It’s Not About You, and other adventures in privilege

These are some great words for allies to marginalized groups of people to hear. As an adoptee of color, who has been hurt by systems of privilege and oppression, I am compelled to be an ally to others. Similarly, I think adoptive parents need to be the strongest, loudest allies for their adopted children through acknowledging and fighting racism they haven’t had to deal with before, advocating for more transparency in the system, and supporting family preservation. “Being an ally or standing in solidarity with a group of oppressed people is not about you: it’s about the people you are trying to help. And that means that when those oppressed people are talking about the ways in which power structures marginalize and silence them, contributing to that silencing by talking loudly over us and ignoring our objections makes you part of the problem, not the solution.”

days like crazy paving

The other day, as I was contributing a few choice witticisms to the hashtag #whitefeministsbelike, I heard the dreaded wailing in the background.

Someone had sounded the NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE KLAXON.

For the next twenty-odd minutes, my mentions were inundated with the thoughts, feelings and opinions of a self-proclaimed “white feminist” who desperately needed me to know how badly I’d hurt her feelings by implying that she was racist. I had not mentioned her name. I didn’t even know who she was. My tweets did not read “#allwhitefeministsbelike” or “#everysinglewhitepersoneverbelike”. The hashtag was clearly about whiteness-as-power-structure, not whiteness-as-her-personal-life-experience-that-she-needed-to-share-like-RIGHT-NOW.

But here I was, being tearfully reprimanded by a complete stranger, because my critique of a power structure that oppresses me had hurt her feelings.

I am not, despite my frequent jesting, anti-white. I do not hate white people or white culture. Actually, I quite enjoy Shakespeare and Mad…

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