Content note for racism and fat phobia]
On my post ‘Bad Indian Girl’ I received the following comment:
“Good article. A bad Indian girl is probably a good human. These fat hideous looking race of humans with a sub human culture. It is a culture that does not align with normal human values. The society is dominated by men who subjugate women. The men are women beaters, rapists and perpetuators of a dysfunctional generation. Not sure why such species are allowed into this country. Hopefully someone like you will enlighten the rest and put an end to it.”
It is pretty galling to me that the commenter was under the impression from reading her post that I would agree with her, that as a ‘good brown person’ I would accept her obvious racism and bigotry as just being a casual statement of fact. Fuck that noise. Indian culture is not the only sexist and patriarchal culture on the planet, there are plenty including, you know, the one that I assume you are from. When you use dehumanising language to speak about a group that I am a member of, you speak about me
This is often the reason why it is hard for people like me to speak up and critique the parts of our culture. In doing so people both inside and outside our groups assume that this means we align ourselves with white supremacy. The assumption is that what we seek is the homogenisation of the world based around so called ‘western liberal values’ and that if we could we would shed our cultures completely and become little brown white people. A lot of backlash against movements like feminisms within communities occurs exactly because of this perception. It is a tool used to silence those that have important things to say and it has been highly effective.
Let me make it explicit, that is not what I am saying. Critique is an act of love. I love my culture and my heritage and I want to make it better. I do not want it to disappear, I want it to become something that works for the interests of everyone in it, rather than just a few with privilege. When I critique my culture it is not because I am trying to destroy it, it is because I see how parts of it actively harm people and condone violence and abuse of all kinds. That is not acceptable to me and it should not be acceptable. I do not seek the destruction of my culture in order to become more pleasing and palatable to the western mind. I seek the evolution of my culture to one that respects women and treats them as full autonomous human beings always. Not just in certain spheres, not just when it is convenient, but always.
It is the same thing I seek from from the society I live in, and will seek from any other society I live in. Patriarchal social structures are a problem across the world and they limit the lives of many. That is what I stand against.