jennifergearing: photo of jen looking at the camera (Default)
[personal profile] jennifergearing
Chally recently posted at Feministe about her experience of a racist comment in the classroom when she was in highschool. She didn't recount the comment in question, but she did go through some details of the aftermath.

This brought back to me a news report I heard on the radio recently about the recent furor in the Rugby League NSW State of Origin team camp when player Timana Tahu walked out and quit the side for the second game of the series after assistant coach Andrew Johns made a racist remark about Qld player Glen Inglis. It was reported without specifying what Johns said in the report I heard on TripleJ.

I recall being quite impressed with JJJ for not giving details of the remark, though I am unsurprised other news outlets have reported the specifics.

The reason I was impressed with the JJJ reporting, seems connected, to me, to the comment thread in response to Chally's post. There are a number of comments, from folks who afaik identify as white, who seem quite insistent on knowing what the comment that Chally's teacher made was. I can't help but wonder, if Chally did specify the comment, how many people would be commenting about whether the comment was racist, or 'racist enough' to warrant Chally's reaction to it.

And suddenly, I'm reminded of a comment thread some time ago, where, to be honest I can't even remember the post topic, but the thread ended up being about whether PoC was a valid term to use to describe PoC/non-white/racial minorities in Australia. The thread resulted in me staying the hell away from blog comments for a good 3-6 months. The best way I could describe it was a bunch of whitefolks having an abstract discussion about what racial minorities should call themselves. I remember commenting about feeling like a unicorn amongst all the white people talking about how their non-white friends never described themselves as PoC; and I remember talking about the reasons I use it and the reasons some of the people I know use it as a sign of alliances. I remember one white woman in the thread leaping on the comments of another non-white woman who talked about not liking it much, and pretty much ignoring my comments. I do recall one of the blog owners called her out on that, but I don't think it was responded to.

That comment thread made me feel like some kind of science project under a microscope; being poked and proded and talked about. It was dehumanising and hurtful. The fact that this same white woman, some months later, came back to the blog in question and participated in a round of discussion about feeling 'unsafe' at that particular blog caused my blood pressure, and my desire to set things on fire, to spike to an all time high.

That's why I completely understand that Chally didn't specify her teacher's comment, though there are a number of reasons why she may have chosen not to do so, and I don't presume to know what they are. Because I have no doubt in my mind that the comments would've included multiple discussions of how, 'objectively', the comment wasn't racist, or okay, it was racist, but it wasn't 'racist enough' to warrant Chally leaving the class. And why I wouldn't be surprised if there are discussions going on right now about whether Andrew Johns' comments were 'racist enough' to justify Tamina Tahu walking out on the NSW team; whether he should put his career before his 'sensitivity' when what we're talking about is him seemingly put a position between his career and having to sit through comments that disparage his humanity as some kind of motivation to do his job competitively.

This is why racial minorities have closed communities. This is why one of the unspoken rules is that intra-POC discussions are locked, to avoid white folks playing 'gotcha' and 'lookit the racist PoC' as much as possible. I am tired of being a science project. I am tired of whitefolks having 'objective', abstract discussions about the realities of my life and the lives of people I care about.

on 2010-06-15 10:18 am (UTC)
trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] trouble
Yes! The ...whatchamacallit things for FF - extensions? There's one called KillFile.


jennifergearing: photo of jen looking at the camera (Default)

May 2011

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About Jen

A 20-something fat, queer woman of colour living in Australia.

Reading: Fond of speculative and YA fiction, social justice theory in various forms. Would love to see more rounded fat/queer/female/of colour (and multiples of the above) characters in fiction.

Writing: Sometimes blogs at Hoyden About Town, dabbles in fiction now and then, hoping to find her creativity again.

Watching: Fond of sci-fi/fantasy television, with a strange weakness for cop shows. Would love to see more rounded fat/queer/female/of colour (and multiples of the above) characters on television.