I don’t mean to disrespect anyone’s faith, but if I was hurtful to my friends to test their loyalty they would call me a jackass, not all knowing and benevolent.
researchers have found that, more often than not, african americans and women tend to minimize experiences of discrimination, subconsciously denying or knowingly ignoring bias. when other people mistreat them because they are black or female, they often find it less painful to heap blame on themselves than to acknowledge the racist or sexist animus that led to the situation.
for example, in a series of laboratory experiments, karen ruggiero of harvard university and her colleagues asked volunteer subjects to take a test. the experimenter informed the black research subject that one member of a panel of white judges would evaluate his or her test. the experimenter also confided that either none, some, or all of the members of the panel discriminate against blacks. similarly, in the gender study, women research subjects were told that one member of a panel of male judges would evaluate their test, and that either none, some, or all of the members discriminate against women.
after the test had presumably been graded by one of the panelists, the test booklet was returned to the subject with the grade f. subjects were then asked to complete measures that assess how they make sense of the feedback and how they feel about themselves. ruggiero and her colleagues found that although blacks and women sometimes perceived discrimination, they were more likely to minimize discrimination and to blame themselves for their failures.
a similar study with white males as the subjects had rather different findings. white males were substantially less likely to blame themselves and more likely to see discrimination as the reason for their poor performance.
A boy sprawled next to me on the bus, elbows out, knee pointing sharp into my thigh.
He frowned at me when I uncrossed my legs, unfolded my hands
and splayed out like boys are taught to: all big, loose limbs.
I made sure to jab him in the side with my pretty little sharp purse.
At first he opened his mouth like I expected him to, but instead of speaking up he sat there, quiet, and took it for the whole bus ride.
Like a girl.
Once, a boy said my anger was cute, and he laughed,
and I remember thinking that I should sit there and take it,
because it isn’t ladylike to cause a scene and girls aren’t supposed to raise their voices.
But then he laughed again and all I saw
was my pretty little sharp nails digging into his cheek
before drawing back and making a horribly unladylike fist.
(my teacher informed me later that there is no ladylike way of making a fist.)
When we were both in the principal’s office twenty minutes later
him with a bloody mouth and cheek, me with skinned knuckles,
I tried to explain in words that I didn’t have yet
that I was tired of having my emotions not taken seriously
just because I’m a girl.
Girls are taught: be small, so boys can be big.
Don’t take up any more space than absolutely necessary.
Be small and smooth with soft edges
and hold in the howling when they touch you and it hurts:
the sandpaper scrape of their body hair that we would be shamed for having,
the greedy hands that press too hard and too often take without asking permission.
Girls are taught: be quiet and unimposing and oh so small
when they heckle you with their big voices from the window of a car,
because it’s rude to scream curse words back at them, and they’d just laugh anyway.
We’re taught to pin on smiles for the boys who jeer at us on the street
who see us as convenient bodies instead of people.
Girls are taught: hush, be hairless and small and soft,
so we sit there and take it and hold in the howling,
pretend to be obedient lapdogs instead of the wolves we are.
We pin pretty little sharp smiles on our faces instead of opening our mouths,
because if we do we get accused of silly women emotions
blowing everything out of proportion with our PMS, we get
condescending pet names and not-so-discreet eyerolls.
Once, I got told I punched like a girl.
I told him, Good. I hope my pretty little sharp rings leave scars.
No one is a slut. “Slut” is a made-up word to keep women from having as much fun as men. A person who enjoys sex is just a person and a person who is a virgin is also just a person and everyone should lay off each other’s sex lives. Retire the word “slut” please.