Through Red State Feminist‘s blog I found comments from The Lacrosse Forums about the Duke lacrosse team and allegations of rape (If you want to read more about this, I suggest heading over to Alas, A Blog. Ampersand has collected a number of good links and there’s good discussion too). So instead of repeating what has been said so well elsewhere (BlackFeminism.org, Ancrene Wiseass, New Kid, and many many other blogs), I’m just going to pick up on two little things.
First, at the above-mentioned Lacrosse Forums they mostly talk about how this, shall we say, incident will affect the sport of lacrosse and recruitment at Duke, and other such CRAP. W.T.F. Especially, well, interesting was the following comment,
Although I am beyond appauled by the acquisations, what if this does
turn out to be bogus on some level?
Is anyone else struck by the TWO misspellings in the first part of this poorly-constructed sentence? The first- appauled, which should read “appalled” comes out looking more like “applauded” and acquisations, which should be “accusations” but ends up looking like acquisitions. Which are in fact what my spell-checker wants to change them to. Is this an accident? I’d argue that it’s at least two helluva amazing Freudian slips. And at worst some kind of creepy code. Which leads me to my second point…
I’ve heard a lot of shock and dismay expressed about this incident. Which is good in and of itself, I mean it would be worse if we were completely desensitized or something. But I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly surprised. We live in a world that is incredibly racist, classist, sexist, and misogynistic. Priviledged white men (which these men certainly are, can you get more lily-white than a lacrosse team?!) still think they can purchase (acquire) a black woman and do what they will to her, and not suffer any consequences. And many men (and women, sadly) will quietly and secretly applaud. It’s a question of power, who has it, who doesn’t, and who uses that power and for what ends and by what means. We don’t openly acknowledge this, not anymore anyway. But these attitudes are there, under the surface.
I don’t really have any answers on how to fix this, except the response I always have to racism, sexism, classism. And that is that EACH ONE OF US has to examine our own personal racist, etc. ideas and thoughts- and you may have to go deep. As a Chicana, I have to remind myself that I am not automatically exempt from racist thoughts just because I belong to an ethnic minority. For an absolutely AMAZING and powerful example, I’m going to send you over to the newly re-surfaced blog of Woman of Color, check out her Niggers and Spics post. She says it better and more amazingly than I ever could. So take a few moments, hours, days, months, and years and examine your own assumptions, preconceptions of the “other” – whether it be race, sexuality, class, gender, sex, whatever. And ask yourself where you get those assumptions and preconceptions, why you have them, how you can change them if they need to be changed. Encourage your friends, your family to do this too. This is not an easy task, but it sure as hell is a humbling one. And maybe we can change the world, slowly, person by person.
**UPDATE: Jeez, sorry if this post sounded holier-than-thou! I got a bit carried away with my own little way of responding to racism. But it is something I struggle with internally quite a bit, and I admit that it’s galling to, well, admit that once in a while racist thoughts flash almost unconsciously into my brain. Like, “That Latina is really dark, she must be a maid.” Or the like, which has something to say about my own racism (and points out that it’s an issue of class too). I have many, many times heard that lighter skin is better, somehow more valued (I believe this is true in Black communities as well as Latino ones).