Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you feel the need to interrupt a woman to explain how you as a man aren't sexist, you're probably not convincing your audience as much as you think.

The more you know.

(I'm sure this also works if I as a white woman were to interrupt a person of color to explain how totally non-racist I am: I would not be convincing. I'm sure I have done some things equally egregious. I'm not proud of myself.)

It's not an oppression olympics, folks. There's no competition about which culture or country is most oppressive. Who cares, really? You recognize oppression; you analyze it so you understand how it works, and then you work to end it.

If you start with feminism as a way to analyze gender oppression, that's a starting point. Then you have to work on doing something about gender oppression. And then, you need to use what you've learned to start analyzing other systemic oppression with a purpose to end oppression.

When we start congratulating ourselves about our own superiority in being non-sexist or non-racist or non-oppressive, then we're taking a couple big steps back in our work.


  1. I read an appalling comment recently: "I'm not racist, but all our real problems started with our first black president." (Paraphrasing only slightly, believe me.)

    If you have to say, "I'm not a ____, BUT..." guess what, you are.

    Sorry for whatever bruising interaction occasioned this post, Bardiac.

  2. Yes, yes, and yes.

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard "They were (insert "black," "Arab," "women," etc here)...not like that matters or anything, BUT..." So, it doesn't matter but you feel the need to tell me?

  3. Sigh. It gets so old, doesn't it?