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Theme Changer

 Topic: The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour

 (Read 9495 times)
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  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     OP - October 25, 2017, 06:38 PM

    In light of some recent posts, we - the admins - would like to take a moment to underline the CEMB Forum's commitment to providing a safe place for ex-Muslims.

    As ex-Muslims, we have issues and concerns that are somewhat varied. As apostates, we may be ignored by governments, face shunning from the communities we came from, or expelled from our families; in various religious societies, our rights are often simply erased by blasphemy laws and taboos around blasphemy culture. The majority of forum users, however, are resident in the Anglosphere or elsewhere in the 'West', and we cannot simply ignore the recent events and changes in social climate in most of our countries. Given the demographics of the vast majority of Muslim communities that we came from, issues affecting people of colour necessarily affect most of us.

    For related reasons, there have been calls from some of our members for there to be a subforum for people of colour. As mods, this is something we cannot agree to. For one thing, none of us want segregation, which would be the de facto outcome; for another, these calls are an obvious symptom of a situation in which people of colour here have felt the urge to self-censor, because they feel that their experiences will be silenced or otherwise deemed inadmissible. Pretending that the world should only be approached in terms of an ideal model of disembodied, allegedly aperspectival rationality (hint: it's no such thing) that some might aspire to is, ultimately, no less than whitewashing; it parallels many of our experiences in the wider world, and it is as exhausting to encounter here as it is anywhere else.

    It is a grim irony that the oppressions apostates from Islam face elsewhere in the world may be used as a stick to beat the presumed Muslim - and, by extension, many of us - with. Merely insisting on our individual identities as ex-Muslims is the wrong response to this, as it offers us no way to address the racism underlying it; doing so can only lead to our further collective marginalisation, with the side effect of allowing bigots to use us as cover to justify their views to boot (for as long as we are convenient).

    We take the view that solidarity with {other) people of colour, ex-Muslim or not, is therefore a much better starting point.

    If this forum cannot provide a place in which we can talk about those things that affect us, it would fail to be the safe place for us - as ex-Muslims - that it was intended to be. For obvious reasons, providing this safe place is not the same as ensuring preferential treatment for any racial group; we have rules for participating in the forum that apply equally to all members. What this move is about, ultimately, is asserting that we are not here to echo the racialised power dynamics of the world outside. Self-censorship about issues relating to people of colour raised by people of colour is therefore unnecessary; any attempt to shut down such discussions is unwelcome and will be responded to accordingly.

    This has been a statement of principle, but, like any worth the name, open dialogue on this is welcome; please use this thread to tell us what you think.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #1 - October 25, 2017, 07:32 PM

    Is this also intended to deal with anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment? I’d say that there are issues I’ve considered posting about and decided not to because of the expected responses, including the new school and NHS checks on immigration status.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #2 - October 25, 2017, 08:21 PM

    Solidarity with immigrants and refugees follows from that quite naturally, not least because anti-PoC sentiment often explicitly ties in with anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #3 - October 25, 2017, 08:48 PM

    Are there any policy changes or policies which you would like to highlight with reference to the statement you've made above?

    To me this place seems as much of a "safe space" for racialist perspectives of superiority as it does for any POC ex-Muslim perspective. I'd definitely like to hear what others think though.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #4 - October 25, 2017, 10:36 PM

    We'd actually love to hear what everyone thinks about this, hence our decision to post the thread.

  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #5 - October 26, 2017, 12:13 AM

    Good choice in my opinion. Segregation even for positive purpose can have negative outcomes. The practice has backfired in other social and political issues.

    Another point to add is that whatever criteria used to determine what "race" a person is could be a barrier. Granted the majority of Muslims are not European or their decedents (whatever passes for "white" these days). However do mods really want to consider what evidence must be used to establish if one is telling the truth or not. Remember a lot of people use proxies to access this site and it there is a guide on the forums to set one up. Whatever, if any, criteria could be a security risk for those trying to maintain a level of anonymity for their personal safety.

