“What about me?” Well, WHAT ABOUT YOU?!!!

2 04 2009

In different conversations I’ve had, or heard, with people in varying contexts, the question of “what about me?” always seems to come up.

“What about me?” This comment usually comes from people who are blinded by their privilege: their privilege as heterosexuals, as people from upper-class backgrounds, as people with white privilege, as people with male privilege.  So, when they ask “what about me?” I’d like to know, Well, what about you?!

I’ve blogged about this before but I think it needs to be reiterated. The society we live in grants privileges and rights to such a small fraction of society and it is wholly important and necessary that we enable these marginalized groups to have spaces for themselves where there experiences and oppressions are recognized and legitimized.

Of course it is important to have allies, people who are heterosexual, white, male, wealthy and upper class, etc., but it is unfair of them to colonize and hijack these spaces or conversations that marginalized groups have to discuss and their issues.

I’ll end on a quote from the same post from WomanistMusings that I cited in the previous blog entry: (Bold emphasis mine)

The oppressed are experts because we live it every damn day of our lives.

It is insulting and infuriating to continually have to repeat the basics to others because they refuse to see beyond their experience to validate the life of another. If your first response is what about me, there is clearly something that you are missing. Not every conversation needs to focus on the socially dominate bodies. To demand that the few spaces that are dedicated to fighting oppression continually regurgitate 101 basics stunts conversations and amounts to the tyranny of the majority. If you are a privileged body most of what you will see, read, and hear is already dedicated to you. From mainstream media to every other agent of socialization the message is clear; unless you are necessarily white, cisgender, male, and heterosexual your life is inconsequential.


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