This is going to be a little bit of a rant. Something many people do that has been upsetting me lately is the way we push others down in what seems to me to be an attempt to make ourselves seem bigger and better by comparison. Or just the way we push others down in general, it’s not just using that as a method of power gain that is frustrating, but the practice in general.
I watched a movie the other day with a few friends. Fast and Furious. I probably should have known not to watch it…dumb. Anyways, I doubt I have to go into the problems with those movies in depth: sexism, racism, classism. What else is it ever? What bothered me more than the movie was the reaction of my friends. They put down the women who played their stereotypical gender roles for being “dumb,” or “boring,” or “weak,” or whatever else, and they put down the women who played their other stereotypical gender roles for being “butch,” or “slutty,” or “bitchy.”
I went to a party the other day with a few friends. The occasion was either New Years or a birthday thing. A few people were hanging out and talking after the action died down, and I was not very engaged in the main conversation but kept noticing language that bugged me, and pretty judgmental attitudes towards women that wore more revealing clothes. People that behave/dress/look/talk/act/etc. like “sluts,” might have realized a way to glean some ounce of power/recognition/attention in a society that hates women almost no matter what. Or they like how they live. Or both. I guess women that put them down might have realized the same thing. It’s a logical calculation on both sides I guess, and that’s a problem for me.
It reminds me of the civil rights movement. (Just like everything else.) Watch this when you’ve got about an hour, it’s one of my two favorite speeches ever (the other one is Yeb Sano’s speech from the UN climate thing that I talked about in another post). It’s Malcolm X’s Message to the Grassroots, and here is some stuff about it. Basically all I ever think about is Malcolm X, I think his ideas are really important for feminists. Maybe not all his ideas…but rejection of a societal framework that values some humans more than others is I think the basis of what he’s got going on. It’s important for any oppressed group really, but I’m on a feminist thought-wave right now. Ugh I’m done with this post. The thoughts are still amorphous.
But I want to ask, if a black person refers to another black person by the n-word (funny sidebar, it took me like 5 minutes to decide how to put that) and they’re talking to a racist person, does the black person using that language against people who are hated for being exactly like him/herself remove him/herself in anyway from the oppressed identity? Does the racist see them as less black? Does it improve the situation for any black person?
I don’t know, but to me it seems like no, and it seems like oppressing your own identity.
I’ll have more later. This will be on my mind all day.