Last night, Marcus and I had an extremely interesting conversation that spanned over dinner, before and after a movie, and during a quick trip to Dunkin Donuts. Here’s where it started: while we were sitting in Red Lobster, I noticed that I didn’t see any female waiters and I made a comment about it. Marcus told me that I was being “racist” (wrong word) and before I face palmed myself, I told him that he meant sexist. We then proceeded a conversation about sexism and racism and how they weren’t the same thing. I explained that I wasn’t implying that there should be only women working there, but there should be an EQUAL amount of all genders because that’s how it should be. This led into a conversation about children and his double standard of boys and girls.
Granted, I could have just gotten up and walked away to go to the bathroom or just changed the subject, but these are the types of conversations that need to be created to understand both sides of the relationship. When I decide to have kids, it doesn’t matter whether they are a boy or a girl, they will be treated the same way. If I treat them a certain way according to society’s standards, then the cycle of socialization will continue amongst my children. Marcus felt a different way about raising his children, but after reaching a stalemate (or rather our food came), the conversation stopped and was left alone. Later that evening, we started talking about the impending ratification of Puerto Rico as the 51st state, and to my surprise, we held the same ideals. Then, he made a comment about Latin American’s emulating their culture off of black culture, and I couldn’t just let that go. I started talking to him about urbanization and how we’re socialized according to the environment we surround ourselves with. There was something so genuine about this conversation because although in my heart I knew he was serious about these ideas, I was afforded the opportunity to educate him about these types of subjects.
Now, when it comes to relationships, is it OK to keep the politics out of it, or engage them and create conversations? With that question, I answer by saying that the personal is political, and everything we do, experience, etc. has a political connotation. We can’t pretend like our society isn’t dealing with social issues and economic crisis, so conversations need to happen. Who knows, maybe both sides can learn something and take it to someone else, then the dialogue is really expanding. As a female who understands the simultinaety of privilege and oppression, it is pertinent to retain knowledge about these different types of politics.
According to the SCWAMP theory, it is said that if you fall under SCWAMP, then you are of the privileged few. What is SCWAMP? It is an acronym: Straight, Christian, White, Able-Bodied, Male with Property (meaning social class), and if you fit into this mold, then you are privileged and considered the dominant force in this society. However, many do not fall under this system; many feel oppression from single or multiple identities. As a Puerto Rican woman with no property, I understand the oppression of my race, class, and gender, but I recognize my privilege in my religion, accessibility, and sexuality. It is with the simultinaety of my privilege and oppression that I am able to understand the concept of how I’ve been socialized in my environment, but it is my duty to break free from the cycle and educate others about it, and what better way to start then with your partner.
Granted, this post switched into a personal rant, but as I said before, the personal is political. Stay true to yourself and expand the conversation. After all, it’s the most simple form of activism.