On Racism- from CPHP#5

19 Oct

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Racism

My collective and roommates Kayla and Eric and I went to Diversity Thrift the other day to see if they had halloween decorations and to get some more clothes for the cold weather. We checked out the LGBTQ book section and I found some really cool murder mysteries with LGBTQ characters. I love crappy mystery novels and so it was super good to read some that were not supporting the patriarchy. One of the books was pretty awesome, called Murder in the Collective by Barbara Wilson. It talked about collectives and consensus and queers and dealing with alcoholism and more! And there was a really awesome quote which I will repeat here! Page 133,

 

you worry about being called racist as if it were syphillis or something. Like you were accused of carrying some dread, disfiguring, incurable disease. But I think it’s more like telling someone or being told, “Hey, you’ve got snot hanging out of your nose.’ You say thank you and wipe it off. Though that doesn’t mean the snot’s not ever going to drip again.”

I think that is soooo good. And I want to reproduce it a lot, and would encourage other people to as well. It is such a good way to talk about racism (or classism, sexism, etc.) and point out why there is no need to be defensive. Of COURSE being oppressive or racist/sexist/classist etc. is fucked up. But of COURSE we all fuck up all the time. These things are not good, and they do need to be called out, but people need to realize that trying to avoid being called out is counterproductive. No one is perfect.

*An addition that was not in the zine but that ought to be thought about by white people- prejudice+power= racism. POC are not racist towards white people, because they do not have the backing of institutional powers.

Also, letting someone know they have proverbial snot hanging out of their nose is not the same as saying that you yourself have never had snot hanging out of your nose. Frankly, I think a lot of the reason people are ABLE to point out to others when they have been racist or sexist etc. is because they recognize their own previous behavior. Getting called out can make your ego feel bad. Getting defensive and attacking the person who called you out is not a productive or appropriate means of dealing with the situation. Someone calling you out is NOT them saying they aren’t fucked up. Someone with privilege can call out others on their privilege- it does not mean they are denying their own privilege or problems. Allowing guilt or defensiveness to get in the way of dealing with the snot hanging out of your nose is not going to lead to positive things for yourself or your community.

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