8.03.2010

Contemplating "Venting"

Can we do each other a favor and not minimize things by calling it "venting" when POCs (hell, let's just be honest - Black people, especially us Angry Black Women) express how it feels to be on the receiving end of racism?

You vent about a shitty day at work.

You vent about a car accident.

You vent about a friend's bad personal habits.

Expressing frustration, hurt, anger, and despair about your oppression is not venting.

Being frank about how it feels to live in a world where you don't count as a fully human being is not venting.

Telling people what you really think about some of the things they take for granted is not venting.

Pointing out the way some habits reinforce dynamics and attitudes that hurt a lot of fucking people is not venting.

As for a safe space for White people to be ignorant - that's the whole fucking world. Where is the safety for us? When do we get to just dip our toes in racism instead of having it knock us upside the head and remind us of our place in the world?

Must be nice to be White. Can you imagine? You can actually debate whether or not it's a good idea to walk up to somebody and put your hands in somebody's head and instead of people calling you out for being an uncouth jackass with no home training (and treating you as such), it's apparently that person's responsibility to educate you about the error of your ways.

Must be nice to be White. Must be nice to be given the benefit of the doubt every step of the way. Must be nice to have all those patient POCs ready to explain and educate at the drop of a hat - for free - no matter what it costs us personally. After all, what's most important is that we have a productive conversation, even though the only people really gaining anything from it are White people and often at our expense.

Must be mighty nice.

19 comments:

  1. "Must be nice to have all those patient POCs ready to explain and educate at the drop of a hat"

    You know what's really fucked up? The fact that white people don't even listen to us. They bitch and whine about how we are supposed to educate them but, in the end, they don't believe one word we say.

    He missed one: Must be nice to live in a society that considers white people to be so perceptive that anything they say about racism is the utter truth while believing PoCs are so irrational they cannot interpret their own reality. White people have never been right about race and racism, but they still think they know more.

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  2. He missed one

    LOL - it's a she.

    Must be nice to live in a society that considers white people to be so perceptive that anything they say about racism is the utter truth while believing PoCs are so irrational they cannot interpret their own reality.

    That's a really good.

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  3. a lot of this goes back to treating POC like children.
    children are told to fix their tone and lower their voice
    children are touched and patted without their permission
    children are perceived as irrational emotional beings
    children are assumed to being "making things up"

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  4. it's the wsa effect. i was just talking to my play sister about the "scientific community", and how a theory or idea is not accepted until it has a wsa(white stamp of approval)even if a POC with expertise in the same field(e.g., Dr.Cheikh Anta Diop)has already been saying the same thing.

    it seems that this wsa applies to all things, even personal experience with very real and inescapable racism. and this definitely classifies as some wfs(white folks shit)in my book. the vast amount of life force it takes to sustain your sanity, and awareness, while being told "if a tree falls in the woods..." is apparently a burden for us POC(particularly Black women)only. so much is lost for us, but nothing for them. must be nice indeed.

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  5. I reblogged this on my Tumblr blog:

    http://abagond.tumblr.com/post/903126931/ankhesen-mie-contemplating-venting#notes

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  6. And THIS!!!!!! among many other reasons is why RVC Bard is on my must-read list.

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  7. Yup, yup...she knows her shit.

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  8. The thing is there'll always be some "Good Darkie" who'll volunteer to be free, private race tutor for WP. They think they'll say something unique or in a way that has never before been attempted. And they'll get the same results as all the other Good Darkies past. And then they'll get cynical and bitter and become a Bad Darkie.

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  9. @ Witchsistah

    And those Good Darkies make me sick to my stomach. I wanted to retch at some of the bullshit comments I read on there. What is with the need to coddle white folks? If they're not gettin' it, they're not gettin' it...pandering to them is simply enabling. If they get it wrong, then they need to be informed - every time.

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  10. Girl, I can't deal with WP claiming to be my intellectual superior and then copping dumb on the whole race thang which is merely "treat PoC like the fellow human beings we ARE." Seriously, what is so fuckin' difficult for them to absorb? Oh, that's right, they can't keep their White privilege goodies and do that too. Yeah, my bad.

