Been saying this for the longest.
so many feels
Been saying this for the longest.
so many feels
Don’t post about race on tumblr unless you’re prepared toget into it.Everyone knows that.
Rookie mistake, Davis.
Way to put our best foot forward, fandom. We couldn’t have saved the racial equality and social justice discussion for AFTER we’d shown him the hilarious memes, awesome fanart, and character metas?
There is so much more to this fandom than wank, but we start with the one thing we know never ends well.
The leading-the-white-person through the harsh reality of racial inequality and systems of oppression is the job of other white people. It’s not up to POC to coddle and coax. Seeing all the “good” of the fandom doesn’t make inexperienced white men (by his own admission) suddenly able to “get it.”
It’s better to be real, and harsh - that’s the kind shit that POC deal with for existing. The conversation doesn’t end well because white people cannot and/or refuse to deal with their racism.
white people, just because you’re friends with POC doesn’t mean you know what being a POC is like
Or that you get a free pass. Or that you’re extra special just because they bring you around other POC. Or that you can ever get comfortable. Or that you can have anything less than Dumbo ears at all times (as in: huge for listening). BE DUMBO THE ELEPHANT USE YOUR EARS FOR FLYING.
I decided that it would be interesting to explore the intersection of heteronormativity and passing (the latter of which has come up recently over at the excellent Woman of Color blog). I am a queer woman in a straight relationship. I am a light-skinned Chicana who passes unless she says something about it. It makes me incredibly uneasy to exist in this strange place, being of multiple realities simultaneously.
I don’t want to pass as a straight white woman. And then I think, why the hell not?! Everyone who knows me just a bit knows my identity, in all its wondrous complexity and utter whackiness. But the random stranger on the street? The prospective employer? Anyone I don’t know but who might have power over me? Basically, unless I was male, there’s no way I could get closer to being the dominant. All that privilege, mine. Granted, it’s not like white, straight women have had it all that great and not to get into a pissing contest about who is more victimized, blah blah blah. But it could be worse. But I guess that I love who I am too much to let it all go. I’ve always been bisexual. So how come it’s only relevant when I’m with a woman? I’ve always been half-Mexican, always will be, and to just let that part of my history, and the history of La Raza, float away from me? I think not. I’ve known many immigrant parents who would like this to happen to their children. My Deer Mami was never like that, even if she didn’t speak to me in Spanish as much as she might have. It would just feel like a betrayal – of myself – of my brothers and sisters, mis hermanas y hermanos to be anyone but someone who is proud of who I am.
But, you know, it takes work. I’m always watching out to see if I slip into heteronormativity behaviors. Does what I do or say somehow validate heteronormativity? Shit, does walking down the street holding the sqvirrel’s hand reinforce the heterosexist nature of our (present) society? I once mentioned to the sqvirrel (my sweetie and husband-to-be) that I was a little upset that it would seem obvious to people that I am a straight woman. Being the peach that he is, he said he thought he should get one of those t-shirts (that were so popular when I was in college) that says, “I’m not gay but my girlfriend is.” Maybe I could make him wear it every day. Or just every time I want to hold his hand in public!
I feel like I could have written this except not nearly as well. The whole piece is just so expressive and I relate so well. The intersectionality of all the passing privilege I have as a cis, bi, white-passing woman of color in a heternormative marriage (with an invisible illness, no less! ha). And it’s not that I ever, ever want to deny that privilege. But I’m also not going to erase my own identity when so much of that has already been done for me (thanks for the assimilation, Grandpa).
It just feels so fucking murky to do one without doing the other. And I’m having a hard time with it. So yeah.
Also please for the love of all things sacred call me out if I’m not picking apart my privilege enough. I usually use my passing privilege as a way to point out how horrible racism and heterosexism are. Like when people use me as a ~~good example of Mexicans. Or when they fetishize my bisexuality because I’m conventionally attractive and still suck dick. Or when they call other people with lupus lazy because I’m still able to do certain things. Those words are not compliments. They’re disgusting and I won’t be silent about them.
But I still fuck up. So check me.
“But I still fuck up. So check me.” This is the key.
You can never pick apart your privilege enough, especially as a white-passing woman. Never be silent. Unless you’re in a POC space, then use your ears more.
To the Original Poster- I’m uneasy with how your words sit with me. The fact of the matter is, by your own admission, you’re always going to pass as a straight white woman. You have enormous privilege, you’re aware of it, AND you’re using it. I think that makes you even more responsible to tread lightly, use your privilege when it’s not for personal gain, and never stop talking about it. I know you’re not really asking what you should do, but it seems like you’re torn a bit.
Why does it make you uneasy to live in that space? Explore that unease, it’ll bring you closer to your people and confident in yourself.
when lightskinned latinos come to me on some “we are the world/U.N.I.T.Y.” shit, when it DOESNT have to do w them being shitheads and erroneously exacting their power over the dark underlings….
i will start to believe in you
but so far
the only time you shitbags ever wanna cry about “but we’re all POC”
is when youre called on your bullshit
otherwise you do all your organizing and live your whole life never remembering or caring my black ass is under your fucking foot.
your WHITE LOGIC is a stench i cannot bear. that youre used to it and can is just gross for you.
when you stop acting like white motherfuckers, we can fucking talk.
All my Mexican (and yes I am specifically using this country) immigrants and family got a lot to say about being light and people of color and Black folks. Sick of hearing the racism in my family, mostly from the older generations.
are the easiest friends to delete from Facebook.
White-passing people can still be oppressive toward non-passing brethren, and I’m not inclined to give them any passes because when shit hits the fan, it’ll be me on the chopping block.
How many times have we seen white Latin@s on here talmabout “I’m Mexican, you dumb nigger” as if their virtue of being from a country that brown people live in somehow makes that not oppressive?
My first priority is the protection of the people at the bottom.
Frankly, no one, not even WHITE people, should be claiming whiteness anyway. European heritage is one thing, claiming “whiteness” is another. In addition, the entire way that discourse is rolling seems like it’s going to turn out to be a way to silence non-passing PoC.
Like with George Zimmerman. He was white, living, working, existing as such, until he was called racist, then his Latin@ heritage magically had a purpose and magically became relevant.
It’s too common, it’s too easy for that to happen, and the results of such could be extremely damaging to the darkies at the bottom.
Then again, I don’t know. It’s not like I personally get a choice to be anything but Black, even other things that I actually am.
I suppose one way to think about it is, if whiteness claims you (even if conditionally and for the sole reason of using you as a tool to oppress other people), saying you don’t ‘claim it’ doesn’t really serve much purpose or good.
Disavowing it in this context really means that you end up erasing your function as a tool of whiteness. Something that is actively involved in how people are being hurt.
Because, at the end of the day, I could probably still choose to ID as something other than Filipin@ (maybe french canadian, like my mom), change my name, and fully assimilate to whiteness (and we all know that one quick way to assimilate to whiteness is by being anti-Black.).
And the bold indicates: having this choice is a giant fucking privilege that many darker skinned PoC don’t have.
Yeah, the bold is exactly how I feel about it. What does it matter to the bottom if you claim white or not…it’s not like going around saying you don’t claim it is going to matter when it comes to whether you can oppress others or not, you know?
All of this to say, that how you behave and act matters a lot more than how you identify.
No one cares what words you use…
Only if you are shitting on people and being an (passive or active) participant in their oppression.
Pretty much…which is why I don’t think that new words are necessary.
Only assholes have trouble with the words themselves. Where the trouble comes from is the treatment.
Treatment, true. I’d push it further as to say that white folks/white passing folks need to be active participants in the anti-oppression movement, LED BY POC/queers/poor folks etc. You can’t just not be a dick. What kind of humanity is that?
in the last year i have gotten 67767889799 messages from white-lookin POC from all over the world, even europe,
who do not want to claim whiteness
but feel forced into it. they know where they come from and theyre super proud and whatever they look like is just luck…
Soooo this is actually my life.
Claiming whiteness has been *super* crucial IN THAT I know I need to acknowledge my privilege. It’s how to do it. Yes, I surround myself with folks who check me on my shit, just like I check them on their shit. That doesn’t mean that my whiteness suddenly disappears. It doesn’t mean that when we’re side by side fighting on some social justice issue that we’ve suddenly lived the same struggle. It’s different. And it’s crucial for me, and the integrity of my life, to acknowledge that difference.
