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FeministCorna

B.I.T.C.H. part 2

Because

In order

To be

Considered whole, I must only be

Half myself and find a way to dispose of the rest

 

Because

I prayed to be thinner more

Than I prayed to live longer despite the

Curse promised for those who do not

Honor thy father and mother

 

Because she

Insisted upon making me everything

That I

Could never be: waif-like, obedient, and

Happy to be nothing more than a wife to be

 

Because nothing

I could ever

Think or do

Could ever disappoint

Her more than the way I looked

 

Because

I regretted

The way my appearance

Caused so much pain and

Heartbreak in her

 

Because the

Internalization of self-loathing

Turned all the blood between us into

Callousness in the name of brutal

Honesty

 

Because the most

I can achieve with

The woman who gave me life is

Cordiality at best and

Heavy silence for the sake of self-preservation

 

Because

I learned from her, not only how

To obsess over

Calories, but also

How to kill someone with words

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

Image Source

 

B.I.T.C.H. part 1

Because

I

Thought that

Circumstance

Hated me

 

Because

I had

Thick thighs, a round stomach,

Cellulite, brown skin, and locks that coil relentlessly and

Hate the fine tooth combs they used to straighten out girls like me

 

Because even on my best days

I could never be

The kind of pretty that

Could redeem me from my self-

Hatred

 

Because

If he doesn’t

Think you’re fuckable, you

Change yourself

However you need to

 

Because men know best, what

It means

To be a desirable woman:

Coy, quiet, and gentle, with

Heavenly smiles that caused men to sin

 

Because

I was

Taught I

Couldn’t be whole without

Him

 

Because

I

Thought I

Could use pretense as makeup and

Hide from the expectations

 

Because

I knew

The only life that would make a mother proud was

Circumscribed for me with

Hereditary lies

 

Because

Innocence was

Too easily revoked before I

Could even

Have 10 years of naïveté

 

Because, all of a sudden,

Impurity was

Tattooed all over my

Careful skin,

Highlighting my every move as potentially deviant

 

Because

I had never been

Touched with my

Consent nor

Have I ever been still

 

Because

I had

To learn that my body tells people things that

Could send me straight to

Hell

 

Because other women

I know also have bodies

That say things they’re unable to

Control, things that only men are able to

Hear

 

Because

I knew

Too many

Close to me who’ve been bruised and battered by forceful

Hands

 

Because

It’s always our fault, but we’re supposed

To welcome the unwarranted

Caress and calamity

He gives

 

Because what she called

Invasion, he called persuasion,

Till he

Clipped

Her wings and she showed me her scars

 

Because

It’s always her fault even if

The

Crime was

His

 

Because

It’s still not ok

To

Confess what

He did

 

Because

It’s never ok for girls

To be

Confused for

Helpless kids

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

Image Source

Open Wounds

Her heart is bleeding in front of me

I cup my hands and let her pour out

And though I hold her lifeblood in my hands

I do not know how to touch her

I cup my hands and let her pour out

a

Her heart is bleeding in front of me

My hands are overrun with her sorrow

The wound is deep and the pain long hidden

I do not know how to free her

So I cup my hands and let her pour out

aa

Her heart is bleeding in front of me

But I cannot stand the sight of blood

Someone took a knife and cut to kill

I do not know how to heal her

I cup my hands and let her pour out

a

Their hearts are bleeding in front of me

Their ailments alike in name

Each blood feels different in my hands

I do not know how help them

I cup my hands and let them pour out

a

-Chido

Image Source

Netflix & Binge: My personal struggle with an eating disorder I didn’t know existed

***TW: eating disorders

This is a continuation of my previous post where I gave some background on my body image issues.

On top of my ongoing issues with my body that I packed and brought with me to my dorm building in the lower east side, I also unpacked and resided in trigger city.

I had already felt bad that my pre-college diet was in all accounts unsuccessful, I was still heavily influenced by the thinspo I was following on social media, and my mothers voice replayed in my head like an overplayed pop song on the radio every time I went to take a bite of food. I was good at putting up fronts and pretending to be confident and self-actualized as I had done for a long time. Nevertheless, my body image issues were further forced to the surface when I realized that all the girls I lived with had really unhealthy attitudes about their bodies as well. The only difference was that they didn’t mind sharing.

I watched as my roommate routinely restricted her calorie intake to only 500 calories a day and agonized as she stared at her reflection in the mirror every day as she got dressed. My suite-mate similarly kept anal accounts of her calorie intake and measured herself daily to see if any parts of her were decreasing. Too many of the girls I went to school with were also so openly fretful about their weight and size. The kicker was that my roommate was half my size and my suite-mate about a third of it, along with most of the girls in my classes for that matter. I frequently offered hypocritical words of encouragement to try to ensure them both that they were beautiful just the way they are, and I honestly thought they were, but it was impossible not to consider myself, being noticeably bigger than they were.

