We have lingering questions today about power and how to use it.
This message comes perfectly on the heels of yesterday’s meditation, in which we considered the use of power and privilege in service of the greater good.
Today continues this train of thought, and invites us to contemplate the factors we use when making important decisions or when we are at an impasse.
One way privilege appears in this scenario is in the range of choices available to those with power relative to those without. Class, ethnicity, gender expression, profession, geographic residence, and any number of factors may give one person power over another in a given situation.
But I want to make a point here based on what I’ve read posted by many black activists I am learning from: wh!te people, even wh!ite women who are indeed subject to marginalization by the patriarchy, can not be racially oppressed in America. Due to the prevelance and preference for wh!teness in mainstream culture, it is the dominant cultural expectation and therefore the currency of cultural power. All marginalized identities are othered in the favor of the status quo.
Other cultures are co-opted and appropriated to bolster and supplement the culture if wh!teness and give the appearance of diversity and inclusion.
I saw a thread where a wh!te woman complained to a well-known black woman that she was being oppressed and humiliated by the black woman, who she claimed had more power due to her large influence and following.
Folx, don’t get it twisted. Wh!te people cannot be oppressed by black people. We can be annoyed, upset, disappointed, angry, and have a variety of feelings about how we are “treated” but we cannot be oppressed and we cannot be discriminated against because these are systemic issues with how we construct our reality, not just one person being inconsiderate to another’s feelings. The truth hurts sometimes.
Let’s not mistake niceness for anti-racism, or politeness for progress. The same power we use to generate kindness and empathy must also be weilded to speak truth to authority, challenge expectations, and call out fellow wh!te folx when they need a dose of reality.