The thing is: you can let it go. You can shut down your browser, or throw away that newspaper, or turn off your radio and TV, or walk past that poster, or end the conversation – and forget all about it. You can publish a statement about why everyone else is wrong, and countless media outlets will print it word for word, because they do not see the need to investigate a little or even ask what a marginalized person might think of any given situation. You can laugh off the comments on those articles mocking the “oversensitivity” and “political correctness” of other people.
I can’t. By externally defined (and imposed) apperance default. It haunts me, and this is neither my choice nor within my control.
I hate “concernment”-centred victimization olympics debates. I hate it when people say that some discriminatory behaviour has “hurt” them and, therefore, the discriminating person should apologize. I’m all for a big ol’ Fuck You, for anger and outrage and argumentative pulping of said discriminating person, because their behaviour, to me, is not about making other people feel sad-faced, but about discriminatory structures they perpetuate through their words and actions and, you know, their racism/sexism/heterosexism/ableism. This is not about an individual “sensation” of discrimination. This is about the fact that someone is racist as hell (like the Schlosspark Theater, for example…), and what most people take from that, is, that these Black people over there feel kinda sad about it. No, goddamnit, I’m pissed. I’m not a special snowflake who clutches her pearls because someone has hurt her “feelings”. This is not about personal comfort zones. I’m freaking angry because someone is a racist. And so should you be. This is not a personal wellness issue.
And yet… As mentioned at the beginning of this post: the personal effects of discriminatory behaviour differ greatly. The white people who felt the need to come into the Schlosspark Theater debate (or every other debate about, you know, little controversies like Blackface or not hiring Black people on principle or naming your newest Dresden Zoo monkey Obama as a “tribute” to the President) can leave unharmed. These racists have made what they believe is a point, and after repeating it for ca. 500 times and expecting to be respected as teh individualistest individualists who say things like “german-speaking Africans” (you know, Black germans are non-existent), or “There simply were no ‘Black actors’” to hire, or “Random people on the internet, no matter how brown, do not define what racism actually is – we do”, they throw a tantrum when they get pushback and then they flounce out. End of story. Nothing has changed. Goodbye.
You can do that. Because your identity was not questioned or declared as actually non-existent. You don’t have to fight a daily battle for recognition and for being treated with even an ounce of the respect that the defenders of white privilege expect from their critics. If you say something, it is not put into question because of the colour of your skin and ridiculed as mere brown oversensitivity, and your demand or plea to be treated as a full human being is not brushed aside as a bid for exaggerated “political correctness.”
You do not have to answer the same pseudo-arguments over and over and over again, because some racist thinks that they simply have to make this very original point that some other racist has already made and you have refuted 50 posts or minutes ago. You are not expected to cater to the every need of a privileged person because said person wants you to do what they say or need right now, and your duty is to educate them. You will be believed that someone has deleted their former post or has actually said something they now deny to have said, and will not be told that you are making things up in your irrational rage or are incapable of reading comprehension, whereas the actual problem and strategy is gaslighting.