Author: has written 5284 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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387 Responses

  1. Dearwhitefeminists
    Dearwhitefeminists April 22, 2008 at 10:19 am |

    Wait a minute… is this the same Amanda Marcotte whose work was uh… “inspired” by Brownfemipower and other women of color? And if so, has she published some kind of apology/addendum to her article yet crediting the women of color who have been working on the issue? And if not, why is she being promoted as if a little over a week ago nothing whatsoever happened?

  2. Matt
    Matt April 22, 2008 at 11:42 am |

    Seconded. I was pleasantly surprised to see the issue covered in Feministe at all, and I’d love to be wrong and see that she apologized, but if that hasn’t happened, looks like it’s back to business as usual in white feminist land, and we’ll all be running through this again in a year or so.

  3. skirt
    skirt April 22, 2008 at 12:11 pm |

    really? REALLY? are you srsly promoting her book as though nothing has happened, as though there are no issues within the book itself, and as though the entire WOC feminist blogosphere hasn’t been on fire with what marcotte has done/not done? really?? I’m disappointed, yall, and I think not mentioning the controversy only further disappears WOC’s voices. I also think it’s the responsibility of this blog, and all others in the feminist blogosphere, to call amanda to at least *acknowledge* that her ideas came from somewhere. Failing to do so makes you complicit in the decades, centuries of ignoring WOC’s voices.

  4. Gina
    Gina April 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm |

    But don’t you see? We have to support Amanda’s career! It’s all about Amanda’s career! What, are you trying to wreck Amanda’s career? Why don’t you care about Amanda’s career? Amanda’s career has been brutally attacked, and now Amanda’s career is in danger, and we have to save Amanda’s career, because Amanda’s career is of supreme importance.

    I. am. very. disappointed.

  5. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 1:11 pm |

    This is wrong. How many women of color have to renounce feminism before we actually take a stand against racism in our own ranks? How many have to shout at us? There’s a long list.

    I’d love to be able to add even ONE mainstream feminist blog as an ally to women of color. So far I have not been able to.

  6. Crys T
    Crys T April 22, 2008 at 2:44 pm |

    No way, no how will I ever buy anything with Amanda’s name on it. Even if she does finally own up to what she’s done over the past week or so as well as in the past. Especially this damn book, that was tainted by racism before it even hit the shelves. And that’s even before taken into account that it’s published by freaking Seal Press.

    I add my voice to those above: if we EVER want WOC to take us seriously, we have to fucking act serious for a change. And that means when one of our own fucks up this egregiously, we have to call them on it and make it plain that we won’t support the sort of shit Amanda & her publishers have been pulling. We can’t just turn around and act as if everything’s cool now. IT ISN’T.

  7. jeffliveshere
    jeffliveshere April 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm |

    I know it’s a difficult, complex situation, but I implore everybody at Feministe to listen to Feministe’s own blogger, Holly:

    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. I don’t care if there was actual plagiarism or a more abstract kind of plagiarism, if one writer did or didn’t get an idea from a conference or from another writer. 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.

    Plugging Amanda’s book tour without referencing the larger issues going on around her refusal to respond thoughtfully to the larger issues involved in appropriating ideas without giving props for doing do doesn’t seem to be in the same spirit as Holly’s post; yes, we all (probably) know some of what’s going on around Amanda, but promoting this book without a mention of it doesn’t seem to be giving voice to women of color. Given the current context, such promotion is silencing.

  8. tj.matthews
    tj.matthews April 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm |

    Wow. Feministe is as racist as I suspected. Well at least their showing solidarity to their sister….cause she sure isn’t ours….

  9. Rachel
    Rachel April 22, 2008 at 3:15 pm |

    oh wow does this make me unhappy. Wow. I don’t know what to say.

    I am personally not comfortable supporting AM’s work unless and until she decides to apologize for appropriating BFP’s work. And for her reaction to being called on that appropriation.

    I am really disturbed to see this promoted on Feministe. Y’all are the one remaining Big Feminist Blog I read. I really would have hoped that you’d take this as an opportunity to challenge your friend and help her check her privilege, not to promote her work so breezily.

  10. Daomadan
    Daomadan April 22, 2008 at 3:16 pm |

    It’s also worth supporting progressive authors so that we create and maintain a market for books like this.

    Progressive? Surely this is a jest.

    I undersign myself to what the others on this comment thread have already eloquently stated. After all that has happened in the past week we’re expected to support this?

  11. Crys T
    Crys T April 22, 2008 at 3:38 pm |

    Jill, it’s not like this all happened months ago. The conversations are still going on in a lot of places. To post something promoting AM and her work (again, published by a press that still has controversy actively being discussed) without making any mention of the whole mess does seem premature.

    And I don’t think most of us expect you to blacklist Amanda from Feministe. But you have to expect negative commentary if you’re going to bring her or her work up. This event has caused a huge amount of pain, anger and damage to the feminist blogosphere in general. Well, the English-speaking bits of it anyway. And people aren’t going to forget about it any time soon.

  12. Crys T
    Crys T April 22, 2008 at 3:39 pm |

    Sorry, Jill: I was writing my previous comment before your last 2 came through.

  13. An Open Letter to the White Feminist Community: « Dear white feminists,

    [...] We’re oppressing and silencing the very people we talk so eloquently about being allies with. I’m sick of seeing so many of us refuse to take a stand for fear of alienating our white [...]

  14. Hugo
    Hugo April 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm |

    Jeff, I think it’s possible to plug Amanda and her book without re-engaging the BFP issue. I think Jill’s response is fair-handed; she finds more fault with Amanda perhaps than I do, but nonetheless is staying in dialogue with her.

    No one has suggested that Amanda’s book contains wrongly appropriated material; it’s possible to wish that she had handled the BFP thing differently while still encouraging folks to buy and read her book.. It’s also possible to lament the tone that Seal Press, publishers of said book, used on its own blog during the earlier kerfuffle while still supporting Seal — and opposing the unfortunate “girlcott” thereof. There’s a difference between absolving Amanda of all responsibility for what happened (which Jill is not doing) on the one hand, and supporting her book tour on the other.

  15. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 22, 2008 at 4:04 pm |

    The book is written pretty much strictly from my viewpoint for the sake of humor. So there is no way to accuse me of stealing, so it’ll have to be that I’m ignoring.

    Anyway, people of good faith, hope to see you there! It’ll be fun.

  16. Mandolin
    Mandolin April 22, 2008 at 4:14 pm |

    Wasn’t the point of the appropriation conversation to point out sytemic problems as pervasive and system-wide, not dwell on a single example?

  17. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 22, 2008 at 4:27 pm |

    You would think, and the heavy focus on me makes me assume that it’s not about a real grievance, but about hating.

  18. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 22, 2008 at 4:28 pm |

    Or at least the real grievance is minor and tossed aside as easily as the actual concerns of immigrant women were in the stampede towards hating.

  19. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 22, 2008 at 4:30 pm |

    You know, you guys should check the book out. I promote BFP’s blog in it. You know, because I was so attempting to steal from her and “erase” her that I actually tried to drive a new audience to her blog.

  20. marc
    marc April 22, 2008 at 4:33 pm |

    Weird what people remember. In truth, it was pretty darn well-established that Amanda has a life-long history of dealing with immigration issues, living on or near the border for a good chunk of her life, and that she in no way appropriated or plagiarized anybody else’s work. She wrote someone on immigration, and other people have done the same. And the only reason people got upset at all was because of a false claim of plagiarism. When that didn’t stick, they switched gears to try and stay right. That sort of worked, in the sense that several people decided without evidence or cause that there was appropriation, but that’s not the same thing as it actually being true.

    Damn Jill, I’m shocked at your comments here and the update. You know how many times Amanda has gone out of her way to raise the voices of women of color in her blog (AND EVEN IN HER BOOK) — especially BFP’s! I am shocked you’re on board with this hatchet job.

  21. ilyka
    ilyka April 22, 2008 at 4:36 pm |

    Wasn’t the point of the appropriation conversation to point out sytemic problems as pervasive and system-wide, not dwell on a single example?

    Of course.

    On the other hand, when several people tell you a wound is still open, it’s inadvisable to pour salt on it and then snot at them to quit complaining.

    There’s a bad habit of wanting to put painful specifics behind us while ostensibly committing to work on resolving the larger issue. Unfortunately, the larger issue is composed of all those dirty, painful, nasty specifics that we don’t want to revisit or have pointed out to us or, least of all, work to resolve because, GOD, everyone already knows about those, okay? Let’s not dwell! That’s really counterproductive.

    But it isn’t as though this blog’s own subtitle references any prior injuries, so at least the behavior being demanded of others is consistently practiced and fairly applied.

    The controversy about Amanda’s article was about something much bigger than Amanda; I ask that we keep the conversation on that level, in an attempt to make it productive.

    I like your update and I get that you’re in a difficult position. But I’m going to echo something Sylvia/M said over at Amp’s the other day, because so far requests like this have ended up working out pretty lopsided in practice: Does this include Amanda? Because asking people to ignore passive-aggressive shit-stirring like, “Anyway, people of good faith,” (as opposed to all the people of bad faith who are just jealous) and “it’s not about a real grievance, but about hating,” doesn’t seem fair to ask.

  22. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 4:40 pm |

    Amanda, no one is accusing you of stealing in your book. And congrats on it, btw, I am glad to see a feminist text out there.

    That said, how is promoting said book okay, as if all is in the clear and we can let bygones be bygones, when NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE TO RECTIFY THE ALTERNET/BFP situation? Amanda, you have issued no apology or addendum to the article. I understand your defensiveness; you feel you’ve been relentlessly attacked. And now the blogosphere is split between women of color and white feminists, BFP is gone, and the world is acting like the entire rift and the fallout from this debacle is completely your responsibility. Obviously you never set out to cause any of this.

    But the fact remains that it did happen, and YOU are at the fulcrum of all of it. Whatever your intentions, you *have* hurt a lot of people, and you have contributed to the long history of silencing/oppressing women of color. Given that your article seems to aim at raising awareness about such issues, I’d like to believe you want to be an ally, but you have not acted like one. All it would take is acknowledgment of the voices out there!

    I realize at this point in time it must feel as if apology would be futile; too many people have expressed irreconcilable hatred, and the last thing you want to do is concede on any point. But for the love of God, look around at the blogosphere. Maybe there are some people who will never forgive you. But there are many more of us who are just begging you to give us a reason to believe in you, and in the ability of white feminists to support women of color. You can still heal this rift.

    I hope you will do so. I hope to God we can stand up for what we profess to believe in and embrace our sisters of color as equals. And I hope I can add an addendum to my letter to white feminists that says, “Amanda Marcotte made an apology and set an example for us.”

    But if you can’t find the humility or the conscience to care about what is happening, then yes, I *do* think it is wrong for Feministe to promote your book.

  23. marc
    marc April 22, 2008 at 4:48 pm |

    Ico, why are you convinced Amanda was in the wrong? I mean, it’s not like every feminist who comes along after her needs to link her every time they write a saucy article about feminism.

    As hard as this seems for people to understand, Amanda didn’t get her subject matter on her article from BFP. I know, I was around when she conceived of it. Should she apologize for something she didn’t do? Should she cave in every time a link is falsely demanded? That seems a long road to start down….

  24. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 4:48 pm |

    @Jill

    I do think it’s worth promoting the work of feminists and progressives — even feminists and progressives who have made mistakes in the past.

    The past? As in two weeks ago? Seriously, way to brush aside the shitstorm that erupted. I never suggested blacklisting Amanda; she’s free to step in and speak for herself. But actively *promoting* her when she has not made any effort to rectify all the stuff that went down?

    Look, it’s pretty simple. If you are anti-racist, you don’t support racism. Right now women of color are asking that Marcotte apologize and credit BFP et al., and asking that the major feminist blogs show some solidarity and do the same.

    Feministe is obviously not going to do so, since promoting Marcotte’s new book is more important than heeding the voices of our sisters of color. Shame, that. I am thoroughly disappointed.

  25. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 4:54 pm |

    @marc,

    That’s been hashed and rehashed thoroughly. See Holly’s take and the comments.

    Also see Sylvia/M’s post on this.

  26. marc
    marc April 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm |

    Sigh. Both Holly and Sylvie are still operating from the false assumption that Amanda’s work and/or ideas derived directly from BFP’s. And they didn’t. And if the “larger concern” is that WoC need voices raised, how about her writing a book that promotes BFP right there in it? Why is one article without some link to BFP (despite it not being based on BFP’s work) enough for her to be called racist, erasing, etc.? How can anyone who looks at the bulk of her work (and y’know, things like bringing Pam Spaulding to Pandagon) call her an erasing racist? Why is this one dang article the entire sticking point?

    I’ll venture a guess: because it was originally claimed as plagiarism. Which was false. That’s it. You can’t look at everything she’s written to promote WoC and BFP and make the claims people are making.

  27. jeffliveshere
    jeffliveshere April 22, 2008 at 5:21 pm |

    And I should have recognized that promoting Amanda’s work right now, under these circumstances, is not a neutral act.–Jill

    Yes. Thank you for that acknowledgment. That’s exactly the sort of acknowledgment that I hoped would have been in the original post. I don’t care to see Amanda banished from Feministe (whatever that would mean), but I also don’t care for y’all to pretend that something isn’t still going on. You own your mistakes Jill– which is one of the things that keeps me, at least, coming back.

    I’m really glad to see your update, Jill.

    There’s a difference between absolving Amanda of all responsibility for what happened (which Jill is not doing) on the one hand, and supporting her book tour on the other.–hugo

    @hugo: I don’t understand how you can’t understand that some of us might see promoting the book without even a reference to the current controversy would be a problem. I believe (though I only speak for myself, of course) that Jill might be able to promote Amanda’s book while keeping in mind the controversy. But: I think this post, as originally posted, promoted Amanda’s book without keeping in mind the controversy. And Jill, by posting her update, seems to agree on some level at least.

  28. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 22, 2008 at 5:24 pm |

    I can’t even begin to take part in this discussion without getting so pissed it makes things worse.

    So go ahead, circle your wagons. This is one now feminist expat WOC bowing out, not playing the game.

  29. Tobes
    Tobes April 22, 2008 at 5:27 pm |

    My two cents here.

    I’m a 20-something woman with a teeny little feminist blog that I update when I’m not working (or getting into mischief). I look up to and idolize so many great blogs out there (feministe, feministing, Shakesville, and yes, Pandagon)– I had just found bfp and then this happened. Not to get creepy/mushy but I seriously cherish all these blogs. Each time I find another new one (“new” to me anyway), I’m genuinely thrilled!!!

    These blogs keep my sane at my oh-so-boring job, they keep me connected when I feel alone with no one to talk to on these issues– or at least no one to talk to in-depth.

    Nothing is paining me more than all the anger venting here. I don’t pretend to understand this situation for all that it was, but I do know that some of the reactions here are more harmful than helpful.

    I’m asking a favor of anyone who can help… whatever needs to happen to mend this, please make it happen. I know we disagree and sometimes over very serious stuff but let’s not tear these sacred spaces down in protest. It was sad enough when bfp did that (I understand she was upset, but it IS still heartbreaking to lose the connection).

    That’s just the opinion of someone who has barely scratched the surface of this debate…. take it for what its worth.

  30. Hugo
    Hugo April 22, 2008 at 5:41 pm |

    this isn’t the place to re-hash and argue over what did or didn’t happen.

    Exactly. And I’m sad that some folks may miss out on what has the potential to be an important book because of that re-hashing. In terms of the book, I’ll be giving copies as gifts. IAJOT is the ideal gift for that young woman who already believes in her own freedom as a woman, but underestimates the depth of cultural misogyny. It’s an eye-opener, and as the front cover art suggests, a very real call to arms.

    Of course, as a vegan, I could start to complain, tongue only partly in cheek, about the glorification of animal slaughter in the picture. And as strongly as I have defended Amanda, and as much as I admire her work, I wish she hadn’t taken as strong an anti-PETA tack as she does in the book. There’s some legitimate criticism of the text itself, not of the author.

  31. Jenny Dreadful
    Jenny Dreadful April 22, 2008 at 5:43 pm |

    I agree that what is really sad is how the voices of the immigrant women of color that BFP and Amanda wrote about have been erased by all of this. Does anyone remember them? I know that BFP and many other people do important “real life” activist work, which, to me, has always been the point of blogging. Draw attention to an issue, get people educated, and mobilize people–put them in touch with groups and resources so that we can get shit done.

    I also think it’s important for white feminists to create partnerships with WOC and work together to form a community that’s more representative of ALL women. But a white feminist writing an open letter to the white feminist community? Um, yeah.

  32. ilyka
    ilyka April 22, 2008 at 5:52 pm |

    I should have realized that by mentioning the book, it was going to start a shitstorm

    Hey, no, no! Be fair to yourself AND to the situation: Your mention didn’t “start” anything. You were trying to do a good thing. Nothing wrong with that. When some complained, you ultimately acknowledged their complaints with respect, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. Don’t blame yourself, and don’t buy into the narrative of anyone who tries to put it all on you.

    There is something wrong with characterizing the situation as “a hatchet job” and just once, just ONCE, I’d like to see a thread boss say so, because if that’s helping to avoid or prevent any “shitstorms,” then I’m Marilyn Monroe. Letting that slide sends the message that only one side has to mind its p’s and q’s here, and that message has already been received loud and clear, over and over.

    JennyDreadful, concern for the immigrant women noted. For bonus points, though, you should really point out how disrespectful this all is to the memory of Malcolm X. Christ. Vanessa! Wait up!

  33. The Message Being Sent « Off Our Pedestals

    [...] April 22, 2008 I think I’ve finally decoded it! This is what it says: [...]

  34. Astraea
    Astraea April 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm |

    It was not WOC who made every post attempting to look at larger issues into threads about Amanda Marcotte. Amanda Marcotte did a good job of that all by herself.

  35. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 6:10 pm |

    Fine. I do agree with you all about one thing — there is NO point to rehashing the same arguments about appropriation that have been laid out again and again. We’d just be repeating ourselves.

    So like Vanessa and Ilyka, I will bow out. But I leave you with this to consider:

    In the aftermath of this whole debacle, many women of color have either renounced feminism entirely or are just one more incident away from doing so. The list of names is looong. It grows steadily longer. And it doesn’t matter how much you may *think* you support women of color; you can’t self-proclaim yourself an ally. That’s for the oppressed group to decide.

    I think we all know what they have decided. Bye now.

  36. Angiportus
    Angiportus April 22, 2008 at 6:18 pm |

    I got the book. It’s great. I hope Amanda is still looking in here because I can’t get her blog to load properly (ongoing computer nonsense.)
    Only complaint I had about it is it could have been longer! And maybe some of the things left out were things that could be better handled by other people than her, people who should do their own books. I haven’t followed this controversy real well but what Jill just said makes a lot of sense.

  37. Eric, Rejector of Memes
    Eric, Rejector of Memes April 22, 2008 at 6:23 pm |

    Damn, nice circular firing squad you guys got going here.

    Maybe you, as a group, should trying winning a couple battles before stabbing each other in the back. What, are you taking lessons from the Democratic Party?

  38. littlem
    littlem April 22, 2008 at 6:25 pm |

    First, what Ico said. And keeps saying. And keeps saying.

    Secondly, what Jenny Dreadful said. I’ll repeat it – however “Republican” a tactic that may be *smirk* – since very little else that’s said here other than “let’s sweep it under the rug” doesn’t seem to be getting through:

    I also think it’s important for white feminists to create partnerships with WOC and work together to form a community that’s more representative of ALL women. But a white feminist writing an open letter to the white feminist community? Um, yeah.

    What was it Dr. Free Ride said?

    Oh, yes:

    White liberal feminists (at least the “important” ones in the blogospheric hierarchies) have made themselves into Lucy, swearing up and down that this time they won’t be snatching the football away before it can be kicked.

    Third, those of you who continue to insist that “plagiarism” constitutes word-for-word copying, please check the definition of “alleged infringement” under Title 17 U.S.C. *rolleyes*

    Fourth, there has to be some sort of linguistic theory underlying the “white” feminists — and particularly “white” womens’ — insistence that suppression and denial that an uncomfortable issue exists constitutes “playing nice” and “putting an issue behind us/them”. I’m going to look into it.

    And finally:

    Those of you who call yourselves scholars and attempt to continue to confuse the issue of “plagiarism” with the concept of “cultural appropriation”, STOP IT.

    JUST STOP IT.

    The intellectual sloppiness and laziness are not worthy of you. Personally, I’d be embarrassed. But, as it’s been clearly pointed out here ad nauseam, even though I’m “part white”, you’re not me.

  39. Thomas, TSID
    Thomas, TSID April 22, 2008 at 6:26 pm |

    When all of us white folks say that we want to focus on the macro issue instead of any one person’s conduct, if that means anything we have to actually do it. We have to actually do things that create more space for marginalized and silenced women to tell their stories and talk about their work. That’s not an accusation. That’s a reminder; as much to myself as anyone else.

  40. Sickle
    Sickle April 22, 2008 at 6:36 pm |

    I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

    I’m with you there. I, too, think Amanda’s work and writing is pretty stellar. I, too, do not believe Amanda appropriated or plagiarized. I felt bad for many of the unfounded accusations hurled her way.

    That said, Amanda could have handled that situation any number of ways. First and foremost, she could have located her privilege long enough to empathize with her accusers. Perhaps she couldn’t have done that right away, but eventually that should have happened.

    I read a lot of these threads on numerous blogs. In each and every one, the conversation was derailed away from what began as productive discussions (see Holly’s thread in particular, or the recent thread at Amptoons) by either Amanda herself, or her (white, male) defenders, particularly Hugo but also PAMark to a lesser extent. They extended no empathy to BfP or any of the other WoC bloggers. And they repeatedly trampled on the posts of bloggers who sought healing in the maelstrom.

    It’s that behavior that has been devastating and divisive. It’s been pointed out many times. And no one has answered for it. This continuing behavior has allowed the wrong-headed “Amanda STOLE from WOC” crowd all the ammunition they need to continue the assault.

    Unfortunately, there are really only two people who can end this controversy once and for all. BFP, and Amanda. BFP’s been pretty classy about this whole thing, in contrast to Amanda’s behavior (though I can’t say the same for some of BFP’s allies). I think Amanda needs to address this, because I don’t think it’s going away.

  41. coco
    coco April 22, 2008 at 6:39 pm |

    projects being developed by women of color are worth highlighting on this blog as well:

    nubian at blackademic is screening exerpts from her film still black: a portrait of black transmen about queer trans racial issues in chicago.

  42. Cara
    Cara April 22, 2008 at 6:49 pm |

    I don’t think that much at all is going to be gained in this thread, so I don’t think that anything will be gained (either for me or anyone else here) by my participating in it. But as someone who has taken a stance on the issue, I did want to say (a very genuine) thank you to Jill for this clarification:

    Also, I should be clear: This post was mine and mine alone, and the other Feministe bloggers had nothing to do with it. So if you need to question my decision-making, that’s fine, but don’t bring the other bloggers into it.

    Of course, none the things that any of us say are necessarily a reflection of how the others feel. But a lot of the time, people do take it that way.

    I also wanted to point out for everyone calling for a “broader” or “bigger” discussion that it’s very, very difficult to do those things when the “narrower” or “smaller” issue hasn’t yet been resolved.

    That is all.

  43. little light
    little light April 22, 2008 at 7:09 pm |

    I’m sorry for the position that you’re in, Jill.

    I’m going to do my best to make sure that’s all I say here.

  44. little light
    little light April 22, 2008 at 7:09 pm |

    I’m sorry for the position that you’re in, Jill.

    I’m going to do my best to make sure that’s all I say here.

  45. littlem
    littlem April 22, 2008 at 7:13 pm |

    1.

    I also wanted to point out for everyone calling for a “broader” or “bigger” discussion that it’s very, ver1.
    I also wanted to point out for everyone calling for a “broader” or “bigger” discussion that it’s very, very difficult to do those things when the “narrower” or “smaller” issue hasn’t yet been resolved.

    2.

    In each and every one, the conversation was derailed away from what began as productive discussions (see Holly’s thread in particular, or the recent thread at Amptoons) by either Amanda herself, or her (white, male) defenders, particularly Hugo but also PAMark to a lesser extent. They extended no empathy to BfP or any of the other WoC bloggers. And they repeatedly trampled on the posts of bloggers who sought healing in the maelstrom.

    It’s that behavior that has been devastating and divisive. It’s been pointed out many times. And no one has answered for it.

    1.

    I also wanted to point out for everyone calling for a “broader” or “bigger” discussion that it’s very, very difficult to do those things when the “narrower” or “smaller” issue hasn’t yet been resolved.

    2.

    In each and every one, the conversation was derailed away from what began as productive discussions (see Holly’s thread in particular, or the recent thread at Amptoons) by either Amanda herself, or her (white, male) defenders, particularly Hugo but also PAMark to a lesser extent. They extended no empathy to BfP or any of the other WoC bloggers. And they repeatedly trampled on the posts of bloggers who sought healing in the maelstrom.

    It’s that behavior that has been devastating and divisive. It’s been pointed out many times. And no one has answered for it.

    y difficult to do those things when the “narrower” or “smaller” issue hasn’t yet been resolved.

    2.

    In each and every one, the conversation was derailed away from what began as productive discussions (see Holly’s thread in particular, or the recent thread at Amptoons) by either Amanda herself, or her (white, male) defenders, particularly Hugo but also PAMark to a lesser extent. They extended no empathy to BfP or any of the other WoC bloggers. And they repeatedly trampled on the posts of bloggers who sought healing in the maelstrom.

    It’s that behavior that has been devastating and divisive. It’s been pointed out many times. And no one has answered for it.

    Perhaps if it’s repeated enough times, SOMEONE will acknowledge it.

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller??

    Ohhh, I get it! It’s denial! No incident happens unless we say it happemed! If we “put it behind us” and no one takes responsibility for it or makes any attempts to rectify the problem, we can pretend it didn’t happen! A *gasp* *shudder* REPUBLICAN HATER TACTIC! Wow! Watch it go!

    Here, everyone have some more Irony-flavored Kool-Aid.

  46. littlem
    littlem April 22, 2008 at 7:16 pm |

    Well, I certainly made a mess of the HTML there. And for some reason, my browser won’t let me edit.

    Just read what Cara said. Until it sinks in.

    [link fixed. -- z.]

  47. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 7:25 pm |

    I also wanted to point out for everyone calling for a “broader” or “bigger” discussion that it’s very, very difficult to do those things when the “narrower” or “smaller” issue hasn’t yet been resolved.

    What Cara said. Because see, here’s the thing about the “macro” issue. It’s veeeery easy to say, “We’ll do better next time.” It’s not difficult at all to try to have a broader discussion, to talk in vague terms about inclusion and anti-racism and equality and so forth. Obviously we can all do that. It’s part of the fabric of feminism. We’ve always been able to *talk* about how we’re going to improve and help women of color.

    But when a specific issue comes up we shy away from it and rely on the same old refrain: “Let’s learn from this to talk about the bigger picture.” Without addressing the smaller picture that is tearing up the blogosphere.

    Blackamazon made a list of WoC bloggers who are either taking breaks from feminism or quitting in some vein:

    BFP, Vanessa, Sudy, Sylvia, herself.

    The list of apologies made or repercussions for white feminist authors or addendums/retractions to articles? 0

    Yes, there is a problem with this picture.

  48. Crys T
    Crys T April 22, 2008 at 7:39 pm |

    Once again, there’s a need to point out that while Amanda’s DEFENDERS insistently bleat on about how “Amanda didn’t plagiarise!!!!!” no one had in fact accused her of that until they themselves hauled that term into the conflict. That was not the original charge at all. And I’m sick of their conflating the criticisms originally made by BFP and others with accusations of plagiarism. It’s a shitty, shitty tactic and I really wish that none of us would engage with them on it.

    Amanda: you fucked up. You are still fucking up. Your head has swelled to truly monstrous proportions and every time you called out for anything these days, instead of listening, you take the line that your critics are attacking you out of jealousy or simple spite. Bullshit. You may fondly imagine that the rest of us are hungry for the sort of fame you crave, but you’re wrong. And the fact that you can’t see that says a fuck of a lot more about you than about any of your critics.

    HOW THE FUCK IS ANY OF THIS BEHAVIOUR IN ANY WAY FEMINIST? How is having two white males rushing in to beat back the the Evil Brown Women who dare to talk back to the Fair White Princess in any way feminist or progressive? How is having a little white girl who rarely, if ever, shows herself in most of these forums unless it’s to come to the defend the honour of white people against attacks by the mean anti-racists even basic human decency? How has having a hierarchy based on who’s got the most media attention become acceptable to any feminist? How the bloody fuck does any woman claim to be a feminist then turn around and sneer that anyone who crosses her only does so out of jealousy and spite? How does any woman claiming to be a feminist stand by while a significant portion of the feminist community implodes BECAUSE OF HER ACTIONS and offer nothing but a half-assed conspiracy theory about how everyone is about to sabotage her career?

    Amanda, I’m wondering if you’ve even bothered to do a little Googling on this whole debacle to actually see how it’s playing out. I have and I can tell you that although you have a handful of supporters, the people who are angry or hurt or disillusioned far, far outnumber them. And if almost everyone in your own community is telling you that you’re seriously fucking up, it’s time to stop playing star, get the fuck over yourself and listen.

  49. littlem
    littlem April 22, 2008 at 7:47 pm |

    But when a specific issue comes up we shy away from it and rely on the same old refrain: “Let’s learn from this to talk about the bigger picture.” Without addressing the smaller picture that is tearing up the blogosphere.

    What Ico said. Again.

    What Ico said. Again.

    What Ico said. Again.

    What some people seem to be missing — although IMHO the innocent act is just that, an act — is that the smaller picture is conduct emblematic of precisely that “bigger ” conduct which you purport to condemn going forward.

    So if you let the “smaller” conduct just slide without any community urging to correct it, the message you send is that
    – the previous conduct was OK.
    – conduct like it will continue to be OK.
    – therefore anything you say about future conduct like it NOT being OK is an out and out, inconsistent, hypocritical lie.

    I am not a rocket scientist, and this is perfectly clear to me. Blindingly obvious, in fact.

    Without alleging any “evil” motives (*gasp* Republican tactic), why do the “mainstream” feminists appear to be missing this — and have been for the entire time this is going on — en masse??

  50. Charity
    Charity April 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm |

    You know, you guys should check the book out. I promote BFP’s blog in it. You know, because I was so attempting to steal from her and “erase” her that I actually tried to drive a new audience to her blog.

    Jill, I’m wondering if statements like this are some of the things you “challenge” Amanda on, given, for example, that you don’t believe she appropriated…I’m at least glad you realize there are other aspects of behavior to be challenged.

  51. Charity
    Charity April 22, 2008 at 8:21 pm |

    Also,

    As hard as this seems for people to understand, Amanda didn’t get her subject matter on her article from BFP. I know, I was around when she conceived of it.

    Was that in March 2008, when white people discovered immigrant women? (Props to, I believe, Sickle, for the original.)

  52. Rebecca
    Rebecca April 22, 2008 at 9:36 pm |

    I also have a bit of a problem with this book being roundly promoted on the white feminist Big Blogs – and it’s not just because of the recent controversy surrounding its author.

    When the cover for this book first came out, it featured a large, dark-skinned gorilla menacing a poor little white lady. It was a profoundly racist image, and one that predates any of Amanda’s recent antics. And when she was called on it, did she say “oh god, how did I miss that?” No. She pulled the exact same antics as she did this time around – “I knew you people would find something to complain about.”

    Unequivocally promoting this book helps to gloss over the long history of its author being involved in clueless (but no less obscene) racist behaviour.

  53. Astraea
    Astraea April 22, 2008 at 10:02 pm |

    Jill, I have a lot of respect for you and your work on Feministe. But I have a lot of trouble with suggestions that it’s not appropriate to discuss Amanda’s role in this situation in response to a post promoting Amanda’s book.

    Whether she likes it or not, she’s part of the conversation. Her responses have escalated the situation. She’s been rude, condescending and, yes, racist. We wouldn’t hesitate to call out a male feminist ally if he didn’t acknowledge his male privilege. It should be no different with racism.

