Dear Kim Kardashian: you happily model for magazines that constantly make women feel fat or just bad about themselves in general, so if you’re tired of people talking about your weight (regardless of pregnancy), just think of it as “reaping what you sow”.
I just realized something… my criteria for friends/friendship isn’t whether or not someone likes the same things I like… it’s whether or not you’re a good person. Common interests are just gravy.
Edit: it’s also pretty awesome to learn about things that you totally would not have been exposed to otherwise. I guess it’s ALL gravy.
I’ve been wanting to repost this for a while now (but never got around to it), but reading Carla’s story Safe Space really hit me, and reminded me about it. It’s something I wrote back in 2005 about racism (and discrimination in general), and my feelings on the subject pretty much haven’t changed.
Note: I’ve disabled all the (old) links. Also, If I can figure out how to work some of the old comments in here, I’ll put ‘em in. I’m just too lazy right now. Also, there’s a second part (obviously), which I’ll probably repost tomorrow, if I don’t put some of these comments next.
shitstorm, part 1
OK, for a few days now, I’ve been mulling over this… I want to talk about what it’s like to be a minority. To be discriminated against, to be picked on, and to have jokes made about you. Some people may not know what it feels like. Some people may well know what it feels like, but they don’t think about it, so this serves as a reminder. Some people know exactly what it feels like, but feel like they can’t say anything, lest they be branded as just “hissing and bitching.”
It started out as a racism post, but really, it’s about all discrimination. It’s been really hard to put the words down, because there’s so much to say. I think it might take more than a few posts to get out everything I want to.
So. How do I explain what it’s like to be a minority and be discriminated against? Let’s see…
What happens when you try to date someone? Your date has to go through her friends saying “Can you believe she’s dating Chubbs? He’s fat! What does she see in him?”
And what about when you have to go on a job interview? Interviews are scary anyway, but imagine that every time you interview somewhere, you wonder to yourself whether or not your extra size will be an issue.
It doesn’t sound very nice so far, does it? Now, imagine that you can never lose that extra weight. Never. You will always be Chubbs, no matter what. Can I still call you Chubbs? Dude, it’s just a joke, what are you getting all riled up about? Jeezus, Chubbs… settle down. Can’t we all just get along? It’s no big deal.
OK, Chubbs. Now imagine you see someone else being called Chubbs by his friends. Are you “over-sensitive” because you stick up for the other Chubbs? Because you know what it’s like to be in his position? But Chubbs, they’re just joking around. Don’t chubby people have senses of humor? Chubbs, you just need to suck it up and deal with it. That’s how society is.
What’s the point of the Chubbs analogy? I’m not very eloquent, so I’ll use Maine’s words:
Of all the things your friends could say when they talk to you, they chose that. They didn’t go with your name. Or your nickname. Or your affinity for Star Trek (hey Capn Kirk!). They decided your defining feature was your appearance. And they call you that to remind you that you’re different from them, and, slightly inferior in some contexts.
Thats the part that bites hardest. When you’re reminded that when they see you, they see your race, and not your person. That’s not harmless. It’s dividing. It reduces you. And its definitely not harmless.
Which brings me to the subject of racial jokes. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve told racist jokes. I’ve laughed at racist jokes. Of course, at points in my life, I’ve also believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I’ve grown up since then.
OK, so, jokes.
People seem to think that just because something’s a “joke,” that nobody should be offended by it. I mean, look at this guy (he’s long since gone now). He put up a racist joke (for reference, it’s the sprinkler joke near the bottom of this page (no longer exists) and a white joke (to show that he’s not a racist). It’s a joke, but if he ever said that in the presence of a black man or a mexican, it’s a safe bet that it won’t seem like a “joke”, and he’ll get his ass kicked. Seriously. And he seems to think that, since he’s got black friends, he can joke about stuff like this. Like, it’s a free pass to say racist things. “I’m not a racist, I have black friends, and…. nigger nigger nigger.” How ludicrous is that? Does he really think that people won’t be offended, just because “we all know he’s not a racist”? Whether he’s a racist or not, that sure is a fucking shitty thing to say.
Here are some silly questions… if you’re not a racist, why do you feel the need to talk like one? If you talk like a racist, why are you surprised when people get offended? And really, your “black friends”… would you tell that joke in front of them? Would they kick your ass sideways? Even if they didn’t, I’d venture a guess to say that they’d at least be thinking “Gawd, what a racist thing to say. What a dick.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that nobody should joke anymore. All I’m trying to say is that, when you tell a racist joke, consider what you’re saying. Consider other people’s feelings. And consider the idea that, what’s a joke to you might be something very serious to them, and that they may take offense to your “joke.”
So, am I still being over-sensitive? I used to think so, but it was brought to my attention that “… it seems you really struggle with feeling that you have the right to be offended by, or hurt by, racism. It seems as though you feel as though you should somehow be ‘over it.’” [thanks for pointing that out, Jill]
Well? Should I be “over it?” Let’s think about this… racism is still around, people still discriminate, call me names, whatever… and I should be “over it?” I should be “over it”?!?!? Funny, I was thinking “Geez, why didn’t I get mad earlier? Why didn’t I stand up for myself earlier?”
Why should I just suck it up and take it? Because that’s how things are? You’re saying I should let people belittle me, insult me, and then trivialize what’s important to me… just because that’s how things are? Well fuck, things need to change.
You still think I’m over-sensitive? I’m not. People are just assholes, and I’m calling ‘em on it.
I want to tell you all about Carla Harker, my new friend I met from the internets.
I don’t know what made me follow a gamer girl/writer, someone who I would likely have nothing in common with, but I guess that’s part of the fun of following somebody totally new (I mean, like, TOTALLY. Like, none of my existing friends follow her; I just happened to find her all on my own). But she seemed smart and she seemed funny, which is basically the main criteria for being my friend (well, that, and being accepting of weird people like me).
So yeah, I’ve got the “I’m glad I don’t regret following you on Twitter” smile going. If you want to check her out yourself: @DeadlyAccurate
And then, AND THEN… she went and wrote this story about a guy named John called Safe Space. It really hit me. I know that feeling. I feel like I shouldn’t have to, but I know that feeling. It reminds me of something I wrote back in 2005, which I’ll post tomorrow (meaning: in a little while), but I wanted to get this out before I nodded off. So go read that story already!
(unless you’re Carla. and hey, Carla? if you’re worried that I sound like a goofball, don’t worry. MAYBE 4 people will read this (including us))