ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME
Something that I’ve realized in talking with my white friends about race is they always want to talk about how they, personally, are not racist. And how they, an individual, do not treat people differently due to skin color. And how they, the individual of course,…
I can’t believe that white lady was so ignorant & racist that she thought that sign was a good idea & all the white people standing around like it’s no biggie.
what in the fuck.
This is from a John Lennon song of the same title. That’s what she is referencing. Although it is a bit jarring to see that word by that person, we need to think about how we use language. Taking a word off of the table does nothing to take the sting and power away from it. I am not comfortable with saying the word, but what does the word mean? It is the most powerful and negative slur that we have in the English language. But (no pun intended), this word is not so black and white.
The message: Woman is the most oppressed group, in global context. Women are inferior to men in almost every culture in today’s world, to greater and lesser degrees. So, are women the “n-word” of the world? I would argue that they are.
Now, is it as violent and abusive as the way in which we believe that n-word has been used through out colonial and post-colonial history? I would argue that it both is and isn’t. The word is a word of hate. Women, in the context of inferiority and rape culture, can also be seen as an object of hate.
The word makes us think, as it should. This message is controversial, as it should be. She (through Lennon), used the most powerful word in our language to really help us rethink sexism. We need to really think about intentions and what this word means. In my opinion, and I say this hoping that those who do not know me believe that I am one who strives for and works towards racial equality, that this word choice was powerful, bold, and potentially effective.
We need to work-out this word, though. We need to address it, from both sides. Part of it has been done by appropriating it, ‘reclaiming’ it, by many contemporary blacks and even other people of color.
Let’s have an open discussion. About the n-word, about sexism, about oppression, about everything!
But, it is still jarring for me. It’s tough to take and I’m not sure I approve. Is this racist? I don’t think that was her intention. I don’t think so. I could be wrong.
We must be careful but we must also challenge ourselves to progress. How does that happen? Conversation, dialogue.
I just feel we need to look deeper.
Everything is not black and white.
“Am I a racist? I hope not. But if I’m not a racist and you’re not and neither is anyone else this country, how can we collectively end up with a million black men in prison and such stark and persistent racial differences in terms of education, wealth, and life expectancy?”This is such a powerful quote from Tom Matlack’s article “White Boy in a Black Land.” To read the entire piece, head over to Good Men Project.
This is an exerpt from an article on ‘White Male Privilege’ by Peggy McIntosh [highlights by me]
These are just a few of the bullet pointed safeguards that she lists in her essay on the privilege (we) white males are afforded.
While I work to challenge inequality, I still benefit from it and that cannot be denied.
When I was born, I was black. When I grow up, I’m black. When I’m ill, When I die, I’m black. But you - When you’re born, you’re pink. When you grow up, you’re white. When you’re ill, you’re green. When you go out in the sun, you go red. When you’re cold, you go blue. When you die, you’re purple. And you have the nerve to call me Colored? - Malcolm X
If poor urban people of color rioted in the areas they live in, in cities in the US, in a serious huge way, what fraction of property destroyed would be their own? What fraction of people rioting would be destroying property of their own, their friends and families, people they’d ever even met? A tenth? A hundredth? What must that look like in the UK right now—whose property is being destroyed?
I’m wondering this because of the argument that people are destroying “their own neighborhood,” which has always come off to me as being steeped in a middle-class misunderstanding of other people’s poverty. Who owns the house they live in? In New Haven, almost all the houses in the POC neighborhoods are subdivided to be rented as separate floors. I literally know 3 couples in the city who own the house they live in; 2 of those couples are either my past or present landlords. If my block rioted, for the most part we would not be destroying our own property.
Are the riots destroying more than the police do? (They’re the only ones within this story who have killed someone.) Are they destroying more than unemployment and hunger do? Are they destroying more than developers would; are they doing the developers’ work for them anyway? What about the community being destroyed when people are evicted, when people hide out or move away because of racism or xenophobia, when people are convicted of crimes and locked up under a penal system built on oppression, when people are taught collective self-loathing in school, when people are forbidden to speak their own languages?
And what does that mean, “their own neighborhood?” What does ownership of the place you live mean, if you don’t even have the money or skin color to own it? What does ownership mean if you live in public housing and know that, any day now, the city can sign it over to real estate holders who will tear it down and build condos with no remorse? What does ownership mean when there is no longer a place to get sufficiently healthy food in your neighborhood, or there is but the only people who shop there come from other parts of town, or there is but only because the white people moving in aren’t being ignored the way your family was for generations?
How can you force ownership, from afar, onto communities that have been made this deeply alienated from where they are and how they relate to the people and places around them, if they have never before been allowed or encouraged to own anything, property or otherwise?
If you loot a shoe store of a company run by a white man overseas that makes billions of dollars, that cuts costs by using sweatshop labor of people of color and then marketing them back to a different demographic of people of color; if you steal a pair of pants from a clothing store that won’t hire people of color from the neighborhood and follows them around the store when they come in; if you break the window of a multi-billion dollar fast food chain restaurant whose $1 meals are, on a bad day, all you have money and time to feed your kids, knowing that the food you are feeding them is damn near toxic but having no alternatives; are you doing anything to your real community? Will you ever meet the people who actually own all of that?