It's so great. When I say "I help publish this periodical" or "I volunteer at that project," everyone assumes that I actually run the shit and am just being modest.
When I say "I am a radical feminist" people congratulate me.
When I speak out against oppression, almost none of which affects me, I am accorded high dignity as a principled freedom fighter rather than a "whiner" or someone "playing the [whatever] card."
In my dignified and principled way, I have been thinking about race lately, due to issues of unaddressed racism within the "Occupy" movement and a recent internet argument about New York City jazz pianists. If you asked me to tell you (and since I'm a white dude, you don't even need to ask) how I conceive the hierarchy of social injustice, my breakdown would basically be
1. Gender (as distinct from sexual orientation)
3. Race and everything else
I believe in "intersectionality," but like many, I also have my private notions of where oppression's rubber meets the road, of what the first and deepest cuts are, and the above are those notions. Part of that has to do with the raw numbers-- women get treated like shit in every country on earth, and constitute over half the population. There are even more poor people, percentage-wise, than there are women, but it seems to me that within the subgroup of the world's poor, women are disproportionately victimized and oppressed for their gender, much moreso than the poor are punished for their poverty within a given community of women.
I know that's probably not watertight logic. I'm not a fucking academic.
But lately, I am beginning to feel my analysis of race is faulty and inadequate. Now by that, I don't mean that I'm a racist. I am... but that's not what I mean. I absolutely cop to racism. I am the product of a racist society, and I wrestle with my own prejudices (including racial prejudice) daily, when I can be bothered to wrestle with them at all. Having that choice-- it being optional-- is another great aspect of being a white dude. Resisting my own prejudice is HEROIC, isn't it? Hell, even ADMITTING it is amazing! Where's my award?
I admit I am racist, just as I am sexist, just as I am homophobic, no matter how many cocks I suck... but that's not what I mean. What I mean is that I think I've been lazy and unfair in my own consideration of race's importance within the complex structures of oppression. I think I've been taking race for granted, which is a huge part of how racism works in our society.
That's more than enough chest-beating from me; I just wanted to air out some of this, to help organize my thoughts. Since this is a nola anarchist blog, and I am a nola anarchist who's been sent the password to it, I figured I'd do so in this venue.
Here are the blog posts by Nicholas Payton that are part of what's got me so pompously ruminating:
On Ben Ratliff’s Four Pianists On The Rise . . . .
More On The Difference Between Racism And Prejudice . . . .
Because nothing is simple and everything's fucked up, Payton just released a brilliant album titled "Bitches." It's not just good, it's "best of the year" good. He also said that those who object to the title are themselves bitches, so I'll accept that designation, continue to enjoy the intense wonderousness of his music, and continue to be bitchily annoyed that he called his album that. ...because, when all's said and done, I guess I'm not really threatened by it. It's great being a white dude.