Calorie-counting became taxing and tedious to me now that I was faced with a full schedule and a sizable amount of homework. Some days I would eat only small bits of food and other days I would starve myself throughout the day. The days that I starved myself, I found that my morale would go way down and I’d just associate the negative feelings with having a bad day, because I frequently did have bad days, but not with the deprivation. My favorite cure for a bad day was to watch Netflix alone late into the night.

Whenever I watched Netflix, I never just watched Netflix.

Before long, I was in a steady routine: I would starve myself during the day or eat very little, come back home from school feeling horrible, so I’d go to the Walgreen’s and buy snacks and go to the corner store and buy ice cream and on top of that I’d either order food from the Seamless app or find a fast food restaurant nearby. I’d often buy more than I intended to eat, telling myself that I would save money by getting a couple things and saving some as leftovers for the next day, but each night I would eat what I wanted to eat and what I didn’t want to eat. I ate even if I wasn’t hungry. I ate past the point of being full. I ate even though the food didn’t taste good or like food at all. I ate until everything I could get my hands on was gone. I ate even though I didn’t want to eat. I ate in the dark while my roommate slept on an empty stomach. I ate and I ate and I ate.

The moment I would stop eating I felt like the world body-slammed itself back onto my shoulders. Usually I would cry, feeling guilty for reversing the progress I thought I had made after eating very little or starving myself that day. I would write about my self-loathing in my diary and cry myself to sleep.

Not once did I ever think about how out of control my overeating was. It didn’t happen every day, but it was usually at least 2 times a week.The days I didn’t do it I didn’t think about it and the days I did do it, I didn’t think about what I was doing until afterwards when the guilt set in. All I knew is that I had pain and I wanted it to go away, and momentarily it did, but right after everything came back in my face full force.

I had only ever heard the word “binge” in reference to the compulsory eating of someone with Bulimia Nervosa in all the many instances that we learned about it in school and usually the word “purge” followed. The word binge had also been just recently adopted to describe watching all the seasons of a show on Netflix in an obscenely short amount of time. If there was any binge-ing I knew I was guilty of, it was definitely the binge-watching. I didn’t consider the uncharacteristic amounts of food I was consuming in short periods of time anything but just that.

So it continued this way throughout the entire semester. It continued when I had to leave The New School after that first semester because my family could no longer afford it. It continued when I sat at home feeling like I hit rock bottom after having to leave my dream school. It continued when I got a job at the Walgreen’s near my house and isolated myself from all my friends because of how embarrassed I was by the setback. It continued when my mom got my best friend’s mom to talk to me because she thought I was depressed and made it a point to have her point out that it may be the cause of the obvious weight gain. It continued when one of the managers pointed out how I may have had trouble finding jobs before (because I did) because of my size. It continued when I was physically sexually harassed by one of my customers. Even though I stopped starving myself or trying in any way to lose weight, it continued in secret and unacknowledged for about 6 months steadily. It felt like a normal part of life.

The first time that the possibility that I may have a problem ever crossed my mind was when I became a feminist. New to the feminist movement, I was working on trying to be more intersectional and I found myself reading about eating disorders and about what they are and what they’re not. I only expected to be reading about Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa; I was surprised when I saw a third disorder listed: Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

I had never ever heard about BED ever in my life. As I slowly scrolled through the article I had the stark realization that the characteristics of the disorder were painfully familiar. At first I dismissed it, feeling like I was just being a hypochondriac and looking for problems that weren’t there. I pretty much dismissed the disease in general feeling that if the “binge” wasn’t followed by a “purge” then it’s not actually an ED.

Still I couldn’t completely dismiss the fact that I frequently did everything that the article said I did. I began to promise myself to assess my motives every time I went to eat; I made myself promise myself that if I’m not hungry, I won’t eat, and if I am hungry, I’ll stop when I’m full. For a little while, I was able to deal with the problem that I still couldn’t fully admit to myself that I had. However, it wasn’t long before the next big trigger drove me back into old habits.

By the end of last year I think I finally fully accepted what it was but still to this day I haven’t ever said it aloud or told anyone. Even though I have coping skills that I’ve employed and tactics I use to avoid triggers, I still struggle with it from time to time and I know it’s largely because I have to seek professional help. Being African and knowing how my family is in particular has been largely what deters me from seeing someone about it because I know how important familial support can be with ED’s and I know that I won’t have that.

But like the hypocrite I am, I urge that if there’s anyone reading this and you do have an ED or you even speculate that you have one, please please PLEASE, go talk to someone and go get help. Trying to deal with it on your own is never the best option and, for many people, it does not work at all. Know that ED’s or any other psychological disorders are not your fault. Know that even though they can be triggered by your environment and/or emotional trauma, it is not a choice, it’s a disease. And know that most importantly, recovery is possible!

The Trigger Warning: Where my issues with my body image began

***TW: numbers associated with weight loss are mentioned

One of the hardest choices I’ve ever made was the decision to leave my small town in Delaware and my family and friends to go to university and pursue my dreams in New York City. The distance may not have been too great but the differences were abounding.

Adjusting to my new life was rough for many reasons: being away from home for the first time, missing my close friends and feeling the pressure to make new ones, and, of course, the new pace and attitude of the city.

All those reasons I predicted and expected; it didn’t make them easier to deal with but at least I knew what I was up against. However, other issues arose that I am only now starting to fully comprehend. At that point I was attending Parsons at the New School for Design and anyone who has ever been there knows that the students attending that school are largely Asian and White. I was one of only four black people that I met during my short time there which, besides being surrounded by so much talent that I felt I didn’t measure up to, made me feel like I didn’t belong there. I felt as if they were just trying to level out the demographics or something, like there was a quota they had to meet for some reason even though it is a private school. I later learned is called Impostor Syndrome, but I still to this day do not doubt that my accusations could be true.

Another representation issue I encountered was the overall lack of fat people. Every time I walked into a classroom, I felt like the complete embodiment of the proverbial elephant in the room.

Body image has been something I have struggled with since as long as I can remember, as is true for many of us I believe. My struggle traces back to puberty when my body was stripped of all neutrality. I started to develop noticeable curves and gain weight in some areas where there wasn’t as much fat before (i.e. my thighs and my ass) and before I even noticed these things myself, everyone else around me did. On one hand I was sexualized by male family members and classmates and on the other hand I was socially demonized by female members of society, including my mother. All of a sudden life went from being a carefree and oblivious child to becoming a woman whose main responsibilities were achieving thinness and becoming a woman that a man would want to marry one day while simultaneously doing nothing to attract male attention or stir up impure thoughts in the men around me, all before I even turned 12.

The unwanted attention from boys and men was the first issue concerning my body that I really had to face head on. As a 5th grader, I dealt with not only unwanted attention but unwanted physical contact from some of my male peers. Boys that I had considered friends just a year before, all of a sudden, became fixated on staring at my ass whenever I turned around, walked by, or bent over. Even worse than that was when they began to make a game out of copping a feel whenever they could. Not only did I feel unsafe to the point that I stopped going to recess, only went to the bathroom between classes when there were a large amount of people in the hallways, and tied a sweater around my waist every single day, I also blamed myself heavily. I thought that if I was thin and had a different shape, I wouldn’t have had to go through the harassment that continued for the entire school year and followed me until I moved to a new town and school district.

I want to note that my family and parents are African, specifically Zimbabwean immigrants and first generation Americans. Knowing this may also raise the question about the pressure I started to feel to become thin, outside of the sexual harassment. Typically Black people embrace thicker body types as the standard of beauty, especially Africans, but my immediate family did not see things this way, unfortunately for me.

Thus began my self-esteem’s downward spiral. Sometimes I thought I would try to diet but whenever I thought about dieting and how the only way I thought I could be deemed acceptable to the world was if I lost weight and became skinny, I would become really upset and do the opposite, which was to consult sugary snacks for consolation. At this point though, I started to become occupied by time-consuming school activities and countless crushes that prevented me from dwelling on too many internal issues. I was also, thankfully, surrounded by a positive group of friends that helped counteract many negative thoughts I had about my body so I was able to suppress them for the time being.

Graduation was bittersweet. I was glad to be out of the purgatorial hell-hole that was high school, but I knew that in 3 months, I was going to be leaving behind everything comfortable and familiar in my life. On top of being anxious awaiting the impending transition, I was mostly isolated from my friends the summer before starting college. Everyone was taking vacations, getting together their college dorm needs, working summer jobs, and otherwise occupying themselves with menial things just because we knew that this was the last time we could. The problem for me was that I hadn’t realized how toxic my home environment could be until then.

Within a month of being home I remembered exactly what I used extra-curricular activities to escape from. Being with my mother day after day constituted constant harassment about my weight and size. Every time I picked up a fork my motives and habits were verbally questioned. “Are you still eating?” “Do you really think you should eat that?” “You’re still hungry?” “Why is all the food gone already?” “I put food in your plate for you. No more eating tonight” These are but a few of the many quotes that began to perpetually circle around in my head.

It got to the point where I could not eat in front of her, or anyone really. I also reintroduced the concept of dieting into my life and it was the first time I really took it seriously. What got me was when I was told that I’m limiting my chances of succeeding in my career because I didn’t look the way a designer should supposedly look. Even though I knew the comment didn’t necessarily hold any merit, considering the wide range of outrageous appearances I know many successful fashion designers to have, I didn’t want to make my life any harder for myself than I already knew it was. So I went on a diet.

This diet consisted of a calorie counting app that I referred to like the Bible, taking multiple daily walks/runs, drinking about six bottles of water a day, getting on to the treadmill when I could, and sleeping constantly, fearing that being awake might make me think of how hungry I was. Using the app I programmed my goal to be to lose 30 pounds before school started in a month and a half. According to my weight and the goal I programmed, the app dictated how many calories I could intake and how many I had to burn each day. Many days I would eat under the amount of calories I was allotted in hopes of speeding up the weight loss process.

The first couple days were the most successful. I lost about 4 pounds in a week. I didn’t realize then that it was mostly, if not all, water weight. More days went by and the loss was less rapid. Then weeks went by and there was little to no change. I didn’t know how to deal with plateauing so far away from my goal. I still persevered anyway, telling myself that one day I’ll just wake and notice the transformation as if it were overnight as long as I stopped obsessing and kept persevering, so I decided to only look at the scale every other day.

By the time school started, I had only lost 10 pounds. I didn’t feel like I looked any different and the only difference I felt was utter emotional and physical exhaustion. In the last days before I started school I had made a tumblr account, for no reason in particular, but shortly after, discovered *thinspo (tw on link). It wasn’t long before I fell completely down the rabbit hole, lusting after thigh gaps, visible rib cages, and defined collar bones the way I used to lust after cute boys in high school.

Starting college, deprivation and self-loathing had already conquered my entire being, which made facing the other elements of my transition that much harder.

The best dating advice I’ve ever gotten…

The best dating advice I’ve ever gotten was to not come on too strong.

Unlike a tea bag

Helplessly sinking in a mug of torrid water

Oozing out its essence and

Altering its surroundings to become akin to its own sensibilities,

My nature is not at all welcome,

Much less desirable.

At least that is what I understand,

“One day you’ll find someone who tolerates you,” to mean.

“Don’t come on too strong”

In my brown ears,

Hidden beneath my Kanekelon twists,

Means don’t be strong at all.

Everyone already expects me to be ‘strong’,

Which is why most men are wary of me from the get-go.

“Don’t come on too strong,” means that

Any man who distrusts his initial better judgment and decides to approach me,

Is looking for something out of the ordinary.

He wants to find a docile heart underneath these

Ombré high-yellow breasts.

He wants to find room to plant, sow, and reap underneath this

Shining copper five-head.

He wants to find trembling hands at the ends of these two-tone wrists,

Not a black power fist.

He wants to find a tender apathy inside my soft belly,

Not a tenacious intensity.

He doesn’t want to find that respect is a prerequisite

Between my ghostly stretch-marked thighs

Much less than he wants to find hair there.

He doesn’t want to see anything but his own reflection

In my lined mascara eyes,

So I should act like I don’t care.

He doesn’t want to find a weapon of self-defense

Inside my black lipstick mouth.

He wants to tell his friends that I’m not like the other black girls

Who have the audacity to speak out.

He wants the black girl equivalent

To the one he feels he doesn’t stand a chance with.

He wants the black girl antithesis

With the black girl ass and lips.

He’s just another fuckboy looking for a fuck toy,

But letting him know you can’t be fucked with

Won’t help you, so here’s a tip:

Don’t come on too strong, you angry black woman.

That’s the best – and only – dating advice I’ve ever gotten.

-Chido

Image Source

Who’s Allowed to Say “Nigga”?

Rather than waste your time whispering sweet nothings and engaging in foreplay about this subject, I’ll just come right out and say it.

Only black people are allowed to say nigga. Only.

Why?

Well first and foremost, if you are not black and a black person tells you that they don’t feel comfortable with you using an anti-black slur that is still a very strong reminder and representation of the attitude used to enslave Africans for 245 years here in America and elsewhere, you need not ask why. That being said, for some humanity is a given, for others, humanity has to be explained. Take that for what you will.

oJgFX

Nigga is a slang term variation of the word nigger. Arguably the difference between “nigga” and “nigger” is its usage. Nigga is often used by Black Americans as a familiar term of endearment. However, there is no real difference between “nigga” and “nigger” except for the spelling, especially out of the mouths of non-black people. Even within the black community there are instances where the term’s meaning is still largely derogatory. For example, I was scrolling through my tumblr page just the other day and happened upon a thread where a group of black bloggers on the site were discussing black men’s attitudes towards dark-skinned women.

