Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Now I’m not a fan of comparing oppressions, so I’m not going to get into better or worse or whateverthefuckever because people who do that tend to forget that there are queer and trans* and disabled PoC. But regardless, there are differences and we’re going to explore those.
1. For instance: class oppression is important to talk about.
Debt is an industry. Banks and credit unions are soulless festering organizations full of fuck, and it would be better if the government didn’t care. But the government cares enough to make it worse, so. And yeah, this is stuff that people know. But this is where OWS fucked up royally. You can’t talk about class without talking about race.
Poor white people are so confused by the concept of white privilege. Where’s my white privilege? I can’t find it under my stack of bills. Well, perhaps you have to consider that you’re still less likely to be pulled over for looking ‘suspicious’, still less likely to be arrested, taken to court, fined, imprisoned. You’re also more likely to be hired and less likely to be fired. And you’re less likely to be told that you’re worthless, treated like you’re worthless. It IS easier if you’re white to get loans, financial aid, buy a house, a car, get a raise.
So you can’t talk about class without talking about the people who have been very intentionally left at the bottom, and then blamed for it with terms like ‘welfare queen’ which is never applied to a white person. Neither is ‘crack baby’.
And you also have to keep in mind, and I’m just going to say it, a lot of white people simply don’t want to do work that has always been considered ‘beneath white people’. And I’m going to give you an example. I live in what is basically the poultry capital of the East Coast. We have Rocco, Perdue, Cargill, etc and so forth. You know who works the huge majority of those jobs? I’ll give you a hint: not white people.
Now, I have a lot of able-bodied white friends around here who constantly talk about how hard it is to get a job. But it’s not. At literally any time you can wander down to any of the poultry and processing plants and you can kill chickens for $15 an hour. Now, I understand that there are people who have sensitivities about killing chickens, and those people can wash machines or carry crates. You can also go the the Coors plant and get a job for $15 an hour carrying crates and sorting bottles in 12 hour shifts. Now not everybody can do that, but there are also a lot of people who can physically do it and just don’t want to. So who works the plants? Undocumented workers, mostly. Undocumented workers sustain our economy. Isn’t that interesting, in Confederate central?
No matter how hard you think it is as a white person to get a job, we have undeniable advantages. We just tend to believe that those advantages are beneath us. No matter how little money you have, white is its own class. Remember that.
2. Queer and trans* hate is important to talk about.
But where the LBGTQ community has largely failed is to continually put the focus on white queer and trans people (and especially white gay people and trans men), even though queer and trans* People of Color are continually at higher risk for abuse, rape, and murder, especially trans* people, especially trans women, especially Black trans women.
Because even though we might ‘all be in this together’, some of us have it worse than others, and it’s racist and lethal to ignore that fact. And I’m going to come back to this at the end.
3. Misogyny and male privilege are important to talk about.
And I’m only going to touch on this very slightly because I have buttloads of male privilege and this is an issue that doesn’t belong to me.
There are a lot of white feminists that are upset that the power dynamic between Black men and white women upsets the holy dichotomy of power when it comes to male privilege.
White privilege trumps male privilege in this one area, as white women have always been given positions of power above Black men. And here I have to say: patriarchy in America was created by white men for white men. Black men were never meant to be included in it. I’m not saying that a Black man can’t be a misogynist. He can. But intersectionality is crucial here, and these are things that you have to consider.
Here’s the reason why I talk so much about race. Race effects everything, it is a factor everywhere, and here’s one main difference between people who are subjected to racism and many of the people who are not.
I’m queer. Like queeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer. I’m also trans* and disabled. I talk about queerness a lot, but the other two I rarely touch on. When I started this blog, I didn’t think I’d ever talk about it, but I’ve met a lot of people who were understanding and willing to listen and help me figure it out. I appreciate them so much.
I’ve suffered because of these things. Horribly and torturously. In ways that I’ll never really recover from, and I may never understand my identity or my disorders because of how they were hidden so deeply when I was a kid. Because, with my family, I knew what would happen. A lot of my life has been shit because of this.
But here’s the difference. I can walk out of the house and be a white, cis, straight, able-bodied man, if that’s what I choose to present. It’s easy to do, I’ve been doing it all my life. And no, I shouldn’t have had to. But I did. To survive, I’ve been a straight, cis, able-bodied man for 25 years.
That is a privilege that I cannot imagine having to live without.
And no matter what privileges a Person of Color has, there are so many cases in which race is obvious. And even if it isn’t, it’s there like a ticking time bomb. I have the privilege of hiding, but race effects everything. It is the subject to more abuse, and at the same time makes it more difficult to get help. This is why I talk about racism. Because there’s nothing it doesn’t touch, there’s nowhere that it doesn’t go, and there’s not a white person alive that doesn’t reap the benefits of it. Even if all that it gives you is the reaffirmation that you are a human being, that you are worth something, because you are white.
Some people don’t even get that.