  54. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 22, 2008 at 10:09 pm |

    As hard as this seems for people to understand, Amanda didn’t get her subject matter on her article from BFP. I know, I was around when she conceived of it.

    Focusing on whether she got the subject matter from BFP or not is beside the point. She got it from someone but no one gets credit – it was all her work alone, at least that’s the impression you get from reading her article.

    You shouldn’t have to shift goalposts and refocus the discussion to defend Amanda. If you do have to, why?

  55. littlem
    littlem April 22, 2008 at 10:21 pm |

    It’s nice to see that Rebecca and Astraea get it.

    If they have a sufficient percentage of “white” in their ethnic background, they might even be heard!

    I expected no better from Amanda. This is a woman who
    – was exceedingly dismissive about her first racist book cover and “didn’t see” the problem with a similar image appearing on the cover of Vogue
    (not even when it was discussed on this blog! which has credibility ’cause it has lots of “white enough” writers!)
    – dismissed Rush Limbaugh’s calling a Congresswoman a pickaninny (anyone remember Cynthia McKinney and her hair?) on the air as a “First Amendment issue”

    But in the face of this

    Unequivocally promoting this book helps to gloss over the long history of its author being involved in clueless (but no less obscene) racist behaviour.

    and this

    Whether she likes it or not, she’s part of the conversation. Her responses have escalated the situation. She’s been rude, condescending and, yes, racist.

    I have to say I expected better from Feministe.

    Didn’t anyone else?

  56. littlem
    littlem April 22, 2008 at 10:30 pm |

    Oh – and if anyone is thinking about another Mainstream Feminist Greek Chorus round of
    “What Do You Want Us to Dooooooo?”

    Here are some ideas to get you started

    … I’ve seen a WIDE variety of suggestions by women of color regarding what other mainstream feminists could encourage ” ” to do to make things right, ranging from the mild (acknowledge that others have more expertise with the subject by linking to them in the Alternet article; acknowledge Nina Perales’ work as having contributed to her thoughts on the subject) and probably at least a dozen more in-between

    in case anyone is having yet another small — or massive — memory lapse about EVER having heard ANY of them before.

  57. Julia99
    Julia99 April 22, 2008 at 10:34 pm |

    How is having two white males rushing in to beat back the the Evil Brown Women who dare to talk back to the Fair White Princess in any way feminist or progressive.

    You know, one of the things that’s been bothering me to no end is how some people seem to be assuming that all black feminist feel a certain way because certain black feminist feel a certain way. It’s the same way I feel when white people apologize to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton when they say something they shouldn’t – like those two are the Presidents of Black People. Since when did black feminist bloggers become the Presidents of Black Feminists? Or Black Progressives? ‘Cause I don’t remember voting. And, after reading some of the nasty things written about Amanda Marcotte – including this bit I quoted – I can’t say I want them representing my opinions.

  58. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 22, 2008 at 10:35 pm |

    this hatchet job.

    Stay classy, marc. *eyeroll*

  59. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 10:42 pm |

    I really don’t see what is so hard to get about this whole issue. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If the issue concerned a bunch of women and men arguing over whether something were sexist or not, there would be no question of who was right. When you have a group of men ganging up and claiming that the women in the room are being oversensitive and irrational and seeing sexism where there is none (we have all been in this room before, I think), we all KNOW the men are full of bullshit. It is an egregious show of male privilege.

    So when all the WoC in the blogosphere are telling us that there is a problem — in fact, when you have some committing blogicide over it — I mean, how much more clear can it get? We are FEMINISTS. We should know what oppression feels like. Why do we suck so bad at recognizing it when it’s not happening to us?

  60. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 10:48 pm |

    Also, the fact that so many women of color have already thrown up their hands and withdrawn from this discussion and/or feminism itself (as noted by BlackAmazon) is really depressing. It should be disheartening and eye-opening to everyone here. This whole situation could have been prevented, could have been remedied, could have been fixed.

    It still could be, if we cared enough.

    But it won’t be.

  61. W. Kiernan
    W. Kiernan April 22, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    I actually clicked through and read the original cause celebre. I thought people did all this writing and blogging to get the feminist ideas out there. I thought the ideas were the big deal. Now you are accused of “intellectual theft” if you succeed in getting an article published that puts the ideas out in front of a large audience, when somebody else wrote something earlier discussing the same ideas. Sounds like a great way to ensure that the creeps who hate and fight everything that BFP and Marcotte believe in in common end up the winners.

    Just like this moronic Dem primary looks like a combined effort to roll out the red carpet from that moron McCain’s limousine right up to the front door of the White House. I have been paying attention to presidential campaigns since Carter vs. Ford, and I’ve never yet seen any Democratic candidate and his supporters verbally abuse the Republican opponent the way the two Dem camps are clawing at one another this year. I despair.

  62. BLackamazon
    BLackamazon April 22, 2008 at 10:57 pm |

    AAnd i am ONLY ONLY coming into say this cause it is officially beyond my last DAMN nerve.

    PLease while everyone is self reflecting , making sides and generally contemplating deeply the content s of their own labels.

    BUT EVERY SINGLE WOC BFP BEING PRIMARY has SAID OUT RIGHT THAT THEY DO NOT WISH TO BE CONSIDERED THE VOICE OF WOC

    or even called for anything ANYTHING but some kind of ANY KIND OF CONSIDERATION OF BFP

    oh wiat if anybody was paying an attention most of the original players got up and quit but

    while everyone tangles over what they cna do to save /help/ or aid us

    please lets not all addres show it has been actively destructive and dangerous and in hospitable for us to TALK AT ALL

    and really it’s appreciated the consideration and “fairness” place don protecting the BASIC FACTS OF WHO SAID WHAT AND OUR REPUTATIONS with the same gusto that goes into making narry a strong word about Amanda goes unchallenged

    or that teh conisderation of what ANY OF THE ORIGINAL PEOPEL WHO WERE AND ARE STILL BEING HURT IS even mentioned in teh damn near trip and fall fest over who and how white women can do better with their benevolent power

  63. littlem
    littlem April 22, 2008 at 10:57 pm |

    Jill, I’m wondering if statements like this are some of the things you “challenge” Amanda on, given, for example, that you don’t believe she appropriated…I’m at least glad you realize there are other aspects of behavior to be challenged.

    Charity, please don’t confuse “plagiarism” – or infringement, for that matter, where the standard of behavior is wider under Title 17 U.S.C. — with “appropriation”.

    It’s sloppy analysis, and the confusion is fuel for those who would deliberately obfuscate the issue.

    And I’m sick of their conflating the criticisms originally made by BFP and others with accusations of plagiarism. It’s a shitty, shitty tactic and I really wish that none of us would engage with them on it.

    Well, Crys T., it’s a Republican fascist tactic when women of color(s) do it, apparently.

    When mainstream feminists do it, it’s more like “Regressive Progressive I Don’t Know What I’m Doing But I Will Collapse With the Vapors if Anyone Dares to Call Me On It” Pseudo-Feminism. But gosh darn, it’s effective!

    Daisy does a great breakdown of cultural appropriation here

    And any mainstream feminists wondering why, despite the fragile delicate womanhood pleas for it to be “put behind us”, this issue just doesn’t want to die?

    It’s because by
    – refusing to collectively call out your colleague on her omissions,
    – failing to actively encourage her to credit her sources, and
    – continuing to support her despite her failure,

    the message you’re communicating is that you’re condoning her racist behavior.

  64. Dr. Free-Ride
    Dr. Free-Ride April 22, 2008 at 11:02 pm |

    I daresay if the whole point were simply “to get the feminist ideas out there”, the folks doing all this blogging and writing would all be doing it anonymously. Moreover, in the service of the ideas themselves they would take every opportunity to point to other places those same ideas were bubbling up or being forcefully advocated. They would be sharing the stage with a whole chorus of proponents of those ideas.

    That’s not what’s happening, is it?

    So, given that it’s not, are you going to get snippy with the people who are arguing that those profiting off the dissemination of the ideas ought at the very least to acknowledge (even if after the fact) the other forceful advocates of those ideas, or with the people who’ve decided that making a “career” out of spreading those ideas might mean playing rough with their perceived competition?

  65. Tiffany in Houston
    Tiffany in Houston April 22, 2008 at 11:13 pm |

    You know, I am more of a lurker than commenter on the white feminist blogs I read such as Feministe, Pandagon and on occasion Feministing. I have watched Amanda Marcotte as she flubbed and fucked up her way thru burka-gate, racist book cover-gate and now appropriation-gate. I’m not a blogger so I’m not hating. I’m not trying to get put on for a book deal. But all these charades remind me of something my grandma used to say: Be careful when you are dealing with white folks, because one day they wake up and realize they’re white and you ain’t. Truer words have never been spoken.

    This is why this 34 year old black woman doesn’t call herself a feminist.

    When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted.

    Once again, I’ve been proven correct.

  66. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm |

    “Now you’re just being a jerk.”

    As opposed to how everyone is treating her? I imagine it’s kind of hard to have so much shit said about you and from so many corners, when you are just one person having to protect your name and reputation all on your own. As I read this, I would hate to be in AM’s shoes.

    When she tries to defend herself and explains that she didn’t link to bfp because she didn’t get the ‘idea’ to write this article from bfp or wasn’t quoting or referencing bfp, she is told she is making it all about herself, her reputation and career, when really it’s all about the big picture and can’t she just stop being so self-centered and stop answering the allegations against her specifically.

    But when everyone wants to keep piling on her in an unrelated thread about her new book, then it becomes convenient to say the issue was never about the big picture so much as about everyone needing to join together to “correct” one person in order to do something about the big picture (is it correcting her to continue to say she appropriated and stole, and when she maintains she did not, to say she should look at the big picture?). There is no evidence of plagiarism or any way that WE the READERS can know which news articles and books and speakers and life experiences and blogs all converged in her brain when she sat down and wrote an article, any article, so how can we “correct” her? She linked to the news pieces she was commenting on. Aren’t those her direct sources? As she’s said, she’s linked to bfp before and has also mentioned her in the book, so she clearly has no problem linking to her.

    Is she now damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t? Either way she is “corrected” by someone:

    she’s ignoring OR she’s stealing

    this is about the big picture, she should quit being so self-centered OR this is about her personally and her refusal to accept someone else’s characterization of her writing

    I mean, one of the first comments in this thread said her book is racist. Have they read it to reach that conclusion? Is that really fair? Or is this more public “correcting?”

    And yes, as someone above just said, this is not about all radical woc bloggers vs white feminist bloggers. What of the woc bloggers who have said they felt silenced by being lumped into a either/or race characterization of this whole blowup? What of the white bloggers who have posted asking for AM to apologize / “stop fucking up”?

  67. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm |

    Tiffany, I sign on to everything you just said. Hope your book promotion went well, Amanda.

  68. Ico
    Ico April 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm |

    Sylvia/M, never commented to you directly but I have to say after having read the threads around this issue, I’m in awe of your writing and your insight and I think you are awesome.

    As for the rest of you (meaning my fellow white “feminists”), I am about to throw my hands up. Tiffany in Houston just said it better than I ever could. IS NO ONE LISTENING? I mean for Chrissakes, how many? How many people have to say it? How many voices will we consistently ignore?

  69. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 22, 2008 at 11:39 pm |

    And the only reason people got upset at all was because of a false claim of plagiarism.

    So disproving one tiny piece of criticism means that ALL criticism is without merit? Is that how Amanda claimed her “get out of racism free” card?

  70. I hereby declare shenanigans on the entire feminist blogosphere « I Need to Calm Down

    [...] Posted by Vox on 22 April 2008 Everybody, get your brooms. [...]

  71. Cizungu
    Cizungu April 23, 2008 at 12:46 am |

    Whether she likes it or not, she’s part of the conversation. Her responses have escalated the situation. She’s been rude, condescending and, yes, racist. We wouldn’t hesitate to call out a male feminist ally if he didn’t acknowledge his male privilege.

    Yes, it’s appalling. I was initially undecided about this whole thing, but Amanda’s response has been quite the eye-opener. You’re absolutely right to compare it to the behavior of sexist men, because it’s very similar: decrying the “hate”, making one’s hurt feelings the main issue, dismissing the other position out of hand, and taking refuge in smug condescension to avoid having to acknowledge even the smallest complaint . A big part of it is defensiveness, but for how long does a feminist let a man cling to his defensive sentiments and lash out before calling him on his bullshit? It’s privilege staring you in the face in both cases.

    And this blog, and feminists blogs in general, have been quite clear in their denunciation of other bloggers’ sexism, regardless of the bloggers’ importance or standing. Hell, the misogynistic tendencies of the Daily Kos blog are proverbial in the feminist blogosphere (makes an Obama supporter cringe, it truly does). But here we have comment after comment of inflammatory baiting, and instead of a clear denunciation of that behavior that could help change it, we get endless hedging. Or worse, calls for the women of color to calm down, while Amanda, who has not budged one bit from her conspiracy-mongering shtick, and almost never responds directly to her critics but instead flames away with no intention of helping people “move forward” etc., is “understandably defensive”. Clearly, one attitude is considered unacceptable, while the other one gets a pass. And then you get entire threads full of repulsive comments.

    So the situation is still ongoing. But instead of addressing it, instead of resolving the matter at hand, the would-be arbiters of this mess make abstract promises about doing better in the future, while the injunction to “move forward” is quickly brought forth to smother all the unpleasantness.

  72. Cizungu
    Cizungu April 23, 2008 at 12:52 am |

    Oh shit! I didn’t read littlem’s comment #71, which is saying the same thing. Ahem, talk about appropriation…

    What littlem said in comment #71.

  73. Radfem
    Radfem April 23, 2008 at 12:53 am |

    Someone sent me the book for some reason and asked me to review it. I’m not sure why b/c I’m not even a feminist. I’ve only made it to about page 25. If this is what feminism is about, then I don’t know how many women are going to feel it’s relevant to their lives. But then oh right, books by women of color authors aren’t commercial viable says Seal Press’ talking head. I’ve got recent published books listed for both Seal Press and South End Press (and I have a great book in hand from that company) and the latter just seems like a better list, based on the titles and some of the authors. Seal Press? Yawn, at best.

    When the cover for this book first came out, it featured a large, dark-skinned gorilla menacing a poor little white lady. It was a profoundly racist image, and one that predates any of Amanda’s recent antics. And when she was called on it, did she say “oh god, how did I miss that?” No. She pulled the exact same antics as she did this time around – “I knew you people would find something to complain about.”

    Have you seen the artwork that made it into the book? I really hope I’m misinterpreting the pictures on pages 81, 115 and 205 wrong. I think the “jungle” motif survived the loss of the original cover design.

    Nothing about “immigrants” in this book so far. But again, I’m only on page 30.

    It reminds me of Jessica Valenti’s book? Though here there are pictures of darker skinned natives dressed up slinging spears and arrows at the fair-haired and skinned heroine. What are they representing? And the only woman is the blonde woman who’s rescuing the White man from the dark-skinned natives which I guess is supposed to be some sort of progress for women?

    I think I missed a lot of the discussions on the original book cover, but I have to say these drawings that did make it in make me cringe.

  74. Ico
    Ico April 23, 2008 at 1:18 am |

    Oh good lord. I really hope you are kidding about those pictures, Radfem.

    [screams into the void] WHY IS THIS BOOK BEING PROMOTED??

  75. Ico
    Ico April 23, 2008 at 1:34 am |

    Oh shit! I didn’t read littlem’s comment #71, which is saying the same thing. Ahem, talk about appropriation…

    What littlem said in comment #71.

    And has been saying throughout. :D Poor littlem has been repeating herself over and over again in this thread trying to hammer in the point, but I don’t think it’s getting through.

    Many many many many many people, many eloquent people — Sylvie and BA among others — have spoken both in regard to this individual issue and in the larger context of the pattern of appropriation/silencing/dismissal. But the white privilege is like an impregnable wall, and behind it people are deaf.

  76. Radfem
    Radfem April 23, 2008 at 1:36 am |

    Well, page 81 has the blonde heroine in the front rescuing the White man tied to a stake in a pit with two lions, male and female, and in the background are some figures that are darker colored than the White man, woman and lions with spears, shields, looks like some headgear. Gender, not certain. They look like they’re either dancing or about to jump into the pit where the White man is tied up.

    Page 115 has White woman swinging over alligator in swamp, but an arrow pierces her vine of transport and there’s more “natives” with long shields and spears and headdress in the background. A White man in pants and shirt holds a handgun pointed in their direction.

    Pg. 205 has White woman swinging on vine knocking over dark-skinned “native” in some form of dress with a long knife or weapon on his belt standing near a hut. He’s wearing a mask with facial like features with some sort of headress. There’s other similarly dressed individuals in the background. I have no idea what they’re doing. A White man is lying on the ground apparently about to be harmed by the “native” in the foreground. It’s ironically introducing a chapter on “resources”.

    Some people and I suppose feminists might go, look the woman’s rescuing the man, how empowering! Which on one level, okay, a lot of times, it’s the women who is passive and rescued but what is the man being rescued from? What do the “natives” (for want of a better term b/c these appear similar to stereotypes used a lot involving indiginous peoples in various places) But to me, this shows the tremendous sense of how out of touch to the point of being downright insensitive that feminists can be. I don’t know what was intended to be depicted but the pictures make me very uncomfortable.

    And our society raises people to believe that this is supposed to be entertaining and that if it’s not, the people it offends are told to lighten up, they’re taking it too seriously, they’ll find anything to criticize and so forth. I think I’m noticing doesn’t sound like a new issue at all. I imagine many of the same concerns and criticism were raised during the discussion of the original book cover. Using animals to depict people of color is dehumanizing, but even though the depictions of these natives are technically human, they’re dehumanizing in my opinion too, not to mention like the “gorilla” supposed to represent the villains of feminism (which is represented by the White woman of course). Even the White man while needing to be rescued by the woman is not seen as the villain of feminsm which makes me think that White women align themselves by race without doing anything but blaming other women for doing the same thing).

  77. littlem
    littlem April 23, 2008 at 2:09 am |

    littlem has been repeating herself over and over again

    Heh. It’s a Republican fascist tactic. ;-)

    Cizungu, I’m going to take a wild stab and posit that if you are whiter than me — I’m only part white, you see — someone in a position to take action on the issue (cf., “What Are We Supposed to Dooooo?”) will hear you, even if they can’t, or won’t, hear me.

    And Ico, just to look at your blog and the people who have linked to it — who themselves have audiences — tell me that awareness on the issue is spreading, however slowly.

    And the more people that are aware of the issue, the more people there are who can make up their own minds about what really happened (as opposed to being dictated to by Most High Purported Majorsphere Mainstream Feminists of Record, and I don’t know about you, but I haven’t even gotten around to chatting with my traditional journalist friends yet — after all, it’s not a new issue, just the most recent manifestation of a very old one) — and what should happen next.

    That’s why you, and all the other people who are writing about the issue, are so important.

    Call me a bubbleheaded optimist.

    (As for Radfem‘s most recent news, I have no comment, other than what I’ve already said about not being a bit surprised.)

  78. littlem
    littlem April 23, 2008 at 2:26 am |

    Also, Cizungu, I think it’s kind of significant that you came to the conclusion you came to, arguably without having read what I had to say about the subject.

    I think it demonstrates that the conclusions you drew are arguably quite reasonable as to
    1) what happened and
    2) how to proceed.

    And in any event, when you read that someone had reached a similar conclusion prior to you — and that you might have gleaned the thoughts somewhere in the blogosphere because they’d been writing about it for a while prior — you took the time to credit a possible source.

    Hope it wasn’t too painful. ;-)

  79. A.
    A. April 23, 2008 at 2:52 am |

    As a woman of color, I have finally gotten my reason to cut my rope from “The White Woman’s Feminism.”

    Nothing but lies and opportunists. It makes you look awfully good when you are being “charitable” enough to act like you give a shit about WoC having a voice in the blogosphere, and chastising one of those in your ranks for having done so. But the whole damn time, the lot of you just have been keeping your fingers crossed behind your backs, conspiring, and using that white privilege to your advantage.

    Now I see The Feminist Movement for what it is – essentially, white women fighting for scraps at the white patriarchy’s table, while stepping on the backs of WoC for doing so.

    Congratulations on failing so many of us, Feminist movement. You have shown and solidified why there are so many WoC that distance themselves so far away from this movement.

    This is why this 34 year old black woman doesn’t call herself a feminist.

    When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted.

    Once again, I’ve been proven correct.

    Amen to this. I’m so sick of the lies and fucking hypocrisy that foul the air of feminism as if something just took a big shit.

  80. Radfem
    Radfem April 23, 2008 at 3:09 am |

    littlem and Ico, I’m not kidding. I tried to explain further about the pictures but my comment’s still in moderation since 1:36 a.m. which is fine because people can see them for themselves and decide for themselves what they think. But the pictures did bother me and it made me doubt further the relevence of feminism for many women. Maybe I’m the only one they bothered and people will think I am taking it too seriously. If that’s the case, I can live with that.

  81. Micole
    Micole April 23, 2008 at 3:56 am |

    But I also hope that I’m clear when I say that my promotion of her book does mean that I think everything that happened this month was totally fine, or that I’m taking Amanda’s “side.” I don’t think Amanda appropriated or plagiarized; but that doesn’t mean that I’m not hearing or respecting the people who think otherwise. A lot of people who I respect greatly have raised issues with the way white feminists have handled things. This is not an attempt to silence them, or to even express disagreement. Perhaps I’m too optimistic in thinking that I can support the voices that challenge the workings of white feminism and also support the work of a white feminist who has been challenged.

    Exactly what does “respecting the people who think otherwise” mean to you? Exactly how are you are supporting the voices of women of color by pointing out the publication of a book by a woman many of them feel has appropriated their work? Did I miss your promotion of recent books by women of color?

    As far as I can tell, this “respect” consists of repeatedly saying you think they’re wrong, repeatedly ignoring their points, and repeatedly ignoring and failing to engage with the personal snipes Marcotte makes about BfP in particular and WOC bloggers in general or to reprove even notice the repeated attacks on women of color made by white male “feminists”.

    How much like respect would that feel to *you*?

  82. Crys T
    Crys T April 23, 2008 at 4:38 am |

    Wow, Radfem. Just wow.

    But to A’s defenders, any criticism of those drawings is just going to be another bad faith, Republican fascist (littlem:71, 84*) argument put forth in order to bring down the woman we all secretly want to be.

    Speaking of littlem: Yeah, I get what you’re saying. I’m just really, really frustrated because as long as the whole “plagiarism” question (which they first brought up, dammit!) is the centre of this argument, A & her buddies can focus exclusively on that and refuse to engage with the issues BFP originally brought up (yeah, those “wider issues” that they’re so keen to have us all concentrating on….as long as none of their own actions are exempt from criticism).

    Blackamazon*: please lets not all addres show it has been actively destructive and dangerous and in hospitable for us to TALK AT ALL

    I think that this is incredibly important at this point. I think it’s the critical point. The fact that at this point in time, someone like Amanda cannot even be challenged. Because if she is, the people who suffer the most are going to be those who challenge her. I already know that within a couple of months, the dominant narrative of this whole episode is going to be how a no-talent got above her station and a load of jealous harpies egged her on.

    I mean, just look at the tale Amanda’s boyfriend is trying to spin above: she wasn’t influence by anyone else. He knows this cos “he was there” when she got her idea. Because of course he could tell that, despite the fact that she has readily admitted to having previously read more than one noted WOC writer/theorist on this issue, to Marc it’s blatantly obvious that those writings could no way, no how have influenced her. Cos she’s Amanda. Or something. I have to wonder how ones thought processes have to work in order to make any of that the least bit plausible.

    And Amanda herself: she’s free to spin this into a conspiracy against her career while refusing to engage with any of the major points being raised, or in any way acknowleding the several accusations of racist behaviour she’s had in the past year or so. And her friends give her a free pass on this. The real problem to them is how mean and uncivil the rest of us are being. Meanwhile, huge chunks of the feminist community are fragmenting because many women are now feeling unsafe and unvalued in it.

    Tiffany*: When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted.

    This about says it all. I get it entirely, because this is the way I feel about men who call themselves pro-feminist: it doesn’t matter how much they claim to be on your side, when it really comes down to the crunch they will let you down. And we’re seeing this in action with a large number of white so-called feminists here and now. It doesn’t matter how much pain has been caused by racist actions, what truly matters is that people are saying mean things about Amanda.

    The entire value system in place is just horrifying. The only reason I’m still calling myself a feminist is because I refuse to allow the term to be highjacked by a load of racist, classist and otherwise privileged idiots.

    *hey this citing your sources/inspirations thing is a piece of cake!

  83. Astraea
    Astraea April 23, 2008 at 7:11 am |

    I was initially undecided about this whole thing, but Amanda’s response has been quite the eye-opener. You’re absolutely right to compare it to the behavior of sexist men, because it’s very similar: decrying the “hate”, making one’s hurt feelings the main issue, dismissing the other position out of hand, and taking refuge in smug condescension to avoid having to acknowledge even the smallest complaint . A big part of it is defensiveness, but for how long does a feminist let a man cling to his defensive sentiments and lash out before calling him on his bullshit? It’s privilege staring you in the face in both cases.

    Her response clinched it for me, too. And I haven’t said much. Then I read Cara’s post about being an ally, and realized I was being a coward. I have a teeny little blog that gets 10 hits a day and I’m barely a blip on the feminist blogs, that was my excuse. But Amanda’s responses (and many of her defenders) have made it clear that being quiet is not a neutral act.

    And damn, thanks for talking about the pictures inside, Radfem. That’s terrible. I’m glad I didn’t buy the book before.

  84. Delux
    Delux April 23, 2008 at 7:36 am |

    So this is a book for women on dealing with politically inhospitable environments?

    Does it include helpful tips for women of color dealing with ignorant, privileged, or otherwise hostile white feminists? Because I could certainly use that right now.

  85. PhysioProf
    PhysioProf April 23, 2008 at 7:45 am |

    Marcotte was intellectually lazy, and when she was made aware of her laziness she petulantly refused to rectify the situation. Deciding whether she was guilty of “appropriation” or “plagiarism” is not the only relevant inquiry.

  86. kiki
    kiki April 23, 2008 at 8:29 am |

    Clearly, women of color are supposed to stay in the kitchen and keep the damn kids quiet while the nice white ladies are having their important conversations about equality. Remember, don’t start speaking out of turn or raise your voice or you’ll be quickly excused…there’s a time and a place for your salt of the earth wisdom and charming anecdotes…now don’t you have some cooking or something to go and check on? *wink*

  87. Ico
    Ico April 23, 2008 at 9:05 am |

    So to any unbiased observer reading the comments, it would seem pretty clear that:

    a) white feminists have not done a damn thing for WoC
    b) Amanda’s privilege has been assiduously protected
    c) there have been no repercussions whatsoever to white feminists who have treated WoC like shit
    d) Amanda’s book is full of racist imagery

    So. Why. The. Fuck. is the book still being promoted? And why are we still defending Marcotte?

  88. littlem
    littlem April 23, 2008 at 9:29 am |

    Radfem, I didn’t see your full out post, but I am glad I — and as many of my other friends, including all the journalists, that I can tell — have other things to spend our money on in a recession.

    I’m out, y’all, at least on this board. I think I’ve made my point.

    Ico, I’ve emailed you.

  89. Minor Changes and Reasons for Them « Tiny Cat Pants

    [...] Here’s the moment it hit me, not just in an intellectual way, but really deep in my heart, that I was going to have to stop reading her for my own sake. [...]

  90. Tobes
    Tobes April 23, 2008 at 9:38 am |

    I support women of color on this issue but I REFUSE to support any statement like this:

    When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted

    My blog will be silent on this no longer.

    I hope many people read that so everyone knows where I stand.

  91. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 23, 2008 at 9:42 am |

    After years of dealing with the trendy appropriation of tribal traditions and accoutrements by the white feminist community, this Cherokee woman has long left the ranks of the mainstream feminist movement. Things like the Amanda Marcotte issue is not new my any means. It’s just like male CEOs in many companies who take credit for the work done by other in their company. This is the issue (if I understand the events properly, writing deadlines and mommy duties can knock me out of the info loop sometimes), that proper credit was not given to all the folks who were involved in this project.

    This is why most writers have a dedication page, where they thank everyone who played a part in the creative process of the work. Even better would have been an introduction done by someone at BFP talking about the project. If this has not been done, that is not only laziness, but also just plain dismissive. As a WoC, I do not need white women of power to stand on my shoulders to get a point across, I stand on my own feet just fine, as do the rest of my sisters (and brothers).

    Amada appears to have waltzed in and taken the glory of the harvest for something that others planted the seeds and tended to. Where I come from that’s still stealing. She make have baked the pie on her own, but with stolen ingredients, and without a thank you.

    I admit, if she did so with ignorance, as Amanda says happened, then instead of throwing out verbal attacks, would it not have made more sense to rectify the situation? Instead I see nothing but smart mouthed comments and defensive attitude. This is not a hopeless situation, if the author is just willing to make the effort to acknowledge (in more then just a minimalist fashion) the extensive work that has been done by BFP and others focused on the subject Amanda claims to be so passionate about. If this mess cannot be cleaned up, then my hope if that other learn from it so that these kinds of dehumanizing appropriations happen far less often.

  92. kiki
    kiki April 23, 2008 at 11:04 am |

    As a WoC, I do not need white women of power to stand on my shoulders to get a point across, I stand on my own feet just fine, as do the rest of my sisters (and brothers).

    Amen. And I don’t need white women’s psuedo-admiration for my “inner strength and wisdom” since what you really mean is my willingness to internalize my struggles, defer to your judgment and shut my damn pie hole all in the name of “sisterhood”. Trickle down feminism is as bankrupt as trickle down economics and the rising water is not lifting all boats…only people like Amanda’s…with the deluge drowning out the rest of our voices. I know, I know…we’re ingrates to not bask in your benevolence…When one woman is successful we all are, right? White women’s successes means more opportunities for us; in your gardens, houses, nurseries. ¡Viva la revolución!”

  93. Kathleen
    Kathleen April 23, 2008 at 11:05 am |

    Wow, those illustration descriptions sound pretty…. wow. I haven’t seen the book so maybe this is misguided, but if those illustrations are in there as described, gosh. As someone who has been intellectually “appropriated from” by male colleagues, I know how much it can make you want to give up because ultimately the argument about “but ideas are all over the place and no one really has original ideas anyway it’s all about intellectual community okaaaay?” just is impossible to gain any ground against, b/c it’s of course right but the fact is that in situations of inequality when ideas that are, yes, “out there in the zeitgeist” DO get names attached to them, those names are often male, often white, rarely female, rarely of color.

    Abandoning feminism over this is not the right response, imho — it’s not the creation of Amanda, Jill, or anybody, and is too good a thing to give up. But, yeah — between the utter refusal to hear any criticism and the reiterated pattern of race-cluelessness — something is going on here that’s not going to go away by telling people to stop being so darn touchy about it.

  94. Michael Sullivan
    Michael Sullivan April 23, 2008 at 11:07 am |

    The controversy about Amanda’s article was about something much bigger than Amanda; I ask that we keep the conversation on that level, in an attempt to make it productive.

    Wow.

    What was that odd mantra I dimly recall from that women’s studies class I took back in the 80s? something about the personal, the political… what was it?

    Oh yeah, right, “keep your petty personal crap out of politics.” That’s what it was.

  95. Hugo Schwyzer
    Hugo Schwyzer April 23, 2008 at 11:33 am |

    Here’s the original Pandagon discussion about the cover. The art is all from the 1950s comic “Lorna the Jungle Girl”. Given how obviously dated the images are, and given the essential radicalism of the pop culture analysis within the text, it seems to me that the images themselves are used at least partly ironically. It’s worlds away from the LeBron James Vogue cover; indeed, it’s the exact opposite. What the Vogue cover lamentably reinforced, Amanda’s book — IMO — subverts.

