Confession: Oppressed and Privileged

I am a racist, sexist and transphobic.

I suffer from internalized racism. Sometimes I question if what white people said are true. I’ve allowed what the white-owned media says about my people and have thus applied that to me, hence by low self-esteem and low expectations of other blacks when I’m down and tired.

However, I have certain harsh opinions regarding whites. I believe all whites are racist. I have low expectations of them as well, because so far, I see the white racism creeping up somewhere taking another chance to offend someone. I see white racism seemingly winning more battles than losing. I see whiteness is being permanent with no end in sight.

I don’t have much views regarding other races. Yet, I admit that I sometimes place them on higher platforms as opposed to my own. Even though it is the result of existing in a highly racially charged nation, I still blame myself.

I am also sexist and misogynistic in my views regarding women. My less-than pleasant experiences with women influenced me to be angry at women. I sometimes think they were all superficial when it comes to them finding mates, especially when I get emotionally hurt by one. I sometimes think they all want bad boys or rich dudes. In the end, I began “fearing” women because I thought they all hated me for not being “bad” enough or loaded with cash.

As a side note, I still like checking women out, especially if they’re showing skin and possess thickness in certain areas. (I still like big butts). I get naughty thoughts when I see a beautiful woman. Sometimes I see that before I see her heart and soul. And sometimes, I care little about them as opposed to viewing their round butts.

Finally, I am transphobic. I lashed out at a transsexual online when she flirted with me before she admitted that she was born as a male. I thought men with feminine mannerisms were instantly gay. And even though I never considered their lifestyle as offensive to God and I didn’t care if they get married with someone of the same sex, I still didn’t understand the lifestyle, and I hated it when they flirted with me.

Now, I know you’re wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, there are two reasons: One, goes back to a quick convo I had with a Twitter follower. The other is an important lesson that even I have to learn.

I told him about my online encounter with a transsexual that ended in me leaving in a huff. He wanted to know why I was pissed. For a while, I looked back and thought long and hard wondering what caused me to be cross with her.

Then, it hit me. I was afraid, not afraid of her per sae, but afraid of the possibility that I thought that the young lady was beautiful. Thus, I was afraid of my sexual preference being questioned.

This young woman most likely didn’t know I was heterosexual just like I didn’t know she was really a man. So, she flirted with me for a few minutes, and I flirted a little back. Soon, she revealed that she was biologically male. And, it shocked me in such a way that I furiously pushed her away.

I am heterosexual, and as such, I have privilege over LGBT members. If there’s one thing privileged people fear the most is losing their privilege. I feared having that privilege taken from me. I was afraid to admit that I thought that a transsexual I was talking to looked fine.

Today, I am working hard to rid myself of the whitewashed attitude. I am fighting all sexist and misogynistic views that are implanted within my mind. And, I am changing my prejudices regarding LGBTs, especially transsexuals.

However, as liberated as I seem, I am not above getting trapped, especially when I let my fingers act before my brain. Just because you are more “aware” of what’s going on around you, as opposed to some people who prefer to remain sheltered in their little worlds, doesn’t mean you’re above mistakes, especially if you possess some privilege over the next group.

The lesson is that even though you are fighting, in some way, for the rights of certain people, even your own, you can and will make mistakes. As a heterosexual black male, I possess two kinds of privileges: being a male and being straight. Even though I am still a member of a group marginalized and stereotyped in harsh – even fatal ways, I still have male privilege over my sistas. And that can cloud one’s judgment when being an activist. See #solidarityisforwhitewomen and #blackpowerisforblackmen.

When those who possess privilege over another group becomes an ally for that group, there is a chance that privilege will show itself off in hurtful ways. Furthermore, privilege has a nasty habit of avoiding accountability. The mistakes are played off because the privilege person is ignorant of the repercussions of what happened. Sometimes an apology is made, but it holds no mutual sincerity. The fake apology is addressed in a way that directs guilt back to the offended party, and the privileged learns nothing from that ordeal.

The best way for the privilege to truly help is to avoid making the discussion or movement about themselves. Those who do seek only their own exaltation, not working towards justice or equality. By doing so, they have a much less chance of derailing or antagonizing others, and a better chance of getting some insight into the subject.

It is not easy for me to write this post. This may make me seem like a hypocrite, and I don’t blame you if you stop visiting. I write this to remind everyone that I am NOT the best person to follow or get some information. (The websites on the left side of the homepage are among the best places to learn about PoC, women and LGBT because they are written by PoC, women and LGBT.)

Yet, I feel that it is important that the first step to being truly aware is to admit that you’re still ignorant in some way. You’re only human, and you will make mistakes, but it’s the best policy to admit them , hold yourself responsible and learn from them. Otherwise, you won’t grow as a human being.

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28 thoughts on “Confession: Oppressed and Privileged

  1. Bravo. Good job brothawolf, that is great u are putting ur feelings out there. I appreciate u for acknowledging ur privilege as a black male, even if they are less than other males of other races. I’ve never had someone kinda trick me into thinking they were a man when they were a woman but i’d feel uncomfortable and be like ok well I guess we can be friends idk lol. As for women being superficial, well some are and so are some men. They are just superficial for different things for men its looks for women it may be a combination of things. Either way they pay in the end for their superficial views. I’ve seen women get rid of a good guy to be with another and end up heart broken and divorced, and I’ve seen men get with a beautiful woman that is into materialistic things over a decent looking woman that isn’t and end up in debt. People have to learn and lie in the bed they’ve made.

    Since we are sharing, I can’t stand some ppl that are asleep and say ignorant things and i am losing patience, I get angry at them. Also I don’t hate men but I hate the double standards and I hate cleaning up after mofos all the time and them complaining about the one time they have to clean up after me. I also can’t stand trolls and the ppl that defend their freedom of speech, well what about my freedom to not be insulted by their speech. Also I lie when other women say they like idris elba I say I do too, but I don’t his accent is cute but I just can’t get into him. I still like usher but sometimes I wonder if I suffer from colorism, as when I think of men I find attractive most are lighter skinned. I have things to work on, but I know I can figure it out as time is on my side.

    1. I’ve harbored my frustration for a long time, until I started lightly researching feminism and black feminism.

      I admit that there were two times where I exerted by privilege on issues with women. In an article about Kreyshawn, the white female rapper, I was upset that she was appropriating blackness for coolness. I commented that I think she should be slapped. I didn’t know I was advocating violence against a woman, even though she was wrong. A commenter reminded me what I did, and I regret saying it.

      The second time was when I did a guest post for Rippa about the Harriet Tubman slave sex tape. A woman expressed her frustration towards black men. I asserted by privilege again by telling her that not all black men are like this. I ignored that it was not about placing all black men into one category. It was about the black men who would throw black women under the bus for whatever reason, especially activism.

      I never thought of myself of suffering from colorism, but I started questioning myself recently. Although, I admit there were some girls I grew up with who were dark-skinned, but I still thought they were cute and fine.

      1. i’m sorry but the white female rapper thing I would’ve thought the same thing, ok maybe not be slapped but be mad that they are trying to take our things over and get more attention for it than the original ones that have been doing it. anytime I get upset about a woman or man saying or doing something I just say she/he need to sit down somehwhere lol. I think black men and black women have a knee jerk reaction when someone is saying something about our gender even when we sometimes know they are not saying all. as for the colorism thing, I still find darker skinned men attractive, but the ones I see in my part of town are not as fine as usher rofl. also before I have started to see firsthand what some women are like and how they use the kids to get back at the father I used to think it was most or all the mans fault for not being in his child/children’s lives, but now I see some women are crazy and make it difficult, expensive, and stressful for some men to see their kid.

