To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air. People will tell you they went to see a “woman doctor” or they will say they went to see “the doctor.” People will tell you they have a “gay colleague” or they’ll tell you about a colleague. A white person will be happy to tell you about a “Black friend,” but when that same person simply mentions a “friend,” everyone will assume the person is white. Any college course that doesn’t have the word “woman” or “gay” or “minority” in its title is a course about men, heterosexuals, and white people. But we call those courses “literature,” “history” or “political science.”
This invisibility is political.— Michael S. Kimmel, in the introduction to the book, “Privilege: A Reader”
You know what is more rare than seeing a Black woman in a commercial who is allowed full humanity versus portraying a stereotype or being marginalized? Seeing a young Black girl in a commercial…at all.
Recently, I’ve seen many back-to-school commercials, as we are at that time of year. Of at least 20, only one had a Black girl casted and she was on the screen for a split second. The rest of the commercial was dedicated to the White female and male children and one or more Black male children. The latter is always in commercial with mixes of children. But just like commercials meant for adults, a Black man will be cast before and more often than a Black woman will be. Many commercials these days are packed tightly with White characters and then a single Black man is thrown in. Voilà! Diversity! A young Black girl though? A rare sight indeed.
A few months ago, I started keeping a list of commercials where Black women are included and not performing race through the veil of White supremacy. My list is short. (As I find video versions of the list online, I share them here. This has been hard to find on top of already working with a short list.)
But for Black girls…not adult women? The appearances are beyond slim. Even when a commercial is attempting to move beyond Black and White and includes Hispanics/Latinos and Asians, everyone is included yet often not a Black girl/woman. The very premeditated and purposeful marginalization and erasure of our presence in the public and media sphere permeates everything, even down to the 30-second spot.
And, I know it is tempting to think that Black women get adequate coverage simply because there are more Black women in the public eye due to the Olympic coverage right now. But…think about media prior…and after. It will be back to the same ol’ same ol’ in no time. I can’t even figure out which is more disgusting and damaging: stereotypical marginalization or erasure?
It’s not even like this increased Olympic media coverage is without its flaws. I noticed that more of the lighter-skinned Black women track stars (who I love too…but I am speaking about colourism) seem to get more media attention than darker complexioned ones, even when the latter are as talented and as fast. Then, combine all of the women together and Black women have more negative media framing than Black men at times primarily due to the double-edged sword of BOTH racism and sexism, and racialized sexism towards Black women, specifically. (This is not to say that the way Black male athletes are framed is “good.” Hell no. I don’t mean to infer such a binary…and I wrote about this more in a post titled 7 Predictable Ways That The Media Portrays Black Olympic Athletes.) Then combine all Black people and the media framing is more negative than how White people are portrayed. The effects of cultural hierarchy can clearly be seen in the media.
This is why digital media spaces (everything from what Black women tweet, to what they blog, to the articles, to the few that are on television) are so important to me. It daily rewrites many of the negative narratives of traditional media for me. It’s like…traditional media tears Black women down and then I go to so many spaces within social media that builds Black women back up. (This is not to say that there are not spaces in social media that mimic traditional media this way. But for sense and balance, I go online before I turn on the television or read a paper.) Only online have I found sensible commentary deconstructing the poor NBC Olympic coverage (that they are currently bragging about…as if people have many other choices to watch). People (especially ones of colour) are not watching because it is “good” coverage. For many, it is the “only” coverage.
Black women are consumers too. We buy things. We have opinions too. We share them. We want our lives portrayed on television too. We matter.
note: this is a long-ass post
i wrote this post at 7 am in regard to the fuckery that went on yesterday, a lot of white tears and people who got so mad (SO MAD) at being told they couldn’t, they didn’t, they can’t at anything when they’ve been told all their lives that they could-did-can, and never having to really question it. not really.
and now i’m seeing other conversations on my dash that seem to want to be responded to that i just don’t know if i can address everything. i usually don’t anyway, which is why i saved this in my drafts at about 8:15 am instead of just posting it, but i think it’s time i put it out there and see if it floats.
pretty sure it floats.
please, if you reblog this, and your followers decide to shit on this post without any understanding of what it really means, collect that shit. i am low on patience these past weeks.
so yesterday happened
so many conversations started and so many conversations derailed by folks who don’t understand how racism affects the lives of PoC, and who never get tired of telling that story about how that one time, at band camp (ha), a Black girl was mean, or a Black guy stole their cell phone.
