that stereotype threat thing again
October 5, 2014
a few years ago, i wrote a blog post about how stereotype threat is a tool of violence. because this is a psychological theory, stereotype threat describes an internal psychological state wherein marginalized people feel anxiety about a situation because they worry it will reflect on our entire group.
i just saw a great example for how this plays out in situations other than what psychologists usually test for1. i just saw a comic about sex work and stripping wherein the sex worker has a caveat commonly seen when marginalized people talk about our experiences under oppression:
These are my views on my experiences in sex work! They don”t represent all sex workers…
why does this even need to be said?
the motivation for articulating this is explained by stereotype threat. she needs to say this because she is worried that her individual experiences will be generalized and treated as representative of the entire set of sex workers.
but again… why does this need to be said?
it is a common enough disclaimer and caveat. and you often see people from many marginalized groups having to repeat endlessly that we are not monoliths….
ever notice who doesn”t ever say shit like this?
people from the oppressor class.
when we are talking about something like racism, poc always ALWAYS have to say “this is my experience” or otherwise situate themselves and make it clear that we are speaking about our experiences and for ourselves.
but you know what i have never seen? a white person make this disclaimer when talking about racism.
and, given the originating topic, i”ve never crossed the line into sex work (but i got close a couple times). and, to my current embarrassment, the times when i”ve spoken about sex work (not something that happens often) i have never made the disclaimer:
“i”m talking about my experiences as a non-sex worker, i don”t speak for all non-sex workers…”
looks pretty fucking ridiculous when you write out like that, doesn”t it?