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03 December 2010 @ 03:33 pm
I didn't think this needed to be said, but apparently I was wrong.  
So you guys

I thought this was obvious. People keep proving me overly optimistic. Check your privilege at the door, please

This does not mean "If you can't say nice don't say anything"; that is a sweet and gentle tool of oppression. Besides, I get stuff wrong all the time and appreciate being called on it once I've had a minute to get over myself.

It does mean, "If you can't show awareness of and empathy for problems other people have that you don't share, then listen, learn, and STFU while you're doing it." It most definitely does not mean come in telling me that you don't see oppression therefore I'm making it up in my silly little irrational brown head.

The utterly ignorant opinions of the privileged are not in fact worth more than the not utterly ignorant opinions of people in oppressed groups.

This also means that, if you don't want to learn about those problems, or if you "know nothing about {racism/sexism/ableism/other systemic oppression}" but still think you can tell people who experience it what's really going on, bewail our "filters", or ask if we've "actually considered" obvious things, then perhaps this space is one you should not be posting in. (And if you are confused about why such blather is condescending, I suggest you go find a dictionary.)

Because, yes indeed, blithely entitled folks, there are spaces where you should either STFU or GTFO. This is one of them.

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Current Mood: angryangry
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Annetxanne on December 4th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
Exactly. I'd give a lot to have more Gear-driven Empresses and fewer repetitions for the wilfully ignorant.
(Deleted comment)
shweta_narayan: aieeeeshweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
It seems from the final comments (in the subthread titled "enough") that clue was had.

So this may be one of the very few that ends well & I shall keep hoping. But the comment is general enough to stand, cause it's the built-up frustration of multiple threads that went in almost identical ways. (1) Have you considered... (2) you just have filters. (3) I am hurt that you took my words wrong.

But hey! This time we didn't get to (4) Well you're the bigot! and (5) pseudolegal threats :)
(Deleted comment)
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
I certainly could not manage it without support, both from other POC and from allies. I just hid from it all of yesterday & other people did the heavy lifting.
(Deleted comment)
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
It does seem from the final comments that clue was had (search on "enough", which is what I titled the comment that starts the relevant subthread).

But that's only in this case. This is neither the first such case, by a long shot, nor will it be the last. It may be one of the very few that ends well. I shall keep hoping.
(Deleted comment)
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
Very few have ended with anything other than a flounce and an "I liked you better before". I keep wondering if there's some way I can say it better, but that's just the way it goes, I guess.
(Deleted comment)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
And I very much appreciate your willingness to hear it.
Rose Foxrosefox on December 4th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
*goes back to read that comment thread*

What is wrong with people? Criminy.
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
This one's one of the best possible outcomes, really, where said person does start to reconsider. But wow, it wrings one out!
Erik Amundsen: Black Rabbit of Inlecucumberseed on December 4th, 2010 05:57 am (UTC)
I can only imagine. Even in the best of circumstances, you end up being someone else's Very Important Lesson, and I don't expect that that is any good experience at all.

I'm sorry I missed that post when it came out, but I'm glad to see there wasn't anything of substance I could have added that wasn't already (better) said.
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Thank you for the support :)

Even in the best of circumstances, you end up being someone else's Very Important Lesson, and I don't expect that that is any good experience at all.

Yeah; and given my health & energy (er... lack thereof) it ate most of the last two days :/ and that's with all this support. I'm incredbly lucky to be coming to my own understanding of all this at a time when intersectional feminism/social justice is both pretty clear to activists and becoming more generally understood; it must have been so much harder for everyone who's had more of a clue than me for longer.
Annetxanne on December 4th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
Might it help to put this (or similar) as a sticky post? If it saves you even one wasted spoon...
Dr. Kvetchrose_lemberg on December 4th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
I suspect that people who don't bother to read Shweta's other entries wouldn't bother to read the sticky either... *sigh*
Annetxanne on December 4th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
*bows to your impeccable Earth logic*
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
Though, if I had a sticky I could point at it.
Though, I would have to make one.
*defers till later just like everything else*
Annetxanne on December 4th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
I was thinking more like make *this* one a sticky, as is.
shweta_narayan: mangatarshweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
Oh er that's possible?
Annetxanne on December 4th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
I think you'd have to c&p into a new entry so the postdating would work, but yeah. Recycling is our friend!
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - txanne on December 4th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Erik Amundsencucumberseed on December 4th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
I imagine both in time spent in endless 101 lesson teaching and in terms of the struggles behind...

Be well.
Dash: Agendaspacehawk on December 4th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
Very well put.

It's sad that this has to be said over and over and over.
shweta_narayan: mangatarshweta_narayan on December 4th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

It's the first time I've managed to actually gt it into words instead of ARGH NO BAD FLAIL :)
Dash: Agendaspacehawk on December 4th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
Well, congratulations are in order, then! ^_^

The utterly ignorant opinions of the privileged are not in fact worth more than the not utterly ignorant opinions of people in oppressed groups.

I feel like I'm either having, or prompted to have, this conversation every day, often with well-meaning folks who just don't realize what they are doing and how much of a hurtful and destructive impact it has or can have (were people of that group to hear it). (I should keep a checklist... I think it does come up close to every day.)

One aspect of privilege is to hear others doing it and sit back because one would rather "not make waves".
pingback_botpingback_bot on December 5th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
Sunday Linkfest!
User fantasyecho referenced to your post from Sunday Linkfest! saying: [...] Reminder from Shweta Narayan [...]
Bartholomew Klickbart_klick on March 27th, 2011 06:11 am (UTC)
Your brown head is and always shall be the loveliest of all brown heads.
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on March 27th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Hey you! *hugs*

Hate to start re-acquaintance this way but... I know you mean this well, and am not upset with you; however, this comment is really faily and you need to know that. If I didn't know you to start off with, I *would* be very upset at this. Here's why:

My "brown head" comment was a reference to ongoing racism/exoticization; referring to me using it isn't cool. The people who do think of me as primarily a Brown Body really exist, and really are Othering and dehumanizing me every day, so referring to me this way reinforces that -- regardless of your intent -- and it frames me as something other than just-human. This is not pleasant.

Saying it's lovely actually adds to the problem, because it's adding the gendered issues of talking about someone's "pretty head". My beauty or lack thereof is really irrelevant to the topic, but that's not the problem; the problem is that men consistently bring up women's looks to dismiss their thoughts. If women are pretty we don't need to understand things or make sense. If women are ugly we are just jealous bitter hags. There's no win talking about looks, and there's basically no good way to bring in looks into this sort of conversation.

In general, if you wouldn't say the analogue to someone in a relevant privilege group, it's probably not a good thing to say to someone in a relevant oppressed or minority group. Because it's being said against a background of constant microaggressions you're probably not aware of.