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July 2014

The Potato Salad Kickstarter, “Jokes” and Privilege

I understand that the potato salad Kickstarter thing is supposed to be funny and reveal how silly people are and how any project can get funding (despite the many projects that I’ve seen created by people of colour not reach funding peak). But I don’t see this. I see privilege and people who already have resources getting more. I see myself creating (while plagiarized and demanded to offer free labor) and still struggling at times—and people can really save their breath about nonsensical meritocracy myths or anything similar because I have a long resume, skills, bla bla bla, so don’t even—but a potato salad fundraiser has raised almost the most that I have ever earned in an entire year. 

But…my point isn’t even about the aforementioned at the moment. 

Why is this kinda hurtful to me and not even remotely funny to me? Because when I tried to raise money for my brother who was brutally beaten last December (he’s doing a lot better now but is still healing), I received rape threats, death threats and dealt with Whites who contacted GoFundMe itself to shut my campaign down, calling me a liar, without any evidence whatsoever, solely because a Black woman was raising funds for a Black man. For medical help. Not potato salad. Medical help. Surgeries and physical therapy. Even if people didn’t donate to my campaign those months ago (and it’s closed now and page deleted; no need to reblog that campaign post), they didn’t have to threaten me and try to shut it down either. They could’ve ignored me.

Clearly this is not just about “people can do whatever they want with their money” or any similar rationale. And, I understand GoFundMe and Kickstarter are different; I also know good and well that the same thing would have happened if I used Kickstarter or any other fundraising site. The abuse that I deal with online follows me to any space.

Yesterday on Twitter I mentioned that I need a new computer because my computer has been put to work hard for six years of extremely heavy use as a writer and photographer (and for part of it I was in grad school), and it is regularly acting up and near death I suspect. Several awesome Twitter buddies mentioned that I should make a GoFundMe to raise money for one since people are in fact consuming my content and that content won’t exist without a computer. But honestly, I got worried that even making that page might mean the same threats and people trying to get the campaign shut down would happen again. I mean, a Black face asking for a couple of thousand dollars (because I need a certain level of computer as a photographer to mirror what I have now and a cheapo laptop won’t cut it; I am also trying to move, which is expensive as hell, and it is hard to get the computer at the same time as negotiating a move) might mean more assaults on top of the hourly trolling and abuse that I experience online already. Thus, I really don’t know about a new computer fundraising page right now.

Meanwhile, ha ha potato salad. Whatever.

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