    If any of the issues brought to the mods were based on something I said feel free to PM.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #6 - October 26, 2017, 07:16 AM

    I'm not sure my opinion matters, since I wouldn't be a POC. But I think this says what I think about a subforum fpr POC: "...these calls are an obvious symptom of a situation in which people of colour here have felt the urge to self-censor, because they feel that their experiences will be silenced or otherwise deemed inadmissible".

    No one should self-censor or be silenced. If a POC  has experience it on this forum, a sub-forum is not something that'll make anything bettet. It's those who try to silence and shame people into silence who should be told that type of behaviour isn't welcomed... :/

    "The healthiest people I know are those who are the first to label themselves fucked up." - three
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #7 - October 26, 2017, 07:28 AM

    I don't condone racism in any form. Racism towards whites is still racism. I'm glad to see this forum making a sane choice. Segregation helps no one.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #8 - October 26, 2017, 12:39 PM

    It can be quite a pain to have to put up with the sort of people who will regularly badmouth my family, friends, etc. and will think they can get away with it in any given context by judging the "room's" tolerance level for their veiled racism and ethnocentrism.

    These sorts are outnumbered by the cool folks who come here (mostly ex-Muslim), but it's a constant pain in the ass of which we always have to be vigilant. To any of the above non-cool sort of people who are reading this, all I can say is: Fuck off. No one here likes or will even try to tolerate you. You're not welcome here, or anywhere else which values good company.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #9 - October 26, 2017, 02:25 PM

    I honestly do not know how to gauge the responses here in terms of who or what people are talking about specifically. Perhaps I am being too defensive. I dunno.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #10 - October 26, 2017, 06:15 PM

    All colours should be welcomed - except fans of tommy robinson. they have plenty of other places to spout their hate.

  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #11 - October 29, 2017, 02:07 AM

    I see the call for a safe space as a symptom of exhaustion. I am tired, myself, of dealing with racist bullshit, and I am not a POC.
    Just because you don't want it to be necessary does not mean it isn't.
    I don't want DV safehouses to be necessary, it makes no sense that you have to provide safe spaces so people will not be victims of violent crime that is illegal and therefore should not be happening, but there you have it.
    What is the alternative to no safe space? You place the burden on the victims to fight back. To fight back. To fight back. I hope no one feels burdened in that way here.
    Seriously, I know this is a forum rather than a IRL community and I do respect the decision but I can see how it makes sense- as clearly some desire it.

    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #12 - October 29, 2017, 09:01 AM

    Three,

    Sometimes I want to say something but I'm too exhausted to even give my opinion and enter the discussion, then you come and say exactly what's on my mind. Thank you.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #13 - October 29, 2017, 11:37 AM

    I see the call for a safe space as a symptom of exhaustion. I am tired, myself, of dealing with racist bullshit, and I am not a POC.
    Just because you don't want it to be necessary does not mean it isn't.

    I agree that it is a symptom of exhaustion, and, respectfully, that's what our response is about.

    What is the alternative to no safe space? You place the burden on the victims to fight back. To fight back. To fight back. I hope no one feels burdened in that way here.

    The whole forum *is* to be the safe space for our ex-Muslim users - a great many of whom are PoC - and this initiative has been led by two of the PoC mods here; it is a change of direction that we will be enforcing.

    Seriously, I know this is a forum rather than a IRL community and I do respect the decision but I can see how it makes sense- as clearly some desire it.

    To go back to your earlier point - I agree completely with every word you wrote about the necessity of DV safehouses, but I'm not clear whether you're making an analogy between the sort of personal violence that makes them necessary and the order of epistemic violence that led to the calls for a PoC-only subforum. We believe that the latter can be fought on a forum level, and that creating a segregated space would be to give into it rather than to remedy it.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #14 - October 30, 2017, 11:00 AM

     
    1). In light of some recent posts, we - the admins - would like to take a moment to underline the CEMB Forum's commitment to providing a safe place for ex-Muslims.

