Sunday, 23 February 2014
On calling out:
So, it happened again, apparently I hate PoC or something. Okay, first things first, while I have white privilege? I don't call people of color out for funsies, the PoC community is very tight knit and probably due to how many false accusations privileged white folks make tends to be hostile to any white person complaining even if they have a point. To be honest, my heart always sinks when I notice oppressive things being written by a person of color, because I know there's no right way to handle it.
It's a lot easier to call out someone who is white for problematic behaviour. Probably because when whites do it to me, it tends to be wholly privileged shits who I can just dismiss. People of color who do problematic things are sadly often those I and others look up to, and it's hard to have to argue with someone who is so on the ball about other oppressions that you can't really understand why they're apparently not able to grasp it from your viewpoint.
Why don't I wait for a PoC with the same oppressions to call it out? Minority PoC seem to come under a lot of pressure to allow this sort of shit to slide in the name of 'solidarity' with the larger cause of fighting racism. So either I swallow it, hope that minority PoC don't decide to stay quiet in the name of solidarity or I stand up and take a load of crap for pointing it out.
These are the typical reasons I will call People of color out for:
1. They've one of the minority of people who have got multiple privileges outside of being PoC and are punching down but trying to frame it as punching up.
If you're a person of color with multiple privileges in areas like class/Sex/Sexuality/Gender identity/function, and wield your privilege in those to say oppressive things to minority whites with multiple oppressions in terms of class/Sex/Sexuality/Gender identity/function? You're punching down not up. Targeting the more vulnerable of the oppressive group is never punching up when you have that much privilege on your side.
2. They've one of the minority of people who defend a person of color (who has got multiple privilege in areas other than skin color) who routinely bullies and oppresses white minority people and frames it as you guess it, punching up.
Yes, I get that people can like anti-racism advocate who writes amazing stuff on racism and racial oppression, but liking someone's good writing doesn't mean defending it when they punch down. Especially not when they cause PTSD. What amazes me is when people who know how much PTSD caused by bullying and oppression hurts sit there and defend it.
3. They've one of the minority of people who think it's tone policing whenever someone asks them or someone else not to use slurs that affect groups they're not part of.
Asking people not to shore up oppressive structures is not saying the rest of what they're saying isn't valuable or shouldn't be taken seriously. Nobody is telling anyone not to be angry or asking anyone not to express their anger towards privileged groups, but if they're punching down or sideways in the course of talking about race and racism? Then it is acceptable to ask them not to as far as I'm concerned.
This should not require a big song and dance btw. It should just require an "okay" and a return to talking about race and racism without oppressive slurs. Nobody is asking anyone to do more than to acknowledge it and stop it.
4. They've one of the small minority who pull this: They spend one day understandably upset about people thinking that people of color can't have other oppressions; Then spend the following day basically asserting flat out that white minorities don't exist.
As I've covered before, white privilege is powerful but it has never turned a disabled, impoverished, genderqueer bisexual white presumed woman into a non-disabled, rich, cis-het white man. A Person of color with the same oppression faces the added complication of racism, but white people don't magically have their oppression vanish just cos they're white.
I will back someone to the hilt when it comes to asserting that yes, PoC who are disabled/poor/GLBT/excetra exist and are oppressed for being people of color on top of being disabled/poor/GLBT/excetra. But if they start telling me I'm not really oppressed because I have white privilege which magically erases all those other oppressions? I will not be happy and I'm likely to express said unhappiness.
5. If they've one of the minority of people who acknowledge white minorities actually exist, but their default response is still to assume/act like White folks are not really oppressed by being a minority.
Seriously, I'm getting pretty sick of folks with perhaps only one or two oppressions, lecturing me about how fucking spiffy it is to be a white *insert oppression they don't have*. My existence is just fucking that, my existence, they don't get to define how my oppression works.
6. They've one of the minority of people who think that only racism and any other oppressions they face matter, they basically act like unless it affects them, we should shut up about it.
Yeah no, I care about their oppression, I don't expect anyone to care about mine but I do expect people not to pull that.
7. They can write endless essays on intersectionality and how oppressions intersect, but still do 1-6 constantly.
This is the most infuriating one. I expect that ignorant fucking "no oppression but our one matters" crap from the white privileged feminists. The most privileged white feminists tend to be ignorant shits.
Yes, I do tend to expect more from PoC, given that WoC in particular are understandably very proud of the incredible contributions people of color like Ms Crenshaw have made to the theories of social oppression and privilege. I especially expect better than this from PoC who lead the way in terms of discussion and dissection of social issues, if they can recognise the notion that Person of color = able bodied is erasive bullshit? Then they should also be able to recognise that stuff like denying disabled people are oppressed for being disabled if they're also white is also bullshit.
Seriously, I'm tired of having to deal with this kind of crap. I want to spend the time I waste on this crap instead reading the great essays many advocates of color write, spend learning about what I can do to tackle white supremacy, I want to interrogate whiteness and how it fits in with the whole oppressive structure that dehumanises people, I want to talk about how it benefits us and to work on not reinforcing it. I want to spend my time backing people to the hilt not having to argue with them that yes, I exist and yes, I deserve social justice as well.
I want to fight for a world in which we're not considered lesser according to some bullshit hierarchy that denigrates anyone who doesn't fit the "norm", and I'd like not to have to fight for it against other minority folks. Is that so much to ask?