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Hey, PoC?

If you're gonna accuse all white people of having "Mammy issues", and also of taking over any fight for rights, common decency, or whatever, then don't accuse me of being "passive-aggressive" and doing nothing when I fucking tell you "I know I personally don't do X, and don't give my money to it. Anything else, you're driving, what do you you want me to do?"

You know why? Because you are expecting me to be fucking psychic, and somehow mystically know how you want white people to help, and when we don't, you accuse us of some fucked up mammy shit. I never had a "mammy", or any other "help" when I grew up. I don't crave it now, either. Does not apply, sorry to disappoint you. I'm not your stereotypical white chick.

I'm doing what you have told me you want: Staying out of the drivers seat, because it's your fight, not mine.

I try to be sympathetic, but if I can't understand *why* some people treat others in some really fucked up ways, it's not because of "privilege", but because I don't treat people in those fucked up ways!

There's some things no one should have to put up with, I don't care their color, ability, gender, gender identity, religion, or any other artificial division we make in the definition of human. The fact that some jerks think those things exclude people from being human pisses me off, but I can't walk up and change them. Sorry to disillusion you. I can refuse to do it, support it or feed it. That's it, without some other inspiration from you, because I don't really have any other tools or knowledge at my disposal. I'm not rich and powerful.

So I will do my best to not step in your way, and I try to ask what you want.

But I'm really not into getting abuse for being born white, any more than you are into getting abuse for being non-white. I'm not going to assume what's best for you - that's fucking patronizing - and I'll thank you to not assume that I know how you want me to help.

I try to be understanding of experiences I've never had. But some shit I don't, and can't get my head around. Not just color issues, either, but lots of it dealing with breaches of common (to me) courtesy and respect. I don't condone it, either. But that's not good enough for some people.

BTW, this is in my blog, instead of someone else's, because this kind of piss and vinegar doesn't belong in somebody's "home" that isn't party to it.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
siliconshaman
Aug. 20th, 2011 11:43 am (UTC)
Yup, ass-holes come in all shades...
ravan
Aug. 20th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
Yep. It's the universal thing.

Usually I treat assholes as assholes, unless *they* make it about color, class, gender, etc. Then they get held up as a shitty example.

I don't classify people as "x, y, z people", I classify people as "people who happen to be x, y, z". They're all people, even the assholes. But some folks, on all sides, insist on seeing the division first: They see the black, the white, the male, the female, the geek, the jock, first, not the person.
treecat
Aug. 20th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
hey then you'd appreciate what my point in the school violence thread from hell was about, but probably not wading through the damn thing.

I've been really bothered by what all is being labeled 'privilege' these days. Privilege is stuff that;s extra. Being treated fairly and humanely is a right. Privilege is the new word being used to browbeat people into feeling guilty about everything that goes right for them, while implying that everyone should be brought down, not that they should all be brought up to a better standard of treatment. Privilege applies better when you are talking about something limited. It doesn't apply to not getting treated badly for no reason but color... that is bad behavior and the talk should be about how to get towards where no one is treated badly instead.

The people who stack it so you can't possibly win - you either don't do enough or you're arrogantly and patronizingly taking over -- are hurting everyone with that shit, not just the person they are taking it out on.


So was this inspired by a discussion of the Help movie?
ravan
Aug. 20th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
No, but a discussion of Martha (a Dr Who companion) hate in fandom. Since I haven't even seen the newest Dr. Who episodes because I don't watch TV, I certainly wouldn't be hating on a character I have never seen. From what I've heard, the writers tagged her with a shitty trope.

The "mammy" thing was left over from a discussion of "The Help", which I also haven't seen, and have no interest in seeing.

Thing is, as a disabled person, the last thing I want is someone to do everything for me, like a "mammy". In fact, I find the insinuation that I do downright infuriating. I worked for my ability to "do for" myself a lot of the things that most people take for granted - going to the bathroom, dressing myself, doing laundry, cooking a meal, washing a pan, driving a car, using a keyboard, etc. It's called "occupational therapy", but it actually has to do with everyday living, not really working. I still can't do things like sweep a floor or vacuum a rug, and it upsets me.

