For me, with my limited experience and West Coast life, the most invasive and enduring effect of oppression that I am aware of in my own life is the way I burn up energy questioning myself. It is more pernicious than a general lack of confidence, which can be overcome by mastery and other such accessible means. It’s much deeper. It’s the sudden shift underfoot that occurs when everything familiar suddenly becomes threatening.
I accept that at this time I still fail to understand FB Guy’s point of view. I can connect to his hurt at feeling invalidated, even though it appeared to be my assertion of my own boundaries that bothered him so. As an Asian American woman, I can also attest to the deep disappointment that can breed resentment that arises when I behave outside of acceptable stereotypes by having boundaries. Moreover, I can connect to wanting to connect. I empathize with feeling helpless and weighed down by theory.
Theory can shoot a hole in you. It can point out all the things that are wrong, and how you’re contributing to injustice with everything you do. I believe that’s why all the students at the end of every social sciences class I ever took wanted answers above all else. They wanted to feel better. Having never understood their sunny versions of “better”, having feminist and anti-racist theory represent more of my life than I ever thought possible, I did not see the need for answers until now.