When It Comes to the More Aggressive, Allegedly “Misandrist” or “Reverse Racist” Talk [#Feminist Friday]
Like “Men are pigs”, “Kill whitey” etc.-I don’t even go into the “whether or not I support such speech/Those are just stereotypes we’re not all like that!” discussion.
I know that it’ll be taken the wrong way and twisted to meet the supremacist cultures needs. It is drawing a line between the “nice” anti-racists or feminists (people who don’t really challenge the supremacist culture) and the “uppity niggers” and “dykey cunts” (the real threat).
I get so frustrated when I see fauxgressive posts like “The truth about feminists!” with shit like “We DO shave and wear make-up! ah ha ha!”. Yes, obviously feminists express themselves in many different ways, but that isn’t what is being communicated to the dominant culture. To them, that pretty much says “Hey, don’t be afraid of me, I’m just like you, assimilated, safe, and normal! Eww to those other icky girls who don’t shave! They’re extremists! I am not! That is why you should give me rights!”. It panders to supremacist culture while throwing other women under the bus.
A big reason why the radical way to go about expressing your body and yourself is such a powerful thing in the first place is to fight against that very thought process. Radical language and expression is saying “I’m absolutely nothing like you in values, in manner, in dress, in speak, in look. In fact, you might be very fucking afraid of who I am-but that doesn’t make you superior, that doesn’t make me wrong or bad, nor does it mean I don’t deserve rights or that I should assimilate to you.”
Throughout history and even now, the dominant group has never actually had a problem with the people that it oppresses-so long as they know their place, don’t act out, don’t question, and assimilate as much as possible. We can’t play into that.
I know in engaging in that “I am not an extremist/radical” discourse, it isn’t about debunking broad stereotypes & showing the full breadth and diversity of the minority group in question. It is drawing that line between “feminists” and “woman haters”, “anti-racists” and “RACE SUPREMACISTS OUT TO KILL WHITE BABIES”, “black people” and “niggers”. I know that is a divisive ploy on the behalf of the supremacist culture. I won’t be the token feminist or black girl that someone uses to later put down another feminist or POC as being “too radical”. Even if I don’t feel as aggressively as some of my folks in the struggle, I won’t undermine them like that or try to separate myself.
Also, whether or not I support the language isn’t the point-whether or not it is is indicative of institutionalized supremacy and abuse or if it is oppressive is the point (which, it isn’t, since those without privilege and power cannot oppress.). What social and cultural conditions caused said peoples from minority groups to hate or mistrust the dominant group and engage in the language in the first place is the point. Helping destroy the supremacy that oppresses said minority group and healing the wounds that cause them to use those terms is the point.
My taking the time to assuage the feelings of the dominant culture, to talk about what language I think is too extreme to use towards them, to take them into consideration, to talk about how I’m not “insert whatever stereotype supremacist culture is afraid of here!” is pandering to them and making it about them, which is fucked up and undermines us.
The most I’ll say is “I don’t perpetuate -isms and abuses, nor do I wish to become the oppressor”. It says the same thing but without the “Oh this conversation is about you and making sure I don’t make you feel uncomfortable and so that you know I don’t wish you challenge you!” undertones. It says I do not intend to become a monster. I do intend to be angry about what has been done to me and my culture, and I do intend to hold people accountable, and I intend to be as aggressive as I need be and stand by in solidarity with others. But I won’t turn into what the supremacist culture is because I know how that feels, it is happening to me and I don’t wish to perpetuate it. It still makes it about me and my best interests.
It works the same way if you want to call out oppressive behavior in a fellow marginalized person. Your stating that they’re perpetuating a different -ism is more about them becoming oppressors and less about the tender feelings of the dominant group, and of course doesn’t take away from them being oppressed in another way. It also lends less space for the person from the dominant group to derail a discussion with a “Oh well see if you abuse me I am just as oppressed as you/I am no longer listening to you your point is now invalidated since you said ‘X’ thing” ergo removing themselves from responsibility.
- Briana Urena-Ravelo, Lebanese Poppy Seed