sanromero

Socio/Political and Historical analysis necessary for my peace of mind.

Category: Racism

Whiteness and Privilege within Minority Movements.

The thing about white privilege is that if you are white skinned, have blond hair with blue eyes…. you have it. Even if you are a minority in one aspect, you can be privileged in another. For example, I am a Latino, and although I could not be labeled as white, I do have relatively light brown skin.. and this means, when comparing to more dark skinned Latinos, I face less racial discrimination. Another easy example is that although I am below the poverty line, I have a privilege as an American Citizen that others around the world do not enjoy. I recognize my “easy american life” is not due to magic but due to systematic american imperialism – the plunder of the resources in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Middle East. Privileged in one aspect, oppressed in another – an example of how intersectionality works.

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Listening, Learning, and Language Modification.

It has been quite a while since I posted something on here. Outside factors continuously prevented me from staying committed to this new thing I am trying to do. (Blogging is hard because it is so time consuming to produce quality material regularly). However, I have not been slacking either.. instead of writing, I have been using my free time to listen and learn.

I have been reading about other forms of oppression that I do not have to face. My privileged status left me ignorant about various issues outside my own Salvadorian community. The effect of understanding the amount of ignorance I have on other issues has worked as a mitigating factor when it came to writing about those issues. I found myself wanting to share, but I also realized that I lacked the expertise needed to talk about these issues with any force or nuance. Sometimes it is better to just shut-up, listen and learn when you are part of the privileged group instead of voicing your opinion. All too often, the way privileged people voice opinions is to either act like authorities on issues in which they have no experience in, or to be mere mouthpieces of minorities they have been listening to. Desiring to be neither, I have opted simply to listen and learn. (Something many of us should try doing from time to time)

Now, as I did this, I was simultaneously educating myself about Human Psychology. In my profession, it helps tremendously to understand human behavior, because that knowledge helps to manage, deal with, and control a situation. Having “people skills” can help you get your message through with even the most resistant folks.

What I saw, was this underlying connection to the importance of Language Modification to get desired results. In every book I read, the main point and strategy in communication is acknowledging that your language matters. Language used, made all the difference to the impact your message had on the person you were trying to communicate with. In that, having good people skills/communication skills means knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. If you were unwilling to modify your own language, then it meant that you were going to have trouble communicating with resistant people – and in my profession there are many. In a profession where you have to put the needs of your client above your own, having the ability to monitor and change your own language, in order to comfort your clients (getting them to a place were you need them to be), is the difference between a successful career and unsuccessful one. Because my profession requires me to make such accommodations daily, this has resulted in me using these same accommodations in my personal life. The career skills I learned have benefited me in my personal and social affairs, and as such, I have no resistance towards modifying my own language when I think it is appropriate. (Hint: In my blog, I use that I want, if I want to say fck or sht, since this is my space, I am ganna do it. Do not attempt to argue with me about my language on my blog.)

So here is the thing that hit me, one that I felt was interesting enough to write on my blog…. each and every time I entered minority spaces on social justice issues, in which, as a person of color, I was not one of the oppressed but rather one of the privileged (LGBTQ issues, anti-black race issues, mental illness issues, physical issues, feminist issues, womanist issues)… what I found was that each of these minority groups actively monitor the use of Language by privileged people. They look for trigger words that indicate this or that privileged person either has a lot to learn, or if they are not ready to engage minorities directly because they still voice biases and bigoted thoughts about minorities. Minorities also develop they own words and labels in which they feel comfortable with. They point to words that more accurately describe their lived experiences – often times they promote the use of these words in order to encapsulate their struggles. Needless to say, I am all for this. However, what I found interesting is that each time they monitored a privileged person language or tried to improve their verbal repertoire (which in effect humanize their experience that are often dehumanized by the larger society)… they were met with resistance every time. Nothing but privileged whining and nonsense about how, oh now they are the “real oppressed because someone wants them to use better words.

What kind of fking sht is this?

I mean, it really started to piss me off. How resistant can people be to simply using better words because the language they are presently using actually hurt the minority groups they spoke of. WTF is the issue? Why is it that cis people are so resistant to using accommodations like cis-male or trans-male? Why is it so hard to, when asked to refer to a trans-woman as a “her”, to use the word “her”? The world is ending because Transgender activists are actively trying to inform the public that they prefer you acknowledge the natural complexities of gender we have? Puhlease… This active resistance becomes really grotesque when privileged groups accuse minorities, who attempting to make space for themselves by adding humanizing language to their experiences, of being abusive or totalitarian. How fcking foolish do you have to be to not understand that words are important? How ignorant do you have to be to not understand that being adviced to use better words is not actually a form of oppression?

