I live in an old, fairly conservative suburb. I don’t love it, though it has many conveniences that I like, such as beautiful parks, good-performing schools with highly qualified teachers, regular trash pick up and gorgeous old homes like mine. I have found people whom I enjoy immensely and of course, there are others.
Last night, I posted an article in our little diversity group about the comedian Amy Schumer. She made a parody video of Beyoncé’s “Formation” video. Crunk Feminist Collective published a critique of it and i shared the article. Im not the biggest Beyoncé fan, nor am I a hater. However, I know that “Formation” was an event for a lot of people, and for a lot of Black women in particular. I’m not Black, but I am a woman of color, and I do not think that the Amy Schumer video was funny. To be completely honest, I don’t think she’s very funny most of the time anyway. But this isn’t even really about the video or whether or not Beyoncé was in any way harmed by it. (I doubt it.) The article got a lot of pushback from white members of the group. For the most part, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the group. Most of the people seem genuinely interested in working toward a fairer and more just community. We use the word ‘diversity’ in the name because there are many ways in which people are ‘othered’ and this group provides a way for people to reach out to one another and find all manner of common ground. We’ve had very few trolls and not as much drama as one would expect.
BUUUUUUT…you know there’s always gotta someone who brings the white tears and defensiveness to the party. One woman responded that she’s white and she doesn’t think the parody is racist. Sighhhh….yeah. Well. Then came the white man caping for her who said that “articles like this are the reason that Trump has a chance. Because the ‘far left’ is nasty and divisive.” When confronted with the fallacy of that argument, he doubled down on the assertion and insisted that people were simply being too sensitive. His argument that calling people out for being racist (or fatphobic or misogynist or anything else) is somehow off putting to ‘people in the middle’ was something that really got to me. It stuck in my throat like hairball. I woke up in the middle of the night STILL PISSED about it. I went to breakfast angry about it. But I couldn’t really quite put into words why it made me want to start actual fires.
Well, here’s the thing: I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE. If people need nice and comfortable ways to address structural inequality without anything that doesn’t implicate them, they can fuck right off. If white men want to tone police women of color in discussions about intersectionality, oppresssion and things that are hurtful, well, they can fuck right off too. I find, as I get older, that the condescension of men is more and more likely to set me on a path of saying very harsh things. I can only imagine that white men are in a weird place right now. Imagine watching your sense of being the king of castle just…slide away. And trying to understand how that will look in the future. I don’t say that it’s easy, just that I don’t care that it’s hard. It’s been hard for everyone else for the last 500 years. These guys can man up and sit the fuck down.
There was minimal resolution to the discussion, but I will say that a couple of people stepped in and made the point that white people do not have the right to define what’s offensive to others. Not surprisingly, it was women. One day, maybe men will check each other. I don’t have a lot of hope for that, but I’m raising boys, so hopefully. None of this is original thought. None of this is new, but it’s still so taxing. Maybe that’s why. It’s so tired, and so cliche. Is is asking so much for people to think new? To be original? To surprise each other by being Better than before? More open, more accepting of new ideas than their fathers were?
In Soldiarity as always,
Stepchild in the Promised Land