Archive for February, 2011

post racial

I know they are a ton of white people who don’t understand—or really want to understand to begin with, what white privilege is.

But, several things happened today that really reminded how white people try so hard to push the color blind ideology that basic overt racist things don’t even register as racist anymore. There’s “real racism” and then there’s just being politically correct .

For example, cultural appropriation? Not a real racist issue, you gotta feel fucking entitled to everything with little regard to the historical context of whatever item you’re stealing.

TV shows with mostly white characters and their stereotypical ethnic friends—not a real racist issue. Don’t even complain about the same racist stock characters people of color have to play every single time.

Things I thought would register immediately as racist, even to the most conservative of white people, aren’t even racist.

I thought by now that people would know that black face is racist; it is offensive to pull back your eyes and pretend you’re Asian; fried chicken and watermelon jokes—c’mon racist, why is that even a question? Yet, white vegans still scratch their head at the notion that’s offensive to compare kennel clubs to the KKK.

What the fuck is going on?

I was telling my brother earlier, people distinguish between “real racism” like stuff you only saw in the sixties and politically correct/not real racism. It’s because society, especially white people, treat racism like it’s been eradicated.

Systematic racism isn’t real because racism ended sometime around 1968. The subtle everyday racism, the kind white people don’t notice, isn’t real. Or maybe it’s just exaggerated by over sensitive people of color.

The idea that white people will never experience and understand the lives people of color face because they are white, flips them the fuck out.

When you’re so used to being the dominant culture it doesn’t don on you that you’re privileged because your version of reality is constantly being reinforced.

White people enjoy that privilege. Even if they complain about “reverse racism” they still ignore the fact that they are the majority of the government, the media, our history books, and the normalative in general. If you question that, it’s the fault of people of color, not “systemic racism” and they have no part in keeping the status quo.

You can spend the rest of your life ignoring the fact that names that sound “ethnic” are less likely to be hired and then complain about affirmative action.

The idea of black history or Hispanic history month, seems unfair but don’t question how your history textbooks are pro imperialism and pro colonialism; the exploitation of people of color was just collateral for democracy.

Just ignore it and let it go away. The idea of that maybe you’ve been conditioned to not question the entitlements you enjoy is the worst offense.

listen

We don’t live in a vacuum. Our ideas, our lexicon, and our beliefs are shaped by outside forces like society, culture, environment, and religion. Fields like sociology and anthropology prove that.

Words matter, ok? You said something heterosexist because your parents, the media, and your religion told you; you weren’t born a bigot. Forces like that reflect and shape your ideas. When people like lady gaga say trans phobic things they fuel trans phobia and other people think it is ok because their ideas aren’t challenged. Their bigotry is reinforced every day by outside forces like that. We are conditioned to say things that hurt other people but we don’t change it because it seems like it doesn’t affect your reality.

That’s where privilege comes from. If the dominant culture constantly puts out ideas that reinforce your idea of reality you accept it as such without question because you consider that the norm. You will vehemently defend your privilege and the entitlements you enjoy because you can’t honestly believe another person’s reality is different from your own. You think you’re a good person; anything that happens to other people is the fault of their own.

Just because you aren’t aware of what is happening, doesn’t mean it still isn’t occurring.

I’m setting all this up because i want to get this point: “it’s just a preference” ignores how factors like racism ,sexism ,transphobia shape your ideal of what is beautiful or considered attractive.

Whenever i tell people this they get super upset and deny that this is true. people just think “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but if most of the media features middle to upper class, white, thin able bodied cisgender straight people wouldn’t that shape your idea of beauty? Pop culture is extremely important to us. Of course it will shape how we think.

But there is a lack of diversity in the media and if marginalized groups are in television or movies, it is mostly to be a stock character.

And I don’t want to make it seem like people with privilege aren’t aware of their privileges or entitlements. They know and they will fight for it at all costs. One tacit is acting ignorant or crying political correctness.

For a cheap joke a late night comedian will attacks trans women’s femininity; a TV show will feature male characters joking around about their shrew-like wives and make sexist degrading comments about women’s bodies; a movie will feature a wise talking sassy black woman with little education etc. etc. repeat this 3 million times across every medium. Yet, people have the audacity to act like pop culture or religion doesn’t affect what we consider to be true.

Anyways, “it’s just a preference” really isn’t just a preference. Saying you don’t like black men or fat people or whatever was obviously shaped by some force.

what is rape culture?

Before I explain rape culture I have to tell you this story:

There is a married woman and her husband works long nights and doesn’t return until the early morning. When her husband is away the wife goes to this island, all dressed up, where she has affairs with random men. When these men get to close to her, like if they want to take their affair to the next level, she purposely gets in fights with them. Then she takes the ferry back home before her husband arrives. She’s also really drunk.

So one night she does her usual routine. She goes to the island, has sex with a guy and then acts like a jerk so they can break up. As she is on the way to the ferry she realizes she doesn’t have enough money to get back home. She needs to get home soon before her husband comes back. She asks the ferry captain to let her go on for free. She promises the next time she comes she’ll pay double the fare. But the ferry captain tells her no.

So the wife goes back to the guy she just broke up with. She’s really desperate. But of course they just got in a fight and he refuses to give her any money. She goes to a guy she was with last week, but he is still pretty pissed off and he won’t give her any money either.

She really has no other option. There is a bridge that will take her home. It’s really dark at night and she doesn’t want to walk home alone. But she takes the chance…but she is raped and killed by a group of thugs.

Who’s to blame for the wife being raped?

  • the husband
  • the wife
  • the ferry captain
  • ex number one
  • ex number two
  • the thugs

When my psychology teacher said this story the first time every single hand went up for the wife–including me. And everyone’s reason was the same: if she wasn’t slotting it up in the first place she wouldn’t have been raped.

So then my teacher changes the story a bit. What if she didn’t have a husband and she wasn’t having affairs with other men; she has a baby at home and the baby sitter has an emergency and had to leave. Would we still blame her?

Most of our answers changed, but they were still a few that blamed the wife. We did exercise in the social psychology chapter.

Basically the just world hypothesis is: Attribution error based on the assumption that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people.

Of course the wife was raped! She was a bad person, she’s a lying slut, and she deserved it! If she were more careful this wouldn’t have happened, like not been drunk.

This makes no sense because, for a lack of a better term, a variety of people are raped. Rape victims range in age, sex/gender, race and class. And obviously not everyone who has even been raped has been drunk, or wearing shorts skirts, heels, or anything else that translates into “asking for it.”

What happens if you applied that logic to other crimes?

Your car got stolen? What were you thinking driving that in a neighborhood that is so shitty?

Your house was broke into? Well that’s what you get for not having a burglar alarm.

You were robbed? Well you were just asking for it, you dressed really flashy.

etc. etc. etc.

We blame the victim, so we can distance ourselves from the possibility of bad things ever happening to us. It can never happen to us because we’re smart, we follow the rules, we know better.

If you repeat this a million times it seems like simple logic. Our ideal society claims rape is bad, but in our real culture only 6% of rapists ever see a day in jail.

Rape myths permeate our society and it spreads more thanks to forces like misogyny, racism, ableism, classism etc etc.

Like I mentioned before, dressing like a “slut” isn’t a social norm, it isn’t socially acceptable. But slut shaming mostly applies to women. It is socially acceptable for a man to have more sexual partners and engage in casual sex. When women break this social scripts, they are called sluts, whores and promiscuous. Furthermore, women are expected to be pristine and virginal.

Next, you have to examine the stereotypes pushed as truth by the dominate culture. Men just can’t control themselves. If a man sees an attractive woman he’s going to look like this. The stereotype is that men always want sex. So if a man sees a woman dressed like a slut, who shouldn’t be dressed like one any way because it’s a breaking culture mores, of course he is going to sexual assault her.

When women are harassed on the streets, for some fucked up reason, it is supposed to be considered a compliment. Men feel entitled to approach you on the street, a bar,  or book store to invade your personal space. He just wants to talk to you. What is wrong with a random person you don’t even know you expressed no interest in comes up to you and asks you out?

Rape has nothing to do with sex. It’s about power and it’s about violence.

I’m going to abruptly end this here. Explaining rape culture in depth would take forever.

Common rape myths:

Myth: Rape is sex.

Fact: Rape is experienced by the victims as an act of violence. It is a life-threatening experience. One out of every eight adult women has been a victim of forcible rape. (National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, 1992) While sexual attraction may be influential, power, control and anger are the primary motives. Most rapists have access to a sexual partner. Gratification comes from gaining power and control and discharging anger. This gratification is only temporary, so the rapist seeks another victim.

Myth: Women incite men to rape.

Fact: Research has found that the vast majority of rapes are planned. Rape is the responsibility of the rapist alone. Women, children and men of every age, physical type and demeanor are raped. Opportunity is the most important factor determining when a given rapist will rape.

Myth: There is a “right way” to respond to a rape situation.

Fact:Since rape is life-threatening and each rapist has his own pattern, the best thing a victim can do is follow her instincts and observe any cues from the rapist. If the victim escapes alive she has done the right thing.

Myth:A victim should be discouraged from dwelling on the rape. She should “forget it”.

Fact: This advice generally comes from people who are more concerned with their own feelings than the victim’s. All victims should be offered the opportunity to talk about the assault with those personally close to them and knowledgeable professionals. Victims who are not allowed to talk about the rape have a much more difficult time recovering form it.

Mores facts about rape:

Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.1
73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.1
38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.1
28% are an intimate.1
7% are a relative.1