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“What does casual racism look like in LGBTQ spaces? A lot like casual racism everywhere else. Casual racism thinks mixed race people are “exotic,” penis size is determined by race according to “some studies” that probably don’t exist, black women are aggressive, and just about every other common racial stereotype under the sun. Really, stereotypes fuel casual racism in all its forms. Casual racism also thinks that LGBTQ people have transcended all responsibility for dealing with racial issues. For example, if you’re a queer person of color who wants to vocalize a racial concern in a predominantly white queer space and casual racism rears its head, you could be accused of being divisive (extra irony points if you were pointing out divisiveness that actually exists). Sometimes casual racism masquerades as inclusion or open mindedness. For example, there are some gay people who go out of their way to date someone of another race just to say they’ve done it. Such gays then receive the Congratulatory Cookie of Open Mindedness from people of color for letting us sleep with them. But not really, because dating someone because of their race is as ridiculous as rejecting someone because of their race. The same applies to predominately white gay groups that go out of their way to snag token people of color (oblivious to the fact that these spaces don’t always feel inclusive to the people of color in question). Tokenism may seem progressive on its surface, but it’s really just another form of othering. So if you see casual racism, remember it. And talk about it. Notice if you’re ever guilty of it and, if you are, take responsibility for it. I would say explain it to other white LGBTQ people, but it’s frustrating when it takes a white person saying the same thing people of color have been saying for ages to convince other white people to change their actions. Instead, tell them to take the race related concerns of LGBTQ people of color seriously – as in listen to us. As LGBTQ people, we get silenced all the time, told we’re too sensitive, told not to flaunt our sexuality. Sexual minorities of color can find themselves silenced further when their concerns about race are dismissed by the predominantly white, mainstream LGBTQ community. Let’s keep working to change that.”—Jarune Uwujaren, “How White LGBTQ People Can Be Inclusive Of People Of Color,” Everyday Feminism 2/5/13
“Identifying as a person of color in solidarity with other people of color says 'hey, my people have been oppressed by White people, maybe in a different time and space than your people, but we can work in solidarity.' The identification needs to carry some degree of humility, and a deeper commitment to allyship . The POC umbrella is not an excuse to disavow the ways we benefit from various racial structures and sit idly by as our communities reap advantages from racism towards other people of color. Black-Asian solidarity in the US, for instance, is hard to find and it will continue to be difficult to build if we continue to use the uncritical 'POC' label. Rather, we can use 'POC' as a way of reflecting on our different racial histories and building coalitions in our struggles and their difference. POC is a term for building solidarity between movements, not a movement in itself. That distinction is important.”— Janani, Assistant Editor, Black Girl Dangerous. Read the whole thing here.
“This is one of the main reasons, women of colour, third world feminists, black feminists etc. don't recognize themselves with mainstream white feminism. The issue is that mainstream feminism views everything from a single lens perspective. They view themselves to be white saviours who can move ahead and fix the situation of women around the world, even if it means lack of understanding and respect of others' culture, religion and identity.”—
Canadian Pakistani Ayesha Asghar and Chilean Muslim feminist Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente share their wonderful thoughts in “Towards a Recognition of Multiple Feminism: The Voice of Muslim Women.”
More insightful comments by them:
The same trend has been witnessed by the rise of Islamophobia in West especially after the incident on September 11, 2001. We do recognize that patriarchy exists in our cultures and there are some serious issues around women and their access to basic rights, but we are not in favour of the fact that western white women, can come up and speak on our behalf. We are more than capable of speaking up for ourselves. This act of taking space and leadership by white women on issues of women of colour and Muslim women, de-legitimatizes and reduces the impact of our work. This places women of colour and esp. Muslim women in a difficult position where they are fighting patriarchy in their spaces but they also have to ask ‘white women’ to back off.
“I hate how the west has robbed the label of “progressive” from us” [said] Paco Bernal.
People of Color and Mental Health
I got a message from the anon from an ask on ladyatheist’s tumblr about mental ilness and PoC, and I got an anon asking for this information and I feel it is a good reference/starting point so I am making it into a post.
