I'm not ignorant to white privilege. It exists. But complaining about it is not going to fix it. I realize that you're trying to highlight the problem, but it's been highlighted enough already. People are not ignorant to it. They know about it. It's everywhere. But now that they know, you should post how to prevent it or start a group that shows support on how to deal with it. White people and people of color alike find this blog off-putting because it's so negative. Make it a positive message.
Literally the entire front page of this blog is an hour’s long conversation about how to best dismantle white privilege. How did you miss that? Where’s the negativity you’re talking about? Link me to anything negative this blog has posted in the past six months. It’s almost like you’re completely ignoring everything that’s actually on this blog and instead arguing against some version of this blog cooked up in your paranoid imagination.
Please don’t tell us how to run our blog. We’re the biggest anti-racism blog on tumblr. We kinda know what we’re doing.
Loving your string of responses on this topic. What do you think about white antiracist activists who accept writing/speaking requests on racism rather than referring the requests to PoC? If they know that white privilege is part of the reason they're being offered the gig, or maybe they think that the requesting audience would be less likely to validate the arguments if they came from a PoC? Should they say no & risk no antiracist voice being heard? Should they say yes then slam the requester?
I’m not a fan of people like that. They’re in it for the money.
I thought the idea of using your privilege to dismantle privilege was the thought that it is probably safe for me to call out my white friends and others about being racist. It's not fair to expect PoC to call out all of the racism they see, especially as it can be dangerous for them, so I am supposed to call it out when I see it (but not speak over people who are affected by it.) Is this wrong?
My question is sort of to the previous asker as well. In what situation would it be considered using white privilege to speak out against social issues (e.g. if you're white and tell someone that what they said is racist, or only if you're using a specific platform to speak about it, or what), and since I don't really know what that meant, is it possible to speak out against social issues without being seen as using white privilege or butting in to someone else's battle? Thanks.
I think it comes down to what you consider your position in the conversation to be. I don’t agree with the notion that white people don’t belong in the conversation or that their role is to shut up and listen. I don’t think we should be sending white people to Google every time they have a question. Now, that’s not to say it’s our job to educate, but if our goal is to dismantle these structures, yeah, we’re going to need to deliver some guidance to people who genuinely want to help but don’t have the perspective to know what to do.
(General note: Don’t take this as an invitation to consider this blog an educational resource. Like we’ve said many times before, there are days when we’re in the mood to answer questions for our well-intentioned white followers, and today happens to be one of those days, but this blog is primarily a POC space.)
Yes, it is possible to speak out against social issues without leveraging your white privilege. You should want to be a part of a conversation, but you in no way should try to make yourself a leading voice or an authority within that conversation. You simply don’t have the perspective to fully understand a lot of the concepts, which is not an insult, but a fact of life. I don’t have the perspective to fully understand a lot of the concepts within feminism, or the struggles of the queer community, so I don’t try to make myself an authoritative voice within those movements.
I do, however, attempt to amplify those perspectives within spaces in which it is appropriate for me to take an authoritative voice. You’ve got to always defer to those who are actually a part of whatever group you’re supporting. Ya know, just take in the conversations you’re privy to, correct your own actions, and then make sure the spaces you’re a part of are correcting their actions as well.
(In reference to the last Q answered) ...Okay, I see what you're saying, but what would you suggest white allies do instead? I still have white privilege, regardless of whether I choose to own up to it or ignore it, so surely trying to use it to ampify Poc's voices/start conversations on racism & white privelege/etc is better than the alternative- denying (and thus most definitely perpetuating) white privilege?
There’s a difference between amplifying it, acknowledging it, and owning up to it, and using it to speak over POC. You should point out racism where you see it, you should acknowledge the role white privilege plays in your life, and you should actively contribute to conversations on white privilege in a way that does not derail or shift focus. None of that involves using your privilege.
Another odd question, whats your opinion on a white cis male using his privilege to shed light and help open up peoples minds on certain topics and problems that PoC face? Is it just a cry for attention or is he using his privilege in the best way?
I’ve never understood this notion perpetuated by some POC bloggers that white people should use their white privilege to speak out against white privilege. Like, it literally is so mind numbingly contradictory, you might as well be saying the best way to put out a fire is to set the fire on fire.
