In Which I Am Tired, and Tim Wise Is Brilliant
I was going to do a long post tonight, about privilege and the notion of intentions vs. actions. Really I was. But due to some stuff at work I got home WAY later than I was supposed to, and my throat hurts, and I’m sleepy, and to be perfectly honest a lot of my writing energy has been drained by my constant state of alertness over the past couple of days as we dealt with Boobquake fallout. So I’m going to get to that post eventually, I promise. But it’s not going to be tonight.
Instead, I’d like to point you to a post by Tim Wise at The Red Room. (Thanks to Shakesville for linking to this today in their Blogaround; I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise.) I’m linking to this in part because I think a privilege refresher is always, always important. But also because a quote near the end of the article speaks to something that I, as a cis-gendered white woman, hope I will always remember when I attempt to engage in any kind of protest or activism. I leave you with Mr. Wise’s words, unsullied by further commentary from me:
Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypicallyAmerican engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week,that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.
And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.