Log in

No account? Create an account
08 March 2009 @ 08:30 pm
Because I don't ever do anything "right"  
As it was originally written:
If you think that anyone can be guilty of making a racist comment or performing a racist act, including you, and that you are willing to take ownership of your statements and actions, resist blaming the person who was offended, figure out why they were taken as racist, apologize, and not do it again, post this exact sentence in your journal.

As I need to rephrase it about myself:
I'm a racist. I have white skin in a society that privileges white skin. I have enough money to consider myself middle-class, in a society that privileges money. I am reasonably able-bodied, in a society that privileges able-bodiedness. I had parents who encouraged me to do well in school, in a society that privileges education. I am cisgendered and heterosexual, in a society that privileges conformity. I have privilege, which equals power, and I have grown up in a society steeped in racial prejudice, and so I am prejudiced. Prejudice + Power = Racism, ergo, I am a racist.

But I try not to behave like one. I try to be egalitarian. I sometimes succeed. And when I don't, I hope that my friends will kick my ass as hard as necessary for me to get the point that once again, I fucked up. And when that happens, I will do my damnedest to accept that I fucked up, to apologize, and to not do that same thing again. Ideally, the next time I fuck up, it will at least be different.

ETA: One of my newer LJ acquaintances, popfiend, has asked that people who post the sentence above also link to this post in his journal. Part of the post and some of the comments are about the distinction between "what you just did" and "what you are". The argument is made, validly in my opinion, that one can do something wrong without being that wrongness incarnate (specifically, one can say something racist without necessarily being a racist).

I agree.

I also think the converse is true, and that's the point I'm making above: I can't escape having grown up in a society filled with systemic racism and I can't escape my own privilege, but I can still try to act like a decent human being.

ETA some more: It occurs to me that I should mention also that I'm female in a society that still tends to privilege male; I grew up Jewish and now consider myself Pagan in a society that still tends to privilege Christian; I'm fat in a society that privileges thin; and I'm openly kinky in a society that has its head up its ass about sexuality. Those aspects don't "counteract" or "balance out" all the privilege I do have, but they may help to give me some slight insight into what it might be like to be on the receiving end of an "ism".
The Talking Moosethetalkingmoose on March 9th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
I like your version better.

I assume that this has something to do with the RaceFail discussion, which I only became aware of a few days ago. I'm still reading up on the whole thing, and shaking my head at some of the actions and things said by many individuals along the entire range of the opinion spectrum. I doubt that I will actually take part in the discussion -- mostly because I'm afraid that anything I say on the matter will somehow be taken the wrong way and I will have to spend far too much time trying to explain myself and/or assuage hurt feelings.
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on March 9th, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)

I could post some of yours, but not all.
I am a 1/2 Asian, female in the South.

But I do agree with the point of both of the posts.
Trinkertrinker on March 10th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)

I'm going to go readjust my head now, because I've been assuming you were a white male, and I really normally do not do that.

Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: Satedfatfred on March 10th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)

It's the FRED that throws folk.
And I rarely post about things gender wise.
Not a problem.

browngirl on March 9th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
Because I don't ever do anything "right"

I'd say you want to be thorough. :)
Stormy Weatherororo on March 9th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
I like your rephrasing, and I can echo the sentiment.
Ayoub™ayoub on March 9th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)

I like you :D
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on March 9th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
Why, thank you!