What if Michael Vick sold beemers, and other stupid questions

Toure wrote an article titled “What if Michael Vick were white,” and he seems to think the Photoshopped White Michael Vick illustration was the worst part.

Toure found himself in a position of having to defend his original piece because… well, because he wrote it. He spun a tale of an alternate-reality Vick who grew up without the poverty, crime, drugs, and other negative influences he seems to assign to the experience of Being Black; he declares Vick “heroic” for overcoming the burdens of his childhood to live up to his “athletic promise” with only a brief detour into animal torture; and then he acts surprised that no one within the sound of his voice can figure out what the hell he’s talking about.

He explains that when ESPN asked him to write about Michael Vick, he knew they weren’t looking for a football piece (and if you read his description of Vick’s scramble outside the pocket and you’ll understand why). No, he wanted to write about “the Vick meme–the ideas around Vick, especially the social and/or racial ideas around him.” That week, there had been a Twitter debate about how successful Eminem would have been if he were black. Eminem’s success in the industry owes something to his race, Toure says, but outside of that, Black Eminem is unknowable, because “every moment of his life would be different, so who would that man be?”

… [T]he real point is that this test, the thought experiment so many people like to do these days, where we switch someone’s race to test whether a given situation is racist without changing any other aspect of that person’s life, is too naive and simplistic to be taken seriously. The character, the mind and the rhyming ability of a black Eminem is simply unknowable and the test itself fails to take into account that race impacts every moment and every aspect of your life, thus making the racial switch test silly and moot and unable to truly tell us anything.

And he has a point. Every individual aspect of every individual person has an impact on who we are and how we experience life. Black Caperton would have had a different life than White Caperton. Massachusetts Caperton would have had a different upbringing than Georgia Caperton. No-Braces Caperton would have had different interpersonal interactions than Post-Braces Caperton. So, yes, the racial-switch test is as unable to tell us anything about this hypothetical other person as the braces-switch test would be.

You know what’s just as useless? The Arbitrary Hypothetical Alternate Universe test, wherein we speculate an entire new existence for a person based on one aspect of his life. Declaring that Black Eminem or White Michael Vick would be unknowable because race changes everything misses the fact that they’d be unknowable because they’re fiction. And while race, socioeconomic status, and a hundred other factors contribute in fascinating and intricate ways to the lives we make for ourselves, no single factor makes us do what we do.

I thought for certain the massive moral failing that was displayed in Vick’s ability to kill dogs was wrapped up in his not having a positive paternal influence from his father, something that too many black men of our generation have had to deal with, which leads us to construct manhood on our own.

I’m sure growing up without a positive male influence can affect a kid’s development of a concept of manhood–but is that solely a “black” thing? If Michael Vick were white… he still could have grown up with an absent father, or an asshole father. Millions of men have lived through that and worse without going on to kill dogs, and neither absentee fatherhood nor defective fatherhood is an exclusively “black thing.”

The man grows up working class in a community where dog fighting is so common it becomes normalized to him. Then he quickly leaps to the upper class while naturally maintaining close working-class ties.

Once again: While dogfighting is the repulsive gladiator sport of choice for some urban subpopulations, it is hardly exclusively urban or exclusively black. People of all races fight dogs and thus should die slowly, maybe from some really horribly poison. If Michael Vick were white… he still could have gotten involved with dog fighting when he was young, and if not that, something equally reprehensible that would have called for two years locked in a box full of hornets. Many people who grow up around dogfighting manage not to start multistate rings of their own, and neither dog fighting nor crime nor bloodsports in general is a specifically “black thing.”

Switching someone’s race does not change his “entire existence”–it changes his race. And that’s not for nothing. Take a guy in Michael Vick’s childhood neighborhood and turn him white, and he’s going to have different experiences than his black neighbors. Pick any white kid at an almost entirely white high school and turn him black, and his experiences will be different from those of his classmates and of kids at majority-black schools. But that’s not everything. It’s not the entirety of existence. Flipping a man’s race switch from black to white doesn’t also put him in a four-bedroom home in Peoria with a CPA for a father, a librarian for a mother, a brother, a sister, and a pomapoo, and it doesn’t stop an indescribably busted person from torturing dogs in his swimming pool for fun and profit.

Toure claims to have speculated, “What if Michael Vick were white?” He really speculated, “What if Michael Vick grew up in a two-parent home in a better neighborhood with better friends and no dogfighters around?” and then assigned that as his working definition of “white.” In his mind, White Michael Vick never would have had a dogfighting ring in the first place, because in his whiteness he would have grown up free of the poverty, negligence, and violence that defines Being Black.

We all grow up with countless significant and insignificant influences shaping the way we develop. Maybe Vick’s father is out of the picture entirely and no one ever teaches him to throw a football. Maybe he grows up throwing righty, plays at RB in high school, doesn’t get drafted out of college, and ends up selling BMWs in Roanoke. In the end, switching race is no more pointless an intellectual exercise than writing him an entire new existence.

Author: has written 261 posts for this blog.

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85 Responses

  1. zyxek
    zyxek August 28, 2011 at 2:42 am |

    I think you make valid points, but I think the overall point of the first piece could be summarized the following way: “Race still matters, but not the way you think.” It was well-made. He threw out the single parent hypothetical as a way to show how, no matter what aspect of a person’s life you isolate, race often lurks close behind. I think the final paragraph, the one where Michael Vick is heroic for overcoming his circumstances, is pretty weak.

    But it in explaining the first piece two days later, he makes another point altogether: so much magazine writing is bullshit for reasons that don’t have much to do with the author. I wish he had taken back the “heroic” crap, of course, but explaining the situation that initiated the piece and distancing himself from the photo, he helped clarify some things.

  2. matlun
    matlun August 28, 2011 at 3:01 am |

    … [T]he real point is that this test, the thought experiment so many people like to do these days, where we switch someone’s race to test whether a given situation is racist without changing any other aspect of that person’s life, is too naive and simplistic to be taken seriously.

    Isn’t this backwards? When we judge racism, we judge others reaction to this person. The “race switch” test is not about how this would affect the person in question, but rather how race affects the reactions of (the possibly racist) others.

  3. hmm
    hmm August 28, 2011 at 3:04 am |

    If Michael Vick had been born a middle class white woman, would he be able to tell Black men how they should be writing about the experience of being Black men?

  4. Paloma
    Paloma August 28, 2011 at 4:15 am |

    @matlun Exactly. It seems that the original article focused on the flip side of “race switching” and based on that the author here just ran with it.
    But the misuse of the race switch concept in the original article doesn’t change the fact that race does really matter in the way people are perceived and characterized and it can be a matter of life and death. Comparing this to wearing braces is ridiculous and insulting.

    Socio images covered the difference in perception of criminality of white and black kids who took a car for a joyride:
    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/07/26/framing-childrens-deviance/

    Here is a good link from Cornell University about research that was done on subconscious biases against black people.
    http://www.ctl1.com/publicaccess/humanecology/hdru-20090424-eng-je/#

  5. matlun
    matlun August 28, 2011 at 6:05 am |

    Paloma: Comparing [race] to wearing braces is ridiculous and insulting.

    That sounds unfair to me. I read Caperton’s point as simply being that changing anything about a person could have far reaching consequences. Even something as trivial as braces. It was not an example because it is as significant an issue as race, but precisely because it is not.

  6. Karen
    Karen August 28, 2011 at 8:27 am |

    I think the original article has a much more serious problem, in that he excuses Michael Vick’s behavior because Vick had a bad childhood. See Also Mike Tyson and thousands of other ordinary people doing time for violent crimes right now. This always boils my blood, because it implies that these people had no other choice but to join gangs and hurt other people, while ignoring that within their own peer group, Vick and Tyson and others WERE EXCEPTIONALLY PRIVILEGED. Their athletic prowess gave them cachet that millions of other people, including almost all women they knew, never had. Additionally, there are millions of other people growing up poor and dark-skinned who somehow manage to avoid becoming leaders of violent gangs. Are those kids who didn’t become violent criminals have some Magic Luck Powder that kept them from beating up on people? Michael Vick is a violent predator who will never suffer for his misdeeds because he can throw a football. I will continue to pray for a career-ending injury to that human hairball for every game he plays.

  7. bhuesca
    bhuesca August 28, 2011 at 9:15 am |

    Even though Toure is a Black man, his assigning criminality as a “Black trait” (and, therefore, Whites (and Asians and Latin@s and Pacific Islanders and etc.) as not experiencing criminality and crime) is absolutely the most incredibly insulting part of his piece – insulting to Black people and insulting to the victims of crimes committed by non-Blacks. AND, it gives credence to people like Susan Smith – or that NYC man who conspired with his mistress shoot him (grazingly) and his wife (fatally) just a week or so ago – saying that criminality IS a Black trait is a meme Susan Smith relied upon, and when she blamed a Black man for abducting her two children, people believed her for a really long time.

  8. vanessa
    vanessa August 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |

    YES to the point that it assumes that bad childhoods excuse dogfighting/other crime. They do not. Lots of people had shitty childhoods, and yes, it sucks. And yes, we REALLY need to protect our children better. None of that excuses being an abusive fuck as an adult.

    Not that I have any opinions about this, or anything.

  9. bhuesca
    bhuesca August 28, 2011 at 9:18 am |

    Oh, and Caperton, I really appreciate your post :)

  10. Dawn
    Dawn August 28, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    Despite all the problematic things in the article, one thing I noticed, is that he is kind of right about race having an effect on how your life might go. (even if he is deeming PoC to be associated entirely with bad childhoods in a manner that’s offensive).

    Not because PoC are inherently criminal or anything else, but because years of racism and other issues do have an impact on the PoC community and the children of the PoC community. PoC are more likely to land up in jail for longer than white folks, which probably contributes to the stats about single parents. Their incomes are more likely to be lower, they’re more likely to be exposed to drugs and other issues.

    That’s not to say the Vicks isn’t still a dog abuser, or that bad things are exclusively something that happens to PoC children, but that the PoC has issues that are caused by racism which most of the majority whites do not face.

  11. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 28, 2011 at 10:45 am |

    Karen:
    I think the original article has a much more serious problem, in that he excuses Michael Vick’s behavior because Vick had a bad childhood.See Also Mike Tyson and thousands of other ordinary people doing time for violent crimes right now.This always boils my blood, because it implies that these people had no other choice but to join gangs and hurt other people, while ignoring that within their own peer group, Vick and Tyson and others WERE EXCEPTIONALLY PRIVILEGED. Their athletic prowess gave them cachet that millions of other people, including almost all women they knew, never had. Additionally, there are millions of other people growing up poor and dark-skinned who somehow manage to avoid becoming leaders of violent gangs. Are those kids who didn’t become violent criminals have some Magic Luck Powder that kept them from beating up on people? Michael Vick is a violent predator who will never suffer for his misdeeds because he can throw a football. I will continue to pray for a career-ending injury to that human hairball for every game he plays.

    Athletes always get cut every break, because people live to see each week’s game. Growing up in the South, as I did, football really is a religion, complete with time-honored tradition and ritual. And there’s an aspect of major money/revenue present, too, which only increases this aspect. Though where I went to college was not a football powerhouse, I saw how athletes were coddled. You’re a celebrity on campus and treated like one.

    And in truth, athletes are often treated like Gods from the very moment that they put on a chinstrap. Grown men concern themselves deeply with their sprained ankles and yards per carry in high school going forward. Even a little before. It’s not surprising that all this attention goes straight to their heads.

    But the tragedy is once playing days are over for most of them, no one cares anymore. Only a fraction of college players make it to the pros, and while there, they are only one significant injury away from retirement. An elite club of the very best athletes win long-term success, but that is all.

    It’s not fair that this system exists, but it has been in place for around a century. When most football players are black, it’s simplistic to cut them a break for not joining a gang. Sometimes sports are the ticket out of poverty and violence, but every year in college ball, players are arrested for a variety of offenses. Some value what they are granted, with their eyes always on the prize of the huge money in the NFL, but some are products of their upbringing and end up mired in it.

    It’s a busted system, no matter how you look at it. No one has clean hands. I don’t romanticize Michael Vick. But I do wonder whether he has the ability to redeem himself fully in the eyes of others. Sadly, that may only be possible because of his performance on the field, not because of any other act he may have chosen.

  12. Miss S
    Miss S August 28, 2011 at 10:46 am |

    I’m not sure I understand. People (well, black people) have been pointing out racial inequality for years by saying ” well, if she/ he were white” because white people do get treated differently.

    And duh. Growing up surrounded by poverty and violence does have an impact on people. It’s not an excuse for joining a gang, it’s a reason.

  13. Faith
    Faith August 28, 2011 at 11:00 am |

    Why on earth Feministe would choose to give attention to Toure – who has gone on record publicly denigrating black women from our First Lady to everyone else [from describing Mrs. Obama to a ghetto girl to claiming my ancestors used rape as a means of getting ahead] speaks volumes about you also devalue the lives of black women in promoting a racio-misogynist to begin with.

  14. Karen
    Karen August 28, 2011 at 11:37 am |

    Comrade Kevin, that’s exactly the case, and at the moment Vick is benefiting from a thoroughly messed-up system, which is also preventing him from actually facing and solving his problems. Once he quits playing, he may no longer have the means to address those issues.

    I do agree, however, that being black complicates life in ways that we Anglos can’t appreciate directly, especially in academic or certain kinds of professional settings. (I used to work with a guy who had been an assistant district attorney. The police still stopped him at random, and no, apologizing to him once they saw his face clearly did NOT make things better.) These things add a level of hassle to daily life that the rest of us don’t have to suffer and which handicap the sufferers. Those things and the harm they cause needs a lot more exposure, but they don’t excuse violence. Anything that does make being a violent thug an essential element of black identity plays into the hands of the worse kinds of racists, and if an idea can be transplanted to Stormfront without modification, there’s a real problem with the idea.

