Who Gets To Say What (Part I: Tokenism)

Hi everyone, and welcome to the next part of The Story of Blog. This series of somewhat navel-gazing posts is Feministe’s contribution to an ongoing conversation in this neck of blogland — a conversation about the nature and ethics of the kind of blogging we do here. This perennial topic was re-ignited by concerns raised by Mandy Van Deven and Brittany Shoot that the emerging structure of what’s known as “the feminist blogosphere” has become problematic and exploitative.

The Feministe bloggers decided that these topics are very much worth discussing, regardless of how we feel about the specific claims and arguments made in Mandy and Brittany’s post. I feel it’s quite overdue, and just as necessary as ever, to investigate and poke at the operation of power and economic distribution of various kinds of resources. Plus, there was one thing we definitely agreed with in their post, the need for and benefits of transparency, which we’ve tried to cover in Part I of this series.

As a collaborative exercise, we asked ourselves a series of questions, about five in all. The answers got so long that we split them up into one question per post.

Although I’m putting this post up, nearly all of the regular Feministe bloggers have contributed, and you’ll see everyone’s name after the cut. Because we all wanted to participate, it’s taken us a while to get this post up. That’s one of the first facts of blogging life that’s important to understand: what we do and the decisions we make are haphazard, because writing can’t sustain any of us materially, we all have day jobs, and we drop in and out of engagement with the blog. Adding to the inevitable complexity of having this conversation, Mandy and Brittany also posted an apology for their original post earlier this week. Like many apologetic follow-ups, it addresses some issues, and raises or exacerbates some others. Because of varying availability, some of our comments below were written before the second round, some of them after.

Question 1: Are women of color who guest-blog or post regularly on larger blogs being tokenized?

Holly: We’ve already talked about transparency. Now let’s cut to the chase. This was one of the critiques leveled by Mandy & Brittany that got the most response. Quite a few women of color bloggers have spoken out on individual blogs. The Big Blogs (including this one) have been largely quiet, but we feel it’s a pretty important subject to discuss — not least because two of us are women of color and because we’ve invited a lot of women of color to contribute guest posts in the past couple years.

My gut reaction to this, just like a lot of other women of color, was pretty much what bfp said: “I think it’s bullshit that ANY white woman would tell ANY woman of color that she’s a token. This is NOT about women of color–and even if they are complete and total 100% Clarence Thomas golden coin tokens–it is NOT the place of ANY white person to question or challenge how ANY person of color negotiates survival in a racist, white supremacist world. Ever. Period.” Yeah, no shit. It’s not really about women of color. It mostly strikes me as yet another case of white feminists using women of color as a football to kick back and forth, playing who’s-the-best-white-ally. Yet another classic racism-avoiding maneuver.

Look, WOCs know when you guys are doing this, when we are just being batted around as ammunition to go after some other blogger you don’t like. It’s blindingly obvious especially when you are the one being loaded and fired like shotgun pellets. Update: Even in the apology, it’s clear that a large part of the authors’ goal was to prove that they are the Good Ally White Women, not like Those Other White Women who are just pretending to be your allies, and really exploiting you. Wait, who are you again? Do we know you? Oh, you are here to play football against the Racist Whites, I get it.

Here’s the thing: this isn’t exactly a mercy mission to speak on behalf of the voiceless oppressed who can only sob wordlessly. Mandy & Brittany chose to speak on behalf of women of color BLOGGERS. You know, bloggers. The people that like to run our mouths off on the internet and get angry in public? It’s not exactly science to see why the response has been vocal, and it wouldn’t have been much research to actually, you know, TALK TO some WOC bloggers about what we think, or ask us co-write on the subject.

Update: This is one thing that I still don’t see in M & B’s follow-up: the idea that they might have done work with, instead of for, WOCs/RWOCs. You might be surprised how simple the answer to “how do I not step all over people’s toes and prove that I’m actually an ally to WOCs” can be. It starts with listening and reading to what WOC bloggers are saying, and educating yourself on the varying issues and positions those bloggers take. It continues by talking and asking questions and engaging, showing that you’re committed. And maybe it eventually gets to the point where you can collaborate WITH women of color to address issues of exploitation, tokenism, colonizing of online spaces. I didn’t see much of that process happen.

Instead, Mandy seems to miss the point of working together instead of as a white woman, alone, commenting about what WOCs are doing, and says “I feel like I’m in a double bind: If I don’t stick up for WOC, I will be seen as a conspirator in and condoning racism, but when I do point out racism then I’m further marginalizing WOC and racist too. That makes me feel confused: Maybe I’m not supposed to speak about any group of which I am not a member to point out injustice? Am I only allowed to speak about and defend my experience of oppression, as though it’s got nothing in common with the oppression of others?” Talk to, engage with, ask if you should, before you speak about. Speak together. That’s all, really. This is anti-racism 101 here. If you don’t get this, you are a little too wet behind the ears as a white ally to start publishing papers about how POCs are oppressed.

I hope we are all totally clear that there is still a hell of a lot of work to do around race and the feminist blogosphere. There are still many women blogging who have been vilified unfairly for speaking the truth about racism and about how women of color are marginalized in this space. It is good that we’re not letting this issue dwindle away quietly; we have to struggle to keep the conversation happening and marginalized voices heard. But labeling a bunch of women of color as “tokens” is not the way to do it, trust me. Look, people of color are pretty damn hesitant to throw those kinds of accusations around. It starts all kinds of fights–between Democrats and Republicans, between reformers and radicals, you name it. This is not a molotov you white people want to be throwing into the mix, because someone who knows a lot more about being racially tokenized is going to grab it, everyone is going to stop, and all our many-shades-of-brown eyes are going to be staring at you.

It strikes me that maybe the original authors didn’t realize they were hurling a belittling insult at a bunch of WOC bloggers when they used the word “token.” Let’s talk about what a token is. Say there’s a group, or a publication, or an elected body, or a workplace. Like many institutions with any degree of authority in the English-speaking world, it’s mostly white. Most anti-racist ideologies agree that this is not so great for fighting racism — at the very least, better representation is needed. Of course, people differ on how much you have to do to change after that, but you gotta at least have some warm bodies. So how do you tell the difference between representation and tokenism?

My answer is pretty simple: tokens aren’t intended to actually have any real effect. They’re just there for show. They don’t really have any power, any real say in what goes on. They’re window dressing. Now, there are many reasons to let yourself be tokenized. I have done it dozens of times. I belong to enough marginalized groups — female (in the sphere of video games especially), trans, POC, queer, multiracial — that some colleagues refer to me as “the triple word score of tokens.” Sometimes we do it to survive, like bfp said. Sometimes it’s because you can actually get more done and make more of an impact, effect more change, than anyone thinks you can. Sometimes it’s just about being able to help one other person get a leg up or a foot in the door. When you’re able to make a difference and start to effect change, that’s where tokenism begins to end and real representation begins. But it’s a very fine line indeed, and I respect people who don’t want to have anything to do with it.

Mandy & Brittany didn’t really go into any of that. I wonder how much they understand first-hand–women get tokenized too, but mostly in heavily male-dominated fields. Maybe they thought they were standing up for the oppressed, but isn’t it a bitch when the oppressed are like “hey, quit using me as a football in this game?” Seriously, we don’t need more champions telling us that we don’t realize we’re being exploited. (Exploited by being able to write whatever we want for larger audiences, via links or guest-posts or regular stints, with no editors telling us what to write or what not to write, I guess.) Didn’t we get over that some time back in the second wave? You know, the whole “you don’t REALIZE it because you’re so NAIVE but the fact that you put LIPSTICK on when you go to a JOB INTERVIEW means you are OPPRESSED, sister, now WAKE UP!” Either in the second wave, or for some people maybe in the second semester of sophomore year. Or the equivalent here in the pubescent blogosphere: 18 months ago when everyone got thoroughly sick of the “lipstick and shaving your legs” flame-wars.

This is not a real conversation about race. It may be the start of a good conversation about attention inequities in online social economies. It was a fairly reasonable call for transparency. But it was not anything like a real conversation about race. It was just another kick of the football back to the other side of the field. We need real engagement, the kind that hurts and makes us vulnerable — because I don’t believe there is any serious, hard-core way to deal with racism that avoids that. Certainly not for me — I am still nursing a fading ulcer from that damn “racism-avoiding maneuvers” post, but I am basically a chicken-shit when it comes to deal with racism online. It’s enough of a fucking nightmare in real life.

Jill: Mandy and Brittany’s accusations of “tokenism” and naivete were among the most irritating and offensive aspects of their post, for all the reasons Holly lays out. M&B have issues with the Big Feminist Blogs (which I assume means Feministing, Feministe, Shakesville, Amptoons and a few others, although who knows since they don’t bother naming names), which is fine — there are certainly a lot of issues worth taking up.

But first they use bloggers of color to make the point that “elite, white” feminist blogs are bad, and now they’re “hurt” that some female bloggers of color haven’t taken kindly to being told that they’re naive tokens pretty much wherever they go or however they write (they’re tokens when they’re linked to, tokens when they guest-blog, and tokens when they’re part of a large group blog). When some WOC bloggers respond basically with, “Hey, I know you’re talking about me, and FYI you’re full of shit,” M&B deflected criticisms by saying it’s “fascinating” that some WOC bloggers think that the post was about them even if it didn’t name them — the point seems to be that maybe these WOC bloggers are making some sort of logical leap in understanding exactly who Mandy and Brittany were referencing. After all, M&B didn’t use their names, so who knows who they were actually talking about?

Jack: So let me be real here: resident bloggers of color at Feministe and the other big feminist blogs are in the minority, and there’s a reason for that – racism. Not specifically racism on the part of the white bloggers who started or dominate these sites, though I ascribe to the racism = power + prejudice model, so like all white people, including the white people I know, like, and even love, they’re racist too in the “racist because we’re all prejudiced and you have white privilege” way though not the “racist because you’re a virulent fucking bigot” way. In the blogosphere, in the feminist blogosphere, and specifically here on Feministe, white voices and white people continued to be privileged. White people have to work and fight less for attention, for legitimacy, for the perks like speaking gigs and jobs and writing gigs and publishing deals that can come out of blogging.

I also am not foolish enough to think that my presence here as a Feministe blogger was not purely based on me being a good blogger. I know that my race has something to do with it. I know that Jill, Lauren, and the other white bloggers here are racially conscious enough to notice the racial skew on Feministe, and I imagine that when considering new bloggers they are probably attentive to whether or not they’ll be exacerbating that skew. Maybe deep down inside bringing me on (and Holly earlier) helped alleviate some of their white guilt. Hey, it happens – they’re white. I’m not going to condemn them for that, nor am I going to condemn them for making a good faith effort to take the whiteness of Feministe down a few notches.

Does all of that have a tinge of tokenism to it? Yeah, I think it does, honestly. But I’d frankly prefer a tinge of tokenism for the sake of including a more diverse set of voices than avoiding any risk of tokenism at all costs and therefore remaining lilly white. In the United States and other white supremicist societies, unless an entity – be it a single blog, or the larger feminist blogosphere, or an organization or conference or whatever – specifically and actively structures itself in a way that keeps people of color in the majority both in general and in positions of leadership, yeah, people of color are probably going to be tokenized to some degree or another.

Could the big feminist blogs restructure themselves that way? Yes, they could. Should they? Yes, they probably should if they want to get REALLY REAL about anti-racism. Do I expect them to? No. Am I going to completely write them off for not doing it? No. Because you know what? We don’t live in a world of political purity, and I’m not going to hold the white bloggers of Feministe and other big feminist blogs to those standards. Being truly anti-racist is extremely important, yes. But for me, that doesn’t overwrite the facts that Lauren, Cara, Jill, and the other white bloggers of Feministe have worked their asses off for this blog; that their voices as women are also marginalized and are also important and should be heard. Yeah, their white privilege has helped them get where they are in the blogosphere, but fuck, my class & education privilege, my able-bodied privilege, my American/Western privilege have helped me get here, too. And while I think that puts the onus on me to own up to my privilege and to do all I can to work against my privilege, I’m not going to take myself out of the game for it. And if I’m not going to, I don’t expect them to, either.

Lauren: It seemed that one of the reasons the white bloggers’ names weren’t named (if the “digital colonialism” post was in fact argued in good faith) was to implicate everyone without actually having to draw the specific ire, and presumably the traffic, of those criticized. Then again, as Kai argues in our comments, Mandy and Brittany did name names, but the only names that were visible in the post itself were women of color, effectively forcing them to address the bungling analysis while letting the real subjects of criticism, white feminist bloggers, off the hook.

As far as tokenism at Feministe goes, I will admit to wanting to diversify the roster whenever it’s time to invite regular writers. It’s not an issue of wanting to assuage my own white guilt, or maybe it is, but that after listening to Feministe’s critics I was convinced that we should do more to get more kinds of voices represented, and tend to ask people to join whose perspectives aren’t exactly like mine. I suppose you could call that tokenism, but a token to me just seems like a warm body there to take up space, an accessory intended to say something explicit about the accessorized. When it comes to race and the feminist blogosphere, I think one funny, astute critique of this frame was in Sylvia’s post, which asserts that there is a tendency by white feminists to view WOC (“it”) as a monolith. This tendency in white women’s feminism to revert to the us-and-them, subject vs. object mindset is incredibly problematic, and moreover, quite telling of where we are and how far we have to go to get specific on some of our anti-racist platitudes and make amends as friends and as feminists. Still, I think one of the strengths of the blogosphere is that it’s awfully hard to objectify a vocal, active participant, so you do get folks who can say, “That looks nothing like my experience,” or, “You’re wrong, I’m pissed off, and here’s why.”


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121 Responses to Who Gets To Say What (Part I: Tokenism)

  1. The Opoponax says:

    I’d frankly prefer a tinge of tokenism for the sake of including a more diverse set of voices than avoiding any risk of tokenism at all costs and therefore remaining lilly white.

    I think this really bears underlining. A lot of the talk I’ve participated in about tokenism has trended towards this idea that it’s a bad idea to even try to figure out how to include people of color in a way that isn’t potentially token-addled, as a way to absolve ourselves of even dealing with the inclusion of or outreach to people of color. It reduces to white guilt so quickly, and what you end up with is just total paralysis.

  2. Marshall says:

    I thought the essay was weak tea. It didn’t use any particular examples and so like Lauren said, it implicated everyone. But by implicating everyone it severely weakened its own argument. You can’t talk about tokenism as an abstract in a somewhat small community because it becomes very important to define the particular behaviors and actions that create the situation.

  3. Lynn says:

    It seems like the only reason that for white ppl to avoid doing things that could be interpreted as tokenizing is to protect our images as “white allies”. Which has to do with white guilt but also our whole idea of what being an ally means. I think we need to get away from the idea that an ally is an identity and think of it as work that you are doing.

  4. Lynn says:

    A different way to put it is that I think the main objective too much of the time of anti-racist white people is to avoid being called out as racist. Which has nothing to do with fighting white supremacy/ making the world less racist for people who directly experience it. Or its just a matter of us wanting to stay in our comfort zone.

  5. Kristin says:

    One thing that I like about this post (as opposed to the ones written by Mandy and whomever…) is that each of you take responsibility for your own words and attribute them specifically. I’m curious as to why Cara didn’t add anything though?

  6. Lauren says:

    Kristen, the “finished” piece is, like, a 10000 word count. Cara is def present in the later pieces. It was just the way it got cut.

  7. shah8 says:

    hmmm…

    When it comes to racism and tokenism in the feminist blogosphere, I tend to think of the bloggers as the shadows, following the the puppets in the crowd, whose strings are pulled by dominant social forces that are influenced by would-be master of the universes.

