Being a token and not resenting it

This ended up being a long post on fb so I am also putting it here where long stuff should live.

This is an article about what it is like to be the only representative of a minority and be in the role of either putting up with wrong ideas or taking on the responsibility to educate and how taxing that role is. I get it. I appreciate those who are inside taking the effort to teach me who is on the outside. But this is a cerebral understanding, I don’t feel it. I am a White Female that has loads of privilege. I try to learn what I can and spread the information because I feel that role comes with the privilege I have. I am not an activist so I don’t have the ability to take on huge chucks before I wear myself out and become useless and I have learned to live with the little I can do.

I am searching my head for places where I can identify the feelings she expressing of being in that role but I am not finding any. I am white so that pretty much greases that path so there is no friction and nothing to grab onto. I am female but I can’t think of a time that has been a big deal or much of a difference for me. I am learning how to see it differently so I can stand up when there is an issue but it isn’t personal for me. That path is relatively smooth as well. I am well educated and grew up with at least more than just enough money. I am learning now what it is like to not have money and even that is skewed due to savings and such. There is a little traction on this path but still pretty smooth.

The only place I can find that even remotely puts my in the same ballpark is being a geek growing up in the land of the mundanes. I have been the token geek. The author talks about how difficult it is to represent her entire race and her entire gender etc. I get that, but I don’t find it difficult like she does. I rather like it. I like presenting an understanding of my culture and oddness to people that want to listen. It is a role I am comfortable with. This leaves me wanting to support where she is coming from but feeling like I can’t because I have such a different experience with the same things. I suspect it is because I am in the role rarely and she has to face it over and over and over. To boot, my outsidiness is getting mainstreamed and my minority status is wearing away because people are flocking to geekdom (SDCC is on CNN for goodness sake). And I am somewhat bummed about this (as well as grateful).

2 thoughts on “Being a token and not resenting it

    1. I did/do hide that I do a lot of stuff with Pagans. It is a system I like and I would call myself one if I wasn’t interested in so many other things, including atheism. I don’t broadcast it because I don’t want to deal with the negative attitudes but I am tickled to open up about it and educate people. I do get that with race and gender there is no hiding it so the education is in addition to being treated like the negative stereotype and no way to adjust that part.

      I had a very mundane co-worker ask me one day about paganism. I was thrown for a loop because she is so very mundane (consequences of my reliance on stereotypes). she has two friends that moved to New York and were getting involved in something. Turns out she was asking me because I know so much about weird stuff and she thought I might know something about what they were getting into and if she should worry about it being a cult or somesuch. I did know a lot about it, both positive and negative, and was able to fill her in and take care of her worries. I was tickled pink to be and information source for her and expose my knowledge to anyone who was around. It was a positive situation. I was more open to her after that. I am sad she didn’t have any more questions about weird stuff.

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