February 12, 2010

How to show yourself as a true ally (aka having discussions about race that don't turn to shit)

Over at Womanist Musings (with quotes):

"Too Hard on the White Folk"
There has never been a day that WOC have not had to fight for recognition of our worth and our humanity.  When we speak out against the exploitation, marginalization, and oppression that we face, we are called angry and summarily silenced.  No matter how many polemic blog posts I author regarding the systemic inequality in which we live, the hierarchy of beings will not change unless those who exist with undeserved privilege make a commitment to change.  To be silent is to accept that I deserve to be understood as a second class citizen.  My value shall not be determined by others so that they can benefit from my debasement based in race and gender; it shall be decided by me because I am an autonomous being who is worthy of being counted.  If you cannot accept a WOC who speaks her truth, then this blog is not for you.  I shall not be silenced in the space that I have constructed.
 "Pearl Clutchers and Straw Women"

The ironic part about this is, that this post isn't even angry.  I simply cannot be bothered to sugar coat my words to allow you to feel comfortable.  The entire world caters to you pearl clutchers ,and I for one need a break from the bullshit. Don't upset the fragile white woman, the mother of the great race.  God forbid there should be a tarnished spot on your pedestal.  Here let me spit shine that shit for ya.
 "What Is and Isn't Racist"
When we enter the spaces of those that we know to be socially marginalized the basic minimum requirement is that oppressor take the time to learn some basic 101 knowledge before engaging.  If POC continually have to educate whiteness on the ways in which they oppress it stops us from dealing with larger issues that need to be addressed.  The fact that someone even feels that they are fit to comment in these spaces and declare in opposition of the lived experience of a person of color is an expression of,….say it with me now, P-R-I-V-I-L-G-E.  I don’t need to hear your opinion, it will never contradict my 30+ years of dealing with racism.  I am not going to do the work for you and present stats, or papers because they are easy enough to find if you have the smallest amount of commitment.  I am going to tell you repeatedly every single time you invade my space with your ignorance to get your 101 on.  If I must spend my life learning how to protect myself against racism, the least that you can do is take the time to learn the basics.
"On apologies, ignorances, and condemnations"
Too often an apology is cynically used as a tool to silence marginalised people - you say sorry and that's supposed to be the end of it right? Never mind that there is still a complete lack of understanding. Never mind the lack of sincerity. Never mind the total indifference. Never mind the repeat occasions. never mind the hurt, the offence, the pain that has been caused. Never mind what this says about broader culture, society and the experience of marginalised people. Someone said sorry. We can end that discussion on racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/etc and move onto something the privileged person cares about. I mean, they said 'sorry' right? Oh my gods, what more do you marginalised folk want? It's like you want something to be about you for 5 minutes!
"You cannot attribute nonsense to god"
It is  NONSENSE to believe that a god is both perfect and jealous or merciful and wrathful. It is NONSENSE to believe a loving god would condemn people to an eternity of torture because of their sex life. It is NONSENSE to believe a benevolent being would want you to oppress or abuse people for ANY reason. It is NONSENSE to believe a compassionate god would want you to insult and attack people. It is NONSENSE to believe a perfect god would be so insecure as to advocate violence against those who do not follow him or who worship him in an incorrect fashion.
Over at The Angry Black Woman blog:

"The Privilege of Politeness"
I’ve noticed that when discussions of racism happen online the posts that go up in the aftermath, even some of the ones that address and acknowledge the issues of racism in the incident still say “They didn’t have to be rude about it. There was no call for it.” or “If they had just been more polite the person would have listened.” or some other variation (they of course referring to POC). What these people fail to understand is that if you’ve said something racist and fucked up you’ve already been rude to me. You’ve already offended me and ignorance is no excuse because you are a grown person, you can read, you can research, you can figure out how to treat people with respect and equality.
"We Have Feelings Too or The Cost of Being a POC in Race Discussions"
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Now this might shock and/or offend some people, but I have to say that today is not a day when I give a fuck. Because when POC have teaching moments? It costs us. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. It’s a sacrifice that we choose to make in an effort to improve things. It’s a moment (or more) out of our lives that we knowingly open ourselves up to things that any sane person would want to avoid under normal circumstances. Because there is no other option.
 "The Dos and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally"

"Things You Need to Understand"

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