  15. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 28, 2011 at 11:45 am | *

    Faith, I think it’s a stretch to say that criticizing a piece means that there’s some sort of larger endorsement of the author. We give attention on this blog to plenty of people who say asinine, bigoted things. It’s not an endorsement of their positions.

  16. Faith
    Faith August 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Really? What known and consistent male writers who espouse specific anti-white women rhetoric do you give space to here?

  17. Daily News Drop | The Progressive Playbook

    [...] White Michael Vick  Toure wrote a piece for ESPN asking the question, “what would have happened if Michael Vick was white?” He went on to say that it’s nearly impossible to tell because changing the race would make so many differences. Feministe had a strong counter argument – you can’t tell what it would be because it a fictional hypothesis. Changing class, parenting, neighborhood, friends, or even hair color might cause changes… but you’d never actually be able to discern what those changes would be. [...]

  18. Faith
    Faith August 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

    Furthermore if Toure had written how Jewish women got over during the Holocaust from surviving rape by Nazis we wouldn’t be having this conversation to begin with. I expect accountability from Feministe not excuses and erasure. If it’s not something you comprehend then you have a responsibility to address it. I tend to lean more towards apathy and a major fail. It was a poor choice to use that person as offering a valid opinion on any subject but it’s particularly galling to see it here! Especially when his other behavior has not been called out in this very same forum to date [that I'm aware of]. Feel free to provide links if I am mistaken.

  19. rae
    rae August 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm |

    You say “give space to” as if Feministe posted an article by Toure rather than one criticizing him. Feministe posts many articles criticizing men with a known track record of denigrating women – one example off the top of my head – Scott Adams. Do you think feminist websites should ignore men who write problematic things about women, instead of refuting them?

  20. Sara
    Sara August 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    This isn’t an encyclopedia of everything bad anyone has ever done. Wasn’t there a piece recently on why we shouldn’t attack bloggers for not writing about some specific other issue we think they should be writing about?

  21. Skateaway
    Skateaway August 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    Just so I understand: Faith, is your objection that Feministe criticized Toure only for this article, without calling him out for his previous anti-woman-of-color rhetoric? Or do you think that it was wrong to mention or link to him at all?

  22. Cagey
    Cagey August 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    To interpret an article which is clearly criticizing an author as somehow promoting said author is very odd.

  23. Matt
    Matt August 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm |

    Sara:
    This isn’t an encyclopedia of everything bad anyone has ever done. Wasn’t there a piece recently on why we shouldn’t attack bloggers for not writing about some specific other issue we think they should be writing about?

    A lot of people expect a blogger who writes about some things that concern them to write about all of them, instead of addressing those things themselves. I know feministing has community page where any member can write something, i am not aware of why feministe doesn’t and its not necessarily a problem. I do want to ask faith why she doesn’t blog about issues that concern her herself, on a personal blog or live journal, or on a large blog with a community option.

  24. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm | *

    Furthermore if Toure had written how Jewish women got over during the Holocaust from surviving rape by Nazis we wouldn’t be having this conversation to begin with.

    What conversation? That he’s written something breathtakingly asinine in a wholly unrelated column? I’m not trying to be dismissive here. I really don’t get what you’re driving at.

    I expect accountability from Feministe not excuses and erasure. If it’s not something you comprehend then you have a responsibility to address it. I tend to lean more towards apathy and a major fail. It was a poor choice to use that person as offering a valid opinion on any subject but it’s particularly galling to see it here!

    Maybe this is an issue with antecedents, but I’m not sure what “it” is and I don’t think that Caperton is in any way suggesting that Toure’s opinion is valid. In fact, this entire post is a critique of some of the more ridiculous things outlined in the original piece.

    What do you want Feministe to be accountable for? Not bringing up the more odious things Toure’s written in the past as part of this post? There’s no ill-will here, just genuine confusion as to what it is you find so intensely problematic.

  25. Skateaway
    Skateaway August 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    Matt: A lot of people expect a blogger who writes about some things that concern them to write about all of them, instead of addressing those things themselves. I know feministing has community page where any member can write something, i am not aware of why feministe doesn’t and its not necessarily a problem. I do want to ask faith why she doesn’t blog about issues that concern her herself, on a personal blog or live journal, or on a large blog with a community option.

    Faith does blog about these issues quite prolifically. It’s uninformed and unfair to characterize her as someone who sits back and whines rather than doing the work herself. She does the work.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to call out a social justice blog for inadequately representing certain populations. A lesson I learned from this very blog is that when someone is angry–especially about their own axis of oppression–one of the best things to do is 1) assume they might have a valid point, and b) listen to what that point is.

    Now, I agree with a lot of the commenters that the OP didn’t in any way endorse Toure, but rather criticized him, and that reading this post as an endorsement is likely a misinterpretation. But I’d also like to understand why this post made Faith so angry, rather than assuming she’s just WRONG.

  26. Matt
    Matt August 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    Skateaway: Faith does blog about these issues quite prolifically. It’s uninformed and unfair to characterize her as someone who sits back and whines rather than doing the work herself. She does the work.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to call out a social justice blog for inadequately representing certain populations. A lesson I learned from this very blog is that when someone is angry–especially about their own axis of oppression–one of the best things to do is 1) assume they might have a valid point, and b) listen to what that point is.

    Now, I agree with a lot of the commenters that the OP didn’t in any way endorse Toure, but rather criticized him, and that reading this post as an endorsement is likely a misinterpretation. But I’d also like to understand why this post made Faith so angry, rather than assuming she’s just WRONG.

    Ah, my bad, I don’t know which posters here are bloggers, and I’ve only read about half the blogs on the blog roll. I still think its somewhat unfair to complain that a single blog doesn’t address every topic ever. Perhaps Faith could guest blog or cross post here so that she can expose the membership to issues she cares about? It would be impossible to address every issue of oppression, even with 100 full time bloggers on a single site.

    Is her point that Feministe doesn’t cover enough PoC issues? Does the staff have a dedicated PoC blogger? What representation do PoC issues have in the blogroll?

  27. Michele
    Michele August 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    Karen: I think the original article has a much more serious problem, in that he excuses Michael Vick’s behavior because Vick had a bad childhood. See Also Mike Tyson and thousands of other ordinary people doing time for violent crimes right now. This always boils my blood, because it implies that these people had no other choice but to join gangs and hurt other people, while ignoring that within their own peer group, Vick and Tyson and others WERE EXCEPTIONALLY PRIVILEGED. Their athletic prowess gave them cachet that millions of other people, including almost all women they knew, never had. Additionally, there are millions of other people growing up poor and dark-skinned who somehow manage to avoid becoming leaders of violent gangs. Are those kids who didn’t become violent criminals have some Magic Luck Powder that kept them from beating up on people? Michael Vick is a violent predator who will never suffer for his misdeeds because he can throw a football. I will continue to pray for a career-ending injury to that human hairball for every game he plays.

