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Respectability Politics and You

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by

sid saint

on 23 December 2015

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Transcript of Respectability Politics and You

Respectability Politics
What kind of dress/behavior is associated with deviancy?
History of Respectability Politics
Respectability Politics is a strategy used most notably by the black civil rights movement in order to garner sympathy/allegiance from white people.
Result of Respectability
"By linking worthiness for respect to sexual propriety, behavioral decorum, and neatness, respectability served a gatekeeping function, establishing a behavioral 'entrance fee,' to the right to respect and the right to full citizenship."
What are the traits of a "presentable" POC/female?
What are Respectability Politics?
Data Results cont.
white surveyors
Discussion
Where does the intersection lie between Respectability Politics and other forms of race/gender perception (victim blaming/racial profiling?)
Methodology
In a questionnaire style quantitative, participants were asked about their racial/ethnic affiliations as well as gender in addition to inquiries that asked them to chronicle their experiences with Respectability politics
Results cont.
When faced with negative events that include an individual of a marginilized group, that group is compelled to renounce the behavior
>
"Respectability politics refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their social values as being palatable to mainstream society and group-progression rather than challenging the mainstream for its failure to accept difference."
Zoot Suits
expressed sexuality
Afros/Untreated hair
(1980s-present)
(1920's-1940's)
(1960's-1990's)
Sagging
(-forever-)
POC
articulate speech
mild mannered
western clothing
Women
mild mannered
always smiling
modest clothing
sexually fulfilling
Results: respectability politics-originate outwardly, persist internally
white survey testers
Black/Latino survey testers
POC surveyors
Male surveyors
Female surveyors
vs.
Have you ever had to speak on behalf of ALL members of your race/ethnicity?
Is there an individual that represents your race politically/socially in American Politics?
Do you think passive resistance(hunger strikes/sit-ins) is a more productive form of protest than active resistance(combat/marches)?
Does any kind of violence(rioting/looting) invalidate a social movement?
What do you believe is suitable dress for a protest on: Police Brutality/Women's Rights?
In a two entity relationship (black men-police state/women-patriarchy), the more politically powerful of the two is treated as a force of nature, making it seem logical for the marginalized group to "steer out of the way" through conformity
From respectability politics stem the racial and gender double standards of behavior, because while often times members of dominant group are seen as unrelated individuals, the perception and legitimacy of a group hinges on each and every member
Do you think there is an age component to Respectability Politics? If so, what kind of trend could be hypothesized
Do you think there is some kind of middle ground between respectability politics and complete individual responsibility?
Ex: the ambiguous "Muslim Community" must make constant efforts to dissociate and denounce events that are perpetrated by an ideologically separate niche community
The Reality of Respectability
The act of a movement making themselves more appealing to the view of the dominant group defeats the very purpose of their actions. It is in a state of unease that society is pushed to reevaluate.
A movement won with respectability politics is hollow because it asserts the notion that the marginilized group needs to resemble a certain archetype in order to not be oppressed
“I don’t have to censor myself to make you comfortable. If you haven’t made anyone uncomfortable by what you have to say, then you aren’t being real. You’re not telling the truth. I’m not here for respectability politics. I don’t give a shit. What I care about are my black people.”
-Ferguson protestor
Rosa Parks was NOT the first black lady to refuse to get up for a white man. Her action was a recreation of an earlier act done by Claudette Colvin, a pregnant, dark skinned 15 teen year old
"I knew why they [NAACP] chose Rosa. They thought I would be too militant for them. They wanted someone mild and genteel like Rosa." -Claudette Colvin
Nearly every count of nonviolent, pasive forms of protest were propelled by respectability politics
by Sidney Saint-Hilaire
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