In my QPOC class I started seeing the language I’d see on tumblr all the time: “white privilege,” “cis-sexism,” “microaggressions,” “POC,” “WOC,” the definitions of racism and sexism as only targeting POC and women respectively, etc. And I discovered the community organizers and woman studies majors in my class knew and used this language, too. Some of this language, I previously thought, was just part of the tumblr community. And I think a lot of people have this misconception. That this is stuff people on tumblr made up. When Ethnic Studies courses, Women Studies courses, Queer Studies courses, and POC community organizers etc USE THIS LANGUAGE. This is the language legit activists and academics use—and have used long before tumblr.
I don’t want to give the impression that language only used on the internet has no legitimacy or significance—new and important movements in social justice are being made on one of the most democratizing forces the world has seen: the internet, which has allowed people who are often excluded from the media and academia to communicate their unique messages to others.
But I think it’s important that the anti-social justice movement understand that this language exists out there in the world—and is used by people who study these issues for a living. Teens on tumblr didn’t make this shit up. It’s just that the language that was once mostly limited to classrooms and academic journals and woman-only/poc-only/queer-only spaces is reaching a more mainstream and younger audience. And if you don’t understand it or know it? It only reveals your ignorance.
“White privilege,” “POC,” “cis-sexism,” etc. aren’t trendy catch phrases teens on tumblr made up - this is the language the oppressed use in academia and in community organizing
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