Wow, so true. I was raised middle class and need to see posts like this so that I can be cognizant of classism I am unintentionally normalizing.
I make an effort to be as intersectional as possible in my critiques of the world within academia because of my privileged position as a middle class white woman.
Two years ago for instance, I wrote a paper about the emotional labor and racial hierarchy present in white upper class nail salons, which work to reproduce a denigration of Asian women. To enact what I found, I haven’t gone to a nail salon since.
Last semester I also wrote a paper about the normalization of “whiteness” at large. This being when a white person typically refers to someone without a distinguished “racial identifying term,” they mean a white person.
Throughout my life, in all white circles whenever I’ve seen someone do this, it is –never–questioned. This taken-for-granted invisibility is what allows these enactments of subtle bias to continue, unquestioned.
So now I go out of my way to ask people when they say something like “my black friend,” to ask them why they felt the need to vocalize the person’s skin color. Unsurprisingly they never have a conscious answer. The point is to make the speaker aware of what implicit bias they’re communicating.
This is of course reproduced through the “otherness” of anyone “non-white” which is, frankly –total bullshit– and needs to end.
The rhetoric of “self-care” comes up a lot these days, with so many harried people rushing hither thither, stretched to the point of exhaustion, calendars crammed from morning to night with no breathing space unless it too is written in.
I sort of cringe when people ask me about self-care, which people do these days because I’m one of the harried masses. I cringe because I understand too that the rhetoric of self-care is steeped in class privilege. That’s not to say that the sense of being over-stretched every day respects class boundaries.
But the concept of self-care as these days has a luxurious quality about it that is frequently accessible only to those of means. I came across a great article about self-care and justice by Toronto writer Nashwa Kahn where she talks about just this. She provides a feminist analysis of self-care as a neo-liberal idea not sufficiently…
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