      2. One thing I’ve learned is that not everything’s in black and white, no pun intended. Like the stereotype about black men avoiding responsibility is so prevalent in today’s imagination that it’s considered fact, and seeing black fathers actually doing their thing are the exception to the rule. Yet, there are indeed some women who make it difficult. It must also be acknowledged the same way we have to acknowledge that some women falsely report rape or domestic violence. It doesn’t happen often and it doesn’t negate the fact that there are way more male rapists and wife beaters out there, but it doesn’t mean that’s always the case whenever we hear about them.

    2. “Since we are sharing, I can’t stand some ppl that are asleep and say ignorant things and i am losing patience, I get angry at them. Also I don’t hate men but I hate the double standards and I hate cleaning up after mofos all the time and them complaining about the one time they have to clean up after me. I also can’t stand trolls and the ppl that defend their freedom of speech, well what about my freedom to not be insulted by their speech. Also I lie when other women say they like idris elba I say I do too, but I don’t his accent is cute but I just can’t get into him”
      Same! Oh my gosh, I like his accent, but not really him…and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like British accents…when I think of a black king I think of my boyfriend lol jk

  2. And this is why I made it a point to subscribe to your blog, BrothaWolf. Real stuff. I’ve found that often, when I go into a dark space, I learn something powerful and new. I call it “going deep and staying long,” like I’m diving (or being thrown) into darkness for a purpose. The tricky part is I don’t get to choose when, so I never see it coming. I despair less quickly now than I did when this happened earlier in my life because I’ve now learned to expect a lesson of some kind that is so deep and so remarkable that I couldn’t have reached it except by walking through the valley of the shadow of death. It doesn’t make the walking less painful, but it does mitigate the anxiety somewhat. Pain with a purpose is easier to bear. And the lessons are what I’m in it for. If I can be useful and helpful to the human race, I’m happy. But the process I’m in is to free myself from the nightmares of the past and the death-dealing programming I have undergone as a member of this society. White Supremacy and the patriarchy are so insidious because they are embedded in us like a virus. And we can’t walk through the door to freedom until we know the door is there, see it, unlock it, open it, and move. Kudos on another fine post in which you, once again, lead the way.

    1. Thanks.

      It is painful discovery, especially if you’ve been told you’re a good person all your life. We can’t believe that good people would harbor prejudices or hate. So, we normally deny it. We ever consider it insulting in fact. We consider it as being told that we’re evil when it’s not always the case. Sometimes we have to consider that we are brainwashed.

  3. Incidentally, it took me a long time to realize that the programming that produces and maintains homophobia and transphobia has everything to do with making sure the White male power structure stays in place. All the penises have to be rigidly on one side of the boat and all the vaginas have to be on the other or it will be more difficult to “explain” why men are “naturally” supposed to be dominant and privileged. We can’t have any confusion about where people “belong” or the whole system starts to unravel.

  4. Well at least you put it out there, and you were transparent. I truly believe in that idiom, about our secrets making us sick, I believe if you want to stop the bleeding and hurt, don’t cover it up expose it so it can be healed. I admire you for being transparent and confessing, when you learn better,you do better. Peace.

  5. As I read this I was struck by two things. One, it’s a powerfully written piece, the message of which is one we all need to learn again and again throughout our lives. The other of which is that while I trust your intent, I have to assume your understanding of trans identities and trans people’s lives has, up until now been fairly minimal. Most of us don’t take the time to look beyond our own lives unless forced to do so, I have a great deal of respect for the fact that you do make that effort. I also appreciate that fact that you’ve always shown me respect when we’ve chatted on twitter and that our conversation contributed to you taking the time to look a little deeper into lives outside of your experience.
    I know I follow you because I value your candor and perspective on life. As a member of a minority group I’m well aware that some lived experiences can only be sympathized with, some things are too far from our own life to truly empathize, and given that I will never get to walk a mile in your shoes, I feel it’s my responsibility to at least listen to what you have to say about the world as you experience it, and if possible to learn something from you.