You can’t use white privilege to dismantle white privilege, because that perpetuates white privilege, and if you are perpetuating white privilege, in what sense have you possibly deluded yourself into thinking you’re dismantling it?
Yo, looks like I misunderstood what that last ask was saying. Thought it was saying that she was infuriated at the suggestion she had white privilege, but I think she was actually saying she was infuriated that white privilege existed and that she will benefit from it while her daughter will be marginalized without.
So quick question I'm white, my daughter is not fully white, does that make me more privileged than her? That almost infuriates me, because in some way, people saying I have more privilege than her almost makes it sound like I somehow believe I'm better than her. I will never ever think that about my daughter, she is my whole world, and for her to grow up in a world that tells her she doesn't have the same opportunity as I did is bullshit.
White privilege isn’t about whether or not you believe you’re better than anybody else. But yo, will you ever encounter systematic racism? No. Will your daughter? Yes.
Like, to take people speaking out against a system of oppression that will negatively impact your daughter, one potentially will effect her in profoundly devastating ways, and to say “Yes, but what about meeeeee?” is actually really shitty.
White privilege is not being pulled over after hydroplaning in the rain at 12:30 P.M., and being tested for DUI, and not having the officer harass you until you blow a 0.00 on the breathalyzer.
It’s not being pulled over at 2 A.M. because you “don’t have your headlights on,” then being told that you’re getting a warning for having your headlights “too low.”
It’s not being afraid to call out the officers on pulling you over for Driving While White because the cops in your city have never unjustly shot a white person during your lifetime at a traffic stop and got off virtually scot-free.
White privilege is… being able to walk somewhere with a group of similar people and not have kids or other people mock and pretend to speak the non-English language. (I turned around when a group of kids did that to me literally behind my back and told them “I speak English perfectly well, thanks!”, to which their reaction was “oooh, BUSTED”)
White privilege is not having someone tell you that you would really like a tv show because it blends the cultures of China and the Old West, only for there not to be any use of Chinese other than to sound profound or to curse… and for there to not be any Asian actors on the show in question.
White privilige is being able to watch 2 shows of “pretty white people” and pretend that there is not any Asians in the area where the shows are set even though there are sizable Asian communities in both locations.
Q: Why does that character have to be gay/bi/black/Asian/Hispanic/etc?
A: As opposed to what?
I’ve found this to be a useful response, because many people will hesitate before saying “white” or “straight.” That hesitation comes from the realization, however subconscious, that they have defaulted all characters to white and straight, and are thereby declaring this normal, while everything else is other. From here, if they choose to acknowledge their internalized (unintentional but still harmful) supremacy rather than going on the defensive, they will begin to understand the real value of representation.
Q: This story isn’t about romance! Why does it matter if the characters are gay?
A: What should they be instead?
Essentially the same response. By that logic, any character in any story who does not have a romantic or sexual story arc should be aromantic and/or asexual. But the truth is, sexuality is only one part of a character’s identity (hey! just like IRL!). Any character of any race, gender, or sexual orientation can go on an adventure that does not involve sex or romance.
If you’ve spent any time discussing or reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I guarantee you’ve heard some variation of this statement:
OMG, Jews think any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic!
In the interests of this post, I’m going to assume that the people who express such sentiments are acting in good faith and really don’t mean to cause pain to or problems for Diaspora Jewry. For those good-faith people, I present some guidelines for staying on the good side of that admittedly murky line, along with the reasoning why the actions I list are problematic. (And bad-faith people, you can no longer plead ignorance if you engage in any of these no-nos. Consider yourselves warned.) In no particular order:
Don’t use the terms “bloodthirsty,” “lust for Palestinian blood,” or similar. Historically, Jews have been massacred in the belief that we use the blood of non-Jews (particularly of children) in our religious rituals. This belief still persists in large portions of the Arab world (largely because white Europeans deliberately spread the belief among Arabs) and even in parts of the Western world. Murderous, inhumane, cruel, vicious—fine. But blood…just don’t go there. Depicting Israel/Israelis/Israeli leaders eating children is also a no-no, for the same reason.
Don’t use crucifixion imagery. Another huge, driving motivation behind anti-Semitism historically has been the belief that the Jews, rather than the Romans, crucified Jesus. As in #1, this belief still persists. There are plenty of other ways to depict suffering that don’t call back to ancient libels.