    I grew up without a mother, had a drunk absent father and effectively raised my own damn self. Not once did I feel the need to engage in blood sport; not with animals nor with humans. Should we be looking more closely at the career Vick chose, which is inherently violent and destructive? Oh, no, don’t make us go THERE…

  28. Michele
    Michele August 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    Karen: I think the original article has a much more serious problem, in that he excuses Michael Vick’s behavior because Vick had a bad childhood. See Also Mike Tyson and thousands of other ordinary people doing time for violent crimes right now. This always boils my blood, because it implies that these people had no other choice but to join gangs and hurt other people, while ignoring that within their own peer group, Vick and Tyson and others WERE EXCEPTIONALLY PRIVILEGED. Their athletic prowess gave them cachet that millions of other people, including almost all women they knew, never had. Additionally, there are millions of other people growing up poor and dark-skinned who somehow manage to avoid becoming leaders of violent gangs. Are those kids who didn’t become violent criminals have some Magic Luck Powder that kept them from beating up on people? Michael Vick is a violent predator who will never suffer for his misdeeds because he can throw a football. I will continue to pray for a career-ending injury to that human hairball for every game he plays.

    I grew up without a mother, had a drunk absent father and effectively raised my own damn self. Not once did I feel the need to engage in blood sport; not with animals nor with humans. Should we be looking more closely at the career Vick chose, which is inherently violent and destructive? Oh, no, don’t make us go THERE…

  29. Michele
    Michele August 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm |

    Michele: I grew up without a mother, had a drunk absent father and effectively raised my own damn self. Not once did I feel the need to engage in blood sport; not with animals nor with humans. Should we be looking more closely at the career Vick chose, which is inherently violent and destructive? Oh, no, don’t make us go THERE…

    Meaning this as support of Karen’s argument that we all have choices. Thanks Karen!

  30. Faith
    Faith August 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm |

    I don’t write for feministe, but I do run a women’s lifestyle blog where I’ve covered social justice issues extensively. One of the topics I’ve covered is the mistreatment of black women by black males and the complicity of “feminist” blogs who almost exclusively belittle, ignore, appropriate or exploit the specific race-based gender obstacles black women endure. I could tell the post author had not researched the writer she’s critiquing. I don’t disagree with the argument. I am tired [not angry] of these uninformed conversations to begin with. I am tired of any validation of these woman-haters in critiquing them to begin with. It buys into the “all the blacks are men and all the women are white” meme. Had the history of his race-based gender mistreatment been used to critique Toure’s lie [that is your typical white male bashing/hegemony argument, absolving black males from personal responsibility] the hypocrisy becomes clear. I take Feministe to task for their continued tunnel vision and lack of appropriate representation by those of us who’ve been in the trenches, on the cutting-edge and are uncompromised. Had I not addressed this, most of you who read this post wouldn’t have had any idea. I am indifferent emotionally, I simply want balance and the complete history known.

  31. Faith
    Faith August 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm |

    And finally, thanks to this post writer and moderator for publicly informing everyone that my concerns about black women being denigrated is a niche topic and NOT the concern of Feministe — because “everything isn’t covered here”. Good to know!

  32. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm | *

    And finally, thanks to this post writer and moderator for publicly informing everyone that my concerns about black women being denigrated is a niche topic and NOT the concern of Feministe — because “everything isn’t covered here”. Good to know!

    So it’s a good thing that I said nothing of the sort. I said that it was a stretch to infer support for Toure based on a post criticizing one of his pieces (plus some genuine confusion on my part about antecedents and the use of the word “it”).

  33. Miss S
    Miss S August 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm |

    Faith- Ugh. I didn’t know about that. I need to get off the NYT economics blog more often.

    That said, I still don’t understand this post. It’s just weird to me.

    Finally, this blog doesn’t do a great job at race. It tries, I think, but it usually becomes clear whose experiences they center (white women) and whose they don’t. Every topic on race ends up with a bunch of white people talking about how hard it is to be white, cuz they’re poor, or trans, or in a wheelchair. It seems that quite a few white women desperately need every topic to be about… well, being a white woman. The last post on race turned into a shitstorm and the white girl who called black women “whiny and privileged” because we didn’t want to talk about her? Nope, she wasn’t banned. Rape apologists get banned. Racist people don’t. This is how mainstream feminism operates online, and in person.

    This blog doesn’t really relate to the unique experience and oppression of being a black woman. I wish we would have a BWE blogger post on here regularly. (hint, hint).

  34. evil fizz
    evil fizz August 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm | *

    A lot of people expect a blogger who writes about some things that concern them to write about all of them, instead of addressing those things themselves…I do want to ask faith why she doesn’t blog about issues that concern her herself, on a personal blog or live journal, or on a large blog with a community option.

    I missed this earlier, but, Matt, this is all-but-trolling. Faith does write on this topic and provided a series of links to her work on the subject.

  35. unsuprised.
    unsuprised. August 29, 2011 at 1:05 am |

    Yet another feministe race-fail. I’m deleting this website from my browser.

    hmm: If Michael Vick had been born a middle class white woman, would he be able to tell Black men how they should be writing about the experience of being Black men?

    Plus 1.

  36. unsuprised.
    unsuprised. August 29, 2011 at 1:12 am |

    @Faith. Yeah no. I don’t want to read a blog of middle class white women “calling out” black men for social problems caused by white colonialism. Like I said I don’t like this blog enough to read it any more but I seriously hope they know better than that.

  37. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines August 29, 2011 at 7:21 am |

    Matt is a troll. He is a troll troll trolly troll and yet he has not been banned and considering the awful behaviour he’s gotten away with he probably never will. Just like the truly hateful commenter Miss S refers to. I feel like I’m saying this in every post now, because the trolling happening in every post now and it needs to stop.

  38. Azalea
    Azalea August 29, 2011 at 9:45 am |

    Caperton:
    Faith,

    I didn’t actually know anything at all about Toure before I saw this article on espn.com. When I did more research on him, I found some of the things you’ve brought up in your posts, and I was really confused as to why he’d been asked to write a) a piece for a sports blog, or b) at all. (That, and his apparent lack of knowledge about American football, but that’s another post for another blog.) I haven’t mentioned it in the past because I wasn’t aware of it, and I didn’t bring it up in this post because, to be quite frank, I was nervous enough about being “a middle class white woman” criticizing a black man’s article about race.

    Respectfully, though, Feministe is a blog written by people, writing about the things they write about. It seems unfair to call the bloggers of Feministe to task–and make accusations regarding their respect for black women–for not having written about a specific topic that is of particular interest to you. There are a great number of subjects we haven’t written about yet.

    The problem is, you’re writing about whether or not a black man growing up in poverty and crime is a legitimate obstacle to overcome when you couldn’t begin to understand ever a day in your ife what that is like because you are white. That’s not a footnote that is the pink elephant in the room.

    hmm:
    If Michael Vick had been born a middle class white woman, would he be able to tell Black men how they should be writing about the experience of being Black men?

    BOOM!

    Thank you and the fucking end.

