Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ways in which I am a part of the problem

I like to think of myself as a person who is generally working to make things better. I care about equality and intersectionality and want to do what I can to burn down the patriarchy and protect the weak. I recycle and compost and unplug my electronics when they aren't in use. I am currently running an Indiegogo campaign to fight for electoral reform.

So sometimes it's easy to think that I'm pretty great and maybe (mayyyyybe) even better than some other people. That kind of thinking should make anyone's brain scream DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

In light of this, now seems like as good a time as any to be open and honest about the ways in which I am the worst. The ways my brain is still racist or sexist and the ways in which I always do the right thing - unless it's inconvenient.

What are the ways in which I am still a part of the problem:

The other day, while talking about plays that tell stories from other cultures, I referred to stories about white people as "regular" stories. Because, you know, whiteness is regular and non-whiteness is "other". Yikes!

When I found out a friend of mine was dating a transperson, my first thought was, "Wow, I had no idea she would be okay with that!" And then I wondered about their genitals and how their sex worked. Because THAT is my business.

I only buy used clothes, partially because I'm cheap but equally in part for ethical reasons - unless it is inconvenient. Then I only buy clothes from stores with good, ethical practices - unless they are too expensive or Old Navy is having a sale.

I also only buy used clothes, unless someone else is buying the clothes for me. It's not like I can be blamed for the fact that they WANTED to take me to The Bay, right?

I think whitewashing in Hollywood is bad, but not so bad that I didn't pay money and go see Doctor Strange.

When speaking about a generic person, I still almost always default to using "he" - especially if it's a person in a traditionally male role. For example, the other day I stayed at home waiting for the "Telus Guy" who I had never spoken to, met, or heard the name of. Could have been a woman, but I assumed he would be a man because he was a technician.

I haven't asked where my TFSA investments are going. Oil? Munitions? Lalalalalala!

I sometimes walk circuitous routes to avoid running into one particular homeless person who I don't want to talk to.

When I read Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between the World and Me I felt defensive and annoyed every time he referred to "people who think they are white."

I am a vegetarian for ethical reasons, except that I eat poutine with real gravy. I have also purchased new leather items while being a vegetarian.

YIKES! You guys! Add it up and I am NOT so hot at this "good person" thing.

And those are just the things that I am aware of. Imagine all the things I don't even notice that I am doing.



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