A drama teacher (of colour) takes a student (of colour) aside and tells him to stop being late. The teacher is not cross, instead he wants to instil pride in the boy. He says that the boy must work hard to prove wrong those who might hold prejudices against him. He must not be the black boy who is always late. It is a motivational speech.
The boy must be more well behaved than his white peers in order to receive the same treatment. The boy is responsible for preventing any discrimination he might experience. He must prove why he is deserving. He must take it upon himself to reverse history.
Discrimination fucks us up. It may not mean to, but it does.
Sometimes we reclaim words:
Sometimes we reclaim behaviour (with or without irony, depending on preference):
Gay and camp
Lesbian and butch
Female and seductive
Black and angry
Sometimes we prove stereotypes wrong:
I’m a woman who can beat a man at an arm wrestle
I’m an immigrant who earns a living for his wife and children
I'm poor and I'm not a scrounger
I’m black and rich
I’m a woman who doesn’t get emotional
I’m a straight man who knows how to ask for help
I’m gay and am married (until death do us part)
I’m a single Mum who works around the clock and whose children are well behaved
Heck, it is so tiring.
Why are these labels so familiar even though they are so fucking useless and meaningless?
It is tempting to just forget labels in the hope that they might disappear. But they exist unavoidably, so to forget them would be to ignore them, which would be a denial. Instead we must actively work to respect and reclaim their origins and destroy their destructive power.
Now I'm gonna make a piece about my feminine body and all of the masculine qualities it has....