azn_jack_fiend: (Seven Samurai)
[personal profile] azn_jack_fiend
I'm not a member there, but I do check from time to time, and I read through some of the 200+ comments on the recent post. I just had two points I wanted to make that might seem contradictory at first, but I regard them as complementary.

1. Going around asking "are you white" is a pretty awful move, because it usually translates to, "I think you're white". I don't like people assuming I'm white, and it's an aversion that many POC minorities share. Most of the time on the internet, people assume you're white, and even though that means you have certain privileges you wouldn't have if people looked you in the face and knew you weren't, it still feels awful.  In fact, the main reason I picked a non-race-neutral username is because I hate falling under this assumption of whiteness umbrella. I do prefer to be treated in a race-neutral way, and I try to treat others in a race-neutral way, and being race-neutral is completely different than assuming whiteness. 

I would not want to be part of a community where disagreement on some issue leads to having to "prove your race."  Honestly, it really disturbs me. It calls to mind all the real-life times racist white people have accused me of not "being Japanese" enough.

On the other hand, I really don't care about white people who happen to be offended by "are you white" comments/attacks... or, I care about their feelings as much as I'd care about, say, the hurt feelings of men on a feminist issue (not very much).  But that sort of identity/authenticity policing is bad for me, and it's bad for many other POC, no matter who does it.

It's a question of atmosphere. If anyone asked me that question, my instant kneejerk response would be, "No, look at my username, and fuck off."

2. Another reason I shudder at getting involved in arguments like the one over there is that racial conversations in majority white audiences are seem almost always doomed to contain massive amounts of passive-aggressiveness and self-flagellating. I enjoy talking about race and having dialogues about it, but I'm only going to spend emotional energy doing it when it's NOT a white-majority audience or community. That's my personal choice, I'm not saying it's the best way, but it works for me and keeps me from getting too angry and negative about this stuff.

And in any racial conversation nowadays on LJ, there's a huge crew of anonymous racist princesses at f_fa looking over and making nasty comments and deciding who is the "good POC" and who is the "bad POC" and whenever and wherever anonymous commenting is left on, flaming the "bad POC". What a disgusting bunch of snivelers, ugh.

That's one of the ugliest things about racism online: it should be possible for POC to have disagreements with other POC. To have arguments about approaches and tone and ideology and so on. Healthy argument. But white-dominated environments render that kind of disagreement very difficult. I don't ever want to be the "good POC", so if I was ever in that kind of argument and I knew there were a bunch of nasty people rubbing their hands behind my back waiting to use my words to attack the "bad POC"? I'd probably bow out, or take it private. Keep dirty laundry under the bed instead of washing it.  I don't mind being directly attacked that much, but having my words used against other people would enrage me. Again, my personal choice, and it's not right for everyone, by any means.

I don't like some things that were said on that thread, and I don't feel comfortable participating in stuff like that, but I also think a lot of people are participating with good intentions and translating those good intentions into good words.

It's hard to find communities out there that are a) not identity/authenticity policing and b) are majority POC. But they do exist.  By the way, I don't consider it authenticity policing if everyone is required to state their ethnicity or race on joining. That way, everyone is on the same foot, and no one is under extra disclosure pressure.

Comments off.

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azn_jack_fiend

August 2011

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