Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Everything for Everyone Every Minute of Every day

| 0 comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One of the problems of working on social media about things that tackle issues of inclusion and participation, and talking about hospitality and stuff…is that at some point, people tend to expect more of you than you could ever possibly give.

Social Bandwidth 

There was a recent long #DoOO thread I initiated that was extremely active over around 24 hours across timezones. People would wake up to like 100 notifications. I would step away from my phone for an hour and find 30 notifications. That kinda thing. Mike Caulfield and Audrey Watters asked to be removed from the thread (Twitter’s new approach that no longer counts ppl tagged as part of 140 chars and kinda hides em so it’s easy to not check who they are each time u reply) is extremely annoying. It’s like a default “reply all” to email. There is a mute conversation option which I suggested and Mike said worked. But there should really be ab opt-out option because people were getting overwhelmed by the tweets.

Now while this may was happening ..  Other people felt exhilarated. Someone privately told me it was the most fun she had had on Twitter ever. I was personally keeping up just fine, but I am also addicted to my phone and apparently i have a very high social bandwidth. It was a long weekend and in the midst of all this I think I did a little bit of work and a lot of parenting, but still managed fine.

Inclusion that’s Exclusive

There’s a sort of thing I don’t think gets mentioned enough. Inclusion should be about including marginal people who for whatever reason are not usually easy to include without effort. It’s important to note that this is about (intersectional, contextual) power and privilege. There are contexts where being who I am gives me power (e.g. Muslim in Egypt vs Muslim in America) and the same applies for most kinds of power and privilege incl color, gender, sexuality, etc. In general, though, no matter what micro power a woman, POC, postcolonial or LGBTQi person has in a context, in a macro context, they are intersectionally disempowered and it is important to be aware of this. Constantly. 

Now beyond identity, there are also behaviors and beliefs. Beyond someone’s power/privilege, they may behave in certain ways that support or threaten other people. The more macropower that person has when doing that behavior, the more amplified it is. Same in micropower, but I think people sometimes see the micropower and not the macropower.

Reflecting back on what made me silent in rhizo Facebook. I’m the only – the f#ing ONLY – Arab/Muslim/Egyptian in that group. Sure I am relatively popular and influential, I know people and stuff, and I have social media power or something – but it’s all micro. So when someone who is white and Western and male bullies me or threatens to silence me, it matters what other people do. When other white people try to be my allies, but some white people call THEM bullies for SUPPORTING me against someone who is pretty much bullying me under the name of inclusion or free speech or some other rubbish… That makes no sense to me.

Hospitality is Conditional

I am pretty sure Derrida (whom I have read little about and from, but who I know is Jewish-Algerian-French = intersectional minority) spoke about unconditional hospitality not to say it was possible, but putting it as an extreme ideal.

You can take hospitality VERY far. With Virtually Connecting, there are entire events organized from start to finish without involvement from co-directors beyond encouragement. 

But there’s a point where hospitality can turn into inviting colonial-like interference and that’s never going to be acceptable. 

It’s one thing to invite someone to your home, to tell them to make themselves at home, to use your bedroom and kitchen as theirs. But this does not mean you’re welcoming them to

  1. Rape your spouse or children
  2. Change the locks and kick you out of your house
  3. Burn down your kitchen on purpose
  4. Leave your windows open for burglars and leave the house unattended
  5. Leave the f#ing toilet unflushed
  6. Murder someone in your home (unless you’re a gangsta or something) 

You know?

Someone’s Home

So each space may be someone’s home and they welcome you in. Not every space is public, not every space is everyone’s home. It’s ok as long as u have a home and ur not a refugee. You don’t need EVERYONE to welcome you – as long as you have a home and/or maybe SOMEONE welcomes you somewhere. 

Not even I have the social bandwidth that people are expecting from me, much as I would love to have it

Leave a Reply

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: