Barbara Ehrenreich, “Made to Order”
Relevant to an argument I just had on Twitter about “disruptive” protest at Walmart in supposed solidarity with the Black Friday strikes. Picket, protest, march and rally all you want, hold a sit-in, but please, before you do things like deliberately create a mess in the store or leave a full cart in the checkout line, consider who’s going to have to clean up the mess that you make. It’s not going to be Rob Walton or any of the other multibillionaires. It won’t even be the assistant manager. It’ll be the same low-wage worker who maybe wanted to go on strike but wasn’t quite convinced, or who was threatened by their boss, who’s working an extra-long shift on the worst shopping day of the year.
Solidarity doesn’t mean you decide for yourself what is best for the workers. It means showing up in the ways they need and want you to and letting them decide how to build worker power.
Pro-tip: white privilege doesn’t mean white people have perfect lives.
It means that white people do not have to deal with institutionalized, systemic racism in addition to their everyday problems. It means institutionalized, systemic racism does not cause white people’s everyday problems.
It means when white people go home and turn on their TVs after a long, hard day at work, they can rest assured knowing that they will not only be guaranteed to see people who look like them on the screen, but they will never have to actively search to find a positive depiction of people who look like them.
It means even when white people buy their groceries with food stamps, they don’t have to worry that they’ll be followed around the supermarket for “no reason.”
You think you have no white privilege because you’re poor? Think again. You think your white privilege disappears because you’re not a cisgendered heterosexual? Think again. You think your white privilege disappears because you’re disabled? Think again.
It means that all problems white people face are not exclusive to white people. People of color face those same problems, too. But in addition to any problem white people face, people of color must also bear the burden of dealing with an entire social, cultural, political, economic climate that works against us each and every single day.
And here’s the thing about the effect of racism on PoC’s everyday lives: it’s not like adding one more little thing. This isn’t simple math. Racism isn’t just a “minus 1” on our radar. It informs, guides, and shapes the way every other problem is handled.
Think about it. When white people are pulled over by the cops, their biggest fear is jail time. When black people are pulled over by the cops, our biggest fear is that they’ll kill us and we won’t even get 30 seconds on the 5:00 news.
Reverse sexism does exist. It’s called Tumblr Feminism. What I see of “feminism” over here is vastly sexist towards men, and the general attitude about it seems to be “Misandry does not exist, sexism against men does not exist, men don’t have any right to complain or defend themselves against what we say because they have more privileges anyway.”
“Men are not the victims of sexism. It is impossible for a man to be the victim of sexism. Just like it’s impossible for a white person to be the victim of racism. Reverse sexism and reverse racism are words invented by white men to label anyone who questions their power and unconscious desire to crap all over minorities and women. Next we’re going to have “When is it International Men’s Day?” - the answer: every day. “When is it white history month?” - every month. Grow up. Your loss of entitlement doesn’t mean you’re the victim of sexism.”
Also, denying the existence of reverse sexism is a proof in itself that it exists, since it belittles the opinion of men, making it not worth any attention because it comesfrom men.
Stop. Please just stop with your bullshit. No, men can’t be the victim of sexism and white people can’t be the victim of racism.
Sexism and racism are whole constructs that effect entire societies and countries and manifest in everything literally everybody does. Just one small single incident does not sexism make.
I am a white woman. If I went up to a man and told him all his opinions were invalid because he has a dick it would not be sexism. It would just be one female asshole with a stupid opinion.
If THE ENTIRE FUCKING COUNTRY went to that man and told him all his opinions were invalid because he has a dick, told him from now on all decisions concerning his body, what he can and cannot do, how he should behave, how he should think and who he should be would be made for him – then yes, that would be sexism.
But it is not like that. Our whole collective conscious does not do that, does not limit men in the same way it does women, does not view them as things more than humans.
Of course some men are ridiculed for being “too girly” BUT DO YOU SEE THE PATTERN HERE?! Men wouldn’t be discriminated against for being too girly without sexism and the unspoken law that feminine is always less valuable than masculine.
And boofuckinghoo stop your wining for being white and the “victim” of racism because you are not. You (and me, because I am white, too) are being catered to in every possible way starting from birth until the day you die. Some black people being mean to you does not racism make. There isn’t a whole society telling you the colour of your skin makes you less human, less valuable, less beautiful, less intelligent than white people.
So please, people, just stop and think for a minute.
I do not hate men. I don’t think anything bad of men. I don’t even think they alone are responsible for sexism. No, it’s women like you who will be at the throat of other women at the drop of a hat and think poor poor men need women to stand up for them and women should be stoned for standing up for themselves who perpetuate sexism.
Reblogging for the additional commentary. Thank you to yeahnananda!
I keep thinking about how clear the connection between classism and racism is, and wondering why people don’t understand that poor is often equated with brown and THAT is what makes being poor bad.
And if you don’t believe that just think about the classist words we use at brown people and then think about the term ‘white trash’.
‘White’ is there as a modifier for ‘trash’ because ‘trashy’ people are assumed to be brown until proven otherwise.
So I’m gonna get real specific for these coddled asses. When I vent about white people, I’m talking about DAILY fucking doses of:
1. White tumblr users who mock and bitch about “SJ bloggers” at every fucking turn. Oh, we’re just a bunch of keyboard warriors who don’t do anything in real life? I’m sorry, let me just turn off my computer and see if black people stop getting shot and brutalized by white people, if brown people stop getting bombed, if Indigenous peoples stop having genocidal atrocities perpetuated against them, and if women of colour stop getting shat on from all corners of the earth.
Well, look at that. Systemic oppressions still exist and mainstream media parrots the same feel-good white shit. We don’t get to pick and choose if we’re affected by “social justice” based on the contents of our blog. Our whole entire fucking lives revolve around trying to ward off the disease that is whiteness, whether we blog about cats or porn or racism. Feel free to go play on a slip-and-slide lined with broken glass, ya ignorant asstrumpet.
2. White expats/tourists who go to majority-PoC countries and think that their ability to “navigate” the culture excuses every colonial/imperialistic blight they’ve introduced to humanity and deprives them of their global white privilege. You spent centuries trying to stomp us out of existence, but now our clothes, food, customs, innovations, and languages are up for grabs and you get to decide if they’re cool or barbaric. You’re engaging in the same cultural appropriation as any other white asshole, but taking it a step further overseas.
And if foreigners ever dare to be “uppity” to you, that’s totally like REVERSE RACISM although that entire country will likely turn themselves inside fucking out if a white foreigner ever gets lost/hurt/killed, which is a privilege not afforded to the average PoC (see Lucie Blackman, Natalee Holloway, Madeleine McCann, Meredith Kercher, Taylor Anderson et al). So fuck you entitled expats. I hope the next time you decide to use us as another notch in your colonial sightseeing belt, I hope it turns into a season of Lost and you all get stranded except you have to eat each other to survive.
3. White identity-policing nationalists (often armed with white-defending PoC who are ready to shit on us on command), waxing white poetic about how like how diasporic PoC aren’t really [insert ethnicity] by the virtue of being of ~tainted~ diasporic stock. Or if we can’t maintain perfect bilingualism while eating an ice cream cone upside down while dancing on one foot and meet XYZ criteria, we’re not [insert ethnicity]. But at the same time, we will never be true Americans/Canadians/Australians/Brits/etc. Because whiteness dictates that we discard hundreds and thousands of years of our heritage for the sake of assimilation while still being marked as non-citizens in the countries that exploited everything we had to give (everything from backbreaking labour to our own children ripped out of our cold, dead hands). Motherfucking colonial logic.
4. White anti-choicers who don’t know when to shut the entire fuck up about vaginas and uteruses they don’t own, who think active sex lives are a greater sin than state-sanctioned abuse and poverty, but huddle en masse under an invisibility cloak when actual women & children need help. Typical slutshaming deadbeats who bleat on about personal responsibility, yet won’t acknowledge the damage they do by voting in legislation that cuts access to contraceptives, sex education, child care, or any form of social assistance. And in all my years of challenging their malicious propaganda, I rarely found a non-white anti-choice face in sight. Conversely, I was into pro-choice advocacy long before I found any anti-racist spaces online, but it led me to a lot of great WoC. You know who you are. ;)
5. White vegans who are mostly in their teens and early 20s and have never had to think about feeding a young family, who think everyone has the same health conditions, resources, opportunities, and cultural traditions, who think animals deserve to be treated better than PoC, who then compare racism to animal cruelty as if PoC have never been treated worse than animals, and who make it a point to antagonize everyone from Native Americans to rape victims to fat people to diabetic folks. After all your vicious trolling, you shouldn’t be too mad when people tell you to drink bleach. That’s vegan, right?