  39. Miss S
    Miss S August 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm |

    I feel like I’m saying this in every post now, because the trolling happening in every post now and it needs to stop.

    Agreed. I’m not sure why mods are hesitant to ban blatantly racist posters, but it gives the impression that they believe that racist people actually have something to bring to the discussion.

    Actually in the past week and a half, I’ve seen anti-mother rhetoric (not banned), anti-immigrant rhetoric (not banned) anti poor people rhetoric (not banned), racist bullshit (not banned). You get the picture. It’s a small handful of people, but they are continuously allowed to post their racist, classist bs.

  40. Matt
    Matt August 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm |

    evil fizz:
    A lot of people expect a blogger who writes about some things that concern them to write about all of them, instead of addressing those things themselves…I do want to ask faith why she doesn’t blog about issues that concern her herself, on a personal blog or live journal, or on a large blog with a community option.

    I missed this earlier, but, Matt, this is all-but-trolling.Faith does write on this topic and provided a series of links to her work on the subject.

    fyi, skateaway told me this, which i didn’t know, and i apologized. ignorance is not the same as trolling.

  41. Matt
    Matt August 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

    Safiya Outlines:
    Matt is a troll. He is a troll troll trolly troll and yet he has not been banned and considering the awful behaviour he’s gotten away with he probably never will. Just like the truly hateful commenter Miss S refers to. I feel like I’m saying this in every post now, because the trolling happening in every post now and it needs to stop.

    I would be interested in whether you could point out places where I’ve been trolling.

  42. BHuesca
    BHuesca August 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm |

    Miss S:
    I feel like I’m saying this in every post now, because the trolling happening in every post now and it needs to stop.

    Agreed. I’m not sure why mods are hesitant to ban blatantly racist posters, but it gives the impression that they believe that racist people actually have something to bring to the discussion.

    Actually in the past week and a half, I’ve seen anti-mother rhetoric (not banned), anti-immigrant rhetoric (not banned) anti poor people rhetoric (not banned), racist bullshit (not banned). You get the picture. It’s a small handful of people, but they are continuously allowed to post their racist, classist bs.

    Also the ableist rhetoric (not banned), which has only gotten worse since Chally and her no-tolerance-for-that moderation left.

    And with the increase in -ist rhetoric has come this disturbing trend: non-moderators calling out and calling for the banning of commenters who, very often, are calling out the other non-moderators for their usage of -ist rhetoric.

    Add to this the ever-increasing pile-on on people who are often the only non-white or non-neurotypical or non-“up to date with the social justice lingo” or non-etc. person commenting, simply due to their differing opinions/views. It really seems like the popular kids uniting in cyberspace and shove the unpopular kid in her locker.

    Intersectionality anyone?

  43. BHuesca
    BHuesca August 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    Safiya Outlines pointed out on another thread (one of KristenJ’s, I think) that Racialicious is heavily moderated, which leads to less -ists in the discussion. I’ve been an avid reader/occasional commenter at Racialicious for four-ish years, and two things jump out at me: a huge discussion thread there is like 20 people (with maybe 3 comments max on many threads) – something that doesn’t happen here, and that the site seems to suffer from a HUGE case of hivemind, with even legitimate “check your privilege”/”don’t use that -ist” comments leading to people getting banned.

    The discussions here at Feministe are so much more ‘attended’, and with the sheer size of the commentariat and all of our diverse perspectives, Feministe never leaves me bored.

    AND I guess what I’m saying is that the group calls for people to be banned, or shunned, or whatever (as opposed to emailing the moderator or something), makes me uncomfortable, like I’m standing there watching a bullying or a Salem witch trial and I’m failing to intervene.

  44. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    It really seems like the popular kids uniting in cyberspace and shove the unpopular kid in her locker.

    What I have trouble with is this: Person A says something Person B decides is – ist. Person B states their case why its problematic. Okay, so far so good.

    Then, if Person A doesn’t agree . . . what? Does Person B get to decide how Person A can speak? Even when Person B isn’t the owner of the blog or a moderator? Even when the topic -ist affects Person A personally as well?

    The two most frequent derailers have made their cases. Multiple times. Some commenters agree, some don’t. At this point, the only reason to continually harp on issues that have been well covered is to derail.

    Because, if you’ve noticed, the same issues were addressed by OTHER commenters/mods and it DIDN’T turn into full-scale derails.

    People aren’t calling for banning because they disagree with these people. They’re calling for banning because they are self-obssessed derailers who can’t shut the fuck about themselves. To categorize it as you have – as “popular” kids beating up on the “unpopular” kids – smacks of convenient rewriting of fact.

  45. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    fyi, skateaway told me this, which i didn’t know, and i apologized. ignorance is not the same as trolling.

    but mansplaining is.

  46. Matt
    Matt August 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm |

    Rare Vos: but mansplaining is.

    it would be hard to mansplain when the issue is racism and not feminism…

  47. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh August 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    Rare Vos: People aren’t calling for banning because they disagree with these people. They’re calling for banning because they are self-obssessed derailers who can’t shut the fuck about themselves. To categorize it as you have – as “popular” kids beating up on the “unpopular” kids – smacks of convenient rewriting of fact.

    THIS.

  48. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm |

    it would be hard to mansplain when the issue is racism and not feminism

    I see you have NO IDEA what mansplain means.

  49. BHuesca
    BHuesca August 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    Rare Vos: What I have trouble with is this: Person A says something Person B decides is– ist.Person B states their case why its problematic.Okay, so far so good.

    Then, if Person A doesn’t agree . . . what?Does Person B get to decide how Person A can speak?Even when Person B isn’t the owner of the blog or a moderator? Even when the topic -ist affects Person A personally as well?

    The two most frequent derailers have made their cases.Multiple times. Some commenters agree, some don’t.At this point, the only reason to continually harp on issues that have been well covered is to derail.

    Because, if you’ve noticed, the same issues were addressed by OTHER commenters/mods and it DIDN’T turn into full-scale derails.

    People aren’t calling for banning because they disagree with these people.They’re calling for banning because they are self-obssessed derailers who can’t shut the fuck about themselves.To categorize it as you have – as “popular” kids beating up on the “unpopular” kids –smacks of convenient rewriting of fact.

    Thank you for your response – I agree with 99% of it, and think that you largely said what I was trying to say. The one point I would quibble about is the “can’t shut up about themselves” part – I don’t always think that’s bad – because I’ve seen that often used to silence people/causes e.g. “Betty Friedan just couldn’t shut up about women and womens’ rights and how that affected/affects herself”. Because, on some topics, people will never agree – and will never agree on some topics even within feminism (but you already know that!)!

    I’m not saying banning is wrong, and I didn’t say banning is wrong before in my comments, just that something about the way these calls to kick people out makes me…uncomfortable?…because the person kicked out doesn’t usually seem to be the female, white, cis, straight, college-educated, TAB, terminology-cognizant, thin-privileged, economically-privileged, many-year veteran of feminism and commenting on feminist blogs and this blog in specific.

  50. Matt
    Matt August 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    Rare Vos: I see you have NO IDEA what mansplain means.

