3/08/2007

Ah, about the white guilt thing

Tried to post this at Chasingmoksha's for some reason, posting here in case it isn't let through her moddding process and because I think it's worth leaving somewhere on it's own:

Judging by the way we keep hearing about your husband, who's self and experiences are always off stage and out of sight...

I'm gonna go ahead and assume you are in fact Columbo.

I'd be really interested to hear his story btw, to hear how he was treated for marrying you and being a father, because so far you seem to only mention this whole relationship as an attempt to explain how you really do get it (despite stuff that flows from a place of ignorance, even if some of it is an understandable result of cultural training) and how you weren't treated as white by all white people, and therefore WOC HAVE to accept you because you got Othered this one time etc...etc...

The people you're talking to GET being Othered, they do not get only being intermittently Othered, being able to choose to be Othered, being able to point out that you were Othered in isolated incidents and oh how terrible it was to be Othered against your will and all.

Okay CM, we get it, you have had a glimpse beyond the looking glass - now what? because the more I read of this little thing of yours, the more I get that you're wanting to be carried, you want to be pampered and waited on and suffered through your ignorances while people dig and dig and assume hte best of intentions underly your actions that, all things being equal, offend and anger.

And now, because they didn't, didn't treat you like they were white people talking to another white person basically, but acted like you really were a white person, and that they really were a non-white person, and that there is a normative way they're supposed to treat you (as their superior) and how you're supposed to treat them (as inferiors), and while you held up your end of that normative interaction, they didn't and treated you as though they really aren't under any obligation to "get" and "get" what you really mean underneath all your words.

Because all of that you're calling foul play? Kicking up a stink

Wake up sister, you just got treated like a person, not a white person, but an actual, 100% person, and judging by the struggle to avoid it and push everyone away, probably for the first time in your pale little life.

Scary aint it?

Embrace it, headbutt it, whatever, but move forward, don't turn away.

trust me on this, I've had to deal with the non-white people who are exactly as you say WoC are, the racist ones and the ones who really do affirm racists by doing nothing more than react to them constantly.

You ever tangle with the new lot of Black Panthers and people associated with the Nation of Islam - they're racist far beyond that "the white man is the devil" sort of whineness, but go off into wanting a true black supremacy equivalent to the one they're having to live under. Unsurprisingly they're all homo/transphobic misogynists like the cultural feminists are racist homo/transphobes, people who worship oppression like that are always assholes.

But the people you're reacting to - that ain't them, really, and to hear you whine, like twisty at one of her father's "spit on the poor" company barbecues about how terrible life is for the poor rich spinsty aunts of the world, about shit that really, ain't all that, and hardly compares to the shit I've been through, little ol' white me, the crap that I've been through.

You want a dick measuring contest, well then fine, I'll go get a step ladder for you to stand on so I can slap you in the face with mine.

I've felt direct racism, at me you see? AND I've had it thrown at my freinds, in fact white folk just like you tend to have this nasty little habit of sauntering up to me and saying stuff that basically parses down to "those black folks, huh?" when they started shit with my freinds as though it was my freinds who did something wrong.

First time I lived in a neighbourhood that wasn't predominantly black that got thrown at me.

And up until I'd been spouting crap like you did about that asian america girl you once knew, spouting off about those nasty little back stabbing two faced racist black girls at school who'd give me shit.

Used to cuss them out to my friends, who weren't white, and I'd do it like you did, go on about those black people just like you went on about those asians.
My friends tended to quickly change the subject if I did, didn't think much of it personally.

Then the first white person in my life did the "you're one of us - and they're not" dance at me, pissed me off, told my friend who'd they started shit with about it after wards and she got pissed off - at me.

Didn't get it, didn't understand why she was pissed off.

next week the friend is really distant, the asshole saunters up to me at lunch, starts eating, her other white freinds join us, we're all chatting, laughing, and now my freind turns up.

I ask her to sit with us and the table goes silent.

Her eyes, I never again want to see what I saw in her eyes that time, pain, anger, even more pain, then nothing, body went tence, face went unreadable.

And she said no, walked off, sat down and ate FAST, rushed out of there afterwards before I was finished, didn't speak to her the rest of the day, she was always in a hurry someplace not near me, probably would have kept htat up if hadn't... I'm Getting ahead of myself.

But as she walked off to sit down, the conversation started up again and the asshole from before nudged me while I'm looking at my friends' back, I turned and the asshole said "oh don't worry, you know what they're like." I smiled my fake smile at her, little nostril exhale of "mirth" at htat, and ate, didn't say anything at that table for the rest of the meal, walked off when I was done without saying bye.

Because it clicked, that asshole nudged what ever little thing that had been teetering on the brink of awareness for fucking years over the edge and... it clicked, commonalities and interstices.

She didn't return my calls, txted her, still no reply by about 10 o'clock, we'd been talking about going out and getting drunk.

I did.

Turned up on her doorstep with some seriously smudged eyeshadow - just the waiting and thinking about what to say to her had me in tears, and when she opened the door (a little, followed by a lot in a big angry slamming as she realises who I am) I just dived at her knees and cried and cried and apologised between ever other sob "didn't mean to be white to you, didn't mean to be so fucking stupid don't hate me i'm so sorry."