but that really doesn’t count.
hang on a minute! you see, it matters, and it sucks, and it ain’t right, but it doesn’t count, and please, keep reading. you’ll see why i make the distinction between something that matters and something that counts when it comes to racism.
see, i’m of the mind that the same basic things matter to white people as matter to me. you know, trying to stay warm in winter, trying to make sure there’s food to eat on a daily basis, clean clothes when possible, maybe a brush if your hair is of the type that could use one, wanting my family to be safe and happy, trying to be safe and happy myself. avoid crime, avoid hunger and poverty, you know, the basic shit.
and some extra shit, maybe be able to afford some luxury items, or maybe a nice car, great job, a promotion.
hopefully meet someone nice, have good friends, live around people who are kind and don’t shit on other people for no reason, hopefully to be one of those people.
those things matter to everyone. those are the things that when you say “we all bleed red!”? those are the things you’re talking about. those things matter.
but the absence of them doesn’t count toward a Bonafide Racism Experience, even if people of different races are involved.
(wait for it…)
see, the thing i find humorous is how grief-stricken so many white people are at the very thought of someone thinking your experience doesn’t matter, but not a whit of curiosity as to why that experience doesn’t count in racism conversations.
you sound so worried about what happens when people don’t care what happens to you.
that is my everyday fucking life as a Black woman. if this is your reaction to even the thought of your skin color making people treat you as less human, i’d hate to imagine how you’d feel if it actually happened to you on any sort of regular basis.
you know, if it actually counted toward making your existence hell, based on your white skin.
and okay, if at some point in your future, when you’re on the bus, in restaurants, at the pharmacy, at the doctor’s office, in the delivery room, in line for coffee, outside your front door, passing a police car, doing the shopping;
when you turn on the television and see a sea of Black faces on every channel (while people complain that you have a channel called WET — which is actually run by Black folks); when only a select few of your favorite shows have characters that represent you but who usually don’t even last a season; when the white characters who do last that long are the most hated in the entire fandom WITHOUT FAIL; when movies about white heroes and white victories aren’t being made because they’re not marketable to PoC; when white characters are drawn with Black faces by artists who say they can’t relate to your white skin, “no offense!”; when your favorite band’s members are photoshopped with Black skin and brown eyes because OMG THEY’RE SO MUCH CUTER NOW, but “they didn’t mean it like that”;
when comedians paint themselves in whiteface (like that’s even a thing) and think it’s hilarious even though negative attitudes toward white folks get them killed on a grand scale; when white girls are desperately trying to make their hair kinky because a worldwide standard of beauty tells them that they need to be “less white”; when you can’t get a job because even though your name is traditional for you, it’s too “white” for human resources and they constantly throw those resumes in the trash; when a Black girl is given the same name, it’s somehow “creative” instead of trashy;
when you can’t even go out on halloween without your white skin being mocked and made into a “suburbs!” costume; when white neighborhoods are slowly developed and “improved” so that PoC can move in and when white people are no longer able to afford to live on the streets they grew up on; when your body’s features are mocked and degraded and called “ghetto” and “ratchet” but are somehow okay on a Black girl;
when the music white people have always made and been shit-talked for is co-opted by PoC and made “acceptable” — but only when not produced by white people; when jokes about mayonnaise and cucumber sandwiches are commonplace — so much so that it’s a part of everyday life for you; when politicians can build half their platform on dehumanizing you and making you the scapegoat for an entire country’s problems, based not on your ethnicity, but on your white skin;
when the most powerful men in the country have always been Black, but one white man comes to power and suddenly the nation is in an uproar; when Shalisha and Jovani go missing and everyone is crying and entire episodes of Dr. Phyllicia are dedicated to finding them and telling their stories, but no one cares about poor Becca; when people rail against the white single mother on welfare and call her everything but her name, while Black single mothers are encouraged and praised for their strength;
when the only thing you can do to escape racism is to never, ever engage, anywhere, even with your own family due to their internalized issues based on Black supremacy;
when all that shit happens, not based on your ethnicity, sexuality, gender, faith, or politics, butbased on your white skin?
when all of that (not some, not one thing, all of it) happens, and it’s daily, and it’s inescapable, and there isn’t anything you can do about it?
come see me and we’ll talk racism.
we can start talking about how these things count toward fucking up your daily existence, and once you understand, we can talk about changes that affect the things that matter.
but until then? c’mon son. your single experience is a drop in a bucket i don’t even have access to. every drop that went toward my non-existent bucket fell on dry soil and was drunk greedily by salted earth that’s going to open up and swallow me next. that is how far apart our experiences are.
when we say you have no idea? it’s because you have no idea. none. not one.
and please, let’s leave that “we all bleed red shit” in the recycle bin. better yet, the garbage. we don’t need to reuse that in any form. we’ve heard it all before, and it doesn’t help anyone.