I have my various intersections of my identity that make my whiteness feel different. Poor. Survivor. Queer. I’m a fourth generation Mexican who has only recently learned that it’s okay to claim Latina outside the walls of my birth home. I needed to leave the border town I was raised in to know how being Chicana is in my blood. And in my bones.
And then what happens when you don’t have language. My papa never taught my dad Spanish. I had to learn it in school, where I was one of the few white girls (thank god for my latino last name). Then I went across the country to a super elite university on a Gates Scholarship, and I saw that I wasn’t that kind of white. All the Latin@ students were wealthy and had native tongues. And I wasn’t that kind of Latina either.
So, just like being queer, I try to define how I’m Latina. But it’s also different, because I have white privilege. It took time. It took WOC referring to me as a WOC. It took folks in the social justice movement in my city to call me Latina out loud, and let it be okay for me to try and claim too. It took seeing white, middle class folks struggle with their own identification. It took seeing white poor folks struggle through conversations with white, middle class folks. My conflict, I know, is largely in my head and how I self identify.
So I enter a space vulnerable, eyes ears and heart opened up wide. I look to the strong leaders. I look to the elders. I look to the women of color, the mamas, the transfolks of color, the queers, the poor. I revel in the fierce youth in these movements for justice, the queer, of color, undocumented. I seek a multiracial movement. From being queer, I have learned that spectra are beautiful and loving, and we are all responsible for one another.
I haven’t worked it out perfectly. I’m open to an exchange of ideas. Having white skin impacts the way I live in this universe, and it’s just as foolish to ignore that as it is for folks to claim they are “color blind.”
For other white looking/passing folks: Do your best. Don’t stop listening. Don’t stop talking about it. Enrich and diversify your life. Live along the spectrum.
POC is a Political Identity. It is not a cultural identifier, a racial identifier, or, for the most part, a personal individual identifier. It is a rejection of the divide-and-conquer rule of Whiteness. It is a handy footnote descriptor for anyone non-white regardless of their literal melanin count.
POC is also a self-desciptor for POC; a term designed to replace the white man’s descriptors for us as Coloured or Non-White. A term which makes no reverence to Whiteness as Non-White does, nor carry the stigma of Coloured.
Ok. Serious question/daily personal struggle. I welcome any and all responses:
My patient, radical queer friends (read: family) who are white and of color have made words like Latina, Chicana, Woman of Color mean completely different things to me, and have helped my self-identity go further in a year than it ever has. The intersections of my life: working poor roots, religious family, my queerness, etc… make Whiteness and language feel all kinds of different than what “White” means when linked with power. Yet, I have all the white privilege in the world. I have blue eyes. This certainly impacts my Latina experience, my queer experience, my poor experience. All combinations and intersections of my identities.
Online is easy. When I’m with a group of living human beings, and staring them into the face, I would never in a thousand years try to claim Woman of Color, to any group of people. Even when I’m one on one with a close friend of color who is opening every door to let that be okay and drag me through it. This isn’t rooted in white guilt, I just know that the level of passing privilege I have will never mean the same thing as someone who has had to live through what it means to be a Latina who has anything else other than white skin and blue eyes.
The first spoken word piece I gave was to a WOC group on campus—but it was a mixed audience in terms of race and gender etc. I read my piece, about growing up straddling that white/Latina line and what it meant in my particular neighborhoods and schools. I talked a lot about language, family, my queerness, and sexual violence. One thing I kept doing was qualifying myself as a “white Latina.” I did that mostly because I knew the space I was going into and kept thinking, who am I to claim this?
Well. I now know it’s mine to claim, forever and always. A friend quickly pointed out how problematic qualifying myself as a white Latina was. It’s important to acknowledge and not ignore.
But I’m still not settled into how to talk about myself racially. In a way, I hope I’ll never be because, for me, being a Latina is like being queer. It requires more explanation. And I want to hear about what you can and can’t call yourself. I want the conversation that should come with how we introduce ourselves and self identify. I’m not going to fight to be in my own skin anymore.