Sidetrip Down So-Called Liberal White (Male) Oppression Lane

Ignoring the hateful rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh & Pat Robertson and their despicable statements regarding the survivors of the Haitian earthquake is a requirement just to maintain decorum. We know they are not allies for justice. It’s not just those that so boldly declare their hatred that require our diligence. I realize many of you who’ve recently begun reading my blog may have noted  I discuss issues pertaining to black women. I encourage free agency and self-determination. That may not cover today’s latest political shenanigans but believe me it is always political when urging  a subgroup of a marginalized collective to mobilize and harness their financial and other tangible resources for their betterment.

I also discuss pop culture, entertainment, LGBT-related topics and specifically discrimination against trans women because I don’t know of many cis gender hetero-identified black women that do.  I fight for justice across the board not just what directly impacts me. I am passionate about it but I do not for one instance presume I can speak for anyone else other than myself. I will bring issues to light though in the hope that others will further evaluate various scenarios.

In the end we are all responsible for our own choices in life. If I have learned anything that may assist another woman on her journey so that she is making choices that are most beneficial to her and her particular circumstances then I will be satisfied. If I share things that others may rethink and put themselves in the shoes of another to gain insight into a different perspective and it deepens their own journey then I am glad. It is only when we consider the lives of others – and not in a condescending way – that we are truly compassionate. Having said that standards of behavior, boundaries, decorum and an enforcement for violations must always be a part of that as a thriving society.

I’ve had to pause my one main advocacy initiative of working for freedom for black women because white men have been cutting up lately in some of the public forums I participate in.  If you follow me regularly on Twitter you will note I have a wide variety of people on my list. Well, I have a wide variety of interests and am eager to learn.

Since the latest fake political umbrage is over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments from TWO YEARS AGO regarding President Obama not having  a  “Negro dialect” have been of such interest to people, certain “liberal” white males have felt free to let their whiteness show. I’ll get to that in a minute. First of all blacks should not allow a comment made before Obama won the election to distract them. Don’t we have unemployment, the highest percentages of foreclosures per group and a host of other things that require our attention? Don’t we have an (lack of a viable) agenda to work on? But a recently revealed COMMENT takes precedence?

It’s knee-jerk emotionalism in my opinion. Looking at the big picture one should ask who benefits from having a public meltdown over a comment that was more about CLASS than RACE. We know we are not a monolith. We know some of us are more – and less – refined so why should anyone be surprised that other people with eyes and ears NOTICE that? Wasn’t it certain blacks that stated publicly Obama wasn’t BLACK ENOUGH to begin with?

Has anyone considered that our dear Annointed Savior has his own reasons for revealing the “slight” and it might be to get rid of Harry Reid? Does anyone actually think Obama gives a second thought to what Harry Reid thinks about him in terms of race? Are people forgetting these men are POLITICIANS first and foremost  – looking out for their interests? Have we actually determined that Obama is doing anything that BENEFITS blacks when we – that means YOU – are paying lip service to accountability, are not organized and are so easily swayed? When you prostrate yourself at the Obama altar and offer yourselves up for sacrifice so easily are you highly valued political assets…or cannon fodder for a greater agenda? Think about it. If you are utilizing all the tools of a free agent why do so many of you still think like those enslaved to certain concepts and constructs?

The greatest act of anyone who likens themselves as “progressive” or “liberal” is to a) be kind to others who are not like you b) imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes c) be willing to be humble, shut up and LEARN something  but most importantly d) be willing to have and enforce standards of behavior. Other groups of people do this on a regular basis. I find it interesting how when black people want to enforce the same rules other people get up in arms about it. Black men protest black women requiring standards as well – which we know by the way so many of them troll our blogs telling us what we “should” be discussing, but this isn’t about them this time!

I’ve had to check three white males in a three day period. One was engaging in transmisogyny and sexism by referring to Ann Coulter as a “tranny”. I pointed that out to him and he said “sorry” but dismissed me by claiming his work with “minorities and the lgbt community” was so extensive, more than any other white person he knew and he’d never heard it was offensive. So I told him to ask a trans woman directly instead of assuming. Steeped in his privilege he refused to budge – yet he’ll claim he’s an ally!

For those not familiar “tranny” is considered a slur against trans women. It happens to be a common ploy by those who oppose Coulter’s politics and punditry to engage in gender based attacks. What do transgender folks have to do that caustic woman? Nothing! It should also be noted that other cis lesbians and gays also use the same derogatory language. Which brings me back to my justice argument. Those who claim oppression at the hands of others are still capable of doing the same thing. If we know anything about words, they are often backed up by actions that reinforce them. I covered the Duanna Johnson attack while in police custody in 2008. The police officers were fired. She was found murdered shortly after. One of the officers is on trial for civil right’s violation.