How can someone not understand that the words you use have an impact on what you are trying to say? I would think such an understanding is so trivial that even grade schoolers  understand the logic of such a view. Their resistance is… not just frustrating but also a form of aggression. This resistance, is actually a symptom of their privilege and is, in many cases, quite literally, active oppression. Oppression comes in many forms and in difference intensities, and in this case, peoples inability to and or refusal to simply modify one or two words when actively talking to minority groups (where words can be triggers), after being told, repeatedly, what word to use, is in fact dehumanized and oppressive.

When someone asks you to not use this word because it dehumanizes them, and tells you to use other words because it makes their experiences real (when often society likes to ignore their experiences)…. to not engage in such an activity, and to continue to use the word in question in their presence…. is plainly a move of oppression. It is telling someone “fck off, I can say whatever I want, and I am ganna say this to fck with you because you don’t mean sht to me. You are garbage, watch me make you powerless” Make no mistake, that is the massage that is sent.

When this is done by someone who is in the privileged position in society – someone that has enough social, political, economical power to shrug off the struggles of the other peoples – it is a step in active dehumanization. They use their status to say that this or that group is not worthy of such a trivial (on our part, not theirs )consideration. This rejection of language modification (which is easy to do) does in effect, undermine their human dignity. You see, if you can not even be bothered to use different fcking words, what does this say when the stakes are higher? When we are not just talking about the impact of words and asking you to use better ones, but instead talking about violence or built in societal inequalities? If you can’t even do that… do you think you are even going to engage in the other harder issues around that minority community?

The truth is that if privileged peoples don’t give a fck there… they ain’t ganna give a fck over there either. Instead their active and often aggressive resistance to using different words does a tremendous amount of emotional damage to the minorities in question. You see, it makes it that much harder to mobilize on other issues because they are being hurt, and burnt out on language issues. So yeah, if you refuse to take part in humanizing minority experiences by simply using better words – can’t stress that enough – then you are actively being an oppressor.

Tim Fcking Wise

This was a long time comin, and I am a bit late to the game too. I mean, I just heard of this dude like a year or two ago.

You see, I think I was arguing with some white dude about why he is a racist piece of sht. I was explaining to him that this is why I hate him and why I will never grab a beer with him. That I would never got out and be friends with him, even though he kept insisting we be friends in the creepiest way possible. While arguing with this prick, he links me to a video of Tim Fcking Wise….. and he says, “Look at this guy! He knows what he is talking about!” So I take a look and I realize… he is saying everything I have been saying to this white fool for a while… and he is literally saying nothing new at all.

Then it hit me…. is this mther fcker getting paid for this sht? That is fcked up… how you ganna make money off of saying sht black and brown people have been saying for years?

Then I realized, this racist white peice of sht I was arguing with…. who never took a word I said without aggressively denying it…  all of a sudden, as soon as those same exact words, I sht you not, came out of the white mans mouth… all of a sudden, it makes sense to him? Sweet baby jebus… That is how racist  this guy is, he won’t stop being a racist if a POC tells him to, but now he is ganna stop when a white man does? Sht is bizzare.

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Tokenism

Why is it necessary for a black person to say “I do not speak for all black people…” after giving an opinion on a subject? Why don’t white people find it necessary to say “Obviously, I do not speak for all white people but…”? Why is it that white people are automatically granted individual autonomy on almost every subject, but many people of color are not granted similar autonomy? In fact, if we extend this generality further, many minorities are often snatched from their perspective groups and then forced to be speak on behalf of the category society has placed them in.

This phenomenon actually causes a lot of trouble. You see, when your actions and words not only reflect yourself put also are forced to reflect your entire group, and you have no say in which group people place you in, your individuality gets chipped away at. Many people of privilege do not know or understand what it feels like to not be able to talk for yourself.  Many people take their “individuality status” for granted, and assume this is the norm. Most minorities recognize though, that this is not the norm.

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I Don’t Care If You Are Not Offended, That Is Still Racist.

Here is a thing that pisses me the fck off often… the phrase “I was not offended, so I don’t think that was racist”.. I mean… Since when does racism have to personally offend you for it to be officially raicist? Fck you…. that sht is racist whether you are insulted or not.

This goes for any subject as well, be it homophobia, be it transphobia, be it orientalism, or be it sexism… just because you are not personally insulted does not mean that you can therefore rationally conclude weather or not something is bigoted. That is the fcking stupidest way to go around looking to spot bigotry, and I am fcking tired of seeing it.. especially tired of seeing it from fellow minorities.

That phrase is especially damaging, as a result of tokenism, if you are a member of a minority group and you take it upon yourself to pronounce that, because you are not personally offended, therefore all minorities who are, might be are overreacting or irrational. People are way too comfortable sending out this random minority to say “I was not offended by that.. thus it can’t be bigoted!”.. that sht is extra fcking annoying dogg!

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Why Understanding Cultural Impact is Important.

