I can’t detach race and gender from my identity politics. There’s absolutely no conceivable way I can accomplish that. The racism I face is gendered, while the sexism I face is racialized. Islamophobia and neocolonialism why I had to flee my native Somalia, but sexism is why I had to do it disguised as a man for most of the way, so I wouldn’t be targeted by Al-Shabaab militants. What sensible person would ask me to distinguish such poignant politics regarding my personhood? It’s essentially asking me what evil I’d rather let destroy me. It’s the burning question Afghan, Yemeni and Pakistani women are faced with everyday when they’re asked to take racist (and misogynistic, admittedly) military intervention over being burned with acid, forced into burqas and exploited as political props by these sexist extremist organizations. It’s being pigeonholed and utilized only for the strategical gains of others, never for us.
But even is women of color and third world women could hypothetically package their experience into race and gender dichotomies, why should they? Why should women and our livelihoods, experiences and survival stories be presented as a monolith? For the benefit of who? Give me one feminist who’s accompanied this question with a sufficient answer. One that didn’t belligerently dismiss and erase our identities. You can’t find them, because ultimately the story of western feminism is “once white women and our precious lives are taken care of, once we get our birth control (from the same pharmaceutical companies that have used women of color as human guinea pigs of centuries on end) our glittery GRRRRL POWER~ t-shirts (manufactured by cheap, exploitative third world labor) and once we get our 20 extra cents to the white man’s dollar (while we deliberately leave out that you and your men make significantly less) we’ll worry about the rest of you and your pesky, tangential issues” and that is not a movement I want my name on or that thinks it represents me in the slightest.
In response to the complaint of white writers about writing about people of color: “Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t,” I want to say: absolutely.
It’s absolutely true. You’re damned either way. If you don’t do it, you’re a racist. Yes, you are. Race and racism exist in this society, and if you ignore them, you’re expressing a racial privilege that you don’t, morally, have any right to. That’s a subtle form of racism.
If you do do it and get it “wrong”, you’ll get reamed, and rightfully so. It’s presumptuous of you to think that you have the right to represent a culture you don’t belong to if you can’t be bothered to properly examine and accurately portray that culture.
Further, if you do it and get it “right”, or rather, don’t get it wrong, you’ll still get reamed by members of that culture you’ve represented who rightfully resent a white writer’s success representing their culture. After all, every American ethnic minority has its writers: good and bad. The good writers are mostly ignored. Inevitably, some white writer will come along and do a bang-up job portraying that culture and will get—in one book, in one section of a book—more attention than the poc writer got over the course of three or five or ten books.
You’re a white writer trying to do the right thing, but no matter what you do, it’s wrong. And that’s so unfair to you, isn’t it?
Welcome to a tiny taste of what it’s like to be a person of color.
Oh, and quit complaining.
Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Columbus: Towards a True People’s History (via seschat)
Side note from me, fanfoolishness: Mr. Bigelow was my high school US history teacher in Portland, OR. He was fantastic. He truly believed these things he’s written about. Thanks to him I learned about the Tainos, and multiple Native American tribes oppressed in different ways, and had a closer exploration of the foulness of slavery. It was the first time I realized that no, it wasn’t true that anyone who had affected history was a white man; they were simply the ones who wrote the history. There was a part of me, as a kid, that was incredulous whenever I read history books stating that a black person or a woman or an Asian person had done some momentous thing; simply because it was always white men doing everything, so for people of color/women/LGBTQ people to do something was unrealistic. Mr. Bigelow gave me the first lesson in looking outside my race and my privilege to start to see the differences in the world around me between minority and majority. Thanks again, Mr. Bigelow.
also wtf tumblr is like the smallest world haha(via fanfoolishness)
Another thing White Feminists™ shouldn’t do is reblog this quote and think that fills your intersectionality quota for the day/month/year. I hate to burst your little bubble but shit ain’t that simple. Also, if you see this and the first thing that pops into your head it “but Black men could vote before women,” you have a lot of work to do.
If you’re going to be transphobic to the point that you literally see trans women as invading women’s spaces (and therefore, I’m assuming, not “real women”), the least you can do is be fucking honest about it.
The parallel isn’t in shutting straight people out of queer spaces, it’s in shutting people who identify as queer out of queer spaces because you, in your close-minded ignorance, don’t deem them “queer enough”. And I am perfectly okay with calling you a bigot if you think you get to decide who is “queer enough” to belong in a safe space, just like I’m perfectly okay with calling someone a transphobic bigot if they think they get to decide on someone else’s gender for them.
Don’t like it? Don’t fucking do it.