Sad Realities: My Night of Disrespect, Sexism, Homophobia, and Racism.

I’m not generally one to let the ignorance of others bring me down. But, it sadly seems unavoidable at times. This is a story about a sheltered college student who is blind to the effect that his actions and words have on other people. There is NO excuse for discrimination.

To preface this story, I live in a house with five guys, along with all their testosterone! Leaving his Playboy out on the living room counter this past week amused one of my roommates, so my best friend and I thought it would be amusing to purchase a copy of Playgirl and replace the Playboy on the counter. (Still waiting for their reaction when they come home tonight!) This will seem relevant a bit later I promise!

Last night I went out with a friend of mine and I was having a terrific time just bonding with my girlfriends. While I was out, an old friend from UVA calls me and tells me he’s at JMU and needs a place for him and his friends to sleep. Of coarse I said yes, considering I had my whole house to myself anyway. We met up with them later in the evening and had some late night snacks at my house. While sitting in the living room, one of the guys proceeds to make really homophobic comments about the Playgirl magazine on the table. He’s appalled that pictures of naked men are near him (why he insisted on looking through the magazine? I have no idea). I was taken back by his comments and I just tried to ignore it. I probably should have taken that as a bigger warning sign than I did…

The same guy proceeds to make interrogate my friend and I on whether we have had “lesbian experiences” together while partying. Not only was this completely inappropriate to ask, it was extremely offensive that this was his stereotype of women at JMU. It’s really curious to me that in the mainstream its “hot” to many men when women are bi-sexual but when they see a naked man with another naked man in Playgirl they are disgusted and appalled at the sight of it. This manifestation of homophobia and sexism made me uncomfortable enough, I really didn’t need his next declaration to top off the night.

For some unknowable reason, this guy decided he really needed to share his opinions about how he viewed friends with me. Why me? I have no idea. Looking unwelcoming and irritated apparently didn’t do the trick.

He tells me “I just like white people as friends more than I like colored people, white people are just better.”

Now… As a woman of “color” I was outraged. Outraged. Outraged. And more outraged. I was dumbfounded that someone would say such a thing, particularly to me as the only “colored” person in the room. I know that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions, but I truly believe that no one should ever be entitled to disrespecting someone with such blunt racism.

I wanted to kick him out of my house, but I’m a firm believer of “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” so I didn’t. I clearly expressed how upset I was at this statement and he couldn’t seem to understand why. He was not kidding. He was completely serious.

He tried to justify this by saying he doesn’t know any better because all his friends are white and that was all he grew up with. He tried to tell me that his racism was warranted because one time a black man punched him in the face. WOW. No matter how many times I told him how offensive it was he didn’t seem to get it, at all.

It’s really scary to me that in, what I believe to be a safe community of college educated adults; there is still profound amounts of ignorant, racist, sexist, and homophobic attitudes. It deeply discomforts and saddens me on so many levels.

It’s amazing the power words have, whether intentional or not.

 

Thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Sad Realities: My Night of Disrespect, Sexism, Homophobia, and Racism.

  1. I really like this post. I especially liked the part where you said despite you wanting to kick that person out of your house, you didn’t because it wouldn’t be productive. I think that’s a respectable and difficult thing to do. It’s easy to cast someone off because not only does he/she disagree with you, but he/she does so in a way that just comes off well, bad, to say the least. I know my initial reaction (if not my actual reaction) would be similar. But, this post does a good job showing that even though we may not get the best result out of trying to talk through disagreements with people, it is still important to avoid regressing back to this “us/them” scenario and immediately re-acting instead of acting.

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  2. I am so sorry for your night dear! If I can also share a narrative that concerned my dear guy friend who was visiting last weekend, as well.

    My friend is Asian, and admittedly, becomes way too intoxicated when we all drink. Nevertheless, what happened to him is disgusting.

    While he was at a party here at JMU in a building, he became so intoxicated he needed to leave. As he proceeded to leave, he opened a door in which the alarm sounded. But my friend decided to continue on out, knowing he ultimately had to. Well, as he was leaving, a bunch of men began crying out “Asian, Asian, Asian!”

    My friend was so embarrassed, and he nor any other human deserves to be treated like that. For no reason at all, especially for sounding an alarm. Later on, our friends brought him back into the building where upon his arrival, a bunch of boys came up to him and began picking a fight. My friend was too drunk to even put a sentence together, but my girlfriend went up to the guys and told them to back off. She ended up slapping one of them, too!

    But, by God, there is no excuse to ever persecute someone, especially for their identity! I felt terrible.

    As for the bisexual and homosexual comments you made earlier, why is it okay in the heterosexual world for two women to be sexually intimate, but not two men? There is a double-standard here. Just saying, maybe we should explore this topic in a future blog, ha!

    Good work!

