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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

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Location: California, United States

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bitchin' Blogs

Two women worth watching:

Professor Kim and Reappropriate. Both smart. Both vocal. Both literate. Both women of color.

Kim tends to be more scholarly. Jenn (reappropriate) is young and hip. Both are formidable spokespersons for truth, justice, and the American Way. The New American Way. Rooted in one of our most precious freedoms: the freedom of speech.

Now that I have posted my plug, let me comment on a comment I found on Jenn's blog. It comes under the heading of

Oh no she DIDN'T!

OK. So this young grrl comes onto reappropriate's web site and says:

i read the 360 blog yesterday and was actually hoping someone would post about it. i agree with much of what you're saying Jenn, but I have a question for you. What is the appropriate response by white people to racism? Because it seems lately with this blog and others that we're "damned if we do and damned if we don't". Either we're not accepting that racism exists -- which is bad. Or we're accepting it and agreeing that it sucks -- which is also bad? i don't get it. i'm honestly not trying to start shit here, i'm just trying to understand. do you feel that those that are not a direct victim of racism have no place in discussing it? i'm very interested to read your and others' responses to this. i've been trying for a while to find a way to ask this without sounding completely offensive, but i have a feeling i failed...

Hoo boy! First off chica, how is it bad that you acknowledge that racism exists? It does exist. You are stating fact.

The appropriate response to racism is to check yourself and then call it when you see it. Furthermore, if a person of color points out your racist leanings, don't argue. Listen.

I don't think anyone said that white people shouldn't discuss racism. I think some might have said "You don't know what you're talking about." In other words, don't argue with the experience of a person who has been places you will never be. You cannot put someone else's life into your own personal context. Which is what those with the power of the primary culture tend to do.

When one of my young, black nurses comes to me and says "I'm being discriminated against," it doesn't matter if I don't think that's the case. What matters is that she is seeing something that I don't see. Because she is automatically more sensitive to the subtle behaviors that equal racist thinking.

Not only must I listen to what she has to say. I must support that young woman, and if I recognize that she is right, then I have to reorganize my thinking. To carry it even further, it is important that I speak out to my white colleagues about any problems we have as an organization which may promote racism.

There is no overnight cure. It's a process. It's one step at a time. And if you really want to eradicate racism, you have to be willing, as a white person, to be uncomfortable, to be wrong, to take a personal inventory of your failures. And most importantly, you have to be willing to give up your sense of entitlement. Because for the most part, white people do believe that they are entitled to certain things in life before any other group. And most people don't give that up willingly.

I know it must be the ultimate in hubris for this middle aged white woman to even think that she may understand the issue. And maybe I am too hard on the young woman who posted the comment.

But it just makes me frickin' insane to think that my generation fled to the suburbs and raised a generation of middle class children who honestly believe that racism is just another word for Their Poor Me Paranoia.

Kinja, the weblog guide


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