After she finally let me in and pried me off her knees and we started to talk - but afterwards we weren't friends like we had been, not for a good long while, but we were at least friends, and here's the thing; once you go that route, your freinds have no obligation to accept you back - your credit is poisoned forever by pulling shit like that, if I hadn't realised that, first of all, nothing would have happened, I could of rode up to her house on my big high horse and waffled about racist constructs this, and waffled about how I'm less of a racist because i think everyone's green and murdered that freindship like ted bundy at a wet t-shirt contest that was offering an "all you kill then rape" buffet because as a friend it is my obligation not to add to the crap the rest of society piles on her, and she had no obligation to be my black tonto.

And as such, she kinda objected to me treating her like it was.

And the thing is, she was there when, back in HS and we were doing maya angelou, the clique kids would snigger and look my way whenever the "po' white folks" were mentioned (and that's the stuff that didn't involve me getting beat up and sat on and having my head flushed in the boys toilets by the girls while they pulled my underwear down and wrote "white trash ¢2" on my butt. So yeah, I been there and then some with actual racism being directed my way.

But that's just shit people gotta put up with in general, if it hadn't been black girls spewing crap like that, it'd have been white spewing their brand of idiocy at me, and trust me, I tend to react to insults and those beat downs tneded to come from the idiots being unable to reply with anything that didn't involve two of them sitting on my arms, one on my legs and the fourth wailing on my stomach.

But seeing the look in her eyes before she shut it off, then having the stupid asshole nudge me and make me realise what I'd actually done.

You talk about white guilt, but you don't seem to know that it's not black people calling us white that creates it - hell, you're doing what white guy after white guy always does when that happens, react and whine and run from what they're trying to get you to understand.

Oh no, that's not where the white guilt comes from, and htat's not where the pain should be coming from because being called a "nigger" or a "race traitor" by other white folk? HAH! That's fucking music to dance to, a status to, as you and heart make so fucking clear, revel in because being a white women in a white man's world means fucking freedom from having to accept the checks they try to make you cash in.

No, the guilt should stem from the other white people accepting you, sucking you into those habits of saying "Them" and generalising and Othering, that leaves you seeing black people, or asian people, when you should be seeing nothing more complex than just plain assholes - and all assholes are brown, even the ones on white people (ignoring asshole bleaching for a second).

You should be feeling guilty for pissing on asian women, and asian progressives, and asking them, and asking their friends of various hues to just be white with you, and to call it lemonade and get them to suck it down.

Because you can denounce whatever you like, you're actions, your words, have been white.

And that's what matters, not whetehr some white girl cussed at you once.

That is very true professor, and perhaps my mistake, I actually thought someone would at least once not veiw every single white person as the enemy

They can't walk into a dialogue with white women and assume what you wanted them to assume, or they get screwed over.

And when you ask them to let down that justified guard, because you've suffered, and you can sympathise whoah-ah-oh-oh, and any number of other declared attributes you want to throw out there, you're asking them to risk more than you've so far been willing to show.

This results in what one calls a "monologue" because no one with any sense'll listen to you, rather like that whole "bipartisan" thing the repugs go on about.

There's a power dynamic beneath all that as well.


(the word verification for that comment was "jbnbaaby" btw, make of that what you will)

And yeah yeah, I know, she asked me not to comment at her place, and usually my policy is to act like an anti-vampire, don't go where I'm not invited and all that, but I had a mad on, okay? Fuck you.

9 comments:

plain(s)feminist said...

WOW, R. Mildred. I've never been here before, but after this, I will be back.

Cassandra Says said...

The non-vampiring is justified in this instance.
Here's the thing. Your comment about how she expected to be treated? True. She wants to know what it feels like not to be treated like one of the overlords? It just happened. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.
She's upset that people are making assumptions that aren't the ones she wants them to make, and you've been on the receiving end of those assumptions and so have I, but you know what? In most cases those assumptions are justified. People react that way for a reason. People have been burned before as a result of giving white folks the benefit of the doubt. If the occasional white person finds his/herself in a situation where it seems like gee, people don't necessarily trust them or think well of them - too bad. Suck it up and quit whining. No matter how much it hurts your fee-fees it's still far, far less of a problem than what most POC deal with every day. So get over yourself.
Oops, I guess I'm kind of venting on your blog too, huh? Pretty sure she wouldn't let me post the same thing over there.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R. Mildred said...

It should be noted that there would have been more to this, about guilt and pain and all that jazz, but I was finding it hard to figure out which of the many keyboards I was meant to be typing into, so I just hit submit and added the addendums to this post until I sobered up enough to start drinking and blogging again.

It's a system.

Ravenmn said...

No, the guilt should stem from the other white people accepting you,

Nailed it.

belledame222 said...

It's a good piece. It's too bad that it won't have the slightest effect on the person it's addressed to--appeals to reason and/or empathy only work if the other party, like, -has- any; but at least it might make the penny drop for -someone- out there.

Donna said...

I LOVE YOU!

Blackamazon said...

And I love you

Donna Darko said...

Me three.