Speaking on behalf of the oppressed
So I started some drift in this thread.
This is what I said:
I'm not speaking as a moderator. And this isn't about thread proliferation, but about what it means to speak on behalf of an oppressed group that one doesn't belong to.
My respectful advice is to not do it. This is perhaps one of the most consistent points I've raised on babble, time and time again, across a wide variety of issues. I don't mean to sound like a broken record but it's an issue that I believe many progressives are unaware of, as evidenced in the ways in which certain groups of marginalized people are "spoken about" and not listened to on their own terms.
Yes, this will mean a number of voices are not represented in the babble context. That is a separate issue.
Speaking on behalf of others who are differently oppressed than oneself, particularly if one has access to the information, stories, issues and struggles of "the other" through academic, news media and third party sources is, in my personal and professional opinion, not okay. Ever.
Oppressed folks, such as women of colour and Aboriginal women marginalized by sex work, for example, have struggled with poverty and systemic oppression for a long time going very far back into Canada's history. Women in those communities can, will and do speak for themselves. If we on babble don't have access to their voices, again, this is a separate issue which is also about the nature of online discussion boards in general.
triciamarie asked a question:
One question: do you think there is any legitimate way to speak out against oppression affecting others? Is there any validity in construing an issue more broadly, eg in the case of prostitution, as a women's issue? How much do we have to be personally affected before we can legitimately talk about an issue?
and Polunatic gave an answer:
As for Maysie's point, I agree that people speaking "on behalf" of other people is inappropriate. However, there are still ways that people can speak in support of comments and analyses made by those who are experiencing that oppression first hand. One way is to link to articles that articulate those views to ensure those voices are heard even if members of that group aren't here themselves.
Every oppressed group should and does have allies who don't need to remain silent because they haven't lived those experiences directly. To negate that would be to negate the concept of solidarity which no one has suggested.
to which remind responded:
Maysie has done just that, so I am not sure how you can say no one hasn't.