    Bloggers write to appeal to their fanbases. No matter if you don’t really *like* some aspects of your fans, one doesn’t really challenge them to the point that they leave for less…acidic discourses. A progressive blogger can make certain noises about issues that can make people uncomfortable, but usually, the reception is of the “this is good for my soul” variety. It goes in one ear, makes that funny feels good tingle and goes out the other, leaving an excellent aftertaste of self-righteousness.

    The crowd makes the blogger. The Feministe community renders Jill, Cara, Holly, Jack, Lauren, and all of the others who write. It’s not like writing books or magazine articles where the writer can truly impose a framework out of her own psychic bones. There is a more present continuity from a blogger’s previous post to her next post. That continuity is always informed by near instantaneous feedback from the crowd.

    Thus tokenism on the part of the main bloggers is, I think, besides the point. What I have always thought was the *real* problem was that people who are *identified* as minority or women early on have real trouble attracting a crowd, more importantly, a vibrant comment section. This isn’t something that can be commanded, it can only happen by the command of the many. That doesn’t mean that one cannot attempt to channel traffic to interesting posts, but there isn’t much one can do. Just have good writers do good stuff, and make the effort to find minority writers writing good stuff.

    p.s.
    I love the concept of false conciousness! It’s pretty hilarious because we all know it exists, but too many of us can’t quiiiiiiite get that conciousness is constructed, and artificial. That means that calling out someone else‘s false conciousness is liable to reveal your own!

  8. Anna says:

    [I know there’s an Anna who is commenting here more regularly than I am. I just wanted to clarify that I am not her.]

    Part of what I read into M&B’s post was the idea that White Women Bloggers who share a blog with Women of Colour, or who link to Women of Colour blog posts on issues, avoid writing about those issues because “Oh, she’ll handle it, so I don’t have to worry about it.”

    I certainly have felt that way myself when friends of mine will happily link to things I’ve written about disability, but never seem to be willing to talk about disability and ablism themselves.

    But, since M&B didn’t give any concrete examples, I’m left thinking I read that in because it mirrors my feelings of frustration, and isn’t what they were referring to at all.

  9. denelian says:

    i admit that i didn’t read the original post by Mandy and Britany. because everything i read about it just told me it was going to annoy me, and i get annoyed by enough on the internet. i read the blogs i read to get info, perspective, other feminist voices.

    one of the worst things that has happened to me online was about a year, in a comment section here on Feministe, i replied to something, and was attacked immediately by a few bloggers because i was “white” and had “privilege”.

    except i am not white, or rather, i was not raised white and it wasn’t until i moved to Alabama that people even began to see me as white. until then, i had ALWAYS been the cherokee, the token rep on any school team, any activity.

    one of the things i like MOST about the internet is that i can get RID of those – i can NOT be the token injun on the math team, and i can not “pass”. i can avoid being called “apple”.

    i don’t HAVE to avoid them. i can do what i am doing here, and talk about them. but if i want to, i can NEVER HAVE TO BRING THEM UP. i can have a conversation about race, without at the same time explaining over and over and over that i am whatever. because, honestly? our internet identities are however we construct them. for all i know every single person i have ever met solely online is REALLY an alien from the Andromeda Galaxy.

    and i think that this is ALSO an important thing. i am NOT saying that no one at all should have any sort of racial identity online, i am saying that the internet is a place where someone CAN not have a racial identity if they want to.

    does that make sense?

    so, with that in mind, i think it ALSO means that we, as a group, can feel *safer* about conversations. and we should try to utilize that. (without trolls. trolls destroy all attempts.) “colorblind” is how internet comunication starts. the problem at the moment is that, because of offline life, if someone doesn’t immediately state everything (i am female, cherokee, disabled, 32, etc) then the assumption is White Male. if we get rid of that as the base, i think a lot of things will clear up, and we can have those “safer” conversations without having to justify every word (if white) or explain every word (if non-white)

    (i really hope i am making sense…)

  10. T. Love says:

    Dear friends, compañeras, allies, and friends who I will come to know soon who are working for a better world,

    Hello. This is my first time posting a comment here. I have never posted a comment here before because I am a Black-identified, Male-identified, feminist and I have read countless (as in I lost count) WOC bloggers and other POC bloggers who speak up about the racism we face in the feminist blogosphere who get regularly attacked here in this community’s comment section. But after i saw this ‘series’ and all the contradictions I had to say something and perhaps offer tangible solutions. Several WOC and POC have written several blog responses to the tokenism comment and most of the ones I saw linked in this article were all negative about the digital colonialism article so I felt I had to say something.

    My first response to their article
    http://savethepoorbrownchildren.blogspot.com/2009/02/stop-censoring-and-attacking-lucy.html

    and the radio broadcast and online podcast announcement about it [for the hearing challenged] is here:
    http://www.blackmanfluff.org

    You can hear my voice there and perhaps you will know that I am not yelling or even angry in my below comment and I write to you now as gently as possible. I have written and I will leave my link to my blog below that best pertains to this ‘Who Gets To Say What (Part I: Tokenism)’ article. My blog response to Mandy and Brittany’s post that also responds to this response is an article I wrote titled: “Linkage And The ‘Good Ole Girl’s Network.’ Racist, bias against Male, POC Feminists within the Feminist Blogosphere – Follow Up to Yesterday’s Post”

    Go to http://savethepoorbrownchildren.blogspot.com/2009/02/good-ole-girls-network-racism-bias.html

    or go to http://tinyurl.com/GoodOleGirlsNetwork

    Third Wave Feminism has a broader definition of the word ‘women’ to include LGBTQI as well as erroneously Male-identified feminists so even the title ‘Are women of color who guest-blog or post regularly on larger blogs being tokenized?’ might accidentally influence the answers in this comment section and cause some folks to forget the fact that so many sex workers are indeed tokenized (or not permitted to guest post on A-list blogs), so many folks in the feminist LGBTQI community especially the feminist Intersex communities aren’t permitted to post and many, many more.

    I submitted a very detailed analysis and response about this to Feministe to post as a guest blogger on Feb 24th, 4 days ago (my first time ever contacting Feministe) and I was told [quote] “Feministe is still working on our own response to this, and so I don’t think that we’re willing to post other commentary on the issue at this time, especially prior to our own response getting up.” [unquote]

    Wow. We would need a whole 3-7 day conference of WOC and POC and LGBTQI POC and Sex workers and every other marginalized, tokenized person ever affected by Digital Colonialism and Digital Apartheid by feminist group sites just so we, together, sharing our stories in a circle, with printed out emails, could unravel and analyze the many levels (to find solutions) of the power inequalities within that one quotes sentence. First off, I sent it to you on Feb 24, 2009 at 5:45 PM PST- you responded on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 7:11 AM so when you say ‘We’ who actually are you speaking on behalf of in your group in terms of asking others in your group since you only had it less than 15 hours and replied in the morning? More importantly, were others rejected as well…on other issues as well, like this..and it will it continue to happen? Second, at the very least it puts later guest posters in a position of ‘short’ (or get yelled at by commenters) comments rather than giving an entire ‘series’ of responses as you have the power to do now and it also makes the issue ‘old’ (which causes it to be dismissed quicker) if we, as POC urgently affected and see this as a crisis, all have to wait for your time schedule series to end before we can give our full thoughts. But I will oversimplify it and say that it is an excellent example on a number of different complex levels that could only be fully explained by the most tokenized people of the power that you, as an A-list feminist website have. I noticed that feministing.com has a community section in addition to their main section. Maybe you should consider getting one of those community sections in addition to this main section and relieve yourself of that unintentional power and censorship dynamic? <—Tangible, real solution.

    I no longer want my article published here (not sour grapes) as I have decided to focus on solutions rather than detailed analysis but I post this comment here to offer a few solutions.

    Still, I want to say that I admire the fact that you are addressing this issue so thoroughly, that you did the transparency post of finances and that you do have some diversity in your writers. Some of the worst injustices/scandals/crisis perpetrated against WOC bloggers by A-lists sites were due to book deals and the non-WOC administration of them. When you click on that link above to their apology you see the conversations in the comment area about that and the ’round up’ links given of the history. Now that I’ve read your finances, I honestly believe all these A-list dominantly White feminist group sites should donate 10% of their annual earnings (thats less one month per year) to a strictly WOC blogger administrated project…which might include something like a self-publishing book deal administrated 100% strictly by WOC bloggers, or free adspace on this site for a LGBTQI friendly WOC carnival (many of which have been fighting for more publicity) or whatever they think of, not me. Financial reparations are not the solution, but they sometimes empower and shift the power dynamic that White feminists bloggers have. I’ve spoken to a few WOC about it and the response has been good to the idea.

    Anyway, I still think many of these A-list sites have done more good than harm, including this one, and I think Mandy and Brittany definitely, without question, did more good than harm (though the harm needs to be acknowledged and respected) and I hope we can all find some forgiveness for one another in a spirit of love and unity..and find closure and healing for some of those old wounds so that we can work together.

    Again, I want to suggest that you get one of those community sections in addition to this main section because for POC and WOC and other marginalized people to have to be limited to short guests posts or comments on critical issues (or link backs to our blogs which often aren’t read) and issues regarding censorship and digital colonialism while you, ironically, do feature length ‘series’ and make others wait to guest post on the issue is unquestionably, unfathomably oppressive to so many groups and people on so many levels. One of the things WOC and most other marginalized people disliked about the digital colonialism issue is that White women (non-WOC) spoke of their problems and got so much attention…umm, so are you aware that some of you are doing that right now (and I, a non-WOC, am even doing it now) when you don’t have something like a community area for these urgent issues?

    Also, the community area should have a tab at the top of your page, just like feministing, so their thoughts get as much publicity as yours in the main area.

    I do apologize if I offended anyone and I don’t want to comment because I don’t want attacks any of those racially disguised academia attacks that I have heard so much about. I read this comment through about 3 times and if I soften it down any further it will lose the increasing, crisis of how A-list feminist groups sites tokenize and censor so many, many entire awesome communities of feminists.

    I also won’t comment anymore on this thread because I’ve spoken at length and also because I don’t feel there is an equality in simple short comments (or link backs to my blog of longer comments) in response your ‘series’ on such critical POC censorship and digital colonialism issues that grow worse all the time as is evident by this series.

    Towards an end to patriarchy..within our lifetime,

    Overall, Keep up the great work,

    The work you do for equality is very hard (especially with changing technology and economic turmoil) and you are brave and awesome, know that, I love you all :)

    Love for the people,
    -T. Love

  11. Sylvia/M says:

    Denelian, while I know exactly what you mean, and while I know our identities and personality online are how we present them, I don’t want to pass, essentially, on the internet. And that may not be what you’re getting at with that comment; but that’s what sometimes happens in practice.

    When I first started getting online, I joined a bevy of different communities for teenagers and young adults. No one really talked about race; no one asked me about it. I felt comfortable with that. It was noticeable I was a woman because I identified that way. But sometimes either people too comfortable in that environment would say really harmful things that wounded me — either because of sexual orientation or race or disability, what have you — and I’ve found myself in the awkward position of “coming out” online.

    I honestly think it’s a better exercise that people bring the factors that shaped who they are to the online realm; it precipitates conversations that we all need. Whether they keep going into a productive direction is a different matter. But we need to debunk the idea that society is normative along all these privileged axes, and if you do not fall within certain privileges, you are automatically less than another person. Or the flip side — if you do fall within these privileges, you are automatically better than another person. We all tend to live in gray areas of privilege and marginalization; but that doesn’t mean people can’t ever talk to each other about when their metaphorical asses are showing.

  12. Well... says:

    Yes, representation of women of every background and perspective would be the ideal, but unless you staff dozens of bloggers you’ll never *really* meet that goal and someone’s perspective will be left out. I think that for the most part the blogs do an excellent job with the resources that they have.

    To be honest, in the end I think the focus of a feminist blog should be WOMEN’S issues. It’s interesting to see racism, gender identity issues and gay/lesbian issues brought up by WOC and gay allies, but on some blogs I feel they dominate the discourse and that feminism is falling into the same trap it sometimes has in the past of putting itself on the shelf in the name of other causes.

  13. Medea says:

    @T. Love

    It’s not unreasonable for members of a blog that has been attacked to wish to respond to the attack themselves before putting up unsolicited guest posts. As for donating 10% of their finances–you did read the part where Lauren revealed that this blog makes hardly any money, didn’t you?

    The part of your comment I really object to is your suggestion that Feministe should open up a community page. I’m guessing that that would be pretty time-consuming, not to mention the financial cost–Feministing needed five thousand dollars for its upgrade. Who is going to pay for that and who is going to administer the new section? Are you volunteering?

  14. Anna says:

    Well…,

    Could you clarify your comment for me? It’s reading to me like you think feminism should only focus on a certain “type” of woman and a certain type of woman’s experience.

  15. little light says:

    Well…

    THIS IS THE GODDAMN PROBLEM. To you, WOC and queer people are allies to feminism. They are adjunct groups, special interests, separate causes distract from women’s issues.
    Let’s unpack that a little.
    Women of color, in bringing up their concerns, are allies to (regular) women, who are just doing plain old feminism. Women of color are allies to feminism. Queer people are allies to feminism. Issues of racism, gender identity, and orientation, plus the accompanying oppressions and concerns, are “interesting” side dishes to feminism, which is for women.

    Women of color and queer women are women. We are women. Our issues are women’s issues. They are inextricable from our womanhood. They are part of our feminism, and part of we want feminism to pay attention to, because these things are women’s issues. Your version posits that there’s regular women, who just do feminism, and then there’s those allies who drag those regular women in the trap of paying attention and giving energy to other causes–like the concerns of the women next to them who are brown, trans, and queer.

    What does that make these regular women, the core of feminism, so gracious as to allow in the interesting sidebars on race and gender and orientation and ability and class, so vulnerable to falling into the trap of paying too much attention to those issues? White. Straight. Cissexual. Able-bodied. Not working-class. Those are “just plain women” in your frame. Their issues are “WOMEN’S issues.” Other women? Women who are different? Their issues aren’t “WOMEN’S issues,” except for the ones they share in common with white, straight, upper-class, cissexual, able-bodied women. Their issues are an occasionally-interesting distraction from real women’s issues.

    Thanks but no thanks for your inclusion, pal.

  16. piny says:

    What Little Light said, although can I also add that “the resources they have” doesn’t make all that much sense either? Especially since you go on to complain that your feminism is in danger of being overrun. The resources we have are all too infinite, apparently.

    I don’t get this fear that feminist writing can be diluted by discussion of oppression in different forms. I am honestly mystified by the idea that the intellectual or political strength of this blog could be weakened by a broader contributive base. And I get all kinds of creeped out by the implication that feminism can be corrupted. Even worse, the idea you’re adding inferior thoughts to the mix by listening and adapting to listen more. Worst of all, that certain people have inferior thoughts by definition.

    I think a blog that tried to make a “real feminism” litmus test for its posts, such that there was feminism and all that other stuff, would be a bad blog. The only thing worse than unconscious exclusion is the belief that your own limits should be defended at all costs.

    And this isn’t hypothetical, is it? We’re all already here. Been here all along. People don’t stop existing when you don’t want to acknowledge them. So it’s really very fucked up, finally, to talk about certain of us in the third person. Especially when your gist is please get out and leave feminism to women who can interact with sexism in its purest form, thanks.

  17. evil_fizz says:

    To be honest, in the end I think the focus of a feminist blog should be WOMEN’S issues. It’s interesting to see racism, gender identity issues and gay/lesbian issues brought up by WOC and gay allies, but on some blogs I feel they dominate the discourse and that feminism is falling into the same trap it sometimes has in the past of putting itself on the shelf in the name of other causes.

