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  1. ilyka
    ilyka September 16, 2006 at 5:55 pm |

    Yep, you have just seen a white man tell a woman of color that she needs to just remember her place and stop “assail[ing] your betters.”

    Holy shit. I missed that, probably because I’ve never warmed up to Firedoglake. But speaking of nails? That excerpt you quoted was the last one in the coffin for me. Never even mind this Go1dsteinian bit of creepiness:

    But, Liza, honey, if you want some attention, I’ll be more than happy to give you some.

    BARF.

    On the other hand, I have read Culture Kitchen before. Liza’s a much better writer than Trex is giving her credit for, or than he is himself, for that matter.

  2. Jill
    Jill September 16, 2006 at 6:02 pm | *

    Woah. What an unnecessary, awful post over at FDL. He can criticize Liza’s spelling all he wants (Lord knows I make typos like it’s my job), but at the end of the day she’s still making an important point: Despite being certainly more progressive than the right wing, the American left has some serious race issues to work out. And it’s our job, as progressives, to address them head-on.

  3. Matt Browner-Hamlin
    Matt Browner-Hamlin September 16, 2006 at 6:40 pm |

    I think TRex walked straight into the problem that Liza (and Chris Rabb) have consistently raised: they are not regonized as respected voices in the blogosphere. TRex attacked Liza for (a) sounding jealous and (b) poor grammar and spelling and took the sum of those two lines of attack to surmise that she, in fact, was a subpar blogger not worthy of attendance in that meeting in the first place. Given that TRex’s previous exposure to Liza had been through her “Jane Hamsher is an idiot” post, it’s not surprising that he was defensive. That doesn’t excuse his diction, but it’s not to say that this wasn’t proceded by some bomb throwing.

    The blogosphere is not a meritocracy. For the most part it’s based around who was here first, who was working professionally as a political operative, academic or journalist, and in a few rare occasions (FDL, Glenn Greenwald) bloggers actually do rise to national prominence based on the quality of their work alone. Some racial groups are under-represented, issues are under-represented and millions of pages of fantastic work goes under-recognized every day online. Not just Liza’s.

    The real problem with the Clinton meeting wasn’t just which fourteen bloggers were selected to meet with Clinton. In addition to lacking people of color, the meeting lacked many other types of bloggers you’d expect: local bloggers, online media outlets, legislative watchdogs, foreign policy experts, and on and on. There are two possible goals Peter Daou could aspire towards: pick the fourteen best bloggers to attend or pick fourteen bloggers representative of the blogosphere. I think most everyone would agree neither goal was met.

    The problem, in the end, goes back to the size of the meeting. Assuming you wanted to pick the best, most influential American political bloggers, I would have limited that meeting to four people: Duncan Black, Matt Stoller, Chris Bowers, and Jane Hamsher. I don’t think anyone (other than Markos) would have complained if Big Dog met with those heavy weights. They’re doing the definitive work on American electoral politics in the blogosphere. Once you try and pick ten more people for various reasons, with various representations and areas of expertise, the floodgates of doubt and criticsm will remain open.

    Anyone who blogs regularly and astutely could have deserved a spot in that meeting. Jill, piny and zuzu all could have shined there, as would Amanda or Digby or Billmon or Pachacutec or Liza or Josh Marshall or Oliver Willis or Bob Geiger or Lindsay Beyerstein. Hell, I think I could have kicked ass there. That’s the point–anyone who’s paying attention to what’s going on in the blogosphere and American political system can sit down in a room of peers and talk with president of the United States because we are all engaged citizens.

    There is clearly a need to discuss how to increase the diversity of the liberal blogosphere’s pantheon of heros. But discussing it in the context of the garbled (and seemingly arbitary) roster of this particular meeting strikes me as fruitless.

  4. ilyka
    ilyka September 16, 2006 at 6:56 pm |

    He can criticize Liza’s spelling all he wants (Lord knows I make typos like it’s my job),

    Me too. I typed “I did not understood” just the other day. Of course I didn’t do anything intelligent like proofread or preview, either. Because I can type reel gud!

    What bugs me about that criticism in this context is that white bloggers make mistakes like that all the time, but it’s excused and overlooked. Readers go, “Oh, typo,” and it normally isn’t considered any reflection on the quality of the writing. Let Liza or Nubian or any blogger of color do it, however, and the immediate implication is that they’re unqualified to be writing at all.

    I probably see a major misspelling, often in the post title itself, over at The Poor Man Institute weekly, but no one ever suggests The Editors hang it up and stop assailing his betters. It’s a glaringly obvious double standard.

  5. sly civilian
    sly civilian September 16, 2006 at 7:42 pm |

    okay…FDL/Kos2.0 just got itself permently badlisted in my book, for crime somehundred and three. What a bunch of racist crap!

    just remember kiddos, this is what people who want to win elections do.

    Pardon me while i puke.

  6. piny
    piny September 16, 2006 at 8:01 pm |

    What bugs me about that criticism in this context is that white bloggers make mistakes like that all the time, but it’s excused and overlooked. Readers go, “Oh, typo,” and it normally isn’t considered any reflection on the quality of the writing. Let Liza or Nubian or any blogger of color do it, however, and the immediate implication is that they’re unqualified to be writing at all.

    Yes! So right fucking on! It’s the motherfucking internets. It’s rare to see someone with perfect grammar, period, and people with little grammar and spelling idiosyncrasies (random caps, no caps, starting sentences with “and” and “but,” they’re/their/there, “approximite,” etc.) are a dime a dozen. No one cares. But suddenly it’s perfectly relevant that nubian doesn’t proofread when she’s commenting on a blog post.

    I’ve seen trolls here and at the roasting-pits of pandagon who take less heat for their atrocious spelling–and they’re, you know, pondscum.

  7. piny
    piny September 16, 2006 at 8:03 pm |

    okay…FDL/Kos2.0 just got itself permently badlisted in my book, for crime somehundred and three. What a bunch of racist crap!

    I wasn’t really acquainted with the blog, either–and, to be honest, pay too little attention to blog cons–but he’s on my honorary blacklist. That was Althousian.

  8. Jill
    Jill September 16, 2006 at 8:15 pm | *

    What’s sad is that I usually really like FDL — it’s my favorite of the “big” blogs. I think Jane and Christie do a fabulous job, and I’m disappointed to see a post like this.

  9. Nomie
    Nomie September 16, 2006 at 8:22 pm |

    Man, sometimes I am really glad that I don’t present as an “obvious” minority online. I’d be getting whole other shovels of bullshit flung at me.

    This is just appalling. If they don’t have answers for why there were no minorities, why there were no women on the FDL panel… the proper response is not “HOW DARE YOU QUESTION US, PUNY MORTAL.” The proper response is to acknowledge the imbalance, admit that the imbalance is wrong, and then make an effort to correct it.

  10. Nomie
    Nomie September 16, 2006 at 8:22 pm |

    And for FDL, read PDC. Acronyms and me do not equal BFF.

  11. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein September 16, 2006 at 8:52 pm |

    Zuzu, which commenters on progressive blogs were slagging on Jessica? I am not surprised that there were, believe me.

  12. kate
    kate September 16, 2006 at 9:24 pm |

    So, here we are agin, just like in my ole days of activism in the life form; white folks slapping themselves on forhead, “Oh! People of color? Silly me, I’ll make a note of that here…” presumably, POC should then shut the fuck up and move forward with the Great White Way. Because they have the moral authority to decide who, when and what will speak for whom.

    Now, I will admit that when I saw the pictures from the meeting, I was surprised at the lily-whiteness of the crowd, but upon further inquiry, I was informed that several minority bloggers were invited, but declined.

    Of course, since your tokens refused to show, you are off the hook. “See? I did my part, can’t hep it if they were too lazy/incompetent/selfish/ignorant to show up to our show, so may we continue?”

    Don’t bother to ask why they didn’t want to show. Hell, were there people of color represented among those who planned this event? I’d guess that there weren’t. Slap forhead again, “Oops, my bad, well can we move on?”

    Same with including WOC or women in general as a group.

    The behavior and reaction of those called on their poor organizing skills explains exactly the reason why the large majority of white folks prefer to run things themselves.

    If you let the people of color and women control things god knows what will happen — they might actually make up an agenda or say things that may draw the curtain and expose your white and male priviledge.

    Good job Zuzu to bring this out, it is indeed an issue that ‘progressives’ need to work on. Unfortunately, especially I don’t feel especially hopeful about us getting access through those channells. I’m more toward carving out our own door in, to hell with them.

  13. kate
    kate September 16, 2006 at 9:25 pm |

    Well fuck me all to hell. In my enthusiasm to post, I left a huge grammatical error. Guess now my point may be promptly ignored.

  14. Donna
    Donna September 16, 2006 at 9:36 pm |

    I’ve seen a few comments about Jessica on progressive blogs but nothing like at Althouses, they were mostly “she’s a hottie” or “I like Jessica for her brains ;)”

    I’m another minority woman who is upset by that post. FDL sunk into the gutter, what shocked me is that Jane jumped right in and joined the bashing. I thought she was a better person than that and would remove the post. I won’t go back, I don’t visit racist blogs. FDL was the second blog on my homepage RSS feed. It’s bad enough that TRex is racist scum but the none of them noticed the coded words about her BETTERS. What is wrong with those people??? Jane still won’t admit that Liza was right about the blackface Lieberman pic. I don’t care that someone else made the graphic, he didn’t force her to post it, that was her own lapse of judgement. They are covering that fact up and it was the one thing that Liza raised in her initial post. Liza’s point was that there has been misunderstandings between liberal whites and blacks and unfortunately she chose to highlight FDL as an example.

    I’m native american and I have noticed this in my own life. When you disagree with certain liberal whites, even ones I thought were my friends, if they are racists deep down it will come out. That is what happened with TRex. Black women better know their place and have perfect composition online and probably diction in person or they aren’t as worthy as white folks around him.

  15. piny
    piny September 16, 2006 at 9:37 pm |

    This is just appalling. If they don’t have answers for why there were no minorities, why there were no women on the FDL panel… the proper response is not “HOW DARE YOU QUESTION US, PUNY MORTAL.” The proper response is to acknowledge the imbalance, admit that the imbalance is wrong, and then make an effort to correct it.

    Yeeeah, I mean, not to get all meta or anything, but why can’t we energize voters, again?

  16. Carpenter
    Carpenter September 16, 2006 at 9:37 pm |

    I think what this is good old fashioned bullshit.
    Althouse wrote something really stupid, she tried to inslt Bill Clinton bu ended up with a foot in h and then when she got called her mouh cuase she employed a misogynist tactic to do it. When she got calleon it she didnt just cop to it, she tried to bullshi her way out with “posing”. as an academic I see tons of this, must always save face/dig the hole Im in deeper.

  17. tbogg
    tbogg September 16, 2006 at 10:01 pm |

    I thought that T-Rex’s post was bitchy and over the top, but I also see that the point he was making was that some are using this ‘incident’ as a way to promote themselves, and in that regard he has a point. When I first saw the infamous picture the first thing I noticed was the overall whiteness of the gathering and I wondered why Steve Gilliard wasn’t there since he’s a NY local; but now I know why. From a sexuality standpoint all the bases were covered, but not race, but then it appears that Oliver Willis and Steve were invited and declined. As far as bloggers of color, the only other one that I know of that is prominent is Pam at Pandagon, but I have to admit that I don’t really keep track of these things. I go by whose writing or sensibility appeals to me.
    Having said all of that, until today I’d never heard of Liza or her blog, and I’ve been doing this for sometime, so one might say that by her complaints she has upped her profile for better or worse. A Mission Accomplished moment.

    The fact of the matter is that some bloggers are going to be invited and some aren’t and this whole thing is turning into a Heathers vs. Heathers Steelcage Deathmatch. Not everyone gets invited to the best birthday party or gets the biggest piece of cake.

    I will also state for the record that, if they ever build a virtual Hall of Fame for Blogging Bad Grammar and Typos, I’m in on the first ballot.

  18. exangelena
    exangelena September 16, 2006 at 10:03 pm |

    Here’s another FDL post that I considered racially offensive. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

  19. exangelena
    exangelena September 16, 2006 at 10:04 pm |

    And I don’t think I need to mention the whole Lieberman in blackface thing either. It’s too bad, because FDL has regular updates and nice photoshopped pictures, too :(

  20. piny
    piny September 16, 2006 at 10:19 pm |

    The what now?

    Um, yeah, that strikes me as offensive; while some people would argue that the “Uncle Tom” allegation is problematic in and of itself, such that Malkin must have less rational interest in promoting the right wing than, say, Bill Kristol, it’s racist to point up “white” cues as though there are such things or as though Asian/-American people cannot authentically display them. It’s also pretty fucked up to appoint oneself arbiter of what is and is not ethnically proper.

    John Yoo is reprehensible because he supports and apologizes for torture. Even aside from the offensive thing, the Asian Honky argument is immaterial.

  21. Nanette
    Nanette September 16, 2006 at 10:45 pm |

    zuzu, thank you for tackling the blatant racism in that FDL post (even if it was paired with yet more of Jessica’s breasts…no pun intended ;)

    I’ve been pretty appalled at the silence on this issue – which could, of course, be due to people not knowing about it, although I think there may be also an element of solidarity involved too and personal friendships, or just being not interested… all understandable – as well as some of the reactions, ranging from essentially, “oh trex, you bad boy” to “well she was asking for it, being an unknown (to me) blogger daring to criticize an A lister” . As Terrance at the Republic of T said, though:

    The FDL post, if you ask me, may be one of the most valuable things to come out of this. Experience has taught me to value and pay attention to those moments when the mask slips and (as Oprah says) people show you who they really are.

    Personally, I’ve always found that a good rule to live by too.

    I am not sure, regarding the actual Clinton bloggers meeting, why location would make that much of a difference? People were flown in from the west coast and elsewhere, so even if they’d had the meeting in Furman-town, Idaho I don’t know why there would be less expectation of a diverse group meeting than if they held it in Harlem. Of course, the whole thing with the “soul food” was a bit much.

    exangelena: Ye gods, that is awful. More mask slipping. What are these people thinking?

    Don’t answer that.

