I’ve been noticing lately that everyone and their parent/guardian are doing anti-oppression training. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Shu, what the shit bleep is wrong with that, isn’t that what we want?”
Well yes, I would agree that recognizing one’s privilege is important, knowing forms of oppression we often do not think about is amazing, and those who take what they’ve learned and are doing the work in order to actually change the world around them is the point, but when we think, one or 10 workshops on anti-oppression make us the experts on the oppressions others face, it’s what some of us call, problematique. I see the raising of your eyebrows, and the change in your body language– arms crossing, and closed body language–and I’d like to congratulate you on your discomfort with these words.
When you can name every oppression in the book it gets you mac-tivist points (who doesn’t want that?), even gets you accolades that span beyond bedroom frolicking, but when you then constantly use such knowledge to then make light of the fact you are perpetuating such oppressions, it is, dare I say it again, problematique. It also makes it difficult to call you on your shit, because who wants to call out the funny mac-tivist? Nobody likes a party pooper right? Well guess what, I’m about to lay down some shit.
Stop making racist/sexist/ableist/transphobic/homophobic/xenophobic (i am using words you’ll understand…but you get what I’m saying) jokes when you know that’s what you’re doing….”oh my god i’m being such a racist/ableist/blah-phobic” is really not funny. A few rules on how to accomplish such:
Rule 1: if you know it’s offensive, try to unlearn it;
Rule 2: if you are fully aware that people most definitely will look at you with cocked heads, and venomous eyes, but because of the environment you’ve now created know you can get away with it, don’t bleeping FUCKING say it.
End of rules.
Another note about anti-oppression training, once you’ve finished the training or have read a really awesome article on anti-(enter oppression) stuff, please don’t present yourself as an expert, it’s not sexy. Quoting the presenter without any critical analysis, also not sexy, because that person is only speaking their truth, thus, you quoting them means you are taking their truth to be your own, without doing the work they did to come to their conclusions. My usual, “read a fucking book” retort won’t really apply here (though reading a book or two when/if you are able to is helpful) , as being an academic isn’t the answer, I say find your own truths in whatever way you can, just don’t steal someone else’s.
In love and respect,