I had to submit to being exoticised in accordance with the hypersexualised stereotype that black men are often framed by. Or the woman who rang after seeing a group of black people barbecuing in a park in OaklandCalifornia.
In one, I dealt with a white male creative, and, when he left, I was ased to someone else, a white woman. Then she suffered a small injury. Throughout it all, and every incident before or since, I have tried to walk as good as I can muster, and live. Why is this seen as less mentally destructive, or nuanced?
It seems an odd conflict; on the one hand, social media proves that contact with certain types of white women can ruin your day, if not your life.
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To have an honest discussion about the fact that white women, who obviously face a cis, white patriarchal system of oppression, also use that patriarchal system to oppress those perceived as lower on the racial and social hierarchy? There was a meeting due, and she called me up, insisting that I come to her house. I almost never mention it to women.
Over the last few years, particularly in the recent crosswinds of our racial and cultural political climate, this life event bubbled to the surface of my memory, never quite boiling over. Topics Race Publishing MeToo movement features.
These examinations are usually from a feminine perspective. I know this, and it has in part fuelled my hesitance. Is sex work less morally demeaning if a man is the sex worker and a woman the client?
We went back and forth until the conversation ended with her screaming down the phone, swearing at me and insisting I came to her house. The committing of a hidden life event to the written word. Many are allies, instrumental in standing beside us, even speaking on subjects such as this. Almost right away, my editor began making personal comments that I found highly unprofessional.
‘i had to submit to being exoticised by white women. if i didn’t, i was punished’
Many white women do not use their privilege adversely. The interventions of other students saved my professional reputation, but I lost the job anyway. When I spoke to anyone about what happened, there was a sympathetic shrug and a change of subject. I was perceived to have no recourse, no agency. She said I was cute, and, sometimes when we were sitting at a desk side by side, she would stare into my face when we were meant to be working.
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Maybe one day we will. I prefer to believe the latter.
Reuse this content. So I responded the same way the majority of people would in this situation. Something — dumb luck or the spirits of my long-deceased grandmothers — came through for me.
Wed 27 Feb So, OK. I believe we must. I tried to fight it, but there was nothing I could do. Courttia Newland. That much should be obvious, although I feel it must be stated here to avoid the very real chance of being misconstrued.
I refused. And the woman who threatened to report an eight-year-old black girl selling water in San Francisco — and even a Hispanic woman sheltering from the rain in New York.
A few decades ago, when I was just becoming a published author, I was discussing projects with various companies. They exist. After that second incident, I was left in freefall, jobless, with to raise and a mortgage to pay.
The following day, someone in the company rang me up to inform me I had lost the job. The danger of loving someone who might possibly racially abuse you in the furious heat of a domestic argument. The whole deal collapsed.
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She refused. I used to wonder if my reluctance was driven by shame, or simply my incredulity at what took place all those years ago. My most recent loss was a university teaching post.
We see them and acknowledge their presence. Now, I think that it is those things mostly, but also a hell of a lot more.
I let it go. The fear of being in close proximity with people who may become colleagues, family, lovers, assailants, accusers, abusers or harassers. We hit it off, and got to work right away. My new contact, charming and jovial, was full of great ideas and encouragement.
All I can say at this point in time, as a solo writer putting one word after another, is a feeling: intense isolation, vulnerability, the wariness that comes from needing to trust in order to continue with our lives, yet having that trust broken time and again. It was unnerving, and, while I appreciated the compliments, which would occur every time we worked together, I began to feel a little uncomfortable in her presence.
When I refused to reciprocate, I was punished. I was young and eager to change the world. I was overjoyed to be taken seriously at last, a bit starry-eyed from the blitz of media and publishing parties, both of which I was unused to.