I talked about what it looks like when people use their privilege like a hammer last time.
Today I want to talk about the experience of being the one hammered upon.
I'm going to use race again because it's honestly the most salient issue to my daily life.
I'm sure y'all remember the race related blow outs in the FA sphere a while back. I wrote about them here, here and here.
One of the primary functions of having a privilege, especially White privilege is that if you are a White person, these are things you never have to deal with or talk about or even acknowledge.
What it means is that I can pour my heart out and work and work and work and beg and plead for people to listen and hear what I'm saying and get nothing.
It means that after I've done all that and experienced actual pain I have to watch when the same things I've said are said by a Nice White Lady and all of a sudden it's all true and people then want to have a heart.
It means I can say that X thing is abusive and terrible and people tell me that they would not be racist/or other flavor of asshole if ONLY I was nicer about it.
If only I wasn't so confrontational about being called a nigger maybe people wouldn't say it.
If only instead of me responding with a hearty fuck you if you are going to be a racist, if I would say please don't say racist things to me then maybe, just maybe people would treat me better.
Think about that.
Think about the actual experience of talking about your lived life as I do. I tell you guys shit that is painful and makes me angry. Think about how it would (if you don't experience it) feel to say I was afraid of this man because he called me a Black bitch and to have someone come along and tell you that it was nothing.
Or if I say, hey could you not use X language it comes off as really racist and it hurts me/us/your message. Instead of an I'm sorry I said that 99% of the time I get, OMG STOP PULLING THE RACE CARD, I get told that I know nothing (if only y'all knew how often this happens) about racism and should stop talking about it.
I am a 35 year old Black woman in America. I have been called a nigger to my face more times than I can count and somehow because I am a Black woman, no one wants to hear that yes YES I know what the fuck I'm talking about when I say I think something is racist/comes from a racist place.
I want you to really think about how that feels.
When I say that I don't want a doctor to only treat me for being fat and not for what's actually wrong with me, say my insomnia, depression, anxiety etc etc. People tell me that I am ignorant because CLEARLY the only thing with me ever is fatness.
That is privilege wielded like a mother fucking hammer.
Un-examined and ignored issues of privilege mean that for every person like me who does have a serious vested interest in dealing with oppression, it just gets to be too much.
It's why I refuse to identify with or deal with feminists.
It's why sometimes I get so angry I refuse to help people out with their understanding of racial issues or fat issues or gender issues even though in my deepest heart it gives me no end of joy to really guide or open eyes.
It's why sometimes I can't even comment. Why, I refuse to engage most people about things because honestly I already know what is going to happen.
My anger (generally regardless of circumstance)=bad wrong and presumably misplaced.
A White persons anger (often in my world, especially a White woman regardless of circumstance) = She needs shielding and protection and anyone who's said anything critical of her must be full of shit and hate. EVERYONE PROTECT HER.
That is why privilege is such a mother fucker.
This is not theory. This is my actual life.
One of the main reasons I fall off of blogging sometimes is that because I am not a Nice Famous White lady I know how vulnerable a position I am in.
I know that my ideas and words can (and have been) stolen with absolute impunity for the good of a cause.
I know that for all my pain and sweat and tears, most likely if I am quoted etc I don't get credit. I don't get a thank you. I don't get a heads up. I don't get shit.
Because I don't have the privilege of being in a position where if I was caught doing I would be protected.
Having privilege doesn't make you or anyone else an awful person.
How you or anyone else uses their privilege does.
At the end of the day (as it is right now) if I want to keep doing what I'm doing and writing about the things I'm passionate about, I take the risk. I've mentioned it before but this sort of thing is really fucking important to me and I do it in spite of the pain and the problems.
I do it with full knowledge that I might be pissing in the wind.
So the next time you comment and bow out of a conversation because you're uncomfortable or because you don't have any real investment, take a second and check yourself.
Dealing with your privilege is really fucking hard but I have faith in you. I think you can do it.