SICK SAD WORLD

Recognise the new racism, the new sexism, the old homophobia

Posted in The Good Word by Nancy on May 25, 2010

Dr Omi Osun Joni L Jones has many wise things to say in her speech on ‘6 rules for allies’. By ‘allies’ she refers to people who are sympathetic to those affected by racism/sexism/classism/homophobia/ableism/transphobia and other kinds of oppression.

The video is worth watching but I will sum up some key points that stood out to me.

1. Being  ‘liberal’ is not enough

‘The liberal position is the hegemonic force of the academy . . . which means racism, sexism, homophobia . . . and a commitment to class structures cannot be undone in the academy.”

“The liberal position says that those of us with legitimate observations about injustice are really exaggerating, paranoid, and unwilling to see how we are creating the problem we expose.”

2. Speak up, name it and say it

“If you are male, YOU be the one to tell your department chair that the women’s salaries in your department must be brought line with those of the men. If you are white, YOU be the one to advocate for the qualified grad student of color applicant over the qualified white grad student applicant.”

3. Recognize the new racism, the new sexism, the old homophobia

“It is institutional and structural. Learn to walk in a room and count the people of color . . . Allies know that racism, sexism, and homophobia are real and NEVER tell people, ‘You could be wrong, you know’. Such a statement presumes that you have greater insights than those with lived experience inside of multiple oppressions.

4. Welcome getting called out

“When called out about your racism, sexism or homophobia, don’t cower in embarrassment, don’t cry, and don’t silently think “she’s crazy” and vow never to interact with her again . . . We are all plagued by racism, sexism, and homophobia. Be grateful that someone took the time to expose yours.”

All too often, calling out an injustice can seem more offensive than the injustice itself – it is easy for the privileged to brush off legitimate concerns.

From the transcript, I see Dr Jones also read a 1951 poem by Beah Richards. It is still as relevant today.

They said, the white supremacists said,

that you were better than me

that your fair brow should never know the sweat of slavery.

They lied.

White womanhood too is enslaved.

The difference is degree.

And what wrongs you, murders me.

And eventually marks your grave

So we share a mutual death at the hand of tyranny.

He, the white supremacist, fixed your minds with poisonous

thought—

‘white skin is supreme.’

Set your minds on my slavery

the better to endure your own.

Cuddled down in your pink slavery

and thought somehow my wasted blood

confirmed your superiority.

Because your necklace was of gold

You did not notice that it throttled speech.

Advertisements
Tagged with: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: