such an obvious indication of yr privilege to show your white ass in a broke down neighborhood of color with the guts to flip houses and rebuild and raise property taxes while being oblivious to the daily struggles of being policed, harassed, and surveilled. and then yes, sit on yr front lawn and smoke marijuana in ye hip bong and cheeto dreads as black & brown folk are getting disproportionately locked up for making profit from drugs introduced to our communities. and then you have the choice of only interacting with cops when you want to or feel “unsafe” when POC know that interacting with cops will only make things worse.
The other day I was working at my coffeeshop and this white hippie woman comes in. She had two short braids and a number of necklaces adorning her neck and chest. She orders a double espresso over ice and as I take her money she says, “You are very beautiful.” I smile and thank her for the compliment but she wasn’t done. “Yeah,” she says, “You are so exotic looking. You have a very exotic beauty. Where are you from?”
It was like a record needle screeching to a halt. I blinked twice. How did this “compliment” start off so lovely and end so disastrously? I give her what she is asking for, if only to get rid of her, “My mother is from Colombia,” I say.
She replies, “Oh yeah. Your people are so magical. They really had it figured out. I went to South America to study with some shamans…”
At this point, it’s all I can do from throwing scalding hot coffee in her face and tell her to go fuck herself.
This is just one example of the objectification and commodification of PoC and non-Western cultures for the easy consumption of white folk. By labeling me “exotic” and calling my people “magical” she was otherizing me and my people. I’m a fucking first generation American, not some noble Native princess. In trying to give me a “compliment” she only succeeded in stripping me of my humanity and reduced me to a caricature. She completely erased all of my struggles, fears, triumphs, hopes and dreams and placed me in this tiny little box so that she could feel comfortable with my brownness. My otherness challenges her whiteness and so she erases my personhood to feel comfortable with me.
The reason for this is because being “exotic” means that you are not natural. My brown skin, full lips and wild hair are all aberrations from the norm. I am not white, so I must be from some mystical, far-flung land. I am not strange or unique. And most importantly, my brownness makes me an object to be consumed by my white counterparts.
And she did this to not only me but also to South America and all of its inhabitiants. Because, you know, we are all magical and different countries/nationalities don’t exist when you are magical!
And she can do this because she has the societal power of whiteness.
I am so tired of being a stranger in a land that, in all honesty, I have more of a right to than these white folk whose ancestors colonized mine. And the worst part is that if I called her out on her racist bullshit, she either would have started crying or get defensive or turn and call me racist! And that is one of the most egregious aspects of white supremacy today; if you call bullshit, the white folk deny that they are complicit in it, and they call you a racist for accusing them of racism! It’s so hard to engage with white folk on their racism because they have been taught to not see it. And so when it’s pointed out to them, all they can do is point it back at the victim. Its a fucking catch-22. You grind your teeth and bear it with silence or you call it out and get your experience erased.
Either way, headaches and heartaches will ensue.
thanks for writing this!
Keeping this hella short /simple hopefully.
Thinking about chivalry as I’ve seen a few posts across my dash that got me thinking
About how much chivalry is framed in a western context and the idea of being adamantly against chivalrous acts is a white feminist ..thing.
How in communities of color chivalry perhaps has a different name, is something entirely different; pulling your own weight. Or something closer to that. That what brown folks do that could be perceived as acts of chivalry, are really just acts of kindness to their mujer for treating them with love. Not acts of power dynamics based off gender, but acts of love based of the need for survival.
And woc stickin with the folks who will treat them good is not a sign of weakness, a sign of giving into these, it’s a sign of recognizing that we too need to allow ourselves to be cared for when and how we want to on our own terms and by whomever we choose.
When chivalry ain’t about holding doors open for us, but it is about caring for each other because we need to nurture the relationships that everyone else/systems will try to break apart.
So I’m okay with the death of chivalry, because what I and we do is not and can not be labeled as such.
Alladis! The act of rejecting “chivalrous” acts is so laced in white feminism, individualist/bootstrap mentality, and sometimes becomes ableist. I hold the door for people because I was taught to be courteous, especially to older folks. A guy holds the door for on a date because he wants to show me that cares for me and he’s treating me to a good time. Giving your seat up on the bus for a woman because WOC work many hours and go home and work again. She’s tired. Because being a POC, you’re treated with little respect from others as it is. So it’s imperative that we treat each other with care in our own communities.
Anyone’s who’s ever heard me tell my coming out story knows how deeply entangled it is with culture and language. Every time I tell my story I make it a mission to talk about how being immigrant and of immigrant parents has influenced my experience thus far. I make it a point to let folks know that it was easier for my mom to process my brother’s coming out because he is AMAB versus my coming out and being AFAB; 1) because my mom has acknowledged said male privilege and how nasty society can be toward women (how I identified at the time and how my mother probably still sees me) who are unmarried/not dependent on someone else and 2) just a lot of cultural wibbly wobbly stuff.
