bord du rasoir (bord_du_rasoir) wrote in shoresofavalon,
bord du rasoir

-Isms Among The Anti-Ismists: Ism It Great?

A friend wrote:
i almost kicked some frat dude ass tonight. i want out. help. fuck them in their straight white male talk. fuck them in their hands going towards a women's ass. don't touch me or i will fuckin slap your face and call you a fucking asshole.
To which I responded:
I'm a straight white male and I talk, but I don't feel I share the straight white male talk you're writing about. So maybe it's not their straightness and their whiteness and their maleness that you want to direct your insults towards, but something else. I think you need to watch how you're stereotyping. Don't fight your revolution by hating on people based upon sexual orientation, race and gender if you don't want the same done toward you.
She explained herself:
so the whole night i didn't feel comfortable or safe because it was a straight bar, where everyone EVERYONE was on the prowl for action. you couldn't set foot in there without getting your back touched with the hand slightly going more towards the butt. i had a problem with their sexist heterosexual 'game'. i had a problem with their whiteness because they kept making fucked up racist comments and when a rap song would come on would find the only two black guys in the bar and try and go dance with them to the "boooty song." so in the end like most situations where i feel really sick about the way the conversation is going with people it all stems from these guys understanding their privilege in life and expecting a lot from us that night. (us being presumed straight, white girls) i had to dodge a guys hands five times cause it is his RIGHT as a white male to touch who he wants, where he wants, when he wants. he doens't have to think about the negative things that could come after if he weren't a straight white male.
I responded with:
You encountered some real assholes. People can act like assholes no matter their race, sexual orientation or gender. You should just leave it at that. Black men do a lot of dirty shit too, some of them are very chauvenistic, but you wouldn't catch yourself associating their race with their behavior. That's viewed as racist and wrong and rightfully so.

I personally am not feeling my straight white male privilege. I'm not really asserting myself in any significant fashion. This might be why. I've got the card, I'm just not using it. I do feel very much discriminated against on a fairly regular basis since moving to nyc for being new to my environments, introverted, and working a low income job. My race, sexual orientation and gender haven't put me in a state of priviledge that I can see or feel.
Then, a friend of hers jumps in:
yeah, i'm butting in.funny, but you are using The Card (as you called it-- i wont even get into this further cuz it sounds a lot like the Reverse Racism discussion you keep trying to bring up) by telling her that she shouldnt use the term "straight white male" to identify a certain ignorance within a group of people, which is your group of people. (isnt that what The Card is all about? yawn) i dont think she was "hating on people based upon sexual orientation, race and gender" she was simplifying what she believes is a privileged state of mind straight white males are allowed. &i agree with her. it doesnt suprise me that you said you cant see or feel your privilege because you have the upper hand. but to deny someone validation within their experiences further perpetuates the freedoms you have to speak up, loudly &take up space as a straight white male in american society, & that is what i think you were doing here.
you felt so offended that someone, for once, put you into a box that you felt an overwhelming need to speak up &divert from her original story, which was her experience of sexual harrasement, objectification, and blatant racism. if you dont feel you share the same ideas as these straight white males she was referring to, thats great. but why the need to say it? sounds like denial or maybe you just want a good boy pat on the back.

shit like this frustrates me. boys talking about how they're not the bad guys. claiming feminism. then step back, shut up & let the girls speak their truths, uninterrupted. that is what a True Ally would do. IMHO.
And me:
The shit that frustrates me is conventional wisdom. Liberals and conservatives alike fall into these traps because it's become the accepted standard of the group to think a certain way. So by convention of the group, the assumption must be correct. But have you ever thought that perhaps it is not the straightness or the whiteness or the maleness that results in straight white males being in the positions of privilege they are? Maybe it's an unforseen confounding variable such as wealth or social networking? But THAT would deviate from the racist sexist language you anti-racist, anti-sexist people seem to agree with so much. We can't have that.

"if you dont feel you share the same ideas as these straight white males she was referring to, thats great. but why the need to say it? sounds like denial or maybe you just want a good boy pat on the back."

What makes you so bold to think you can assume my motivation? Maybe it's the freedom you have to speak up loudly and take up space? Oh, I forgot, you don't get THAT privilege; that would deviate from the racist sexist concept you have that that's only a straight white male thing.

My motivation was to illustrate how stereotypes are inaccurate.
And her:
guilt is only for the guilty. you bore me. say what you need to convince yourself that "oppressive language and standards" is all in my mind. that way you dont have to examine your own racism, sexism, homophobia, & classism. i've heard it all before. you did nothing to prove inaccuracy within your stereotyped group, you only illuminated the idea.

I started discussions with people on online forums several years ago, because I believed in the concept that singular truths or at least common understandings will result from discussion with those of differing opinions. I believed that smart, open people could work together to figure matters out. But time and time again, I've always been mindful of the need to be open and to yield when I see the oppurtunity, but overwhelmingly so, in observing myself and others, online discussion seems all but entirely an exercise in reinforcing one's established attitudes.

I'm accustomed to a smooth ride
Or maybe I'm a dog who's lost its bite
I don't expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don't expect to sleep through the night
Some people say a lie's a lie's a lie
But I say why
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?
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