  22. Nomie
    Nomie September 16, 2006 at 10:53 pm |

    I also forgot to say – goddammit, not everybody who has a LJ is an insipid twit. On my friendslist (a misnomer) I have a teacher of microbiology at UC Berkeley, a comedy writer who has really hilarious aggregates of pop culture news, and some fabulously talented artists. (I possibly veer more towards insipidity, but that’s why I keep mine locked. Heh.)

    Nanette, I figured that the location was more just about the irony of the whole thing. Like, Clinton pretty obviously chose to have his office in Harlem to show that he is “a man of the people” and “in touch with minorities”, if I remember all the initial hype correctly. So to do that, and then somehow not have any (obvious, at least) minorities? It does provoke the thoughts some.

  23. ilyka
    ilyka September 16, 2006 at 11:15 pm |

    I’d have to go back and gather names

    You wouldn’t have to go far–a couple of them occurred at the Culture Kitchen post you linked right here. Gems like “Look at Bill. You know his hand is resting comfortably on that cute brunette’s butt. Go get em, Bubba!,” and, in a comment titled “She’s Awfully Happy,” The Lewinsky is invoked: “Hand of the Butt theory definitely works for me. The shoulder turn says it all. Monica II.”

  24. Sally
    Sally September 17, 2006 at 12:01 am |

    That FDL post is one of the worst things I’ve read in a long time. And you know, there’s something so predictable about the “I’m completely color-blind, and I don’t read any blogs by people of color, so there must not be any people of color saying interesting things” response. I don’t think it’s occurred to them that if they think they’re color-blind, they might not be interested in the blogs of people who don’t have the luxury of pretending that race doesn’t matter.

    starting sentences with “and” and “but,”

    Heh. I do that on purpose. I think the rule about starting sentences with “and” and “but” is a really dumb rule: after all, “however” is just “but” dressed up on fancy clothes. I’ve never once been called on it, though, whereas the moment a blogger or commenter reveals herself to be a person of color, it’s open season on every typo.

    Finally, I don’t think it really matters that the meeting was in Harlem, except that Clinton has billed himself as being really in touch with the black community, and putting his office in Harlem was, I think, partly meant as a nod to that. So (so: a shorter way of saying “therefore,”) it’s especially distressing that he seems to be ignoring bloggers of color.

  25. piny
    piny September 17, 2006 at 12:05 am |

    “Also” would be the approved form of “and.”

    That FDL post is one of the worst things I’ve read in a long time. And you know, there’s something so predictable about the “I’m completely color-blind, and I don’t read any blogs by people of color, so there must not be any people of color saying interesting things” response. I don’t think it’s occurred to them that if they think they’re color-blind, they might not be interested in the blogs of people who don’t have the luxury of pretending that race doesn’t matter.

    And if you’re looking for a cross-section, you would seek outside of your personal tastes, yes?

  26. Nomie
    Nomie September 17, 2006 at 12:13 am |

    And if you’re looking for a cross-section, you would seek outside of your personal tastes, yes?

    That’s also something that people haven’t talked about much that I’ve seen, though we probably need to wait till Jessica’sBoobiesGate dies down first. How much time do bloggers devote to reading other blogs? How often do they look to expand that circle of readership? And how do they go about finding and selecting new blogs to read? Obviously a person can’t read all the blogs, or all the feminist blogs, or all the liberal blogs – there’s not enough time in the day, particularly if you have a job or a life that requires you to spend time away from the computer. There’s a selection process, and the filters in place will affect how you view trends and issues in blogging.

    So I guess we can be asking: who’s reading whom? And how does that shape people’s reactions to events like the Clinton lunch, where for better or worse these bloggers are “representing” the blogging world?

  27. Donna
    Donna September 17, 2006 at 12:20 am |

    Tbogg, I don’t think Liza was trying to promote herself. I think she had a legitimate gripe about the whiteness of that meeting and she was making another point about how this isn’t the first time there has been a problem between liberal white and liberal black bloggers, she used the blackface Lieberman post as an example. I hope you aren’t saying that people can’t refer back to posts that upset them by A-listers without saying they are self promoting? Liza didn’t go all over the place blog whoring, the post was picked up by Technorati and that is how TRex found it. He could have just left well enough alone, it was he who went over to Liza’s blog to stir the pot and brought others from FDL there too. She didn’t back down and remove the post so he used his big FDL sledgehammer to squash her. I think that is shameful too.

    There are a couple other things I’ve been mulling over today. Elayne Riggs has a post up about this topic and she got me thinking about how we (liberals) have been complaining about how Democratic pols allow access to the powerful; lobbyists, big money contributors, pundits, consultants while ignoring the less powerful; grassroots individuals and groups, independent media, and bloggers. But using the excuse that the A-listers deserve to be there but smaller minority bloggers don’t, isn’t that the same? No everyone can’t go to the party, but not one black blogger could go to a meeting in Harlem? The hypocrisy is what gets to me, it’s not ok when they are the ones being shut out, but once they get access then it’s “You’re just jealous! You need to respect your betters!”

    I also don’t ever want to see any of these bloggers make snarky remarks about the whiteness of conservative conferences and meetings. NONE of them noticed the whiteness of their own meeting until people like Liza brought it up, then they got defensive and attacked the blacks for having the nerve to notice.

  28. piny
    piny September 17, 2006 at 12:21 am |

    Yes, it’s something I’ve noticed about my own habits.

    It’s difficult, because there’s a certain catch-22 that dovetails very neatly with segregation. I read blogs because I like having conversations with bloggers. Bloggers who respond to my comments make me want to come back. However, bloggers won’t bother responding to my comments if I seem like a one-off, or if I haven’t gotten to know them well enough to have a longstanding meta conversation going, or if I don’t seem terribly insightful. Plus, I don’t comment on posts when I really should–squeamishness posing as respectful distance.

    So I guess we can be asking: who’s reading whom? And how does that shape people’s reactions to events like the Clinton lunch, where for better or worse these bloggers are “representing” the blogging world?

    Mm-hm. I like to think I’d be smart enough to branch out from my blog calling circle–and, I dunno, consider inviting the non-racist equivalent of FDL, whom I don’t know from Adam. But I have no reason to believe that. There are ways to self-aggrandize, and ways to strengthen existing channels.

  29. piny
    piny September 17, 2006 at 12:22 am |

    And there’s individuation on top of that which can make it more complex; I don’t know who a lot of these people are. To be honest, I don’t usually read feministing unless it’s linked to here.

  30. piny
    piny September 17, 2006 at 12:31 am |

    Tbogg, I don’t think Liza was trying to promote herself. I think she had a legitimate gripe about the whiteness of that meeting and she was making another point about how this isn’t the first time there has been a problem between liberal white and liberal black bloggers, she used the blackface Lieberman post as an example. I hope you aren’t saying that people can’t refer back to posts that upset them by A-listers without saying they are self promoting? Liza didn’t go all over the place blog whoring, the post was picked up by Technorati and that is how TRex found it. He could have just left well enough alone, it was he who went over to Liza’s blog to stir the pot and brought others from FDL there too. She didn’t back down and remove the post so he used his big FDL sledgehammer to squash her. I think that is shameful too.

    Plus, it’s a wee bit illogical to say that self-promotion is Just Not On for purposes of a blog conference designed to get the Democratic party re-invested in using the blogs as a valuable tool for the upcoming elections. Of course she’s self-promoting, if that means drawing attention to herself in the face of invisibility. She wants elected officials to pay attention to her. She wants other constituents to stop bogarting the representation. Why shouldn’t she speak up?

  31. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke September 17, 2006 at 12:41 am |

    starting sentences with “and” and “but,”

    I’ve worked as an editor for the last two decades. A person who’s hung up over sentences starting in “and” or “but” is a person who never learned anything about the English Language past sophomore year in high school. And a person who is obviously unacquainted with the Chicago Manual of Style.

  32. kactus
    kactus September 17, 2006 at 12:59 am |

    I’ve seen this scenario played out many times whenever a group of professionals get together to discuss poverty or welfare. It was especially bad in the couple of years running up to and following Bill’s welfare deform bill in 1996. Every professional who’d ever said anything about poverty was invited to blab their opinions, but the real poverty experts–the actual people in poverty–were completely shut out. If they were given a chance to speak at all it was in order to provide an anecdote or tell a horror story–and none of the professionals saw anything wrong with this. When welfare rights activists demanded equal representation they acted as if we were insane. It had simply never occurred to them that actual poor people might know a little something about poverty that they had overlooked, or that we might have workable, coherent ideas for how to solve it. Or that we might be able to present those ideas with “proper” grammar, using words of more than two syllables.

    This is the reality of living as the majority, ruling class: persons of color, women, people living on the economic edge, are good for “color” but not as representatives of their own best interests.

  33. kactus
    kactus September 17, 2006 at 1:01 am |

    And I’d like to add that the ruling class wishes that we would shut up and sit down–we’re cutting into their profit margin.

  34. Nanette
    Nanette September 17, 2006 at 1:12 am |

    Nomie

    Nanette, I figured that the location was more just about the irony of the whole thing.

    Yes, that is pretty ironic, especially it being in Harlem. It’s just that I’m seeing (in various places) mention that if it had been somewhere else, it wouldn’t have been as bad, or that proximity was a big problem and all that, but I don’t think either of those are all that true.

    And you know, there’s something so predictable about the “I’m completely color-blind, and I don’t read any blogs by people of color, so there must not be any people of color saying interesting things”

    Sally, yes there is a lot of that going on as well… and also the “we don’t see color online”, which is also a crock. Years ago when I first started being online I used to think that it was the coolest thing, being faceless, raceless, genderless if I wanted, and just having a “meeting of the minds”.

    I soon realized, though, that that pretty much just worked to the benefit of the majority culture online at the time, where everyone was assumed to be white by default, and to the detriment of non white people because we were pretty much assumed not to exist :).

    One result of that was (and is) that with people’s assumptions that they were speaking to someone of their “own race and class”, no thought was given to moving out of their own comfort zones and actually viewing black people or others as desirable interlocutors in their own right, instead of it being essentially a masquerade and at some point saying “Surprise!” (in so many words).

    Most of the people who say they don’t pay any attention to race or anything like that online are usually those who have no need to, and I bet nine times out of ten, their assumption of a not specifically racially identified blog (which they would probably not seek out) is that the person is white.

  35. Madison Guy
    Madison Guy September 17, 2006 at 2:16 am |

    I started reading FDL for the Plamegate coverage, which was great (Christie more than Jane, frankly). But since then — well, first there was the damn blackface picture and lack of any real apology, and now this shitty attack on Liza.

    Which ironically — or not so ironically — echoes the Althouse atack on Jessica. And in both cases, I think we’ve got “A-list” bloggers resorting to ever more outlandish tactics to keep the hits coming. And both are attacking female bloggers — for, among other things, allegedly trying to draw traffic to their sites.

    Speaking of which — take a look at her Site Meter and what Althouse has to say about its role in her blogging.

  36. belledame222
    belledame222 September 17, 2006 at 2:39 am |

    Well, and as noted hither and yon, here included, but specifically: yep, not just sexism but class, and age, and pecking order. But the whole sneering at the “T-shirt” thing, if it hadn’t veered off into quiiiiiite that level of creepy tit-fixation, would’ve been more plainly revealed as,

    “oh, DARLING. -that’s- what you’re wearing? how amusing.”

    pearl-clutching prune, I hope she chokes on it.

  37. tbogg
    tbogg September 17, 2006 at 3:31 am |

    I don’t have a problem (and why should I) with bloggers trying to attract attention to their sites. It is, afterall, perfectly natural . And (there’s that dreaded “and“) I have seen some good bloggers disappear from the scene for lack of attention while others linger on for unfathomable reasons (Dean Esmay, anyone?) . But, if I’m Bill Clinton or Peter Daou, I would be looking at the A-list to begin with because they have impact and if that impact is big enough it can supercede any stumbles of which Jane’s blackface post is one example, although I thought the outrage was manufactured by a desperate candidate.

    Additionally I would be very careful (as a politician) with any smaller blogger that I chose to align myself with because we’ve seen that the other side loves to control the narrative when it comes to guilt by association. Just look at this. Do you think that the right is going to let this slide by? Not. A. Chance. You have to balance your return on investment. Why take a big risk for a small audience?

    Each and every blogger needs to look critically at each and every post they have ever written and imagine how someone could take those words and twist them to hurt a candidate that they have joined with at the hip. That’s why I generally avoid endorsing any candidates. I’ve written enough shit that seemed funny at the time that could be made into a “moonbat anchor” around somebodys neck.

    That’s why you won’t see me or the guys at Sadly No! or Jesus General or any of the other smartasses invited to play in their reindeer games.

    That, and we don’t clean up so good.

    Wear a coat to see Bill Clinton? As if. I only wear pants about ten days a year.

  38. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost September 17, 2006 at 6:12 am |

    So to do that, and then somehow not have any (obvious, at least) minorities?

    For some reason, I read that like “how can he claim to care about black people when he doesn’t even own any himself?”

  39. Lesley
    Lesley September 17, 2006 at 9:31 am |

    I wish I were amazed that a progressive white man (and woman) would attack a WOC using phrases like “assailing your betters” and telling her to learn to use proper grammar and spelling. Sadly, I am not. I hope that progressives will, one day, recognize and own their racism, because at least being aware of it can help one mitigate it. However, these things normally play out as white person says something that stems from their privilege, is called on their privilege, and denies that they did anything worthy of criticism, blaming those who called them on their privilege for being overly-sensitive and seeing persecution where none exists. A belief that, of course, stems from the privilege of never having to actually experience what minorities experience on a daily basis.

    In the meantime, it seems to me as if a lot of progressives depend on the votes of POC and/or women, but cop an attitude like “Listen, we’re going to get on with the important things here [i.e., the things we've defined as being important as whites and/or men], but we’ll get to your concerns eventually. In the meanwhile, don’t even think of voting for Republicans, because they’re worse. So you really have no choice but to sit around until we decide it’s your turn.” And then, as zuzu points out, wonder why they can’t energize voters.

  40. Raging Moderate
    Raging Moderate September 17, 2006 at 9:37 am |

    I was surprised at the lily-whiteness of the crowd, but upon further inquiry, I was informed that several minority bloggers were invited, but declined.

