Interviews

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From an interview with Jessie-Lane, How White People Shouldn’t Talk About Race: Part Two, by Katy Waldman, featured on Slate’s XX Factor:

“I believe absolutely there is a space for white people to write about race. I think everyone should talk about racism and racialization. I think that there are spaces to be very self reflective, spaces where one could use their privilege to forward the dialogue, and spaces to step back and say “I am not the expert in this context, this is not the platform for me to do this.” I don’t think that this means that, as a person of colour, the thought of a white person writing about race in an effort to be an ally should be a source of anxiety, or pain.”

“I think we live in a culture that seeks to “experience” the other. As a person of colour, I am often treated as though I am something that can be sampled. From the hair touching, to the “where are you from?” questions, to the potluck model of “let me taste your heritage” approach to diversity, people view my ethnicity and experiences as a novelty. When “empathy” comes from curiousity, rather than a social justice orientation, it becomes appropriative.”

“Real talk. People fuck up all of the time. I fuck up all of the time in my own work on being an ally. Nobody knows everything already. When I fuck up, I certainly don’t ask myself if it was better to offend someone than to not have that conversation at all. I listen. I ask myself, ‘How can I do better so that the next time I have a conversation I don’t hurt anyone?’ Or, ‘How I can educate myself through those who are actively engaging in teaching, so that others don’t have to have that conversation with me at all?’ And I inevitably will fuck up again. But I keep on working on it. I’m committed to it.”

“I would also ask people, “when you own your own racism, what do you do next?” Because stopping at the confessional, or that moment of hope about doing better in the future doesn’t seem like a full step forward. It seems like the beginning of thinking about maybe moving forward to address internalized racism. And I’m definitely worried if that is where we are at in terms of addressing racism in mainstream feminism. I would ask, “if you are talking about your own racism, what are you contributing to the anti-racist movement?” “Is this exercise helpful?” “Who does it benefit/disadvantage further?”

“If long-term growth about society requires causing additional short-term pain to people experiencing marginalization, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we’re probably doing it wrong.”

 

 

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Featured quotes from Jessie-Lane in Trayvon Martin, Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi and Observing Drone Policy Through a White Lens, by Anna Lekas Miller, featured on Global Comment:

I felt that [the articles] that observed this issue through a white lens largely privileged one issue over another, effectively working to silence the Black community, and to draw attention away from one cause to prioritize on that they felt was more important.”

“To deliberately misrepresent or attempt to erase the oppression of Black people to magnify another social justice issue is deeply racist, oppressive and problematic”