For my final post, I would like to share a thought from Gloria Anzaldua, a feminist theorist I have recently studied. If you’ve read any of my posts, comments, or responses, you know that I am not a feminist and have issues with some of the ways that some contemporary feminist conduct themselves toward those of us who do not agree with them. I think that Anzaldua promoted a refreshing outlook reeking of common sense.
I believe it was Maya Angelou who said that you may not remember what someone says to you, but you will remember how they make you feel. That’s the case between some feminists and me. I feel that they have tried to make me feel guilty and ashamed simply because of who I am. Because I am supposedly privileged, it is my fault, or the fault of people like me, that others might be excluded or oppressed in some measure. For example, because I am white, I am privileged and that makes others feel oppressed. I can no more change my white skin than my black or brown counterparts, yet, in recent times, whites are labelled the bad guys. Whites are the blame for many of today’s ills.
For so long, at least for my generation, the push has been to lift up people of color, women, homosexuals, and others of different labels to the point that the balance has shifted. Now, groups that were once considered the oppressors are now starting to feel the beginning of exclusion or oppression. Where white people once seemingly were privileged, they are now hated and excoriated. Examples of that can be found on college campuses where white girls are told not to wear hoop earrings or white people must wear a symbol on their clothing. Hmmm, that’s reminiscent of something. The tide has turned and turned again.
Make no mistake, Gloria Anzaldua, as a Chicana feminist, fought for women of color, and she and I are opposites in many ways, but what I can embrace of her ideas is that she pointed to all of the various identities and labels one could possess, all the ways one could be excluded, downtrodden, and oppressed, but, ultimately, she smacked some sense into everybody by exhorting us to stop blaming everybody else for our situations, to get up and do something to help ourselves.
Anzaldua said, “It’s too easy, blaming it all on the white man or white feminists or society or our parents. What we say and what we do ultimately come back to us, so let us own our responsibility, place it in our own hands and carry it with dignity and strength. No one’s going to do my shitwork. I pick up after myself.”
Her desire was that we all build bridges over the things that divide us. She said, “In this millennium we are called to renew and birth a more inclusive feminism, one committed to basic human rights, equality, respect for all people and creatures, and for the earth…May our voices proclaim the bonds of bridges.”
Let us follow her advice and build a bridge to each other. You and I are not going to change each other’s mind no matter how loud we shout or how long. We can live side by side without tearing each other down. I love you all and pray that you will find and abide in peace.