The second incident involved a white male who was angered by another unrelated person calling him old in discussing the Reid incident. It is the opinion of many that Reid’s age has informed how he relates to blacks given he’s part of  a previous generation that was much less tolerant (in theory anyway). This male compared his displeasure with ageism by comparing it to the use of the word ni**er. Only a privileged white male would even dare to equate one person’s insensitive comment as being equal to an entire system of oppression by whites (no less) against blacks that pertain to the use of that slur. While I’ll state the misuse of all the colloquialisms by certain blacks in using the N word is problematic, this man claimed it was his right to use it because he has freedom of speech. He also responded very harshly in defending his right to use such a slur. The fact that he is a pioneering tech professional of course doesn’t negate his clear bias.

So by the time I came across this last white male of a much younger generation than the other two I admit I’d had it. He decided to admonish a WOC tech professional after she expressed her dismay at a panel for an upcoming conference that was using pornography as a draw where she’d been a scheduled speaker. He insisted that there were other things she should be focused on – as if he had a right to TELL her what she should be offended by. He’s fashioned himself an expert on WordPress so apparently he thinks his authority extends to recognizing racism and sexism as well. Except for his own of course! Why did I get involved? After following his Twiterfeed for the past 5 weeks I was expecting some jewels of wisdom. He mostly discussed bar hopping, being drunk or other incidental matters. I mistakenly thought he’d been directly involved in having her removed from a panel  which I was glad to correct. He never bothered to address my concerns directly so it was easy to think he was complicit – and didn’t care what I thought. Regardless he doesn’t get a pass for his patriarchy and racialized sexism in telling a woman what to do. It was his insistence on inserting himself that raised a red flag with me and why I thought it should be addressed. While it didn’t have to do with me directly – neither did any of the above scenarios.

As far as I’m concerned seeing acts of injustice or inappropriate behavior warrants intervention. A simple conversation could have resolved things quickly but the larger issue at stake involves men assuming they have autonomy and authority over the bodies and minds of women, specifically women of color (regardless of gender identification). His behavior was extremely disrespectful and he only objected to the amount of heat he was getting from me. It was an objection to the policing of his behavior that drew the ire, not the violation in and of itself. They want to call themselves liberal but they hold many of the same derogatory attitudes of their peers they may liken themselves to be better than. I will not be silent in the face of such oppression – and yes I equate it on par in equal measure because when the chips are down the fangs come out!

I also found it interesting in how one white female “progressive” admonished me for mentioning his personal life in my argument. I told her we would have to agree to disagree as the focus of her outrage was all about protecting him as if he was a victim. So what if I thought he did something? Who am I really? Just a woman with an opinion. I think the larger issue that went unaddressed was the racial aspect of how this all played out. The silence spoke volumes to me. If you post such intimate details of your life in a public forum you have opened yourself up to scrutiny.  It is a character issue when as a male you feel free to discuss your exploits on one hand but then tell someone to not be offended by an act of sexism. That’s called being a hypocrite. I told this woman she was not objective when she has a personal relationship with this male. Again people declare themselves to be allies – until they display by their actions they are NOT.  Talk is cheap. I draw lines in the sand for a reason. Reading my blog does not make you my friend and you don’t know me when we’ve never even had as much as a phone call or laid eyes on each other. I’m getting a little tired of those people with self-interests at stake try to silence the voices of those that would be disenfranchised. Our interests may converge on certain issues but I do not assume loyalty unless it’s been tested and proven reliable. I’d be a fool to presume otherwise. So if you want to ride on this journey fine. We each have our own paths to walk. The door is always open for your exit as well. The same protectionism I have to deal with from black women who are identified with rescuing black males for their self-interests at the expense of other black women manifested itself in this situation.  I am not surprised. I expect most whites to stick together no matter what. I only wish blacks were so loyal. Our collective wouldn’t have deteriorated to the point of extinction if we had.

I don’t do this for my ego, for fun or as a joke. This isn’t a game. This is life. I am a proud African-American woman who doesn’t consider herself inferior to anyone. I’m far from perfect but you will not find me compromising myself for approval or accolades. The sooner those that would denigrate or deny me or other women like me learn this lesson the less painful the transition will be for them. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to flourish in a multi-cultural world working across nationalities and class tiers. Nor is it being divisive. I simply expect the same standards and respect across the board afforded others. I will not tolerate anything less.

5 comments to Sidetrip Down So-Called Liberal White (Male) Oppression Lane

  • lugh

    Did you ever think, that due to your higher correspondence with trans-sexuals, and others lack of this, that many just simply may not know what terms do and do not offend? Does that really make him the enemy? You directly make a satirical comment about him considering himself the "ally". Well, if you make everyone who considers themselves an ally an enemy, is that not only creating more enemies?

    But what do i know, i'm just a white male, in other words, the enemy.

  • I wish there were some way to declare an effective moratorium on people responding to criticism of their use of problematic terminology with a variation of "But some of my best friends are ______!" or "I am involved with _____ community, so that makes it OK!"

    I checked a blogger's use of the word "ghetto" last week and got as a response "But I do a lot of work and have a heart for underpriveleged people!" Well, wouldn't that make your use of the word even MORE problematic?

  • […] John Mayer does not represent ALL white men however, neither do the unfortunate creatures I wrote this post about. Given the larger numbers there are simply more viable males in that group to choose from if […]