    Quote
    As ex-Muslims, we have issues and concerns that are somewhat varied. As apostates, we may be ignored by governments, face shunning from the communities we came from, or expelled from our families; in various religious societies, our rights are often simply erased by blasphemy laws and taboos around blasphemy culture. The majority of forum users, however, are resident in the Anglosphere or elsewhere in the 'West', and we cannot simply ignore the recent events and changes in social climate in most of our countries. Given the demographics of the vast majority of Muslim communities that we came from, issues affecting people of colour necessarily affect most of us.


    Quote
    For related reasons, there have been calls from some of our members for there to be a subforum for people of colour. As mods, this is something we cannot agree to. For one thing, none of us want segregation, which would be the de facto outcome; for another, these calls are an obvious symptom of a situation in which people of colour here have felt the urge to self-censor, because they feel that their experiences will be silenced or otherwise deemed inadmissible. Pretending that the world should only be approached in terms of an ideal model of disembodied, allegedly aperspectival rationality (hint: it's no such thing) that some might aspire to is, ultimately, no less than whitewashing; it parallels many of our experiences in the wider world, and it is as exhausting to encounter here as it is anywhere else.

    It is a grim irony that the oppressions apostates from Islam face elsewhere in the world may be used as a stick to beat the presumed Muslim - and, by extension, many of us - with. Merely insisting on our individual identities as ex-Muslims is the wrong response to this, as it offers us no way to address the racism underlying it; doing so can only lead to our further collective marginalisation, with the side effect of allowing bigots to use us as cover to justify their views to boot (for as long as we are convenient).

    We take the view that solidarity with {other) people of colour, ex-Muslim or not, is therefore a much better starting point.

    If this forum cannot provide a place in which we can talk about those things that affect us, it would fail to be the safe place for us - as ex-Muslims - that it was intended to be. For obvious reasons, providing this safe place is not the same as ensuring preferential treatment for any racial group; we have rules for participating in the forum that apply equally to all members.


    .................What this move is about, ultimately, is asserting that we are not here to echo the racialised power dynamics of the world outside. Self-censorship about issues relating to people of colour raised by people of colour is therefore unnecessary; any attempt to shut down such discussions is unwelcome and will be responded to accordingly.

    This has been a statement of principle, but, like any worth the name, open dialogue on this is welcome; please use this thread to tell us what you think............................


    I wonder toor  could make the post and the goals bit more clear and direct ., I fully agree with all those words that I highlighted in bold  .,

     What I don't get is.,   race and racial problems ....    and HOW MANY MEMBERS( regular writers with over 5000 posts)  ARE CREATING SUCH PROBLEMS ..??



    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #15 - October 31, 2017, 01:36 AM

    To go back to your earlier point - I agree completely with every word you wrote about the necessity of DV safehouses, but I'm not clear whether you're making an analogy between the sort of personal violence that makes them necessary and the order of epistemic violence that led to the calls for a PoC-only subforum. We believe that the latter can be fought on a forum level, and that creating a segregated space would be to give into it rather than to remedy it.


    Honestly I don't know what sort of analogy I am making either, I am just doing my best to make one intelligible at all. Sometimes I can't translate feelings into ideas. I just relate things to personal experience and violence is violence to me, regardless. It all feels personal and I can't make proper distinctions between types since it all slides into physical in my experiences.
    I do respect the decision, and I am aware and glad of the more pointed policies regarding tolerance or the lack of.

     


    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #16 - October 31, 2017, 01:37 AM

    Three,

    Sometimes I want to say something but I'm too exhausted to even give my opinion and enter the discussion, then you come and say exactly what's on my mind. Thank you.


    I am glad it made sense to you and coincided with what was on your mind. Welcome, friend.

    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #17 - November 08, 2017, 08:05 PM

    These are responses to private posts. I'm not going to post anything personal to the person I'm responding to, or give any info as to who I was communicating with, but I'd like to post some things I wrote that are relevant to this thread and don't violate site privacy norms.

    --------------

    How would that be of benefit to CEMB though? CEMB isn't supposed to be primarily for pocs, it's supposed to be for ex-muslims. Wouldn't it be better to set up a poc fourm outside of CEMB than set up a place within CEMB that excludes non poc ex-muslims?