Paying attention to @sicksynse’s comment: “I see a lot of mixing of niggas and women… Men belong with women, niggas belong with bitches…” you can see clearly that “nigga” is not a term of endearment or camaraderie in this case. It is paired with “bitches” which is a derogatory term for women, showing that this person believes that “nigga” is the similarly derogatory term for men, black men specifically. They are not alone in this belief. I hear nigga used as a derogatory term by black people just as much as it is used in the familiar sense. This further emphasizes the point that the word can never fully be stripped from its roots as it functioned in many derogatory phrases in the past as a tool to denigrate black people. Black Men vs. Niggas

So why do black people say it then?

The idea that using a derogatory term or slur within the community that it was originally directed towards is nowhere near a new concept. It is not uncommon to hear gay men call each other and themselves “fags” or “faggots”. Lesbians do the same with “dyke” and “butch”, women call each other and ourselves “sluts” and “bitches”, and African Americans have done the same with “nigga”. The process is called reappropriation. The idea is to take power away from that word, and ultimately your oppressors or an oppressive system, so that it can no longer be used to marginalize you. It sends a bold message to society that you choose to accept whatever it is that society hates about you and that you won’t let bigotry determine how you feel about yourself. Sometimes reappropriation works so well that that the once pejorative term becomes the preferred term. For example, “gay” began as derogatory but it is now often preferred over the term homosexual in colloquial usages. However, such a change can only be outlined by the group in question. The LGBTQ+ community is the one who outlined what terms are okay for members outside of the community to use, like gay in reference to a homosexual man (only in reference to such and not as an insult or a substitute for words like “bad” or “uncool”) but words like the aforementioned “fag” and “dyke” are still not okay for anyone who is not a gay man or lesbian woman to say respectively.

An important thing to note is that not all black people agree with the reappropriation or reclamation of the word “nigga”. In the first episode of Black-ish of the new season called “The Word”, we follow the debate within the family members on whether or not black people should use the n-word. At the end, Dre lets his son Jack know that when he gets older it will be fine for him to use it but ultimately it’s a an educated decision that only he can make. That is true for all of us as black people. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to get into debates amongst ourselves, but it is a matter that is subject to discussion and debate within and only within our community.

“But if black people can say it, why can’t I?”

“But my black friend calls me nigga!”

“But my black friends don’t care if I say it!”

“But it’s in all the music I listen to; it’s impossible to not say it!”

“It’s just a word!”

  • I hope surely by now we’ve covered the issue with the first one. If you’re not black, it’s not your term to reclaim, plain and simple.
  • Like I stated above, it is often used by black people as a term of endearment, but guess what, there are so many other words in the English language, and every language for that matter, that are terms of endearment by design – pick one and keep the word out of your mouth.
  • As for your black friends letting you say it, they are the minority, especially if you’re white. Most black people have very conservative attitudes towards the use of the n-word by white people, and rightfully so. Sometimes many non-black people of color get away with it in communities where black people live in close proximity to non-black PoC’s, especially Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Even though they’ve given you a pass, it’s still not your word. However, in some communities and friend groups that are close-knit, usage of the word may even be encouraged, and in that case, you’re still wrong, but if you’re friends have 100% signed off on your usage of it, use it behind closed doors and don’t take that with you anywhere else. But even then, you’re still wrong.
  • Just because you participate in what you feel is “black culture” i.e. listening to rap music, it doesn’t mean that you’re black. Period. Bleep it out, change the word to “nugget”, shut your mouth, I don’t care. Keep that word out your mouth.
  • Words are powerful. If you tell yourself anything else, you are lying to yourself. You sat here and read this whole thing right? Why? Because words mean something.

10 Things I’m Tired of Hearing About Racism

Racism is often a hot topic to debate. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome debates and intellectual discussions amongst peers because it often inspires a lot of learning and exchanges of anecdotal and experience-based evidence which you would not otherwise get. The problem is when you get stuck debating over what racism even is in the first place or the same basic details of how our (U.S.) society and government works; you can’t learn anything, and frankly, it’s just exhausting. So I’m going to lay down the top 10 ignorant remarks that I get on the daily, being the Samantha White character, usually, in my mostly non-Woke group of friends.

1. “That’s racist against white people!”  

(Also known as reverse racism)

I hear this so often it hurts me. I’ve even heard that I’m sexist against men, which is equally as wrong for the same reason. I think Samantha White explains why best.