    Since when is multi-layered oppression of women a cause distinct from feminism? If you’re bored by LGBTI issues and racism, there’s lots of other exclusionary material out there for you to be reading.

    Like little light says: women of color and queer women are women. They are not ancillary to a heteronormative group of middle class white women. They are not allies who distract us from “our cause”: they are us. They are our cause.

  18. Lauren says:

    I want to second what Evil Fizz, Piny, and Little Light have already said.

    Asking us to develop some kind of feminist litmus test for “other issues” shows, in my opinion, a rather simplistic and discriminatory view of feminism that runs exactly contrary to anything we want to do with this website, as well as contrary to feminism itself. Even my Women’s Studies 101 textbooks showed a greater understanding of women’s lives and issues than this. I’m sorry if this sounds shitty, but it’s comments like this that are designed perfectly to rip apart political communities for the writer’s own comfort. It’s selfish, ignorant, and limiting.

    They are not allies who distract us from “our cause”: they are us. They are our cause.

    Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I don’t think I can deal with people who assert otherwise.

  19. Cecily says:

    I would also not support the addition of a ‘community’ section like Feministing’s here, not just because of the expense and technical overhead, but also because of sprawl — right now it is not too much of an investment of time to read Feministe everyday — and, well, an increasingly circular community. I do not read Feministing regularly, but when I follow a link over there, I often feel that the commenters know each other and are all continuing conversations they’ve had, and affirming agreements they’ve had, long before. Here, I do not feel that. On a continuum from magazine-with-comments to social-networking site, this is more like a magazine. I think it’s important to recognize the value in different ways of organizing blogs instead of applying one-size-fits-all solutions.

    Also, perhaps this is stating the obvious, but Feministe isn’t obligated to print every guest post someone sends them, any more than a literary magazine has to print every poem someone submits. If they did have to post every guest post submitted, then they couldn’t be accused of having gatekeeper power. Fundamentally, this space belongs to Lauren, Jill, Holly, Jack, Cara, zuzu, etc. You aren’t entitled to their space.

    Also, what little light said. As usual, no one says it better.

    I love this site, and a lot of my admiration for it stems from what this post demonstrates: thoughtfulness, genuine deliberation of the sort that the blogosphere often lacks. That thoughtfulness appears in individual posts, reactions to controversy, and editorial decisions. Thank you for continuing to put Feministe out, and for continuing to work to improve it.

  20. corwin says:

    Does it cost a lot to start one’s own blog?

  21. T. Love says:

    Medea says

    “…The part of your comment I really object to is your suggestion that Feministe should open up a community page. I’m guessing that that would be pretty time-consuming, not to mention the financial cost–Feministing needed five thousand dollars for its upgrade. Who is going to pay for that and who is going to administer the new section? Are you volunteering?”

    ———————

    Dear friends,

    First, special thanks to the above comments of little light, evil_fizz and piny. They were all very eloquent, indeed and spoke of working for real feminist equality..as I heard spoken of by many third wave feminists/womanist and people working for a better world.

    Next, I heard the comment: ‘Fundamentally, this space belongs to Lauren, Jill, Holly, Jack, Cara, zuzu, etc. You aren’t entitled to their space.’

    This is probably the single most important sentence I have ever read on this website and I do believe it is true. I make it clear on the article at my below link I don’t want their space, believe me, because I currently know the reputation that would come with it if the old wounds aren’t healed first because they are indeed wide open wounds (as a POC feminist I assure you I hear the conversations more than most of you who are not POC, as is always the case with conversation of racially sensitive topics)… but I do want to see mediation, solutions for healing, solutions to the digital colonialism…and I want the growing divide in the feminist movement to stop widening. Also, if what feministe wants is a feminist space that ‘belongs’ to them in the most capitalist non-mutual-aid, non-community, title-and-ownership sense of the word, a community page is not needed at all. But I get the sense from visiting this website, listening to the comments, and most of all reading at least one of the feministe responses to the Full Frontal Feminism situation, that indeed, they too want more inclusion of people of color and pro-immigrant voices who don’t need to be moderated. Take a look at the WOC who post articles in the feministing community and ask yourself – ‘is this what I want?’ -if not, then you should do nothing.

    Next, in regards to the above question ‘Are you volunteering?’ I have written a very, very detailed response to this question and in which I indeed volunteer, free of charge, to create the community page for feministe, have it up and running with 12 hours, so that WOC and LGBTQI people of color and pro-immigrant people of color and other marginalized people who have often been victimized at this website can have equal access to posting articles and you can slowly stop the ever worsening digital apartheid and digital colonialism in the feminist blogosphere…that I do indeed believe feministe has unintentionally kicked up a notch with the action of posting/featuring a series of your responses to the extremely controversial digital colonialism article, with no community section, while having everyone else wait for you…on an issue about a lack of access, censorship, privilege and having mostly non-WOC speaking up for WOC, among other issues that you are replicating by the action of creating this series.

    Go here:

    http://savethepoorbrownchildren.blogspot.com/2009/03/response-to-feministe-and-to-all-large.html

    or here:

    http://tinyurl.com/BuildingFeministCommunity

    I apologize if it any of this was offensive..and even if you don’t accept my volunteer help, I’ve detailed step by step how you can create a community page within 12 hours as many other marginalized feminist group sites have done. Thank you for your patience.

    Towards an end to patriarchy, especially institutionalized patriarchy…within our lifetime,

    Love for the people,

    -T. Love

  22. Margalis says:

    Why are “Women of Color” always considered a single homogenous group?

    Remember the hubbub some time back where someone made a comment about Burkas, some “women of color” (who were mostly American) became upset then some other women of color from the middle east fought back and it devolved into who had the right to speak for WOC?

    I find it hard to believe that a black woman in Baltimore and a native Pakistani can be placed under the same label. By that same token I don’t see how a white woman living in NYC is all that comparable to a white woman living in Chechnya.

    People really believe that all women on earth can be neatly divided into two or three groups?

    The unspoken assumption in all these brawls is that there is exactly one model of white woman and one model of WOC. The entire premise is invalid.


    I think one funny, astute critique of this frame was in Sylvia’s post, which asserts that there is a tendency by white feminists to view WOC (”it”) as a monolith

    The fact that the acronymn even exists encourages lazy thinking. Anyone referring to either white women or women of color is engaging in absurd levels of reduction.

  23. Ravenmn says:

    “Your version posits that there’s regular women, who just do feminism, and then there’s those allies who drag those regular women in the trap of paying attention and giving energy to other causes–like the concerns of the women next to them who are brown, trans, and queer.”

    Little Light for the win. This idea that feminism can be separated from race, class, ableism, orientation, etc. works ONLY if you are a white cisgendered woman. The only people in the universe who can say “this is feminist issue and that is not” are white women. On numbers alone, why the hell would we white women want to go there? In this day and age how do we benefit from saying white feminist issues are more important than all others?

  24. MandyV says:

    It’s commendable that you have created a series utilizing my solution of transparency from the PWI post. It shows that you really are committed to “walking the walk”. I have a couple of suggestions though.

    DO: Fact Check. Several claims in this post (e.g., that work was not done w/ WOC prior to us writing/posting this piece, that we have no firsthand experience w/ tokenism) are just entirely false, but you wouldn’t know that because you didn’t fact check before putting this post up. Simply sending us an email to validate your assumptions or to provide you with the truth about what our actions were/were not and what experience we do/don’t have would have been the responsible thing to do.

    DON’T: Ad Hominem. When your initial claim is that you’re addressing the claims made about the feminist blogosphere, what is the benefit then of attacking the arguer (particularly when, as established above, some of your assumptions about the arguer lack validity), not the argument, except to decrease the perceived authority of the arguer?

    Feministe is a respected feminist blog, and for good reason. You have particular standards, which your readers appreciate. You also have a good amount of authority in the blogosphere. This means that any correction I may make to your writing puts me at a disadvantage because I am less known and, therefore, seen as having less authority (which as I just said you have also attempted to weaken further through falsehoods and fallacies in this post). But the truth is that there are some untruths here. And I hope you will correct them.

  25. Kristin says:

    “It’s commendable that you have created a series utilizing my solution of transparency from the PWI post. It shows that you really are committed to “walking the walk”. I have a couple of suggestions though.”

    *sputters* YOUR solution! Yours! I… uh… Wow…

  26. Lauren says:

    @ T. Love: With all due respect, we have all the technical expertise to create a community site already within the circle, but we are not interested in doing so. I do find it offensive, personally, that you want to swoop in from the outside and “save” feminism by marginalizing the very people you say you’re trying to promote. We’re big girls. If we decide to make a community page in the future we will do so on our own dime, terms, and conditions, thank you.

    @corwin: It depends. You can start one for free with WordPress or Blogger and it only takes a minute if you have a fast internet connection and *some* html knowledge (it doesn’t take a whole lot of html unless you want to design your own template and everything you need to know is readily available online). If you want your own hosting and domain, you can generally buy a domain for about $10-20 a year, and host the site on a shared server about the same monthly. You do have to have a credit or debit card to buy everything online, and generally have to pay the whole year up front, but it’s not a killer expense. The shared server is nice because the company manages the whole server side for you.

    Once you get into the dedicated server crap, like we’ve had to do to handle the traffic, then you’re in a whole other ballgame. It can range anywhere from $20-1000 a month (hence our lovely ads) and you generally have to manage your own server which does require technical expertise.

  27. Jill says:

    T. Love,

    While your thoughts and contributions are always appreciated, I think it bears pointing out that a lot of blogging relationships are built on mutual trust, exchanges and familiarity. It takes some amount of time to build up a reputation and credibility in the blogosphere. Part of why you’re probably getting so much push-back here is that none of us know who you are. I first read your name maybe a week or two ago, in the comments section to Mandy/Brittany’s original post. There are a lot of random people who post comments on blogs. It takes a while for people to know what your deal is and be able to engage and respond accordingly. We do put up guest-posts from people who we’re familiar with; we occasionally get guest-post or article submissions from PR people or random people we’ve never heard of, and we don’t put those up for what I hope are obvious reasons. You said yourself that your email a few days ago was the first time you contacted Feministe (and I’ll also note that you didn’t actually contact Feministe, you emailed one of our individual bloggers). At the end of the day this is our space and we are accountable for what goes up on our pages. I don’t mean that in a possessive way, as in “this is our space and you can’t be here unless we say so;” I mean it in a way that reflects our responsibility to control what gets posted and to make sure we’ve at least done some basic vetting. I don’t think it would be particularly responsible for us to turn over the keys to the blog to someone who we don’t know and have had zero interaction with until four days ago, when he sends one of us an email telling us that we need to revamp our website and donate more money to charity.

    I’m also confused as to why you think anyone else has to wait for us to post before they can give their full thoughts. Feministe is not the only website on the planet; you have your own site and you’ve shared your thoughts there, and disseminated widely the links to your posts. Having a smaller platform is not the same as having no platform at all, and I find it a little suspect when you argue that “POC… have to wait for your time schedule series to end before we can give our full thoughts.” That just isn’t true. I’m also not seeing how our writing a series and not opening up our blog to any person who wants to post on it is “unfathomably oppressive” to people of color. And no, people of color and other marginalized people are not limited to guest-posts and comments on Feministe. This post is also not all white women speaking to the problems of women of color — or are you under the impression that all of our bloggers are straight white cis-gendered middle-class women? Because we aren’t.

    As for the community section issue: As others have pointed out, community sites are incredibly costly and time-consuming to run. I know you said you’d run Feministe’s for free, but again, (a) we don’t know you; (b) what you propose isn’t a community site, it’s conglomerate of blogs; (c) you can volunteer your time, but at the end of the day if it has the Feministe name on it, the responsibility does come down on us, and we all have day jobs and can barely manage the blog as it is; and (d) if we were to start a true community site like Feministing’s, it would cost us thousands of dollars. What you’re basically proposing is for some other bloggers to get together and start a group blog. That’s great… but it’s not a community site, and I’m a little confused as to how that would open up discourse any more than it already is.

    T. Love, you seem like a very kind and thoughtful person with some great ideas. But I think your comments are reminiscent of Mandy/Brittany’s posts in the way that it just doesn’t seem like you’re very familiar with blogging or how online conversations work. If you want to start a community site, that’s great. But showing up out of nowhere, arguing that we should put the Feministe name on it, and then arguing that by not going along with your plan we’re perpetuating issues of access and censorship? I dunno, I’m just not buying what you’re selling.

  28. Holly says:

    Several claims in this post (e.g., that work was not done w/ WOC prior to us writing/posting this piece, that we have no firsthand experience w/ tokenism) are just entirely false

    I can’t find either of those claims in the post. You guys actually pointed out that you’ve worked with w/WOCs before in your apology, and made that public, so we’re all aware of that.

    If you’re talking about work on the piece itself, really? And you’re only mentioning it now? It’s not clear from how you’ve represented the authorship of your piece, either in the original or the apologia, that women of color were involved at all. If you don’t make that clear, then what do you expect? For everyone else to divine that you have an uncredited, behind-the-scenes, gets no props WOC collaborator validating all your work while you get the byline? Come on.

    You chose to toot your horn about racism and colonialism against women of color. We do not need to check in with you first about what’s OK to say on that topic. You apologized by whining about how you’re not allowed to talk about other people’s experiences. That wouldn’t even be an issue if you were working and writing with and alongside women of color, because you’d be writing with us, not to us. Instead you got a lot of hostile glares, and I would hope that by now you understand why. You keep digging yourself a bigger ditch and you’re about halfway to earning the “worst would-be white ally ever” award.

    Nobody suggested you have no firsthand experience with tokenism either. Are you referring to the part where I wondered how much experience you have with tokenism, and pointed out that women are tokenized too? That was because I have no idea how much you actually know about tokenism, thus the wondering. Please, if you are upset at the way we’ve criticized your manifesto for improvement of the blogosphere, don’t waste our time shooting blanks.

  29. evil_fizz says:

    This means that any correction I may make to your writing puts me at a disadvantage because I am less known and, therefore, seen as having less authority (which as I just said you have also attempted to weaken further through falsehoods and fallacies in this post). But the truth is that there are some untruths here. And I hope you will correct them.

    Mandy, first let me congratulate you on your ability to center yourself so completely in this discussion. Second, your comment suffers from one of the very same flaws that weakened your first piece: you stated that there were some problems, some places, and that some people did some things. The utter lack of specificity makes it incredibly hard to rebut your claims, forces the reader to make certain assumptions, and provides you with the ability to claim you’ve been misunderstood. I am just going to hope this is sloppy writing rather than some kind of deliberate strategy.

    Also, (and I can’t believe I’m say this in this thread of all places), but that’s the tone you want to enter into the discussion with? Really?

  30. ilyka says:

    *sputters* YOUR solution! Yours! I… uh… Wow…

    This.

    Mandy, quite frankly–what are you even doing here? Several women of color have taken the time to respond to you, both in comments and on their own blogs, and the only place I see you show up is here. That’s, what’s that word you like?–Yes: Fascinating.

  31. annaham says:

    Mandy, your use of “DO” and ‘DON’T” makes your “suggestions” seem like demands rather than actual suggestions.

  32. Lauren says:

    Mandy, I’m sure you’ve read the numerous blog posts and comments questioning your motives and commitment in writing not only the original post but also the apology. One of the things I’ve noticed since the original publication of your post is how you want to manage the responses to it — and frankly, that’s not how the blogosphere works. You have gotten a lot of responses, and not all of them glowing, but unlike many bloggers you are getting a response. Most people slog away at blogging for years with responses from friends and family only.

