Friday, November 16, 2012

Ugh, Oppression Tourists Piss Me OFF!

So today, or maybe yesterday, I got a new Twitter follower. So I clicked through, cause maybe I want to follow him back. Turns out he is playing at being poor by living for 90 days on WHO rations or some shit. Because no one can really know the truth about poverty unless is being talked about by an educated white dude who play acts the part of the poor and downtrodden.

FUCK THAT SHIT! You want to know and understand more about poor people. TALK TO AND REALLY LISTEN TO THEM. We get to be the experts on our own fucking lives. You want to know how hard it is for women (cough-Nicholas Kristof-cough) the TALK TO AND REALLY LISTEN TO WOMEN. You want to know what it's like to be a person of color? Then TALK TO AND REALLY LISTEN TO POCs.

We get to be the experts on our own fucking lives. We get to create the narrative of who we are and why we are. Not some well-meaning dude who hasn't checked all of his fucking privilege and who thinks he can understand the grinding, slow- motion horror film that is life in the bottom 20 percent. We are the experts, yet oddly no one ever treats us as such. Instead we are lectured at, imposed upon, stereotyped, and ignored.

If you find yourself feeling sympathetic to an oppressed group, then go educate yourself by reading or seeking out primary sources (since HEY THAT'S A BIG FUCKING DEAL WITH ACADEMIC AND INTELLECTUAL TYPES, UNLESS THE PRIMARY SOURCE IS NOT A WHITE DUDE WITH MONEY).

Fuck me. You know I had this same damn argument around Columbus day. People all over started quoting Bartolome de las Casas, a Spaniard who thought indigenous folks in the New (not really new) World should be treated as people and encouraged the African slave trade in order to give the locals their freedom. Yeah that was mis-fucking-guided. So the dude said some nice shit about Indians. But you know who we should be listening to about the horrors of European colonialism in the Western hemisphere? HOW ABOUT SOME NATIVE AMERICANS WHO ARE STILL FUCKING OPPRESSED. How about Rigoberta Menchu? How about Winona Laduke? Or Sherman Alexie? But no. Instead of quoting actual brown people about the how colonialism, racism, and oppression have fucked them over, we gotta reach into the way back machine and pull out a white, European dude to be the expert.