STOP SCROLLING. Take three minutes out of your day. Watch one of the bravest human beings I’ve ever witnessed.
This is an absolute must. You need to watch this video.
And when ‘progress for women’ comes at the expense of, say, the gay community, that’s not actually progress for women at all. That’s just progress for straight women. When it comes at the expense of women of color, that’s just progress for white women. When it comes at the expense of trans women, that’s just progress for cis women. And so on.
That’s why an inclusive feminism is the only feminism that ultimately makes any sense—and an inclusive feminism is only possible when privileged women (white women, straight women, cis women, thin women, able-bodied women, Western women, wealthy women, employed women, etc.) acknowledge their relative privilege to other women.
I’ve written a guest post that’s now up on Orange The Brave!
There’s this idea people have of what a bigot is.
Bigots; they’re the people who spit out slurs to the exclusion of any other language to describe oppressed groups of people; they’re the violent ones who well, maybe not all of them will kick your head in… but they will certainly cheer on those who would. They’re the people who mutter darkly about ‘all sorts’ being let into the country these days, and their position on immigration runs to ‘no-one with skin darker than a Milkybar or people who worship god(s) other than the big man spoken of in the New Testament’. They’re nationalists; they might not be Nazi supporters but they think Hitler had some good ideas about segregation. They’re the cross-burners, the Westboro Baptist Church, the English Defence League.
Or, less extremely, they’re your Granddad; a product of an older time, when the n-word was just how you described black people and whilst they might not hate LGBQ and trans folks, they still don’t really hold with that sort of thing, feel that marriage equality is not really appropriate and that adoption should be out of the question for queer couples because well, it’s just not right you know, children need a father and a mother.
People don’t think of themselves.
Where does this inaccurate perspective come from? How can a group see itself as a minority when it holds so much power?
Okay okay okay. Listen people who are identified as white! It is really hard to swallow that due to the color of your skin, you will be held accountable for the thousands of years of damage other white people have caused. I know this discomfort because I am white. Not just white, but blonde haired and blue eyed white. It was REALLY difficult for me to swallow too. I think to myself, wait! I am none of those things. I am not racist. I am not sexist. I am not homophobic. I am part of a movement to END all these things so why am I being identified as privileged? Well the answer is: because it is true. The fact that I am white-skinned has no reflection on who I am as an individual or my personal character. It does have everything to do with the global culture that has been created to make me benefit most. I live in a world that, by no choice of my own, will lean into my favor, always. This is what should be effecting you, not the fact that you feel personally attacked. If you actually want to help create change within the realm of social and racial justice, then get honest with yourself that the privilege exists. Take a personal inventory of how it effects you on a daily basis and become aware of how others do not have that same privilege. Awaken to your socialization! Check your friends, your family and your loved ones. Change the legacy of mistrust, ignorance, hatred, arrogance and entitlement and challenge yourself to become trusting, aware, loving, humbled and empathetic to those around you. Be okay with having to work a little bit harder to earn someones trust and do some research too. There are some GREAT resources regarding white privilege (especially within the feminist community). Don’t hate on white privilege, because no matter what: it is very much REAL.
‘You have to think of a different kind of menu,’ says Alice [Waters, owner of Chez Panisse and organic Slow Food guru]. ‘You eat dried fruit and nuts. You make pasta sauces out of canned tomatoes … you’re eating different kinds of grains—farro with root vegetables … Turnips of every color and shape! Carrots that are white and red and orange and pink! … Cabbages!’
Basically, you can eat like a fucking Russian peasant, is what she’s saying. I don’t know if that’s what they want to hear in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan or Buffalo. And what about the healthy, pure, wholesome, and organic foods that Alice says I should be buying—particularly if I have children? If I’m making an even average wage as, say, a sole-providing police officer or middle manager? Regular milk is about four bucks a gallon. Organic is about twice that. Supermarket grapes are about four bucks a bunch. Organic are six. More to the point, what if I’m one of the vast numbers of working poor, getting by in the service sector? What should I do? How can I afford that?