    As far as engagement goes, from what I’ve noticed you’re light on the engagement with WOC bloggers whose work you piggybacked on for your PWI piece, but trot right on over to Feministe to let us know where its at. Your call for transparency ironically was executed by leaving most of your motives and intents in the shadows, leaving us to question your contacts and connections, and it’s up to YOU to correct that. You’re dodging more responsibility than I am comfortable with to respond to politely. Look: This blogging thing is organic and wild, and composed of a lot of personalities with many different opinions, and you got a lot of us going by ripping off scabs and reigniting — creating, even — divisions within a loosely organized group of people who NONETHELESS have relationships that may or may not be apparent to you. But we don’t know anything since you’ve been so strategically elusive. My advice: Listen, learn, grow, and participate, and please stop trying to micromanage the fallout of your accusations. If you’re afraid of some kind of professional consequences, I hasten to say you should have considered that before throwing a molotov cocktail of theory at a group of political, opinionated people.

  33. Jill says:

    @ Mandy: I don’t think that we said exactly what you seem to think (although the “do-and-don’t” list was handy, I guess). We responded to what you put forward in your post; that’s how blogging works. No, we didn’t send you this post to vet beforehand to make sure that it matched what you wanted it to say, but nothing you said in your comment contradicts anything we said in the post. As far as I can tell, we haven’t made any statements of fact regarding your actions that are untrue. We did respond to what you made publicly available. Our response may not reflect your desires or intentions, but we did not put for any untruths. If I’m wrong, please feel free to point out what we got wrong.

    Again, there seems to be a lack of understanding of how this stuff works. You put up two posts (and a series of comments around the intertubes, some of which we’ve read but many of which we probably haven’t); that’s the information we have to go on. As Lauren points out, you seem to want to micromanage this conversation (getting irritated when people wrote about your post on blogs other than PWI, getting irritated when the responses aren’t what you would have liked), but that just isn’t how this medium operates.

    And where did we ad hominem attack anyone?

  34. Pingback: Feministe » Who Gets to Say What, Part II (Blog Hierarchies)

  35. Holly says:

    Oh, I’m perfectly willing to employ ad hominem arguments in this whole discussion, because they are totally relevant. An ad hominem is only really fallacious when you are making an argument that has nothing at all to do with who you as a person are. If you argue that global warming is real, but someone says “you murdered your husband, so your arguments about global warming are false!” then that is a fallacious ad hominem. As far as I’m concerned, discussions about race are entirely informed by the participants own racial backgrounds and privileges or lack thereof.

    The entire framework of the conversations we’re having are about how the race of various authors and speakers gives different people different ways of seeing, understanding, and talking about race. So ad hominems about people’s experience, background, and anything that speaks to their credibility on issues having to do with race and blogging are perfectly reasonable. That’s half of why this series of posts is titled “Who Gets to Talk About What” — it has positive and negative connotations, for silencing and how we try to speak through the silence.

  36. Donna says:

    I just want to scream. Here we could have had a good discussion about tokenism but instead we are addressing the black dude who needs to save us little ladies, and the white woman who is in a snit because she didn’t get a cookie for being the best ally ever.

  37. MandyV says:

    @ Kristin: Yes, *MY* solution, which was clearly written both in the original post (See: “Or should we challenge these institutions to live up to their own ideals, to modify the way they function to be more transparent to their readers?”) AND in the comments that I made on PWI and Octogalore’s blog when asked about solutions (See: “transparency, transparency, transparency”).

    @ Holly: “I can’t find either of those claims in the post.”
    So you should do what I suggest: fact check your assumptions by emailing us to ask if they are true.

    “We do not need to check in with you first about what’s OK to say on that topic.”
    No you dont. You do, however, need to check in when you’re making claims about me specifically, and not just the theoretical claims I’ve made.

    “If you don’t make that clear, then what do you expect?”
    Do you think its responsible to write something about an individual based on nothing except assumptions? How do you feel when some anti-feminist makes an unsubstantiated claim about what feminists think or do? I bet you think it’s f*ed up and irresponsible, and that they should use fact instead of fiction. What do I expect? I expect for a fellow feminist to have more concern for their work’s integrity and truthfulness than what you’re displaying.

    “That wouldn’t even be an issue if you were working and writing with and alongside women of color, because you’d be writing with us, not to us.”
    And again with your false statements (based on essentializing WOC, as though all WOC think the same things about our post) about who I do and do not work alongside. What does it take you to stop making false statements about who I do and do not work with? Supposedly you read the apology I wrote; at least, you claimed to have done so in this post. Then you may have noticed in there that I speak of my background. If not, re-read it because it’s plainly there.

    “you’re about halfway to earning the ‘worst would-be white ally ever’ award”
    Why is that kind of threat necessary? And I’ll take that risk if it means standing up to a bully (you) who demonstrates a lack integrity and who is abusing her position of significant power and influence in the blogosphere.

    “Nobody suggested you have no firsthand experience with tokenism either.”
    That is exactly what you implied, and you know it. Now it seems to me that *you’re* the one backtracking because you’ve been called on it.

    RE: Ad Hominem. Good lord. Are you serious? You might as well just have said, “An ad hominem is only fallacious when I say it is and since I used it, I say it’s not fallacious.” BTW, circular logic is also fallacious.

    @ Ilyka/Lauren:
    First, I’ve probably responded more on WOC’s blogs than anywhere else about the post, and I’m surprised you’ve missed that. This might actually be the first time I’ve responded on a bigger feminist blog (though don’t hold me to that entirely bc, like I said, I’ve responded on a lot of blogs), and my comment is not even disputing your opinions about my critique, but to simply point out factual errors. So for you to say that I’ve NOT been commenting on other blogs is yet another statement to add to that factual errors pile.

    Second, I think there’s something really wrong with the fact that y’all have totally overlooked what I wrote about power dynamics and authority of bigger feminist blogs, and since folks are wanting finger pointing, well I’m pointing my finger at this post specifically and saying, “Look at this example of how power and authority can be abused in the feminist blogosphere, even as feminist bloggers are trying to get it right.” Not so very different than what I did, is it? No. Because we don’t always recognize how we abuse our power/privilege. And as so many people have been saying to me this past week (or was no one else thinking that wisdom applied to themselves too?), when someone tells you that you’re abusing your power/privilege, perhaps you should listen to them. Right? Or are those with more power than me exempt from listening and consideration? To be clear, you are abusing your power and authority by making false statements and then refusing to correct them.

    @ Jill:
    “Again, there seems to be a lack of understanding of how this stuff works.”
    Or perhaps I do understand, and think that the way things work are really messed up. Since you know law, you should know that the burden is on the person who breaks the law to know what the law is. So doesn’t it also make sense then that the burden is on the person making a claim about someone else to find out if their claims are true? It’s not *my* responsibility to read y’alls minds and know you’re going to say something false about my supposedly not having conversations w/ WOC about power dynamics in the feminist blogosphere and email you before that post goes live to say, “Hey. You know, I read your mind, and you should change this first because it’s not true. I did/do have conversations with WOC about power dynamics in the blogosphere actually.” It’s *y’alls* responsibility to verify the truth of such claims, and it’s shoddy writing (at best) and unethical (at worst) to make claims that have not been verified. You’re also a writer. Do you really think fact checking is optional?

    Folks, it ain’t right for this kind of thing to keep happening, but it’s going to keep happening until we can give each other the space to be wrong, for us to give ourselves the space to be wrong, to learn that self-reflection isn’t just for other people, and to accept that we all need to be accountable to each other. So Lauren asks about my “motives and intents”: I want us to be able to talk about really difficult shit. And I want to feel like if I get something wrong in that conversation, that I’m not going to be drawn and quartered in the same way that I’m not going to draw and quarter someone else that I think is getting it wrong. I really believe that there is strength in our differences, that there is creativity in our differences. There is love and respect in my words of criticism. I wouldn’t say them if I didn’t care about what you do, if I didn’t think that you had something to offer me and vice versa, if I didn’t think we were on the same team. But it doesn’t seem to me that you think we *are* on the same team, or that we share the same motives and intents. I just don’t understand the extreme punitive reaction of people in the blogosphere. And maybe I’m somewhat of a masochist for continuing to believe that it is worth the effort to continue to interact with people at all in this realm. Something that makes me feel so depressed is the knowledge that I’m losing my faith in feminist blogs (and feminism, in general) daily, and that’s not because I don’t see a lot of good work being done in the blogosphere. It’s because the hatefulness of others is enough to wrap that goodness in a cloak so tightly that you forget there was ever good there. And then that hatefulness starts to infect me too, and I don’t like what I see in myself when I get that infection (even now I can’t figure out if I want to delete the entire top portion of this comment and only post this paragraph. I feel like either way the response is going to be hateful, more misunderstandings instead of attempts at reconciliation). And I don’t get infected like this by those who disagree with me in “real” life, and I wonder why that is. What it is about the blogosphere that makes the hate feel so concentrated. I think it’s because people forget that there are real human being behind the 001110100011. So go ‘head, y’all… flog the rest of my faith out of me. Or do something different, and tell me why I should still believe. Better yet, can we just quit with the bickering (which is obviously getting us nowhere) and you can tell me why you continue to believe?

  38. Medea says:

    T. Love, I wasn’t able to comment at your blog. What I said was:

    Hi, I followed you over here, but I don’t really have much to say. If the Feministe contributors do want to accept your offer to create a community page, that’s great–but as for WOC (who aren’t Holly or Jack) posting there, or accepting ten percent of the blog’s meager profits, I don’t know if they would. The WOC you have spoken to might have been enthusiastic, but the bloggers I read have made it clear that they are no longer much interested in working with “mainstream” online feminists; Brownfemipower recently said that the feminist blogosphere was “nothing but pure hate.” Do you really think she’d want twenty dollars from Feministe for a book deal? It sounds positively insulting.

  39. queen emily says:

    Holly a bully? Ha, that’s genius.

    DO be oblivious and privileged. Moar patronizing pls x

  40. belledame222 says:

    Just cosigning little light, piny, evil fizz et seq. Do we need to tack a Venn diagram to the top of every feminist blog?

    Mandy: O.K., at this point pretty much any doubt I had that your only real interest was in wangling your way to a spot on the Elite Feminist Etc. Whosis list yourself(ves) (what’s up with the composite speak before, anyway? o never mind actually, don’t care). And you know what? The reason you’re at a “disadvantage” here isn’t about how “known” you are, although it speaks volumes about your values that that’s what you come in here with along with the defensive posturey tone. The reason you’re at a disadvantage here is because you are acting like a chode, and despite the really really good advice of a whole shitload of people now, including and ESPECIALLY the ones you were purporting to speak -for- (and still are trying to do so), you just. won’t. put. down. the shovel.

    the only difference is -now-, for me at least, I don’t even have any sympathy any more. Keep on digging there, then, kids! Send us a postcard when you break on through to China, will you?

    I mean, seriously, between y’all and T Love, it’s just one big shitload of tl:dr concern troll Do Not Want Please Go Away Now.

    (go ahead, call me a bully too, it gets me got. but I mean, seriously: Holly? HOLLY? Seriously? FAIL).

  41. belledame222 says:

    “any doubt…is gone.”

  42. belledame222 says:

    I mean jesus fuck, Holly’s a brown trans woman -blogger- here speaking for her damn self and you’re making it all about yourself?? Again?? AND calling her a “bully” for not continuing to center -your- take on the problem of “tokenizing”–the brain, it hurts so bad…

    you’re right, though; you are “transparent.”

  43. belledame222 says:

    Better yet, can we just quit with the bickering (which is obviously getting us nowhere) and you can tell me why you continue to believe?

    In what? Womens’ rights (as in ALL womens’ rights?) Because it’s the right fucking thing to do. In the “feminist blogosphere?” I don’t. Well, it exists, I suppose. Whatever. In feministe? Because it’s one of the few big predominantly white etc. feminist blogs that seem to manage -occasionally- to get past this sort of 101 navel gazing and talk about “serious, difficult issues” at least somewhat honestly, which it was -already- doing and frankly better before you issued your Proclamation, and you want to know cause why? Among other things, I would say precisely because of the “tokenism” which at least here feels at least like a real effort to -try- for a diversity of voices for its own sake.

    Convince you? No. Who -are- you, and why is your crisis of faith my problem? What, finally, is this “we” shit? Frigging listen to other people: stop trying to control everything, -that’s- the gorram problem. You may have correctly observed some motes, but there’s a big ol plank sticking out of your eye, and it’s whacking everyone over the head one too many times and people are beginning to get good and pissed off. Such is life.

  44. Kristin says:

    “So go ‘head, y’all… flog the rest of my faith out of me.”

    MandyV/Brittany: (If Brittany is in fact involved in Part XXXVVVVIIII of Showing Yer Ass) You know, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to take you seriously. You’re kind of becoming a parody of yourself(ves) at this point. As belledame points out, it does certainly seem telling that you lead with a point about your disproportionate power in the feminist blogosphere. Am I wrong in hearing that your real question here is: “Why did it happen for YOU and not MEEEEEEE?” here?

    Well, I’ll tell you: Holly, Lauren, Jill, Jack, Piny, Cara, and Kactus do it better than you. I agree with the larger point in Part II that blogging is not exactly a meritocracy, but I *do* find them far more credible than you, at a minimum. And, from your clueless OP to your long-winded “apologia” (*snickers*), you have not done yourself(ves) any favors. *blows the smoke off her flogger*

    And coming here to call Holly a “bully”? Eh… If you want to see “bully,” then I’m tempted… Meh. I have better things to do.

    In any case, I’ve seen Kai raise the point here (I think) and elsewhere that it’s unfortunate that your fuck ups have actually moved at cross-purposes to your stated claims. Like him, I *do* believe that racism is a problem in the feminist blogosphere that needs to be called out. And it’s unfortunate that you’ve done such a piss poor job of it. *damn! will need a -new- flogger after this!*

    Oh, and Holly! You Mean Bully, you! Pffft. Mandy V/Brittany: Concern Troll(s) is/are trollish.

  45. belledame222 says:

    anyway, really, a good flogging is a -privilege-, not a right. Like…cookies, only with more endorphins.

    -goes unfocused for a moment-

    –sorry, I’m back.

    oh fuck, and promptly wish I wasn’t. Right then. -trots off-

  46. little light says:

    Oh, Mandy. You came and you gave without taking, and we are so ungrateful.

  47. belledame222 says:

    To get back to something approaching the main point:

    I mean, the thing about “tokenism” is that it assumes that the -only- reason a person with power would want to bring someone from a marginalized group on board is because it “looks good.” Which, yeah, unfortunately is often true; but y’know, I’m increasingly suspicious of Persons With Power who continually level that charge at other Persons With Power, because it tends to suggest that that’s how -they- think. (It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are incorrect in the accusations, but nonetheless).

    And it’s like: lookit. This whole business about well yes yes yes of course we “should” listen to these other…people…issues, but can’t we get back to talking about women? You know: WOMEN. (as LL and others have correctly fisked)

    Seriously: don’t you get bored? Doesn’t it ever occur to y’all that the -reason- “we” keep going round and round in circles is a refusal (however conscious) to actually -listen- to anything or anyone we don’t already know? I mean, the -world- is diverse for a -reason-, it’s some evolutionary something or other I can’t be arsed to look up right now, but: survival tends to depend on -a lot of different modes of being, a lot of different ideas.-

    And the reason it’s hard to co-exist is because people tend to just -suck- at letting go of power.

    The gradual realization that -oh yeah, women might already have some power, too, especially when it comes to those -other- women; gosh, I guess we’re -not- all equally situated under and against Teh Man, maybe it’s more complicated than that” is a start? but, well, then the ones with relative power are all, Well, what are we supposed to DOOOOOO about it?? Huh? HuH??? No, I can’t stop and listen, no, seriously, um, um, um, let’s…make a plan! Let’s form a task force!! Let’s, well, continue to dominate the frigging discourse because it feels more comfortable than just -sitting- for five damn minutes with the discomfort of:

    Yeah. This is how things are. Yeah. It isn’t right. Yeah. There’s a moral responsibility in here somewhere as well as, this situation doesn’t have an easy fix and no, Persons With Power, it ain’t gonna be painless.

