On the heels of my experiment in public service for the anti-racist blogging community, I saw links to this site on several of my favorite blogs. “Derailing for Dummies” is quite brilliant–funny while at the same time being true to my experience (often painfully so). I had a friend in graduate school who once admitted to me that she sometimes felt used by our majority-White department. Along with her own studies, and paper-writing, and teaching duties, and research, and everything else she found herself conducting formal workshop after formal workshop, spearheading talk-back sessions, being the “diversity” on this and that committee. And that did not even count all the unofficial educating she was doing on issues of diversity and anti-racism through her day-to-day interactions. With a sigh, she confided, “You know, sometimes I just don’t feel like being the drum major for diversity.”
I felt her pain. Before she came to campus, I was the one conducting those workshops and leading the talk back sessions and coloring committees.
What neither of us realized, I now see, is that this was all part of a plan to keep us overworked and overburdened. According to D4D:
You see, often in these discussions a Marginalised Person™ will tell you it’s not their responsibility to educate you. This is because Marginalised People™ believe that they have other priorities in life, like working and studying and being with their families for example.
…By placing this burden of responsibility onto them you remind them of just how daunting a task that is and how their lives are constantly being monopolised by the Privileged®, even in something that should be empowering to them, like deconstructing discrimination.
You trivialise their lives, needs, interests and obligations by suggesting they should be spending all of their time and energy in engaging with clueless Privileged People®, putting in hours and hours of effort in repeating the exact same thing they’ve already said three thousand times to three thousand other Privileged People® in their past.
…Keep them worn out and exhausted and maybe they’ll just go away.
Well, this knowledge comes too late for me and probably for my friend. But hopefully this will be of some help to others.