Arrgh, so I just talked to my brother, who I could tell disagreed with about everything I had to say because I mainly wanted to talk about Ferguson. He disagreed with me directly about that because he says that the one time in his life that he experienced racism it was against him, the white guy, and I have a tremendous beef with that.
Here’s the thing: I went to Penn State, where in my first year I was placed not in the usual Penny dormitory, but in the dorm that housed the “black” sorority (PSU doesn’t have off campus sororities because in PA, at least when I went, a certain number of women housed together constitutes a brothel), and I well recall our first house meeting. I was one of two white women in the room. It went absolutely fine, with the interesting exception of at one point the question being asked if sexism or racism was a bigger problem. I and my roommate (also white, because we had been housed in that dorm over the summer, which was why we were placed there instead of Penny Hall), thought that sexism was, and everyone else in the room said racism. The other women told us that they were doubly screwed for sure, but that the first thing anyone saw about them was their race, and therefore that was a bigger issue for them, and frankly, who was I to tell them differently? I took them at their word. They were african american women and I wasn’t.
So I’m sorry to my brother who evidently thinks white men receive an equal amount of crap as african americans, but having your feelings hurt when someone makes a negative remark about you is not equal to being actually denied a job or, god forbid, being shot because your color scared a white person. I’m also rather sorry that when I likened the character assassination of Michael Brown to the inevitable character assassination of women who are raped—because apparently Brown deserved being murdered if he stole some swisher sweets (evidence suggests he didn’t, and in any case it had nothing to do with why he was shot)—and women who are raped apparently have it coming if at some time in the past they willingly had sex—that my brother had nothing to come back with other than that he was busy and would have to call me back.
Yes, I was making two different points and both were angry and both were kind of directed at his “group”. No, my brother isn’t a racist or a sexist (at least not on purpose) and isn’t responsible for any race crimes or rapes, so I DO kind of get that he’s not down with being “blamed” for them. What I guess I don’t get is that not being directly at t fault doesn’t excuse a person for not speaking out about it, doesn’t excuse anyone from not feeling that something is wrong.
It would be fair to say I’m not doing anything about what’s happening in Ferguson as well, other than being upset about it to every person I talk to about it. I guess I’m not any better than anyone else I know, but I can’t help being bothered by the attitude that it doesn’t mean anything, that people’s lives don’t mean anything, as though if it weren’t happening in my neighborhood and to people I knew, that it wouldn’t mean anything.
It means something to me because if it were my family or community, it would mean something.It means something to me because one day not so long from now my son will be 18, and yes, he’s white and likely wouldn’t be shot for wearing a hoodie in the wrong part of town, but I can imagine what it would feel like if he were. I can imagine what it would feel like to lose him for no reason, because there is no reason that would excuse the loss of him. There’s no excuse for the loss of Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. There’s no fucking excuse, and there’s no bringing either of them back to their grieving families. There’s no excuse or reason that can be offered to anyone in that situation, and I’m ashamed to live in any country that attempts to.