    Rushing past it isn’t going to help. Adding on artificial thorns and hairshirts to distract from the subtler real pain isn’t going to help. Whining and going into defensive mode? Really, really doesn’t help.

    So. “Let’s” just sit with it, him? Little quiet. Little space.

    And then we might -finally- notice that the “tokens” have been talking quite eloquently all by and for themselves, and maybe in fact are ready to be in the driver’s seat if in fact they aren’t already.

    So move over. Shut up. And listen.

    And with that:

  48. belledame222 says:

    “if they aren’t in it already”

  49. Whooo damn.

    Thanks to Holly, Jill, Jack, and Lauren for this thread. Holly, I really appreciated your definition of a token – it’s a much more succinct way to explain it than the aging Wayans Brothers show reference I tend to use. (For those of y’all that missed the show, there was on episode where Shawn went out for a job at a company he really liked and felt he could make a contribution to, only to find himself manning the hole punch machine since we was “a quota hire.” )

    And Jack, I really liked your process in weighing the benefits of an action versus the issues involved in taking that action. I think these decisions are rarely clear cut – its more of a matter of weighing one’s own goals against what we can see as potential costs and consequences.

    Thank you, little light, for calling that mess out.

    Thank you, Donna, for reminding us how quickly this thread got off track.

    And finally, thank you Mandy, for providing an amazing demonstration for my comments over on the Does Feminism Have to Address Race Piece:

    Donna,

    Right question, wrong space to be asking it in. There’s a reason why me, Carmen, Wendi, Fatemeh and the other contribs for this site tend to either (1) create our own spaces or (2) participate in spaces that are run by women.

    There are a lot of anti-racist men who will tell me in a heartbeat to go and wave from the sidelines, to let the men do the real work or the heavy thinking. So, we find spaces like this one or we create them. And while we do discuss gender, it normally isn’t using the same language and codes that feminism does.

    However, like I said, I feel more anger toward feminism. With the men, I always knew where I stood, if my ideas weren’t respected I got told, no space was specifically made to welcome me. With feminism – well, things are more complicated than that.
    #

    Slush wrote:

    Ouch, Latoya.
    You really feel more kindly to those who simply tell you you’re meaningless than to those who just do a lousy job paying attention to you?
    I mean, you sure have every right to feel that way, just seems harsh…

    Posted 30 Apr 2008 at 9:14 pm ¶ (Edit)
    #

    Latoya Peterson wrote:

    Yeah, Slush, I do.

    I’m direct like that. Everyone may not feel that way, but I like to know where I stand with things. To me, it is a bad feeling to know that someone doesn’t really give a fuck about you. But it is a far worse feeling to know that someone is pretending to give a fuck about you just so that you’ll help them achieve their goals.

    In the first scenario, I feel kind of shitty.

    In the second scenario, I feel kind of shitty and used.

    Posted 30 Apr 2008 at 9:18 pm ¶ (Edit)

    Look, I deal with society’s racist ass every day. Everyday I wake up to an inbox full of the best bits of racist actions from around the world. And everyday I wake up to a comment queue full of people who want to share with me such lauded insights such as “blacks are the real racists,” “Asian men reall *DO* have small penises, which is why Asian women love white men,” “blacks are considered more of a societal problem because you hardly ever hear of white men raping black women, but black men are always raping white women,” that skewed incarceration rates are “god’s work,” that we’re “terrorist sympathizers” for criticizing the TV show 24, and the ever popular “stop whining about race and racism because it’s OVER!”

    And that’s the good days. When white supremacist spots (I count FOX News in this) link to us, it’s even more fun. And yet, I can deal with all that. These people are upfront about who they are and what they are. And I can work with that. If a Klansman can apologize for beating up John Lewis years ago, and face death threats to make this reconciliation there may be hope for us yet.

    But the people who don’t own who they are and don’t ever face up to it are much more dangerous, in my summation, because they are laboring under the illusion that they are helping, that they are on the good side, that they are right – even when all of their actions indicate otherwise. It’s those people that are much harder to reach. And I’d rather debate with a rabid self-proclaimed racist than a self-styled “ally” any day of the week.

    It’s just less frustrating.

  50. Kristin says:

    “Oh, Mandy. You came and you gave without taking, and we are so ungrateful.”

    *dies*

  51. Jill says:

    Working off of what little light said upthread (because as Donna points out, we could be having an interesting conversation here and instead it’s getting derailed), the whole idea that there’s one universal female experience and that’s what feminists should be writing about is inherently problematic when gender is racialized. Latoya Peterson made this point in one of the many comment threads about the Mandy/Brittany post, and I’m going to hunt for it this afternoon, but she basically says that she doesn’t recognize herself in the way a lot of mainstream white feminists describe sexism; she does recognize herself in other forms of sexism that white feminists don’t experience. The example she gives is a boss asking a female co-worker or underling to get him coffee — not something she’s ever experienced. But she has experienced people looking at her name and making certain assumptions about her behavior or beliefs or personality. It seems strange to me that we don’t look at the ways in which whiteness influences how sexism plays out, and instead just assume that any sexism against white women is “sexism” pure and simple; but when women of color experience sexism differently because there’s also racism involved, we get all up in arms about diluting the goals of feminism, which is supposed to be for women. And of course race isn’t the only factor in shaping how people experience sexism and discrimination. If feminism is supposed to center women, it’s worth centering all women.

  52. Jill says:

    Here’s Latoya’s quote:

    http://www.racialicious.com/2008/04/28/does-feminism-have-to-address-race/

    “There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding that other things inform the sexism that women experience. Some feminists can discuss women being viewed as weaker and less capable, never realizing that some of us are not ever allowed to hold that label. I’ve never been called “weaker” in my life. The stereotype that comes with black women is that we are supposed to be unbreakingly strong. Unceasingly capable. We are not supposed to be weak.

    I have never been asked to fetch coffee. Never. Does that mean sexist shit doesn’t happen to me at work? No. But that sexism is informed by my race, so instead of assuming this cute young woman should sit prettily in the corner and make coffee, they assume that this name “Latoya Peterson” will manifest into some neck-swiveling straight from the ‘hood stereotype. The white girl being relegated to the coffee machine still has a job. My resume is in the recycle bin.”

  53. little light says:

    Yes, yes, yes, Latoya. I think i’s the feeling used that’s got so many of us riled.
    Women of color, by and large, aren’t idiots and weren’t born yesterday. We know when we’re actually being engaged with, and when we’re being used as a rhetorical tool, and when we’re a handy illustration for some white woman resenting some other white woman because she didn’t get voted Prom Queen of Blogitania.

    Hint: when we call shit out, and suddenly this person so concerned about our oppression and our voices being heard shouts that we’re the bullies, we’re the ones with the power, this is about her and her oppression and maybe we should check in with her before talking on the subject…well. When you’re throwing in names of marginalized groups you’re trying to “ally” to, and whoops! throw in an insulting slur, and whoops! don’t react too well when called on it…well. When your brave quest to save us from oppression is really all about your feelings and how we ought to be more appreciative of the sacrifices you make, great ally that you are, and why is nobody paying attention to you and your selfless crusade…well. When we all ought to listen better to what you think we should do to save ourselves, with only a starting donation of $19.99 and some random bowing to your expensive demands because you have a flow chart, damn it…well.
    It’s just so unfair when we don’t want to subscribe to your newsletter and go with your plan for saving the day. Especially when the plan is written in crayon and reads, “Be more awesome, and stop being bad. Also, I’d like a pony.

  54. Jill says:

    But Little Light, how will a knight in shining armor look without a pony?

  55. Ravenmn says:

    “My answer is pretty simple: tokens aren’t intended to actually have any real effect. They’re just there for show…”

    This is huge. There have been some great studies about how people of color in our culture have had to conform to white standards of speech, dress, behavior, etc. in order to be allowed onto the TV and movie screen. Token people of color are “just like us” white people. They do not challenge us to think. They do not make us uncomfortable about our privilege. This is an important role developed by white racism that allows us to pretend racism is over. I think applying that idea to every situation that is multi-racial is an poor method of understanding racism.

    If one is going to charge “tokenism” on a particular blog, then isn’t it important to show at least one example? Readers can compare and contrast the posts women of color write here with the posts they write on their own blogs and/or blogs of other women of color. Place the posts side by side and let us judge for ourselves whether we think women are asked to leave their race at the door when they publish here.

    Or another way to judge: if women of color do talk about racial issues here, are their posts shouted down? Are they ignored? Do they fade away? I haven’t seen that here, but I don’t read every thread.

    It’s good to examine, but I’d seriously like to see at least a tiny bit of evidence before opening up a can of whoopass on the issue.

  56. Kristin says:

    Jill:

    “But Little Light, how will a knight in shining armor look without a pony?”

    No, no, the pony is because white women deserve to pamper ourselves for deigning to engage Mean Bullies like Holly. The knight would need a full grown horse–and preferably a strapping stallion. So, we should probably put that on the List of Demands as well.

  57. Holly says:

    OK, Mandy. You want to stop trash-talking each other, I can definitely take that request and stop being nasty for a second. I still disagree, of course, and you are misunderstanding a bunch of what was said. I think you are on the defensive, which is understandable. But you’re also still defending things about your original post that are clearly wrong. You got that you made a bunch of mistakes, and you apologized for a number of things. In your apology, you still seemed to have no idea how you could have done right in some areas — like when you talk about being in a “double bind.” I’ll quote you again:

    I feel like I’m in a double bind: If I don’t stick up for WOC, I will be seen as a conspirator in and condoning racism, but when I do point out racism then I’m further marginalizing WOC and racist too. That makes me feel confused: Maybe I’m not supposed to speak about any group of which I am not a member to point out injustice? Am I only allowed to speak about and defend my experience of oppression, as though it’s got nothing in common with the oppression of others?

    I never said that you had no background working with WOCs and had never talked with WOCs before. You wrote about that in your apology and I’m quite aware of it. However, that’s not what I was talking about when I exhorted you, and not just you but other white allies, to “Talk to, engage with, ask if you should, before you speak about. Speak together” and “start with listening and reading to what WOC bloggers are saying, and educating yourself on the varying issues and positions those bloggers take. Continue by talking and asking questions and engaging, showing that you’re committed. Eventually get to the point where you can collaborate WITH women of color to address issues of exploitation, tokenism, colonizing of online spaces.”

    It’s obvious from the original post that you did some of that. It’s not obvious at all, and nowhere did you make it clear, that you actually discussed or collaborated with the subjects of the oppression you’re naming in coming up with your critique, your “shame on you” analysis. And if you did, you made an even more grevious mistake: portraying it as the words and ideas of only two white women, instead of a community. How did you get to be the spokesperson for this problem? Just like you have to cite a bibliography, you have to explain whose ideas these are. If you actually developed them in conjunction with the affected community, that needs to be explained. If you did not, if you just read some blog posts, cited them, and then came up with your answers, then your political analysis is irresponsible, destructive, and racially problematic, no matter how well-intentioned it is.

    So which is it? You still haven’t explained what’s really behind it.

    This is why people reacted to you with hostility, and why you are still dealing with the fallout. You may be dealing with the fallout for a long time in this space. If you really did write this analysis together with women of color, their voices should have been recognized so that everyone reading it would know who was talking and what was informing the words. Since you didn’t do that, you had to deal with the backlash. And look — I am not your friend, Feministe is not your friend. We are not going to shield you from it when you keep defensively digging yourself deeper. Only you can stop digging that hole, and I’ll tell you: hey please stop. I did so in a mean way earlier and I’m being more straight with you now. You want an example of someone who has been called out on making bad mistakes as a white ally, but who people still came to respect again? Jill Filipovic. Even bloggers who don’t like this space because it’s white-dominated and a little too close to the blindness of the “mainstream progressive thoroughfare” will mostly tell you that she does a good job of owning up to her mistakes. It’s one of the reasons we can still write about race at Feministe.

    I apologize if you thought I was saying “this woman has never worked with or talked to a WOC before in her life.” I don’t believe that, it’s not my intent, we linked to places where you say otherwise, and I honestly don’t believe the way this piece is written lends itself to that interpretation. It’s about this particular work, this particular space, the particular people that you trained your scattershot “no names” analysis on — whatever work you did before is not relevant, honestly. Not to the mistakes you made here. The fact that you have done work — and hey, I’m sure it was good work — with WOC communities in the past makes me willing to believe you are trying to get it right, sincerely. But you are still messing up and entrenching yourself, you’re choosing to argue and complain about bullying instead of asking questions and trying to figure out where things went wrong. I know that’s hard, so I am taking the meanness down a notch for you. But I am not going to hold your hand. I don’t know you, and I cannot fully give you the benefit of the doubt as to your motivations, not on issues related to race, not at this point. It takes a lot of work and patience to gain “ally cred” (an idea which is so problematic to begin with that it has to be in quotes) and yeah, you have to do it over in new spaces as I thought you kinda understood in your apology, and you can undo a whooooole lot of it in one stroke. Which you did, all on your own.

    Do you think its responsible to write something about an individual based on nothing except assumptions? I expect for a fellow feminist to have more concern for their work’s integrity and truthfulness than what you’re displaying.

    Everything we wrote was based on the words you put out there, that you wanted everyone to read. I don’t owe you any more than that, more trust than that, or any more solidarity than that. Feminism is a very, very wide banner. There are some feminists who would sooner spit on me than talk to me. I’m sorry if this space doesn’t have the auto-solidarity you’re looking for in a movement, but when people don’t know you? You have to earn their trust. If people don’t know you? They are going to take your work, and the apparent lack of any involvement by WOCs in the authorship of your work, at face value. Do you really want people to assume that WOCs did help write that piece, develop those ideas, but weren’t given any credit? What exactly are you claiming DID happen here, anyway?

    “Nobody suggested you have no firsthand experience with tokenism either.”
    That is exactly what you implied, and you know it. Now it seems to me that *you’re* the one backtracking because you’ve been called on it.

    Am I supposed to say “oh no, you found me out?” You’re mistaken. I pointed out that women are tokenized because it kept occurring to me that of course tokenism is not just a racial issue. Which made me wonder, how do these authors not understand how injuring it is to be called a token? Why are they slinging that word against some unnamed WOC bloggers if they know how it will hurt? Which made me wonder, yes wonder, how much experience you have with being tokenized. I did not say “these women have obviously never been tokenized” and I wouldn’t, because I don’t know that. I’m sorry if you feel that was implied. I don’t think that sentence and it’s context say much more than “I wonder if X, sure seems like not X, but X is certainly possible because X happens.” Do you feel like THAT is unfair? Now I’ve done much more than I would for most complaints and explained to you, in detail and with honesty, my entire thought process in writing a single sentence. I swear on my grandmother’s grave and my mother’s missing left breast and my own misbegotten pair, may I be struck down by lightning if I lie.

    As for ad hominems, I meant exactly what I said, and I’m sorry if you don’t understand it. Ad hominems are invalid forms of argument when the character, experiences, and authority of the person making the argument are irrelevant to the merits of the argument. That is not the case when we are talking about racial oppression, and the experiences and perspectives that arise from an author’s own race and privileges are questioned. Those are both called “ad hominems” because they speak to the character of the arguer, and whether it affects the validity of the argument. However, one of them is a fallacy — it would be like if I claimed your argument was bull because of how tall you are — and one of them is not. This has nothing to do with whether I’m saying it or not. But it does have to do with whose voice does get listened to (you are getting 10x the response and discussion and hand-holding of any WOC who’s brought this up, and I am regretting the fact that we are perpetuating that) and whose voice should be listened to on issues of race (not just me, and not just me and jack, but every WOC blogger we’ve linked to in this post, and more).