    Of course, since your tokens refused to show, you are off the hook. “See? I did my part, can’t hep it if they were too lazy/incompetent/selfish/ignorant to show up to our show, so may we continue?”

    Hmm. Can’t win for losing.

    If bloggers of color were in fact invited but declined to attend, how is that the fault of the organizers?

  41. BEG
    BEG September 17, 2006 at 9:54 am |

    Well, that was interesting. Thanks for bringing that FDL post to my attention. I’ve never especially cottoned to that blog (it’s more strident than I care for; give me Greenwald any day instead), but with that kind of crap, who needs it?

    Overall I find the “smaller” (for lack of a better word) bloggers are far more interesting, on point, and on the ball than the big ones. I especially hated Kos at first glance, the mysogyny is just all over the place there.

    Anyway. Jessica, you go, girl. You’re doing fantastic work and I for one am very interested to see where you go from here (“here” being this time and place, not “boobiegate”).

    Cheers,
    BEG

  42. Nanette
    Nanette September 17, 2006 at 11:36 am |

    You know, the more I think about it (and I just went and re-looked at the photo as well), I’m wondering if part of the problem with the narrowness of the attendees, including the lack of racial diversity, is because the initial planning and invitations were drawn from that secret elite, leaders of the blogosphere, etc blogger email list that caused such a brouhaha a little while ago.

    If so, it would explain much – including why there was such a small pool of potential participants that apparently Willis was the only black blogger invited, and that inviting the local (and far away) bloggers of color was apparently not even considered. Hmmm, it could also explain the coordinated star gushing, but basically contentless posts on the meeting, as well as the fact that none of the participants mentioned Daou’s Hillary ties, or the lack of color and probably other things. It would also validate some of the complaints and warnings voiced at the time that people were first made aware of the list.

    All speculation, I know and unlikely to be confirmed or denied because of the vow of omerta… but I have to get some use out of my tin foil hats since the Bush admin has made conspiracy theories obsolete :)

  43. Elayne Riggs
    Elayne Riggs September 17, 2006 at 11:38 am |

    *applause*

    Although I will admit I’m a bit pouty now that you didn’t link to my post about this, particularly as I had nice things to say about you. :)

  44. williamx
    williamx September 17, 2006 at 12:21 pm |

    Sad that this is going down the way it is, but sweet that a ton of cool peeps have Jessica’s back . . . the way she has been objectified and insulted really is pathetic.
    Insanely sad because this is not the time for liberals/progressives (whatever that actually means) to be ripping up on each other.
    Race matters, yes. As does gender, class, education, upbringing, sexual orientation . . .
    I wonder though, to have an informal lunch and a ‘frank exchange of views’ do you want a hundred people? A thousand?
    really you want maybe 10 or fifteen . . . 20 at the most . . . so who would you switch out with who? I am pretty ignorant about the racial make up of the blogs I read (Angry Black Bitch is the only one I can say for sure is written by someone not white, and even then, I’ve never seen her picture, so wtf do I know?)
    If you are going to have the meeting in Harlem though, it should be just about all non-white . . . I don’t live in New York but (I should just look this up) my impression is that Harlem is mostly black.
    It seems to me that there have been a couple of these blogger get togethers . . . and the main point to come out of each is who was and was not invited. I am not hearing much about what was actually said.
    It is a valid and necessary point and demands correction but the tone makes it sound like . . . snivelry. (I love this word. It’s a little harsher than I really mean but I want others to start using it as well . . .)
    It is definitely fodder for ridicule at the hands of the right.
    For the long pivileged babble, I apologize.

  45. Roxanne
    Roxanne September 17, 2006 at 12:37 pm |

    I’m currently on the road, so I admit I haven’t read teh nitty gritty on all of this. But it seems that things all the way around have gotten entirely too personal. AND (take that, grammar police) the lack of emotional IQ on display is pretty astounding.

    That being said, I think the “women don’t blog because they don’t like the foodfight” bullshit can finally be put to rest. No?

  46. DJA
    DJA September 17, 2006 at 12:51 pm |

    Man, this FireDogLake-CultureKitchen thing is the most depressing blogwar ever. I hate to see people I admire tear into each other like this.

    First off — Jane Hamsher is a first-rate writer and a terrific asset to the liberal blogosphere. What she and Christy have built with FDL is nothing short of miraculous. Sometimes, like everyone else, she makes mistakes (and posting the blackface picture was pretty clearly a mistake, although TBOGG is right that the mistake was amplified by right-wing bloggers acting in bad faith), but I think Terrance claiming that “the mask slipped” is, at minimum, extremely uncharitable. And I certainly don’t see any evidence for the wild assertions that FDL is some kind of hotbed of racism. Clearly, FDL contributors Pachacutec, Steve Gilliard, Pam Spaulding, and Matt O don’t feel that way.

    Now, I agree that TRex’s post was unwarranted and bitchy and pushes all the wrong buttons — that bit about “assailing your betters” was waaaaaay out of line. Liza — whose blog I also admire (most recently, they had really great coverage of the primary election in Brooklyn’s 11th District, where I live) — asked a lot of legitimate questions. Also, the spectacle of A-Listers and all their commenters piling on when they get criticized by a smaller blog is unsettling.

    But it’s also true that the part Liza’s post that specifically attacked Jane, for allegedly not giving any visibility to minority bloggers in CT, was not actually true. Liza also strongly implied that Jane was invited to meet with Clinton specifically because Jane is a racist. And, well, then there’s this (and you know, save for the nasty, nasty title, I actually agree with the point of that post).

    I understand that there’s a lot of anger and frustration on both sides right now, but I don’t think fanning the flames is the answer. We are actually seeking the same goals here.

  47. DJA
    DJA September 17, 2006 at 12:55 pm |

    Or, for the shorter me, you could just read Roxanne’s post above.

  48. DJA
    DJA September 17, 2006 at 1:01 pm |

    Also, I meant to credit Liza for taking Michael’s post off the front page in an effort to de-escalate.

  49. Sally
    Sally September 17, 2006 at 1:14 pm |

    We are actually seeking the same goals here.

    Are we? I suspect that a lot of white progressives would say that we are and that a lot of progressives who are people of color would disagree. And I suspect that what you see as a problem of tactics would seem to many people of color as a much more fundamental problem: the issue isn’t that TRex “pushed the wrong buttons,” but that his post was racist and that FDL therefore provides a platform for white supremacy.

    So I guess the question is whether you see ending white supremacy as one of the goals for which we’re all fighting. And another question is who gets to define the goals and who gets to decide what furthers those goals.

    I dunno. I don’t read FDL, which is probably why this seems so obvious to me. I’m embarassed to admit that if I were loyal to the blog, I might be more torn. But I don’t think that anyone who posts that Liza should defer to her “betters” is fighting for the same goals that I am.

  50. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte September 17, 2006 at 1:41 pm |

    Rox is right. As someone who was told about the lunch before it happened, the one thing I can say for certain is that it was arranged very quickly, and so Peter asked a handful of bloggers to give him short lists of people they’d want. I think geography was the number one factor; when someone asked me for advice on who to ask, I said, “Just ask women in the NY area, they’ll be the only ones who can get away to do this.”

    So, while this does indeed demonstrate there’s a racism issue, it’s structural—like Nanette said, a lot of the bloggers who were out seeking out others to take naturally thought of those people that are most like them. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll stick with people of their own race, but it ups the odds, as we all know. And then there was the transportation issue, which narrowed the field of people who could get there considerably.

    While none of this is intentional, it is racist, in the sense that racism is a structural issue. (TRex’s defensive post was a bit of personal racism, though.) As such, it’s a little frustrating to focus on just what the last minute efforts to get more racial diversity to events like this should be. In a scramble, if the “top” bloggers are mostly white, that’s who’s going. So the focus should be on getting more people of color into top blogging positions.

    As someone who benefited from being recruited from the lower ranks to the upper ranks, my tendency is to think that this is a great strategy. If we can get more diversity in the upper ranks, this won’t be nearly the problem that it is right now.

  51. Roxanne
    Roxanne September 17, 2006 at 1:49 pm |

    I’m not laying blame at any particular person’s feet because I don’t know who made suggestions for the guest list, but the fact that Amanda was invited and Pam was not –and they both blog on the same frickin’ blog– says something.

  52. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein September 17, 2006 at 1:50 pm |

    Getting back to the Bill Clinton lunch, we shouldn’t forget that the event was about Hillary’s outreach to the netroots in advance of her presidential bid.

    A blogger’s chances of getting invited depended on his or her estimated worth to Hillary Clinton. Looking at the list, I would say that Daou and his team made the decision based on a combination of traffic and Hillary-neutrality.

    The fact that bloggers of color were absent from the lunch says more about Hillary as a candidate than anything else. A lot of the most influential bloggers of color, and a lot of white bloggers of comparable stature, are already on the record as being hostile to Hillary, staunchly pro-John Edwards, and/or vocal opponents of Hillary’s signature stances (e.g., censoring video games, speaking of abortion as a necessary evil, etc.).

    We should stay focused on the motives behind the selection instead of pointing fingers at the individual guests (who didn’t get to choose who else got invited). We shouldn’t let Hillary’s agenda divide allies in the blogosphere.

  53. La Lubu
    La Lubu September 17, 2006 at 1:58 pm |

    Before all this, I’d never heard of FDL; now, I’ll be thinking of FDL as “That Racist Place”. There’s no way you can convince me that a white woman would have been flamed in the same manner.

    But I don’t think that anyone who posts that Liza should defer to her “betters” is fighting for the same goals that I am.

    Exactly, Sally. Another thread there referred to Liza as needing a “spanking.” Why the hell would I ever want to read anything on FDL again unless I wanted to wade through a bunch of the same racist, sexist garbage all over again?

  54. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte September 17, 2006 at 2:09 pm |

    I wasn’t really invited-invited—I was asked if I wanted to be on the short list. If hostility-to-Hillary was an issue, I imagine all Pandagoners would not have been invited, because we all think she stinks.

  55. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein September 17, 2006 at 2:10 pm |

    I don’t want to cast aspersions on the motivation behind the guest list, either. I just think we should all keep in mind that the goal of the host was not just to reach out to the netroots at large, but rather to build alliances people who are influential and potentially useful to Hillary. There’s nothing sinister about that, it was a political event.

  56. Roxanne
    Roxanne September 17, 2006 at 2:11 pm |

    Thanks. I stand corrected. See how easy that was, folks?

  57. Nanette
    Nanette September 17, 2006 at 2:31 pm |

    We should stay focused on the motives behind the selection instead of pointing fingers at the individual guests (who didn’t get to choose who else got invited). We shouldn’t let Hillary’s agenda divide allies in the blogosphere.

    Lindsey, I don’t think it’s actually “Hillary’s agenda” that is dividing allies in the blogosphere. Everyone know that when you deal with politicians (and their surrogates) that there is an agenda there… it would be hoped that the people involved would walk into it with their eyes open.

    It, in my opinion, is the bloggers agenda (or at least ineptness) that is dividing the blogersphere, in various ways.

    First, the meeting itself and the reporting on the meeting. Instead of stating “We were invited to a bloggers conference with Bill Clinton, arranged by Peter Daou, who is Hillary Clinton’s blogger outreach person” or something upfront like that, the reports were more “Wow, Bill Clinton! Star! Lunch! Look at all of us! …. (oh, and that’s Peter Daou sitting next to so and so) talk! lunch! pictures!”

    Why this was, I don’t know, but before I noticed the composition of the photos I noticed the very offhand mentions of Daou.

    Next would be the fact that there were no bloggers of color there. Yes, Daou apparently was in charge of the invitation list, but whose agenda was served by having not even one of the bloggers there mention the fact that they noticed that they were an all white crew? I know some of those present have an at least marginally diverse readership… I don’t know if they thought no one would notice, or no one would speak up because of being in awe of Clinton (or of the bloggers themselves) or what… but that showed a distinct lack of respect for not only their readership but the wider blogosphere, as well as, again, ineptness. Dunno if this is a result of parts of the “off the record” meeting, or a planned united front or what. But again, it’s not Hillary’s agenda that is in question.

    Then the reaction, which seems to range from “Yes, we noticed (or maybe not) but it’s not our faults!” (and it’s true, the guest list itself wasn’t the fault of the bloggers) to “Shut up with your uppity selves and don’t question us!”

    This is not the first, nor the last time that the self selected “leaders of the blogosphere” will be involved in issues related to politicians and political events, agendas (theirs and the politicians), secretive meetings, and lots of shark swimming.

    My concern, as a consumer of blogs, whose eyes and page impressions help provide part of the funding for the blogs (although not usually the Democratic operative ones like kos and FDL and so on) is not the agenda of the politicians who will attempt to make any use they can of the blogs and their readers – that is to be expected, if you hang out on political blogs – , but the agenda, integrity and transparency of the blogs (and bloggers) themselves.

    Of course, besides all that and adding greatly to the fire was that racist post at FDL, fully supported and justified by the blog owners and justified, excused or completely ignored by many of their readers, and colleagues across the blogoshere. Now that has great potential to divide allies, or actually to cause some to question if they ever really had any.

  58. Donna
    Donna September 17, 2006 at 3:23 pm |

    I don’t have a problem with bloggers self-promoting either, but I don’t think bloggers do this 100% of the time, sometimes something simply strikes them as important and they have to get it typed out. I think that is what happened here in Liza’s case. She wasn’t blog whoring as far as I can tell. TRex found her blog through Technorati, and he is the one who took the fight to her and brought other FDLers to her blog too. She wouldn’t back down and remove the post so he squashed her with the big FDL sledgehammer. That doesn’t sit well with me either, the whole idea of going to smaller blogs that disagree with you and telling them to “shut up or we will hurt you” by the big blogs is chilling.

    DJA, I think you are wrong about the racism at FDL. Pam and Steve both think that Liza had a very good point, and aren’t among the sycophants cheering on TRex. Pach says on Steve’s blog that he does not agree with what TRex wrote and his choice of words but only agrees that Liza deserves to get a kinder gentler version of it. I have no idea what Matt O thinks of it. Somehow I think anyone of color is at least going to be somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of a white man telling a black woman to mind her “betters”.