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  3. Yes! ihavemythings, I completely agree that it would be worth exploring the difference between two women being sexually intimate versus two men. I’ve always wondered about why two girls can drunkenly make out and it’s easily brushed off (and often encouraged by men) but if two guys were to do the same it would not be taken the same way. My theory is that basically lesbianism is not taken seriously…anyway there is definitely potential for a blog post there!

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  4. being penis’d, I can’t quite claim to be a feminist, but oh well.

    the feminist perspective, regardless of classification or definition, is still invaluable to empathize with because it sheds light on the damaging social dichotomy that is created between ‘man’ and ‘woman’. understanding the patriarchal lens is simple enough: the male is first and foremost dominant and dominating; woman is always figured in relation TO man. to Be ‘man’ is to be an owner, to be a manipulator and master of a world owned. to Be ‘woman’ is to Be owned, dominated, manipulated, and servant to ‘his’ world. But why does that even exist? my thoughts are that this push for domination is driven by desire, both for ‘legacy’ and the death drive itself (but ill come back to that in a moment).

    this view of patriarchy as a hegelian dialectic of that which constitutes gender norms is always going to be problematic because in synthesis there will always be redivision so long as there’s ‘gender’ at all. In other words, the progressive project of synthesis between those norms will always fail and reproduce (if only with the boundaries different) themselves due to ego formation. ‘What goes out through the door, comes back in through the window’

    Queer theory put the underlying ideology of the feminist perspective in a much broader and less stringently defined context for me. The concept of defining the ‘Queer’, with its borders to admission inherently always changing, is just as problematic (because, as society and cultures change what is ‘queer’ also changes). The difference is that the concept of the queer can’t be understand as a dialectic – because ‘queer’ defines EVERYTHING that falls outside of the accepted system of norms and is always changing.

    the ‘Queers’ relationship to homosexuality is easy enough to understand. Historically, reproduction wasn’t just a necessity for survival, but also (and still is to a large part) a pillar of religious and state doctrine. people dying younger, pervasive birth/pregnancy complications, and no concept of hygeine meant that if a population was going to survive it would have to be always growing. to reproduce was ‘good’ (if we understand good and bad in the nietzschean sense of useful and useless, respectively), and to NOT reproduce was ‘bad’.

    For the homosexual, regardless of gender, this meant that society felt justified to persecute them as a ‘queer’. Afterall, says this logic, what’s our purpose here on earth BUT to reproduce? its no coincidence that civil rights for GLBTQ+ gains traction proportionally as the worlds population gets closer to becoming unsustainable. However, this is only one side of the coin – if there is a justification for violence and destruction there’s likely to be a dangerous ego formation.

    To tie back into my original assertion about the desire for ‘legacy’ and how this all relates to feminism, we have to see that, through the lens of patriarchy, women have been and are in some sense still defined as a societal ‘Queer’, but for entirely different reasons than the homosexual. Its all about defining and asserting the boundaries of what will and won’t be acceptable as normal, and that is always a matter of legitimizing authority for the consolodation of power (in any or all of its forms).

    For patriarchy (and not uncoincidentially homophobia, racism, etc.), this ‘legitimization’ takes many forms from ‘scientific’ justifications (such a gays cant have kids, theyre an abomination to god) to economic ones (such as men are the bread winners) to personal ones (such as ‘i never grew up around black people’) all for the sake of appearing quantitative or somehow more ‘objective’. they’re not. the feminist and queer perspectives (amongst many, perhaps infinite, different marginalized perspective) are helpful in illuminating the fundamental truth of subjectivity – you can’t and shouldn’t blanketly judge a person or group because of their difference. The only ‘evil’ (in my mind atleast) is to use a judgemental pseudo-argument for personal gain or useless acts. You can always justify your actions – not to be reductionary, but look at the holocaust.

    A final note about legacy. One of the strongest forces that fuels desire is the death drive. the death drive can be understood reductionarily as the inherent psychological trait that lusts after absolute fufillment (as death can be understood as the fufillment of a life). Lacanian psychoanalysis talks about the ‘Lack’, or the inability of a person, while living, to fufill this drive. However, everyone and everythin is ‘lacking’. For patriarchy, the theme of ‘legacy’ is of paramount importance because the desire for domination and ownership of property is fueld by the death drive. So, if power, domination, and accumulation are the goals, how does the patriarch ULTIMATELY plan to cope with death?

    He doesn’t. he has a son and passes down all his wealth and power to him and subjects that son to pressure of fufilling his fathers death. when we see it like this, patriarchy can be seen as selfishness incarnate and an utter inability to let go of power.

    So I agree, and am not surprised by internationalcupcakebandits’ story. Selfishness and desire for power is found across all the -isms. To touch on why guys don’t like seeing other guys makings out, consider the nietzschean definition of good/evil again and the dominate perspective of any -ism’s prejudice against ‘fruitless’ pleasures (what constitutes fruit always being defined by the majority, in our case, homophobic patriarchy just happens to abound).

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