Verbal Martial Arts
I am allergic to racist comments like some people are allergic to pollen grains. When someone makes a racist comment, that is like saying they have a sick heart, mind, soul. They inform you of the value system of the people they bond with. More often than not racism is a tool of power. It is not true the ignorant are the most racist. And there you want to be thinking Bruce Lee.
Race, A Few Different Angles
The Art Of War, Bruce Lee
When someone makes a deliberate racist comment - they are not about to apologize, they are not about to talk about it - that signifies mental structure on their part. You avoid them, or you fight them, depending on if they are worth your time, or worth a fight. Only an equal and opposite reaction will be able to drive any sense into them. It is verbal martial arts. The racism is tactical. Glass walls and ceilings are made up of words. And they are fought with words.
Time Frame Analysis
You localize the comment in space and time for the dialogue purpose. Was the comment made? What was the comment? What was the context? What was the act? You put down the facts on the table.
The next question is, can the comment be perceived as racist? That is subjective. And if the two parties agree, is there an apology forthcoming?
But this method is expecting too much goodwill on the part of the parties concerned.
Thinking On Your Feet
Can you hit back in a split second? Often that is what it boils down to. There is that rapid response mechanism. And there is the hot iron response. Someone who makes a racist comment is clearly someone who does not want to get along with you. You grant them their wish. They disappear like fog from your social reality.
Racial Equality: A Collective Struggle
Ultimately it boils down to classic political work. It is about organizing masses of people around succinct political platforms. It is about mobilizing. It is about raising the political consciousness. It is about turning up the heat.
Do Women Have It Tougher?
I think every man is sexist, it is just a matter of degree. There are the obvious ones. If you are a man who gets really uncomfortable when having to discuss gender relations, you are an obvious guilty party. Then there are those who are uncomfy having to discuss anything they said or did that might maybe maybe considered sexist.
I grew up in a part of the world that is for gender today what the American South was for race 50 years ago. A wrong conclusion from that would be that someone like me should put up with the white woman brand of racism. I owe it to the women in the country I grew up in that I dig my heels and fight, because I am part of something really wonderful there. Nepal is on its way to have a parliament where one third of the seats will be reserved for women.
I am inviting of people who might want to talk and do business in the form of policy talk as might impact the women in Nepal. Here's some stuff I wrote in 1993.
(II)The Second Pillar : Sexual Equality
The Laws That Push The Women Down
The Political Battles
I see the African Americans as one on race. I see and seek solidarity. By extension I feel women have bigger reasons to seek solidarity across ethnic and cultural and religious lines. But solidarity has to be one based on political consciousness. It can not be an attempt at a hush hush arrangement on race and racism. It can not be an arrangement where white women lord over minority women. It has to be a proactive coalition of gender talk on specific gender issues, it has to be policy talk. The solidarity has to be expressed. It has to be an attempt at political enlightenment. The best can not be the enemy of the good. But at least the attempts have to be pointing in the right direction.
Women do have it tougher. Because gender relations are all around them. Minority men often have to step outside the family, and go and interact with big institutions to have to experience the racism. But women have men right there in the family. There is the father, the brother, the boyfriend, the husband, the friends, colleagues, the boss. And on top of that you have the corporations and the institutions of governmental power.
Women have less space than the minority males to step back and seek solidarity with other women. Chances are if you step back, you find yourself surrounded not with women who see you eye to eye but likely women who have internalized the sexism. Solidarity? Fat chance.
By definition progress on gender is about women coming together. And it is harder for women to come together. You end up having to reassess too many of the relationships that you are part of. And each such reassessment to be successful kind of requires positive cooperation from people who might or might not cooperate, likely will not. So it is tough.
The Dialogue Option
That is why I emphasize dialogue. There has to be open talk on race and gender. Getting people to talk is not a minor challenge. Most people walk around thinking they are the center of the universe. They got it, everyone else just needs to catch up. This is particularly true of race and gender. On social issues people really get defensive. People feel like you are trying to change their worldviews. It is like someone trying to convert me to Christianity which, by the way, with all due respect, I think is a dud religion.
The Spectrum On Gender
The Spectrum/Dialogue Concept Is Key To Power
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