Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Everyone is a Friend of Renee Baio

I wonder if Scott and Renee Baio promised to love honour and remain douche bags together?   A few months ago, Scott decided to share with his followers how racist and sexist he can be, when he tweeted the following image of the first lady.

imageThen when people rightfully got upset, he answered his critics by saying:

"I'm NOT racist for posting a pic of M.O. My WIFE'S BEST FRD IS BLACK, HELLO."

The Black best friend, of course he is not a racist.   I thought at that moment that we had seen the last of Mr. Baio and his ever so evolved wife, but it seems that some people cannot keep their ignorance to themselves.  Jezebel has been following his tweets and a small war erupted.

Renee (God I hate the we share the same first name) Baio decided that she needed to stand by her man, and used facebook as the vehicle to make her rage public.

image

What is cuntness?   Oh I see, when we are defending the indefensible, making up words is the only possible recourse.  And don’t you love how the Jezebel editors suddenly became evil lesbians because they refused to sip the kool-aid like Renee Baio?   However, you should not be offended by the lesbophobic, misogynistic comments because:

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

image

Gash darn it, the woman has lesbian friends.  Can you believe it, a lesbian and a Black friend, how freaking progressive can one White female conservative mega douche get?

How many times must it be said that your supposed friends do not give you a pass on your privilege?   It seems to me that if the Baios could find themselves a one legged, Black/Asian/First Nations/Latino, lesbian, trans, impoverished sex worker, they could avoid of ever again being accused of being over privileged douches, because by their understanding, association removes privilege.  Until you walk in the shoes of the marginalized you have no idea what it is to be ‘othered’ and excluded and no matter the people that you befriend, privilege and a power imbalance will always exist.

How can anyone reasonably call a relationship a friendship, when it is constantly used to justify behaviour that is demeaning?  What the Baios do is exploitation, because it helps to maintain their undeserved privilege.  This sort of behaviour is exactly why marginalized bodies cannot simply trust privileged bodies – we are always waiting for the betrayal.

We can rail against The Baios because it is easy to do, but I think that we are better served by using their example to think about the ways in which we talk about our friends.  Do you find the need to only announce the race of those you associate with when they are of colour?  Do you find it necessary to point out that your BFF is gay and loves colourful scarves, or helps you to shop?  Do you think that your friends disability is representative of the lives of all of the differently abled?  Do you believe that by knowing marginalized bodies that you have the right to speak on their behalf?

Interacting with marginalized bodies does not make you some sort of saint or a beacon of tolerance.  Chances are the marginalized body that you are friends with has had to make all manner of compromises to retain that relationship, and if you have never considered that, perhaps you are not as open as you may think.