A lot of literature regarding people of color and mental illness is about the stigma within the Black community or Latin@ community, rather than the struggles faced from within mental health institutions, so I am mostly posting other kinds of links.
History of black people and mental institutions (link)
In Our Own Voice: African-American Stories of Oppression, Survival, and Recovery in Mental Health Systems (link) (pdf)
Racism and Mental Illness (link) (pdf)
“Barriers to Providing Effective Mental Health Services to American Indians” (link)
“Bias in Mental Health Assessment and Intervention: Theory and Evidence” (link reported and taken down)
“Disparities in Mental Health Treatment in U.S. Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups: Implications for Psychiatrists” (link)
“Effective Coping Strategies of African Americans” (link)
“Ethnic Disparities in Unmet Need for Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Care” (link)
“Help Seeking for Mental Health Care among Poor Puerto Ricans: Problem Recognition, Service Use, and Type of Provider” (link)
“Racial Microaggressions Against African American Clients in Cross-Racial Counseling Relationships” (link)
“Racism and Mental Health: the African American experience” (link)
“Racism and Mental Health Into the 21st Century: Perspectives and Parameters” (link)
“However, our dialogue about twerking reflects a larger system of cultural appropriation, commodification, and sometimes exploitation that has resulted in the birth of “ratchet culture.” Ratchet has become the umbrella term for all things associated with the linguistic, stylistic, and cultural practices, witnessed or otherwise, of poor people; specifically poor people of color, and more specifically poor women of color. (Yes, ratchet is a very feminine gendered term. See: Ratchet Girl Anthem). Remember when people who weren’t actually from the ghetto started to use the word “ghetto” to describe everything from their friend’s booty to a broken blender (real life examples)? The same phenomenon is happening with ratchet, even for those who do not use the word itself. It is super easy to borrow from the experiences of others as a way to be “fun,” or stretch boundaries on what is “acceptable,” without any acknowledgement of context or framework. But being ratchet is only cool when you do it for fun, not if those are valid practices from your lived experiences. We watch shows like Basketball Wives, Real Housewives (of all the cities), and Bad Girls Club where women act ratchet as hell all the time. But they do so in designer clothes and at 5-star restaurants, and this paradox acts as a buffer for the ratchet that is the real reason for the shows’ success. Internet sensations like Sweet Brown are the perfect example of how “ratchet culture” is appropriated and commodified. “Aint nobody got time for that” has made its way to memes all over the internet and is used by folks from different backgrounds as punchlines and witty retorts. Sweet Brown has been contracted to sell everything from real estate to dental services. We witnessed the same trend with Antoine Dodson. It is becoming more and more common for folks to use “ratchet” to sell their not-at-all-ratchet products. On an (inter)personal level, ratchet works to simultaneously police and defy gender, class, sexuality, and respectability norms. Folks with certain privilege are willing and able to float in and out of ratchet at will. The term ratchet became popular for me when I was still in undergrad about three years ago. All of us young, black scholars (constantly trying to justify the black side of the coin or the scholar side, as if they are polar opposites) were enamored with this term as a way to distinguish when we were or were not on the “right side” of the respectability table. When it was time to party we would say, “Let’s get ratchet!” But when I would go check my mail with my hair still wrapped in a scarf or was overheard talking to my friends from “back home” in our local dialect, I was just ratchet. Another example of the fluidity of ratchet was playing double dutch on the quad. At our predominantly white institution we were presenting a form of community building and fellowship that fell outside the boundaries of “appropriate” and “acceptable.” But our privilege as collegiate scholars allowed us to present ourselves in that way without the same push back we may have received if we were just black girls playing double dutch in a predominantly white community park. I know that for me and many of my friends, the use of the term ratchet was a constant navigation of our identities as young, sexual, inner city hood Chicago-raised, black girls and privileged, college educated, Western women. I can’t stress enough that pop culture trends like twerking, “aint nobody got time for that,” or even just using the word ratchet to define the wild things that happened at last night’s party are all rooted in someone’s lived experience. Sometimes it’s your lived experience, but if it’s not, please stop for a moment to consider your privilege and what role you may be playing in the appropriation of someone else’s exploitation.”—Let’s get ratchet! Check your privilege at the door
By SESALI BOWEN
On Being White-Passing
As white-passing people of color, we have our own set of struggles.
