Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"I see no color." Yeah, that's kind of, you know, the whole problem...

Over at Pandagon, Pam Spaulding sums up the real problem with that Clinton luncheon, as others have been doing: it was whiter than Whitey Whiterton. and the luncheon was held in Harlem, no less. Predictable responses and defenses have been coming up, oh, well, we DID invite people of color, well, one guy (out of twenty), but, well, he couldn't make it; what are we supposed to do? I don't see the problem! It's not like we were excluding POC bloggers on purpose; it's just, well, we don't really KNOW that many, which, that, is purely a coincidence on account of there mumble must not be that many good ones then, or, well, we meant well. God! Is no one ever satisfied? We INVITED a black guy! Truthfully we just "see no color" and don't understand why anyone else insists on dredging up these petty complaints. You're just upset because YOU weren't invited to the party, aren't you. Well, run along.


As I said over there, in response to one of the other comments:

Sep 19th, 2006 at 10:31 am

>I can’t help but think the “blizzard” is a result of willfully having blinders on—and not just about including bloggers of color. I think it’s a deliberate attempt to appeal to/work with certain demographics while ignoring others. Not ignoring out of a sense of disrespect, but ignoring because of an assumption that it is too hard to appeal to or work towards reaching those “others”; a “let’s stick to preaching to the choir” move—the “choir” in this instance being white, college-educated, middle-class bloggers within a certain age range.>


Yup. It’s actually deeper than unconscious garden-variety racism and sexism and so on, although that, too; or maybe that’s what this is based on: it’s a profound lack of curiousity about one’s fellow critters. Not really wanting to learn anything you don’t already know. Which, if you don’t have that, then how are you going to get to genuine empathy? You’re not, is what, so everything becomes about rules and shibboleths. “Well, racism is bad, I don’t want to be a bad person, one defines ‘racist’ via xyz, I won’t do xyz, okay, got it, we’re good.”

…and then kick and scream when someone politely points out that no, actually, “we” aren’t good, because in fact it isn’t about -you- and how good or bad you are, it’s about the OTHER people. Who weren’t invited and don’t have a place at the table and have their OWN concerns which STILL aren’t being addressed; it doesn’t MATTER how guilty you do or don’t feel about it; what are you gonna DO about it, hm?

And no, “I see no color” cuts no ice. Of course it’s much easier to see no color when you -see no color.- That tends to happen when your circles are blindingly white. “Oh, I never even thought about it.” YES. That kind of would be, you know, the point?


Meanwhile, Jessica makes T-shirts of the lemon-mouthed Ann Althouse's offerings:

"These BOOBS are made for blogging."

Get 'em while they're hot!


antiprincess said...

because I'm not afraid of looking stupid on the interweb -

do you think a boycott of the next conference (if such were to arise) would be useful/send a message?

I mean, I gotta say, in the unlikely event that I got tapped for such an event, I'd need a good reason to refuse.


1) even if I don't think Clinton was worth the universal cocksucking given him by the more-or-less-liberal Left, he's still an exprez, after all. I'd meet Richard Nixon given the chance (I mean, if he were still alive) - just to be able to say I met someone who was a president.

2) especially if I take issue with his behavior/policies/tendencies to think with his little head, when am I (humble, un-political, non-important I) ever going to get the chance to call him on it, live-and-in-person, if not for this lunch?

3) being chosen for an event like this would make me feel special. I like to feel special. Who doesn't?

So, if I got chosen, I'd have a conflict:

refuse to go, in solidarity with the blogosphere-of-color? (who may not even notice, and anyway why am I boycotting? for recognition? for "see-I'm-not-racist" reasons?)

or go, for all the reasons I listed above?

or employ some sort of slick subterfuge with a willing blogger-of-color wherein I accept the invitation but my willing blogfriend attends in my stead?

Would a white blogger's absence mean anything to the blogosphere-of-color? Would it only work if s/he said to the world "OK, they called me up but I'm staying home in solidarity"? Or would it only be sincere if s/he declined the invitation and said nothing?

antiprincess said...

making a stand against racism = a good reason. but does a blogger boycott constitute a stand? an effective stand?