6. White artists who think their pretentious ~artistic integrity~ (as in every kid with photoshop and a tablet is an artist, lolol) is more important than not being a racist douchefuck. And when all fails, you blame whitewashing on “lighting” or the unwashed masses not understanding ~your craft~. Same goes for certain tattoos, body mods, hairstyles, or anything of PoC origins that gets snatched up by white vultures. White privilege is having anything that is on/from your body being lauded for “art” no matter how fucking unhygienic or gross it is.
7. White LGBT folks who silence and drown out PoC/WoC in their communities, then have the nerve to co-opt racism and the civil rights movement to say how homophobia is so much worse than anything EVER. Nine same-sex couples featured on the cover of Seattle Weekly, but not one fucking peep about how at least six pairs are men and ALL of them are white/lightskinned PoC. But white dudes aren’t in it for themselves at all!!11
8. White derailers who think it’s their godgiven right to invade and colonize every fucking conversation we have about our own experiences, like the “dear white people” movie and the post about PoC-themed birthday parties that made every other whitey come out of the woodwork to cry about how hard it is to be white. You’re right, I can’t imagine what it’s like to own most of the world’s wealth and have everyone conform to whiter-than-white standards of communication, aesthetics, historical truthfulness, etc. while using most of its resources like a bloated parasite. Poor you!
9. White feminists who often incorporate all of the fucking above, as terrifying as it is. Because as much as they looove talking about their vegan shit and dreadlocks and slutwalks and pagan goodness and everything else they’ve stolen, appropriated, or hijacked, the only women in the world are white cis women.
10. And you think you have it so fucking hard because someone called you a cracker. Stop the presses, someone referenced the fact that white people built their prosperity on the blood and bones of Indigenous/Black/Latin@/Asian peoples while CRACKING A FUCKING WHIP.
When we say that we hate whiteness, it doesn’t mean that we hate you for having sensitive skin (stop talking about your sunburns, no1curr about the SPF in your fucking Coppertone), recessive traits, or how you think your awkwardness is endearing. It means we hate the system created by white folks that destabilized entire countries, changed the entire composition of ethnic groups via slavery/genocide/expulsion, and determined geopolitical borders in almost every continent according to what YOU wanted. Instead of admitting “well, our ancestors royally screwed over most of the world aside from that stretch of land inhabited by penguins, maybe we should try to remedy that,” you act like you had nothing to do with the previous generations’ atrocities while still benefiting from everything they did. White people’s greed and their shameless lack of accountability have literally killed hundreds of millions of PoC around the world so that YOU could thrive, and the best you can do is shrug and say “wasn’t me personally.” That is why you are a disease in every sense of the word.
Nuanced enough for you?
This was hard for me to read, but that’s the way it should be. Being shown your own privilege is not supposed to be a comfortable experience: it should be a slap in the face, a douse of icy water; a dose of harsh reality. Thanks to the OP for this post, it is brilliant in every way.
- The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as…
- Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief.
Fucking educate yourself before you start spewing the shit that is coming out of your ‘holier-than-thou’ mouth.
You’re obviously getting ready to go to college, what with that 4.5 GPA you’re so proud of, so let me do you a huge favor… one I wish someone would have done for me before I went from being a senior in high school who knew everything to a freshman in college who knew nothing.
Forget that definition. Quoting the dictionary is an impressive trick when you’re in the fifth grade. By the time you hit the double digits you should be over it. You know how often dictionaries get updated? The Oxford English Dictionary is widely considered (by the people at Oxford, anyway) to be the gold standard of the English language. It has had only two full editions come out in the past hundred and twenty years and number three is expected to come out sometime in the 2030s.
That definition you’re quoting? It’s old. It’s irrelevant. Nobody who works in academia, nobody who works in anti-racist organizations, nobody who has anything to do with racism except perpetuating it has any use for that definition. People who are perpetuating racism, people who are protecting their own position and privilege, they love it. They love it because it lets us pretend that everyone is on equal footing, it lets them pretend that they’re good or everyone is just as bad, it lets them pretend that their hurt feelings and being told to check their privilege is the same as living in a world that will shoot you in the back and then lie to say you deserved it because of the color of your skin.
