unpacking my “racist bingo” squares.

Sometimes I like to go through and see how many Racist Bingo squares I can daub. How badly am I failing Equality 101? Am I ever justified in my failure? Because sometimes I think I am, and sometimes I need help in seeing why I’m not. I’m one of those people who needs to learn this stuff out loud. Your patience, if you have any, is vastly appreciated.

Things I could justify, if I wanted:

♥ Prefers to be called “a person of European descent.” My “European” ancestor is all of one generation removed. I’ve never been American enough for the Americans around me, so the label never stuck. The thing is that it doesn’t matter where I get my whiteness because the system doesn’t care. The system sees my skin and shrugs. “So she hasn’t assimilated? At least she’s white.” That gives me advantages that erase anything I’ve experienced as a result of cultural confusion.

See also “White people have ethnicities, too!” *pout*

♥ I don’t really have white privilege (or I understand racism), because I’m gay/poor/disabled/Irish/a woman. File under “shit I used to say a lot.” All of the -isms are different. They may have certain commonalities, but at bottom, the experiences are incomparable. I will never know what it’s like to be a woman of color. I know what it’s like to be queer, female, disabled, and unable to get a living for myself. The fact that I lack privilege in four ways does not win me any Oppression Olympics. What’s the point? Seriously, how does it benefit me to be more oppressed than thou? Am I looking for some kind of street cred? (Am I being racist when I use that term?) I bring my experiences to the table, not my -isms. Not the names for what I am. Only what I am. If those experiences don’t speak to other people, that’s not so much a problem as an inevitability.

♥ “I don’t see color.” This was true until I turned five. No matter how great your intentions, you notice the differences. Some part of you has internalized your society’s ideas about those differences. Instead of trying to pretend there are no differences, why not celebrate the differences? Might learn something in the process.

♥ I never owned slaves so…/I’m {insert ethnicity/ nationality here}. My ancestors weren’t even here! Even if my mother’s mother’s mother’s people really and truly could not have had anything to do with the American slave trade, my dad’s blood family is one giant blank and frankly, my dad’s adoptive family has KKK members in its tree. Yes, living in Western New York. Yes, we had the Klan up here, too. All you northern not-racists thinking you’re okay? Better ask around first! — Also, there’s at least one Nazi on my mother’s father’s side. It’s not the same thing, but it’s pretty bad.

At the end of the day, Mum and I both benefit from being white. Simple as.

(Yes, I know there’s a second page. Mainly it has to do with appropriation, which is a post for another week.)

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