The following post is going to be about something that is not a popular opinion among People of colour (POC) but I think it is something that we need to talk about.
Black Womxn can hurt others and we do. We need to stop pretending that being a black Womxn is an exemption when it comes to creating Harm. Your oppression does not take away your ability to act as an individual. Your oppression does not remove your agency. You are not always correct just because you are oppressed.
As a black Womxn I don’t have the systemic power to be racist or sexist, even if I was prejudiced I don’t have the ability to oppress white folks or black men en masse. Racism and sexism are not just about prejudice but also about having the systemic power to oppress en masse. This is why black folks can be prejudiced but not racist ( A conversation for another day). However this wheel turns, Sometimes those without power rise to its upper echelons decades and decades later. Then you do have the power to oppress too, and have not considered the power of your own prejudices. It can be a potent mix. The Afrikaners were put in concentration camps by the British. They got to power and put people in Bantustans in South Africa. The Hutus in Rwanda were oppressed by their colonisers and they inturn became oppressors of the Tsuti’s. If we do not evaluate the fairness of our actions we can manufacture a devastating future.
We definitely do have agency, even when we lack systemic power, we should admit when we have rage and the consequences of our rage. The conversation I want to start right now is not about systematic power but about the indivudual responsibility of the oppressed.
Black men do not have the systemic power to be racist to white womxn but a black man can physically and emotionally abuse his white partner, Is he excused just because he is black and she is white? I know a cis-het-man who lives in fear because of the physical and emotional abuse he endures from his partner, is it not abuse just because the perpetrator is a poor black femme? Some of my most traumatic experiences have been because of bullying by some queer individuals, is it not bullying because I am heterosexual?
It is patronising to say to oppressed people that they have no agency, that their actions have no consequences. It is dangerous to stop holding people accountable for their actions just because of their identity.
Sometimes the harm/hurt that is caused is in response to something or it is unintentional but it is still there and we need to acknowledge it. Too many times when people are called out Identity is used as a shield/ answer/ reason because it is convenient.
We need to justify the legitimacy of our violence when we are being voilent and not pretend that our identity takes away our ability to be violent. We need to call each other out, actions and words are not the unquestionable gospel just because you are oppressed.