Into Lanes or Out of Accountability?
“Stay in your lane”
Most of us who have some form of privilege have heard that phrase before. First off, let me say I agree with it completely. Men who don’t experience gender based discrimination don’t have any business telling women how to avoid or address it, same goes for white people and race based discrimination, heterosexual people and sexual identity based discrimination, abled bodied people and ableist discrimination. Essentially any situation where you have privilege and insert your opinion on issues that don’t affect you when it pertains to dealing with discrimination. I’d also add trying to check anyone dealing with internalized “-isms” If there’s a black person promoting white supremacy and doing coon shit, its best to let another black person handle that. This also applies for gender, sexuality, and etc.
We good so far?
Here’s the thing, I see a lot. A lot of people use that phrase to avoid accountability. Anyone who benefits from any form of privilege simply has anything they say rendered void when calling out problematic behavior from someone who is part of a marginalized group.
Aaaaand that’s fuck shit.
For example, Bill-fucking -rapist Cosby. There are black men running around who says he should not be held accountable because we live in a system that oppresses black people that he should be given the benefit of the doubt. That’s true and completely irrelevant to him being a fucking rapist or being accountable. Also I don’t care who calls Bill Rapey Mcfuckface Cosby a rapist. I don’t care if they are racist, or if they hate black people because they are right, and guess fucking what? If only black men or black women could hold Mr McFuckRapeyFace Cosby accountable he’d still be trying to buy NBC or some shit, at least that’s what they keep telling me.
Yes, marginalized groups do face increased scrutiny from the State and society. However the balance to “hyper accountability” is not zero accountability from anyone but those on the same privilege scale or lower. That doesn’t work for two reasons, first, a group that is largely dismissed or ignored is not all of a sudden going to be able wield power against those who oppress them, if that was the case they wouldn’t be oppressed. Secondly, how tiresome and traumatic would it be to be asked to deal with someone who has no inclination to act like a decent human being without using problematic and offensive language just for the sake of saying “hey dude, that’s some fucked up shit you’re saying”? I don’t pretend to know what the answer is, but I know it’s not this.
There are probably about a couple hundred pieces floating around about how problematic Caitlyn Jenner is, a woman that is a part of the transgender community, if we apply “stay in your lane” to call outs, the only people who should be critiquing her should be transgender individuals. That’s it, cisgender people need not apply. Just because a racist might say, “Bill Cosby is a rapist,” doesn’t mean I support racism if I agree, or that I’m engaging in anti-blackness. It’s not a victory for white supremacy, it’s just another fucking rapist getting what he deserves.
People are made up of a multitude of identities, or intersectionalities and on top of that, people are also problematic. Intersectional people create intersectional problems, so it makes sense that we should have intersectional call outs…right?