“Last week a black person told me I don’t belong because I’m white! That’s racism too! Black people aren’t the only victims of racism!”
“A woman told me I should pay for the meal because I am a man! That’s female privilege! ”
“My family is from XYZ country and my people were oppressed and enslaved too! But we prospered! What is your excuse? You all are not the only ones who experienced slavery! Stop playing victim!”
“I saw a woman with $900 of foodstamps eating crab legs! They don’t need a living wage! They are living on my dime being lazy!”
Injustice has a script. It has been the same script for years. In more recent decades movements have grown and dynamics have shifted. Unfortunately, systems of oppression get perpetuated with the lack of education, lack of empathy, and good old social engineering.
If someone is on board with my anti-racism they are usually against my anti-patriarchy and anti-homophobia. Or, if they are on board with anti-patriarchy and/or anti-homophobia, they view my anti-racism as unfair and hostile. If I talk about disableism, with someone on board with all three, they think I’m doing too much. The lack of knowledge or carelessness about how all of these things intersect in daily life, is quite the challenge to deal with.
It seems the continuous absence of context also gets in the way of these conversations I have in various spaces. I always seem to have to be on the defense when it comes to talking about my experience as a black woman in particular. White women usually like to co-op my struggles with black beauty by saying “we all go through it”. Men usually like to gaslight me into saying I’m overacting about the dangers I face as a woman in public spaces. First generation children of immigrants usually like to use their experience to negate any negative black experience, by talking about how hard their parents worked. As if mine didn’t do the same.
Meanwhile they get to go back to their safer spaces, and I still have to go outside/work/school and deal with all of the things these people claim are imaginary or “not as bad as you say it is.”
Reverse Racism, Female Privilege, Homosexual Agendas.
Then there is the “reversal” tactics many claim. “I go through it too!”. Usually this is said when the oppressed party talks about their experiences with the “isms”, as the receiving end. I usually equate this scenario with an astronaut describing the wild affects of experiencing zero gravity with a person who has never been in space. Then they cut the astronaut off and say “that’s nothing! I floated in water and that’s pretty much the same thing!” The point of oppressive systems is to pretty much to degrade and break the party targeted. Having a black person get into college and not you, having a woman not take your number, seeing two gay men kiss, is not privilege. It’s called equality. The only reason you may see it as a negative thing because, guess what? Social engineering. It actually works that way. To where you think those types of thoughts against equality are original.
Morals and Intentions
After explanations run forth about how oppression is perpetuated and how it gets carried out. Then I get hit with “I think you assuming they intend to do so. Most [xyz] don’t actually mean any harm.” This one is interesting because in the case of racism or sexism, two things I can speak on, how does one go about making a mass of people hurt another mass of people? By making it seem that certain actions are okay. By systemically justifying certain thought patterns.
We can have a perfectly “good” white person, be a racist. It may not come out as him wearing a KKK hood. But it could very well be that he decides to hire Mike and not LaQuisha, simply because in his subconscious LeQuisha has a “ghetto name” and could have a “attitude”. Because he can relate easier with Mike. He sees him as a “good fit”. This thought can be for a fraction of a moment, yet it just kept someone from an interview. Slowing economic growth for her. Being Systemic. Does that mean he’ll call LaQuisha a nigger? No. Will he not hire the next black woman? We don’t know. Yet we can tell in high numbers that there is a general thinking towards LaQuisha. She seems to face this often by different “good people”
A man who whistles at a woman on the street may not be intending to rape her. Yet he is perpetuating the rape culture of making public spaces for women obstacle courses to walk through. He’s encouraging the notion women shouldn’t walk freely without being let known over and over how they are sexual objects. These same men teach other young boys the same notion. Then we have cases like the young men in the Steubenville rape case and wonder how someone could do that. We label people “monsters” and put them off in this separate category, instead actually taking the time to consider maybe we helped create those “monsters” with what we allow.
Then there are all the people who not only “feel bad” in result of certain actions, but are systemically hindered and blocked from living as full human beings.
If it’s not a reverse situation or an explanation of oppressive action, I get the “what if” as another derailment piece. “What if a black person said that to a white person? Is it racism then?” “What if a women said that to a man? Is it sexism then?”. Simply put, no it is not. These isms are collective systems that benefit certain groups. I can never benefit from sexism or racism. If I actually could me and thousands of others wouldn’t have been in the dozens of situations where it clearly shows we do not have the upper hand. Making a white man feel offended temporarily isn’t a benefit of these systems. Let’s not move away from what’s actually happening to situations where you feel you can finally get to call me a sexist or racist. Derailing the conversation away from actual experiences with “what-ifs” shows just how invested one is in not admitting reality.
Exhaustion with Explaining
My initial cause is to spread solid information and educate. I want to build with others who are invested in building. I find these spaces the most rejuvenating. I like to read about history and look at the patterns of it. Unfortunately there are certain patterns like the ones above I have seen told in history books, and are now happening as I type. The same old script. The same ploys. The is the biggest irony of all is they don’t see how these same systems actually hurt them too.
I decide to talk and discuss things with the builders in my life. Those who ask me questions with the intention of disproving me don’t deserve much time. But I’m done explaining things to people who don’t want to educate themselves. I’m done talking with brown people from other countries who can’t seem to understand racism and it’s affects while berating U.S. black folk. I’m done talking to men who defend patriarchy while women still die from it. Done arguing about feminism to people who have never read about it. Done explaining economic disparity to those who get their economics from how they feel about poor people. It’s tiring and over time I learned not to “throw my pearls to swine”.
If you want to derail the conversation at hand, then you are apart of the problem.