Sunday, April 13, 2008

Carnival of Allies

I'm not sure I'm the kind of ally that PoC would want, seeing as how I think Obama's race speech was a start on that conversation we ought to be having, but that it leaned too much toward reassuring white people that, while they had reason to be angry in the past, from now on black people will only ask politely for their rights. I seem to be the only person in the entire United States -- white, black, liberal, conservative, or orange with green polkadots -- who feels this way.

Still, it's a worthy cause, and The Angry Black Woman asks a fair question: Is it easier for an unenlightened person of privilege to empathize with, and change their behavior toward, an oppressed group if another, enlightened person of privilege explains it to them, rather than their having to stoop to listening to the actual oppressed ones? After years and years of living here in the Deep South, beating my head against this wall, my guess is: No, people with power and privileges don't want to give them up and won't listen to anybody who's proposing that they share, but I may take a stab at it anyway.

If you're a member of some privileged group, not necessarily whites, and feel like you may be an effective ally of a less-privileged group, you have until May 5 to join the Carnival of Allies.


Keifus said...

Obviously not. Enlightened persons of privelege then get called "elitists."


august said...

A parallel question: whose more racist, somebody who grew up around another people of a different(and harbors many stereotypes), or somebody who has no clue whatsoever that there are different people in the world. I'm guessing the later, because it seems to me the height of chauvinism not to realize that I myself am ethnic.

august said...

Er, who's more racist. I want to die a slow death.

hipparchia said...

that's ok, august, it's a blog, not a term paper. but yeah, i understand the mortification.

which is worse? i dunno.

extrapolating from my adventures with sexism, i'd say the one kind is hugely wearing to cope with in person and the other kind can't seem to recognize which institutions need to be scrapped or rearranged because they're wearing people down.

my own considered opinion is that we can't afford to fight racism [and sexism] from just one direction at a time, that we need to attack on all fronts simultaneously.

hipparchia said...

keifus, my guess: if you're being called elitist by your foes, then you're probably both enlightened and an effective ally; if you're being called elitist by the ones you're trying to help, then maybe you're not quite fully enlightened yet.

Archaeopteryx said...

Obviously you're not the only one.

hipparchia said...

my quibble with obama over his race speech isn't about elitism, nor is elite-ness necessarily synonymous with privilege.

by virtue of his education and near-seven-figure income, obama is a member of an elite class, and this places him in a position of privilege over a lot of other people, both black and white.

conversely, white people in this country, no matter how elite they may or may not be, are automatically more privileged than almost all black people, based on skin color alone.