Asked this question very directly, Alice advises blithely that one should ‘Make a sacrifice on the cell phone or a third pair of Nike shoes.’ It’s an unfortunate choice of words. And a telling one, I think. You know, those poor people—always with their Nikes and their cell phones. If only they’d listen to Alice. She’d lead them to the promised land for sure.
What else should we be doing? Alice says we should immediately spend 27 billion dollars to ensure every schoolchild in America gets a healthy, organic lunch. More recently she added to this number the suggestion that fresh flowers on every lunchroom table might also be a worthwhile idea. This is, after all, ‘more important than crime in the streets. This is not like homeland security—this is actually the ultimate homeland security. This is more important than anything else.’
Which is where Alice really loses me—because, well, for me, as a New Yorker, however quaint the concept, homeland security is still about keeping suicidal mass murderers from flying planes into our fucking buildings. And organic school lunches might be more important to you than crime in the streets in Berkeley—but in the underfunded school systems of West Baltimore, I suspect they feel differently. A healthy lunch is all fine and good—but no use at all to Little Timmy if he gets shot to death on the way to school. In fact, 27 billion for organic food for Timmy seems a back-assward priority right now—as, so far, we’ve failed miserably to even teach him to read. What kind of dreams can a well-fed boy have if he doesn’t even have the tools to articulate them? How can he build a world for himself if he doesn’t know how to ask for—much less how to get—the things he wants and needs? I, for one, would be very satisfied if Timmy gets a relatively balanced slab of fresh but nonorganic meatloaf with a side of competently frozen broccoli—along with reading skills and a chance at a future. Once literate, well read, and equipped with the tools to actually make his way in the world, he’ll be far better prepared to afford Chez Panisse.
As of this writing, not too far from Berkeley, just across the bridge, in San Francisco’s Mission District, they line up every Tuesday for the $1.99 special at Popeye’s Fried Chicken. They don’t stand in the street waiting for forty-five minutes to an hour because it’s particularly healthy chicken, or organic chicken, or conscientiously raised chicken. They do it because it’s three fucking pieces for a dollar ninety-nine. Unless we respect that reality, Alice? We’re lost.
Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and People Who Cook
Bourdain devotes an entire chapter of his book to decimating Alice Waters, who has been lauded in a 60 Minutes puff piece as “the Mother of Slow Food” (which is a bullshit claim). He admits that he was perhaps overdoing it when he called her “Pol Pot in a muumuu” in an interview — but only barely (he also called saccharine blonde Semi-Homemade host Sandra Lee “the hellspawn of Betty Crocker and Charles Manson” and called her Kwanzaa Cake “a war crime on television”, so Waters is far from alone). Bourdain selects his targets for a reason, and Waters is a highly suitable stand-in for the growing ranks of white, privileged, socially ignorant eco-food ideological stick-wavers whose contempt for communities of color and for the poor ooze out through their self-righteous evangelism.
In a typical move, Waters wrote an open letter to the newly elected president Obama warning that “the purity and wholesomeness of the Obama movement must be accompanied by a parallel effort in food”. She appointed herself onto an advisory committee to help the Obamas select “a person with integrity and devotion” as White House Chef, adding “I cannot forget the vision I have had since 1993 of a beautiful vegetable garden on the White House lawn” — apparently oblivious that they already had a chef of “integrity and devotion” and a vegetable garden. This, from someone who has boasted that she hasn’t voted since 1966. Nevertheless, the Obamas were cool and invited her to the White House to throw a series of dinners and help expand the garden. As an example of her sustainable, locavorian ways, she flew in big-name chefs from all over the country for a five-hundred-dollar-a-plate gala, as though there are no qualified chefs in Washington fucking DC. This is why I appreciate what Tony Bourdain does. His targets usually deserve it. He’s a linguistic assassin, and sometimes that’s just what’s needed. And yeah, it feels good too. Plus, say what you want but I dig Popeye’s. (via zuky)(via jasievangesen)(via dressesandyarn)
Way too many people acting like the above isn’t true.
When a straight woman has sex, she is privileged from her straightness, due to heteronormativity - and also slut-shamed for it.
When I go out in the world as a butch-y woman, I am marginalized for that gender presentation - and also receive privileges due to androcentrism, the belief that masculinity is better than femininity and that masculine people are more important / superior to feminine people.
Bi/pan/multi/queer/fluid people, when in F/M relationships, receive many aspects of straight privilege for it, but also experience erasure of their attractions, lives, and experiences by those trying to classify them as straight and box them into a straight narrative.
And yes, as a sexual queer person, I’m actively oppressed for desiring queer sex *while* being privileged for desiring sex at all.
Privilege and oppression are complicated. I haven’t even touched on race or ability or class or colonialism or many, many other things! There are all sorts of complicated ways that kyriarchy privileges and marginalizes people, and they aren’t a simple hierarchy of oppressions. They’re nonlinear, often contradictory, and labyrinthine.
I reblogged this quote earlier but it bears repeating:
“Privilege is: About how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal. It’s about fate dealing from the bottom of the deck on your behalf.”A Primer on Privilege
Lots of things about us are considered ‘normal’ by some aspect of kyriarchy and ‘deviant’ by another. It is painfully, painfully obvious that, e.g. “having queer sexual attractions/desires” is viewed as a deviation from normal, and “not having any sexual attractions/desires” is also viewed as a deviation from “normal.” No, they’re not oppressed in the same ways (and the privileges to the ‘normal’ group in each case are also very different), and the intersection of those is complicated as hell. But loudly shouting things like ‘I’m more oppressed than you, so your oppression doesn’t exist!’ is arrant privilege-denying bullshit.
Yeah, I’m even going to use capital letters and shit because this is kind of a serious venting post for me, requiring me to temporarily abandon my flippant no-effort no-care face. (Not serious even to stop swearing though)
As I identified myself as an extremely tolerant and caring person, when I started a tumblr I was naturally drawn-in by the way the community seemed to be accepting of everything. This was fresh and new to me coming from twitter, where misogynistic and racist trending tropes still adorn the sidebar from when I left two years ago to this day. There was a large overwhelmingly leftist and socialist atmosphere that seemed to beckon me in with open arms, and I could talk to other gay women, and my transgendered friends could post without fear, and there would be no petulant contrarian arguments.
Ah—so I thought.
Then friends of mine started being attacked by other ‘social justice’ participants for using language and disagreeing with ideals the participants agreed with. And no, it was no mere mincing of words—my friends were called oppressors. The dirtiest, most foul term that you could call someone in this sort of atmosphere. And it wasn’t an isolated incident. It happened over, and over, and over again. People called oppressive for shipping different things in fandoms. People called oppressive for mocking internet groups. I was called bigoted for calling someone a half-wit, and if you’ll excuse my french, what the fuck? I couldn’t even be offended for the sheer absurdity for the situation, and not only because it was ridiculous. It’s because the word ‘bigot’ has lost meaning and weight to me.
You see, in this culture we have created there is a wide-spread need for people to be victims. And they don’t only need to be victims—they need to be the most victimized. A sort of literal Oppression Olympics. You will see people that are clearly white or at least white-reading (and so benefiting from white-reading privilege, which is the important part because race is a social construct and is all about what you read as) researching their family trees in depth to find that one great grandmother that was a Cherokee princess so they can claim first nations heritage, and so they’re not really white, no, promise! We have a group of people afraid to cop to any sort of privilege whatsoever, and so they try to claim that they are participants in oppressed groups.
It’s baffling to me, because privilege is not in itself a bad thing. In fact, privilege is a good thing! It’s awesome! Everyone should have privilege! That is the nature of social justice—elevating everyone to privileged status, so everyone can enjoy the same comforts in life!
But I see where it is coming from.
