the philosophactivist

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Privilege and Protest

Sigh. If I see one more white man at Occupy X,Y,Z talking about how the man is holding "us" down ...
So I've been hanging out at Occupy Oakland, seeing what's what and I'm going to say wreaks of privileged folks. There is a large percentage of folks who are highly educated (whether from college or the school of..(should I even say "hard") knocks? No wonder so many people of color are skeptical about this movement. Our struggles are not all the same. I'm not saying that we can't come together over some commonalities...but to talk about the "man" holding us down as if "his" foot is on everyone's neck and that some aren't disproportionately affected- is more than ridiculous. Red Flag number one.

Red Flag number 2. Sexual harassment and women and queer folks not feeling safe and having to have their own section of the camp. I'm not even woman-identified and some man at the information booth found it necessary to put his hand on me and give me a little squeeze in an uncomfortable place. Also, there are men who are helping to organize the General Assembly and other committees who have committed sexual assault or who are sexually harassing women in the encampment. What's being done about that? Um. Nothing. Though there is a "Safer Spaces Committee" ...not many people are feeling safe. Men and their feelings of entitlement...and all under the guise of being an organizer/activist/community-builder who "knows everything" about sexual harassment and wouldn't dare commit such a thing. It really burns my biscuits when folks don't continue educating themselves  and use their status as an organizer to show that they can do no wrong (and that goes for sexism,racism, being homophobic,etc.)

Also...a few people of color see it fit to be divisive. Walking around the encampment talking about why there shouldn't be a POC committee and how "evolved" they are as if color-blindness has anything to do with evolution. It is racist in itself- denying differences and aiding in discrimination and is basically a "microaggression". Discrimination in itself. So, who exactly does it serve for us to be acculturated? Mhm. Exactly.

People (men, white folks, the educated, the economically stable) need to check their privilege before theytake it upon themselves to organize these movements. It is destructive for male chauvinists and "macktivists" and theorists and white folks to be heading this occupy movement. How can we build anything sustainable without people feeling safe or heard?


More Later.

1 comment:

  1. Same exact concerns I have about the Occupy Wall Street protests going on here. A group I've been working with has been trying to do outreach to the POC communities here (like the neighborhood I live in) so that blacks and latinos can start joining in and have a voice rather than white, privileged folks monopolizing the politics.

    As for sexual harassment, I have not heard any reports about that here (but I would not be surprised).