November 2017
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an analogy to explain why the privileged are responsible for ending oppression: racist babysitter


icon: "powerful (Frazetta's "Sun Goddess": a person with large breasts and belly and thick muscular thighs, standing with arms out and head back, knife in one hand, sabertooth tiger snarling by their side)"

Imagine that a racist babysitter is watching after a white kid and a black kid. And she has two cookies that she's going to give to the kids. She likes the white kid better so she breaks one of the cookies in half and gives the white kid one and a half cookies while giving the black kid half a cookie. This isn't the white kids fault - they didn't ask for more cookie than the black kid, it just happened whether they wanted it or not. But if they don't give that extra half to the black kid then they are just as guilty as the racist babysitter of making the black kid's life worse.

It can be hard to give that extra piece back. After all it was just given to you, shouldn't you be able to keep what you were given? no, you shouldn't, because it wasn't just, it was wrong. Just because you didn't do the initial action of stealing the cookie, doesn't mean that it was okay for you to have one and a half cookies while the other kid gets only a half.

If that white kid doesn't want to benefit from racism, they have to not only give that extra half back, they have to tell their parents to fire the racist babysitter, and until they're fired, the kid has to keep giving it back every day and telling their parent every day. In this analogy, the white kid is white people of today, the black kid is the black people of today, the babysitter is the white people who started this shit, and the parents are the structure of institutional racism. If you as the white kid do nothing, you benefit from racism. This is why it is white people's responsibility to fix racism (which is way more complicated than the cookie situation).

It's white people's responsibility to undo racism.
It's men's responsibility to undo sexism.
It's cis people's responsibility to undo transphobia and cissexism.
It's non-disabled people's responsibility to undo ableism.
It's straight people's responsibility to undo homophobia and heterocentrism.
And so on.

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Comments
not_hothead_yet ══╣╠══
the only problem I have with the (otherwise excellent) analogy is that many times the white kid does not honestly know they've been given extra cooky. Maybe the sitter gives it to them separately or secretly or whatever but the white kid does not always know they ahve extra. They see the black kid eating cooky and they are eating cooky too so how are they supposed to know the black kid isn't just saying "she gave you more"? White people have to take stories of racism on faith and while you and I know that stories of racism are true, for some white people its very hard to really grok that the cookies are not divided fairly. Especially in situations where the cookie is all they get for dinner. When both kids are hungry but one of them has a few scraps more its even harder to make them understand that fairness dictates they share.
raidingparty ══╣╠══
Or to further convolute the metaphor, babysitter has five cookies, tells kid 1 they can get three cookies if they do three pushups, then tells kid 2 they can get two cookies if they do two. Now kid 1 is sure it's fair because they did more than kid 2.
queerbychoice ══╣╠══
Thank you for sharing this! I like it a lot (even though not_hothead_yet's critique makes a very good point too).
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Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.