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> Colour Commentary: mixed-bag discussions on race, ethnicity, culture
venetia
post Sep 23 2006, 12:24 AM
Post #1


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From: Aotearoa (aka New Zealand)


(Hey Chin maybe there are other people in their family/lives to do their hair? When we went to stay with my father and stepmother we looked like shit most of the time and adults felt sorry for us, but at our real home our grandmother and mother and even our mother's bf would do our hair for us. Not that we have the hair issues either, just long hair that would be a tangled matted mess at my father's house)
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chinichin
post Sep 21 2006, 05:18 PM
Post #2


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From: halfway out of my socks


Absolutely I feel this way! As usual, the eloquent miz sukouyant has put it so well.

I moved last december to a town in northern Canada (I grew up about four hours' drive south from here). I was very apprehensive because ... well, smalltown Canada is not known for its friendliness to cultural diversity! I never thought I would voluntarily move back to the north, especially to a small town.

I am the only POC in my small circle of friends. I have seen one other asian woman in eight months. I have seen one black man. I have seen many native people but it is obvious that there is a division between white/native - same as the town I grew up in. POC who are not native fall into sort of a limbo in between, based on economic standing. It's very strange to be back in this sort of environment... even stranger to see that most of the people I come in contact with are not even aware of it. It's not just the white privelege, it's the male privelege. The economy here is based in natural resources - oil & gas, mining, forestry - and although it's changing it is a very macho, very male dominated. There are lots of young, stay-at-home moms. I'm a bit of an oddity - old, ex-professional, non-white.

On the other end of things, I am the priveleged one in this context when it comes to education and money and the much-vaunted "family stability." Not that I am wealthy by any means, but my family was comfortable and stable when I was a child.

I don't really have a point, just sharing stories and thinking about privelege.

I went to a play group thing this morning, and there's a white woman there with two black kids - an older daughter and a baby. [if anyone is offended that I am labelling the kids as black and the woman as white we can talk about that ... I was going to write a disclaimer but decided not to]. I've seen her before and I've noticed that she doesn't style her older daughter's hair. It makes me wonder whether she is conscious of how important that can be. Gah I know I am totally reading in but I wonder how those kids will feel later on, growing up in this hickish town, with a mom who doesn't even do their hair properly?? I know I sure felt like I was going to get the hell out and not ever come back, and I don't even have that particular hair issue.
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lilyblue
post Sep 11 2006, 06:29 PM
Post #3


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QUOTE(sukouyant @ Sep 4 2006, 12:04 AM) *

interesting post Hummingbird. it's the invisibility of privilege that gets underestimated. i spent a year in a West African country, and when i came back home, daily, grinding racism hit me like a hockey stick to the face - this was the type of racism that seemed so subtle if not nonexistent previously. i was like a fish in water before leaving and hadn't noticed it as much. but it's treatment that forces the target to adjust her thinking, and the way she relates to strangers, even the way she walks. it's that extra suspicion in government offices, stores and on public transit; the doubt in your abilities that you plow through at work, the way you talk with friends the way you have to guard yourself from thoughtless and potentially hurtful statements and navigate your thoughts and feelings accordingly.



all i have to say is word to all of this. you don't really know how pervasive it really is until you stop and think about it. and the only time you have is when you really just want to relax. i would love for one day my race to really not matter, but i don't think that day will ever come. i want to be free to be myself, but i really don't know that is. since i spend so much of my time shifting, who is the real lilyblue?

sukouyant, i am glad you brought this up. does anyone else feel this way?

p.s., it's so nice being back with my peeps. yay for thoughtful race discussions!
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erinjane
post Sep 8 2006, 08:15 PM
Post #4


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From: Winnipeg


Off topic, 'humor' looks like it's spelled wrong because it's humour. Heh. (Just bugging you, I'm Canadian so we always have that extra 'u'.)


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hummingbird
post Sep 8 2006, 06:42 PM
Post #5


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ferraro, I read that article. I found that she hit the nail on the head. But the thing is, for me, I find white guys really really reallly attractive. So, I wrestle with race alot, the white guys that I am with have to understand this and be willing to wrestle with me, even if we don't agree, at least we can try to process together and understand each other. This is a requirement for any relationship that I have with white people and of course, humor is always welcome. Why does humor look like it's spelled wrong. Anyways.
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missladyj
post Sep 7 2006, 05:21 PM
Post #6


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From: chi town


thanks chinichin!
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chinichin
post Sep 7 2006, 01:33 PM
Post #7


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From: halfway out of my socks


thanks smile.gif

I think about privelege a lot these days - my own included.

