exactly that

is that every damn time the conversation on larger feminist sites turns to the topic of race it almost immediately becomes Black and White.

Every. Damn. Time.

Suddenly, there are Black Women and White Women, and no one in between.

No one else in the chromatic spectrum exists, even if the conversation started out discussing those bodies of ours that don’t fit neatly into those boxes.

It isn’t a black and white issue dealing with only Black and White bodies…

So I ask…

Where do our bodies, where does my body fit in?

Where is it that my voice matters in this conversation?

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Comments on: "One thing I am failing to grok…" (14)

  1. There are reasons I (try to) say brown unless I mean black specifically. Usually in reference to something in USian racial politics, which I likewise try to note. And even USian racial politics are more baroque than black/white. Especially around these parts where we get completely awesome stuff like holding a citywide referendum to rename a major street and when the Latino community got organized and Cesár Chavez Boulevard won by a landslide threw the whole thing out? With no better justification than they couldn’t name a major street in Dallas after some Mex- er, Communist?

    Yeah, like that. And OH MY GOD the monster huge blatant racism against American Indians people here do not even try to hide it.

    • Oh, yeah.

      That’s like when people tell me that the term “passing” is only a term from days long past … it is more like when I was a kid “passing” meant you could get a job because people didn’t think you were one of those “lazy injuns”.

      I think part of my discomfort is that USian racial politics have been (and for good reason) centered on the White treatment of Black people. We need that attention to that relationship, but there has been a loss of other bodies of color in the process… and that has been alienating to me.

      Like the big thread of fail going on at Feministe right now… why do we mention the experiences of WoC… and all of a sudden it is assumed we were talking about Black women exclusively? It erased the conversation that was already happening.

  2. “USian racial politics have been (and for good reason) centered on the White treatment of Black people.”

    THIS. Whitey McWhiterson over here has always puzzled over the erasure of Asians, brown folks, Native Americans, biracial folks, and other people of colour in racial discussions. There’s a whole lot of talking which needs to happen around race, and we can’t have that talking if “race” means either Black or white.

  3. I have a hard time calling myself a WOC because I haven’t felt a part of the WOC definition. I have wanted to write a post about it because it makes me so angry. Being Anishinaabekwe we are rare in this world. When the Ojibway/Anishinaabe tribe is one of the largest in North America (Canada/USA). We are the third largest tribe in the USA.

    People assume I have received the benefits of “white privilege,” because of my European ancestry. I have experienced much discrimination, prejudice and racism towards me because I am mixed and the outer world assumes privilege. Oppression is layers deep and just because you come from middle class doesn’t mean what you think it means. Oppression takes a long time to work through. Oppression is like healing – you must work through it and heal it in layers.

    Our voice does matter in this discussion. I emailed INCITE one time because I wanted to start something in my area through them. Never got a reply back so I assumed that being Native was not considered a WOC. I read poetry at a WOC event and was hurried off stage because my poetry was Earthy and not angry like its supposed to be. So, I have created a niche and I am myself no matter what. Being Native is just something that has been recently celebrated by many. It is cool to be Native. But this is a recent thing. We have a long way to go. So this is why I stand up. This is why I am committed to being me.

    I think we should do a blog post on this together… we could skype about it lady! What do you think?

    • I have a hard time calling myself a WOC because I haven’t felt a part of the WOC definition.

      This. This right here. And I have a piece I have written in my HD about how this makes me feel. I have tried to get it published somewhere, but no one is interested in conversations about bi-racial people or Natives. Maybe it really is no good…

      I would be open to a project w/ you, Cecelia. I have also wanted to do a project w/ pictures of Native and mixed race WoC PoC aimed at debunking the way certain racial groups are “supposed to” look.

      FWIW, I love the niche you have carved out for yourself.

      • I would like to read that piece. You can send it to me via email.

        I would love to do a book or something on being Native and mixed. As many Natives are because we were almost decimated. We are here, although we are mixed, so we count!

        When should we chat?

        • Don’t hear a lot about that… how some tribes are dying out because we were so whitewashed.

          I’ll send the piece to you.

          I’ll get back to you on the chat.

          • Not to butt in but the professor for my American Indian Religion and Philosophy, well, his research area is Mixed Race Studies. He is mixed race himself and a predominant part of that mix is Native (I don’t know which tribe(s?)).

            He seems really cool, and so, I’d be more than happy to give him something you’ve written, he might know just the people who would be interested in publishing it.

  4. Cool… I am working from home today. So feel free to message me on skype and we can arrange a time to chat about all of this wonderful stuff.

    C

  5. This is something I think about sometimes…I’m Metis, but I pass for white, and I’ve only just started thinking recently about what my racial identity means to me. It’s a big, big, subkect.

    And it’s a difficult one to address, because of the exact problem you bring up here–people turning conversations about race to conversations about Black and White. Even in Canada, where I am, and where the black population is not really a substantive percentage of the overall. And yes, it’s important to address that, but not to vanish other race-related issues in the process.

  6. Well Black and white is so easy and understandable, right? Americans LOVE dichotomies. Either/or. No messiness, no complications, very little critical thinking required. It fits into the kyriarchal ways of thinking.

    That’s why I think this happens. :\

    • I agree – it is how we have been conditioned – ie – good and bad and nothing in between. So, lets get something published together and break down this mold, eh?

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