In today’s society, I am asked for my opinion on police brutality, history of civil rights and my overall marginalization as a person of color and woman. I personally talk about my experience because it is natural to me. I understand that conversations are essential to growth. But it is not the responsibility of marginalized people to educate those around them.
This concept may seem different or off-putting to many, but this is something that many do not think of. Marginalized people live their lives knowing the limitations put on them. I often do not want to be a prime example for someone else’s education. Pulling instances like not being able to find my foundation shade or being followed around a store for my skin color are examples of racism and oppression, but my purpose is not to be living proof for your social constructs. It is the responsibility of others to seek out information. Conversations should not be your sole source of information. This puts pressure on the marginalized individual to educate you. Also, relying solely on conversations can give a false perspective. Every experience is the experience of all. In reality, the oppressed person has much more to deal without the burden of educating you on how they are oppressed. Also, it is important to note that marginalized people (like people of color and LGBTQ+ folks for example) have to protect their psyche. I constantly see images and headlines of harm done to people of color based on their race. Personally, I do not want to casually talk about police brutality all day. I see myself in the victims whether it be similarity in age, career path, or various other aligning qualities. I think that it could have easily been me. I never forget that. It is important for others to realize that marginalized people need to practice self-care too.
I have suggestions for those that want to learn more about oppression and marginalized identities. First, find a site that accurately educates with feminist content creators. Everyday Feminism and Bitch Media are great platforms to turn to when you have questions. When all else fails, a google search will not hurt at all. When it comes to search engines, you need to use a critical lens on what is an honest depiction of an identity.
Second, think about a person’s psyche before you unload all of your questions onto a marginalized person. Your question may be the last thing they want to discuss. It can put the person in an awkward position, so keep that in mind. To save yourself trouble, ask if they are willing to talk about it. Third, recognize marginalize people are not encyclopedias for your casual use and their perspective is not totally encompassing for identities similar to theirs. It is important to rely on the resources around you. There are theorists, podcasts, videos dealing with the questions you may have. Lastly, caring about the marginalized people in your life means wanting to know how you can support and encourage them. Learning about the challenges your loved ones face should not be a burden thrusted upon them.