Mommy, Look How Woke I Am: On Performative Wokeness

EQ: What does it mean to be “woke,” and how can wokeness be performative?

Guest: Amy Young, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Communication and Theatre Department at Pacific Lutheran University and author of Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits: Rhetorical Styles and Public Engagement.  Guest on Nerd Farm Podcast, episode 5 “On Ignoring Calls for Civility.” Find her online: Facebook & Twitter (@Amy_Prof)

Amy brings the noise about political rhetoric and shares her insights on a variety of topics:

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  • Why she was drawn to rhetoric as a field and why it matters
  • The phenomenon of master’s theses and conference titles always including a colon
  • The fact that, when people want to talk about rhetoric (words, media, and timing), they don’t ask rhetoricians.  They ask political scientists or historians instead.
  • Donald Trump appealing only to his base using narrowly targeted rhetoric (and how some things are both authentic and unpalatable)
  • Political correctness getting a bad rap and how it actually serves to foster empathy or connection to audience.  Sometimes thinking about other people is a good idea.
  • Creepy Stephen Miller’s shark eyes and his distinctive lack of exchangeability in politics (could he work in any other administration? No).

Performing wokeness…

  • Appropriation--who gets to lay claim and perform that claim publicly--where’s the line? What’s the difference between being a fan (appreciating) and wearing a woke costume?  Using Black vernacular to construct a public identity when the target identity is marginalized or oppressed. Appropriators are afforded social capital in a way that those who constructed the culture it aren’t .
  • The tension between being clued-in and clueless.  Rachel Dolezal's calendar - 12 months of pictures of her. 

 

Greatest (and by “greatest” we mean the worst) examples…

Guilty Favesies:

  • Hope: Mangoes--manila, dried etc.  Delicious - they’re fruit, so they must be good for you.
  • Annie: cheap makeup. Crap for my skin, probably terrible for the environment. But I want a $2 e.l.f. eyeliner pencil and I won’t back down.
  • Amy: Mister, Mister

Do Your Fudging Homework:

  • Hope: Woke-check yourself.  Be reflective and authentic.
  • Annie: Go check out a list on Goodreads called “Popular Stay Woke Books.” Read all the books on the list, repeat as needed.  Notable titles include The New Jim Crow and Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire.
  • Amy: Amy’s making room in her intro classes to challenge her students by presenting rhetoric around diverse political views. Do the same in your profession (whatever it is).

Ep. 25: No Finish Line for Ending White Supremacy

EQ: What are white people doing wrong this time and how do we make it right?

Guest: Danielle Stubblefield - Seattle-based  online and anti-racist frontline protester.

Danielle brings her expertise and insights to a number of topics, including:

  • White privilege,  white entitlement, and white terrorism, including the idea of “polite” white supremacy (no matter what, white people make sure the conversation stays civil and comfortable).
  • No finish line for white supremacy--keeping it 💯, we have so much work to do
  • We're all like dirty sponges--we can clean up a mess but we're tainted
  • White supremacy is the house you need to tear down---demolition phase (take a hammer and tear sh!* up)
  • Think about IMPACT, not just intent. Own our whiteness from the beginning, stumble through life and stop trying to be well-intended but causing damage.
  • How to not be a “teacher” (aka think you know everything and are source of all knowledge). Instead we need to think of teaching and learning as hand-in-hand
  • How to leverage white privilege for good and associated risk factors (Nordstrom comes up)
  • How what is safe for white people is not safe for others.
  • The impacts of racism on quality of life and health outcomes. Watch “How Racism Leads to Health Issues”

  • How to not worry about losing face with a stranger...fight dispassionately so it becomes your routine.

  • The fact that anti-blackness is real, and thoughts about why it exists.  Jealousy? Why are white people so mad? Maybe it's because they see something they don't have! There’s a twisted sense of community that racism fills. Read Debbie Irving Waking up White to get a better understanding of racism as boxes & ladders.

  • It takes guts to challenge Oprah...especially when you're on a cruise with her!

Do Your Fudging Homework:

Ep. 23: Summer 2-for-One: Beat the Heat AND Nazis

EQ: What’s the best way to beat the summer heat while also handily dismantling racist, sexist, misogynistic hetero-patriarchal white supremacy?