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The bit before explains that black people, and people of color in general, can be prejudiced, but not racist. Prejudice is still awful, but let’s say that Mexicans and all non-black latinxs collectively got together too say that black people were the lazy ones and stealing our jobs and redirected a Donald Trump-esque speech onto us. Would the U.S. suddenly be more motivated to carry on immigration reform? Would latinxs start making more than us on average? No. If anything, Fox News would just have a field day talking about the in-fighting go on between us, but no change would occur. People of color don’t hold that kind of power in this society to oppress one another, nor white people for that matter, and the same goes for women and men. I’m still waiting for the day that white people stop being eligible for promotions and top positions like CEO’s and presidency because us people of color think all they’re good at is stealing ideas from everyone else and trying to pass it on as their own – aka Colombus-ing. However, the stereotypes and prejudices that white people have against people of color change all of our qualities of life and justify our dehumanization. For example: “Mexicans are lazy” — Latinxs/Hispanics make the least of everyone in this country, “Black people are thugs” — Black people have a record of the most recorded stop and frisks and the highest rate of reported murders in police custody, “Muslims are terrorists” – Muslims, Sikhs (because dumb-asses can’t tell the difference), Arabs, and South Asians have reported over 1,700 cases of discrimination and hate crimes since 9/11. But you know, I called the one Noah movie whitewashed (I gave you 2 links there) and said my favorite fairy in the Tinker Bell movies is the black one so I guess that’s equally as bad, right?

Iridessa

2. “What if white people…” 

No. Just stop. I already explained this. We live in a white supremacy, you have that power, I don’t. You can’t compare our actions on the same scale because our words/beliefs/actions don’t hold the same weight in society, only you can benefit from racism, not me, yadayadayada. Moving on.

3. “You make everything about race. Not everything is about race!” 

Oh hunty.

First of all, I didn’t make everything about race. Guess who did? White people.

“When race emerged in human history, it formed a social structure (a racial social system) that awarded systemic privileges to Europeans („whites‟) over non-Europeans („non-whites‟). Racialized social systems , or white supremacy for short, became global and affected all societies where Europeans extended their reach. ..a society‟s racial structure is the totality of the social relations and practices that reinforce white privilege…the task is to uncover the particular social, economic, political, social control and ideological mechanisms for the reproduction of racial privilege in a society.” Bonilla-Silva 2006

Race is a social construct, but they created a system in which they benefit from being white and seen as human and people of color were seen as less than and like experimented on us and shit, like lab rats.

So, that being said, white people still benefit from the idea that there are certain hereditary qualities determined by race, breed, and ability that make some people more suitable for certain jobs and power than others – aka eugenics. I wonder who the master race is? And even if you’re not a full-blown eugenics major, the microagressions associated with the school of thought comfortably still exist in society and media. Long story short – people still develop preconceived notions about a person’s character based on their race.

I’m not saying that EVERYTHING is about race, and that was hyperbole on their part to begin with, but people often underestimate how often race is a factor in the events of everyday life, for people of color that is, because of the following statement:

4. “I don’t see color.” 

Yes. You. Do. Yes. You. Do. We all see it, we just don’t all know how it affects us and affects the way we interact with people. Odds are, if you aren’t afraid to talk about race, you’re probably less racist/prejudiced than those who claim to not see race. Racism is not something that can only be manifested by verbal battery and use of racial slurs. Actually, many of the worst acts of racism are usually silent or passive-aggressive. Someone who feels comfortable acknowledging the racial diversity present in the room and speaking openly on racial issues amongst people of color or people of other races is probably more enlightened as to how to unlearn the microagressions of racism/prejudice that are passed down to us by the previous generation, society, and media. Those who don’t feel comfortable bringing up race amongst mixed company are probably, no, definitely more comfortable bringing it up when they’re only around other people like them, in which case, there is usually no one to check them or call them out for saying something offensive, which you may or may not have known was offensive beforehand.

You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT, claim to not be racist/prejudiced unless you actively take steps to unlearn those things, whereas the opposite is more often than not, very passive and innate.

And lastly, lying and saying that you don’t see race or that race doesn’t affect how you treat people is not only ignorant but it’s also offensive. Saying that you don’t see race is saying that you treat people as if they’re exactly like you which implies that the only way people can get along is if we’re all the same. This is also known as colorblind racism. It’s also stupid just because, if you really treat everyone like they’re the same you’re probably ignoring many cultural differences and you probably overstep your boundaries a lot (i.e. If I say nigga, you (a non-black person) can’t say it right along with me. We’re not the same and the word is not yours to reclaim. Why? Because I’m black!)

So to answer number 3 more closely, a lot of things are about race because everyone sees it but not everyone takes steps to unlearn racism/prejudice so it affects the way a lot of people treat others, often in a negative way. Just because you don’t want to deal with that reality, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

5. “Not everyone is racist.” 

True. People of color can’t be racist – See number 1. However, ALL —and I’m only going to say this once, so listen very closely, ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST. Yes, I said it. Nowadays, apologists and white feminists online don’t want to speak any truth that might make them lose followers but if I don’t tell you the truth, who will? All white people are racist, all people of color are prejudiced, all men are sexist, all straight people are homophobic, all cisgender people are transphobic, all able people are ableist, all people who are privileged in a certain aspect are unaware of how they are privileged and the way they abuse that privilege, and all marginalized groups are capable of internalized hatred and prejudice against themselves and others marginalized in the same way UNTIL they take active steps to unlearn those ideas that are currently society’s default.

