Friday, 4 January 2013
A different reason does not erase an action:
One of the biggest frustrations I find when it comes to interacting with PoC is the seeming belief or at least what I perceive to be an attitude that white privilege erases one's other marginalisations entirely.
As if somehow white people exist in a proverbial ivory tower far away from intersectionalism. As if we're all somehow straight, rich, able bodied, cis-gendered and male by sheer dint of being white. I have lost count of how many times I've been told "X doesn't happen to you", except it actually does, it just happens for a different reason.
There is a difference between "Your experience of this problem does not happen for X specific reason" and "you don't experience this full stop" said to someone who actually does. I see the latter happen very often.
Recently I was told that I wasn't automatically considered aggressive or dangerous by someone. Indeed I'm not if and only if you only count being considered that way because of your race, my skin doesn't cause society to think I'm aggressive or dangerous. If however you're counting more than race? My Autism and Mental illness often get me deemed aggressive and dangerous. Same stigma, similar treatment, different reason, and often outright erased or ignored by PoC. Same for being female bodied, I'm often deemed "aggressive" because I objected to misogynistic shit, or made a guy baww.
So objectively, I'm treated like a threat, it just isn't because of my skin color.
Let's not forget "You don't get my life at all, but I get yours entirely, know your entire mind, exactly what you experience".
An extension of white privilege makes you into a straight, rich, able bodied, cis-gendered man thing. Let's make it clear, white people don't get what it's like to be people of color. But neither do people of color know exactly what a white person experiences. You can't climb inside my head anymore than I can climb inside yours. So seriously, don't sit there going "you don't know" then try to tell me how my oppressions work, especially fucking not if you're privileged in all the areas I'm not and only a minority in race terms.
Then there's the notion that somehow racism is such a different oppression that doesn't have so much as a lick in common with any others. As if bad behaviour based on entitlement is somehow completely different when it's excused via racism instead of sexism. As if again, intersectionality disappears out of the window when it comes to race. As if other oppressions and racism can never have anything in common ever. As if the suffering of PoC via racism is somehow so much more profound and more serious than anything else, so a minor racist incident is always worse than any other incident resulting from a different type of bigotry regardless of seriousness, as if PoC are always the winners at the oppression Olympics.
I'm not saying they're the same, but there's a definite element of "these things have nothing in common" regardless of if they do. Of course if you try to build bridges and express empathy by pointing out that an issue experienced by PoC and other people have some things in common, you're being racist because trying to empathise is bad or something.
Not to mention, the assumption that if PoC are fighting racism, then apparently perpetuating bigotry against others at the same time is okay. Or even PoC defending themselves from accusations of other isms with "you're racist".
Assumed everyone is NT? Said something dreadfully bigoted and got asked to stop? Are you attacking someone for being disabled? That's okay, the power of "well but they're racist"makes it a okay to say that shit it seems.
There's a difference between "Angry at a racist white person" and "being a bigoted pillock who says things that hurt other minorities and excuses it by complaining someone else was bad".
Seriously, I'm all for being an ally to PoC, but there's some icky stuff that surfaces in PoC communities, not quite as bad as the racism in white feminist communities but still majorly icky.