you + me


I've been thinking about a conversation I had with N. She was talking about how many obstacles she faces as a disabled black woman. She's 23 and she was talking about her future.

I told her how many barriers we put up for ourselves when we listen to those voices inside who say we can't do things.

I said I am always being told I can't do x because I am a y. I remember the first time some one said that was when I was about 16 or 17. I wasn't going to do the last year of school and go to art school instead. At my interview the older (probably middle-aged) white man said to me that I couldn't become an artist because nice Jewish girls never do. I had been in (nice safe)Jewish education institutions all my life to that point.

I didn't listen then and I haven't listened to the scores of people who have come after saying that I can't do something because I'm a ...

I also mentioned Oprah Winfrey...

Then D came in and talked about the Boys' Club of the art world and how the black and asian male artists are just as bad when it comes to women. i know about structural, institutional racism. I also know that I can never know what it is to be racialized at first glance and the very real effect that has on how society treats a person. But I also know that you can internalize all society's negative attitudes so that you become the main thing keeping you down. I know from personal experience about Internalized Oppression but really, I also know I'm on shaky ground saying that to N.

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