…because I honestly don’t have the slightest idea.
Hunter Ashleigh Shackelford describes her non-binary self/themselves as “a Black fat cultural producer, multidisciplinary artist, nonbinary shapeshifter, hood feminist, and data futurist” who “illustrates the relationship between Blackness, fatness, desire, queerness, afrotechnology, and popular culture.” She says she is the creator and director of a Southern body liberation organization, Free Figure Revolution, which focuses on decolonizing antiblack body violence.
I have no idea what that means.
She does trainings, lectures and workshops, and gets paid for them. Ashleigh’s website says that New York University, the University of Richmond, Pendle Hill Quaker Retreat, The Movement for Black Lives, and the City of Richmond, among others, have contracted with her to “share her brilliance” on such topics as the body, antiblack violence, hoeism, sociopolitical issues, consent, fat hate/ shame, racial justice, body liberation, empowerment, healing antiblack misogyny, reproductive justice, and Black feminist thought.
Here she is at a recent appearance:
The Ethics Alarms threshold question for ethics analysis is “What’s going on here?” Since I can’t seem to answer that question, I’m stymied. All I have is more questions, like:
- Why would any white people go to a training like the one above/
- Why wouldn’t a racist statement like “all white people are racist” prompt a mass walk-out, and maybe a hardy, “Fuck you!”
- How does someone like Ashleigh—if indeed there is anyone like Ashleigh— get to a point that supposedly respectable organizations will pay her?
- How does someone become like Ashleigh?
- At what point did elements in our society start being receptive to what she does and says, and why did this happen?
- Is this another symptom of what Ann Althouse calls our “national nervous breakdown”? Or what I call “The Great Stupid”?
- Or am I culturally estranged, narrow-minded, and too rigid and archaic in my world view to be enlightened by bold this visionaries like Ashleigh?
- Am I missing something to think that it is ironic that the same people who support such trainings call President Trump a grifter?
When I first saw the second photo, my initial reaction was to engage in merciless mockery, which I am experienced and skilled at. But I hesitated. Was that reaction unfair? Racist? Sexist? Lookist? Something-ist?