    So on trans identity.

    This sentance that you wrote seems like a good place to start unpacking things:

    “This young woman most likely didn’t know I was heterosexual just like I didn’t know she was really a man”

    When you say she likely didn’t know you were heterosexual I get the impression that your understanding of trans women is that we are a subset of gay men. That, had she of known you weren’t gay, she wouldn’t have made the mistake of flirting with you.
    If you start from the position that trans women are in fact men, then that idea seems perfectly rational. It is, however, wrong for a number of reasons.

    Firstly Sexual orientation and gender identity have nothing to do with each other. Trans women can be gay, straight or bi just like anyone else.

    Secondly, biological sex and gender identity are independent.
    As you state, you are a heterosexual male, you are also cisgendered.
    Cisgender is that opposite of transgender, and just means that your internal sense of self matches up with the way the rest of the world sees you and the opinion of the doctor present at your birth in terms of what gender you understand yourself to be.
    Now some people will make the claim that your external genitalia and your chromosomes dictate whether you are male or female but in the real world it’s not actually that simple.
    Some people are born intersexed, that is, their external genitals are indeterminate at birth and that can happen for a number of reasons. They might have XXY, XYY, XXX or a whole range of other chromosomal variations that mean they can not be assigned to either the male or the female category with any certainty.
    Stranger still, depending on how genes are expressed during fetal development, it is perfectly possible for a child born with XY chromosomes to never develop ANY male physical characteristics. There has even been one recorded instance of an XY female carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth to a healthy child.
    In short, biology is simply more complicated than most people realize and there is no meaningful or clear boundary between the sexes at the level of the individual.
    As to gender, another non-scientific word, we have to understand that we are talking about two different things here as well.
    Gender as a social construct reflects the way in which a given culture expects men and women to behave, and how that culture enforces those behavioral norms. It’s also something that changes over time as a cultures values change. I.e. Women can wear trousers today and no one thinks it’s strange, but 60 years ago it would have seemed very odd to most people.
    By contrast, Gender Identity refers to one’s internal sense of whether you are male or female.
    As a cisgendered male, your experience of gender identity is basically zero, in the same way that if you have perfect eyesight you experience of being colorblind is zero. Gender identity is simply not something you have the capacity to be aware of unless, for some reason it doesn’t match up to your physical body. By contrast, those of us who are transgendered experience the very disconcerting sensation that we do not have the correct body.
    For many of us, this sensation is so string, so overwhelming that the only way we can make our lives livable is to do everything possible to change our bodies to reflect who we know we are inside. That is why, as I’m typing this, I am in quite a lot of pain because yesterday i paid a doctor $3000 to make an incision in my throat, and carefully cut away as much cartilage as possible from my adams apple to remove the bump there.
    Please take a second to feel you throat, put your fingers on that bump of cartilage and actually think about that. What would drive someone to do that if it was medically unnecessary? When, for them, $3000 is a small fortune?

    Which gets me back to the most important point here, that girl who flirted with you wasn’t “really a man” she IS really a woman. To say that she’s a man because a doctor made that decision at birth doesn’t actually stand up to intellectual rigor. Common wisdom is often anything but wise, and just because most of the time you can look between a baby’s legs and get it right, doesn’t automatically make it right every time.

    Now, where does that put you and your heterosexuality?
    Sadly the answer is “at risk”
    That is, in a society where being gay or lesbian or especially being trans are considered to be sick, wrong, morally abhorrent behaviors, clearly associating with such people creates an avenue for others to question your hetero status.
    I don’t need to go further into that because after all, that was the point of the post to which I am responding. You obviously understand that.
    But you do still seem to think that trans women are men, and that is a problem.

