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Op Ed

Because A White Guy Said It

Listen,

It does not matter what you say. As a woman, as a woman of color, as a woman of size, as a woman with large breasts or no breasts and a lifetime of experience with bucketloads of passion. It does not fucking matter.*

Because unless there is a white guy backing you up, you are an angry bitch. Uppity, spirited, “that girl,” the femanazi, the super-libber, the PC chick, the conspiracy theorist”¦

A few months ago I posted something on a forum about how interesting it was that we only bomb brown countries. As Tom Wise suggested, perhaps it’s time we stop talking about how the war was for oil, and instead question why we feel we’d be entitled to that oil in the first fucking place.

Almost immediately, but just as predictably, I was hit with good old Reverse Racism. The Double R that gets pulled out whenever the privileged hear something they’d rather not. It is the equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and screaming, “La, la, la, fucking la,” until the other person gives up and walks away.

Even the site administrator called me a racist.

Then, another well-known poster there put on a clip of George Carlin ranting on how we only bomb brown countries (skip to the 2 minute mark if you’re interested in hearing it). And suddenly, it was as if God himself had shone through the clouds and crowned me righteous and worthy. The tides turned. All of a sudden everybody could “see the point” I was trying to make. All of a sudden I was no longer the nefarious reverse racist infiltrating white society only to destroy it. I was just sharing the same opinion as George Carlin. I was worth believing.

I decided that day not to post there anymore. At least not with them knowing my ethnicity and gender. But the problem hardly stays online.

Last night I had dinner with my ex-husband and a mutual male friend who is visiting Paris. Discussing Prop 8, the friend asks me, “Well, but you probably feel more comfortable around gays than straight men, don’t you?”

I say, “Of course I do. A majority of my time in a straight club is spent getting away from men grinding up on me as though they own me.”

Naturally he doubts my story. “It can’t be that bad, though?” My ex-husband, bless his bouncer past, promptly sets him straight. He tells him how I used to go to his club all the time and he had to assist me more than once when men became predatorial on the dance floor.

And as soon as my ex mentions this, the man shuts up. It is not enough to take my word for it. Never mind that I’ve been hanging out in my post-puberty body for a fair amount of time now. I must be exaggerating because that’s what women do. The worst part? This guy wasn’t even a douche. He is a genuinely nice guy with an amazing girlfriend. But his natural default state is to disbelieve my story.

I just wish my own experiences were enough. That the experiences of fellow women were enough. But we must always come with backers. We must always have a few men nodding along behind us in the crowd. And at the very least if we’re going to be so bold as to bring up racism or sexism in polite company then we better be willing to quote reputable studies that have been widely recognized by the psychological and sociological communities.

If we lack this armor we are just drama. Dramatic or”¦ wait for it”¦ psycho bitches who think everybody is out to rape them or thinks they must be, “Like, soooo attractive to be hit on so much and totally, probably, like, thinks like a victim.”

This is so dangerous because I believe it teaches us not to trust our own judgments. Sadly, in this world, that can be life or death. When that guy hits on you for the third time at the club we should just get over it. He wasn’t being that creepy. “Oh no, girl, don’t talk to the bouncer about him, that’s just drama. Just have a good time.” I complained anyway but nothing was done.

And hey, when he tries to attack you while leaving the club–which happened to me and a friend in June of this year–the police may ask you why you didn’t complain “more than once” to security. I shit you not.

Because it is never good enough. It’s always a teachable moment from man to woman. So listen up, child, because that’s exactly what you are. At least until a white man comes to back up your claims. But I don’t have to tell you that. You already know. The trick is for this argument not to be dismissed outright by some dude in a Quicksilver t-shirt because the fact is, he has final say on the veracity of our claims.

It’s not fucking coincidence I can quote that man at length. It’s a motherfucking necessity. And people wonder why I can’t sleep at night”¦

*I wanted to note that I am fully aware that when men of color talk about racism they are not believed by white society either. This is not a woman’s problem in totality. Sadly, that hardly negates their default reaction of disbelief when, as women, we share our own stories with them.

