Thinking about racism (and getting a headache)
A funny thing happened at SlutWalk NYC last weekend–a white woman was photographed carrying this sign:
Yes ouch can you believe it I know oh my god. Wow. It hurts my brain. It makes me feel terrible. It makes me want to hit this fellow PWW* for making me look like an asshole by association.
Racialicious posted a discussion about it, featuring comment from the woman herself, but if you’re in a hurry all you need to read is this summation by the site’s editor Latoya Peterson:
Slutwalk is one of the many long, long conversations about relationships between feminism, racism, class, nation-states, colonization, and power… some people don’t want to understand why women of color would be angry at that phrase, and they don’t care why John Lennon isn’t the best representative on race issues.
Ironically, I’m working on a piece today that’s NOT about SlutWalk (or at least it wasn’t a minute ago), but about a very heartfelt and thought-provoking discussion on racism that occurred in my neighborhood last week. It was sponsored by Building Bridges, a new south Minneapolis organization that “seeks to understand how race and racism impact our communities and to build the future of our neighborhoods together.” The group brought local-girl-made-good Michele Norris to town to discuss her memoir The Grace of Silence, selected as the first book in the city-wide One Minneapolis One Read. Turtle Bread on 48th & Chicago was packed to the rafters with people of all colors who wanted to talk honestly about the history of racism in our community. It was exactly the kind of nuanced discussion that, in my humble PWW opinion, has the power to make the transformative change that we claim we wish to see in the world.
And this photo turns up on Facebook. Ugh.
In her book, Norris writes:
All the talk of postracial America betrays an all too glib eagerness to put in remission a 400 year old cancerous social disease. We can’t put it to rest until we attend to its symptoms in ourselves and others.
I agree….but I need to take a handful of Advil first.
*privileged white woman