Gurl, I’m side eyeing you, because you should understand. How can you not see how right they are? Calling somebody a racist is SO much worse than marginalizing people based on their race. It’s so much worse than acting in ways that are supported by a long history of oppression, it’s so much worse than calling people racial slurs. OMG. GURL I AM APPALLED AT YOU RITE NAO TBH. HERE IS HOW MUCH I AM SIDE EYEING YOO.
How is pointing out racism racist?
I need y’all to explain this to me like I’m two.
Because apparently, recognizing the fact that white people have white privilege, and actually acknowledging the way privilege comes into play with certain interactions between whites and PoC is racist.
Apparently, asking white people not to say certain things because of the long history of oppression behind said things and the weight it still carries today, is me being racist against white people.
Asking white people not to use racial slurs is racist.
Asking white people not to compare PoC to animals because of how that’s been historically used to dehumanize us is racist, and somehow, that also means that I’m totally condoning PoC calling white people animals.
Can any of you explain this logic to me, white people? Because you make no sense.
“I think the most racist thing you can do is call someone racist!”
A comment I read once. IT GOT 21 LIKES AND NOBODY SAID SHIT ABOUT THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF THAT SENTENCE.
Preachin that word.
Whenever I discuss gender issues, White women flock to me on Twitter and Tumblr. Whenever I discuss racial issues, Black men flock to me on Twitter and Tumblr. But what happens when said issues are intersectional? I am…a Black woman…all the time. Not only Black. Not only a woman.
What happens is there are *crickets* or some (not all) unfollow.
Selective consciousness. Selective critical thinking. Almost more dangerous than blanket ignorance. Why? Because people mistake this wilful ignorance on certain topics and passion on others as “total wisdom.” They don’t mistake a blankly ignorant person for being wise.
Black men who are anti-racism but refuse to check their male privilege and are pro-sexism and pro-homophobia? BYE.
White women who refuse to check their White privilege or whose feminism is not intersectional? BYE.
White gay men who are pro-LGBT yet resort to racism to fight against homophobia? BYE.
Black women who are anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, but REFUSE to discuss internalized White supremacy and colourism among women of colour, especially Black women? BYE.
BYE to anyone unwilling to check their privilege while simultaneously speaking out about the persecution they suffer. I didn’t say that either are easy, just that they are necessary. But, if instead, you expect me to high-five the oppression you cause because you also face persecution in other areas, sorry, I won’t. Or in other words, BYE.
And finally, for those, especially Whites, who are eager to say “but you shouldn’t say ‘BYE’ you should be educating!” FALSE. I am not here for the sole purpose of educating anyone, especially Whites. We live on and share this world together. It is not the solely the responsiblity of someone in a persecuted social class to educate and pamper someone in a privileged social class. BYE!
“BYE BYE BYE!” *In ‘N-Sync’s voice*
1. If you are two people of the same non-white ethnicity, you will automatically get along. And also, if you are two people who could potentially be sexually attracted to each other, you WILL get set up. And by “ethnicity” I mean “white definitions of ethnicity,” such as “Chinese” being the same as “Japanese” and “West Indian” being the same thing as “Nigerian” etc. Because clearly, if you look alike to a white person, you must procreate.
2. It’s a compliment for a white person to say, “oh, but you don’t act *insert ethnicity*.” This is because somehow, acting white (or denying your differences from white people) is the most progressive thing a POC can do. Apparently.
3. It’s a compliment to be able to have a “discussion” about a POC’s ethnicity. and by “discussion,” I mean “rambling on about things said white person thinks are accurate and are really just an amalgam of stereotypes and misinformation and then demanding the POC affirm said beliefs.”