Anna in Portland (was Cairo) said...

Please don't assume I live in a cave, but I don't understand what the point/goal of this lunch was.

Was it a groupie thing because they all are Clinton fans?

Was it some sort of strategy session regarding the fall elections? If so why Clinton particularly?

Were its goals/objectives met?

I have been trying to find any blog post that discusses the point of the luncheon if there was one. If not, then if it was just a place for Clinton fans to meet him personally who cares if people of color were there or not, as a more pointless way to spend an afternoon I cannot imagine.

And if there was an agenda and it had to do with strategy I don't know why Clinton was seen as the most useful person to discuss it with. As I can remember he got professionals to run his campaigns for him, he was not the strategist himself.

And I have ntoiced that a lot of bloggers of color are concerned about / take seriously the several accusations against him by women, whereas the white bloggers all dismiss this because republicans encouraged them.

Seriously the very fact he chose to have a consensual affair with a 21 year old when he was over 50 to me is really icky. If she had been one year younger she woulod have been a minor. As for the other accusations I was most disturbed by teh Broddrick one and I don't like the fact that his fans in this ONE case trash the women who accuse when in general they assume women don't make false rape accusations.

Anyhow it would have been healthy if people had openly discussed what the damned point of this lunch was to begin with and the issues that came up could have also been discussed (like, the fact that many feminists consider him to be a serial harrasser at best).

Because I hear there will be a whole series of these lunches. And that POC will be invited to them so not to worry. And I am asking why clinton? What's the goal here? He can't run for office.

Cocacy said...

Just discovered your blog...I really like the quality of your posts...

Alon Levy said...

Belledame, it's not, "Oh, we did invite one non-white blogger... uh yeah, I'm pretty sure we did." It's, "We didn't invite anyone who's spoken out against Hillary, and that struck out most high-profile non-white bloggers."

Besides, it's not as if the talent pool is 31% of the blogger population, the same percentage as this of Hispanics and non-whites in the US. For a start, just looking at people with Internet access will cut that percentage substantially. On the liberal A-list, the percentage of bloggers of color is way lower - I'm guessing around 5-10%. And, mind you, the number one blogger of color, who also happens to be the number one blogger, period, apparently couldn't make it.

Where you see racism, I see a country where people with the wrong skin color are doomed to poverty and people in poverty are doomed to political invisibility.

Tom Hilton said...

It's, "We didn't invite anyone who's spoken out against Hillary, and that struck out most high-profile non-white bloggers."

Is that true, though? Maha says most of the attendees are on the record as opposing a Hillary candidacy, and my impression is that she's right.

That said, I think you're right about bloggers as a whole not being reflective of the ethnic makeup of the country as a whole. Which is a problem, and which is why it's a good thing people are discussing the whiteness of the Clinton meeting...even though I don't think there was any malice or even real negligence behind it (based on what Christy Smith says Daou said). (Of course, as to that last point, keep in mind that I'm inclined to give people on our side the benefit of the doubt; YMMV.)

As for 'why Clinton', he is still an enormously popular figure who can raise enormous amounts of money and exert a great deal of influence on the party. And according to the accounts I've read, he listened as well as talked (and that alone is a striking contrast with the current idiot-in-chief).

belledame222 said...

AL: well, maybe, but point being: this is not in fact an isolated example of such things happening; it happens again and again and again.

which, ditto to Anna: it's not -I- think really "well next time CLINTON should yadda;" it's more, "what's wrong with this picture?" (har, but: really).