Edited at 2011-08-20 06:45 pm (UTC)
harvey_rrit
Aug. 20th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
WELL TOLD, and no mistake.
treecat
Aug. 20th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
I haven't run into the Martha haters, I think I'll try to avoid them. She's a fine companion I think. She really IS a Dr.

The mammy part was part of why I thought you meant the Help.

You are totally right of course that not everyone even wants to be coddled. Many people do prefer the strength of independence, even and sometimes especially if, it's hard.

Glad I didn't see what you are responding to.
kittenmommy
Aug. 20th, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)

She really IS a Dr.

She is now. She was a med student (probably third or fourth year, since she was rounding with doctors and seeing patients) when we first "met" her. After she left the Doctor, she finished med school and got her MD.
just_the_ash
Aug. 20th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)
The particular person who told you that not being an oppressor was not enough -- if I'm correctly remembering the conversation -- is pretty consistently hostile in almost all LJ comments, when they are not directly kissing that particular blogger's butt. I can at least intellectually understand where a lot of their anger comes from. They are absolutely right about the intersectionality issues they get mad about. And gods help me, I am not about the "tone argument." But any conversation with them on the Interwebs always involves the crunching noise of eggshells beneath one's feet.
ravan
Aug. 20th, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Exactly. There's also a shit-ton of projection going on with that one - passive-aggressive indeed. Nothing you say is good enough, even if you agree with them, if they doesn't consider you part of their particular persecuted class. I don't play that game for anyone. I don't walk on eggshells when I'm not being very well paid, and even then I start looking for an exit.

The fact is, the reason I don't do bigoted shit has little to do with how others judge me, and a metric fuckton with how I live within my own skin.
kittenmommy
Aug. 20th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)

I try to be understanding of experiences I've never had.

So do I. And I realized today that sometimes that means talking/typing less and listening/reading more.
ertla
Aug. 22nd, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
*sigh* My experience at the (very liberal) seminary (PSR) were quite eye opening. People wanted to teach white students about their "unconscious racism", which apparently was an innate attribute that came with the skin colour. They also wanted white students to "confess" - i.e. acknowledge this racism, and seek out this instruction. No attempt was made to convince the "unconscious racists" of their alleged racism; this was understood to be "self evident."

As an immigrant, I found this fascinating, in a sociological sense, but utterly unconvincing. And I never did check out the details of this supposed racism, since there was no way to learn about it except indirectly, by claiming to accept that one had it.

Seriously though, there is a tendency to presume that everyone has a similar history and similar expectations to oneself. Thus it's pretty clear that people without various disadvantages may be unaware of the presence or effects of those disadvantages. (E.g. it never occurred to me that young black males are chronically seen as potential violent attackers in most parts of the US.) It would be nice if such things could be communicated without the vindictiveness... but given how much trouble they cause their victims, and how bloody obvious they are from the victims' point of view, that's difficult. (For me, the one I can't explain calmly is the effect of the unremitting unwanted advances that most young women experience in this culture.)
ravan
Aug. 23rd, 2011 04:35 am (UTC)
Thus it's pretty clear that people without various disadvantages may be unaware of the presence or effects of those disadvantages.

Yet some people expect you to a) mystically know that these disadvantages exist, b) feel guilty about them even though you yourself don't support or do them, and c) know the exact right thing to do to make right, but d) without "taking over" or "patronizing".

Yes, learning about the shit that some groups in this country go through helps keep you from putting your foot in it up to your hip, and can keep from making it worse, but other than not perpetuating wrongness or accepting it around you, there's not much your average person can do.

(For me, the one I can't explain calmly is the effect of the unremitting unwanted advances that most young women experience in this culture.)

Yeah, that's a hot button for me too. For me it was alternated with verbal abuse about my looks and my weight.

IMO, it's not so much that only some of us come with the "privilege knapsack", but that we *all* have a knapsack that we carry, but people have it weighed down by the stones of disadvantages and discrimination that drag down their climb up to their potential.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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