And every time I acknowledge this, holier than thou white feminists want to give my mother side eye and I just want to punch them in the face because they totally missed the point as to why I even talked about language and culture.
holy trees, I am so sick and tired of white trans* bodies dominating the scenes and convincing society that firstly that trans* bodies of color don’t fucking exist and secondly that queer and trans* bodies belonging to POC are inherent subscriptions to colonization… when our bodies have been radical for a long time.
so forget this
How to not talk to a person who has experienced childhood sexual abuse:
- If I say, “I’m not ready to talk about this” or “I don’t want to talk about this” or “no” or “stop” or express any other form of resistance to having a conversation about a history that belongs (probably a bad word for this) to me: DON’T KEEP PUSHING ME.
- Finding common ground helps sometimes, sure. But when I’m feeling super shitty, super triggered, I’m not interested in making connections on the basis of a history that still makes me extremely upset and anxious to this day. So please, don’t tell me anything to the extent of, “we have more in common than you think.”
- My experience is multi-facted and can be inflamed by feelings of gender and sexual dysphoria - so if I tell you that you don’t understand, you probably don’t.
- Please take me seriously. See number 1 again. If I want to stop talking about it, respect me.
possible tw: childhood sexual abuse
Collaboration should not be THIS hard.
When you’re organizing with other people, you are organizing with them… meaning that you need to take into consideration their positions, concerns, etc. Don’t be jackass, get your shit together.
I’ve been playing email tag with the acting director of the dept. of justice’s community relations department since September… I’ve been playing email tag with Charlotte’s district attorney also since September.
Reply in a timely manner please! God. And it’s not even like I’m sending obnoxious emails - they’re especially not obnoxious when you tell me that you’re working on anti-bullying work and would like to collaborate.
Sometimes even when there is nothing I want more than to create visibility and dialogue around a particular issue, what I actually do want more is to be able to ignore the entire conversation…
So ‘social justice activists’ who demand that I partake in a conversation about child sexual abuse even when I’ve disclosed that it’s extremely triggering and a sensitive issue, get on your douchecanoe and sail away.
I really hate it when I’m having a conversation with friends and then someone makes a really offensive “joke” and I’m just like, “that’s not funny” or different variations of, “racism is bad,” “rape is not okay,” or whatever the case may be… and then they think I’M joking.
I’ve been in too many uncomfortable and horrible situations to have you make a “joke” out of things that have made me feel uncomfortable and horrible.
So here are a few guidelines for interacting with me:
'stop' means 'stop', 'no' means 'no', and when I start crying, hollering at you, or kicking you, that means 'no' too.
My personal space has evolved a whole lot in the past year and that’s been accompanied by a struggle to reclaim my past. So DAMN, just be a decent human being.
I hate it when people assume that my identifying as queer is synonymous with identifying as gay. Just ‘cause you see me around mostly with cisgender FAAB doesn’t mean my queer identity only encompasses dating cisgender FAAB. And PLUS, I’m not even cisgender for that to be valid.
Group tonight was really interesting and was actually uncomfortable for me and I sensed among a few of the volunteers. Especially with one of the new volunteers who is huge on women’s and gender studies.
The language was extremely intense but it was being thrown around very comically. The incident involving Antoine Dodson and the neighborhood that had multiple houses broken into and plenty of people targeted for sexual assault was brought up and laughed at. I’m a party pooper most of the time, but I’m not one this time to call that it’s not funny; no matter how strong of an accent/dialect Antoine has, no matter how direct and loud and comfortable he was with the news interview. The fact that a part of town had multiple houses broken into and plenty of people reporting that they were involved in attempted sexual assault is horrible. And it’s even worse that it has been reported that no one spends decent amounts of time to investigate the cases or work with the community to build a safer place for everyone. How is any of that funny? Which part of Antoine’s sister almost getting raped funny? Which part of institutional neglect towards Antoine’s situation and community funny?
And then there was all of this talk about how socially progressive Family Guy is, and I’m just like, “oh come on, bullshit!” Family Guy isn’t afraid to take the extra mile, but there is so much wrong with that t.v show.
I feel really bad and dirty right now. I’m not going to rip off a commitment I’ve made to a coalition of people, but my slightly radical gut is telling me to go fuck myself. No, really. Here is me complaining up and down about my personal ethics. I support the Dream Act and I support the message that it is handing off to students and politicians. But I absolutely dislike the frame work that it is set up in. The whole idea of the military becoming an institution embracing immigrant students and cycling them into a gruesome machine is so uneasy to me. I guess it is a -dirty word- compromise.