My ick moment of the week: I met our across-the-road neighbours for the first time, and they commented on the colour of my baby by saying, "oh she's so .... fair." Yes she's mixed race and yes she's lighter-skinned than I am, especially since I have a tan right now. Do I like hearing about it from people I'm meeting for the first time? Nope.

It also upsets me that my knee-jerk reaction (besides being PO'd) was an urge to say something about my tan, i.e. that I'm not as dark as they think. WTF?? I think that had more to do with the urge to show I'm not as different from my baby as they think. It bugs me, though, that I assumed the comment came from their opinion that "light skin is better than dark" which might not have anything to do with their real feelings. Bleh.
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battygurl
post Sep 6 2006, 10:10 PM
Post #8


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I like that analogy chinichin.


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chinichin
post Sep 6 2006, 01:08 PM
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From: halfway out of my socks


I think you are funny too missladyj smile.gif !

Your post reminded me of a time when I was hanging out with a couple of friends around easter, and we'd just bought chocolate bunnies. One milk, one white, one dark. We were debating on who would get which one when we realized that our skin tones matched the colours of the bunnies... and since my friends were a couple, there was a lot of innuendo about which colours they preferred.

Privelege. Such a tough thing to show to someone who doesn't see it. Like early scientists trying to convince people that they are actually breathing a substance called air, which is composed of various gases ... why would they believe you? Even the proof requires a leap of faith and an understanding of basic concepts that people could take or leave.

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missladyj
post Sep 5 2006, 04:55 PM
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From: chi town


the other night I am longuing around really high, sharing a pint of ben and jerrys ice cream some crazy chocolate fudge thing when hubby tells me it is too sweet.

I look at him and say, " You like vanilla ice cream and I like chocolate" then I can't stop cracking up because it is just too fucking funny to me.

almost as funny as the time I froke out ( froke is the past tense of freak) because he was gonna mix brown rice with white rice and I screamed " Don't mix the brown rice with the white rice" and almost pissed in my pants


almost as funny as the time that the school where I work had a homecoming dance called a Black And White Affair and I said we should attend as the homecoming dance mascots. Hubby failed to see the humour in this and again I almost pissed my self.


so yeah being concious of race while being able to laugh at how ridiculous it all is. plus I just think I am really, really funny.
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missladyj
post Sep 5 2006, 04:34 PM
Post #11


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From: chi town


great article.

I am a nice ( or not so nice take your pick) jewish girl married to a black man and I find it inconcievable that interracial couples would act like race was not an issue when it is. I have always hated it when people say " Idon't see color" because that means they can then deny the exsistence of racism.

We talk about race all the time, how can we not? right now hubby is reading Two Nations Black and White, Seperate , Hostile , Unequal by Andrew Hacker. And he has been reading passages aloud to me. It is some seriously heavy shit.


And Doodle as far as I am concerned, you and your isssues are always welcome!
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doodlebug
post Sep 4 2006, 06:28 PM
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Delurking partly to bump this above the asshat's alcoholic mass-postings....

....and partly to say I read that article, ferraro, and thought it was really interesting. It reminded me a lot of how long it's taken me to grasp many issues about race and privilege, even when I thought I was doing a good job. There are things I know I've said or done (or not said or done) that I never even caught at the time - sometimes I only realized it months or even years later. And I know there are things will still catch up with me, because my privilege gives me that cushion.

Anyway. I feel I am intruding here and I know this isn't the space for me to talk about my issues. So...

*relurks*


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ferraro
post Sep 4 2006, 12:03 AM
Post #13


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i think of priviledge as kinda the same thing as freedom. the idea of unquestioned agency in your own life or in your surroundings.

i don't really follow what you're getting at with saying that american foreign policy is for greater white freedom though. to that end then, is iraq a "race war"?


along the lines of white priveledge... an article from the nyt on inter-racial dating. the author found that she preferred not to date white men because they refused to recognize race in their relationships. since as white men race did not play a role in their lives, they refused to recognize it as a factor in her life.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/03/fashion/...tml?ref=fashion
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sukouyant
post Sep 3 2006, 05:47 PM
Post #14


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From: Canada


interesting post Hummingbird. it's the invisibility of privilege that gets underestimated. i spent a year in a West African country, and when i came back home, daily, grinding racism hit me like a hockey stick to the face - this was the type of racism that seemed so subtle if not nonexistent previously. i was like a fish in water before leaving and hadn't noticed it as much. but it's treatment that forces the target to adjust her thinking, and the way she relates to strangers, even the way she walks. it's that extra suspicion in government offices, stores and on public transit; the doubt in your abilities that you plow through at work, the way you talk with friends the way you have to guard yourself from thoughtless and potentially hurtful statements and navigate your thoughts and feelings accordingly.

