Surly Voices: On biases, aggressions and Ukraine


Starting the show by saying “there is too much happening, and we all need to work harder to make sure that nothing else happens”, Surly hosts Donna, Amina and Liz spent last Thursday morning the myriad things already happening.

Listen to the full show here:

Housing conflicts

While the Florida legislature continues to push anti-woke, anti-LGBTQ and other discriminatory bills, another one on the radar could further exacerbate the housing crisis that the state is already facing. House Bill 537, if passed, could allow landlords to potentially convert security deposits into indefinite, non-refundable monthly fees. While the bill claims to be aimed at lower-income residents in order to help alleviate start-up fees when renting, the Surly Fems worry that greed could potentially make these fees a greater monster than the original one-time refundable deposit.

Intolerance, Ukraine and the not-so-microaggressions

In general, the one-for-one instead of one-for-all mentality is grinding society down. As the hosts agreed, there is a valid reason to be outraged by society. The acceptance and tolerance of diversity are dwindling, and it is a problem across the globe.

On the subject of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Donna called for a more nuanced discussion of the subject, because what has been broadcast so far is a broadly black-and-white, David versus Goliath tale. The discussion has placed one side (Ukraine) as good, and one side (Russia) as evil, without any grey in between. But there is, in fact, grey area. Ukrainian refugees attempting to escape the country are being discriminated against based on race, where Africans are largely mistreated, or not given the opportunity to leave at all. There is trouble on both sides, and as charismatic as pop-culture President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears, there is still nuanced critique to be had.

On biases and aggressions against marginalized groups: One guest emailed to say that while it’s easy to assume that people aren’t making these microaggressions out of racist or sexist tendencies, it cannot be underestimated. Because of the echo chambers that social media has put the population in, there has been a complete breakdown of etiquette surrounding diversity.

However, Donna warned that the optimistic assumption that it’s not meant with malice is a slippery slope. When a marginalized group, or an individual, has faced so many microaggressions, it becomes very apparent that indeed, a lot of these aggressions are intended with malice toward someone else. Donna recounted numerous times when white women have made outward gestures toward her, expressing their discomfort or disapproval with her, simply because she is who she is: a strong Black woman. The dog-whistles of racism may go largely unnoticed by the population, but to those who know, it is a symbol of separation. It’s as small as the act of clutching a purse around a person of color or leaving a less-than-stellar review of a Lyft driver because of their race.
It is not just the overt actions, but the subtle ones as well, that make it clear that it’s not an accident; The reality is, these ‘mistakes’ are a symptom of a larger echo chamber of racism and biases.

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