The Silence of Our Friends

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yes it is always off limits

People of color (POC) have to remember that we internalize racism. It's one of the reasons why I didn't blog before. The blogs I regularly went to were the big democratic ones mostly inhabited by white bloggers and commenters. Many times when I did comment, which was rare anyway, it was because something didn't strike me as quite right. I didn't give much thought to the reason why it might have seemed that way, but it was because I was viewing it from my non-white perspective. Those comments tended to be ignored. I thought it was because I had nothing worthwhile to say, instead it's because I am saying things the majority white people do not want to hear. This is what I mean by internalizing racism, I thought since I was being ignored or condescended to, that I must be wrong.

I also have to remember that as an American I am privileged. In my last post I forgot that. I thought that maybe if the issue was made into one purely about sexism that we could get past the issues of colonialism. As long as there are no muslim voices in general, or Afghan voices specifically, there is no way that graphic can ignore the colonialism and arrogance of speaking for other people and what they feel about sexism in their culture.

8 comment(s):

>This is what I mean by internalizing racism, I thought since I was being ignored or condescended to, that I must be wrong.

*nod* That transaction rings a bell for me in other contexts.

and of course, one wants to give the benefit of the doubt, esp. online: okay, maybe they just didn't see me, or did but didn't have a response, just because someone hasn't answered doesn't mean they're thinking whatever...

but once the condescension and what seems like almost has to be -willful- misreadings of what you're actually saying (again and again and again) starts pouring out, it becomes a little clearer what the dynamic is.

By Blogger belledame222, at 10/06/2006 5:49 PM  

When I really want to make a point, and think that it might have been missed the first time, I will restate it in another comment...and that one will be ignored too. Now instead of blaming myself or thinking what I said was wrong or dumb, I just tell myself they are giving me the last word on that one. LOL

By Blogger Donna, at 10/06/2006 11:10 PM  

Donna, belledame222,

Now here's a site from white folks whom I'm pretty sure get it when it comes to racism: Race Traitor: treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity (see An Open Letter to "White Anti-Racists"). Unfortunately the material appears to be pretty slow-moving, but you can see quite a radical intellectual effort in progress. Personally I find the militant "anti-whiteness" of this white perspective quite refreshing, in contrast with the generally self-righteous self-regard of most white liberals. Not that I'm saying all white folks must call themselves "race traitors" but it's kinda cool. ;-)


By Anonymous Kai, at 10/07/2006 2:20 AM  

I've seen that site.

I get what kai is saying wrt their militancy being refreshing in comparison to the current Floating Down DeNile bullshit, but...yeh, i dunno. in some ways i think it's part of the same thing, sometimes, just a different expression. i'd have to go digging back in my own personal archives to elucidate why.

By Blogger belledame222, at 10/07/2006 8:40 AM  

...o, right, i know why that site is making my knee jerk: it was a favorite of a particularly risible...person on another discussion board. the guy, at least, dunno about this website (just that he quoted from it approvingly from time to time) was a big Ward Churchill fan; was prone to writing long incoherent screeds about how to be a RADICAL REVOLUTIONARY, BAYBEE & coalition-build whilst simultaneously verbally abusing every, and i mean EVERY, person who tried to talk to him. talked in creepy doublespeak about the need for violence; spewed invective at people who'd been actually doing the sort of work he claimed he was interested in for decades; was clearly laboring under some sort of undifferentiated depressive rage, kind of a Rage Against the Machine song come to life, you know; yet, completely un selfaware ("no, I'm not angry at all.") O yeah, and lots of charming moments like claiming with absolutely no shame at at all that he was more feminist than any of the women he knew. He himself was, it turned out, a child of the 'burbs who was rejecting everything mom and dad stood age, just about, which was kind of disquieting, tbh, as he was such the obvious chronic loser and, well, let's say, issues. yea.

o yes, and: well, never did quite ascertain what his role in the "of color" discussion was. one had the impression that he -had- largely identified with white folk, regardless of his actual heritage; at any rate it seemed he was a fan of Churchill for a number of reasons. something he was disgusted with the whole corrupt country and was off to go live in New Zealand--

o yeah, that's right, he was also some sort of "primitivist" or something. nothing i love better than primitivists online. RADICAL ANARCHIST primitivists, who then move on to talking about how they switched from cable to Dish with no irony whatsover. well, perhaps i miss the nuanced part about primitivism. and communes, whatever his idea of one was (i got the strong impression he was having enough trouble just finding a roommate who could put up with his ass).

i am afraid that i participated in the mass mocking of him with unseemly glee. but goddam, what an epic 'stain. honestly if he hadn't existed Fox News would've had to invent him. some people are walking self-parodies, alas. he was like the Popular Peoples' Front of Judea on crank.



...sorry for the derail, had to ruminate over that one for a mo'. oh glory be with the days.

anyway, to the essay in question: i...yeah and no. yes, points taken wrt it "whiteness" being a structural concept; just, i dunno, tone. i mean, o.k., i get that "anti-racist" is perhaps not satisfactory; but somehow "race traitor" strikes me as a bit, well, dwamatic. at least as something to call -yourself.- shrug. whatever. what's in a name, yeah? "by their fruits you shall know them." anyway that's been my guiding light, more or less.

i really am having trouble dissociating these folks from this guy, i guess. goddam but he left a vivid impression, i'll say that for him.

By Blogger belledame222, at 10/07/2006 10:09 PM  

I think it will be difficult for white people to dissociate themselves from their whiteness the same way that we can't from being non-white. Sure most of us having these discussions do understand that race is a phony social construct, but not all of us are having these discussions, in fact most people in the real world are not. You have to work with what you have and right now we have white/non-white. I think right now I would feel like there is success if we can get some whites online to admit to white privilege, just being aware of their advantages and watching that they don't use them when discussing race with POC. If only we could get people to simply listen, really listen. I find that many times they think they are listening, but actually they are tuning out and think they already know what we going to say, so go with that, not what we actually said.

By Blogger Donna, at 10/08/2006 12:22 AM  

Yes, that is true.

Donna, I just linked to a discussion between temple3 and a I guess fairly well-known (more conservative) commentator, Cobb, on my blog, "why blacks and whites don't dialog." looks like it was an old post, but it seemed like some other people in the current context might find it interesting.

By Blogger belledame222, at 10/08/2006 10:41 AM  

Yes, I've got internalized sexism that I do not see, and I experience it in the way you describe.

By Anonymous Professor Zero, at 11/18/2006 7:24 PM  

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