I spent the last 24 hrs processing the fact that in all of my years as a student in the US (3rd grade to senior year of college) I never had the basic privilege of being taught by someone like me (Latina) meaning I have never received any sort of education from someone who fully understands my position in this world. Not even the education that perpetuated my father’s debt. Cried for all of the children who are robbed of a privilege that basic. Distracted at dinner. Decided to speak about it at a bar I didn’t feel comfortable spending my money in because there wasn’t a single person in there who looked like me. Led there by folks who hardly notice because everyone looks like them. The pain completely dismissed by someone who told me that this was a phase which would pass and that eventually I could use this oppression to my advantage. Continued to cry as I accepted that yet another person won’t allow me to take up space and time in the way I need to in order to cope with the systematic oppression dealt to marginalized mamis. Here for anyone who has to convince the people they’ve supported unquestionably that their suffering is justified and real. DM me if you need someone who gets it. I won’t force you to explain yourself. You’re welcome to ruin my ladies night with your tears any night. (Drops mic and turns on "A Seat at the Table")
When you see white people appropriating your culture.
STOP COMMISSIONING WHITE PEOPLE TO PHOTOGRAPH BROWN & BLACK CULTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When will this madness end!!!!! And if you don't get it let me break it down - White people are STILL paying other white people to document brown and black people so that other white people can feel entertained and guilt free!!! You aren't celebrating us because you're not hiring us!!! You're using us for your consumption!!!!!!!! We don't need your celebration we need fair wages and job opportunities!!!!!!!
Who stands with you and who stands for you? I've been getting some questions so here it is.
First, ask yourself who is it that your version of intersectionality is helping? Second, consider whether someone of color has asked for your help. Consider that people of color may not actually need your help and the only realistic way that you could help in supporting us is by being present when we speak, march, cry, get taken advantage of, scream for your help, etc. You could also take the time to do the work yourself. Read some books and do your own research. Perhaps you should consider how many people of color are actually in your life? How many people of color do you have real and meaningful relationships with? And if you have a few, then work on those relationships. Ask us questions (but don’t expect to be educated and don’t forget to thank us when we take the time to educate you), observe, and learn from us. Know that you could never represent anyone that isn’t white so try not think of yourself as someone who can. Know that the only real way to help people of color as a white person is to not stand in our way because we’re doing this thing with or without you. People of color have been empowering and supporting one another for always so just because the current pop climate claims to be inclusive, try not to join the ban wagon by insisting yourself in our struggle. There are other ways. Sure, hire people of color. Take photos of us. Pay us fair wages. Be our ally. But please, don’t try and lead this thing. It ain’t yours.
Small tips for white photographers:
Stop romanticizing war.
Stop using our bodies as props (if you can’t make out someone’s face in a photograph then you have reduced that person to a body).
If you aren’t from the place that you are photographing or have any real ties to that place then you have no business in trying to “capture” it. Try to shake your inherent Christopher Columbus syndrome.
Trust, that with time, resilience, and enough privilege, we will capture our own communities and we'll do it accurately.
When you hire a model of color and slap the word empowerment across it, but the person who is taking that photo isn't a woman of color then you are not empowering women of color. If the goal of your company isn't to enable and empower us by placing us in positions of power then what is your goal? Recognize and center the struggle
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Happy International Women's Day y'all
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