Why White Women Keep Calling the Cops on Black People

There’s a disturbing article in Rolling Stone about the recent spate of reports where white women have called the police about innocent black people.

Identifying as the victim allows the women in these scenarios to maintain both innocence and ignorance… The knee-jerk reactions of the white women in these examples to meddle in the lives of these innocent black people demonstrate a reliance upon the power of the state to carry out that which they cannot – to effectively “control” people who are not like them.

Space invaders

The writer Annie Breslaw posted this on Twitter the other day.

My sister is doing an experiment: Whenever men walk towards her, she doesn’t move out of the way first. So far she has collided with 28 men.

I came across it via the very excellent musician Laura Kidd, AKA She Makes War, who I’m a fan of. She added:

I’ve been doing this lately too – I just had enough of being barged out of the way all the time. No full on collisions so far but they really don’t want to move!!!

One of the responses was from someone else I’m a fan of, gender-blending comedian Andrew O’Neill:

@shemakeswar When I cross-dress men stop moving out of my way. Fact.

I’ve experienced the same thing. I’m still six foot one, I’m still on the heavy side, and minor reconfiguration aside I take up exactly the same amount of space as I always did. But since I’ve started being me, men no longer try to avoid bumping into me. It happens in the street, it happens in shops, it happens in bars. As a feminine-presenting person the onus is on me to get out of the Big Important Man’s way.

Something similar happens on public transport. When a man is already sitting on a bus seat or subway bench and taking up not just his own space but most of the adjacent space too, he won’t move for me if I’m presenting female: I’ll spend the journey with my arse halfway off the seat, or with somebody’s elbow in my stomach. And in the air, armrests are no longer available to me.

#notallmen, of course. But far too many of them.

The most extraordinary stand-up set I’ve ever seen

I watched Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette tonight after reading lots of rave reviews. it’s even better than the reviews say, although it’s not remotely easy to watch: while it’s very funny it’s also very powerful and very upsetting in places.

It feels odd to recommend a stand-up show by saying I was in floods of tears for most of it, but it’s true. It’s an extraordinary piece of work, a masterpiece of stand-up.

Hat crimes

I went to see one of my favourite bands, Eels, the other night. They were great as ever, and E and his band were rocking their usual blue-collar chic. So was much of the crowd, so it was hardly a surprise to see a few red trucker caps / baseball caps.

Except it was, because red trucker caps have become tainted.

When I see a red hat now I don’t think of the Linux company or of baseball teams; I think of Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again (MAGA) merchandise. Red hats are the badge of the racist, the bigot, the “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” crowd. I’m not quite with rapper Pusha T, who equates MAGA caps with the KKK’s white hoods, but they’re certainly worn by some truly awful people.

I don’t think any of the hats at the gig were MAGA ones, or localised variants. But I was quite surprised by the visceral reaction I had to the sight of them.

There’s a certain irony here given the lazy stereotyping by Trump and his supporters: to wear a red hat of any kind now is to have strangers immediately jump to conclusions about you, and to judge you harshly.

Moist slacks ointment

For me, it’s “surfaced”. For others, “moist”, or “slacks”, or “ointment”. Whatever the word, it’s part of a phenomenon called word aversion. Slate investigates.

Word aversion is marked by strong reactions triggered by the sound, sight, and sometimes even the thought of certain words, according to Liberman. “Not to the things that they refer to, but to the word itself,” he adds. “The feelings involved seem to be something like disgust.”

Participants on various message boards and online forums have noted serious aversions to, for instance, squab, cornucopia, panties, navel, brainchild, crud, slacks, crevice, and fudge, among numerous others.

Jokes

One of the ongoing assignments in my comedy writing class is to come up with topical jokes. Be glad I’m not there to deliver them in person.

The UK media has got itself in a tizzy over people using the term “gammon” to describe angry white men. One Spectator columnist got so angry about it he had a heart attack. He was taken to hospital in a hambulance.

According to experts, the upcoming royal wedding will cost £32 million. Other experts point out that burning Piers Morgan in a wheelie bin would cost one millionth of that, and make the UK 32 million times happier.

Chinese pilot Liu Chuanjian was hailed a hero after his co-pilot was nearly sucked through the broken cockpit window of his Airbus A319. It’s currently unclear how the co-pilot was sucked out with such force, but Chinese authorities would like to interview your mum.

“Please, hug your loved ones”

It appears that the missing Scots singer Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit has been found dead. He posted this to Twitter two days ago.

Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones.

I didn’t know Scott or follow his band, but I saw him play once and thought he was an extraordinary talent.

He posted one more thing.

I’m away now. Thanks.

Help is here, if you need it. It’s okay to say you’re not okay.

Frocky horror

Racked.com has a fun read on why men don’t generally wear dresses. 

“Clothing makes you aware of the edges and boundaries and borders of your body,” Barry says. “So wearing a dress, wearing women’s garments, even in the privacy of your own home, connects you to your body in a way that could make you feel comfortable or uncomfortable with how you perceive yourself.”

Dresses are brilliant things: simple ones are arguably the most comfortable things anyone could wear. Flattering, too: I’ve never felt smarter or cuter than when I’ve been in a simple tea dress, and I’ll fight anyone who says Brad Pitt didn’t look like a gladiator when he donned a frock for Rolling Stone.

And dresses are practical: you can go from naked to ready by pulling a single thing over your head. Although I’d also recommend underwear in case of Marilyn Monroe moments or unexpectedly see-through fabrics. But you get the idea. Slobbing around at home? Dress! Corner shop for biscuits? Dress! High powered business meeting? Dress! Beach? Dress! Date? Dress! Climbing up ladders while commando? Maybe not that one.

Lack of pockets aside, dresses are more versatile than anything else I can think of. Denim jeans come close but they’re not as welcome in as many different places as a LBD.

Despite the many pluses, though, I feel vulnerable in a dress. Much more so than in any other obviously female item of clothing.

Part of that I’m sure is the lightness, the lack of layers, the omnipresent fear of a gust of wind. But a bigger part is that dresses are hyper-feminine in a way leggings or skinny jeans aren’t. They aren’t feminised versions of generally unisex things.

Which leads us right back into why we don’t see men wearing this season’s knife-pleat skirts or sequined minis while out grocery shopping or drinking scotch at a bar. “Feminine clothing has absolutely no social capital for a man to put on because he’s gesturing towards a set of traits that our society doesn’t really value,” Jolles says. He’s gone from the top of the social ladder to the bottom, and that display of willingly cashing in your power is what makes the look so uncomfortable or shocking.

It’s a shame that such a simple, useful and practical bit of fabric is imbued with such power. Guys, you’re missing out.