Follow the Soapbox
 
We Are (not) All One! October 4, 2014 / Mickey Z.

One of the most common refrains appearing all across the social media accounts of white or white passing (usually able-bodied, middle-class cis-male) activists goes a little something like this: “I don’t see skin color or gender, I just see the individual. For me, we are all one.”

An an able-bodied middle-class white cis-male activist, here’s a sample of how I choose to reply to such drivel:

As long as women across the globe fear the sound of footsteps behind them on a dark street, we are not all one.

As long as I can peruse media outlets and see people of my race widely represented, we are not all one.

As long as I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a “credit to my race,” we are not all one.

As long as a woman is battered (usually by her intimate partner) every 15 seconds; 75 percent of all rapes are committed by a man that the victim knows; and in 95 percent of reported domestic assaults, the female is the victim and the male is the perpetrator, we are not all one.

As long as there’s not a 1 in 8 chance of me being murdered but that ratio holds for trans women of color, we are not all one.

As long as I can plan a commute to any protest without wondering if the subway station is accessible, we are not all one.

As long I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color without any penalty for such oblivion, we are not all one.

As long as a woman is raped every 46 seconds in the U.S. (78 rapes per hour) and every day, four women are killed by their abusive partners, we are not all one.

I could go on--and on—but I’ll sum up: As long as I can confidently claim that I do not enjoy white male privilege and have most of my white friends agree and promptly start talking about (wait for it) “reverse racism/sexism,” we are definitely not all one.

Unless we learn to recognize, accept, and celebrate our differences without assigning privilege to them, we’ll never cultivate the kind of solidarity, intersectionality, and coalitions required to challenge the dominant culture while also creating the communities we’ll need to navigate the coming collapse.

In a society built upon a foundation of hierarchy, declaring “we’re all one”—regardless of our intentions—is yet another example of privilege run amok. If we wish to profoundly connect with our fellow humans, we must become allies…not “one.”

#shifthappens

(Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism can be ordered here.)


 


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