howdoiarticulatethisproperly asked: My friend and I were looking at your blog and she got very offended saying "this is just meant to make white people feel guilty! it isn't my fault I'm white! etc." Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I took away from your blog is that you aren't trying to make white people feel guilty but rather trying to shed light on the fact that in our society, if you're white you automatically have more opportunities than someone who is not white. Why is this so often misconstrued as "white racism"?
Because white people think everything is about them. They feel guilty, which I really don’t find useful but expect from typical humans, and try to deflect blame (“my anscetors not me!”, “I didn’t choose to be born white!”). This blog isn’t about white people tho. It’s POC sharing their personal interactions with white privilege; it’s a very cathartic way of dealing with everything.
I’m not sure why white people think we are here to make them feel guilty? Like if you feel guilty it’s probably cause ya did something wrong (e.g casual racism) or you’re ashamed to be associated with such a hateful system. But you know….suck it up.
"so you want me to feel so guilty just because I’m white/male???!"
At a recent presentation, I asked all of the gay male students in the room to raise their hand if in the past week they touched a woman’s body without her consent. After a moment of hesitation, all of the hands of the gay men in…
Whoa. The MLA has officially devised a standard format to cite tweets in an academic paper. Sign of the times.
ebooks, Horse. (horse_ebooks). “Leg Butt” 18 Nov 2011, 12:38 PM. Tweet.
von Bears, Emperor. (halfabear). “@David_Cameron pissweasel” 5 July 2013, 10:46 PM. Tweet.
Balls, Ed. (edballsmp) “Ed Balls” 28 April 2011, 10:20 AM. Tweet.
Balls, Ed. (edballsmp). “Fabulous” 22 Dec 2013, 7:16PM. Tweet.
Amazing short story that explores the nuances around race that took my breath away, honestly. Nikesh Shukla is not only a wonderful person but a fantastic writer.
He doesn’t hate women.
Above and beyond everything else, he wants you to know this: he does not hate women.
He has two daughters, for god’s sake, and a wife that he adores beyond anything else, and a sister that he texts every day and a mother who is the strongest person that he’s ever known – yes, stronger than any of the men he’s met. So don’t think that this is because he hates women.
If anything, his real problem is loving women too much.
See, he just wants his daughters to grow up safe and happy. And to be honest, some of the things that you’re saying – that these feminists are saying – are troubling to him.
He just wants to have a sort of academic chat. Peer to peer. Grownup to grownup. That’s all. He’s not saying you’re wrong – not by a long shot! He just wants you to explain a few things. He’s a reasonable, logical man, and he’s only asking for what any reasonable, logical person would want: proof.
After all, if you’re going to call yourself a feminist, you should be willing to back that belief up with facts, right?
And if you’ve got all the facts, it should be easy enough to convince him, shouldn’t it?
And after all, how is he supposed to understand anything if you won’t educate him?
He just wants so badly to understand.
If you don’t mind, could you start by providing him with some kind empirical data that women continue to suffer from systematic oppression? He doesn’t care about the past, and doesn’t want a history lesson. He wants to talk about the here and now. And from what he can see in the here and now, women are doing pretty well. Just look at you! Smart, well-educated, pretty. What about your gender could you possibly imagine has ever held you back? If anything, it’s probably done you a few favours!
He wonders if, for instance, you knew that there are now more women in post-secondary institutions than men? Gee, it sure seems like being a woman has benefited you in that regard!
He wonders if knew that more men were killed on the job than women, or that more men died violent deaths than women.
He wonders if you were aware that the rate of suicide was higher for men than for women.
He wonders if you even care about men, the way that he cares so much about women.
When you bring up the wage gap, he tells you that women make less because they work, on average, fewer hours. He tells you that men receive bonuses for doing more hazardous work, which skews the numbers. He tells you that the wage gap isn’t based on discrimination, but rather on mitigating factors that you obviously haven’t taken into consideration.
When you bring up rape and domestic violence statistics, he tells you that of course he’s sympathetic to female victims, but then asks why you didn’t mention male victims. He ponders aloud how interesting it is, the fact that you focus so much on women and seem to care so little about men. Don’t you think that men are victims of rape and domestic violence too? Have you ever thought about the fact that men’s numbers might be so much lower because stigma prevents so many victims from reporting their attacks? When a woman is raped or beaten, she’s treated with kindness and pity, but if it happens to a man, well, you can only imagine the comments about his masculinity and sexuality. And there are no men’s shelters for male victims of domestic abuse, there are no workshops for men to learn how to defend themselves against rapists. So wouldn’t you say that men actually have it worse with regards to these issues?