    “to delighting in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation
    To explain in a patronizing manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether.”

    I presume you prefer the second one. I find both of them to be problematic in respect to gender bias, but also as a method of silencing. Here I refer to mansplain calls against others, since obviously it is difficult to be objective about my own posts.

    FYI, I am not the one derailing on this topic. I said something, got called out, apologized, and moved on to a new topic. I guess maybe the problem is that objected to being called out after the topic had been addressed by a previous poster? If it is somehow okay to do such a thing, I will avoid responding in the future, not because I agree that it should be acceptable, but because its just easier to ignore it than to deal with the derailing which follows a response.

  51. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil August 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    I find both of them to be problematic in respect to gender bias, but also as a method of silencing.

    Seriously? You find it problematic that people with the lived experience of sexism might be so bold as to tell others without that lived experience that they don’t know what they’re talking about?

    Are you also one of the people who wants to know why the white kids don’t have their own special scholarships and student organizations?

    /troll feeding

  52. Matt
    Matt August 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    FashionablyEvil: Seriously?You find it problematic that people with the lived experience of sexism might be so bold as to tell others without that lived experience that they don’t know what they’re talking about?

    Are you also one of the people who wants to know why the white kids don’t have their own special scholarships and student organizations?

    /troll feeding

    No I have a problem with calling it mansplainin’ when users apply it to something else also, and thus it would more properly be titled privsplainin’ or something of that nature.
    Did you miss the entire part of the posts where rare vos was referring to racism and not sexism when accusing me of mansplainin?

    It was nice of you to make up words for me that I hadn’t said though. Because straw men always make any communication go better.

  53. jjuliaava
    jjuliaava August 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm |

    hmm:
    If Michael Vick had been born a middle class white woman, would he be able to tell Black men how they should be writing about the experience of being Black men?

    Okay sure. However, your point is skewed. This particular Black man writes on the experience of a White man, which is generally a very good experience conducive to a delightful childhood experience (no poverty, no dog fighting allowed) and makes for better life choices such as deciding to not create a national dog fighting ring/ murder bitches by slamming their heads onto concrete (I watched the Animal Planet Special– and it is atrocious what this man did) or whatever.
    So, according to you: A Black man can write alllll about the experience of being a Black man and his fantasy perception of the experience of being a White man, but women who are white cannot possibly write about the fantasy perceived experience of being a Black man?
    Further, I don’t think there was an intent of this post’s author, Caperton, to tell the author of the article in question, Toure, HOW HE SHOULD WRITE about an (albeit fantasy) experience.

    Plus 1.

    BOOM!

    Thank you and the fucking end.

  54. Dawn
    Dawn August 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm |

    Whether or not you have a problem with ist based comments, doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t allowed to have a problem with it.

    Especially given that the comments are against the rules and yet when we ask the people not say such things, we essentially got “well X bigotry is worse so therefore Y bigotry in response isn’t a problem”, or do you not realise that you’re calling for the banning of things -you- object to, while saying that other people aren’t allowed to be upset at things they object to?

    As for my issues? When a predator belongs to a group who have strong positive stereotypes associated with them? They can do whatever they want with virtual impunity much of the time.

    Some of the groups would be athletes, celebrities, rich folks. But others are groups who aren’t necessarily on top all the time but which have strong positive stereotypes attached to them.

    My abusers (yes, that’s plural) all have got away with it and most of them because society didn’t believe that anyone in their group would do something that monstrous. It would leave anyone with some issues.

  55. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm |

    The one point I would quibble about is the “can’t shut up about themselves” part – I don’t always think that’s bad – because I’ve seen that often used to silence people/causes e.g. “Betty Friedan just couldn’t shut up about women and womens’ rights and how that affected/affects herself”

    Did she butt into every single conversation she happened to overhear to talk about herself? Did she verbally abuse those who wanted to keep on talking about whatever the topic actually was instead of her? Did she demand they only address her in pre-approved ways? Did she insult their entire race and then, cry wolf?

    The point isn’t that one can’t talk about how -ists affect themselves. The point is that doing it on every.single.thread. moves well beyond any semblance of discussion and become straight up trolling. Also, that crying -ist – and then engaging in racist, classist outbursts – is the basest definition of privilege.

    If this were mere disagreement, I’d be 100% in agreement with you. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

    because the person kicked out doesn’t usually seem to be the female, white, cis, straight, college-educated, TAB, terminology-cognizant, thin-privileged, economically-privileged, many-year veteran of feminism and commenting on feminist blogs and this blog in specific.

    In this case though, neither are the ones questioning why racist trolls are still afforded commenting privileges.

    That is to say – I’m absolutely sure you’re right in that assessment most of the time (on large-scale feminist blogs anyways), but not this time.

    __

    Sidebar: I’m not exactly looking for an answer to my “what then?” question, since I very much doubt there IS an answer. I just don’t think that we all need agree 100% on everything to have a fruitful discussion and it would be nice, just once, to not have such a discussion derailed by narcissistic trolls.

    As I said, other commenters raised the same concerns, and others addressed them (without 100% lock-step agreement) and it didn’t derail everything. it can be done. Myself, and others, are asking why we keep around those who actively and repeatedly prevent that from happening.

  56. Faith
    Faith August 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    Miss S – Thank you for the kind words. I don’t want to be dismissive of other ppl’s experiences, even as they’re usually engaged in navel-gazing and limit their scope for justice to who/what’s comfortable and familiar to them. I’d never expect a forum built to support white women’s interests to actively support mine. If there’s cross-sectionality that benefits shedding light then I participate. Otherwise I don’t expect adequate or equal space here. Which is why I have my own forum. I only responded because of the glaring hypocrisy and lack of accountability that was so insulting and patronizing to begin with. For the reasons I’ve listed. The only space where you can expect a deep and thorough analysis related to BWE is at a BWE forum [we're talking 2-3 blogs max] directly.

  57. Miss S
    Miss S August 30, 2011 at 12:20 am |

    Did she butt into every single conversation she happened to overhear to talk about herself? Did she verbally abuse those who wanted to keep on talking about whatever the topic actually was instead of her? Did she demand they only address her in pre-approved ways? Did she insult their entire race and then, cry wolf?

    Yup, we’re talking about the same person. I mean, telling a black woman which words they can use to address you? Someone took The Help a bit too seriously…. I mean, I think I may have been less offended about the KKK rally going on in the next town over….at least they owned their racist bullshit. The person we’re talking about? Still rambling here.

    Faith has one of the blogs I suggested to you last week. And Faith, you may be right. The only place to have a BWE discussion is on a BWE blog. It’s just sad because, ya know, we’re women too. It shouldn’t still be the case that our voices don’t count.

    Why would a feminist space that knows the history of the erasure of black women from the feminist movement allow racist rhetoric?

    Because they stick together.

  58. Dawn
    Dawn August 30, 2011 at 1:41 am |

    I think people are well within their rights to say “you may not use that term” when that term is part of discrimination and bigotry against them. You want to talk about your own oppression? That’s fine, but I don’t see anything that says you should have the right to do it by using terms that contribute to other types of oppression.

