More Macklemore, less Robin Thicke.
And yet a huge percentage of Tumblr hates him. Not trying to be confrontational, but could someone please explain to me why this is?
Because he is a straight white guy and Tumblr isn’t always right.
Yup. A lot of people like to ignore all the good things he does simply because he is part of the privileged. Never mind that he flat out acknowledges this in Same Love. (“I may not be the same, but that’s not important.”)
No. That’s not right at all.
It’s that he’s part of the privileged class, talking for the oppressed class. Instead of listening and amplifying.
It’s not even his fault, and I am sure his intentions are good — but when thousands of people have no voice, are struggling to be heard, are still beaten down for speaking up, it can ring a bit hollow when suddenly someone who isn’t even part of the oppressed group gets an award and is called brave for making a gesture that does not put him at risk.
And as for “Tumblr hates him” — uh, no, I’ve seen a lot more people complaining about Tumblr hating him than I have people actually hating on him. YOU are Tumblr, too, you know.
Like him if you want, think he’s an amazing ally if you want, but don’t get pissy when the people he seems to be speaking for don’t throw a parade. Try listening to them instead.
I’m glad somebody came at this from the other side. I wasn’t sure how to address it when I initially reblogged, but I was hoping someone who saw it would. Thank you, Scix, for doing so and opening up the discussion.
I think this is an issue where two extremes seem to be duking it out. One side comprised of dedicated fans of Macklemore and allies who feel like they’re personally being smacked down whenever a famous ally gets criticized. The other side consists of people who, understandably, would rather their own voices be heard, but there’s also a more extreme crowd of growing anti-ally voices that I’ve noticed (intrestingly, most of the “You can’t say anything, you’re white and straight” voices that I’ve personally seen tend to be…white and straight).
I tend to flip back and forth on what I think is okay or not okay in this neverending Tumblr debate/battle/argument (which extends far beyond Macklemore), because I’m trying to listen to everyone and use that to inform my own thoughts and actions…and honestly I just end up confused and exhausted for doing so.
It feels to me like it all comes down to this:
- We have well-meaning, but definitely privileged, allies who don’t wholly see their privilege and thus unwittingly take over the cultural discussion, which in turn minimizes the voices of the actual oppressed in favor of people who fit the profile of oppressor.
- Justifiably upset members of the oppressed responding to their voices being minimized by unfortunately deciding that allies shouldn’t say anything at all.
- Members of different oppressed groups arguing with each other because different levels and mixtures of oppression (white and male, but gay; straight and male, but black; straight and white, but female; and so on and so forth ad nauseam) come into play with the above two points, and cause all kinds of “You can’t call me an oppressor, I’m oppressed” back-and-forths that just get everybody pissed off.
And so I’m left not knowing how to feel about the whole thing. There’s a definite problem with allied voices being heard louder than the voices they’re attempting to fight for. But where’s the solution to that without just telling allies to sit down and shut up? How can allies help without furthering the problem? How can we all go forward in the best possible manner, and focus on pursuing the same goals and correcting the inherent problems in our society rather than constantly have battles among people who (at least in theory) want the same thing?
I see this far too often in progressive movements of all types. People who are supposedly on the same side fighting over how to fight the battle, who has a right to be on that side, etc. In it’s most extreme forms (and let’s face it, the Internet is full of those extreme forms; even partial anonymity will amplify their likelihood, as will the detachment of not actually talking to the other person face-to-face) it becomes immensely divisive, not only between the oppressed and allies, but between the oppressed and the oppressed. Oppressed peoples fighting one another only strengthens the status quo (Hell, getting people to do just that is a tactic of those in power), as does alienating allies (disenfranchised allies who throw up their hands and give up become, even if they don’t realize it, a huge part of supporting the inherent oppressive way of things).
We need to discuss these problems. Allies becoming the faces and voices of the oppressed is a problem. Oppressed groups fighting with each other is a problem. People who are part of one oppressed group but can’t recognize that they benefit from privilege in another way are also a problem. Allies getting told to fuck off and butt out is a problem.
All of these problems come from understandable places. They start with the best of intentions. Allies want to help, but may be clueless as to how to best do it. Oppressed groups want other oppressed groups to recognize that they, too, are oppressed. But too many people are coming at this from a “Me, me, me, this is about me and mine” standpoint. This, again, comes from understandable and often even justifiable places. But the “me, me, me” way of approaching it doesn’t do a damn thing, and doesn’t push our society forward.
There’s so much more to say here…it’s a messy, complicated issue to which there are no easy answers. If anyone has some of those answers, please come forward. If anyone disagrees with anything I’ve said, please, please, please come forward. There’s a great deal I know I can’t see, especially as someone who has (mostly) successfully passed as a white (okay, this I definitely am), straight, cismale for the majority of my life (I’m still only starting, slowly, to figure out and come to terms with who I am, and the things I’ve kept hidden from everyone), mostly out of fear for personal safety, the misguided desire to prove the taunts of childhood bullies (gay, girly, etc…nothing I ever believed was to be ashamed of, but they taught me to be ashamed of it nevertheless) wrong, and fear of what others would think…not only the bigots, but also those who would say I was just doing it for attention, just trying to be something other than privileged.