By Olivia Marudan

Cad. Boondoggler. Swindler. Ass. Plagiarist. Hutcher. A movable feast in the subtle culinary art of shit talking.

9 replies on “Because A White Guy Said It”

Amazing article, and all I can say is wow. My lady and I talk about this a lot. It’s sad living in a white male privilege world. Males believe we give women jewelery, and other gifts to treat her like a princess. Yes, it’s nice but not to over step boundaries ( this isn’t my topic to speak of being a male.) All you wanted to be treated is like human beings. I don’t understand how most people don’t see that white privilege still take place. Races, and sex are stripped so much of a lot of things. We as white males cherish so dearly. Hopefully someone someday will have a big enough heart to put their foot down. When will males learn that Women,African American, Asian, (the list can go on for ages) have so much to offer, and so much heart for peace.

Were you on my Facebook this morning ? I had been talking about the Psychology Today article and lo and behold, a white dood who lived in Korea for 2 years was apt to tell me how “wrong” I was and how ” Asians” are the most racist people ever. More racist then white people ! I called him out on it. Nothing – just me ” overreacting” and ” I dont know what he knows”. Another white dood calls him out and he “rethinks his point about what he originally said”.

……

Its not just with that, its with everything. I’m constantly undermined by men I work with, men who are experts on the experience of “women” and everything in between. Look at the anti-racist movement and its worship of Tim Wise. I have no problem with Wise, but I do have a problem with how he used his privilege/authoritarian stance to rocket to the top and become “the expert” on racism. Really ? The white guy is an expert on racism ?

@ Liza – yes, this def is true across all groups too.
@ thesciencegirl – that is BS in the highest level of BS’dom.

This is so true.

And it’s not just about the big stuff either (i.e. specifically addressing -isms), but apparently, there’s something about white maleness that lends authority to any statement of fact (or heck, opinion). I always think about my first semester of med school. I came down with a horrible, hacking cough. I coughed so hard I came close to vomiting. It went on for weeks. It was totally disrupting my life. I went to the hospital and explained the severity of my symptoms. I was sent away with a dismissive “You have a cold. Come back if it doesn’t stop.” My close friend, a white male, caught it from me. He went to the same doctor. His symptoms were recognized as a viral bronchitis, he was given a steroid inhaler, and was better in 2 days. My cough took over 2 months to clear up.

I think this exists across groups. It seems like whenever any marginalized groups want to be taken seriously, they need a member of the relative majority to back them up. Straight allies helping the LGBT community, white people backing up other races, men backing up women, thin people helping with fat acceptance, etc. It’s like everything needs to be validated by the status quo or no one believes you. And (obviously) white men are the status quo in a lot of those situations.

Love it! I think what it has to do with is just plain apathy because people can’t be bothered to acknowledge painful truths unless it either a)affects them personally b) is in their face. White men privilege says you don’t get to ignore me! Where as a woman you can always be dismissed because you’re PMSing.

It’s a double whammy from the patriarachy isn’t it? We get slammed by men and slammed again by others, not validated until a White dude speaks up (authority figure).
I’m feeling a little sad now recalling some real life experiences, such as the time I was harassed and stalked by a schoolmate at my university. The professor took the stalker’s side (White dude, BTW), and the university school wouldn’t act until my White Dude Lawyer friend spoke out on my behalf.

This, this is gospel.

As a woman working in a male-dominated industry I experience this daily. Just today I had a colleague, a man, go behind my back and e-mail multiple people in our network (all men), because he didn’t believe what I was telling him about something happening at work right now. It wasn’t even a big deal. It was a “yes, I cc’d So-and-So on that e-mail” kind of thing.

It’s not even just “heavy” issues that women get questioned on. It’s any possible assertion we can make.

Bravo, Olivia. Bravo.

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