Is it okay to repeatedly impregnate someone every year in order to kill their children if their home is clean?
Is it okay to to deny someone everything enjoyable or natural or healthy because you need to make sure their corpse is fit for eating after they are killed?
Is it okay to perform surgical operations and procedures on someone in order to make a profit? Castrate a little baby just so he’ll be fat enough for the pot? Mutilate limbs just to prevent their delicate bodies from being torn?
Is it okay to slit the throat of someone who thought they could trust you?
Imagine being ‘treated well’ for a few months. You’re still young, you’re far from being fully grown or mature. One day you’re led onto a truck. You’re anxious because you’re not used to travelling in a lorry or a van. The doors open and men you don’t recognise poke you with electric prods or metal poles and chase you all into a long chute. You’re all in single file and there’s a lot of noise and a lot of scary things happening, so different to your ‘quiet, local, family farm’ with the workers you know and trust. The doors open one at a time and the person in front of you disappears from sight. You can smell sweat and fear and you can hear the muffled moans of your friends behind the wall. Then the doors open and it’s your turn. You’re prodded forwards into a room shaped like a box. Before you know it you’re fenced in and staring a stranger right in the face. You don’t like being seperated from your friends, and this is a new and frightening situation. The adrenaline and fear of your friends is even stronger here. The man reaches towards you with something long and metallic and - BAM.
You hit the floor, convulsing widely, head spinning. The captive bolt gun that is supposed to render you unconscious and completely unaware hasn’t quite hit the mark and, like so many others, you are simply in agony, stiff with fear, but totally conscious. The man doesn’t have time to check you and he hits a button, causing the floor to collapse and your flailing body to fall down and onto a conveyor belt. The belt takes you into another room, where you are roughly grabbed and someone clasps a tight metal bracelet around your foot. This is terrifying, like something out of a nightmare. You’re used to kind handling and quiet voices and fields of grass and playing with your friends. Instead you’ve been taken to some kind of hell. The shudder of the machinery brings you upwards until you’re dangling by your tender ankle, a high pitched scream of agony and terror escaping your throat as your swollen, fattened weight is supported on one weedy little ankle, and your throbbing head has started to bleed. You’re swung hap-hazardly and dangerously around the room in a zig-zag, because this machine thinks you’re already unconscious and half-dead anyway. So it doesn’t matter if you’re left spinning upside down, hitting every jagged corner of concrete as you enter the next room, completely panic-stricken by the loud sounds around you.
The next room if the kill floor. And then it hits you - the stench of fear, the stench of blood. The floor is a torrent of guts and the walls are flecked with blood. You reel in horror at the sight of your friends dead next to you - still hanging upside down, their eyes wide in terror, their throats completely sliced open and their entrails hanging out. The last thing you see is the blood splattered trousers of your killer, before you’re left to bleed out and die. You’re not an animal. You’re not loved, no matter how well you were treated. You’re just meat. You’re just food.
Every day, thousands of animals go through this process fully conscious. Every single one of them fights for their life the second they realise what’s happening. Because they’re not stupid. They know they’re going to die. And it doesn’t matter how they’re treated, because they all end up here. The abbatoir. And every pig, cow, or sheep that crosses this threshold is simply ‘pork’ or ‘beef’ or ‘lamb chops’. It doesn’t matter how they were raised because they all end up here, they all end up as commodities, and they’re all killed just so that you can sit down and enjoy your ham sandwich, or your omelette, or steak and kidney pie.
A life gone. All for a twenty minute meal. It was not worth it.
We fear change, even when it’s for the best. Sometimes it feels so overwhelimg because it’s hard to grasp that things could actually change. But change is the natural way of life. Nature goes by seasons, the moon has phases, and our cells regenerate every seven years. Change is the natural way of being alive and part of this universe.
It is wonderful that you are feeling better. And it’s okay that it comes with mixed feelings. These things go like that. Healing and blooming isn’t a straightforward process. And that’s the thing. It is a process. I get your fear that this might be fleeting or that is weird because it’s different from how you are used to feeling. But this was totally coming. And it’s so good for us to see that we and our lives really can change. Seriously, everything is always flowing. So of course we’ll change! And there will be crappy days. But that’s fine. Because you have your own back, as you’ve had it every other time. Just remember that the more presence you add to your life, the more centered you will be, and the more you will be able to see that you really are okay."
white privilege is coming to ask me these things, instead of seeking these answers from educating yourself. it is white privilege to ask a poc to educate you on oppression.
honestly this is a bit much. Too many people read the first half of the Malcolm X autobiography.
White people are by definition going to be recipients of white privilege no matter what. Everything they do and say will revolve around it. It doesn’t mean they should do nothing though, or that everything they do is wrong, which is the vibe I get from tumblr. At the end of the day, acknowledging it, being aware of it, and fighting to in your everyday life to not perpetuate racism and to perhaps call it out when appropriate, is all anyone can really be expected to do.
"Don’t expect me to educate you" Honestly, if white people can’t even ask questions how are we supposed to change things in the world. We finally get in a position in which we can educate people and all of a sudden it becomes "not my responsibility". Well who then? Who, instead of the actual people affected should be raising awareness.
There are many things that white people can’t educate themselves on. Black people need to be willing to have open discussions about shit in order for white people to become educated. A white person can pick up a book such as “How To Be Black” & read it, but even then, they may still have questions about what was stated in that book & if black people sit around acting too righteous to answer them, then of course white people won’t be properly educated because they’re left to do what they’ve always done: make assumptions and uninformed judgments.
white privilege is a shield. it is a choice to live under the protection of blindness to suffering. it is not a malady by where you can not release yourself into the honesty of what the world does to poc. it is a choice to see or not see. it is a choice to learn from what is right in front of your face. it is not a sickness that we should take pity on and tend to, as it is the very thing that oppresses us.
The first two comments are the epitome of ignorance and blindness. You expect POC of color to educate white people about their privilege? When white people, on average, have more access to literature and anthologies through which they can educate themselves? You expect POC to focus on educating white people, the ones with privilege, instead of focusing on uplifting and educating their fellow POC who are being oppressed by white supremacy? So basically, if POC aren’t willing to take time out of their lives to educate you, then checking your white privilege and spreading awareness is pointless? These comments are only cementing a problematic conclusion- that if POC aren’t willing to educate those who are a part of the privileged class, then they should expect racism to continue. That we should not expect equal rights if we don’t devote our time to coddling those with privilege by answering their questions about racism. It is in turn, blaming POC for their oppression instead of those who perpetuate the oppressive system.
^^This comment. Read it. Re-read it. Give a 3rd runaround if you need to.
Awkward moment when I wasn’t referring to white privilege. Lmfao.
Then what exactly are you referring to?
It seems like you’re just talking about racism and how its PoC’s jobs to dismantle it, when if that was the case, it would have ended a long time ago. The thing nayyirah and doomedmuse said are entirely correct. It is not the job of blacks and PoC to explain to whites how to be better people, it is not our jobs to name writers and websites and books for them to read or be willing to discuss every issue. If they want to be educated, then they can easily Google the same questions they ask PoC.
I don’t have to be willing to discuss my experiences. I don’t have to be willing to educate someone on the ways to dismantle their privilege. I don’t have to point out when they’re being racist or anything else because that has never been my job. By doing all these things, we’re essentially just making it easier for whites to make a small change in themselves… and some of us are simply too tired to help every come to conclusions they could find by themselves.
i’m here for both arguments. but not necessarily all of the way. i don’t necessarily understand the reasoning behind withholding your experiences. yeah, it’s not your job to dismantle racism. it’s not your job to blatantly expose racism and racist tendencies to whites. it’s nobody’s job. but what is there to gain, with the goal of combating racism in mind, from safeguarding your experiences? why NOT talk about them? yeah, those with privilege should educate themselves but realistically, they won’t understand or grasp the extent of our oppression just from their access to “literature.” that’s like me trying to understand what it’s like to be discriminated against on the basis of my sexuality. I, as a heterosexual female, can read all of the books that I want on homophobia and how much it sucks to be oppressed because of your sexuality but I’ll never be able to completely grasp or understand what that feels like. So to get a real world understanding, why not speak with a direct example of an individual living in that oppression? and if i am willing to aid them in their fight against their oppression, why would they not provide me with knowledge of experiences and oppressions that i would otherwise not have?
you don’t have to “coddle” white people or sit and frickin story book read them your entire life’s experiences with oppression and discrimination, but to put a wall up and just be like nah. you can’t know because you’re privileged. that doesn’t make sense to me.
