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http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/12/10/and-this-is-the-part-where-i-stumble-in-kinda-late/
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362 Responses

  1. Jill
    Jill April 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm | *

    Wonderful post, Holly. Thank you.

  2. Bill
    Bill April 10, 2008 at 6:38 pm |

    I was really hoping to see something here on Feministe regarding the pain of this week. This post is is small spot of hope in the midst of the pain.

  3. octogalore
    octogalore April 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm |

    Nice work, Holly. This shows you’re anything but “a wuss.”

  4. Cara
    Cara April 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm |

    Yes, an excellent post and a brave one. Thank you, definitely.

  5. Charity
    Charity April 10, 2008 at 7:10 pm |

    YES…thank you for posting on this. These incidents are not surprising, sadly, given the history, but are nonetheless heartbreaking and infuriating. I hope Bfp is not gone from the Internet forever. I have been deeply enriched and informed by her writing.

  6. violet
    violet April 10, 2008 at 7:26 pm |

    This being one of those times when I wish I had something more intelligent to say than, “that’s really fucked up.”

    When we critique the engagement of white feminists with WoC feminists, saying to them, “make your acts their acts, make your speech their speech,” I, for one, didn’t mean quite like this.

  7. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 10, 2008 at 7:27 pm |

    Applause.

  8. Mourning : The Curvature
    Mourning : The Curvature April 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm |

    [...] In addition to reading Black Amazon’s post (also linked below), go check out Holly’s, because it is excellent and because it is [...]

  9. Tricia(freya)
    Tricia(freya) April 10, 2008 at 7:36 pm |

    This being one of those times when I wish I had something more intelligent to say than, “that’s really fucked up.”

    seriously. damn.

  10. roses
    roses April 10, 2008 at 7:37 pm |

    Thank you for posting about those things, I was waiting for them to be mentioned on one of the big feminist blogs and suspected Feministe would be the first.

    I’m really distressed that BFP took her blog down =/ I hope she decides to bring it back at some point.

  11. annaham
    annaham April 10, 2008 at 7:38 pm |

    Thank you for this post, Holly. I am very disappointed (but not very surprised, unfortunately) that these sort of bizarre power dynamics continue to operate within the feminist blogosphere.

  12. tayari
    tayari April 10, 2008 at 8:07 pm |

    Holly, I would love to see something on this site about Dunbar Village. The black feminist blogosphere has managed to get some justice in that incident. It is a very interesting example because the sister-bloggers did it themselves..

  13. Sarah J
    Sarah J April 10, 2008 at 8:09 pm |

    Thank you, Holly.

    This is why Feministe remains on my blogroll while the other big feminist blogs are not. A willingness to tackle the tough issues and be open to other feminisms than the “women’s studies set,” despite the tagline above.

  14. Falyne
    Falyne April 10, 2008 at 8:16 pm |

    *applause*

  15. amandaw
    amandaw April 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm |

    I have a lot to learn.

    At the moment (part chronic exhaustion, part recent concentration issues, and I’m sure, part privilege-inertia) my brain sort of stops altogether at that point.

    It’s disappointing to see a beautiful voice gone.

  16. Alicia
    Alicia April 10, 2008 at 8:40 pm |

    Just echoing that this is why Feministe is the best major feminist blog…

  17. CaliRo
    CaliRo April 10, 2008 at 8:44 pm |

    Brava, Holly, brava! Thank you (and the others that you linked to) for bringing these important issues up of for us WOC/Feminists.
    BFP was my voice before I knew I had one and I am so sad to see her go. I thought she was just going to go in a different direction, not quit posting entirely but I respect and empathize with her current decision. I just wished I left her more comments of support but I so rarely leave comments on any of the blogs I read.

  18. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 9:01 pm |

    Considering the severity of the accusations leveled at me—plagiarism is not a minor thing to accuse someone of—my right to defend myself with the much-maligned facts shouldn’t be a matter of question, regardless of race. I’m extremely eager to address racism, but I won’t be made a scapegoat who has to roll over to scurrilous accusations to make anyone feel better. If you have to unfairly malign someone’s reputation to make your point, then you have to reconsider if you have a point. Maligning people’s reputations—making up lies and then spreading them around and saying, “Well, where there’s smoke, there’s fire” is a right wing strategy. I am deeply disturbed to see it picked up by people who ostensibly on the side of the angels.

  19. denelian
    denelian April 10, 2008 at 9:04 pm |

    oh. wow.

    i truely don’t know how to respond.
    on the one hand, i totally get the whole idea of, erm, “accidental osmosis”.
    but, once its been pointed out
    well, i’ve had it done to me, someone steal my ideas and plans. it sux. and more, if when it was pointed out that you may have inadvertently stolen some of my work… nuthin.

    so, wow. i kept meaning to get over to BFP’s blog, but i have so little coherent time…
    i really hope i get the chance to in the future

  20. amandaw
    amandaw April 10, 2008 at 9:15 pm |

    Far be it from me to step into a fight… but, without addressing what sparked the conflict: I do find it troublesome to repaint this as completely a matter of character assassination and not at all one of a sick system that favors some voices over others (something I find difficult to deny). However much you feel the former — and being central to the whole thing, I don’t blame you — can you really ignore the latter?

  21. Donna
    Donna April 10, 2008 at 9:29 pm |

    Amanda, you’ve been reading BfP’s site for about 2 years now. Are you honestly saying you haven’t noticed that she is the leader in calling out white feminist bloggers like you for not addressing immigration as a feminist issue? But no, you are trying to tell us the idea only came to you a month or less ago? You’re full of shit and you know it. You don’t like the word plagiarism, fine, you appropriated her work and pretended like it was all your idea. Nice to know you’ll address WOC issues when they are trendy hot topics though.

  22. belledame222
    belledame222 April 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm |

    Thank you for this.

  23. belledame222
    belledame222 April 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm |

    However much you feel the former — and being central to the whole thing, I don’t blame you — can you really ignore the latter?

    You can if you’re completely self-involved.

    Which is kind of the basic problem here innit.

  24. belledame222
    belledame222 April 10, 2008 at 9:35 pm |

    and by golly, was there just now a countercharge of “making up lies?” I do believe there was.

  25. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 9:39 pm |

    Considering the severity of the accusations leveled at me—plagiarism is not a minor thing to accuse someone of—my right to defend myself with the much-maligned facts shouldn’t be a matter of question, regardless of race. I’m extremely eager to address racism, but I won’t be made a scapegoat who has to roll over to scurrilous accusations to make anyone feel better. If you have to unfairly malign someone’s reputation to make your point, then you have to reconsider if you have a point. Maligning people’s reputations—making up lies and then spreading them around and saying, “Well, where there’s smoke, there’s fire” is a right wing strategy. I am deeply disturbed to see it picked up by people who ostensibly on the side of the angels.

    Such is true. And let the record reflect that you still haven’t denied anything. You’ve deflected and shook your moral journalistic feminist jowls at everyone; but you haven’t denied anything.

    And that’s all I need to know for my accusation of appropriation. Never plagiarism. Though it’s just as bad, if not worse.

  26. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 9:41 pm |

    The larger picture is something I can only care about if the people who want to draw attention to it don’t put their need to tear up someone’s career to get some frustration first. Sorry. The only reason the “big picture” has come into this, it seems to me, is that it quickly became evident that accusing me of plagiarism wasn’t going to fly, because it’s an unprovable assertion. Then it became “appropriation”, which only makes sense if you think immigration is a topic not covered in the media or conferences. In all honesty, my views on this were mostly drawn from speakers I’ve seen at the NOW conference and the ACLU conference, but not BFP.

    Holly, I understand your points. But seriously? Piggybacking this on a direct attack on my ability to make a living as a writer is distressing. This isn’t theoretical. People are trying to hurt me personally. Now, it didn’t work when right wingers did it, and it won’t work now, I’m sure. But I’m really disappointed to see the Bill Donohue smoke-there’s-fire thing going on here.

  27. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 9:44 pm |

    I’m not sure if I’m hurt more by scurrilous accusations about my intellectual honesty, or the assumption that I’m too stupid to make connections myself without someone holding my hand. What I do know is that the number of grad students and people holding multiple degrees involved in this shows that we’re talking a group that knows that setting out to destroy someone’s reputation as sport is deeply fucking wrong. Deeply. Fucking. Wrong. Unethical to an extreme.

  28. belledame222
    belledame222 April 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm |

    Oh for fuck’s sweet sake.

    “People are trying to hurt me personally.”

    IT’S.

    NOT.

    ALL.

    ABOUT.

    YOU.

    I realize that this may never, ever, ever sink in for you? But I want other people to understand this. This is not the fucking Amanda Marcotte show. That’s the BLOODY POINT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Because if you WEREN’T so frigging invested in the AManda Marcotte show to the detriment of the causes you supposedly support, you’d have given some props to the people who did the work in the damn first place. And, are you -seriously- now trying to say that you didn’t get -any- inspiration from bfp’s work on this subject over the past two years? None. Really.

  29. Maggie
    Maggie April 10, 2008 at 9:46 pm |

    Oh dear.

    I´ve been out of the feminist blog loop for a while, but this is very sad and very disappointing.

    bfp, you will be missed.

  30. NancyP
    NancyP April 10, 2008 at 9:46 pm |

    I am sorry to hear that BFP has given up her blog, as it provided necessary food for thought. I am not going to comment further concerning the individuals, since I haven’t followed the whole controversy.

  31. Orodemniades
    Orodemniades April 10, 2008 at 9:47 pm |

    Wow. I rarely read BFP’s blog but holy moly, what a voice to lose.

    And Seal Press? Fuck you.

  32. belledame222
    belledame222 April 10, 2008 at 9:47 pm |

    Oh, and Amanda? No one -also- gives a shit about your “multiple degree” fixation, any more than they did your crowing about how much better your single degree made you better than the people who don’t have one, mkay? But, you know: keep talking, really. Send us a postcard when you break on through to China.

  33. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein April 10, 2008 at 9:48 pm |

    Well, when terms like “theft” and “plagiarism” are bandied about and neither theft nor plagiarism occurred, then we have to wonder whether those words were chosen in order to misrepresent the facts.

    I wouldn’t counter-charge lying, per se. Maybe the accusers just didn’t think clearly about the ramifications of their rhetoric. Foot-in-mouth disease and all that. Maybe they just got carried away.

    At the very least, maybe those who unleashed that rhetoric should apologize to anyone who might have been hurt or mislead by their inept choice of words.

    In any case, we’ve agreed that authorial intent is irrelevant, right?

  34. Hugo
    Hugo April 10, 2008 at 9:49 pm |

    I’m distressed that more voices, frankly, haven’t come to Amanda’s defense on this one. Her comment above, #28, makes the clear case that not only did she not plagiarize, but she didn’t appropriate. Yes, BFP was talking about immigration before Amanda was, but there’s a pretty substantial number of posts on immigration at Pandagon (check it out). And no one is hearing Amanda when she says, again and again, that she was heavily influenced by speakers at the NOW and ACLU conferences more than BFP. It’s not hard to look up the notes from those conferences and see that yeah, immigration and feminism were on the agenda.

    Above all, the “larger picture” can only be discussed once the language of “plagiarism” and “stealing” stops for good. Until then, we have an independent writer whose ethics are under attack, and that has potentially dire consequences for her on a deeply personal level. I know what book deals pay, and it’s not enough to live on year in and out. Alleging plagiarism and stealing (in the mind of the casual reader, they are the same thing) without evidence is so outrageous that it prevents any other discussion until there is a retracton.

  35. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm |

    Fuck you, belledame. What if I called you a lying thief and then said, “It’s not about you. I only made up accusations against you because I wanted to make a larger point about lying thievery.”

    You are a fucking mean bully. I don’t know what your problem is. I’ll be fine, but the fact that you and your cadre actually sucked a decent writer (BFP) into your nonsense, your casual cruelty to other human beings is a real shame.

  36. Donna
    Donna April 10, 2008 at 9:52 pm |

    Who were the speakers at the NOW conference and ACLU conference? I’d like to read up on what they have to say about immigration and feminism.

  37. Karen
    Karen April 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm |

    I support you, Amanda, and wanted you to know that.

  38. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 9:57 pm |

    Well, if people want to build their careers by appropriation, they’d better expect their career-o-matic buildings to shake.

    And it’s always been appropriation from me. I’m sorry that you can’t answer the charge because you’re unaccustomed to dealing with different words at once.

    Then it became “appropriation”, which only makes sense if you think immigration is a topic not covered in the media or conferences. In all honesty, my views on this were mostly drawn from speakers I’ve seen at the NOW conference and the ACLU conference, but not BFP.

    Not really. Specifically, the topic of immigration as a feminist issue and the dehumanizing language employed in anti-immigration rhetoric as a progressive issue, as a civil rights issue has arisen predominantly in the work of many women and people of color online and offline for a long time. The progressive blogosphere collectively, white feminist blogs included, hemmed and hawed on the subject for months and months.

    It takes nothing away from your point to direct attention to those discussions or even your conferences, especially if you’re truly for exploring the topic and not just furthering your oh-so-fragile career; yet you insisted on zeitgeist and everything else you could string together as impetus for your spur-of-the-zeitgeist writing. While BFP isn’t an acronym for a national organization, she and others have pushed and fueled your goddamned zeitgeist; indeed, they have been building the blocks for these discussions for years. They’ve lost family to your zeitgeist. But no one’s asking you to work your way back to the Dead Sea Scrolls in ascribing credit for causal links and connections you were not the first or the most-skilled to observe.

  39. Charity
    Charity April 10, 2008 at 9:58 pm |

    Seriously? The references to people doing this for “sport” and you not being willing to care about the *big picture* (the big picture…which IS the point of being a feminist and progressive, and the point of working hard to develop a platform and an audience in the first place, right? Right?) because your feelings are hurt? Suggests a level of egocentrism (and lack of self-awareness in–at the very least–how you are coming across here, now) that is astounding.

    And THIS – “The only reason the “big picture” has come into this, it seems to me, is that it quickly became evident that accusing me of plagiarism wasn’t going to fly…” Huh?? The only reason people have *contextualized* the incident as part of a broader and more longstanding pattern of appropriation is so they can make it MORE personal (i.e. damaging to you)?? How does that make sense? That is beyond distorted.

  40. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 10, 2008 at 10:02 pm |

    Amanda, you sound like a someone who famously said, “It depends on what the meaning of is is.” Sure, you can quibble with words and dismiss the most strident accusations against you. That does not absolve you of responsibility for your behavior.

    As a progressive blogosphere, we need to differentiate ourselves from the worst tactics of the mainstream media: parsing words, making those who disagree with us out to be extremists, concentrating on ourselves rather than the good of the movement and the causes we are hoping to further.

    It seems like you have gotten to a place where you cannot admit any errors and cannot allow any disagreement. The progressive movement welcomes real people with real flaws who make mistakes, own up to them and learn to do a better job in the future. You do not have to live in a world that expects you to be perfect.

  41. sara no h.
    sara no h. April 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm |

    I’ve been watching this trainwreck and I just … well. If you can’t say something nice – at least I can say thanks, Holly, for speaking up about this. You’re right, silence would have made a much larger statement.

    It’s just, fuckin’ A. Like a walking, talking example of Privilege In Action. Even if it wasn’t intentional, even if there was no malice involved, would it really kill you to just “Oh, yeah, you know you’re right. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to leave anyone out in the cold” and go back and edit and add “Inspired by folks here here and here?” Are hat tips old hat?

    Sigh. I think I’ve finally lost faith in feminism as I understood it.

  42. Jo
    Jo April 10, 2008 at 10:04 pm |

    Thank you for this post. BFP’s silence is such a loss, and I hope that the rest of us can really work to hold Amanda accountable.

  43. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:04 pm |

    While I’m aware that you’re trying to accuse me of lying, Donna, because you would rather make unfounded accusations against the character of an honorable person that admit that you were wrong, you fucked up with your little trap.

    Luckily, despite the fact that I threw out my ACLU materials in a rage of housecleaning before I wrote the article, they posted information about the panel I attended.

    The speaker who really impressed me was Nina Perales of an organization called MALDEF
    , who made a really great case about how illegal immigration is a cover for large scale racist disenfranchisement of Hispanic Americans, because it created this cover story that leads to dumping many legal citizens from voter rolls. I thought, “This is an important angle that I need to incorporate into my writing.” When I saw the story about a legal immigrant who was raped with her green card used against her as blackmail, I thought that was the perfect opportunity to bring that analysis in.

    I’m sure BFP is a giant in your world on the subject, but seriously, she’s not the only person out there doing the work.

  44. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:07 pm |

    Whatever, Jo. I don’t have magical powers. She took down her blog. I didn’t, nor do I want to. On the contrary, I wish she’d keep it up so everyone could see the travesty that is this horrible attempt to fuck up my reputation on unfounded accusations and tactics more familiar to the right than the supposedly good people of the left.

  45. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 10:08 pm |

    And note I could spiral out and keep going and tie back to a longstanding conversation on appropriation; but damnit, we have opposable thumbs. I’m sure we can have two conversations at the same goddamned time. Because this does involve a specific instance and it simultaneously feeds into a large scheme of the same behavior. Funny how life fucking works that way sometimes. That whole past, present, future/circle of life thing.

    But then again, since people seem to conflate “theft,” “stealing,” “plagiarism,” and “appropriation” with abandon, perhaps I’m too hopeful.

  46. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 10:10 pm |

    unfounded accusations and tactics more familiar to the right than the supposedly good people of the left.

    Oh, please; don’t start this good vs. evil shit. This isn’t Star Wars. People on all ends of the spectrum fuck up.

  47. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm |

    Weasel words are a deeply dishonorable, as well.

  48. ilyka
    ilyka April 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm |

    The larger picture is something I can only care about if the people who want to draw attention to it don’t put their need to tear up someone’s career to get some frustration first.

    That right there is why you keep finding yourself in messes like this: Your underlying assumption has always been, and continues to be, that any WOC blogger who takes issue with something you’ve done is only doing it from some “need to tear up [your] career.” Would you please look at what that assumption of yours is really saying? No, look harder. No, look AGAIN.

    Now what do you call it when you attribute that same, highly uncharitable motivation, time and time again, to several different bloggers and commenters who often have in common that they identify as WOC or WOC allies? Are we back to “WOC are just jealous” again? That particular bit of strategery has not worked well for you so far.

    As a cheerleader for rationality, you might at least test your hypothesis. If your critics are indeed just jealous, then nothing you do will change their behavior. If your critics are instead justifiably upset about specific actions you have taken, then a change in your behavior might plausibly bring about a change in their behavior (although then again, they may just be fed to the teeth with you by now. Oh, I see Bill Donahue has made an appearance again! Where is my bourbon).

    You keep insisting on the provability of the former hypothesis–which conveniently can’t be proven, unless we suddenly develop infallible mind-reading techniques–yet you never test the latter. I DON’T GET IT. Why won’t you ever try letting people like you?

  49. Jinny
    Jinny April 10, 2008 at 10:12 pm |

    Amanda, I’m sorry some people are treating you unfairly to make a larger point and you have my support, even if I’m just a lurker.

  50. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm |

    Oh, please; don’t start this good vs. evil shit. This isn’t Star Wars. People on all ends of the spectrum fuck up.

    Speak for yourself. You’re the one accusing me of a deeply evil action, of stealing someone’s work and passing it off as my own. That’s a serious accusation, and to make it as a sort of game, a way to blow off stress, is deeply sick and fucked up.

  51. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm |

    Luckily, despite the fact that I threw out my ACLU materials in a rage of housecleaning before I wrote the article, they posted information about the panel I attended.

    The speaker who really impressed me was Nina Perales of an organization called MALDEF, who made a really great case about how illegal immigration is a cover for large scale racist disenfranchisement of Hispanic Americans, because it created this cover story that leads to dumping many legal citizens from voter rolls. I thought, “This is an important angle that I need to incorporate into my writing.” When I saw the story about a legal immigrant who was raped with her green card used against her as blackmail, I thought that was the perfect opportunity to bring that analysis in.

    Oh wow; you can hyperlink! Did it hurt?

  52. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson April 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm |

    I’m just heartbroken. I’m kind of a Marcotte fangirl, but everyone is human I suppose.

    I will gripe about one thing: all the links. I just spent a crapton of time reading your mid sentence links so that those sentences made sense. I hate that about blogs. We think we can just get away with linking for context. It breaks up the flow and makes it super frustrating. I’d prefer just a few lines of explanation in addition to a link, you know? So I know where I’m going without having to go there right away and read the whole thing for the nugget of information to which you refer.

    I don’t mean to derail, just gripe. If this isn’t the proper avenue, I apologise. I’m grateful for this post, though. You’ve made some excellent points. I’m definitely going to lift your metaphor about relaxing some spines (or am I just too young to know where that comes from?). I honestly hope you find the time to write more about this subject. I know it’s tough, but I would give it a read.

    Oh, fire alarm. Goodie.

  53. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm |

    You are a fucking mean bully. I don’t know what your problem is. I’ll be fine, but the fact that you and your cadre actually sucked a decent writer (BFP) into your nonsense, your casual cruelty to other human beings is a real shame.

    Wait, what? Are you implying that those of us who posted about the fact you didn’t give credit where it was due somehow tricked BFP into also being upset about this?

    This is part of a pattern that plays out over and over again. Women of color put forth ideas – well developed, strong arguments about topics (like immigration), and a white person uses those ideas without any acknowledgement for those who have poured themselves into the subject.

    It’s not about you, not specifically. It’s about this pattern that you’ve contributed to, that you defend contributing to while trying to paint everyone who called you on it as wanting to tear your career apart. Never mind that your insistence that ignoring BFP’s work is why she closed her blog, not Belledame or anyone else who allegedly convinced her that she needed to be offended.

    And seriously, what is the problem that you can’t even take BFP’s reaction to your writing at face value? That she needs to be influenced by other people to have this reaction?

  54. Anna
    Anna April 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm |

    Amanda, Hugo… things don’t happen in a vacuum, right?

    Hugo, with everything that went down in November regarding what RWOC were saying as criticisms of “Yes means Yes” and FFF, your getting involved here seems like “please watch as I defend the nice white ladies” again.

    Amanda, IIRC there were problems when the first cover of your book was revealed, and my recollection of your reaction was a lot of dismissal as jealousy and a circular firing squad. Seeing the publishing company that is apparently “to blame” for the covers of both your book and FFF not only being incredibly unproffesional in BA’s blog, but then deleting their post and all the comments to it that the incident garnered isn’t leaving me very impressed with either your record or Seal Press’s on racism being pointed out.

    There are some very obvious issues going on here, and maybe if there wasn’t a history of WOC voices being marginalsed around the white feminist blogosphere, things would look different. But as things stand, issues that WOC have been writing about for a very long time suddenly get attention because a white feminist talks about them… and *that* is part of the same problem that you deal with when an idea is taken seriously when a man says it and not when a woman does first.

  55. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:16 pm |

    Ilyka, I keep finding myself in “messes” like this because I’m a blogger with a lot of traffic and a book deal. If it was another person in my shoes, this would be going on—scurrilous, unfounded accusations of “stealing” because I write about the same issue as someone else, routine blow-ups that work only because the goal posts move every time the accusers are demonstrated to be full of shit. Like all good attacks, it’s not really that personal. You happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you get mugged, it’s not that the mugger hates you. You were standing in the wrong street at the wrong time.

    I know it’s not personal. It couldn’t be. The people making false accusations against my character and integrity forgot I’m a human being trying to get by and do the right thing in this world. It can’t be personal if you forget someone is a person.

  56. Rebecca
    Rebecca April 10, 2008 at 10:17 pm |

    The speaker who really impressed me was Nina Perales of an organization called MALDEF…

    It’s funny that I don’t seem to recall her being mentioned in your Alternet article either, Amanda. What was that about not appropriating the work of women of colour again?

  57. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 10:19 pm |

    Okay, mods; don’t take that last comment out of moderation. I have more scruples than that and I apologize.

    I didn’t accuse you of a “deeply evil action;” I said you appropriated a lot of people’s work. I haven’t called you evil personally, either.

    If the left wants to be the good side, so to speak, conversations about specific instances of appropriation shouldn’t spiral into screeds about how butthurt those accused feel. Because yes, appropriation is a form of stealing, and it’s wrong. Quibble semantics all you want; it is.

  58. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:20 pm |

    Holly, I’m not mad at you. Racial disparities are a serious issue, and it’s important to address it. You’re a good person, I saw that all over you when I met you. But addressing it on the back of character assassination rewards these tactics, I fear.

  59. Rebecca
    Rebecca April 10, 2008 at 10:21 pm |

    Ilyka:
    Your underlying assumption has always been, and continues to be, that any WOC blogger who takes issue with something you’ve done is only doing it from some “need to tear up [your] career.” Would you please look at what that assumption of yours is really saying? No, look harder. No, look AGAIN.

    Amanda:
    Ilyka, I keep finding myself in “messes” like this because I’m a blogger with a lot of traffic and a book deal.

    None of the women who have been criticising you over the past couple of days want your precious fucking book deal. Perhaps, maybe, it might be an idea to oh, consider coming down off that high horse and maybe, just maybe, seeing if they have a point? Of course, the “oh, they’re just jealous” excuse is more convenient…

    I for one still had quite a bit of respect for you into this week. If you’re aiming to destroy your own reputation, you’re doing an admirable job of it.

  60. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:22 pm |

    Yeah, Rebecca. Because I actually did the thinking for myself. My article was on women’s rights, not voting rights.

    But yeah, way to move the goal posts. The accusation was that I stole a speech I neither read nor heard before I outlined this article, and couldn’t have because I came up with the idea before BFP made her speech.

  61. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    Eh, I’m out of here. I know I’m not going to persuade people who make up accusations that skirt the line of slander out of sport. All this is doing is raising my blood pressure to see people behave like a bunch of junior high school brats, instead of grown adults.

  62. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    Amanda, would it have killed you to point to BFP, Incite!, and other WoC blogs and sites that have dealt extensively with immigration as a feminist issue?

    Because that’s really what you’ve been criticized for – talking about this, and not pointing to any of the work that’s gone before. Can you not see why this is intensely frustrating? Or does it have to be about how everyone’s out to destroy your reputation?

  63. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos April 10, 2008 at 10:26 pm |

    Oh, by the festering crabs of Jove.

    Above all, the “larger picture” can only be discussed once the language of “plagiarism” and “stealing” stops for good.

    This is exactly why Holly didn’t use the words “plagiarism” or “stealing” or “theft.”

    This is exactly why she said, that Amanda has a solid defense, but still missed the larger issues.

    That language was brought into this discussion by other people, against the wishes expressed in the opening post. There are a dozen other threads on a dozen other blogs on that talk about attribution and blame who is engaged in libel, who is guilty of plagiarism. For a bunch of people to derail this thread, against the explicit wishes of the host to set aside the tit-for-tat blame game, is fucking rude behavior.

    I can tell you one thing. There are not going to be any mass apologies, mia culpas. Anyone engaged in a quixotic quest for a “win” on this issue is not going to get it by derailing every discussion that touches it from now on.

    Most of you got your own blogs to demand satisfaction via pistols at dawn. If it was me, I’d lower the one-week banhammer on about a half dozen of you on both sides. Either respect the OP’s request to keep the tit-for-tat elsewhere, or STFU.

  64. Rebecca
    Rebecca April 10, 2008 at 10:26 pm |

    No, the goal posts are not being moved. You’re not actually reading what anyone’s said here: you’re being accused of appropriating the work of others. They work day-in and day-out trying to raise awareness and actually get these issues heard, and then you take that, throw something together, and then expect a cookie for being the white feminist who acknowledges that these issues actually exist once in a while.

    Or, more bluntly, you’re just being asked to acknowledge your damned sources. Is that so incredibly hard?

  65. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 10:33 pm |

    Have you noticed that the main people here bringing up the words “plagiarism” or “theft” are the ones who are saying “stop bringing up the words ‘plagiarism,’ ‘stealing,’ and ‘theft'”? Not counting those in the original post.

    Considering the severity of the accusations leveled at me—plagiarism is not a minor thing to accuse someone of…

    In fact, you did lay out your case that there was no direct plagiarism — and then you stopped right there.

    Owning that ideally, you would have acted differently. I’m sorry that you feel so attacked by the initial charges of plagiarism…

    And that’s all I need to know for my accusation of appropriation. Never plagiarism.

    The only reason the “big picture” has come into this, it seems to me, is that it quickly became evident that accusing me of plagiarism wasn’t going to fly…

    Well, when terms like “theft” and “plagiarism” are bandied about and neither theft nor plagiarism occurred…

    Above all, the “larger picture” can only be discussed once the language of “plagiarism” and “stealing” stops for good. Until then, we have an independent writer whose ethics are under attack, and that has potentially dire consequences for her on a deeply personal level. I know what book deals pay, and it’s not enough to live on year in and out. Alleging plagiarism and stealing (in the mind of the casual reader, they are the same thing)…

    “The only reason the “big picture” has come into this, it seems to me, is that it quickly became evident that accusing me of plagiarism wasn’t going to fly…” Huh??

    And then your comment, C.

    Above all, the “larger picture” can only be discussed once the language of “plagiarism” and “stealing” stops for good.

    This is exactly why Holly didn’t use the words “plagiarism” or “stealing” or “theft.”

    This is exactly why she said, that Amanda has a solid defense, but still missed the larger issues.

    Everyone in every context where this language was used said that plagiarism DID not happen, and even if it did, the link was very slim to none.

    I’m good at linking. I can LINK them to EACH comment I just cut the snippets from. Just do a simple search.

  66. Jill
    Jill April 10, 2008 at 10:34 pm | *

    IT’S.

    NOT.

    ALL.

    ABOUT.

    YOU.

    Well, to be fair, it kind of is about Amanda when the whole issue is accusations that she stole/appropriated BFP’s work. I’m usually sympathetic to that argument, but it’s kind of unfair to tell someone that “it’s not all about you” when it has already been made all about them. Amanda isn’t playing the victim when several feminist blogs are writing about how she appropriated someone else’s material.

    And accusations of plagiarism (or appropriation) are incredibly serious, especially for people who make their living writing. This isn’t theory; this is someone’s life and their career.

