“People like ME don’t do THAT”

There’s an excellent essay over at Racialicious that I highly recommend everyone read, titled Stuff Black Folks Don’t Do: Creating Our Own Oppression

To clarify my viewpoint, I’d like to state that I do *not* believe that racism and homophobia are the same thing, in particular when discussing African American history, given the residual effects of slavery.

Having said that, I am a firm believer in the intersectionality of all oppressions, and greatly appreciate opportunities to learn from the oppressions of others because it not only reveals to me my own privilege (white and otherwise) but also provides a fresh perspective on issues that affect me as a queer.

So! Read the article!

Then ask yourself, “What do I stop myself from doing?”

How much of it comes from my internalized acceptance of oppression, the insidious self-control that says “People like ME don’t do THAT”?

If you can’t think of anything, try this:  What about instances when you elicited surprise from others, due to the expectations they had of you based on (their perceptions of) your appearance, occupation, race, ethnicity, gender, health, class, or sexuality?

There are so many layers, I’m reeling.  Amazing.

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5 responses to ““People like ME don’t do THAT”

  1. i’m missing my feralgeographer updates! hope things are good.

  2. also, so right about this business of ‘people like me don’t do that’. some of the hardest restrictions we have to deal with can be the ones we impose on ourselves, even if we learned them from external sources originally.

    • Yes! It’s like we’ve been so well trained that we don’t even think about it. While appreciating the point in the article about being a visible minority in a given location or participating in a given event, I was also thinking about the invisible things that hold us apart, such as mental health and class and some variations on queerness. When we’re talking about these impacts on our chosen paths/activities, part of the problem becomes our own silence when we *do* step beyond the boundaries: It can be so tempting to simply blend in by doing our best to appear like the status quo.

      An example of this could be my experiences at trade school: It’s statistically unlikely that I’m the only queer here, but no one else is out, which makes it even less likely that any one else who is already here *will* come out AND makes it seem like trade school is the sole realm of 18-year-old straight healthy white men. The women, the people of colour, those struggling with their health, and the queers never talk about how different this program is for us. Sometimes those of us who are older joke about the trials and tribulations of being surrounded by young’uns everyday, but that’s it. In a way, we’re contributing to the idea that we don’t do this, we aren’t here.

  3. Interesting article. It inspires me to blog about this from an Asian perspective soon.

    • Hi Mark… I’m excited that you’ve commented here, because I love your blog! I’d certainly like to read your thoughts on this matter… One of the things that I found missing from the Racialicious article was a look at how identies overlap and can make us both belong in multiple place and also feel as though we belong nowhere, which I think comes up a lot in various ways for those of us who are queer.

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