Don’t demand that Jews publicly repudiate the actions of settlers and extremists. People who make this demand are assuming that Jews are terrible people or undeserving of being heard out unless they “prove” themselves acceptable by non-Jews’ standards. (It’s not okay to demand Palestinians publicly repudiate the actions of Hamas in order to be accepted/trusted, either.)
Don’t say “the Jews” when you mean Israel. I think this should be pretty clear. The people in power in Israel are Jews, but not all Jews are Israelis (let alone Israeli leaders).
Don’t say “Zionists” when you mean Israel. Zionism is no more a dirty word than feminism. It is simply the belief that the Jews should have a country in part of their ancestral homeland where they can take refuge from the anti-Semitism and persecution they face everywhere else. It does not mean a belief that Jews have a right to grab land from others, a belief that Jews are superior to non-Jews, or any other such tripe, any more than feminism means hating men. Unless you believe that Israel should entirely cease to exist, you are yourself Zionist. Furthermore, using “Zionists” in place of “Israelis” is inaccurate and harmful. The word “Zionists” includes Diasporan Jews as well (most of whom support a two-state solution and pretty much none of whom have any influence on Israel’s policies) and is used to justify anti-Semitic attacks outside Israel (i.e., they brought it on themselves by being Zionists). And many of the Jews IN Israel who are most violent against Palestinians are actually anti-Zionist—they believe that the modern state of Israel is an offense against God because it isn’t governed by halakha (traditional Jewish religious law). Be careful with the labels you use.
Don’t call Jews you agree with “the good Jews.” Imposing your values on another group is not okay. Tokenizing is not okay. Appointing yourself the judge of what other groups can or should believe is not okay.
Don’t use your Jewish friends or Jews who agree with you as shields. (AKA, “I can’t be anti-Semitic, I have Jewish friends!” or “Well, Jew X agrees with me, so you’re wrong.”) Again, this behavior is tokenizing and essentially amounts to you as a non-Jew appointing yourself arbiter over what Jews can/should feel or believe. You don’t get to do that.
Don’t claim that Jews are ethnically European. Jews come in many colors—white is only one. Besides, the fact that many of us have some genetic mixing with the peoples who tried to force us to assimilate (be they German, Indian, Ethiopian, Italian…) doesn’t change the fact that all our common ancestral roots go back to Israel.
Don’t claim that Jews “aren’t the TRUE/REAL Jews.” Enough said.
Don’t claim that Jews have no real historical connection to Israel/the Temple Mount. Archaeology and the historical record both establish that this is false.
Don’t accuse Diasporan Jews of dual loyalties or treason. This is another charge that historically has been used to justify persecution and murder of Jews. Having a connection to our ancestral homeland is natural. Having a connection to our co-religionists who live there is natural. It is no more treasonous for a Jew to consider the well-being of Israel when casting a vote than for a Muslim to consider the well-being of Islamic countries when voting. (Tangent: fuck drone strikes. End tangent.)
Don’t claim that the Jews control the media/banks/country that isn’t Israel. Yet another historical anti-Semitic claim is that Jews as a group intend to control the world and try to achieve this aim through shadowy, sinister channels. There are many prominent Jews in the media and in the banking industry, yes, but they aren’t engaged in any kind of organized conspiracy to take over those industries, they simply work in those industries. The phrase “the Jews control” should never be heard in a debate/discussion of Israel.
Don’t depict the Magen David (Star of David) as an equivalent to the Nazi swastika. The Magen David represents all Jews—not just Israelis, not just people who are violent against Palestinians, ALL JEWS. When you do this, you are painting all Jews as violent, genocidal racists. DON’T.
Don’t use the Holocaust/Nazism/Hitler as a rhetorical prop. The Jews who were murdered didn’t set foot in what was then Palestine, let alone take part in Israeli politics or policies. It is wrong and appropriative to try to use their deaths to score political points. Genocide, racism, occupation, murder, extermination—go ahead and use those terms, but leave the Holocaust out of it.
In visual depictions (i.e., political cartoons and such), don’t depict Israel/Israelis as Jewish stereotypes. Don’t show them in Chassidic, black-hat garb. Don’t show them with exaggerated noses or frizzled red hair or payus (earlocks). Don’t show them with horns or depict them as the Devil. Don’t show them cackling over/hoarding money. Don’t show them drinking blood or eating children (see #1). Don’t show them raping non-Jewish women. The Nazis didn’t invent the tropes they used in their propaganda—all of these have been anti-Semitic tropes going back centuries. (The red hair trope, for instance, goes back to early depictions of Judas Iscariot as a redhead, and the horns trope stems from the belief that Jews are the Devil’s children, sent to destroy the world as best we can for our “father.”)
