take aways on harassment & group dynamics

Boundaries and borders give groups their shape. A group has a skin.

People bounce between a fear of being abandoned by the group and a fear of being devoured by the group.

Witnessing harassment can amplify the fear of being expelled from/consumed and destroyed by the group. The possibility of harassment/discrimination is integral to group experience and self-understanding within a group.

A sense of self does not precede the group; the self takes shape within the group.

In what therapists might call a “sick group,” people will shelter themselves by seeking proximity to what they experience as power, by making themselves invisible and/or by bargaining with the bully.

Groups are haunted.

We are complicit in harassment dynamics.

Most draw a false equivalence between harasser and harassed.

White supremacist thinking is paranoid.

White supremacy is sexist.

People sexualize what they hate and fear.

People racialize that they hate and fear.

Hate and desire can be at the same place at once.

The nation is a sick group.

Anti-harassment work challenges the group’s relationship to its own boundaries.

Anti-harassment work is sex work.

 

we can’t sleep

It started over the summer. Zombified by the horror-show of one convention, cells vibrating with the drone of another. Something like evil broadcasts from the right, something like hubris from the left. Who can sleep through the noise of that stereo? Who can sleep with this level of dread?

Students sound out their alarm — The world is not safe! They are mocked from one side and the other. A generation fills the streets and are pelted with stones by a meaner hoard.

The prophet Cassandra was cursed when she refused the sexual advances of a god. She would tell the future’s truth and be denounced as a liar. People around her experienced the predictive power of her visions as a curse. (The future’s curse on the past.) She would be raped, and raped again. Murdered, eventually, along with her children.

We are up all night with basal-level insomnia.

We say this is the worst. With each enunciation we feel the force of that truth slip away from the sentence, as if it were so much fake news.