2021-05-16 - Activism Language

Activism Language

Something I’ve noticed that is very troubling to me, about people with learning disabilities is a lot of people think they don’t have autonomy or the ability to learn, when in reality they just struggle with various things. Its a very complicated picture. And while people understand the signs of not how to treat a person with learning disabilities, they still, through this same process of signs, are programmed in a way where they always view a subtle inferiority in this subject, and many people as a result lose their patience or treat these people badly. But this program, like a bug in the code, fails to recognize this person just needs certain kinds of assistance to learn, and we dont see that because of the coding. But more importantly, we don’t recognize the person’s autonomy in helping them navigate their own lives because of this code. We think the problem lies in them, and not us. We subtly see these problems in queerness and other denominations too. Its very interesting to hear about all the nonwhite ways this shit fills up the cracks…

This is by the way why I don’t think everyone should necessarily be pushed into activism, but i think that getting people talking about their experiences and actually working together to form a larger social net is really important. Activism is really heavily about signification and no where more obvious is this than in disability activism. Think about how many times people with learning disabilities have been reduced to a cruel image in the same breath that we say that we care about them. No more than anything that pissed me off about the medical regime of signs is how when I tell people, I want to make a game dev studio that gets a bunch of disabled people together to make unique stories and experiences, where we’re in charge - people think immediately to consultation. Working for the image of the boss.

But so much more than that - the radical revolution transformed yet into another toy for capitalism.

Intersectionality theories are a set of social theories that propose a particular structure to the means of capturing these cracks in the sidewalk, through using a combinatory based object structure to describe millions of different possibilities. These theories have social importance because they encouraged minorities to speak up, especially about complex issues crossing boundaries of discussion, providing essential exposure to important minority studies. However, they also reinforce a specific encoding that we encounter on an everyday basis about how we identify and how we socially construct the language of our every day interactions. The very encoding that informs political correctness, the code of the state.

Specifically, the code of the accepted known groups that minorities can be classified - a sort of bit mask that can be changed to analyze all sorts of situations. It can be compared to RGB color modes on a monitor. It’s the complex machinic interactions that transform the numbers into the strength of various wavelengths and interfering with each other that produces millions of colors. But like RGB, the structure itself lends to a limitation on what kinds of possible colors it can express - and nowhere is this more obvious than again, in disability - where the body creates a machine that waits to be described. Through mass replication of this model - like mass replication of computer monitors - we are exposed to the same structures every day, biased towards the status quo and average. Consider that “disability” describes nothing in of itself - disability must be told through a story, the struggle of evolving in a body that changes over time. I like to sometimes play around with the idea of becoming-animal and disability - disability is inherently dehumanizing, strips us of essential structures of the human image, robs us of social functionality that describes us. But at the same time, we’re encountering an interesting problem that emerges here: Adam has not yet named all the animals. And this is where language causes these movements to fall apart.

Of course, the problem is not just exclusive here - its only easiest to describe.

Consider technology discussions online. Our behavior is regulated by the public platforms we use to communicate - the ISP, the service, and in some cases even the operating system. The technology we use is mass produced, with only a select number of specific interfaces built - a mass produced generalization machine. In order to profit, these codes must be privatized. One speaks of the oppression of the discussion of piracy - this is a major issue in many Pokemon themed programming communities, for example. Because of the possible ability to link ties between legitimate unclaimable projects and pirated or even stolen data, there exists high tension with discussing and distributing piracy in these communities. This leads overall to less discussion of piracy as a subject and moreso as an abstract object. This forms pathways that the discussion takes, reinforced in user interfaces and applications - youtube records these interactions and uses them to recommend videos, creating literal political and conspiratorial pipelines. Our language is shaped by the repression, the mass production, the recreation of the same interface. The same gamepad, the same keyboard, the same mouse and headphones. They are shaped by interactions with the internet and media and privatization and the threats we received in response, and they fold and consume each other.

What this is really boiling down to is not that the language simply oppresses the minority, but rather the language exists as a part of the larger system of capitalism, that uses all expressions of minority to uphold itself; the code reflects a system that adapts to exploit every possible surplus value. And through the capture of minorities through ever increasing in acuity language objects, revolutionary lines of flight are rerouted to designated flight routes of contained expression. This language ultimately exists to censor, to confuse, to contain, to constrict.


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