The Silence of Our Friends

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Silence of Our Friends

As most of you know, I had taken a partially involuntary but somewhat needed blog break to try to get a handle on my out of control life. It's still out of control, but I do see light at the end of the tunnel. The runaway train is on an incline and slowing down just before the edge of the cliff! (I'm such a drama queen; truly more dramatic, and more queenly than SylbiaKitteh, if you ask me. But no, I'm but a shadow to the true drama queen of all drama queens...BlackAmazon!)

Anyway, so now I'm back, and trying to catch up a bit. Then I make the mistake of reading the blog at Bitch Magazine, where Jessica Yee has made the mistake of accepting a guest blogging stint. Oh Gawd! Jessica wrote a snarky post about hippy/hipster cultural appropriation, and the white folks got angry and defensive. How dare she spoil their fun at playing Indian dress up! And of course there was no moderation, so it was a privilege and entitlement festival. I did the best I could to give Jessica some back-up, but it took a lot out of me. After days and days of this bullshit I was alternating between shaking with rage and crying from the futility of it all.

I wish I could say this is something new, but it's old, so very old. It's always the same thing with these so called liberal white feminists. What always gets to me is the silence of our friends. I wouldn't have named my blog that if it wasn't the one thing that hurts the most. Every time, these liberal whites who claim to be anti-racist suddenly are no where to be found when they are needed. When push comes to shove, they side with the power, they side with whiteness. They do one of three things:
---If they say anything it's, "Stop making a fuss." or "Get over it." They have to hush us, because we're making their white friends uncomfortable. And the comfort of the white people always comes before anti-racism.
---Or they completely ignore it, they pretend they didn't see what is happening. You won't see the white feminists discussing this at Feministing, Pandagon, or Feministe. Nope, no one from those blogs saw what was happening at BitchBlog.
---Or they are just so surprised and shocked when racism happens they don't know what to do! This was the excuse that the moderators at BitchBlog used. It's funny how they know what to do when a sexist troll comes along, but racist trolls? Gosh! It's too difficult to tell them, you can stop or you can leave.

When I first got online, I thought maybe these people are so sheltered they don't recognize racism. I don't believe that anymore. They know what's going on and they are sitting back debating whether they want to side with the powerless. And they decide that no, they won't get involved, they don't want to upset the important (white) people. No biggie, the brown folks are used to white people riding roughshod all over them anyway.

Watch it in action. I want you to watch a video over at youtube. It's about 8 minutes long. In the video a black woman is shopping at a boutique in SoHo and the sales woman and security are BLATANTLY racist towards her. The ones who are most likely to jump in and defend her are other POC, the white people pretend they don't see whats going on, or are simply shocked and don't know what to do (yeah, right, but they keep right on shopping), or they side with the white person ("I bet she used the race card"), or it's not their business.

There are only two instances where white women have a different reaction. The first, a white woman does everything in her power to deny what she is hearing, until she can no longer deny it, and then all she does is break down into a puddle of white woman tears. Those mean people made her witness racism! They busted her post-racial color-blind bubble! But she didn't do a damned thing about it, did she?

The second, a white woman defends the black woman (and her white friend is kind of along for the ride). She stayed and witnessed it all, she loudly protests what they are doing to her, only leaves with the black woman, so, as far as she knows, protecting her from some trumped up charges. Her actions are what finally pricks the consciences of the other white people and many leave the store with them. See, POC don't know racism, so white people need other white people to tell them when something racist is happening, or they don't give a damn what POC think, but care very much what other white people think.

How much you want to bet that every one of those white people would say they are anti-racist? This is SoHo, artsy liberal hipster country.

The only anti-racist was that last woman. I know most POC will go our entire lives without meeting someone like her. We go through racism every day of our lives and all the "anti-racists" around us always have the excuse that they're just surprised by racism and so of course they can't be expected to do anything about it. Considering how many white people I know who insist, INSIST, that they are anti-racist, witnessing white people stepping in without any prompting, like this woman did, should be a common occurrence. It is so unusual that I always cry when I watch that lady in action. I can't watch that video. It hurts knowing that what should be a normal reaction is damn near a miracle.

That ABC News crew got damn lucky she was in the store that day, otherwise they wouldn't have had any white person who would actually defend the black woman at all, just one in a hundred who will shed a tear when they have to witness racism.

This is what is meant by "the silence of our friends", this is the same thing that white liberal feminists do to us all the time. But they can't understand why we don't want anything to do with them or their "feminism". Watch, watch the next time there is a racist flare up in the blogosphere. At the blog it's happening at, there will be mostly WOC defending each other, a small minority of white women also speaking up, the blog owners and or moderators will do nothing, or flail uselessly late in the game, or worse defend their white friends. Oh and at least a couple white liberal men will do their white knight act, come charging in to help the defenseless frail white women from the brutish WOC. And the other big feminist blogs? Twiddling their thumbs and studiously avoiding seeing or saying anything just like most of those white shoppers in the video. Their "intersectionality" consists of pretending they care about us, for appearance sake, white people are all about appearances, but actually fighting against racism? HAHAHAHAHA You have got to be kidding!