The Silence of Our Friends

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oppression Olympics

I was loving this really well written article on Axis of Logic except for this part:
Nonetheless, to a "liberal," the previous comment is racist and wrong, because black people, unlike the days of slavery, are now "like us," meaning white Anglo-American society, whereas Arabs and Muslims (as if they are a unitary, monolithic people), can still be labeled wholly as "backwards, ruthless, Jew-hating animals."

This person hasn't seen much interaction between blacks and whites in America, including the liberal kind. There are very few true non-racists in America, the ones who in all instances look at people of color as equal to themselves. More often than not you come across those who don't really have anything against a particular race or ethnic group but does in the back of the mind see them as inferior, or at least is aware of a certain power dynamic (white privilege) and is quite happy to take advantage of it. By this I mean that they can turn on and off their concern for racist issues and incidents, where if they were POC in America this becomes very difficult.

This is why they think we are oversensitive, when in fact they are insensitive. We are appropriately sensitive to our situation, if we ignore those instances when we are degraded and dehumanized, it doesn't just hurt our widdle feewin's, it sometimes leads to violence and death. A good example was the POC outrage, and dismissive attitude of many whites, over Rosie O'Donnell and the ching chong incident. Kai said:
"Ching chong" has been the last sound I've heard before a good 90% of the fistfights I've gotten into over racism, from kindergarten to just a few months ago when someone said "ching chong" to me on a basketball court (except that guy was more honest than ABC because he at least knew it was racist and unambiguously meant it as such). So for me, when I hear "ching chong", I assume it's on and there's no turning back.

Black people have never, to this very day, never been seen as "like us" ...the white Anglo-American society. Not even at the height of the civil rights movement when there seemed to be so much hope for an egalitarian society. Anytime that the powerless appear to be gaining ground with regard to those in power there is a backlash and that is what has happened since those days of the late 60s and early 70s. The hard won rights they did gain have been slowly but surely eroded and it continues now. That's why I hate to see any POC writer say things like that at the Axis of Logic. We can't pit ourselves against each other. Instead of being envious and resentful of blacks for the small moments of respect they get, they should be thinking that it is well deserved, that all of us deserve respect and dignity. When I see things like this the feeling is more one of, "If I don't get respect and dignity, you shouldn't either."

We've discussed this at many times, there is nothing wrong with making comparisons between yourself and others, including oppression. What is wrong is this one upmanship, the Oppression Olympics, the jealousy that someone is getting more table scraps from the masters table than you are. That bullshit is frustrating and infuriating, fighting over tiny crumbs, instead of looking at the pig hoarding the feast and laughing at us.

Which reminds me of another recent incident, a discussion of Obama and CBS shutting down the racist comments at Pandagon. In the comment Cara says:
I’m also extremely surprised that there would be more racist comments towards Obama than misogynist comments towards Clinton. Misogynist comments seem to be so much more socially acceptable than racist ones– though it’s possible that because they’re more acceptable, they’re not really seen as misogynist and therefore not shut down.

Same thing. Heaven forbid that a feminist website have a discussion purely about race. I mean, hell, every other post is about white middle class women's concerns, so we can't let this one be about something else, can we? What is odd is that these are the same women who would smack down a man who showed up in the comments whining, "But what about the men???" but don't see when they do the exact same thing. This gender trumps race bullshit is so damned tiring and so predictable.

Anyway, to wind this up, go read the Axis of Logic article, it's about how it is acceptable in America to hate Muslims and Arabs, even by liberals and I think it is right on the money...with that one exception of the Oppression Olympics.

3 comment(s):

good stuff to chew on.

By Anonymous nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez, at 5/08/2007 7:35 PM  

I'm glad you caught Cara's comments, too. My jaw dropped when I read that yesterday. It's amazing how clueless some people can be.

By Anonymous kim, at 5/09/2007 9:59 AM  

Thanks, Nezua!

Kim, I am really amazed that they don't understand they are doing the same thing they criticize other for, as feminists they are used to men trying to hijack threads centered on women, so they should be sensitive to doing that on threads on other subjects.

By Blogger Donna, at 5/11/2007 10:57 PM  

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