Among many things that come with holiday season, there are those opportunities to respond to racist, sexist, or otherwise oppressive jokes and comments made by family members that you really don’t see very often. These opportunities may be more likely for white people, but not exclusively.
Don’t be caught off guard! Armed with some of these ideas, you can be prepared to respond instead of just looking awkward and uncomfortable. Not all of these are appropriate for every situation and relationship, so have a range of options up your sleeve. The power of most of these lies in uncovering the comment and exposing the ugly racism/sexism/heterosexism/stereotype behind it.
There is no shortage of high profile incidents of African American men and boys being shot and killed by while unarmed in places they have every right to be. From (and before) Emmett Till (1955) to Sean Bell (2006), Oscar Grant (2009), Trayvon Martin (2012), Jonathan Ferrell (2013), and countless others. (Twenty are reviewed at The Root.)
The frequency of these murders of Black men might give the impression that other women and other people of color groups are not also murdered under similar circumstances. Lest we be mistaken that Black men are the only group of people that are held in suspicion by our White-normative culture, we should remember the recent cases of:
So I finally had a chance to watch last week’s 90-minute conversation between bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry, and given its length, I thought I’d jot down some general topics that they to make it easier to find, for those who want to listen again to a certain bit, or those who just don’t have time to listen to it all. It’s all good, though, if you only have time for a few minutes.
One warning, though, my notes are what I was hearing as an educated white male, and publishing these reference points is more like being an editor or gatekeeper than I am entirely comfortable with; I am not worthy of either role for these two great individuals. I hope this helps more people hear them, than detracts from messages that I failed to hear.
Blogger Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg posts about her struggles confronting ableist language among social justice advocates:
People who are of non-normative intelligence or ability (narrowly defined) are simply considered less-than, so it’s the height of insult to call someone “stupid” or “a moron” or “a person with a low IQ.”
Here’s a look into the history of Roots of Justice/Damascus Road, and the work that remains to be done. A reminder that this work is indeed about the long haul. It’s a journey – won’t you come along?
Roots of Justice trainers and friends share reflections on historical and current events