at home i'm a light skinned Black woman, in West Africa i had a lot of unearned privilege as a foreigner from a 'white' country - i experienced a form of white privilege there. it took me weeks to cotton on to this, and it would have been so easy not to see it and just assume that the special treatment i got everyday was how everyone in that country got treated, that everyone received that much kindness, respect, goodwill, and overall benefit of the doubt. i guess this lent some irony to how i felt/was treated coming home to Canada.
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hummingbird
post Sep 1 2006, 07:29 PM
Post #15


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It's like this, I see the white priveledge thing and it makes me want to rip it from those that have it. It's frustrating, you know, it can make one do strange things. Maybe this should go in the confessions. My post was long because I was trying to over-explain and maybe sugar-coat the fact that I have warped thoughts sometimes because it's not fair. And yet, to confess even further, I feel like, maybe by osmosis I have attained some of this priveledge, I've got a higher education, I talk standard english, I can write, I can fake a certain degree of gentileness (?)...I know how to act in an all white environment, in a way, that diffuses most of the inert racism that comes my way, ahem, my boyfriend and my closest girls are white. I have crossed into that world, somewhat , I could never pass for white in a million years, unless maybe I talk to you on the phone and even then some slang and ebonics are bound to come spilling out rolleyes.gif . I don't like it, 100%, though. I'd rather be in the freaking jungles of Jamaica. I always feel the need to be around other people of color. And yet, I want more of "it", more freedom and more of that priveledge. And I will never have "it" totally because I will never be white. And the other side of me says, "and thank god for that!" I like being me. But, I have had to weed out a lot of internalized racism, and in dealings with my white friends I wish more white people had access to classes that deconstruct white priveledge and the insidious ways that it plays out in relation to other people who aren't white. This is what goes on...in my head...there I was as honest as I could be...
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hummingbird
post Sep 1 2006, 04:31 PM
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really not sure how to express w/ out sounding like a tool.
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hummingbird
post Sep 1 2006, 04:16 PM
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So, misladyj, you agree with me, white priveledge does equal more freedom because of racism in general and the covert ways that racism works, instutionally etc.

But I was getting at something else. More towards my own interactions therefore with DIY white folks....but I am not sure how to express it....
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missladyj
post Sep 1 2006, 04:06 PM
Post #18


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From: chi town


hummingbird,
it is not just mental oppression but institutional as well. The lack of access to quality education, the lack of economic opportunities etc. There is less economic development in the " ghetto". DYI requires access to resources and those resources require money to aquire them in the first place. starting your own business requires a small business loan . Saying that it is just that the people of color in the "ghetto" who don't do more dyi because of their mental oppression is simplistic and ignores the whole way that racism is institutionalized and there for does not empower those people. It is almost like blaming them for not making their communities and lives better because they are just not as mentally liberated as white liberals. This is paternalistic and denies the complexities of racism in Amerikkka.
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erinjane
post Sep 1 2006, 02:55 PM
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Hey hummingbird, I bumped up the white privilege thread for you in F-Word. You could post it in there too.

http://www.bust.com/lounge/index.php?showtopic=46998

I'll ponder your question a little later.


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hummingbird
post Sep 1 2006, 10:46 AM
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well. i guess the white priveledge thread is gone.

What do people think about this: white privelegde = freedom. When the United States government claims that we're fighting for freedom, I decode that as more and more and more freedom for white people. Here I exclude poor white people, somewhat, because they don't have the same swagger because they know what oppression is too, even though their skin is still white.

It's hard to put all of this down into words, and I am at work, but I wanted to see what your (everyone, not just busties of color) thoughts are?

This freedom or privelegde makes it easier to start your own businesses or run your own co-ops or DIY. Do you guys/girls understand what I am saying. It's a mind set like mental slavery vs. mental freedom. Oppression of the mind. So, look at the ghetto. The ghetto is not just that way because they don't have a lot of money, they could DIY, but they aren't free enough to realize it, mentally, sometimes physically, emotionally, spiritually. And don't get me wrong there are a lot of brown and black kids that are DIY-ing it but it's only focused on DIY your own mixtapes or whatever---mc-ing and dj-ing and breaking...but all the other ways to DIY, just aren't happening there. Why, no freedom no access. Well, I may have gone off of my own topic now. Wondering what the wonderful busties thoughts are.
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