    FDL made a big mistake here. They could have easily rebutted Liza’s remarks about the Lieberman blackface issue and the accusation of the lack of diversity there and done it in a grown up matter of fact manner. The fact that they had to smack down a black woman with racist code words, grammar errors, and lack of coherency like she’s writing ebonics says more to me. Everyone who wasn’t sucking up to TRex and Jane could understand what Liza wrote even with the occasional spelling or syntax error.

    Outright bigotry isn’t the only form of racism. Telling POC to shut up, know their place, we’ll decide what issues are important and what’s best is also racism. It’s on plain view at FDL.

  59. Matt Browner-Hamlin
    Matt Browner-Hamlin September 17, 2006 at 5:21 pm |

    For those who missed it, Oliver Willis has weighed in on the make up of the Clinton blogger lunch. Here’s the post in full (sans links & emphasis):

    Apparently people are concerned/upset/miffed that none of the bloggers at this lunch with President Clinton are black. For the record, I was invited to go, but of course the one time I could have met the best president of the last 25 years I previously scheduled a vacation to Hawaii.

    For the record, I am black.

    That is all.

    UPDATE: That’s not all. This is the sort of stupid thing that is a direct result of the pathology that loses Democrats elections. If President Clinton wanted to have lunch with 25 white males, who cares? Seriously. You’re going to eviscreate the only President we’ve had in recent years that didn’t just brush off black people because of who he may or may not have invited to lunch. Not to mention the folks yammering out their rear ends about stuff they don’t know?

    It’s things like this that almost make me want the Democrats to lose because the left is so stupid. It’s like the kid who sticks his finger in the electrical socket and then does it again because he has learned diddly.

    UPDATE 2: Man, there’s really been an outbreak of the stupids on this (I mean, Jesus, what the hell is a “blackosphere” and how can I take it out behind the barn and kill it?). The thing with the so-called netroots is that we’re supposed to be past the tired racial politics of the past. I remember watching the DNC meetings in which Howard Dean was nominated and felt appalled at the idea that the Dems still organize themselves into these moronic racial and sexual orientation subgroups. It is just tired and old and old and tired. I don’t vote and support the Democratic party because its fighting for the blacks, the asians, the hispanics, the whites or whatever. I support Democrats because they fight for true equality. I could not care less about what sort of racial checklists a candidate ticks off – and in the case of 2008 I would rather they not check any at all. What is more important: that a candidate fills out a questionaire from the NAACP or that he or she is a tireless defender of the constitution? Stop this nonsense now, or you’ll keep losing.

    I’d add that I think that Willis’s points come from a perspective of someone who wants to see, first and foremost, Democratic electoral victory and Democratic controlled government.

    I think this speaks to the need, as raised by TRex and others, for people to get the facts about who was invited before condemning the makeup of the Clinton lunch.

  60. DJA
    DJA September 17, 2006 at 5:55 pm |

    DJA, I think you are wrong about the racism at FDL.

    Donna, I wasn’t condoning TRex’s post either — like I said, it was way out of line. I wasn’t wild about Jane piling on in comments, either. Again, Liza had very valid, important questions that needed to be asked. As far as this situation goes, I think your characterization of the incident here is dead-on:

    FDL made a big mistake here. They could have easily rebutted Liza’s remarks about the Lieberman blackface issue and the accusation of the lack of diversity there and done it in a grown up matter of fact manner. The fact that they had to smack down a black woman with racist code words, grammar errors, and lack of coherency like she’s writing ebonics says more to me. Everyone who wasn’t sucking up to TRex and Jane could understand what Liza wrote even with the occasional spelling or syntax error.

    That said, it’s possible to be strongly critical of Jane and TRex’s handling of this incident — as some FDL contributors have been (as you noted) — without discounting FDL’s very real accomplishments in advancing progressive politics in this country. To characterize the blog as providing “a platform for white supremacy” seems kind of overheated, and disrespectful to the persons of color who contribute there.

  61. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein September 17, 2006 at 6:36 pm |

    Exactly, zuzu. Appearances matter, and it says something about the priorities of the organizers not only that they ended up with a predominantly white group, but that they didn’t anticipate that this would be a problem.

    All I’m saying is that Liza was right to worry about racism on the part of the event organizers. However, she was wrong to attack Jane Hamsher for Peter Daou’s guest list.

  62. shannon
    shannon September 17, 2006 at 6:38 pm |

    In this context, white supremacy means the idea that white people are better than everyone else.

  63. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein September 17, 2006 at 6:51 pm |

    I think the scale of the online fallout from the all-white Clinton lunch is a victory.

    You better believe that Hillary’s team and other candidates doing blogger outreach will be more aware next time.

  64. Sally
    Sally September 17, 2006 at 7:31 pm |

    To characterize the blog as providing “a platform for white supremacy” seems kind of overheated, and disrespectful to the persons of color who contribute there.

    TRex’s post was racist. It upholds and promotes white supremacy. I understand that you like gentler language. You prefer to say that it was “out of line” or “pushed the wrong buttons” or something that sounds less damning. But I don’t play that game. By posting that tripe, FDL provided a platform for white supremacy. TRex assumed the authority to attack and humiliate Liza, a smart, accomplished Latina woman, because he knew that his audience would buy the idea that any Latina was an uneducated idiot. FDL may have done many other good things, and they may be a very valuable blog, but that doesn’t change the fact.

    It seems to me that there’s something sort of shitty about one white person defending other white people by invoking absent people of color. There isn’t any person who speaks for their whole race (let alone all people of color) and can give someone a get-out-of-accusations-of-racism pass. The best that any of us can do is to listen to all the arguments for and against the propriety of a particular action and remark and make up our own minds. And I’ve made up my mind that this was a racist post and that it reflects badly on everyone at FDL, at least until they take it down and apologize to Liza.

    If the people of color who contribute to FDL find this offensive, I’m happy to discuss that with them. But I’m not playing the “I found a black person who agrees with me, so you’re the real racist” game.

    I think the scale of the online fallout from the all-white Clinton lunch is a victory.

    I hope you’re right. But of course, that would never have happened if Liza had stayed quietly in her place.

    (And I’m still not crazy about the Clinton meet-ups in general, maybe because I don’t totally understand what the point of them is. I get why Hillary Clinton would want to court a-list bloggers. I’m not sure why bloggers would want to be courted.)

    Finally, I don’t think it’s just an appearance issue. Presumably, a whole lot of white bloggers couldn’t come on short notice, either, but the meetup didn’t end up being a white-people-free zone. Why were so few people of color invited that one no-show meant that the meeting was all white?

  65. kate
    kate September 17, 2006 at 7:40 pm |

    Hmm. Can’t win for losing.

    If bloggers of color were in fact invited but declined to attend, how is that the fault of the organizers?

    You miss the mark. That people of color should wait and hope that the priviledged group will think of them when the time comes speaks of old time racism. I have a hard time with anyone wearing the ‘progressive’ label who can at one minute acknowledge and be outraged that our culture has in place an obscene power imbalance based on skin color and then at the same time, do absolutely nothing to apply this outrage to action. Even on the most mundane levels.

    Yes, absolutely white folks have an obligation to consider at every major event they plan, every time they are given access, “Do I have an opportunity to bring traditionally non-represented groups in this on the ground level? Can I stand back and allow them to have a voice?” Is that hard to do? Yes. Is it sometimes a pain? Yes. Will your white peers criticize you for it? Of course. Do you have an obligation to act on your words? Absolutely, so get to it. You are the priviledged class with the power, remember? Things won’t change until you start because YOU hold the keys.

    As for the person who posted Willis’ comments. Willis does not speak for all people of color. That’s what tokenism is; finding one person and assuming that one person exemplifies and serves as the complete embodiment of a certain group, tokens are great to serve for appearances as their limited number allows the group in power to ignore their actual voice, as Kactus pointed out by anecdote about welfare activists.

    Whether or not Liza originally served as the token is unclear, but she certainly was treated like one as soon as she had something to say that criticized those in power. That the blogger on FDL wrote this and apparently didn’t look at it and say, “Whoa, where’d that shit come from.” and think about his impulse first, but posted it quite sure of his rightness, speaks Racism, speaks White Priviledge pretty clearly to me.

    Willis apparently has no problem with a group that ignores his own experience and takes upon themselves the mantle of speaking for him, fine, but I find it racism, white progressive style.

    Sally makes the point well as does Donna.

  66. La Lubu
    La Lubu September 17, 2006 at 8:28 pm |

    I get why Hillary Clinton would want to court a-list bloggers. I’m not sure why bloggers would want to be courted.

    I think Liza nailed it when she said “power is seductive.” Besides, being a good little blogger for a political campaign—particularly for a high-profile politician like Hillary—could be the path to a high-paying political position.

    To characterize the blog as providing “a platform for white supremacy” seems kind of overheated, and disrespectful to the persons of color who contribute there.

    Why? And (there’s that “and” again! Hey, sue me. I’m just a card-carrying member of the lumpenproletariat, so whaddya expect?) why just the people of color who blog there? Why don’t the white folks count in this instance? Isn’t racism a issue for white folks, too?

    Here’s the thing—I’m not going to judge you (the universal “you”, not “you” personally) by your good intentions. Everybody in the damn world insists he or she has good intentions. I’m going to judge you by your actions. By what you do, not by what you say you “really mean” or “meant to say”. I take a very jaundiced look at “oh, you know what I meant” or “but….we’re all in this together.” Because that hasn’t been my experience, socially or politically. We aren’t really “all in this together”. We don’t all have an equal commitment (in midwestern union circles you’ll hear the “breakfast analogy”—the chicken participates, but the pig is committed.) And it has been my experience, even in so-called progressive circles, that there are some there (a disproportionate number of them white men) who consider themselves to be the “vanguard” of a movement, and who consider the movement to be a personal vehicle for political opportunism and ego-stroking by those of us deemed “lesser-thans” (go read that line about the “betters” again, if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

    When it comes to joining and being active in a political movement, I am not looking for more opportunities to sit on the bottom of the pyramid, propping up people who consider themselves to be my “betters”. I am not going to canvas neighborhoods, knock on doors, phone bank, write letters, attend rallies, send checks, or start long, involved discussions with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and other compadres/comadres in support of that sort of movement. I am not going to willfully ignore my own issues, the meat-and-potato daily issues of my life, in the slim-chance-hope that maybe if I do so, after a lifetime goes by, maybe someday, I will have proven enough of a good-faith effort towards my “betters” that perhaps it is time to brush some of the dust off of my issues for a look-see. That isn’t enough. I’m tired of waiting. And I’m tired of the disrespect. I’m also tired of the excuse of pointing fingers in the direction of Repugs and saying, “but they’re worse!!” So what? What kind of schoolyard bullshit is that? “That bully kicks your ass so much harder than I do; come get your ass kicked by me again!” Bah.

    Go ahead and tell me I’m not “looking at the big picture.” I am using the only tool I have left to me now; turning my back. The same-old same-old critiques about inclusion, the same-old same-old critiques about what/whose issues are “important” have gone unaddressed for years and years and years.

    ‘Nother words, saying something or someone is “progressive” isn’t good enough. The actions, not the intentions, have to be progressive—the key being “progress”, y’know—advancing the movement. Parroting old racist and sexist canards about who needs a good spanking and who needs to pipe down and listen to her betters isn’t advancing the movement.

  67. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein September 17, 2006 at 8:31 pm |

    Yes, absolutely white folks have an obligation to consider at every major event they plan, every time they are given access, “Do I have an opportunity to bring traditionally non-represented groups in this on the ground level? Can I stand back and allow them to have a voice?” Is that hard to do? Yes. Is it sometimes a pain? Yes. Will your white peers criticize you for it? Of course. Do you have an obligation to act on your words? Absolutely, so get to it. You are the priviledged class with the power, remember? Things won’t change until you start because YOU hold the keys.

    Very well put. Decision-maker has a responsibility to reflect on their own behavior and really look at how they might be inadvertently excluding certain kinds of people. The fact that they don’t intend to shut anyone out doesn’t get them off the hook.

    However, we don’t know exactly how hard the Hillary team tried to be inclusive. Maybe they never even thought about it, but happened to invite at least two bloggers of color because they admired them, without considering the diversity angle. In which case, shame on them.

    Or, maybe they made a concerted effort to find bloggers of color who met their other qualifications (high-traffic, interested in American politics, available on super-short notice, etc.). If so, they failed in their objective. They didn’t ask many people of color, and the people they did ask couldn’t come. So they were left with a white group and egg on their faces. Let’s help them do better next time.

    Should we judge Hillary’s team by the people who actually showed up, or the people they tried to invite? Some of both, probably.

  68. kate
    kate September 17, 2006 at 8:56 pm |

    Let’s help them do better next time.

    I’m tryin’ I’m tryin’, but if they don’t want to hear, what are you gonna do? You are going to call them on it at every chance you have and take the heat, because you know its coming. Fact is though, those in power must make the effort as well, it isn’t a one way street.

    And what LaLubu said, word.

  69. The Wo! Front » Blogwars and boobs
    The Wo! Front » Blogwars and boobs September 17, 2006 at 9:04 pm |

    [...] d as a movement if we’re busy bashing each other with this ridiculousness? Zuzu from Feministe put it well too: Althouse wasn’t the only one trying to put Jessica [...]

  70. Lindsay Beyestein
    Lindsay Beyestein September 17, 2006 at 9:05 pm |

    In comment #72, I meant shame on them if they didn’t consider the diversity angle, not shame on them for inviting people they admired.

  71. Silver Owl
    Silver Owl September 17, 2006 at 9:37 pm |

    I have a question.

    If bloggers who were not white were invited and they could not show or did not show, what were the reasons? Was it timing? Not enough notice? Location? Issues being dicussed or not discussed? They just did not want to? They already had other plans? Is the contact circle too small? What were the reasons?

    I don’t go to blogs and ask about anyone’s skin color. So I’m not sure who’s black or who’s white. It takes me a long time to find out who’s straight, gay or trans, because it’s just not something I care all that much about.

