ok, i am fully sick of this shit, dictionaries are not sparkly magical oases of unbiased truth, utterly untouched by racism or political agenda
whose political agenda exactly? here, lemme show you. i took five minutes to search for the creators and current owners of merriam-webster and the oxford dictionary and this is what i got
noah webster, wrote the first webster’s. did you also know he was a hardxcore american nationalist and christian who thought the written word was explicitly a tool that needed to be used to control public dissent and individualism which he considered to be badwrong? LOOK IT UP, SHITDICK
oh but who owns it now? well websters became merriam-websters which is a subsidiary of encyclopaedia britannica inc. currently, but here are just some of the white dudes who owned the rights to webster’s shit along the way
hello richard warren sears, yes THAT sears, you are looking particular white and rich
senator william benton, yale graduate, founder of benton & bowles advertising company! rockin that rich whiteness
jacqui safra! member of the famous safra banking family, current owner of encyclopaedia britannica, and merriam-webster and spring mountain vineyard, friend of woody allen and financer of EIGHT of his films. how deliciously white and rich you smell.
here is a small sample of the white dudes that collabed on oxford dictionary originally, archbishop trench, herbert coleridge, frederick james furnivall and sir james murray by this point i was 500% done with reading biographies on boring white dudes doing boring white dude things so instead let’s just all bask in how boring and white they are
for added fun the wiki article on the oxford dictionary has a whole section on criticisms that basically outlines exactly the fucking problem here
Despite its claim of authority on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary has been criticised from various angles. It has become a target precisely because of its massiveness, its claims to authority, and above all its influence. In his review of the 1982 supplement, University of Oxford linguist Roy Harris writes that criticizing the OED is extremely difficult because “one is dealing not just with a dictionary but with a national institution”, one that “has become, like the English monarchy, virtually immune from criticism in principle”.:935 Harris also criticises what he sees as the “black-and-white lexicography” of the Dictionary, by which he means its reliance upon printed language over spoken—and then only privileged forms of printing. He further notes that, while neologisms from respected “literary” authors such as Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf are included, usage of words in newspapers or other, less “respectable”, sources hold less sway, although they may be commonly used.:935 He writes that the OED’s “[b]lack-and-white lexicography is also black-and-white in that it takes upon itself to pronounce authoritatively on the rights and wrongs of usage”,:935 faulting the Dictionary’s prescriptive, rather than descriptive, usage. To Harris, this prescriptive classification of certain usages as “erroneous” and the complete omission of various forms and usages cumulatively represent the “social bias[es]” of the (presumably well-educated and wealthy) compilers.:936
so basically, fuck you, you fucking fuck, if you trot out a dictionary definition as proof of racism against white people cuz THE DICTIONARY SAYS that racism is defined only as “racial prejudice or discrimination” (merriam-webster) or “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race” (oxford).
well guess the fuck what.
RICH WHITE PEOPLE WRITE AND CONTROL ENGLISH DICTIONARIES.
RICH WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE ONES DEFINING THE WORDS THAT MAKE IT INTO ENGLISH DICTIONARIES.
