This is a serious post… Dead serious. I have been sitting on this, trying to think of a way to talk about it, to bring attention to a problem that WE have. If you have not read the link in this post, I ask you to please read it… I am going to post it every time I personally witness the marginalization of another person.
I am a middle aged white woman, and I am sick and tired of people who look like me (white) that keep saying stupid ass shit that demonstrates just how unaware they are of themselves and the world around them. Just stop, now. Please. You are embarrassing yourselves, and defending yourselves with more stupid ass comments isn’t helping.
Today a woman posted in a local FB community page about an experience she had at a local grocery store. She shared that she was born and raised here but her parents are from the Philippines. She shared that she went to the courtesy counter to pick up some money and after she presented her ID she was asked if she was “born here” (in this country).
She was stunned into silence by the incredibly intrusive question and made to feel that she did not belong here – in this country. She finished her shopping and left as quickly as she could.
She shared that deeply personal experience with our community and was immediately attacked and her experience marginalized.
“Maybe it was a mis-understanding”… And then the posts began… She was being too sensitive, don’t read too much into it, the clerk was just trying to make small talk – and then it got worse. And then it got even more worse… As if that were even possible.
Someone even posted that the question that was asked was required to receive money from Western Union and posted a link – which I followed, and no where did it state that asking where a person was born is a required question. As a matter of fact, other than your ID, there is NO other personal information that you are required to give.
You need to know who is sending you the money, and where the person is located but nothing personal beyond that.
My response to her post was that I was sorry she experienced that situation. I encouraged her to contact the manager of the store, just so they were aware and could work with their staff to educate them.
I also sent her a private message apologizing for the comments of our fellow community members. They were beyond insensitive.
I’ve got her back. I don’t even know her, but I’ve got her back.
What I found disturbing about the whole thread was that the majority of criticism came from white people… How do I know? I looked at their profiles, what I could see of them – including public posts and comments, pictures, groups… but mostly, they identified themselves as “white” in their posts on the community thread.
One comment came from a man who claimed to be “color blind” and stated that he did not suffer from “white guilt”…
I posted this same link to that thread, to his response, and then posted it again in the main thread. Hoping, hoping that someone would take the time to realize the damage that they were doing. Hoping they would try to understand a different perspective.
I am beyond angry and this isn’t the first time that I have witnessed this kind of behavior and insensitivity from people in the community… Today I left the group.
I am done being nice about this, and I am going to continue to speak out.
All I ask is that you read the attached link, the related links and any other information that you can find about marginalized groups and how WE can support them.
If you cannot support people, then please stay quiet. They have enough on their plates already.
I do not know how the woman is feeling at this point… I can imagine how I would feel if I were her.
Imagine if you, yourself, had to deal with this (the subtle and not so subtle nuances of being a POC or a member of a marginalized group).
I always come back to this:
Before you speak, ask yourself these questions. If you cannot answer yes to all four, it may be better to not say anything.
Is it timely?
Is it true?
Is it considerate?
Does it add value?
Original was a FaceBook post by Grace Caldara:
I wrote this for Pantsuit Nation, but all my friends, family and whoever else should see it too.
I have seen many many posts saying “we are all women”, “I don’t see color”, “what does race have to do with anything?” This is not only dismissive it’s colorblind and very hurtful. I am a black multiracial women. My blackness shapes who I am as a women, to deny me the recognition of my blackness is to deny a core part of me and my experience as a women in this world. So I wrote this post. I realize it will make people uncomfortable and even angry but I hope you sit with that discomfort and you hear me out so we can be a better and more inclusive space.
There has been a lot of discussion about white privilege, intersectionality, racism and microagressions and how they all play a role in feminism. As a new Moderator, I want to try and help some of you start the process of figuring this out.
So this is unearned and often hidden benefits given to you by society. The links provide more explanation and examples of white privilege. It’s not a dirty word, it’s often used to show you that you need to back off, stop and listen. Many people default that privilege = rich but there are many different types of privilege. These include but are not limited to the following: white, Cis, heterosexual, able-body, hearing, Christian, male, financial etc.
You can be privileged in one area, and lack privilege in another. My self I am a cis able bodied heterosexual black Christian women. My privileges are and not limited to Christian, cis, heterosexual, able bodied, hearing. I lack male and white privilege. It’s important to learn what your privileges are because those are what society defaults to, once you learn what privileges you have,you can start to learn how to push back on your privilege and use your privilege to those who don’t have it.
You can’t fully understand racism if you don’t understand white privilege in our society. Racism by definition is Power/privilege + Racial Prejudice. What is this power portion.. this power comes from society… this is what society defaults to which is white privilege. This is why reverse racism does not exist. People of color do not have the privilege or power element in society. Everyone can have racial prejudices. No one is immune to that. Just because your sister/brother/aunt/ child/ friend is a person of color this does not absolve you or exempt you from having racial bias or from doing/saying something racist. So when someone says x,y,z is racist don’t say but I have this person of color so I can’t be racist. Yes you still can be.
The above brings us to color blindness. Many of us are products that were taught not to see color and to be colorblind. We have work to do to undo that. Color blindness is a form of racism. This is because it ignores the real experiences that people of color have because they are people of color. It’s absolutely fine to recognize that we are all different and unique. These differences make us who we are. Don’t be afraid of them embrace them. See me for me. See me as a black women, not just a women. Recognize these identities are what shape me.
These are what I call accidentally racist statements. Things like “you speak well for a black girl” or “where are you from? No really WHERE are you From?” Etc. these are harmful because they other the person and also serve to reinforce harmful stereotypes.
This is important. Feminism has a long history of only working towards advancement of whites women and leaving women of color behind. We need intersectionality feminism to advance all women. We need to know that while we are working towards equality we have to remember and work to advance this issues that plague our trans sisters and our sisters of color. Each of these communities have unique and different issues we have to work towards them too.
So now what?
1) not ignore our voices
2) don’t minimize our struggles
3) learn when to stop talking and listen and when to use your voice to educate
4) stop telling us color doesnt matter. It does and saying it doesn’t is racist
5) keep yourself educated on the issues, follow BIPOC, Lgbtq and other marginalized groups pages
6) get comfortable being uncomfortable when people say hey that’s offensive/hurtful/racist apologize. Don’t double down, don’t say I’m sorry but… or I’m sorry that’s not my intention. Just I’m sorry
7) keep other white people (and other privileged people) in check. Call in your fellow privileged people.
8) ask what the marginalized communities need and listen to the members for answers.
9) we don’t want your sympathy we want your solidarity
10) don’t Center the conversation around yourself if we are telling you our truth. It is not the same nor is it helpful.
If you made it through this congrats. I wanted to write this so that we as pantsuit nation can come together and make sure we work and continue to work as an inclusive group where we ALL feel accepted and loved. This means learning hard stuff and being uncomfortable and not being afraid to be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is good that is how we grow.