    Reading your response to Jill — ok, you seem to be mad that we didn’t find out from you that you actually did research with women of color in the blogosphere. Well, I’m sorry if it wasn’t clear either — that is only 20% of what you are being criticized for here. Would you like to explain who exactly you wrote that whole piece with? Who reviewed it? You haven’t done that yet, you’ve just complained that yeah, you did talk to some people and read some blogs beforehand. That would not have changed the tone of this piece. What is the big revelation that we’re all missing here? Is Audre Lorde your secret ghostwriter? Please do tell.

    I’m obviously losing my patience again, and I apologize. But as a result, I should stop this right now.

    belledame222: Just FYI, I don’t refer to myself as brown because I am not actually that color most of the time, and there is such a thing as colorism.

  58. MandyV says:

    Exactly what I expected. And it’s a damn shame. The only people who need to be aware of their privilege are others, right? The only people who make mistakes are others? This isn’t actually a community in which we should be accountable to each other? To respect each other? To feel compassion for each others struggles? Nope, didn’t think so. And with that, I’ll exit… permanently. Commence to cheering now.

  59. Sarah J says:

    Wow, such a great post and such an immediate damn derail into the same. old. crap.

    Seriously?

    So once again instead of having a real discussion, we’re dealing with THE SAME SHIT that has been said a million times. And it’s still All About Mandy.

    Enough.

    This, what Holly said?

    Seriously, we don’t need more champions telling us that we don’t realize we’re being exploited. (Exploited by being able to write whatever we want for larger audiences, via links or guest-posts or regular stints, with no editors telling us what to write or what not to write, I guess.) Didn’t we get over that some time back in the second wave? You know, the whole “you don’t REALIZE it because you’re so NAIVE but the fact that you put LIPSTICK on when you go to a JOB INTERVIEW means you are OPPRESSED, sister, now WAKE UP!” Either in the second wave, or for some people maybe in the second semester of sophomore year. Or the equivalent here in the pubescent blogosphere: 18 months ago when everyone got thoroughly sick of the “lipstick and shaving your legs” flame-wars.

    THAT.

  60. Holly says:

    Or another way to judge: if women of color do talk about racial issues here, are their posts shouted down? Are they ignored? Do they fade away? I haven’t seen that here, but I don’t read every thread.

    We have huge problems here with issues of race being shouted down — mostly by a handful of commenters, oftentimes they’re not regular commenters. The shouting matches definitely don’t originate from the other bloggers, which would be horrible and telling. But we do have some community management problems that surface on a number of “hot-button” issues — sex work, race, even adoption — and the “mainstream” view (“what? i can’t be racist! i watch pbs!”) ends up clashing, a lot of time, with what women of color (Renee is a big example) are trying to say. It makes it very hard to have a conversation, and I partially fault myself for advocating and using an overly lax style of moderation. We are going to talk more about this in upcoming posts. This latest blowup has made me realize that we need to set better parameters around discussions to ensure that the conversation gets more productive, instead of hostile to more radical ideas of what “racism” is than “Don Imus said something bad!”

    That definitely does speak to tokenism. It means that Jack and I are blogging as women of color in a white-dominant space, and not a space where most people share our racial politics or are even trying to be consciously anti-racist. Where people are wandering into discussions “off the main thoroughfare” of the internet, and push the conversation towards the ugly center of politics. We both talk more about our experiences of tokenism in an upcoming section too.

  61. Holly says:

    Bye Mandy! Good luck recovering from your mistakes.

  62. Latoya says:

    @little light –

    Very much so. I’m finding it interesting as the conversation goes on that this person isn’t really engaging with the WOC who sparked conversations. (Though this may be a good thing – the original post was the jumping off point for a lot of other issues that needed to be discussed, and now we are discussing them in various places.)

    And this person could obviously give two fucks about what you or I think – she’s still in attack mode toward the real targets of her ire. And aside from taking a break to school Holly on how to be a WOC (neatly ignoring the fact that Holly is a WOC) that’s what her aim is.

    It wasn’t about justice at all.

    This shit was about some getback.

    And that’s sad, because how often does that play out? How many times do we have to watch other people co-opt our struggles for some backpats and accolades? That’s not solidarity, that’s pimping for cookies.

    I don’t need “allies” who can’t see our humanity.

  63. Kristin says:

    “And with that, I’ll exit… permanently. Commence to cheering now.”

    Right, then. *cries, grasps for smelling salts*

    Back to the OP and substantive comments, then. Just want to sign on to everything that little light, Ravenmn, and Holly have said.

    In addition, Holly:

    “Do you really want people to assume that WOCs did help write that piece, develop those ideas, but weren’t given any credit? What exactly are you claiming DID happen here, anyway?”

    This is kind of an important point. To have had WOC co-writers who remain unacknowledged is *not exactly categorically preferable* to the assumptions that have been made. It would make sense to run with them if one didn’t want to dig oneself deeper into a hole.

    Also, I agree with you about Jill having been willing to admit it when she fucks up. If that had not happened, I think you would have lost many readers–and much respect. And I’m very glad she did.

  64. Kristin says:

    “We have huge problems here with issues of race being shouted down — mostly by a handful of commenters, oftentimes they’re not regular commenters. The shouting matches definitely don’t originate from the other bloggers, which would be horrible and telling.”

    I have noticed this. My own strategy has been to Yell Back at Them, but then… We’re still centering the trolls who think race shouldn’t have a place at the table–and NOT the OP. I’ve noticed this several times with Renee’s guest posts, and I’m glad to hear that you’re all thinking about how to combat this problem.

  65. Kristin says:

    Oh, sorry, Holly, my comment @ 63: “You” meaning feministe, not you personally.

  66. Ico says:

    Wow, Holly. All I can say is WORD, to your entire post. Your response to Mandy was amazingly thoughtful and generous–especially after she called you a bully. I really like this:

    Talk to, engage with, ask if you should, before you speak about. Speak together” and “start with listening and reading to what WOC bloggers are saying, and educating yourself on the varying issues and positions those bloggers take. Continue by talking and asking questions and engaging, showing that you’re committed. Eventually get to the point where you can collaborate WITH women of color to address issues of exploitation, tokenism, colonizing of online spaces.”

    Yes yes yes! So many of the responses to Mandy and Brittany’s article have said this. BFP said it. Sylvia said it. Nanette said it. I don’t get how by this point Mandy and Brittany don’t understand this. But anyway yes, word to this, and to your whole response! :D

  67. Holly says:

    Thanks for the support, everyone, and I hope people will come back to talk more about “how do we deal with well-meaning prejudiced liberals who drift in here off the main boulevard of the liberal blogosphere” when we get into moderation policy and strategy later on.

    I have a couple more thoughts about the feminist blogosphere and race and how much trust and courtesy we extend to each other. These thoughts are indebted to bfp and blackamazon and many other WOC who have written about the reaction of white feminists to criticism about matters of race. So it’s sparked by this current affair, but it’s much bigger than that too.

    There is an idea floating around (and mentioned again by Mandy in this thread, because she feels we weren’t fair to her) that we should all extend each other the courtesy and community solidarity of a thorough background check and a reading of a writer’s entire body of work so that we get where they are coming from. Just because we all write under a shared banner of feminism and in theory, have a shared project.

    Sorry–that is not my experience of feminism any more than it is of equally diffuse self-labels like “liberal.” Even if we wish feminism could be a tight-knit club of trust and benefits of the doubt, where we all share a “project,” it is not. There is no shared project in anything more than the most nebulous sense of the term, it’s hard to define feminism as more than “the equality and liberation of women.” Feminism is too fraught, historically and now, with racism and transphobia and femmephobia and any number of other shortsighted prejudices, to act as an ID card that entitles the holder to a higher level of courtesy than we would extend anyone on the nebulous “left wing.” There are feminists out there who object to my existence and survival simply because of who I am. There are feminists who do not want to talk about race at all, or who feel it’s necessary to interlace their feminism with other kinds of prejudice that I find unnecessary or objectionable, such as hating on all religious people.

    I do not begrudge these feminists the word if they believe they are working for the equality or liberation of women, because part of feminism’s strength is that it is such a huge umbrella encompassing many different approaches and ideologies. Nobody has all the answers, not for more than half of the world’s people. This is where I diverge from, say, bfp — I am willing to share “feminism” with people who are diametrically opposed to me in some ways. Of course, that huge tent and diffuse label means that we don’t all “have each other’s backs” automatically either. Trust must be earned, one small community space at a time.

    If I don’t know you, I am not going to stop and say “hey wait… let’s find out more about this person, I bet she has good intentions and this is all just a misunderstanding. I bet we can mend these fences and come to a better more productive unified feminism!” I gave up on that dream many years ago. If I don’t know you or your reputation from other people I trust, I will treat your words the same as I would someone writing an editorial for the Wall Street Journal. I take them at face value: her words, the responses, how you respond to them, and perhaps most relevantly in this latest case, the way you represent the authorship of your words — for instance, as coming from two white girls who choose to speak on behalf of women of color bloggers. I would not expect any more from someone reading my words; I’ve been castigated for saying dumb shit, and because I had not earned trust in a space, and I got my back up about it, and was upset, and eventually realized what I’d done wrong.

    So yeah. There are many feminisms. There is no “feminist pass” that gets you into every space, or gets you a background check. Your words and how you say them are your passport, and often they speak volumes. You don’t have control over how they’re interpreted. I feel like I get misinterpreted a lot, and I try to clarify. But ultimately? When you publish, you put your words and their framing out there to be read, interpreted, critiqued. Separating that from feeling injured as yourself is a hard thing for any creator to deal with.

    Even when I’m pissed off and more snarky, less productive, I still try to read clarifications. If someone says “hey actually, you should read this earlier thing she wrote, it helps make sense of why she wrote that other thing later,” I’ll go and read it. If someone says “actually, I didn’t mean that. I meant this,” I can do my best to take their word for it. That doesn’t necessarily change the impact of what they said, the emotional reaction. Good intentions never count for everything; they’re just part of the background picture, and they pave the road to hell.

    There are many feminisms. If you run into one that you don’t like, or which doesn’t like you, for whatever reason, even if it’s a total accident — there are other places to go. There are so many communities in need of voices and support and intelligence. The net is vast and infinite. Feminism is as big as every feminist — even though we can never all link arms.

  68. Ico says:

    the whole idea that there’s one universal female experience and that’s what feminists should be writing about is inherently problematic when gender is racialized.

    Yeah, this is something I would like to see addressed a lot more. My following of the blogosphere is a smattering here and a smattering there, but I don’t see things like the fetishization of Asian women, how we’re stereotyped as demure and submissive, and so on addressed very often. I’m hapa, and grew up fairly colorblind and culturally “white” so I don’t experience much of this personally, but I get sick of seeing the sexualized racism in Hollywood all the time. My sister, who looks more Asian than I do, and her Japanese-American lesbian lover both deal with white men hitting on them all the time because they’re Asian. And I can recall things like apartment-hunting with my (white) father and having the folks who show us apartments refer to him euphemistically as my “friend.” But these aren’t experiences that I see reflected very often in the femisphere.

    Identity isn’t something you can separate into neat little packages. For the most part I identify “white” because it reflects my cultural background and the way I’m treated IRL (most people tend to see me as “white”). But’s also because there’s no convenient shorthand for the in-between-ness of being not white, not POC, having to pick a box and feeling like a liar no matter what I choose. Discussions of sexualized racism should be the norm. All discussions of sexism are influenced by race; if you are white the kind of sexism you experience is built upon a history of enshrined white beauty–a pedestal of femininity and weakness that is also a prison. If you are Asian the kind of sexism you experience in America is founded on the exotic, the stereotypes of the submissive and beautiful Oriental woman, the geisha, what-have-you. If you’re a lesbian the sexism is merged with homophobia and you just need to be raped, or else you exist so that men can watch and enjoy it.

    The focus on a monolithic white, middle-class, hetero-and-cissexual white feminism encompasses very little of what is actually relevant to most women.

    “Racialized sexism” is a great term. But yeah. I guess what I am saying is that it’s not something separate from sexism; it’s the norm. Since all sexism is racialized and influenced by other factors as well. We just need to stop normalizing white feminism and start normalizing what is the reality for the vast majority of women in the world.

    In other words… What Latoya said! :)

  69. octogalore says:

    Many cosigns (Latoya, Holly, Lauren) and no additional takes on their comments. It’s too easy, and unproductive, to jump in when someone’s outnumbered, and when feeling cornered, even where critiques are merited, it’s hard to respond constructively as well.

    Mandy, if you are still here, I think the right kind of apology (as folks pointed out on your apology thread) might have gone far to put this back on a better footing and keep the focus on the issues.

    I do think Latoya makes a really good substantive point that deserves more attention — which is that sexism in the anti-racist movement is more on the surface and transparent, whereas in the feminist movement, racism is more stealth or covered by layers of denial.

    This seems like something we should talk about more.

    I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that MOC typically have WOC in their families/communities, whereas white women often do not have WOC in their families/communities. So there may be less of a feeling of comfort among other factors. I can definitely see why the elaborately patronizing swing from defensiveness to over-deference that often crops up in feminist bloglandia would be annoying.

    Anyway, as tempting a target as has been presented, I hope the other issues that have emerged don’t get lost.

    I wonder if

  70. octogalore says:

    sorry, strike last three words

  71. omphaloskeptic says:

    It’s kind of awesome that Mandy expects readers to do more research in responding to her blogessays than she appears to have done herself in writing it.

  72. Mandolin says:

    Racialized sexism. I need to start using that term. Very clueful — thank you.

  73. The Opoponax says:

    I have never been asked to fetch coffee. Never. Does that mean sexist shit doesn’t happen to me at work? No. But that sexism is informed by my race, so instead of assuming this cute young woman should sit prettily in the corner and make coffee, they assume that this name “Latoya Peterson” will manifest into some neck-swiveling straight from the ‘hood stereotype. The white girl being relegated to the coffee machine still has a job. My resume is in the recycle bin.”

    I know this wasn’t said in this thread in particular, but I just wanted to thank Latoya, like, INFINITY for this. This really goes a long way to clarify and give a brilliant example of what we are talking about when we talk about the ways that white women and women of color experience sexism differently. Which, while it’s something I get theoretically and am very much on board with, I sometimes have a hard time seeing how it manifests on the ground.

  74. belledame222 says:

    belledame222: Just FYI, I don’t refer to myself as brown because I am not actually that color most of the time, and there is such a thing as colorism.

    Noted, and apologies.

  75. belledame222 says:

    I do think Latoya makes a really good substantive point that deserves more attention — which is that sexism in the anti-racist movement is more on the surface and transparent, whereas in the feminist movement, racism is more stealth or covered by layers of denial.

    This seems like something we should talk about more.

    I can’t speak as much to sexism in the anti-racist movement particularly, but I will say I think at least for a lot of white feminists–women, that is, esp. of particular backgrounds/class/etc, there’s a piece about socialization, esp. when it comes to conflict and anger. I mean I think there’s denial, at least, in pretty much all of these…dynamics (Kos: whaddya MEAN we’re being sexist? You’re making a big deal out of nothing). But what you’re calling “stealth,” I think, is maybe more related to, a lot of us (to varying degrees, obviously I’m way generalizing) are used to being indirect, just as a general mode of being.