  96. Cara
    Cara April 23, 2008 at 11:40 am |

    I agree on the big issues. Appropriation is a huge problem within the feminist movement. Where I diverge is the question of whether that happened in this one particular instance, but again, that just means that I’m understanding the events differently. It doesn’t mean that I think you or WOC or anyone else is totally wrong or unreasonable or mean or jealous. I haven’t said anything like that.

    I may be incorrect, and I certainly don’t speak for women of color, so anyone feel free to tell me if I’m totally wrong . . . but while there is certainly a lot of anger and hurt over the appropriation issue, I also think that the way the situation has been dealt with is also now considered to be a huge problem in its own right. It seems to me as if they are almost split into two different issues right now, albeit highly connected ones. So while you are not saying that WOC who are behind BFP (lots of white women are behind BFP, too, but we’re not the ones who are facing the insults) are wrong, unreasonable, mean or jealous, I think a large part of the frustration is failing to address and challenge those who have said those things, said so repeatedly, and said so on this thread.

  97. Radfem
    Radfem April 23, 2008 at 11:53 am |

    So this is a book for women on dealing with politically inhospitable environments?

    Does it include helpful tips for women of color dealing with ignorant, privileged, or otherwise hostile white feminists? Because I could certainly use that right now.

    No, at least not by page 40. At some point, she chides magazines for using mostly or only White models which is all well and good and should be done but so far, her books doing the same thing! I guess this is for the same audience as Jessica Valenti’s book which means that for many women, it’s not speaking to them. But like Velanti’s book, no doubt even though that’s the case, it will be marketed as a book for feminists to “survive” in inhospitalble environments for feminists which for White middle-class university-attending feminists is strictly antifeminest men in “Republican” states but for many feminists as stated already many, many times here and in other venues, the environment within feminism itself can be inhospitable or hostile.

    “Hard as it may be to believe sometimes, the sisterhood can often not be very sisterly.” (Marcotte, pg. 15)

    Okay, I thought this sounds interesting but the “sisterhood” here means sorority. How many even White women are in sororities? There’s kind of this stereotype of the college life when there’s so many different experiences people have.

    Nothing I’ve said said is new. It’s been said many times, in many places much better and it’s in large part because of bloggers like bfp, BA, Sudy, Donna, ABW and others not to mention many women I’ve talked with IRL that what I’m seeing in this book is more obvious to this ex-feminist. I would have picked up a book like this probably about 10 years ago (when I was young enough to be a demographic appealing to Seal Press), I would have picked it up and thought, awesome.

    And as for the pictures… those sound pretty bad. I read the book, but I glossed over the pictures because they’re pictures and I don’t really care about looking at cartoons. Now I feel like a moron for not bothering to look at them after the whole cover controversy. When I get home I’ll take a look, because that does not sound good.

    I look at them first when I read books, but I know that might be different from other readers. They did bother me. And other readers might not have that reaction and I think society has socialized people especially through the media with stereotypes of tribal people or “natives” (Gilligan’s Island, Tarzen-type films, anyone?) But I had this cringe reaction when I saw them. There’s been a lot of discussions about appropriation of people’s cultures and lives by media including visually like Moondancer said. I had heard about the discussions of the original cover to the book but I haven’t really read them. So I was surprised by the pictures because it should have been clear that there was some problems with them and the use of the “jungle” motif because that’s using a stereotype that’s very problematic for many women. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be welcoming for women to read a book they’re barely in (at least up to page 40) and then see the pictures of how it appears (and I could be wrong) antifeminists, patriarchy and anything along those lines is depicted.

    I might be the only one who will think this way and I’m okay with that, but others might too and hopefully the reaction will be more sensitive and meaningful than oh, it’s just a picture it doesn’t mean anything (when supposedly they mean more than words) and because the problems with use of cultural and racial stereotypes is not just in feminism but in other areas, like law enforcement for example (where unfortunately, it’s quite common) but I think with feminists, because even White women have been subjected to stereotypes including pictures by sexist men that they’d be more sensitive to taking those experiences and hearing them when other women point out or object to the use of cultural, ethnic and racial stereotypes. But that doesn’t seem to happen. If you truly want to dismantle the “patriarchy” (as it’s often called), this must happen. If you just want to change the faces of those who run it, it’s strictly optional I guess.

  98. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel April 23, 2008 at 11:55 am |

    That’s not the original Pandagon discussion about the cover, Hugo, this is. You can see the art here.

  99. Radfem
    Radfem April 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm |

    Here’s the original Pandagon discussion about the cover. The art is all from the 1950s comic “Lorna the Jungle Girl”. Given how obviously dated the images are, and given the essential radicalism of the pop culture analysis within the text, it seems to me that the images themselves are used at least partly ironically. It’s worlds away from the LeBron James Vogue cover; indeed, it’s the exact opposite. What the Vogue cover lamentably reinforced, Amanda’s book — IMO — subverts.

    I think I just had one of those *click* moments.

    Like I said, I just expressed my opinions. Others obviously vary. I’m not familiar with “Lorna the Jungle Girl” but I’m more familiar with the use of cultural and racist stereotypes during the 1950s and beyond including in “jungle” shows and films. I’m pretty sure that these issues have been raised already, if not by White feminists. Other women do discuss how offensive these images and stereotypes were. I know women I work with have done so and one woman has studied the history of appropriation including for stereotyping and caricaturing purposes.

    I understand irony and if that’s what I’m supposed to be thinking, I guess it’s a time-release dose of it in my case.

  100. Oh
    Oh April 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm |

    Hugo, dear, that’s not the original discussion of the cover. The original discussion had many, many people explaining in great detail why the cover did not subvert racism but reinforced it and Amanda refusing to engage with those points and sighing that she knew some people would find *something* to get worked up about, because people just get so jealous. The discussion you linked to had, in the first few comments–the only ones I read–people ridiculing the very idea that someone could find racist imagery offensive.

  101. Charity
    Charity April 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm |

    *sigh* You can’t “subvert” something if you’re totally unaware of it, Hugo, sorry to tell you. Amanda’s comments in response to concerns raised about the book cover indicated she was unaware the image was steeped in racism, past AND present.

  102. Charity
    Charity April 23, 2008 at 12:04 pm |

    And to be clear, I’m talking about the first book cover, discussions of which others have already linked to, above me.

  103. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick April 23, 2008 at 12:05 pm |

    Given how obviously dated the images are, and given the essential radicalism of the pop culture analysis within the text, it seems to me that the images themselves are used at least partly ironically.

    That’s not an argument we give much credence to when it’s a man writing a bood using sexist art.

  104. Hugo Schwyzer
    Hugo Schwyzer April 23, 2008 at 12:10 pm |

    Sorry, my bad on giving the wrong original link to Pandagon’s discussion of “Lorna the Jungle Girl.”

  105. Angela
    Angela April 23, 2008 at 12:13 pm |

    The art is all from the 1950s comic “Lorna the Jungle Girl”. Given how obviously dated the images are, and given the essential radicalism of the pop culture analysis within the text, it seems to me that the images themselves are used at least partly ironically.

    Okay Hugh–but do you realize that these sort of negative, racist images (the “natives”, the “jungle”,etc) STILL EXIST IN 21ST CENTURY pop culture? Ever watch the second Pirates of the Caribbean? Or how fashion magazines coo over the “exotic” safari, batik prints, mandarin collar, etc look? The fact that the images were a take on a comic published during the 1950s, when racist imagery was pretty much a given for anyone not white (and most likely Anglo-Saxon), really shows something.

  106. roses
    roses April 23, 2008 at 12:21 pm |

    What the Vogue cover lamentably reinforced, Amanda’s book — IMO — subverts.

    It subverts the idea of the helpless white woman needing to be rescued by the big strong white man, yes. But I fail to see how it subverts the idea of black or African men as savages. Can you explain what you mean by “ironic” and “subverts”?

  107. lavendertook
    lavendertook April 23, 2008 at 12:24 pm |

    Your promotion of Marcotte’s book and anything from Seal Press before an adequate apology from both on their displays of white privilege and disrespectful treatment of WOC bloggers has been made is an endorsement of their behavior in this affair. Shame on you.

    When are whites in the feminist movement going to grow the hell up and figure out they’re in an inclusive movement which means checking your damn white privilege at the door?

  108. kiki
    kiki April 23, 2008 at 12:33 pm |

    It’s worlds away from the LeBron James Vogue cover; indeed, it’s the exact opposite. What the Vogue cover lamentably reinforced, Amanda’s book — IMO — subverts.

    Yeah, exploiting racist stereotypes and fears while simultaneously catering to pornified male gaze to create buzz and sell a product…worlds away.

  109. piny
    piny April 23, 2008 at 12:38 pm |

    Sorry, my bad on giving the wrong original link to Pandagon’s discussion of “Lorna the Jungle Girl.”

    Would you like the benefit of the doubt, too? Because I’m not sure it’s available to you.

    Also, what SunlessNick said. These images aren’t over yet. The “white woman menaced by evil dark people” meme is alive and well in our culture. While Lorna et al have slid into the realm of camp, that’s not because we all agree that the racist tropes from fifties pulp softcore are ludicrous. It’s about the leopard-print bikinis and the perfect Claudette Colbert coifs. We still see TV commercials featuring cannibals in grass skirts with bones in their septums. Remember? Capital One? Tourists in tribal kettles?

    But really now: even as a lurker I’m kind of sick of having this discussion: to what degree may we softpedal this shit, and for how long, and in the service of which friends?

    A bunch of real-world things have kept me away from blogging in general and these threads in particular, but…this is bullshit, Hugo. It’s just bullshit.

  110. Hugo Schwyzer
    Hugo Schwyzer April 23, 2008 at 12:48 pm |

    While Lorna et al have slid into the realm of camp, that’s not because we all agree that the racist tropes from fifties pulp softcore are ludicrous.

    I think that’s fair, piny. I look at the book from the perspective of someone familiar with Pandagon and with Amanda’s sarcasm and wit, as well as with the by-now common use of 1950s iconic imagery to subvert the original intent of those who produced the images. (Think of the way in which Marilyn Monroe’s pictures are now used, as opposed to what they were originally intended to be.) To me, it’s obviously subversive on the sexual dynamic side, and so — perhaps wrongly — I assume it’s subversive in every other respect. Looking at these images again, I can certainly say that Amanda has left herself vulnerable here. The pictures inside the book, particularly the one of the native being knocked down, are problematic.

    I accept that a white woman can use sexist imagery ironically to dismantle sexism more easily than she can use racist imagery to dismantle racism. That’s a fair criticism.

  111. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 23, 2008 at 12:54 pm |

    I replied to Tobes’ comment on “white chicks … really aren’t to be trusted” over at her place, but I think it’s worth bringing back here, because she can’t be the only one who was bothered by it.

    When a person of color says that white people aren’t to be trusted, it’s tempting to read it as a bigoted generalization, but I think it’s a lot more generous, and a lot more productive, to read it as a cost-benefit analysis.

    Coalition work is work. It takes effort. And you don’t need to be disappointed by every person you trust to conclude that extending trust is a mistake. You don’t need to be burned every time you reach for a pan on the stove to decide to stop grabbing pans with your bare hands.

    When I hear a progressive saying “X can’t be trusted,” I don’t see it as a claim that all X are untrustworthy. I see it as an admission of defeat — a statement that the costs of trusting X are too high, and the benefits are too low. And if I’m a member of group X, I take that as a challenge to do more to cut those costs and raise those benefits.

  112. Ico
    Ico April 23, 2008 at 12:59 pm |

    Shorter Hugo:

    “Yeah it’s kinda racist.”

    To which I say, what are we going to do about it? If even you are labeling the images “problematic,” can we take down the book advert now? NOW? And replace it with a firm denunciation of racism both within white feminist texts AND within the white feminist blogosphere?

  113. kiki
    kiki April 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm |

    Well said Piny. I’m surprised she didn’t go for white frontier woman under attack amidst circled wagons. Of course the prairie style of dress wouldn’t provide much titillation.

  114. Astraea
    Astraea April 23, 2008 at 1:11 pm |

    Hugo, you may have had a point WAY back before Amanda even responded to the first objections to the cover. Now you’re just defending very offensive behavior.

    The first person to object was very thoughtful and respectful. Several (presumably white) commenters derided her, and Amanda joined in. Even after several very thoughtful comments about the racist image, Amanda and others continued to make fun of the objections. If she was using the image in a thoughtful, ironic way, she could very well have said so. She didn’t.

    From what I know, she never acknowledged the racism and posted the second version without comment.

    You can’t subvert the meaning of an image without doing something more than slapping it on the cover of a feminist book.

  115. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus April 23, 2008 at 1:12 pm |

    I was tempted to say something as soon as I saw this post, but decided not to, since I’ve yet familiarized myself with all of the elements of this particular issue and I didn’t want to speak out of ignorance.

    Now, I might still be speaking out of ignorance, but I just want to say that, for what’s it’s worth, this discussion and others like it have helped me observe some of the dynamics and discourse within social movements like feminism and the various problems that exist within those dynamics and discourses. I knew such issues existed in a more abstract sense, but I’ve rarely seen them first-hand like this. While the issue itself makes me sad, because there’s clearly a lot of hurt and anger at work here, I’m learning from observing what’s going on.

    Which isn’t to say that anyone’s here for my education or to downplay the seriousness of what’s going on here. Just that I’ve been given a lot to think about.

  116. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus April 23, 2008 at 1:13 pm |

    Er, make that “NOT yet familiarized myself…”

  117. Hugo Schwyzer
    Hugo Schwyzer April 23, 2008 at 1:17 pm |

    The fact that the images are troubling is worthy of discussion, you bet, just at the topic of appropriation is worthy of discussion.

    I don’t speak for Amanda, whom I’ve met once in my life. I can say that whatever the problematic nature of the images, the text of “It’s a Jungle Out There” is immensely useful and potentially inspiring to a great many young women.

    Let me say also that I think Jill has done exactly the right thing in this thread:

    1. Acknowledge that a real problem exists, one that the debate around Amanda’s writing has brought to the surface.

    2. Acknowledge that an important book has been written, and that book deserves the widest possible audience, and it deserves enthusiastic support within the feminist and progressive community.

    #1 doesn’t cancel out #2, but #2 doesn’t mean that we can’t still discuss #1.

  118. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 23, 2008 at 1:20 pm |

    I didn’t regularly read BFP, and now that her site is down, I can’t really go back and look at whether Marcotte actually ripped off her ideas or not. I suspect these accusations are really trumped up.

    You can’t “own” the issue of immigration. If BFP has written good stuff on the subject, she deserves to be commended, but she’s not automatically owed a name-check every time anyone talks about the issue. A whole lot of people are talking about immigration.

    I think the anger is at the idea that this is a minority subject and that a minority writer should have been the one to write about it. But the case involving the woman who taped the immigration official extorting sex has been in major news outlets and that makes it fair editorial fodder.

    I think it’s pretty bogus to assert that it is somehow a function of white privilege that Marcotte has a bigger soapbox or a book deal, or whatever. I think it’s bogus to attack a tiny specialty press because it can’t find whatever is deemed to be a sufficient number of publishable manuscripts by minority authors.

    This is a problem that’s epidemic in the blogosphere, which is an ideological echo chamber that thrives on the generation of outrage rather than on progress toward any goal.

    I’m a big admirer of the politics of coalition-building and of getting things done. I admire people who can find common ground with people who aren’t natural allies and can gain their support to accomplish things.

    In their better moments, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have all been good at this, and that’s why they are running for President instead of fighting over who deserves to get a very small deal with a very small press for a very small run of a book.

    I see a lot of progressive bloggers, by contrast, attempt to “out” people for being insufficiently pure to the cause. When you are trying to achieve change, the more friends you have the better. On the other hand, if you are just an outrage factory, maybe it’s better to have more people to be angry with.

  119. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 23, 2008 at 1:24 pm |

    I’m surprised she didn’t go for white frontier woman under attack amidst circled wagons. Of course the prairie style of dress wouldn’t provide much titillation.

    As an Indian woman I’m thinking I’d have not found that any less racist personally, but perhaps that’s the point you were trying to make here. Even though she did (or the publisher did) change the cover art, from what I hear about the rest of the art in this book it isn’t much better. I’d personally like to see examples of the inside art before I dig up an opinion on that.

  120. Astraea
    Astraea April 23, 2008 at 1:26 pm |

    Mitchforth, you clearly don’t understand the concepts of privilege OR appropriation.

  121. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 23, 2008 at 1:32 pm |

    Which isn’t to say that anyone’s here for my education or to downplay the seriousness of what’s going on here. Just that I’ve been given a lot to think about.

    Well said. I think if people walk away with some knowledge and understand because of this (and DO something about it) then it will certainly be a possitive step. I think if Ms Marcotte had done that in the first place this conversation wouldn’t have been nessisary. I know I am a naive optimist, but I don’t think the core purpose of feminism is lost as long as we (WoC and out white allies) can come together and really listen to each other. We have enough enemies out there without stepping on our sisters to make a buck, or to feel good about ourselves.

  122. Tom Autopref
    Tom Autopref April 23, 2008 at 1:33 pm |

    So, whatever, folks.

    1. White people have a massive load of issues we need to work on, true or false?

    2. We are refusing to work on them right here, right now. True or false?

    3. We never are going to get around to working on them. No more than some abusive husband ever does.

    True or false?

    (Not every white person here is singing the same tune. Listen if it applies to you. Which, I have no doubt, is exactly the opposite of what is going to happen.)

  123. Cara
    Cara April 23, 2008 at 1:35 pm |

    Mitchforth, you said right in your comment that you don’t really know what you’re talking about, and reading further made that abundantly clear. So . . . if you don’t know what you’re talking about and are only going to talk out of your ass and piss people off on a thread that is already heated, why don’t you, you know, shut up?

    I’m really sick of people coming onto these threads say “I don’t really know what’s going on, or who BFP is, and I haven’t read a lot about this . . . but here is why women of color who are upset about this issue are a just bunch of mean jealous whiners.”

  124. Ico
    Ico April 23, 2008 at 1:36 pm |

    @Hugo at al (and ignoring Mitchforth, who obviously needs to do some background reading and get a clue), I will repeat, what are we going to do about it?

    DISCUSSION is not the problem. It never has been. We have been willing to “discuss” things forever (and by “discuss” I mean shut down/ignore women of color while fiercely denying that we are doing so). There are threads chock full of discussion.

    How about showing we actually give a damn and DOING something? Like denouncing the racism in the book and not promoting it? And I’ll repeat (once again) my question from the opening of the thread: Given how Marcotte has behaved throughout this whole appropriation issue, and given how she has not made any corrections/addendums/apologies AND hasn’t got a clue when it comes to racist imagery, WHY IS SHE BEING PROMOTED ON THIS SITE?

    You CANNOT be feminist and racist. You CANNOT. You can call yourself feminist, but ignoring racism is as profoundly damaging to women as ignoring sexism.

  125. SKM
    SKM April 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm |

    Mitchforth, you state that you are not familiar with BFP’s work enough to judge whether AM appropriated it. Ask yourself why you nonetheless “suspect these accusations are really trumped up”

  126. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm |

    “You can’t “own” the issue of immigration.”

    Which is exactly what BFP said. I think Amanda’s trick is working: she keeps misrepresenting BFP’s argument and pretending this is a discussion about a issue between two women. It’s not.

    But isn’t it interesting that an intelligent person can read this thread and come up with that conclusion?

    Mitchforth, you can read a lot of bfp’s post here:

    http://ajkenn-rgclub.com/SDChronBlog2dot5/page/2/

  127. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 23, 2008 at 1:48 pm |

    I think it’s pretty bogus to assert that it is somehow a function of white privilege that Marcotte has a bigger soapbox or a book deal, or whatever.

    Perhaps we are unclear on what the words white privilege means. It’s benefits gained for simply being white. Some people of color even benefit from it because they have paler skin tones. If you truly believe Ms Marcotte doesn’t benefit from her whiteness than you are very mistaken. Just visit the NOW site or other high profile feminist organizational sites and you will see how any issue of race is pushed aside, or they downplay its importance.

    IMO by doing these things, white feminists trash the chance at true unity that is needed to benefit ALL of our sisters, not just the straight, white, middles class women. If Ms Marcotte is sincerely passionate about the plight of immigrants, then she should want to support ANY group by promoting their sites. This is about feminists working together, about our white allies standing with us, not in front of us.

    Sure she says she didn’t know of the BFP info, but then with her rudeness and sarcasms shows how little she really cares in the first place. Between her comments on her blog about the questionable cover, and this, Ms Marcotte had proven to me at least she has no interest in learned how to be a better ally, that her old tried and true crap is just fine for her. In the end, she stands with all other white feminisms that had alienated their sisters, and turned their backs when we tried to voice our anger and sadness.

  128. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 23, 2008 at 1:50 pm |

    You CANNOT be feminist and racist. You CANNOT. You can call yourself feminist, but ignoring racism is as profoundly damaging to women as ignoring sexism.

    I agree 100%. Well said, Ico!

  129. r.
    r. April 23, 2008 at 1:59 pm |

    To which I say, what are we going to do about it? If even you are labeling the images “problematic,” can we take down the book advert now? NOW? And replace it with a firm denunciation of racism both within white feminist texts AND within the white feminist blogosphere?

    and regardless of who’s friends with whom or whatnot, at this point, that would be the only “fair” thing to do. (i think even this “that’s fair…”/”that’s a fair criticism…” discourse being used here illustrates the problem really well: what people are saying with that is “your criticism is fair BUT” – and the “but” is all-significant. i don’t know, maybe if you have to use that phrase it means you’re 1. thinking that most of the criticism hasn’t really been fair so far and/or 2. prepared to overlook the fair criticism anyway. just maybe? so then how can you pretend you’re not “choosing a side” here for reasons that actually have nothing to do with “being fair”?? i don’t get it. of course, that’s just a small tiny part of the whole frustrating dynamic in these discussions, but obviously there are people who get to decide what’s fair – even though the whole issue that’s on the table is the infamous lack of fairness on their chosen “side.” how is it not clear that this is completely wrong?!)

  130. Astraea
    Astraea April 23, 2008 at 2:01 pm |

    You CANNOT be feminist and racist. You CANNOT. You can call yourself feminist, but ignoring racism is as profoundly damaging to women as ignoring sexism.

    Yes, yes, yes.

  131. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 23, 2008 at 2:02 pm |

    Mitchforth, you state that you are not familiar with BFP’s work enough to judge whether AM appropriated it. Ask yourself why you nonetheless “suspect these accusations are really trumped up”

    I think they are trumped up because Marcotte’s editorial looks like the sort of thing you would generally expect to see someone produce in response to the NYT stories about the immigration official getting stung for extorting sex.

    The fact that people are using the amorphous concept of “appropriation” of an idea instead of calling it plagiarism suggests to me that the alleged offense here doesn’t support a more concrete charge. If she’s lifting someone else’s words, that’s one thing, and that would actually be a good reason for her press to pull her book from the market. But it sounds like she’s just stepping on the toes of another blogger who is jealous of Marcotte’s relative success.

    Third, I can’t really evaluate it for myself because BFP took her website down. The fact that she responded in this way reduces the credibility of her position to me. Because the allegedly “appropriated” material is no longer available, I have to choose who to believe rather than decide for myself. I have no problem discounting the position of the party who took her evidence off the table.

    Or were you calling me racist?

  132. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 23, 2008 at 2:16 pm |

    Third, I can’t really evaluate it for myself because BFP took her website down. The fact that she responded in this way reduces the credibility of her position to me.

    Sometimes a person can only take so much before she desides that her time is better spent someplace else, so it is unfair to say it affects her credibility. You were given a link above to the BFP stuff, perhaps this would be the time to use that information.

  133. Astraea
    Astraea April 23, 2008 at 2:19 pm |

    Interesting that you find BfP’s removal of her blog discrediting, but not Amanda’s many hostile responses, Mitchforth.

  134. Feminist bloggers and racism | MetaFilter

    [...] the heels of the controversy that had reverberations in the feminist blogosphere which are far from forgotten, Marcotte is releasing and promoting a new book, with a new cover to replace the old one after [...]

  135. Kristen
    Kristen April 23, 2008 at 2:33 pm |

    I really wasn’t going to say anything. I wasn’t even going to read this post. And definitely not the comments…but here I am and I just cannot keep my mouth (er…keyboard?) shut. I feel compelled to say what I said on Feministing and again on Cara’s Curvature until those who say no one did anything wrong hear (so I’ll be talking FOREVER – I know).

    “It is my obligation as a person who calls herself “progressive” to listen to the voices of the marginalized. To recognize that the many benefits I enjoy as a white, upper-middle class, educated, cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied (etc.) woman come at the expense of those who do not share those privileges.

    It is my obligation to not just hear, but also listen without reflexive defensiveness to those that are not heard because of the privilege I benefit from every single minute of my life.

    It is my obligation not just to listen but also to underscore, direct attention toward, and respect those same voices.

    Even when I disagree with them…even more when I disagree with them, because my voice, my opinion, my perspective will be heard over theirs and honored for reasons that have nothing to do with truth or falsity of what I am saying but only because I am who I am.

    This is an obligation. Not an attempt to rebuild bridges between feminists, but an obligation to acknowledge and address our own privilege regardless of its origin.”

    Also, what ICO, LittleM, Cara and Cizungu (among others) said.

  136. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 23, 2008 at 2:52 pm |

    “It is my obligation as a person who calls herself “progressive” to listen to the voices of the marginalized. To recognize that the many benefits I enjoy as a white, upper-middle class, educated, cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied (etc.) woman come at the expense of those who do not share those privileges.

    It is my obligation to not just hear, but also listen without reflexive defensiveness to those that are not heard because of the privilege I benefit from every single minute of my life.

    It is my obligation not just to listen but also to underscore, direct attention toward, and respect those same voices.

    And when people ask me where I get my often wide-eyed hope from when it comes to diverse relations within the feminist community, its quotes like this one that proves that some of our white sister DO get it. Thanks for sharing this, Kristen.

  137. Astraea
    Astraea April 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm |

    Sign my name on to Kristen’s statement as another white feminist trying to be a good ally (though not so eloquently).

  138. Tobes
    Tobes April 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm |

    I agree 100%. You cannot be a feminist and a racist. But I think people can act racist at times and still not BE racist at heart. Does that make sense? It’s like guy friends of mine who say things like, “that test raped me.” They ARE being sexist but it’s not because they’re inherently sexist, it’s because they’re still learning why that really isn’t okay (and I often try and teach them in a non-accusatory way).

    As a white woman, I struggle with racism. It’s a really uncomfortable thing to admit but I’ve been very racially insensitive at times. I didn’t notice Marcotte’s book cover or the Vogue cover in a racist light until I read some of the blogs out there who took them to task. It’s because I’m white and privileged and I don’t know better. I should. But I don’t—YET. I’m trying.

    Nothing scares me quite like the fear of being labeled ‘racist.’ And for that, I truly sympathize with Marcotte. Because at heart I believe she’s a good woman and a hard worker for this movement. She’s written great things and I don’t think she ever meant to hurt anyone. Some people have gone after her in a very aggressive way. Maybe this is why we’re getting these defensive, dismissive responses from her? I don’t know. I’m TOTALLY speculating here. I just know that if I was ever called racist, I would probably act defensively too.

    Now is the time to heal wounds and in order for that to happen it seems like everyone (EVERYONE) could use a time out or something? I feel like this is getting WAY out of hand. We’re not going to get anywhere calling a woman a racist “white princess,” and we’re going to further alienate WOC if we accuse them of being petty when they are truly wronged.

    Here’s what breaks my heart:

    1) Women giving up the title of feminist
    2) WOC feeling they can’t trust or can’t work with white women
    3) White women dismissing WOC for being “jealous”
    4) Discounting all the good work Marcotte has done as a feminist and writer.

  139. Tobes
    Tobes April 23, 2008 at 3:03 pm |

    You know what– screw what I said– suggesting a “time out” like we’re kids is just offensive. I guess I was just trying to say that I don’t want to do any more damage to each other.

    But I think it’s a little too late… this is just gonna have to run its course — then hopefully we can put the pieces back together.

  140. Still Recovering… More Feminism and Race & some books « Words From The Center, Words From The Edge

    [...] to say about the events it seems insensitive and downright stupid to only two weeks later promote Marcotte’s book as Feministe has done. (of course in the comments Amanda steps in to complain about how she’s being unfairly [...]

  141. piny
    piny April 23, 2008 at 3:18 pm |

    The fact that the images are troubling is worthy of discussion, you bet, just at the topic of appropriation is worthy of discussion.

    I don’t speak for Amanda, whom I’ve met once in my life. I can say that whatever the problematic nature of the images, the text of “It’s a Jungle Out There” is immensely useful and potentially inspiring to a great many young women.

    No. This is not right. This right here is why people are pissed off, and why you have done such a piss-poor job as self-appointed mediator of both tone and content.

    But hey, thanks for the thoughtful response to my comment!

    The thing is, boneheaded racist slipups like this one–or like saying that the WOC bloggers complaining about you have been stirred up by white agitators–are not a separate issue. It’s very important to talk about the messages implicit in slender white ladies being clutched by big black apes, but the discussion doesn’t get tangential there.

    Women see these things and women start thinking that prominent feminists are incapable of looking out for their interests and unwilling to improve. Young women, vulnerable women, isolated women, women who could really use a little less of the same old. These women just happen, if you’ll forgive the tired old phrase, to be women of color. They just happen to be sensitive to racist bullshit and subsequent handwaving over racist bullshit. That doesn’t make them or their complaints secondary to this feminist project we’re all supposed to be cheering on.

    Feminism can’t be white ladies first, and white feminists really can’t defend that priority and expect everyone else to accept it. And when you talk about how Amanda’s done a wonderful thing here, and all the people who don’t happen to benefit need to recognize that, white ladies first is exactly what you’re saying.

    And please remember that these are not such big changes. Little things, like not using pictures of people chucking literal spears in your book, or not waiting until a white person says something to answer it. They wouldn’t compromise IAJOT. They wouldn’t make life more difficult. There’s no either/or.

  142. Ico
    Ico April 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm |

    What Piny said!

  143. Pronoia
    Pronoia April 23, 2008 at 3:55 pm |

    @Tobes, I don’t think it’s good enough to just say Amanda didn’t mean to hurt anyone. Haven’t we all learned that intentions, while important, are not the whole story? Not intending to hurt someone doesn’t excuse us from taking responsibility for behavior that DOES hurt people, especially when that behavior emerges from our privilege.

  144. ethyl
    ethyl April 23, 2008 at 4:05 pm |

    Tobes said:

    I just know that if I was ever called racist, I would probably act defensively too.

    Sure, as would we all. I’ve ~felt~ defensive when I’ve read some of BFP’s writing, but then I think to myself, you know? She’s the one who knows this stuff, she’s the one fighting these battles, maybe I ~need~ to listen to her, maybe I need to listen to what WOC are telling me about my privilege and the world around me. I don’t ~try~ to be racist, but having my eyes opened to the ways in which I pay into a racist structure isn’t something to get defensive about really, not when you think about it. And the way you react subsequent to the accusations of being a racist would I hope be similar to the way your guy friends react to being told they’re being unintentionally sexist — initial defensiveness, then thought, then an apology, then some learning. So far, we haven’t seen that from AM and her allies, and I think that as other posters have said, that ~that~ is part of the problem.

  145. Radfem
    Radfem April 23, 2008 at 4:06 pm |

    It subverts the idea of the helpless white woman needing to be rescued by the big strong white man, yes. But I fail to see how it subverts the idea of black or African men as savages. Can you explain what you mean by “ironic” and “subverts”?

    I guess ironic means you can’t take a joke. I said it was a *click* moment because as a White woman, I’ve heard the “irony” explanation from men who used images that were sexist. I don’t think I’m alone there. But why is it that we don’t often take those experiences and learn from them? Why do we perpetuate them ourselves? It goes back to keeping patriarchy but changing the faces, not dismantling it? As bfp said, not dismantling gendered violence but shifting it which she and other women have written about many, many times.