    I like Holly’s post because it does attempt to get at some of the bigger issues that this controversy brings to light. I like it because it respects the fact that there is lots of painful stuff going on; that’s important. But I think we do need to all keep in mind that this is about real people, of which Amanda is one. Yes, she is the “big blogger” here, but that doesn’t make her less deserving of respect or basic courtesy, and some of the accusations I’ve seen leveled at her over the past two days are really shocking. I think the questions of how we link and to whom, and how we make the feminist blogosphere more of a meritocracy, are important ones. But the way that Amanda has been flogged and accused of all kinds of wrong-doing really rubs me the wrong way, even as I recognize that these conversations need to be had. It’s unfair, and it’s not leading us in any sort of positive direction. Everyone is walking away wounded, and I don’t see a whole lot of productive conversation happening. I hoped that this post could provide fodder for something positive, but the comments don’t seem to be going in that direction.

  67. Charity
    Charity April 10, 2008 at 10:39 pm |

    CBrachy, I’m wondering if you read the OP somewhat selectively? But actually, I can’t tell who it is that you’re dismissing as out of line.

  68. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:41 pm |

    Holly, I do link to people, all the time. But not every article or post will be about that, and nor will I always write what other people want me to write. If I had gotten my ideas from BFP, I would have linked her. I have in the past, though I won’t in the future because this has made me viscerally unable to read her blog anymore. There are lots of great bloggers out there who are above the politics of personal destruction.

    But let’s not forget—“appropriation” is not the big picture. It was the fallback position when the accusation of stealing was disproven. It was the third or fourth position the goal posts were moved to. I can see that the big picture arguments are compelling intellectually. But in this case, they were grafted on as an excuse to continue an attack on someone who was dehumanized so she could be scapegoated.

  69. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 10:43 pm |

    BTW, Holly, my “business as usual” was linking others. The notion that I wasn’t doing that was false, and frankly, I fail to see the point of linking people who are more interested in vendettas than good writing or social justice.

  70. Psychobunny
    Psychobunny April 10, 2008 at 10:44 pm |

    This is all really troubling to me, and I guess the only thing that has really struck me is:

    The larger picture is something I can only care about if the people who want to draw attention to it don’t put their need to tear up someone’s career to get some frustration first.

    … sound like stupid, childish threatening – “I refuse to care about important issues if you’re going to be meanies”.

    These are important issues and important concerns being raised, and turning this into “TEH MEEEEN WOC HATES ME”, is not productive and certainly does not show a willingness to a) have a rational conversation and b) revisit the article and think, “Should I maybe have credited other people who have helped me develop my understanding of these issues over the years?”

  71. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 10:44 pm |

    And accusations of plagiarism (or appropriation) are incredibly serious, especially for people who make their living writing. This isn’t theory; this is someone’s life and their career.

    The woman who spoke about not wanting to be published — who in fact said that because of the nature of HER writing, she’d likely never be published — now has a freaking white, blank screen up on her domain. Who didn’t want to reference Amanda Marcotte by name, who asked people to keep her out of it because it was a larger debate that wound up hurting her in particular this time. And the topic has never returned to the subject of appropriation; instead it’s back on Amanda’s career. One can’t even ask the question of why it’s so hard to link to any conversation that’s ongoing on any of these topics without copious reference to what this discussion is not. And it’s ridiculous.

  72. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos April 10, 2008 at 10:45 pm |

    Yeah, it was a fucking great post, in which I thought Holly had tried to do a good job of broadening the issue by admitting the ways in which she is part of the problem (and I don’t have a blog but I’ve probably done it as well).

    That was before the massive hijack by a bunch of badly behaved people on both sides. I’m sorry, there are at least 50 posts by people pissing all over Holly’s expressed wishes for this thread. 50 posts that are complete wastes of glucose because neither side is going to budge.

    I don’t care. I’m more interested in talking ethical responsibilities for the future. Can we get there please?

  73. SarahS
    SarahS April 10, 2008 at 10:48 pm |

    I feel frustrated by this whole situation.

    On one hand, I don’t feel like Amanda lied, cheated, or plagiarized. I think that she wrote about something that has been percolating online at WOC blogs, the mainstream media, and at conferences. I think she took it all into the blender of her brain and came out with something that is somewhat similar to what anyone else who put those things into their blender would have come up with. That’s not plagiarism, thats what happens when smart people surrounded by other smart people come to smart conclusions.

    And I can understand why Amanda would be angry and defensive, since the charges were originally pitched as deliberate lying and cheating and have only recently been ratcheted down to appropriation. That is the kind of thing that puts people into a “fuck you” mood.

    Since BFP is down (I’m choosing to see this as a stress break, not quitting because that is the delusion that I choose to buy), everyone is floundering for direction. We can’t resolve the issue because one of the primary players is out.

    On the other hand, it would be respectful if Amanda had mentioned BFP in her piece, just like it would have been nice for her to mention having been to a conference on these issues so people could get this well rounded picture. I can see how if she just didn’t notice her similarity to BFP, she just wouldn’t think to link to her. But it would have been nice if she would have used her influence on a major site to promote WOC blogging. Bit if I wrote something that I felt was a personal breakthrough based on my own thoughts which were only slightly influenced by other people, I don’t think I would feel like I needed to cite or remember to in the excitement. I would just be so excited to have this original idea to share. That is rude and I can understand how white people can see simple rudeness and WOC can see yet another straw is that disrespecting WOC back. I think there is a fundamental disconnect there, where two people can have such different interpretations and both feel they are true. I can understand how both can be so angry.

    I feel like some people are indignant *for* BFP and that doesn’t sit well with me to assume we know what BFP thinks on this issue when she is not there to tell us. It’s not too late for Amanda to take a chill and add a mea culpa editors note to her piece and it’s not too late for WOC to take a chill and forgive. But then again, I’ve always been more of an idealist then a realist.

  74. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 10, 2008 at 10:50 pm |

    I won’t in the future because this has made me viscerally unable to read her blog anymore.

    No, BFP’s reaction to this situation has made it physically impossible to read her blog anymore.

  75. jb
    jb April 10, 2008 at 10:52 pm |

    Maybe you should have cited Nina Perales of MALDEF too, then.

  76. Daisy
    Daisy April 10, 2008 at 10:54 pm |

    Great post, Holly.

  77. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 10:54 pm |

    Holly, you’re right. I’ve talked to someone important to me. I’m going to listen to her and get back to my work.

    And I’m hoping she’s reading a book and soaking her feet right now.

  78. BLackamazon
    BLackamazon April 10, 2008 at 10:55 pm |

    YOu knwo what

    Have fun.

    BEcause as of now this entire discussion is being predicated on jealousies and being kind to AManda and fall back positions

    and niether BFP whose ORIGINAL post detailed exactly what she wanted form this

    or I

    who explained exactly why this was bad

    are being considered because of AManda’s feelings or ” teh serious accusations”

    leveled by niether of teh folks your talkinga bout

    Funnily enough only one party threatened to sue

    ANd YET AND STILL

    were arguing semantics on whetehr or not Amanda is wrong or right over the erasure of a two year career and the very obvious DISRESPECT and tomfoolery of not even being adult enough to pretend you kwo teh difference bbetween who said what.

    ANd since that seems to be far too much out of everyone’s mind the very direct and SERIOUS problem this causes by peopel whose focus is not whether or not a time stamp was BEFORE or after a speech on a blog but whether or not they have the proper trust and respect of their communities when instead of wring their hand sabout EARNING a living

    THERI TRYING TO KEEP PEOPLE ALIVE!

  79. jb
    jb April 10, 2008 at 10:59 pm |

    Though I think bfp’s work was just a little more relevant to what you wrote about. Still, though, if Nina Perales inspired you so much, why doesn’t she get a mention?

  80. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 11:02 pm |

    Holly, I see from your POV it can seem that way. And blogging is largely reactionary, so it’s like, “Oh people are talking about this, so let’s talk about it.” But I don’t think that’s appropriate, because it gives credence to the idea that you can blatantly assassinate a good person’s character, then back off it by using “big picture” claims that allow the slander to stand.

    I agree that ideas float around, which is why the notion that you write about immigration means you automatically link BFP is ridiculous. Immigration is hardly a marginal issue not covered in the news, though I suppose if you only read 6 bloggers a day and nothing else, you might think that. Did any of my primary sources rely on her? No, they’d never heard of her. She relies on the same primary sources I do. I prefer to link bloggers rather than primary sources because I want to spread the link love, but on touchy subjects like this, primary sources are usually better to subvert the quarreling in comments.

  81. jb
    jb April 10, 2008 at 11:05 pm |

    Oops, sorry Rebecca. *embarrassed*

    But, Amanda, since your article was about women’s rights and voting rights, don’t you think bfp’s work (which you read) was more relevant to the article than stuff about voting rights? So how was it that stuff about voting rights inspired you when bfp’s writing on immigration as a feminist issue (which you read) didn’t?

  82. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 10, 2008 at 11:06 pm |

    I’ll be fine, but the fact that you and your cadre actually sucked a decent writer (BFP) into your nonsense, your casual cruelty to other human beings is a real shame.

    Oh my god. So you seriously are trying to make bfp the victim of belledame?

    Jesus.

    I mean, I don’t even know what to say about that.

    I really want to talk about this issue but it seems like Amanda is so inflexible, so unwilling to admit any sort privilege on her part with statements such as

    I fail to see the point of linking people who are more interested in vendettas than good writing or social justice.

    and then gets all surprised when people caricaturize that argument as “woc are meeeeen!”

    It’s pointless. It’s peeing into the wind.

  83. BLackamazon
    BLackamazon April 10, 2008 at 11:06 pm |

    * reads above comment*

    Quits this ocnversation

    KNow what yall have fun because shes now a secondary source and amandas agood person

    and im an evil wench

    and this is a case of us being illinformed and reading 6 blogs

    I’m done

  84. ilyka
    ilyka April 10, 2008 at 11:06 pm |

    The woman who spoke about not wanting to be published — who in fact said that because of the nature of HER writing, she’d likely never be published — now has a freaking white, blank screen up on her domain.

    Nod. I’ll just add that said woman, by virtue of her absence if for no other reason, especially doesn’t deserve to be smeared with this:

    frankly, I fail to see the point of linking people who are more interested in vendettas than good writing or social justice.

    That’s as low as any accusation of plagiarism, appropriation, stealing, etc. Please, please rethink that. It’s a rotten thing to suggest of anyone, let alone BFP, and again, you’re imputing the very worst motives to your critics. BFP particularly, I know, has written kind things about your work in the past, as well as noting how charming you were to meet in person.

  85. jb
    jb April 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm |

    It wasn’t “the issue of immigration.” It was the framing of immigration as a feminist issue, etc.

  86. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm |

    Shit, you have credibility as a survivor of “character assassination” in the first place.

    Honestly, that’s what frustrates me. To see people claiming the high ground while using tactics that are borrowed from right wing hit men is nauseating. I’ll be fine, I know. And this just made me reexamine why I’m allowing squeaky wheels to define certain discourse, when, in all honesty, the best discourse out there is by people who are above these tactics.

    Which I want to reiterate, I am not accusing you, Holly. I hope you know I know you’re the bees knees. But perhaps the least productive path is letting the reputation assassinators define the conversation.

  87. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm |

    To remove X from this equation entirely because I have no interest in gazing at every fiber in her navel, personally:

    When you have situations that affect people of color in a major and substantial way, and you have sources of information from people of all different backgrounds on the negative impact of those situations, how do you address the situations while taking the work of those people into account? Because I think the point is one cannot credit and thank everyone — but to further discussions on the situation, there should be some reference to keep the momentum and the impetus for change productive, right? How can we do that in a practical and positive way?

  88. jb
    jb April 10, 2008 at 11:09 pm |

    my comment above should read: “since your article was about women’s rights and NOT voting rights,” sorry.

  89. Anna
    Anna April 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm |

    A smattering of “further reading” links on subjects is, I think, a good start. (I see a lot of such things in cooking blogs, frankly. “Here’s a list of other posts by entirely different people that also make and talk about apple crumble.”) Heaven knows when I’m reading blogs, I start in on the comments, read the blogs of people who are commenting with their own links, and suddenly it’s three days later and I’m reading a lot of interesting stuff from people in Australia.

    I think making a point of doing a bit of poking around and linking to others writing on the same topic is a good first step, Sylvia M.

  90. Jenny Dreadful
    Jenny Dreadful April 10, 2008 at 11:18 pm |

    I’m curious to see what making amends would look like in a situation like this. I honestly don’t read all of the bloggers involved in this situation, but I’ve tried my best to get myself caught up. I wonder what Amanda could do to rectify the situation at this point. For those of you who are angry with Amanda: what would you like to see her do?

  91. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 11:19 pm |

    You realize that if you had cited any sources, inspirations, the work of women of color, you would be sailing along much more smoothly right now, yes?

    I do, and continue to. Maybe not every article, but I do think that’s important and behave accordingly. However, I won’t be doing that for anyone who uses these tactics, because I think that people who engage in these tactics probably aren’t the best sources. But it’s okay; it really made me reexamine my priorities and realize that I need to look more to linking blogs outside of those that make themselves known to me with these tactics. Bullying tactics are effective because they feed laziness. But it’s not that hard to click around and find good blogs doing linkable work on these issues. But no, I’m done linking anyone who thinks that it’s a good idea to start a crusade against someone else’s livelihood.

  92. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson April 10, 2008 at 11:20 pm |

    SarahS; you’ve said it better than I could.

    When I have a fight with my boyfriend, sometimes I wish he’d back off because he’s treading into territory that advantages him over me. I start to say and think things based on experiences he doesn’t understand, and in the heat of the moment, he doesn’t want to be told that some of the things he’s saying to me are counter productive. He considers himself a feminist and has been a huge part of my growth, but he had to learn to back off and take into consideration the way our society has coloured our perceptions, and how things said to another dude don’t always sound the same when he says them to me.

    Amanda, I still think you’re the bees knees. A lot of these bloggers who look up to BFP and think that you stole her work (or whatever) aren’t being entirely fair, but their coming from a cultural context that privileges you. Their feelings and sensibilities are offended. You may not feel it’s fair that someone is asking you to walk and talk a little more softly in this context (I know what all this negative attention feels like), but things you say to me are going to sound different to them. That’s just how it works.

  93. Donna
    Donna April 10, 2008 at 11:23 pm |

    But, Amanda, since your article was about women’s rights and NOT voting rights, don’t you think bfp’s work (which you read) was more relevant to the article than stuff about voting rights? So how was it that stuff about voting rights inspired you when bfp’s writing on immigration as a feminist issue (which you read) didn’t?

    DING DING DING DING DING DING DING

  94. Redstar
    Redstar April 10, 2008 at 11:24 pm |

    Sounds to me like this has not been a good week for white women blogging, and i don’t say that in sympathy…

    i miss bfp.

    i’ve been on the road and have missed much of this as it unfolded…can’t articles be “updated” – don’t we all do it all the time? can’t links be added? at a bare minimum?

    this is a systemic mess that has personal implications, obviously, and comments threads are almost never the place to work shit out, but to do battle or close ranks. privilege also means we (whites, middle-class, etc.) bear greater accountability in this painful, real, material schisms. clearly, that’s not going to happen in this particular case.

  95. Sickle
    Sickle April 10, 2008 at 11:28 pm |

    What I care about is that when white feminists undertake to write about the issues of women of color — such as immigration, which is clearly a massively race-infused issue — they should do so in solidarity with women of color.

    Amen.

    The woman who spoke about not wanting to be published — who in fact said that because of the nature of HER writing, she’d likely never be published — now has a freaking white, blank screen up on her domain. Who didn’t want to reference Amanda Marcotte by name, who asked people to keep her out of it because it was a larger debate that wound up hurting her in particular this time. And the topic has never returned to the subject of appropriation; instead it’s back on Amanda’s career.

    Amen again.

    To me, there are two errors here in this discussion.

    One is the assumption that BfP intended to hurt Amanda. She clearly didn’t. She wanted to point that Amanda Marcotte can get her newfound observation on feminisms and immigration for everyone to see on Alternet, while BfP, who has been in the trenches on this for years, toils along in obscurity. That was her point: that people won’t pay attention to ruminations on race until a white person starts talking about it.

    The Second error is the assumption that Amanda stole BfP’s work. You know what, I actually believe Amanda that she was unaware of BfP’s work here and relied on news articles and the two conferences for her article. I do believe that Amanda was ignorant of BfP’s work. But I use the word ignorant a little pejoratively here. Amanda’s ignorance is emblematic of what BfP was trying to say.

    I think Amanda’s accusers are all wrong. To BfP, the typical “feminist” (her “X”) isn’t paying attention to the issues WoC have flagged as important. She is unaware of their work, much of which has gone on anonymously for years, decades even. But when she some day “discovers” it on their own, and gets it published in the magazine or wherever, the kudos go to her; the recognition goes to her.

    It’s not about the money. It’s not about “Amanda’s career as a writer.” It’s about getting someone—especially the people who are ostensibly on your side—to start paying attention to you.

    And so Amanda has it wrong, too. She knows she’s late to this party. She should have known that others were doing it longer, and better, than she was. But she didn’t. She was ignorant of it. And that’s nothing to be proud of, either.

  96. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 10, 2008 at 11:29 pm |

    I think making a point of doing a bit of poking around and linking to others writing on the same topic is a good first step, Sylvia M.

    Anna, I think you’re right because I noticed that even when a specific call for activism comes up — whether online or offline — it’s instinctive to provide more information about the cause. And inevitably that’s what propels it to being on people’s priority lists.

    But the question arises on how to translate that “further reading” into broader promotion in meatspace. (I actually don’t like that term but it performs a function, haha.) Like when BFP said that she created a blog because she wanted to publish her writing and because she didn’t expect any publisher to publish her writing in a book, it depressed me. Because I know that she didn’t mean *any publisher* — there are probably smaller presses that would reach out to her and publish her in a heartbeat if they got wind of her work. But they’re hard to find. And the system is one that loves credentials and loves accreditation — and that doesn’t necessarily square with a share-and-share-alike initiative or that working chain model.

    But there’s probably a way to get such a model incorporated into this present system without people losing themselves in mass orgies of knowledge. Or so I hope. I’m just wondering how it would start or where it would start peeking in.

  97. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 10, 2008 at 11:30 pm |

    For those of you who are angry with Amanda: what would you like to see her do?

    To realize that what she’s done is to erase the work of WOC feminists (as in, people reading the article in question won’t realize that WOC have been talking about this issue for ages). To realize that this individual falls within a framework of similar acts that happen to POC writers and artists all the time.

    And to stop acting like she’s won the gold medal at the Oppression Olympics.

  98. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 10, 2008 at 11:31 pm |

    BFP didn’t enter my mind writing it. Sorry. She’s a good writer, but I am not stupid and free to think of things myself. The very notion that I’m too stupid to draw my own connections is only second in terms of personal insults next to the unfounded and slanderous accusations about my intellectual integrity.

    I am utterly and profoundly disgusted at people who would rather grasp at straws than admit that they were wrong to villify me and try to smear me for sport. It’s easy to forget someone is a human being, isn’t it?

  99. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm |

    but things you say to me are going to sound different to them.

    And I won’t even begin to explain how that just sounded to me.

  100. Sickle
    Sickle April 10, 2008 at 11:43 pm |

    BFP didn’t enter my mind writing it. Sorry. She’s a good writer, but I am not stupid and free to think of things myself.

    But surely you don’t actually feel good about that, do you? That you were completely unaware and/or did not consider the work of a woman of color on this subject and someone who has been writing about this for years? And that you can get those observations in front of a wide audience, but BfP can’t?

    I know you’re upset, and I think you have every right to be. But you have to acknowledge the point that makes about the feminist movement and the feminist blogosphere in general.

  101. napthia9
    napthia9 April 10, 2008 at 11:43 pm |

    Wow, thanks for this post. It really made a lot of things click for me.

  102. plain(s)feminist
    plain(s)feminist April 10, 2008 at 11:48 pm |

    When you have situations that affect people of color in a major and substantial way, and you have sources of information from people of all different backgrounds on the negative impact of those situations, how do you address the situations while taking the work of those people into account? Because I think the point is one cannot credit and thank everyone — but to further discussions on the situation, there should be some reference to keep the momentum and the impetus for change productive, right? How can we do that in a practical and positive way?

    THANK YOU for turning the discussion back to what we can actually do, here, and away from all the noise about “tactics” and “secondary sources” and other defensive posturing.

    One technique I like a lot is when someone will link to Blogger A “via Blogger B,” so that both the original blogger and the blogger you happen to be reading get credit. When we only link Blogger B, it starts to look like Blogger B is the one who should get the credit. If we make an effort to at least track down the original source, that would make a huge difference.

  103. Radfem
    Radfem April 10, 2008 at 11:52 pm |

    Maybe you should have cited Nina Perales of MALDEF too, then.

    Thanks for mentioning this because I was wondering why this wasn’t done either in an article if this woman had provided information that led to formulation of um, some original thought. If you use another source for your article, you cite it. “Professional Writing” 101. I’m surprised the publishing source didn’t vet the article to find out where the source material was from and whether or not it is properly attributed, but maybe it’s different online?

    I don’t read much of Amanda Marcotte admittedly because while I’m sure she does have a large readership, I don’t find her writing up my alley. But I was surprised she wrote on immigration at all and when I read her piece, I just felt like deja vu because I’ve read bfp’s blog for about a year or so including her postings on immigration and when I was reading Marcotte’s article, I saw bfp in it. Throughout. I think Sylvia broke the text down further in her blog posting. I was surprised after reading it not to find bfp cited anywhere, including her speech that she gave at WAM. But I guess, given the historical precedence for this type of thing that’s been going on for a while, I shouldn’t have been.

    And while it’s really nice to see “mainstream” feminism “discover” issues that have been around and discussed and blogged about by other women for like, ever, reading Marcotte’s article did make me very uncomfortable. And learning that yet another uncited women of color was the “source” or a “source” for the thrust of the article adds to my concern, and doesn’t alleviate it.

    And Marcotte, if “mainstream” feminism ever “discovers” police reform issues, don’t visit my blog.

  104. Rebecca
    Rebecca April 10, 2008 at 11:56 pm |

    BFP didn’t enter my mind writing it. Sorry. She’s a good writer, but I am not stupid and free to think of things myself.

    Except that you’ve already said in this very thread that it was inspired by another woman of colour, who you haven’t attributed in any way. Hello? Anyone home?

    I am utterly and profoundly disgusted at people who would rather grasp at straws than admit that they were wrong to villify me and try to smear me for sport.

    Why on earth, of all things, would you assume that a whole huge bunch of people criticising you were “trying to smear you for sport?” Hell, if you can’t listen to anyone else here, can you at least listen to Holly’s last two comments?

  105. Pinky
    Pinky April 10, 2008 at 11:56 pm |

    So, after reading Amanda’s response here, I’m seriously taking Pandagon off the blogroll. I’d like to echo the sentiments that this instance is an example of a larger issue, and also that white feminists (bloggers and others) continue to appropriate the ideas/words/etc. of women of color as their own without proper shout outs/citations.

    In fact, the sheer vitriol with which Amanda is responding to this shows she has something to be defensive about instead of EXAMINING HER OWN PRIVELEGE in the situation. but hey, it’s a classic white tactic to deflect any criticism and claim personal attack. wow. i’m shocked

    And, Holly, thanks for your excellent post.

  106. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 11, 2008 at 12:00 am |

    One technique I like a lot is when someone will link to Blogger A “via Blogger B,” so that both the original blogger and the blogger you happen to be reading get credit. When we only link Blogger B, it starts to look like Blogger B is the one who should get the credit. If we make an effort to at least track down the original source, that would make a huge difference.

    Another thing I’ve seen happen: a bigger blogger will link to a post by a smaller blogger, which is great, but then all interesting discussion, and thereby attracting more attention and further linkage, happens in a thread at the bigger blogger’s place and the smaller blogger gets ignored.

    I’m not sure how to get around that on the part of the bloggers, though, as that’s really more commenter’s behavior.

    Although, let’s be honest here, commenters are a big part of the blogosphere and shouldn’t be exempt in discussions like this, really.

  107. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 11, 2008 at 12:04 am |

    Amanda, lots of journalists get accused of plagiarism. Journalists get accused of lots of things.

    I am really flabbergasted that you continue to view this issue only and entirely in terms of your personal career choices. Is there nothing that can be said to pry your focus away from yourself?

  108. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 11, 2008 at 12:07 am |

    I just want to add, Holly, that I appreciate that you want to address the important issues and not back away. But I think that piggybacking a post on bunch of nasty, gossipy, unfounded accusations actually hurts the topic, as you can see. It’s hard to take it seriously when it was initially about lashing out and hurting someone, and then only about the “big picture” when it became clear the initial accusations weren’t going to fly.

    I think it’s good you want to talk about the big picture. But it’s better to distance it from this mean-spirited bullying, or else it frames your post in a light you probably don’t want it framed in. I don’t know if it’s possible to distance yourself from the ugliness, if the ugliness was the instigating force.

  109. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 12:09 am |

    Although, let’s be honest here, commenters are a big part of the blogosphere and shouldn’t be exempt in discussions like this, really.

    Abso-friggin-lutely. They make good work better, most of the time. I think that’s why on blogs in particular, people like measuring good blogs by the discussions they inspire rather than the views or the access. That’s one thing I enjoy about The Unapologetic Mexican and The Angry Black Woman, for example.

    Speaking of which, the latter blogger has come up with an idea for an Allies Carnival that seems especially relevant right now.

  110. Sally
    Sally April 11, 2008 at 12:09 am |

    Here is my diagnosis of the situation. Feel free to delete it, Holly, if it’s offensive or unhelpful.

    I think that Amanda’s primary strength, and the reason that her blog is so popular, is as a prose stylist. She’s not really about coming up with radical new ideas. She’s about crystalizing ideas that are already out there into a witty, succinct, razor-sharp form, which makes her readers think “yeah, that’s exactly the right way to say this thing that I already vaguely knew.” So Amanda is always, kind of, working from material that’s already floating around in the liberal/ lefty atmosphere. And as far as Amanda was concerned, what she did in that article wasn’t any different from what she usually does. She took ideas that have been floating around and packaged them in a really good form for her audience.

    But the problem is that this isn’t like what she usually does, because the power dynamics are different. She’s usually working in conversation with people who are roughly in a similar position, power-wise, as her. And riffing off of WOC bloggers and activists, who are already pretty marginalized in feminist and progressive circles, is not the same as riffing off, say, this blog. For one thing, many of her readers aren’t going to be aware of that conversation, so they’re going to credit her with radical newness, rather than pithy, smart packaging of already out-there ideas, which is what they usually know Amanda is doing. Unless she tells them that other people have come up with these ideas, they won’t know that, because the people coming up with the ideas don’t have a lot of mainstream access. So in a sense, it’s more plagiarism-y than it would be with a different subject, because on a different subject everyone is familiar with the source material. If you re-write Romeo and Juliet, you don’t have to credit Shakespeare, because everyone knows he came up with that plot. But if you borrow a plot invented by a writer who has been systematically purged from the canon, you have a responsibility to alert people to the fact that someone else came up with the story.

    From Amanda’s point of view, she’s being unfairly attacked. People have called her out for not attending to immigration issues, and now that she’s attending to them in exactly the way that she treats other issues, she’s getting flak for it. And from the point of view of WOC bloggers and their supporters, Amanda is willfully ignoring the power dynamics here, which are different from the power dynamics when she blogs about sex ed or atheism.

    I really, really understand why Amanda is so upset. But I think, Amanda, that you should take a day or two to cool off and then try to think about the power dynamics thing. Because it’s real.

    I’m a little nervous about that “plagiarismy” thing, because I want to be very clear that I’m not accusing Amanda of plagiarism.

  111. RKMK
    RKMK April 11, 2008 at 12:15 am |

    Sally – thanks. I think that was actually a very good analysis.

  112. Bruce
    Bruce April 11, 2008 at 12:16 am |

    I guess the moral of this is that great minds may think alike, but better not think TOO alike. Because then somebody has to get roasted on a spit for being a “thief.” Seems the damage from not linking to a source in accordance with blog custom – IF they are a source – is pretty minimal compared to calling somebody a thief falsely. It’s also a lot easier to correct if a correction is needed.

    You can’t undo damage to reputation easily, which is why defamation suits exist: you need money to replace the losses from what cannot be repaired. Hint.

  113. jb
    jb April 11, 2008 at 12:17 am |

    Ugh. This is not about smearing you or your career. If you’ll notice, bfp is the one whose blog is down now (AND she’s the one whose work you appropriated without citing it). Btw the stuff about forgetting that you are human comes off as really obnoxious and hypocritical.

    The goal posts didn’t move; it was always about the bigger picture here. And bfp’s original post was about appropriation (and bigger issues!!), not plagiarism.

  114. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 12:18 am |

    You can’t undo damage to reputation easily, which is why defamation suits exist: you need money to replace the losses from what cannot be repaired. Hint.

    Good point. Start itemizing exactly what Amanda has lost.

  115. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 11, 2008 at 12:19 am |

    I think my career will be fine and their gamble won’t pay off. Because they’re out to create a problem for me doesn’t mean they’ll succeed. The instigating force issue is important, but it’s hard to take people seriously when they’re more interested in malicious tactics attempting to hurt someone than, you know, the actual issue.

    I make a point of linking anyone that I think made the argument I’m making and borrowing. I’ve linked BFP in the past, but won’t in the future, of course, because she’s not on my reading list anymore. After all, I don’t want to be accused of being unduly influenced by her, so best to play it safe by not reading her anymore.

  116. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein April 11, 2008 at 12:23 am |

    What happened to brownfemipower’s blog, anyway? Why has all the evidence conveniently disappeared, leaving only shifting and unsubstantiated allegations?

    Why should we take accusations against Amanda seriously when her accuser has fled, taking all the source material with her?

    What’s the fancy theoretical term of “hit and run”?

  117. jb
    jb April 11, 2008 at 12:25 am |

    It isn’t great minds thinking alike when one woman has been blogging eloquently and effectively (citing her sources, too) on these issues for years, touching innummerable readers with her analyses and ideas and the other (who has been reading the first for quite some time) writes a superficial little article about the same issues, way down the line. And then the superficial article that doesn’t cite the fleshed out and eloquent work that seems to have inspired it gets a huge readership, none of which benefits the first woman and all of which benefits the second.