    So, yeah, there’s the piece about, sure, it can be used as a way of upholding/maintaining power, especially when other people get angry and getting visibly angry is considered a way of losing status. But whatever’s behind how we got to that place, I think there’s a genuine disconnect, sometimes: one person’s/culture’s (again overgeneralizing, but there are patterns) “not angry, just responding” is “zomg why are you so ANGRY?” to white feminist x. I’m not saying this is the only thing going on, but it’s often there.

  76. Deoridhe says:

    Latoya (@49): That’sa great point you made about how overt and open racism is eaiser to deal with than covert and hidden racism. Honesty is so paramount, I think, and can best be seen in the congruence of words AND actions.

    Holly: “Do you really want people to assume that WOCs did help write that piece, develop those ideas, but weren’t given any credit?”

    Hasn’t this been a problem in the past? I remember brownfemipower in particular talking about what she was writing about showing up on mainstream blogs with her name neatly removed and no links back.

    It seems almost like an inverse of using people as tokens – now the ideas sort of penetrate and are used, but it pushes up the value of the white person claiming the words for her own. I believe it’s also exactly what happened within early Rock and Roll music – down to sometimes black singers doing voice-overs for the white stars who became famous.

    In other words, nothing new.

  77. Pingback: three rivers fog » Quoted

  78. The Opoponax says:

    But what you’re calling “stealth,” I think, is maybe more related to, a lot of us (to varying degrees, obviously I’m way generalizing) are used to being indirect, just as a general mode of being.

    So, yeah, there’s the piece about, sure, it can be used as a way of upholding/maintaining power, especially when other people get angry and getting visibly angry is considered a way of losing status.

    I think it all goes back to the junior high tactics of the pecking order, and shunning, and using somewhat informal social structures to make undesirable people completely invisible. And I’m pretty sure we don’t do it entirely consciously, why is why it’s so hard to just own, learn from, and move beyond. It’s much easier to just get caught in a loop of denial that anything is really happening. Or point to the “real” bad guys like the Klan.

  79. Latoya, great comments. I recently wrote two posts on white cops beating a black man, and was inundated with nasty emails and trolls. I never get that any other time. They are out there googling this shit!

    I can only imagine what it’s like to be a WOC blogger who makes these stories a priority… I am amazed at the spiritual, psychological and emotional stamina to be able to deal with that shit constantly. In fact, I am in AWE. I would have folded long ago.

    We understand that the experiences of white women and WOC are different… this means white women BLOGGING and WOC BLOGGING are also very different experiences. It just isn’t one-size-fits-all.

    After WOC bloggers have been dealing with these kinds of icky white people 24/7, it is patently foolish to expect oodles of charity to come our way. I think this might be something Mandy is missing.

  80. belledame222 says:

    I think it all goes back to the junior high tactics of the pecking order, and shunning, and using somewhat informal social structures to make undesirable people completely invisible. And I’m pretty sure we don’t do it entirely consciously, why is why it’s so hard to just own, learn from, and move beyond. It’s much easier to just get caught in a loop of denial that anything is really happening. Or point to the “real” bad guys like the Klan.

    That too.

  81. belledame222 says:

    Hasn’t this been a problem in the past? I remember brownfemipower in particular talking about what she was writing about showing up on mainstream blogs with her name neatly removed and no links back.

    It seems almost like an inverse of using people as tokens – now the ideas sort of penetrate and are used, but it pushes up the value of the white person claiming the words for her own.

    well and to connect back to B&M’s original piece (groan) that was part of what people were having a big problem with. Not just the “speaking for,” but the actual work relegated to footnotes. and then, once again, back to mememememe “us” (white elitist yadda feminists) while still not really directly addressing the WoC that are supposedly the subject of concern.

  82. octogalore says:

    Belle makes an interesting point about whether people from different backgrounds or races have different modes of expression – so that stealth is more related to a general tendency to communicate indirectly than to racism – if I am understanding correctly?

    I think this is one of a number of different concepts though. Being indirect and being unemotional are two different things. Secondly, neither are necessarily racism, although can be. What I read Latoya to be addressing was stealth racism vs overt sexism.

    I do agree that there’s a tendency among white feminists, particularly academic ones, to prefer an abstracted way of communicating that isn’t direct. Sometimes this is just a pain in the ass, other times it can mask issues with race.

    Being unemotional in presenting ideas is a separate issue. One can be unemotional but very direct. I think this is stuff to treat carefully with as there are two potential problems I see here – others may disagree. First, if the suggestion is that WOC or people of different cultures or classes communicate more emotionally – I think that’s arguable and possibly stereotypical. There are so many other factors like age, family patterns, etc.

    Also, this gets into a genderized area. You know, “cold bitch” vs “serious person,” etc., kinda like aggressive/assertive and the other gender binaries. In the placement field, I’ve certainly seen female candidates of mine, of all races, be criticized by potential employers for not being “warm” whereas men are just seen as being “tough, professional.” In fact, a litigation partner I just placed who is a woman and Cuban was viewed by one firm as being “surprisingly stoic” and they weren’t sure she would “fit.” So maybe the expectation that women will be more emotional is both race-driven and gender-driven. In any case, I’m nervous about adding an expectation that to be suitably non-racist, a woman should be a certain way in how she argues. Now, if you are saying instead that she does not have to adopt any particular style herself but embrace a variety of styles in others, that seems like a solid suggestion.

  83. belledame222 says:

    LL @ 54: win.

    Raven @54 yes, and it’s so frigging frustrating, again, because you’d think (white) women would be able to extrapolate from their own experiences (c’mon, someone must’ve had a few) -being- the “token” at an all-male shindig of some sort of another. How’d it make you feel? What did you want to say to the men in question? How would you want them to respond? It’s the same deal in principle.

  84. belledame222 says:

    It was more or less my point, although I’d like to note again that the presence of one isn’t mutually exclusive with the other, and often isn’t. And/or, there’s arguably a structural piece about cultural indirectness being used as a way to shore up power, or can do, at least. But I can feel myself getting off track.

    per unemotional vs direct, I agree that they’re two different things, and perhaps I was conflating them. I do think that both pieces have been at play overall: the “why do you get so -angry-/emotional” part, and the “direct confronation is scary mkay” part.

  85. belledame222 says:

    also, per the “angry” part of it, I want to reiterate what others have noted, often: that “you’re too angry/emotional/sensitive” is often used as a way to dismiss concerns, and as often as not (it doesn’t matter, really, but it’s more telling when it does happen to be true), the “you’re so emotional” person has gotten plenty emotional herself, but sees no contradiction between her own “legitimate” outbursts and the the upset expressed by the WoC or pick your demographic (it happens in various dynamics). Particularly of course if the upset seems at all leveled against the person saying “you’re too angry,” or even if the “you’re too angry” -thinks- it’s anger leveled at herself, because uh oh, anger coming at me, danger Will Robinson…

    and the privilege part comes in with, well -no one- likes the feeling of other people being mad at them, but it gets overlooked that the WoC (or whomever) can relate to that feeling -and- to whatever’s the cause of her current frustration, which is multiplied every time someone dismisses it or turns it back on her, yet again…but the white (or whatever, depending on the dynamic) woman doesn’t really get it or hear it, because -she doesn’t have to.-

  86. The Opoponax says:

    Belle makes an interesting point about whether people from different backgrounds or races have different modes of expression – so that stealth is more related to a general tendency to communicate indirectly than to racism – if I am understanding correctly?

    To me, racism becomes a part of it when we refuse to acknowledge the differences, or refuse to acknowledge that the white middle class* way isn’t the only form of “correct” social behavior. This is something I catch my (white and middle class) family down south doing all the time. A black or hispanic person behaves in a way they don’t think is “correct”, and rather than understand that cultural differences exist and it’s OK, it because a justification for some extremely fucked up ideas about race. Ummm, y’know, not to start pointing fingers at the “real bad guys”, of course… It’s just something I first noticed watching my family react to people of color.

    * to make a gross oversimplification of the source of this, of course – there’s a little part of me that wants to call it “WASP” behavior, or Northern European Bourgeois behavior, or something like that.

  87. The Opoponax says:

    it BECOMES a justification, sorry.

  88. The Opoponax says:

    I do agree that there’s a tendency among white feminists, particularly academic ones, to prefer an abstracted way of communicating that isn’t direct. Sometimes this is just a pain in the ass, other times it can mask issues with race.

    I was thinking about this, actually, when I wrote that thank-you to Latoya, above. I feel like a lot of white feminism couches itself in EXTREMELY abstract terms, and one of the benefits of that is that white feminists can be sort of glib about racial issues. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, intersectional feminism, overlapping oppressions, blah blah blah we TOTALLY get that, OK?! Now let’s move on and talk about the truly important issues, like for instance the impact of post-structural literary theory…”

    Which isn’t to say that sort of feminism isn’t valuable, but I think it has an added benefit of allowing white feminists to duck more concrete issues by insisting that we understand in the abstract.

  89. belledame222 says:

    To me, racism becomes a part of it when we refuse to acknowledge the differences, or refuse to acknowledge that the white middle class* way isn’t the only form of “correct” social behavior.

    Yes, that’s a great point.

    And yes also to it being most associated in my mind with WASP/Northern European. I do think class aspiration/”gentility”/assimilation tends to make a lot more people adhere to those values, but that is more or less the “dominant” culture norm in the U.S., at least historically speaking.

  90. belledame222 says:

    The abstraction I think is often a way of avoiding discomfort; well, I don’t really “get” this, and either I’m aware of this but I don’t want to “overstep,” or I’m not even conscious of that going on so I’m just blithely chatting away at what to -me- is a fascinating little intellectual exercise whilst unconscious that there are other people in the room for whom it isn’t abstract -at all.-

  91. belledame222 says:

    Now, if you are saying instead that she does not have to adopt any particular style herself but embrace a variety of styles in others, that seems like a solid suggestion.

    Well, off of what the Opaponox said: be mindful of it, and don’t assume one’s own way is the “right” way, because that’s a part of the problem in the first place. and be aware that one might not think one is harboring such assumptions, but still have blind spots about a lot of areas which one takes for granted because, well, that’s how -everyone- does it, isn’t it?

  92. La Lubu says:

    I feel like a lot of white feminism couches itself in EXTREMELY abstract terms,

    To me, a lot of that is more about trying to appear more intellectual than a person really is. Not being forthcoming with a concrete example to go with the abstract concept is putting on a front—which goes right along with what belle is saying about assimilation. Fake-it-till-you-make-it. Yet another reason I got a lot out of Alfred Lubrano’s book, Limbo.

  93. amandaw says:

    Wow. I have to say this much: pulling out the “BUT YOU USE THIS LOGICAL FALLACY” card with such relish doesn’t really make your arguments look much better. It just makes you look like you think you’re Better than Those Peons Over There Who Haven’t Even Taken College Level Logic Courses, Feh!

  94. The Opoponax says:

    The abstraction I think is often a way of avoiding discomfort; well, I don’t really “get” this, and either I’m aware of this but I don’t want to “overstep,” or I’m not even conscious of that going on so I’m just blithely chatting away at what to -me- is a fascinating little intellectual exercise whilst unconscious that there are other people in the room for whom it isn’t abstract -at all.-

    Oh, I don’t at all mean that abstract conversation isn’t worthwhile. I definitely think there’s a lot of worth in abstract conversations about feminist issues, I just wonder at how much of the super-impenetrable and inaccessible stuff is sort of a sand pit to bury our ostrich heads in.

  95. amandaw says:

    Also, I agree with you about Jill having been willing to admit it when she fucks up. If that had not happened, I think you would have lost many readers–and much respect. And I’m very glad she did.

    ‘s the reason I felt safe guestblogging here this summer. There’s something to be said for building credibility.

    And let me paraphrase something I’ve had to say to someone very dear to me when our relationship was seriously rocked recently:

    “I can’t tell you it’s going to be OK. Or that I trust you. Or that I’ll forgive you. And you can’t tell me that you’re sorry, and you’ll be better now. Because it means shit all right now. You have to demonstrate, over time, that you mean it, by actually being better now. That’s the only way the trust comes back.”

    It’s a philosophy I do my best to follow through life. Fuck, it’s why I never gave my teachers a reason that I didn’t have my homework/essay/Final Semester Projex0rz! done that day. Because how is my excuse going to make the work show up? Just apologize, shut your mouth and do the fucking work. Don’t worry about proving yourself until you have something to prove yourself with.

    That’s something that Jill has put an effort into doing, and I’ve watched with interest, given disability isn’t always an easy subject in the comment section here either. But the way I’ve seen her, Cara, and Holly handle things when they get ugly (and I’m around to watch), well, it built trust. And ‘s why I like it around here, even when things get hostile. There are some good peeps saying some pretty awesome things and it’s nice to be around for that.

  96. belledame222 says:

    La Lubu: that, too.

    amandaw: tangential rant, but not only that but it’s always the same one(s) and half the time it’s not even appropriate. I mean if I hear the “that’s a straw ______” ONE more time.

  97. belledame222 says:

    rereading #58 more slowly, and–damn, yeah, Mandy just basically got a huge gift and doesn’t even appreciate it, just storms out. So tired of that. anyway.

  98. belledame222 says:

    There is an idea floating around (and mentioned again by Mandy in this thread, because she feels we weren’t fair to her) that we should all extend each other the courtesy and community solidarity of a thorough background check and a reading of a writer’s entire body of work so that we get where they are coming from. Just because we all write under a shared banner of feminism and in theory, have a shared project.

    Sorry–that is not my experience of feminism any more than it is of equally diffuse self-labels like “liberal.” Even if we wish feminism could be a tight-knit club of trust and benefits of the doubt, where we all share a “project,” it is not.

    besides which–and this ALWAYS seems to come up in a zillion other situations like this, where butthurt white feminist (or whatever else it is today) goes, how DARE you be meen to me! you don’t KNOW me, maaaaaaan.

    and it’s like: well, shit, did she even pay -you- the courtesy of checking your bio or anything else before deciding to lecture you on race relations and calling you a “bully?” For a start. But I mean: that -always- happens. The “you don’t KNOW me maaaaaan” whinge -always- comes from someone who’s just addressed/spoken -about- a whole group of very different people who are only united by belonging roughly to the same demographic, many of whom have just taken -way- more time and energy and patience than required or deserved on crafting individual, nuanced responses to said whiner, as though they were so many two-dimensional extras muttering “rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.”

    the only thing they ever seem to pick out of all of that is the odd exasperated insult, which they seize on and wave like a bloody handkerchief. You see?? You SEE?!?

    There’s this phenomenon an acting/directing teacher used to refer to, with actors waiting for their lines to come up, even while making all the right emotive faces their role requires:

    “Bullshit bullshit bullshit ME…”

  99. Kai says:

    If we’re gonna talk about tokenism — and its subversion — I have only one thing to say: The Spook Who Sat By The Door. This is a classic novel and movie — well, in certain communities of color — precisely because of the way it turned tokenism into revolution.

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  101. Donna says:

    Kai, I don’t know how I missed that post at your place. It must have been during one of my many hiatuses. I am glad you posted it now. I’m also glad you pointed out that it is an example of double consciousness/dual consciousness. Some white people are unclear on the concept. If a POC tells them that we understand white people as well as our own people, they ask, Well why won’t you grant that some white people might also be able to do the same? It’s just highly unlikely, because white people don’t have to, that’s part of privilege. POC have to understand white people when we live in a white world, or we don’t get jobs, or we don’t get loans, or we don’t get apartments, or we don’t get good grades in school. In a worst case scenario if we can’t read white people we are subject to violence and even death. The example I gave is that Oscar Grant pleaded with that cop not to tase him, not to hurt him, told him he had a daughter. If a white man was being arrested for getting rowdy on New Years Eve I doubt he would have felt it necessary to beg for his safety. Oscar Grant could read the violence about to explode off of that cop, but it didn’t save him. White people don’t have to deal with POC so they remain ignorant about our lives and way of being or understand as little as possible.