    I am not a man, I am a woman. I also happen to be transgendered. In another $40,000 or so, not even a doctor will be able to tell you I was born male.
    I’m also pretty attractive. If a hetero guy is attracted to me, that doesn’t make him gay. If I wanted to have sex with gay guys, trust me, I could have stayed male bodied and had plenty of it. As it is now, gay guys are far les likely to be attracted to me than the straight ones are.
    Which is good. Because I’m not a gay man and I gave no interest in having a relationship with a gay man.
    Personally, I’m attracted to people who see me as I see myself, that is a bisexual transgender woman.
    Of course, there are a lot of people who simply can’t or won’t believe that I’m a woman and honestly I don’t care to much so long as they keep that opinion to themselves and don’t try to murder me, assault me of lobby to have my human rights taken away.
    I get that for some people, my medical history makes the idea of dating me a no go. That makes me sad, but I’m not going to tell them they should feel other than the way they do because, frankly, they can’t.
    We don’t have control over our emotions in that way, and to expect you or anyone else to read this, and suddenly have some moment of epiphany is unrealistic, but the pervasive notion that I am really a man is a big problem because it creates the story that I’m out to trick people and that simply isn’t true.
    I’m out to live my life, like everyone else I hope to meet nice people whom I can have meaningful relationships with.
    Generally I disclose my trans status pretty quickly and openly because to not do so puts my life at risk, but just like any other girl I like to go out to the club , have a few drinks and dance with friends. If some guy decides he want’s to hit on me I’m not about to tell him right there and then that I’m trans because to do so puts me at risk. At the very least it can lead to a confrontation where my night is ruined, at worst it can result in physical violence.
    As a trans person, if I choose not to disclose that fact, it isn’t because I’m trying to sneak into some guys pants.
    I personally don’t like playing Russian roulette, and the idea of having sex with someone who might literally decide to murder me if they learn that I’m trans is terrifying.
    Honestly it would be a whole lot better if those people who, for whatever reasons (I won’t judge, really), prefer not to date trans people would go around wearing a “no trans please” T-shirt or something. That would take a lot of stress out of my life.

    So to recap.
    Trans women are women. They are not “really men”
    Same goes for trans men but in reverse.
    My pronouns are “She” and “Her” on account of how I’m a woman, not a man.

    “Transgender” is never a noun – I am a transgender woman, or trans woman, I am not “a transgender”. I wouldn’t refer to you as “a black” and I appreciate the same in return.

    Also, please note that I wrote this response while recovering from surgery and a little dopey from the painkillers. I’m happy to clarify further if anything i wrote is unclear.

  6. As a Black woman, this post didn’t offend me. I am glad that you are honest with yourself and doing some self reflection. No one is perfect. You are not a hypocrite for admitting to your flaws but I still consider you a warrior in the cause against the White supremacy system.

    This was a very well written post by the way and although you will never know the experience of being a Black female, I like that you recognize the privileges Black males have over Black women. I don’t know a lot of Black men who would admit to the privileges they have over Black women. Or even speak out about their views on homosexuality.

    1. Thanks. I don’t think a lot of black men realize they have privileges over black women. One thing I’ve learned from blogging is that privilege can create mental blind spots.

      1. Well said. I like your posts and I want you to keep on going. It is nice to see a Black man that looks out for his race and most of all himself. I see way too many Brothas in my generation, I am young by the way, disrespect their race and Black women. So you are definitely a fresh air to those types of Black men.

  7. Methinks you said a lot of shit a lot of Black men think everyday, myself included though I consider myself only but male as manhood has escaped me.

    You should feel really good for letting it out and purging them demons that haunt us in out sleep as well eyes wide open. I think this post has put me one step closer to manhood strictly by osmosis.

    Thank you.

  8. I am going to confess something here and when I get the chance I will give you full detail in regards to much of what you said. For starters I don’t think you are alone in how you feel or even what you said. I frankly have found that I truly dislike online white people. Mainly because they use online as a means to expose their own racist desires. To feel comfortable in what they say and be anonymous.

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