Why It Doesn't Work

A while back my main girl Transgriot put up a post which got me shaking my head and being even more glad that I moderate the way I do:
One of the reasons that I've gotten over 2.5 million hits on TransGriot is because it is a unique place in the Transosphere.

It is one of the few blogs that has a declared mission of not only highlighting the accomplishments and history of African descended transpeople across the Diaspora, I make no bones about the fact that my analysis about issues inside and outside the trans community comes from an Afrocentric point of view.

Had an exchange on my FB page with a white trans woman who forgot that point when she started immediately going into 'you're a racist' mode mere minutes after I posted a link to my "Your 'Trans Papers' Please" Post on it:


Candice: Wow. I don't know in what universe someone would think this issue only pertains to trans people of color. Kinda fucked up, and sounds pretty racist if you ask me. I'm about as white as it gets, yet I don't have any 'trans papers' and won...'t for a long time because I can't afford to see a therapist plus there are none close by. I've never seen one. It takes an awful lot of arrogance to assume this issue only applies to trans people of color. I fear for my safety everywhere I go, every time I walk down the street. I don't know who will treat me worse, the ignorant bigoted cops or the homophobic black males who yell "faggot" and other bullshit at me, threaten me, or send me running for my life every time I leave my house. Oh yes, being a white trans girl in the ghetto is a cake walk.

TransGriot: @candice...I'm writing it from the POV of a trans woman of color and focused it specifically on our issues with that clause. So buy a vowel and get a fracking clue before you step to me with that 'racist' bull feces.

racism=prejudice plus systemic power, not what privilege wielding white girl call a POC because she has reading comprehension issues.

Candice: You know, you're right, as a homeless trans sex worker I'm just totally weighed down with privilege over here. And I'm sorry that I forgot that you had the right to define terms however you wanted. My bad.

TransGriot: You came ranting on the FB page of an African American trans woman about a post on her Afrocentric trans blog and you got the nerve to get an attitude when I call you on your BS? Wake up and smell the vanilla scented privilege.
I have a theory about why when some white people try to join with POC in social justice, it simply doesn't work out. They come in chanting, "We're on the same side" and "I'm angry too" and such, but for some reason they just don't...quite...connect....

Now once more, this is just my theory.

Remember when you were a child, long before you realized the world was fucked up?  Remember how it good it felt not to know or understand shit?  Not to realize or really notice shit?  Like how 98% of your cartoon heroes were white (usually male) heterosexuals?  Or how your family didn't really have any money?  Some of you might even remember a time before you even realized you were gay, or felt you belonged in another body.

The white ones born into the US - even the broke ones - recall a time when the world was just perfect.  Everywhere they went, every time they turned on the TV, they saw themselves.  Everything was about them, they were always the best, the brightest, the shining examples of what everybody else needed to be.  Even if they had no money, or lived with a single parent, or what have you...the sky was still the limit.  Their teachers liked them better than those black and brown kids, and they had way more friends than that lonely yellow kid.  Everyone seemed to smile at them, and even when the things seemed down, they always knew that somehow, some way, it would all work out for them.

Ahhhhh...but one day things changed.  One day, money got to be too tight for even so much as a roof over their heads.  One day, they realized they didn't like people of the opposite sex; you know...the way they're "supposed" to?  One day, they felt that God, the all-knowing, all-loving, all-seeing God they were taught to adore without question maybe, possibly just put them in the wrong body.

And right then the perfect world, with all its infinite possibilities, suddenly, drastically changed.

Where am I going with this?  I'm just saying that I get the feeling some marginalized white people who join social justice groups carry this resentment with them, this attitude of, "This wasn't supposed to happen to me.  You people are the ones I see in the news all the time.  You people are the ones I see in all those 'gritty' documentaries.  You people are those tacky secondary characters on TV whom nobody really wants to see and nobody misses when they die.  You people have all the self-hate and identity struggles and bitterness over history - that's you people.  This wasn't supposed to happen to me.  I'm not supposed to be living like this; people like me don't live like this.*  Not because my family worked hard for the last several generations, or because I feel my parents' religion is narrow-minded, or because our society overall is dysfunctional...no, no, this wasn't supposed to happen to me because I'm white.  I'm supposed to be exempt from these problems.  And whatever problems I do have, I'm supposed to triumph over them.  It's all supposed to work out in the end for me."

Thus, their anger and the anger of their counterparts of color tends to stem from completely different places.  Their anger stems from having their pedestals shattered.  Their counterparts' anger stems from having to live in a world where some folks stand on pedestals, while others roam the earth.

With the anger comes the entitlement, the attitude of, "I'm on your side.  Isn't that what you wanted?  Isn't that what you need?  You people need me.  Your protests and revolts and boycotts and overall activism won't go anywhere if you don't have my face on your signs, or my voice on your panels.  The fate of your freedom and sociopolitical/socioeconomic progress rests completely on your cooperation with me.  Maybe that's why God cursed me to be like you people.  It's my destiny to be a part of your salvation."

And then they wonder why it just doesn't work.

