A blog by a playwright who wrote a play about a famous actress coming out of a TV, with a few thoughts on diversity, social justice, and indie theatre.
Everytime a minorty voice speaks a story, I wish more 'white' ears would listen. Forget rebuttal, just listen.
I'm afraid by typing this that everybody will think I'm a racist, but here goes. With all due respect; "listen"? I'm a 29-year old, middle-class white guy from a relatively liberal family. I feel like I've been listening all my life. Race and the injustices of racism were constantly discussed in my education as well as in my household... so much so that I have a pretty bad case of "white guilt." I think it's good that I have this education of course, and acknowledge that my white guilt is probably annoying to black people (at least I realize I have it, which is more that can be said of most white people.) You've been writing to your readers, "I'm probably talking about you." Got it. That means me. Okay, fine. But your posts since Garvey's hateful shit bomb have been kind of painful for me to read. I get the anger, his post being as hateful as it was.That said, I feel like I am listening. I feel like I've always been listening. So to continuously be called out for not listening makes me bristle a little. Since I feel that, I'll bet other white people do too. I feel exasperated, frankly, and like there is nothing I can do to improve relations between people. Also, just listen without rebuttal? Your use of the word 'rebuttal' kind of makes it seem like you think all white people want to debate racism. Some white people want things to get better. Listen in perpetuity? With no dialogue? What good does that do anybody?So I have a question. To put it in the simplest terms: I'm listening. Now what do you want me to do? "Listen" is not actionable after a certain point. Like I said, I feel like I've been listening for as long as I can remember. Telling white people that racism is painful is a first step, but there have to be actions we can take, right? I'm not an ethnic minority, but I am queer. If somebody were to put me on the spot and say, "what can straight people do to improve the lives of queers?" I would readily have a laundry list before you could even blink.You wanted white people to listen to how racism in the institutional theater has affected you. Judging by how much people are blogging about it now on the theatrosphere I'd say you got your wish. For God's sake, follow through.
I'm afraid by typing this that everybody will think I'm a racist [...] With all due respect [...]It's late, I'm tired, and this shit you said to me is just about the last motherfucking thing I needed to see before going to bed.You want me to talk about wish lists? How about this: I wish I could talk about something that affects me daily without me always being the one getting hurt.What you said here is, in a way, much worse than what Garvey said about me. Despite what you feel you were doing, the effects of your "listening" are the same: further marginalization and increasing distrust. Part of it is that I can't even talk about myself and what I go through without you or some other White man (and it's almost always a man) butting in and demanding me to make what you think and feel the center of that experience. You can't seem to grasp the difference between something that involves you and something that's about you. Then, when you don't get the response you're looking (hoping?) for, instead of genuinely trying to understand, you want to make it into a debate. As though my LIFE is an abstraction, a diversion, a game.And you wonder why I don't respond well to it. If you were listening to me, you would have seen that I said:If I haven't made things absolutely clear, no one is on trial. This is not a cross-examination. Nobody's casting anyone as heroes and villains. In fact, it's just the opposite - I want you to be better Good Guys. To do that takes going beyond earning a little bit of good karma here and there. It takes creating a new way of seeing and existing in the world - and that's not a comfortable place to be in.But, no. I guess it's easier to believe and treat me as an Angry Black Woman who hates whitey than it is to try to better understand where I'm coming from. I won't single you out here. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has even so much as attempted to do that. I guess it's because what I'm talking about seems so simple - even though it isn't, and you all keep failing to fucking grasp that.Then again, it is pretty simple. As one person who used to be clueless states:I'm always humbled by how little it takes to have a meaningful, respectful dialogue with fans of color, how little they expect of me. The overwhelming majority of FOC I've met only want me to listen, accept their interpretation of their own experiences, and show willingness to learn. To ask intelligent questions, to be polite, to treat them like humans who are part of my community. When I do those simple things, they are boundlessly patient educating me even though it's not their job.Of course, despite the seeming simplicity of it, I find more and more that it's easier said than done.Dishearteningly so.As a matter of fact, I should probably leave this "dialogue" alone until I've become calloused enough to not give a shit.So, let me leave you and my other readers with a few things to take home while I try to piece together what's left of my increasingly fractured ability to trust the intentions of White people who treat me the way you just did.
@Joshcon80I saw your comment last night and I was too livid to respond and out of respect to RVC's space, I decided to leave it be. But fuck it, I can't let this shit past.This black woman here has put herself out there to enlighten the masses about a very painful subject that we face everyday and for all her noble efforts, all she has received are racist attacks and bullshit replies like this one.And yet she's feeling frustrated for actually having faith in so called white allies.Then ya'll wonder why minorities don't trust your asses.If you bothered to re-read her posts carefully, you would know that she's breaking down for everyone what needs to happen.As she said, "If I haven't made things absolutely clear, no one is on trial. This is not a cross-examination. Nobody's casting anyone as heroes and villains. In fact, it's just the opposite - I want you to be better Good Guys. To do that takes going beyond earning a little bit of good karma here and there. It takes creating a new way of seeing and existing in the world - and that's not a comfortable place to be in."1. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOUR WHITE GUILT OR YOUR FEELINGS. Your white guilt does me no good as long as there's an imbalanced system. "Sorry for oppressing you but I feel really bad about it."2.Discussions on race are supposed to make you uncomfortable. They're supposed to challenge you to act and make changes. If you're a little discomforted about the mere discussion of racism, imagine how it is for those of us on the receiving end of it everyday. If you feel guilty get off your ass and do something about it, there are legions of POCs who will be happy to show you what you need to do.3. As a fellow queer male, I have to ask, how would you have reacted if a heterosexual made the same bullshit reply you just made towards your laundry list of queer issues. Then ya'll wonder why we're so militant.And for you and the rest of the speshul white folks reading, bookmark these posts, and I wish ya'll would ask again why there's no diversity in theater or anywhere else.But thank you for proving RVC's point for her.
Ugh. Talk about not listening. I'd done too.
Joshcon80's done which means y'all ungrateful niggers didn't suck his dick and give him chocolate, truffle cookies for even BOTHERING to feel White Guilt for y'all hapless darkies. So now, he's taking his White Guilt Bullshit Bat and Ball and going to be Dan Savages' bottom.An' you ignant culluds only have YOURSELVES to blame for losing such an ineffectual, pseudo-ally./throat-throttling sarcasm