    Anyway, it sounds like Freeman knew their expectations and prejudices and played to them to be able to spy on the spies. He let them think he was stupid so that his real intentions remained undetected, let them underestimate him like he knew they would.

  102. La Lubu says:

    I have to second and third Kai’s and Donna’s recommendation of The Spook Who Sat By The Door. That was my template for surviving my early days in the trades.

  103. Kai says:

    Donna, yep, in my view, grasping the concept of dual consciousness is probably the first big turning point in understanding racism. When I was growing up, my dual consciousness had sharp definitions: there was a certain consciousness at home, in the world of my family life with the pungent and spicy smells in the kitchen and the sounds of Chinese being spoken and a certain history and knowledge hanging in the air and just the way we did things and talked about things and thought about things; then there was life in the classroom, with a white person standing in front of the chalkboard and a white principal who viciously slapped me around her office knowing that I wouldn’t cry or even tell my parents, and there was walking into a bank, and filling out a police report, and filling out a college application, and filling out a job application — all the things in which we are dependent upon a largely hostile white world and thus must negotiate whiteness with caution and savvy.

    I don’t know if you were around at the time but I also chose to interpret Obama’s momentous “race speech” through the lens of dual consciousness.

    Tokenism? Hell yeah. I worked for years on Wall Street and in corporate media and was at times told in the most blunt terms, “We’re bringing you to this meeting to show you off.” I’ve never been vain enough to believe that my “success” in life is due to my personal awesomeness, I’ve gotten lucky and others haven’t and it’s that simple. But the whole time I worked in those spaces, I felt like The Spook Who Sat By The Door. I was studying. Now I’m out the other end of that tunnel. And I’m getting busy. ;-)

  104. Kai says:

    Donna, yep, in my view, grasping the concept of dual consciousness is the first big turning point in understanding racism. When I was growing up as a kid of color (KOC) in white racist society, my experience of dual consciousness had sharp definitions: there was my home life with the pungent and spicy aromas in the kitchen and the sounds of Chinese being spoken and a certain knowledge and history hanging in the air and just our way of doing things and thinking about things; then there was life in the classroom, with a white person standing in front of a chalkboard and a white principal who slapped me around her office knowing that I wouldn’t cry or even tell my parents, and walking into white banks and white police stations, and filling out college applications and job applications — all the things in which we are dependent on whiteness and so learn to negotiate for survival.

    I don’t know if you were around at the time but I also chose to interpret Obama’s race speech through the lens of dual consciousness.

    Tokenism? Hell yeah. I worked for years on Wall Street and in corporate media and was occasionally told in the bluntest terms, “We’re bringing you to this meeting to show you off.” I’ve never been vain enough to believe that my “success” in life is due to my personal awesomess; I’ve gotten lucky and others haven’t and it’s that simple. But the whole time I’ve felt like The Spook Who Sat By The Door, and now I’m out the other end of the tunnel and I’m getting busy. ;-)

  105. Kai says:

    Well I tried 3 times to post a reponse to Donna’s comment but it doesn’t appear to be taking. I’ll try once more, and I apologize if this comment ends up appearing in 3 or 4 times; I humbly ask our host bloggers to delete extraneous copies!

    ~ ~ ~

    Donna, yep, in my view, grasping the concept of dual consciousness is the first big turning point in understanding racism. When I was growing up as a kid of color (KOC) in white racist society, my experience of dual consciousness had sharp definitions: there was my home life with the pungent and spicy aromas in the kitchen and the sounds of Chinese being spoken and a certain knowledge and history hanging in the air and just our way of doing things and thinking about things; then there was life in the classroom, with a white person standing in front of a chalkboard and a white principal who slapped me around her office knowing that I wouldn’t cry or even tell my parents, and walking into white banks and white police stations, and filling out college applications and job applications — all the things in which we are dependent on whiteness and so learn to negotiate for survival.

    I don’t know if you were around at the time but I also chose to interpret Obama’s race speech through the lens of dual consciousness.

    Tokenism? Hell yeah. I worked for years on Wall Street and in corporate media and was occasionally told in the bluntest terms, “We’re bringing you to this meeting to show you off.” I’ve never been vain enough to believe that my “success” in life is due to my personal awesomess; I’ve gotten lucky and others haven’t and it’s that simple. But the whole time I’ve felt like The Spook Who Sat By The Door, and now I’m out the other end of the tunnel and I’m getting busy. ;-)

  106. Holly says:

    I had no idea the film version of that book had finally been rediscovered. Thanks so much, Kai. I remember reading that not long after I saw Putney Swope, which is like the dumbed-down satirical blacksploitation version that was allowed to survive (although still hard to find)

  107. belledame222 says:

    Rereading the comments thread from the linked post from last March, a few stood out at me: here’s one that seemed particularly relevant now:

    Katie Loncke says:
    March 9th, 2008 at 3:14 am – Edit
    First of all, I’m very thankful that this conversation is happening. As others have observed, it shows we have a ways to go in building anti-racist feminist solidarity, but there’s so much fantastic knowledge being shared here, too.

    If I may add one more maneuver to the list:

    The Adam Smith
    “I think anti-racist work is essential, and I try to learn about it when I can, but my pet feminist issue is also really important and totally urgent, so I’ve got to prioritize my expertise. As long as I specialize in Roe/birth control/sex ed/misogynist advertising, and others do Black/Latin@/API stuff, the invisible hand of social justice will work its magic and we’ll all get free!”

    I see this one a lot. But like Joe Barndt writes in “Preaching To The Choir”:

    The simple truth is if you work on any other issue of justice and do not at the same time build in an understanding of racism, you will be working on that issue in a racist way. If you work on women’s issues and do not take race seriously, you wil be a racist feminist.

    If you work on reproductive justice and only talk about abortion access, ignoring problems of forced sterilization, welfare provisions contingent upon limiting fertility, nativist advocacy for immigrant population control, and unaffordable health care, you’re approaching reproductive justice in a racist way. (Just like most white-dominated media does.) If you address domestic abuse and uncritically promote police intervention, ignoring persistent state violence and the criminalization of men of color in particular, you’re fighting DV from a perspective that privileges white middle-class experience. Etc. Racism can’t be tacked on the end of (white) feminist analysis or treated as its own ’separate issue’ — it needs to be consistently integrated and centered.

  108. Catherine says:

    Actually Holly does come off as a bully here.

  109. Holly says:

    Oh, I agree. That’s why I took it down a notch in my longish follow-up. It’s not the same as changing the original post or having written it in a nicer way, but I don’t think it’s exactly honest to edit your original work either. I was pissed off, I came off mean. I admit that I have that tendency, and I can cool off and talk more calmly about a subject too, but I don’t think censoring anger or letting it all dissipate is always the right thing either.

  110. Butterflywings says:

    Belledame22:
    ‘If you work on reproductive justice and only talk about abortion access, ignoring problems of forced sterilization, welfare provisions contingent upon limiting fertility, nativist advocacy for immigrant population control, and unaffordable health care, you’re approaching reproductive justice in a racist
    way. (Just like most white-dominated media does.)’
    Ooohkaaay. Did you miss the part of CHOICE that is, er, CHOICE – to reproduce or not? So, yeah, of course restricting anyone’s choice is wrong.
    And no non-white women ever want an abortion??

    If you address domestic abuse and uncritically promote police intervention, ignoring persistent state violence and the criminalization of men of color in particular, you’re fighting DV from a perspective that privileges white middle-class experience.’
    So white middle-class women don’t experience domestic violence now? Or can buy their way out or something?
    Domestic abusers who happen to be not white don’t deserve to be reported to the police? Their crime is lesser because the poor ickle menz are not white?
    The police should take *all* DV seriously. Should. Not that there aren’t issues with police racism, but a ‘feminism’ that puts abusive men before women, asking WOC not to be ‘race traitors’ is, well, not feminism.
    Besides, no feminists actually insist on DV victims reporting to the police; for many reasons, some victims of ALL races are reluctant to do so. Feminism is about supporting victims in their choices.

    I don’t think the above are instances of feminism being excluding, at all, but of identity politics twisting it to seem that way. If feminism actually said ‘hey, get an abortion for fun!’ or ‘totes call the police on your abuser, if you don’t it’s your own fault you get abused!’ you’d be right, but it *doesn’t*.

    And denelian has a great point; online, you can’t assume anything about the person you’re talking to. It’s telling how commenters are attacked or ignored if assumed to be white and middle class, and fawned all over if they say they are not. Judge people by what they say, not some irrelevant characteristic; that’s equality, isn’t it?

  111. Kai says:

    It’s telling how commenters are attacked or ignored if assumed to be white and middle class, and fawned all over if they say they are not.

    LOL

    Limbaughesque POC-resenting white-persecution-syndrome busts out into Feministe airspace.

    Yeah so I’m gonna have to go ahead and mostly agree with Resist Racism, at least in certain cases, on some of the ways that racism harms white folks.

  112. The Opoponax says:

    Ooohkaaay. Did you miss the part of CHOICE that is, er, CHOICE – to reproduce or not? So, yeah, of course restricting anyone’s choice is wrong.
    And no non-white women ever want an abortion??

    I don’t think this is belledame’s point, at all. I think what she’s saying is that, in whatever feminist issue white women find ourselves concentrating on, we need to be aware of and work on the whole issue, not just the way that issue affects us and women who are exactly like us (whether we’re talking race, class, sexual orientation, gender conformingness, whatever). To me it’s not so much that white (straight/middle-class/whatever) feminists don’t support the full spectrum of issues, but just that we don’t think much about what that means or work very hard for aspects of those issues that don’t immediately apply to us. A tacit, “oh, yeah, OK, so apparently those “other” women have different needs vis a vis feminism… Meh, whatever, THOSE AMERICAN APPAREL ADS ARE SO OFFENSIVE!!1!11!!!” isn’t enough.

  113. belledame222 says:

    uh, BW, that quote you’re attributing to me, I didn’t say it. I think you’re confusing me with someone else. just FYI.

    i might be agreeing with oponanax in any case, rereading it, but, yeah, I am not the droid you are seeking, or something.

  114. belledame222 says:

    –oh, duh, sorry, that’s from the Katie Loncke quote I had lifted from the other thread, I forgot to blockquote. But, yeah, in context with the entire quote–what opopanox said wrt the author’s probable intentions. At least that’s how I read it.

  115. belledame222 says:

    anyway, garsh, I’m white and middle-class; you totally could’ve fawned all over me there, and you missed your chance. I feel so bereft.

  116. belledame222 says:

    Kai: before even going over there, I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess: makes us gratuitously thickheaded and thin-skinned?

  117. Butterflywings says:

    Belledame, I was responding to the Joe Barndt quote your 5.21 comment:
    ‘If you work on reproductive justice and only talk about abortion access, ignoring problems of forced sterilization, welfare provisions contingent upon limiting fertility, nativist advocacy for immigrant population control, and unaffordable health care, you’re approaching reproductive justice in a racist way. (Just like most white-dominated media does.)
    If you address domestic abuse and uncritically promote police intervention…’ and so on.

    The Opoponax, hmm, but I read the quote as saying that talking about abortion access at all without mentioning the other side is racist. First, as I said, I don’t know anyone who supports abortion who would coerce woman into abortion/ sterilisation…that just seems a given. I seriously don’t think women are discouraged from reproducing when they want to, but then, I’m from the UK and welfare benefits are not dependent on not having (more) children, and non-white women have not been sterilised. There may be classist ideas about who is fit to reproduce, sure, but these affect poor white women (again, UK perspective). I have seen unaffordable healthcare mentioned a lot, actually, as a barrier to obtaining contraception. I agree ignoring those issues is problematic, but bashing feminism struck me as an unfair generalisation, because I am saying it doesn’t universally ignore them.

    ‘just that we don’t think much about what that means or work very hard for aspects of those issues that don’t immediately apply to us ‘ – but what specific aspects do you mean? As I see it, women need access to free/ cheap healthcare, including non-judgemental advice and unbiased information.

    I don’t think feminists say anything different.

    I seriously have not met a feminist who would be more encouraging of a non-white woman than a white woman in the same circumstances having a termination, which is what I meant about it being her choice either way.

    I understand the stereotypes wrt ‘omg immigrants reproducing’, but that said, I am not sure it impacts on non-white women’s choices. OK, unpleasant attitudes are one thing, but you seriously think non-white women are thinking ‘oh noes, I want a kid but some people might say nasty things to me?’ It’s not as if women can be forcibly sterilised or made to have abortions (at least, in the ‘western’ world).

    And Belledame, uh, I was not advocating fawning all over white middle-class people, any more than the opposite. How about actually treating people’s arguments online on their merits? It is a beef I have generally with assuming stuff from one or two comments on the Internet.

    It is just a trend I’ve noticed on feminist sites (not confined to this one) that might be called identity politics – I have seen the exact same comment ignored or attacked coming from a woman who didn’t specify her creds, but prefixed with ‘as a WOC/ disabled woman/ whatever’ suddenly it was OMG. the. best. comment. ever. 111! And the point is not that I think the reverse should happen, but anyone’s ideas should be up for criticism. Criticising the idea is not criticising the person. Note: I said everyone. I am not saying white people have better ideas, before someone twists what I said to mean that, but that actually it’s a kind of patronising thing that happens from mainly white commenters to a token minority.

    And we have a classic case here – Kai claiming that all white people are racist.

    FYI, Kai, I have never assumed a non-white person is less knowledgeable than a white person, and I think making slit-eye imitations etc. is racist. I also thought the Obama chimp cartoon was racist. So try not making unfounded assumptions that you know what is in someone’s mind.

    And yes, I know, it is not about me, and I usually don’t make it so, but your post was clearly in direct response to mine. So this time it is.

    I have just come from trying to explain to a white person why whining about immigration, specifically immigrants taking all the jobs, is racist.

    The irony.

  118. Butterflywings says:

    Oh and on domestic violence – again, I’ve never heard feminists uncritically support police intervention. As I said, if one does, I’d call her on it, but it’s not a trend in feminism in general.

  119. Butterflywings says:

    I’ve never been asked to make coffee at work. Not once. In many junior office jobs.

    There’s a difference between writing as if ALL women experience the same thing, and a woman writing about her experience of that. We can only write about our own experiences.

    I do accept that non-white women often aren’t treated as weaker/ less capable.

    I don’t disagree with Little Light. I’d say sexism affects all women, but plays out in different ways for different women depending on many factors including race, class, ability etc….I completely agree feminist writing should not write as if the white middle-class version IS universal sexism.

    That said, I DO think broad issues affect all women, which is why the quote Belledame quoted struck me as wrong, because reproductive freedom and domestic violence affect women of all colours, classes etc. They do. And accusations of racism aren’t helpful or constructive.

    And the police may beat non-white men they think are criminals, but they ignore accusations completely if the man is white and ‘respectable’. Then women die. As indeed they do if an abused woman doesn’t call the police at all. Neither is right.

    Just, well, women should work together

    I am amazed that anyone would prefer blatant, overt sexism to what Latoya describes as subtle racism. It is interesting that racist is perceived as a big insult…I have to say I’d take the well-meaning person, who may get it wrong, but is at least willing to try. That is, I don’t know what to *do* with blatantly sexist men who literally say women’s place is in the kitchen, butbut if a man appears to basically accept that women are equal, even if they have probematic ideas, at leasy you can debate with them…

  120. Butterflywings says:

    ‘Unfortunately, woman-blaming attitudes that reinforce the culpability of women who are victimized instead of the men who are the perpetrators, are found in all racial/ethnic groups.’
    Said by Traci C West. A black woman. Is she a self-hater who has intenalised racism?

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