    It is not racism to ask that people not use disablist comments, or to disagree when people come forward and support the continued use of said disablist terms. Anymore than it would disablist to ask that someone not support racist terms on a post about disablism.

    Furthermore you do not get to ignore that sometimes the majority elevates an otherwise marginalized group in order to make them collude with their own oppression and the oppression of others.

    Just because you can’t handle that you can be part of a system that colludes to protect some minority groups just as much as it oppresses others for it’s own ends, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to collude to keep your security blanket in place.

    I am a lower class person, I know lower class issues are more than just poverty, I’ve lived it my whole life. Despite all the intellectual discussions online, sometimes people analyze it too damn much, and start trying to shoe horn theory onto messy reality without realising that theory and reality aren’t the same thing.

    Not to mention it is a fact that motherhood is promoted by society, it’s part of the oppression of women true, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing for women who are mothers, which it can be for those who are not. If society says “X is good” and you do X, it rewards you, which can be bad for others and to a lesser extent to you.

    You treat this as some sort of war, with clearly drawn lines, and it’s nothing of the sort. Sometimes the theory leaves bits of reality out, sometimes reality is uglier than we expect. Social issues aren’t a damn maths equation, that you can add up to get a right answer, so stop treating them like they are.

  59. Natalia
    Natalia August 30, 2011 at 3:11 am |

    It’s like All Dawn! All the Time! on this blog right now. It would be kinda amusing if not for the fact that every other discussion gets derailed so that Dawn can talk some more about her problems, and why they’re bigger than [insert another person/group of people here]‘s problems.

    You think people in Somalia have it tough? No! Those motherfuckers need to sit down, shut up, and listen to a story about this one time that a black woman said something Dawn didn’t like. Oh, and let’s not forget the women who are busy running poor Dawn over with their strollers on their way to cash their checks from Motherhood Is Promoted By Society Co. Not to mention the immigrants ruining Dawn’s shit every day of the week.

    This is serious, you guys.

  60. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines August 30, 2011 at 5:01 am |

    Miss S:
    Did she butt into every single conversation she happened to overhear to talk about herself? Did she verbally abuse those who wanted to keep on talking about whatever the topic actually was instead of her? Did she demand they only address her in pre-approved ways? Did she insult their entire race and then, cry wolf?

    Yup, we’re talking about the same person. I mean, telling a black woman which words they can use to address you? Someone took The Help a bit too seriously…. I mean, I think I may have been less offended about the KKK rally going on in the next town over….at least they owned their racist bullshit. The person we’re talking about? Still rambling here.

    Faith has one of the blogs I suggested to you last week. And Faith, you may be right. The only place to have a BWE discussion is on a BWE blog. It’s just sad because, ya know, we’re women too. It shouldn’t still be the case that our voices don’t count.

    Why would a feminist space that knows the history of the erasure of black women from the feminist movement allow racist rhetoric?

    Because they stick together.

    For what it’s worth, I would really, really miss your comments. I don’t know what else to say without sounding trite or making it all about my feeeeelings. I think it is disgusting that this blog is being allowed to become a hostile place for WoC just because it’s supposedly too illiberal or nasty to ban people.

    Dawn – You are the problem and you have not even the smallest right to lecture anyone.

    WHEN WILL SOMEONE BAN DAWN ALREADY!

  61. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 30, 2011 at 8:19 am |

    The only place to have a BWE discussion is on a BWE blog. It’s just sad because, ya know, we’re women too. It shouldn’t still be the case that our voices don’t count.

    I have been lurking on the blogs you mentioned to me, trying to get a feel for the culture so I don’t start off on the wrong foot. In time, I might start commenting.

    I will say it’s a nice breath of fresh air to not see women shouted down by racist special white ladies and self-obssessed mansplainers.

    That said, it’s still feels to me – rightly or wrongly – like ghetto-izing PoCs. I mean – everyone wants and should have their own space, but at the same time, you’re right – we shouldn’t *have* to segregate ourselves to avoid racists.

    On the other hand, I won’t be pushed away from a blog that has content I find interesting and consciousness-expanding, and features writers I admire. I’ve spent most of my life giving into racists and this is one time where they can’t initimidate me into acquiescence.

    So, I just scroll right passed those people. There’s nothing of value to be gained by indulging narcisstic bigots.

  62. BHuesca
    BHuesca August 30, 2011 at 9:43 am |

    Miss S:

    Yup, we’re talking about the same person. I mean, telling a black woman which words they can use to address you? Someone took The Help a bit too seriously…. I mean, I think I may have been less offended about the KKK rally going on in the next town over….at least they owned their racist bullshit.

    Miss S, I’ve seen that you’ve self-identified as Black on this blog and that Jill, for example, has self-identified as White. If you, just as an example, used sexist or ableist or homophobic words to describe people on this blog, then YES, I do think she – even though she is White- SHOULD “[tell] a black woman which words they can use to address you” or others on this blog.

  63. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 30, 2011 at 10:21 am |

    then YES, I do think she – even though she is White- SHOULD “[tell] a black woman which words they can use to address you” or others on this blog.

    Since Jills owns and runs the blog, then absolutely yes. Its her space, she gets to decide what goes on in it. (as do the other mods she’s given that power too).

    Miss S isn’t talking about Jill. Or another mod. She’s talking about a continually-racist derailing troll.

    Sidebar: The actual argument wasn’t “I get to call you whatever I want” but, “I get to talk about MYSELF however I want”. Which goes back to my what, then? question. If Person A describes *herself* with words that Person B finds offensive . . . what then? Is Person B the arbiter of how Person A can talk about herself?

  64. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 30, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    Even if your description of your lived experiences offends someone else, they’re still your lived experiences.

    I absolutely agree. But, it’s been pretty well established that other people feel they have the right to dictate how others can talk about themselves, and then to berate those who refuse to submit.

    And its those people whose continued commenting privileges are being questioned.

    Though, were I Jill or one or the other mods, I’d be so incredibly sick to death of having to deal with this crap, I’d probably avoid the topic like the plague too.

  65. Miss S
    Miss S August 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    Awww Safiya thanks, but I’m not giving up yet. I’m at the point where Rare Vos is- I’m tired of being silenced and shoved around.

    BHuesca- I think you’re missing the point. Derailing a thread about race to talk about your wheelchair requires a level of narcissim beyond my comprehension. Derailing a thread about race to talk about how mothers are abusing you because they get all these special treats from society and hey!! they use disabled bathrooms sometimes is just… fucking annoying. Every damn thread is about this Special White Lady and her Special White Lady issues and frankly?? I’m sick of it. More than several people asked that she be banned, not just because she’s a racist asshole. She talked shit about people of color, immigrants, poor people, mothers.. the list goes on. Someone who has that much rage against other marginalized groups should not be afforded the privilege of commenting here. Plain and simple.

