Recently, especially on the Internet—specifically Facebook—I’ve been getting a lot of flack for telling men they can’t be victims of sexism and telling white people they can’t be victims of racism. I mean, I’m not posting on the walls of my Facebook friends telling them this. A lot of the times, as the “crazy feminist bitch” I am, I’ll post some link or state my opinion on some issue or share something funny from Bitch Media. It’s my Facebook and I’m pretty sure I’m entitled to post whatever I want. At least I think that’s how it works? But seriously, my feminist friends, don’t post ANYTHING about white people or even worse, white men, being privileged or some real shit will go down. They will get really offended, tell you your opinions are factually incorrect, and complain that they have been victims of racism and/or sexism! Maybe one time they were called a cracker. SO OFFENSIVE! I can’t even imagine the mental trauma they must have gone through. And even some girls will come to their rescue, stating that sexism and racism affect everyone. I mean one time I knew this guy and this girl called him a heterodouche and he was, like, really upset. I can’t even imagine how he felt. Discriminated for being a heterosexual! I wonder what it feels like to be discriminated against based on your sexual preference. That must hurt a lot. I mean ask that hetero guy, because he definitely knows.
Much to my dismay, being a bitch isn’t getting my point across, or making any of the white people and men and especially white men understand what I’m saying. So, for those of you who don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, I’m gonna give you the lowdown. Because all kidding aside, I really, really, really want people to understand what I mean when I talk about privilege.
Okay let’s start with the white people:
What’s up! I’m white too. Really white. Sometimes I pretend my Jewness makes me not white but I am seriously a straight up cracker. And guess what? I can never be a victim of racism. And neither can you! Here’s why:
Racism isn’t that bullshit you read on dictionary.com. Why? Because a. a white dude made up that definition so he can claim that PoC can be racist towards him and his white comrades and b. racism goes a lot deeper than just discriminating against someone because of his/her skin color.
We live in a white society. I mean, not everyone is white (duh). Actually most people aren’t white, which is why it actually makes no sense. But when I say we live in a white society I’m saying that everyone who is born into this society is dominated and controlled by white people (specifically, you guessed it, white men). White is just not a race. It’s an ideology. Whiteness has permeated our psyches since birth. Every person that is not white is subjected to a culture that inherently rejects them. Which sucks. White people, including me, are fucking lucky to be born white. We were born with this advantage that we didn’t even earn. Being white is definitely the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
I could go into a long discussion about how inherently racist and oppressive the culture in which we live in is but basically what I’m saying is that if you’re white, you’re in a position of power. Racism = prejudice + power. When you do, say, or participate in something discriminatory against PoC (which is anyone and everyone who isn’t white) you are being racist. You are white; you are in power. When a PoC makes fun of you for being white, yeah, they’re discriminating against you. But you are not systematically oppressed by a white system. You contribute to that system simply by benefiting from it. Thus, you’re not a victim of racism.
bell hooks telling white people to stfu:
“Why is it so difficult for many white folks to understand that racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks (they could have such feelings and leave us alone) but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation?”
My thoughts exactly, bell.
P.S. Accepting your white privilege is not that hard. And I know, you can’t do anything about being white. Which is true. But being aware of your whiteness is helpful. And not bitching about reverse racism (which doesn’t exist by the way) and why there isn’t a “white history month” is also helpful. As a white person I try to be the best white person I can be. Even though I will always be privileged, I recognize my privilege, which is what you should do too. And for Christ’s sake don’t call your friends, or anyone else for that matter, “nigga”.
P.P.S. I am not trying to speak for or in place of PoC right now. I am just trying to tell fellow white people they are being ignorant and stupid. I was once (and still am) ignorant and stupid too but I try to be not as ignorant and stupid as I used to be.
On to sexism:
Okay, so I’m not a dude, so I can’t really relate to y’all on this one. But that makes it even more fun because I can call you out on your shit without even being a bit self-deprecating (wee!). Sexism pretty much works the same way as racism. As well as living in a white society, we live in a patriarchal society. By this I mean that we live in a society that oppressive towards women. Just as PoC are born into a society that rejects them, women (including WoC) are born into a society that not only forces them to fit a “feminine” role (i.e. passive, nice, nurturing, maternal, submissive, pretty, small, etc.) but also views them as intrinsically unequal. Just as racism = prejudice + power, sexism = prejudice + power, except sexism’s prejudice is based on gender rather than race. I don’t want to say being a woman sucks, but it’s definitely a lot shittier than being a dude. It wasn’t until I realized the patriarchy existed until I realized, “Wow, that’s why I hate(d) myself so much!” I don’t want to get too personal, but I’ve had a lot of issues with my body, general appearance, and sexuality since elementary school. The fact that I was saving up for approximately nine plastic surgery procedures at the age of twelve is by no means normal and I don’t think that my feelings of self-loathing were natural, either. Even currently my thoughts about myself are highly affected by the patriarchy, even though I am completely aware of why I think such thoughts.
P.S. When I say “men” or “dude” I mean heterosexual cismen. I really didn’t feel like typing that out every time, sorry y’all.
We’re not all equal. Humans might all have the same “fundamental rights” (I am leaving out gay/queer rights here because that’s a completely different tale) but the fact that we all have the right to vote in the presidential election or drink from the same water fountain does in no way eradicate the ideological oppression that continues to dictate our thoughts and actions. What we have left now is the residue of the more blatant inequality that existed in our country and just because it is less tangible does not mean it does not exist. In fact, it could even be said that this unapparent oppression is even more dangerous. It much more difficult to completely extirpate and replace the values a nation has possessed for hundreds of years.
So ALL I’M ASKING is that you recognize your privilege(s). I’m not saying you should be consistently aware of the fact that your life is easier in a lot of ways but maybe the next time you make a joke about feminists needing to make you a sandwich or say something like, “He just got into Harvard because he’s black!” you’ll realize you’re highly affected by the white patriarchal hegemony that exists in our nation. Or at least you’ll at least realize you’re a complete douche.