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I usually don’t publically rant about this cause it’s a touchy topic, but I absolutely need to get this off my chest. Let’s talk about how we all need to stop invalidating forms of racism that we ourselves have not experienced (1/?)
Last night city council voted to condemn Trump’s “send her back” chants and a councilwoman spoke. She came to the states when she was 16 from India. When she was describing how often she is told to go back to her country and the racism she faces, she began to cry (2/?)
This councilwoman is often criticized for being an immigrant (and in public office, no less). Just today we received an email from a man saying she shouldn’t be in the city because “we don’t even know where she came from” and “she barely speaks English” (3/?)
My supervisor (a black woman in her 50s/60s) and a coworker (a white man in his 30s/40s) and I were talking today about the meeting last night. But to my surprise, when my supervisor was talking about the councilwoman’s speech, she rolled her eyes (4/?)
She then said “I couldn’t get behind that” (in regards to her crying). I was extremely confused to say the least. Then my supervisor explained that she didn’t feel bad because she (the councilwoman) had no idea what she (my supervisor) went through growing up (5/?)
My supervisor claimed that the councilwoman “didn’t understand.” I finally said “I mean, to be fair, she (the councilwoman) more than likely did face racism and oppression going up.” (I said most likely but obviously she did, and continues to) (6/?)
My supervisor said “but she wasn’t denied going to certain schools. She’s never been denied the right to walk into a grocery store. Growing up I had hand me down uniforms and broken books” (7/?)
And that’s when it hit me. My supervisor truly believed that this woman hasn’t experienced racism “worthy” enough to complain about (8/?)
I remained quiet as my supervisor continued to list off the racism she faced as a child that this councilwoman supposedly did not, which is what made her heartfelt speech worthy of being scoffed at. I was horrified. (9/?)
How can you take down a fellow woman, a fellow minority, simply because you do not understand her oppression in comparison to your own?
This is the problem with how we view racism today. We see it as a competition. We try to disregard others struggles because “ours was worse.” We ignore — roll our eyes at — other people’s tears because “well they don’t know what *I* went through” (10/?)
The day before, when we were watching the videos of the rally, my supervisor clearly wasn’t upset the same way that I, whose father has been mocked mercilessly for his accent and repeatedly told to go back to where he came from, was (11/?)
And today, it was clear why. She has never experienced — she did not empathize with — THAT kind of racism. But tell me — because you have never been hurt by certain words, does that make them any less hurtful to the one in pain? (12/?)
The councilwoman did not experience growing up black in the era of Jim Crow. And my supervisor did not experience leaving her home at 16 to a new country, not even knowing English. To say she was never poor, never discriminated against, is naive, to say the least (13/?)
And the fact that my supervisor assumed she was never denied privileges or access to places only showed how blind she was. This woman is brown and speaks with an accent. I am certain she has. Why do I know this? (14/?)
Because Hispanics are kicked out of stores and restaurants, and are ARRESTED, every day for the same reason.
But, again, my supervisor knows only English. She has no accent. She “didn’t understand” (15/?)
I’ve chosen to attribute most of my supervisor’s comments to her age, because I know many adults with the same attitude: they scoff at others’ traumas and discrimination because they want to believe they had it worse (16/?)
But, sadly, I know so, so many in my own generation who do it too. We want to compare slavery and holocaust, concentration camp and detention center, hate crime after hate crime after hate crime, for the title of “WE suffer the most” (17/?)
Your struggles become no less valid because someone else shares them. And your struggles become no less valid because someone else does NOT share them.
Stop mocking others’ trauma because you don’t understand it or have never experienced it. And once we stop competing with each other in the oppression olympics, maybe we can finally learn to lift each other up
I leave y’all with this💜💚
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