    Also, how would you manage it? White tends to be different based on upbringing. Iranians in the UK are classed as none white but in the US, classed as white. A lot of hispanics are also considered white. while others aren't. Same with arabs. Would you also exclude people if they were born in America who would fall under the overall fold of white, but in their own countries are discriminated against because they're the wrong "type" (people take one look at them and see they aren't native)? What about white members with poc children or siblings or step parents, or even children when you get those "born a different race" babies? Or people who are considered white in your country but aren't in another? For instance, Bahar Mustafa. Here in the UK she's technically a poc, whereas in the US she'd be white.

    I took one look at George Zimmerman when he was on the news a few years ago and immediately thought of him as poc. I was honestly surprised when US press kept calling him white. He's obviously not, His dad, who is Mexican, came out and said he's not white, he's a poc. So who's right? The press or his poc dad? This seems one of those country things where one country (America) views someone as one race, and another country doesn't. So would he be welcome if he were born in another country, but not if he were born in the US?

    This may come across as trivial, but it won't be to a lot of people who fall into these categories. Hell, I'm basically considered non-white and have suffered real discrimination for obviously not being native as soon as people look at me. Would I be considered poc by you? I have a mate who's half Korean, but anyone who looks at her thinks white. She's not, she's mixed race, but you wouldn't know it to look at her. Would she be welcome? Her skin is paler that 99% of white people I've seen. Almost ginger skinned. I've written this hastily as I have to go soon, so sorry if it seems flippant, but I'm genuinely interested in your response.

    --------

    Almost the same with me, only difference is I've just had people look at my ethnic features instead of my skin colour, as, what with being a redhead, I'm vampire pale. Obviously not Anglo-Saxon though. I suppose my experiences of being beaten unconscious because I'm an ethnic minority, bones broken because I'm an ethnic minority, questions on where either I or my family is from because I'm an ethnic minority, rhetoric about immigrants even though I'm the child of immigrants, and obviously an ethnic minority, don't count. Cos, you know, if I were born in yankie land I'd just be classed as white, so my experience doesn't matter.

    I'm not competing for a spot in the impression Olympics, but it is fucking arrogant, condescending, degrading, frustrating and ultimately untrue that the only minorities this effects, or who are effected, are pocs.

    Though that said, like I said before, CEMB isn't set up for pocs, it's set up for ex-muslims, so whatever. If this place started practising racial segregation, I'd probably quit on principle. And fuck you if you say I can't comment on it, not because I'm an ethnic minority, not because I have black family, not because I have/have had poc friends and lovers, but because I'm a member of this forum in, I hope, good standing, and as a member in good standing who has experienced racism,, my opinion should not just be dismissed because of my skin colour.

    Racial segregation is never a good thing. I can't believe I have to fucking type this. And if it happens, even if you chant separate but equal., I'll call bollocks.

    I seriously thought CEMB members, especially older/longer posters, were smarter than this. If you don't want white people posting have the balls to say it.

    -----------

    One of the CEMB members who came to visit me and spend a few nights (I also spent a night at her place) was a half arab lass, half English half Syrian. Just looked like a white girl, pale skin, green eyes, mousy brown/dirty blonde hair. That documentary that came out a while ago that Hassan said he'd love to be part of as an agnostic muslim, the arab lad was white. Look at the Jordan royal family for an example of white arabs. And yes, light skinned arabs and Iranians and some Mexicans and some Puerto Ricans are considered white. Hell, the bloke that played the puerto rican detective in Dexter went on to play an Italian mobster in Gotham. I suppose through some eyes he'd be classed as a poc or a non poc depending on which role he played as, as far as I know, Puerto Ricans are considered pocs in the US but Italians aren't. The man convincingly played both fucking roles...