He doesn’t like the term “victim-blaming,” because, well, he finds that people use it when they want to escape the consequences of their actions. The thing is, if you’re a young girl out drinking and partying with the boys, he’s sure we all know that certain things might happen. Of course any rapist is a terrible person and deserves to be punished, but. Well. Women need to practice risk management, don’t they? If we know that rapists exist (and we do), then logically why would women make certain choices that would increase their risk of being raped? Rapists are monsters and we can’t change that, but women can certainly do their part to make sure that they stay safe.
After all, if someone’s house is robbed because they didn’t lock their door, we acknowledge that locking the door could have prevented the crime, don’t we? We don’t hold the person whose house was robbed to be completely blameless just because in a perfect world crimes would never be committed, do we?
Or to put it another way, when we drive cars, we wear seat belts, not because we think that we are bad drivers, but because we can’t control what other people on the road might do.
He wants his daughters to dress and behave modestly because although he trusts them, he can’t trust other people. That’s not victim-blaming, that’s just common sense.
He asks if you think that his daughters should serve as collateral damage for some point you are trying to prove.
He asks why it’s fine to put his daughter’ lives at risk for your so-called feminist principles.
He asks why you would want his daughters to dress and act like sluts – wouldn’t you rather they attract boys with their brains and character rather than their looks?
You see, it’s not that he hates women – not at all. He cares a great deal – obviously more than you do – about their health and safety. He wants his daughters to marry men who treat them well – men who hold open doors, men who pull out chairs, men who treat women as the exalted creatures that they are. He tells you that women – all women – deserve nothing less than this, because they are better, kinder, sweeter people than men. Women are stronger than men, he says – how else could they endure childbirth? Women are more nurturing and loving than men, he says – that’s why for thousands of years they’ve stayed home with the children while the men were out providing for the family.
Why would you want to deny his daughters all these wonderful qualities of womanhood and femininity?
Why would you want his daughters to be more like men, who are so obviouslythe lesser sex in so many regards?
You bring up the way that we as a society perpetuate and reinforce traditional gender roles; he counters with anecdotes about little boys being naturally interested in trucks, while little girls gravitate towards dolls and cooking sets.
You bring up the extreme beauty standards that women are held up to; he scoffs and asks if you’ve noticed how attractive the men in Hollywood are. He wonders if you think that women are alone when it comes to having body image issues – do you truly believe that men don’t face the same pressure that women do?
You bring up abortion; he bemoans the fact that men have no say over whether their child, their own flesh and blood, is born.
He uses the term “logical fallacy.”
He uses the term “straw man argument.”
He uses the term “ad hominem attack.”
When you tell him that he is not using any of these terms correctly, he calls thatan ad hominem attack.
When you try to end the discussion, he accuses you of being too emotional about this. After all, here he is being all calm and rational, while you seem very, very upset. Here he has sat politely listening to you, presenting some very valid arguments, treating you exactly as he would treat a man, but you can’t seem to handle it. He humbly suggests that, if you cannot have a calm, rational discussion with him, perhaps women are not as equal as you imagine.
He asks why you so enjoy the role of the victim.
He asks why you would want to reduce his smart, competent daughters to victims.
He asks why you want to think of his mother, his brave, strong mother who raised him all on her own, as a victim.
He would never think of women as victims because, unlike you, he does not hate women.
Well this is the best thing I’ve read in a long while. My god. It’s perfect.
“Inside every gay man is a fierce black woman!” tweeted celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, as a way of plugging the comedy show of a (black, female) friend of his.
Going to his twitter feed, I scrolled down and saw his constant, condescending replies to the many black women who took offense at what he said. “Some [black women] failed to see I was complimenting them” was quickly backed up with “I continue to not give a fuck knowing my intentions”, before the clarifier “it’s not rude”. No, Perez, you’re right – it’s not simply rude to allude that black women are fierce. It’s racist.
Here’s the thing. Whilst it’s easy for us to think racism is as easy to identify as KKK hoods and burning crosses, things are never that easy. I don’t care what the dictionary says, racism is not as straightforward as just ‘hating someone for their race’. The racism that affects me the most is that which is a mixture of prejudice plus power, and so anything that adds to the oppressive forces around me counts as a racist act, even if there is no violence or rudeness involved. Enforcing the stereotype of the ‘fierce black woman’ does just that.
Racism is a multi faceted beast, something that spans from explicit acts of physical violence against people of colour, all the way to smaller actions that perpetuate white supremacy – and it is exactly those smaller actions that lead, eventually, to the overt violence (and the excusing of it) at the very top of the scale. Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis – those poor young boys would not have been perceived as threats, nor their killers so vehemently excused, if black skin on young men had not become synonymous with ‘threat’. How do young black boys become symbols of danger? Everything from police searches happening to black men more often, to the public demonising sportsmen for saying antagonistic things on the field.