I agree, naturalhairteens
I get confused with arguments like this. And I have a lot of questions.
Isn’t this the same as accusing a blind person who can only see vague whispers of color, of further enabling their own blindness when they don’t actively acknowledge that “an apple is red” because they’ve never had that affirmation?
Metaphors are useless, lets use real life examples:
If people are actively trying to ally themselves with the LGBTQ community, but no one steps in to provide insight, isn’t it all just heresy? Whats more, if we leave it to the cishet people to educate themselves on queer topics, they will only be able to see via the cishet-normative. When that happens, gay marriage becomes revolutionary to queer and non-queer folks alike. But queer homelessness, violence against queer people, queer health, economic infractions, etc. are completely disregarded.
The problem with telling someone who is a part of the “norm” to “go teach yourself” is that you are placing entirely too much faith on ignorant individuals to “see red” knowing they are blind.
I’m not saying you need to coddle white people. I agree, if they are more than capable of picking up a book, of exploring tumblr, of just paying attention, THEY are responsible for educating themselves and dismantling their privilege. If it is more than a passing interest, they will most definitely find answers. But, without limited access into black spaces, black academia, black intellect, black discussion etc… the only information available will be a severely emaciated and bastardized version of anything they can acquire from paying attention to us.
Our truths need to be confirmed by us in real time, via real dialogue. It’s totally fine if we want to exist as an entity all our own, completely separate from white people and their white privilege. If that is the boundary you want to persist, I respect your rights to exercising your agency. I hear your argument, Miss Waheed, re: access into spaces you have not opened for public (or even just non-poc) viewing. If anyone ever makes a pass at your agency and forcefully oversteps a boundary, especially once it has been pointed out to them, it is wrong. Point blank. Everyone needs to respect your boundaries, at all times. But how, with the boundaries you’ve set in place, will you ever bridge the gap? Do you care to? If not, how do you co-exist in the same space as white people?
Doesn’t asking someone to educate themselves, but relenting to educating them or confirm the truth of this education only further intensify the ignorance gap? But how is severing the only connection they’ve made going to remove their need to be educated? How is that going to remove your need to seek fortification through isolating yourself with only others like you?
I agree, it is not your job to educate anyone. Especially if they feel they are entitled to your time or your privacy. If you feel they are to find their education elsewhere, that is completely within your right, and must be respected. But who better to speak for you than you? Who better to dispel fallacies than you? By relinquishing that responsibility and saying go educate yourself about the black experience elsewhere, aren’t you giving someone else the ability to misseducate these peoples?
I, as a heterosexual female, can read all of the books that I want on homophobia and how much it sucks to be oppressed because of your sexuality but I’ll never be able to completely grasp or understand what that feels like
EXACTLY. And I think you’re disproving your own point here. As the one with privilege, you never will know what its like for those who are “othered”. So how is asking a person who is oppressed to explain how you benefit from an oppressive system, going to change that fact you’ll never truly feel as they feel? But when we talk about literature, we don’t mean reading history books. There are TONS of autobiographies, novels, plays, written by POC discussing their experiences with racism and living in oppressive systems. When we say educate yourself, this is the type of literature those with privilege should be reading. There are plenty of real life experiences out there for privileged individuals to read and learn from without badgering POC to explain it for them.
rgbvscmyk: without limited access into black spaces, black academia, black intellect, black discussion etc… the only information available will be a severely emaciated and bastardized version of anything they can acquire from paying attention to us…But who better to speak for you than you? Who better to dispel fallacies than you?
