I read this tweet and the following comments by the person who posted it and it reminded me of a thing I read some time ago about how trans women and people raised as boys eventually learn and see the institutionalized sexism that happens to women all the time.
I kind of get it though, not noticing or not thinking about something as critically as you could until you experience it, and for a second I lamented there's no way this could be done for race. I can't think of a "this could happen to me" type of 'ah ha' moment that can happen to make racism better understood. I see instances of racism, modern and historic and I'm not surprised.
I'm not surprised at proud white people posed beside a dead, lynched black person. Not in 18-whatever, not in 1957. It's like seeing groups of white people with shit eating grins in black face, I'm not surprised, just saddened each and every time that people aren't better. Seeing a color, instagram photo of dumbass white people in black, yellow, red face and other colored-face makes me angry but also sad that there's no way these people can ever really feel compassion for the people they're mocking and insulting.
The closest is if we make it about them and that's not the same.
I mean, I've heard people get so snitty and so pissed because someone's wearing a band shirt and they're "not a real fan" or about the concept of "fake geek girls" and "fake gamer girls". Titles of being a geek, a gamer, a fan of something are things you willingly put on and add to what you already were. And people get so defensive of the perceived "wrong person" giving themself attributes of something they like. But these selfsame people can't understand that when you dress up like something that a person can't change about themself and you're being insulting about it that it actually is harmful.
I think I was also thinking about this because of that shitty Time article from this weekend when a college freshman went on and on about how he won't apologize for white privilege. He said some truly ignorant things but mostly addressed the hardships his grandparents had to overcome but never really addressed the aspects of his life that he had easy. His grandparents escaped Nazi-fied Europe and made it in America, made a business and started a family. His father worked too many hours and was barely around to see him as he grew up and he's not white privileged to be able to go to Princeton. I look at that and think about the loans his family was able to take out easier and with lower interest than what naturalized black Americans would have had access to. I look at the fact that he had both parents in the home and never made any mention of how much or little he saw his mother. Not that single parentness is a POC issue, but there'd be a different situation if there weren't a parent in the home when the other was at work. I also wonder how often he was a shitty kid in school and was never punished and what he himself accomplished with his own two hands and his brain to get into Princeton. I wonder if he was ever told "you speak good English" by people in his community, as if he shouldn't be able to. How often people ask and assume he's from a specific location because of his race and how he presents himself. He has lived a privileged life and it's disrespectful to just ignore it, it's disrespectful for the hell his grandparents lived through if he doesn't acknowledge that when they got to America they were playing the Game of Life with different handicaps than they had been playing with in Europe.
Crossdressers, trans people and I think even fe/male impersonators fall into a different category, they're not ridiculing and they can change who they are to a certain degree. You can't change your genetics or what ever biologic sex based medical diseases you may get. I don't know what it's like but I'm sure we need more trans positive doctors to help with pre-change health conditions that someone is still susceptible to.
It's just maddening how difficult it is to educate someone who has never had to think about how complex the life of an Other is. Sex based discrimination can be seen and learned when someone changes who they are outwardly and society acts in kind. Race can't be learned as simply. Even going to a different country won't be the same because of old colonialism and Western domination.