    It seems condescending to me for “whites” to be talking about getting “non-whites” to attend events without ever addressing the actual reasons from the source for why an invitation was turned down or not extended. Let’s get them involved in this discussion. We’re talking about them and their activity as if it’s from the outside looking in.

    The racial issue does need to be addressed, but let’s deal with it from a people perspective. We are talking about people here. How come these American bloggers did not attend the event? Let’s ask them. Let’s get their input.

    Who are the non-white American Bloggers? Let’s see some links so we can expand the circle of contact.

  72. belledame222
    belledame222 September 17, 2006 at 9:58 pm |

    >And you know, there’s something so predictable about the “I’m completely color-blind, and I don’t read any blogs by people of color, so there must not be any people of color saying interesting things” response. I don’t think it’s occurred to them that if they think they’re color-blind, they might not be interested in the blogs of people who don’t have the luxury of pretending that race doesn’t matter.

    Just coming in late to observe: yup.

  73. Official Shrub.com Blog  » Blog Archive   » Yet Another Take on the Althouse Incident

    [...] oots Any Credibility She Had Left zuzu @ Feministe: More about that Clinton blogger lunch zuzu @ Feministe: Know Your Place Lindsey Beyerstein @ Majikthise: Let’s take a cl [...]

  74. Donna
    Donna September 17, 2006 at 10:12 pm |

    I think the scale of the online fallout from the all-white Clinton lunch is a victory.

    The scale of the fallout is immense for me. I never realized that so many of the people I enjoyed reading are racist. No, not dressing up in white sheets racist, but the paternalistic kind who tells us to shut up because they know what is best. I never would have expected this from maha.

    My Cause Is My Country

    Read the comments, I’m “Donna in WI” there by the way.

  75. Silver Owl
    Silver Owl September 17, 2006 at 10:28 pm |

    I have a question for Feministe.

    Are you all going to start color coding your links to other blogs based on if the bloggers are white or not? Is it something all bloggers should get into? Will the colors be defided in the different tones of brown and yellow?

    I have zero intention of asking any blogger about their skin color being the color blind idiot that I am.

  76. sly civilian
    sly civilian September 17, 2006 at 10:33 pm |

    “To characterize the blog as providing “a platform for white supremacy” seems kind of overheated, and disrespectful to the persons of color who contribute there.”

    If you have frontpage bloggers with a history of making racist remarks and postings, the blog is by definition is…..

    What? Are you seriously acting like there’s something that would earn y’all a free pass for this shit? Other than, perhaps, publicly rebuking those responsible, and not doing this again?

  77. piny
    piny September 17, 2006 at 10:34 pm |

    I have a question for Feministe.

    Are you all going to start color coding your links to other blogs based on if the bloggers are white or not? Is it something all bloggers should get into? Will the colors be defided in the different tones of brown and yellow?

    I have zero intention of asking any blogger about their skin color being the color blind idiot that I am.

    You know what else is kinda racist? The assumption that including more bloggers of color will necessarily be both forced and artificial.

  78. ilyka
    ilyka September 17, 2006 at 10:36 pm |

    Donna, I loved your comment. Didn’t really love the response you got:

    I say that if the people at that table are your “oppressors,” your life is gravy. Everybody should have such problems.

    Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

  79. La Lubu
    La Lubu September 17, 2006 at 10:41 pm |

    No, not dressing up in white sheets racist, but the paternalistic kind who tells us to shut up because they know what is best. I never would have expected this from maha.

    Wow. I just followed the link. Interesting that she—a self-described “blue-eyed, mostly Celtic” person chooses “mahablog” as a title and spices up the set with a Hindu deity. Guess people of color must only exist for cultural appropriation, not expressing political views.

    That’s the kicker for me—the idea that paternalism is “harmless”, or even “positive”. Yes, at least one of those people at that table is an oppressor, maha. Go check superbabymama or brownfemipower for details on how.

    The people at that table had the opportunity to speak truth to power. They didn’t. They chose not to. They could have chosen to represent a broader-base of the progressive movement; just because they were white and middle class doesn’t mean they couldn’t have injected some issues salient to the folks left behind at that table—but they didn’t. No. They chose to be all glassy-eyed and star-struck.

  80. kate
    kate September 17, 2006 at 11:02 pm |

    I don’t go to blogs and ask about anyone’s skin color. So I’m not sure who’s black or who’s white. It takes me a long time to find out who’s straight, gay or trans, because it’s just not something I care all that much about.

    There are plenty of blogs of men and women of color, whether ‘black’ or ‘tan’ or ‘asian’, or iraqi, or what have you. As many ethnic groups as there exist, there exist blogs that openly identify themselves by their ethnic origins because they wish to deal with issues unique to them in world where their voice doesn’t attract mainstream attention. The blog is a wonderful thing. But in a culture that places people other than anglo on a lower power base, you have to search and listen hard to find and hear them over the cacaphony.

    Yes, it is important to include POC in the discussion, or at least invite them, I guess. But white people have got to stop calling their People of Color Lifeline every time they are called on their own white priviledge and their need to be made aware of how they use it.

    Fact is, people of color aren’t the magical, genius soothsayers with the ‘native’ ‘primitive’ key to the universal language of love and hope (touching on another racism and chauvinism present in our culture) that uber civilized white folks have lost and must be led to. Nor do any people of color, or myself for that matter, buy into the idea that white folks as a whole just cannot see the racism that pokes out at them everyday in the even the most mundane events or situations. Saying “Hey, I don’t have racism issues, I am color blind, I don’t see race.” Isn’t a Get Out of the Racist Hell for Free card either. In fact, such statements deserve a prompt relocation back to the “Start” position.

    Examples abound, priviledged folks need to be willing to swallow a little pride and listen. Google ‘people of color’ and see what comes up. Google ‘blogs from people of color’ and see what comes up. Go look at the blogs, read them and resist the temptation to think someone there needs your lily-white take on things, cause frankly, they’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind to not know it already. Read, listen and understand why they don’t necessarily put a lot of stock in your view.

    White folks have got a lot of work to do and nothing any one person will change much, but every little bit of action/change in daily behavior/assumptions/statements will lead to more action and that is a start.

    Then turn around and talk to your white friends, stop allowing assumptions, blanket statements and group think that continues racism and race priviledge. Challenge the status quo within your own group, from your own place. Be the example, the exception.

    Do your own homework. Expecting that some person of color is waiting to serve the Big Answers on a silver platter, with towel on shoulder for crying, well, smacks of the very thing you say you want to eradicate — in your own behavior.

    Plenty of examples exist for white people if white people will sit and read, listen and think a minute, examine for just one little minute how you might personally enjoy and how your assumptions, choices and behavior possibly work to affirm or extend white priviledge in our culture.

  81. Silver Owl
    Silver Owl September 17, 2006 at 11:06 pm |

    You know what else is kinda racist? The assumption that including more bloggers of color will necessarily be both forced and artificial

    It depends on the motivation. It’s pretty bad when one includes another merely because their skin is a different color rather than because you honestly want to include their issues and their views. It’s like including women only because they have tits and nothing else.

    Again I ask, what were the views, reasons and issues of the “non-white” bloggers not attending that has caused such an uproar? What did the bloggers who did not attend have to say? Let’s get the whole picture. I’d like to know from the source. One can only address an issue if one gets to the guts.

  82. Jennifer
    Jennifer September 17, 2006 at 11:22 pm |

    But, Liza, honey, if you want some attention, I’ll be more than happy to give you some.

    Sweet merciful crap, someone is just DROWNING in his white male 18-to-45 privilege, isn’t he?

  83. Donna
    Donna September 17, 2006 at 11:33 pm |

    The only black blogger who was invited was Oliver Willis, he declined because he was on vacation in Hawaii when the meeting took place. Kos was the only latino invited, I have no idea why he declined. I guess that is the extent of minorities in Peter Daou’s rolodex. He tried, just not very hard.

    No person of color wants to be included to be the token for the picture, that isn’t what we are saying. We want a real seat at the table just like everyone else.

  84. kate
    kate September 17, 2006 at 11:36 pm |

    Silver-Owl, follow the link that Donna provides, she explains there what the big deal is, as if you haven’t heard it here quite enough.

  85. kate
    kate September 17, 2006 at 11:47 pm |

    Silverowl, a short list of WOC blogs is provided here; you can go from there.

    slanttruth.com/2006/03/16/fuck-your-civility/

  86. piny
    piny September 17, 2006 at 11:51 pm |

    It depends on the motivation. It’s pretty bad when one includes another merely because their skin is a different color rather than because you honestly want to include their issues and their views. It’s like including women only because they have tits and nothing else.

    Which would be a great argument if people weren’t complaining about tokenism as well as complete exclusion.

  87. Hanna
    Hanna September 18, 2006 at 3:29 am |

    I was so worried that this issue was going to go down the memory hole and I’m really glad to see that it’s not being ignored, even though it started several days ago (which is like a lifetime in blog-time, it seems).

    Unfortunately, the people doing the heavy lifting seem to be the people of color which is such a typical pattern. How many times do you think Donna and Kate and La Lubu have written basically those same posts? This is not an issue that just popped up out of nowhere. This has been going on for a long time.

    I am very appreciative of other white folks who are helping to move this forward. Too few, as usual. And too many white people saying, “yes, mistakes were made, but let’s not make such a big issue out of it, I’m sure things will be better next time“. I’m kind of ashamed of some of the white women bloggers to be so quick to try to “cool things down”. You weren’t so forgiving of Ms. Althouse, were you? Heck, that still hasn’t died down.

    I’m going to say this very poorly, because I’m not very good at commenting on blogs. I don’t do argument and debate well for personal reasons.

    Why put this off until later? Why not have the discussion now, though? We’re all here, let’s discuss it. Some of the people talking here right now have some of the most high-profile blogs on the internet. Yet this is the first “high profile blog” post I’ve seen that even begins to touch on the issue in a way that isn’t trying to wiggle out from under the issue. I should think we are all doing ourselves a great disfavor if we don’t take this opportunity to educate other white people on exactly what has happened over the last couple days and why it is nothing new, something we haven’t really ever dealt with on a deep level (not as a community), and why white people see this almost completely differently than people of color.

    There is such a possibility for change right before us. This is such a “Kevin Drum Moment”.

    You know what’s interesting, though? This is different. Because back then when “women didn’t blog about politics” the people that needed to change were someone else. The people that need to change today is us. But we can make that change. Most of us have been working hard towards that goal. Yes, we’ll make mistakes. But we have each other here to help each other. We have allies: people of color who are helping us to make that leap to better understand ourselves to become better people.

    We don’t have to bring down FireDogLake with pitchforks and torches, but together we are louder we are stronger and we can make our voices heard. What hurts me the most is that TRex has made some posts that are truly groundbreaking in the area of respecting and acknowledging diversity. Yet in his anger, he let a part of himself — a part that exists in all of us — loose. That ugly part that we were trained all our lives to be, that we have fought all our lives to break free of, to re-educate ourselves away from.

    It’s just not possible to be white and have grown up in the United States and not have that racist, white supremacist programming lurking inside ourselves. It’s just not. It exists in all of us to different degrees. Myself, for instance, I have it really bad. I’ve lost so many friends. People who I loved so very very much.

    I’m tired of watching it happen over and over again to other people. It has to stop. Let’s not wait for the next Clinton Guest List. Let’s start now, today, this very moment.

    What do we have to gain by waiting? We have everything in the world to lose.

    Let’s go there together. As friends, as allies.

    Love,

    Hanna

  88. Hanna
    Hanna September 18, 2006 at 4:24 am |

    I’m sorry, I know that was a long post and I missed some really important points (especially the second-only-to-FireDogLake-in-vileness-post-at-Mahablog-though-that’s-seriously-debatable). (On second thought, I’m thinking that it is more vile.)

    The most important thing I forgot to mention is that by doing all this anti-racism work that I hope we will all stand up and begin today and not wait for the next mess-up on someone’s part (because it will happen, heck, it’s happening even as we speak on some blog somewhere) we will not be awarded cookies nor cupcakes, we will not get official Get Out Of The Doghouse Cards for when we mess up, we will not get free passes to John Legend concerts.

    We do get to become better people. We live better lives because we expand our ability to understand other people whose experiences are different than ours. And we, all of us, together, make the world a far better place than having a democratically controlled congress or a democratic governor of a “red state” or whatever other political thing. Sure, having the right politicians in the right places can make for big changes, but I don’t think we can really judge who the right politicians are if only a very few of us are having a say in who those politicians are going to be.

    I have taken the liberty to start a “blogger anti-racism forum” at http://www.bicheswithglitches.com/blogger_anti-racism_forum/ which anyone can join. Please contact me if you would like to be an administrator or moderator. We don’t have to use this forum, but it’s here if that would be a helpful thing.

    Sorry for the double-long post.

    Love,

    Hanna

  89. Hanna
    Hanna September 18, 2006 at 6:06 am |

    Okay, I’m really really sorry. I promise. Last post.

    I just got the URL wrong above. I put the right one in the Website line of this message so if you click on my name it will go there. Everything’s all set up and waiting for people. I’m completely expecting this to be a complete failure. That makes me sad, but I really don’t care if it happens on a webspace that I make, just, one day, somehow, that it happens somewhere.

    I apologize for taking up people’s important time.

    Love,

    Hanna

  90. tpju
    tpju September 18, 2006 at 7:48 am |

    qjbahcg

    asglnbfdes phyckltde yymyeeolh

  91. News for Greens » The “dirty pillow” line of attack

    [...] ood for one thing—consumption. Zuzu put it best: Althouse wasn’t the only one trying to put Jess [...]

  92. Phoenix Woman
    Phoenix Woman September 18, 2006 at 8:40 am |

    This is as good a time as any to remind everyone that the Jones “sexual harrasment” nuisance lawsuit fell apart when it was revealed that Clinton was on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion presiding over a very public (and well-covered by the local media) function at the very time he was alleged to have done whatever it was Jones (whose story changed radically about every other day) or her Republican activist husband (who divorced her once the lawsuit gravy train dried up) said had happened.

    Meanwhile, if having large breasts while appearing with prominent men accused (rightly or wrongly) of harrassing women is a crime, then what does Ann Althouse have to say about Word Salad Pam of Atlas Juggs (erm, Shrugs) twice parading her mammoth mammaries in front of accused harrasser of women John Bolton?