4. POC can only be accurately physically described by their ethnicity. Example: “You know, Kara, that Asian girl in our Con Law class.” White people, of course, are described by their independent looks, like ‘Kara, that girl with the blonde hair and the hippy skirts with the tiny tiny lips.” This is because if you don’t actually SAY “Asian” or “Black” or “Hispanic,” and just say, “Kara, that girl with the black hair and the cool jeans,” people will automatically assume you mean, “Kara, that white girl with the black hair and the cool jeans.”
5. It is perfectly acceptable to make vast assumptions on the physical characteristics of ethnicities, and use them as judgment guides for dating. Ex: ”I don’t like Black guys” is totally acceptable. Saying, “I don’t like white guys” is fucked up, because, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE LOOK SO DIFFERENT HOW CAN YOU GENERALIZE.”
6. If you are white, eating sushi makes you totally cosmopolitan. If you are Asian, eating sushi is something you automatically are born doing, much like using chopsticks and also being good at math.
7. It’s OK to talk about ethnicities in a negative way, as long as you do it in a WHISPER. ex: “Well, I didn’t want to say anything but he’s…*Black*.”
8. At the end of the day, white privilege doesn’t exist because POCs asking for equal rights takes away the rights of white people. Because equality means fucking with the status quo, and things are TOTALLY OK NOW THAT WE HAVE NO SLAVERY AND NO SEGREGATION.
Lol at these losers not even realizing that being racist because they’re bored doesn’t make them less ignorant, but moreso, because they know how ignorant they’re acting, they know how it will affect people, but they do it anyway, because to them, marginalized people’s pain is amusement.
It’s not a joke when we say that people see us as nothing more than their entertainment.
White privilege is wanting to hurt, trigger, and oppress people of marginalized groups out of spite. That’s also racism. So behold! Another ignorant white person to stay away from. This one wants to do racist shit to hurt you. Isn’t that lovely of them? :|
I really just want to act like a racist so these fucking retard social justice bloggers will have a real reason to hate me.
You’re using ablist slurs…so us “social justice bloggers” already probably have a legit reason to hate you.
The absolute need to be anything but just ‘white’ has settlers looking for minority status everywhere it seems. Used to be, you could claim to be ‘bi’ and that was edgy enough, but that’s no good anymore. Nor is it enough to claim to be a (self-diagnosed) autistic, or person with AHDD, OCD, MPD, etc.
It’s not enough to join an ‘edgy religion’. Nope, now they need to be transethnic and even weirder shit.
It’s all hilarious, but what it really highlights is how totally oblivious settlers are to what oppression actually is. Because NO ONE wants that shit when they have it. No one. And what you really need to understand about these fucking settlers and their oppression fetish is that they seriously honestly DON’T GET IT. They really think that being part of a marginalised group is fun.
They really think that being part of a marginalised group is FUN.
Hey guys, we’re a club and they want in.
I cannot face palm hard enough.
Lol. This is like, white feminism personified.
Reminding us how awesome and inclusive the feminist community can be.
For those of you who don’t know, white-brite is an individual who recently ‘renounced her race’ and created a (grossly false) privilege hierarchy, as seen below:
Additionally, her blog is filled with page after page of her denying her own privilege, and then demanding that people ‘educate themselves’.
So let’s go through this again.
- You cannot renounce your race. You and I, as white (passing) people have white privilege, and that privilege is enduring. Every time you deny or ‘renounce’ that privilege, you are contributing to white supremacy, and the oppression of people of color.
- As an admittedly white, cis, heterosexual woman, you have (aside from white cis men and possibly white trans* men) the most privilege. You are not ‘low on the totem pole’ (which, congrats on the appropriative use of that term).
- You are the reason feminism is flawed. You are the reason that so many people cannot identify with the movement. By refusing to see how intersectionality actually works, you are actively enabling oppressive structures. You are excluding people, especially WoC, from your movement. You are doing more harm than good (and, quite frankly, I haven’t seen you contribute positively to anything).
I suppose that all of your faux-feminism must be exhausting, especially if you are resorting to the dismissal of valid arguments with (laughably ineffective) insults.
You are not helping anyone. You are actively contributing to the oppression of marginalized groups (among them, PoC and trans* individuals). You are actively making feminism less inclusive.
oh my god her hierarchy
I want to laugh, but this is such a clear representation of THE PROBLEM.
how the fuck can ANYONE believe someone who is Black, trans*, AND gay has more privilege than a white cis straight girl
How can this be what feminism is about
someone failed you, kid. And in turn, you’re failing everyone.