    That’s not great minds thinking alike. That’s appropriation.

  118. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 11, 2008 at 12:25 am |

    I think my career will be fine and their gamble won’t pay off. Because they’re out to create a problem for me doesn’t mean they’ll succeed. The instigating force issue is important, but it’s hard to take people seriously when they’re more interested in malicious tactics attempting to hurt someone than, you know, the actual issue.

    Yes. It was all a big conspiracy to TAKE YOU DOWN! We’re all out to get you, Amanda.

    Aaaanyway, I for one think it would be cool to talk about this for awhile. I for one would like to write something for it, after I’m not so pissed off about this whole kerfuffle.

  119. ilyka
    ilyka April 11, 2008 at 12:27 am |

    But the question arises on how to translate that “further reading” into broader promotion in meatspace.

    Are you talking about things like how to go from online writing to dead-tree publishing, or working the lecture circuit, or appearing on television? Or am I way off?

    It reminds me of something awhile back that I think was started up to enable networking like that among feminists, and how it immediately ran into the larger problem it seems Holly was trying to discuss here, in which certain paths in that network were more open to some than to others.

    I don’t know how that pattern can be broken without better effort on the part of those who have access. What seems to keep happening instead is a sort of I-got-mine, you-get-yours feminism, in which those who have access are on constant, fists-clenched, teeth-bared guard against those who don’t. Just one more reason among many that phrases like “personal vendetta” or “villify for sport” appall me: Why is it one person’s livelihood, but another person’s vendetta or sport? Why is it SRS BIZNESS for this one but mere middle school dramatics for that one? I keep saying it, but those are horrible, dehumanizing assumptions, and no good will ever come of starting from them.

    Doesn’t everyone take her work fairly seriously? Doesn’t everyone pour her heart into it? Damn few are doing it for the pay or the glory, I know that. And I’ll bet my last dime that no one is jumping up and down with glee tonight shrieking, “Yay for personal vendettas and bullying tactics! I WON!” What’d they win?

  120. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 11, 2008 at 12:28 am |

    What happened to brownfemipower’s blog, anyway? Why has all the evidence conveniently disappeared, leaving only shifting and unsubstantiated allegations?

    Why should we take accusations against Amanda seriously when her accuser has fled, taking all the source material with her?

    Hey, look, it’s the straw that broke my back!

    Anyone else want to tackle that one? because I think I need to scream into a pillow for awhile.

  121. jb
    jb April 11, 2008 at 12:28 am |

    I think my career will be fine and their gamble won’t pay off. Because they’re out to create a problem for me doesn’t mean they’ll succeed. The instigating force issue is important, but it’s hard to take people seriously when they’re more interested in malicious tactics attempting to hurt someone than, you know, the actual issue.

    Paranoid much? Ever think of the problems you cause the people you appropriate?

  122. jb
    jb April 11, 2008 at 12:29 am |

    It isn’t great minds thinking alike when one woman has been blogging eloquently and effectively (citing her sources, too) on these issues for years, touching innummerable readers with her analyses and ideas and the other (who has been reading the first for quite some time) writes a superficial little article about the same issues, way down the line. And then the superficial article that doesn’t cite the fleshed out and eloquent work that seems to have inspired it gets a huge readership, none of which benefits the first woman and all of which benefits the second.

    That’s not great minds thinking alike. That’s appropriation.

  123. jb
    jb April 11, 2008 at 12:36 am |

    Why has the evidence disappeared? You really think she took down her blog because she is being “shifty”? Maybe she did it because she was tired of this shit…

  124. plain(s)feminist
    plain(s)feminist April 11, 2008 at 12:37 am |

    I’ve linked BFP in the past, but won’t in the future, of course, because she’s not on my reading list anymore.

    I think this has now officially reached train wreck status.

  125. Daisy Bond
    Daisy Bond April 11, 2008 at 12:37 am |

    Amanda Marcotte: Why, why, why wasn’t this in the original article? This is the missing piece, exactly what every is asking you for. Nina Perales — the woman (of color? I think it’s safe to bet) that got inspired you, whose work you built upon. It’s great to be inspired — it’s great to build on others’ work… But it is absolutely a kind of stealing when you don’t mention them. When you add to someone’s structure without giving her credit, you are using her. You are stepping on her. You are acting like she isn’t even there.

  126. little light
    little light April 11, 2008 at 12:46 am |

    Lindsay,

    What happened to brownfemipower’s blog, anyway? Why has all the evidence conveniently disappeared, leaving only shifting and unsubstantiated allegations?

    Why should we take accusations against Amanda seriously when her accuser has fled, taking all the source material with her?

    What’s the fancy theoretical term of “hit and run”?

    Are you seriously suggesting that BFP took down her entire blog as some kind of blog suicide attack, and that all of this–including her leaving blogging–was some elaborately orchestrated plot that was all about Amanda?

    And Amanda,

    What I do know is that the number of grad students and people holding multiple degrees involved in this shows that we’re talking a group that knows that setting out to destroy someone’s reputation as sport is deeply fucking wrong. Deeply. Fucking. Wrong. Unethical to an extreme.

    This and all your references to this being about taking down your career, about hunting for your livelihood, and especially how it’s clearly all for sport, I find deeply troubling.

    I’d ask if that’s really how you think, but I’ve seen it before. Do you really see everything the rest of us do that touches on you (or even is directly connected to you) as about your career and your book deal, disingenuous and scheming, and not people’s sincere concerns for the movement you and I and they all belong to? That they spend all this time thinking about you, and not about the movement they’re activists in, and that they couldn’t possibly have any other motivation but their obsessions with your career? Are you part of the feminist movement, or are all the rest of us part of the Amanda Movement, for Gods’ sakes?

    Can there be no concerns past you? No motivations outside of you? I see genuinely upset people here. I, personally, am mourning. This isn’t sport. Maybe it’s sport for you, a hobby, a moneymaker, a personal career, an individual trajectory toward success or failure. For me, it’s a political project in which I myself don’t really matter, and the most important thing is the work that will change the world. But time and again in these conversations, whenever I’ve seen you criticized in the context of the feminist movement, I’ve seen you make it all about you, and I’ve seen you dismiss anyone who disagrees as motivated only by obsessions with you, jealousy of you, desire to be like you, vendettas against you. Not the motivations they say they have. Not concerns about the movement and yes, how you fit into and affect it. Not issues that affect their daily lives. It’s for sport. It’s to mess up your career. And they–“they” is an awful lot of people–they’re all liars.

    Yes, you have every right to defend yourself. I’ve been accused of plagiarism myself, as some folks may recall. But completely aside from these accusations, your response here has been more telling than everything else.

  127. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 12:47 am |

    Why has the evidence disappeared? You really think she took down her blog because she is being “shifty”? Maybe she did it because she was tired of this shit…

    DING DING DING DING DING

  128. Frankly, I’m too mad to blog right now… | A Slant Truth

    [...] Here Here Here Here Here [...]

  129. Bill
    Bill April 11, 2008 at 12:51 am |

    I’ve linked BFP in the past, but won’t in the future, of course, because she’s not on my reading list anymore. After all, I don’t want to be accused of being unduly influenced by her, so best to play it safe by not reading her anymore.

    I’ve heard this before. It was a comment at Hugo’s blog regarding senior men mentoring younger women in the workplace. Some men say they won’t mentor younger women because it’s just too dangerous. Those women are far to careless with the sexual harassment charges these days, so it’s best to play it safe and not interact with women.

    Some of the responses to this issue are really disappointing me. This is the first time I’ve watched this sort of issue unfold while viewing it through the lens of anything other than a clueless white, male. Ouch. This hurts.

  130. Pinky
    Pinky April 11, 2008 at 12:53 am |

    I think my career will be fine and their gamble won’t pay off. Because they’re out to create a problem for me doesn’t mean they’ll succeed. The instigating force issue is important, but it’s hard to take people seriously when they’re more interested in malicious tactics attempting to hurt someone than, you know, the actual issue.

    They. They’re. Them. Those evil Women of Color trying to bring the white lady down! When are the super secret “we hate amanda meetings” happening? Paranoid much? Also, can white feminists please stop referring to Women and People of Color as them/they all the time? like, meh.

    Again, bfp’s post was about appropriation of WOC work by white feminist bloggers and how it is a systemic problem. if “they” really wanted to hurt you, you think that it would start with “amanda marcotte of pandagon is a super horrible evil person because of x,y,z” but no post ever said that.

  131. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2008 at 12:58 am |

    I’ve been thinking about all the places from which I get ideas for blog posts and articles — from other bloggers, from my students, from songs I hear on the radio, articles in the newspaper, and so forth. When an idea is clearly inspired by one particular source, I link to it. But sometimes, there really is a broad, ephemeral zeitgeist. All of a sudden, everyone is talking about the same thing — immigration exploded on the agenda two years ago, and has picked up steam with both left and right ever since. Amanda seems to have pulled this piece together from a variety of disparate sources as well as her own insights and to cite one single source in her article would have unfairly implied that there was just one such source.

    Look, could she have added a single sentence: “for further reading, please see BFP, who has covered this issue in depth”. Sure, hindsight being 20/20 and all, Amanda could have done that. But to equate a perfectly defensible editorial decision with theft, or even with unjustified appropriation, is a bridge too far.

    BFP withdrew from the discussion, and that’s her choice. Amanda is staying in the discussion and staying in this thread as one blogger after another tees up and takes a giant, Tiger Woods-sized swing at her. Whatever privilege some folks imagine she possesses doesn’t justify the ugliness that’s being sent her way.

  132. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 1:01 am |
    But the question arises on how to translate that “further reading” into broader promotion in meatspace.

    Are you talking about things like how to go from online writing to dead-tree publishing, or working the lecture circuit, or appearing on television? Or am I way off?

    It reminds me of something awhile back that I think was started up to enable networking like that among feminists, and how it immediately ran into the larger problem it seems Holly was trying to discuss here, in which certain paths in that network were more open to some than to others.

    I’m talking about exactly that, Ilyka. Except instead of waiting for the big shots to grant us access and equipment and money and whatnot, we use this great magical internexatron to make our own anti-oppression, pro-social chain media. And I have a huge hunch that this has been done by people before me mentioning this — so I should definitely make an effort to find them.

    But it requires a coalition across different demographics to happen and a lot of brave people. And I think we have the building blocks for both. (I almost typed “blogs” because I am obviously brainwashed by new media and need sleep before court tomorrow.)

    And WOMAN! Where have you been? Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there’s no one above you?

    You fill my heart with gladness,
    Take away all my sadness,
    Ease my troubles — that’s what you do.

    Via. (In which Wikipedia does my sourcing for me.)

  133. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Regarding Appropriation, Brownfemipower and Amanda Marcotte

    [...] Holly at Feministe writes: What I care about is that when white feminists undertake to write about the issues of women of color — such as immigration, which is clearly a massively race-infused issue — they should do so in solidarity with women of color. In ways that give political voice to women of color, to immigrants, to those whose voice is generally not heard as loudly. [...]

  134. Crito
    Crito April 11, 2008 at 1:10 am |

    Once, I wrote a really great guitar riff. It rocked. It felt right. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I played it for a friend that I realized it was Black Sabbath.

    Oops.

    I’ve heard my own good ideas reflected back at me a day or two later as a [new] good idea to the person I told it to. When I’ve reminded them, they realize that.

    It is a shame that women claiming to be working for the cause of spreading the message are so eager to snipe an ally working towards the same goal at the expense of that cause. The “I’m taking my ball and going home” mentality reflects poorly on those who employ it.

    Had a discrete email been sent to Ms. Marcotte on the work done by WOC bloggers who had come to the same conclusions earlier as she had in her article, she would likely have amended it to give credit where it was due, but most likely innocently overlooked. If she had refused, then the outcry could have been justified. As it is, it’s a loud and unwarrantedly vicious attack that seems to be about anger towards white women in general rather than the resolution of the supposed “injustice” committed by Ms. Marcotte. If it had really been about giving credit where it’s due, there were better ways to do it.

    This isn’t it.

  135. Psychobunny
    Psychobunny April 11, 2008 at 1:10 am |

    I think it’s just speaking volumes that when women of colour are feeling their work has been appropriated and used without credit by a white woman … the white woman thinks it’s all about people trying to destroy HER.

    Nice one, Amanda. And there I was buying your concern about the “white girl slaying gorilla” motif on the original draft cover of your book.

  136. roses
    roses April 11, 2008 at 1:15 am |

    The larger picture is something I can only care about if the people who want to draw attention to it don’t put their need to tear up someone’s career to get some frustration first.

    Seriously? The fact that some people made harsh accusations gives you a pass to ignore the whole issue? You don’t have to care about the issue of appropriation of words by the more privilege until those mean old WOC start being nicer to you?

    What happened to brownfemipower’s blog, anyway? Why has all the evidence conveniently disappeared, leaving only shifting and unsubstantiated allegations?

    Are you fucking kidding me with that? You think BFP took down her entire blog, all her years of work and brilliant writing just to discredit Amanda? I have no fucking words.

  137. plain(s)feminist
    plain(s)feminist April 11, 2008 at 1:15 am |

    Look, could she have added a single sentence: “for further reading, please see BFP, who has covered this issue in depth”. Sure, hindsight being 20/20 and all, Amanda could have done that. But to equate a perfectly defensible editorial decision with theft, or even with unjustified appropriation, is a bridge too far.

    BFP withdrew from the discussion, and that’s her choice. Amanda is staying in the discussion…

    The fact is, she *didn’t* do that, and not only *won’t* she do that, she has taken *every* opportunity here to diminish BFP’s work just to prove that she would never have been inspired by such a “minor” writer. And it is not a “perfectly defensible editorial decision” – at the very *best* it is a *mistake,* and it does absolutely appropriate, whether she intended to do so or not, months and years of writing by people of color. And no, “appropriate” and “plagiarize” do not mean the same thing in these contexts, no matter how much one might want to make them do so.

    And further there is no discussion, here, as far as I can see, with Amanda, other than between Amanda and Holly. There was no discussion with Amanda prior to this that BFP removed herself from. There is just Amanda, saying the same things over and over, insisting that the reason she won’t be reading BFP anymore is because she, Amanda, has decided not to, as if she can will BFP’s blog back into existence for the sheer purpose of not reading it. Which is erasing BFP’s work all over again. And then there are a lot of other people, begging her to get out of her own way and really look at the situation.

    That’s it. Enough. I’m going to bed.

  138. little light
    little light April 11, 2008 at 1:19 am |

    Okay, look.
    We’re all real people here. And I think this is exhausting for everyone, and I don’t think we’re going to see eye-to-eye. Calling-out has been done. Defending has been done. There’s nothing particularly new about this argument, even, and the points seem pretty much all made.
    I’m beginning to think BFP, in leaving all this behind for more constructive pursuits, may have the right idea.

    What can we build to fix this? As a movement, aside from us as individual personalities?

  139. Donna
    Donna April 11, 2008 at 1:24 am |

    Hugo, immigration is certainly in the news but undocumented immigrants as a feminist issue? Where else have you seen that? Any other sources? BfP has been screaming this for years and all of us know it, but Amanda is the one who is insulting our intelligence by pretending she never noticed that in the years she has been reading her. By what leap of logic would anyone come up with latino American citizens voting issues=undocumented immigrants + feminism?

    Lindsay, did you consider that the “source material” might have disappeared so that it can’t be stolen anymore.

  140. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2008 at 1:24 am |

    What can we build to fix this? As a movement, aside from us as individual personalities?

    I think getting some rest, all of us, and getting some distance from this is a good idea. Right now, I agree, we’re all in “more heat than light” mode.

  141. Cinnamon
    Cinnamon April 11, 2008 at 1:28 am |

    Thanks, Holly, for writing about this. I rarely read the comments on feministe or many others, and I haven’t commented in a really long time. But I agree with you that this has been a horrible week for WOC bloggers. All I can hope is that more women understand the point you made here tonight and will begin to think more critically as they read writings by other bloggers. I’m looking for some way to see this string of events create something positive. Brownfemipower will be greatly missed online. The blogosphere will not be as good without her.

  142. ilyka
    ilyka April 11, 2008 at 1:30 am |

    But it requires a coalition across different demographics to happen and a lot of brave people. And I think we have the building blocks for both.

    Make/shift comes to mind. Small now, but good potential there.

    (Regarding the rest, I will email you from another account [I locked myself out of the usual one] so as not to derail Holly’s thread. The short version is that I am stoopid with two o’s.)

  143. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 1:36 am |

    Amanda Marcotte: Why, why, why wasn’t this in the original article? This is the missing piece, exactly what every is asking you for. Nina Perales — the woman (of color? I think it’s safe to bet) that got inspired you, whose work you built upon. It’s great to be inspired — it’s great to build on others’ work… But it is absolutely a kind of stealing when you don’t mention them. When you add to someone’s structure without giving her credit, you are using her. You are stepping on her. You are acting like she isn’t even there.

    Yeah, I had asked this as well. If Perales was so instrumental to researching this article (and she does do important work) to formulate an analyis or construct or whatever it’s called, why no citation for her? It’s that which makes lift an eyebrow when I seen content in an article that reminds me a lot of bfp including construct.

    I remember bfp’s post on this issue. And I know the female professor that she cited in her posting, who I believe raised this similar concern that bfp raised in her speech in Michigan.

    Had a discrete email been sent to Ms. Marcotte on the work done by WOC bloggers who had come to the same conclusions earlier as she had in her article, she would likely have amended it to give credit where it was due, but most likely innocently overlooked. If she had refused, then the outcry could have been justified. As it is, it’s a loud and unwarrantedly vicious attack that seems to be about anger towards white women in general rather than the resolution of the supposed “injustice” committed by Ms. Marcotte. If it had really been about giving credit where it’s due, there were better ways to do it.

    You write this as if this were a viable assumption. As if Marcotte was offering up her article for a read-through by women of color before its final edit and publication. Because how can you send emails about an article expressing concern, unless you know the article’s being written, what stage it’s in and when it’s being submitted for publication.

    Even though it’s not likely this opportunity was given (though I could be wrong) nor was there any such invitation to comment sent out to these women, you place restrictions based on their *right* to respond even criticially to an article after its publication and that’s not right. That’s just disingeneous thinking in itself.

    If it had really been about giving credit where it’s due, there were better ways to do it.

    Perhaps that’s true when the opportunity is there to do so. But a lot of this falls on the responsibility of the author as well, which goes back to my question about why the one woman of color acknowleged as a source by name on this thread by said author was not cited in the article.

  144. Aman
    Aman April 11, 2008 at 1:40 am |

    Gosh, but I’ve never really seen a pile-on quite like this on Feministe.

    You want to talk about bigger issues, then find an example that’s actually illustrative of or at least relevant to what you’re purporting to want to be talking about if that’s what you need to do so rather than tearing someone down and then telling her it isn’t about her when she defends herself against the really fucking serious charges being leveled at her. I read two of the above linked summaries of what the situation is as well as other posts linked from those pages, and the accusations are very strong and very personal, seemingly using Amanda as a stand-in for the larger systemic silencing of the voices of people of color which allows for the saying of all kinds of ugly things about her personally because suddenly she isn’t human, but for the purposes of those posts, just an agent of that system. Amanda is, however, a real person, and doesn’t deserve to be shouted down or just presumed guilty without her say and then shouted down further and told she has a too-inflated ego because she won’t diminish her sense of self worth to the point where she won’t speak up for herself in the face of apparently false accusations and ugly dismissive bullying all wrapped up in the language of social justice.

    Sheesh.

    In summary: Acting like assholes in the name of feminism or anti-racism or whatever else does not somehow mitigate said assholery, but the self-righteous attitude does make it almost funny when people accuse Amanda of being the one on a high horse. Makes the head spin.

  145. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein April 11, 2008 at 1:48 am |

    Donna wrote:

    Hugo, immigration is certainly in the news but undocumented immigrants as a feminist issue?

    Yes, quite a bit lately–via the connection to domestic violence and proposed changes to immigration laws that would make it more difficult for undocumented women to seek legal protection without jeopardizing their ability to stay in the country.

    There’s also been a fair bit of straight up news coverage, not explicitly feminist, about the plight of domestic violence among immigrants who hesitate to come forward for fear deportation.

    There was also a major NYT expose a couple weeks back, the one Amanda alluded to in her article, about the immigrant who used her cellphone to document a coerced sexual encounter with an immigration official.

    Kay Steiger, Protection Against Domestic Violence for Illegal Immigrants, March 10, 2008.

    Anabel Lee, Justice Denied for Immigrant Women, March 10, 2008.

    WBNS 10TV, Group Helps Immigrant Women Escape Domestic Violence, March 25, 2008.

    McClatchy Newspapers, Immigrant Domestic Abuse Reports Increase, March 30, 2008.

  146. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 1:56 am |

    The fact is, she *didn’t* do that, and not only *won’t* she do that, she has taken *every* opportunity here to diminish BFP’s work just to prove that she would never have been inspired by such a “minor” writer.

    PRECISELY. There is no reason to say that Amanda has been anything but bot dismissive and racist in this entire discussion. I’m frankly appalled that I ever thought to defend her, which I did at the outset of this entire fiasco. Shame on you, AManda. And shame on Hugo and Lindsay Beyerstein for being racist assholes as well.

  147. Crito
    Crito April 11, 2008 at 2:00 am |

    It is the responsibility of people who have a wider audience, more legitimacy, more privilege (and despite what Hugo said upthread, I’m afraid privilege is not imaginary) to hear and address the concerns and grievances and accusations of people with less.

    I completely agree. However, there are a lot of groups with less. More than I think any empathetic person can comprehend, if for any other reason than the preservation of their sanity. Unfortunately, that means that not every voice may be initially heard. Sometimes this is by design, other times it is by mistake. This appears to be an instance of mistake, in which case it is perfectly reasonable and appropriate to voice your concern to the person making the mistake. Give them a chance to correct it before condemning them for making it.

    And I admit that I’m naive about some aspects of race relations. I was lucky enough to have been brought up in a family that has been working for civil rights for 3 generations now, my father having even been honored by the SCLC for it. I was raised that people are people. So, yes, I am sorry that I have a small grasp on the race component of the issue…

    On another note, the reason I believe she wasn’t discretely asked is because, if she was, her refusal to do so would have been all over these comments.

  148. Crito
    Crito April 11, 2008 at 2:07 am |

    Okay, I tried to edit my last post, but it doesn’t seem to be working (or my brain doesn’t seem to be working).

    I’d like to add that DESPITE the unfortunately vitriolic outcry, the correct thing for Ms. Marcotte to do in this situation is still to give a shout out to the WOC blogs who have been working on this issue, whether it mends broken ties or not.

    I just think that the character-assassination is unnecessary and to everyone’s detriment. :(

  149. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 2:09 am |

    If you have to unfairly malign someone’s reputation to make your point, then you have to reconsider if you have a point

    And really, WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS MEAN?! Have you even considered that you were in the wrong to not link BfP, Amanda? Seriously, I am so far gone in my disappointment right now that I cannot believe that you would have the audacity to portray ANY of this as a smearjob on your reputation by the evil forces of….what, anti-Amanda bigotry? Is that what you are using to justify your dismissal of your critics here? Well, have at it. I seriously expected so much more out of you at the start of all of this, which is why I waited until now to say anything. All I have to say to you is “why?” But I feel that even that, you would deem as a complete attack on your “livelihood”.

    Just gross. Gross.

  150. Sickle
    Sickle April 11, 2008 at 2:11 am |

    Ah, let us all remember March 2008: when white people discovered immigrant women. Congratulations.

  151. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 11, 2008 at 2:16 am |

    but undocumented immigrants as a feminist issue?

    Really? The Feminist Majority Foundation has been covering these issues for a long time, not just in news to their members, but also in conference proceedings and calls to action, etc. A brief review through their website and I’ve pulled a small sample. These date back to 1995.

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=9648

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=134

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=2815

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=4463

  152. Sickle
    Sickle April 11, 2008 at 2:24 am |

    Really? The Feminist Majority Foundation has been covering these issues for a long time, not just in news to their members, but also in conference proceedings and calls to action, etc. A brief review through their website and I’ve pulled a small sample. These date back to 1995.

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=9648

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=134

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=2815

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=4463

    Of those, only the most recent was specifically about feminism and immigration, particularly immigrant women. It was from 2006, and rather short. The one from 1995 isn’t about immigration at all. It’s about women’s representation in foreign governments. The next oldest one is about expanding immigration to battered spouses, not about immigrant women already here. The second-most-recent is about prop 187 in California, and doesn’t even use the word “woman” or “women” or even a gendered pronoun for that matter.

    So yeah. REALLY.

  153. Delux
    Delux April 11, 2008 at 2:24 am |

    I think my career will be fine and their gamble won’t pay off. Because they’re out to create a problem for me doesn’t mean they’ll succeed.

    I co moderate an online space for women of color. Its exhausting, and sometimes I kind of feel too exhausted to continue. Then I run into something like this and I realize how absolutely vital it is for safe environments by, for, and about women of color to exist in the face of this kind of cluelessness from mainstream white feminists.

    So thanks Amanda, Hugo, et al for helping me reaffirming my commitment to creating and preserving community for women of color.

  154. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 2:28 am |

    but undocumented immigrants as a feminist issue?

    Really? The Feminist Majority Foundation has been covering these issues for a long time, not just in news to their members, but also in conference proceedings and calls to action, etc. A brief review through their website and I’ve pulled a small sample. These date back to 1995.

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=9648

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=134

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=2815

    http://feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=4463

    Interesting links covering about a 13 year period of FM involvement in this issue but I did have a question, does FM ever use source material for its writings including these “newsbytes” as they’re called that is not so-called “mainstream” media (i.e. NY Times, USA Today)? Does FM ever cite or use other sources on the immigration issue that are written, researched and/or published by women of color working on these issues?

    Some of FM’s organizations under its umbrella publish position papers on the issues they cover as well as training publications. So they do this for immigration using a variety of different perspectives and sources, right? I would think so to be a recognized authority on the issue of undocumented immigrants including women.

  155. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 3:00 am |

    Let everyone take note of this system of occurrences. Please, white people be ashamed, and white people speak out against this all occurring again. I am ashamed at myself. BfP has been erased, and my own silence has contributed to it. Damn me. And damn us all.

  156. So True: "You all engage best through negative discourse"

    [...] Heck, to hear some people say it the Internet as a whole will be lucky to survive and frankly feminism is already dead. "That group included one of the most important feminist bloggers in the history of the web — who has now taken her blog down. As I’m writing, that link goes nowhere. Perhaps permanently — I don’t know if she will return, though like many others I dearly hope she will." – Holly explains why we are doomed [...]

  157. Aman
    Aman April 11, 2008 at 3:39 am |

    Are you for real? White liberal types can sometimes be all kinds of weird when it comes to race, but you’re verging on self-parody.

  158. ilyka
    ilyka April 11, 2008 at 3:56 am |

    From this very post:

    If you’re going to comment, do me a favor and don’t puke up any of the crap that always seems to come out with these conflicts: that women of color are unreasonably angry, that we’re bad communicators, that withdrawing is like throwing a temper tantrum, that WOC bloggers are jealous of people making money off of book deals. (What? since when did anyone make any significant money off a feminist book? It’s clear this is not about money.) None of that; just don’t go there.

    Well, it’s gone there. Women of color are unreasonably angry:

    That’s a serious accusation, and to make it as a sort of game, a way to blow off stress, is deeply sick and fucked up.

    –or at least “deeply sick and fucked up.” If it were me, I think I’d prefer “unreasonably angry,” but I can speak only for myself there.

    Women of color are bad communicators:

    To see people claiming the high ground while using tactics that are borrowed from right wing hit men is nauseating. I’ll be fine, I know. And this just made me reexamine why I’m allowing squeaky wheels to define certain discourse, when, in all honesty, the best discourse out there is by people who are above these tactics.

    Withdrawing is like throwing a temper tantrum? We didn’t quite get that, but Lindsay went one better: Withdrawing is like a shifty attempt to hide the evidence!

    Why should we take accusations against Amanda seriously when her accuser has fled, taking all the source material with her?

    What’s the fancy theoretical term of “hit and run”?

    WOC bloggers are jealous of people making money off of book deals?–Do I even need to cite all the examples of that canard in this thread? I’d be here half the day.

    Hugo and anyone else feeling horrified by all the “swings” supposedly being taken at Amanda, with perhaps the sole exception of Jill:

    Not one of you were able to support your friend and colleague without violating at least one (and often more) of the guidelines for commenting that Holly laid out here. Not one of you could lend support to Amanda in a way that didn’t also dump on WOC as a group. Do you really think that’s less mean because, goodness, at least you didn’t name names? (Everyone knows it isn’t really personal if you don’t name names!) Because at least you didn’t use the word “stealing?” Because after all, “those women” are “deeply sick and fucked up?” Why is your disgusting conduct exempt from scrutiny?

    I think one person in this thread went overboard with regards to Amanda (and that person doesn’t appear to be participating anymore and hasn’t commented for some time, so I won’t dwell on who). Everyone else I’ve seen has bent over backwards to say, “Yes, I can imagine how you must feel. Yes, you’re in a difficult position. Yes, false accusations are serious and damaging.” I see a lot of acknowledgement of, and respect for, Amanda’s feelings. But those seem to be the ONLY feelings deemed worthy of respect. Not one of you has wondered aloud how BFP might feel to read Lindsay’s comment. I’m going to guess “like shit,” myself.

    Not one member of Team Amanda has called out the racist bullshit being posted here, probably because several of you have been too busy posting it yourselves, and that in spite of an explicit request to refrain from exactly that by the post’s author. For that to happen on what others have termed a “major” feminist blog really, really sucks.

    I am ashamed at myself. BfP has been erased, and my own silence has contributed to it.

    Seconded, underlined, signed onto, Jack. Me too.

  159. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 3:57 am |

    Are you for real? White liberal types can sometimes be all kinds of weird when it comes to race, but you’re verging on self-parody.

    I believe that you, moreso than any other person on this thread, have more to offer in the realm of self-parody. Really, I am extremely interested in any actual criticisms of the critics of Amanda on this thread. Please, do so, immediately. Do not be bullshit artists like Hugo, Lindsay, and Aman.

