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On Whitesplaining, Mansplaining, And Why The Majority NEVER Gets To Tell Minorities What Is Offensive

July 2, 2013

Racist

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I rep Indigo Tribe. That means I try, in all my nerdy glory, to embody compassion. It appears that some people are confused about what exactly that means.

Embracing compassion does not mean giving all points of view equal weight, especially when he opinions in question lead to another fucking Racefail. Today, a community that I love, disappointed me.  A lot. The details aren’t important. What’s important is this, the voices of women of color and allies were ignored at best and belittled at worst.

And you know what? I wasn’t even a little bit surprised. In fact, I expected it, because when you get a large group of Caucasians together and someone points out racism, that isn’t on a level of someone burning a cross, the majority response is going to be to justify the behavior. If the person pointing out the racism is a PoC, the response is going to be some grouping of phrases that will fill the privilege BINGO with a quickness.

So I’m going to explain this again, for the millionth time, for the last time.

Dear Caucasians,

I don’t care if it’s a discussion about Paula Deen or the causal racism that someone encountered in their every day lives, unless you are a PoC your job is to listen. It is not your function to educate PoC on what constitutes racism. It is not your function to force PoC to justify the charge of racism to your satisfaction. Your function is to sit and take the opportunity you are exceptionally lucky to have been provided to learn from the experiences of PoC.

If you come back from reading the above still feeling the need to justify whatever behavior has been pointed out as racist, you are WRONG and you need to read it again.

If you’re making excuses for behavior that was called out as racist, especially when the reasoning behind the behavior has been explained in detail multiple fucking times, you’re WRONG and you need to read it again. If you’re making up hypothetical situations in which the person who engaged in the racist behavior really didn’t engage in racist behavior or later did something which mitigated the racist nature of his actions you’re WRONG and you need to go read it again.

And most importantly, if you’re making excuses for racist behavior YOU’RE CAUSING HARM TO WOMEN OF COLOR AND ALLIES. You’re whitesplaining and in so doing, you are hurting people. Why is that acceptable behavior?

Oh right, it isn’t. Stop doing that.

Dear Males,

if a woman says that something was misogynist, you nod and you listen to her. If the thing she is pointing out is something you did, you should apologize first and then nod and listen to her. A woman is not obligated to smile. As long as her clothing meets the standard of professionalism for her office, you don’t get to comment on it. You don’t get a cookie for failing to rape someone today and you don’t get to act like a victim because a woman doesn’t trust you to continue to fail to rape her.

On the subject of misogyny, your point of view is less valuable. Deal with it. We do not need you to mansplain anything to us. You need to shut up and listen.

Dear Straight People,

Quit bitching about pride. Quit it right now. I don’t care what your holy book says. In fact, look at this and then shut up. Marriage equality is going to be a national reality. And that’s not going to do anything to harm your family. You’re losing. We’re winning. You can get on board or get out of the way but you’re not going to change the facts.

Dear Cis People,

OK, I’m on this list and I’ve already written about how I fuck up. The same rules apply to me on this issue. So I’ll just shut up now so as not to be a massive hypocrite.

In summation, the person most harmed is the person who gets to decide that harm has occurred and the person most harmed is always the minority.

I Don’t Want To Have To Revisit This,

Witch

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2013 3:08 PM

    *applause*
    People in general just need to listen more.
    I’m in a weird position, in that I hear all sorts of differing opinions on this stuff, usually bad, from the majority who assumes I’m “one of them”.
    My Scottish fathers genes were stronger than my Mohawk mother, so I look Caucasian. I’m pan sexual and polyamorous, but I married a monogamous man, who I love and respect enough to live a monogamous lifestyle with him. In all regards I “pass” for the majority “normal”. It means I hear horribly offensive stuff from the majority about my own ancestors, and have been told I don’t count by minorities because I don’t look like them.
    It’s frustrating, but I’ve definitely learned that just listening is better than almost any other reaction.

  2. May 28, 2015 8:32 PM

    “Dear Caucasians…It is not your function to force PoC to justify the charge of racism to your satisfaction. Your function is to sit and take the opportunity you are exceptionally lucky to have been provided to learn from the experiences of PoC.”

    “Dear Males…On the subject of misogyny, your point of view is less valuable. Deal with it…You need to shut up and listen.”

    “Dear Straight People…You’re losing. We’re winning. You can get on board or get out of the way but you’re not going to change the facts.”

    You are harming your own cause. How is your painting everyone in a certain group as a condescending bigot, and telling them to “shut up” and appreciate that you have graciously allowed them to hear you accuse and vilify them this way, “embracing compassion” as you claim to do? You promote an “us vs. them,” tribalistic attitude by focusing on people instead of their attitudes (“you’re losing, we’re winning”). You are alienating people who otherwise might listen to you. No group should create the definition of prejudice against an opposite group, for obvious reasons. But they are allowed to have an opinion, and if it happens to differ from your own, disagree respectfully. It’s basic human decency. Your claim that certain people should sit down and shut their mouths simply because of their identity is pure hypocrisy: women and non-white people were once expected to do exactly the same thing because they weren’t white men. Please re-examine your approach to this issue. Turning the tables doesn’t correct any wrongs, but only creates division and resentment.

    • May 29, 2015 5:52 PM

      Everything you’re doing right now is exactly what I outlined as problematic behavior.

      You came to my blog and decided to read a thing that talked about the proper behavior of the privileged when interacting with and hearing the life stories of PoC and women and GSMs and you still felt you needed to start typing rather than take that opportunity to listen and learn?

      YOU’RE WRONG AND YOU NEED TO GO BACK AND READ IT AGAIN.

      • June 2, 2015 12:05 AM

        I have read it more than once, and I chose to express my thoughts. You may delete them if you wish. When did I type in all-caps? Proper behavior isn’t shouting at people who disagree with you. I did not tell you “you’re wrong” or what you “need” to do, but asked you to look again at your perspective. See the difference?

Trackbacks

  1. I’m Tired of All the Damned Splaining so Check Your Privilege, Please | Make Me a Sammich
  2. Feminist Homework #NotInMyName | What a Witch
  3. Feminist Reading List | SPEAK RIOT

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