The Lappy is back from the doctor and ready to take on the abuse I inflict with having no less than two browsers and thirty tabs open at one time.
The feminist blogosphere hasn’t been the most friendly of people who don’t fit into a particular narrative. This isn’t exactly news for most of us working in social justice. The White, Straight, Able-bodied, Cis people (and I am forgetting to add some modifiers, but I know you get the point) tend to dominate the conversations in most spaces and on most of the Big Blogs.
Most of them.
There are a few exceptions, and it is difficult to break into those spaces and start conversations that go against that narrative, especially if you are a voice that is not part of that paradigm. Breaking into these spaces and altering the conversation to something that is relevant to you and your interests is difficult, it is work, and it is something that should be applauded.
As a non-white woman who wears many other hats, I have been a part of that and have see other non-white women do the same thing. As a non-white woman I have also felt the lash of people harshly criticize us for daring to take our voices and try to amplify them in spaces that are not predominantly that of non-white people. It is hurtful enough to defend discussions and ideas against a group of people, say, for example white or able-bodied people and convince them that they are not seeing something or that they are dismissing my work and erasing my life experiences because I am not part of the mainstream.
It is altogether another thing to have other non-white people tear you down because you dared to work in these supposedly White Spaces.
It does us not good to tear each other apart in this manner. When non-white people choose to take their work to spaces that are viewed as predominantly white we are attempting to change the narrative. We are pushing against the idea that feminist, progressive, and other social justice spaces are only for certain people, and being told that we are tokens fucking pisses me off. I resent the hell out of that.
But apart from that, being asked ‘who are we fucking kidding’ when we are hurt because we are constantly erased, misracialized, misidentified, and dismissed because the readership in a space is having trouble adapting to the voice of someone outside of the narrative is fucking racist — even if it comes from another non-white person/person of colour.
It burns the hell out of me to be ignored, to be presumed white or not coloured enough to matter in issues that affect people of colour or non-white people until some of us dare try to do things that step outside of the lock step that some people who deem to speak on behalf of all non-white people of the world have set up as the party line.
I have seen non-white people do things in so-called “White Spaces” that are revolutionary. Things that are changing the way that we talk about race, ethnicity, and issues that concern PoC and non-white people world wide. These things have altered the racial conversation from focusing on North America to expanding our knowledge of racial politics in other countries, and I respect the hell out of that. When I say I respect that, it isn’t just empty words either. These conversations have finally taken the discussion beyond Black and White and involved issues concerning other peoples. Not that I don’t believe that the the racial politics between black and white people are important, but that every conversation in some communities turn to “Oh, if you are not white, you must be black!”. I don’t see this as much, and I have certain bloggers to thank for the improvement here.
When we, as non-white people, tear each other down, we hurt ourselves. There is no room for it if we are really trying to make a difference. If we want to improve the way discussions about race and ethnicity and related issues take place, then we have to respect the work of fellow PoC and non-white bloggers and writers who are doing work, irrespective of the spaces where they choose to do that work. It is extremely disrespectful to tear that work down and erase it because it doesn’t fit your narrow definition of what is proper PoC fellowship.
It is also disrespectful and racist to erase the identities of people who work at blogs just because you can’t be bothered to get your facts straight.
I’m sorry, but we won’t fall in line behind someone because they believe they speak for all non-white people.