I Am Not Responsible For Your Education.

ETA: In summary, try listening. A follow up post, much shorter, and with more space between the initial hurt and the new post page on WordPress.


Jessica Yee speaks: Responding to the mainstream feminist blogosphere on Feminism FOR REAL

Believe it or not Feministe-rs, with great page-views comes great responsibility.

You have to realize it is not just about you, right Feministe (and other like blogs and individuals)?

You are a major blog, whether you want to be or not, when we call you out, it is not just about you, it is also about your readership, and we could all do with a bit of education on why something is wrong (we all could), why use of certain language is privileged, what being privileged is. But ultimately, it is our responsibility to stop ignoring our privilege, to promote and do action that is not oppressive, to educate our own selves and to do so with no expectation that anyone will congratulate us when we do (and the expectation that should we fail, someone might just let us know it- but we can’t rely on that correction either).

Shameless’ motivations aside, because that felt more personal than anything else to me- Feministe’s post is not really about them; it is not about whether or not they covered a book (a point I actually agree on, we cannot all read all the things). No, this post is about those of us who choose to critique and call out- yes call out because that is as bad a word as politically correct (as if asking for non-oppressive language is a bad thing)- a wrong that’s been done.

Here is a hint for everyone who whines about getting their privilege called out. This ‘gap’ we’re filling, it will not be filled by people who refuse to acknowledge their privilege when it is ‘called out’, it will not be filled by those who choose to only see the forest without realizing that they are cutting down all the trees. When I call you out about privilege, when you call me out about my privilege, it is not because either of us are trying to be “The Best” such and such. Usually it is someone who has been hurt or triggered by someone else’s claims to ally-ship paired with oppressive language or actions. It is not because I am trying to be The Best Activist Black Woman I Can BeTM.

If you are going to claim the same “end point” as everyone else (ostensibly anti-oppression), does it really make sense to say “Could you be nicer about how you criticize my privileged actions? You’re hurting my feelings.”

Again and again, I have noticed that marginalized peoples are the ones who have to manage their emotions, manage their feelings, so as to not make those with power feel uncomfortable or threatened. I really do not want to “communicate accordingly” when I’ve been hurt; I want to rage and tell you that you’ve oppressed me. And “accordingly”? According to who exactly? Who gets to decide what communicating “accordingly” is anyway? Is it me, the one who has been oppressed, or do you, my oppressor, decide? When you use your privilege to silence me, hurt me, you are contributing to my oppression. Good intentions do not carry you to the finish line.

You say that we should avoid just calling each other out, but how can you assume I have spoons enough to deal with having to educate you on your privilege. Sometimes, all I have is the energy to say, “you fail, please stop”? Furthermore, assumptions that the overall conversation stops there, just because it did with you, are narcisstic! How is it that it’s always my job to educate you, how is it that the marginalized are the ones who always have to put up or shut up? When I call you out, how about you try being an actual feminist and go learn something. It’s not my responsibility, the onus shouldn’t be on me to have to teach you how not to be bad.

P.S. — belonging to a marginalized group does not exclude one from criticism.


Jessica Yee speaks: Responding to the mainstream feminist blogosphere on Feminism FOR REAL


One Response to I Am Not Responsible For Your Education.

  1. Pingback: A Calmer (or at least much shorter) Perspective? « The Rambling Feminist

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