Oyce (oyceter) wrote,
Oyce
oyceter

IBARW 2: Terms, definitions, and disclaimers

Welcome to Intl. Blog Against Racism 2! Check the link for how to participate.

This is going to be my general terms, defininitions and disclaimers post, so I don't have to write a massive disclaimer in front of every post I make. In fact, the statements in this post probably hold for most or all of my others on race as well.

Terms and Definitions:

Racism - prejudice + power. I differentiate racism from racial prejudice by power (historical, political, economical, and social). That is, while all races are racially prejudiced, what has happened historically (and is still happening) is that the race in power will systemically oppress other races. This oppression is not necessarily conscious, but it is self-perpetuating that it is nearly everywhere. Beverly Daniel Tatum likened racism to smog we all breathe in or a moving walkway going backward. Racism also exists globally and generally with a similar hierarchy, although individual occurences of racism in countries will by necessity differ by the country or region's history, political climate, racial composition, and etc.

Race - a biologically artificial construct that has become a socially real construct, thanks to how societies discriminated on a basis of race. See: the scientific revolution and the science of racism, along with the rhetoric of colonialism, which was often racially based.

Racist - actions or people that uphold institutional racism. People don't have to consciously be racist to act in a racist manner or say racist things, and most of the time, I believe people do so unintentionally. I think that people can by and large be good people and still support racism as an institution. On the other hand, that doesn't dilute the effects. Going with Tatum's moving walkway analogy, being not-racist in a racist society generally means that you are standing still on the walkway. You aren't doing anything to move yourself even further backwards (as actively racist people do), but you are still moving backwards. Being actively anti-racist means not only moving forward on the walkway, but moving forward at a rate that outpaces the backwards movement.

Anti-racist - See "Racist" for the moving walkway analogy. Also, when I use "anti-racist," I don't mean people who are not in the KKK or don't scream racial epithets or fail to exhibit other such flamboyantly racist behaviors. In other words, not deliberately being racist is not the same as anti-racist. By "anti-racist," I mean someone or something that actively works against racism as an institution.

White privilege - the flip side of racism is white privilege. I know many people don't feel like they have privilege at all, especially given other oppressions they are suffering, but it is possible to be oppressed on one axis (being female, frex) while also benefiting from white privilege. Oppressions and privileges intersect and that one axes of oppression does not trump or undercut or invalidate another. Also, white privilege is a global phenomenon, particularly since the world is still recovering from imperialism, which was by and large a white act against people of color.

People of color (POC) - I use this to mean ethnic minorities, racial minorities, non-white people, etc. I know the term is problematic: it is currently the mainstream term in US anti-racist circles, not internationally; it implies that "white" is not a color; it is uncomfortably close to "colored." On the other hand, I don't like using "minorities" to describe POC, as often they aren't the minorities in terms of global population or in certain areas. I also don't like using "non-white," because it posits "white" as the norm and defines people with the lack of a trait and not something in and of themselves. I also use "women of color (WOC)," "fans of color (FOC)" and "characters of color (COC)."

I think those are the major ones, though I'm sure there's a lot that I just don't have time to cover.

Disclaimers:

Wow, you made it all the way down here!

My general disclaimer is that I speak for myself: I do not speak for all POC, all fans of color, all Chinese people, all Asian people, all Chinese women, or all anything. Heck, a lot of the time, I don't even speak for all of me, given what time of the day it is and how awake I am. You may find that something I say contradicts something another POC says, or something another third-culture kid from Taiwan who moved to the US has said. Amazingly, we are all individual like that ;).

I am also not disparaging the effects or existence of sexism, ablism, heterosexism, classism, and the many oppressions in this world. They are all important and they are all hurtful; furthermore, oppressions intersect and interact, and all of them should be battled. There is no hierarchy of oppressions.
Tags: ibarw, race/ethnicity/culture
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