When you, like Perez Hilton, equate being ‘fierce’ with black womanhood, you are not simply complimenting black women’s perceived awesome sassiness. You are saying that we are overtly strong, both emotionally and physically, which leads to us being denied the facets of femininity that white women are so easily given. This is dangerous in ways I cannot completely describe, but I’m going to try: Black women are raped more often than white women, because our ‘fierceness’ is linked to ideas of sexual promiscuity – rapists believe we ‘want it more’. When we are raped the police believes us less than white women, because our ‘fierceness’ makes them think we could have fought back if we really wanted to. When we are beaten by our partners, the same applies. When we argue with people, we are seen as immediately aggressive. If we raise our voices or get angry, it isn’t because you’ve done something stupid, it’s because we are black and we are female and our innate ‘fierceness’ makes us unreasonable and unworthy of being listened to. When we lose our children to violence, when we have to survive on food stamps and benefits, even when we go to prison, it’s all a-ok because black women are the fiercest of the fierce and so none of that is a problem and we can handle anything that’s thrown at us – and all of this has lead to a point where when we knock on a door to ask for help because our car has broken down, we are not given hugs and a cup of tea. We, like a young American woman called Renisha McBride, whose killer claimed self defence, are shot in the face at point blank range because we are fierce, and therefore aggressive, unpredictable, and worthy of the mocking, fear and scorn that the world looks at us with.
When you call black women ‘fierce’, you are dehumanizing us to a stereotype that has dangerous consequences; we become not only less than human, but also less than woman. When Perez Hilton says that inside him rests a fierce black woman, he is adding to a narrative that leads to my life being a little bit harder, a little bit more unsafe, and I hate him for it. Flippant statements about my fierceness means I am not allowed to be vulnerable, or even anything that is not angrily snapping my fingers whilst twerking on demand in an internet meme or viral video. I am not that, I cannot be that, and suggesting that women with skin like mine are necessarily that is racist – and if you can’t see that, well, then I think you’re racist too.
When Perez Hilton suggests that a black woman rests inside him, he is also denying his own privilege as a non-black man, despite his gay identity. In reply to one online critic, Perez tweeted “you say privilege I say seeing commonalities. Build bridges, not walls”… what? No, Perez. No. Yes, the institutions around us oppress us both, but your gayness is not the same as my black womanhood, and my black womanhood is not the same as your gayness. We become more or less oppressed in comparison to each other in different situations, and that’s ok – we don’t need to say that our oppressions have ‘common ground’, because a lot of the time, they don’t. Suggesting you cannot have male privilege because you’re gay is as ridiculous as someone suggesting I can’t have straight privilege because I am black. If people who believe in equality want to get anywhere, the first thing to remember is that we all have privileges, we all have oppressions, and the different sides of ourselves mean we can oppress or be oppressed at different times. There’s a helpful word for that – intersectionality – which is honestly as simple as I’ve just explained (promise).
Gay men can be racist and sexist in the same way straight men can, and I refuse to give someone a pass for their oppressive language just because they’re oppressed in other ways themselves (and neither should you). Do I think Perez Hilton hates black women*, or wants to cause them harm? No. Does that stop him being racist? No way. You see, being racist doesn’t mean you are a necessarily a terrible human being. Most racism I see is as simple as someone who is yet to acknowledge the harm casual words and phrases can cause in keeping the oppression of non-white people going. Black women as ‘fierce’, Asian women as submissive, Native women as sexually available, Latina women as promiscuous – casually referring to these stereotypes causes real harm to the communities of women of colour, and acknowledging this is the first step in helping to end the injustice we face.
To all the people who will undoubtedly accuse me of overreacting, try and put yourself in my shoes. According to my laptop, the synonyms of ‘fierce’ are violent, ferocious, brutal, severe, stern, angry, vicious, furious, intense and strong. If the world believed you had to be all of those things just because you have dark brown skin and like female pronouns, wouldn’t you be upset too? It’s simple: stop referring to the ‘fierce black woman’ inside of you. She doesn’t exist, and the more you want her to, the more you affect the black women – fierce or not – who do.
*EDIT: In response to a tweet from @BertLoch: “Wow @PerezHilton really isn’t getting it. Listen to these people before dismissing. They’re making sense.” Perez replied with: “Some present logical arguments, but then Hitler attempted to justify the holocaust too.” Huh? Did Perez Hilton seriously compare black women complaining that his use of racist language to Adolf Hitler convincing people to murder Jewish, Roma and gay communities in the 1940s? Yeah, that’s enough to convince me that he hates black women.
I wrote a thing. Thank you so much everyone for sharing it!