bullying & racism
Bullying and racism are often viewed as mutually exclusive. Which goes beyond me. Because in fact, racism (in microaggression form) is a specific type of bullying.
Take cyber bullying for example … a really big deal now since tons of teenagers have committed suicide because of it. Yet, I haven’t seen any mention of bullying along racial lines, although I know it happens. How many lives have been lost because someone was called a racial pejorative? If people die over being called ugly, then I know people have died due to being called a nigger. But that’s a statistic I may never know, because nobody cares to publicize it. (correct me if I’m wrong!)
It’s like people don’t think being called a nigger is a big deal. People don’t think, being in a classroom, and having people pull at your hair or make fun of your skin color or call you ghetto and etc., is psychological violence being enacted on that child.
People really don’t understand. Microaggressions work the same way being called ugly or stupid continually as a white person works. Except, you are ugly and stupid not because you’re Danielle specifically but because you’re black. If anything, that is way more undermining. You can’t help what race you were born as. That’s why you’ve got people, little children, wishing they have blue eyes and blonde hair.
Once, I saw an episode of Tyra (yes I watch Tyra) where a little girl… couldn’t have been more than 10, hated the fact that she was black. She thought black women were the ugliest women in the world (except she said Tyra was pretty, well, because she was light). But the children making her feel like that, won’t get in trouble. Unless it’s something “extreme” like being called a nigger, white kids never get in trouble for being racially insensitive. Because that’s just what it’s looked at as: racial insensitivity. Not psychological violence that can seriously impact the well-being of a child.
In general, white people feel justified in being racially insensitive. I’m the sensitive one because I don’t care for it. Which is why racial bullying is hardly ever addressed or cared about. That’s why a lot of people will get upset when a white woman cries when called a racist (because that’s bullying) but a black women wronged (in a racial manner) will get passed over.
This is one of the things that I’ve been thinking about with the collective white feminist shrug over Hugo’s attacks on black women and other WOC, and over white privilege and racism in feminism in general. There doesn’t seem to be a grasp of the idea that racism is abusive.
And that’s true in more than one way. It’s true in the sense that racism often manifests in the form of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse or violence. The things white feminists more routinely think of as abuse - particularly rape and sexual assault or harassment - are more likely to affect WOC. But when they talk about “survivors” - this awareness seems to just not be there. Survivors are implicitly white.
And it’s true in the sense that living with racism has similar potential mental health repercussions as what white feminists more routinely think of as abuse. Depression, triggers/PTSD like responses, anxiety, etc. Internalized blame and self-hatred.
It just struck me that the language of being a “survivor” carries a weight to it in feminist spaces - even when the needs of abuse survivors are being dismissed or ignored - that hasn’t carried over to talking about women of color, even though living with racism means living in an abuse culture around race, and experiencing racist abuse, and having to live with the lifelong toll of that, individually and collectively. Even when white feminists admit to being racist or being white privileged it’s often like this check box that they tick off - like, oh, yea, that wasn’t cool, my bad! - not usually a recognition that they were actively participating in a violent, abusive racial hierarchy that benefits them.
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