AND IF YOU THINK FOR A SECOND THAT RICH WHITE PEOPLE ARE WITHOUT MAJOR FUCKING BIAS YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER FUCKING THING COMING, MAINLY A WHOLE WORLD OF UNCHALLENGED IGNORANCE
no really though
all you white assholes (usually cis-women in this context) are really willing to take pieces of my culture and wear it because it’s pretty or some bastardized spiritual significance. you’re willing to trumpet your freedom of speech and religious expression and how it’s your “right” (yes, being a massive douche is a right, i’ll give you that) to wear it, no matter what the people who ACTUALLY HAVE A CONNECTION TO IT say
but you’re so fucking complicit in the dehumanization of my body through fetishization and exotification. you’re complicit in the sexual and physical violence against women like me, in the third world savior complex, islamophobia, etc
because when you continue to wear all these things we poc tell you not to wear, you’re telling us (again) that our voices don’t matter when it comes to our own cultures and religion
you’re telling us to butt out of a conversation that involves us to the very core of who we are
you’re telling us that your whiteness, fashion sense, and third-eye wikipedia bullshit is more important on every level than you respecting me and my very basic humanity
in fact, you’re straight up stripping me of my humanity and telling me i don’t count
i never will
not when faced with your love of color, the exotic, and continued dehumanization people of color to animals squawking in the background versus people you respect
sometimes, i just want to destroy things. like when i hear white folks in the metro areas complaining about how hard it is to be called racist—i’m like, you know what? people in detroit are fucking struggling to find food, getting help with their asthma without having health insurance, finding jobs, not getting kicked out of their home because of foreclorsures/gentrification (i know about 10 people who’ve had to move in just the last year alone because of predatory housing loans), stay off the streets, make sure the local school isn’t shut down, etc. they are busy trying to fucking SURVIVE. do you know how much white folks are on their minds? do you know how much white folks in the suburbs are on their fucking minds? how much is the fucking governor on your mind when you don’t have enough food to feed your kids?
but those white folks in the suburbs—they go on and on and on and ON about how ruff and tuff things are for them cuz black folks and racism and omgggggggg we’re not all racists stop being racist!!!!
WHY IS EVERYTHING ALL ABOUT YOU??????????? this is where i just get so fucking weary i can’t even breath. bone weary. soul weary. will you get this baby girl some food? will you make sure her grandma can get some cash to buy this months meds? cuz without her grandma, this girl doesn’t have ANYBODY. oh, and can you make the electric company put the fucking street lights back? their house has been burglarized three times since all the lights were taken away. BUT OH, NO—We don’t have time to worry about any of this, cuz white folks are upset about a black mayor and being called racist and now they want to shut down the entire library system, privatize the water system and end public busing!!!
decenter yourself. decenter. for the love of GOD, decenter yourself. please.
something to keep in mind as the US (and other countries) continue to do fucking nothing in the face of massive droughts and global warming destabilization.
is it that the govt is “ignorant” or “playing into the republicans hands”? or are they doing what they’ve intended to do since at *least* 1974?
Genocide by neglect is the way they do things these days. When the First Nations folks got hit by the H1N1 flu and asked for medicine, and all the govt. did was send bodybags? Yeah. The Inuit folks paying $300 for some bottled water? Yeah. The way in which there was no evac support and a week before any relief got in after Katrina? Yeah.
And we’re not even getting outside US or Canada, yet…
Can we please stop with the passive aggressive ‘Well, if (insert any number of casual or blatantly racist things) is racist, I guess everyone I know is a racist. That’s just how it is/It’s because of the area I live in.’ Stop, think, and read about WHY it’s racist, WHY it hurts others, and try to avoid the same actions in the future. We can all work on this together, but we gotta stop getting buttmad when we get called out for such behavior.
When I hear responses like this I just laugh because they don’t even realize that they’ve hit the nail on the head. Like, “YES! MORE THAN LIKELY EVERYONE YOU KNOW IS A RACIST! THAT’S HOW FUCKING PERVASIVE & INSIDIOUS WHITE SUPREMACY IS!”
LOL omg mte
you know something that kind of bugs me and i might get flack for it but whatever. there is this thing people stay saying, racism doesn’t make you a bad person. you can be racist and not be a bad person. and i guess in many ways, as people are dynamic and can be good and bad and in between in many areas, this can be true.
but in other ways, it seems like coddling still. because racism still murders, r*pes, imprisons, starves and tortures people. millions of people. for no reason other than their skin color and the inaccurate belief that one specific race (the white race) is better than all and their is a hierarchy beneath that (which may vary by area, but Black people are always on the bottom). and to me, you may still do good things and be a “good person” (and one can debate what that really means) but if you are doing racist things you are still contributing to a culture and climate of abuse, death and oppression that has stemmed for centuries. and when people get called out of their racism, most white people cannot own it. they cannot make amends. and they certainly don’t try to change.
when you are told your very actions result in systems of oppression that result in the beating down and constant abuse of many, many people and you don’t change, how good of a person are you really?
and there it is
But pick up some “great” work of fiction and they’ll be the majority of the main characters.
lol but literature is not an assertion of Whiteness. Okay.
