So I generally don’t re-blog a lof stuff (I think this is the second time I’ve done it), it just isn’t a habit I’m in. I do it now because this is just so important, and this blog post is so well-written, and it isn’t something that I can easily summarize in my own words in any way that’s nearly as effective as you just reading this. Please, please read it.
Believe me, I know, it can feel hard sometimes to be white and read things about racism. I’m a fat woman, and now I’m disabled. Feminism has always made a lot of sense to me. Being an ally to non-straight has also always felt natural, and wasn’t challenging.
Race was harder. In college, when I was first introduced to different ways of looking at racism – hey let me just rephrase that – when I was first introduced to LOOKING AT RACISM, I mean, really looking: it was hard. I had a lot of feelings at first. Defensive, mostly. “But I’m not like THAT!” I was very invested in seeing myself in a certain light, and any challenge to that just felt insulting rather than educational.
I kept with it, though, and the reward was learning to see through others’ eyes, and realizing that the more I learned, and the more I spoke about it, the better off I was making the lives of people of color – the very people I always said I cared about but to whose experience I was essentially blind. Conversely, the more we don’t look at the things that make us squirm or feel touchy, the more we can trust that their experience is going to be lost and invalidated.
Decide that today you’ll spend five minutes reading something that might make you feel a little touchy. Try to open your heart and your mind, try to make it not about you. Read this.
I wrote this for a specific group, but I’ve been asked to share it. A lot of folks are just waking up to activism and are heading into intersectional feminist spaces with some trepidation. Hopefully this can help keep you on track. I’ve already been reminded that I missed code-switching, appropriation (which is a whole post, frankly, but TL;dr if a living group exists that can be mocked for the thing you think is cool and that you want to do, don’t), and a few other things. I’ll try to pick those up at a later date, but in the meantime this primer will help you get your feet wet without making a damn fool of yourself. Much. It’s all lessons I learned the hard way, so do better than me and remember we’re all works in progress.)
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