Saturday, 2 March 2013

Oscars, racism and other issues.

Just five days ago theonion called Quvenzhané Wallis a "cunt" in a baldfaced display of racism and sexism. Just five days ago Seth Macfarlane sexualised Quvenzhané Wallis during what should have been a moment of triumph for her both as a woman of color and as a woman. Quvenzhané Wallis is a nine year old person of color, I have not seen her act but it no doubt was amazing given how hard women and particularly women of color have to work to be considered half as good as men and white men in particular.

Just five days ago, the patriarchy acted to remind women of color that their success is not allowed, not without consequences. To remind women of color that their bodies are objects, not those of women. To remind women of color that as far as we have come, men especially white men still feel so secure in their male privilege that denigrating a child isn't something they see as unacceptable.

Just five days ago I watched people defend the verbal abuse of a nine year old child of color because how dare we criticize privileged white males who claim to be comedians.

I witnessed outrage, not from those who should have spoken, but from those who should have been silent. I witnessed the defense of white male privilege and people approving of fully grown men picking on a child because of her skin color and gender.

This is the Oscars and yet it feels like a schoolyard where white boys run wild under the approving eye of mama society and papa bigotry. This is what we are excusing? And why? So some very very small minded white men can remain secure in what is a cocoon that stifles society to secure them.

Worse still are the white feminists who lent their defense to such boorish sentiments or who ignored it entirely.

Marginally better are the ones who while they reacted also tried to erase the fact that Quvenzhané Wallis is a person of color and ignore the role that race played in what happened just a few days ago.
It's fine apparently to some white feminists to speak up when it's a woman being attacked but if it's a woman of color, only the woman part matters, not the of color part, as if you can separate race and racism from a woman of color like an old cloak and look at sexism against them as if it was nothing to do with race.

A woman of color cannot be separated from her race, any more than anyone else who is of two or more minorities can be, our existence is a whole thing, it is not split into segments like an orange, it is a whole that works together to shape our world and how people treat us. Minorities stack, oppressions stack. An attack on women of color is not just an attack on women, it's an attack on race as well.

This is why we have the notion of intersectionality, and all groups really need to start paying attention to it and stop pulling the "we're all *insert one minority* and nothing else" crap.

Quvenzhané Wallis deserves better than she received from the onion and Macfarlane, she deserved better than the half assed support she received from white feminists and women of color in general deserve better. We all deserve better.

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