Things I am sick of hearing:
“yes, black people are being discriminated against, but what about white people?”
“yes, women as a group have been subjected to sexism, but men also ”
“yes, women are the main victims of abuse and sexual assaults, but men are also victims ”
“yes, gay people are being murdered, but heterosexuals also'”
What is it with this? I don’t get why we can’t just listen to another person telling us their story, instead of immediately saying (or tweeting) how bad other people have it too. How fucking narrow minded is that? Can’t we find the ability to look at ourselves and see our own privileges? Can’t a man realize that he has privileges over women or a white person over people of color or a heterosexual over a lesbian/gay/transperson? It’s not a competition about who is the worst of in this world. I wish all people could be in someone else’s shoes for a while. Rich in poor, white in black, men in women’s, heterosexuals in gay/lesbian/trans. I’m ‘white’ and I know that’s a privilege I will always have. I’m also a woman, a lesbian and I identify as a butch feminist. That means I’m also being oppressed as being part of a minority and being part of a minority in a minority. But that does not take away my white privilege. It still gives me a responsibility to think and reflect and act on that, what I try to do every day. I know I won’t risk getting shot when I would walk with my hoody on to buy a snack in the evening in some American city; I know I won’t be followed in the shop by the security guard; I know I won’t be pulled over in my car by the police when nothing is wrong with my driving; I know women won’t clutch their bags when I pass them.
Audre Lorde said this about taking responsibility in Sister Outsider:
“Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”
It’s not the task of the oppressed to educate others. But it is what we do and nothing really changes through that. We ask for equality, excuse ourselves for what we are (born this way, sorry), say we are the same as them, try to act the same as them, try not to be angry, try to behave, fit in. And in the end, we change and they don’t.
Let’s put our energy in redefining ourselves. It means we have to define ourselves first for what we are now. It means we have to talk with others about ourselves, because it’s not easy defining yourself on your own. To listen to others when they talk about their definitions. To listen to all their different stories because in the end: “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” (Audre Lorde)