Rae’s Rules to Remember #39: Why POC start hashtags

Today on twitter around noon (EST) the number one trending hashtag was #BlackWomenDidThat. After only a few scrolls there was already someone complaining about it. A white woman and she said, “So you start things like #BlackWomenDidThat and wonder why racism still exists…”

Here’s the thing. Starting this hashtag isn’t racist. What many people of the majority fail to realize is that we (people of color) are not taught about the accomplishments of people in our communities. We don’t know who were the mathematicians, scientists, doctors, etc. unless they were white. I mean, think about it….what did you learn about people of color when you were in school other than slavery and the civil rights movement? For most people the answer is nothing. We only heard the same stories over and over again (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and not many more beyond that). I can honestly tell you that I never learned anything  about Latinos or Hispanics, Asians and not even Native Americans really except that tons of tribes were wiped out).

POC start hashtags like #BlackMenBreaktheInternet and #WhatItsLiketoBeABlackGirl because we want representation. Look around you. In books and on television it is pretty rare to find people of color as main characters that aren’t portrayed as stereotypes. The reason that the #BlackWomenDidThat hashtag was started was to raise awareness about the accomplishments that black women have made to society that no one knows about because no one talks about them. I’m not saying that all of the accomplishment that white people are well known but I can guarantee that you can probably name more white inventors than POC.

What this really comes down to in the end….is privilege. A lot of people may get offended by that but then that just proves that you’re a part of the problem. Every single time that people of color start a hashtag like this to gain representation and celebrate themselves, white people try to derail it. Why? Do you feel left out? Are you upset that the top trend is something that you can’t participate in? News flash: This is something that people of color feel every single day of their lives. And actually you could participate, but you’re choosing not to.

With that said, take a step back and reflect on the situation. Then, sit your privileged ass down and stop trying to take away from other people to make yourself feel more important. Everything isn’t about you.

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About Bookmark Chronicles

Hi! I'm Rae. 23. Avid Reader, Book Blogger. Intersectional Feminist. Gryffindor.
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15 Responses to Rae’s Rules to Remember #39: Why POC start hashtags

  1. carlalouise89 says:

    I seriously wish white people would get this. It’s getting beyond a joke how privileged and ignorant some of us are.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ariel Lynn says:

    Wowww… that person really missed the point completely. The reason PoC start hashtags is BECAUSE of racism, not the cause of continued racial issues. The cognitive dissonance is strong with that one. * shaking my head *

    While I feel that white women are often erased from our history – or have their ideas stolen by white men who then profit by calling them their own – I know that it can only be a billion times worse for PoC. If anything, I see this hashtag as an opportunity to learn more about a culture that I don’t know enough about at this time. But there are always people who see something not about them & claim that it’s “reverse racism.”

    I also feel like that jerkwad, Congressman Steve King’s comments, about how “no other sub-group of people has contributed as much to humanity as whites” really had part to do with bringing about this hashtag. What’s worse… that jerk has been re-elected something like 6 times. Here’s hoping there won’t be another re-election after this comment. I wanted to throttle that jerk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! It happens to white women too but it can take a toll if you’re both a woman and a person of color. And if you think about it, even if in school we still learned very little about women in general but apparently the similarities don’t matter

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        Exactly… that’s the whole point of intersectionality! It’s harder for every level of oppression added. But, some people just can’t accept that, despite being oppressed themselves, other people have the same need for representation & accolade. They can’t understand that they have privilege (G-d, people hatehateHATE that word… it makes them so defensive!) for simply being born in the skin they’re in.

        I weep for humanity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I weep alongside you. No matter how many times you tell someone that they are not being blamed for their privilege but asked just to acknowledge it, they freak out

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        I mean, it took me a minute when I learned I was privileged. But, then again, I learned about it via reading, research, & trying to better myself as a feminist/ally, so maybe if I were called “privileged,” I would have felt some sort of way. It takes a moment to kind of find one’s equilibrium & understand that it’s nothing personal, but a flaw of society’s.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally understand that it’s just that my experiences with people and trying to have a discussion about privilege haven’t exactly been good. I went to a very expensive university and the majority of the students were white and upper middle class so even if it was explained they immediate shut down and didn’t try to understand the impact that it could have

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        Well, of course! Our experiences shape how we view the world. I went to a state university, after going to an EXTREMELY diverse high school, so, perhaps, it’s easier for me to understand than it might be for people who were in a more homogeneous setting. I also think college students aren’t really capable of thinking critically until it’s introduced to them. I remember one of my college professors introducing the idea of race & the media to us using The Matrix… as a white student, it wasn’t something I had thought of, nor something that my friends had brought up to me.

        I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to try & get people to engage – another way I’m privileged. But, at the same time, as an empathetic human being, I get very frustrated when people can’t seem to step outside their lived experiences & see other people’s perspectives. They remind me of ostriches, sticking their heads in the sand when something scares or surprises them. People should be better than birds with brains the size of a peanut (or rather, as big as their eyeball, if I remember my silly factoids correctly lol). Again, I can’t even imagine your frustration. * internet hugs *

        Liked by 1 person

      • *returns internet hug* I like the ostrich analogy, that’s a good way to describe it!

        Liked by 1 person

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  4. michelle says:

    My 11 year old daughter recently asked me why in most children’s books the main characters are white unless their being something else is THE POINT; as in a Latina trying to cross the border into the US, or a POC wishing they had some attribute that is typically white, or an immigrant trying to fit into white culture. Why can’t the main character just be not white, and have adventures that have nothing to do with her color or religion?

    As a writer myself, I struggled to explain it without excusing it. So yes, the lack of representation is everywhere. And it’s our job to fix it regardless of whether that makes other people uncomfortable or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the comfort of the majority shouldn’t be the priority. Your daughter is very smart! For the Latinx community (at least from discussions with friends and immersing myself in different cultures) the struggle is more complicated because being Latino and/or Hispanic is only considered an ethnicity and not a race which means that they have to ALSO identify as black or white or something. There was a book that I read in middle school that I think your daughter would like. It was a bout a Puerto Rican family living in America and the daughter trying to figure out how to fit in at school and how to combine cultures. It was very good. I will try to find the name of it!

      Like

      • michelle says:

        Thanks, I’d love to have that title.

        As a side note–and this is probably another aspect of the conversation that has already been going on for a long time–does anyone else feel a sense of fatigue around this? Lately, I’ve had so many conversations with my 14 year old boy and 11 year old girl about racial/ethnic topics. We’re a mixed family (white, Arab, Latino/a) in a diverse town, with other mixed families as friends, and the questions keep coming–and while I try so hard to be thoughtful in my responses, sometimes I’m just tired!

        So, another point of privilege that some people/families have is just not having to think about this unless they want to or they seek it out. It isn’t thrown at them by the mere fact of who they are or who people assume they are. Just the other day a mom-friend said she stopped going to a certain beach because it had started to become a mono-culture in recent years (her family is Hispanic, African-American, and white). And I found myself making a mental note, and then having a big old inner sigh–like, Crud, I don’t want to have to think about this! I just want to go to a beach!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The book is called ‘When I was Puerto Rican” by Esmerelda Santiago.
        Yes, I know how you feel and it is very tiring. I actually wrote a post on that too lol (https://themelodramaticconfessionsofcarlalouise.wordpress.com/2016/06/18/guest-post-rae-from-bookmark-chronicles/)
        It’s a never ending battle but for those with that privilege they have the option to just not care and walk away.
        Your children are still so young but it is good that you’re already having these conversations. It will be so useful for them when they’re older!

        Liked by 1 person

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