  93. sophonisba
    sophonisba September 18, 2006 at 9:55 am |

    Atlas Juggs (erm, Shrugs) twice parading her mammoth mammaries

    Hey, remember when sexism was bad, even in service of putting down people you didn’t like and thought were hypocrites? That was a fun fifteen minutes.

  94. Phoenix Woman
    Phoenix Woman September 18, 2006 at 10:20 am |

    Hey, remember when turning hypocrisy back on the hypocrites was good, even for fifteen minutes? But I guess this means that women aren’t allowed to point out when those women who attack us for flaunting our mammaries are doing THE EXACT SAME THING.

    Pardon me while I fail to drape my words under a crinoline or a hijab. But nice job of distracting attention from the point I was trying to make.

    The whole point of this was to give Althouse an excuse to raise up the long-since-discredited “Clinton’s a sexual harrasser!” crap. Althouse didn’t care who else got hurt in order for her to zap Clinton.

    The ironic thing is that while none of the politically-motivated sexual-harrassment allegations against Clinton have held up, at least one of his attackers, Dick Armey, has had far more credible sexual-harrassment allegations lodged against him when he was head of the Economics Department at a Texas university. (One female graduate student of his actually transferred to another school to avoid Armey’s gropings!)

  95. Kai
    Kai September 18, 2006 at 10:31 am |

    I realize I’m late to this exchange but just wanted to note that this thread is the most fruitful one I’ve seen on this sordid matter. Thank you Zuzu, Jill, kate, Donna, and others for your incisive commentary.

    Frankly, when I first saw the pics of the Clinton-blogger luncheon, obviously I noticed the color line (as we all know, persons of color aren’t offered the luxury of color-blindness), but I was prepared to let it slide with a sigh (as we so often do). After all, you can’t realistically speak up every time racism obliquely rears its head or you’d have no time to eat and you’d lose your voice by noon every day. But now that all of this has gone down, I’m thankful that Liza took the assertive position that she did and glad that various white liberals responded. For better or worse, the fallout from this episode (not so much the luncheon itself) has served as something of a crystallizing moment in my view of liberal blogs and bloggers. I’ve decided to rethink my blogospheric orbit and to carve out new browsing patterns that are better suited to my values and experiences and cultural aesthetic, as reflected in my bookmarks and blogroll. The happy result is that I’ve discovered a number of sites well worth my time. I’m blogrolling Feministe and look forward to reading more quality content here.

    Peace.

    PS- Incidentally, I was taught in my writing classes that you’re allowed to start sentences with “and” or “but” when the dramatic effect is purposeful and non-gratuitous. So there! ;-)

  96. sophonisba
    sophonisba September 18, 2006 at 10:42 am |

    Hey, remember when turning hypocrisy back on the hypocrites was good, even for fifteen minutes?

    Remember when that was Althouse’s excuse, nearly word for word?

    The whole point of this was to give Althouse an excuse to raise up the long-since-discredited “Clinton’s a sexual harrasser!” crap. Althouse didn’t care who else got hurt in order for her to zap Clinton.

    Yes, that is exactly the point. But somehow, since Althouse really is scum and Clinton isn’t, it’s different for you? Using a third party’s tits to make your point for you isn’t cool.

    You want to use someone’s tits to point out hypocrisy, use Althouse’s or Dr. Helen’s or Glenn Reynolds’. You know, the actual people you’re criticizing. Pam whoever is not Althouse, in just the way that Jessica Valenti is not Bill Clinton.

    You may be shocked to learn this, but other people have used their responses to that Pam person as an example to point out their hypocrisy. They did it without the pathetic, sexist “Juggs” bit. Yes, that makes a difference. A big fucking difference.

    If you think this is distracting attention from the point, god only knows what you think the point is. THIS IS THE POINT.

  97. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein September 18, 2006 at 10:52 am |

    It’s unfair to say that people who are are trying to deescalate a conflict are thereby implying minimizing the issues at stake, or implying that the discussion should be postponed.

    How can we have a substantive discussion of race and blogging when people are busy taking sides in a personal tiff between Liza and the FDL crew? As you say, there are larger issues at stake here. The flamewar is distracting from these issues.

    The fundamental problem is that Liza’s made a good argument and a tangential personal attack, which FDL responded to in a completely inappropriate way.

    I think most people on this thread agree that Liza raised legitimate issues about inclusiveness. There’s also nearly universal agreement that TRex’s post was racist, offensive, and inflammatory. It’s also very clear from reading Liza’s initial post that she made a gratuitous and innaccurate swipe at Jane Hamsher.

  98. Jody  Tresidder
    Jody Tresidder September 18, 2006 at 11:38 am |

    This, this is what it’s come down to about Jessica over at Althouse today (from someone called Doug):

    Sticking your breasts out is appropriate if you are participating in a photo shoot for Jugs magazine or are at a nightclub and are trying to attract the attention of some cheeseball in a muscle shirt. But if you are meeting one of the most powerful men in the world in a business type setting, it probably isn’t the best move to point those things out and up.”

    So, back straight, deep breath and together now -
    POINT THOSE THINGS AT THEM!

  99. sly civilian
    sly civilian September 18, 2006 at 11:58 am |

    sophonsiba…right on.

  100. belledame222
    belledame222 September 18, 2006 at 12:12 pm |

    >You know what else is kinda racist? The assumption that including more bloggers of color will necessarily be both forced and artificial.

    Yes indeedy. And this shit happens ALL THE TIME. “I don’t know about it, so it can’t be worth knowing about, AND, when i DO encounter people who challenge my assumptions in any way, not just people who think more or less just like me and happen to be of a different skin color, well, I’m extra-quick to dismiss them. But that’s not racist, because everyone knows that racists are bad BAD people who do not have blood like you and me but a sticky black ichor running through their veins; I am a nice person; therefore, I cannot be racist AT ALL and you are HURTING MY FEELINGS” -shut down-.

    also see Violet Socks, whom i do like and think is reasonable, and the recent tempest wrt her stuff about how “blahblah is more acceptable than blahblee, it’s an observable fact.” People came on to politely express their anger, and instead of taking their point on board, much less oh say clicking through their names to any of THEIR blogs, in which case she would’ve found that for example Bint of My Private Cashbah

    http://bintalshamsa.blogspot.com/

    …is one of the finest, sharpest, most perceptive bloggers out there, from where i sit;

    or that The Angry Black Woman

    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/

    …is not only angry but funny as all hell in her anger, and often dead on-point about a wide range of important shit…

    … for example. and that in fact neither one were, as she claimed, “Shannon’s friends,” but had never even really encountered the woman before. possibly each other either, i don’t know; but of such ironic lumping-togethers sometimes -new- alliances are forged, yes, perhaps; which is one of the only good things that ever come out of these endless shitstorms.

    anyway, not to harp on that incident; it’s not that it was so -very- egregious or special, it’s that in fact it’s just the opposite: well, yes, egregious, i thought, but: it -happens all the time.- At the top of the food chain (on -and- offline, obviously) right on down to relative “minor” contretemps like that. All. The. Time. And they could be remedied, or at least go a -long way- toward it, I think, by:

    instead of alternating rounds of super-defensiveness with “oh. it’s true. i AM a bad bad person after all, mea MEA culpa, self-flagellate, world without end…” (which seems sometimes like this is the only OTHER way in which this goes, admittedly less often even that than just plain ol’ defensiveness and stopping there)–instead of all that, instead of making up all these endless rules and then walking around on eggshells to try not to break ‘em, howzabout next time, just click on the damn link, read what foreign and possibly hostile person has to say, and -wait- before responding? For a start, I mean.

    Honestly, some people. It’s like: you know, people aren’t (just) asking for representation, and they CERTAINLY aren’t asking for pity; what’s really mainly being asked for is basic human empathy. Pay attention, will ya? There’s someone home in here, too.

    And the thing is, if you’re not even CURIOUS enough about other people who might say something that you don’t already know that you can’t even be arsed to go find any, how can you really be empathic toward ‘em?

  101. belledame222
    belledame222 September 18, 2006 at 12:20 pm |

    >But if you are meeting one of the most powerful men in the world in a business type setting, it probably isn’t the best move to point those things out and up.”

    My God! Everyone get down! The woman has BREASTS! AIIYYYYIIIEEE

    jesus fuck, and once again with the eternal question:

    wtf is WRONG with some people??

    dumbass, if she HADN’T been wearing whatever i wouldn’t doubt it miserable uncomfortable bra it was you think THAT would’ve been any better? Why, all breasts are SUPPOSED to eternally point toward the ceiling, age and size be damned! Surely any good Jugs reader knows this! Imagine if heaven forfend a woman had showed up with breasts that SAGGED. that were, maybe, even, UNEVENLY SIZED. i think that is a shooting offense in 14 states.

  102. belledame222
    belledame222 September 18, 2006 at 12:22 pm |

    I have no problem relentlessly slamming on Althouse, precisely because she’s been a mean fuck. I’m not terribly interested in her own tits, tho’, gotta say.

    it’s kind of hard to distinguish any particular body part in that case, to be honest, when it’s all so overshadowed by the GIANT GAPING ASSHOOOOOOLLLLEEE

  103. Bill Clinton Lunches With Whites. Also, Firedoglake sucks. « Creative Destruction

    [...] ’m sure there will be a greater effort next time – but only because Liza, Kai, Bint, Zuzu, Terrance, Steve, Pam, Chris, and others are objecting to the lack of inclusion this [...]

  104. Alas, a blog  » Blog Archive   » Bill Clinton Lunches With Whites. Also, Firedoglake sucks.

    [...] ’m sure there will be a greater effort next time – but only because Liza, Kai, Bint, Zuzu, Terrance, Steve, Pam, Chris, and others are objecting to the lack of inclusion this [...]

  105. Donna
    Donna September 18, 2006 at 12:32 pm |

    Actually Liza was partially accurate, Jane did make a mistake with the blackface picture, admitted it and removed it; but it still ticked Liza off so she brought it up to point out that this isn’t the first time there have been misunderstandings or problems based on race in the liberal blogosphere. She was inaccurate when she said that Jane should have featured some minority bloggers from CT instead of injecting race into her Lamont post herself. Jane did have one black blogger from CT featured on her blog and has a diverse crew from all over the US also.

    Lindsey, If for example a black man inaccurately described a situation, or even made false accusations against a white man; it still wouldn’t be ok for the white man to call him a n*gger. It would be perfectly reasonable for the white man to calmly correct the inaccuracies or even heatedly deny and correct the false accusations. Don’t you agree? TRex chose the racist way and no one dares to call him on it but a handful of POC and a handful of whites.

    The issues will be minimized, the conversation will be postponed, and minorities will be dismissed because of this dust up. It’s already happening, everyone is happily discussing breast-o-palooza, but next to no one is talking about this. They are afraid to upset FDL or that FDL or the other powerful A-listers will think they are taking sides or criticizing them. Not only did TRex pound Liza into dust with the big FDL sledgehammer, but did you know that Republic of T was removed from their blogroll? Culture Kitchen was also removed from Kos blogroll. They are already punishing the uppity blacks and I think alot of the B, C, D-listers are afraid to speak up now.

  106. belledame222
    belledame222 September 18, 2006 at 12:39 pm |

    damn, that sucks.

    that REALLY sucks. i always liked T-Rex, at least when he was mostly posting at his own spot and Shakespeare’s Sister, that I saw…

    meh.

    i haven’t read Kos in ages and ages, and i never really got into FDL to be honest. can’t say i’m sorry, the more i hear. really does bite, though.

    “same as it ever was…saaaaame as it ever was…”

  107. Hanna
    Hanna September 18, 2006 at 1:09 pm |

    Lindsay,

    I completely agree with everything but that there is agreement on Liza making a gratuitous and inaccurate swipe at Jane. I’ve read people who do believe that and people who don’t. I personally think that Liza makes a very good point tying two seemingly unrelated incidents (the blackface photo and being the public face of the Connecticut primary for FDL).

    I don’t think there is that agreement on those points. De-escalation before there is agreement seems to me to be premature.

    This is exactly one of those situations where the current group of blogs that mostly link to each other has made a decision on the situation and isn’t hearing voices that are coming from the outside.

    Pam said something today on Republic of T (who actually gets credit for the “Caption This Picture” that *should* have been enough to start this conversation, but wasn’t — see, it wasn’t enough to just point it out, something more had to be done, and Liza stepped on the third rail for us all and we owe her a huge fucking debt of gratitude for that):

    I understand where the Liza’s emotion comes from when it seems like, as it did with the big boys ignoring blogger women, you see the same “oversights” occur over and over. Her approach — and the reaction to it — will now likely result in silence in the corners again. Sigh. Hands will be wrung, nothing much will happen, and eventually another flame war will ensue.

    I see that going on right now, the silence in the corners. Hands being wrung. Nothing much happening.

    And TRex is still attacking more people of color, yesterday it was Terrance.

    I’m really bad at research, but I know I’ve read blog posts where people are saying that Liza has a point about Jane being an idiot. If there was question before, she’s certainly showing it now.

    I could be totally wrong (maybe I am, and lists who she doesn’t apologize to), I’m not well-known for being right. I couldn’t shut you down or stop you from speaking your mind even if I wanted to and more people would listen to you than will ever listen to me.

    And that’s as it should be.

    I’m just trying to go with what I’ve been taught about how to be a good ally. Which means I will fuck up so miserably. Because that’s the way I am. What I’m trying to say is that from where I’m sitting, you and I aren’t the ones who get to say when this is over. Neither of us. Because we’re white. Not because of the skin-tone, but because of the attitudes we have that come with the skin-tone (your attitudes certainly being better than mine, I’ll not deny that on any occasion).

    You can’t believe how difficult this is for me, because I respect you so damn much.

    This whole thing is just fucking killing me.

    I have been reading so much hurtful stuff over the last several days. I just want it to stop. But it’s not ever going to stop until we make it stop, because we’re the ones who are doing it. Us, or the ones we enable.

    And it’s just got to stop.