In this culture, instead of using the words ‘stupid,’ or ‘asshole,’ or ‘jerk,’ for people that we vehemently disagree with and wish to put down, we use ‘bigot.’ And ‘ableist.’ And ‘privileged.’ They have become slurs. They have lost meaning for now being generalized insults that people use to cut down others. You don’t like a particular internet group? It must be because you see them as mentally ill. Bigot. Ableist. Oppressor. You don’t agree that I, an asexual, suffer the same indignities as queer people do in daily life? You’re trying to silence me. Bigot. Oppressor. You called me stupid? Bigot. Check your privilege.
What I have witnessed is a circle of people that are waiting to feel self-righteous and attack other people, because getting mad feels good. And don’t you dare pretend to me that this isn’t it, because I have participated in it. Getting mad at someone for their bigoted bullshit feels awesome. It feels righteous. You feel like you’re helping your cause for cutting other people down to size on the internet, when in actuality all you’re doing is shouting at someone who is learning nothing. Or, in more common scenarios, already knows. And in your reblogs, your own followers that your target may not necessarily know join the circular beat-down to feel awesome and righteous about themselves. And it goes on. And on. And social justice advocates eat other social justice advocates alive forever, in a sick incestuous circle and it keeps happening. And it accomplishes nothing. You are not actually fighting oppression like this.
We have misappropriated the word oppression. We have misappropriated the word privileged. We have misappropriated the word trigger, which infuriates me so much I can’t even describe. Something that you don’t like looking at is not a trigger. Something that hurts your feelings is not a trigger. It’s a word that has a very specific meaning, and you have demolished it. People no longer understand when I profess to being triggered by rape and non-con. Shaking. Crying. Flashbacks. Involuntary vomiting. I unfollow people when they post about it. It’s not personal. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. But they will get snitty and passive-aggressive about it because they do not understand what I am trying to communicate with the word trigger. Fucking stop misusing it. Fucking stop.
It’s a vicious and toxic environment and I am tired of participating in it and I’m tired of seeing it on my dash. I am tired of people that need to be victimized and am tired of people who point fingers at everyone as victimizing them. I’m tired of misappropriation of social justice terms.
Because it’s BS! Yes, we’d all like to believe we’ve never been racist or sexist or anti-trans or anything like that, but let’s face it, we’ve all had shitty thoughts or made shitty assumptions or said shitty things when it comes to people we’re privileged over. Hell, we’ve pretty much all done it when it comes to people we’re in the same group as. I can fully admit I’ve said ableist crap, I’ve said cissexist crap, I’ve had nasty opinions when it comes to slut shaming, I’ve had racist thoughts, I’ve generally said or thought assholish things about most sections of society. Why? Because I’m a fucking human and none of us exist in a vacuum. We’ve all grown up in a society where (x)ist messages are thrown at us every damn day by the media, our parents, our friends… and yeah, we have all absorbed this shit. We have. Yup, it’s hard to feel like a bastion of liberal beliefs when you realize this but it’s just a plain and simple fact. And honestly? It’s more shameful when you pretend otherwise.
Own up to the (x)ist attitudes you’ve had/still have. Accept it when someone tells you that you’ve been (x)ist without getting defensive. And learn. And that way, you can curb your (x)ism and become a better person. Pretending you’ve never once called someone a slur or that you didn’t mean it in a bad way ain’t gonna help.
- Being an atheist does not erase privilege.
- This includes white privilege.
- This also includes cis privilege, CNDP privilege, and het privilege.
- Seriously, being an atheist does not erase your white privilege.
- Criticizing exclusively (majority) non-white religions is racist.
- This includes Islam.
- The existence of white Muslims does not invalidate this point.
- Black Christianity is not always hetereosexist.
- Black people are not the most heterosexist heterosexists that ever heterosexisted.
- Black queer/gay/lesbian/non-straight/pansexual/asexual people exist too.
- Mestiz@s are not the root cause of sexism.
- Neither is Latin American Christianity.
- You do realize Christianity was imported, right?
- Atheists are not the only oppressed religious group.
- Muslims are oppressed too.
- Often by white atheists.
- Islam is not evil.
- Neither are hijabs or niqabs.
- Neither is Vodun/voodoo/hoodoo.
- Neither is any other religion…
- …unless it’s World Church of the Creator / The Creativity Movement…
- Which is white supremacist.
