About a month ago I went to the Gold Coast for a few days to present at the Australian Animal Activists Forum. I presented, with Katrina Fox on intersectionality in animal rights. It was mostly a primer, a basic introduction to intersectionality. Going in, I assumed that it would all or mostly be new concepts for people, which is why I made it really basic and really casual, lots of chatty examples and things.
My talk has been up at The Scavenger for a couple of weeks: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism.
Overall I was quite happy with it. It was very condensed, as we only had thirty minutes between the two of us, so there were lots of leaps and gaps and so much covered, but still, I understand it's the first time this sort of topic has been brought up at the forum, and lots of talking came out of it, and I hope that it's a conversation that can filter through AR in Australia and keep moving, because I find that intersectionality is severely lacking in Australian AR.
Since this is, specifically about AR in Australia, it has therefore been of ongoing frustration for me that little criticisms have been filtering through looking at it from a not-Australian perspective. Such as someone posted my article at the PPK forum, where mostly the comments were fine but one person was like "Why single out "WASPs" and use a sort of derogatory word at the same time?" which I was frustrated by, because I worked so hard to make this as Australian as possible and then there the USians go, making it all about them again.* After some poking from Miss T, I may have committed the cardinal sin of responding to criticisms on the internet. It's interesting, because the comments on the original Scavenger article, whilst frustrating, didn't provoke me to response because it was so clearly trolling; but in the instance of Isa on the PPK I wanted to prove a point. AR (and many social justice issues) are so incredibly USA-centric in online communities, it is so frustrating and I just want to carve out a space where talking about Australian AR issues is legitimate and doesn't have to be dragged back around to USA issues. I realise that in my talk I used very USA examples, but that's because, due to the constancy of the USA discource, those are the big examples. I would really like to change that.
*apparently WASP is a derogatory term in the USA! Who knew! In Australia it is just a descriptor, there is no emotional or derogatory loading. But I felt a little bit odd about defending my use of the term WASP, because I was reminded of the strident defence of blackface after the Hey Hey thing, how everyone was like IMPERIALIST AMERICANS. But actually I think this is quite different, unless someone wants to enlighten me about WASPs having a history of persecution within the USA leading to the development of WASP as a derogatory term.