Say that dislike of white people is racism. What’s the consequence of that? We’re still institutionally protected. We’re still institutionally powerful. What happens to us if somebody says “kill whitey”? Here’s a hint: we don’t die. And in the bizarre off chance that somebody does kill us in a racially motivated murder… they will not just throw the book at the killer, they will make up new books out of thin air to throw at them. The law will come down so hard on the person who kills a white person as a “hate crime”, and on anybody who might have been involved.
Whereas if somebody kills a Black person because of the color of their skin, we have to look at it seventy-six different ways and come up with a hundred reasons why It Wasn’t Actually Racism, You Guys.
This is why your definition is obsolete: it makes no distinction between meaningless and meaningful. A definition without meaning is a contradiction in terms. A word that doesn’t make any useful distinctions fails at being a word. People who actually deal with racism have adopted a more useful definition, one you will be exposed to in college if you pursue any actual education that is relevant to this area. The sooner you stop clinging to the definition that makes you feel safe and fluffy about yourself, the easier a time you’re going to have.
Don’t waste an entire semester wasting the time of your professor and the rest of the class trying to convince them that the bad feeling you get when you’re told that we don’t suffer racism is the same as the actual consequences that people suffer from racism.
Don’t be that person.
You can thank me for this later.
- Stop posting that Morgan Freeman quote without asking the black community at large what people think about it.
- Stop thinking your white opinion on Black issues is superior and you’re somehow not racist for that.
- Stop saying that you’re colorblind, that just means you’re privilege-denying.
- Check your privilege. If you haven’t experienced someone else’s reality, then you need to defer to them on issues relating to their struggles.
- Stop crying reverse racism. Even if it were a big deal, it would be distracting from the issues of institutional oppression by bringing up some time someone was mean to you.
- Stop being pissed off by people’s tone. But trying to tell us you don’t like our tone is like saying that you’d care about oppression if we were just nicer to you.
- Accusing us of hating white people because we recognize difference might actually be the single least productive thing you can do.
- Stop trying to compare everything to something you’ve faced. If you haven’t had our experiences, you don’t understand them. Respect That.
- Never, ever, ever try to tell us that it’s not as bad as we’re saying. Sit down and listen. You have no role in this play.
Reblogging for general awesomeness and also to add in a link to the Morgan Freeman quote for anyone who missed it.
I am going to add this to my tumblr in response to every terrible argument about racism so let me know if I left anything out…it’s mad long so I put it behind a cut
- “We live in a post-racial society!”
- “I don’t see race”
- “Race is a social construct (so racism must - by extension - also be a social construct!)”
- “I was trying to unite us”
- “Everybody can be racist”
- “I have a black friend!”
- “___ is the last oppressed minority”
- “Bringing up racism just makes everything worse”
- “Reverse racism is just as bad”
- “I don’t have to listen to your argument because a PoC hurt my feelings”
- “I’m not privileged! I’m poor/disabled/gay/trans* etc.”
- “Everything isn’t about race”
- “Racism is all in the past”
- “You’re biased”
- “This person of color agrees with me”
- “Why isn’t there a WHITE Entertainment Television? Why is there no white history month? Affirmative action?”
- “Why is there a black table in the cafeteria?”
- “That wasn’t my intent”
- “The KKK/Neo-Nazis/slavery/apartheid – that’s racism! Not this!”
- “We’re not all like that! That’s a stereotype”
- “I’m white and that happens to me too”
- “I was playing Devil’s Advocate! I don’t really think that way”
- “It’s not a stereotype if it’s true!”
- “You’re just too sensitive! You see racism in everything.”
- “If black people can say the n-word, why can’t I?”
- “I can say what I want! Freedom of speech, bitch!”
FUCKING THIS. (via so-treu)
Pretty much. (via kyssthis16)
SO. MUCH. THIS. TIMES. INFINITY. (via squeetothegee)
my response the next time anyone ever asks me any question about “but why can’t you just like the show and stop being critical of everything”.
In fact, let me print this shit out
I have wanted a Storm film for years, they’ve done films of all the main white characters in the series.
I want a Storm film.
People ask me all the time if I’m “asking them to be guilty about being white.” NO! This explains it. -Jess