- …or the Westboro Baptist Church.
- Who even the KKK hates.
- Evolutionary psychology is sexist, racist, cissexist, ableist, and heterosexist.
- This includes evolutionary psychology that (supposedly) supports atheism.
- Supporting evo-psych means
- You have not done your homework, or
- You are prejudiced.
- Other people’s clothing is not your business.
- Including religious articles of clothing.
- Including hijabs, headwraps, niqabs, burkas, crosses, crucifixes, pentacles, and other symbols.
- Even if you really don’t like it.
- Even if it’s really religious.
- Acknowledge other people’s identities.
- Even if you’re uncomfortable with them.
- Especially if you’re uncomfortable,
- Because they have racial, sexual, cultural, or disabled identity
- Paganism is not ‘atheism-lite’.
- Neither is agnosticism.
- Neither are indigenous religions.
- There is no such thing as ‘ironic’ bigotry.
- Unless it’s atheists whining about Christmas.
- Seriously, I thought only evangelicals did that.
- Trans people are not your special little puzzles.
- Neither are autistic / disabled people.
- I don’t care if you’re a scientist. We’re still not your Rubik’s Cubes.
- Not everything should be about science.
- There. I said it.
- PoC are not the reason why a lot of people are wary of atheists.
- It’s because of white/het/cis/CND atheists.
- Yes, including you.
- Demanding people educate you is oppressive.
- Even if you’re ‘being really nice about it’.
- Nice =/= good.
- Religions are not inherently oppressive.
- Did you know that hijabs and niqabs are cultural?
- And that many women find them liberating?
- Using emotion in writing, reasoning, the internet, or decision-making does not mean one is stupid/dumb/monkey-like/less-evolved/other ableist, racist, eugenicist terms.
- It means one is a fucking human being.
- Disability is not a flaw in evolution.
- Disabled people will not die out with evolution.
- Fuck you.
- Being atheist does not mean you are automatically not allistic.
- If you don’t know what that means, look it up.
- You can use Google.
- Being a queer atheist does not make you white.
- Seriously, enough with this racist bullshit.
- Cultural appropriation is also done by atheists.
- Deal with it.
- There are no purple people.
- You should know this.
- Making fun of ‘them crazy darkies doin’ their ridick voodoo’ is racist, ableist, and the reason why a LOT of black atheists will not have anything to do with you.
- Satire is a tool that works when aimed upwards, at the most powerful people.
- Black people are not the most powerful people.
- Especially black people practicing voodoo.
- No religion is more ridiculous than any other.
- Including Mormonism.
- …but some have more power, and are therefore better to make fun of.
- Like Mormonism.
- Being colorblind is only okay if you literally cannot see or distinguish colors.
- Otherwise, it’s racist.
- Religions derive strength and power from the social power of their followers.
- Which is why evangelical Christianity is a better target than Black Christianity.
- Being an agnostic (or bisexual) is not ‘taking the easy way out’.
- Really, now?
- Monosexism is real.
- How do I know?
- You’re doing it right now.
- And yes, queer can be a term for polysexual.
- If you think black people are mean to you,
- You’re probably white,
- And won’t say you are
- Because white people never say they’re white.
- The terms ‘hermophradite’ ‘third sex’ and ‘biological gender’ are
- And not up for debate.
- If you refuse to identify your privileged identities,
- I’m going to assume you just think you’re ‘normal’
- And moderate you.
- Refusing to acknowledge the power of environment and social structure
- Is bigoted
- And means you’re a biological essentialist.
- Intersex people exist.
- Deal with it.
- And no, they are not ‘miracles of evolution’.
- I thought you didn’t believe in miracles.
- Freedom does not just mean ‘freedom to be an atheist and make the choices I would make’. It means freedom to make even choices I don’t like.
- Including religious choices.
- Social justice / social uprooting / anti-oppression is not about you and your feelings.
- Nobody cares about white guilt.
- Making everything about your feelings is oppressive.
- If you’re offended,
- Get over it.
- Realize that being offended is much better than being oppressed.