Underneath my yellow skin

Intersectionality is still not a thing, apparently

I was watching an Australian woman’s video on a new paradigm for autism and was finding it interesting. At some point, she was talking about how information got passed along in an informal way. She said, “As we say, and this is probably problematic, it’s a game of Chinese whispers.”

My brain slammed shut and I could not hit the X button soon enough to close out the video. I was not expecting casual racism in my video about autism, and I was not down with it, thank you very much. In addition, it was doubly frustraton because she realized it was something that she probably shouldn’t say as she specifically noted it would probably be problematic, and then said it, anyway. That’s the part that really iced the cake for me. In addition, she could have easily just called it the whisper game and explained what it was or as we call it in America, the telephone game.

What she did not have to do was call it the Chinese whisper gome (and why is it Chinese in the first place) without a whiff of discomfort.

In the year of our endemic, 2024, this is just unbelievable. The video was fairly recent–certainly in this millennium. It underlies the fact that just because someone has something that is a minority in one way and suffers for it, that doesn’t make them automatically empathetic to others in the same position. It also shows how within dominant cultures, they can forget that racial minorities can also be, say, autistic.

Side note: Everyone loves the Maintenance Phase podcast and talks about how brilliant it is. I have listened to three episodes, and I’m underwhelmed. Not only beacuse I find it pretty basic, but also because it’s very much for white people. Which is fine. White people need help, too. But the fact that they briefly acknowledge that there are different issues for people of color does little to make me want to actually listen to the podcast.

Intersectionality was something I was aware of even before I knew the word for it. It stemmed from a selfish reason–I never saw me in anything. This was why I started writing fiction, by the way. I was going to be the change I wanted to see!

When I was in middle school, my world history teacher asked us what we wanted to learn about. I said Japanese internment and the Taiwanese/Chinese conflict. He said that we didn’t have time for that, which really annoyed me. Why bother asking then? The same happened in college in my feminism in philosophy class. I mentioned racism, and she said we did not have time to talk about it.

I’m sorry. I cannot put my race on hold while focusing on my gender. Thats’ not how life works. Again, if she wanted to say it was white feminism in philosophy, she should have said that. This was in 1992, so three decades ago. Sadly, I have not found it to have changed much in the meantime. Yes, there is awareness of more issues, but it’s still in discrete containers–and none of them include me.

When it comes to race, it’s black and white. There’s gay and there’s straight. Boomers and Millennials. Cis and trans, and now nonbinary. Christian and atheists. There is no place for a *deep breath* Taiwanese American, agender, Gen X, bisexual person like me. I don’t even try because it’s frustrating as fuck.

I know for the most part, it’s not malicious. That doesn’t mean it’s still not harmful. Microtransgression is a word for a reason. Er, Microaggression, but the former works as well. I have to decide on the regular if I want to bring up the issue or not. And I really do not appreciate when I’m watching a video to have casual racism tossed out like it was nothing.

I have to say, gender has been fucking with me for some time. I don’t *feel* like a woman–whatever that means. I know I’m not a man, but I don’t resonate with ‘they’ or nonbinary, either. Genderfluid doesn’t fit because my gender does not fluctuate–it jsust doesn’t really matter.

Ian once said that he thought I was an anarchist. That really resonated with me. I think in terms of gender, it works, too. I have always been puzzled by the declaration that girls don’t _______. It was weird to me because I did such a thing (like climb trees, say), and I was considered a girl, so how could this be true? That girls didn’t climb trees, I mean?

It always rattled my brain when someone said with confidence that a girl or woman didn’t do X when I did, indeed, to X. Another example was when I worked for the county. There was anotherwoman who worked there who was also bi. We talked casually a lot (we were not colleagues. It was a weird situation where all the heads of the departments were on the same floor. I was the admin assist in the Diversity Department, and she was a researcher for another department), and I said something about how I would check people out on the street and imagine them in bed.

Side note: I know this is not something you should talk about in an office. I would never do it now, but I was young and naive then.

She looked at me and said with a tinge of disgust, “No woman would ever do that.” My brain did a double-take because I, who identified as a woman at the time, was telling her that I literally did that. She went on to say that she had talked about this with her female friends before and all of them (10) said they would never do that.

I mean, first of all, we hang out with people who are like us, so it’s not surprising they would have a similar viewpoint. Second, even if one of the women did have a different thought about it, would she bring it up if everyone else seemed to be agreeing with each other? Third, 10 people was not even a statistical anomaly when it came to statistics. That’s not even a blink of an eye. It’s nothing!

But it’s indicative of how people think, especially normies. If they didn’t do it, no one did. It helps when you’re a white person in a Western world, too. Which this other woman was. I would not have had a problem if she had said that she did not do that or think that way, or even that her friends didn’t. But for her to confidently state that no woman did especially when I had just said I did, that blew my mind.

I think one of the things about being a weirdo (a positive) is that I’m able to look at things from other people’s points of view. I have to because my viewpoint is always so different.

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