  160. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 11, 2008 at 4:08 am |

    It was from 2006, and rather short.

    And, the issue under discussion is from 2008. Funny how time works, isn’t it?

    The one from 1995 isn’t about immigration at all.

    “Dr. Jennifer Jackman of the Feminist Majority Foundation described how the U.S. feminist movement first identified the “gender gap” between male and female political attitudes. According to Jackman, American women vote differently from men on issues such as social welfare, equal rights, defense spending and abortion. Jackman described examples of how the visibility of these issues in candidate campaigns has shaped election outcomes. She also attributed the Republican takeover of the U.S. Congress in 1994 to the fact that Democrats attempted to appeal to male voters by taking conservative stances on issues such as immigration and social welfare, alienating their women constituents.

    Nothing about immigration except the bit about the feminist talking about immigration.

    The second-most-recent is about prop 187 in California, and doesn’t even use the word “woman” or “women” or even a gendered pronoun for that matter.

    “Proposition 187, which “barred illegal immigrants and their children from receiving public education, social services and healthcare” has been dropped by California’s state government. The measure also revokes the requirements that healthcare providers, school administrators, and law enforcers turn in any suspected illegal immigrants to authorities.”

    You realize the issues are much larger than using gendered pronouns?

    Recall, the question was whether immigration had been a feminist issue, or more specifically illegal immigration. I’m responding to that with a few links for reference. I’m not going to write a thesis on the issue today.

    Does FM ever cite or use other sources on the immigration issue that are written, researched and/or published by women of color working on these issues?

    Women of color work within the organization. Also, FMF has been involved with programs like the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which addresses issues such as international migration and gender issues and family issues related to it. If you want more specifics, you can call them or write. I provided links.

  161. Another Voice is Silenced at THIS IS NOT MY COUNTRY

    [...] This has not been a good week for woman of color blogging from Feministe [...]

  162. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 11, 2008 at 5:08 am |

    Little Light,

    Just have to say that you always impress the hell out of me because you are so thoguhtful, and I really appreciate it.

    Stepping aside from the rest of the bombs in the thread. It is clear that many people want to deal with big picture stuff because they are personally detached from the specific situation, no matter how personally invested they are in the larger framework.

    It also seems pretty undeniable that there are personality conflicts that taint motives. Note that motive and argument are not the same. Beyond this, as usual, in blog comments it is always a 5 million way argument and many things get conflated. So you have 100 people on each side arguing that the other side is conflating their arguments with things they haven’t personally said. I;m sure we could spend weeks parsing everything that came before this thread and identify the asymmetry in every persons understanding of where we are now.

    Given what has been said, I have to say that I find it ridiculous in practice to level serious allegations against someone and expect them to deal with it like an emotionless robot. Holly has illuminated an alternate way of lighting an analogous situation that seems fruitful, the only problem being the situation isn’t really analogous because it just didn’t go down that way for Amanda.

    This thread is full of intelligent people but how intelligent are we if we are demanding that right his second Amanda needs to act totally rationally in some predetermined way when it is obvious, at least to me, that there is no way I could be acting in an emotionless fashion under these circumstances, and I don’t really expect than many others would either. I do not think she is overstating what has been said about her, even if not everyone is saying it, that just doesn’t matter, because many people have.

    Additionally, if one is already friends or enemies with AM, how are we to judge either their partisan defense of her, as we’d all love our friends to defend us when attacked and the alternate side, the people that she rubs the wrong way, for any number of reasons, reasons that predate the latest business. They all have arguments to make. They ll have motives that can be questioned, separately from their arguments.

    The last batch of people just wants to survey the field and talk about the other stuff, the bigger stuff, the stuff touching AM and BFP but much bigger than that. This is commendable, but how reasonable is it to act like right this second these are the issues we’d like to demand AM deal with, and if she doesn’t right this second we’re gonna find her responses “telling.” I just don’t think it is reasonable, though it may be rational.

    I’ve spent the last few days reading up on stuff to understand as much as I can just about the personalities involved and the baggage people have with one another because this seems to be the dominant forced in this specific debate.

    Everybody wants a piece right now, and they want an answer to many legitimate questions, questions about the bigger picture, questions about how ideas are related to, how they are trafficked, how blogs work as blogs (whether they are like shorthands for conversations between people, but they are also like legitimate publishing) and what does that even mean? It just seems unfathomable that anyone could expect AM to be able to give a satisfactory response just right this second. Not in you know, a couple of days, or maybe a week, or maybe one on one.

    I’ve suggested the ol’ back door policy before, and have been called a concern troll on this very blog. I can see that argument, but I can see a different, more pragmatic argument based on just what do you want your comments to accomplish and just what do you really think they’ll accomplish?

    I’m all for disagreements in public. I think this would be great. It is not gonna work in all cases, and everyone here that thinks that this thread is a great way to get the calm, emotionally divested response from AM has just not been reading the internets the last few days.

    I think Holly posted the best post she could have on this topic, but this trainwreck of a comment thread was 100% predictable, and heartbreaking at that.

    I can’t be friends with everyone, but there are a lot of people here that have really valuable stuff to say about a lot of things and I think I have had really rewarding interactions either directly with, or just through reading many of you. And with many of you I will have to disagree, it’s not personal.

    Amanda has been accused of being in the same room with BFP and stealing her speech. This is the accusation that is going to set the tone of her response. It is hard to come back from this even if people want to pile on with less fanciful arguments about the same stuff.

    [added- Ilyka, i had to refresh because I was typing a goddamn essay here, to see what else had been posted while I was getting my thoughts together- I think my comment addresses some of your points in that I don't think AM is generalizing WOC, I think she's really mad that specific people are saying certain things, just like specific people are mad at AM for various and whatever. I don't agree with the statements you highlight meaning what you interpret them as, I mean they could but I don't think thats the right framework here]

  163. dinogirl
    dinogirl April 11, 2008 at 5:23 am |

    Hugo, last night you wrote above: “Amanda is staying in the discussion and staying in this thread as one blogger after another tees up and takes a giant, Tiger Woods-sized swing at her. Whatever privilege some folks imagine she possesses doesn’t justify the ugliness that’s being sent her way.”

    I really, really hope that this came out of extreme tiredness of whatever. Because from where I’m standing this comment is well, really fucking racist.

    Amanda’s privilege is not “imagined”. WOC write about the issues in her article for years; they are ignored. Her one badly-referenced article got more attention than their significantly superior work has. That is PRIVILEGE IN ACTION.

    Characterising AMANDA as the little guy and WOC bloggers as the big, bad Tiger Woods champions coming to shit on her is TOTALLY DISINGENUOUS.

    Please, please, think about what you have said. You can’t seriously have meant this. Racist is the only word for it.

    Like J.Goff, I’m so, so disappointed and upset that the white bloggers here are just erecting the barricades. This is cowardly and so unproductive. As Holly said in her post, everyone has privilege. Everyone makes mistakes. But we have to own up to them, and build on this. The steel barriers coming down are WRONG. You are WRONG to put them up. It is COWARDLY. Face up to privilege.

    (Like previous commenters, I also want to know why Nina Perales did not get a mention in the article, if she was influential in its writing. I don’t know why saying that she should have, and owning that it was privilege that led to the voices of WOC originally being excluded, is so hard.

    To me, it’s the accusation that people criticising the article have an ‘anti-marcotte agenda’ that is the smokescreen.)

  164. Natalia
    Natalia April 11, 2008 at 5:43 am |

    If I ever ran into Bill Donohue (stranger things have happened), I’d tell him where to shove it for both Marcotte and McEwan. But I am not Dononhue, and neither are those “mean” WOC. This isn’t a bloody vendetta. My world does not revolve around the Career of Amanda Marcotte, though I recognize the fact that success has its flip-side. Re-framing this as an issue of spiteful character assassins, computers locked on target like grenade-launchers, is NOT a good idea.

    Amanda, all you had to say was: “let me add a link or two to this here article of mine or else just credit a source [such as the one mentioned upthread].”

    Underneath it all are people’s lives. Personally, I am literally at the mercy of USCIS this year. My consolation so far? I am white.

  165. Gwen
    Gwen April 11, 2008 at 5:51 am |

    To be fair, I used the words “Intellectual Theft”, because I do think that appropriating someone’s work is a form of theft. If you do it unintentionally, but refuse to give credit once it’s been pointed out, I think that is a form of theft.

    I can believe that Amanda didn’t do it on purpose, but she is, by her own admission, a regular reader of BFP. When she speaks of ideas percolating in the zeitgeist, she should have realised that BFP had done a lot to create that zeitgeist and included links to BFP in her article.

    Even if that didn’t occur to her, once multiple people pointed it out, then she should have gone back, edited the article, and included links.

    Just say I’m in a shop, and my hands are full, so I unconciously slip a pair of earrings in my pocket, and leave the shop without paying for them. It’s a total accident. But, when I get home and realise that I have the earrings, I should go back to the shop, and either return them or pay for them, right?

    I can understand why people might believe my language to be too strong, but I was really angry (and I still am).

    I’m not American, I don’t read Pandagon, so while I’ve vaguely heard of Amanda Marcotte, I didn’t know she had a book deal, and now that I know, said book doesn’t seem all that relevant to my life. So I’m not out to “get her” or anything.

    But what BFP wrote was very relevant to me – especially given the current climate of complete hysteria around immigration in the UK.

    I also think that Holly’s right – it makes more sense to focus on how this kind of appropriation (intellectual theft) happens regularly in the blogosphere, in academia and in activism, rather than just focusing on one person.

    So let’s start having that conversation – how can we do our best to make sure something like this never happens again.

  166. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 6:03 am |

    She also attributed the Republican takeover of the U.S. Congress in 1994 to the fact that Democrats attempted to appeal to male voters by taking conservative stances on issues such as immigration and social welfare, alienating their women constituents.

    Are you seriously citing a phrase from an article that says the issue of immigration and social welfare kept “women constituents” AWAY? As in, they used the issue to skip over women constituents and talk straight to the men?

    Because you know what? That means immigration and how it negatively affects women of color was decidedly not viewed as a feminist issue. Otherwise it would not have been alienating their women constituents. Are you real? Did you even read that paragraph before citing it as The Golden Proof of Blending Immigration and Feminism Since Yesteryear?

    I mean, Jesus, people. If we want to be really daft and stretch our imaginations as far back as we can, we can technically consider how native-born women inspired some immigrants to conduct the Seneca Falls convention.

    No one is saying that the issue of immigration and feminism has never been addressed before this time. In fact, the argument points to the opposite — it has. However, the specific nature of noting how sexual abuse has gone on in Hutto, the prison for immigrants facing deportation in Texas, how nursing mothers have been separated from their infants and schoolaged children through ICE raids in our own backyards, how an immigrant woman’s boyfriend staged a fake ICE arrest to get back at her and her children — these issues have very scant coverage in the progressive feminist blogosphere and are specifically limited to a certain historical time period of now. And no, most white feminist bloggers were NOT covering them at feminist issues despite the way they ripped apart families, denied women access to health care, and result in the violation and animalization of women who travel here and women who work here every day. Even while we have this conversation.

    If BFP’s blog was working, you’d see how that particular history has been traced by her, and she’s just one example of a blogger who has faithfully covered these issues and hosted discussions about their intersections with feminism as the incidents occurred. As I keep arguing, this is not some zeitgeist of 10-14 days. And Lindsey, I’d bet a big part of why BFP’s site is down is the fact more people are driven to these issues now not out of interest or agreement, but out of some inane fact check that immigration and feminism have been considered part and parcel issues of each other for a long, long time.

    But because this situation has turned into the Importantly Important Importance of Amanda Marcotte’s Unharmed Reputation and Distinctly Intact Career, we are grasping at straws. Hell, she didn’t even link the one woman of color she heard at the conference she whinges about attending that sparked her interest in the whole thing!

    I think one person in this thread went overboard with regards to Amanda (and that person doesn’t appear to be participating anymore and hasn’t commented for some time, so I won’t dwell on who)

    And she did it for good goddamned reason. We keep talking about:

    *plagiarism charges that don’t exist

    *a person with an undamaged reputation stemming from said nonexistent plagiarism charges

    *a person with a career that has not been lost from said undamaged reputation stemming from said nonexistent plagiarism charges

    *the evil, evil women of color (as always!), and my personal favorite,

    *why this is most decidedly about Amanda!

    Perhaps a better statement is Amanda, this is not about you only. Perhaps that’s a better reason for why people would be prompted to say, “This is not about you,” when they see comments like these:

    Considering the severity of the accusations leveled at me…[other words about racism and appropriation and immigration and feminism being damned for reputation maligning and damage that doesn't exist]

    The larger picture is something I can only care about if…[other words about how racism and appropriation and immigration and feminism being damned for reputation maligning and damage that doesn't exist]

    I’m not sure if I’m hurt more by…[other words about racism and appropriation and immigration and feminism being damned for reputation maligning and damage that doesn't exist]

    And so on, and so forth.

    Meanwhile the snide comments about no longer reading a blog that currently doesn’t exist for reading because of this appropriation (yes, I said it again), and the absolutely specious accusation that one must prove that the majority of people really didn’t know about how connected feminism has been to this glaring neglect of immigrant women recently by reconstructing her portion of a large narrative of work so they can inspect similarities — meanwhile, those flagrant insults of character and snide poking at someone who took down her publishing mechanism can stand wild and free.

    But point out how a person couldn’t even cast a glance at someone she admits she got her idea for writing from, and you’re. evil. and. you. must. be. stopped.

  167. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 6:07 am |

    And yes, these pointless conversations and dishonest redirections are characteristic in every conversation that comes up about appropriation. But when that’s pointed out and decidedly tied to the behavior of specific people, specifically made about those people, that’s mean?

    So we can only talk about or to Amanda when we’re rebuilding her good name and ignoring the situation that brought this all on?

    Riiiiight.

  168. links for 2008-04-11 at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] Feministe » This has not been a good week for woman of color blogging “When you find yourself in the inevitable currents of our society that always flow towards greater privilege, away from the marginalized, the oppressed, be prepared to swim against that tide. Don’t just stand there and let sand pool around your ankles.” (tags: feminism blogging) [...]

  169. Mireille
    Mireille April 11, 2008 at 7:06 am |

    Wow, this is sad. I think it was fair to use Amanda as an example of how WOC are disregarded in favor of white writers… And it would have been great if, when asked to write the piece in question, Amanda said “I would like to take your money for my work, but others have worked more on this issue than I have, so maybe you should ask BFP to write it.” Or if they had looked for a writer that specifically had more dealing with the issue directly… Whatever. But getting paid for writing is not easy and I doubt I could turn down a job that selflessly.

    There are very few original ideas out there. Everything anyone can think of has been thought of before, all we can do is regurgitate it and add our little bit of bile to the stew. I can’t help but believe Amanda when she says that BFP wasn’t one of her sources.

    That being said, when it was pointed out the writing that has been done on this issue by others, how hard would it have been to add something to the end basically saying “and if you’re interested in this topic and would like to read more, see the great work of BFP and X and Y.” Which, if not resolving the situation that already happened, would direct more people to the WOC in the trenches and make it more likely that their work will get more exposure and help build a demand to hear more from these voices.

    But I can’t fault Amanda for taking things personally. Many of the comments here seemed extremely personal and not about the bigger picture. Holly has been a model of level-headedness. The whole thing seems like the race issue in general… It seems that Amanda benefited from white privilege, but in a way that many of us might and not even realize it. I don’t know the entire story, so I don’t know what the initial accusations looked like, but if they were “Amanda stole (appropriated) these ideas” then yeah, that’s personal. If someone said “Here is another example of the hard work of WOC being denied in favor of a white writer” that would be something else.

    And the root of the problem is definitely NOT Amanda. We are all to blame… I have passed up links several times to BFP because they were articles I wasn’t interested in enough to follow the links. Seeing as she may not be writing any more, I really regret that. It was my own blindspot. But this year, geez am I tired of all the internal fighting among progressives. Hillary v Obama, racism v sexism, and now women of color vs white feminism. Let’s just open our minds and our understanding, realize that people on both sides may have been wrong at times and try to work on the problem. I come to feminist blogs for relief from the insanity of regular “progressive” blogs, not to mention the MSM. This isn’t helping anyone.

    And I realize I may not make any sense because I do not know the details (this was actually the first I read that delved into it to any extent), but I am so tired of the fighting.

  170. Anna
    Anna April 11, 2008 at 7:17 am |

    Syliva/M & Ilyka –

    Hmm, I have no real idea on how to translate things into meatspace yet, either, but I’m thinking on it. Make/Shift looks interesting – I was happy to see a copy in my local bookseller last week and picked it up.

    I guess I’m not sure entirely what the goal would be. Is it getting WOC voices heard by a greater audience? Or it is getting WOC heard by the right audience? Is it something else? I’m still poking around with it in my head.

    I think there’s a lot of things that I, as nice white lady, can do to promote WOC voices, but I’m left wondering a lot on how to do that outside of the blogging. My independent book stores are pretty good here – I walked into both of the ones near my home the other day and they both have *great* books by/for/about WOC right up front (and I’m covetting like mad). I wonder if I could talk to the mainstread booksellers in the area about actually *featuring* WOC – or if that’s not something they have any control over. (I understand that the big box stores have rules about what they display based on how much money the publisher gives them.)

    I’m not sure if this really is what the discussion should be about, though – I’m just thinking by typing, as it were.

  171. Charity
    Charity April 11, 2008 at 7:34 am |

    Mireille, I would add that, with all due respect, “the WOC” / the under-exposed writers you mention (contrary to the re-authoring of this story that is going on all over) are not out for exposure, or a name for themselves, such that merely directing blog traffic to them would rectify this situation. One of the points BA made above (which has been echoed by many) is that we are not just talking about casually choosing one’s subject matter and making savvy publishing decisions. For some writers, the subject matter is borne of necessity; it is a function of real women’s lives, of the survival of communities – it is activism, REAL activism.

    Further, it’s a real privilege to be able to say you’re getting tired of seeing / reading the *fighting* on the blogs you like to read. People are “fighting” for more than just their personal egos here. It also reflects privilege to find angry voices upsetting and wish them to disappear. It also reflects something I-don’t-know-what to use a phrase like “The whole thing seems like the race issue in general.” What does that mean? It surely doesn’t just mean who gets offered a writing assignment and who doesn’t, right? Just like when we talk about misogyny we are not just talking about who gets offered the job and who gets turned down. We are talking about the root of rape, murder, and a million other manifestations of violence and oppression.

    Rather than assume we are all progressives and should get along, maybe we should be questioning what the hell “progressive” means if there is no room for discussions like these, or anger and working through of anger, and if these basic ideas about the women and communities being written about, and who does the writing FOR THEM, are lost.

  172. ilyka
    ilyka April 11, 2008 at 7:38 am |

    But when that’s pointed out and decidedly tied to the behavior of specific people, specifically made about those people, that’s mean?

    What if those same specific people have specifically demonstrated in the past that they specifically know better? Is it mean (specifically) to make note of it?

    The debate got nasty because people were trying to excuse the woman who asked Nubian if she thinks black people somehow feel hotter than white people (as if Nubian would know) by saying that she probably didn’t mean to say something racist. It was an ugly conversation, with all sorts of weird implications but the thing I couldn’t get over was people were actually buying into the silly notion that the best measure of racism is what people hold in their hearts. Which would mean that being stupid would give you a “get out of jail free” card when accused of racism.

    Is it an equally silly notion that the best measure of appropriation is whether or not one attended BFP’s panel at WAM, or whether or not one read the transcript of her speech, or whether or not one used the exact wording from another or several of BFP’s posts, or whether BFP accused one of stealing (she did no such thing, as people who read her post on the matter well know), or whether or not one has a book deal, or whether or not one meant to aid in the erasure of a WOC blogger’s work?

    Or is suggesting that maybe appropriation is part of systemic racism, and maybe there are some parallels between this situation and the one referenced above, and maybe sometimes we actually give ourselves the best advice even when we don’t know it at the time–is suggesting all that just more meanness on my part? I don’t want to be mean. It’s just, well,

    it’s so damn frustrating when white liberals insist on making racism about someone’s intentions instead of the effects of their actions.

    –yeah, that. Same source as above.

  173. Susan
    Susan April 11, 2008 at 8:05 am |

    [Sorry if I actually am posting this twice, but I think something went wrong the last time I clicked submit, since a couple other comments posted after mine seem to have gone through the mod queue already, I don't *think* I said anything dumb or off-topic enough to get deleted, and my blog-commenting chops are pretty shaky.]

    …wow.

    Here is a personal story: This Wednesday night, the only thing I’d heard about this week’s set of altercations was this post at the livejournal community sex_and_race, plus I’d been reading this article, published on alternet just a few days before Amanda’s article. The sex_and_race post didn’t have any links; it just wanted to point out that all this stuff with white feminists not really meaning it about including women of color has happened before. So I wasn’t able, at the time, to get distracted about who exactly did what–and you know know what? It really made me think. About the bigger picture.

    As a white feminist, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about feminism being a movement for social justice for everyone, not the property or weapon of a specific group of people who identify in a specific way. I started thinking about this when I was wishing that more of the men in my life felt like they could come out and identify as feminists. But I’ve realized that the idea has a much broader application. And what the articles I read really drove home was: because I am a feminist, therefore committed to social justice wherever there’s a lack of it, the thing I need to think about FIRST isn’t necessarily that I am a woman, and therefore oppressed by the system. What I need to think about FIRST is that I am white (and affluent and able-bodied and privileged in other ways) which means that I (a) benefit significantly from the bigger system of inequality of which patriarchy is an integral part, and (b) need to listen really hard to the voices of women of color (etc.) who unquestionably can tell me things I can’t see for myself.

    I thought about these things pretty hard, and probably more clearly than I ever had before. On Thursday morning, driven by the desire to learn straight from the writing of women of color, I stopped by the bookstore and picked up the latest issue of make/shift and an anthology called Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence. (I didn’t realize until I got it home that it was actually put out by Seal Press…there’s irony for you!) Also, on Thursday evening, before I started catching up on my blogs (and found this post), I finally bit the bullet and filled out the online volunteer application form for my local Rape Crisis Center. I don’t know that I would have done this if I hadn’t spent the day thinking and getting frustrated about the difference between what privileged white feminist bloggers spend a lot of their time writing about, and the basic issues of safety, violence, etc. that a lot of women of color face every day.

    The point of this comment isn’t me or my life or what awesome discovery I have just made. It’s that when Amanda says, “The larger picture is something I can only care about if the people who want to draw attention to it don’t put their need to tear up someone’s career to get some frustration first,” the larger picture I’m thinking of isn’t “just” appropriation–it’s the entire world in which I and a lot of other white women can feel relatively physically safe, able to learn and communicate without obstacles about charged issues we feel strongly about, and maybe even entitled to be heard on the internet or in academia … but in which a lot more women of color can’t–can’t trust the same institutions that I do to provide physical safety, don’t have ready access to higher education, aren’t listened to.

    That’s something that all of us who call ourselves feminists need to care about. And if this debacle makes me and other privileged white feminists stop and really, really think about it–then I’m glad that it is being given attention on blogs like these.

  174. bsstreets
    bsstreets April 11, 2008 at 8:13 am |

    There’s been an interesting whiff of the anti-democratic left in this entire debate.

    In your post, you declare that certain arguments are simply outlawed on the thread. You swear you will delete anyone who makes certain criticisms.

    Brownfemipower silenced Amanda when she tried to stand up for herself in her comments, changing her name to “x.”

    So, in a strange way, in certain spaces debate has simply been squelched. Certain speech and certain people are apparently too terrible to be heard. So you just delete them.

    This is seriously problematic, and leads down a road to a kind of left-wing totalitarian mentality where only certain people who are making the right arguments and who have the right racial, ethnic, or gender identity are allowed to speak.

    Now, I’m not saying that white feminists or folks who disagree with the RWOC are being “oppressed” or anything melodramatic like that. Clearly they have some advantages out there and it’s in everyone’s best interest to try to have the debate in a moderated way that tries to level the playing field.

    But leveling the playing field should never mean some people aren’t allowed to play. That road leads simply to group think and an escalation of unreality.

  175. amandaw
    amandaw April 11, 2008 at 8:49 am |

    Ugh. I don’t know. I’m feeling rather disillusioned right now.

    All the hubbub aside, it’s disappointing to see this feed into the dominant narrative of privilege. Someone points out that someone else’s actions feed into the sick system of racism. The latter person protests because they feel that they are being personally insulted. And the whole conversation goes to shit.

    Accusations of racism are NOT about your character, integrity, or legitimacy. They are about the larger picture. And you may have done something to feed into that. Join the club — we all have.

    It’s just… disappointing. Because I really do appreciate Amanda’s work. And I understand why it feels like a sock to the stomach. And I absolutely understand that it’s frustrating.

    But I find it pretty damn difficult to believe that WOC just decided to conspire together to bring down a prominent white feminist blogger’s career “for sport.” What I see happening is this: a white feminist blogger wrote an article on a subject that a WOC blogger has been covering for some time. She apparently didn’t feel her work was derivative. But some people noticed some similarities. And then this whole shitpile started.

    No person’s ideas are ever original. No one can credit every person who’s ever influenced them. There — both of those out of the way.

    But isn’t this instance still disturbingly evocative of a larger culture of appropriation? INTENT DOESN’T MATTER. It’s also obvious that Amanda was not sitting around plotting to steal a WOC’s work and claim it as her own. And hell, it’s not even a question of whether or not Amanda, specifically, was influenced by BFP, specifically. It’s a question of: this is work that BFP has been doing for a long time now, with little mainstream attention; a white feminist blogger finds herself writing a mainstream article on the subject, and receiving mainstream attention. And you know what? That’s wrong.

    That isn’t saying that Amanda doesn’t deserve that article or that attention. It’s saying that people just as worthy are passed over. Because we’re all soaked in this racism-infected culture, and we all feed into it, even inadvertantly.

    THAT, I feel, is what the conversation should be. I don’t know — it just feels like every conversation on racism gets diverted the same way. It’s damn frustrating.

  176. outfoxblog
    outfoxblog April 11, 2008 at 8:56 am |

    Piggybacking this on a direct attack on my ability to make a living as a writer is distressing. This isn’t theoretical. People are trying to hurt me personally.

    Amanda, how does this legitimize your racist defensiveness? It doesn’t.
    Is racism theoretical for WOC? Is racism impersonal for WOC?

    Come on, be better than this. Take time out if you need it, but you must know better than this.

    I’m a white, low income, disabled sometime writer. I’ve lost a job, my total prospects for employment in a certain field, when I’m fearful about job market access and homelessness already, because my employer was doing racist shit and eventually I went “this is my living, but it’s their living too, and whether “they” actually staying alive or not”

    I don’t have that right, to play one against the other. It’s racist, seriously, is this necesarry to explain?

    It took me longer to make that call than I am proud to admit, and yes it’s irritating when you’re facing consequence for anti-racism to get a pile on from white liberals with more cash who don’t face the same consequence.

    But it’s not about them, or me, or you.
    It’s not “scapegoating” it’s facing it, regardless of what other white liberals may go one about.

    It is about, the fact that most women do not have that white privilege around work and publishing voice to begin with. I don’t have the right to place my anxiety about being called on it, or joblessness, against their right to NOT have that stuff imposed on them in the 1st place and what this type of stuff does to WOC staying economically discriminated against.

    brownfemipowers site is down, and she deserved a book deal more than any of the writers in the white lite consumer feminist text trend going on now.

    Seriously, I think you are getting a lot of attention now for something that LOTS of white feminists do, and manage not to be called on.

    The point is, you could model being an ally here, you could drop the defensiveness, you could take time out, apologize and engage.

    Or not. Your call.

  177. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 11, 2008 at 9:22 am |

    ” then find an example that’s actually illustrative of or at least relevant to what you’re purporting to want to be talking about if that’s what you need to do so rather than tearing someone down ”

    The only people who think this argument began, continues or ends up being about Amanda is Amanda and a few of her supporters. ALL of us have been trying to move this discussion off of Amanda and back to the issue: white people appropriating the work and knowledge of women of color. Changing the name to X was not to silence Amanda but to avoid the idea that Amanda is personally responsible for every white person who appropriates ideas and knowledge from others.

    The place to go next is to figure out ways that the rest of us can avoid making the same mistakes. We need to develop ways to do ally work better. We need to create a code of conduct that we aspire to in order to avoid falling into the trap of appropriation. Here’s just a few ideas I would include:

    • Pay attention to the voices of those who are actually experiencing racism. Learn who they are, what they have said on the issue and how they hope to move forward as a movement.

    • Give credit to those who have come before you. Give hope to those who face the problem in the future.

    • Give your readers links and references that can help them to join in the struggle.

    Angry Black Woman’s suggestion about Allies Talking is a great place we all can join in the discussion.

  178. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 11, 2008 at 10:01 am |

    Psychobunny says:
    April 11th, 2008 at 1:10 am – Edit

    I think it’s just speaking volumes that when women of colour are feeling their work has been appropriated and used without credit by a white woman … the white woman thinks it’s all about people trying to destroy HER.

    Two different things:
    1) “I feel like my work was appropriated.”
    2) “You appropriated my work.”

    #1 is subjective, and all about the speaker. It’s a personal statement that can’t be attacked. If you, Psychobunny, feel insulted or hurt by my post right now, and feel like you were rudely treated, that’s your right. There is no defense that I could raise which would render your feelings invalid.

    #2 is objective, and need to be viewed in an objective sense. If you claim that “Sailorman’s post was way out of line” and “completely rude” then I can defend those objective statements.

    This conversation seems to be conflating #1 and #2 in a very dangerous way.

    Whether or not people (WOC or not)FEEL that Amanda appropriated, stole, plagiarized, disrespected, failed, etc., is an issue that they can post on. It can be responded to, but it can’t be attacked. But the issue of feelings is one that takes place on a personal, subjective, level.

    Whether or not Amanda ACTUALLY appropriated, stole, plagiarized, disrespected, failed, etc. in an objective sense is something which is NOT solely determined by her accusers. It’s a factual and objective claim for which Amanda is, and should be, perfectly entitled to raise a defense.

    For a variety of reasons that I’m not really qualified to analyze, it seems from my perspective that this subjective/objective conflation happens a lot in racial issues. (FWIW, the second most common place that I have seen it is in writings on rape w/r/t the distinctions made, if any, between moral and legal rape.) I don’t really understand why it happens, but I think the constant blending of subjective and objective makes the discussions much harder to have.

    I mean, anyone here of any color is entitled to feel like they believe Amanda is an appropriator, and that whether or not she intended to appropriate, their opinion of her is fixed. And Amanda is likewise entitled to feel like anyone who comes to a intent-neutral conclusion about her without finding out what she meant to do is not worth responding to now or in the future. Those are both perfectly valid, albeit unfortunate, responses.

    But if you’re going to make objective claims, let’s stick to objective facts.

    And w/r/t the superiority of bfp’s work and the relative popularity of WOC bloggers:

    As it happens, I read bfp much more often than I read Amanda. I found her blog more interesting. But I know I’m in a minority, and that AManda’s more popular.

    Tto use a personal anecdote: I write on all sorts of subjects. However, people tend to to like my writing as much as they like the writing of others–Amanda, Jill, the list goes on. I don’t think this is the fault of Amanda, or of Jill.

    Similarly, whether people prefer bfp’s writing more or less than Amanda’s writing is not Amanda’s fault. It’s not bfp’s fault, either. And it’s not necessarily the fault of a racist society, though I am sure that racism is involved in at least some form or other. They’re entirely different blogs.

    Some people respond to different writing styles. Some people respond to different subject matters. Blaming the relative popularity of Amanda’s blog and a different blog on Amanda, or blaming the book deal thing on anyone in particular, doesn’t make sense to me; they’re not the same writing style or subject matter at all.

  179. Mousy Anon
    Mousy Anon April 11, 2008 at 10:01 am |

    Amanda, there are some that support you and don’t think you plagiarized anything.

    Read this post

  180. Acer
    Acer April 11, 2008 at 10:03 am |

    This is a part of a larger pattern– the big white feminist bloggers using WOC work, not even necessarily in a way that needs citing, but as a source of information, and failing to credit. It’s happened before, and it’s happened a lot to bfp. I can’t imagine the frustration. So who is it really who’s being silenced here? It’s not Amanda. It is bfp, but not exclusively. I’ve been reading about immigration-as-a-feminist-issue for about a year now; the analysis makes all kinds of sense, and it’s been done (until the past couple of months) almost exclusively by WOC writers. Some of the big feminist bloggers have picked it up in the last couple of months, but they didn’t come up with that idea out of thin air. Maybe there is a “prevailing zeitgeist” or whatever, but it was *created* by the WOC who have been discussing it forever. So what if Amanda didn’t use any directly as her source? (Although, as some people have pointed out already, that’s problematic in a different way). There are still ideas in her article that didn’t get into her head on their own. White women (and I am one) don’t just wake up one day saying “Gee, I just realized immigration is a deeply feminist issue”. Because of the privilege that we carry, it’s much more likely to be a slow realization– an evolution of thought– and even if we then take it up as a cause, the people who did the work that got us to realize it need credit. Everybody is standing on the shoulders of giants, here. Some of us, like Amanda, aren’t necessarily seeing farther, but *are* distilling information into a simpler, more easily-digestible form for the white folks who might be new to this, and that is good work. But that doesn’t mean we originated the thoughts.

    In the field I work in, you cite sources to make yourself sound more credible. Sometimes if you don’t have sources, you go looking for them, because if somebody else also had the same idea as you, it means you’re not completely going out on a limb. If somebody else had a similar idea, it means you can learn from their work and not make the same mistakes. If somebody did the work you want to do, you can build on their work instead of trying to do it all over again. Sometimes, there is a hot issue, or a “zeitgeist”, that results in a lot of people writing about the same things– but then, we cite the zeitgeist. It can be done! I know that journalism is different, but it would not be at all out of character for a journalist to end their article with “this issue came to my attention through writers X, Y, and Z” or “thanks to X, Y, and Z for their help/inspiration in writing this article.” In cases like this, where immigration-as-a-feminist-issue is a WOC-generated idea, it’s even more important, because so often the people on the ground who are doing the activism and most of the writing are *not* going to get offered writing gigs. They’re already erased in the newsmedia and in their daily lives– what’s so hard about not erasing them more? Even if it wasn’t bfp, WOC work was erased in the writing of Amanda’s article. bfp has also been erased, in a way; even if she’s withdrawn herself, her blog is gone. I’m guessing she knew that the kind of nastiness being leveled at her in this thread would come along, that some people would choose to take the “wronged white lady” angle no matter what, and attack her. That’s erasure; that’s life-destroying.

  181. Sudy
    Sudy April 11, 2008 at 10:10 am |

    Hey there, Holly,

    I’m inserting a wave and Thanks amid what feels like a room full of shouting.

    I absorb all sorts of blog posts, but tend to move away from comment shouting. So, admittedly, I haven’t read the comments (here or on anyone else’s blog for that matter concerning this issue) and am not interested in anything but just saying a quick and heartfelt Thank You.

    Take care,
    Sudy

  182. Sizzle
    Sizzle April 11, 2008 at 10:29 am |

    How can a so-called progressive not see the freaking privelage! Amanda is blind and deaf in this exchange. I get defensive too Amanda when called out one my white privelage, or class privelage. But that is because it is REAL and it makes me uncomfortable. To be completely fair I’ve always found Amanda pretty arrogant, but she has really out done hereslf in this discussion. Seriously how many different versions of my and mine can be used in one post. Its just reeks of whiny and defensive, which is a pretty obvious indicator of privelage apart from the, ya know, evidence.

  183. Astraea
    Astraea April 11, 2008 at 10:31 am |

    I haven’t gotten through all of these comments yet. This just makes me sick. I am so disappointed in Amanda Marcotte’s response to this. But I’m also disappointed in myself, for being so unaware of this issue until the past couple days, for not reading BfP, for being complacent in my own privilege.

    I still don’t understand the complete history of this, but any benefit of the doubt I had was erased by Amanda’s responses here.

  184. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 11, 2008 at 10:50 am |

    Okay, this whole thing is giving me a headache.

    Amanda, if it wasn’t intentional, fine. Whatever. But much of the reason why you run into so much rancor from people is the way you react when your posts or actions are criticized by your allies. I remember the “joy-killing” line over criticism of the cover of your book. Now you, Lindsey, and Hugo seem to think that this whole thing is feuled by jealousy, that BFP, Sylvia, Donna, and BA aren’t acting in good faith, and that they’re somehow out to get you.

    I said it at Hugo’s place (in a far pissier post) and I’ll say it here: If you just explained where you got your ideas from AND THEN added links to BFP, a blogger whom you’ve read for at least two years, this whole thing would have died down. Even something along the lines of, “BFP spoke about this at WAM, you can read the text of the speech here, you should check it out.” But instead, there are accusations and rhetoric that are reminiscent of Kos’s “sanctimonious women’s studies set” bullshit.

    They aren’t calling you out on this because you’re the big blogger with a book deal. BFP wasn’t some random blogger whom you’d never heard of; she’s written plenty about immigration in the past two years you’ve been reading her. And the thing is, I’ll bet the mortgage that I’ve done the same thing you’ve done. I get that you feel defensive. I DO TOO when I’m called on my shit. But it’s not as if we don’t know who these folks are–they don’t do this shit for sport, and it would be really nice if we could all consider what they’re saying, and what they’ve been going through, instead of invoking Stalin or some such crap. IOW, BFP, Donna, BA, Sylvia. . .they’re all acting in good faith.

    As for Belledame–look, I get that you two don’t like each other. Certainly, there are people who have criticized you whom I don’t particularly like or trust. But that’s beside the point. It doesn’t negate what WOC bloggers are saying. If I was calling out, say, Kos on something as part of a much larger issue, another blogger posted in support of me, and Kos accused that blogger of sucking me into a personal vendetta, you bet your ass that would piss me off no end. Same goes for right-wing baiting–Christ on a cracker, I get enough of that shit from misogynist “progressives” who think that not worshipping at the altar of the sexual status quo means that I love me some Phyllis Schafly. This isn’t a tactic of the right wing–have BFP or BA encouraged people to send you rape threats? Are they putting pressure on Seal Press to pull your book? NO. They aren’t interested in hurting your career. From where I stand, they’re beyond frustrated with the response they get from White feminists like you, LIKE ME, like Lindsey, when they voice their concerns.

    It would really, really help things a LOT if people would consider what WOC bloggers are saying. And if you don’t want to, or cannot, for the love of all things holy and profane, stop throwing gasoline on the fire.

  185. plain(s)feminist
    plain(s)feminist April 11, 2008 at 10:57 am |

    I am not believing some of this. I can’t really be reading this:
    Brownfemipower silenced Amanda when she tried to stand up for herself in her comments, changing her name to “x.”

    Do you understand what silencing means? It means you aren’t talking/writing. That has not happened. The only silence I am aware of is BFP, and I’m not claiming that anyone forced her to take down her blog, but the fact is, that’s what silence is – the not speaking/writing part. When you have a forum – several, in fact – to express yourself, then you are not silenced. And replacing Amanda’s name with “X” on blogs that aren’t hers doesn’t even come close to silencing her, though I’m sure it is annoying.

    1) “I feel like my work was appropriated.”
    2) “You appropriated my work.”

    Is this like
    1) “I feel like I was beaten up.”
    2) “You beat me up.”?

    When you author something, you damn well know when it is appropriated. Holly has addressed this better than I can – ideas don’t just float around in the air and then magically appear in our heads. People put ideas out there. When we use them or build on them, then as writers, we have a professional, and also ethical, responsibility to note their genesis.

    For a variety of reasons that I’m not really qualified to analyze, it seems from my perspective that this subjective/objective conflation happens a lot in racial issues. (FWIW, the second most common place that I have seen it is in writings on rape w/r/t the distinctions made, if any, between moral and legal rape.) I don’t really understand why it happens, but I think the constant blending of subjective and objective makes the discussions much harder to have.

    I mean, anyone here of any color is entitled to feel like they believe Amanda is an appropriator, and that whether or not she intended to appropriate, their opinion of her is fixed.

    Wow. Well, fortunately, others have already analyzed exactly this, and it comes down to power and privilege. When people of color point out that White people are appropriating their work, White people have tended – historically! – to say, “How could you accuse me of something so awful! I thought you were my friend/colleague/supporter! How could you do this to me! Do you know what that accusation will do to me? Don’t you care about how this will affect me?”

    Think Michael Bolton, for example, who actually did plagiariaze, but he is just one of many, many White musicians who appropriated the work of Black musicians. I’m sure many of those musicians felt that they were simply incorporating the flavor of the times into their work, but few of them ever acknowledged their influences in a way that would give credit to them.

    When White people notice that their work has been appropriated, however, they damn well get angry. Just as anyone would.

    This is one of the reasons, I am told, people of color often think White people are crazy.

  186. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 11, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    “She also attributed the Republican takeover of the U.S. Congress in 1994 to the fact that Democrats attempted to appeal to male voters by taking conservative stances on issues such as immigration and social welfare, alienating their women constituents.”

    Are you seriously citing a phrase from an article that says the issue of immigration and social welfare kept “women constituents” AWAY? As in, they used the issue to skip over women constituents and talk straight to the men?

    Are you going to ignore the part where it says “

    by taking conservative stances on issues such as immigration

    and try to twist it into immigration as a whole not viewed as a feminist issue? Then throw out some gratuitous insult for addressing the question?

    Because you know what? That means immigration and how it negatively affects women of color was decidedly not viewed as a feminist issue. Otherwise it would not have been alienating their women constituents. Are you real? Did you even read that paragraph before citing it as The Golden Proof of Blending Immigration and Feminism Since Yesteryear?

  187. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos April 11, 2008 at 11:07 am |

    Upthread, somone asked me who I thought was out of line. So I needed to bail for the night and thought about it:

    Hugo’s first post was way out of line, a classic example of discursive extortion threatening that if an apology and retraction wasn’t given, that he was going to block any other discussion of credit given to WoC. And “Tiger Woods sized swing”? Talk about digging a deeper hole.

    Amanda has worked harder than anyone else in this thread to keep the discussion on Amanda. Along the way she’s both denied there is a larger problem, and engaged in a similar kind of discursive extortion with a post that says she won’t consider the larger problem until she gets her apology and retraction. (And talking about shifting goalposts, their either is a larger problem or their isn’t from post to post.)

    On the other side, although everyone is saying there is a larger issue at stake, there are scant few posts that actually rise above the grinding on attributing blame to Amanda to actually talk about it.

    And I’m still profoundly disappointed that the OP’s explicit requests, and discussion of other examples, have been mostly ignored.

  188. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 11, 2008 at 11:25 am |

    I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Amanda regarding the original dispute, but I gotta say — Sheelzebub hit the nail on the head.

  189. Vail
    Vail April 11, 2008 at 11:32 am |

    I agree with Brooklynite and Sheelzebub.

  190. Anthony Kennerson
    Anthony Kennerson April 11, 2008 at 11:41 am |

    I just find it quite fascinating how it seems like every time the bloggers who caught Amanda pilfering from BfP try to address the real issue, Amanda and her allies always try to return the topic to…..how Amanda was wronged or how Amanda was misinterpreted or…how Amanda’s a victim of “reverse racism”….or how Amanda was “silenced” by BfP through the use of the “X” pseudonym.

    Funny…but since when did Amanda Marcotte become the mass representative of all White liberal feminism?? The only voice she can really represent is herself.

    Really, all this self-absorption is totally unbecoming of you, Amanda….why not actually remove the scales from your eyes and the plugs from your ears and actually listen to the legitimate arguments??? You simply used other people’s principles without giving them the proper credit; how hard is that to grasp??

    The way I see it, Amanda’s still here…and BfP isn’t. Who’s the silenced one here??

    Anthony

  191. Anthony Kennerson
    Anthony Kennerson April 11, 2008 at 11:49 am |

    Oh….and for those who haven’t seen the gist of BfP’s reaction to Amanda, I have a long excerpt of her final entry before she pulled the plug archived at my blog.

    I only wish that I had been able to do a screenshot of her speech transcript or the full text of her final essay before she shut it down.

    Anthony

  192. Roy
    Roy April 11, 2008 at 12:17 pm |

    It would really, really help things a LOT if people would consider what WOC bloggers are saying. And if you don’t want to, or cannot, for the love of all things holy and profane, stop throwing gasoline on the fire.

    Quote for truth.

    And, honestly, I don’t think you even have to agree with some of the claims to see how dismissing the concerns isn’t going to go well. It should be obvious by now that there are systemic issues that are really a problem. Even if your first instinct is to jump in and defend your friend- an understandable reaction- I think it’s important to try to step back and think “is this going to help build bridges, or burn them down?”

  193. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 12:18 pm |

    I read it and thought, didn’t bfp just give on this at a conference both women attended not long before the publication of the article in question? That’s interesting. Hence I guess the feeling of deja vu when reading Marcotte’s article. If it’s indeed imaginary deja vu, I apologize but it doesn’t feel that way.

    If that’s the case, then it would have certainly been nice if Marcotte could have said, I attended this speech by bfp on this issue and here are my thoughts on the issue and so on. I mean, Google received a citation of sorts in the article. Yet another woman of color stated by the author herself as a source of information didn’t receive a mention either?

    There were some citations included in the article.

    This organization, Family Violence Defense Fund did get a link and citation. An organization, I’m sure a worthy one, addressing violence including family violence in general. Yet there was no citation for Nina Merales and MALDEF except on this thread. And now that this woman and organization have been mentioned as a source, no efforts made to amend an article and include her and her organization. In fact, we didn’t even know MALDEF and Merales had provided information until they were in a sense “cited” here. We did know that the Family Violence Defend Fund was a source. We know that several news publications were linked as sources and we know that Google was a source.

    But Melanes’ exclusion makes me wonder whether there were others left out, especially since the first thought I had when I read Marcotte’s article was bfp’s Boston speech.

    It would have been useful to provide links to readers of organizations and individuals who’ve been key on addressing these issues for further reading. That’s done a lot in internet articles.

    But I do think it’s larger than this.

    I think that some White feminists think that the words, ideas and analysis and the journey that women of color take or use when writing about the experiences and issues in their communities like anything else are theres for the taking. And I think the movement believes that this is perfectly okay. And I think defenders will then dismiss the source of their ideas and analysis, belittle this person in order to establish distance from the object of suspicion because it’s not like they want to be seen too close right now.

    After all, this is what’s often seen when men as a gender have treated women this way for years, something you think most feminists including those who are writers would be mindful of and especially sensitive to. But part of the issues I think with feminism is whether it’s something really new, or taking something that’s old and changing the faces of who runs it. Hence the frustration for many women left out.

  194. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein April 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm |

    Here we go again. If you’re going to say that Amanda got “caught pilfering from bfp,” show me the evidence.

    Remember how this started? With the specific allegation that Amanda Marcotte lifted ideas presented by brownfemipower at the WAM conference in Cambridge and used them for an RH Reality Check article and an AlterNet post? These allegations are false. They are potentially damaging to Amanda’s reputation.

    Bfp’s talk was not a source for either of Amanda’s pieces. When that was made clear, Amanda’s detractors started rummaging through bfp’s blog archives.

    We know that Amanda pitched her article before bfp gave her talk. I can attest that Amanda made the same argument about mail order brides and deportation in a conversation with Jessica Valenti and me nearly two years ago.

    The fact that Amanda has read bfp in the past doesn’t establish that Amanda appropriated ideas from her. Appropriation requires a cause and effect relationship. It must be true that B was in fact the source of A.

    Ironically, Amanda is under fire for making an argument that her current detractors agree with. They don’t know what her sources were, but they’re happy to assume that she must have (mis) appropriated them from someone. Conveniently all the allegedly misappropriated material is gone.

    The charges against Amanda are allegations of professional misconduct. I don’t care whether anyone intends to attack Amanda’s career. The fact is that such reckless allegations are potentially damaging. A lot of people choose to remain pseudonyms online precisely because they are concerned about how loose talk on the internet could affect their careers.

    Amanda’s detractors know what the stakes are. Spare us the “it’s not about you, you self-centered [term of derision]“. If it’s not about Amanda and bfp, why are their names coming up?

  195. Aaron
    Aaron April 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm |

    The way I see it, Amanda’s still here…and BfP isn’t. Who’s the silenced one here??

    Not BfP. She deleted her own blog and removed herself from this whole unpleasant situation. It seems pretty clear that Amanda did something wrong and her reactions have been unfortunate, but for fuck’s sake, BfP has not been “silenced” by anyone but herself.

  196. Kai
    Kai April 11, 2008 at 12:31 pm |

    Holly, it’s an excellent and courageous post. Thank you.

    Just for the record I’d like to reassure those who aren’t in contact with BFP that she is fine. She’s not broken or angry or depressed. She’s not accusing anyone of “plagiarism” (though admittedly others are on her behalf, apparently with Tiger Woods-like savageness) and she specifically tried to avoid a blogwar, though unsuccessfully. She doesn’t care about what weirdness Marcotte or Schwyzer or Beyerstein or anyone else is trying to throw at her. She’s moving on to her next project, optimismitcally, with all her usual integrity and passion and gentleness and intelligence and love.

    In a way I’m glad she moved on, as she’s got important work to do in the world and I see no reason for her to stick around wasting energy interacting with white liberal colluders and cynical progressive careerists who obliquely wield the racist classist court system as a gangsterish threat against uppity women of color (“you’d better prove it or else you know what we can do to your life with the stroke of a pen, don’tcha!!”). Perhaps most interesting in the white anger here is the passionate and repeated invocation of the feelings and livelihood of white folks, which apparently is what gives weight to a discussion about the rape and abuse of women of color (“now that you’re talking about white careers, it’s serious!”) whereas the feelings, livelihood, and indeed safety and survival of women of color are basically not even on the white liberal radar screen (“BFP’s livelihood? what’s that?”). White folks often have a hard time understanding that this entire subject is life-or-death serious to people of color from the get-go, not a progressive ideological abstraction like in the minds of whites, but a grinding daily reality fraught with concrete peril every bit as real and personal and emotional (if not more so because of its immediacy and violence) as the perceived impugning of a white person’s reputation.

    I suppose a silver lining might be that this little blow-up draws attention to the subject of the widespread and institutional violence directed against migrant women; though I’m not sure, at this point it seems like the original subject matter is kinda lost amid the shouting. In any case this thread once again provides handy teaching material on racist dynamics in the age of covert white supremacism; I mean, enraged chivalrous white male defending the honor of a wronged white female against an improper brown gaze, is a construct with deep precedents; in the old day it sometimes ended with white folks proudly picnicking beneath a swinging brown corpse while explaining to their children that this is how upright white civilization and law and order is protected from the dark dangers of the macaca jungle out there. We’ve seen this movie before. We’ll see it again. The struggle goes on.

  197. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein April 11, 2008 at 12:32 pm |

    Both Amanda and bfp attended WAM, but according to the WAM schedule, Amanda’s session ran concurrently with bfp’s. So, it seems unlikely that Amanda attended bfp’s presentation.

    Saturday, March 29th 11:00am-12:30pm:

    Breaking the Frame: Revitalizing and Redefining Reproductive Rights Media Coverage
    Emily Douglas, Aimee Thorne-Thomson, Amanda Marcotte, Christina Page

    and

    Immigration in the U.S.: The Women’s Rights Crisis Feminists Aren’t Talking About
    Tara Tidwell Cullen, Carly Burton, brownfemipower, Irina Contreras

  198. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 12:41 pm |

    I couldn’t get the link to MALDEF right so here it is, MALDEF.

    Because you know what? That means immigration and how it negatively affects women of color was decidedly not viewed as a feminist issue. Otherwise it would not have been alienating their women constituents. Are you real? Did you even read that paragraph before citing it as The Golden Proof of Blending Immigration and Feminism Since Yesteryear?

    I think feminism does address immigration when it has a few minutes to spare from its really busy schedule. But it’s interesting how the major organizations who include it as a side issue (and I am glad they do address it) cite in their press releases or “statements” on these issues sources that consist mostly of large, “mainstream” media outlets when they could probably get much better information on domestic violence reporting and undocumented immigrants, the implications, legal and otherwise, of Proposition 187 in California and even changes threatened to provisions in VAWA.

    I wish I could have seen at least one source in the four FM links cited earier, covering a time period of between 1995-2006 that utilized and cited sources from women and organizations of women who address these issues in their communities on a daily basis for years rather than just the NY Times or USA Today. I think people would also be interested in knowing about these organizations along with their resources. But I think failing to do this makes it seem like women addressing immigration issues on a daily basis are nothing but a side dish or an afterthought in feminist organizations.

    I heard NOW mentioned as a source of information and admittedly I don’t think it was cited either but I would think to find any good or really useful information from NOW, you’d still have to address someone there who’s putting a lot of work into the issues of domestic violence reporting among undocumented immigrants.

  199. plainsfeminist
    plainsfeminist April 11, 2008 at 12:51 pm |

    Bfp’s talk was not a source for either of Amanda’s pieces. When that was made clear, Amanda’s detractors started rummaging through bfp’s blog archives.

    Yes, several people did assume that Amanda’s article was based on BFP’s speech. Yes, it has since been explained by more than one person that she did not attend BFP’s speech and that she had drafted her article prior to the WAM conference. But no, the discussion about Amanda appropriating BFP’s ideas for her own writings did not come up later – the frustration at the perception that this had been going on for some time is the backdrop for the moment when people saw the similarities between the two pieces. Upthread, Sally characterized Amanda’s writings in this way:

    I think that Amanda’s primary strength, and the reason that her blog is so popular, is as a prose stylist. She’s not really about coming up with radical new ideas. She’s about crystalizing ideas that are already out there into a witty, succinct, razor-sharp form, which makes her readers think “yeah, that’s exactly the right way to say this thing that I already vaguely knew.” So Amanda is always, kind of, working from material that’s already floating around in the liberal/ lefty atmosphere. And as far as Amanda was concerned, what she did in that article wasn’t any different from what she usually does. She took ideas that have been floating around and packaged them in a really good form for her audience.

    And because when she took these ideas that have been floating around and packaged them in a really good form for her audience, she didn’t acknowledge where she found them, it became a not-uncommon occurrence to go to a WOC blog and see a post that said something like, “Link, dammit!” Not solely because of her, but her name was certainly mentioned.

    You know what? Like others on this thread, I’m sure I’ve done that. And people would be right to call me out for it. When you read as much as bloggers read, it becomes difficult, sometimes, to sort out where you read something and whether or not the idea is something you put together yourself or just refined or expanded or what. So we all have a duty to be very careful about citing our sources.

    And incidentally, all of us have professional reputations to maintain. Amanda is not the only one here with book deals and so forth. Believe me, we know what it means to have this conversation, though it seems that not all of us really get what it means to have our work appropriated. But the whole thing would have blown over by now if she had simply said, “Look, my inspiration didn’t come from BFP. But certainly, I do read her, and she has been writing on these issues for a long time and shaped some of the discussion that has come before my piece. I’ve also been influenced by these other writers/researchers/activists, who have helped my analsysis.”

    And I know that this kind of framing happens much more in academe than outside of it, but if White feminists in general would adopt this practice, I think it would make a huge difference.

  200. J
    J April 11, 2008 at 12:55 pm |

    Am I missing something? One picture is whether Amanda, personally, was consciously doing wrong. (I think the answer is no.)

    The bigger picture than that is the erasure of WOC voices, in which Amanda has participated (even if, in the most charitable-to-her interpretation, this has consisted solely of not citing those WOC who were her conscious sources plus not paying sufficient attention to the fact that BFP has done this work before).

    But isn’t the biggest picture here is the immigrant women on whom the work in question, whomever is cited for it, focused? and whether that work is going to help those women? The reason why Amanda can bring it to fora that ignore WOC issues is a craptastic reason (i.e. her privilege). But while she could have done it better, it seems to me on balance she’s done a – mitigatedly – good thing for WOC. In actual, material terms. (Unless attention to the issue in new fora is not actually beneficial, but I don’t quite follow the logic there.) I have trouble understanding why it’s really comparable to Seal Press, where they just fucked up and achieved nothing for anybody at all.

  201. LadyVetinari
    LadyVetinari April 11, 2008 at 12:58 pm |

    I think feminism does address immigration when it has a few minutes to spare from its really busy schedule. But it’s interesting how the major organizations who include it as a side issue (and I am glad they do address it) cite in their press releases or “statements” on these issues sources that consist mostly of large, “mainstream” media outlets when they could probably get much better information on domestic violence reporting and undocumented immigrants, the implications, legal and otherwise, of Proposition 187 in California and even changes threatened to provisions in VAWA.

    Well, but the point isn’t whether mainstream feminism pays sufficient attention to immigration, is it? (Because I agree, it clearly doesn’t). I thought the issue here was whether or not Marcotte “appropriated” Brownfemipower’s work.

    I read Pandagon only sporadically and have never visited Brownfemipower, and yet I am fairly well aware of how immigration can be a feminist issue. I was aware of what Marcotte raises in her RH Reality Check article, and I got that way because of what I’ve read in mainstream news sources (reading btw the lines, obviously, but that was my source). So it doesn’t seem at all clear to me that Marcotte appropriated Bfp’s work: there are plenty of sources for those ideas.

    I think she *missed an opportunity* to promote Brownfemipower for whatever work Bfp has done, and that’s something she should remedy: white feminists shouldn’t just not plagiarize, they should actively promote and give credit to feminists of color. But missing an opportunity to promote is on a different level from “appropriation”. I use quotes because “appropriation” in this context seems too non-specific to be a useful term–what does it mean, exactly?

  202. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm |

    Thanks Kai, for the update. She’s a talented writer and I wish her the best on what she’s working on.

    Yeah, I hope it does bring more attention to violence against migrant women, but it’s kind of interesting how an issue that’s been addressed by organizations and women for a long time, is suddenly an issue when White feminists write about it.

    Perhaps most interesting in the white anger here is the passionate and repeated invocation of the feelings and livelihood of white folks, which apparently is what gives weight to a discussion about the rape and abuse of women of color (”now that you’re talking about white careers, it’s serious!”) whereas the feelings, livelihood, and indeed safety and survival of women of color are basically not even on the white liberal radar screen (”BFP’s livelihood? what’s that?”). White folks often have a hard time understanding that this entire subject is life-or-death serious to people of color from the get-go, not a progressive ideological abstraction like in the minds of whites, but a grinding daily reality fraught with concrete peril every bit as real and personal and emotional (if not more so because of its immediacy and violence) as the perceived impugning of a white person’s reputation.

    That’s a very good point. And yes, this will play itself out over and over as it has.

    I’ll miss bfp’s work. Personally, I think she has a lot more to give the world (and to feminism, once it is truly willing to embrace perspectives outside the White middle-class Hillary Clinton stumper) than 100 Amanda Marcottes. And she conducts herself with a hell of a lot more class. But feminism has a ways to go before being ready for the “woman that the world requires”.

  203. Anthony Kennerson
    Anthony Kennerson April 11, 2008 at 1:05 pm |

    Quoting Aaron @ #208:

    Not BfP. She deleted her own blog and removed herself from this whole unpleasant situation. It seems pretty clear that Amanda did something wrong and her reactions have been unfortunate, but for fuck’s sake, BfP has not been “silenced” by anyone but herself.

    Well, Aaron…I’d say that if not for the actions of Amanda and the stellar reaction of people like you, BfP would not have had to silence herself. So, in my view, it still remains Amanda’s responsibility for BfP not feeling able to speak for herself.

    And now to Lindsay @ #207:

    The fact remains, regardless of all your noise, Lindsay, that Amanda was in attendance at the same WAM convention where BfP made her speech, and then posted to AlterNet her essay which basically cribbed almost per word for word from BfP’s speech without the respect of even one syllable of credit to BfP or other WoC activists who have been addressing those issues longer than Amanda was ever born.

    It may not be physical plagarism in the sense of stealing quotes verbatim, but considering Amanda’s history of dismissing and expropriating the issues of feminists of color for her own self-promotion, it is nevertheless just as wrong…..and it is certainly the right of WoC to point that out.

    And please, spare us the whine about how critics of Amanda are “threatening her career”: as far as I know, she hasn’t lost any jobs, her blog remains in the A-list ratings, and she and her friends certainly has been all over the blogosphere attempting to justify themselves. The only thing that we critics of Amanda are attempting to do is to correct the record and defend a woman who has dedicated her life to activism for people of color….through a blog which is now invisible.

    Oh..and you want evidence, Lindsay???? Read Sudy’s blog entry. That is evidence enough.

    Anthony

  204. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 11, 2008 at 1:09 pm |

    Interestingly, here’s a post I wrote on July 26th, 2006. I’m not sure if BFP had a blog then or if I read it much or at all. Quoting myself:

    The next day we got up and hit one more panel on how immigration is a feminist issue. I was happy to see that this panel was super well-attended and was presented in both English and Spanish. I was particularly interested in a speaker (Jessica Vasquez was her name, if I remember right) who spoke about the issue of domestic violence and immigration. I was interested in large part because there was still a bunch of people whining that unless we have super exact measurements of how much men who obtain mail order brides are beating them, we should avoid protesting the practice of spending money to obtain wives that you can keep from associating with anyone who could help them. However, the plight of these women and other victims of domestic violence who are relying on their abuser to get them a green card was only part of her speech; she spoke about the larger issues of oppression in a very moving way and the need for feminists to validate each woman’s individual experience, since the larger force of oppression is different to each person.

    Jessica Vasquez has probably not heard of BFP, so I don’t know where she got her crazy ideas.

  205. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm |

    November, 2006:

    I noted just the other day that the open racism of the anti-choice fringe is becoming more mainstream all the time, and this is just another example of it. What’s particularly interesting about this panel is that they seem to think that the demand for underpaid workers is what creates the supply and that illegal immigrants are pouring in from Mexico to fill some hole that otherwise wouldn’t be filled. It’s inconceivable to them that, absent of serious economic problems in Mexico creating the desperately poor immigration population, wages for farm pickers might actually have to just come up in order to get sufficient labor. Which is to say that while watching The Grapes of Wrath, they got so enamored of the idea of bringing back the Okies that they fell back on their favorite obsession of abortion without thinking through the reality of the situation.

    Of course, it’s pointless in terms of convincing anyone who thinks moving the goal posts is a legitimate argument strategy, so long as you’ve determined the target of your aggression thinks she’s “cute”. But it does provide me personal satisfaction to demonstrate how very unfounded these accusations are.

  206. Oh
    Oh April 11, 2008 at 1:24 pm |

    Part of what’s special about this is that some people think it’s a defense to say “But BFP didn’t influence me” when Amanda’s read at least some of what BFP’s written on these issues for years. If you’ve read something, it influences you! It goes into your brain, and at the very least you have to evaluate it to put it aside–you’re making judgments about it that influence your thinking. Chances are, you go on thinking about it in other ways. If it’s deeply addressing topics that you then go on to write an article about–then, yeah, it’s certainly been an influence, at the very least in getting you to believe it’s an issue and to pay more attention to where the issues come up elsewhere. You’re engaging with someone’s ideas.

    But when a lot of white women are reading WOC’s blogs, they’re just there to soak up the information provided there, not to engage. On the unconscious level–where, y’know, racism is most pernicious–they don’t fully believe that WOC bloggers are real people intelligently analyzing issues that have devastating effects on real people. The unconscious assumption is, ‘Oh, of course these WOC know about these things–they’re just acting out on the Web the things they naturally experience, so my job is to observe that and then write up some analysis when I’ve thought through these very important issues.’ For a lot of the white progressive women who bother in the first place to realize WOC have blogs and online communities, those blogs and communities are an exotic place to visit to gain enlightenment or a place to take anthropological notes to bring back to civilization. Of course it wouldn’t occur to someone in that mindset to cite the work she’s reading and that’s influencing her–it’s not like she’s reading things produced by someone who’s anything like an *author* or a *colleague* or a *thinker*.

    That’s a big part of the dynamic I see when someone doesn’t think BFP’s much more thorough work needs to be acknowledged in an article written by someone who’s read BFP. And it only makes sense that some WOC decide, “Okay, you know what, I’m going to protect my work from you gaze and your grabby hands” and stop making it publicly accessible.

    That’s the danger in the advice given to progressive whites who want to become anti-racist, when they’re told to go listen to what POC are saying, to go lurk on their blogs. Sure, that can be an important first step in combating white privilege, to be exposed to the shocking idea that POC talk about issues that whites haven’t heard of and are capable of analyzing them and working on solving them, and some of those white people will be willing to keep working enough to figure out how to be actively anti-racist. The people who *do* keep taking the risk and enduring the blows of having their work publicly accessible do a huge service, certainly. And, sure, the advice to white people to just shut up and listen is important so they don’t feel like they get to barge in and make their ignorance a topic of discussion.

    But white people need to figure out that POC aren’t *there* for whites to passively observe. White progressive women who are trying to figure out intersectionality need to figure out that negotiating those issues isn’t a strategy in the game of figuring out how to write a more progressive essay, where they listen to people who say they’re on your side and discount the others and fit all of them into their Grand Original Thinking. They need to remember that when they’re hearing about issues second- and third-hand, they’re not just learning about facts, they’re picking up the ideas of the people who are writing and speaking about those issues. Whites need to remember that people who are at least as smart and capable as them have produced those ideas, and, when it comes to issues that affect them and their community directly, have almost certainly put a lot more thought and care into formulating them. And whites need to remember–as they instinctively do when it comes to people they personally like or who are privileged–that if they’re going to engage with a person’s ideas, they need to engage with the person, too, at the very least in the form of an acknowledgment.

    That’s basically it. White people need to fight against all the unconscious, systemically-imposed framing to the contrary and remember that people of color are people, not objects. When people are asking here how this can be prevented from happening again, the answer is: white people need to be less racist.

  207. Roy
    Roy April 11, 2008 at 1:28 pm |

    Of course, it’s pointless in terms of convincing anyone who thinks moving the goal posts is a legitimate argument strategy, so long as you’ve determined the target of your aggression thinks she’s “cute”. But it does provide me personal satisfaction to demonstrate how very unfounded these accusations are.

    I’m forced to wonder what it does for the rest of the people that don’t fall into the categories “those who dislike me” and “those who are me.”

    Which is to say, sure, there are some people for whom this may be personal, and for whom nothing could have been done to correct the situation. But, there seem to be a lot of people for whom a simple “You’re right, these women of color have been working on this for a long time, too, and it’s valuable to point some traffic here, here, and here” would have gone a long way.

    I just wonder if building walls is long-term a better strategy than building bridges, despite the fact that it may be personally satisfying to be able to say “See, I didn’t do X” right now.

  208. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 11, 2008 at 1:29 pm |

    plain(s)feminist says:
    Holly has addressed this better than I can – ideas don’t just float around in the air and then magically appear in our heads.

    What are you talking about? They do in mine. They do in yours, too, I bet. How else do you think anyone ever comes up with any new ideas?

    I have had plenty of discussions regarding criminal law where I speak against the three strikes concept, and so does someone else, and we each came to our own independent conclusion using completely different backgrounds….. yet our conclusions are 100% identical. Happens all the time–scientific history, for example, is full of people who independently and simultaneously discovered new facts or theories.

    This is the distinction between something that is a source and something that is similar thinking. This is also the distinction between someone appropriating/plagiarizing (using a source without attribution–bad bad), versus someone failing to acknowledge other like-minded thinkers (not ideal but in a whole different category of bad.)

    Those distinctions are fairly important, don’t you think?

  209. Mamita Mala - One Bad Mami » Blog Archive » Drinking in the Afternoon : And Rightfully So

    [...] have zero doubt, that she’s doing hers, even though we can’t see/read it.  Besides the “la la la- I can’t hear you. I won’t see you” still going down by some members of the feminist blogosphere, I’m dealing with machista [...]

  210. Cimmerians
    Cimmerians April 11, 2008 at 1:36 pm |

    Kai: Thank you for the update, and: cosigned. x1000.

    The anatomy of privilege, at a nearly autopsical level. Yow.

  211. Andrea
    Andrea April 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm |

    I was hoping Amanda, (my name is Andrea), that you could comment on what several other people have brought up, the import of Nina Perales´ work for your thought process. This is not an accusation or an attack but a inquiry that perhaps you could address. You´ve mentioned in your posts the various attacks that you feel have been levelled against you, but you haven´t specifically address this issue which seems to be really important (and I believe is not an attack). While you´ve said that BFP had not been on your radar, you have said that this women´s work was an influence. Of course, you don´t have to reply to this question, but I figured since you were continuing to participate in the comments, I would ask you to address this as have other commenters (many of whom have asked this of you in a non-combative way)

    The speaker who really impressed me was Nina Perales of an organization called MALDEF, who made a really great case about how illegal immigration is a cover for large scale racist disenfranchisement of Hispanic Americans, because it created this cover story that leads to dumping many legal citizens from voter rolls. I thought, “This is an important angle that I need to incorporate into my writing.” When I saw the story about a legal immigrant who was raped with her green card used against her as blackmail, I thought that was the perfect opportunity to bring that analysis in.

  212. Cimmerians
    Cimmerians April 11, 2008 at 1:39 pm |

    Oh, also: to those of you (and you are legion) who have taken refuge in complaints about the ‘tone’ of pro-WOC commenters (or anger level, or attitude, or style of expression, etc.)–if we were really playing white-person bingo I would be so drunk right now…

  213. Mumia Rising
    Mumia Rising April 11, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    Hi, white guy here, just dropped by to let you know I’m enjoying my white privilege, male privilege, and superior upper body strength as I pursue young women outside of my age group who are selling their immortal souls in exchange for a split-level house in the suburbs — and are quite happy about it.

    How long before this gets deleted, may I ask?

  214. whatsername
    whatsername April 11, 2008 at 1:58 pm |

    Right on, Holly!

  215. Anne Onne
    Anne Onne April 11, 2008 at 1:59 pm |

    I’m not going to get involved in the personal arguments here, because I have nothing to add that could turn this sorry mess of an argument into anything remotely resembling useful discussion. And I really don’t know enough about either side to make an opinion that could be conisdered knowledgeable.

    But that’s not Holly’s fault. I though the post very necessary, and an important reminder of why many WOC activists refuse to identify as feminists. Their voices are all too often drowned out in the debate, and we’re to blame if we don’t make that extra effort to notice that and try and help them be heard. I don’t think this one instance is an issue (though it is painful and serious for those involved) as much as that the context of a much wider problem of lack of unity between white middle-class Western feminists and WOC feminists/womanists, and the problems they arise from. It’s painful to have to witness these problems (as much as it is to witness the radfem-sexpositive split in terms of sex work), and there isn’t an easy way of dealing with this, but I wish we could have discussions that didn’t get so personal, so ugly, so fast.

  216. Crys T
    Crys T April 11, 2008 at 2:04 pm |

    Shit. I can’t believe I’m only hearing about all this now. And I hope to god that BFP isn’t gone for good.

    Amanda, and all of you who accept her version of events: How many times do you have to have WOC telling you that you’re stepping on their toes, offending them and otherwise fucking up before you take a step back and listen to them? It’s not like this is a one-off event for you.

    How many times do you have to cause pain, anger and alienation before you finally learn to shut the fuck up and look at yourself and your actions?

  217. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm |

    I’m seeing Amanda and several of her supporters cherry-picking the most intemperate attacks that have been made against her, rebutting those (effectively, in many cases), and then either ignoring the rest or saying that the existence of the really egregious charges makes it impossible for them to respond to the rest of what’s being said.

    I don’t see what’s so hard about breaking down one’s response to a barrage of criticism into three categories: “These are the allegations that I find preposterous, and here’s why. These are the criticisms I respectfully disagree with, and here’s why. And these are the critiques I find compelling, and here’s why.”

    I mean, I see what’s so hard about doing that — when you’re under attack, or your friend is, you want to retaliate. You want to unleash your anger. I get that. But you can do that without ignoring the rest of what’s going on. As simple rhetorical strategy, you come off better if you concede some points (without launching a counter-attack in the next breath). And as a matter of progressive ethics, it seems to me essential to seek agreement and connection with others whenever we can.

    (Oh, and enough with the ad hominems already. If folks are wrong, you can show it without impugning their motives. If folks are right, their motives don’t matter.)

  218. S.H.
    S.H. April 11, 2008 at 2:09 pm |

    Amanda, I just wanted to throw my two cents in here and feel free to tell me to fuck off if you choose. I just feel the need to say something because Pandagon was the first feminist blog I ever stumbled upon, and it lead me to discover a whole community of kick ass women who continue to blow my mind everyday with their words. I still have one of the first posts I ever read of yours, “Bobo volunteers to quit his day job and stay at home”. Anyway, just from reading all of this and trying to untangle it all, I think the one thing that jumps out at me is that most everyone, including you, has a valid point they’re trying to make, but the problem is nobody is hearing eachother right now. You’re right to feel attacked, you are being attacked, rightly or wrongly, and no one can deny that. But at the same time there are those on this thread (and other places) who are trying to raise legitimate concerns over a larger issue. I think you’re having trouble seeing that right now because you’re knee deep in defense mode (and understandably so). But you’re never going to change the minds of those who feel you consciously set out to wrong another blogger. So the best that can be done now is to find a way to take this and learn from it, and be a better writer for it. Listen to those who are raising the larger issue without blaming you personally and see if maybe some good can come out of this. Fighting individual accusations and personal attacks is a waste of your time, you’re already on record with your defense. I don’t even fully understand all of what went down here and what may have led to it, and because of that I don’t feel the right to judge who’s right and who’s wrong. I just know that there are amazing voices out here in this blogland, I’m so grateful for all of them, and I hate to see people going at eachother instead of working together. I hope this doesn’t come off as a lecture I’m just trying to lend a voice that’s out of the fray so to speak and might help a bit. And I think I found a silver lining here, because in the midst of all the ugliness I was able to discover some more kick ass blogs (thanks Holly!), and they’re not constantly screaming about Clinton or Obama. It’s a wonder to behold!!!

  219. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Appropriation: Made of Suck

    [...] is undeniable that there are systemic issues at stake. Holly tried to have a conversation about them over at Feministe; it didn’t work. I’m going to make a stab and say that it might be [...]

  220. laura
    laura April 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm |

    Wow. As someone who is not personally involved in this debate, and has only just come upon it, that this exists is mystifying to me. Granted, I’m coming from the position as a grad student in a semi-scientific field who doesn’t trust anything she reads unless it has several citations. I understand the academic system of citation for social science, and not so much for day to day journalism.

    In the magical land of academia, from what I can tell, plagiarism is kind of point blank–its the stealing of ideas from other people. Everything is dated, and can be tracked down in journals and so forth. Thus, the gratuitous citations that I have come to know and love. This includes personal communications and articles not yet in print.

    Now, writing a similar paper with similar ideas is not plagiarism, but if you realize after you’ve written, but before you publish, that a similar paper already exists, you had better rethink your decision to publish–what does your paper add to the discussion? If you do decide to publish, most people are going to rewrite sections of their paper, integrating that information. If you realize afterwards that this paper exists, then theres not much you can do. It will most definitely be brought up in discussions of the paper, and there -should- be a kind of retroactive recognition of this other paper. The chances of a paper being accidentally over looked is fairly high, considering the remoteness of certain journals.

    I don’t know the citation policy of alternet. I don’t know if they cite blogs on that website. I don’t know what the journalistic protocols are. So I can’t judge from that standpoint. But in the magical land of academia, citations improve and support your claim, referencing people is done not only to give credit, but also in favor of disseminating ideas. Not referencing something is either a specific slight, or a major oversight.

    So, I really cannot wrap my head around why someone, when it was brought to her attention that she did not mention certain people who are fairly important to the field, would not choose to at least mention that person in her blogspace? It would take a fairly short blurb to say, I got this idea from these discussions, though I realize that such and such peoples are also talking about this.

    My perception is idealized, obviously. I’ve seen academics do and say some pretty stupid, mean shit. That doesn’t change the fact that the goal is that open discussion which is necessary for furthering a discipline. And so, I would think that the solution to the problem lies in aiming for those same goals–inclusion and recognition of the voices that not only influenced the authors writing specifically, but also attempting to work in others who are talking about the same thing (thus my love for bibliographies). It also requires realizing that the more people you associate with, the more people you cite, the more people you include, the better your argument is going to be. This in turn means you need to be aware of, listen to, and discuss with the people who are doing the same thing you are trying do. (in that order. listening before discussion is vital.)

    (And, I feel it’s important to note that I am specifically not talking about the racial issues here, because I’m trying to address this as generally as possible. The power dynamic most often abused in academia is that between professor and student. Though I do have thoughts on this, and how it relates to the particular situation, I don’t think that was the intent of this discussion.)

  221. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm |

    Yeah, Anne Onnem good points. But to have “unity” it might help to address the issue of entitlment and privilege in feminism for example because just this here thread is oozing with it.

  222. White Liberal Feminist Imperialism & Torture « Words From The Center, Words From The Edge

    [...] This has not been a good week for woman of color blogging – Acoording to some folks this one includes some comments from Marcotte herself which basically have consisted of her whining about how it’s all a personal attack. I don’t have the constitution to actually look right now but if y’all wanna check it out and report back to me, feel free. [...]

  223. piupiu
    piupiu April 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm |

    the thing that i liked about blogging, when i was really into personal blogs about 3 years ago, was that often i was reading someones blog for months even before i figured out what colour they were. for me, it was a really democratic way of getting insights into loads of different viewpoints and lives and backgrounds.

    Inevitably, different preoccupations would creep into the more politically minded, and that would sometimes reveal their ethnicity, but often not. I mean, i wrote a lot about palestine and i’m not arabic.

    sometimes i think these labels, which are suposed to be about empowerment like ‘feminist’ and ‘coloured’, detract from the true power of, in this example, a blog… which is about democracy. learning about individuals and assessing them first on their personal worth and thoughts and interests and feelings, before their colour or gender.

  224. kmd
    kmd April 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm |

    Thanks, Kai. And I will miss Bfp’s blog but I also know where I can continue to read her work. YAY.

    Thanks for this post, Holly.

  225. annalouise
    annalouise April 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm |

    This sucks.
    Not having bfp around to fill the internet with her amazing wisdom sucks. People on this thread suck.

    I can’t be eloquent today. I miss bfp’s words so hard. I hate seeing such a group of smart women degrading over and over again by a world that doesn’t value them and then to see the “mainstream” internet world not even care or to accuse these inspiring awesome women like bfp, BA , Sudy and the others who have blogged about this being thought of as big meanies who make white girls cry. I am a better, smarter, stronger person because of how bfp’s writing inspired me.

  226. Lady S
    Lady S April 11, 2008 at 3:35 pm |

    What bfp felt one of the harms of white bloggers writing on issues without crediting the grassroots activists and WOC writers and bloggers is to erase the work that these people have done.
    This gives the impression that the issues have only just been noticed by ‘feminism/women’s movements’ in general and that turns of people who actually deal with this EVERY DAY and can’t distance themselves from it.

    This is the issue. Not a personal attack on a career or book deal. It’s about women who are actually in danger. Not acknowledging the work other women have done by women who are closer to these situations makes it seems like privileged white women’s pet projects. This group doesn’t really have anything vested in it really.

    Because POC know white women are only dabbling and when it comes to actual change, these women will regroup and defend their own privilege at the expense of POC.

    Because Women of Colour (and other groups e.g. sex workers) make great victim examples, don’t they? They represent the victimhood of ALL women. Which we all know is really the victimhood of privileged women. The victims that really matter.

  227. shah8
    shah8 April 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm |

    Wow, what a trainwreck of a thread. I feel I should say something.

    Well, I’m inclined to think that some of Amanda’s accusers aren’t acting in good faith, and it does smell like other issues unrelated to the whole not listening to minority voices setting are permeating it.

    Look, as a whole, I view feminists as a whole as a rather clique-ridden bunch, with a substantial minority at least being primarily interested in having the social rights of men that they know. Of course this *is* the point, but it’s not quite *the* point, if you can figure out where I’m going with the inflections.

    It might make more sense to everyone when I say that everything rolls downhill. Nature of the entropy. Holly can talk about the issue of white people not really feeling like they have to take minorities seriously all she wants, but that requires thought and introspection, and it takes time to write a good post about the results of that thought, whether it’s about your ideas of normativity, or history, or how to move forward. It’s easier to just roil in with a pie-fight. All of the controversy with Amanda is top of the mind, reptilian response, no matter how mammalian/human the actual thoughts in that response is. It’s what’s readily available to spout–no surprise it has all of the value of pond scum–instead of cream.

    Seriously, let this stuff roll down a duck’s back. No one’s going anywheres with this topic. People shouldn’t have accused her of plagerism in the first place. No one who writes for a living and has an ego is going to take that lying down, and calling her overly defensive and hogging the thread is downright specious. We all live in our own heads, and we certainly can’t choke down the paranoia of trying to figure out other people’s motives all the time, and Amanda’s no different from anyone else. Expecting her to accept criticism and make amends afterwards is no less a power game than the original point of the exercise of this blog essay. This ain’t a white person called out on racism response, it’s the classic Bugs Bunny “Of Course You Realise, THIS MEANS WAR!” response. Rational train already left the station full of soldiers, women, and logistical tables are the driver of the affair.

    Next, when it comes to feminists covering women of color issues, I consistently find that Pandagon is considerably better in the selection of topics and discussion of issues than in many other feminist locales, which is why I read it, and go off on rants on occasion. Honestly, there are a whole number of feminist websites which are distinctly less friendly than Pandagon. I guess it’s just easier to get mad at people who are involved, rather than people who are far away. I read very few blogs from minorities regularly. Not many that are frequently updated with interesting content. Of course, I just don’t know enough woc blogs, I guess.

    Last point. Although I’ve never read bfp’s blog, my reading of the situation is that Pandagon and BFP are functionally reaching different audiences. Make of that what you will.

    Thanks for reading.

  228. Cecily
    Cecily April 11, 2008 at 3:45 pm |

    Great post, Holly. I think that what you’ve done here, exposing and owning missteps you’ve made, is a powerful model. Much of what we discuss on social justice blogs — sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, agism, ableism, et c. — operates inside us as well as outside us. We say that, hopefully we mean it and try in good faith to analyze ourselves and our actions. We try to talk the talk about internalized prejudice, and privilege, but the honesty you’ve shown here is not just talking good talk, it’s fighting the good fight against yourself.

    Perhaps it’s ironic that the work of becoming less self-centered and less self-involved is something you can only do to yourself, mostly by yourself, and certainly with your own consent; but I prefer to think of it as poetic. Thanks for making your self-work public for other selves to see.

  229. The Heeb 100 and Brownfemipower « The Girl Detective

    [...] cited Perales, either. Problem Chylde, where I first heard about this, has the best response; Feministe has a great one, [...]

  230. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke April 11, 2008 at 3:48 pm |

    I mean, enraged chivalrous white male defending the honor of a wronged white female against an improper brown gaze, is a construct with deep precedents; in the old day it sometimes ended with white folks proudly picnicking beneath a swinging brown corpse while explaining to their children that this is how upright white civilization and law and order is protected from the dark dangers of the macaca jungle out there. We’ve seen this movie before. We’ll see it again. The struggle goes on.

    Marry me, Kai.

  231. Entomologista
    Entomologista April 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm |

    The difficulty WoC face in getting their voices heard is an interesting and important topic. However, bullying Amanda Marcotte is not.

  232. belledame222
    belledame222 April 11, 2008 at 4:04 pm |

    Mkay, I wasn’t going to come back to this because I already sensed my contributions were rapidly becoming, shall we say, less than productive. Having been apprised of some of the follow-ups, though: I am sorry, really, for the degree of vitriol and snark I brought to a thread I know Holly was trying to keep constructive. And for inadvertently contributing to the very thing I was supposedly against: making it all about Amanda, and nothing -but- Amanda.

    As for the notion that -I- instigated this, or my (!) “posse:” um, no? Look around you. Do you think maybe just maybe bfp and others (the ones you -aren’t- addressing) have a bit more invested in this than I do? I mean, I don’t know how to make it plainer that actually no, I am not supportive of bfp or any number of other people who’ve been involved in similar contretemps because I am “out to get” Amanda; besides my honestly not giving a damn about her “career,” -really,- there’s a bit of a cause and effect mixup, there, mm?

    oh, why bother.

    I’d say something about being called a mean bully by Amanda Marcotte, something along the lines of !!! and “maybe I should get a T-shirt made up,” but you know: it’s really not about me -either.-

    so, signing off again.

  233. Jo
    Jo April 11, 2008 at 4:07 pm |

    I think my first little comment way up thread probably sounded somewhat dismissive. I opened the window long before I actually commented, so my comment was somewhat out of place.

    But what I meant about accountability wasn’t about some sort of punishment, or being forced back to toeing a particular line.

    What I was thinking about, in terms of accountability, is related to what Holly and others have mentioned, and its the responsibility of the positions we all embody. Holding each other accountable means demanding the highest responsibility from fellow members of our community. It means that when we mess up, as we all inevitably will, we have people with a vested interest in our causes, issues, and a shared ‘big picture’ to let us know that we’ve misstepped. And it means being able to take responsibility for those missteps. That can be hard, and takes more humility than I often have, but PARTICULARLY as white feminists speaking to issues that concern women of color, we have a responsibility to be vigilant in how our actions and behaviors contribute to larger dynamics. We’re not anti-racist just because we say so and can define racism with the right lingo and equation. I think that being a white-ally feminist blogger has to come with a huge dose of humility and a lot of self-reflection, on the one hand, and a great deal of non-self-absorbed attention to greater visibility for marginalized voices. We need to be on top of checking our shit and the space we take up, AND of contributing and supporting others in creating more, and more visible, spaces.

    What has really gotten to me about this whole thing is that one of the most visible, important, powerful voices of a WOC in the blogosphere has disappeared, there’s one less space, and there doesn’t seem to have been a whole lot of self-reflection or humility.

    Aside from the issue of appopriation or whatever someone is calling it, why not offer links to WOC bloggers who’ve been blogging about this because it is a kind, feminist, ethical thing to do? Even now, after all of this business has been going on, the article could be edited, right?

  234. shah8
    shah8 April 11, 2008 at 4:16 pm |

    Jo, Duncan Black and particularly Steve Gilliard have offered some pretty pungent essays against the attitude espoused in your 247 post

  235. hooray! « cripchick’s weblog
    hooray! « cripchick’s weblog April 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm |

    [...] 11, 2008 comment #163 from Feministe on appropriation and the rest of this bullshit: Ah, let us all remember March 2008: when white people discovered immigrant women. Congratulations. [...]

  236. exholt
    exholt April 11, 2008 at 4:25 pm |

    So, I really cannot wrap my head around why someone, when it was brought to her attention that she did not mention certain people who are fairly important to the field, would not choose to at least mention that person in her blogspace? It would take a fairly short blurb to say, I got this idea from these discussions, though I realize that such and such peoples are also talking about this.

    This conversation was very educational, though painful to watch.

    This was not only because it looks like a train wreck as several commenters have noted, but also the fact that misappropriation/appropriation without acknowledgment would be considered a serious offense at my undergrad approaching the same gravity as actual plagiarism.

    I personally knew two classmates at different points of my academic career who were brought before the judicial board with one being found guilty and placed on a one year suspension for academic misconduct with a notation being placed on his academic records for inadequate/non-acknowledgement of sources on a seminar term paper. As severe as that may seem, he actually got off lightly as the maximum penalty for such an offense could have been permanent expulsion if the board was so inclined.

    Moreover, two of my relatives were victims of outright-plagierism/non-acknowledged appropriation of their work in both academic and journalistic contexts and from what I’ve heard…both are regarded with the similarly high levels of disgust and outrage, especially when in one of those cases, the relative in question was a POC grad student in the sciences whose work was appropriated at a minimum and plagiarized at worse by a senior Prof who had the power to make or break academic careers.

  237. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm |

    Kai writes of an enraged chivalrous white male defending the honor of a wronged white female against an improper brown gaze.

    Yes, that’s it exactly.

    Uh, I’m not enraged. Why must you insist on pathologizing a sincere effort to stand in solidarity with a fellow human being, a fellow writer, a fellow blogger?

  238. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2008 at 4:42 pm |

    Re: my comment #249, the “that’s it exactly” was intended to be snarky.

  239. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 11, 2008 at 4:43 pm |

    Amanda wrote: “I was particularly interested in a speaker (Jessica Vasquez was her name, if I remember right).”

    About two minutes on Google brought this:

    Name of panel at 2006 NOW Conference: Immigration is a Feminist Issue
    Inmigración es una Tema Feminista
    (In Spanish and English)

    Presenters/Presentadores: Angela Arboleda, Raquel Batista, Zenaida Mendez, Jessica Vasquez
    http://www.now.org/organization/conference/2006/workshops.html

  240. Zan
    Zan April 11, 2008 at 4:44 pm |

    Think of it this way: If a male reader of Amanda’s blog (or my blog or your blog or the girl next door’s blog, whoever) published an article that sounded a lot like something she’s written on, had been writing about for years, and which gave props to other male writers or organizations for inspiration but which did not credit Amanda or any women writers at all — would that be ok? Or would we all be calling him out on appropriating women’s voices? And when we called him on it, if he said that the issue had been around for a long time and even though he’d stated before that he regularly read our work, it really didn’t influence his thinking at all — would anyone believe him? And if we did believe him and gave him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t intentionally exclude women in his credits and asked him to just put a little blurb up giving us credit and he still insisted that he hadn’t done anything wrong and why are we so intent on trying to destroy his career anyway — would any of us let that slide? So how is this any different? Amanda would (rightly so) be more than willing to call a man on his sexism. So, what’s so bad about being held to your own standards? What’s so hard about acknowledging that others went before you? Frankly, if I unintentionally used another person’s work to build on, I want someone to tell me. So I can give them credit, the same way I’d want someone who was using my work to give me credit. How is that a difficult concept? That’s basic fairness.

  241. Pai
    Pai April 11, 2008 at 4:44 pm |

    I think Sickle hit the nail on the head about what’s going on here.

    Both sides are talking past each other in the heat of emotion, and not hearing.

  242. Sickle
    Sickle April 11, 2008 at 4:51 pm |

    Uh, I’m not enraged. Why must you insist on pathologizing a sincere effort to stand in solidarity with a fellow human being, a fellow writer, a fellow blogger?

    This just proves Kai’s point, dude. She didn’t mention you by name, but instead pointed out another dialog construct with racist overtones that can be seen in this thread (and one with a history, too).

    But you think it was all about you.

    And that’s the problem.

  243. a person
    a person April 11, 2008 at 4:59 pm |

    Hugo, you only acknowledge white women as fellow human beings worth standing in solidarity with. All Amanda had/has to do is a link. Her site is full of links! They aren’t hard to make.

    Instead she insists her career (I wasn’t aware she had one, thought she was in studies actually) is being maligned in some fashion, when that’s not what is going on at all. And you ride in on your Educated White Male Pony to rescue her from the colored hordes, none of whom you can find it in yourself to acknowledge as having valid concerns about the circumstance of appropriation WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT going on here.

    So Ms. Marcotte sits there not linking or noting in her article any of her influences (my professors would totally downgrade such a paper being submitted with NO acknowledgement of influences/sources), and white people stand there saying ‘you cannot say she did anything wrong, because she’s white and white’s always right even when it’s wrong’.

    This specific instance is part of a larger narrative of white women claiming their ideas are original and generated from thin pure white air even as they sniff eagerly around WOC writing to gather up its essences for watering down as their own new-found thoughts.

    It’s just tiring to have chronic lack of attribution/acknowledgement endlessly justified by supposedly progressive white people.

  244. Oh
    Oh April 11, 2008 at 5:00 pm |

    Sickle: But that’s not what he *meant*! He didn’t *want* to replicate racist interactions! Why doesn’t that maaaaaaaatter?

    He–he just wanted to stand in solidarity!

    (With a white person.

    When people of color are bringing up problems of racism. Shh.)

  245. judith
    judith April 11, 2008 at 5:07 pm |

    “Accusations of racism are NOT about your character, integrity, or legitimacy. They are about the larger picture. And you may have done something to feed into that. Join the club — we all have”

    Look – that’s simply not true. You cannot call someone, some individual, a racist and have them not feel like their character has been attacked. Likewise, you cannot accuse someone of “stealing” without them feeling like their character has been attack. It’s simply HUMAN nature to feel attacked when accused of being immoral.

  246. belledame222
    belledame222 April 11, 2008 at 5:13 pm |

    There’s another aspect to all this, which I know bfp talked about in her post, I’d had excerpted, took down when she took the post down. Anthony has the relevant bits, though, so I’m just gonna point this out real quick:

    “What I *DO* believe is that I made a massive and horrible mistake in emphasizing that immigration is a feminist issue. In comments, a Chicano blogger said very politely, thank you for talking about this Ms. Feminist, but this has been going on for a long time.

    I don’t give a shit about being published, I don’t give a shit about the interviews or the jobs or the fame–I DO give a shit that a Chicano is reading a white feminist talking about immigration and politely distancing himself from a gendered analysis of immigration because the author exhibits no historical or contextual awareness of women of color led feminist interventions into immigration.

    I give a shit about that because not only does this erase the work that women of color are doing within racist white dominant structures, but it erases the work we are doing within our own communities. It makes it ok for men of color to dismiss the need for feminist interventions into our communities–AND it makes it ok for white women to continue beating up women of color with the idea that showing any concern for what happens to men in our communities is ridiculous, because, see, they don’t approve of feminism!

    Poof! Just like that, feminists of color are made invisible even as we are the ones laying our bodies down for the foundation of the communication between men of color and white women.

    ****

    It’s not just a question of dueling individual “careers,” in other words (and whatever one thinks of this, bfp appears to have mostly ceded the floor wrt personal acclaim or “mainstream” recognition). Something gets lost in the translation. The lens gets subtly shifted. This idea that it’s all about the individual’s “career” has multiple layers, in fact: the point is about communication, bridging gaps. What bfp is saying here is that it’s -not- just a question of putting a white face or byline on exactly the same content; it’s that the emphasis is just shifted enough that it becomes, again, about centralizing the white woman/en/people.

  247. Sickle
    Sickle April 11, 2008 at 5:15 pm |

    Sickle: But that’s not what he *meant*! He didn’t *want* to replicate racist interactions! Why doesn’t that maaaaaaaatter?

    I’m sure he didn’t mean to do that. And it would normally matter that he didn’t mean that. Except, as Holly said in the original post:

    I understand the desire to try to establish individual wrongdoing or innocence — to try and prevent the same thing from happening again, whatever position you’re taking. But as I have tried to say at length before, I think the discussion of individual guilt often distracts from the bigger picture of racial injustice.

    That’s how it started, too, until comment #18, when Amanda showed up and derailed it. I love Amanda, too. It was her blog and writing that got me into all of this to begin with. But her derailing this thread, besides being in bad taste and generally unfortunate, was incredibly disrespectful to its author.

    So I don’t think Hugo has much of a leg to stand on here, no matter how sincere his efforts to stick up for his friend. This wasn’t the place to do that.

  248. dinogirl
    dinogirl April 11, 2008 at 5:16 pm |

    Hugo, hit-and-run snark is totally unproductive.

    Why don’t you address the concerns about your ‘Tiger Woods’ comment? Others have raised it since I did.

  249. Sickle
    Sickle April 11, 2008 at 5:22 pm |

    (And now I’m going to go a little OT here myself: Pai! What realm are you on and what name do you post under on Blizzard’s boards?)

  250. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm |

    He–he just wanted to stand in solidarity!

    (With a white person.

    When people of color are bringing up problems of racism. Shh.)

    Yup. That’s the thing, Hugo. There are a lot of people expressing a lot of problems with Amanda right now, and when you “stand in solidarity” with her without engaging with the substance of any of the criticisms beyond the most extreme, it looks like you’re simply taking her side against any and all adversaries. To you, that’s an act of friendship and solidarity. But from the outside, it looks like you’re dismissing all the criticism with a wave of your hand. From the outside, it does look a little like chivalry.

    It’s a rough situation. As I suggested earlier in the thread, I think a lot of the attacks on Amanda have been unfair. I’d say the same thing about some of the attacks on you. But there are also a lot of people here and at your blog who are trying to initiate a dialogue with you, and from what I see, you’re pretty much blowing them off.

    That’s your right, of course. But it’s pretty obvious how it’s going to end.

    You stepped into this. You put yourself in the middle. There are people trying to talk to you. Why not talk to them?

  251. Kai
    Kai April 11, 2008 at 5:33 pm |

    Hugo, ain’t I a fellow human being, a fellow writer, a fellow blogger? Isn’t BFP? Why no solidarity with us?

    Listen, Hugo, let’s not escalate this tangled melee any further. I have no desire to argue (though I’m actually good at it, but I’m rarely in the mood). I don’t know you so I don’t know what’s going on in your head. If you like, we can remove the word “enraged” from my sentence, which was really just there as a hyperbolic flourish, evoking scenes from The Color Purple and such. Maybe that word was unnecessary and I shouldn’t have used it. I’m willing to concede that if it helps.

    I write about racism quite a lot, and in doing so I never write about intent or emotionality behind egregious acts because those things are unknowable; I write about observable reality and historical patterns and empirical inequality. In this case, BFP went out of her way to not accuse anyone of plagiarism while discussing larger issues of etiquette and appropriation; but you immediately lashed out with your threatening “you’d better prove it” language packed with legal undertones, which obviously struck me as you wielding our racist classist court system against someone whose relative lack of privilege causes this threat to plug into an overarching system of power and inequality. Anyone who has studied racism would probably recognize a familiar pattern there, which is what I described in the last paragraph of my comment. It may or may not correspond to your inner state, but it’s how our society has worked for hundreds of years; I don’t think you can deny that history, even if you believe that the correspondence in your case is coincidental.

    We are all socialized in racist society; it is not a moral failing or character flaw to have been so, nor even to still be in some ways trapped by that conditioning; but what’s important is to be genuinely and humbly and open-heartedly undertaking the hard ongoing work of searing reflection and self-interrogation and self-education, in order to gradually, bit by bit, undo that socialization and become a more effective advocate of social justice and productive citizen of the world. In many instances like this one, that’s all anti-racists want to see. Not another fight, not guilt, not drama. Just some evidence of introspection and progress.

    Peace.

  252. Oh
    Oh April 11, 2008 at 5:33 pm |

    Sickle wrote: I’m sure he didn’t mean to do that.

    Sorry; I was trying to mock the attitude that makes some people think the most important thing in these discussions is intent, particularly when a lot of people are emphasizing that they’re talking about effects, not intent.

    I’ve never claimed to be a master of sarcasm….

  253. a person
    a person April 11, 2008 at 5:48 pm |

    There’s an old joke about academia that the fighting is so nasty because the stakes are so low. White women seem to be most defensive about the small power they do have in narrow spheres (let us just be honest here– getting published by a small niche press is not a sign of extensive power and access, though it is a sign of access to some power).

    I have noticed it to be very particular to the femblogosphere. When white women, by choice or circumstance, are not competing directly with white men for power, they are in many respects more nasty, more self-absorbed, more vicious in their clinging to the small access they do have.

    Perhaps they cannot share because at heart they know how tiny their power really is (alternet is also a niche site and pretty generous as to publishing standard) and think that if they get the claws out, they’ll prove (to white men and more powerful white women) they have earned access to a smidgen more power. There’s no sense of community, of reconfiguring power so that it grows in the sharing, only the sense that power is zero-sum and that you have to cling to the bit you have no matter how it erodes your future access to power.

  254. SarahS
    SarahS April 11, 2008 at 5:53 pm |

    God this is a fucking tangled web of shit. I need to try to process what is all in this, so I’m going to try to take this whole mess apart into individual parts:

    1) Allegations that Amanda cribbed from BFP’s speech
    2) Allegations that Amanda cribbed from BFP’s blog
    3) Allegations that Amanda cribbed from this other woman of color at another conference
    4) Allegations that Amanda has not linked to people properly in the past
    5) Amanda taking these accusations very personally and being angry
    6) One side feeling that by taking these accusations against her personally, Amanda is being selfish and egotistical
    7) WOC and WOC-allies being angry at 1-5
    8) Amanda and Amanda’s allies being angry at 6
    9) Allegations that Hugo is sexist and racist in his stance
    10) Allegations that Amanda has implicitly silenced BFP
    11) Allegatiotions by Amanda that her detractors keep “moving the goal posts” by inventing new accusations.
    12) WOC anger over racism and white feminism in general (not solely limited to this instance or Amanda)

    Anyone want to add something?

    I feel like we’re not even all in the same argument anymore. One person is arguing about point 1 and another is discussing 10. No wonder there is a lot of talking and no communication going on here.

  255. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm |

    Accusations of racism are NOT about your character, integrity, or legitimacy. They are about the larger picture. And you may have done something to feed into that. Join the club — we all have

    Yep. Just like the black community is racist against Mexicans and vice versa. It’s not as if racial politics is exclusive to white versus non-white. Blacks accuse Mexicans of racism related to immigration, thinking specifically of the troubles in California, and Mexicans get mad and point out how racist blacks are. And they’re both right. Someone from Southern Poverty Law center talks about Mexican gangs organizing with the Mexican mafia to annihilate blacks, asians, and whites from the California landscape and blacks in Durham, NC think the immigrant farm workers are here to kill them. Round and round and round. This person took mine, that person took yours. They were first, no they were, no these over here were, but not before them. Nothing new under the sun, and people have been wandering along, plopping down a flag, and staking claim by declaring they’ve “discovered new territory” for a very long time, drawing lines in the dirt, and then going to war over it.

  256. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 11, 2008 at 6:05 pm |

    SarahS- great comment.

    Thanks for breaking it down- seriously.

  257. violet
    violet April 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    I suppose I should clarify the fucked-upness. I don’t think Amanda had fucked-up intentions. I don’t even think that what she did, broadly, was fucked-up. I don’t think she said, “now I will take WoC’s work and write about it, and all the credit will be mine!” while cackling like Maleficent. I think she thought, “here’s this issue that more people should be aware of,” and she wrote about it.

    That’s basically a good thing.

    The thing that’s fucked up is that she did that without any reference to the work that is currently being done, nor to the bloggers and activists who are doing it… and nobody seemed to notice. She didn’t notice, Alternet didn’t notice, nobody in the admittedly-short chain said, “hey, maybe we should talk a little bit about the work and theory that’s being done in this area right now.”

    They didn’t have to. They don’t have to worry about things like that. They have that privilege.

    That’s what’s fucked up.

    And all concerns about recognition and supporting a plurality of voices aside, it seems like the article would just be stronger for referencing real work being done by women right now.

    Of course, those concerns aren’t side issues. They’re real, and they fit into the narrative of this divide between white feminists and WoC feminists. And from where I’m standing, I just don’t see the value in totally dismissing all such concerns as scurrilous attacks.

    I get that the dismissals are coming from people in a defensive space, which is also, I think, pretty unhelpful. When you’re in that space, I think it is helpful to ask what forces, exactly, are you defending against? What would happen if you did absolutely nothing? What would happen if you said, “Well, I didn’t do X, but I also didn’t cite the work of these people, which I definitely should have?” Really, I’m just perplexed. What would be the harm in it?

    (And to pre-empt the inevitable snarky answers: I don’t think the answer is, “Because then we would be admitting that white people sometimes are inspired by black people, and we can’t have that!” because I don’t really believe that racism on that explicit, personal level is what’s happening here. I think the answer is simpler: when you’re used to being attacked by people with more power than you, you’re likely to respond to anything you perceive as an attack in a certain way. And that sort of response is not particularly helpful when you’re dealing with allies who, while angry, are fundamentally offering a critique, not trying to silence you.)

  258. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 6:21 pm |

    Since I just posted this to the debate over at Alas, I’m sharing it here as well because I think it goes to the broader points Holly wanted to address. I’ll also share it on my blog.

    Another thing this debate conjures for me is when people have been caught for writing fictionalized memoirs, race, and the question of authenticity. I’m sure people have heard about the Margaret B. Jones debacle, for example. I think in situations like Jones’s, the clear line where appropriation diverges from attribution begins to rise and become clear.

    Stereotypically, the situations and narratives Jones identifies in her work are experiences linked with a certain class and race in America. But Jones, through her whiteness, gained more popularity and eventual notoriety because she came to the situation 1) writing with a distinct claim to authority on that experience (one that was later determined she didn’t have) and 2) writing with knowledge of what people with no authority on the subject would like to read and see. Which is where the privilege of her white lens became a boon for her and a new opportunity to ignore similar narratives from people of color living the same and similar realities. Like the autobiography of Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, from the overhyped but under-acclaimed series The Wire, for example: Pearson could likely claim authenticity for her work, but because of the stereotypical nature of our system and the fact that she is writing with no conscious head nodding to the white lens, the lens of distance and cultural observation, her work is undervalued in this discourse.

    That’s the same as what’s happened in this situation. No one backpedaled on the accusation of appropriation. My post, which I was careful to compose, does not link point for point where Amanda “stole” things word-for-word from BFP. Rather, it makes BFP’s work — who is just one of the bloggers who have been tying feminism with immigration before the article Amanda quoted hit the “zeitgeist” — visible. And it questions why Amanda took upon her shoulders the claim of authenticity on critical issues on immigration and feminism, immigration and dehumanizing language, and immigration and sexual abuse without giving some indication of the longstanding body of work from multiple people of color who have identified more heinous crimes, who have pointed out more causal links, and whose work undoubtedly could lead to honest and critical engagement with the situation and possible broader activism in coalition with people who don’t want to touch the situation.

    Because without that reference, it invisibilizes people who do have that authenticity and experience, who live those experiences, because they cannot impose a lens of detached whiteness that they did not have into their narratives. They cannot pretend that they’re horrified witnesses without a dog in the fight who have sympathetic and probing viewpoints in the matter. And as a result of not being able to claim that detachment, you get the phenomenon Belle quotes from BFP, as well as a continuing dependence on people carrying the white lens to ferret ideas from people of color for publicizing and spreading awareness. The peddling of brown people without last names who get mundane yet detailed narratives of their every move because it’s so different. Who get their horrific moments sensationalized and their tragic and common moments ignored.

    THAT’S the sinister nature of appropriation. And in this instance, by not linking to anyone that inspired her viewpoint — forget BFP, even — Amanda tapped into this narrative that has been tapped into by countless folks online and offline. And each leaking into this scheme hurts and makes the victims of invisibility less than charitable once someone white sees us and says, “Hey, what’s wrong? Please write us a book report with cross checks and proper cites, perfect spelling and grammar, and completely objective — that means don’t interpose your oversensitivity into it — yes, please write us a great screed telling us everything very clearly about what’s wrong. One ‘t’ uncrossed, and you lose your argument. And please, make sure you note everyone involved; if you fail to do so, that’s intellectually dishonest and we’ll refuse to engage with you!”

  259. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm |

    I mean, enraged chivalrous white male defending the honor of a wronged white female against an improper brown gaze, is a construct with deep precedents; in the old day it sometimes ended with white folks proudly picnicking beneath a swinging brown corpse while explaining to their children that this is how upright white civilization and law and order is protected from the dark dangers of the macaca jungle out there. We’ve seen this movie before. We’ll see it again. The struggle goes on.

    Marry me, Kai.

    From appropriation to gay marriage — we really are hitting all across the board! :-p

  260. Oh
    Oh April 11, 2008 at 7:03 pm |

    SarahS–I wouldn’t say the issue is so much “cribbing”–as in, having any of those sources out as a cheat sheet and glancing surreptitiously at them as she wrote. A big issue for me is that if Amanda read/listened to these sources–which she says she has–then she learned some things about immigrant experiences from them (no matter how incompletely, no matter much she filtered it through her own perspectives).

    And a failure to acknowledge what’s been learned from WOC’s work has the effect of implying that the given topic only matters–or even only exists–when a white person deigns to notice and write about it. That’s not a matter of just silencing BFP; it’s a matter of, as several people have already said, erasing the people who’ve already written about these problems *and* all the people who’ve been experiencing up to the point a white person noticed it was a problem.

    The failure in the article to acknowledge people who’ve worked on these issues much more extensively and the article’s anemic focus on current events without more context or investment are of a piece. The post-facto failure to acknowledge that work the author has read could have been an influence, the refusal to say such work is important, the characterization of complaints about this as bratty bullying and sport, declarations about not being able to care about any of these huge and important issues unless people are nice enough to her first… it’s all of a piece. “Cribbing” isn’t what it’s about.

    And, y’know, Amanda says above she doesn’t think any of this can be personal, since people who are criticizing her aren’t seeing her as an actual person. Well, I’m seeing her as a person who resorts to privileged dismissveness when people of color bring up issues of racism she’s contributed to–this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Now, an anti-racist ally would have avoided those incidents in the first place; they’d know enough not to make mistakes like thinking an image of a large anthropomorphic black ape snatching up a nubile blonde white woman in a white dress didn’t have to be racially problematic or thinking that they should be careful about how they write about issues where marginalized people are experts or about how they make jokes involving marginalized peoples. Still, white people of goodwill are prone to making mistakes when it comes to race, sure. People are often willing to be extraordinarily patient with folks who try to correct and learn from their mistakes. But when there’s a pattern of responding to discussion of those mistakes with total dismissiveness, I’m not inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt and say their goodwill counts for anything. Amanda says she’s just trying to do the right thing in this world, but there’s a lot more things she could be trying, many of them quite simple.

    Yeah, Amanda’s a person. She’s a person who’s not qualified to write on issues about people with less privilege than she has and who hasn’t evinced any willingness to learn enough to get there. Of course she’s going to be criticized when she attempts that sort of writing.

  261. Hugo
    Hugo April 11, 2008 at 7:37 pm |

    Kai, thank you for withdrawing the “enraged” tag, I appreciate it. That’s not snarky, I mean it.

    And I am trying to stay in this as a conversation. One thing I haven’t said, that I ought to have said and done, is that BFP herself never made the accusations that others have made on her behalf. “Stealing” and “plagiarism” were explicit charges made by others, but not by BFP. I respect much of what BFP has had to say, and have learned a great deal from it, and I look forward to reading what she has to say in the future.

    We’re nearing 300 comments here, and even at my little blog we’re well into the triple digits. And on the specifics of the RH Reality Check article that Amanda wrote, and its sourcing, we seem to be at at least a temporary impasse. But the larger issue of appropriating — separate from this particular instance — is worth discussing.

    It’s because of BFP that I’ll be using Andrea Smith’s Conquest in my women’s history class this fall. I’m nervous about using it, honestly, and will be asking for suggestions from those who have taught this vital work before. Yes, I’ll still be using Full Frontal Feminism. In her original post on intellectual integrity, where this whole thing first blew up, BFP pointed out that when professors assign one book rather than another, they make decisions that affect the lives of their students and of authors. That resonated with me. Jessica Valenti and Andrea Smith represent two strong, important, and at times, dissonant voices in contemporary American feminism.

    It’s true that often I have included intersectionality at the “end of the course”, and I have selected texts that weren’t too threatening to me. Andrea Smith makes me wince, and yet, the third time through (I am a bear of little brain), I was struck by how incisive and painfully true her analysis is. My students need to wrestle with this. I would not have come to that conclusion were it not for BFP and others.

    I write all this not to distract from the conversation at hand. The point is, the meta-conversation between white feminists and RWOC bloggers (acknowledging that those categories create a bit of a false dichotomy) has produced a lot of pain — and a lot of growth — for a lot of us this past year. That conversation works best, however, when we move away from the personal attacks of the sort that have been thrown, primarily in one direction, this week.

  262. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 7:46 pm |

    Someone from Southern Poverty Law center talks about Mexican gangs organizing with the Mexican mafia to annihilate blacks, asians, and whites from the California landscape…

    Actually no, it’s a lot more complicated than this, way more complicated as is discussing gangs in general.

    In several counties in Southern California, there are several Latino gangs that become affiliated with the Mexican Mafia while in prison to survive in there and to prove their loyalty, they have to injure or kill Black people when they are released because if they don’t and go back to prison, they’ll die or get beaten up.

    Not just Black gang members get shot, Black men, women or children as well. The Latino gangs linked to this use racial slurs when referring to Black people and this often happens in neighborhoods where there’s racial tension including in the schools. Ask the kids beginning in junior high why they hate each other or fight on the basis of race and many say, they don’t know.

    I’ve known people whose relatives have been shot on both sides and had friends, neighbors who are Black or Latino and didn’t feel they could walk out in public unless in a group of people at times. I know people who’ve done outreach including racial sensitivity training, but there’s limited resources though not for suppression. What little grant money there is including CAL Grip which is a grant where a portion of it has to be used for intervention/prevention, the competition is fierce. I’ve interviewed former gang members and attended hearings on gang-related cases.

    The Black gang members shoot back and often kill bystanders in the neighborhood though they focus more on gang members. Sometimes they’ll leave a neighborhood as happened with several Crip gangs in L.A. County and go eastward. Or they’ll align with other Black gangs. And when they go to prison and fill out housing sheets, they’ll say they don’t want to room with Black men if they’re Latino because they don’t like them and vice versa. More and more are being shipped to different prisons including federal prisons to break up the gangs in California prisons, but that might spread this dynamic elsewhere.

    It’s controversial about whether this is actually the case but it seems likely that something’s going on like this in at least three S.C. counties. Most of the information on this comes from LE agencies particularly gang units and even there, there’s disagreement. They base it on the fact that the prisons are so racially segregated and inmates join gangs often on racial lines for protection. But it’s a casuality of the increased criminalization of people including juveniles in California, putting them into prison even for nonviolent crime into institutions where people just do what they need to survive. Often coming out more violent than when they went in. Lack of resources in prisons to assist in when people leave and the revolving door assist the prison gangs into gaining more influence on gang members outside.

    “Tough on crime” politicians do get votes as do ballot initiatives in California but there’s consequences for that and this probably is one of them. Prisons perpetuate violence inside and outside. But prisons are a priority in this state over education. For one thing, much more powerful labor union involved. Correctional officers are the most powerful union in the state.

    Given that some segments of Mexican Mafia (which is broken up into at least two factions) align themselves with Aryan Brotherhood members in prison, against Black inmates including those who align with the Black Guerrilla family, it’s not likely they will annililate Whites anytime soon. Gang members in Asian-American, Latino and Black gangs don’t end to target Whites in shootings. If Whites get killed, it’s usually by accident or possibly if they are witnesses to another gang shooting. Usually though it’s wrong place, wrong time. For one thing, killing a White person gets much more attention from LE agencies, usually leads to greater suppression efforts to put the gang out of business than if they shoot Black or Latinos.

    I don’t think Whites are targets at all as they rarely are. Never heard of targeting Asian-Americans. Shootings involving Asian-Americans gangs is usually intraracial.

    Most gang violence in California including Southern California is still intraracial. White supremacist gangs engage in largely interracial violence though some include Whites.

  263. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 11, 2008 at 7:49 pm |

    I’ve learned from reading and reading and reading these past 24 hours that white privilege is SO invisible to white people. That “oh big deal, lots of people have the same ideas, get over it” looks a lot different if you’re on the side of the fence that gets credit and publicity for those “same ideas.” It sort of starts to feel right, somehow, and normal, and … dare I say, “mainstream”?

    It is not the right of white people to magnanimously include “others” in “our” culture. It’s everyone’s world, dammit, and white being the default gets more and more tiresome the older I get.

    My life, my neighborhood, is mixed at many levels — racially, economically, politically, and sexually (e.g., LGBT). I am tired of white tv ads and white movies and white shows and white magazine articles & ads and white blogs and white radio shows and white songs and white novels being the automatic default, when in fact none of that bears the slightest resemblance to what’s really going on out here. It’s sickening.

    Accusations have been flung and people have been wounded and one powerful, important voice is now silent as a result of the fallout from this situation. Confronting divisiveness is painful and hurtful and sometimes ugly.

    Thank you, Holly, and all the folks at Shakes and my fellow commenters, for agreeing to breathe deep, step back, and see if we can start this dialogue again, with white people doing most of the listening.

    And let’s keep it going. This is a valuable lesson, and maybe we can really make a big change, at least in the feminist blogosphere.

    Thanks to my WOC sisters from whom I am learning so much, even though I KNOW it is not your job to teach me, a white person, about how my privilege hurts you. I AM listening, and your blogs are now on my “favorites,” because boy, do I have a lot more to learn.

    (I’m going to repeat this comment at Shakesville)

  264. marc
    marc April 11, 2008 at 8:02 pm |

    One of the many things I don’t understand about this situation: Amanda has linked BFP and other WOC many times in the past. She links people all the time every day on Pandagon. Why is one single article held out as though it’s the only work she’s ever written? She has linked BFP multiple times, and while I guess some people wish this recent article also had some additional linkage, it’s far from representative of her entire body of work.

    It seems to me the reason this lone article is held up as an example of appropriation is because it was the original target of a false plagiarism accusation. But I am genuinely baffled that people seem to act like she’s never linked BFP before or given her credit for awesome writing.

    Do people wish big bloggers would do that MORE? Clearly. Is Amanda begin scapegoated for this? Looks that way to me.

  265. Lindsay Beyerstein
    Lindsay Beyerstein April 11, 2008 at 8:24 pm |

    Whence the claims of non-engagement when all parties in the discussion endorse the allegedly larger point: As a group, white feminists need to do more to acknowledge their intellectual debts to feminists of color.

    The bone of contention is whether Amanda appropriated from bfp. We all know it. Bfp quit blogging over this. We’re told that she is incredibly hurt. It wasn’t just about Amanda “appropriating” WOC generally in an article for a fledgling reproductive health advocacy website that got reprinted at AlterNet.

    Initially, some people assumed that Amanda took direct, unattributed inspiration (or more) from brownfemipower’s talk at WAM. They were both at WAM, and they have similar views on feminism and immigration. So maybe it’s understandable that some people jumped to conclusions.

    The charge of shifting goalposts comes down to this: First, Amanda was accused of outright plagiarism and even theft. Then her accusers backed off and said they didn’t literally mean word-for-word copying. When it was pointed out that Amanda never heard bfp’s talk, and pitched her own piece before WAM, the charge shifted again. It wasn’t that Amanda had borrowed excessively from the talk, which she didn’t attend. Now, it was that she’d been influenced by bfp’s body of work, consciously or unconsciously. If unconsciously, it was a pathology of Amanda’s privilege that she didn’t realize and acknowledge her intellectual debt to bfp.

    But if that’s it, why assume that Amanda was influenced by bfp’s work, specifically? Unless you want to take it back to WAM and the presentation, there’s no reason to tie Amanda’s alleged appropriation to bfp, as opposed to any number of more prominent figures who have made similar points.

  266. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 11, 2008 at 8:48 pm |

    I don’t think Whites are targets at all as they rarely are. Never heard of targeting Asian-Americans. Shootings involving Asian-Americans gangs is usually intraracial.

    I don’t argue your points, however there is still pernicious and racist rumors surrounding an “Aztlan agenda” that includes whites and asians. It’s all part of the interwoven racist politics that take place when migration occurs.

  267. late to the party
    late to the party April 11, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  268. NancyP
    NancyP April 11, 2008 at 8:53 pm |

    It strikes me that some silence could be useful – 24 hours – then discuss, hopefully to greater effect. Emotions are too high. It gets in the way of clear thinking and productive discussion.

  269. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 11, 2008 at 9:08 pm |

    Amanda, would it have killed you to point to BFP, Incite!, and other WoC blogs and sites that have dealt extensively with immigration as a feminist issue?

    This Incite!?

    “Furthermore, we question the legitimacy of nation-states that were founded through colonization efforts – such as Israel and the United States of America. Therefore, we put the words “Israel” and “U.S.” in quotes to question the legitimacy of these “states” and to call out that these “states” were created by colonizers who massacred indigenous people and stole their lands and resources.”

    I also see there are no citations for the work published here. Are we to be consistent with our policies, and are we’re to alienate or exclude those who do not accurately give credit to sources or do we make exceptions, or are we assuming all of this (and just wow, talk about it’s more complicated than that but that’s another discussion I suppose) material was independently researched and generated by the author/authors?

    http://www.incite-national.org/issues/warinfo/palestinepoints.html

  270. Charity
    Charity April 11, 2008 at 9:39 pm |

    Uh, Anatolia, you are familiar with the histories of the creation of Israel and the U.S., right?

    Thank you, Holly, and all the folks at Shakes and my fellow commenters, for agreeing to breathe deep, step back, and see if we can start this dialogue again, with white people doing most of the listening.

    And let’s keep it going. This is a valuable lesson, and maybe we can really make a big change, at least in the feminist blogosphere.

    Thanks to my WOC sisters from whom I am learning so much, even though I KNOW it is not your job to teach me, a white person, about how my privilege hurts you. I AM listening, and your blogs are now on my “favorites,” because boy, do I have a lot more to learn.

    Thank you tinfoil hattie, I wanted to repeat this part of your comment because it seems some of the latter folks missed it.

  271. Charity
    Charity April 11, 2008 at 9:41 pm |

    And I echo it 1 million percent.

  272. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm |

    Lindsay: “First, Amanda was accused of outright plagiarism and even theft.”

    Nice try, but no, this is not the “first” thing that happened.

    Amanda has been appealed to repeatedly for her cluelessness on issues of race. There was the burqa controversy. Then the gorilla/white virgin cover. Both of which Amanda minimized and ridiculed.

    Given that track record, how do you expect women of color to feel when Amanda decides to turn her clueless privileged gaze to issues that directly affect these women’s lives? Amanda is now going to pontificate on issues women of color have been working for, fighting for and speaking out against for years. Given that she has minimized the concerns of people of color consistently in the past, what did she expect would happen when she decides to speak FOR and ABOUT them?

    Rather than accusing your critics of shifting the goal posts, I would say that you and Amanda have been repeatedly pretending the goal posts are this one particular blog post in one place that did one thing you can disprove. You then pretend to conflate everything else that is said and everyone who disagrees with Amanda with this one, disprovable blog post. That’s not discussion, that is deliberate misrepresentation.

    Luckily, anyone who reads this thread can see for themselves how misguided your attempts are. I am amazed and encouraged by the people who have spoken up here and I give Holly and Feministe great props for allowing the discussion.

  273. Sigh « The Essentia Sphere
    Sigh « The Essentia Sphere April 11, 2008 at 10:34 pm |

    [...] 11, 2008 at 10:33 pm (Feminism, Politics, Random) Here’s something to make you feel bad. I’m not involved and I don’t know the specifics but [...]

  274. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 10:53 pm |

    Is Amanda begin scapegoated for this? Looks that way to me.

    Aaand you aren’t biased in any way. *eyeroll*

    I am really glad more white people are coming to Amanda’s rescue on this. Please, send out an alert ASAP! WHITE BLOGGER IN DANGER! HER CAREER IS BEING THREATENED!

    Because that totally isn’t bullshit. Thanks, Marc, Lindsay, and Hugo. Thanks for your tireless efforts to obfuscate everything.

    With all due respect, fuck your perspective, marc.

  275. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 10:55 pm |

    Yes, Anatolia, that Incite! You honestly have any evidence that Israel and the US weren’t created by colonizing white people? I really want to hear your arguments.

  276. marc
    marc April 11, 2008 at 11:13 pm |

    Jack,

    You continue to really escalate the language (“racist assholes” etc.) and call people inflammatory names, but you didn’t actually address my point. Why doesn’t it matter that Amanda has linked BFP several times in the past? Why is this one article the only point of reference? Given that she’s had no problem crediting BFP before, why are you so certain Amanda snubbed her here and/or is some icon of appropriation?

    Also, doesn’t Lindsay’s point about goalpost-moving have some merit? I mean, this didn’t start off with a well-meaning “whites should link WOC more,” it started with plagiarism accusations. Which can hurt a career.

    You’re out for blood from your language, Jack. Are you sure it’s my perspective that deserves to be “fucked?”

  277. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 11:27 pm |

    You’re out for blood from your language, Jack. Are you sure it’s my perspective that deserves to be “fucked?”

    Oh, am I? Nah. I can smell bullshit with the best of them, and you, Lindsay, and Hugo have been laying it on strong.

    What have I to gain from any of this? Please, answer me that, first and foremost. I have so much to lose from Amanda erasing BfP. I lost a blogger I loved to read. Whitewashed and erased. What have you to gain by defending Amanda? Answer me that.

    Also, doesn’t Lindsay’s point about goalpost-moving have some merit?

    The posts have not been moved with respect to appropriation. It’s insipid and lacking in evidence to argue otherwise.

    Given that she’s had no problem crediting BFP before, why are you so certain Amanda snubbed her here and/or is some icon of appropriation?

    BECAUSE IT WAS SO EASY TO CREDIT HER THE FIRST TIME! You are not stupid, I know this. QUit acting like you’re an illiterate idiot, I know better. Linking BfP, a MAJOR voice in feminism’s struggle against racist taqctics, WOULD HAVE BEEN CHILD’S PLAY. I blame Amanda because I know, for a fact, that she is VERY smart, and not stupid at all. Feigning ignorance to make believe that she came up with everything by her lonesome is lying. Else, it’s very very stupid, which I do not think Amanda is for a second.

    THe plagiarism accusations have been address by smarter people than me. You are the opposite of illiterate, so don’t pretend to think that holds any water.

  278. Radfem
    Radfem April 11, 2008 at 11:47 pm |

    I don’t argue your points, however there is still pernicious and racist rumors surrounding an “Aztlan agenda” that includes whites and asians. It’s all part of the interwoven racist politics that take place when migration occurs.

    Oh. Okay. Well, that explains the confusion because you mentioned “Mexican” gangs” as being interested with the annihilation of “Asians” (and you mean Asian-Americans, right?) which in itself is erroneous, because contrary to the B.S. that’s circulating out there which is also based largely on rumor and is the latest craze, most members of Latino gangs are U.S. citizens. Some may not be, but it’s a very small percentage. There’s increased focus on gang members believed to be undocumented immigrants through efforts made to weaken Amendment 40 which is a policy of the Los Angeles Police Department involving its involvement in enforcement of federal immigration laws.

    Incidently, having gone to press conferences after LE agencies make big busts involving gangs, I have to say that the gang that apparently was stockpiling the more dangerous weapons (which were displayed on tables, as opposed to the usual photo displays) was a White Supremacist gang. I think I’m more concerned about them than the latest rumors about violence and killing related to the “Azlan agenda” of which there hasn’t been any. And as for racial politics regarding migration, there’s a fair share of those involving racism against those who migrate especially if they’re not White.

    Actually I believe this is INCITE!

  279. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 11, 2008 at 11:49 pm |

    Yes, Anatolia, that Incite! You honestly have any evidence that Israel and the US weren’t created by colonizing white people? I really want to hear your arguments.

    If the criteria is colonization, that’s a hell of a long list of nation-states throughout the globe to de-legitimize. And what does that say of immigration in general? That it’s illegitimate.

  280. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 11, 2008 at 11:54 pm |

    If the criteria is colonization, that’s a hell of a long list of nation-states throughout the globe to de-legitimize. And what does that say of immigration in general? That it’s illegitimate.

    Only if you’re an idiot. Borders? Are bullshit. Sovereign countries? Are bullshit. You are correct that every country in existence exists because of killing off other people. Very good. Hopefully you won’t be an idiot about the concept from now on.

  281. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 12, 2008 at 12:10 am |

    If the criteria is colonization, that’s a hell of a long list of nation-states throughout the globe to de-legitimize. And what does that say of immigration in general? That it’s illegitimate.

    You say this as if this magically makes the atrocities that created these nation-states perfectly legitimate because it’s too much to say, “hey, these countries are all illegitimate and their chain of title is flawed.” It would be the end of the world as we knew it (with lines drawn all over it). And I’d feel fine.

  282. lethal
    lethal April 12, 2008 at 12:36 am |

    BFP, your writing has inspired, touched, motivated, and moved me for years. When my life was busy and I only had time to read one or two blogs, yours was the one I always made time for. Your writing is of a quality that is rare to find on the internet, even though there are so many widely-read bloggers out there (like X, for example) who get the pretty words right, but not the deep, deep substance we need and crave. You’re greatly, greatly missed. Seriously.

    Love

  283. Mandolin
    Mandolin April 12, 2008 at 12:43 am |

    “hey, these countries are all illegitimate and their chain of title is flawed.” It would be the end of the world as we knew it (with lines drawn all over it). And I’d feel fine.

    I’ll drink to that!

  284. tumultuous times « Molecular Shyness
    tumultuous times « Molecular Shyness April 12, 2008 at 12:46 am |

    [...] been going through.  One of the links on my blogroll doesn’t work because of some crazy stuff [read: total concept/idea/content appropriation sans credit].  Then there was this whole other [...]

  285. Anatolia
    Anatolia April 12, 2008 at 1:00 am |

    Only if you’re an idiot. Borders? Are bullshit. Sovereign countries? Are bullshit. You are correct that every country in existence exists because of killing off other people. Very good. Hopefully you won’t be an idiot about the concept from now on.

    You will still be left with immigration and colonization of territories to address, surely you’ve worked the concepts of climate change, population growth, and finite resources into your theory. You’ve also made Palestine itself illegitimate. Calls to re-colonize a territory with while denouncing colonization is illogical. So is starting history at the point which serves one’s supposed entitlement to land that has a long history of conquest and colonization. Immigration is colonization. You’re a fountain of intelligent discourse; I’m obviously an idiot. Why the uncontrolled desire to advertise it?

  286. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 12, 2008 at 1:16 am |

    Okay, my post in moderation was very out-of-place. I am sorry, and please delete it.

    I really am going to quit this entire racist fiasco. Amanda, I hope you profit mightily from erasing people’s lives and words. I sincerely hope you do profit from it, yet live an abysmal, empty life with sycophants like Marc.

  287. marc
    marc April 12, 2008 at 1:25 am |

    Abysmal, empty life? Jack, man, seriously, you sound just. like. a. wingnut.

  288. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 12, 2008 at 1:27 am |

    This Incite!?

    Yes.

    Read up on how colonization has affected people in the past four hundred years. What it’s done to them. It’s easy to assume that recreating Israel was the right thing to do and that any criticism must be anti-Semitic, but are you aware of what’s been happening there? What’s been happening to Palestine? To Palestinians? Are their lives irrelevant in the face of Israel being a nation? Is it okay to marginalize, even kill, another population just because the people given a homeland suffered themselves?

    So yes, that Incite!

  289. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 12, 2008 at 1:33 am |

    Jack, man, seriously, you sound just. like. a. wingnut.

    Really? That’s…genius I suppose, given the racist critiques proffered against Amanda’s critics here. But keep wanking to the racist idea that Amanda is the victim here, I suppose, Marc. You’ll have much in common with MRAs, I assume, as well, when they say they’re the victims of misandry.

  290. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 12, 2008 at 1:36 am |

    And seriously, Marc, if Amanda is happy being defended via empty bullshit from people like you and Lindsay, she needs no help from me to be living an abysmal, empty life. Dear god, kill me now if I lived that way, with sycophantic hangers-on fellating me daily.

  291. marc
    marc April 12, 2008 at 1:48 am |

    That’s funny, Jack. I hate to be the one to say it, but you strike me as a bit of a sycophant yourself, what with the lack of critical thinking, evil feminist conspiracy theories, and all. And you’re especially good at demonizing people. Once again, these are all the qualities of the lock-step wingnut, I’m afraid.

  292. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 12, 2008 at 1:58 am |

    You’re especially good at being “White dude to the rescue”, Marc, just like Hugo, and seemingly expecting a pat on the back for it. WHich is cool, I suppose. Not something I wouldn’t expect from a wingnut, either, though. You have such a history of making sure WOC know how much you feel their criticisms are worthless, though, so I’m really not worried about being called a wingnut by you. I think you are trying the hardest you can to bullshit your way to an argument, one that really has no merit, which I hope you realize eventually. Being “white dude to the rescue” while stomping all over WOC to do it is one of the more worthless things-to-be I can imagine.

  293. Radfem
    Radfem April 12, 2008 at 1:59 am |

    That “oh big deal, lots of people have the same ideas, get over it” looks a lot different if you’re on the side of the fence that gets credit and publicity for those “same ideas.”

    It really does. But part of racial privilege is you don’t really think about that.

    Jessica Valenti and Andrea Smith represent two strong, important, and at times, dissonant voices in contemporary American feminism.

    Hmm. Let’s see, I have both Smith’s article, “Better dead than pregnant: The Colonization of Native American Health” (from Policing the National Body: Race, Gender and Criminalization) and Full Frontal Feminism on my desk and you can’t even compare the quality of the two. One’s insightful, mature, well-researched and insightful and incisive prose that haunts and resonates long after you put it down. The other? A rather bland exploration of feminism as apparently seen (or assumed to be seen) by young White middle-class women with a brief add-on addressing issues faced by women of color.

    The irony is that which one will sell the most copies? Get referred to the most as a feminist text?

    The other irony is that I see the same thing here. The feminist who sells the most books isn’t the one who really resonates with many women and stays with you. My only remaining memory of Marcotte’s article was how bfp did it so much better, how much of it still reminds me of her scholarship, how a woman of color’s name and organization were tossed out only here (and not included in the article itself) as a source of information and how not one single women of coor who’s been blogging, writing analyzing, working and living these issues received any acknowlegement of that. As if they don’t exist. That’s really a very sad thing, and even sadder because it’s apparently not unique. What’s sadder is the defense of that and the belittling comments made about bfp’s hard work by individuals who have everything to gain by distancing themselves from it at this point in time.

    Someone made a posting about Barbara Jones and her masquerade as a women of color who was a gang member in L.A. and it’s a good analogy of appropriation by a White woman of the lives of women of color who wrote about their lives and then this masquerade not only fools everyone at the publishing company or wasn’t properly vetted, but she gets a hell of a lot more credibility and attention given to her for her made-up (and based largely on old stereotypes) than women of color do for their own lives.

    But you see, when White women incorporate the lives of women of color or do things at their expense, feminism gets really quiet about that. Don’t pick on the White woman. Don’t criticize her. Don’t “scapegoat” her. Don’t “attack” her as if much needed criticism in these cases is any of these things. Until White feminists learn that their privilege can harm women of color, their feminism will have a difficult time being taken seriously as being for and inclusive of all women.

    There’s some reference that Marcotte raised this issue in 2006 and then speculation of whether or not bfp had a blog then (and I believe she did before that). It’s hard to be too impressed by that. If Marcotte and her friends had to go back that far to find any reference to that, as far as original source material go, that raises more questions than answers. But there’s no way to prove that it was done. There’s no real feelings of remorse for not even acknowleging women of color’s contributions and hard work on issues impacting their communities. It will blow over and guess what? It’ll happen again. The only question is where, when and which female blogger or writer of color will experience next. Because the entitlement that some White female writers to do this will still be there.

  294. » To A Dear Friend of Mine - By ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!

    [...] here, here, here, here, here, and here to know what happened. Like Kevin of Slanted Truth, I too am too tired to blog about [...]

  295. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne April 12, 2008 at 2:23 am |

    I have to say that, walking into this blind but following most of the links and trackbacks provided, I think that Sickle at #102 and SarahS at #267 have had the most accurate diagnoses so far.

    The people who are continuing to insist that Amanda literally plagiarized her article, or that her article was so close to BfP’s speech at WAM that Amanda must have heard it are, frankly, painting themselves into a corner. Once people can show that the accusation is not true — and there seems to be some pretty compelling evidence that it is not true — it brings the rest of your argument into question, fairly or unfairly.

    Honestly, I can see why BfP felt she needed to shut down her blog to try and pull the plug on the controversy, and I don’t think it was only because of one side. Her original point — that she felt that the article at Alternet was yet another example of a white person being able to present ideas gathered from people of color and be listened to — got subsumed in the timeline of the fucking WAM conference and who was on the grassy knoll. Once people decided that BfP was talking about a literal appropriation and started looking for the kerning, well, we were off to the races.

    Which really sucks, because BfP had a really good point that Holly is trying to bring us all back to.

  296. Mandolin
    Mandolin April 12, 2008 at 2:25 am |

    Well, I ended up in moderation, probably because my prior post was too long, so I’ll excerpt:

    For fuck’s sake, Marc and Jack. Knock it off. The noise, it has drowned out the signal in an angry white roar — in my opinion, to a much larger extent in this exchange than anything else in the thread… Because, can I point out what is drowned out when two white men stop to allege that the other person is more conservative-than-he? A CONVERSATION ABOUT APPROPRIATION.

    And now, discussing systems of appropriation, I’m going to repost part of something I said on Alas. Someone on Alas was confused about the difference between appropriatoin and attribution. This is my best attempt to explain, though I’m sure it’s flawed.

    If, systemically, a white woman can say ideas that a black woman can also say and get more attention for it, then it becomes problematic when she repeats those ideas. Because, all of a sudden, people are paying attention. If she doesn’t attribute those ideas to their sources, then the words of the people who originated them disappear. The black women’s words are subsumed and become assumed to be those of the white woman — they are appropriated by her, intentionally or unintentionally.

    So, the issue is both attribution and appropriation. Through lack of attribution, it becomes appropriation.

  297. stoneself
    stoneself April 12, 2008 at 2:33 am |

    this is not a quote, but it’s related:

    If you are under the incorrect impression that racism in feminism is irrelevant and anti-racism isn’t something for you, I recommend listening to the howls of white people who think society owes them the right to treat women of color like a population available to steal ideas from and then silence. That goes double for you if you’ve ever sneered at the term “intersections of oppression,” because I can’t think of a better example myself.

    * * *

    plagiarism:

    Plagiarism is defined as the use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source. This includes, but is not limited to:
    (a.) Copying from the writings or works of others into one’s academic assignment without attribution, or submitting such work as if it were one’s own;
    (b.) Using the views, opinions, or insights of another without acknowledgment; or
    (c.) Paraphrasing the characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other literary device of another without proper attribution.

    from the uc berkeley library website

    goddammit plagiarism is not word for word copying. it is the theft of ideas.

    * * *

    Although her idea had survived, her [woman of color] voice was lost.

    the crime here is the silence

  298. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne April 12, 2008 at 2:39 am |

    So, the issue is both attribution and appropriation. Through lack of attribution, it becomes appropriation.

    At least part of the problem in this blogwar, though, seems to be that some people heard “appropriation” and expanded it out to “plagiarism” and then started throwing some pretty nasty accusations of outright illegal behavior around. Behavior that has gotten many people fired, and that publications tend to take quite seriously. A guy had to resign from the White House for plagiarizing articles less than two months ago, even though he was writing the column in his free time and not as a White House employee.

    So, yes, accusing Amanda of plagiarism could easily have gotten her fired from Alternet, and I’m not sure why the people accusing her of that are trying to pretend it couldn’t possibly happen or are confused about why she would react so strongly against that specific accusation.

    The accusation of appropriation is, I think, the more accurate one, and one that I hope she addresses once she assures Alternet that she did not copy her article from anyone else’s work.

  299. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 12, 2008 at 2:39 am |

    For fuck’s sake, Marc and Jack. Knock it off.

    You’re very right. I really should have shut the fuck up a long time ago. I have only made things worse, and for that, I’m sorry.

  300. Shame on you, Amanda Marcotte
    Shame on you, Amanda Marcotte April 12, 2008 at 3:06 am |

    [...] those who aren’t aware, you can read the story here and here and here and here: long story short, Amanda Marcotte recently published an article [...]

  301. Listening to Minority Voices « Cheerful Megalomaniac

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  302. The Revolution Will Not Be Published « She who stumbles

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  303. Narcissist Feminism | Feminism @ the Hathor Legacy

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  304. Fatties, Feminists, Racism, Comments, Oh My! « Pregnant Drug-Dealing Prostitutes

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  305. gwytherinn.com » Blog Archive » brownfemipower, blank page

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  306. In which I give my totally unqualified and unsolicited opinion « spacedcowgirl

    [...] to me to see so many commenters pouring out their hearts, logic, pain, and anger on the Feministe thread (via The Rotund), many making several separate posts in an earnest attempt to explain [...]

  307. In which I give my totally unqualified and unsolicited opinion « spacedcowgirl

    [...] to me to see so many commenters pouring out their hearts, logic, pain, and anger on the Feministe thread (via The Rotund), many making several separate posts in an earnest attempt to explain [...]

  308. The BfP/”X” Files: An Update | The SmackDog Chronicles (Ver. 2.5)

    [...] High on Rebellion Sudy (here, here, and here) Blackamazon Sylvia/M (here and ESPECIALLY HERE) Feministe (which also includes a long comments thread where Amanda attempts to defend herself, and brings [...]

  309. Intellectual Appropriation, Attribution Of Credit & Privilege « PhysioProf

    [...] a starting point for discussion, I’ll take this post by Holly at Feministe, as it lays out the outlines of the dispute, and the comments contain some really well-thought-out [...]

  310. Mourning « Sin Vergüenza, y que?
    Mourning « Sin Vergüenza, y que? April 13, 2008 at 3:24 pm |

    [...] my words– take my ideas and present them as their own. Paranoid, I know– except it just happened to the mujer responsible for bringing me to the world of WOC [...]

  311. Women of Color Blogging, Feminism, and Brownfemipower « The Blog and the Bullet

    [...] by Jack Stephens on April 14, 2008 Holly, at Feministe, blogs about the recent news surrounding the shutdown of Brownfemipower’s blog and white feminists appropriating ideas [...]

  312. Women of Color Blogging, Feminism, and Brownfemipower « The Mustard Seed

    [...] at Feministe, blogs about the recent news surrounding the shutdown of Brownfemipower’s blog and white feminists appropriating ideas [...]

  313. Prog Gold » Blog Archive » Plagiarism, Appropriation, Personality and Politics

    [...] Pandagon blogger and now popular speaker and author Amanda Marcotte, who is white and from Texas, has been accused of intellectual appropriation and even plagiarism by a group of women of colour bloggers: [...]

  314. Thinking, talking, blogging about race « I am the Lizard Queen!

    [...] Queen Required pre-reading for this post: Cara’s post (where I first heard about this issue), Holly’s post, the letter at [...]

  315. Feminism: Still for white women only? « When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution

    [...] can imagine, Seal has gotten hell from many bloggers, most (if not all of it) deserved. A post at Feministe mentioned the Seal catastrophe in a blog published on April 10, “This has not been a good week [...]

  316. Square One » Briefly, on my choice to commit blogicide

    [...] [and this post will mean little to anyone outside the circular firing squad known as the feminist blogosphere, with particular concern for this debacle] [...]

  317. Prog Gold » Blog Archive » Undeserving Causes

    [...] that neatly illustrates the points about class, privilege and media access made by so many in that feministe thread I blogged about yesterday. {see [...]

  318. Standing is Solidarity With My Sisters « The Angry Black Woman

    [...] Fuck Amanda Marcotte. [...]

  319. Misappropriation throughout history « The Scary Door

    [...] as Sudy has clarified here and as Holly from Feministe attempted to discuss in her excellent post here. In fact, attributing this to the wrongdoing of a single individual could serve as an excuse not to [...]

  320. Losing an Important Voice « alicia dk

    [...] blog is gone for now, because of some stuff that went down, and it has really sucked (for lack of better words).  I found the blank page when I had thought [...]

  321. Real Life Is Messy « Off Our Pedestals

    [...] on that last, thank heavens for Sheezlebub putting that on the record, I really thought I was losing my mind there for awhile, but you know what would be even better? [...]

  322. The Amanda Marcotte Controversy: Race in the Feminist Blogosphere. « PostBourgie

    [...] help the situation by vigorously digging a deeper hole for herself in the comments section of a very thoughtful post on Feministe about this whole unfortunate episode. (Her tone is generally on some [...]

  323. An Open Letter to the White Feminist Community: « Dear white feminists,

    [...] Angry Black Woman, Anxious Black Woman, Belledame, BlackAmazon, Brownfemipower, DeviousDiva, Elle, Holly@Feministe, Karynthia, Nubian, SlantTruth, Sokari, Sudy, Sylvia/M, WOC [...]

  324. Exactly Who Is Feminism For, Anyway? « Galling Galla

    [...] Amanda Marcotte’s massive appropriation of the work of women of color, Amanda (I’m not using “X”; Amanda outed herself on that thread) and Seal Press shitting [...]

  325. On Being an Ally : The Curvature
    On Being an Ally : The Curvature April 19, 2008 at 5:46 pm |

    [...] to the situation that caused her to close it, I did not know what to say. Later on in the day, Holly put up a post on the topic. And after reading it, and reading the thread, I did know what to [...]

  326. Feministe » TODAY: Amanda Marcotte at KGB Bar in Manhattan

    [...] appropriation of work created by women of color. There is some background on this issue here. I understand that many bloggers and commenters no longer link to Amanda and will not be buying her [...]

  327. Feminist bloggers and racism | MetaFilter

    [...] bloggers and racism April 23, 2008 10:07 AM   Subscribe This has not been a good week for woman of color blogging. About two weeks ago, Black Femi Power, a well-read woman of color blogger, resigned her blog in [...]

  328. Feministe » Expecting More
    Feministe » Expecting More April 23, 2008 at 2:54 pm |

    [...] people finally start to think we’re unforgivably clumsy. So I’m trying to keep in mind what Holly wrote: The question for all of us is, what do you do when you’re unvaoidably embedded in a system like [...]

  329. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Three Things

    [...] or not she appropriated, and why I think almost every defence of Amanda has made things much worse. Holly , Daisy and Sylvia/M are some really good discussions on appropriation, there are many more across [...]

  330. los anjalis » “Feminism”, jungles, and racist imagery

    [...] So many bloggers have written about this controversy in very thoughtful ways, so instead of trying to restate what’s so beautifully been said, I’ll link to some of the pieces that give it context and reflect on it (with the caveat that tens of bloggers have written amazing posts on this issue, i’m just linking a few): Feministe: “This has not been a good week for women of color blogging” [...]

  331. los anjalis » “Feminism”, jungles, and racist imagery

    [...] This is just salt in the wounds of ANOTHER recent controversy involving Amanda Marcotte and white feminist’s appropriation of women of colors’ writings. Others have written about this said controversy in very thoughtful ways, so instead of trying to restate what’s been so beuatifully said, I’ll link to some of the pieces that give it context and reflect on it (with the caveat that tens of bloggers have written amazing posts on this issue, i’m just linking a few): Feministe: “This has not been a good week for women of color blogging” [...]

  332. Feminist Blog Brouhaha: Feminists vs Women of Color

    [...] Brownfemipower, Cara, Cassandra, Danadocus, DeviousDiva, Elle, Firefly, Florence Craye, Holly, Ilyka, Karnythia, Lisa Harney, Luci-Kali, Lucy, Magniloquence, Naamen, Nubian, Rachel, Sadie, Sara [...]

  333. Farewell, BFP and Blackamazon « The Token Feminist

    [...] Feministe responds to the issue When any of us have a soapbox, an opportunity to get up and talk, we must continue to stand by those who aren’t called on. If you want to consider yourself an anti-racist or a white ally to people of color — if you want anyone else to consider you those things — then it behooves you to swim against the current. If everyone did, perhaps the tides would turn, even if it was just in our corner of the blogosphere. [...]

  334. Being Anti 9-to-5 While Working 9-to-5… « alicia dk

    [...] Michelle Goodman’s excellent book The Anti 9-to-5 Guide (It was unfortunately published by the very stupid Seal Press.).  Last summer it saved me a bit of sanity while I wrestled with the idea of working full time, [...]

  335. derivative work » Blog Archive » cultural appropriation, property rhetoric, acknowledgment

    [...] about racist imagery in Amanda’s new book. * don’t hate appropriate @ problem chylde * post at Feministe that talked about this and the Seal Press issue, and ended up pissing a lot of people off. Lots of [...]

  336. SOCIALIST UNITY » CARNIVAL OF SOCIALISM

    [...] post about felt she had no other choice then to stop blogging. I hope she re-thinks. Here, here and here explains [...]

  337. On Facing Your Bias, Owning Your Prejudice, and Allies - Part 1 at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] to find out they had gotten worse. I refrained from commenting on the first issue – only to watch a second, third, fourth, and fifth spring [...]

  338. What’s a white woman to say? « In a strange land

    [...] Links for all of this – far too many to post! But the F-Word (UK feminist blog) has a post with helpful links, as does Feministe. [...]

  339. Appropriating Ideas
    Appropriating Ideas April 29, 2008 at 1:26 pm |

    [...] spoken for themselves/each other, including the one whose speech she said had inspired her post (Nina Perales). Brownfemipower had been blogging about these issues for a long time, she commented on the way [...]

  340. Scott’s Blog » Blog Archive » Walking the walk

    [...] I think about this lately, especially in light of some of the things I’ve been reading in the feminist blogs about race, class and privilege, the more I’m forced to consider my ultimately privileged [...]

  341. White feminists have lunch « blue milk

    [...] asked myself this question after reading my way through the chasm of anger and sadness that is currently splitting on-line feminism. A divide triggered by racism. [...]

  342. eeePC WorldWide News » cultural appropriation, property rhetoric, acknowledgment

    [...] * don’t hate appropriate @ problem chylde 4/8 * from blackamazon @ problem chylde 4/26 * this has not been a good week for women of color blogging, post at Feministe that talked about this and the Seal Press issue, and ended up pissing a lot of [...]

  343. Daughter of the Ring of Fire » Blog Archive » The Perils of Professionalization

    [...] brownfemipower. (If you’re not up on the issue, you can begin reading through the controversy here and here, but it might be best to wait until you have the a fairly large block of time on your [...]

  344. Amanda Marcotte, please cease and desist. « The Feminist Texican

    [...] please just direct Amanda Marcotte to a Cultural Sensitivity 101 class?  After a couple of very recent fiascos on the WOC/feminist blogosphere, you’d think the woman would think twice before [...]

  345. What Your Web Branding Suggests About Your Politics « Restructure!

    [...] blatantly whiter than Feministing’s logo, Feministe has great posts analyzing racism and had blogged about the disappearance of brownfemipower from the web and its related issues four days before Feministing. (Fortunately, brownfemipower is back [...]

  346. don’t vote for me, argentina at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] the very ugly rift between grassroots feminists of colour and grassroots non-anti-racist feminists was brought to the harsh light of day. And it was that weekend when I really started to feel worried, and a little heartbroken, that the [...]

  347. Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » Top 10 blog topics of 2008

    [...] (have I mentioned I hate the use of -gate as a suffix for any scandal?), wherein some bloggers accused Amanda Marcotte of having plagiarized Brownfemipower. I stayed out of this one for the most part, [...]

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