking it was okay to walk into someone’s living room and start shouting. it was never okay. It’s less okay now. Telephone calls are rude. They are interruptive. Technology has solved this brief aberration in human behavior. We have a thing now called THE TEXT MESSAGE. It is magical, non-intrusive, optional, and, just like human speech originally was meant to be, is turn based and two way. You talk. I talk next. Then you talk. And we do it when it’s convenient for both of us.

(via rickwebb)

(via shehasathree)

http://unquietpirate.tumblr.com/post/95061727753/heres-a-cool-idea-for-a-timely-dystopian-ya »


Here’s a cool idea for a timely dystopian YA series or graphic novel:

Set about 150 years after the Earth’s fossil fuel resources have between completely exhausted. There’s been some progress toward replacing oil and coal with renewable energy, but certainly nothing compared to the conspicuous…

Progress is: Going to a talk on climate change, and having an idea for a story instead of an anxiety attack.

Here’s a cool idea for a timely dystopian YA series or graphic novel:

Set about 150 years after the Earth’s fossil fuel resources have between completely exhausted. There’s been some progress toward replacing oil and coal with renewable energy, but certainly nothing compared to the conspicuous power-consumption that was enabled by fossil fuels. (Except in Germany, of course, where they started getting their shit together early — but have adopted rigid and increasingly disconcerting immigration policies as the rest of the world has gotten poorer and less stable.)

Different parts of the country and world are differently resourced re: what types of renewable energy are available to them. (Wind. Solar. Hydro. Biomass. In some cases, nuclear.) Also different degrees of susceptibility to drought and other impacts of climate change. Consider the impact — culturally, technologically, and psychologically — of growing up e.g. in a place where your family is dependent on the sun to power their life vs. a place where you rely on wind, or have a relationship with the local nuclear power plant.

I don’t have a plotline or moral for this story, but it might be a fun way to learn about and play with renewable energy tech, and think creatively about its relationship to changing human society.

Anonymous asked: Your 16 October 2013 post at post/64230171629/when-lisa-millbank-writes-words-best-double-check-you is blank. Was that supposed to happen?




No…? It seems like it’s available on my blog, to me.

Hm. It appears blank for me also:



Clear your cache and check again maybe?

I just checked using a clean Tor Browser and it is definitely showing up for me:


Are your connection(s) being censored?

My blog(s) being censored and otherwise filtered happens so routinely people don’t actually believe me. And according to the OpenNet Initiative, blogs like mine are the single most censored kind of website—even more so than political opposition party sites:


This is why I tell folks that the best way to read my blogs is to use the Tor Browser Bundle. But hey, due to censorship, my website is best viewed using the Tor Browser Bundle.

Get it and try again?

Huh. You’re right. That’s so weird. When I load it in Tor, Chrome, or Safari, it loads fine. But when I try to load the exact same URL in Firefox, I get a screen like the one screenshotted above. It doesn’t appear to be your whole blog, just that one post.

And it’s asimilar to what I usually see when a blog is being censored: either some kind of safe-search pop-up telling me why I’m not allowed to view this site, or the browser simply not going to the URL. But in this case, the URL shows up fine, and sometimes the post content itself even flashes onto the screen for a second and then disappears, leaving only the blog’s template and the date. And, again, it ONLY happens in Firefox. Bizarre. Not sure what browser anon was using or whether they are having the same experience.

But anyway, indeed, the post is still there. Apparently there’s just some kind of glitch or intentional censorship/filtering somewhere that prevents the content of that particular post from being seen in some browsers. Trippy.



Are you controversial as in “I say shit that makes mainstream culture reexamine its closely-held destructive ideals and makes oppressors feel uncomfortable and oppressed feel powerful” or are you controversial as in “I say shit to be a complete dick”


Are you radical as in “I do the hard and not always legal or safe work to undermine and uproot structures of oppression without compromising and without throwing other oppressed groups under the bus” or are you radical as in “I have cool edgy sex and tell people all about it”. 

Anonymous asked: Your 16 October 2013 post at post/64230171629/when-lisa-millbank-writes-words-best-double-check-you is blank. Was that supposed to happen?


No…? It seems like it’s available on my blog, to me.

Hm. It appears blank for me also:


Clear your cache and check again maybe?