The “i have no time” privilege post (attn: white folks!)
I have many many problems with centralizing privilege as an organizing strategy. One of the biggest is that individual USians love individualism and being individual and doing individual work with individuals cuz we’re individuals. Everybody likes to say structure and more than two things at once and it’s complicated, but everything—EVERYTHING—in US politics shows otherwise.
Everything. From ‘calling people out’ to issue based organizing, to declaring individuals leaders of entire movements, to getting mad on political cycles (now we’re mad at rush! Now we’re mad at the new York post! Now we’re mad at Michigan! Now we’re mad at vagina!!), to the constant petition signing… I’m sick of it. And whether I’m holding some white persons hand promising them they really are good people just a little privileged or I’m screaming at them about how fucking privileged they are, it’s a type of caretaking I no longer have the energy for. I don’t really much care if your an asshole. I’m an asshole most of the time. We can all be assholes together. And I’ll call u a honkey and u can call me a spic. It’ll be fun.
What I will work until I die for, on the other hand, is my right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and not be murdered because you think I’m a spic. Which means that instead of focusing on you changing your individual mind about me, i’m going to focus on changing systemic structures that *make you murdering me ok*. and the way i’m going to do that is by building new structures that eventually make the old ones obsolete.
just like what the far right is doing as we speak. (oh, what’s that you say? they’re NOT?? let’s a take a look at what is happening as all the public services that the government controls are being shut down! detroit busing shut down? oh, that’s ok! let’s open us a new privately owned busing system that only services that resturant/sports district in detroit! public hospitals are being shut down? oh, that’s FINE! let’s open up a privately owned hospital that will only admit people who pay upfront! OR BETTER YET A CHURCH OWNED HOSPITAL! they can kick whoever they want out of the hospital whenever they want! welfare being eliminated? Great! The churches can feed the poor—as long as the poor agree to attend sunday services and sign a contract saying they’re not gay!)
I’m doing the same fucking thing. only what i’m helping to build is justice. and sure, absolutely, there is the room for even me or ANY person to look at a white person square in the face and say, “white honkey? you honkied this whole damn thing the fuck up. you need to get that honkey privilege in fucking check.”
but that doesn’t mean I’m going to *center* making white folks better people. And just because other people of color ARE using white privilege as a paradigm? that doesn’t mean they’re wrong or not doing valuable work. and the first white person who insinuates as much gets a “you honkied this up” sticker from me.
What it means is that all of us are doing whatever work our communities need us to do. and all of us have our own individual brains (oh, cuz WE’RE INDIVIDUALS TOO!!!) that create our own individual thoughts. and my well thought out life learned thought process is that “white privilege” is fine for others (except white folks, ugh, there is nothing i hate WORSE than white folks talking about how they have white privilege—why can white folks talk about privilege but NOT supremacy? is that a sign that “white privilege” is a way to take care of their feelings?) just like “white supremacy” is an extremely important framework for me and MY community.
and to me, the most important intervention *I* can make at this point is the one in the individual individual we’re all individuals mentality—cuz that focus on individualism? functions as just another way that liberal reformist work of “fixing the individual” and “leaving the structure” the only work is the only work that is ever done.
final point. this is not the only reason that i dislike the “white privilege” framework. i have *multiple* reasons, many of which i could and have talked for days about, some of which are very to the point and simple (like, white supremacy and white privilege are NOT the same thing, if they were, why can’t we just call it white supremacy? also, is there a “white supremacy knapsack”? is there a whole industry built up around white scholars studying white supremacy?), none of which are because i fundamentally don’t understand what the word “privilege” means.
if you have more questions about my understanding of white supremacy and why I operate mostly within that framework, please read my tumblr. i’d link you to some posts, but the search function is shit. and i’ve written about it for so long, i don’t even know what to link anyway.