Tag Archives: white privilege

Blade as allegory for dealing with privilege

22 Oct

OK OK, I’m being serious here.

I’ve been thinking about issues around privilege a lot lately. And I watched Blade last night, and the third Twilight movie a couple of weeks ago. These two movies combined have created some weird connections in my brain. This is my attempt to convey these connections. It will probably make better sense if you have seen both of the films, but I wouldn’t spend money on it.

The third twilight movie is a good example of colonialism/racism and how the vampire concept plays into it. In that movie they actually show white, colonist vampires engaging in genocide of indigenous people. Who happen to have the ability to turn into werewolves. The werewolves are indigenous people of color. The vampires are almost exclusively white- blindingly glittery white. The movie itself is full of racism in terms of the representation of the indigenous people. The movie also contains a lot of promblematic content in terms of how emotionally and physically abusive etc. the relationship is, as well as the Mormon points of view about sex, marriage, and monogamy that are very clearly promoted in the content.

Basically I am bringing up Twilight only to explain why I was originally starting the think about silly vampire movies in contexts of racism and privilege. Twilight is pretty racist. And so I started thinking about vampires as having a lot in common with white people.

In Blade, Blade is a person of color who was born right after his mom got bitten by a vampire. Continue reading

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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.

Genderqueer

18 Aug

I think that there are many misconceptions about the concept of gender queer. It has not been a particularly mainstream idea for very long. Arguably, it still is not mainstream.

Genderqueer is essentially a rejection of the binary gender system (male or female, boy or girl, man or woman). Claiming gender queer is basically saying, fuck a binary gender system, these gender roles that exist are too confining/limiting/inaccurate/fucked up etc.

Claiming genderqueer is not the same thing as saying you are trans. There is definitely overlap. Many radical trans people will also identify as genderqueer because they see the gender binary system as inherently oppressive. Some genderqueer people choose that identity because they see more than 2 genders. Others, because they don’t feel comfortable as either of the 2 genders. There are many reasons people choose genderqueer. It is a fairly fluid concept, with the main point of unity being a rejection of the binary gender system.

Claiming genderqueer is not oppressive. Claiming genderqueer does not cancel out other privileges that one may have. It is not a way to deflect those privileges. If a male bodied person says they are genderqueer, but they frequently pass as male, they still ought to acknowledge the way that male privilege plays a role in their lives. If a white person is genderqueer, that does not in any way eliminate their white skin privilege. And I have never personally encountered anyone trying to use genderqueer as a way of avoiding accountability for their other privileges. Continue reading

Thanks to all Anti-Racists

10 Aug

To preface this, I am white- just to let you know if you don’t know me.

And where I was born and raised (Hanover and Richmond Virginia) the issue of racism is not dealt with particularly well. When I went to college in Massachusetts I found myself very out of my element. I did not want to be a racist, but back in Virginia had never encountered anyone challenging me on issues of race, privilege, appropriation, prejudice etc.

I had a hard time learning to deal with being called out on my behavior. I had a hard time coming to understand the difference between racism and prejudice. I was very difficult and I’m sure seriously upset and traumatized and angered people who were fighting racism and privilege. I’m sorry for any tears, sleepless nights etc. that my insensitivity contributed to.  I’m sorry it takes me being in your shoes to be able to even begin to understand the shit you have to deal with.

Now that I am going through the ordeal that is trying to explain to people what racism and prejudice are and are not etc., I have a serious appreciation for how much upset and strife I no doubt caused everyone who called me out in the past. I wish there was a better way to let everyone know how sorry I am for being so ignorant/resistant/defensive.

I am trying to not be so ignorant/resistant/defensive. I think working on privilege and race are life long tasks, so I am sure I am going to be making more mistakes.  I want to try not to, but I also want to try to be open to criticism and to avoid getting defensive. Please do call me out, preferably in a non-attack manner.  Genuine attempts to call me out will be met with a ready listener.

McDonnell’s Preservation of White Supremacy

7 Apr

Word has it that another white, male, middle aged politician  has fucked up. I am definitely not wearing my surprised face, lets just say that much. I even have a hard time mustering up decent outrage over things like this, because they are so common and intrinsic to the system we live in. These sorts of bad decisions, perpetuations of racism/classism/sexism/ etc., oppressive maneuvers seem to me to be the obvious ends of the way our government and economy functions. I try not to be shocked, but rather, roll with the punches.

In this case, lets talk about how Virginia’s governor (not my governor, I don’t vote) issues a statement on the down-low Friday about re-declaring April Confederate History Month. Continue reading