It's times like this that I like to quote certain words from Tim Wise because coming from him, they sound hella ironic: "People of color are going to liberate themselves from white supremacy - bet on that. The question is, who's going to liberate us?"

I once told you all about my now ex-friend "Sam".  Update: Last I saw, Sam hadn't changed at all.

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*Seriously...when I worked for the government, I couldn't tell you how many broke white parents living in Appalachia would say to me, "I'm an American.  I have rights.  I shouldn't be having problems."

Comments

  1. I think White people's cognitive dissonance is on a whole other level. So much so, it needs to be completely separated from your average cognitive dissonance.

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  2. Where in the hell do these ignorant bastards come from???????? The fact that ol' girl felt privileged enough to try and connect with TransGriot on HER blog (solidarity and all that, I guess) and then cop a 'tude when she gets called out on her BS? Dumbass.

    "Some motherfuckers are always tryin' to ice skate uphill." --Blade

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  3. The gall of "some" people. They think the damn Earth revolves around them. It's always got to be about them. Like we matter only vicariously through what the fu*k THEY think. "Some" people don't understand that we need our own space because of constant attack. And even in our own spaces, that were created out of necessity because of ignorant ass people like this, we are accused of the very thing that made us form our own shit in the first place. Their unwavering ignorance, overbearing attitudes and unconsciously manifested racism.

    "Leave me alone, I'm WHITE, I know what I'm doing. Besides, you have heavy ni**er bones! So don't worry about it. Because I'm WHITE!"

    ~Paul Mooney~

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  4. @K

    Hi, I think I've seen you on BlasianNarrative, but I found your site by accident but I'm glad I found it. But is it ok If I comment on your articles? They seem very interesting.

    But yes White people are ignorant, the most ignorant. It's hilarious how they think they are better. And I doubt her parents worked hard I read an article How whites got rich. White familes were given acres for free, each had acres the size of a football field and it also explains about European Immigration.

    http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Perspectives_1/article_7885.shtml

    Very informative.

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  5. Clueless white people...feh. Not to marginalize anyone's struggles, but having some does NOT equate "Candice" to the PoC she denigrates!

    Yuck. That's barely-disguised condescension right there, and she's not even *pretending* to be civil about it.

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  6. I did a series of posts last month on the problems with social justice and with the exception of an elite few I have no use for white run-dominated social justice circle (jerks) for the reasons you touched on here.

    The problem is that many white anti-oppression activists aren't fighting for equality for EVERYONE. They're just fighting to remove the stigma of their oppression so they can go back to being all shiny and the bestest and the speshulist and throwing the rest of us under the bus.

    As I've said before, if privileged white REALLY wanted to do away with racism or sexism or homophobia, that shit would've been extinct years ago.

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  7. I'm usually a lurker, but I'm working on commenting more on blogs when I have something to say.

    I think that you're definitely on to something with your theory. I've never really thought of it like that before, but it makes a lot of sense. I know that a lot of the issues that white people have with people of color has to do with trying to maintain privilege and prevent competition, but I could never really figure out why we see so much racism from white people who are themselves a member of a marginalized group. I'm going to start looking at these types of issues through the lens of your theory and see what happens.

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  8. @ Denise M

    I've never really thought of it like that before, but it makes a lot of sense.

    I didn't either, but I've been mulling over some things I've been told by white folks who claim to be "for the cause." The first was an ex-friend from college who recalled the day she realized her family was poor. She demanded her parents tell her no one had taken care of this and was appalled poverty was happening to them.

    The next was the white woman who lived in Botswana for 6 months and was annoyed with me when I explained she could not say my name. She told me that when she was a child, she once saw a black professional with a clipboard doing something or other, and her first thought was, "Black people don't have jobs like that."

    When the lil sis was a summer camp counselor back in 2009, she had to keep from strangling a little white girl who a little black girl she couldn't play with the girls unless she was the servant.

    So when whites insists that they were corrupted later in life and harken back to the innocence of their childhood, I tend to call bullshit. Their conditioning begins at birth. And when all try to claim that white folks don't see POC "that way" anymore, the level of bullshit makes me want to hurl.

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  9. * her parents tell her why no one had taken care of this

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  10. *little white girl who told a little black girl

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  11. It's always the same with privileged people. When the harsh realities of those of lesser or no privileges are surfaced, the privileged people are quick to cry out how they are "victims" and "those" people need to shut up talking about themselves. In other words they trumped other's suffering with their own. They don't realize that by doing so they're pretty much saying that they matter and not anyone else which is a pretty warped-ass way of gaining any slither of sympathy, and this person gets none from me.

    That's what I saw when I read the responses from Candice.

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  12. Witchsistah says something that I'm really starting to internalize now.

    White people, if you're going to claim intellectual superiority, you do not get to claim ignorance or ineptitude when we call you on shit. If you're going to claim that you're clueless and ignorant, you need to not act like you know more about this shit than I do.

    You can't have it both ways. You have to pick one.

    If you are smart, you would choose to assume ignorance.

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