Why Do I Have to Be One or the Other?
I’m on the road, Jack. For the next I’m not sure how long. At least a month and up to six weeks. Chinese university is on holiday – we are between semesters and there is Chinese New Year to celebrate or take advantage of, depending on your perspective on Chinese festivals. This year, I decided to leave the country. About half the time, I don’t. I don’t love travelling like I once did. Something about men existing and ruining a woman’s exploration into the unknown, or something. I get tired of being assaulted when I venture into the world.
But this time, I have a little personal business to take care of, and I don’t know, my energy feels a little more up than usual. So I’m travelling. I spent a few good days in Hong Kong, a night in San Francisco. And now I’m with old friends in Northern California. I’ll be around for a spell. Where to after that? Not sure.
Now here’s the thing about California. While it has its rednecks, and certainly while it has its pockets of conservative communities, it is a pretty hardcore liberal state. I know I’m not really telling you anything new. California is known for its ‘fruits and nuts’ of both the food and human variety.
Sometimes, when talking about American ideology, it is hard to separate viewpoints from official political stance. For me, it’s like trying to separate culture and religion for homogenous societies (for example, in the US or Canada, religion doesn’t define the culture in the way that it does in say, Israel or the Middle East). When you start talking about conservative and liberal, however, at least in the US, it is hard to separate the thinking from the politics. Liberal thinkers, on the whole tend to subscribe to Liberal/Democrat politics. This is a result of a two-party system. You can’t apply this in Canada, which is not a two-party system and where the Liberal party is much more conservative than the party to which most liberal thinkers subscribe. So for non-Americans, this whole conservative-liberal divide gets very confusing, especially when you are naturally categorized once you start talking about issues.
The next problem is that since there are only two real camps, you are assumed to be part of either one or the other. And frankly, neither one is attractive. Frequently, I find liberal and conservative thinkers are on the same page, even if the words sound different.
And so I find myself deep in liberal/Liberal country, and scared shitless. I am definitely not conservative, but I can’t get on board with unthinking, knee-jerk liberal reactionaries. I deliberately don’t talk politics or social issues here. It some ways, it’s worse in the US than it is in China. I’m expected to be a crazy, weirdo in China with my strange Western ways and viewpoints (I have to remind people that I am not like most Western people). But in the West, especially the US and even Canada, talking my crazy talk about feminism and religion and culture can get me hurt. So much for free speech and thinking in the West, eh? China is not a safe place to have opinions, but I’d argue that the US isn’t either.
My first night with friends, I found myself with my first conundrum/ethical issue. I’m staying with a liberal couple, and the female of the duo is a full-time activist/volunteer. And she announced that is is MLK (Martin Luther King) Day coming up. Whoops, forgot about that. Not on my radar. Apparently, there is going to be some event involving marching to some given place and then lots of food, probably some speeches. She is going and she really thinks her husband and I should go too. Now, knowing her and the type of person she is, I know this is more than a suggestion. At the risk of sounding high school, there is serious peer pressure here.
I don’t want to go.
My primary reason for this is that I’m a radical feminist. Yeah, you heard me. If you are American, you probably automatically put me in the conservative camp when I failed to support MLK Day. You’d be wrong. I’m not a white supremacist or a ‘down with black people’ kind of asshole. I’m a radical feminist, and I am done supporting Dick and his many manifestations. And MLK Day is about Dick. Black Dick, but still Dick. MLK was a misogynist who wanted to free black men. MEN. Black women were expected to support their men in this cause. And today, white women are expected to support black men, despite the fact that these men are doing better economically than even privileged white bitches (yes, there are data on this). Women of colour have always taken a back seat in this movement, which defeats the whole purpose for me. I support female causes, and I am also not taking reponsibility for white men’s racism, another thing white feminists are expected to do. I’m still waiting for a pile of black men to support a radical feminist cause (not a slut-walk where they have their cameras out to capture liberal feminist titties for future wanking purposes). Since that is never going to happen, I see no reason to support a black men’s rally. More precious gynergy wasting, imo. Female causes only.
But of course, I’m not allowed to say this to the woman who is hosting me in her home. I will have to fabricate a reason not to go as a fellow guilty white lady. In a dichotomous world, there is no third stance. There is no position where you can divert your energy and attention to women as a class without focus on race as a diversion and not be seen as a conservative racist. I hold true to the belief that racism is a direct result of misogyny and that focusing on the latter is the way to go in order to tackle both. But I can’t say that in public.
Welcome to America.
Posted on January 16, 2016, in Feminism, Human Rights, Male Privilege, White Women and tagged liberalism, Martin Luther King, misogyny, MLK, patriarchy, politics. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Why Do I Have to Be One or the Other?.