June 30, 2008
How to respond to “But what about me?”
Pride weekend brings up a related thought: what’s a good response when people who are straight and/or white complain about how they can’t go around claiming pride in their race or sexuality?
The thing is, when GLBTQ people hold Pride events, or when people of color celebrate their identities as people of color, it’s an attempt to carve out a space in which it’s acceptable for them to be who they are – and not only are their identities accepted, but they’re celebrated. People of the dominant culture crying for White Pride or Straight Pride events or recognition are missing the point, as it’s already perfectly acceptable in our society to be white and/or straight.
Of course, people who say things like “How come they get to have a Gay Pride parade but I can’t have a Straight Pride parade?” or “Nobody cares that those people have a Brown Pride sticker on their truck, but if I put a White Pride sticker on my car, I’d get called a racist” aren’t generally interested in engaging in a conversation about why a celebration of one’s identity as a minority might be necessary in a way that it isn’t for those in the majority. Still, I’m curious if anyone ‘round here has any tried-and-true responses to such statements, since mine is often essentially shifting uncomfortably in my chair and mentally shutting down.