The Perception of Sexism and Racism

The whole point of this post —the problem of dealing with sexism, classism, racism and other oppressive behaviors— is captured in this quote from @chocopompcirc:

Racism in this day and age is often subconscious and implicit; you may have to think critically about it, rather than just seeing a black body hanging from a tree and understanding that it’s wrong.

The problem, of course, is that most people don’t bother to think critically, and then go all defensive when other people do bother.

(It’s another article anaylsis post!)

Why It’s So Hard for Men to See Misogyny

By Amanda Hess

The article wasn’t very meaty, but it did present interesting points of analysis:

  • Law enforcement and legal authorities are quick to dismiss cases of clear misogyny. This can be done by denying the misogyny or by excusing it as a product of psychological problems. (See Santa Barbara shootings by Elliot Rodgers — they’d even say “we did not see this coming” (his dad) even though there were YouTube videos chronicling his distaste of women and desire to punish them all)
  • Lack of respect for women is supported by the tendency of men to “objectify and threaten women… taking care to harass women when other men aren’t around”. Citing the presence of a brother/father/boyfriend/husband is a more effective deterrent against persistent admirers (than respect for women’s decisions) because “aggressive men are more likely to defer to another man’s domain than to accept a woman’s autonomous rejection of him”.
  • Men don’t realize that they or other men are being aggressive and disrespectful of women’s space and rights because women appear to be positively engaging in those situations. Women, however, know that “placating these men is a rational choice, a form of self-defense to protect against setting off an aggressor”. (See how Connecticut prom rejection leads to death — women literally CANNOT afford to be rude).
  • Also notice how they would rather label these incidents as “killings” rather than “murder”. It’s a subtle media spin excusing the perpetrators.

Conclusion: If it’s not blatant like murder, or if there’s no one calling them out for their aggression, men won’t realize misogyny as it happens. And if there are people who call them out for their aggression or their misogynistic views, these people are suddenly gay/lesbians/feminazis/misandrists etc. 


Outrage: Why I Will No Longer Follow Humans of New York

By Chocolate, Pomp, and Circumstance

There are some points in the article that I did not agree on (presentation or logic-wise), but it presents a compelling parallel to the first article. Here are a few interesting points:

  • The imposition of values (e.g. people should be raised in a home with a culture of expectation, so that the children will be motivated to go to college) ignores a lot of nuances which exist in a community of minorities (in this case, Harlem, which has a concentration of poverty among black people). WHAT NUANCES? The fact that intergenerational poverty has made it difficult to prioritize the fostering of academic competition. The fact that there are always glass ceilings to break. The fact that no matter how hard they work, discrimination will always ensure that the heads of these households will go nowhere.
  • It was even cited that black people live in a level of poverty that only one percent of white people are exposed to. This means that there are really no grounds for anyone of privilege (even poor white people are relatively privileged) to casually assess the situation for this minority.
  • From activist Tim Wise, “psychologically speaking, white people are more likely to change their minds about this and other forms of racism if it is decoded and then given to them by a white person.” This is probably why it’s so helpful to have A-list celebrities and other white people join you as “allies” in your cause.
  • Lastly, she quoted in her edit something that’s definitely problematic: “Privilege not only causes white people to miss instances of racism but it causes them to think they get to set the terms or parameters for what constitutes racism as well… if it’s not obviously racist to a white person then it’s not racist.

Conclusion: Privileged people don’t recognize when they’re being racist or classist (unless, again, it is blatant like murder or no one calls them out —though I can think of a few scenarios where even when a harmless black teenager was murdered and it was called self-defense.) 



This is crossposted to my matter and debate blog


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