I think the point of the lunch was...well who knows. Probably mostly to get publicity for these bloggers, honor to lunch with the ex-Pres, something. I don't think what he did with his intern was terrifically ethical either, but I really think it has zero bearing on this particular high-rpofile function; that was Ann whosis' little mishegos, sort of as an ass-cover to pretend she wasn't really just mocking Jessica's appearance but had a Serious Feminist Point.

hey, cocacy, welcome! and thanks!

belledame222 said...

and antip: no, i don't think a boycott of the next conference with Clinton (if there even is one) is necessary or the point. And honestly--well, yah, what you said, exactly: I wouldn't have blamed them for meeting Nixon, or GHWB, or Reagan even. Hey, if it's good enough for foreign leaders. You don't have to marry the guy. It's high-profile schmoozing. That's what one does. I think what's being asked here mainly is that some of the Big White Lefty Bloggers (among other high-profile mainstream activists) take a closer look at who is and isn't coming to the table. Kos already made himself quite clear wrt where he stood on the relative importance of womens' issues; this is, well, parallel; ironic of course because now some (not all) white women who were outraged at Kos here are all like, so? problem? what problem? The Violet Socks thing recently was another sort of small flashpoint at the small-to-midsize blogs; it's not just the blogs either, of course, it's, well, what it is.

But you know: you have TBogg in the comments saying, well gosh, I don't really know any bloggers of color, or maybe one or something; and T Rex of Firedoglake actually telling a blogger of color that she's just sulking at not being invited to the party and she should respect "her betters" (!); and others saying stuff like, online nobody KNOWS what color you are, sheesh, people! one Love! and, well, no. I mean: no.

belledame222 said...

As for the poverty business: well yes, class matters ALSO, there's a lot of overlap, and yah, that no doubt was underrepresented at the luncheon as well; but it's hardly synonymous with race. It's both/and, not instead of. It is true that class is hardly talked about at all in this country, which is, well, big problem.

But, you know, in this case: kind of particularly galling to people, and I can understand this, that CLinton deliberately moves his office up to Harlem; and here's this luncheon, and, well? I mean, I don't know who ultimately did the invitations, but..

petitpoussin said...

Is it a bad thing that not one bit of how the whole jam went down surprises me? Not the whitebread attendance list for the event itself, not the boobfest-distraction and the liberal guilt 'let me just explain...' that came after.

Lack of curiosity, indeed, BD... right now girlfriend is really tired of this broken-record business.

belledame222 said...

The boobfest thing surprised me just be sheer dint of how out-to-lunch it was. (um, so to speak) Although I expect it shouldn't, at that, by now, that, should it...


Blackamazon said...

Awesome post. I vented my lil heart out so Im not left with mouch

Alon Levy said...

As for the poverty business: well yes, class matters ALSO, there's a lot of overlap, and yah, that no doubt was underrepresented at the luncheon as well; but it's hardly synonymous with race.

Actually, I don't think it's a class thing at all. Jessica didn't exactly grow up in the Upper East Side.

I posted a few weeks ago about how in the US, it's easier for white people to climb out of poverty than for black people. It's certainly easier to hide poor background than blackness, and the main general class issues are a lot more mainstream in the US than race-specific issues.

belledame222 said...

-shrug- There are a lot of ways to talk about that, I guess.

in any case i think i want to do a post about how i think class was functioning as part of the whole Althouse attack business. just because there were some -slightly- subtler undercurrents under the way obvious BOOBS R EVOL N SHE'S A HOOOORRR business.

Alon Levy said...

What do you mean - that Althouse attacked Jessica for not being proper enough?

I think it's a good old political attack - no more, no less.

belledame222 said...

In the comments sections, there and elsewhere, the business about, WELL. not that i would meet with him ANYWAY, but if i DID, it's an EX-PRESIDENT, wear a JACKET...

and then people coming to her defense with stuff like, look, it's an Ann Taylor top! how picky can you get!

and then Jessica herself eventually weighing in that it was from the Gap;

but, you know, Ann still insisting that it's a T-shirt...

i'll just do the post.

and as i started to post and then withdrew, that "wholesome, semi-ethnic look."

btw, you know, I ended up closing out that thread, Ann deleted my last four comments (so rude! so nasty!) and then froze it; right before it someone told me to "have another bagel." Apropos of, well, who really knows...

fascinating place, really...