Let’s Talk About Race

Intro, by Brittany:

The following piece was written by Sunya for her workshop at the 2016 Twin Oaks Women’s Gathering.  She’s shy of writing but consented to my introducing her piece here.  In our bylaws, Twin Oaks is defined as a striving to eliminate the “attitudes and results of racism,” and all FEC communities are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of race.  The following piece shows that opposing racism on paper is not enough, that more is required to truly eliminate the results of racism.

Main writing, by Sunya:

I open my eyes and next to me i see blond hair and facial  features that resemble those of the “superior” race. Tight and pointed. I smile with adoration, my heart flutters. I wake, our legs spun together like spaghetti  on a fork. This man lies next to me… and then it dawn upon me that I, with tight unkempt curls in what someone with straight hair might call an afro, am lying next to this creature. someone whom society and conditioning has taught me to believe is much  closer to perfection then I could ever be. Shit…my heart starts pounding, he is not awake yet , now is my chance to slip away, tidy my hair, flatten my bangs, make sure that I haven’t slept in such a way that accentuates my features. I want to look the least exotic as possible. to be as close to white beauty as i can.

eyes

Exotic, there’s a word that is rarely used to describe a white persons appearance. Us on the other hand have heard it a lot, I assume. “oh your, so exotic” or “wow, what an exotic beauty”. although these statements are  usually offered as compliments I find them quite off putting.  Websters dictionary defines the word exotic as “Very different, strange or unusual”. Even though many people embrace their differences, I assume that no one really wants to be viewed as “strange or unusual”

I come from a white world  so when I first visited Twin Oaks I felt completely comfortable. it was only after spending a few months here That I began to feel effected by the lack of color. there were times during a meal when I could look around the table and see that I was the only one with dark eyes. twelve individual sky blue colored irises.

I get this discomfort, both here and in the mainstream when people ask me to take my hair down or if I have let them touch my curls, and they say in a surprised way “oh it’s so soft. The most fucked up about these occasional interactions is that I some how feel better. Like I have been able to prove my whiteness and there for some sick sort of superiority. It’s not the truth. It is what we have been taught. That is why I am doing this workshop today. I want to hear your stories and how you all have experienced being non white in this world. I want to come together and create something that is colorful, strong and undeniably beautiful!

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Let’s Talk About Race

One thought on “Let’s Talk About Race

  1. The story you tell makes a lot of sense with an idea we use to repeat in front of identity politics: in an egalitarian community for finishing gender or race discrimination is enough with wanting to not discriminate. But there are details making me think further about American society. We use to believe the Anglosaxon world is racist in the same way Mediterranean Europe is racist (a kind of class related racism -if you are rich you are «Arabic» or «muslim» but if you are a low income inmigrant you are «moro»-, linked to localist rent seeking -ie basque everyday’s racist comparisons with andalusians- and, in the majority of cases, not related with skin color…) but reading this posts and some lectures over the net, I guess it is something completely different: something a lot more primitive, ubiquitous and based in a very narrow identification with the rest of the Human race (religious sectarianism?). Even the definition of «white race» seems odd, being limited to people with blue eyes and very white skin. I guess I understand a lot of things now we used to relate with anglocentrism and even imperialism… thanks for the post!!

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