You can’t live in this society andnot be tainted by both racism and sexism. That goes for women and African Americans as well as privileged white men who imagine themselves free of any such notions. You can try, you can be self-aware, you can learn, but you can’t live in this culture and not carry the taint. And you can’t live in this society and not carry those taints because racism and sexism are both malignant symptoms of the same disease: Patriarchy. In the Patriarchy, Power Over is everything. In order to exercise Power Over, one must consistently create new “others” over whom the privileged members of the Patriarchy can exercise power. African Americans and women have been prime targets, but so have gays, lesbians, immigrants, young people, old people, etc. And the Patriarchy prospers when, for example, women and African Americans fight with each other over the tiny piece of the pie that they perceive is available to maybe one, but not more than one, underprivileged group. Arguments about which group has suffered more at the hands of the Patriarchy strike me as pointless. The goal seems to be to rank groups by who has suffered more so that the most harmed group can get first crack at all of the (again, perceived) few crumbs of power that the patriarchs are willing to toss towards the “others.” Ranking, in and of itself, is almost always a tool of the Patriarchy.
Emphasis in the original.
Hecate’s right in that when we turn our guns on each other, everybody loses, and that I lost this way and you lost that way doesn’t change the fact that neither of us won. The high ground in a swamp is a swamp all the same. And I am more than willing to stipulate to whoever is complaining loudest that yes, in fact, your pain is the most special, you get the gold medal, if I give you a quarter will you just go play in traffic already, in the interests of getting some things done. Hecate’s right, in fighting racism vs. sexism we’re only betraying ourselves, and that becomes blindingly obvious every second I watch Howard Fineman and His Astonishingly Red Toupee on MSNBC.
(I’ve been picking on Fineman a lot lately; it’s because he’s such a fucking kitchen appliance, out there every day talking gravely about how deep the chasms we must all cross now, and how critical it’s going to be, that we all get along and learn to forgive and when will our bruises ever fade? It is not in any way belittling the actual hurt actual supporters of any candidate feel to say that everything out of his mouth about “Democrats in disarray” benefits Republicans and is mostly untrue.)
When the fight becomes about how you hurt me more than I hurt you, or my slights being worse than your slights, I lose sight of your hurt and you lose sight of mine. It becomes a contest, where whoever’s hurt the worst wins. I don’t want to win that contest. I don’t want you to win it either. If that is the contest, I want us both to lose, terribly, badly, so horribly that we will never ever ever think of entering it again.