Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people. Use this blog as a reference tool, not as the one and only view on the topic.
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Playing Oppression Olympics is truly horrible. However, the one thing that might give it a run for it’s money in the sub-human activity category, is calling it when it’s not there.
*This does not now and never should include intersectionality.
These are things you should avoid doing at all costs. No matter what it takes, do not make these kinds of comparisons. Ever.
Incorrect Usage- Demanding light/dark skinned issues be dealt with separately. This does not qualify as “Oppression Olympics” because we are talking about two groups that fall under the same category within a given race (or community). For example, if we are talking about Black people, a light skinned Black person getting upset because a dark skinned Black person points out that the light skinned Black person has privilege, is not Oppression Olympics. This is a very real issue that must not only be discussed but acknowledged by everyone within the Black community in order for the community as a whole to move forward. In this instance, a light skinned Black person pointing to all the issues they may have because they are lighter is not needed. The struggles of a light skinned person are not being discounted or discarded by this statement. The statement that light skinned people have privilege is a provable fact. It is not an accusation nor is it the time for a light skinned person to have a hissy fit. To use this time to talk about how many problems you (a light skinned person) have is stepping on your darker brethren. Whatever you go through, they have it worse. *Note: I am very light skinned and this is not an attack, it is a call for our community to come together.
Incorrect Usage- Insisting that the issues and differences between People of Color be treated as a whole. Much like the light/dark skin issue, it is important to acknowledge that different races within the PoC category are treated differently. To say something like “Racism is racism” or “I don’t think it’s okay to say that Asians are treated any better” (both actual quotes) are both unacceptable ways of thinking. Yes, there is no “Little bit” racist. However, there is a difference in acceptance, treatment and follow through of the way specific groups are treated. For example, if we look at who makes more money (Table two), Asians are the highest paid group in the US. NOT the highest paid People of Color. The highest paid, period. While Latin@ are the lowest paid. This is a very real issue and a very real fact that needs to be addressed. To say that we are all the same because we are all PoC is a fallacy. We may all be PoC but we are not treated equally under that umbrella. To call this conversation “Oppression Olympics” would be purposefully overlooking issues that need to be discussed with People of Color.