Moving Right Along

by rseiderman

The planning phase of my next week of content is well underway, but I was really hoping to have some feedback from Sonya before writing this blog. She asked that we send her our pieces two days ahead of time so she’d have enough time to really look at them, which I did—in fact, I sent her my Monday piece on Friday. So perhaps completely reasonable to assume she’d have something, anything, to me about what she thinks. I’m particularly frustrated that I haven’t heard back because I also laid out my plans for most of the rest of the week, and I’d really like to know what she thinks of those plans before I put the time into writing the pieces. Hopefully I’ll hear from her today, or else I guess I’ll just have to post my Monday piece at my own discretion.

Here’s some of what I’m planning for this next week of content.

Monday:

A quick introduction to privilege and the song “White Privilege” by Macklemore. In “White Privilege,” Macklemore talks about the cultural appropriation of hip hop (and jazz and rock and roll, to a lesser extent). One of the clearest statements of his white privilege affecting his career is when he says, “Hip hop started off in a block that I’ve never been to / To counter act a struggle that I’ve never even been through” and “‘Cause we got the best deal, the music without the burden.” In other words, hip hop sprang from a place of oppression that Macklemore can’t begin to understand because he didn’t experience it.

So what’s Macklemore’s option? He goes the route of recognizing those who came before him. He says, “I feel like I pay dues but I’ll always be a white emcee / I give everything I have when I write a rhyme / But that doesn’t change the fact that this culture’s not mine.” I’m offering this kind of recognition of cultural appropriation as a way to counteract privilege’s harmful effects.

Tuesday:

A piece that analyzes an image Sonya posted on the Facebook page last week that evoked some really negative responses. The image basically asserts that people in positions of power shouldn’t get to decide what oppression looks like, something that I completely agree with, but some of our followers seem to have gotten the wrong idea. Part of my strategy was to flip the construction of the image’s quote to emphasize the positive rather than the negative.

For example, this is the image:

positions of power

And this is what I’m offering as perhaps the way the quote should’ve been expressed:

Women get to decide what is misogynistic
Gay people get to decide what is homophobic
Trans* people get to decide what is transphobic
People of color get to decide what is racist
People not in positions of power get to decide what is considered oppression
That’s how we move forwards, not backward

This way, it’s clear whose voices should matter most in particular circumstances.

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