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  11. "it's the wsa effect. i was just talking to my play sister about the "scientific community", and how a theory or idea is not accepted until it has a wsa(white stamp of approval)even if a POC with expertise in the same field(e.g., Dr.Cheikh Anta Diop)has already been saying the same thing."

    Makes me question the supposed superiority of America's academic and scientific community.

    "The thing is there'll always be some "Good Darkie" who'll volunteer to be free, private race tutor for WP. They think they'll say something unique or in a way that has never before been attempted. And they'll get the same results as all the other Good Darkies past. And then they'll get cynical and bitter and become a Bad Darkie."

    You know what's worse? When a "Good Darkie", or in my case a "Good Little Asian Boy", is paying the white person to speak to him. White psychologists are bullshit. I might even go as far as to suggest the entire American psychological community is racist. Does anyone know if the APA recognizes the harmful effects of racism on PoC?

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  12. Thanks so much for this. I have reached a point in my life where my attitude is phuck 'em. I have no patience @ all. I'm just done, just plain ole done.

    It's a truly sick group of people, that are fine with a history of state sponsored terrorism against POC, as long as their privilege remains in place.

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  13. Hunter,

    I'm a psychology major and have worked in a multicultural psychology lab, done some multicultural research projects, and just took a class on social inequities in health and mental health outcomes.

    There are definitely not enough POC researchers in the field, which has led to the existing body of research to focus on evading blame when talking about White privilege, race, and racism. White researchers are eager to discuss the mechanisms through which prejudice and racism operate, but they never want to make the link between those mechanisms and the outcomes on people of color. Lately, some heavy hitters in the field (POC, of course) have been taking a no-holds-barred approach to talking about the psychological effects of racism on POC, including increased research on microaggressions, stereotype threat, and the biases that White clinicians have that influence their work with POC. I could say more, but I don't want to derail the conversation (sorry Ankhesen!).

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  14. Jasmin,

    I don't think it's a derail at all. In fact, this is something that needs to be discussed and actively encouraged. How many of us have suffered at the hands of White, clueless, aversively racist therapists? *raises hand* And that's why I will not step into another therapist's office again.

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  15. It's not a derail. It ties very much into RVCBard's original statements about "Venting".

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  16. Witchsistah,

    I'm sorry to hear that. The research base and the action of said therapists reflects the reality that White therapists are trained to dismantle POC experiences of racism by making the agent a passive one. So "a racist term was used toward Witchsistah" instead of "Jim used a racist term toward Witchsistah". The emphasis is on protecting White people from every having to say, "Hey, we do some pretty fucked up shit". Hence why I'm going to become a Spanish professor and not a psychologist.

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  17. Must be nice to live in a society that considers white people to be so perceptive that anything they say about racism is the utter truth while believing PoCs are so irrational they cannot interpret their own reality. White people have never been right about race and racism, but they still think they know more.

    This is so on the nose. My sister's boyfriend is just being introduced to the idea that he's a very privileged person. He doesn't like it because he feel that saying he's privileged is just a way to shut down his opinion in discussions about race, gender, etc. I really want to tell him that, yes, your opinion is being shut down, because it is worthless. I've come close to it, but haven't said it as bluntly as I think it needs to be said.

    it seems that this wsa applies to all things, even personal experience with very real and inescapable racism.

    ... Reminded me of Black Like Me.

    @Jasmin

    That sounds like very interesting research. Are there any links you could point me towards? Or names I can google?

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  18. Hey Marissa,

    I haven't been online much in the past few days, but I wanted to let you know that I'll look in my notes and get back to you. :-)

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  19. Marissa (and anyone else who's interested),

    Arthur Whaley is a leading researcher in the field, and he's written some very good articles--check out this one on clinician bias.

    I Google Scholar searched "African American psychotherapy" and found some good articles by authors I've read before--hopefully this is a good starting place for you. And, if you want to read more discrimination research in general, check out the hallmark article by Claude Steele on stereotype threat.

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