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #18 - November 08, 2017, 08:25 PM

    Also, has to be said, even if I hadn't experienced racism/ethnic discrimination, even if I didn't have black family, even if I wasn't obviously, as soon as you look at me, the child of immigrants/non native, the points I made still stand. If you're advocating for racial/ethnic segregation, especially on a forum that has nothing to do with that, or even without, fuck you on principle.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #19 - November 08, 2017, 09:32 PM

    Does it actually make much sense to see this in terms of race rather than as ex-Muslims and Muslims vs. never-been-Muslims? As far as the forum’s issues are concerned is there really that much difference between poc and non-poc ex-Muslims? In terms of problematic anti-Muslim attitudes or racism would there necessarily be that much difference between say a white Trump supporter and a Hindu nationalist? I’ve always thought that one of the problems here is that the admins are too tolerant to the never-been-Muslims. I can see the reasons for not restricting what ex-Muslims and Muslims can say. That doesn’t have to apply to the never-been-Muslims. In terms of free speech I don’t see why the admins shouldn’t operate a double standard and treat us differently. If it seems expedient just delete posts or ban people and forget about the liberal qualms.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #20 - November 08, 2017, 10:07 PM

    So, basically, you think continue as normal except for never-muslims?

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #21 - November 08, 2017, 10:14 PM

    Yes, pretty much, though I wouldn’t object to the admins being more restrictive overall.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #22 - November 08, 2017, 10:19 PM

    Question: Is this actually your view or are you doing what I usually do, arguing the counter simply for the sake of argument as I enjoy conversation/debating?

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #23 - November 08, 2017, 10:29 PM

    I might qualify it a bit if I gave it more thought but yes, this is my actual view.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #24 - November 08, 2017, 10:31 PM

    Okay. As a site set-up for being a safe space for ex-muslims, they could, but I'm glad they don't.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #25 - November 08, 2017, 11:52 PM

    These are observations in no particular order, because I need to be brief (time of day and all that):

    Never-Muslims who come to this site to shill for some messiah who plays on the fear of some brown other - and expect those of us who have lived as Muslims, especially PoC Muslims, to ignore the evidence of our own experiences - are as tedious as they come, and represent a very small but hopefully dwindling number of users here. For the most part, their continued presence on this site has been due to their formal obedience to the rules; this is a phenomenon that is now being viewed more critically, as it has led to the situation described in the first post.

    That said, there's been a pattern among a few ex-Muslims - mainly freshly minted ones - who might do similar things, as if the force of their disillusion has made them seek out those things that repudiate their former identities the most. These, too, are thankfully rare, and often don't last too long, whether due to burnout or to their otherwise largely inevitable tendency to bump up against the rules. Frankly, I view this category as generally less sinister than the previous one, and - speaking only for myself - I'm minded to be far less lenient on the former; the distinction between those who internalise ideas that damn people who look like them (such ideas are necessarily not of their own making, as this resemblance is always in the eye of an external beholder) and those who demand to be centred in other people's stories is one that I find meaningful.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #26 - November 09, 2017, 12:33 AM

    Agree with toor.

    The slipperiest fuckers are those in the former group. They "play by the rules", but its impossible to work with this any more on this forum, with the current climate being as it is in the west. These are people who cannot be swayed from their bigotry, argue completely in bad faith, and embolden their ilk wherever they are given a platform.

    @Quod Sum Eris

    This isn't about oppression Olympics or anything of the sort, and I think its a bit dramatic to characterize it as such. The point is to recognize the salience of color in the experience and difficulty of being ex-Muslim. One can be oppressed for being of any color, and there are countless examples, no doubt, but you would have to admit that the sorts of examples you mentioned aren't really salient to the issue of being ex-Muslim. And finally as a practical matter I think its incredibly simple to recognize which folks are living at that intersection.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #27 - November 09, 2017, 12:43 AM

    As far as the forum’s issues are concerned is there really that much difference between poc and non-poc ex-Muslims?


    Yes, I think very clearly. One group simply doesn't have access to the sheer scope of complexities involved in navigating both a racialist hierarchy, while simultaneously contending with issues of self-determination cum identity cum conscience. More clearly put for the latter Islam is just an idea, racism is just simply wrong, and identity doesn't go beyond a personal challenge. It is not as convenient for ex-muslims of color.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #28 - November 09, 2017, 01:02 AM

    Is this seeing non-poc ex-Muslims as primarily white (ex) converts rather than say ex-Muslims of some East European origin?
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #29 - November 09, 2017, 01:33 AM

    .

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
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