Don’t use the phrase “the chosen people” to deride or as proof of Jewish racism. When Jews say we are the chosen people, we don’t mean that we are biologically superior to others or that God loves us more than other groups. Judaism in fact teaches that everyone is capable of being a righteous, Godly person, that Jews have obligations to be ethical and decent to “the stranger in our midst,” and that non-Jews don’t get sent to some kind of damnation for believing in another faith. When we say we’re the chosen people, we mean that, according to our faith, God gave us extra responsibilities and codes of behavior that other groups aren’t burdened with, in the form of the Torah. That’s all it means.
Don’t claim that anti-Semitism is eradicated or negligible. It isn’t. In fact, according to international watchdog groups, it’s sharply on the rise. (Which sadly isn’t surprising—anti-Semitism historically surges during economic downturns, thanks to the belief that Jews control the banks.) This sort of statement is extremely dismissive and accuses us of lying about our own experiences.
Don’t say that since Palestinians are Semites, Jews/Israelis are anti-Semitic, too. You do not get to redefine the oppressions of others, nor do you get to police how they refer to that oppression. This also often ties into #8. Don’t do it. Anti-Semitism has exclusively meant anti-Jewish bigotry for a good century plus now. Coin your own word for anti-Palestinian oppression, or just call it what it is: racism mixed with Islamophobia.
Don’t blow off Jews telling you that what you’re saying is anti-Semitic with some variant of the statement at the top of this post. Not all anti-Israel speech is anti-Semitic (a lot of it is valid, much-deserved criticism), but some certainly is. Actually give the accusation your consideration and hear the accuser out. If they fail to convince you, that’s fine. But at least hear them out (without talking over them) before you decide that.
I’m sure this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it covers all the hard-and-fast rules I can think of. (I welcome input for improving it.)
But wait! Why should I care about any of this? I’m standing up for people who are suffering!
You should care because nonsense like the above makes Jews sympathetic to the Palestinian plight wary and afraid of joining your cause. You should care because, unfortunately, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has correlated to an uptick in anti-Semitic attacks around the world, attacks on Jews who have no say in Israeli politics, and this kind of behavior merely aggravates that, whether you intend it to or not.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a real minefield in that it’s a clash between oppressed people of color and an ethnoreligious group that is dominant in Israel but marginalized and brutalized elsewhere (often nowadays on the exact grounds that they share ethnoreligious ties with the people of Israel), so it’s damned hard to toe the line of being socially aware and sensitive to both groups. I get that. But I think it is possible to toe that line, and I hope this post helps with that. (And if a Palestinian makes a similar list of problematic arguments they hear targeted at them, I’d be happy to reblog it, too.)
So, TL;DR version:
Do go ahead and criticize Israel.
Don’t use anti-Semitic stereotypes or tropes.
Don’t use overly expansive language that covers Jews as a whole and not just Israel.
Don’t use lies to boost your claims.
Do engage Jews in conversation on the issues of Israel and of anti-Semitism, rather than simply shutting them down for disagreeing.
Do try to be sensitive to the fact that, fair or not, many people take verbal or violent revenge for the actions of Israelis on Diasporan Jews, and Diasporan Jews are understandably frightened and upset by this.
indigenous peoples have been living in the Americas for anywhere between 15000 and 50000 years.
like, this is longer than people have been populating certain regions of Europe, and is longer than white skin has existed as a phenotype.
at which point can we admit that this “debate” over how long Native people have been here, where our ancestors came from, or whatever, is just a bullshit rhetorical exercise that serves only to cast aspersions on indigenous birthright?
Countdown ”initially denied” warning staff to track “Maori girls in aisle 1” over the intercom, mother says.
Maori are often racially profiled as hori thieves, doll-bludgers, and addicts among other things. Here’s just one case of many.
