Sisters of Resistance have long opposed the misogynist, negative portrayals of women, working class people and people of color in reality TV shows. That circle has recently expanded to include children, exploited in such shows as “Toddlers and Tiaras” and its follow-up, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” We would like to call your attention to this clued-in article by Jennifer Pozner for the New York Times Opinion Pages in which she looks at this disturbing cultural phenomenon.
Sisters of Resistance have recently read some powerful sisters talking back, challenging racist, sexist stereotypes of the dominant white male power structure.
Lauryn Hill has spoken back against the poisonous nature of the music industry in a powerful statement available here.
Erykah Badu has directly addressed those who seek to badmouth her because of her third child here.
Lastly, this in depth article analyses “respectability politics” and how they can be oppressive for black women in particular, making reference to the racist film The Help and Erykah Badu.
To assist you in identifying and resisting dominant and unequal power relationships in your life, we’ve compiled a list of common phrases people in historically dominant roles have been conditioned to and may use to try to silence oppressed others, particularly when they perceive their dominance to be challenged.
The quotations below were used by men against women and are thus patriarchal; however, one could expect to find similar strategic dismissals and silencing of the accounts and concerns of people of color, working class and poor people, queer and LGBTQI people, young people, fat people, disabled people, and other marginalized folks in the discourses of those who discriminate against them. The simultaneous and intersecting nature of oppression is also considered here.
These strategies, and others we may have missed, can be found in any order, but from our experiences attempts to silence us commonly go something like this:
Question your knowledge/judgment
Delegitimize your response
Enforce dominant point of view
Shut down debate or conversation