Category Archives: ethics

An uncomfortable inclusion, rejected

This morning I found myself sitting in my favorite neighborhood spot, Akat Cafe Kalli, where the politics are as palpable and potent as the coffee. I sat here, eating my breakfast sandwich, drinking my café de olla, reading my book , nodding my head along to the music, which I was growing increasingly aware of and was increasingly digging, but also increasingly scared to trust it. As I listened to the explicitly political lyrics on police violence, racism, sexism and homophobia that seemed to speak directly to me as a queer, leftist, womanish person of color, my suspicion grew that I might feel significantly less in tune with other, yet unnamed politics of the artists whose album was playing. The feeling increased as the words, now in Spanish as well as English, continued to resonate as much as the music to which they were set.

A few more tracks in, and I was digging the music too much to not know whose it was. I searched online for a snippet of the lyrics–“i’m a bird who sings in the springtime”–and found that it was indeed Climbing PoeTree, and that I was indeed right to feel betrayed. (In short, Climbing PoeTree performed at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival despite a longstanding call for a boycott because of their exclusion of trans women; the duo’s public response, the only one I know of, was weak, as was their response to me in real life after I yelled for them to stop selling out trans women while they were on stage at an organizational event I attended.

Despite feeling so seen, heard, included and even centered by this music and these words, I couldn’t stop thinking of those who are not included in the circle of these artists’ politics, those whose exclusion these artists have endorsed and even embraced–trans women. I couldn’t let myself go with this music, as much as my ears and body wanted to, because I cannot leave my sisters and siblings behind in order to enjoy my own inclusion.


“A person who is nice to you but is not nice to the waiter is not a nice person.”

A person who is nice to you but is not nice to the waiter is not a nice person.
Found via Occupy Wall Street’s photos on Facebook, which refers back to MR.H’s share on Banoosh, but who knows where it came from first!


For real though. It pisses me off when people treat service workers like shit, which happens SO often. Also obnoxious: when people go on about how “IT’S THEIR JOB” for service workers to be nice to their customers. I get that to a degree — when I worked at McDonalds and other food spots I prided myself on how polite and cheerful I usually was. But with the shit folks have to put up with from most customers and with the paltry pay they’re getting for their hard work, I don’t blame any service worker for not constantly providing service with a smile.

Next time you want to complain about service workers’ attitudes, I’d urge you to reflect on what they might have put up with already today, and be EXTRA nice to them in the hopes that you might help them feel the value and respect they deserve.