I’ve been pretty harsh this week. I got into a debate with a person in my East Asian Studies (better called “Orientalism 101″) class because he insisted that while it may be “noble” to want to live a simpler lifestyle (Noble Savage anyone?), it prevented progress so can we really let people live the way they want? And we can’t just find a compromise because two opposing viewpoints can never coexist! Someone commented afterwards about my “vehement opinions”, I don’t know what he thought about those opinions. Someone else said it was a good debate (someone who was annoyed at the other guy as well), it wasn’t, it was hell. I was sick through that class because I’m so sick of oppression- of facing it, of being guilty of it, of knowing it exists- and seeing all this government abuse and reading about it and… eurgh. I didn’t debate because it was fun, I debated because I was in a class mostly made up of rich white americans (and some people from Asia who may not feel safe saying what they think about the whole thing, or may be part of the oppressing group in a given context) and I didn’t want that supremacist bullshit to be seen as a-okay. I think the only way I got thorugh that class was because I had art before, and it actually really does help.
I didn’t get to tell off the person who was talking about how everyone enjoys music and art, which is ablist, so nomads can’t be happy because they don’t have either (WTF?). Blah.
Today at lunch I met a friend of some friends for the first time, who commented on how he “doesn’t believe in feminism”. He was just joking. Only not, because he thinks the really hateful feminists give them all a bad name and it’s true for all women. Eurgh. Tone arguments there, lovely. And there was no comment about how some feminists have been hateful in an incredibly bigoted, oppressive way to women who lack other privileges (white, temporarily able bodied, middle+ class, non-intersex, cis, etc). I will never identify as feminist because of the incredible bigotry involved in it, a lot of them want me dead and too many of those who don’t justify this because “they do such good things for feminism as a whole!” so it doesn’t matter how much damage they do to me and mine. It sounded more like “Those women call me out on my male privilege and I don’t like that”. Boohoo. And when he talked about how all feminists/women are made to look bad by these “hateful” women, with no proof of how this is sexist and busted but proof of why they shouldn’t be like that. And it is sexist, because a vocally hateful group of men doesn’t get all men labeled as hateful like that, there are plenty of loud and hateful men who spout misogyny and people like this guy still talk like women have no right to be hateful. I didn’t respond to this, I left.
I don’t usually call this stuff out. But I don’t have the spoons anymore. That might sound odd- that I “invite” drama because I don’t have spoons. But it tears at me to let this stuff slide. I’m still upset about what happened- but I’m upset that it did happen and it was allowed to happen, not that I was a part of it. I don’t have the spoons to be a good little minority.
I have a friend who’s half-black & half-white, some people read her as hispanic but she can also be read as white as well as black. She seems to be from a low/er class family, but I could be wrong. She talked about how she doesn’t let her bug her, how she doesn’t really care if someone calls her the n-word because she knows she’ll get that in the real world and that’s life. It wouldn’t surprise me if part of that’s because she’s always been that race, always been from that family (to my knowledge), so has had more time to deal with it, time to build up defenses with the help of her family and those around her. I’ve pretty much been shielded by the privilege of invisibility until about a year ago, not even, and have basically been thrown into this without any safety net, any guaranteed support beyond my partner, anything.