Last night one of my White lady friends (I have lots. Love you.) sent me an email. “I feel like I need to be educated on something,” she said. She had recently noticed a lot of comments regarding “White feminist bullshit” and, as a White women who is interested in and cares about issues relating to race and gender, wanted some clarification. I love questions like this. And yet I worry that my abrasiveness can quickly bring the conversation to a halt, as it has in the past.
The two of us went back and forth for over an hour. My initial response was perhaps confusingly verbose and more of a critique on White folks in general and not necessarily on “White feminist bullshit.” She wanted to know where the discourse was on this. I was surprised that she hadn’t seen any, since I tend to be overwhelmed with it on a daily basis and have started skipping the discussions that come across my dashboard, often opening an article in a new window with the intention of reading it later. More times than not, I read a few lines, sigh emphatically, and click “x.” I’ve heard this before, I think. I already know this! This isn’t for me! I told her that I presumed that this type of discourse simply isn’t on her radar, and that’s why she hadn’t really noticed it.
As our conversation continued, and she pressed me for answers on how White women are supposed to familiarize themselves with issues of inclusivity and racism and problems with the White feminist movement, I got the idea that she wanted a clean, I need to do X, Y, Z, answer. I pointed her in the direction of some of you, my fellow Black/brown tumblr ladies, whom I respect and think do a wonderful job at attacking complicated issues such as these. I told her that this is really a White lady problem. Y’all need to figure this shit out for yourselves. And I hoped that she would say, Okay. Thank you. and get to her independent research.
Most of us know that it is, almost never, that simple.
In one of her last emails she presented this to me:
In practical terms: is a white woman just supposed to, of her own volition, think “hmm, I wonder if women of color have a different viewpoint on this? Let me google a POC blog and educate myself?”
It wasn’t until later when I was having my nightly stare at myself in the mirror and brush my teeth and think about everything in this giant world that is bothering me session that I had my Aha! moment.
My immediate response had been, “…Yes?” It seemed so obvious to me. I mean, yes. You take the time to think about other people, those different from yourself. Why on earth does this seem like such a burden? And then, as I spit out that last mouthful of toothpaste, I realized that that is exactly it. Some of you have never had to do that. Sure, you watch the news and you read articles about those less fortunate than you, and think about how that’s sad, but it’s not really a problem that you have much control over. So you forget about it and you gather your other White ladies and you guys meet for sushi and discuss what cleanse each of you is considering and ohemgee, I hear everyone’s into spin right now. But make an attempt to remove yourself from your own privileged existence for a just a moment and imagine life from a different perspective? Ugh. So much work.
This is the problem, White ladies. We’ve carried you this far - answering your dumb anonymous tumblr messages, providing you with link after link and source after source, not punching you in the mouth when you say shit like, “But wouldn’t it have been so much fun to have lived in the ’50s?” Now it is time for YOU to do the work. It is no longer acceptable for you to throw your hands in the air and screech with your cute ass White lady voice, “But how was I supposed to know wearing burka-esque headgear and calling myself a fundamentalist is offensive?!”
You beautiful, terrifyingly powerful, educated little babies.
You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
I feel like this applies to pretty much all my Well-Meaning White Friends™.
This post is perfect.
Reblogging because this is way nicer than I’ll ever be, probably. The existence and power of people who’ve “never thought about it” i.e., had the option not to have thought about it, mortally offends me. The existence of the bubble of willful ignorance isn’t a blameless dynamic.
There is no absolution here.