AGAIN, this comes back to educating yourself! This statement is working under the assumption that POC haven’t already created EXTENSIVE works describing their experiences. WE HAVE! There is so much literature out there written by POC about their lives. This is what they write for! They write for us and they write for those seeking our side of the story! There are plenty of “real-time” people putting their stories out there. All of this is easily accessible by white people- its as simple as google or a visit to a library. Again, you are working on the assumption that POC are voiceless in their struggle when we have been voicing our experiences for years.
This is the most important point and I’m speaking for myself and not for nayyirahwaheed- I am not refusing to share my experiences with white people. I’ll gladly share my story as long as my space is respected. HOWEVER, me sharing my experience as a black woman is NOT the same as explaining white privilege to a white person! And this assumption that my experience as a black woman hinges on whiteness (or a white gaze as Toni Morrison says), that by describing my experiences I must invariably educate a white person on their privilege, is just wrong.
If the end goal is to make the Oppressors feel Oppressed, there is no systematic justice. It’s just the perpetuation of an unjust system accompanied by role reversal. Granted, I don’t think you were asserting wanting white people to be oppressed, I want to know that we are on the same page with understanding that any system with Oppressors and Oppressed, is a broken system.
Agreed, if you are not one of the “others” you will never fully comprehend the depth of what “others” have gone and are going through. But that doesn’t mean the others just get to sit back and wait for their oppressors to “educate themselves.” If we do that, we’ll be waiting a very long time. Again, I’m not saying that anyone is obliged to educate those who are ignorant. I’m merely saying if you choose to let others speak for you, if you choose to leave someones education about you in anyone else’s hands but yours, how can you subsequently be angry when they’ve colored you as something other that who you truly are? How can you be angry when they’ve colored the situation as something other than what it truly is? How can you be angry when you haven’t introduced them to the colors they never knew were even there to look for?
Agreed, it doesn’t matter how much literature you consume as a heterosexual person. You will never know the experiences of a homosexual person. You will never understand the network of internalized oppression parented by deeply imbedded stigma, or the lack of influences, or respectability politics. You would literally have to major in GLBTQ studies to even grasp a modicum of what it means to feel as a GLBTQ person feels. But books alone, especially other peoples books, are not enough. They are never enough. If they were, black people wouldn’t oppress the GLBTQ community. If they were, black people would know exactly who is suffering, who is dying, to make the clothes we wear, etc.
Likewise, no one can claim a PhD in Black. No one can study Black. It means nothing if you, yourself, are not Black. The next best thing would be to have open, candid discussions. A place where someone can and will (to the best of their ability) answer whatever questions a white person still has after they’ve exhausted research and can no longer wander down any avenues without stepping into a space where they must ask permission to rut around. I’m not saying you need to grab their hand when they hold theirs out saying “teach me.” I’m saying, if they present you with an obvious interest and actual intent to do better, to educate other white people who exist in a space you as a black person, cannot - YOU are the one now confronted with the choice to either contribute to their education, or relinquish it to the control and mercy of others.
Documented recollections of past experiences are great, but abstractions hold no grounds over the corporeal. We aren’t talking about understanding feelings. We’re talking about preventing the spread of what causes those feelings.
White privilege causes these feelings.
That said, my assumption isn’t that POC haven’t created a vast repertoire of works expressing, both literally and figuratively, what it means to be a Black person living a Black experience. My point is that we are not codified abstractions. We are not theory with applicability. We are not, personally, voiceless. We are not a general archetype.
We are responsible for the uplifting of our own people.
There was no assumption that your experience as a black woman hinges on the white gaze. It does not. Your experiences are yours and yours alone. Yes, the white gaze has a great deal of influence on how you may convey your experience to a white person, but the experiences are still yours.
Where we disagree, is that I do believe by simply telling your story, in terms of being oppressed, you are informing white people of their white privilege. White privilege is contingent on POC oppression. It isn’t that you must educate them, but rather that white privilege has left indelible marks on your personal recollections as an oppressed person. You cannot separate the two. Thus, you automatically educate a white person of their privilege when telling your uncensored story ,intentionally or otherwise.
Without your assistance, without your side of the story, only variations of their ignorance can be borne.