Rikki Cooper was in the store with her kids shopping for groceries when over the loud speaker she herd a security announcement saying that there was a Maori girl (in the aisle she was currently browsing) who needed to be watched. She knew the staff member was talking about her and tried to ignore it as the accusations (that could be heard by all the staff and costumers in the shop) kept up. She was followed around by the staff who went through her belongings, tracked her kids, and even asked her to show them her pregnant tummy so that they could be sure she was actually pregnant rather then hiding stolen goods. To add insult to injury the staff even had the audacity to laugh at her and her young family as she left. She was brought to tears by the embarrassment.
You can read more about her experience in her own words via the link.
Please share this, it’s really important that the nasty entitled, malicious and invasive attitudes harming indigenous people is brought to a stop. And we can’t do it if we’re not being heard.
What's your definition of racism? If it defers from the Merriam-Webster definition, what gives you that right? If racism doesn't apply to whites, what is it called when whites are persecuted because of their skin colour?
A group of researchers at San Francisco State University are currently asking for support in a study dedicated to Latina Immigrant Queers. Latina/os are the biggest minority in the U.S.; there are a total of 11 million immigrants, and there is an on going debate about immigration, however, nothing has been done to fix our broken immigration system. Another present issue is LGBTQ rights, with inconsistent decisions between federal and state laws, it has created a nation wide confusion and this is taking a toll on our communities. Given these present issues we are in need of more studies dedicated to these unexplored communities.
There are no large-scale empirical studies in the mental health field that explore the lives and needs of LGBTQ Latinas who have immigrated to the U.S. from Latin America. Please help this group of researchers understand women’s experiences so that they can inform the mental health field about how to best support this important community! They are currently conducting a study that will explore Queer Latinas’ needs. The study consists of an online survey, which should take 15-20 minutes to complete and 12% of participants will be chosen (lottery) to receive a $25 debit visa card. Links to the surveys:
This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at San Francisco State University. Alison Cerezo, PhD is the principal investigator. This study has been funded by a small grant from the Williams Institute.
“I’m so rational. The truth is somewhere in the middle, they’re both wrong. I’m so nuanced and enlightened with my views.”
What they actually sound like:
“History and context are things that do not exist to me. In whatever dimension I exist in, I believe that there is an equivalence between an advanced occupying army that is notorious for war crimes, and an occupied brutalized population.”
Tonight, I’ll be appearing live via Skype as a guest on Take Part Live to discuss racism in professional wrestling. If you haven’t read it yet, this morning The Atlantic published my piece on racism in WWE and I’ll be going into a little more detail about it on the show.
A recent study from Duke University’s School of Medicine found that the available HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, don’t prevent the HPV infections common in black women. Gardasil and Cervarix protect against HPV 16, HPV 18, HPV 6 and HPV 11 — strains that are notorious for causing cervical cancers. The only problem? HPV 16 and 18 occur more in white women than black women, who tend to show HPV subtypes 33, 35, 58, and 68. So while white women might also not be protected from all strains by the HPV vaccine, they are certainly in a much safer position than black women.
“HPV 16 and 18 occur less frequently in African-Americans than in whites,” Dr. Cathrine Hoyo, associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Duke University School of Medicine, told Health Day. Duke’s study looked at 600 abnormal pap smears and found that almost 86 percent of the women examined had detectable HPV. Yet, as Hoyo explained, “African-Americans had half the HPV 16 and 18 frequency as whites did.”
As Bustle reported last summer, this disparity may be the reason that African-American women are 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer…It’s upsetting that Gardasil leaves many black women without adequate protection against HPV and cervical cancer. Conflating the healthcare needs of white women with those of black women keeps us from accessing adequate treatment in multiple areas, and this is especially troubling when it comes to HPV. Had there been funding for a vaccine specifically designed for my black, female body, a shot that protects my body as well as it does white women, I might very well be HPV-free today.
The Eagle Bull- Oxendine family is being sued by their child’s school for defamation, because they asked the school to permanently change their offensive and culturally insensitive Thanksgiving curriculum and to honor a two-year scholarship taken from their daughter after they voiced their concern over Native appropriation there.
They’re raising funds to defray mounting legal expenses. Please share this link and donate what you can. If they lose, we all lose. This case has the potential to set dangerous precedent where Natives are effectively gagged from speaking out against appropriation and the abuse of our culture and sacred ways by mainstream society. This is legal conquest. We can’t allow them to play Indian and hide behind judicial robes to do it. Thank you.