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121 Responses

  1. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax February 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm |

    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
    Marshall February 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm |

    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
    Lynn February 28, 2009 at 9:52 pm |

    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
    Lynn February 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

    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
    Kristin February 28, 2009 at 10:20 pm |

    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
    Lauren February 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm |

    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
    shah8 February 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm |

    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
    Anna February 28, 2009 at 11:37 pm |

    [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
    denelian March 1, 2009 at 2:41 am |

    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
    T. Love March 1, 2009 at 7:09 am |

    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
    Sylvia/M March 1, 2009 at 8:11 am |

    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...
    Well... March 1, 2009 at 11:24 am |

    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
    Medea March 1, 2009 at 11:31 am |

    @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
    Anna March 1, 2009 at 12:15 pm |

    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
    little light March 1, 2009 at 12:23 pm |

    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
    piny March 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm |

    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
    evil_fizz March 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |

    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
    Lauren March 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |

    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
    Cecily March 1, 2009 at 7:30 pm |

    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
    corwin March 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm |

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

  21. T. Love
    T. Love March 1, 2009 at 9:17 pm |

    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
    Margalis March 1, 2009 at 10:18 pm |

    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
    Ravenmn March 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm |

    “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
    MandyV March 1, 2009 at 11:47 pm |

    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
    Kristin March 1, 2009 at 11:50 pm |

    “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
    Lauren March 1, 2009 at 11:51 pm |

    @ 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
    Jill March 1, 2009 at 11:54 pm | *

    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. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz March 2, 2009 at 12:21 am |

    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?

  29. ilyka
    ilyka March 2, 2009 at 12:29 am |

    *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.

  30. annaham
    annaham March 2, 2009 at 12:35 am |

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

  31. Lauren
    Lauren March 2, 2009 at 12:36 am |

    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.

  32. Jill
    Jill March 2, 2009 at 12:43 am | *

    @ 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?

  33. Feministe » Who Gets to Say What, Part II (Blog Hierarchies)

    [...] Comments Jill on Who Gets To Say What (Part I: Tokenism)Lauren on Who Gets To Say What (Part I: Tokenism)annaham on Who Gets To Say What (Part I: [...]

  34. Donna
    Donna March 2, 2009 at 3:00 am |

    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.

  35. MandyV
    MandyV March 2, 2009 at 4:16 am |

    @ 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?

  36. Medea
    Medea March 2, 2009 at 4:53 am |

    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.

  37. queen emily
    queen emily March 2, 2009 at 6:37 am |

    Holly a bully? Ha, that’s genius.

    DO be oblivious and privileged. Moar patronizing pls x

  38. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 7:21 am |

    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).

  39. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 7:22 am |

    “any doubt…is gone.”

  40. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:00 am |

    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.”

  41. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:09 am |

    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.

  42. Kristin
    Kristin March 2, 2009 at 8:28 am |

    “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.

  43. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:31 am |

    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-

  44. little light
    little light March 2, 2009 at 8:42 am |

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

  45. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:43 am |

    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:

  46. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:46 am |

    “if they aren’t in it already”

  47. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson March 2, 2009 at 8:53 am |

    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.

  48. Kristin
    Kristin March 2, 2009 at 8:59 am |

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

    *dies*

  49. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 9:04 am |

    AHAHAHAHAHA

  50. Jill
    Jill March 2, 2009 at 9:06 am | *

    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.

  51. Jill
    Jill March 2, 2009 at 9:28 am | *

    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.”

  52. little light
    little light March 2, 2009 at 9:30 am |

    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.

  53. Jill
    Jill March 2, 2009 at 9:40 am | *

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

  54. Ravenmn
    Ravenmn March 2, 2009 at 9:53 am |

    “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.

  55. Kristin
    Kristin March 2, 2009 at 10:09 am |

    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.

  56. MandyV
    MandyV March 2, 2009 at 10:16 am |

    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.

  57. Sarah J
    Sarah J March 2, 2009 at 10:16 am |

    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.

  58. Latoya
    Latoya March 2, 2009 at 10:23 am |

    @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.

  59. Kristin
    Kristin March 2, 2009 at 10:25 am |

    “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.

