Problematic Walking

Walking While Outdoors: A New Frontier For Fearless Homosexuals

You may wish to brace yourselves for some intersectional ruggedness, care of Patrick Kelleher, writing in Pink News:

Meet the queer hikers proving the great outdoors isn’t just for cis, straight, middle class folk.

I fear a question may have been begged there, one on which the entire article rests, but hey, let’s push on. There’s oppression to invoke and needless drama to manufacture.

On the last Queer Out Here walk, there was a welcome circle where everyone was asked to introduce themselves, state their pronouns, and tell the group what the outdoors means to them. 

Because even simple fun – say, an outdoors walk - has to be organised, you see, and made “quite political,” with lots of declarations and public speaking to keep you in the moment and at one with nature. And a walk just isn’t a walk unless you can make it, like everything else, all about your identity, i.e., all about you. The organiser in question is one Ailish Breen, a being with pronouns, and who offers “queer-only spaces” to those in search of sky and scenery. If you’re “queer, trans, non-binary, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, bi, asexual, intersex, pansexual,” or any sexual-identity niche not yet recognised or invented, this is The Fun Time For You:

Our community is wonderful because of its breadth and diversity. By coming on a hike with us you’re committing to embracing everyone’s uniqueness and welcoming everybody. We don’t tolerate any form of discrimination at our events.

“Straight/cis allies” are, of course, not welcome.

Inevitably, “a lack of equality around access” is invoked, but as so often, particulars remain unmentioned or unobvious. Setting aside the advantages of suitable footwear and something waterproof, the nearest we get to crushing issues of unfairness are,

 Ailish says, “People think it’s for middle class, white, heteronormative families.”

A claim that hangs in the air with no obvious support.

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Don’t Oppress My People With The Way You Walk

From the world of campus wokescolds, where innovation never ends

The opinion editor of the Northwestern University’s student newspaper recently published an article asserting that white people walk awkwardly on sidewalks because of their internalised racism. 

The editor, Kenny Allen, who is black, is quite confident on this point.

Laying out the claims by University of Richmond sociologist Bedelia Richards for determining “whether one’s university is racist” -- such as which groups feel most “at home,” whose “norms, values and perspectives” are legitimated, and “who inhabits positions of power” -- Allen concluded that “White people” meet most of the criteria. 

A shocking twist. Feel free to gasp.

You see

People at this predominantly White school would not move out of our way on the sidewalk. This was one of many reminders that diversity does not mean inclusion at NU.

Sadly, and perhaps oddly, no particulars or examples are offered to support this claim. Despite the alleged ubiquity, Mr Allen shares no damning anecdotes of obstinate white people failing to accommodate the brown and downtrodden-by-default. Apparently, we are to accept as obvious, as beyond question, that any such failures of politeness and spatial reciprocation are exclusively the fault of white people, on account of their being white, and therefore oppressive. Indeed, we’re told that pavement users of pallor are actually re-enacting “the rules of Jim Crow,” which “required Black people to yield to White people whenever possible.”  

Many White people walk around campus having unknowingly absorbed this particular facet of White supremacy, and the leaders of the institution do little to make us believe that White supremacy is something worth challenging in the first place.

That the cultivation of a chippy, racially paranoid attitude may itself increase the likelihood of pavement collisions and general frustration, and be a self-reinforcing phenomenon, is a possibility that has seemingly eluded Mr Allen, who instead directs his energies to bemoaning the “violent feedback” to his pronouncements. A violence that includes gentle mockery and, it would appear, demurral of any kind.

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