I’ll give y’all a second to wipe up your privileged tears so that we can move on.

Not having the intention to be racist does not make you not racist. 

Not having the intention to be racist does not make you not racist. 

Not having the intention to be racist does not make you not racist.

Ignorance is not an excuse for racism, so if someone calls you out for being racist, don’t be so quick to say “I’m not racist!” because you’re most likely lying.

6. “I’m so sorry you thought I was being racist but—“

But nothing. If you are a white person, you do not get to define what racism is to people of color; you do not get to tell us what it’s like to be us. You have never experienced racism — no, shut up and read number 1 again — therefore you have no means by which to judge it. So if a person of color says something is racist – listen. Also, don’t proceed to say anything after the “I’m sorry”. Everyone knows that “I’m sorry but–” is not an apology and anything less than an apology is a way in which you’re using your privilege to continue to silence people of color, so at that point, don’t pretend to care about not being racist and don’t pretend to be an ally either.

7. “White people are oppressed too.”

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Yes, there are several –ia’s and –ism’s that can marginalize white people in addition to people of color (homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, anti-Semitism, etc.); however; white people are not oppressed on the basis of race.

8. “Racism is in the past; we’re post-racial now.”

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Ok. Anyone stupid enough to say this is not worth my time or energy. NEXT!

9. “Yeah, of course there’s racism, but things are never going to change. What’s the point in dwelling on it? It’s not like we can do anything about it.

In my eyes, this is a thousand times worse than number 8. It’s one thing to not want to make a change because you don’t think that there is anything that needs to be changed, which, coming from a position of privilege or a victim of internalized hatred, is almost understandable – almost, but to know that there is injustice in the world but trying to silence those around you who have taken to civil unrest because your internalized inferiority makes you think there’s nothing that can be done about it? That’s just evil.

Every time marginalized groups gather and create a movement to bring about change, change is accomplished. Every damn time. I.E. Civil rights movements, women’s rights movements, gay rights movements, etc. etc. etc.

I especially don’t understand Americans who think like this since this country is so young and yet so much change has been accomplished in such short periods of time. Black people have come a long way from being considered only 3/5 of a human being — not nearly far enough, but far.

The same person who says the ignorant phrase above, also says that people back then were different from people now because people now don’t care. Well first of all, you’re part of the problem, and second, look at the way society runs now. We no longer have to rely on biased government-endorsed news stations to report and spread news. We are the news. Information spreads so much faster now and we have the ability to access all the information we want to know at the touch of a button. Does everyone take advantage of that? No. But guess what? Social media and my friends (my woke friends) are largely what got me involved with social justice. Instead of polluting the air with your ignorant, inaccurate, defeatist nonsense, why not start a conversation with people you know. People can’t care about things they don’t know about and people can’t change things they don’t think they have the power to, but make no mistake, people can change things. We have, we are, and we will always continue to, despite people like that trying to convince us otherwise.

10. “Maybe if people stopped talking about race/racism so much it wouldn’t be that big of a problem! All you’re doing is dividing us.”

Racism is not an awkward situation that only gets more awkward if you talk about it. Race is not like a hashtag on twitter that barely anybody knows about or notices until people keep using it and it starts trending. Talking about racism is not like throwing garbage into a landfill where the more you talk about it, the bigger the pile gets and the worse the problem gets. Mentioning race is not like saying Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror three times and all of a sudden the haunting ghost figure appears; however, some people do get scared like it is.

Talking about racism is like walking in on your parents having sex. In the back of your mind you’ve always known that your parents had sex at least once (to make you), but you never really think about it because it makes you uncomfortable. But now, since you’ve walked in on them, it’s become more of a reality that you either have to deal with and come to terms with or remain uncomfortable for the rest of your life.

Those who acknowledge the existence of racism are not responsible for the persistence of racism.

We’re already divided. Racism already exists. Like I noted in the previous point, those who talked about race all the time and shouted about their struggles in the streets are the ones responsible for making a difference, not those who went on shucking and jiving and tap dancing for massa. Yeah, I went there, because this is something I mainly get from people of color. Learn your history and stop being dim. Pretending to be white is not going to give you white privilege so gtfo with your Rachel Dolezal ass.

And here’s a special 11th one because I love y’all so much.

11. “You don’t have to be so rude about it!”

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#WhiteGirlsDoItBetter: White Feminism, Black Twitter, & Misogynoir

Just last week, the Twitter-sphere was invaded by the trending tag, #whitegirlsdoitbetter. Many of the pictures featured were of white women with “fat asses” twerking, or trying to at least, or posing haughtily with captions like “RT to ruin a black girl’s day” or “White girls winning” along with the infamous tag. The premise behind it is that black women are only good for their bodies, mainly having bigger butts than other races typically, but if white women also have large asses, there’s no longer use for black women. I’m pretty sure that thought process is what ruins our day more than white girls in butt pads.

