The amount of entitlement white people believe they have sometimes amazes me. But then again, that entitlement has been developing for centuries through colonialism, rape of indigenous peoples, the systemic whitewashing and forced assimilation that white people put people of color through, and the reign of white supremacy. It should be no surprise to me that white people feel entitled to everything, feel they should be allowed to be a part of every resistance struggle, feel they have the right to claim even my methods of surviving in their world. And when dealing with white people, I still find myself taken-aback when some white fool exerts their entitlement over me.
I work at a corporate retail store behind a customer service desk in a rather rich and snobby part of the IE, and I deal with loads of white people walking up and using their entitlement to demand things of me. For the most part, I’m used to it, but the other day, this really got to me when a (clearly upper-middle class) white cis-gendered male walks up to my desk, throws his stuff at me, tells me he wants me to return it, sits on my desk while I process his return (because he apparently can’t be bothered with being present with those “lesser-than” folks), snatches his money, throws the receipt at me, then walks away without even a “thank you” or a “would you mind throwing this receipt away for me?” And in regards to anarchy, I’m not down for maintaining corporate order, but seriously, LEARN SOME RESPECT, FOOL! His sense of white-cis-male entitlement in a world that is built for white-cis-males makes him think he can treat everyone “beneath” him like trash. And especially when an (obviously) queer womyn of color is helping him, his entitlement is what grants him the disrespect he showed me. Although, this instance can be read as just a “rude dude” being rude…but in the realization that everything is political warfare, his attitude was an act of white supremacy, male dominance, and cis supremacy and should never be thought of anything less.
A friend of mine posted a Facebook thread about womyn resisting male violence and how sexism works within violent heterosexual relationships, and this white fool (again, a white-cis-male) decided to post a “humorous” comic about how men experience sexism, too. Although, I completely don’t believe that men (particuarly cis-men) can experience sexism in a patriarchal world because sexism happens on a systemic level (just like white people can’t experience racism/reverse racism does NOT exist) even if there might be an argument that patriarchy does not allow men to be as “sensitive” as they should be allowed to or that patriarchy gives men too much responsibility, too many expectations, and that could be read as gendered oppression (although, men clearly reign supreme in a patriarchal world)…this post was NOT the place to talk about this issue. The fact that he believed he had the right to comment like that on a post that had nothing to do with his “oppression” but the oppression that patriarchy and sexism (in which he is violently participating in) create is exactly the type of entitlement that white people have. The fact that he’s lived his whole life with his identities being validated, the fact that he feels he has the right to post anything on a thread that has nothing to do with him (and in which he wasn’t even invited to participate in), and the fact that he’s willing to use the entitlement that comes from that validation to silence womyn and womyn of color (who don’t receive that type of validation and therefore do not have that entitlement) talking about their experiences with male violence…that is an act of political warfare, male violence, and white supremacy.
I work with a collective of womyn of color in my community, and we’re currently fighting a ton of white supremacy in our city. Not too long ago, a white person (whom we had, until this point, considered an “ally” to our struggle) told us they were upset that we do not allow them to be a part of the projects we do (because we ONLY allow womyn, queer, and trans* people of color in our collective in order to create safety and solidarity for us). After getting over my initial amazement that this “ally” was being so ignorant, I realized that it is because of their white entitlement that they feel as if they should be allowed to be involved in the struggles of womyn of color at all. White entitlement is what grants them this belief that there is nothing they can’t touch, nothing they can’t appropriate, nothing they shouldn’t be welcomed to (when the only way a true “ally” can participate in the struggles of those who experience oppressions they don’t is by shutting up, sitting down, and not using their entitlement to try to be a part of everything). And this is something that I see a lot in supposed “radical” communities. Whenever people of color, womyn, or trans*/queer people claim spaces of safety for themselves (in which only they are allowed), it is met with this kind of false reverse-oppression. Similarly, whenever people of color hold spaces for people of color only, it is ALWAYS met with some white person feeling that their white entitlement is being trampled on when people of color are used to spaces always being white supremacist, always being a space where we can’t feel safe or welcomed or even visible. And when we claim our empowerment in this way, it is seen as “reverse racism” by white people because it threatens white entitlement.
And to that, I say, “GOOD!” I hope everything I do threatens white-cis-male entitlement, and there is nothing in the world that makes me happier than seeing that by me fighting oppression, I am making my oppressors uncomfortable. *wide smile*
And me, as a queer yellow womyn of color who is queerly gendered and who has a non-normative body, I find myself constantly questioning my “right” to be somewhere, my “right” to be comfortable, my “right” to use my voice, my “right” to exist and be happy and love myself. And it’s no wonder why this type of self-doubt exists in me when my identities are constantly met with resistance in a world that was built to destroy me. When someone spends their entire life being told that their skin color, their body, their gender, their sex, their desire is inferior, it is no wonder why this type of entitlement doesn’t exist in me.
BUT, my existence is resistance. My choosing to wake up and keep going in a world that tells me to die everyday is counteracting oppression. And though there are days when I would rather hide and not deal with oppression, I still choose to keep going, and that is fighting oppression. My choosing to speak up and develop my own sense of “entitlement” (empowerment) and my choosing to exist in a space and be that bitchy voice that won’t allow white-cis-male entitlement to trample me…that is my act of radical resistance.
In other words: I’m not going anywhere; I’m not shutting up; I’m not going to be passively and quietly resisting oppression; I’m not sorry if I offend you. Deal with it, white boy.
And my purpose in creating this blog is to claim that empowerment for myself (and, hopefully, to create safety for those readers with similarly oppressed identities), to develop my voice, to learn to speak up about issues that I’m silenced on, to fight the domination of white people, cis people, and men, to claim a space where my identities can own their entitlement.
Thanks for Reading, and Welcome to the HapaDyke.
- One Pissed Off HapaDyke