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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

DENIAL OF PRIVILEGE, IT ISN'T JUST FOR WHITE FOLK ANYMORE

AND IT NEVER WAS


Continued From Part 1
Racism Is Not Illogical Neither is Colorism






Did you know that if you ask men if women are discriminated against, and are victims of oppression that a lot of men, not all, will acknowledge things like women getting paid less and say "Yes, women are oppressed"

But if you ask the same men if men are privileged because men are oppressors of women, have more opportunities at leadership, and get paid more than women, the same men will disagree. They will say, "Men are not privileged."

These two same statements, stated different ways, are the same. Men will acknowledge that things are vaguely unfair for women. But they will not acknowledge that they have more than their fair share and they are sharing in the benefits of men, as a group, taking more than their fair share of power, money, etc.

I thought that was really interesting when I heard it. It's one of those things you don't know you already know until somebody puts it in sentences and paragraphs and presents it to you, ya know?

And then I realized, long before I read Patricia Hills Collins, that we all do this. We all grab hold of our sites of oppression and use them to deny that our sites of privilege exist.



When you add race and colorism into that mix, things get real ugly, really quick.
White women are oppressed by white men but can't see their privilege over black people and also cannot see that their refusal to see their privilege is part of their being oppressive.


Black men are oppressed by white people (men and women) but can't see their privilege over women, especially over black women, and also cannot see that their refusal to see their privilege is part of their being oppressive. 


Light women are oppressed by white people (men and women) but can't see their privilege over darker-skinned women and also cannot see that their refusal to see their privilege is part of their being oppressive.


Dark-skinned Christian women are oppressed by White Christian women but can't see their privilege over atheist people and also cannot see that their refusal to see their privilege is part of their being oppressive.



White atheists are oppressed by Christians (black, white, latinx, asians, and others) but cannot see that their white privilege trumps damn near everything in this country and that most of their resentment probably stems from the perceived loss of absolute white power and privilege. 

I keep hearing that light men are aware of and speak of their privilege easily. And that may be so --as far as talking goes. But the movie captioned below is the second time I've seen Jesse Williams show up in a questionable setting.



I don't think it was magic that Uncle Lee Daniels picked Jesse Williams, Lenny Kravitz, and Cuba Gooding Junior to be supporting actors in "The Butler." That's too many mixed race people in one spot for it to have been happenstance -- especially after seeing Daniel's color stuck casting of Precious (and probably "Empire" too)

But here we are again with this Ebony Magazine Cover. Two mixed race black men and one mixed race black woman being put forth as representative-- and Jesse Williams is right there again.



Jesse Williams may admit his privilege readily. I don't read everything he writes. But it seems to be within his character to admit light-privilege readily. But he's not stepping back from that privilege when he can profit from it so far.

Still, I can't put Jesse down too much.  Know why?




Because as hard as I am trying to pay attention to colorism in the black community, I did not notice that these people on the Ebony Cover were all mixed race. My learning to ignore color is bone deep. And one decision or repeated decisions to pay attention isn't going to cure it for me



The thing that disturbed me even more
than my  own failure to notice
that there were three mixed race people
put forth as entirely representative on a FUBU magazine,
--but a white run magazine,
run by white people who often cannot see black beauty
unless it is watered down by whiteness --
was that some of the black people who saw this magazine cover
were actually proud of themselves for not noticing.

This black tendency to be proud to not notice skin differences (which is the same as not noticing colorism effects on darker brothers and sisters) isn't any different from white colorblind ideology. 


Black people who pride themselves on not seeing color are nearly exactly the same as white people who don't see color. In fact, they're worse. How can some of us reproduce something so very much like the colorblind version of white supremacy and not notice it?


When I was a kid, I lived in an environment with a lot of different races then went to school in predominantly white environment with those same children. I figure that's why I missed team light-skinned against team dark-skinned battles altogether while in school.  There were too few of us, as people of color, to really separate into different color camps. The white people were hostile and violent with us encroaching on what they felt was their territory during the latter half of the 20th century.  (Nowadays? Schools are pretty close to being as segregated as we were in 1969)


The boys preference for light-skinned, longer haired girls did come up somewhat routinely once we hit puberty. Most of us were trained to not notice it for as long as possible, though. When some dark-skinned girl eventually accused a light-skinned girl of "you think you're better than us!" the light girl denied it. And her friends of various shades defended her because it was true, she did not think she was better than us....when we were young.


By the time I hit college, however, there was an entire sorority of light-skinned girls who thought they knew that they were better than everyone else--- exactly like the movie "School Daze" by Spike Lee.


Dark-skinned jealousy is real because there are real things to be hurt and jealous about.


And light-skinned superiority becomes as real as white superiority when light-skinned people claim they do not see light-skinned preference....then have the audacity to brag about not noticing (along side some dark-skinned people who hate talking color as much as white people hate talking race)


No, I did not grow up with team-darkskinned and team-lightskinned but I am catching up on the resentments fast.

Some light-skinned, especially mixed race women, spend their large chunks of their lives trying to prove that they are black too and are so focused on this that they can't see anybody else's pain but their own. I understand that because there's usually a very real somebody somewhere telling them their black experiences are not legitimately black


So I kinda get that but it's still not okay to deny your privilege exists--- no more than it is for white people.


TOMORROW
"On Who Is And Is Not Allowed To Claim Blackness"