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Saturday, March 20, 2010

A little about me...

So I think that a little background on who I am is in order. First of all, to clear up any potential confusion, I'm a white cisgendered heterosexual woman. I'm in my mid-20s, I'm originally from northern California (or "norcal" as we affectionately call it), and I'm currently residing in Santa Barbara. I have a bachelor's degree in sociology, and I have two jobs: during the week I'm a cataloging assistant at a local library, and I'm a rape crisis counselor on the weekends. I'm a feminist and a recovering evangelical Christian. I have a big family that is an endless source of stress, entertainment and love to me (I'm sure I'll write more about them later!). I grew up in a rural area, in a very small town that generally doesn't show up on most maps; as a result I'm used to driving inordinately long distances just to do normal things like go to Target or see a movie or go bowling. I didn't start to connect everyday injustices to systems of oppression until my second year of college, and it would take another couple years before I began to get into social justice work and (gasp!) even become a little political. What can I say, I was a late bloomer.

Right now, I think I'm still struggling to find my footing in the social justice world. I feel like there is so much more I need to learn about and experience and understand before I could really accomplish anything. Also, I'm very very aware of my privileged identities, how they make navigating the world so much easier for me but also make landing a job doing social justice work quite difficult. However, I do understand the tendency for allies of marginalized communities to take over movements and play savior, or for movements to exclude communities or those with identities that just don't seem to fit. I get all that, and I understand why a social justice agency would hire a bilingual woman of color for a position instead of me. Not only do her personal life experiences give her such a better understanding of oppression, but she would be able to connect with targeted communities much better than I ever could. Not to mention that women of color still earn much less than even white women do here in the U.S.; I think that one of the ways social justice movements combat economic inequality is to provide jobs with benefits to women of color. It's a win-win. My ego, however, still gets butthurt over it.

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