  60. Kristin
    Kristin March 2, 2009 at 10:30 am |

    “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.

  61. Kristin
    Kristin March 2, 2009 at 10:31 am |

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

  62. Ico
    Ico March 2, 2009 at 10:49 am |

    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

  63. Ico
    Ico March 2, 2009 at 11:40 am |

    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! :)

  64. octogalore
    octogalore March 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm |

    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

  65. octogalore
    octogalore March 2, 2009 at 1:48 pm |

    sorry, strike last three words

  66. omphaloskeptic
    omphaloskeptic March 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm |

    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.

  67. Mandolin
    Mandolin March 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm |

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

  68. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax March 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm |

    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.

  69. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm |

    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.

  70. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 6:07 pm |

    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.

  71. Deoridhe
    Deoridhe March 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm |

    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.

  72. three rivers fog » Quoted
    three rivers fog » Quoted March 2, 2009 at 7:16 pm |

    [...] from Lynn’s comment at Feministe.) by amandaw on Monday, March 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm Tags : class, control, culture, disability, [...]

  73. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax March 2, 2009 at 7:36 pm |

    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.

  74. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead March 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm |

    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.

  75. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:17 pm |

    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.

  76. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:21 pm |

    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.

  77. octogalore
    octogalore March 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm |

    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.

  78. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:44 pm |

    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.

  79. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm |

    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.

  80. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 8:54 pm |

    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.-

  81. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax March 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm |

    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.

  82. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax March 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm |

    it BECOMES a justification, sorry.

  83. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax March 2, 2009 at 9:06 pm |

    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.

  84. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 9:22 pm |

    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.

  85. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 9:24 pm |

    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.-

  86. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 9:27 pm |

    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?

  87. La Lubu
    La Lubu March 2, 2009 at 9:31 pm |

    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.

  88. amandaw
    amandaw March 2, 2009 at 9:42 pm |

    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!

  89. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax March 2, 2009 at 9:42 pm |

    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.

  90. amandaw
    amandaw March 2, 2009 at 10:17 pm |

    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.

  91. belledame222
    belledame222 March 2, 2009 at 11:00 pm |

    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.

  92. belledame222
    belledame222 March 3, 2009 at 12:20 am |

    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.

  93. belledame222
    belledame222 March 3, 2009 at 12:49 am |

    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…”

  94. Kai
    Kai March 3, 2009 at 2:53 am |

    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.

  95. no snow here
    no snow here March 3, 2009 at 5:46 am |

    [...] Anyways I was happy to read this on tokenism, it just jumped out at me… In the United States and other white supremicist societies, unless an entity – be it a single blog, … [...]

  96. Donna
    Donna March 3, 2009 at 8:23 am |

    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.

  97. La Lubu
    La Lubu March 3, 2009 at 8:49 am |

    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.

  98. Kai
    Kai March 3, 2009 at 11:13 am |

    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. ;-)

  99. Kai
    Kai March 3, 2009 at 11:27 am |

    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. ;-)

  100. Kai
    Kai March 3, 2009 at 12:31 pm |

    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. ;-)

  101. belledame222
    belledame222 March 4, 2009 at 5:21 am |

    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.

  102. Catherine
    Catherine March 4, 2009 at 11:52 am |

    Actually Holly does come off as a bully here.

  103. Butterflywings
    Butterflywings March 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm |

    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?

  104. Kai
    Kai March 5, 2009 at 3:07 am |

    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.

  105. The Opoponax
    The Opoponax March 5, 2009 at 9:19 am |

    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.

  106. belledame222
    belledame222 March 6, 2009 at 11:03 pm |

    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.

  107. belledame222
    belledame222 March 6, 2009 at 11:05 pm |

    –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.

  108. belledame222
    belledame222 March 6, 2009 at 11:07 pm |

    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.

  109. belledame222
    belledame222 March 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm |

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

  110. Butterflywings
    Butterflywings March 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm |

    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.

  111. Butterflywings
    Butterflywings March 12, 2009 at 6:44 pm |

    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.

  112. Butterflywings
    Butterflywings March 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm |

    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…

  113. Butterflywings
    Butterflywings March 14, 2009 at 5:43 pm |

    ‘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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