People with the privilege tend to be unaware of their status – and thus have the ability to act incredibly bigoted. A lack of cultural awareness is not a good thing. Ignorance, specifically on how culture impacts us, is universally correlated to bigoted behavior on any issue around equality.

The only antidote, my homies, to combating things like ingrained gender roles, is attempting to arm yourself through awareness. You got to know your sht, before you can escape these sorts of cultural forces. If you want to be a legit egalitarian, you actually have to put in work. You have to work on understanding the various cultural forces that is likely shaping your ideology. If you can’t do that… you just wasting everyone’s time.

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Bigotry and Friendship

Does bigotry make the person?

No, no it does not.

Why?

Well, because bigotry, more often than not, is the effect of cultural conditioning… so it is not “all their fault.” If a society grows up teaching everyone to act bigoted, I have to expect people to act bigoted. How accountable to their bigotry they should be, is based on how they handle this internalization. If they handle in such a way that makes them an “Old School Bigot”.. spitting out racial slurs.. then yeah.. fck that guy or girl…

However, if they reject bigotry, but on occasion just act like a bigot due to conditioning… then obviously there is more leeway there. It, really depends on the person. Like I keep saying, racism, today, is not so much about intent or KKK types, but as recognizing power structures and the function of behaviors that result from implicit bias. The intent of the individuals matter much less – the way they function in a bigoted society and how to stop that behavior is where it is at.

Is some bigoted stance a person may take, enough to make another person dismiss them as a whole?

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I Wrote This While Pissed (Part 3 of 3)

Aight, so this is the last part of the events that unfolded within this online life of mine. It is also part of the actual reason I started to blog in the first place.

Anyway, back to the story here, so this blogger with lots of pull within the community I was opining on – posted my comments (shown in part 1 and 2) on her blog in an effort to get people on board with my line of thought. When that sht hit, I was like.. fck, I did not know this was going to get this much play! I was just pissed, and wanted to say something, I did not really intend to change anyone’s mind on this issue. Anyway she posted it, and some prominent members within the community linked it via twitter, and it finally got to Clueless White Boy Two, and he read what I wrote, in part 1 and 2, where I accused him of acting racist along with White Boy One, and well… he ain’t take that sht too kindly.

He ended up calling it a “witch hunt” – which was standard white boy tactic one, make yourself into a martyr and act like being called racist is just as bad as people burning you at the stake. Then a feminist friend of his, told him that this response was wack – he got taken aback by this, and reconsidered his position. That lasted for about a second, and then he went on to say how nothing I wrote was of substance, and instead it was just a mud flinging post, where he accused me of making him look racist when, clearly, he was anything but. All of a sudden I see AM comment and tell him to back that sht up, and that he should at least attempt to post a response to my commentary about him.  Clueless White Boy Two then in denial of his action, kept saying how my thoughts lacked any substance and implied they should not be taken seriously – needless to say no one believed him. So because of some social forces at play, he decided to comment on what I wrote. What processed was this off hand defensive BS attitude, and I then…. understood this guy was too ignorant to get WTF I was saying. So I responded to him as follows.

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I Wrote This While Pissed (Part 2 of 3)

The background for this is in part 1, go read that – or you might get lost on what this whole thing is about. If you do not want to read all of part one, and believe me I understand, that sht is super duper long, you can just read the intro that summarized the context of this.

Anyway, to go from where we left off…. After a bunch of people called this white guy out for being racist, he writes a huge 8000 word response instructing minorities how to communicate to privileged people – meanwhile making himself some kind of martyr. That sht long post pissed me the fck off even further than I already was.. because I actually sat down and read that drivel.. and it was sooo ignorant that I would have to write a book to correct all the errors in his analysis. I was actually ganna do it too.. but then this white feminist, henceforth to be refereed to as Awesome White Woman (AWW) did like a parody of his response. Within that parody she hit up all the objections and basically fcked White Boy One (WB1) up with some logic and a proper social justice Framework.

When I read it, I felt relieved, but still pissed off, and I wanted to add to what AWW said. So I posted something I am going to re-post here on my blog.

Again, this is going to be edited, names redacted, and stuff, the edits will be in bold. I post part two because, again, a bunch of people from that community told me they learned a lot from the post. I post it here to archive it, anyway.. here we go:

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I Wrote This While Pissed (Part 1 of 3)

So like, I got pissed off about some Internet racist micro-agression and I ended up writing this sht long post. I am kind of embarrassed that I even wrote that while pissed off…. but a bunch of POC’s and white people told me that they learned something or other from this post… so I figure I will just throw it up here as a reference point to what it looks like when I am fcking pissed.

At least it shows that just cause someone is emotional, does not mean they can not also be rational at the same time. So I want to throw this up here with the specific names and communities redacted, and it will be heavily edited (edits will be in bold) so that instead of reflecting this one incident, it can be used to generalize about incidents similar to these, and show they can damage the psyche of even the most hard nosed minorities.

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