By Andrea Plaid
Everyday Feminism’s contributing writer Jarune Uwujaren wrote a post (which is excerpted on the R’s Tumblr) that resonated with a lot of Racializens about casual racism in LBGTQ communities–and ways for white queer and trans* folks to work on making the communities more inclusive:
So if you see casual racism, remember it. And talk about it.
Notice if you’re ever guilty of it and, if you are, take responsibility for it.
I would say explain it to other white LGBTQ people, but it’s frustrating when it takes a white person saying the same thing people of color have been saying for ages to convince other white people to change their actions.
Instead, tell them to take the race related concerns of LGBTQ people of color seriously–as in listen to us.
As LGBTQ people, we get silenced all the time, told we’re too sensitive, told not to flaunt our sexuality.
Sexual minorities of color can find themselves silenced further when their concerns about race are dismissed by the predominantly white, mainstream LGBTQ community.
Let’s keep working to change that.
And Scandal Roundtabler and friend of the R T.F. Charlton wrote an excellent post in her blog, Are Women Human?, about Laura Murphy, a white parent petitioning the Fairfax County, VA school board to ban Toni Morrison’s Beloved from the AP English courses because she says the book gave her child nightmares:
Here’s another question: which 17 and 18 year olds need protection from this? Many teenagers know these things already. Some because it’s an unavoidable part of their history. So many others know these things from direct experience. To be able to assume a blanket right to protection that can be exercised simply by keeping scary books out of kids’ hands is the product of an amazing level of privilege and disconnectedness from reality.
As Prof. David Leonard says, the argument from a white parent living in an affluent suburb that “children” as an undifferentiated class need to be protected from merely reading about such things “speaks to sense of entitlement and notion of whose innocence, security, and personal joy deserves attention [and] protection.”
This is a roundabout sort of white supremacy that coopts the language of keeping kids safe to say that the experiences people of color actually lived are too volatile even read about. And let’s be clear, it’s not simply the fact that these are stories about people of color that is at issue. It’s the fact that these are also histories of white people, and histories that are fundamentally incompatible with mythologies of whiteness, particularly the myth of whiteness as innocence.
A history where people of color are the innocent victims of white violence is an offense to white supremacy. So demands are made for preserving the “innocence” of white kids, something that requires denying the innocence of communities of color subjected to white violence and colonialism. White students must be shielded from the trauma of confronting the violent acts and legacy of people who looked like them–perhaps even people they are descended from.
One woman consistently praised for her striving to bring nuanced counternarratives about Black people surviving and thriving in this deeply racialized society is director/writer Ava DuVernay. She released this short film a few days ago, titled The Door, for the clothing designer Miu Miu’s “Women’s Tales” series. This piece of cinematic perfection disguised as a commercial–DuVernay discusses in this behind-the-scenes clip her designing for and commissioning the costumes from Miu Miu–co-stars Gabrielle Union as a woman going through the blues over a broken engagement and Pariah‘s Adepero Oduye, Middle of Nowhere‘s Emayatzy Corinealdi, Something New‘s Alfre Woodard, and singer Goapele as her sistahgurls who help Union through it. I’m so in love with the storyline, the acting, and the aesthetics–yes, from the clothes, but moreso the film’s color palettes, the luminous lighting of the actors’ skin tones, the shots, and the music…to the point I spend the other night searching and adding the music to my playlists!
See what and who else we’re gushing over at the R’s Tumblr!