Not soon after this blatant act of misogynoir started, Black Twitter swooped in to remedy the situation by serving the tea scalding hot and busting a few guts while they were at it. Many tweets focused on hot topics like cultural appropriation and the exclusion of women of color in mainstream feminism, otherwise known as white feminism. My favorite were tweets concerning Serena Williams’ recent win, leaving Maria Sharapova to humbly be gifted second place, because her win set off a chain of racialized body-shaming in the media that has actually been going on for the duration of her career, attempting to overshadow her tremendous accomplishments. Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 5.06.54 PM

Where are the lies?

 Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-56-20-1 Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-55-32-1 Black Instagram didn’t do so bad either. Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-35-25-1 Needless to say, Black Twitter was not happy. This is also not the first instance of rampant misogynoir on social media and misogynoir has been in existence for just as long as anti-Black racism has. Many instances happen, sadly, within the Black community, most specifically by cisgender straight black men who somehow manage to promote themselves as “pro-Black” while simultaneously upholding white supremacist respectability politics, praising Eurocentric beauty standards, and refusing to acknowledge the multitude of black people who identify with the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and therefore alienating the majority of black people in the world; however, this time we’re talking about white women.

Even though straight, white, cisgender men hold the most privilege in society, when white women fail to check their privilege or demonstrate acts of shameless racism, it can be a touchier subject. The reason being is that straight cisgender white women’s privilege is affected by one factor: sexism. The shared experiences of sexism and misogyny in patriarchal societies is what brings together women of all races, classes, sexual orientations, abilities or disabilities, and so forth, under the umbrella movement of feminism — or at least it’s supposed to. Things go awry when WCS (white cisgender straight)  women fail to check their privilege. Not all women’s struggles are the same: women of color experience racism and sexism simultaneously, the same way that lesbian/bisexual/pansexual/etc. women experience sexism and homophobia together and trans women experience sexism and transphobia, also known as transmisogyny. An example is the gender/race wage gap. wagegapbrokenupbyrace-011 We’ve often heard how women make .77 cents to a man’s dollar; meanwhile, only white women make that amount. Latina and Hispanic women make the least of all women and the only race of women who make more on average than white women are Asian women. White women even make more than all men of color. gr-race-earnings-624 This “oversight” or, the way I see it, purposeful omission, should completely change the way we talk about the wage gap, that’s if we don’t want to be done dirty like we were during the fight for women’s suffrage. Long story short, feminism has had a long history of white women claiming that “We’re all in this together” and then in the same breath, silence women of color and use our support to only benefit themselves.

So now along with the privelege and the persisting white feminism, we have a new generation of white women who are envious of the hyper-sexualization of black women and the lack of agency it affords us — yeah.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 4.59.23 PM

It’s a twisted and tangled web of inferiority from internalized misogyny that actually almost has me feeling bad for white women — almost. In order to appease the male gaze and satisfy fickle male-dictated beauty standards, white women have resorted to tearing down black women for possessing the only things that black women have that white women don’t, according to society. Black women are often “praised” for their bodies: having big lips, big butts, tan skin (mostly where light-skinned black women are concerned), and curvy figures in general. My guess is that all white women have been in a coma since the beginning of colonization where they have been the standard of beauty that has been imposed on women of all races all over the world. Black women were ridiculed and shamed for their bodies, even put in human zoos, while white women were concurrently taking steps to imitate and appropriate those very same features (i.e. bustles). I’m sorry, did I say were? I mean are.

Then…

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Now…

 

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All the above are examples of the objectification of black women by none other than white women.

Black women, especially those who posses these features that are so sought after by white women are systematically shamed and ridiculed in society, especially with racialized slut-shaming terms like hoe and thot, that assist the view that black women’s sexuality is dangerous and must be controlled while the media simultaneously exploits it. Yet, white women (and sometimes non-Black women of color), who either naturally have these features or acquire them artificially, are praised and are allowed to maintain sexual agency and bodily autonomy over themselves while being recognized as the epitome of beauty and feminine allure, both having the assumed purity and humanity of whiteness with the sexual allure of typically black features (i.e. Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Iggy Azalea).

Alright, so let’s recap shall we? White women are pretty much the most protected of all women,  society’s beauty standards are made to reflect them (big butts, big lips, and tan skin only “came into fashion” once they were achievable by white women), people of color, women of color especially, have less privelege than them, women of color have literally fought for their rights time and time again in the name of “feminism”, and yet, they feel the need to remind us of how they’re “winning” when women of color have been losing for centuries. Nice. #whitegirlsdoitbetter Screenshot_2015-07-12-09-34-28

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