Sunday, April 01, 2007

Some Anti-Oppression Basics

Here is a simple but powerful list of some key, basic political realities that we all need to keep in mind, and that those of us with a lot of unearned privilege of various sorts could do with posting it to our wall and examining it daily. These keen observations come from blogger Yolanda Carrington and were found by me via this list at Women of Color Blog.

Here it is:

In light of recent assertions and statements that I’ve encountered on comment threads, message boards, and in private conversations, I thought I’d just take a moment to relate the following observations:

1. You can be a good, decent, loving, caring person and be a white male supremacist.
2. You can be a hard-working, dedicated, self-sacrificing person and still have unearned privilege.
3. White male supremacy is a system of power, not a moral failing or an individual flaw.
4. Having a spouse of color and/or children of color does not make a person antiracist.
5. Working with, helping out, donating money to, or otherwise providing resources and services to people of color does not make a person antiracist.
6. Being a fan of, an expert on, or a scholar of Native American literature, Eastern religions, manga, Afro-Asian languages, jazz, reggae, anime, Bollywood cinema, hip-hop, or national liberation movements does not make a person antiracist.
7. Being a woman, lesbian, gay, transgendered, or poor DOES NOT negate one’s white and/or male privilege.
8. Even if most men are not rapists, 99% of rapes are committed by biological men. This is a political reality.
9. All human beings are equal. Men and women are not equal.
10. All human beings are equal. White people and people of color are not equal.
11. All human beings are equal. The rich and the poor are not equal.
12. One does not need to be a white person to be a white supremacist.
13. One does not need to be a man to be a misogynist.
14. One can be both antiracist and white supremacist (Example: yours truly).
15. One can be both feminist and misogynist (Example: yours truly).
16. Critique of privileged and/or oppressive behavior is not a personal attack.
17. Resistance to oppressive bevavior is not a personal attack.

And most important:

No matter how long you have lived, what you’ve experienced, what work you have done, you will never outgrow the need to change.

You can also find a nifty graphical version of this list here.

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