Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Colour Commentary: mixed-bag discussions on race, ethnicity, culture
The BUST Lounge > Forums > Friends and Family
Pages: 1, 2
sukouyant
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.
ferraro
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
doodlebug
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*
missladyj
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!
missladyj
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.
chinichin
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.

battygurl
I like that analogy chinichin.
chinichin
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.
missladyj
thanks chinichin!
hummingbird
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.
erinjane
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'.)
lilyblue
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!
chinichin
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.
venetia
(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)
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.