    That’s an issue that I think too often defines feminism. That an image that is used to subvert a sexist stereotype can still contain racist imagery and what’s supposed to be emphasized is how it’s combatting sexism in a manner of speaking while it’s upholding racism. And feminism in my opinion can’t uphold either which others here have said really well as it’s been said very well so many times in the blogsphere on these issues that you’d think it wouldn’t have to be said anymore. You’d think. But no.

    I just know that if I was ever called racist, I would probably act defensively too.

    Yeah, well if you stay defensive, then you’ll never grow as a person. Growth takes place when you work through discomfort and defensiveness that you might think are killing you inside sometimes. And I’ve learned and am still learning in my own experiences that my feelings of defensiveness which I’m intimately familiar with by the way, are far less significant than racism in all its forms. We’d take men to task for their defensiveness about being called on sexism and we explain to men that any feelings they have of defensiveness are much less significant than sexism itself in its different forms. In fact, I suspect many of those who would take no prisoners on that front have the most serious issues with being called on racism. Isn’t Marcotte’s book from what I can tell seems to be in a way taking men to task for sexism, yet any suggestions of racism are met with what you said, highly defensive behavior.

  146. Mandolin
    Mandolin April 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm |

    But I’m going to echo something Sylvia/M said over at Amp’s the other day, because so far requests like this have ended up working out pretty lopsided in practice: Does this include Amanda? Because asking people to ignore passive-aggressive shit-stirring like, “Anyway, people of good faith,” (as opposed to all the people of bad faith who are just jealous) and “it’s not about a real grievance, but about hating,” doesn’t seem fair to ask.

    Can’t speak for Feministe, but yes, at Alas, the request specifically included Amanda. And that was coming from both me and Barry.

  147. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp April 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm |

    I don’t think Amanda appropriated or plagiarized

    Then you are “taking her side,” Jill. Please don’t insult our intelligence by pretending otherwise.

  148. Astraea
    Astraea April 23, 2008 at 4:11 pm |

    the one who knows this stuff, she’s the one fighting these battles, maybe I ~need~ to listen to her, maybe I need to listen to what WOC are telling me about my privilege and the world around me.

    Yeah, that’s it exactly. I can’t deny that my privilege has been a barrier sometimes, but what you said is exactly what we need to do, at the minimum.

    And here’s the thing that I find especially frustrating when it comes to feminists and white privilege. My feminism has helped me challenge my own privileges. I understand privilege because of feminism. And yeah, it shouldn’t take having to paralell what I’m feeling with what we as feminists ask of male allies, that’s a part of the privilege I’m still challenging. But to not even recognize it when it’s blatantly on display? To me, it’s a bigger failure from a feminist than from those who routinely ignore their privilege.

  149. Tobes
    Tobes April 23, 2008 at 4:15 pm |

    Ethyl,

    Good point. That’s why I keep saying “I want Marcotte to start a dialogue.” I dont’ want to come off like I’m telling her what to do because — well, I’m not. But that’s what I’d do if I were her. Try as hard as I could to make it right.

    This deafening silence is just awful. I keep checking Pandagon for SOMETHING– it’s just twilight zone!

  150. Kathleen
    Kathleen April 23, 2008 at 4:24 pm |

    One things I’ve been thinking about is the whole issue of “jealousy”, which comes up a lot to discredit disagreements among women, and what I think is: so what? I mean, let’s suppose that some people are jealous of Amanda, she writes well and has a super-popular blog, I mean, that could be jealousy-inducing for sure (and I am NOT pointing the finger at anyone. I’m just saying, jealousy is a possible response to that set of facts).

    But whether jealousy exists or not (and there is no way to tell for sure) doesn’t make a bit of difference to whether the images in her book are old-fashioned racist images (they sure are!) or whether bloggers of color get less readership and thus less general credit for ideas they contribute to the giant mind-meld of the blogosphere and that this has a lot to do with racism (it sure does!) and whether bloggers who aim to be aware of these kinds of processes oughta like, walk that walk not just talk that talk (like almost all avowedly non-racist people, they sure could do a better job!).

    I mean, there are some facts we do know with a high degree of certitude here. Let’s concentrate on those!

  151. kiki
    kiki April 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm |

    Moondancer Drake,

    I was presenting it as another popular image embraced by whites as empowering (pioneering spirit, self reliance, grit) but rejected by people of color who see it for what it really is; emblematic of shameful colonialism and race based fear and hatred. The pioneer myth, especially in relation to Native Americans and Mexicans is celebrated by white culture because it illustrates the mass delusion that whites were/are actually the besieged not the aggressors. Of course, Amanda and her supporters would insinuate that WOC are liars, dishonest, jealous etc, since the morals and values of the colonizer are always superior to those of the colonized and this provides crucial justification for marginalizing their voices. Manifest Destiny extended to the cyber world.

  152. Aishwarya
    Aishwarya April 23, 2008 at 4:38 pm |

    “It is my obligation as a person who calls herself “progressive” to listen to the voices of the marginalized. To recognize that the many benefits I enjoy as a white, upper-middle class, educated, cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied (etc.) woman come at the expense of those who do not share those privileges.

    It is my obligation to not just hear, but also listen without reflexive defensiveness to those that are not heard because of the privilege I benefit from every single minute of my life.

    It is my obligation not just to listen but also to underscore, direct attention toward, and respect those same voices.

    Even when I disagree with them…even more when I disagree with them, because my voice, my opinion, my perspective will be heard over theirs and honored for reasons that have nothing to do with truth or falsity of what I am saying but only because I am who I am.

    This is an obligation. Not an attempt to rebuild bridges between feminists, but an obligation to acknowledge and address our own privilege regardless of its origin.”

    Yes, this. Exactly.

    – Brown feminist who is priveleged in a number of ways.

  153. annaham
    annaham April 23, 2008 at 4:45 pm |

    Once again, I am ashamed to be a blogging, young white feminist. All of this–the appropriation, Amanda’s behavior during the whole blowup, the rallying of the various big-name white “progressive” bloggers to her defense, and now, this. Very few of the big-name white feminist bloggers seem to want to face up to their privilege and how said privilege is consistently enacted and reinforced. Head, meet desk. Repeat.

    I’m disappointed in my fellow feminist bloggers, particularly those whose work I once read and linked to, but some of whose behavior during this whole debacle has made me not want to read their work, and treat anything they say with an air of suspicion. Hell, I have some issues with white privilege that I need to examine, but the totally uncritical support of Amanda (despite her unbecoming behavior) and plugging of her book–even after all of this has gone down–is very troubling.

    Good thing that no one reads my blog (even though I’m white), or I’d probably get accused of wanting to ruin careers and being out to get people.

  154. Al
    Al April 23, 2008 at 5:19 pm |

    I know it’s been said a couple times before in this thread, but I’m stating it again as I really think it’s worth repeating. Whatever ones thoughts are on the issue of plagiarism or appropriation, and I definitely have my own thoughts on that, it is clear that Amanda is not going to engage, period, if those are the frames of reference. As evidenced by earlier today, snide commentary and snark are clearly the order of the day and have been in no less than every response since this occurred.

    If we are serious about a conversation that speaks to racism, privilege, and this very common dynamic of flawed thinking that an otherwise progressive outlook affords one advanced ability in all dynamics of minority experience, then maybe we need to change the question.

    My point being, appropriation or not, plagiarism or not, what we need to center this discussion on, and in attempting to do that here and now, I am directly asking Amanda to please address the following points.

    How is it that in an online and real life activist culture, specifically dealing with immigration issues, and the majority of the people working towards those issues, employed or voluntary, are visible minorities, many of whom have a first or second person connection to the issue they engage on. How is it possible that a major article by a popular and recognized feminist, completely ignores an entire activist community?

    By not linking and failing to mention that community, you ignored them. There had been years and years of documented work and historical precedent that was done by local grassroots activists. It’s not just “one woman who writes one blog who is throwing a hissy fit”. That’s a complete mis characterization and is grossly unfair to that woman, but more so, it is abuse of that community that your derailing arguments over semantics and picking the best word for the supposed offense, once again serve to ignore and invalidate minority experience.

    No matter how you cut it, what did not occur was an acknowledgment and a reference to 1. the people who do this day in and day out and have been for a time frame measured in years and 2. the people who this issue directly harms. Where were those references? It’s not like we just became aware of these people yesterday.

    That is just not acceptable, and it would simply never fly for any other issue. I imagine it wouldn’t go over well if, for example, I decided to take on the issue of violence against women with a few buddies. When I’m done, I’ll be sure to send the feminist movement a note. Yes, that’s sarcastic, but please tell me how it is materially different?

  155. danadocus
    danadocus April 23, 2008 at 5:22 pm |

    and given the essential radicalism of the pop culture analysis within the text, it seems to me that the images themselves are used at least partly ironically

    i will never understand why white people can think ironic racism is somehow less hurtful/harmful.

    instead of a clear denunciation of that behavior that could help change it, we get endless hedging

    There’s been lots of calls to talk about bigger issues, and so on, to move past this one incident etc.

    It’s really easy and safe for us to all sit around and talk about abstract bigger issues. We can all say how we hate racism and want to support each other and so on and so on. But when the sh*t hits the fan, and there are real people involved, and real reputations at stake, then suddenly our positions can change. The bigger issue of women of colour being silenced/appropriated from by white women is really important, but those singular instances are also important, because they are what enable the larger issue to happen. If you want to talk about the big issues, you have to talk about the instances too, hedging on them becomes hedging on the meta-issue.

    To Amanda: I realize that you don’t have the power to make the world right and just for all women of colour. But I also recognize that you do have the power to make it right in your own little world in some way. To show respect and acknowledgment to the women of colour whose work yours has grown from/alongside, but whose work has not been given the same spotlight as yours. When people pointed out other women who had written on these same issues so extensively, it was pointing out a chance to use your privilege and position to shine the spotlight on those who never seem to get it, in the same spirit of the article itself I think. It was a chance to be an ally. Please think on how you can still be that.

  156. danadocus
    danadocus April 23, 2008 at 5:31 pm |

    I would like to add that it was a chance to be an ally to women of colour writing about it, but it was also a chance to be an ally to the immigrant women whose lives you got a paycheck for writing about. It was a chance to link yourself into part of a larger movement, giving more strength to everyone. What are our priorities??

  157. laura
    laura April 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm |

    It was not WOC who made every post attempting to look at larger issues into threads about Amanda Marcotte. Amanda Marcotte did a good job of that all by herself.

    It is specifically because -that- that I refuse to buy her new book. I’ve decided this, despite the fact that from what I’ve seen she appears to be a good writer. Regardless of whether or not she’s done something wrong here, however you want to phrase that. -Because- she didn’t stop and think, this is moment to learn and understand, even though I may feel uncomfortable.

  158. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm |

    “It is my obligation as a person who calls herself “progressive” to listen to the voices of the marginalized. To recognize that the many benefits I enjoy as a white, upper-middle class, educated, cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied (etc.) woman come at the expense of those who do not share those privileges.

    It is my obligation to not just hear, but also listen without reflexive defensiveness to those that are not heard because of the privilege I benefit from every single minute of my life.

    It is my obligation not just to listen but also to underscore, direct attention toward, and respect those same voices.

    I don’t buy that there is a privilege blinder of some sort that makes it impossible for white people to decide whether Marcotte or BFP is right. I also don’t buy that BFP’s status as a minority automatically gives validity to her grievance.

    Either Marcotte plagiarized BFP or she didn’t. This is about what happened. Either BFP’s anger at being ripped off is justified, or Marcotte’s anger at the accusations thrown at her is justified.

    The blogosphere is populated by people, black and white, male and female, liberal and conservative, who seem to have heightened senses of the offensive and hair-trigger tempers. People seem to be angry about nothing more often than they’re angry about something.

    I’m not going to defer to someone’s tempest-in-a-teapot out of some presumption that my understanding of the situation is impaired by some kind of racial disability.

    In my experience, members of minority groups are not especially fragile or delicate. I think everybody’s positions and opinions should be scrutinized and dismantled equally. I think if you treat members of minority groups differently, you’re failing to take them seriously.

  159. danadocus
    danadocus April 23, 2008 at 6:31 pm |

    Either Marcotte plagiarized BFP or she didn’t. This is about what happened. Either BFP’s anger at being ripped off is justified, or Marcotte’s anger at the accusations thrown at her is justified.

    Mitchforth, have you even read BFP’s position? You come across as saying a lot of words but not knowing what any of them are about.

  160. LeggoMyMeggo
    LeggoMyMeggo April 23, 2008 at 6:49 pm |

    Shorter Mitchforth: Can’t we all be colorblind?

    Sure, once we all stop being racist.

    Come on. I’m fairly positive that, in fact, your “understanding of the situation is impaired by some kind of racial disability.” But it has already been said, here and elsewhere, repeatedly and far more eloquently than I could say, that White privilege is at the root of ALL OF THIS. If you are not able to understand that, I’m not sure what you are adding to this discussion.

    Please (and this goes for everyone who is busy trying to see WOC bloggers as mean, whiny, oversensitive, etc., instead of looking at their own shit and how it has helped to create this situation), just listen. Please listen. If you don’t understand privilege and how it works, EDUCATE YOURSELF.

  161. Dr. Free-Ride
    Dr. Free-Ride April 23, 2008 at 7:02 pm |

    Mitchforth:

    1. As has been noted above, plagiarism is *not* restricted to word-for-word lifting or paraphrasing. It also includes failing to acknowledge the source of the ideas you are presenting.
    2. In the comment thread after Holly’s post, Amanda acknowledged being influenced in her thinking about the issues in her Alternet post by others:

    In all honesty, my views on this were mostly drawn from speakers I’ve seen at the NOW conference and the ACLU conference

    3. None of those speakers were cited in the Alternet post.

    So far, the not-plagiarism defense is not looking great unless Amanda was lying in the above-quoted comment

    4. Amanda claimed to be a reader of BFP, yet not influenced by her many posts on the subject of immigration. (Is she good at keeping the influences out of her thought, or not a very careful reader?)
    5. After the fact, assuming none of the similarities were intentional — indeed, even in the case that they were completely accidental — upon discovering that someone else who, one would have thought, she regarded as a member of the same community of feminist/progressive bloggers had done lots of other thinking and writing in the same area as her Alternet post, it would have cost Amanda precisely nothing to acknowledge that other work and to actively point people toward it. That she did not do.
    6. That such acknowledgment of other good work (once it had been explicitly pointed out to her) was not granted — was resisted! — indicates that Amanda’s top priority is her career, not the community of feminist/progressive bloggers.

    Are you OK with this level of scrutiny of Amanda? If not, why not?

  162. Cara
    Cara April 23, 2008 at 7:06 pm |

    The blogosphere is populated by people, black and white, male and female, liberal and conservative, who seem to have heightened senses of the offensive and hair-trigger tempers. People seem to be angry about nothing more often than they’re angry about something.

    [. . .]

    In my experience, members of minority groups are not especially fragile or delicate. I think everybody’s positions and opinions should be scrutinized and dismantled equally. I think if you treat members of minority groups differently, you’re failing to take them seriously.

    Yeah, gee, I wonder WHY people are so upset. Nope, can’t figure it out. Not like people are running around saying fucking stupid, ignorant and downright offensive things. Certainly not seeing that . . .

  163. It’s a Small Feminist World : The Curvature

    [...] know, this thread got me close but not quite there. Now I’m going to go cry about how much my fellow white [...]

  164. Kai
    Kai April 23, 2008 at 7:35 pm |

    Incidentally, today Prof Black Woman posted a simple analogous counter-example which demonstrates how this entire affair could have gone down differently: After Bitch magazine published a piece by Lisa Moricoli-Latham on the HBO film The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, blogger Anxious Black Woman wrote a post pointedly questioning the article’s lack of attribution. Bitch magazine responded by apologizing and adding a couple of links and citations to the article. And that’s that. Props to Bitch magazine for behaving like grown-ups and taking the work of women of color seriously.

  165. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 23, 2008 at 7:44 pm |

    Mitchforth wrote:

    Either BFP’s anger at being ripped off is justified,…

    Please stop lying about BFP.

    Please stop lying about what BFP feels. Especially stop pretending BFP is “angry.” Where did you get that lie? And why are you talking about it?

    Please stop lying by claiming BFP believed she was ripped off.

    Please drop her name completely out of your posts, because BFP is not here and is not going to be here and BFP never made this about herself and Amanda.

    Do the research. You’ve been provided with links so you don’t have to take my word for it. BFP’s blog may be down, but her words are all over the place, quoted with respect and CITED repeatedly by those of us who were made wiser by reading her words.

    Please stop choosing to believe this disgusting myth you’ve been told that this is a dispute between two individuals.

    BFP is not arguing. BFP never claimed to be angry at Amanda. BFP did not accuse Amanda of ripping her off. BFP never claimed to be the source of Amanda’s article.

    In fact, BFP has moved on to bigger and better things. We’ve heard that she is happy and supported and proud of the contributions she’s making to make this world a better place.

    I don’t buy that there is a privilege blinder of some sort that makes it impossible for white people to decide whether Marcotte or BFP is right.

    First, this isn’t a dispute that involves Marcotte saying one thing and BFP saying the other. So there is no reason to make this about those two people.

    Second, a lot of white men and women have called Amanda on her racism, both on this issue and on at least two major issues in the past.

  166. Sam
    Sam April 23, 2008 at 7:55 pm |

    You know, in every political group, there are always the nut jobs that are sensational enough to sell product. This is all about the product and the twisted pressure to cross-promote product, if it has the word feminist on it.

    Amanda is a tool. I’m sorry to discover that personally, one on one, but I can attest to it. I’m so excited about any feminist getting published. However, she is such a nut job in private with a vindictive streak a mile wide. Sure, she’ll be pleasant while you are promoting her product.

    Say anything critical or, more importantly, call her on her lying, her stealing without attribution, her tearing down other feminists in public and private on some lie of hers, well…all of a sudden she’s a victim. Present her with proof, chapter and written verse, and she censors you from her “free speech” website or, again, cries victim. I’ve been at a dinner where she has torn down several big feminsts, and lying about a thing or two, to make entertaining points. God forbid she’s asked to give the same respect of other people’s reputation as she demands for herself.

    Her main argument is: I’m a feminist, they are tearing me down because I’m a feminist. No, you get criticism from feminists because of the things you do, and the lack of care you have for other feminist’s reputations and their hard work to develop written work that you steal.

    It reminds me of Kathy Griffin’s routine on Paula Abdul, and if you want a laugh go view this and think of Amanda:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKq6QzSdPiQ

    You know, there are reasonable people in any political group. I’m sure that there are right wingers that cringe at some of their wack jobs that have published books themselves. But publishing doesn’t mean you aren’t a tool. And the more we call Amanda on her over the top, the more we stay in touch with morality and not turn off our base as the right wingers have with their over the top knobs who think the rules of common decency don’t apply to them if they have a quip to make.

  167. Manju
    Manju April 23, 2008 at 8:15 pm |

    Especially stop pretending BFP is “angry.” Where did you get that lie?

    BFP: “I was pissed off”

  168. ilyka
    ilyka April 23, 2008 at 8:15 pm |

    However, she is such a nut job in private with a vindictive streak a mile wide

    I smell an opportunistic right-wing troll (you blew it with the censor/free-speech nonsense, Sammykins. You Freepers just will NOT read the First Amendment–or anything more verbose or complex than the FOX News crawl, for that matter).

    Anyway: Can someone show Sam the door before s/he whips out any more character assassination that has nothing to do with the topic?

  169. woland
    woland April 23, 2008 at 8:34 pm |

    tobes said:

    Nothing scares me quite like the fear of being labeled ‘racist.’

    Except being labeld “racist” is nothing like experiencing racism.

    While it’s common for people with privilege react defensively when they’re called out for saying or doing something offensive, this is precisely the wrong response (as others here and elsewhere have pointed out, the measure of whether something is offensive is that it caused offense, not the intent behind it.)

    As tough as it is, being called out is a good thing. I have a friend I have a close but tough relationship with. We were teasing each other and he got upset at something I said. I was about to unload on him when I stopped and thanked him instead for telling me I hurt his feelings, and then we talked about what happened. And became much closer friends.

    So when Tiffany says When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted. and other women of colour talk about their extreme frustration with white feminism, part of me wants to get defensive, say we’re not all alike, etc. But Tiffany has no reason to trust me and plenty not to. I’m a bit on guard with straight people until I’m certain they’re allies too, and I know even the ones who mean well can do homophobic things. So, the best I can do is work hard to be trustworthy, to be aware of my privilege, to correct myself when I’ve done wrong, and not to expect people to automatically give me the benefit of the doubt for being a nice white lady.

  170. Charity
    Charity April 23, 2008 at 8:38 pm |

    Yeah, since when do we have a “base”? That was all kinds of Amanda-as-Ann-Coulter-dogwhistle-y. I’m not buying that, myself.

    Also, Manju? *yawn*

  171. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick April 23, 2008 at 8:55 pm |

    BFP is not arguing. BFP never claimed to be angry at Amanda. BFP did not accuse Amanda of ripping her off. BFP never claimed to be the source of Amanda’s article. - Ravenmn

    And to begin with, BFP tried to keep names out of it altogether. But somehow that’s been reframed as an underhanded tactic rather than a desire to avoid getting personal.

  172. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 23, 2008 at 9:01 pm |

    1. As has been noted above, plagiarism is *not* restricted to word-for-word lifting or paraphrasing. It also includes failing to acknowledge the source of the ideas you are presenting.
    2. In the comment thread after Holly’s post, Amanda acknowledged being influenced in her thinking about the issues in her Alternet post by others:

    In all honesty, my views on this were mostly drawn from speakers I’ve seen at the NOW conference and the ACLU conference

    3. None of those speakers were cited in the Alternet post.

    So far, the not-plagiarism defense is not looking great unless Amanda was lying in the above-quoted comment

    You know, I could say “The length of the Democratic nominating process will hurt the eventual nominee in the general election,” or “the war in Iraq is being fought for oil,” and I’d be pretty far down the list of people who made those observations, because they are not particularly novel or non-obvious ideas.

    If Marcotte’s points were unoriginal, they were also not terribly different from what just about anyone with Marcotte’s political worldview would write in response to the recent headlines about the immigration official extorting sex from the immigrant.

    I’ve heard the idea that “illegal alien” is a loaded term in a lot of places. The controversial nature of that term is why people have come up with alternatives like “undocumented worker.” These are ideas that have been bouncing around for a long time. If Marcotte strung these ideas together using her own words, then it’s not unethical to state them without attribution, because they don’t really belong to anyone. I don’t think that Marcotte is claiming to be the first person ever to suggest that immigaration is an issue for feminists. I doubt BFP was the first person to make that suggestion. The idea has probably been around longer than blogs.

    BFP doesn’t appear to claim the ideas as proprietary. Her objection seems to be that they belong to people of color, and that Marcotte is going to use or bolster her own reputation, she ought to direct some of the eyeballs to some minority bloggers. I guess it would have been nice if she had, but I don’t see that she’s obligated to.

    If there is a text by BFP that Marcotte lifted from, then that’s plagiarism. But occupying the same subject matter isn’t the same thing. I am sure BFP wrote good stuff on the subject, but she’s not entitled to a cite every time somebody discusses immigration.

    It looks like the backlash came at Marcotte nastily, and she responded the way you’d expect a progressive to respond when accused of racism.

  173. For My Peeps.. | A Slant Truth
    For My Peeps.. | A Slant Truth April 23, 2008 at 9:05 pm |

    [...] and most importantly, for those that just don’t seem to get it: [...]

  174. Sam
    Sam April 23, 2008 at 9:26 pm |

    Actually, do a search on her and you’ll find entries in Google with people she’s censored and people who, once admired her and found the reality less than noble.

    And when bad behavior and twisting off at any criticism (even from once admirers) is part of her character, it leaves a trail cached and searchable by Google. It’s not something that just one poster has noted.

    I’m sure that it’s interesting to see a zingy feminist get published. Godspeed. But, hell, Amanda likes to call Bill Clinton out for his ethical behavior and dozens of other people, but heaven forbid you call her on hers. The excuse that “I’m a feminist and can’t be criticized” is wrong, and I say that as a big feminist. But it doesn’t excuse bad behavior and we can’t give a pass on the excuse that some “means justify the ends”. That’s weak. The means are the end. And when you mention product here, it is a part of the conversation who it is that’s behind the product.

  175. ask me « cripchick’s weblog
    ask me « cripchick’s weblog April 23, 2008 at 9:35 pm |

    [...] by stealing how can i be okay with this when you are erasing our very existence? this is not about blogging, it never was instead we as a people are again constantly denied, and like the other parts of me, [...]

  176. godschocolate
    godschocolate April 23, 2008 at 10:23 pm |

    A de-lurker. Although we are hitting the 200 mark, I thought I would comment cuz some crazy shit is going on in the “feminist” blogosphere. It is astonishing the degree to which the past few weeks have really shown the true colors of some bloggers and commenters.

    It is quite easy to be an ally, anti-racist, and an all around cool and progressive person (or a Obama supporter) when the stakes for you are low. However, it is clear that for several major blogs led by white feminists and several major white feminists bloggers when it is time to ante up, and say publicly, “You know what, my friend or acquaintance did something wrong and I disagree with it and I will call them out on it,” they get scared, try to appease everyone, and flounder in the “land of good intentions.”

    It seems quite easy to explicitly state what some WOC bloggers and/or allies or random ass people did wrong in this brouhaha but when it comes to Amanda, for some, there are only innocuous statement: “mistakes were made,” “I don’t agree with everything that went on, “the situation could have been handled better,” “the pix are problematic,” WTF people! Those are empty phrases that only demonstrate your willingness to acknowledge disagreements and grievances without taking a stance, actively trying to ameliorate the situation, or act in a decisive manner.

    I am not asking white feminists or anyone else to denounce and take away Amanda’s feminist card (shit, I don’t even know her), but I do think it is my, your, our responsibility to unequivocally denounce and critique deeds, actions, and statements that are questionable and “problematic,” acts of racism, be these acts unintentional, unconscious, or due to ignorance or apathy

    If POC can’t depend on our so-called allies to recognize and denounce subtle forms of racist and racialist thinking, what good are you as an ally?

    Cuz you know what, if your empowerment or subversiveness reinforces stereotypes and erases some human beings from the pix, then don’t be surprise if those very same people call you on yo shit.

    PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE NOT THE SCENERY OR DECORATION IN WHITE WOMEN´S DRAMA.

  177. J.Goff
    J.Goff April 23, 2008 at 10:40 pm |

    do a search on her and you’ll find entries in Google with people she’s censored

    Take Ilyka’s hint, Sam. You’re an idiot.

  178. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 23, 2008 at 10:53 pm |

    When I hear a progressive saying “X can’t be trusted,” I don’t see it as a claim that all X are untrustworthy. I see it as an admission of defeat — a statement that the costs of trusting X are too high, and the benefits are too low. And if I’m a member of group X, I take that as a challenge to do more to cut those costs and raise those benefits.

    This, right here, makes sense… at least it makes sense to me those times I’ve said “straight people can’t be trusted” or “cis people can’t be trusted.”

    Also, when white people see “white people can’t be trusted,” they usually almost immediately make it about them – “Why can’t I be trusted?” Even though the white people who provoked the comment are right there in public doing what makes them untrustworthy, other people are like “Why me?”

    As for Hugo’s characterization of the comic images used in the book as “ironic?” I don’t really buy it. Using the jungle at all implies a load of racist imagery, and the images used do nothing to subvert that. Certainly, I’m sure the intent was an ironic subversion of sexism, but as pointed out, it reinforces racism.

    I still want to know where the flood of plagiarism accusations are. I blogged on this right at the start, and have been following, and I just haven’t seen it. Are they hidden in someone’s invisible knapsack?

  179. Tom Head
    Tom Head April 23, 2008 at 11:06 pm |

    I’ll go on the record as saying that I don’t think Amanda plagiarized, and I will never believe that she plagiarized unless I see BFP’s speech and the content is substantially the same as Amanda’s article.

    But I definitely think she appropriated, and I don’t think that makes her a bad person. I appropriate. You probably appropriate. You can’t write about these issues and not occasionally appropriate stuff, just like you can’t walk through the house with your eyes closed without stubbing your toe. (Or at least I can’t.) But what I’d tell Amanda is that when you stub your toe, you don’t keep swinging your foot into whatever you stubbed it into. You change course. And I think Amanda’s response, on day one, should have been to honor WOC who have influenced her thinking on this issue.

    What bothers me much more than any claims of appropriation–because, again, nobody can be perfect on that front–is that she reacted by treating the WOC criticizing her with a profound lack of respect, and by urging white feminists to flock to her defense by describing BFP’s criticism as potentially career-ending for her. That’s harder for me to get my head around.

  180. Foucault
    Foucault April 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm |

    “I am not asking white feminists or anyone else to denounce and take away Amanda’s feminist card (shit, I don’t even know her), but I do think it is my, your, our responsibility to unequivocally denounce and critique deeds, actions, and statements that are questionable and “problematic,” acts of racism, be these acts unintentional, unconscious, or due to ignorance or apathy.”

    What the hell? Could you perhaps provide one citation from Amanda’s book that comes across as a “problematic” act of racism? I honestly just want one direct quote.

    If you think it is “racist” and “problematic” to get one’s work published because one writes about sociopolitical issues that other people of color have written about (along with half the liberal blogosphere!), then you are living in a strange reality. There is no monopoly on immigration or race or feminism. Go bother the Huffington Post or Kos or Chris Clarke or CNN. Why pick on a thirty year old white woman? Because she is an easy mark, that’s why.

  181. Ico
    Ico April 23, 2008 at 11:08 pm |

    I still want to know where the flood of plagiarism accusations are.

    And *I* want to know where the tangible support for our sisters of color is. There has been lots and lots and lots of talk, especially about listening and understanding and how we are all trying to do better next time.

    Well forget next time. What good is conversation if we can’t even address the issue here, when it matters? What good are promises about future solidarity if we can’t show any RIGHT NOW?

  182. Foucault
    Foucault April 23, 2008 at 11:11 pm |

    Also, face it: Amanda Marcotte is a better writer than most of the people who have posted comments here. And she is certainly a tiny bit more coherent than BFP.

    Just saying…

  183. Nate
    Nate April 23, 2008 at 11:33 pm |

    Jill,

    Here’s my opinion.

    First, this controversy is no longer largely about whether Amanda “appropriated” or “plagiarized.” It is now about the reaction of the mainstream white feminist blogosphere to the controversy, specifically Amanda’s reaction. It is also about the mainstream white feminist blogosphere’s reaction to Amanda’s reaction. My opinion is that even those who did not find fault with Amanda’s article should undoubtedly have found fault with her handling of the criticism.

    You say that promoting Amanda’s work is not an attempt to silence those who are outraged. I believe that you’re not attempting to do so, but unfortunately, intentional or not, you are doing so. You are promoting her book while the controversy rages without demanding that Amanda do anything to repair the damage her behavior has caused. By doing so, you ARE silencing those who are outraged, whether you are attempting to do so or not. This was particularly true when your post did not even mention the controversy, but it still remains true as edited.

    You say that promoting Amanda’s work does not mean that you’re taking Amanda’s side. Yes, it does. You acknowledge that promoting Amanda’s work is not a neutral act, and you’re right. It’s clear that you are listening to dissenting voices and that you value dissenting opinions, and I respect and appreciate that. But make no mistake, to continue promoting Amanda’s work without any resolution to the controversy constitutes taking her side, no matter how much you struggled with the decision. The bottom line is that continuing to promote Amanda’s work without taking her to task for her racist behavior constitutes taking her side, especially given that I haven’t seen any reason to believe that the response to another similar episode would be substantially different.

    “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
    – Martin Luther King Jr.

  184. Rachel
    Rachel April 23, 2008 at 11:33 pm |

    BFP: “I was pissed off”

    Mitchforth, you linked to Sudy and quoted BfP. Any particular reason you can’t seem to tell them apart?

  185. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 23, 2008 at 11:44 pm |

    And *I* want to know where the tangible support for our sisters of color is. There has been lots and lots and lots of talk, especially about listening and understanding and how we are all trying to do better next time.

    Well forget next time. What good is conversation if we can’t even address the issue here, when it matters? What good are promises about future solidarity if we can’t show any RIGHT NOW?

    Yes. Trying to do better right now, this very instant, is way ahead of trying to do better next time. Especially since the controversy of right now is still continuing. It hasn’t stopped. There’s room for people to step up and speak out. Do something.

    Amanda can still write an amendment to her article crediting the women of color who have been writing about immigration issues, and it would only strengthen what she wrote in the first place. This is such a simple thing, an easy thing. It takes very little effort to do, and is far easier than maintaining a defensive “you’re out to destroy my career because of jealousy” stance, or constantly trying to reframe all criticisms as accusations of something that was never really accused.

    And it’s not just Amanda, not just about Amanda. It happens over and over again, like some kind of sick carnival ride. It’s not just about BFP, or BA, or anyone else who’s spoken up. It’s not just about Amanda, who is simply one white woman in a long line of white people who have done this.

    Solidarity is something you do, right now, this moment. Being an ally is a process, not an event, not a moment. You can start being an ally at any time, and you can stop being an ally at any time, and it doesn’t matter what you say, it matters what you do. You can proclaim yourself an ally to people of color, but if you can’t be bothered to show it when something happens right now, if it becomes time for reflection and discussion and consciousness raising, time for racism 101, then nothing will happen. When this gets stirred up again, we’ll just go through the same soul-searching and hand-wringing and “we’ll get it right next time” that we’re getting now.

    While it’s all well and good for white people to try to understand our own privilege and society’s white supremacist underpinnings, this shouldn’t be something that comes at the expense of people of color who – well, read what BlackAmazon wrote above:

    and really it’s appreciated the consideration and “fairness” place don protecting the BASIC FACTS OF WHO SAID WHAT AND OUR REPUTATIONS with the same gusto that goes into making narry a strong word about Amanda goes unchallenged

    or that teh conisderation of what ANY OF THE ORIGINAL PEOPEL WHO WERE AND ARE STILL BEING HURT IS even mentioned in teh damn near trip and fall fest over who and how white women can do better with their benevolent power

    I know I’ve screwed up – hell, I think this comment centers white people way too much. But really, if you’re an ally, get in gear now. The iron’s hot now and if you wait until it’s convenient to say anything that might have been effective, you’re not an ally.

  186. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 23, 2008 at 11:47 pm |

    BFP doesn’t appear to claim the ideas as proprietary.

    Wow, you finally figured out you’ve been telling lies about BFP and changed your tune. Where’s the apology? Where’s the admission that you fucked up? Where’s the acknowledgment that you were talking out of your ass?

    Post after post of lies, and you haven’t got the courage to own up to it.

    Why is that so familiar?

    am sure BFP wrote good stuff on the subject, but she’s not entitled to a cite every time somebody discusses immigration.

    There you go again! You figured out that BFP never asked for credit, then you post this assertion that BFP has no right to a privilege she never asked for

    You’re either a very. slow. learner.

    Or you’ve been blowing it out your ass from post one.

    Ravenmn

  187. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm |

    # Rachel says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 11:33 pm – Edit

    BFP: “I was pissed off”

    Mitchforth, you linked to Sudy and quoted BfP. Any particular reason you can’t seem to tell them apart?

    Rachel, you address Mitchforth, but it was Manju who posted that (#179). Any particular reason you can’t tell them apart?

    Yes, the quote is from bfp. Sudy posted her final word blog in full, I’m guessing that’s why Manju linked there. You can also find it here.

  188. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 12:01 am |

    I still want to know where the flood of plagiarism accusations are.

    the evidence has been destroyed, but i recall BFP comparing Amanda to 3 plagiarists: ward churchill, someone i can’t remember, and (strangely) alan dershowitz who was falsely accused by norman finklestein but apparetnly bfp believes the charge. so that is where the plagiarism charge originated.

    of course sudy and others called it “stealing” and i recall 2 male feminists (maybe j.goff or anthony kennerson) using the word plagiarism.

    but i’m just going by memory here.

  189. Radfem
    Radfem April 24, 2008 at 12:04 am |

    If there is a text by BFP that Marcotte lifted from, then that’s plagiarism. But occupying the same subject matter isn’t the same thing. I am sure BFP wrote good stuff on the subject, but she’s not entitled to a cite every time somebody discusses immigration.

    Well, there were a couple other women who were mentioned as sources of information in threads here, including a woman from MALDEF.

  190. Radfem
    Radfem April 24, 2008 at 12:07 am |

    oops, it wouldn’t let me edit and pushed post too soon.

    Well, there were a couple other women who were mentioned as sources of information in threads here, including a woman from MALDEF who weren’t cited in the article.

  191. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 12:12 am |

    But it’s so much easier to refute that Amanda lifted directly from BFP rather than Amanda was influenced at all by WoC writings on the topic. Keeping it about BFP makes it easier to erase all the other WoC who have worked on this.

    And, to me, if I write about something like this, even if my writing is not directly influenced by someone who’s done more work on the subject (ha, as if), it still helps to point to that work. Especially if the point is to educate about the issue the work’s about.

  192. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 12:22 am |

    Rachel, you address Mitchforth, but it was Manju who posted that (#179). Any particular reason you can’t tell them apart?

    Heh. Thanks delurkingforawhile. Turnaround is fair play.

  193. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 24, 2008 at 12:30 am |

    Well, there were a couple other women who were mentioned as sources of information in threads here, including a woman from MALDEF.

    She never said they were sources. She said her views were drawn from them, among others. Her sources were the news articles she linked. Quit putting words in her mouth or pretending that you know better than she who her sources were. Writers/People are influenced by a sum of their research, life experiences and every piece of media they ingest. My views on politics have been shaped by countless life experiences, writers, speakers, singers, artists and documentaries over the years. That doesn’t mean every time I state my political opinion on an article in the news, I am supposed to roll them all out. When summarizing, paraphrasing or otherwise referring to the work of another person? Absolutely, as others have pointed out. But AM has said she wasn’t doing that, and though there’s no evidence to the contrary, the blogosphere still demands a public shaming.

  194. littlem
    littlem April 24, 2008 at 12:41 am |

    delurking @ 201:

    Let me get my cliche in first:
    “It is not my responsibility to educate.”

    That said, please see

    this elucidation and
    this discussion.

    Oh, and this.

    To start.

    *eyeroll*

  195. marc
    marc April 24, 2008 at 12:52 am |

    But it’s so much easier to refute that Amanda lifted directly from BFP rather than Amanda was influenced at all by WoC writings on the topic. Keeping it about BFP makes it easier to erase all the other WoC who have worked on this.

    Wow. The goalposts are now moving from “Amanda plagiarized” to “Amada appropriated BFP” to “Amanda appropriated unnamed other general WoC?”

    Lost in all of this is the simple truth that Amanda wrote a column from her own ideas, insomuch as any of us ever have original ideas instead of pulling them from the aether. There wasn’t appropriation. And if people publicly accused you first of stealing directly, then indirectly, and it wasn’t true, how would you react?

    And once again, nobody seems willing to address the other basic truth: Amanda has actually done real work to raise voices of WoC. Unless bringing on Pam to P-gon doesn’t count. And the many times she linked BFP (which I suspect were several times more than most feminist blogs) and Shark Fu and others don’t count. And so on and so forth. All anyone wants to pretend exists is this one article, which came from her own ideas.

    Also, since when does a first-time author have any say over what graphics get used in the book? She fought to change the cover and won, but the first time she saw the insides was the same time y’all did. People are just reading tea leaves now to try and prove Amanda is somehow actively suppressing people of color.

    There is a lot of anger out there, but there’s also a lot of bad-faith, ad-hominem baseless accusations being thrown around.

    Amanda isn’t perfect. Duh. But the enemy of the perfect isn’t the good. She works hard because she cares about all women of all colors — that’s why she wrote a post on immigration issues in the first place, remember? Criminy, this is a faithful ally who uses her platform to raise issues — and voices — and the evidence is everywhere.

  196. Kai
    Kai April 24, 2008 at 12:54 am |

    I think an ethical line is being drawn in this overall discussion…some folks are pretty comfortable fudging (brown) sources of inspiration and information, others are not. The low-standard-bearers have made their point. Coolness. We get it. Your points are taken into consideration.

    On another front: Woland, good comment. I was considering saying something similar, but the truth is that, after many years of anti-racist activism and agitation, I’ve given this same little speech soooo many times that I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to type it out this time. Thankfully you did, so now I’ll just add to what you said. The thing to remember is this: structural racism exists and grinds down our world in devastating violent dehumanizing ways each and every day, so the mild discomfort one feels as a white person grappling with a few blind spots should really probably take a back seat to combating this reality. It’s also interesting to note that white folks freely call people of color “racist” when we make anti-racist critiques (e.g. Jeremiah Wright), so apparently the hyper-sensitivity surrounding the label “racist” is yet another one-way street. The only other thing I’d add is something which Nanette once wrote as a guest-poster on this very blog: that when a person of color points out an instance of racism to a white person, you (the white person) are actually being given the benefit of the doubt; because if a person of color thinks you’re totally clueless, we generally wouldn’t bother at all. So as much as it stings your desired self-image, you can also take it as a compliment that you’re seen as someone who might get it. It’s sad that many white folks apparently would rather not know and remain firmly locked in that awkward state of denial undergirded by fear and guilt of what they may find if they look deeply into their own hearts.

    Also, as I’ve written in the past:

    It seems to me that one of the principal sources of confusion when it comes to racial disourse is the stunning lack of clarity and consensus regarding the exact meanings and definitions of the words “racism” and “racist”. Those of us who spend significant time doing anti-racist work end up developing a variety of nuanced concepts surrounding these words, but many people never explore those meanings and instinctively respond to talk of racism with strong emotions and weak understandings. Racism is a complex multi-dimensional interdisciplinary subject which cannot be reduced to an absurdly-shallow bifurcation of the populace into laudable “not racists” and condemned “racists”. Racism is an overarching, interlocking set of economic, political, social, and cultural structures, beliefs, and actions which systematically advantage one racial group at the expense of all others. A statement, thought, belief, assumption, or action can be described as racist when it plugs into the overarching grid of racism, like a node which lights up once it plugs into its compatible network, thus transcending an individual act of bigotry or prejudice and fusing into broader institutions and societal forces.

    As for defining what makes an individual person “a racist”, I think it’s a pretty fuzzy area, and not a particularly fruitful intellectual direction. Most anti-racists are much more concerned with identifying, understanding, and dismantling racism, than in exposing any individual as “a racist”, whatever that means. Clearly, there are hate-crime types out there who organize their lives around advancing white supremacist violence and such; but most of the racism that people of color deal with in our day-to-day lives — especially those of us who interact with a lot of white liberals — is far more subtle and covert, more of a background buzz than an in-your-face threat. White liberal racism tends to manifest in unspoken assumptions, attitudes, and social dynamics which normalize and center the white lens, while deprioritizing, marginalizing, and dismissing the voices, perspectives, experiences, histories, cultures, agendas, and initiatives of people of color. White liberals who engage in these behaviors aren’t “racists” in the same sense as the hate-crime types, but they are nevertheless participating in the replication and perpetuation of racism. Pointing this out is not “playing the race card”; it is accurate socio-political observation. Pointing this out is not the same as running around indiscriminately shouting “racist!” at every white person within earshot in some kind of rageful frenzy; it is constructive anti-racist critique aimed at illuminating an important but dimly-lit pattern, for the purpose of healing wounds which continue to bleed our society and our own humanity.

  197. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 24, 2008 at 1:02 am |

    littlem,

    I didn’t ask you to educate me.

    But thanks for explaining that it’s not your job and then assuming what I have and haven’t read.

    I’ve already read those posts, btw.

    Does making an *eyeroll* give your point of view more credibility than mine? I don’t think so.

  198. marc
    marc April 24, 2008 at 1:09 am |

    I think an ethical line is being drawn in this overall discussion…some folks are pretty comfortable fudging (brown) sources of inspiration and information, others are not. The low-standard-bearers have made their point. Coolness. We get it. Your points are taken into consideration.

    See, this is the ad hominem, baseless stuff I don’t understand. Who is fudging? Where are you getting the information that they are fudging? Are these people demonstrating a pattern of fudging, ie not linking their inspirations that you can show? Any sort of substance instead of just making a wild accusation would be appreciated. Because if it isn’t there, these comments are just plain evil.

  199. In light of Appropriation and Race « Questioning Transphobia

    [...] thank you to littlem on Feministe for putting the first of these three links together and prompting this post. The post on Feministe [...]

  200. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 1:20 am |

    Wow. The goalposts are now moving from “Amanda plagiarized” to “Amada appropriated BFP” to “Amanda appropriated unnamed other general WoC?”

    The goalposts never moved – the talk about plagiarism came from Amanda and her defenders, not from those who criticized her for failing to credit women of color for the work they did.

    Go back and read the original posts again.

  201. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 1:29 am |

    Seriously, it’s not hard: Amanda could end this right now by acknowledging and crediting WoC sources for her article on immigration.

    It’s dead simple. Would take all of maybe a few minutes. She could have the original article edited or post the clarification on Pandagon. It wouldn’t hurt her career in the least.

  202. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 1:34 am |

    You know, I’ve made my personal feelings about AM as well as on this entire affair pretty clear, so I’m hardly unbiased. At the same time, though, I do sympathize: it’s hard to call out a personal friend, particularly when she’s clearly already incredibly defensive and acting besieged. Perhaps (I am speculating) all the more so when the friend is in one’s hometown and perhaps spending time with one in already-planned get-togethers and…I won’t speculate, none of my business.

    That said, though, I gotta say, I have to sign on to this:

    I am not asking white feminists or anyone else to denounce and take away Amanda’s feminist card (shit, I don’t even know her), but I do think it is my, your, our responsibility to unequivocally denounce and critique deeds, actions, and statements that are questionable and “problematic,” acts of racism, be these acts unintentional, unconscious, or due to ignorance or apathy

    that goes for some other people as well.

    Shit, Twisty just called her out, and I’ve harshed on her/IBTP even more than Amanda; and yet, credit where credit is due, dammit. C’mon.

    It’s a sign of a real friend, I think, to tell someone when she’s fucked up. If the friend doesn’t want to hear it but at all, well…at a certain point, it’s kind of on the friend’s head, then. But…thing is, one has other relationships to maintain as well.

    Just putting that out there.

  203. Radfem
    Radfem April 24, 2008 at 1:35 am |

    It’s interesting how even if someone didn’t know what pictures were inside their book when the original cover and the jungle motif and the spoofing of Lorna the Jungle Girl which were used as defenses for the use of the jungle motif which makes it appear that if Marcotte didn’t know what pictures were being used, some of her supporters who defended the pictures did, that the first reaction of supporters would be to say, the author saw the pictures at the same time the readers did and had no say, rather than you know what, they are damn offensive and it’s damn offensive that the pictures are in the book in the first place, but defensiveness always seems to be the first response to criticism that racist imagery is being used.

    I still find them offensive. And I wouldn’t want to be associated with a publishing company where a representative would say that women of color weren’t commercially marketable and then produces a book with racist imagery without even extending the professional courtesy of providing an author with such commitment against racism and fighting for the rights of women of color, the galleys to look at before publication. And any feminist concerned with fighting racism would have at least asked what the rest of the pictures would look like.

    Even if I worked hard on a book, even if it took me years to write it, I’d be mortified if pictures like that were inside it. And I would definitely express that. I eagerly look forward to Marcotte saying something about them.

  204. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 1:38 am |

    and yeah, per those illustrations in the book? I saw ‘em, or what I think are them, the originals, online (misplaced the link) and um holy shit. I just…there are no words.

    btw, general PSA, “irony” = ! “all purpose ass cover, ‘i meant to do that’.” Didn’t work for the Cuttin Up Hookers t-shirt guy, doesn’t wash here.

  205. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 1:40 am |

    I still find them offensive. And I wouldn’t want to be associated with a publishing company where a representative would say that women of color weren’t commercially marketable and then produces a book with racist imagery without even extending the professional courtesy of providing an author with such commitment against racism and fighting for the rights of women of color, the galleys to look at before publication. And any feminist concerned with fighting racism would have at least asked what the rest of the pictures would look like.

    Even if I worked hard on a book, even if it took me years to write it, I’d be mortified if pictures like that were inside it. And I would definitely express that. I eagerly look forward to Marcotte saying something about them.

    Yup. And once again, ladies and germs, that would be (the apparently not-so-long-ago New and Improved? something) Seal Press. whee.

  206. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 1:43 am |

    Seriously, it’s not hard: Amanda could end this right now by acknowledging and crediting WoC sources for her article on immigration.

    It’s dead simple. Would take all of maybe a few minutes. She could have the original article edited or post the clarification on Pandagon. It wouldn’t hurt her career in the least.

    To be fair, at this point even that’s probably going to be looked at as “too little too late,” and the people who’re cheerleading her now will, as with burqagate, scold her for caving in until she uncaves, probably.

    But it’s quite right that linking or clarifying wouldn’t hurt her -career.- Certainly not nearly so much as continuing to dig this hole. And even that’s probably not really making that much of a dent, I’d reckon, but then I am a cynical fuck that way.

  207. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 1:46 am |

    “Amanda appropriated unnamed other general WoC?”

    ah no. actually she named at least one, when pressed, one Nina Perales. And yes, she could bloody well credit her, in that case.

    for the rest, what Lisa said.

    and really, “evil?” damn, I thought -I- was a drama queen. well, I am, but it’s nice to know one has competition, really.

  208. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 1:48 am |

    (“and it’s hard work, lovin’ ‘em as best I can…”)

  209. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 1:51 am |

    You’re right – I was going to add that bad feelings would remain because this has been dragged out for so long, and it wouldn’t fix anything. If she cares enough to work on this, then it’ll take more than fixing the attributions in one article. But, I wasn’t sure if it would add to the point – it probably would have, and I should’ve gone ahead and written it.

    And it wouldn’t end the general issue – that white women appropriate words from women of color.

    I don’t believe anything that’s happened has hurt Amanda’s career, and I don’t believe that anyone who’s commented on this had any intention to hurt Amanda’s career. I’m also puzzled at the idea that having a career should somehow render one immune to criticism for fear that it might harm that career.

  210. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 2:13 am |

    I’m also puzzled at the idea that having a career should somehow render one immune to criticism for fear that it might harm that career.

    Well, yes, particularly when at least some of that career is built on other peoples’ -hard work.-

    Because, I’m sorry, no matter how -hard- Amanda works, I think bfp worked/works a fuck of a lot harder, and, frankly, is a much better writer, both in terms of original research and wordsmith skills. For a fraction of the recognition. But then, she has different goals (which is not to say that she really doesn’t -mind- not being recognized, I shouldn’t guess). Which is another point which keeps getting hopelessly lost, here.

  211. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 2:15 am |

    But you know, curiously enough, “what’ll it do to my career, all this trash-talking about Me” was exactly the first and I think only thought of Alex Tchemeian.

  212. Rachel
    Rachel April 24, 2008 at 2:17 am |

    delurkingforawhile says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 11:50 pm – Edit

    # Rachel says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 11:33 pm – Edit

    BFP: “I was pissed off”

    Mitchforth, you linked to Sudy and quoted BfP. Any particular reason you can’t seem to tell them apart?

    Rachel, you address Mitchforth, but it was Manju who posted that (#179). Any particular reason you can’t tell them apart?

    I’m a dolt – totally thought that was Mitchforth. My mistake; sorry to both of you. Teach me to type while trying to eat a popsicle.

    Redirecting, in that case – Manju, why wouldn’t you quote to the original text? Why do you elide them?

  213. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 24, 2008 at 2:19 am |

    Well, yes, particularly when at least some of that career is built on other peoples’ -hard work.-

    Completely false and slanderous, but heh, that’s blog entertainment?

  214. littlem
    littlem April 24, 2008 at 2:53 am |

    Well, yes, particularly when at least some of that career is built on other peoples’ -hard work.-

    Completely false and slanderous, but heh, that’s blog entertainment?

    #218, in response to your previous response, you may have read them, but it’s not terribly clear from your subsequent commentary that you
    1) understood them;
    2) grasped the larger point that not only those posts, but several other blogs and several other people commenting on this blog have been making — most immediately for several weeks, on the larger issues for several decades.

    Not to speak of the fact that, whether you did or didn’t isn’t really the point. If you’re deliberately choosing not to comprehend something (would you also happen to be one of those folks that “just doesn’t see color”, by chance?), no one can force you to.

  215. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 24, 2008 at 3:32 am |

    littlem,

    I can read. I comprehend. I understand. I see color.

    Thanks for assuming so many insulting things about me again, but at least there were no explicit *eyeroll* additions this time.

    I just don’t agree with you, because I have not seen any evidence of appropriation, stealing, or plagiarism in this instance. And apparently that means to you that I don’t “understand or “comprehend” those issues that people have been writing about for decades. You can talk down to me if you want, but it won’t scare me into suddenly agreeing with you.

    I don’t want to join in on ~or stand silently lurking~ during the public shaming of any person who did nothing to deserve it (even if that person is a stranger to me, which, due to the emotional-distancing of the internet, would make it very easy for me just to join the public shaming bandwagon). Maybe you don’t understand, comprehend or grasp my point of view? I can’t force you to.

  216. ilyka
    ilyka April 24, 2008 at 3:37 am |

    See, this is the ad hominem, baseless stuff I don’t understand.

    Really? Because the ad hominem, baseless stuff most people here are still not understanding is “hatchet job,” O Master of Civility. Except actually, by now, after literally YEARS of watching you suit up to come dig the hole deeper, there can be no confusion on the matter: You throw the baseless ad hominem stuff out there in your one or two allotted moments a day of honesty. You throw out terms like “hatchet job” because that’s honestly what you think this is.

    And then you wonder why no one will consider your very valid points! Indeed, it is a mystery.

  217. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 4:11 am |

    I think it’s pretty clear you don’t understand the history of appropriation that underlies and permeates this entire topic right here, right now. You’re telling people who have seen it play out over and over again that they’re imagining things – it’s no wonder they’re going to reject your worldview. It has no bearing on their reality.

  218. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 24, 2008 at 4:14 am |

    Quit putting words in my mouth. kthx.

  219. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 24, 2008 at 4:24 am |

    and:

    I personally think it’s pretty clear you are joining a popular cyberbully bandwagon (or what I saw referred to on another blog as a “dense fog of vague accusations and interpersonal grudges”), the history of which underlies and permeates this entire topic right here, right now.

    But I won’t tell YOU what you’re telling people or otherwise put words in your mouth.

  220. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 5:15 am |

    Completely false and slanderous, but heh, that’s blog entertainment?

    I personally think it’s pretty clear you are joining a popular cyberbully bandwagon (or what I saw referred to on another blog as a “dense fog of vague accusations and interpersonal grudges”),

    oh, just bite me.

  221. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 24, 2008 at 5:17 am |

    ditto

  222. donna darko
    donna darko April 24, 2008 at 5:18 am |

    It’s about hurt feelings and insensitivity. Someone writes passionately about something for a year and someone else gets the credit. It’s worse when it’s between women. POC bloggers who wrote about immigration for a year or two should have been mad at Dave Sirota when he suddenly started writing about it at Alternet and other places but somehow it doesn’t hit as close to home with guys.

  223. Tom Head
    Tom Head April 24, 2008 at 6:16 am |

    I was going to post again, but instead I’ll just say ditto to Lisa Harney. I agree with everything she’s written in this thread.

    Especially this:

    You’re right – I was going to add that bad feelings would remain because this has been dragged out for so long, and it wouldn’t fix anything. If she cares enough to work on this, then it’ll take more than fixing the attributions in one article. But, I wasn’t sure if it would add to the point – it probably would have, and I should’ve gone ahead and written it.

    To which I would add: Amanda’s objective shouldn’t be to appease critics anyway. It should be to do the right thing. A post to Pandagon, whether it’s too little too late or not, would be helpful.

    To the extent that there’s any cyberbullying going on, I think it’s clearly flowing in both directions. Amanda was much less kind in dealing with her critics in this situation than she should have been, and for me that’s 90% of the problem. If she had said “I’ll think about it.” and left it at that, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been dragged out to the extent that it has.

    The issue of appropriation is not one I feel comfortable condemning her for out of hand, because people appropriate more often than they don’t when they write about these issues. To quote U2, every artist is a cannibal and every poet is a thief. But realizing that one may have appropriated and making no effort to correct course is more problematic. It’s the difference between accidentally standing on someone’s foot, moving, and apologizing…and accidentally standing on someone’s foot, cursing at the owner of said foot for making too much noise, and refusing to budge.

    Re careers, I second Lisa once again: Having a career shouldn’t insulate Amanda, or me, or anyone else from criticism. Particularly when our careers are the very things that give us so much power to make WOC invisible.

  224. kiki
    kiki April 24, 2008 at 6:34 am |

    Criminy, this is a faithful ally who uses her platform to raise issues — and voices — and the evidence is everywhere.

    I was walking around a museum the other day when my eleven year old daughter asked why the vast majority of the artist represented are white and male. Was it because women back then couldn’t paint? Was it because people of color back then didn’t know how to write or draw? Is it just that white people (white men in particular) are more focused, driven and intelligent and women and blacks are lazy? Did the museum choose this work because it was clearly superior to other work created at the time? Or, as my daughter began to piece together, was there something else going on?

    Let me explain something, WOC for the most part don’t want someone else to use their platform to raise issues as much as we would like to be provided the space to speak for and advocate for ourselves. These ‘faithful allies’ have historically taken our stories, experiences, struggles and ideas and used them for their own advancement. Then they take credit for any trickle down benefits. This is especially true of sheltered white individuals with limited life experience who spend some time in the tropics with the natives, have a couple of beers with their Mexican landscaper, go to a sweat lodge and practice mock native spirituality, have a token black friend over to the BBQ and suddenly they know what it means to be non-white in this world and the are excused from any weight of history. It’s all good now in their little world. They go around pontificating on all sorts of topics related to people of color and when confronted express dismay that their advocacy was not embraced. What ingrates we are to not be more grateful that you would choose to wield your influence on our behalf.

    When I read in comment after comment that the fact that these prominent white fem bloggers have book deals has nothing to do with privilege, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Most feminists would walk into a museum and immediately recognize the dynamics that led to there being very few women and people of color represented, but when faced with their own Louvre they retreat to bootstrap mythologies and arguments around good faith, sisterhood and worthiness. Yes, it’s totally a coincidence that the white establishment consistently chooses faces and voices like their own and it’s even better when they get their WoC experience by proxy without having to deal with an actual WoC ! Just summarize it for us, dear.

  225. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 24, 2008 at 8:31 am |

    All of this is my blinding, bleeding opinion…

    @delurking:

    I just don’t agree with you, because I have not seen any evidence of appropriation, stealing, or plagiarism in this instance.

    I always find it amusing when people wade into a sea of opinions and then without any justification they declare, “Well, I don’t agree with you, and I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

    I don’t want to join in on ~or stand silently lurking~ during the public shaming of any person who did nothing to deserve it (even if that person is a stranger to me, which, due to the emotional-distancing of the internet, would make it very easy for me just to join the public shaming bandwagon).

    Feels wonderful to have the courage of your convictions, doesn’t it? To wade into a situation only when you have absolute, categorical certainty that there is a spectrum of right and wrong, and to lodge yourself as far as you can on the extremes. To recognize gray areas is too much like work!

    I unfortunately don’t have that luxury.

    Even if I worked hard on a book, even if it took me years to write it, I’d be mortified if pictures like that were inside it. And I would definitely express that. I eagerly look forward to Marcotte saying something about them.

    Radfem, I hate to say this to you and to many other people in this comment thread — but that ain’t going to happen. Amanda appears allergic to taking responsibility or saying something about anything that shows she is not, in fact, The Brightest Hipster Light Bulb in the Vanity. So there are many things that won’t happen with regard to Amanda:

    1) She won’t apologize for anything because she doesn’t feel she’s done anything wrong;
    2) She won’t acknowledge any appropriation, even if she did in fact derive inspiration from one or from many;
    3) She won’t engage with people if they tell her, “hey you should take responsibility for something you do and put your name on as your work,” because… well… that’s too much like right;
    4) She won’t issue a statement on this situation anywhere she has control over. By this point if you are expecting to see anything on this subject at Pandagon, you’d better find another Pandagon blogger. ‘Cause it ain’t going up through her unless she has at least 5 [un]acknowledged sources on how to take responsibility without looking like an asshole.

    So honestly? Forget about it. If you (general, not Radfem) want Amanda to take notice of something and act, don’t do anything with the end goal in mind being her doing something that involves taking responsibility. I suggest three things:

    1) Don’t buy her book if you think it has racist imagery in it and you find that offensive. You can browse through most books; you can look up Lorna the Jungle Girl. If you really like the quality and style of Amanda’s writing but question the use of the imagery, don’t buy the book, go to the publisher (Seal Press hurr) and tell them why you’re not buying the book, and see if you can get a reprint with just as much irony without any racism. And buy it then. I think that’s possible, especially since there’s no longer King Kong on the cover. And it’s a clearer objective than Amanda’s sense of responsibility. (I not-so-secretly think she has no sense of responsibility.)

    2) If you don’t like the way Amanda handles her topics and you don’t like her personality, don’t read her.

    If you do like the way she handles topics but you don’t care for her personality, then don’t read these threads (because you’ll ostensibly see more of her personality) and keep reading her where she writes. Ride the fence.

    If you don’t like the way she handles topics but you like her personality — and yet you find yourself in an area where there’s a discussion about how she handles topics — well, ride the fence. That seems to be the consensus here, anyway.

    If you do like her handling of topics and her personality, do what she’s doing. Ignore everything. Gaze into that black hole of a navel. Make her feel more like a person. “Make [her] feel good,” as Halle Berry would say. Have fun. Whatever.

    If you want to make this about Amanda’s career, those are all the consequences I can think of that directly affect Amanda’s career. Have freakin’ at it.

    Now I, personally, don’t give two shits about Amanda’s career or her book. I care more about when dialogue on improving inclusivity speaks automatically from the viewpoint that white feminists with large audiences are obligated to be more sensitive to women of color feminists tugging on their skirts for wider promotion. Because I have work to do and I don’t have time or inclination to tug on any woman’s skirt or whisper into her ear.

    I care more about people describing engagement with women of color and people of color who do work related to women’s rights as limiting and “too much to ask;” I imagine for some it’s even painful… but these same people have no problem forming shoddy opinions of said work and spreading those opinions elsewhere to the direct detriment of those women of color and people of color. Because by not even letting them know where talks are happening involving privileged folk — those same privileged folk who have closer relationships to power — you’re writing them out of an important conversation that almost explicitly and exclusively affects them. Why the hell should I care that you’re talking ABOUT me when you’re not bothering to talk TO me? What does your opinion matter to me when you’re not telling it to me — rather, you’re telling others who look like you over MY head? Behaving that way doesn’t give any impression you want to work with anybody.

    I care when the rules of giving credit where deserved bends and changes with the people whose works are used. Especially when it all boils down to avoiding the responsibility of acknowledging being misguided or wrong, or being one small conduit of a broader flow of information. The latter is especially hard in a culture of studies, of specializations and experts, where great benefit goes to the most groundbreaking discovery (or the closest resemblance to a groundbreaking discovery the power structure wants to recognize).

    But if you want more information to flow, it’s essential. You can either work to cooperate with other workers, or you can work to get them ignored, get them erased, or get them killed. Or you can change the nature of the work so that the ignorance/erasure/murder option isn’t on the table anymore. None of these happens when you’re standing and waiting for someone to come to you with the answers or with the work implements.

    That’s what I care about more — changing this system — and that’s what I want to work on.

  226. Tobes
    Tobes April 24, 2008 at 9:11 am |

    While I still see the excellent points, I’m really starting to feel for Amanda here.

    Lost in all of this is the simple truth that Amanda wrote a column from her own ideas, insomuch as any of us ever have original ideas instead of pulling them from the aether. There wasn’t appropriation. And if people publicly accused you first of stealing directly, then indirectly, and it wasn’t true, how would you react?

    I think that’s a fair question– how would any of us react if we were called out for stealing or being racist? Through this whole issue, I’ve read a lot of good points from WOC who are upset. I still agree with many of them. But at the heart of it, I don’t believe Amanda is a racist. I don’t think she ever meant to step on anyone’s toes. Her biggest “sin” (pardon the religious reference) was, as someone said, the aggressive defensiveness she had when addressing her critics. But we aren’t perfect and certainly some people on this board have gotten snarky with each other when we felt people were missing the point.

    I believe there is a right and wrong way to stand up for yourself — especially when it comes to calling out an ally- which I think Marcotte has been and will be again! You might feel better being flippant (this goes for Marcotte too) but where has it gotten us? Criticism is due here– big time– and obviously we have to work harder to do the right thing for WOC in the feminist community. SIGN ME UP — I want to do that! But I’m starting to feel so weighed down by this negativity that I can’t see a solution.

    And that scares me. It should scare all of us.

  227. marc
    marc April 24, 2008 at 9:34 am |

    Let me explain something, WOC for the most part don’t want someone else to use their platform to raise issues as much as we would like to be provided the space to speak for and advocate for ourselves.

    and also:

    Why the hell should I care that you’re talking ABOUT me when you’re not bothering to talk TO me? What does your opinion matter to me when you’re not telling it to me — rather, you’re telling others who look like you over MY head? Behaving that way doesn’t give any impression you want to work with anybody.

    So, once again, when Amanda asks Pam to join Pandagon, or promotes BFP’s blog in the “stuff you should read” section of her book, isn’t that exactly what you’re describing here? Doesn’t that count as a willingness to work with (and certainly “provide the space” to) women of color?

    And if it counts, why is this one immigration article, coming from a person who has lived on or near the border most of her life and has plenty of life experience with the issue, *still* taken as a prima facie example of appropriation (not true) and treated as the standard bearer for her all of her work (not fair)?

    The larger issues are being heard– just look at Jill’s comments or Shakes’ comments. And despite the ad-hom claims of some, *nobody* in this thread is okay with appropriation. And in the end, I fail to see how relying on a false claim of appropriation as the only example I’ve seen discussed to date helps advance the larger point.

  228. marc
    marc April 24, 2008 at 9:38 am |

    @ilyka:

    Really? Because the ad hominem, baseless stuff most people here are still not understanding is “hatchet job,” O Master of Civility. Except actually, by now, after literally YEARS of watching you suit up to come dig the hole deeper, there can be no confusion on the matter: You throw the baseless ad hominem stuff out there in your one or two allotted moments a day of honesty. You throw out terms like “hatchet job” because that’s honestly what you think this is.

    Actually, the definition of ad hominem is attacking the person making the argument, not the argument itself. Which is what you are doing here, once again.

    Calling an argument a hatchet job after articulating why it’s obviously and provably false isn’t actually ad hominem. you may not agreew ith it, but if I explain reasons why something is an unfair swipe at someone, it’s not a red-herring attach on an author to avoid engaing the actual points.

  229. Ico
    Ico April 24, 2008 at 10:05 am |

    Kiki, what beautiful eloquence in your statement, and what great insight in your observations. I just want to take your post and copy and paste and copy and paste until people start paying attention.

    Sylvie/M, advice regarding Seal Press noted. They’ve made a plea for more WoC writers in response to the girlcott, but this book stuff really doesn’t speak well for them. I think they need to be held accountable as much as Marcotte, if the images are indeed as bad as they sound (haven’t seen them yet, but when I do I’ll upload them).

  230. r.
    r. April 24, 2008 at 10:05 am |

    sylvia, that was really good and nuanced, especially as it highlighted the work that needs to be done and how to go about it! changing the nature of how information flows and how people cooperate (or not) is exactly what feminist work should be about – alongside other justice work – and exactly what’s not going to happen as long as those with privilege insist on ignoring issues and concerns.

    tobes… not again with the “that’s fair”! true “fairness” should include the feelings of everyone involved, right? and yet in all of this you’re deciding that it’s super-fair to worry about the feelings of those who get accused of racism rather than holding them responsible for the way they have hurt others. you’re basically arguing that while woc might be upset too, and for good reason, what we should keep focusing on is how accusations of racism hurt those who get called out on their racism. stop and think why that is for a moment. kai addressed this in comment at #209 (“appaprently the hyper-sensitivity surrounding the label “racist” is yet another one-way street”), as did others. also, did you read what sylvia just wrote? at all? ’cause there are a lot of “solutions” and plenty of “positivity” (if you’re prepared to actually follow through with the “sign me up”) in what she’s saying.

  231. (non-blogging)Cara
    (non-blogging)Cara April 24, 2008 at 10:38 am |

    Given how obviously dated the images are, and given the essential radicalism of the pop culture analysis within the text, it seems to me that the images themselves are used at least partly ironically. It’s worlds away from the LeBron James Vogue cover; indeed, it’s the exact opposite. What the Vogue cover lamentably reinforced, Amanda’s book — IMO — subverts.

    Forgive my candor, Hugo, but this sounds like a crock of shit to me. Yes, yes, I know, I’m just not *getting* the *irony* of one versus the other because I’m too stupid/unhip. I guess all the other people who don’t see the difference and are personally offended are just *stupid*, too. (Or perhaps “uneducated” is the subtext, here).

    I wouldn’t have *seen* it, though, if it hadn’t been pointed out to me, so I don’t exactly have any room to talk–but now that it has been pointed out, I don’t see (much) difference. One’s current (I’ll bet it was meant to be ironic), one’s old, but they’re both being used NOW.

    Frankly, I don’t blame you WOC who don’t trust us white women anymore. Don’t blame you a bit.

    Tobes, honestly. How would I feel if I were called a racist? Sure, I’d be defensive, but I hope I’d LISTEN. It’s kind of tacky to worry about one’s own tender feelings if we’ve hurt someone else’s, EVEN INADVERTENTLY. So that’s it, isn’t it? Are we going to listen, or just do what the menz do and say the *other* is being too fucking sensitive?

    It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m trusted or not. What matters is am I trustworthy, to the best of my knowledge and ability, and am I teachable.

    I have no business snivelling about how hard I’m trying or what a great ally I’m trying to be. Everybody else gets to decide whether they consider me an ally or not.

  232. ilyka
    ilyka April 24, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    So, once again, when Amanda asks Pam to join Pandagon, or promotes BFP’s blog in the “stuff you should read” section of her book, isn’t that exactly what you’re describing here? Doesn’t that count as a willingness to work with (and certainly “provide the space” to) women of color?

    1. Who’s got the space to provide. who’s providing it, and by implication, who’s (still) in charge of deciding who gets space and how much? Who’s got the penthouse and who’s got the basement studio? Or, you know what would be better than “stuff to read?”–An email to BfP or other writers Amanda respects asking if there’s anything she can do to help them get a leg up in publishing, or if they’re even interested in that. And I’m NOT saying she has to do that, because it isn’t for me to write anyone else’s to-do list, but can you at least see how one is “here is a corner of my space (but it’s still my space and don’t you forget it)” while the other is “hey, is there anything you’d like me to do to help you get some space of your own?”

    2. But you know, never even mind because that isn’t what she said. She said: “we would like to be provided the space to speak for and advocate for ourselves.” Being addendumed into a “stuff you should read” section, I’m not knocking that, but it isn’t “to speak for and advocate for ourselves.” You’re talking about different things. See #1.

    3. I do think Amanda’s been great about sharing space on Pandagon and bringing Pam on was a killer move, but I’m squicked that in every discussion about women of color who are not Pam, you immediately go, “But what about Pam?”

  233. Holly
    Holly April 24, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    The art is all from the 1950s comic “Lorna the Jungle Girl”. Given how obviously dated the images are, and given the essential radicalism of the pop culture analysis within the text, it seems to me that the images themselves are used at least partly ironically.

    I’m sorry, I just had to come back in here to laugh at this comment. I mean, what? Just because an analysis is “radical” we’re supposed to trust that there’s no racist intention or oversight going on? Please. And irony? Come on! This is the kind of argument used to defend URBAN OUTFITTERS T-SHIRTS, for cripes sake. “Oh uh… it’s not racist because I only meant it ironically. You believe me right — I mean look at how radical I am on other issues, our company totally donates money to save the rainforest.” I could buy this argument if the book were about, oh I don’t know… deconstructing the racism of 50s pop culture? Otherwise no, no free passes for anyone, sorry.

    Thanks Hugo, you seriously gave me a belly laugh this time. (Your follow-up disclaimers in #122 on the other hand, I can take more seriously.)

  234. Radfem
    Radfem April 24, 2008 at 11:17 am |

    and:

    I personally think it’s pretty clear you are joining a popular cyberbully bandwagon (or what I saw referred to on another blog as a “dense fog of vague accusations and interpersonal grudges”), the history of which underlies and permeates this entire topic right here, right now.

    But I won’t tell YOU what you’re telling people or otherwise put words in your mouth.

    Yeah, whatever. No grudges. No jealousy, sorry. I don’t know Marcotte, I don’t read most of the larger “mainstream” feminist blogs very often and feminism is not really my focus. That brand of feminism is something I don’t really have kinship with and it’s not a world I’m particularly interested in. There’s so many ways for women to get involved in pushing for change with women and for women that have nothing to do with what’s called feminism. This book and how criticisms of it are dismissed by its supporters is just one more reason why this is so.

    Nope, don’t want a book deal and I don’t envy someone who does and has a book out with these pictures in them at all. Like I said, I’d be upset if it were me.

    I do feel strongly about certain things and one of them is when I feel like a movement that purports to represent me and my interests engages in behavior that is at the expense of other women. And what bothered me about this book is that an action which was purportedly done to subvert sexism as faced by women (more like White women, but how that’s often conflated into “women” without really any form of meaningful inclusiveness attached) is another discussion), used imagery that I personally view as racist no matter what decade it came from, and that’s viewed as using “irony” or making a statement meant to empower women. To me, it just looks like one group of women throwing other women under the bus to push through their brand of what feminism is.

    I find the responses disappointing, as I’d hoped to hear that you too felt that the pictures were at least as Hugo stated earlier, problematic. And that there was great concern about their inclusion especially since it was done without the author’s knowledge on how they might make women feel. That it’s not okay to subvert one form of oppression at the expense of women facing another. But I guess I won’t be hearing that. But having missed the original controversy about the book cover, it’s clear that this is a pattern of behavior and the fact that it continued on even after protests is disturbing but it’s nothing new in feminism unfortunately. It’s not the book cover that’s the big issue in my opinion, it was the motif of the book which is what led to the book cover and a lot of women no doubt have brought this issue up before I did. Removing the book cover, the most visible sign of the motif didn’t change the fact that the motif was still being used.

    What’s being said instead is the usual White defensiveness when we’re challenged on behavior which is offensive. Didn’t know. Had no say in the matter. Pictures don’t matter much (when aren’t they worth 1,000 words?). It’s not so disappointing to hear this being stated but that it’s what is stated first and so quickly. And there’s been a hundred reasons given here why that is and why it’s almost right or even right for Whites to behave this way, forgetting that while the feelings of defensiveness themselves might be natural if challenged, the actions in response to these feelings are still left up to the individual. But that’s something that I see every day, occupational hazard. That’s something I’ve engaged in myself, a different kind of hazard.

    And I could be overly sensitive. That’s why I think anyone who’s interested or concerned should see the pictures for themselves and make up their own mind about them.

    I expressed my opinion about the pictures and if you want to make it all about reading tea leaves or shaming or accusations of oppressing women of color, then you’re entitled to do so and that’s one way to respond. But I’d be interested in seeing what happens. Because like I said, if I saw pictures like that in my book, I’d freak and call my publisher and I’d be wary if I’d already had to fight so vigorously on behalf of women of color (as if they’d said nothing about it themselves) to jettison a racist book cover. It would dampen my feelings of accomplishment over my project considerably.

    Seal Press didn’t create the artwork. They acquired or purchased the permission from the trademark holders to include it in the book. So if Marcotte didn’t know about it for a while, the publishers did, because they went through the trouble of acquiring permission to use someone else’s work. To go through all that trouble to create and promote a motif and to show acquire and show pictures that in my opinion are beyond problematic when there was time to get input perhaps from other employees at the publishing company, just makes me not interested in purchasing any of their books.

  235. Radfem
    Radfem April 24, 2008 at 11:43 am |

    I think that’s a fair question– how would any of us react if we were called out for stealing or being racist? Through this whole issue, I’ve read a lot of good points from WOC who are upset. I still agree with many of them. But at the heart of it, I don’t believe Amanda is a racist. I don’t think she ever meant to step on anyone’s toes. Her biggest “sin” (pardon the religious reference) was, as someone said, the aggressive defensiveness she had when addressing her critics. But we aren’t perfect and certainly some people on this board have gotten snarky with each other when we felt people were missing the point.

    Everyone’s reaction is going to be different, but what seems to be a common theme is immediate denial and defensiveness and often accusations that someone is calling them a racist when they’re just saying actions and words are racists and then circling of the wagons by other Whites about how natural it is to get defensive and if you want to engage Whites in dialogues about race, racism and racial privilege that it has to be with rules set by Whites or else, they’ll just get defensive and won’t listen. And what’s interesting is that the ones who seem to be the most defensive are those who the way they say it, they came out of the uterus nonracist. Which is true, but not the part that seems difficult to believe is that they stayed nonracist, when some of these individuals that I’ve known have called people of color “racist” for calling them on their racist behavior. This happened once when an elected leader called a upper-management employee who was Black to stand before the audience as *proof* that the city wasn’t racist in its hiring practices. Never mind, he was an interim, never mind he was demoted and replaced several weeks later by a White man he trained, never mind he left his employment several months after that. Never mind that other Black men and women were treated similiarly. It’s more important to prove you’re not racist than to address racism.

    The problem with defensiveness or one of them is that it becomes the paramount issue among Whites than racism itself, and that’s been shown on a couple of these threads so far and that’s been called out by numerous women of color and some White women as well. Men too.

  236. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 24, 2008 at 11:58 am |

    Let me explain something, WOC for the most part don’t want someone else to use their platform to raise issues as much as we would like to be provided the space to speak for and advocate for ourselves. These ‘faithful allies’ have historically taken our stories, experiences, struggles and ideas and used them for their own advancement. Then they take credit for any trickle down benefits. This is especially true of sheltered white individuals with limited life experience who spend some time in the tropics with the natives, have a couple of beers with their Mexican landscaper, go to a sweat lodge and practice mock native spirituality, have a token black friend over to the BBQ and suddenly they know what it means to be non-white in this world and the are excused from any weight of history. It’s all good now in their little world. They go around pontificating on all sorts of topics related to people of color and when confronted express dismay that their advocacy was not embraced. What ingrates we are to not be more grateful that you would choose to wield your influence on our behalf.

    When I read in comment after comment that the fact that these prominent white fem bloggers have book deals has nothing to do with privilege, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    So the issue is that Marcotte gets more eyeballs from AlterNet off of an issue that other bloggers think they own.

    And this combines with a feud between certain bloggers and tiny specialty presses over who is getting book deals.

    Marcotte is not being accused of plagiarizing; she’s being accused of building a career writing about progressive political issues while being white.

    Meanwhile, minority bloggers are taking the publisher of Marcotte’s book to task for not publishing more books by minorities.

    The publisher says “what do you expect us to do? We are tiny. If we get a publishable manuscript from a minority blogger, we’ll run with it.”

    This fails to satisfy the aforementioned bloggers.

    Then Marcotte shows up with an article on a widely read website discussing an issue that some of the minority bloggers have been writing about in relative obscurity, and Marcotte becomes the object of the bloggers’ rage.

    They accuse her of vague racialized offenses like “appropriation.” This sounds a lot like an accusation of “plagiarism.” Other authors who have been caught plagiarizing have had books pulled off of shelves as a result; the accusation is extremely serious.

    Also, Marcotte and the publisher are accused of racism, which they take very personally as an affront the work they do on progressive issues. And Marcotte is told that her book deal is the result of her “white privilege,” which she takes as a shot at the quality of her writing and her credentials.

    So Marcotte is predictably unreceptive and hostile to the criticising bloggers. This makes everybody angrier. And that’s where we’re at.

    Personally, I think Marcotte is in the right on this. The accusations thrown at her strike me as being extremely malicious, and look like they may have been a campaign to sabotage her book or Seal Press.

    And the privilege argument makes it sound like William Morris and Random House have a kiosk at the Port Authority bus terminal where they hand out book deals to white people.

  237. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    Redirecting, in that case – Manju, why wouldn’t you quote to the original text? Why do you elide them?

    i didn’t read the new bfp blog. i found bfp’s words on sudy’s blog so i took out the relavant passage and linked for further context.

    too bad the original bfp blog is gone.

  238. Sylvia/M
    Sylvia/M April 24, 2008 at 12:27 pm |

    So, once again, when Amanda asks Pam to join Pandagon, or promotes BFP’s blog in the “stuff you should read” section of her book, isn’t that exactly what you’re describing here? Doesn’t that count as a willingness to work with (and certainly “provide the space” to) women of color?

    Let me make a revision here, because there are multiple points:

    1) Women of color do not want spaces to be provided to them. We’re not waiting for a handout. I don’t like that phraseology, anyway. The main thing that I think I can say for women of color, even though I don’t declare to represent all or any but myself, is that we are not passive. We are all doing something for our respective beliefs and our lives. We are all actors in this situation. So it’s not an “all we want is for someone to give” scenario. Never has been. Giving isn’t obligatory. Which leads to my second point.

    2) We have spaces. We do work. That work influences our lives personally as well as the lives of others. That work sometimes is original from the mouth of one or a congruence of the mouths of many.

    How painful is it to recognize all or just one?

    Especially when the trend points to recognition of the contribution of others, especially when work only can be improved by including some recognition?

    Not all of us want YOUR space to do our work; but if you have resources that you think will help certain causes, why don’t you bring those resources to the work?

    Why are we expected to bring our work to the resources?

    Is there a halfway point? Are we going to play chicken about who goes first?

    ‘Cause I’ll tell you I won’t be too focused on that game; I’m going to be WORKING because there are people dying and suffering while you’re trying not to blink or to step first.

    And if it counts, why is this one immigration article, coming from a person who has lived on or near the border most of her life and has plenty of life experience with the issue, *still* taken as a prima facie example of appropriation (not true) and treated as the standard bearer for her all of her work (not fair)?

    From what I’ve heard from people of color and from whites, this isn’t the first time there have been suspicions of appropriation. This is a culmination of events in which, yes, Amanda has been a player. To be honest, you can view the focus on Amanda as a recognition of her strengths. I’ll concede that; the fact that she has people focusing on her makes those same people interested in seeing her take responsibility for recognizing those people who give her ideas. You’ve seen this theme repeated.

    And I’d understand your argument about her living near the border and being near the immigration problem if the article she wrote spoke about her personal experiences living near the border or her personal experiences with immigration.

    And in the end, I fail to see how relying on a false claim of appropriation as the only example I’ve seen discussed to date helps advance the larger point.

    Because it’s disputed whether or not the claim is true or false? Because a lot of folk who argue the claim is false are tossing ad hominems at the folks that think it is true, and using that as the explanation for why it’s false? And vice versa? And, and… hell, what difference does it make? If you really care about the larger issue, you’d speak on the larger issue and probably do yourself a better service in proving that you think it is worthy of discussion. If you don’t care and you’re just using the presence of a larger issue that others are discussing to give you a boost of credibility in your much smaller argument (hint, hint), it is harmful. Yes.

  239. Tobes
    Tobes April 24, 2008 at 12:27 pm |

    R. I think you raised some excellent points. I just really really wish Amanda would come out here and be part of this discussion. Her silence is so deafening. And maybe that’s why I’m starting to feel like this is unfair to keep harping on her when she’s not defending herself— but I keep forgetting that’s HER choice.

  240. Grandpa Dinosaur
    Grandpa Dinosaur April 24, 2008 at 12:55 pm |

    How horrible this all is…

    So… Amanda is getting support for her book and is not going to appropriate what has happened? She’s still “hiding” from this and acting like she has done nothing wrong?

    So from this, and seeing how this is continuing, Amanda is going to get off scott-free. Because he peers are continuing to fence sit and not address what has happened, if anything, perpetuating the confusion of what is happening.

    Thanks… For nothing. I’m going to wear a metal plate around my neck, hopefully my neck won’t get slit in the night. Thanks for silencing us. Thanks for slitting the throats of WOC.

  241. Kristen
    Kristen April 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm |

    Dammit. This thread is like an evil magnet. I can’t stop reading and getting irritated. :)

    Thank you to Moondancer, Astraea, and Aishwarya for the kind words.

    Mitchforth, Marc and others,

    I’m going to try to explain something to you. Please listen without reflexive defensiveness.

    White people – myself included – wake up every morning and receive an unearned benefit by virtue of the color of our skin. We can’t disclaim that benefit. We can’t give that benefit away. We live it, breath it, and (to some extent) expect it as our due.

    That unearned benefit comes at the expense of those who are not part of the privileged group. They are specifically excluded, specifically ignored, specifically discounted.

    Many people say “Well, I didn’t asked to be privileged, so as long as I don’t treat people like shit (or I treat everyone equally like shit) then I’m not a racist.”

    But that isn’t good enough. If you accept the benefits that you did not earn, you have an obligation to affirmatively try to make restitution. The least of your obligations is to listen, hear and lift up the voices and ideas of the marginalized.

    And when someone calls you on something, even if you do not agree with their conclusion, it is your obligation to listen, hear, and lift up their voice not just drown them out with your own.

  242. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 2:11 pm |

    The least of your obligations is to listen, hear and lift up the voices and ideas of the marginalized.

    But if you truly do this, you’ll encounter the problem of diversity. Now, if your sample of POC is restricted to BFP, Balckamazon, and Sudy there’s going to appear to be a high level of consistency. But if go beyond ethnic studies, where POC are viewed thru the ideological framework of western progressive thought, you’ll find that we are quite diverse, and this diversity, with few exceptions, cancels out the notion that we as a people have anything to tell you. We can’t even agree among ourselves. In other words, we’re just like whites.

    So if I tell you the best way to help my extended family, who are very poor villagers (farmers) in south india, is to lower capital gains taxes, support outsourcing, and increase globalization I don’t expect you to just shut up and listen. After all, many indians disagree with me. A vigerous debate should ensue, not a patronizing listening session. We’re all humans here.

    So feel free to treat me like a white person and attack me as viciously as you like if you disagree, which btw, is what most of you do on this site anyway…so keep up the good work.

  243. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 24, 2008 at 2:19 pm |

    White people – myself included – wake up every morning and receive an unearned benefit by virtue of the color of our skin. We can’t disclaim that benefit. We can’t give that benefit away. We live it, breath it, and (to some extent) expect it as our due.

    That unearned benefit comes at the expense of those who are not part of the privileged group. They are specifically excluded, specifically ignored, specifically discounted.

    Many people say “Well, I didn’t asked to be privileged, so as long as I don’t treat people like shit (or I treat everyone equally like shit) then I’m not a racist.”

    But that isn’t good enough. If you accept the benefits that you did not earn, you have an obligation to affirmatively try to make restitution. The least of your obligations is to listen, hear and lift up the voices and ideas of the marginalized.

    And when someone calls you on something, even if you do not agree with their conclusion, it is your obligation to listen, hear, and lift up their voice not just drown them out with your own.

    I have heard this before. I understand the argument. I don’t agree that there is such generic privilege. I think this privilege is assumed to exist to support certain political positions, but I don’t think it’s an adequately established phenomenon.

    I believe many blacks, and a probably a significantly larger proportion of blacks than whites are faced with specific, identifiable disadvantages, such as economic poverty.

    However, plenty of black people are prominent in academia, in politics, and in the media, and I think they are taken as seriously as whites. I think black college students are afforded the same respect from professors and classmates as anyone else. I do not see any evidence that cogent arguments are ignored in any discussion based on the identity of the speaker.

    I don’t think whiteness assures a larger blog audience, or a book deal, or anything else. I don’t think blackness inherently disadvantages people in seeking these things. Plenty of white people are blogging in obscurity, and Oprah Winfrey, a black woman, reigns over the publishing industry like an empress.

    Marcotte did not get a book deal because she is white. She got a book deal because she has a large blog audience, and that is assumed to translate into book sales.

    In highly competitive environments, like book publishing, its easy to blame personal failure on other people. But trying to argue, without any evidence, that there is a structural obstacle in the way of black authors, or that white authors have an advantage in seeking publication by lefty specialty presses, does not merit serious consideration.

    The objectors against Seal and Marcotte also throw serious charges at specific people. You cannot insult people and try to tear down their careers and expect to get a sympathetic response from them. A progressive publisher is unquestionably damaged by the implication that it is racist, and an author is ruined by the implication that her work is not her own. I am surprised Marcotte and Seal haven’t hired lawyers.

    If Seal believed that the allegations against Marcotte were at all valid, they would be obligated to pull the book until they could thoroughly examine the text for plagiarism.

    This is a serious attack that’s being mounted against these people, and it’s unreasonable to expect them to “raise up the voices” of their attackers.

  244. Cara
    Cara April 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm |

    @ Mitchforth:

    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

  245. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 24, 2008 at 2:44 pm |

    Mitchforth, you are seriously missing the point here. You’ve been consistent about that. Over time, you’ve backed off your lies about BFP, your lies about what happened, your lies about anger.

    So, you are learning. That’s encouraging.

    You are also missing something valuable.

    There are some amazing words on this thread and some awesome suggestions of choices we white people can make. It is thrilling that we have places like this to talk through our ideas and to exchange options for how we should act today and what we can do the next time we screw up and engage in racist behavior.

    Your goal, Mitchforth, has been to try to wrap up a wide-ranging discussion into a Powerpoint presentation on who did what to whom and when. For an equally useful argument, I suggesting looking into the Powerpoint version of the Gettysburg address.

    Feminism and racism are bigger than that.

  246. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 24, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    Oh darn. Close link.

  247. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn April 24, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    Oh darn. Close link.

  248. Kristen
    Kristen April 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm |

    Manju,

    “this diversity, with few exceptions, cancels out the notion that we as a people have anything to tell you. We ”

    Why do you assume that people can only listen to one point of view? You don’t have to pick a side to hear.

    Let’s use an example. I am a woman and I’m pro porn. There are lots of women who are not pro porn. When a discussion of porn ensues, I expect/wish that men would LISTEN to both my perspective and the perspective of those women who disagree with me. Men are free to have their own opinion on the issue even though the issue effects women, but they should not be dismissive of the opinions of women.

    Get it?

  249. kiki
    kiki April 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm |

    Oprah Winfrey, a black woman, reigns over the publishing industry like an empress.

    We have a winner! He pulls out the the race version of Godwin’s law…the Oprah rule. Any discussion of race based privilege, if long enough, will eventually include a reference to Oprah and her success as definitive proof that racism is a thing of the past and that white privilege is a myth.

    But thanks for playing.

    “But trying to argue, without any evidence, that there is a structural obstacle in the way of black authors, or that white authors have an advantage in seeking publication by lefty specialty presses, does not merit serious consideration.”

    Well, sheesh, I guess that settle it then…dude says, just move along, there’s nothing to see here, nothing that even merits serious consideration, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for. You could have posted that 200 or so posts ago and saved us all a lot of trouble…what were we going on and on about?

  250. Kristen
    Kristen April 24, 2008 at 3:40 pm |

    Mitchforth,

    Bullshit. Need an example. Walk into Tiffany’s (or Walmart, or your local grocery store). Be your usual, charming, smiling, outgoing self. Watch the body language, conversations, expressions of the sales persons and other customers.

    A week later wearing essentially the same clothes, hair, etc. walk into that same store with a person of color as a romantic interest (to make the experiment work, a person of the opposite gender so as not to confuse racial tension with heter privilege). Be your usual, charming, smiling, outgoing self. Watch the body language, conversations, expressions of the sales persons and other customers.

    You’ll be amazed (and more than a little sickened by) what you learn.

  251. renska
    renska April 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm |

    I was mostly unaware of this issue until today. I spent yesterday familiarizing myself with the particulars of “boobgate” aka The Open-Source Boob Project.

    For those not familiar, a brief summary. A group of friends were discussing breasts and their mystique. This led to a mixed-gender round of “demystifying” them with women offering up theirs to be touched. Apparently the group felt it was wonderfully liberating or freeing or some such and… they decided to repeat the experiment in a public forum – a sci-fi convention (women could wear a button to opt-in or -out).

    Well, a male participant (theferret) took it upon himself to write glowingly of the “experiment” and was uncomprehending, to say the least, when some of his readers went… “uh… WTF?”

    And the response to the criticism (both his, and his supporters) is remarkably parallel to that engendered by what’s happening here.

    1. You’re just h8ers! Jealous of what a big name [X]
    has in the community (for theferret, it’s the SF
    community)
    2. You weren’t there when the idea was conceived –
    I know that it wasn’t sexism/appropriation] AT ALL!
    3. A belief that [X], as a member of a better/more
    enlightened community, is above criticism of sexism
    or racism
    4. And finally, and most profoundly, DEEP ignorance
    (or a firm refusal to acknowledge) the culture and
    history of the larger society from which the
    incident — as much as the proponents would like to
    believe — cannot be divorced.

    The big difference between that situation and this? Theferret argued and argued and ARGUED but he finally… apologized. And while I don’t think he really gets it (and I continue to think he’s a dick) he did, ultimately, listen. He did apologize. And that’s not happening here.

    It needs to.

    FWIW, I am a white feminist.

  252. Kristen
    Kristen April 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm |

    Manju,

    BTW, I get what you are saying about “brown” not being homogeneous. I didn’t mean to imply that, but I see how it sounds that way. I should have been more clear in the original post.

  253. Tom Head
    Tom Head April 24, 2008 at 4:21 pm |

    Tobes writes:
    “I think that’s a fair question– how would any of us react if we were called out for stealing or being racist?”

    The racism thing happened to me on the blogosphere after the FFF thing. (Never in person, for some reason.) I blogged about it here:
    http://racerelations.about.com/b/2008/04/13/dont-be-don-imus.htm

    The way I reacted was hostility and defensiveness followed by calming down and realizing that there was a great deal of truth to what folks said about me, doing some soul-searching, and committing myself to doing better.

    In other words, it was a beneficial experience.

    Does that mean that I agree with EVERYTHING anybody said about me? Of course not. And if I did, out of hand, that wouldn’t be taking WOC seriously–that would be patronizing WOC.

    But I took the criticisms seriously, found merit in them, and moved on.

    If I were appropriation in the context Amanda was, I would use the opportunity to highlight the work of some of the people I had been accused of appropriating work from, which would serve two useful purposes. It would defuse much of the criticism, and more importantly, it would highlight other useful work on the topic and honor the contributions of WOC.

    That’s the important thing: Whites who look at these blog controversies, myself included until recently, tend to assume that the two options are to blindly fight or blindly defer. Neither option is necessary, and in fact neither option involves taking the concerns of WOC seriously–both are cop-outs. The BEST approach is to take the criticism seriously, look at it honestly, evaluate its merit, and address it in the way you think is best with an eye for actually solving the problems being discussed, not with an eye for making yourself popular. Popularity, especially blogosphere popularity, is not an especially worthwhile goal, IMHO. But justice is.

  254. littlem
    littlem April 24, 2008 at 4:21 pm |

    Shorter Mitchforth:

    Vernon Jordan, Oprah, and Henry Cisneros have jobs, so there is no racism.

    Since Oprah is a woman, there is also no intersectional analysis needed again ever.

  255. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 24, 2008 at 4:57 pm |

    I did not say there is no racism.

    I said that Marcotte didn’t get her book deal because of white privilege, and that Seal is probably not racist.

  256. littlem
    littlem April 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm |

    Seal is probably not racist.

    Whatever, dude. *rolleyes*

    If you’re just guesstimating and hemmahawing, until you’ve had an opportunity to look into the issue prior to pontificating at will, don’t you think an RDA-sized serving of STFU might be an important part of this nutritious breakfast?

  257. kiki
    kiki April 24, 2008 at 5:16 pm |

    I said that Marcotte didn’t get her book deal because of white privilege.

    Wow…how authoritative, or is it authoritarian? All of the complexities involved in a transaction like that and yet you’re absolutely certain…well, obviously you think that we should defer to your judgment although I haven’t seen any indication as to why since you offer nothing to substantiate your claim.

  258. Ico
    Ico April 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm |

    Well there’s a lot of chatter here isn’t there? But I’d like to take a moment to bring us back to the book that Feministe is promoting:

    And if you can’t make it at all (or even if you can), consider buying Amanda’s book. It’s a great, funny read, and well worth the purchase. It’s also worth supporting progressive authors so that we create and maintain a market for books like this.

    Illustrations from the book may be seen here:

    http://dearwhitefeminists.wordpress.com/update/

    … no comment.

  259. Tom Head
    Tom Head April 24, 2008 at 5:24 pm |

    YUCK.

  260. Ico
    Ico April 24, 2008 at 5:27 pm |

    Okay, one comment (for now).

    *Ahem* Illustrations FROM THE BOOK FEMINISTE IS PROMOTING.

  261. Al
    Al April 24, 2008 at 5:44 pm |

    Mitchforth said:

    “and that Seal is probably not racist.”

    And I’m willing to bet they don’t wear white sheets and burn crosses on lawns either.

    Are you aware of what racism is in 2008 in the country in which you live? Do you understand how it manifests? I ask, because everything you have said on this thread indicates you haven’t got a clue.

  262. Kristen
    Kristen April 24, 2008 at 5:56 pm |

    Ico,

    Holy Mother of Cats. I’m going to curl into a fetal position now thank you.

  263. Charity
    Charity April 24, 2008 at 5:56 pm |

    littlem, I just realized you replied to a comment of mine way back upthread (I had a hard time keeping up with all the new comments, obviously). I used the word “appropriated” there because Jill said she didn’t believe Amanda “appropriated” (or plagiarized, and yes, they are separate), not because I conflate the two. I was attempting to identify, without directly asking (which I should have) what, if not those actions, Jill has “challenged” Amanda on, given that she said she and others have “challenged” Amanda. Just clarifying.

  264. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 6:10 pm |

    *Ahem* Illustrations FROM THE BOOK FEMINISTE IS PROMOTING.

    alright. game over. Ico wins.

  265. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm |

    Why do you assume that people can only listen to one point of view? You don’t have to pick a side to hear

    Kristen:

    Well, look at this thread. the only people being told to shut up and listen are whites who disagree with bfp. tom head isn’t being told to shut up, at least not this time, but certainly there are WOC who disagree with his current point of view, but they are not progressives or radicals, so their pt of view is not represented here, creating the impression–like many an ethnic studies department–that POC embrace critical race studies. some do. some don’t.

    Get it?

    (BTW, the rest of your post i agree with, but that just sounds like common courtesy.)

  266. jeffliveshere
    jeffliveshere April 24, 2008 at 6:23 pm |

    Sweet. Jesus. Malone. Those illustrations are pretty much beyond words….why? Why? Ack.

  267. Holly
    Holly April 24, 2008 at 6:31 pm |

    Oh man, what the hell. Especially Part 8. Uh… wow.

  268. Sickle
    Sickle April 24, 2008 at 6:32 pm |

    *Ahem* Illustrations FROM THE BOOK FEMINISTE IS PROMOTING.

    Holy sh!t, that is un-f*cking believable. I honestly was not expecting those, not at all.

    Okay, now I want an answer from the Feministe folks, Jill in particular: Why are you promoting this book? Is it because you’ve read it, and seen these images, and decided they’re fine, even after the FFF blowup and the events of the past two weeks?

    Or is it because Amanda is your friend and you promoted this because of this reason alone? Because this is just beyond the pale.

    I need some reason why I should continue to extend respect and credibility to this place, because Jill’s best response about this:

    I can’t speak to the imagery inside the book because I didn’t notice it when I read it, and I don’t have the book with me right now. But I do think it’s really hard for a white person to use images of dark-skinned “natives” in an ironic or radical way.

    is mealymouthed in the worst way.

    What is going on here? Is this place more dedicated to the movements, or more dedicated to the personal relationships between its friends?

  269. Sickle
    Sickle April 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm |

    And seriously, Jill? You “didn’t notice it”? You “noticed” that Lebron James looked like a “scary, animalistic black man” but not the black natives tormenting the fair heroine? Seriously?

  270. SKM
    SKM April 24, 2008 at 6:37 pm |

    Ico, thanks for the open letter and for posting the pictures; the descriptions made me queasy but I didn’t want to comment until I saw them. Now I can’t comment because I’m speechless. I can see how a claim of irony or subversion can be made about the white woman in these pix and on the cover, but the “natives”? Not a chance.

    I don’t know who chose the images, but they should at the very least have been abandoned along with the original cover, or failing that been caught in proofs. The book is now in its second printing.

    Consider me gobsmacked.

  271. renska
    renska April 24, 2008 at 6:42 pm |

    Hi Jill —

    Just take on board that, possibly, you “not noticing” the content of the illustrations is part and parcel of this whole situation. If you can “not notice,” what does that say about what other white feminists, including Amanda may not notice, or gloss over, or (willfully) ignore?

    I now am inclined to want to give theferret guy (see post, above, re: boobgate), a bit more credit. He — with what exists of his critical faculties — actually engaged those who thought “OSBP” was asinine. Amanda? Not so much. Kneejerk, reflexive “how dare you; you’re mean to me.”
    Given the whole thread on the cover, I really can’t see how she didn’t realize that the illustrations would be just as, ah… problematic. She really has no fucking excuse.

    Any way you can let her know that? In person? Maybe it will sink in.

  272. ilyka
    ilyka April 24, 2008 at 6:49 pm |

    I hear you, Sickle, but I think I just put my finger on why I might not have noticed them either–especially if I were prone to glossing over illustrations in books to begin with:

    In all the images, the native persons are indistinct, in the background. Oh! You can see them, but what’s missing from them is any indication of individuality or person-ness at all. They represent background hostility and for that purpose they may as well be giant man-eating plants.

    But they AREN’T giant man-eating plants. They are people–indigenous people. And that’s how these images get by white people at the conscious level while still boosting white supremacy at the subconscious level–consciously the image is read as, “beautiful woman under attack in the jungle” and then I think underneath that is “beautiful WHITE woman under attack in the jungle BY SCARY NATIVE PEOPLE WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE FULLY HUMAN, but LET’S BET ON NOT.”

    I’m not going into all that to take up for Jill. I’m just saying I think I am finally realizing for myself how this works and what part what Nezua calls “The White Lens” plays in all of it.

  273. little light
    little light April 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm |

    Sickle, please remember that Jill doesn’t speak for everyone at Feministe. Keep in mind what Holly, Cara, and Piny have said in this thread alone.

    Jill…I’ve tried very hard to wash my hands of this thread, and I appreciate your words toward me. But this…I know you recognize this for what it is. I haven’t spent all this time thinking highly of you for no reason. I know you can see what’s going on here.
    I am still sorry for the difficult position that you’re in, and I still consider you a friend, though that might not make me any friends right now. But I cannot hold back that I am deeply disappointed.

    And when it comes to “expecting more,” I’ve nearly thrown up my hands and taken a hiatus from identifying as a feminist myself, in the last few days. I don’t know what I was expecting, what I thought was going to be different this time, but–
    –you know, I got nothin’.
    Take that as you will.

  274. Sickle
    Sickle April 24, 2008 at 7:04 pm |

    Sickle, please remember that Jill doesn’t speak for everyone at Feministe. Keep in mind what Holly, Cara, and Piny have said in this thread alone.

    I’m well aware of that, littlelight, and your point is well taken. But since Jill is the one who posted this thread, which explicitly promotes Amanda’s book, she’s the one I’m asking.

  275. Sickle
    Sickle April 24, 2008 at 7:05 pm |

    Ah, yes, I see what you’re getting at. I did say “the feministe folks”…point taken. I should have directed my post more specifically.

  276. If We Could Just Agree on One Thing « Off Our Pedestals

    [...] All right, I’m reposting this, lightly edited, from the comments at Feministe, or rather right now from moderation limbo at Feministe. If anyone wants to discuss, feel free. . . [...]

  277. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 7:57 pm |

    I did not say there is no racism.

    I said that Marcotte didn’t get her book deal because of white privilege, and that Seal is probably not racist.

    I heard a rumor you engage best through negative discourse.

    Actually, no, I didn’t. However, that’s what one of the two women who manage Seal Press said to Blackamazon while engaging her as if she represented women of color.

  278. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 8:04 pm |

    I personally think it’s pretty clear you are joining a popular cyberbully bandwagon (or what I saw referred to on another blog as a “dense fog of vague accusations and interpersonal grudges”), the history of which underlies and permeates this entire topic right here, right now.

    But I won’t tell YOU what you’re telling people or otherwise put words in your mouth.

    I don’t have a history with Amanda. I’ve said similar things to other people who have done or said racist things.

    Also, I didn’t tell you what you are saying, I received a pretty clear message from what you are saying. Are you saying that we’re not allowed to read your comments and reply to them? That this is putting words in your mouth?

    Also, I haven’t been vague at all, nor have most of the posters here. Most have been extremely clear about the situation. But isn’t it easier to write it all off as a “dense fog of vague accusations and interpersonal grudges?” Doesn’t that just make it intoxicatingly easy to not respond to any of the actual points anyone has made?

  279. dinogirl
    dinogirl April 24, 2008 at 8:18 pm |

    I am just GOBSMACKED by these illustrations. WHAT THE FUCK?

    HOW is this defensible? HOW can you promote a book that contains these images? WHAT THE FUCK?

  280. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 8:47 pm |

    Fuck Seal Press

  281. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 24, 2008 at 8:48 pm |

    So this is a book for women on dealing with politically inhospitable environments?

    Does it include helpful tips for women of color dealing with ignorant, privileged, or otherwise hostile white feminists? Because I could certainly use that right now.

    *lol! Delux FTW! :-D

  282. Astraea
    Astraea April 24, 2008 at 9:13 pm |

    …wow.

  283. Cara
    Cara April 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm |

    Yeah. I (more or less) said so over at Ico’s, but this is clearly unacceptable. I haven’t read the book or even seen it in person yet, and quite honestly I was hoping (though not believing) that the description was somehow exaggerated or inaccurate, not because I had any reason to think that Radfem was lying, but because it’s so incomprehensible that this could have actually made it to print. Anyway, I understand that people are mad, I understand why and I think that they have a right to it. But no one I’ve talked to — writing for Feministe or otherwise — has even remotely defended the images. They are seriously racist and seriously fucked up.

  284. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 24, 2008 at 9:29 pm |

    Oprah Winfrey, a black woman, reigns over the publishing industry like an empress.

    And I will point out that Oprah worked at least five times as hard as she would have had she been white. Her sweat and her moxie got her to the top, and she has to rule with incredible determination to stay there. I guarentee she has and still faces adversity that a privliged white man would never understand.

  285. Kristin
    Kristin April 24, 2008 at 9:32 pm |

    But I should be clear: These images are unacceptable. They are racist and offensive and wrong, and I’m not going to defend them. I also don’t want to promote a book that contains them. I’ve been out drinking tonight, so I don’t want to comment a whole lot more on this right now, but I’ll have more to say tomorrow when I’m more clear-headed. But, yeah, don’t be expecting me to defend them or make excuses.

    I sincerely hope this means that you plan on taking down this promotional post and replacing it with one that:

    1. denounces the racist images and
    2. condemns Amanda Marcotte’s unconscionable responses to her most recent critics.

  286. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 9:33 pm |

    Just coming in to say, and just now saw your latest, Jill, and, yeah, cause:

    I was in Barnes & Rubble today and took a look at The Book. and yeah, those illustrations are just as bad as described and then some. It’s totally bizarre too, because they have like -nothing- to do with the content, which from a quick skim of itself I’d probably find relatively innocuous, even a bit better put together and more coherent for what it is than FFF, if not exactly the Second Coming Of The Pentecostal Feminist Fire, which I don’t imagine it was supposed to be in the first place (please just be quiet now, Hugo, kthxbai).

    I just can’t imagine wtf she/they were thinking?? Even if none of this other shit had gone down, even if the cover hadn’t already blown up: I can’t BELIEVE someone wouldn’t have eventually gone, um, guys…?

    and what really staggers me is, okay, she didn’t want to change the cover but eventually she did, presumably because she kind of sort of saw the problem, even from a PR perspective if nothing else? So, WHY THE FUCK would she include or let them include MUCH DODGIER illustrations inside? Did she think no one would notice? Was it a “screw you guys, it’s my hot contract and I can do what I WANT!”? Is it -possible- that she and/or Seal -actually didn’t consider- that whereas people were complaining about the symbolism of a big black ape as “racist,” actual “natives” with like bones in their noses and spears would be -totally fine??- And finally: um, why was this supposed to be funny in the first place?

    “I am amazed, and do not know what to say.”

    SRSLY.

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

    300: I agree, or at minimum, if you don’t want to erase your own words, another ETA restating that last comment would be good at this point.

  288. Moondancer Drake
    Moondancer Drake April 24, 2008 at 9:37 pm |

    Illustrations from the book may be seen here:

    http://dearwhitefeminists.wordpress.com/update/

    Oh my goddess, these are…beyond words. How in all that is sacred did anyone not notice these were horribly racist?

  289. octogalore
    octogalore April 24, 2008 at 9:39 pm |

    Jill — it’s a decent excuse for not doing it right now. None of us are always at the ready to be eloquent. And we’ve all been in situations where we’re pulled from two sides. I have confidence that you’ll respond honestly and intelligently. The fact that your response is sought and that you are viewed as having the ability to get some things done to address this IRL, as littlem has noted, are good occasions to be able to rise to, and I believe you will.

  290. octogalore
    octogalore April 24, 2008 at 9:45 pm |

    As to methodology, I had not read Belle’s and Kristin’s comments b/f mine posted, but would add a hearty “third” to this suggestion.

    I have a copy of the book, and would add that not only are the illustrations glaringly racist, but sexist as well. As this is “feministe,” hopefully that issue too will be addressed. While I don’t believe that scanty clothing in itself is sexist, I believe it’s questionable when it’s only the woman, in pic upon pic, who sports it. Especially in a battle situation in which it’s not practical. It’s also worth pointing out that the weapons in the hands of the woman, in pretty much all the pictures, are delicate/ladylike ones. Finally, the absence of any WOC, or any visible ones, suggesting the concept that POC are all scary MOC, is another issue of interest.

  291. Al
    Al April 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm |

    Just wanted to say that speaking only for myself, I am more than fine waiting on a response from Jill, as I trust that she is not going to disappoint the vast majority of people who have placed their faith in her.

    Over the past several years she has consistently demonstrated that faith is well placed, and I have no reason to think she won’t demonstrate that again. While I completely stand along side the harshest critique of this situation, I post this very intentionally, as I empathize with the position the authors of this blog find themselves in. I don’t envy you.

  292. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 24, 2008 at 10:08 pm |

    said to Blackamazon while engaging her as if she represented women of color.

    I meant “respresented all women of color” or similar.

    And the illustrations: Ick. How could anyone let those in before publication without seeing the problem?

  293. Hugo
    Hugo April 24, 2008 at 10:23 pm |

    I said initially the pictures were ironic and problematic. Sitting with that for a day makes me realize that that’s not good enough. They are unacceptable, and it saddens me that I didn’t see that earlier. Though I have defended Amanda before on other issues, and though I still like the book very much, I cannot excuse this. I’m bewildered, frankly, and I have called for an explanation from Seal and from Amanda on my blog.

    I said:

    In a post on Pandagon, or on the Seal Press website, some public explanation of these images ought to come from Amanda, her publishers — or, better still, both. The questions are simple: “What were you thinking?” “Was there any consideration of how these might be interpreted?” I am confident that the intent was not racist. But even to my white eyes, the impact on a second and third look is unmistakable. Frankly, the choice to include them is bizarre. The chance that they would be interpreted as bigoted should have seemed obvious. It’s one thing to use blonde Lorna ironically; one thing to portray her as a rescuer of a defenseless white man. But there’s just no way that a white author can illustrate a book with images of a blonde woman in a jungle beating up dark-skinned natives and not have those images come across as indefensibly racist. Someone ought to have had a rethink. I’m very frustrated and sad they didn’t.

  294. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 24, 2008 at 10:36 pm |

    I’ve been away from the fem. blogosphere for a few weeks, barely skimming things, and somehow missed that this was even happening.

    And goddamn I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not noticing and speaking up earlier. I’m sorry not because I think I’m some giant voice and you all can’t get along without me, but because I think that as a white feminist I have a responsibility to check my privilege at the fucking door, to toss it off when I can, and to force myself to listen, to see that privilege, and to be self-reflective and aware–and, primarily, respectful of others’ voices–when it’s pointed out to me. And I have a responsibility to make sure that I’m not, you know, accepting and reaffirming the silencing of marginalized voices by being silent.

    I believe Amanda was wrong and dismissive about the Vogue cover, and that she was insulting and dismissive about the racist implications of the original cover for her own book.

    And now that I’ve seen the illustrations? WTF. Indefensible. Unacceptable. Offensive. So Fucking Racist. NOT OKAY.

    Regarding the immediate controversy: I’ve not read these articles. I can’t comment on deliberate plagiarism or appropriation and I’m not going to speculate.

    But I will say this: Holly’s post was dead on regarding how appropriation works. For crying out loud, it happens in a sexist context too; it’s happened to me in the workplace. Are we so sure of ourselves all of the time that we don’t think our white privilege can work the same way? I for one am not so confident of my perfection that I believe I could never behave in a way that accidentally marginalizes someone based on a privilege–particularly my white privilege. And I think, as a white feminist, that there is a better response than dismissive anger and defensiveness to a challenge, concern, question or even an accusation–in fact, even an angry accusation–that we are appropriating or co-opting the work, ideas, etc. of WOC, or that we are blind to the racist implications of our writing or our other work because of our inability or refusal to see through a different lens or acknowledge our own privilege.

    You know, the only response for me in that situation–even if I feel quite sure that I didn’t deliberately do anything to anyone, or mean to appropriate anything–is to check my privilege, listen with respect, and really try to objectively analyze how I contributed to the problem. Because it is not a valid response for a privileged individual to refuse to even hear claims of oppression and marginalization. We don’t think it’s acceptable when men refuse to acknowledge their male privilege and instead deny and silence our complaints. I just don’t understand how a feminist can hear that she is perceived by a large number of feminists of color (and others!) as dismissive and marginalizing and appropriating and not believe there could be any validity to the claims. I don’t understand why a feminist in that situation would not be concerned, and determined to engage in a dialog and some self-examination to determine if she inadvertently stepped on someone. At the absolute least, as a white feminist, I believe I have a responsibility to make sure that those voices are actually heard and validated, particularly given the history of appropriation and marginalization of feminists of color in the feminist movement, not to mention, you know, society.

    Also, what piny said at #153 and, most especially, what Kirsten said at #147.

    I’m sorry if this seems wholly inadequate and inarticulate. I heard about this very late and I’m not feeling on my writer game tonight. But I didn’t want to wait to speak up.

  295. Manju
    Manju April 24, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    Although i disagree with everything She says, i’ve gone on record in the past for having a begrudged respect for Blackamazon, because i think her a Poet. Now it turns out She’s a Prophet. The best Poets are.

  296. belledame222
    belledame222 April 24, 2008 at 11:06 pm |

    See, the sexism in the pics I think one could argue as “ironic.” Okay, skimpy clothing, whatevs, she’s got the weapon, fine. It pales, so to speak, next to the racism, which I think really is more than plenty all by itself and, unlike any inherent sexism in the kitsch, has nothing to do with the text, and hi there is being employed by a white woman.

  297. octogalore
    octogalore April 25, 2008 at 12:30 am |

    I agree, the racism is more blatant. That’s no excuse to ignore the sexism. The chapters include “Dating Advice for the Fifteen-Year-Old,” “Purity Balls,” “How to Tell You’re in an Abstinence Only Classroom,” etc. For the intended audience, the pics won’t be read as kitcsch but as a woman whose proportions make Barbie look realistic, heavy makeup, and inefficient weaponry compared to those of the men.

    The message I get from this is that it’s cool to be a feminist whose fighting the evil in the patriarchal “jungle” as long as you look good while doing it. Backwards and in high heels in other words. I don’t think because kitschy sexism is “inherent” that makes it OK or a good choice. And I’m damn well not going to apologize for calling it out on a feminist blog.

  298. Racist artwork from Marcotte’s Seal Press book “It’s a Jungle Out There” at Hoyden About Town

    [...] description here at Feministe, comment [...]

  299. octogalore
    octogalore April 25, 2008 at 12:52 am |

    Put it this way. Barbie’s inherently kitschy. I don’t buy them for my daughter. Even the “feminist,” “career” ones. Because when you put a woman who looks like Barbie in a firegirl’s outfit, or in EVERY picture in a feminist book (obviously, some women do have this kind of body and can certainly be represented) sporting a kitschy arrow or knife, the message is pretty clear.

    I can do this male-dominated stuff if I look like that.

    I’m sorry if some feel we don’t “need” this argument here because of the inarguable importance of the other one. I disagree.

  300. Holly
    Holly April 25, 2008 at 1:25 am |

    I haven’t read the whole book, but if someone argued that the sexist-kitsch of the images was acceptable because the book, thematically or directly, deals with the feminist subject of re-appropriating those scantily-clad-warrior-woman images, deconstructing them, poking fun at the inherent retrogressive ideas expressed in them, turning them around… then I would take their word for it, because it’s a book about feminism. Of course, that might turn out to not be true, but the claim is far more plausible — I cannot automatically extend that same benefit of the doubt to a feminist book’s take on racism and use of racist images.

    I went to Barnes & Noble tonight with a friend and skimmed parts of the book. The images are really stomach-turning and racist. I don’t know what else to say — I am always somewhat hesitant to feel like I am part of a tidal wave of condemnation, but I can’t even think of what else there could be to say about these pictures. In what world they could be anything but the product of massive, blind oversight or deliberate callousness. I’m really just aghast right now, and really disappointed.

  301. octogalore
    octogalore April 25, 2008 at 1:37 am |

    “the feminist subject of re-appropriating those scantily-clad-warrior-woman images, deconstructing them, poking fun at the inherent retrogressive ideas expressed in them, turning them around…”

    We could make the same argument about Barbie, Girls Gone Wild, etc. Again: this is a book at least partially aimed at teens. Are we really post-feminist enough to reclaim these messages in a tortuous deconstructive way and expect that message to get across plain and simple to that audience?

    Wow, possibly a large component of the sexist imagery discussed in blogs — hmm, like this one — is actually better read as sophisticated fun-poking! Who’d’ve guessed?

    And for the record: the book does not actually discuss the re-appropriation of these images.

  302. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 1:59 am |

    Again, I just don’t get why the images were necessary at all. I really don’t. It’s not “fun” enough unless there can has pictures? Not easy enough? And just, what do they have to do with any of the content, and why does anyone think this is funny? Anyone? Bueller? I’m honestly at a loss.

  303. Holly
    Holly April 25, 2008 at 2:05 am |

    Well, it’s fine to have cute retro pictures in your book. It’s fine if they show girls doing heroic stuff. Honestly, I think it’s even fine if they are a little politically retro too, at least in ways that you are countering in the text of the book. I would even think it was fine to have a picture of Barbie on the cover of a feminist book that talked about say, beauty myths and childhood, even if Barbie weren’t discussed. But there’s so much imagery out there that’s not HORRIFICALLY OBVIOUSLY RACIST that could have been used — that I really can’t imagine what the excuse is. And I’m trying very hard to imagine.

  304. maevele
    maevele April 25, 2008 at 3:05 am |

    just saw those pics. i’m about ready to dissasociate from feminism just so no one assumes that just because i’m white and feminist that i’m down with racist bullshit

  305. Mandolin
    Mandolin April 25, 2008 at 3:21 am |

    I don’t find the images problematically sexist in the context in which they are presented.

    However, as Holly says, “I cannot automatically extend that same benefit of the doubt to a feminist book’s take on racism and use of racist images.”

    Particularly because of the book’s heading “It’s a Jungle Out There” which implies that what feminists must fight is whatever is represented as being the enemy in the jungle. Crocodiles? Okay. Although one can still make the argument that using colonialism/expansionism as the underpinning for a metaphor to describe the “battles” of feminism is inherently problematic. But racistly depicted indigenous peoples? This clearly crosses the line. It suggests that what feminists need to conquer is dark people; it reinforces the displacement of white male patriarchy onto brown men, a dynamic we see as clearly politically relevant in current events where white men’s patriarchal leanings are depicted as less bad and pervasive than those of looming outsider brown men. (Be glad for our {purity balls, polygamous rape farms, lack of representation for white women and WOC in government, enablement-through-war of the rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of brown women}, at least they aren’t {machismo, brown men raping white women, mandatory headscarves, etc.})

    The context of the book and its title itself underscores — not ironicizes — the problematic racism of these images.

  306. Mandolin
    Mandolin April 25, 2008 at 3:24 am |

    Although one can still make the argument that using colonialism/expansionism as the underpinning for a metaphor to describe the “battles” of feminism is inherently problematic. (as kiki does upthread)

  307. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 25, 2008 at 3:47 am |

    I’m sad about this for all involved. Mostly for those who had to view the images. I cannot deny that I think this is a tragedy for Amanda, and something that should not have happened. I want there to be a resolution where the images can be denounced and subsequent printings of the book can go forward with an updated text specifically addressing this.

    There isn’t an excuse. I think this was a just go along with a theme, without any introspection, and the road to hell was paved. I think all parties involved with the production of the book have some blame. The buck stops with Amanda, but the people at Seal have got to be the most clueless people on Earth.

    I’m not going to lie- I feel very bad for Amanda. This is a horrible fuck up. And it cannot be fixed completely. It can only be, and must be addressed going forward. No one can truly be happy that this happened, even those who find in this a burning confirmation for their ab initio views.

    I feel sick.

  308. Feministe » I Guess It’s a Jungle in Here Too, Huh?

    [...] earlier tonight at a bookstore. The images were scanned by Wolfa and posted by Ico after being poitned out by Radfem. These pages are chapter headers from It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist [...]

  309. Elusis
    Elusis April 25, 2008 at 3:53 am |

    FEMINISM: UR DOING IT WRONG

    What is it going to take to get white privilege, intersectionality, and the reality that attending only to gender is as useless as a piano with only two keys? That a movement that does not speak to a significant number of its alleged constituents is a useless, flawed movement that moves nothing at all?

    Just stop, Amanda and her defenders. Just STOP for a while, and entertain the possibility that the people speaking out against the bfp appropriation, the Sage debacle, and this newest head-smacking revelation might have a VALID POINT that is WORTH ENTERTAINING.

    Or go away and leave feminism to those of us who don’t think we’re untouchable and don’t have any more learning to do.

  310. Oh
    Oh April 25, 2008 at 4:18 am |

    While the book’s illustrations seem to be serving as proof for some people that, ‘oh, hey, actually, maybe Amanda Marcotte has some deeply, deeply problematic issues with working past her own privileges,’ I feel the need to point out that she’s made that obvious going far back. It’s clear every time she chooses to treat challenges to her privilege with dismissal, mockery, condescension, silence, and/or contempt. She has a well-established pattern of doing that (and not just when it comes to race). A lot of people have very valid grievances with her because of it.

    I feel pretty sure there are some white folks thinking, “Oh, well, all those other criticisms of Amanda these past few weeks were just too angry/irrational/politically-motivated…but, okay, sure, these pictures aren’t good. *That’s* a problem.” And, no. The pictures are a problem, *and* they don’t surprise me at all. Marcotte had already proven herself to be just this insensitive about her privilege before. People who were already angry with her were angry for a reason.

    And it doesn’t speak too well for white folks if they’re going to just tsk over incredibly racist imagery when it’s shoved in their faces when they still refuse to acknowledge the aggressively privileged stances and outlooks that allowed Marcotte to feel fine putting her name on a book with these images–particularly when that sort of aggressive privilege has already caused a lot of unjust marginalization and pain, something white folks could have noticed if they’d simply cared a little bit and/or were willing to believe WoC and allies when they said Marcotte was pulling some deeply problematic shit.

  311. Synthetic Phylum
    Synthetic Phylum April 25, 2008 at 4:27 am |

    Ai ya! I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t already been said here, especially since I’m not all that certain that I really have any place to comment, being a white male who is more of a humanist than a feminist. I’m a butch-looking, femme-acting bisexual, if that helps any! :-) But this is just so wrong, on so many levels. The worst of it, in my opinion, is the fact that this woman refuses to address the shit-storm she’s created. It’s bad enough that she created it, but to just sit back and do nothing? IMO, that’s like dropping the atomic bomb on New Jersey and then going to play mini-golf later that night. Of course, I could be over-stating things; As with any and all blog commentary, YMMV.

    We (that is, everyone with a voice that cares about issues like this) just need to make sure that she learns one simple truth; that whole thing about ‘no such thing as bad press’? Utter bullshit. I guess I might be a little sorry if a small press org. like Seal goes under, if people successfully boycott this book, but with such a cloud of suspicion about the real source/inspiration of its contents, and the pictures (YIKES! How do THOSE work?), I don’t think this book should be around, but that’s just my opinion, and we all know what opinions are like.

    Movements like the feminist movement belong to everyone who believes in them, and it saddens me to see people separating themselves from the movement over the actions/attitude of A.M. and her supporters. I hope that the people that feel marginalized by all of this find their voice; it really sounds like they have important things to say, and they should be the ones to say it. I know I’m not! That whole white male thing kinda disqualifies me from being able to speak about the experiences of a WoC.

  312. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 25, 2008 at 5:00 am |

    The images in the book do not automatically legitimize all prior criticisms of Amanda Marcotte, even if the prior criticisms are identical to those lodged against the images.

    It is, however, abundantly clear that the images are a huge example of exactly how privilege has been defined.

    Every single person that read the book and did not see or notice the images now has a gigantic teaching moment to consider their particular privilege for why and how they did not see or viscerally react to them. Of course many have been yelling about this privilege from the rooftops for eons. A lot of people are going to get it now that did not really get it before, even if they already had some intellectual understanding of privilege. This is the only silver lining I can possibly imagine from this business.

    The fact that I feel there must be a deeply obtuse wandering down the garden path stemming likely from the very beginning of the book- stemming from the creation of a theme to fit the title- doesn’t excuse anything. It only allows me to easily imagine how we got here. This is an even bigger underlining of privilege, because I think it can bite you in the ass even when you think you are looking.

    I will not deny that this makes me sad. And I won’t deny that I am sad in part because of personal feeling for how Amanda must feel to experience this. This personal feeling relates to the fact that I attempt to view other people on the internet that I have somehow come to communicate with as actual people. There are people in this thread that I’ve commented with, or even e-mailed, and I would feel the same way if it were them having some other hardship in their lives, even if the “hardship” were only a bunch of criticism on the internets, which isn’t that big of a deal in the scheme of things. It still hurts, though, especially when it is legit, as I expect Amanda will come around to agree with.

  313. Synthetic Phylum
    Synthetic Phylum April 25, 2008 at 5:01 am |

    Well, since it’s not letting me edit my post… I and my (very scant!) groups of male friends can boycott it; the rest of you can girlcott it. My bad!

  314. Oh
    Oh April 25, 2008 at 5:34 am |

    I am sad in part because of personal feeling for how Amanda must feel to experience this.

    I have to say, my sympathy really evaporates when someone’s reaction to hurt feelings is to hurt people with less power. And when you treat less-privileged people with condescension, suspicion, dismissal, or contempt–or you stay quiet while your defenders treat them that way–that’s what you’re doing. And that’s what Amanda’s repeatedly done.

    How’s that line from the song go?
    You know, the sheriff’s got his problems too
    And he will surely take them out on you

    Of course I can see all the ways things are tough for Amanda. I just don’t see why that’s worthy of consideration in discussions that aren’t privately among Amanda’s friends, but are instead trying to address the hurt Amanda’s caused.

  315. Oh
    Oh April 25, 2008 at 5:48 am |

    Oh, dear lord. I hadn’t read the post at Hugo’s blog when I wrote the comment at 323. Turns out he says, in acknowledging that, well, er, you know, a lot of people will perceive the book’s illustrations as racist…

    But it’s not just your usual critics who are troubled now. This needs addressing, and it needs addressing now.

    In other words: Hey, it’s not just those angry WoC criticizing you! I’m a white man listening to soothing music, and *I’m* troubled! So now you really do need to do something, since *I’m* bothered!

    Wow.

  316. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 25, 2008 at 6:07 am |

    Oh,

    Rather than being accused of being in the “bag” for anyone, I decided it was appropriate to express my feelings directly, in the open, on my sleeve, lest I be considered to have an agenda. I don’t. I have no real relationship with Amanda, any more than I have with Ilyka, or belledame, both of whom I have had limited correspondence. Because I have had slight correspondence with all of these people, I consider them to be a part of my online experience, and at the very least if I can extend to them empathy or courtesy I will even in situations where I explicitly criticise, as I did above with Amanda. This is the only way I know of being able to really explore new and different viewpoints than I am regularly exposed to offline.

    I’m an equal opportunity considerator. A lot of people have been deeply hurt here, and that is obvious, and are no way minimized by my comment. If you believe it is so, allow me to disabuse you and anyone else of that notion. A large part of my consideration for Amanda is that I know she must know that she has hurt a lot of people here, elsewhere, and including Jill, the writer of this post, who I expect feels terrible to be in this situation where J. knows she has to call a friend out on the carpet. I expect also that many people that have read Amanda’s book and did not notice the images initially feel really bad about it, and I’m not going to lie about my consideration for anyone. I have a lot of consideration for those people too.

    Holly has now posted about how to move forward in another thread. Prior to her posting that, I sent a personal correspondence to certain other people involved expressing almost identically those sentiments, and I did so specifically out of consideration- because I was just then also commenting in public very critical statements.

    The only way I can even contribute to these debates without feeling like I am just feeding another flamewar is to attempt to have an excess of consideration. I do not want to refight the argument from the previous two weeks. I think it likely that we don’t agree on those issues, even if I am trying to see all sides. I can’t and won’t defend the Amanda that exists to you because I don’t see her the same way you do. I’m not defending the Amanda that I see in relation to the one that published a book with these terrible images, what I am doing is allowing people to see where I am coming from and some of what is motivating my choices to speak here.

    You are within your rights to call me out on that, I can take it. I can think about what you have said, and I will.

  317. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 25, 2008 at 6:15 am |

    Oh,

    I said some more stuff in the other thread, but it’s in mod. I have no idea if I was even being clear in my follow up above, but it’s way late. I’ll read the rest of this thread tomorrow when it is up to 800 comments.

  318. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Dear Seal Press

    [...] above is one of the illustrations from Amanda’s new book. Sylvia, in the comments of Feministe, suggested writing Seal Press about it. Dear Seal [...]

  319. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 7:00 am |

    I have no love lost for Amanda personally, as I’ve made clear, but even I feel sort of sorry for her at this point, although I would not be surprised if the next thing she says or does, finally, promptly erases even that l’il fledgling. she’s got to be just about ready for her closeup, I would expect.

    but, my -empathy- goes to the umm, well, let’s say, -background figures- who’ve been repeatedly kicked in the face. except they’re not background figures, and that’s the whole point; they never should have been treated as supporting cast or scenery. much less two-dimensional enemy-props to be kicked in the face.

    the thing about tragedy is, it’s a concept that depends on the person in question being, well, An Hero, to begin with.

    me, I’m sitting here and thinking: “absurdism.” hey, it’s a hip, post-modern, ironic world, after all: there -are- no more tragedies. least of all–oh, never mind.

  320. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 8:05 am |

    I feel pretty sure there are some white folks thinking, “Oh, well, all those other criticisms of Amanda these past few weeks were just too angry/irrational/politically-motivated…but, okay, sure, these pictures aren’t good. *That’s* a problem.” And, no. The pictures are a problem, *and* they don’t surprise me at all. Marcotte had already proven herself to be just this insensitive about her privilege before. People who were already angry with her were angry for a reason.

    Oh–I agree. Thanks for pointing that out. It’s more or less the reason that I think Amanda’s reactions to those who have accused her of appropriation need to be addressed. And they need to be addressed more explicitly than comments made to the tune of, “I don’t condone everything Amanda did, but I also don’t think she appropriated.” This isn’t only about those pictures.

  321. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 8:07 am |

    Oh, and Jill… I’d add a third recommendation to the ones I posted above. Maybe you could join us in telling Seal Press to fuck off? That’d be nice.

  322. tj.matthews
    tj.matthews April 25, 2008 at 8:28 am |

    Jill, I stand by my, “wow. Feministe is as racist as I suspected. Well at least their showing solidarity to their sister….cause she sure isn’t ours….” All of the justification in the world doesn’t make what you are promoting right. I’d respect you more if you were honest with us and yourself. But respect from WOC doesn’t really matter to you…….obviously.

  323. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 8:50 am |

    Yeah… I can certainly see what tj.matthews is saying here. I am particularly concerned, Jill, with your penchant for repeating, “I hear you. I’m listening,” and your claim that “this is making [you] better.” I have no doubt that you are sincerely concerned about this and are formulating a thoughtful post in order to deal with it as we speak. But given that you’re still promoting the book, the whole thing seems a little patronizing me.

    The thing that most disturbs me about this is that your comments thus far suggest that you didn’t really get what was being said by Amanda’s critics–that, despite her impression to the contrary, it wasn’t about her. I see you doing a similar thing here–making this about you, and your education and self-improvement. It’s about realizing when you’re wrong (even though, given your privilege, you don’t have to), apologizing, and stepping up as an anti-racist ally. And, yes, of course the fact that you didn’t notice the images on your first reading is a function of privilege.

    It seems crucial to voice firm criticisms of Amanda after going as far as to promote this book. You have to take back your promotion. As I’ve said, I also believe that it’s important to address Amanda’s dismissive attitude toward her WOC critics–and to name that as racist behavior as well. You are not an anti-racist ally if you keep trying to soft-pedal this, keep defending Amanda’s good intentions and good feminist work. This is making me sick.

    Well-meaning posts that direct attention to BFP’s final post seem a little disingenuous to me in light of your refusal to take down the parts of this post which promote Amanda’s book.

  324. A Sarah
    A Sarah April 25, 2008 at 9:18 am |

    Mitchforth, it seems like you’ve made up your mind: The only phenomena that count as examples of racism are of the blatant “N-word Go Home!” or “Here, you’re WHITE. Please have a publishing contract BECAUSE YOU’RE WHITE and OUR PRESS LIKES WHITE PEOPLE BEST” variety. And when the more blatant examples do occur, you seem to think it’s pertinent to examine only the intentions and actions of the individual hurling the invective. Whatever. Seems awfully convenient to me. But if that’s where you are, can you kindly stop asking people to prove to you, personally, over and over and over again, and in the precise format of your choosing, that systemic racism exists according to some whackaloon criteria you’ve established that by definition exclude systemic explanations? If you’re seriously interested in entertaining the idea that white privilege is an actual phenomenon, there are resources out there that can help you. Find them.

    The pictures are racist. I’m a white woman. Looking at shit like that helps me be a better racist. I don’t happen to need any help with that – seeing as how I live in a white supremacist culture – so I won’t be buying the book, or anything else from Seal Press, ever.

    I’m also sad to see so many white women acting like it’s some kind of special tragedy that one of their own is being criticized. It’s like, “yeah, well, it’s really a problem when feminists are unaware of their white privilege and all, but… WHAT?! HOLY CRAP! SOMEONE’S BEING CRITICIZED WHO REMINDS ME OF ME AND MY FRIENDS? SOMEONE I CAN IMAGINE HANGING OUT WITH? DEAR GOD, MAKE IT STOP! O WHEN WILL THIS TRIAL EVER END?” etc.

  325. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 25, 2008 at 9:40 am |

    Lisa Harney says:
    April 23rd, 2008 at 10:53 pm – Edit
    Also, when white people see “white people can’t be trusted,” they usually almost immediately make it about them – “Why can’t I be trusted?”

    Um, yeah: because if they are a white person, this is the factual and literal meaning of the words? And you blame THEM? The Evil White Person who is actually listening to the meaning?

    Jeez, it’s not so freakin’ hard to insert the word “some” or “most” or “many” or “often” or whatever the hell you want into these sentences. It’s ONE WORD. Or two, if you want to say “almost all.” Perhaps if people would take the time to add those few letters we’d not continually have the “it’s not about you” argument in the first place.

    I mean, really. I don’t understand why people use general language and then get pissy when someone else reads it literally ESPECIALLY if it takes no more than two words to actually say the correct thing.

    In conversations where people are debating the intricacies of language, it is really ridiculous that some folks would deliberately use vague language, when everyone knows full well that it ends up being a fight. Why?

  326. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 25, 2008 at 9:46 am |

    And on the subject of the pictures: ridiculous. If seal refuses to reprint, perhaps an explanatory insert…? Not that i can exactly imagine what it would say.

    I guess it just seems so obvious tha tthis is a problem, that it makes no sense. White folks can certainly have opinions on racism, but there are certain things that it is just plain old improper to do. And “racism as irony” is in that category, whether blackface or this sort of stuff.

    Who edited this?

  327. A Sarah
    A Sarah April 25, 2008 at 9:53 am |

    Sailorman, fancy bumping into you here! Hey, it’s really lucky for me that you posted just after me, because it caused me to realize that I kind of totally ripped you off – using, in my response to Mitchforth, very similar syntax as you had used when you deftly deflected a troll over at Homebirth Debate. Sorry about that! It had worked its way into my brain as a very pleasing way of making a particular kind of point, but I forgot that I had gotten it from someone else. Until I saw your post. My bad. Sorry, again.

  328. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 10:20 am |

    Sailor, “white people can’t be trusted” can be read in one of two ways — as a blanket statement about who white people are, or as a statement about how people of color should approach them. Given the context in which statements like that have been made here, I think the second reading isn’t only more generous, it’s also more reasonable as a literal interpretation of what was meant.

    Let’s say I’m on the subway, and I leave my messenger bag on the seat when I get up to check the map. When I get back, the woman sitting next to me says “you should take your bag with you — you can’t trust people on the subway.”

    Is she saying that nobody on the subway is worthy of trust? Is she saying that everyone on the subway is a thief? No. She’s saying, rightly, that you make a mistake if you put your trust in the community of subway riders not to steal your bag, because in the long run enough of them will betray your trust to make the extension of that trust a losing proposition.

    That’s what I hear when I hear “white people can’t be trusted.” I hear a claim that the cost of trusting white people, the cost of expending energy on multiracial political action, outweighs the benefits. That there are enough white people who will betray your trust to make multiracial organizing a bad idea.

    Is it true? Sometimes, definitely. Anyone who’s ever done serious multiracial organizing can tell you horror stories. I don’t believe it’s always true, but it’s true far more than I’d like.

    And here’s one last thing, going back to the subway analogy. What makes it true that you can’t trust folks on the subway with your bag isn’t just that there are a few thieves on the subway. It’s also that there are so few people who will stand up to a thief. If there are two potential thieves in the car, but a dozen people who will confront that thief, your bag is a lot safer than if there was just one thief who could be sure that everyone else would look the other way.

    So if you don’t like it when folks call your community untrustworthy, do your bit. Demonstrate that you’re worthy of trust. Do your part to shift the cost-benefit analysis in the right direction.

  329. Radfem
    Radfem April 25, 2008 at 10:36 am |

    The Sean Bell officers walking has got me cranky.

    Oh–I agree. Thanks for pointing that out. It’s more or less the reason that I think Amanda’s reactions to those who have accused her of appropriation need to be addressed. And they need to be addressed more explicitly than comments made to the tune of, “I don’t condone everything Amanda did, but I also don’t think she appropriated.” This isn’t only about those pictures.

    I agree. The original cover was protested by women, it was removed albeit reluctantly after much protest about it (though Marcotte’s supporters said she fought Seal Press to have it removed) but the same problem has repeated itself. I’m not as familiar with the background of the original cover, many of the prior problems. I think I’m more familiar with the FFF cover postings some time back which was Jessica Valenti’s book. But if the cover caused many people to comment on its racism, why wasn’t there a better look taken at the use of the “jungle” motif itself? Among the author of the book, the publishers, staff, etc.?

    I’m really bothered by what happened apparently for a while and the dismissive attitudes here. And has been pointed out, Marcotte and her supporters mostly respond to criticisms and questions by White women and men not women of color.

    I think like people have said, it’s about appropriation. The book cover, pictures are just another form of it. And the relationship between appropriation and White racial privilege.

    I also believe that it’s important to address Amanda’s dismissive attitude toward her WOC critics–and to name that as racist behavior as well.

    Oh, I don’t think you can address one thing without the other. I think as other people pointed out, there are issues to address on a continuum. I guess what it’s called in some fields, is a pattern and practice.

  330. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:53 am |

    I’m addressing this in the next post, but I’m leaving this post up because it’s evidence of a public fuck-up, and I don’t think there’s much to be gained by taking it down — I think taking it down looks shady. And yes, it would be far less embarrassing for me to just delete the promotion of the book and pretend it never happened. But it did happen. I plan on publicly taking back that promotion, but I’m not going to erase it, because sometimes major fuck-ups have to be preserved.

    Okay. I was hoping that was the reason.

  331. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    I’ve heard people say that Amanda got the cover changed, but I never saw any indication on the original thread that she actually acknowledged that the cover was a bad choice or that she fought to get it changed. In fact, I only see her repeatedly trivializing the concerns and setting herself up as the victim.

    I have a hard time getting through those threads, though. My browser does NOT like long Pandagon threads.

  332. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 11:05 am |

    Astraea, in the comments thread in the post announcing the new cover, Amanda said this:

    I was open to criticism. I ran this cover by trusted folks who could smell out racism I was unaware of, and got the pass. I’m happy with it.

    Which doesn’t quite address the question of whether the change was her idea, but does strongly suggest that she and Seal were working together on the replacement graphics.

  333. Trin
    Trin April 25, 2008 at 11:47 am |

    You are really exhorting everyone out there to gleefully go buy a book that has illustrations like these in it, when this person has a CLEAR history of pulling or allowing stuff like this over and over? And then you think posting a long, whiny “hey, ‘sok to disagree!” is good enough?

    COME ON.

  334. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 12:07 pm |

    Jill, it’d probably be a good idea to add what you just said as an update to the body of this post.

  335. ilyka
    ilyka April 25, 2008 at 12:09 pm |

    Oh Trin, can it. You show up 350 comments later and want to bang your fist on the counter and demand service right now, this minute? When this has nothing to do with you and you can’t even be bothered to read any of the comments prior to yours? Including Jill’s? COME ON.

  336. Miriam Heddy
    Miriam Heddy April 25, 2008 at 12:12 pm |

    How to be a Clueless White Feminist, an Introductory Lesson:
    1) acknowledge that there’s “a problem”
    2) refuse to name the problem
    3) refuse to engage with the problem or those who say there’s a problem
    4) say, “I’ve heard what WOC have to say” and “I’m listening to the concerns of WOC” and “I want to learn from this” (sound as earnest as possible and, if at all possible, ask WOC to help you learn)
    5) End by justifying your continued support for racists by adding “I don’t want to take sides.”

  337. EG
    EG April 25, 2008 at 12:17 pm |

    Is that supposed to be about Jill? Because where, on this 350-comment thread, do you see Jill refusing to name the problem or refusing to engage with the problem or those who say there’s a problem? Where do you see this as an “end”? Is it because you haven’t read the comments describing Jill’s forthcoming posting?

  338. Trin
    Trin April 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm |

    Jill: Thank you.

  339. Kristen
    Kristen April 25, 2008 at 12:39 pm |

    Sailorman,

    Here’s a snippet of conversation from my day yesterday that might illustrate why we should cut some people some slack on the “all” white people thing. [Although Brooklynite's explanation is better...I also wanted to make the emotional argument that I at least sometimes run into.]

    Me: “I’m so sick and fucking tired of men. What the hell is going on around here? Some jackass thought it would be perfectly acceptable to grab my boob on the escalator at [the metro].”

    My husband: “Well, that’s not all men. You can’t be tired of all men. I’m a man.”

    Me –> murderous rage.

    See? I know “men” was an over generalization. I know it was sloppy thinking. But sometimes, when you’re pissed you aren’t being perfectly clear. And when the listener gets derailed by the details and doesn’t listen to the actual complaint…then it can be damn irritating.

  340. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 12:45 pm |

    Brooklynite, thanks. Defenders just seem to make it sound as if Amanda had a big epiphany about the cover and fought to have it changed, and I don’t see any evidence of either.

  341. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm |

    You’re absolutely right, Kristen. That’s an important piece that I missed. (I’ve quoted your comment over on my blog, by the way. Let me know if you’d prefer I didn’t.)

  342. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 25, 2008 at 1:13 pm |

    Kristen/Brooklynite:
    I shouldn’t have posted that in this thread at all–stupid derail–so while I understand and partially (not totally) agree with your comment, I’m not going to reply here, but i’ll do it on Brooklynite’s blog.

  343. Oh
    Oh April 25, 2008 at 1:17 pm |

    I know “men” was an over generalization. I know it was sloppy thinking. But sometimes, when you’re pissed you aren’t being perfectly clear. And when the listener gets derailed by the details and doesn’t listen to the actual complaint…then it can be damn irritating.

    Kristen: right, and then there’s also the fact that some men–not all men, granted, but far too many–think it’s okay to do that to women *because* they are men and the people they hurt are women. And even more people think it’s not such a big deal that other men do that–because it’s just a default assumption that some men will do that to women. Sure, there will be some times a person will do something like that for reasons other than male supremacy–all kinds of individual things happen for their own quirky reasons–but there is a pattern that has everything to do with the problem of male supremacy. Saying “I’m tired of men” pinpoints whose unjust supremacy you’re tired of.

    I suppose saying “I’m tired of male supremacy” or “I’m tired of the patriarchy” gets it down to root causes even further, but, first of all, anyone who would understand those phrases as anything other than a punchline should already take that as a given when someone complains about men as a group within the patriarchy. Just as you say, there shouldn’t be a derailing when someone is upset because of a real, immediate complaint. Second of all, *just* blaming the system is unsatisfying when it’s some privileged people within the system who are actively causing hurt and even more are passively letting it go by. Yeah, we can all analyze and understand where those privileged people are coming from when they do that, and we can have that inform the need to condemn a system that makes it easy for a lot of otherwise decent people to act that way. But in the face of an immediate hurt, explorations of how an oppressive group can really have very decent individuals in it–well, it’s a way for someone to distance herself from the hurt. And some people would prefer to deal with hurt that way, to become dissociated from the problem rather than confronting it, but it’s got to be up to the person who was hurt to decide how she wants to deal with it. Actively engaging with the problem with a full emotional range that’s allowed to include anger is much more likely to be the healthy response for most people, though. And it’s the *natural* response for almost everyone–it’s particularly infuriating for someone in a position of privilege to say, “Well, let’s just step back and look at this rationally” when the only reason they’re saying that is because this particular issue doesn’t happen to affect them as personally.

    And, of course, all of this applies to complaints about whites in a white supremacy (i.e., in the world).

    And, yeah, I have to say: don’t trust white people, not when it comes to matters of race. (And if you’re not white, your existence is going to be a “matter of race” to white people.) We shouldn’t ever trust someone who has institutional power behind them when it comes to the issues where they’re privileged. No matter the issue, that kind of power corrupts–it just does. It corrupts different people in different ways, and some privileged people are a lot better about being aware of that danger and trying to limit its harm than others. Still, the people with less privilege need to be on the lookout for that so they can try to protect themselves and others.

  344. Kristen
    Kristen April 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm |

    Brooklynite,

    I don’t mind at all. :) Thanks for the kind words.

    Oh,

    “But in the face of an immediate hurt, explorations of how an oppressive group can really have very decent individuals in it–well, it’s a way for someone to distance herself from the hurt. And some people would prefer to deal with hurt that way, to become dissociated from the problem rather than confronting it, but it’s got to be up to the person who was hurt to decide how she wants to deal with it.”

    Exactly precisely right. That’s what I meant earlier in the thread about listening without reflexive defensiveness. It’s really easy to side step the actual injustice by becoming defensive at the start. But if you drop the defensiveness then maybe, just maybe you can hear and understand the hurt. Empathizing with people, understanding them as individuals and accepting their world view as equally valid (not necessarily correct, but valid) is central to *my* definition of a progressive.

  345. blurrr
    blurrr April 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |

    Jill, I am a perennial lurker and an admirer of you and this blog but I came out of the shadows to comment on one thing. (I’ve read that you will be updating today and I’m glad because I have been so disappointed with this article, even with all your updates, that I was ready to stop reading you and this blog all together.) I don’t mind if you don’t unscreen this comment because I’m addressing it to you specifically.

    Seeing as your white privilege blinded you so badly that you could praise this book and its contents and not twig that these images are immensely problematic until you were confront by Holly’s post, can you please sit down and really, really, really think about whether your judgement/perception of Amanda not appropriating WoC and allies work is accurate?

    Being an ally isn’t just about linking to articles and giving exposure to ignored voices. That’s an important thing but ultimately, it’s cosmetic. It’s about working on yourself, working to recognise and shed your own white privilege, it takes a lifetime. It doesn’t work when everything you do is a reaction to being called out by WoC/allies, when you need your hand held and explained to you that where what you’ve done or said without consideration or thought to *all* is racist.

  346. Holly
    Holly April 25, 2008 at 2:11 pm |

    Seeing as your white privilege blinded you so badly that you could praise this book and its contents and not twig that these images are immensely problematic until you were confront by Holly’s post, can you please sit down and really, really, really think about whether your judgement/perception of Amanda not appropriating WoC and allies work is accurate?

    I want to clarify something. Jill saw these images before I did; she started writing her response and her update on this issue before I did. I didn’t confront her with anything. You need to wait until she can publish her next set of thoughts on this, really.

  347. Miriam Heddy
    Miriam Heddy April 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm |

    EG,

    Notice that I wrote “How to Be a Clueless White Feminist” and not “How to Be Jill” up there. Jill got a clue. Hurrah for Jill! I look forward to her updated post. But she’s not alone in the cluelessness, and it seemed worthwhile to note that her post had a pattern of argument–one that’s all too common when one White Feminists try to respond to another White Feminist’s racism.

  348. blurrr
    blurrr April 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm |

    Jill,

    I apologise for jumping the gun and not giving you enough credit. The timing of Holly’s post and of yours led me to assume you had the sequence of events was linear and that Jill seen this book, rec’d it accordingly and Holly then saw the book and pointed out the problematic imagery.

    With the way things have been going lately, I’m absolutely heartened to be wrong about this. Thanks for clarifying, Holly.

  349. Lillet
    Lillet April 25, 2008 at 4:40 pm |

    Jill — I am really impressed with your leaving this thread up and your adapting your position on this whole issue. Reading the comment thread here has been really a big “learning moment ” for me. (As a white feminist.) I am grateful to be able to listen to all of you.

    Re: Delux in #92 “Does it include helpful tips for women of color dealing with ignorant, privileged, or otherwise hostile white feminists? Because I could certainly use that right now.”

    I honestly would LOVE to see someone do a project like this referenced in your comment, because I am sure I would learn a lot about my own blind spots. I hope someone does. Too bad I don’t run Seal Press.

  350. Christine
    Christine April 25, 2008 at 6:34 pm |

    Now I see The Feminist Movement for what it is – essentially, white women fighting for scraps at the white patriarchy’s table, while stepping on the backs of WoC for doing so.

    Ironically, women of color have been saying this for years, and we dismissed them as being out-of-step and old-fashioned. Face it – our mothers and grandmothers were right. Now I have to give my grandmother a call and tell her that I’m sorry about the fight we had just last week.

    Hanging up my feminism badge here. I’m done.

  351. Synthetic Phylum
    Synthetic Phylum April 25, 2008 at 7:36 pm |

    @Jill:
    Kudos for leaving this all up. More kudos for editing the header on this! Hopefully, anyone just showing up will see the update, and read through the entire thing! I can certainly see how taking this down could seem self-protecting! I’m happy that Seal & A.M. apologized, though I’m kinda leery about the tone of Seal’s apology; I agree with some of the sentiments of people who commented there in that their apology is more of a ‘We’re sorry you’re offended’ type, as opposed to a simple ‘We fucked up.’ A.M.’s apology, to me, seemed far more genuine, and that is worthy of some respect.
    So, it looks like the issues on the book are being taken care of; maybe not as quickly as some would like, but so it goes. But this doesn’t do anything to solve the underlying issues here; Hell, it looks like a lot of people didn’t even know these issues existed before now! I myself have only looked at the feminist issues, and ignored the race issues, though I’ve been anti-racist for a large part of my life. I never looked at those things together, and it makes me sad that I didn’t notice it before. I’d love to be able to say that I wasn’t blinded by me privileged status as a white male, but I can’t be certain that’s the case. Granted, I’m not entirely white (part Cherokee), but I look it. I’ll admit that I’ve kinda avoided the feminist movement until now; that whole ‘Humanist’ thing I mentioned in an earlier post. The last time I tried to get pro-actively involved in the feminist movement was the early 90’s, during the beginning of the Riot Grrl movement, where I was notified, in no uncertain terms, that I was useful as a ‘sex toy,’ but useless for the movement. It seemed to me that most, if not all, of the women I knew who were involved in the feminist movement were focused on getting revenge against the White Male Patriarchy. In my opinion then (and now), that doesn’t solve the problem… It only changes the face of it. To me, that’s no sort of solution, so I stepped back, hiding behind the label of ‘humanist.’ I want to live in a world where sex, gender, & race are NOT used to determine one’s lot in life, their pay scale, or their worth as a human being. I left the feminist movement because what I saw had nothing to do with that goal. I want to be wrong; I need to be wrong. I want to do what I can to help humans gain that equal footing, regardless of the color of their skin or their plumbing.

    You know, I’m not sure where I was going with all of that, but I felt it needed to be said. For my sake, if nothing else. I’m not sure of that was a re-declaration of support or just an outsider’s view. You be the judge.

  352. There are those who refuse to even TRY to get it « Galling Galla

    [...] took me three days to wade past the first twenty or so entries of the l-o-o-ong comment thread on this post at Feministe. As soon as I saw Ms Marcotte spilling her shite all over that thread, I gave up. At [...]

  353. Feministe » On Those Pictures and On Privilege

    [...] the comments, blurrr points out that if I was blind enough to not see the pictures in Amanda’s book, perhaps I should [...]

  354. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 1:52 am |

    And here’s one last thing, going back to the subway analogy. What makes it true that you can’t trust folks on the subway with your bag isn’t just that there are a few thieves on the subway. It’s also that there are so few people who will stand up to a thief. If there are two potential thieves in the car, but a dozen people who will confront that thief, your bag is a lot safer than if there was just one thief who could be sure that everyone else would look the other way.

    you know, that is a great fucking point.

  355. A.
    A. April 27, 2008 at 6:39 pm |

    Ironically, women of color have been saying this for years, and we dismissed them as being out-of-step and old-fashioned. Face it – our mothers and grandmothers were right. Now I have to give my grandmother a call and tell her that I’m sorry about the fight we had just last week.

    Hanging up my feminism badge here. I’m done.

    Yeah. I always wondered why my grandmother always told me that Feminism was not to be trusted at all. Guess now I know why.

    And I don’t want to have to say this, but I know for a fact that this shit is going to happen again. It’s so popular in our culture these days to make racially insensitive remarks all in the name of Satire and being ironic and shit that no one cares to use sense. It’s all about not being PC, right?

    Seriously, this is in the fashion of Michael Richards, Don Imus and Geraldine Ferraro. I’m going to see how long it takes to fuck up again.

  356. The “Or” versus the “And” - Women of Color and Mainstream Feminism at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] Transphobia – In Light of Appropriation and Race Grandpa Dinosaur – The Person You Protect Feministe – (Read this piece for the comments – some real All-Stars were pulling out their best) A Slant Truth – For My Peeps PhysioProf – Intellectual Appropriation, Attribution of Credit & [...]

  357. Feminist Blog Brouhaha: Feminists vs Women of Color

    [...] Tiffany in Houston says: April 22nd, 2008 at 11:13 pm [...]

  358. Feministe » Taking a Break
    Feministe » Taking a Break April 29, 2008 at 3:38 am |

    [...] and every time I try to fix a mess I’ve made, I walk away feeling worse. After putting up this post, which in my head was nothing more than an alert to a feminist event that I was attending, I felt [...]

  359. derivative work » Blog Archive » cultural appropriation, property rhetoric, acknowledgment

    [...] Links: * Twisty’s recent post on the issue (Schooled, 4/23) helped me think through the need to speak sooner rather than later when I have the perfect statement; * The Angry Black Woman’s post that she’s not going anywhere –in the missing voices of those who *have* gone away. (ABW Not going anywhere, 4/26). * ABW On Feminism Part 2, 4/28.) * don’t hate appropriate @ problem chylde * from blackamazon @ 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 links here though. * Business as usual, debunking white * pretty fizzy paradise * regarding appropriation, brownfemipower, and Amanda Marcotte * Feminism, plagiarism, and women of colour * Dear white feminists, quit goddamn fucking up (the blog); * amanda marcote @ kgb bar in manhattan [...]

  360. Nikita
    Nikita April 29, 2008 at 8:25 am |

    Walking away from feminism because of mistakes made by other feminists is not something I can comprehend. Mistakes happen, yes this was a horrid, insensitive, racist, f$#% up of a mistake made by Amanda Marcotte and her publishers but it’s one I would hope we can all learn from rather than one that sends us running away from each other.

  361. On Facing Your Bias, Owning Your Prejudice, and Allies - Part 1 at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] out they had gotten worse. I refrained from commenting on the first issue – only to watch a second, third, fourth, and fifth spring [...]

  362. What’s a white woman to say? « In a strange land

    [...] with Seal Press. Some of the other leading feminist blogs put up posts advertising her book, and publicising her book-reading appearances. So despite all the furore, they still supported her (despite having earlier promised to try to do [...]

  363. brownstocking
    brownstocking April 30, 2008 at 7:54 pm |

    @#379

    Sometimes people need to shrug off a label that no longer fits. And “feminism,” as a movement, has been problematic for WoC since its genesis, to put it lightly.

    I offer kudos to those who refuse to stay within that confine. And Kudos to those who choose to continue using it.

    “I am not giving up on feminism, because I never really got invested in that movement.” I can’t remember who first said this, but it wasn’t me. I just agree with it. We may not have the numbers to be womanists, but I’ll be a womanist or poco feminist because the personal truly is political.

    Whoever prints up “FSP” shirts, e-mail me–I’m in for two!

  364. eeePC WorldWide News » cultural appropriation, property rhetoric, acknowledgment

    [...] plagiarism, and women of colour * Dear white feminists, quit goddamn fucking up (the blog); * amanda marcote @ kgb bar in manhattan * physioprof 4/13, and update, 4/27 – link via twisty. physioprof says: [E]ven though we were [...]

  365. ¡Que Pendeja! « Sin Vergüenza, y que?

    [...] can’t BELIEVE that this ruca has the balls to talk about ANYBODY’S book cover after the racist pendejadas SHE tried to pass off as “irony” in her own book. When a white woman’s body [...]

  366. Mamita Mala - One Bad Mami › Link Amor : Amanda Marcotte = Pendeja

    [...] up.  I can’t BELIEVE that this ruca has the balls to talk about ANYBODY’S book cover after the racist pendejadas SHE tried to pass off as “irony” in her own book. When a white woman’s body [might be] [...]

  367. Trusting Your Allies « A Secret Chord

    [...] 9, 2008 · No Comments I’ve been driven by insomnia to finally reading a lot of this thread, looking to catch up on some of what has now led to the (temporary) disappearance of a feminist [...]

  368. Interesting kerfuffles continue at Seal Press

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