Friday, March 2, 2012

Losing Patience

I am seriously losing patience with white people who don't get it.

Pop quiz! What is your response to this?

B. I find it incredibly offensive that someone has just labeled my entire race as thieves. No one race is better than the other, I won't have someone stirring up racial hatred. If you define white as Western European and American, we are not responsible for all the evils in the world. Black people, Asian people, Indian people, Muslims, Jews, shamans, witch doctors, first nations, Maoris etc. have all committed atrocities and stolen from each other.

If you answered A, congratulations! You're not a completely terrible human being!

If you answered B (or some variant thereof), then just... GTFO.

When this happened on my Facebook, I pretty much disengaged completely. I wrote only, “OH NO, I'M REVERSE RACIST”, which is probably far too subtle a slice of mockery for the person in question (who probably thinks that “reverse racism” is a thing), and then I backed the fuck off. Another friend, who does a lot of anti-racist work, stepped up and wrote some very patient and kind posts to try to get the first person to check their privilege without hurting their fee-fees too much. I didn't say anything else, because I knew I wouldn't be able to stay civil.

The fact is, I'm having an extremely hard time giving a flying moon-fuck for white people who care more about their own hurt fee-fees than about combating racism.

Say it with me:


It's really, really, really, really, really not about us.

I am white – matrilineally Jewish but fully WASP in appearance – and my one personal encounter on the receiving end of racism (not to mention my numerous encounters with sexism and heterosexism) assures me of what should be completely frickin' obvious to everyone: being on the receiving end of an -ism is much, much worse than having to check your goddamn privilege.

And I am profoundly not interested in explaining this to people who don't get it.

I've been learning about the history of the gay rights movement in the US, and one thing I've found very striking is that from the very beginning the movement was split into two wings. The one side advocated a softly-softly approach, and the other was a lot more militant. I think it's generally accepted in activism that both wings are necessary for maximum movement efficacy: if you don't have a softly-softly side, you'll alienate the mainstream, but without a militant wing you might not get anything done.

Myself, I don't have the temperament to be gentle with people whose consciousness hasn't yet been raised. But, by God, I admire those who do.

1 comment:

  1. Dear GCG,

    You write,

    '...being on the receiving end of an -ism is much, much worse than having to check your goddamn privilege.'

    Am I right in thinking - on the basis of the above quotation - that your interpretation of white consternation over this issue reflects their (disputable) acute sense of dis-empowerment? i.e. they perceive a challenge to their interests which they seek to mitigate. And that given, in your mind, such 'privilege' reflects/is an embodiment of 'injustice', it ought to be overthrown?

    Please note this is not some effort at 'trolling' but an attempt to understand your position.

    Thank you.