Wednesday, October 04, 2006


You know what's kind of nuts about blogging? It's like you're a celebrity of some sort. People read you, want to know you, think your thoughts are outrageous or kind or ridiculous. Bloggers provide a snippet of their lives, think of the best way of how to tell it, and then broadcast it from Yugoslavia to the Badlands of the Dakota.

Whether my thoughts are read in a highrise or in a cyber cafe, there's a uncontrollable feature of blogging that I must become accustomed: I cannot be responsible for how each word is taken. I can only write my truest thoughts and send them forth, hoping they implant themselves safely in an open noggin and jog around a bit.

If you haven't noticed, or been cued up to speed: I'm not of euro-descent. I'm not "White," or Anglo-saxen, or Caucasian. Like it or not, this is part of my bloggy. It's part of my blog because IT'S PART OF MY LIFE. Everything deemed normative behavior, normative advertising, normative vernacular, normative knowledge stems from white folks. Now, there's knowing that fact is true and then there's KNOWING that fact is true. If you can read that sentence without confusion and nod, read on. If you have to go back and read that sentence again, but get it eventually, read on. If you're reading this part and are hoping you'll eventually catch on, click off and go educate yourself.

I'm moving into a part of my life where race - the uncomfortable, "oh, i don't know enough about history, but i'm still going to make a comment," issue - is central. Gender and race and no longer two separate entities. They've merged. It's Genderace. And when you wake your Genderace beast within, you've got a helluva lot to say.

People must learn that we are not all born equal. We should, but we're not. We cannot create solidarity simply because we titled ourselves, "liberal," and there are degrees of racism, so deeply embedded that even the most progressive thinkers find themselves uttering thin and narrow slivers of oppression in their speech. Listen closely. We are all shaped by racism. But even the deconstructing instructions for race has mostly been written and distributed by white people. But it takes more than dining at Ambar and Bankok Palace, reading up on the elections, and making friends with a black individual to call yourself enlightened.

The color of my skin changes. I'm most fair in November through Februrary. I'm darkest July and August. I have passed Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Malaysian, Spanish, Filipina, Greek, Jewish, Korean, Thai, Nicaraguan, Salvadorean to name a few. I speak only one language fluently (English), but can understand Tagalog and can hold Spanish conversations. I'm many things.

Why do I write that? Because I'm sick and tired of people thinking that race is this one big deconstructing party where everyone's invited to the White house to hear WOC speak. What needs to be said is not just WOC's experiences, but this: DO your own work. Work out your OWN shit. READ up on yourself, your roots, and how your privilege comes at someone else's expense. Stop thinking Peggy McIntosh's Unpacking White Privilege is the answer to your own biased views. WOC are oppressed more than white women in insidious, invisible ways. There are degrees of violence, susceptibility, and privilege within genderace that you must be awakened to before you can truly call yourself an ally. In this age of relativism and my changing skin color, one thing is true to this day: you cannot, ever, for one day, stop fighting for equality. It's just a moment's slip away.


  1. I wish I could print this post and plaster it all over the walls of my grad school. My school is infested with those privileged "I'm going to save the world" types who talk about their summers in Africa (like Africa is a country) and how they now truly understand suffering because of it. The same types who have tokenized all of their [two] friends of color and claimed not to be racist because of it. The same types who just LOVE Queer Eye yet would never befriend a lesbian in fear of getting checked out. I had not been forced into such institutionalized normative language in so long.... Ok, that's not entirely true. Before I decided to go back to school, there was my short stint in the corporate world. But hey, at least I was getting paid to grin and bear it. Anyway. It seems scarier in an academic space. Nice post!

  2. you are so riteously cool!!!!! I love this post, thanks so much for posting it. And you know, I never understood how trying the "i'm going to save the world" types are until I read mlk's letter from a birmingham jail, in which even the ever patient king said that white folks who mean well are some of the most trying irritating people in the world. I'm like, if even mlk struggled with the shit, maybe i myself can get through a few rounds of the nonesense and not bash my head in...


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