We start this episode channel in our inner basic NW white lady with suggestions for how to stay literally cool thi summer. From cold brew to boozy slurpees, find ways to have a little fun and do a little self-care. Go enjoy a glacier while we still have them - i.e. go to a higher altitude and meditate on global warming.

We note that it seems that summer time not only emboldens bad outfit choices, it strengthens white supremacists. What’s up with Washington attracting white supremacists? Read more here:

Hot Tips for beating the Nazis:

  • Educate yourself about white supremacist and white nationalist language and symbology so you can identify it when you see it. Educate others.
  • Address issues in your neighborhood directly (or indirectly, if you’re concerned for your safety or the safety of others).
  • Take action online - share information on social media so that others can access it.  Look for dismissive language and know how to respond. For example, if someone says “Nazi is a misnomer.  They were a political party and they no longer exist” on Twitter, prepare a snappy comeback, like “the ideology still exists regardless of labels,” or “Delete your account.”
  • Disconnect White Power Tacoma or join Tacoma Against Nazis on Facebook
  • What’s Going on With America’s White People

Do Your Fudging Homework:

  • Annie: Go read “So You Want to Fight White Supremacy” by Ijeoma Oluo from the Establishment. Preferably while you drink a boozy slurpee on some covered patio while misting yourself with one of those spray bottle fans.
  • Hope: Educate yourself on the rise of white supremacists in the NW and take action---if you need ideas, send us a DM

Ep. 19: Twice As Much To Be Considered Half As Good

EQ: How are women’s athletics treated differently than men’s athletics and why does the difference matter?

Guest: Maya Smorodinsky, English Professor at Shoreline Community College and Ultimate Frisbee aficionado.

From basic rules to the difference between "mixed" and not-mixed leagues, Maya breaks down the mysterious world of ultimate frisbee. Most importantly, we talk about the relationship between the sport and social justice including discussing the privilege of male athletes in creating space for sports like ultimate (pro leagues), unconscious bias on the field (you can’t get better if no one passes to you), and how all-women leagues develop leadership.  Furthermore, we realize that Ultimate is a metaphor for education! 

Some things to read:

Guilty-favesies:

  • Annie: frozen packaged food! Terrible for the environment, but so convenient.
  • Hope: Vampire Diaries. Irresistible TRASH.
  • Maya: consumerism. Also, television!

Do Your Fudging Homework:

Ep. 18: Save Your Hemorrhoids Story For Facebook

EQ: How are disability justice and racial justice intertwined?

Guest: Carrie Basas, Director at WA Education Ombuds; Former Employment & Civil Rights Lawyer; Harvard Law School

Hope first met Carrie at the Seattle Times Ignite Event when she presented “Short Bus to Social Justice.” In this (delightfully) looooong conversation we discuss what it means to “pass,” what Crip Hop is and who Wheelchair Sports Camp is. Learn about Lawrence Carter Long and how the term “disabled” is being reclaimed.

Be less basic about the disabled community and and how disability rights intersect with racial equity issues by checking out the following:

We started a new segment “Guilty-Favesies”!

  • Hope: microwaveable popcorn. Covered in weird plastic and waste, but SO delicious and convenient!
  • Annie: my commute. It’s a contemplative, quiet time in the car.
  • Carrie: dysfunctional family shows and romantic comedies. See: “Love” and “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix.

Do Your Fudging Homework:

  • Hope: Go read Carrie’s article Disabilities So White and Let’s Play Ableism Bingo
  • Carrie: October Disabilities Month
  • Annie: My AP Government students just learned about the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.  If you care about civil rights, which I know you do, go read up on the law and make sure you understand it. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals in all areas of public life, including employment, education, transit, and anywhere else open to the public.

2017 EOY Review: Bright Embers of Hope in a White-Hot Dump Fire

Our EQ: What the hell happened this year and how do we make sense of it?

From hijab wearing Barbies and the election of the first openly transgender legislator (Danica Roem) to Australia legalizing gay marriage via national referendum and Bey slayin in her maternity pictures, 2017 had many hopeful moments. We recall some of our pop culture highlights of the year.  In another segment called “Where Are They Now?” we catch up on the latest from women of the Alt Right and Roy Moore, the creep who won’t go away.  

Mentioned in the episode:

Timeless or Terrible:

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  • Danskos   

  • Dressing up your pet   

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Do Your Fudging Homework: