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  1. When Good People Do Nothing : The Curvature

    […] cross-posted from Feministe […]

  2. Feminist PUNK!!!!
    Feminist PUNK!!!! May 9, 2008 at 1:37 pm |

    You know, I’m one of those feminists who thinks that racism is indeed a feminist issue, just like poverty, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and much more are feminist issues, simply because these are factors that oppress women on a daily basis and prevent them from living lives freely, safely and to their full potential.

    I so totally agree with you on that one.

  3. bluish
    bluish May 9, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    I can’t even speak to the horrors of this case, because it turns my stomach too much. The blatant racism/classism is no surprise either.

    But I do think we need to address the issue of why people don’t call for help. From this story, to the 70yr old man in LA to my friend who was beaten bloody and screamed for help – no one called the police, even though someone leaned out of a window to yell at the attackers.

    Why don’t people call 911?

    Well, I think there are lots of reasons.
    – If you are in a targeted/marginalized community, the police may end up harassing you, for starters. The police are not always your friend, and I think a lot of white, middle class America doesn’t know what it feels like to know that 911 is not a safe option for help.
    – If you are from an immigrant community from a totalitarian state, the police were not your friends back home and so it never occurs to you to call them here (this is true in neighborhoods like the one in LA where a lot of elderly people from “the old country” are clustered)>

    And for me, as I thought about it in the wake of my friends assault, I have a strange fear of “getting in trouble” if I call 911 and it turns out it was nothing.

    As a kid, it was burned into my brain NEVER to call 911 unless it was a REAL EMERGENCY – that the police would be very, very angry if they responded to a call that was uneccesary. I think I carry this around with me still.

    I think the police need to make some kind of public service announcements or in-school education about it being OK to call 911 if you think someone needs help – even if you are mistaken, even if you think someone else already called. It’s always better to call than not.

    I was the one who called 911 for my friend when she was beaten. They received no other calls, even though when they went door-to-door looking for witnesses, quite a few people reported “hearing something”. The operator said that they don’t mind receiving multiple calls. In fact, multiple calls are better.

    So. When you hear someone yell “help”, consider calling 911. And remember, even if you don’t like the police, having a call on record may help the case of the victim if it ever comes to court. Having a 911 call makes it more than just a he-said-she-said incident – there’s proof that the assault was witnessed by someone else.

  4. ThePakistaniHereticalGirl
    ThePakistaniHereticalGirl May 9, 2008 at 2:29 pm |

    No one ever said that race issues do not exist, it’s the 9th of May, people in Russia are celebrating victory over Nazism, 30 million died due to racist ideaology. I have no doubt in my mind that Romana Moore’s murder showed that race and gender intersect here. Yes, there are racists, we know this, but that can not be used to make race a feminist issue in the wider context when dealing about men. I’ll give you another form of racism, the horrific case of Banaz Mahmoud that I have publicized with stophonorkillings.com, a young Muslim Kurdish girl was murdered by her father and relatives right here in the UK, even though she had begged the police 4 times to protect her. The attitude of the police was basically, “You are some kind of Paki Muslim, get lost and leave us alone.” Again, when people do nothing, evil triumphs. Banaz Mahmoud’s shows institutional racism against Muslim women in the UK, so racism- is REAL for us, and yes, in Banaz’s case, and in Romona Moore’s case, is there an underlying assumption that people, including me, as a Pakistani feminist, or Donna Darko, or Kali, or anyone else for that matter, have ever assumed that feminism and racism have not and do not intersect where women are involved? How do you know that I don’t have direct and very personal experiences myself on that level, but simply do not see how feminism can intersect with males, when people like Romana and Banaz are so obviously the issue. There are racists, there is racism, there is evil out there, this is why feminism must not fragment and devolve into ethnocentrisism. If your intro where you specifically mentioned ‘people who who don’t see race as a feminist issue’, is going to be construed as an implied denial of the racism in Romana’s case by those who have taken issue with the intersection of feminism and the social reality of the black male, then that is a very disengenious presumption that demands a response.
    You think this might be unrelated, but when Cara calls the hijab just a piece of cloth, that to us is the same kind of attitude that condemned Banaz to a murder so unspeakably horrific, it can’t possibly we written about here. Racism is subtle Cara, I stand with Romana Moore heart and soul, I would have no mercy on them who done that. Now remembering again that all victims are equal, u should stand with Banaz, a young Muslim girl who refused hijab- and got brutally slain for her trouble, a victim of police racism, and racism of another kind, a racism we see aimed at us by certain kinds of feminists, some of whom are white, many of whom are brown. CRUSH RACISM WHEREVER IT IS, this is the message of this Pakistani feminist.

  5. ThePakistaniHereticalGirl
    ThePakistaniHereticalGirl May 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm |

    There are NO feminists who would not see Romana’s racially motivated murder as a feminist issue. My thoughts tended to linger more on Sean Bell rather than just the hijabi stuff, actually.This thread is for Romana, the rest, like u said, it’s got no place, so we’ll keep it on point.

  6. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle May 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm |

    Rage and sadness. Admiration for the mother. That level of determination and bravery is awe-inspring.

    is it cyncial of me to think that if these two murderous, torturing pigs hadn’t killed her, they’d have gotten away with “just” rape?

    I wish I believed in hell, sometimes.

  7. ThePakistaniHereticalGirl
    ThePakistaniHereticalGirl May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |

    I know it comes back to Seal Press, but do you not think that women who see the good in Seal Press- while condemning the cartoons from the Joe Manly comic are not raging against this horrible racist crime? And not all of those women were white, we’re brown, some of us are black, and maybe those people who aren’t here now to say their piece support “Seal Press” and yet their blood is boiling with rage against the trash who took that young black girl’s life. I KNOW that is the case Cara, I can’t speak for others, but I KNOW that is the situation. Me own reaction, I would be considered as an ‘uncivilized Paki’ if I told what I would order to those scum who killed that girl.

  8. Ico
    Ico May 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm |

    I wish I believed in hell, sometimes.

    Word to that.

  9. Magniloquence
    Magniloquence May 9, 2008 at 4:29 pm |

    This story scared the bejeesus out of me. Usually I feel sad and angry when I read these stories… but this one just hit home, for some reason.

    I guess, to be entirely self-centered about it, it scares me because that could be me. I’m 23, I’m female, I’m brown, I work in a ‘bad neighborhood’ … and I’m shy and close to my family and I don’t go out much and spend most of my time doing nerdy things. I could just hear them leveraging those exact same arguments against my loved ones’ complaints … oh, she’s just out somewhere, she must be having fun, maybe she met someone. Gah. That’s terrifying.

    I suppose that just shows one way in which my racial identity clashes with my upbringing. Whenever I read this stuff, I usually identify with the white girls. It never really hit home that that’s not the case. Ow.

  10. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp May 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm |

    This is a really strong example of why (white) feminists can’t ignore racism and classism. Why did the police brush Romona’s mother off, while they devoted overwhelming resources to the disappearance of Svetlana Aronov? It’s not as simple as brutal indifference. They assumed that young black women aren’t in danger, and that if they disappear, it’s their own doing. They assumed that a missing black woman was probably pregnant or had a boyfriend she’d run off with. These are intersectional biases. Furthermore, the precinct may have lacked the resources that an Upper West Side precinct would have had — and that’s a racist, classist issue that makes women less safe. Because some women are thought to be less valuable than other women.

  11. Jill
    Jill May 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm | *

    Exactly, Hot Tramp. I also wonder how much of a difference it made that in the Aronov case, the person reporting the disappearance was a professional-class white man, and in Romona’s case, it was her mother — a lower-income black woman. It’s bias on every level — from whose lives matter to who we listen to when they tell us someone is missing.

  12. Thomas
    Thomas May 9, 2008 at 4:52 pm |

    Betty, maybe because I need to, I’m going to believe that if she had survived, it would have been kidnapping, an A felony in NY with a 15-to-life sentence, plus multiple counts of rape and assault with a deadly weapon.

    Not that someone wouldn’t try to defend them or say she consented. The rule of rape culture is that someone always has a scenario or argument no matter how fanciful on behalf of the rapist, to excuse or mitigate or shift blame. Even on a feminist blog, there’s always someone to defend the monster, if the victim lives. (So far, I have not seen a defense of Fritzl. Hope springs eternal that years of captivity and incest are too much for even the most hardened rape apologist to excuse.) But not every situation that a rape apologist defends is one where the defense sticks — just way too many. A “good” girl, a mountain of evidence, injuries manifestly inconsistent with meaningful consent? Kidnapping, 15 years to life.

  13. roses
    roses May 9, 2008 at 4:53 pm |

    The reason we (as feminists) can’t just fight racism when it affects women and not when it affects men, is because when racism against men goes unopposed, it sends the message that racism is acceptable, and that goes on to affect women. You may not care about Sean Bell because he’s not a woman, but when Sean Bell’s death is allowed to go unpunished, it sends the message that black lives are less valuable than white lives, which leads directly to things like this. If we want to prevent police racism against women, we have to fight it whenever it comes up, not only when a woman is being directly affected.

    (Hopefully this is not a derailing comment, my apologies if it is).

  14. Sin Verguenza
    Sin Verguenza May 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm |

    How do you know that I don’t have direct and very personal experiences myself on that level, but simply do not see how feminism can intersect with males, when people like Romana and Banaz are so obviously the issue. There are racists, there is racism, there is evil out there, this is why feminism must not fragment and devolve into ethnocentrisism.

    This argument has become increasingly frustrating. How do we address what happened to Ramona without first addressing the racism that (1) has taught white men AND men of color to devalue women of color– to see their bodies as inherently rapeable and (2) has made it clear that POC bodies, MALE OR FEMALE are expendable? If Ramona had been a white woman on the upper east side, she might have been found within hours– but she was a Black woman and therefore her body was not seen as valuable by the NYPD. She was not seen as a full citizen deserving of their protection. This would not have changed had she been a Black man. This is exactly why we need to address racism as a feminist issue… it speaks to the fight for EQUALITY. How is it that you suggest we as women ofo color should fight for equality without including ALL people of color in the struggle?

    Now remembering again that all victims are equal, u should stand with Banaz

    As you should stand with Sean Bell. Misandry will help no one. If you want to sit there and hate on Muslim men, I can’t call you sister nor see you as a comrade in arms in our struggle.

  15. Jenny Dreadful
    Jenny Dreadful May 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm |

    So, so sad. What a heartbreaking story. The way that law enforcement prioritizes their cases based on the race and income level of the person in danger is criminal.

    The police also failed to assist at least one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims who tried to escape. Apparently they were uncomfortable intervening in a domestic dispute between two “fags.”

  16. Thomas
    Thomas May 9, 2008 at 5:20 pm |

    Jenny, it’s much worse. I once watched all of Park Dietz’s testimony in that case, so I know a little about it, and as I recall, one of the cops returned a young, traumatized victim to Dahmer after he escaped, and later said he believed that a traumatized victim escaping from the house was normal for gay male relationships!

  17. r@d@r
    r@d@r May 9, 2008 at 6:52 pm |

    i am probably flagged as a nuisance by the 911 people in 2 states. i’ve witnessed an attempted home invasion that i am convinced was a rape in progress; gunfire related to gang turf wars; people collapsed on the street under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol; any number of things that filled me with, i’ll just be honest about it, terror. but i pulled out my freakin’ cell phone and punched 3 numbers. how the hell could that be so hard? nobody has come after me or threatened me yet – even the gang members who looked me dead in the eye, driving by me at a snail’s pace, as if daring me to do something. i’m not saying it’s not at all risky to call the cops – you have to assess whether it’s the kind of situation in which they might make matters worse – and then sometimes there are repercussions.

    but in 1987, i was beaten to within an inch of my life in a very “liberal” neighborhood. streaming blood from my skull and screaming for someone to help me, i saw a street of people peeking out from behind their curtains, doing nothing. not calling the cops. not coming out of their houses.

    just watching.

    i’m never, ever going to just watch. i don’t care what happens to me. i’d rather somebody came after me for it, than be one of those people.

  18. RacyT
    RacyT May 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm |

    When I was nearing the end of that story, I really didn’t think it could get worse. Then I saw the last paragraph:

    Detective Wayne Carey has since been removed from the 67th Precinct. He was promoted to the Brooklyn South Homicide task force for helping to solve Romona’s murder.

    The guy was rewarded for his “work” on the case.

    I just don’t know what to say.

  19. octogalore
    octogalore May 10, 2008 at 1:07 am |

    I also wonder how much of a difference it made that in the Aronov case, the person reporting the disappearance was a professional-class white man, and in Romona’s case, it was her mother — a lower-income black woman. It’s bias on every level — from whose lives matter to who we listen to when they tell us someone is missing.

    Good point. The fact that a black woman is not seen as potential victim who critically matters is joined by the fact that her mother’s credibility wrt race, class and gender was likely questioned. There are many layers here. I hope the attorneys in the bias suit can really nail the bastards with all the cases that sites like this and What About Our Daughters have noted.

  20. bluebonnet
    bluebonnet May 10, 2008 at 1:33 am |

    many layers. but if people think race has more to do with it than the clas/wealth of the missing, theyre probably kidding themselves. white 21yr old women go missing all the time also & unless there is an angle, like she’s pretty, from a smaller community (& NYC is as big as it can get), she’s pregnant, etc… it doesnt get attention. and from all the cases ive ever seen, she’ll have been at least high-middle class.

    this story is revolting. and wrt people not calling the cops in a big violent crime ladden city (eg, detroit), it has more to do about retribution from your neighbor’s than it does fear of the police. that girl was in a house filled with people, people were brought into it, & it seems highly believable that these 2 fucking psychos were well known *as psychos* in that neighborhood & by many people. there’s enough blame to go around.

  21. Violence, silence, racism, rape and murder « Feminist Philosophers

    […] Filed under: bias, human rights, intersectionality, race, rape — Jender @ 10:27 am Via Feministe, What About Our Daughters, and The Village Voice, I’ve learned about the horrific story of […]

  22. ThePakistaniHereticalGirl
    ThePakistaniHereticalGirl May 10, 2008 at 11:33 am |

    There is a political side that is sinister for Muslim women, here in the UK, where police don’t want to get involved unless you press the right buttons (i.e. get social services involved first to explain that the bruises u got weren’t done by tripping up on ure dupatta or that the burns on ure arms aren’t burning ghee spashes), and if you are talking about disappearances, 40,000 mostly Pakistani girls have just vanished from the UK in the last 10 years. Now by vanished I mean just that, they was in school, on local education authority reigsters- had lives, had upcoming national insurance numbers, had friends who missed them, had teachers even who saw the empty seats in class, but….. no action. If 40,000 white girls just vanished into thin air, enough apparently to influence the demographic profile of the Pakistani community they would be up in arms. Where do these girls go? Well, they tend to vanish around age 16, those who don’t see it coming and runaway, I mean. The answer is they are ripped out of normal life and basically conned, bullied or deported to Pakistan- and they got no voice and it is done against their will. For years the UK government hid the statistics. Why? It was done to by peace with Islamists, appeasement, a deal with the devil, selling out Pakistani girls cos we’re weak and can’t fight our religion, families and communities- especially when the people who would have been the safety net for us if we was white- police, soocial services, the local education authorities- all were removed, all conning each other that this was some kind of ‘cultural practice’, undercutting us just the way the Police did Ramona’s mum.
    PHANTASY NYPD: “She’s black, so she’s probably out having fun.”
    REALITY: Er, no, she was a quiet person and YOU should have been looking.
    PHANTASY UK POLICE: “She’s a Paki and she’s with her people and who are we to judge a culture and get invloved?”
    REALITY: She was a Paki girl nerd who wanted to go to college, had dreams, friends, and a life. She woke up one morning and got told she is to go to Pakistan and if she says anything- it’s punch punch punch, kick kick kick. If she thinks about running she will be told no one will help her, that the Police will just return her home. She is escorted to the airport with tears in her eyes-lost and defeated. She is 16 and will marry a man she has never met. Many commit suicide. How many of the 40,000 who disappeared are already dead- no one really knows.
    I got no difficulty in seeing how Ramona’s family got profiled when the call was made, no difficulty at all and i never even set foot in the US not even for one minute.

  23. Radfem
    Radfem May 10, 2008 at 2:03 pm |

    Thank you for your post,

    As said, it’s like this everywhere. Why in my city did a White woman who was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run get eight homicide detectives, a sergeant and an evidence tech assigned to her case while a Black woman who was a victim of a fatal hit-and-run accident get only the obligatory two detectives? Which case was solved within 72-hours with an arrest and just recently a conviction, and which one is now considered a “cold” case?

    And for women of color getting raped (which in at least one case involving the daughter of a woman I know wasn’t even considered a crime) versus a White woman getting raped, it’s the same thing.

    I don’t know if it’s because my city’s homicide unit is all White men and maybe they relate more to victims and victims’ families who look more like them. Maybe it’s the racism which has been a long-standing problem. Maybe because people don’t trust the police enough for good reason to report crimes and eye witness accounts, let alone in some cases, potentially turn in family members.

    If it weren’t for excellent sites like “Black and Missing” most of this wouldn’t be told, because it’s not like the media does this tremendous job in its handling of crime victims’ stories unless they’re White and preferably blonde young women.

  24. Is racism a feminist issue? « Girly Thoughts

    […] to figure out what we need to do to not be racist and to be inclusive. But I just came across a post by Cara on Feministe saying that the Romona Moore rape and murder case shows that racism is a […]

  25. “Lady, why are you calling here? Your daughter is 21. These officers should not have taken the report in the first place.” « Feminocracy

    […] at Feministing, Feministe, What About Our Daughters, The Feminist […]

  26. kate
    kate May 11, 2008 at 9:42 pm |

    I ran into this problem continuously when I reported my daughters missing, who most of the time were on the lamb willingly BUT, that didn’t preclude them from assuming that even if on the run, they could have fallen into the wrong hands or taken a wrong turn.

    I am white by the way, but was a poor single mother and I know for a fact that classism played a huge role in how social services agencies, police and other authorities treated me when I tried my to do what was right for my daughters. The assumption was always, “Oh, they’re wild, just like the rest of those types, why bother, they won’t amount to anything and I won’t get any social points for trying anyway.”

  27. ThePakistaniHereticalGirl
    ThePakistaniHereticalGirl May 12, 2008 at 8:01 am |

    When ‘good people’ actually choose to do nothing.
    I just found out that schools in Birmingham (UK), are refusing to display posters that warn Pakistani girls about what to do and who to call if they think they are in danger of forced marriage. This is cos they don’t want to offend our culture. See, what we are dealing with is not so different from what Ramona’s family suffered; But it’s coming from all angles, the police, the schools- everyone, everyone is selling us out, on hijab, on forced marriage, on being able to work, on abuse issues- everything. British reckon that selling us out will stop another 7-7, no way, it’s impossible, cos this people can not be dealt with rationally. Black girls are getting undercut cos of racist stereotypes, Pakistani girls are getting left in danger cos of the same, white girls are getting trafficked from Russia to Amsterdam- no one cares, see, BLACK-BROWN-WHITE, all of us is suffering from patriarhcy, this is what is feminism, it’s total focus and total radical action to stop abuse against women.

  28. catfood
    catfood May 12, 2008 at 8:49 am |

    Bluish said:

    If you are in a targeted/marginalized community, the police may end up harassing you, for starters. The police are not always your friend, and I think a lot of white, middle class America doesn’t know what it feels like to know that 911 is not a safe option for help.

    I’m as priviliged as it gets: white, male, het, middle class, all that. My biggest clash with the law has to do with speeding tickets. And I still feel weird about talking to police. A few years ago, I found a bike that looked like it had been stolen and abandoned. I took it down to the precinct in case someone was looking for it and… sheesh… they wanted all my contact information, social security number, ran some sort of check in the back room, wanted all my addresses for the last so many years, and so on.

    I don’t know; is it policy to run a warrants check on anyone who walks into the precinct? It felt invasive, and I’m not someone who ordinarily has reason to fear the police.

    So I have some inkling of why people of color might hesitate to call 911.

    Fine. Next time I’m just leaving the damn bike where I found it.

  29. Radfem
    Radfem May 13, 2008 at 12:42 am |

    No, it’s not. The most they usually ask someone of your description is for photo ID. Although I tried to report a weenie waggler and the police asked for my description even though he was there in person. He asked me if I had just had a fight with my boyfriend and was getting back at him and then finally told me that men were deviant creatures as I should know and it’s a free country and unless they grab me, they can apparently pull out their penis and masturbate in front of you.

    That particular officer as it turned out was in his last week of employment b/c only days later, he and three others fired several dozen shots at an unconscious Black woman inside her car and were eventually fired. Though not before they hi-fived, laughed and engaged in celebratory antics after the shooting, according to an officer there who witnessed the behavior.

    His behavior to me was strange. His behavior along with three other White officers towards an unconscious Black woman was lethal. We were profiled differently.

    I had plainclothed officers pull guns on me but both times it was mistaken identity and both times I didn’t even know initially they were police. Still, that was only when I lived in a poor neighborhood where Whites were the minority. The policing as stated is much, much different in minority neighborhoods than in White middle-class neighborhoods for example, where the attitude is more to protect and serve.

    Since I’m involved in police issues, I run into a wide gambit of police officers. Some are nice, some not so nice (and one even yelled from me from his squad car b/c he was upset with my articles) but most of them know my first, last or both first and last names. It’s a rare day when I’m not called either or both by them even by officers I haven’t met.

  30. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth May 16, 2008 at 12:43 am |

    I think a big issue that we are not addressing is the fact that there is an underlying culture in inner cities of not helping with investigations because you would be labeled a “rat.” Even with a human being in front of you in horrific pain and suffering. Several of these murders are preventable and solvable but witnesses are not coming forth.
    Secondly, violence and sex have become increasingly intertwined (eg, recent tape released from a Memphis High School labeled “Rape Dance” with high schoolers screaming, “Rape Dat Ho.”). Normalizing rape and violence against women will lead to more of these crimes, with increasing need for more violence to “get off.” We need to wake up and educate our men that this is completely unacceptable.

  31. Resident Evil 5 V.2 - Page 10 - Resident Evil Forums

    […] so you must be the REAL racist’ thing is the most retarded argument anyone could bring up, sorry. Racism is a huge fucking problem in America And so yes, we do have to look at the things that make up our […]

  32. core.-
    core.- June 12, 2008 at 2:35 pm |

    I was born a sociopath not a psychopath, and I have only one question.

    What makes you think you are a good person?

    Religion? Morality? Ethics? Apathy? Cowardice? Selflesness? Arrogance?

    What defines a good person?

    And who the hell are you to pass judgement, you can feel, you can empathize, and you have your pride, you are human, and as such, I dont think you can judge humanity.

    Male or female,race or colour, it makes no difference. I am not condemning you for any of those factors, im condemning your arrogance for being human.

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