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05 October 2011 @ 03:52 pm
white people, we get it  
Dear White People:

When a person of color critiques a problematic statement by a White person, the thing NOT to do is respond by explaining its literal meaning or historical source, particularly if nobody asked. When you do this, you are not adding a necessary perspective. You are insulting people's intelligence. Responding to a critique that exposes the contradictions and subtleties of racial oppression with elementary explanations is a lot like a kindergarten student butting into a discussion about complex analysis with assertions that 1+1 = 2.

Hence, "shut up and listen" if you can't contribute anything worth saying to the conversation.

Case in point: That Sign at Slutwalk NYC

SLUTWALK SIGN: "Woman is the n****r of the world."
SOME BLACK WOMEN: So what does this make Black women?
MORE BLACK WOMEN: This is why I don't call myself feminist.
WHITE PEOPLE: It comes from a John Lennon song. But it was Yoko Ono's idea, and it got approval from Dick Gregory and other Important Black People.
MORE WHITE PEOPLE: Try looking at it from the women's POV. [note: this was actually said by a real person.]
EVEN MORE WHITE PEOPLE: I don't think she should be blamed for quoting a song.
BLACK WOMEN: Fuck life and the internet. >:-(
Being the ramblings of D.gmdreia on October 5th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, this.

This is one of those examples where "just effing listening and having sensitivity for other peoples' feelings" should be more broadly applied and in -most- circumstances, even when us white people deal with each other. This reminds me of when men explain away/intellectualize women's emotions, for example.

I do wonder at times though how much of the difficulty between men and women is in itself a privilege issue.
Mama Wears Combat Bootsemzebel on October 6th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)

blk: facepalmblk on October 6th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
And I cannot help but notice all of the commenters on that linked article that say, "I'm a white woman, and *I* found the sign inappropriate too!"

I greatly understand the desire to be supportive and the frustration that being quiet and listening feels like not doing anything... but that's because white women aren't used to feeling helpless in matters of race. And that's a separate issue for the white women to deal with on their own time, not within the discussions that talk about black women being marginalized.
kaz? bonne?: cometdatenshiblue on October 6th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
Not to mention it comes across as the white commenter trying to lend their authority to the cause, when there is no authority, only privilege.