re saying what has been said synthesizing new info
July 24, 2012
Because it took me a while to process it all the information and see the truth/wisdom in it. apihtawikosisan has this post about how if you have light skin or white passing privilege you probably shouldn’t be calling yourself a person of colour.
I haven’t read through the post’s notes because I believe her when she says most people disagree. I had a moment of feeling like someone was denying my ID or policing or however you want to say it. I’m still integrating the knowledge that, these days, a lot of the people I encounter think I’m white. Or at least enough think I’m white that I need to have some hard thoughts about this and what it means.
Anyway. For those light skinned or white passing people who follow me, if you are having a moment, much like I did, of defensiveness and how you are a poc and this sort of policing isn’t good because of whatever reason, I direct you to this post (by itsvisceral).
In it a Black woman talks about not feeling safe in ‘poc’ spaces filled with non-Black people and/or light skinned people. These two posts together was my moment of realization.
Why? Because I have zero interest in being spaces where I make other people feel unsafe. Or ones that are for ‘poc’ yet somehow manages not to include Black people or other dark skinned people. Something is wrong with such a space. Something very wrong and something that needs to be looked at and talked about (see itsvisceral’s page right now for some real talk about this).
And I agree with apihtawikosisan that I don’t actually need to insert myself into all the spaces.
In many ways… this only deepens my deep mistrust for these large umbrella terms used for political purposes.
(and, please, this particular discussion isn’t about and shouldn’t centre the contextual and geographical and temporal shifting sands that ground the notion of light skin or white passing because, yeah, this shit changes and depends on context. everyone knows this already. this really is about always, always, always ensuring that the people who most need access to certain spaces or resources or whatever get that access. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT.
Above all… you really need to look at yourself and your choices if your desire to cling to a label is more important than protecting/uplifting the people who you have privilege over.)