Thursday, 1 May 2014
Why "they would care about white girls" is fucked up:
It's problematic for multiple reasons:
1. It treats "rich/well off" as the default for white presumed girls since in fact it's only the well off white presumed girls that receive a fuck load of attention.
This erases the reality of lives of impoverished white presumed girls. It essentially says that oppression for being poor doesn't exist/really effect you if you also happen to be white, because it treated white as existing in a vacuum untouched by other oppressions.
It's erasive. Being white doesn't magically make the impact of class go away. Oppressions still matter even if you have a privilege. Many impoverished presumed white girls who go missing/are raped/are killed/abused never make the news or even receive a twitter campaign.
2. It's based on the assumption that the tiny amount of cases of white presumed girls who go missing/are raped/killed/abused which are reported in the media are the only white presumed girls who suffer those fates.
While it is definite that children of color are more likely to suffer such fates and less likely to receive attention, I know that the rate of it happening to white presumed girls is much much much higher than the -minority- of cases reported in the media would have you believe.
3. For those many many MANY poor white presumed girls who know full well that the world didn't fucking give a shit at all about us?
It tells us that we must be bad people
If the default is the world caring about us, then clearly we must have done something to be undeserving of that care. It tells us that we must have deserved being raped, attacked, groomed, facing attempted murder or killed. We must have deserved what happened to us because there must be a reason why they didn't care and clearly the only possible reason is to assume that we did something to be unworthy of that care. Something to make us unworthy of the care and attention that is supposedly guaranteed to white children for being white.
It's victim blaming of the most insidious sort. Victim blaming dressed up as addressing one inequality via ignoring another.
So yes, stop saying "They'd have cared about X if it was a white girl" because objectively and reasonably, it's reductive and clearly fallacious. Madeleine McCann isn't in the newspapers just because she's white, she's in them because she's from a nice educated respectable white middle class family with two doctors for parents. Her race is only part of why they care. Had she been born on a council estate to a single mother with multiple children? It's unlikely her disappearance would have amounted to more than a minor blip in the media at the most and entirely possible that she could have disappeared without anyone really caring.
Those of us whose suffering went on under the permissive gazes of those in authority, whose abuse was allowed by those who should have stopped it? We exist. Those of us who don't get a four page spread in the newspapers asking why such awful things could happen to an innocent? We exist, and we also come in white, our crime was to be poor. Class matters, stop erasing and blaming us for what happened to us.