Austin makes more lists.
TW: discussion of racism, rape, genocide, violence
I just read back 76 pages into the archives of my friend’s blog. You may wish to know the context of this post, but overall the point is a general one, because what happened a couple nights ago happens far too often. This is a list of things that are, simply, wrong.
(And before I go any further, I am as guilty of these things as anybody, and I constantly have to remind myself to improve. This is not an effort for me to seem blameless in racism)
1: Some people cannot comprehend that racism is violence. While it’s ‘generally’ understood that racism exists, and that violence exists, and racial violence is a thing that is, the fact that an active act of racism itself is an act of violence seems to escape a lot of (white) people. To begin to understand how words can be acts of violence, you don’t need to look any farther than human enslavement being written into law, but some people still wouldn’t call that violence. Or ‘the concept of racial violence’ will be considered a thing of the past, that racism today has no significance. Simply put, there are people who not only believe that People of Color are no longer raped and murdered for being People of Color, but that ingrained thought leading to outward racist speech is not in any way connected to racism in the form of physical violence. Everything is attributed to ‘how people are’, dismissing the power and resolve of racism. I’ll expand on this.
2. The same people who cry reverse-racism and the race card and ‘the angry PoC’ are the people who expect PoC to, kindly, sit and take it. This is nothing new and nothing unexpected, but it’s an essential tenet to racism that what happens to you doesn’t matter. And while white people victimize white people when their racism is challenged, the actual victims have been blamed, white supremacy has been enforced, and this is an act of violence. There’s only one explanation for this. Only one.
3: People of Color are not considered people. This is dehumanization and this is what it does. By reinforcing the lie that People of Color are not people, you allow anything done to a PoC to be justified or insignificant, then allow anything done by a PoC to be animistic and uncalled for. I know there’s not a PoC that follows me that needs examples, but this is for my fellow white folks. Here’s why words matter:
- There are, right now, American men standing at the the border between Mexico and the US. They are waiting for brown people so that they can shoot them and leave their bodies in the desert. There are none at the Canadian border.
- When enslavement was ended, many plantation owners attempted to send the freed enslaved human beings ‘back’, as if returning a coat that didn’t fit right. In other words, if we can’t own them, we don’t want them here. Kinda busts the ‘slaves were part of the family’ lie, doesn’t it?
- The importance of sexuality in society is never forgotten, and while Asian men are made to be thought of as underachieving sexual partners, Black men are made to be thought of as sexual weapons, because there is a very simple reason why people said that inter-racial marriage would lead to inter-species marriage. The two are, still, often, thought of as the same thing.
- The long history of the wars of the United States (we’ve been at war for a greater part of our history than any other country) and the amount of apathy that’s been shown toward the soldiers or civilians of other nations (or Native tribes) when they’ve been primarily People of Color.
- There is a consistent effort within many class/LGBTQ/gender discussions to exclude People of Color, despite the fact that you cannot discuss class without discussing how race effects class, you cannot discuss gender without discussing how race effects gender, you cannot discuss queerness without discussing how race effects queerness. For a white member of the LGBTQ community to ignore the issues of racism within the community is to say that they aren’t people like we’re people, for OWS to exclude the discussion of race within the discussion of class is to say they’re not people like we’re people, for white women to ignore racism in misogyny is to say they’re not people like we’re people.
- I’ve seen a lot of pictures of white people standing around sipping punch and smiling for the camera behind the burning body of a lynching victim. Smiling and sipping punch. Smiling and sipping punch. Like somebody didn’t just get raped and murdered. Smiling.
No, not everything is ‘about race’, but race is a factor in everything.
These have been only a few examples when a more appropriate list would be, for all intents and purposes, unreadable in length. These things started with words and ideas and mindsets. This is dehumanization, an essential tenet to white supremacy, and a whole lot of white people on Tumblr refuse to believe that racism and dehumanization are violence.
But no, let’s all keep telling victims of racial violence exactly how they should respond. It’s not like they’re people, or anything.
I’m right here if you disagree.