We have all seen this play out in skin bleaching, eye and nose surgeries, death of mother languages and traditional clothes, and embarrassment and shame whenever we are being too “ethnic” in front of white people.We have to actively fight the urge to whitewash our identities in order to be accepted.Some “allies” believe that by “sharing” their privilege with those who are systemically denied access (for instance, by having POC LGBTQIA friends or giving money to their causes), they are forgiven for their privilege.This notion of “trickle-down privilege,” just like trickle-down economy, only plays right into systemic injustices and inequalities by making the “social consciousness” of those at the top of the social ladder the basis for equality and justice. Don’t fall into the trap of secretly wanting to be white.
Ironically, this logic also applies to white people who fetishize people of color and exclusively date a specific ethnicity for this reason. We have been hardwired by hundreds of years of social hierarchies to desire those who are on the top of the food chain.Using these terms, I articulated the issue to my family of radical POC and found out that this is a pervasive and under-addressed issue in our community.After many thought-provoking and deeply-personal conversations, I have listed five steps that reflect upon practices of dating, sex, and love that will further empower us as people of color. Think of all the reasons why you find this person attractive and how much of it has to do with their status and privilege. Maybe the object of your desire has “good taste”—in clothing, in music, in food, in books, and so on—all of which are purchased.It gave a voice to the helplessness I’ve felt for years, unable to address certain obsessive patterns of behavior from people of color I loved and respected.Kicking colonialism’s butt is about giving land, natural resources, and cultural heritages back to people of color, and it’s about more than that, too.
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