Privilege in Action: Who Gets Listened To And Who Gets Harassed

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Since I posted it late Saturday night, my post about a white author’s decision to sit on a panel about Writing the Other has garnered over 5,000 views.

That’s staggering. That’s literally mind-blowing to me. My second most viewed post has, I think, 200 views, and that’s accrued over weeks. For this blog to get more than 80 hits in a single day is A Big Deal. So this…this is something else.

When I wrote that post and linked it to twitter I didn’t think it would take off like it did. And when my mentions started filling up, I braced myself for the worst. But the worst never came. I have had no death threats, no rape threats, no ‘go die in a fire’, nothing. Nothing but genuine engagement and thoughtful interaction with my post. It has been lovely.

I can’t help but think that it’s because I’m white.

I can’t help but think that if I was a woman of color that I would be drowning in rape threats and death threats right now.

I can’t help but think that this post, calling out my own privilege and articulating my comparative lack of risk when speaking out on issues of racism, is not going to get 5,000 views.

Nothing I said in that post is any different than what women of color have said in regard to these topics. But I unleashed a stream of words into the world, and they were listened to, engaged with, taken seriously. They sparked conversations instead shutting conversations down as an “angry” WOC’s word might have done.

I wonder how many people who read my post assumed I was a man, and cis, and straight, and unwittingly unconsciously gave my words more heft as a result.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m pretty fucking glad I didn’t get harassed. But I’m feel like I have an obligation to point out right now that any impact that post might have had did so from a place of privilege. I want to own that. I want to point out that this, too, is part of what we have to deconstruct if we’re serious about dismantling racism in publishing.

Dear other white people: people like me can’t be the only people you listen to about issues like this. If the only things you’re willing to read come from someone who looks like you do, then you’re doing allyship wrong.

One thought on “Privilege in Action: Who Gets Listened To And Who Gets Harassed

  1. This is VERY late, but thank you for writing this post (and the following ones where you quoted authors of colour). As Malala Yousafzai said, “I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.

    Like

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