I’d like to share a voice from Vancouver based performance artist Tallulah Lee
“Ok so I’m coming back to FaceBook but first I need you all to understand why I left. I left because I was tired. Tired of explaining over and over that racism is real and systemic, tired of defending anti-colonial discourses to folks who are directly benefiting from colonialism, tired of talking about fascism and being told I’m over reacting or that it’s different up here in Canada. Most pointedly though, I was tired of well meaning people co-opting the discourses and tactics of oppressed peoples and pretending that they are making a difference to anything other than their own egos. Basically, I was tired of White People.
(Now before you start with cries of reverse racism let me clarify, I’m talking about White People, I’m not talking about white people. I, and many other PoC, use that term as shorthand for white supremacy, white privilege and/or the race based cultural/social/economic hierarchy that we all inhabit and enact.)*
So here’s the deal. I’m back but I’m not the same sparkly naked lady I was before. I’m still naked & sparkly but I am no longer a representative of any non-profit orgs nor am I actively promoting a burlesque career. What does this mean? It means if you thought I was a mouthy bitch before you’re not gonna like me with nothing left to lose.
I’m here for justice, that is my purpose and my passion. Racial justice, economic justice, justice for all those who have been crushed, compromised and exploited by the racist colonial heteropatriarchy. This is gonna be difficult and uncomfortable. We all have so much to unlearn, especially you my white liberal friends. It’s you I’m really here for, because I know you want to help but to be 100% honest it was you who drove me away in the first place. I get it, it’s hard, when I say things like “eliminate whiteness” it sounds like I mean to eliminate YOU. It makes you extremely uncomfortable and the easiest way to deal with that discomfort is to retreat. Imagine that you’re a GOOD white person, part of the solution, you don’t have to change yourself because you are helping to change the world. Except you’re not. You’re not changing anything if you refuse to accept and confront what white privilege really means. Privilege means that you (and I) are directly benefiting from the oppression of others. This means we have an obligation to use that privilege to dismantle itself. What does that look like? That looks like making your life less comfortable in order to make someone else’s life less horrifying. That means if you are economically privileged you are OBLIGATED to use that money to alleviate the suffering of people who are not. Not out of a sense of charity but because you do not have the right to comfort while others suffer, because YOUR COMFORT IS POSSIBLE BECAUSE PEOPLE SUFFER. It looks like white folks correcting other white folks when they say something racist even if that means you’ll lose friends or create an awkward situation because you only get to live in a world where you are the norm because others spend their entire lives being dehumanized. There is a direct correlation here. Your whiteness protects you from racism and that’s a comfort you don’t deserve. Fight it by fighting racism amongst white people. This is the rent you must pay for the privilege afforded to you by your whiteness.
This is hella uncomfortable, I know. The thing is tho, you need this. You’re not really scared of the rise of global fascism, not yet, not really. But you should be, it’s real and it’s coming. Your whiteness won’t protect you. Your liberalism won’t protect you. The only way we are going to get through this is by dismantling the culture that facilitated this. Our entire culture is built on a foundation of racist exploitation, the so called “Trump Effect” is simply a logical progression of this.
My dearest white liberal friends, I need you, we need you. Please understand that this is gonna hurt tho. You don’t have an intrinsic understanding of how to fight this because you’re still benefiting from this. Please listen. Please listen and let the discomfort teach you. Please listen and then take action, real action that isn’t just saying things on the internet. Seek out PoC content creators, let them teach you and then PAY THEM. With money. Because they are saving you too. Because you owe it to your own humanity to dismantle the systems that allow white people to consistently benefit from the unpaid labour of PoC. Challenge your own internalized racism, support PoC content creators financially and COME AND GET YOUR BOYS. Organize against local Nazi organizations, against the pipelines being pushed through, against the continued economic genocide being perpetrated in the DTES, against the normalization of white supremacist rhetoric. ORGANIZE AND RESIST! Because if all you’re doing is deleting Trump supporters from your friends list and crowing about your pure politics then what you are doing is exactly nothing.
My dearest white liberal friends, I love you. But the time has come for you to join us or get the hell out of the way.
*with thanks to Hari Kondabolu whose act I lifted this section from almost word for word.”
she also follows “I will not be participating in any discussion in this thread. My dear friend and ally Megan Mullally has graciously offered to answer questions posed in good faith about terms such as “heteropatriarchy” and “reverse racism.” We will try to accommodate requests for resources & tools. She will not be engaging in any arguments about the existence of systemic oppression or white supremacy. Abusive language and general fuckery will get you an instant block.”
I think this is a very important voice to share for the time right now. You can see how so many good people who’s been fighting for social justice are getting so exhausted now, but yet they haven’t given up. They take so many strikes, beat and fall, but they still have hope and wishes to continue to contribute to the positive change that we can potentially achieve. Especially the time now, considering all the political terrorism, colonialism, the post-Trump era ahead of us, we have to be even more aware.
This is precisely what I’ve been undergoing, whenever I post, share or voice out issues about racism, xenophobia, social discriminations and issues directly or indirectly related to white-previlage and white supremacy, or more subtly, the status quo/main stream media/stereotypes caused by the globalized Western colonialist ideology. Yes sexism and misogyny are part of it, discrimination against mental and physical disabilities are part of it as well. To name a few more: homophobia, Fascism, chauvinism, colonialism and hyper-capitalism.., the list goes on, and it doesn’t matter how long the list goes, we cannot give up, we cannot neglect it, we cannot take the passive position and just ignore it anymore. One by one we will solve these issues, one by one we will make the world towards a better place, where we all deserve to be. We have a lot of work to do, some of us have been doing or were forced into doing more work, some of us had less of opportunity to engage with these issues but deeply benefit from the social discriminatory system. So we’re all part of it regardlessly.
I gotta say, the more I see how the hidden voices are surfacing, whether it is the uneducated/ignorant or the conscious/ethical voice, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by amazing woke minds, who are socially aware, who are selfless, who can think outside of the box, who are thinking for the world for the society at large, not stuck in their own comfort zone, their own little depressing-looping-ideologial-brainwashed world. I am so proud of my POC freedom fighters and my white allies, you’re the fucking best. My feminist warriors, I am with you 100%, we go hand in hand. My cis white male friends, those of you who stand with us, you’ve gone a long way, I can’t give you enough props about how hard it must be to recognize all the previllage and comforts that you don’t get as much opportunity to be challenged and truly empathize, I can relate to it because I once didn’t understand the value of feminism, I didn’t understand how gender equality isn’t achieved yet in our society. To those of you who might not understand why we’re saying this, who might be exhausting us by constantly pressing us down, slowing down our progress of social advancement, questioning the values for equality, having a hard time to really recognize your own privileges that is causing other marginalized groups to have to suffer, benefiting from the system that is giving you the power that you may have hard time to let go of–IT IS TIME, to listen, to think larger, to contemplate, to introspect, to do your won homework, to get rid of your own small ego, to give, to enact, to progress, to support each other, to voice out and to make a change!