    (Please forgive me if I am saying hurtful things. I am not intending to. I went back to clarify some things while I was in this mood and I was in a nicer mood, but still not a very good one, when I started, so I might have said “fuck” or something in a place where it seems really out of place.)

    I’m sorry.

    Love,

    Hanna

  108. Nanette
    Nanette September 18, 2006 at 1:39 pm |

    How can we have a substantive discussion of race and blogging when people are busy taking sides in a personal tiff between Liza and the FDL crew?

    Wow. Is this how this is being viewed, then? A personal tiff? Might explain all the silence about it among the larger/ish non POC blogs with reach, if so. For a time, feministe (thank again, zuzu) was it. Now Belle Waring of crooked timber has mentioned it, and I see from the link back that ampersand of alas, a blog has too. I was pretty confident he would, once he got wind of it. Other smaller blogs (elayne’s and progressive gold also had write ups.

    And by mention, I mean something even so simple as pointing to the racist post and saying, “This is wrong”.

    While I had heard of Liza Sabater before it was mostly in the context of the Daily Gotham, a NY focused blog… and I don’t live in NY… so other than that, I don’t her from Eve. When I read that TRex post on FDL, though, for some odd reason it just didn’t occur to me that it was just a “personal tiff”.

    What I saw was one of the largest and most referenced Democratic blogs on the internet using their highly trafficked real estate to demean, attempt to humiliate and intimidate a much smaller blogger who had dared to question them. That would have been bad and bullying enough, but that she was black and the choice was made to launch this attack dripping with racist codes was just horrifying. Even worse was the piling on in the comments, led, encouraged and approved of by the blog owner.

    There’s also nearly universal agreement that TRex’s post was racist, offensive, and inflammatory.

    Uh… no. Unless it is whispered agreement. A small comment here or there, in the posts of other people speaking out or something… and even then it’s mostly that it was “inappropriate”, “over the top”, “a little too harsh”, etc, etc.

    Of course, people can write what they want, and that’s just what they do, on the things that interest them. That’s one of the points of having your own blog and building your own audience and all that. That’s a given, and no worries. Plus, most everything happened over the weekend, when people don’t pay much attention to things. I just don’t think the impression should be left that there is wide-spread outrage about this particular subject. There is not.

    It’s also very clear from reading Liza’s initial post that she made a gratuitous and innaccurate swipe at Jane Hamsher.

    I got tired of this one (not from you, it’s being thrown around in many places in order to excuse or at least mitigate FDL’s behaviour… yours just happens to be handy).

    Anyway, I got tired of this one, so I finally went and looked it up.

    Here is what Liza said:

    When I wrote Jane Hamsher is an idiot, Barbara O’Brien scolded me for calling out this white woman’s antics in the name of the black people of Connecticut. I was insulted, as so other black bloggers, for the arrogance of the act. Given how priviledged she was by having the time, money and access to blog the Lamont campaign, why couldn’t Jane Hamsher find as many black and latino bloggers in Connecticut and give them a voice and visibility through her blog?

    She references an earlier post, about the Lieberman in blackface, where she says this:

    Second, who the fuck is Jane Hamsher that she thinks she can talk for the black people of Connecticut or for that matter, the whole country. Who the fuck is this woman trying to pass herself as the protector of African Americans? Not only does she suffer exactly from the same hypocrisy she calls out on Lieberman, but then dares to minimize her actions by calling herself just a blogger?

    To which Hamsher and TRex replied that they did a lot of linking to CT Blogger, who is black. And he is, and they did link to him, mostly showcasing his videos of this or that. Although I doubt that he is the only black or brown Connecticut blogger, it’s still a good thing that he was linked.

    However, in none of the posts dealing directly with black issues in CT… whether it’s Lieberman handing out literature, or vote buying, or attending this or that event and so on, are there are no actual black Connecticut people speaking to the issues… except for this one, which is a video of Maxine Waters (who is actually Californian, of course), taken by CT Blogger and also I think he has some commentary on his site.

    So yes, while they did link fairly frequently to the mostly videoblogging of at least one black blogger, I think Liza’s point about the speaking for black people without actually bringing in local bloggers of color to speak for themselves in some way, or at least promoting them doing so, combined with the assumption of right needed in order to think it was a really good idea for her to post a picture of Lieberman in blackface, stands up pretty well.

  109. Nanette
    Nanette September 18, 2006 at 1:54 pm |

    addition to the last post, I forgot…

    FDL, like anyone else, has a perfect right to choose who they feature on their blogs, who writes posts and so on. They do have a diverse crew of posters and guest contributors and, as acknowledged, they did link to CT Blogger and that is to be commended. It doesn’t change Liza’s point about speaking for the black people of CT instead of bringing them on to speak for themselves, though, even if it was perfectly within FDL’s rights and/or mode of operation to not do so.

    Or something like that.

  110. piny
    piny September 18, 2006 at 2:00 pm |

    And the thing is, if you’re not even CURIOUS enough about other people who might say something that you don’t already know that you can’t even be arsed to go find any, how can you really be empathic toward ‘em?

    Yes! When someone says, “I have not the faintest fucking idea whether any of my favorite bloggers are poc, and have never been remotely curious” then odds are they read few if any bloggers who write about racism and white privilege. That’s what blindness means in this context.

  111. Raging Moderate
    Raging Moderate September 18, 2006 at 2:30 pm |

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think that there any non-white posters on this site.

    I eagerly await the post that addresses this omission.

  112. liza
    liza September 18, 2006 at 7:07 pm |

    Zuzu,

    Thanks for the amazing post and discussion you have here. I want to also thanks Donna, Hanna and Nannette especially for being the astute people they are and helping articulate my points.

    Nannette’s post in #114 is right on target.

    I was not challenging Hamsher on her PC-essness. I was challenging her for the fact that she could have given her national platform to POC in Connecticut so they could speak by themselves about their race issues with Lieberman. Instead she chose to speak for them.

    This is not the first time.

    The whole pie wars was about women bloggers telling the male bloggers not to speak for them about what was right or wrong about women’s issues.

    Et voila! Now you have it with race. The difference being that it involves some of the same women who had called the male bloggers on their bullshit during the pie wars.

    Anyhow, I’m recapping. Will ping you later. Thanks for the support.

    liza

  113. liza
    liza September 18, 2006 at 7:23 pm |

    and btw, given the amount of misunderstanding involving this discussion (that goes to you Lindsay), my questions were posted as a very forceful challenge to the bloggers in the picture not as personal attacks.

  114. exangelena
    exangelena September 18, 2006 at 7:46 pm |

    Raging Moderate: I don’t know if you’re kidding or not, but read Nomie @ 9. And me. Sometimes it seems like if a person who isn’t white doesn’t scream their ethnicity from the rooftops, he/she’s assumed to be white.

  115. kate
    kate September 18, 2006 at 11:05 pm |

    He/she is getting all confused zuzu, needs to see that color line.

    Where is it? Where is it?
    Whom shall I dismiss?
    The blogger who has the wrong skin?
    THe blogger who mocks me by
    pretending to have the wrong skin?

    what to do
    what to do

    traitors are among us! I know it! I know it!
    where shall I go? where shall I look?
    I must show it! I must show it!

    Give me chicken bone slur
    an L.L. Bean snark
    Give me the snarling cur
    the black dog bark

    golden retrievers run and play in my head
    erudite points posted by comrades well read

    colonial and ranch houses hold the world I know
    insulated and sanitized, a quiet balance
    on the head of the dark men sleeping in prison row

    golden retrievers run and play in my head
    erudite points posted by comrades well read

    cotton button down shirts, silk tie and a wife
    all nice accounterments of birthed membership
    demand feeds supply and causes much rife

    make it all go away, make it go away! he cried.
    and the suburban houses were silent
    when his soul suddently died.

  116. ginmar
    ginmar September 19, 2006 at 5:20 am |

    But, Liza, honey, if you want some attention, I’ll be more than happy to give you some.

    Christ, why doesn’t he just threaten her outright and have done with it? Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s the internet, but in real life….?! So if you dare go out in public with your boobs on you’re a whore, and if you dare question a man, oh, God, you’re….an uppity whore. And is one of these people are the left? And it’s the guy? Yeah, sure he is.

  117. Hanna
    Hanna September 19, 2006 at 5:56 am |

    Dunno.

    I’m still waiting for more of the major white bloggers to make a posting about how Firedoglake (TRex, Jane *and* Christy) was in the wrong. I’ve seen the major white bloggers make comments, but I’m not seeing anything on the front pages. The is the only blog I’ve seen the post criticized on. (I don’t read many, if any, of the major white bloggers, so I could certainly have missed something.)

    All the evidence that Firedoglake was wrong wrong wrong on all counts is here, in this very thread. There’s more elsewhere, but really, all you need is here.

    Just waiting to see who is the first one to make it “front page” material.

    I understand you’ll probably lose your link from FDL. Guess you have to ask yourself what’s more important.

    Love,

    Hanna

    (And yes, thank you Nanette for making everything perfectly clear for everyone.)

  118. politicalpartypoop.com - Politics and other stuff in life that stinks			 » Blogger Boobygate

    [...] tter how smart she is, she doesn’t really belong in that group.” — Zuzu from Feministe Oh, do I detest this sort of, “She’s posin [...]

  119. sunrunner
    sunrunner September 19, 2006 at 4:02 pm |

    Wow. What a thread. Some really great stuff, and there is not much that I can add that hasn’t been said already. Except to emphasize that for all us white people, it is our responsibility to take responsibility of rooting out and healing our own unconscious racist impulses. There is nothing more difficult and painful than to be called out on it — whether nicely or not — by a POC. It hurts, but rather than lashing out at the person “I didn’t mean to be racist” take the opportunity to take a hard look at yourself. You will thank them later.

    But what I really want to comment on is something that I am surprised that no one — particularly us faminists- has picked up on — which is the way that TRex began his attack on Liza with the words “this homesick abortion of a post.”

    Abortion of a post.

    Excuse me?

    This is the kind of thing that only a very clueless and very insensitive MAN would/could say–particularly a man who has never personally gone through the process of confronting either the possibility of or the process of an abortion with a woman he cares about. Someone with very little understanding as to what the choice of whether to have or not to have an abortion really feels like.

    My conclusion?

    TRex a la David Fergusan is a heartless bastard. Who has demonstrated repeatedly that he has no ability to see anything from a perspective other than his own. He doesn’t get it it racially and he doesn’t get it genderwise. And since he happens to be white and male, his personal experience is narrowed considerably (and btw — I don’t want to hear that he is gay, because since he is white, he can go invisible on that score any time it serves his purpose, whereas women and POC do not have that option).

    I also want to say that I am horrified by the tone and the stance taken by Barbara over at mahablog. If she and Jane Hamsher and Christy Smith-Hardin represent the best of the activist blogosphere, then goddess help us all.

  120. Fe
    Fe September 19, 2006 at 6:50 pm |

    I’ve been observing this dialogue throughout the blogs and think its the healthiest discussion we have had about this in a long time. I think what Daou set off and what TRex responded to is a very big sign that we need to continue this discussion in a very big way.

    I will not denigrate this by calling it a “topic”, which means it has a “du jour” appeal. It is a real issue, and being one of possibly four people of color total at Yearly Kos in Las Vegas this year, its about damn time we did something about it.

    The net is still a viable, highly strung and a highly creative outlet in which to form communities that have no color, or gender – yes yes yes-yadda yadda yadda. But BEFORE we make a statement that defines us as a homogeneous medium, I think we should make sure to check the consistency of the society we keep and the communities we build.

    Its alright not to “see” color in people, but add to that that we must be able to feel secure in our knowledge and understanding of a broad range of perspectives and experience in this country before we’re all put in this one big virtual tent. And by motive, predilection, geography and experience alot of us are just not all that secure.

  121. pseudonymous in nc
    pseudonymous in nc September 19, 2006 at 11:29 pm |

    There’s a good general rule here: don’t jump into other people’s fights to escalate them. TRex failed miserably in that regard. There was a way to approach Liza’s complaints in a way that started a serious discussion and cleared up any misconceptions — ideally, with either Jane or Christy doing the replying — and a way to spray gasoline on the embers.

    So don’t necessarily charge other A-list bloggers with sins of omission for leaving this one well alone, or suggest that their silence or refusal to boycott FDL or whatever incriminates them. It’s far too damn easy to do flame wars on the internets. A blog that relies on community is likely to wither on the vine if people no longer feel welcome, or turn into a mirror of Instapundit or other conservative blogs where it’s broadcast rather than conversation.

  122. Hanna
    Hanna September 20, 2006 at 1:05 am |

    I’m not advocating a boycott of Firedoglake (though I personally don’t read it anymore). It’s, for the most part, an exceptional blog with some severe, but not fatal, flaws.

    Those flaws need to be addressed by Firedoglake. They currently aren’t. Real heartfelt apologies need to be made. Attitudes need to be adjusted. All of it will make Firedoglake an even better blog.

    Women bloggers didn’t become A-listers because the ones whom did so played nice and waited patiently for someone to notice them. We all agitated, argued, demanded and fought for the places that many women A-listers now enjoy. Places they should have been by their own merit but were denied because of institutionalized sexism.

    Harsh words were spoken and collective action was taken.

    But that’s two separate issues. Both of which need to change.

    I think a good beginning would be an apology from Firedoglake and it’s pretty clear that no apology is forthcoming without some peer pressure. The argument that the right wing is going to use this against us I do not believe to be valid. Whenever they want an example of left-wing racism all they need to do is go to Firedoglake right now and find it. They can then point out that it went by almost entirely unchallenged (because those who challenged it on Firedoglake’s comments section had their comments deleted). So, it’s already an issue for the right wing to pick up and use against us if they want to.

    We can save ourselves from ourselves if we want to. By apologizing and making amends. The sooner the better.

    If Firedoglake wants to kick and scream and deny any wrongdoing, all the more reason for bloggers of stature to speak up to them. Do it privately if you think that will work better, but Firedoglake needs to apologize publicly.

    Pretending this didn’t happen isn’t an option. It did happen and the public record is right there on Firedoglake for anyone to pick up on.

    It doesn’t need to be a flamewar or a blogwar. However it comes about, though, it needs to come about. Our best chance lies with the white bloggers who have the stature to stand up to Firedoglake and tell them what they’ve done wrong and what to do about it.

    If they let us down, though, then we have no choice but to continue to bring up white blogger hypocrisy. Is hypocrisy any less vile when it comes from the left?

    For me, personally, it is more vile and repugnant.

    How are we going to do this? Someone (several someones) need to step up. The rest of us can be supportive. What can we do to help you step up and do what’s right?

    Right now, Zuzu’s out there by herself. Are we supporting you well, Zuzu?

    What can we do to make it easier for others?

    How can we approach Mahablog about the terrible things she’s said?

    I’ve been out of ideas here for a long time, I didn’t wake up that day almost a week ago prepared for what was going to happen and I’m no less prepared now. I imagine not many of us are. But together we are strong and we are worthy of respect and we can help to heal these grievous wounds.

    I can’t thank you enough, Zuzu, for starting this post and pointing the spotlight on the ugliness.

    Love,

    Hanna

  123. kate
    kate September 20, 2006 at 1:42 am |

    I have to disagree in part with you pseudonymous, FDL and others should not be allowed to behave the way they did and not be called on it.

    Yes, a community of sorts does seem to exist among blogs, bloggers and posters, but a good community, just like any relationship has to have a core of honesty and trust. Honesty to tell it like it is and call someone out when they tromp on you and trust to know you can without being accussed of breaking teh wonderful silence.

    Silence breeds complicity.

    White people for far too long have been complicit in their denail of their own racist indoctrination. That denial requires they remain silent out of fear of possibly exposing the sin they truly hate but can’t seem to shake.

    They won’t shake it until first they come to recognize its there and that change can take place among the white community, on its own. But honest dialogue must begin which requires listening and acknowledgement.

    Fear to make acknowledgement, to come out so to speak, only assists those groups that profit from the spoils of racism, many of which are those very white bloggers.

    A kick in the pants can be a good thing. That sleeping dog has got to get up and get to work cause the herd is running from the true goal of progressives.

  124. Sally
    Sally September 20, 2006 at 9:55 am |

    Unless it’s simply easier to deal with the issue of Althouse and Jessica’s breasts because it confirms everything we ever thought about wingnuts, while the issue of TRex and Liza is too uncomfortable to confront.

    I think that’s a big part of it. Althouse is officially an enemy, so it’s fun to call her out. If some purported progressive had said the same thing about Jessica, Jessican and her defenders be called a whiner for protesting, too. There wouldn’t be the same racist vitriol, but peopel wouldn’t be jumping to her defense. These folks believe in supporting people, not principles. Sexism is bad, as long as it’s their sexism. Racism is no big deal as long as it’s our racism. The bottom line, for them, is us v. them. And if you dare to criticize “us,” you’re automatically slotted in the “them” category, even if you’ve previously thought of yourself as belonging to “us.”

  125. sunrunner
    sunrunner September 20, 2006 at 2:18 pm |

    The silence has indeed been loud.

    As a white person who has many times tried to call other white people on their racism, I can tell you that it will not be easy for anyone to broach this with fdl. Because so many are afraid of being “exiled” I think it will take a couple of very “big” guns to get Jane and Christy (and as they both own the blog, they are both responsible) to fess up and make amends. Even that is not likely.

    It does appears they have become so enamoured of their little taste of power that they are going to (just like politicians and other assorted beauracrats) circle the wagons and protect their turf. But at some point they are going to have to realize that if they don’t address this now, it will rear its head again, likely in a much uglier way. In the meantime, it is beginning to look like the msm criticism of the left blogosphere being mob-like isn’t so far-fetched.

    Also it is worth noting that the Anchoress and the Ace of Spades have posted about this. The comments are worth reading.

    And I am just blown away that just yesterday that Steve Gilliard, of all people, saw fit to post an entire post (a lame one at that) by TRex on his blog. Was that his way of signalling FDL that he wanted to continue with his guest posting gigs? So he doesn’t schmooz with pols, but he can hang out at a Starbucks on Columbus Circle while Jane blogs about their little meeting (and I will bet dollars to donuts that she told him why she was in NYC).

    All. Very. Discouraging.

  126. Nanette
    Nanette September 20, 2006 at 3:33 pm |

    Gilliard not only posted that one from TRex, but also one from Hamsher and one from um… Christy? I think her name is.

    He’s part of the kos/fdl/mydd etc power structure, and I think he invaluable to them when one of them pulls boneheaded stuff like this that either is or can be interpreted as racist/racially insensitive etc, etc, by posting something that either supports/exonerates or “explains” them. This gives people a “see? Black Person said this!” thing to point to.

    At least, this has been my (possibly erroneous) impression over time. Mind you, he also is the one that highlighted Liza’s post on the original photo issue, giving it much wider audience than it would have gotten without that. Maybe he is making amends now, pointing out Hamsher’s “power” and how those who oppose her (NARAL in this instance) should watch out, or whatever all that stuff was he had there. Who knows.

    Interesting post and thread at ace of spades. They are of course quite gleeful to see the left engaging in this conversation, but that’s only to be expected. Also interesting was their discussion of the various blog modes and methods of garnering and moving traffic, etc. I didn’t look too much at that, but might go back to it and do some research on that particular topic.

    It does appears they have become so enamoured of their little taste of power that they are going to (just like politicians and other assorted beauracrats) circle the wagons and protect their turf.

    Heh. Read this… I must admit I had tears coming out of my eyes from laughing so hard… but then again, talk about poisoning the water. I’d say that that post pretty much ensures that any black/brown/etc bloggers that are included at future events with politicians, at yearly kos, added to existing blog community structures, and so on will be seen as tokens and affirmative action bloggers, getting their hand out… er… up, from the “leaders of the blogosphere”.

    I’m not discouraged, really. It has been very interesting watching the intersections of power on blogs, who has decided who has it, what people’s criteria is for it, who will stand up to it, who will stand up for whom, racism and all sorts of things. It’s been a very instructive time. The more things change, and all that.

    zuzu:

    Incidentally, I exchanged a few emails with Peter Daou this weekend about my posts, and while our discussion was off the record, I am encouraged that he will find a constructive way to deal with the issues raised by this whole kerfuffle.

    Good news, and good luck to him. He’s going to need it ;)

  127. Jill
    Jill September 20, 2006 at 3:49 pm | *

    TRex is an ass, but I’m gonna stand up for Peter Daou here. Yes, there should have been more bloggers of color at the event. Yes, when the original invitees couldn’t come, he should have sought out more people of color to replace them. Zuzu’s post is right on about the white supremacist mentality here (“white supremacist” in the way that Shannon describes above, not in the David Duke way).

    But I talked to Peter about this today, and he clarified a few things that are worth sharing. First, as has been established, he originally invited, I think, 4 or 5 bloggers of color out of 14 or 15 invitees, which is pretty good, especially considering the racial make-up of America in general, and of the blogosphere in particular. He also had a fair number of women there — I believe more than half the participants are female. And while there are many, many women bloggers, men certainly outnumber women when it comes to well-known political blogs (why they outnumber women is another issue altogether). That should be applauded. When the bloggers he invited couldn’t come, he had to find other bloggers, and fast — he was on a time schedule, and simply didn’t have days and days to put together a list. And while he wasn’t the one who came up with the final list — he was making suggestions, most or all of which were excepted — he knew that the people he picked to come would reflect directly on him, in his professional capacity. Because of that, he only wanted to invite people who he had met in person. Which, in a lot of ways, is fair — the internet is a big place, and someone who seems completely normal online might be a total nut in person. He didn’t want to risk inviting someone iffy to a close personal meeting with the President.

    All that said, the racial make-up of this event is deeply troubling. And we absolutely need to talk about it. But I’m finding the conversation really frustrating. We could be talking about why bloggers of color aren’t taken as seriously as white bloggers; why bloggers of color aren’t able to attend these kinds of events when they are invited; why meatspace networking is so dominated by white bloggers. Instead, people like TRex post ridiculous attacks. People elsewhere (not here, as far as I’ve seen) accuse Peter Daou of being racist. The whole thing just feels like a missed opportunity.

  128. Nanette
    Nanette September 20, 2006 at 4:35 pm |

    All that said, the racial make-up of this event is deeply troubling.

    You know… personally, I find that the least troubling thing about all of this. Things happen *shrug*. Even when one is trying their hardest, when you think every little i is dotted and every t is crossed, sometimes all it takes is for one small thing to get out of place and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Anyone who has planned projects, run a business, tried to have an event (even a kids birthday party!) or anything like this recognizes this.

    Sure more effort could have been made, (and as for He didn’t want to risk inviting someone iffy to a close personal meeting with the President. , may I just take a minute to say “Bwaahahaha”? )

    Ahem… okay, back to my point.

    Where the problems came in, in my personal opinion, was in the aftermath. I really have no idea what these people where thinking. What could have been a small blip, if that, was allowed to escalate into a major blowout – fueled greatly by the efforts of the “leaders of the blogosphere”, either through their actions or their inactions. The original decision to just… not say anything. And the decisions to, when someone did mention the matter, justify and then attack, attack, attack. And then silence, or joining in, about the attacks and all that’s followed from it.

    Absolutely absurd, especially from a group of people who want others to consider them leaders, politically astute, movers and shakers and so on. At this point, I’m waiting, torn between appalled fascination and amusement, wondering… what will they do next?? Maybe call people attempting to engage them in discussion and who disagree with them “low-rent race baiters” while deleting their comments? LOL, surely “poverty pimps” can’t be far behind.

    I don’t want to get too redundant, but man… it’s a really good thing that their value at raising money for politiicans is so very well displayed, because at this point, if I was a politician… well…

    Anyway, Daou is taking some heat and will no doubt learn from that, but I don’t think he is the main target of ire, by a long stretch. I could be wrong, though.

    There is lots of stuff to talk about, as you say, and I hope people do begin to. Some already are, others are in their corners and won’t come out… and that’s okay too, really.

  129. not your standard poodle
    not your standard poodle September 20, 2006 at 6:16 pm |

    Just when you think that it couldn’t get any worse. But Barbara at Mahablog has bettered Trex in my opinion and called two African-American commenters (I think they both are) racists. For having the termerity to disagree with her, it would seem.

  130. Nanette
    Nanette September 21, 2006 at 1:09 am |

    Okay, one last post and then I’m (ideally) done with all this.

    From a comment Lindsey made here, and from stuff pachacutec is typing over at mydd I realize that this entire thing is being talking pointed somewhere behind the scenes.

    The talking points seem to consist of… Liza and Jane have a prior history (we all know about the stuff with the blackface photo) that somehow involves … well I’ll just post what pach is saying:

    Liza and some others have had it in for Jane from the get, because back in the day, before FDL was on anyone’s radar, Jane refused to take part in a coalition of attacks by women bloggers on Markos and Atrios, calling them sexist and demanding – DEMANDING – links and attention.

    I don’t know if that was the pie fight or the “where are the women writers?” thing or what, not having been involved in either one of those events (except I was at bootrib when the flight from kos happened), and paying scant attention.

    He’s saying a lot of even more informative (as to their thinking) on that thread about sour grapes and people destroying the progressive movement by going after FDL and , well… :

    There are very good people who are held hostage to fear by people like Lies-a who play the racism/sexism/resentment/smear card to get attention, destructively.

    I’m pretty sure this at least partially explains the almost total silence on the subject, among the white blogosphere. With a few, very notable exceptions.

    I was amused earlier, watching all the silly missteps that were being taken to contain this mess, but this… this is doing… has done incalculable harm. There are many more posts and comments saying basically the same things as that througout the um… colorful blogosphere.

    You know, I very rarely use terms like “the white blogosphere”… in fact, before this I am not sure when I’ve ever used that term. I never really saw a need to.. In all my time online, from the early 90s on, I’ve been involved in irc chats, business ventures, blog communities, all sorts of things with people. Maybe I’ve just been lucky that way, but my online path has always been full of people of all ethnicities, from all different countries and cultures and I was just one more voice in that mix… while the default thought (as I mentioned before) was that everyone was white, in reality there was and is definitely a mosaic.

    Now though… and it may just be that I’m slow :)… I and others have been made painfully aware that there is indeed a white blogosphere, and that except for those few notable exceptions, it is an extremely cliquey one. Now, you may say… “Nanette, you are old(ish), you’ve lived all your life in the US and you are just now finding this out?”

    Well, no. Lessons learned at a very young age. But I’m ever optimistic :). Okay, make that sometimes.

    To reduce all this… all the words written by all the people who took one look at the racist code language used in that FDL post and thought… “my god, what decade are we in? This is unacceptable, especially from a site like this.” … to reduce the memories words such as those evoke in people who have been living this stuff all their lives, to reduce the pain of some who thought that they too were part of a “progressive activist community”, to reduce the anger some felt at having their concerns summarily dismissed with an airy wave of “you just don’t get it”…

    To squinch up all that and try and stuff it into a box of a “personal tiff” or “prior history between Liza and Jane and people are being drawn into the side of evil by Liza’s lies”, or whatever the nonsense is, is just unimaginably arrogant and stupid.

    I don’t even know Liza. Or Jane Hampsher. Didn’t know Jane didn’t attack Atrios and Kos, didn’t know (still don’t) Liza did, don’t know who the others are he is talking about. I don’t have sour grapes, no desire to be Democratic operative, or to be a power in the political blosgosphere and have lunch with politicians. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. It takes living and operating in a very small circle to think that any of that stuff has any bearing on what is going on with most people.

    But… the result is The Silence. And it’s The Silence that is being heard loud and clear… because I, at least, know that many of those who have not publically spoken out know those were racist code words. I’ve seen some of these same people slice and dice in arguments about white privilege, about racism, about code language, about all that stuff. Others have mentioned that as well.

    So… what the “white blogosphere” is apparently hearing is … well all the stuff I mentioned above…. but obviously not the stuff the “colorful blogosphere” has been saying.

    And what many in the “colorful blogosphere” are hearing is… well, except for those few exceptions (there are probably some I’ve missed), silence. And in that silence, loud and clear… “When push comes to shove…we will not stand with you” – completely destroying the trust many had built up.

    Incalculable and, quite likely, irrevocable harm.

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