    Calling a marginalized group whiny and spoiled and privileged for wanting to talk about their problems instead of your own is all kinds of fucked up. I wouldn’t barge in on a thread about queer people, talk about my life as a non-queer person, and then call them names for not caring. You know why? Because I’m not a narcisstic prick who thinks the world revolves around her.

    So yeah. I’m done being silenced. In person, and online.

  66. Miss S
    Miss S August 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    If this site wants this to be a safe place for Black women, it should put in a bit more effort to weed out racist trolls.

    How many Black women have to say this before anyone listens?

    Oh, and as Rare Vos points out- Black women get to define their own experience. Has anyone ever read Audre Lorde? She clearly advocated that Black women speak up- “Your silence will not protect you.” What about the Combahee River Collective? They were all kinds of unapologetic about telling white women to do something about their racism. Ending racism is “by definition, a white woman’s job.” No, I can’t be apart of a movement that refuses to shut down racism when it arises. No self respecting Black woman can, and this is why we end up in 2 seperate spaces, as Rare Vos pointed out.

    1. Jill
      Jill August 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm | *

      Hey all,

      Sorry I’ve been MIA from this thread (and others) — I was in Cameroon without blog access, and then stuck in Paris (horrible I know) because of Hurricane Irene. I have been off the blog for the past week, and haven’t been checking the comments at all, which is why this got so out of hand. Guest bloggers don’t have the power to ban people, so it’s not their fault that Dawn got so out of control. I am banning her now, and apologize for not being able to intervene sooner.

  67. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm |

    What’s most interesting to me is that the (supposedly) disablist language ended *during* that initial argument, yet racist troll’s racism keeps right on trucking. See, as the last example I saw, #59.

    Other people have mentioned that other trolls have been banned for less, so there must be a reason this one is allowed to continue. It would be interesting to know what that is, but again – not my space, not my demand to make.

    . .. And come to think of it, I haven’t seen Jill for a few days, so I hope she’s okay and nothing’s wrong. Does she live in NYC? Or anywhere along Irene’s path? Or is she just smarter than all of us and ran away from this crap?

  68. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos August 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    Whoa – that was perfect timing.

    Welcome back, Jill! Glad everything’s okay.

  69. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    Thank you! I was tearing my hair out. . .

    And Rare Vos, I had forgotten Jill was in Cameroon as well. (I know. BAD GUEST BLOGGER. BAD.)

  70. Miss S
    Miss S August 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    Thanks Jill. I had no idea you were out of the country.

  71. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh August 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm |

    Jill:
    Hey all,

    Sorry I’ve been MIA from this thread (and others) — I was in Cameroon without blog access, and then stuck in Paris (horrible I know) because of Hurricane Irene. I have been off the blog for the past week, and haven’t been checking the comments at all, which is why this got so out of hand. Guest bloggers don’t have the power to ban people, so it’s not their fault that Dawn got so out of control. I am banning her now, and apologize for not being able to intervene sooner.

    *sigh of relief* Hallefrickinglujah.

    I’m glad you’re ok Jill, and glad that Dawn is gone too. Thanks.

  72. Faith
    Faith August 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm |

    So this Dawn person is gone, yet it goes over the heads of most that she is no different in her self-focus and disdain for others that permeates the underlying devil may care – lack of accountability bad faith actions that still remains uncheckedhere. Ironic, huh?

  73. Making Sense Of The ‘New’ Michael Vick Experience | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] life trajectory in an entirely different direction.But would it, really? I’m not so sure, and neither is Caperton at Feministe:Switching someone’s race does not change his “entire existence” – it changes his race. And [...]

  74. Miss S
    Miss S September 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm |

    So this Dawn person is gone, yet it goes over the heads of most that she is no different in her self-focus and disdain for others that permeates the underlying devil may care – lack of accountability bad faith actions that still remains uncheckedhere. Ironic, huh?

    So, I was thinking about this last night, and why discussions of black women take place in segregated spaces. First, there isn’t a BWE contributor here, and I do make a distinction between a Black woman contributor, and a Black woman of the BWE movement. I don’t even think half of the people on here know what BWE is about.

    I also personally believe that many of the messages in the BWE movement wouild be met with hostility here.

    -BWE advocates for women to be in their best shape, and in many cases for BW to slim down and eat healthier. The women on here embrace fat acceptance. Did you notice the positive reinforcement Gabby got as opposed to the negativity of Jennifer Hudson losing weight on mainstream feminist sites? The opposite was true on BWE spaces.

    -BWE advocates for BW to marry a stable provider, someone who can and will provide financially for his spouse and family. I made this remark on here (probably about a year ago) and was called ableist. (Apparently everything is ableist to some people.)

    -BWE encourages embracing femininity because Black women have been denied their femininity for…. well forever, and even still today. I don’t see alot of that on here.

    -BWE encourages interraical dating, something I’ve never seen mainstream feminist sites do. In fact, I’ve seen hostility on the subject of interracial adoption.

    As much as I want integration, I don’t know that it could really happen.

  75. Faith
    Faith September 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Miss S – think of it this way. If you want to be #1 are you going to encourage others to be their best and prep them as your competition? Other women have fathers/brothers/husbands who dominate to protect them and can experiment. Most WW are not cheerleading empowerment strategies for BW. Or other women for that matter. It doesn’t benefit them. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your own interests. If BW decide to do that as a collective, it would elevate many.

  76. Rich
    Rich September 10, 2011 at 9:28 am |

    This is a classic example of white racism masquerading as “Progressive thought”. If Vick was green, blue, or ugly would we treat him differently? Probably. People who only look at the surface without getting to know the individual will always have this problem. This goes for ALL Americans/Humans. Is this off topic or does it make sense?

  77. bhuesca
    bhuesca September 10, 2011 at 11:45 am |

    Rich:
    This is a classic example of white racism masquerading as “Progressive thought”.If Vick was green, blue, or ugly would we treat him differently?Probably.People who only look at the surface without getting to know the individual will always have this problem.This goes for ALL Americans/Humans. Is this off topic or does it make sense?

    By “classic example of White racism,” you are referencing: this post here by Caperton (whose race I don’t know), the original article by Toure (who is Black, I believe) which it represents, or the commentariat here at Feministe (which spans all races, genders, etc. and the last two whom have self-identified as Black, I believe)?

    I get your overall point, I just have ZERO idea who you are attempting to call out.

  78. moretea?
    moretea? September 20, 2011 at 6:18 am |

    Matt: it would be hard to mansplain when the issue is racism and not feminism…

    WOW these women are in it for themselves!!! Look at how they let this man say that black women are not women! He used this ladies ‘blackness’ to slay her with it, and then say that she doesn’t deserve to be heard/respected/understood. He hates women, and he (“Matt”) will go after which ever one(s) he can. These white women know this, and so they keep black ladies for these feedings-this has always been their trick! They shovel every issue (that) white men have with them onto black women. Their-fat-condescending-money digging-manipulative ways! Then they say-‘get-her’ for it! White women are the biggest oppressor I have ever known. Ladylike…nah. Feminist—YEP!

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