07 December 2010
I've recently spent more time with some of my college friends, most of whom have a lot of the same interests as myself. You know, we talk about race and privilege and oppression and "the powers that be". It's amazing and fulfilling and it reminds me why I loved school and why I love my friends.
Unfortunately, I'm also reminded about how challenging and, in some cases, lonely it is to be a feminist when tons of folks think that means I'm easily offended and too politically correct (whatever that means). BUT, it seems silly to skate around in my privilege moping about people who think I'm too sensitive, when instead I could be implementing my thoughts and ideas and goals through conversations and through my job and through all my interactions. That seems more productive.
The best thing to have happen to me since graduation has been participating in research for a dissertation (thesis? whatever you do when you're a PhD candidate...). A wonderful professor/mentor is looking at white women who identify as anti-racist feminists, and it couldn't have been better timing, really. Just precisely when I was falling out of talking to other folks about feminism and oppression and privilege, she sort of reeled me back in. Insert sigh of relief here!
I can't put into words how absolutely necessary it is for me to be able to talk these things out and be sarcastic and mad and critical, because those opportunities don't pop up as easily in the big kid world. People want to get through their work days as fast and as painlessly as possible so they can get home to watch Glee or head out to the bars or do whatever it is adults do after their adult jobs. Even brief conversations about social justice, crappy policies, and privilege immediately fill me up and rejuvenate me. There's no doubt, really, that these are the things that keep me going. Of course, talking about and examining my own privilege and/or oppression daily is a TRIP. Ups and downs and guilt and frustration, all wrapped up in a pretty box with a big red bow of happiness and excitement and energy.
All's I know is this: I *must* find some way to integrate these things better into my work and my life because, without all of it, I sort of feel like I'm wasting my time on things that aren't the MOST important to me.