We have to hear all the horrible, racist things that our white friends (and sometimes even our not-white friends) say about people of color that they wouldn’t dare say if we were visible poc. And because we look white, we are expected to be okay with it. We are expected to understand and sympathize with the “I’m not trying to be racist but…” agenda. Basically, we are expected to support whiteness as an ideal.
When we talk about our identities being anything other than white, our white friends act like we are throwing ourselves an unnecessary pity party. They act like we are so full of white-guilt that we are trying to falsely identify as people of color to get away from it. Or, worse (and more commonly), they act like looking white is some kind of accomplishment, as if you were born inherently better than your visible counter-parts, are fully aware of their inferiority, and are being ridiculous or annoyingly humble by also identifying as a person of color. This experience is similar to when visible poc are seen as “credits to their race”. Except that the white-passing, instead of being seen as being better because they aren’t “lazy”, are seen as better by default. As if being born light-skinned, instead being a product of recessive genes, is evidence that we were meant for better things than our visible parents, siblings, and friends.
And we cannot effectively contest it because, when we do, it is held as evidence of our inborn moral superiority to visible people of color; evidence of our grace and humbleness. Yet we are not as good as white people because we are not actually white. We are still people of color, and, therefore, our words are cooed at benevolently and brushed off, as we cannot posses the wisdom and authority that comes with being an actual white person. We are light-skinned because we are better, but we are not white enough to actually be taken seriously. Our purpose in white people’s lives is not as evidence that racism is idiotic, counter-intuitive, and without any basis in logic, but to reinforce the value of racial hierarchy. And anything we say will be twisted and mangled to support the racist schema of the white people who have been kind enough to let us sit around and act white with them.
A self-aware white-passing person is constantly aware of their unmerited advantages and simultaneously unable to do much to convince the white people around them (and often other people of color as well) that we do not deserve to be on this pedestal. Or, rather, that our visible counter-parts deserve to be on the pedestal equally as much, if not more, than we do. A self-aware white-passing person realizes that when they set off a metal detector and get waved ahead instead of having to go through lengthy and invasive searches, it is because of the value a racist society has arbitrarily placed on pale skin and European features.
And then there is the isolation from visible people of color. Because while we may identify more with them, we still look white. And we are never, ever, unaware of that fact.
As a person of color, I know that I usually prefer to be with other people of color (and some non-delusional white people). So while we can’t blame them for not automatically seeing us as people of color, we also can’t just go over and say “hey I’m a person of color, too” because THAT IS SUCH A WHITE PEOPLE THING TO DO!
I’ve seen a lot of stuff come through my feed, lately, about white-passing people of color trying to equate their struggles with those of visible people of color.
Personally, I don’t understand how any self-respecting poc (visible or white-passing) could do that to another poc. Every time you try do that, you are saying that you face the same discrimination as visible poc. This is just not true.
As white-passing people we have the privilege of letting people think that we’re white to get jobs, grades, respect and to avoid having our words and actions serve as a testament or evidence of our race/ethnicity. Most importantly, we have the ability to sit in a room full of white people and not have all eyes on us. When we are tired of the discrimination, we can get up and leave and be assured that, in a few blocks, at most a few cities, we will be in a place where no one knows that we’re people of color; where we can sit in peace, without being discriminated against because of our skin tone.
This is a white-passing privilege that visible poc do not have.
So, yes, we have our struggles. But they are not remotely the same as those of people who do not have the privilege of passing. Pretending otherwise is hurtful, invalidating, counter productive, and generally fucked-up.
please, quit trying to play oppression olympics and acknowledge your privilege like a decent human being!