Saturday, October 07, 2006

A riff on the general theme of "what IS going through Some Peoples' heads, here?", among other things

Specifically in relation to what is rapidly becoming an overt theme (probably about time): frustration on the part of POC at "the silence of our [white, 'liberal/progressive'] friends."

I admit that the following may turn out to be an overly generous take, after alll; but i thought it was worth at least elucidating.

As I'm seeing it: well, yes, there is massive defensiveness going on (hello), and certainly it is related to hitherto unexamined white privilege (whatever you think of the term "privilege," okay; there is shit going on that a lot of people haven't really considered before, because they hadn't had to, is the gist, and it stings when other people point this out).

So why the defensiveness? Well, one answer is that people don't want to give up their privilege. And I'm not saying that that isn't going on. My question is: well, what does that really mean wrt yer average bleeding-heart liberal gone suddenly defensive? What's the privilege being asked to be given up, really; or what do people think is meant by this? And my tentative answer, in part, at least, was this:

(n.b. to a certain extent i think that this is also roughly applicable to, for example, "male privilege" in feminist discussions, "straight privilege" in liberal/progressive het-dominated discussions about gay rights, and a few other things. as always, it depends on context and what's actually being said. and class, i think, the following may not translate as well, as in that instance material privileges are very much on peoples' minds, the privileged that is, arguably more so than in the other instances. Anyway, without further ado):

(gah: italicized inserts are Donna's remarks, which i am responding to. NOW, without further ado):

******



As I've said elsewhere, I think the problem, or part of it, is that for way too many white people the understanding of "racism" begins and ends with something like this:

A.

1) Racists are terrible awful people who do not have blood running through their veins like you and I, but a sticky black ichor...

2) I am a Good Person

3) Therefore, I cannot be a racist.

4) Lather, rinse, repeat.

Corollary:

B.

1) There is no distinction between "that there statement/action was racist" and "the author of said statement/whatever IS racist"

2) Once tarred with the epithet "racist," one is forever Doomed To Badness

3) This includes "hey, when you say such and so, that has racist connotations, did you know? (see #1)

4) See A: Lather, rinse, repeat.


How one convinces people otherwise is of course another question. It seems like careful and clear explanations in Earthspeak don't make much of a dent, although of course it is sometimes hard to tell when dealing with large GROUPS of people as in these blog discussions (hence added frustration).


>I believe that some are willfully blind to white privilege, because the way to fight institutional racism means that whites must give up some of their advantages, affirmative action is one of these, hiring more minorities means there are less openings for whites.>

Ironically, as a side note, a lot of the same (white) women who make very similar sounding statements wrt defensive men (i.e. you just don't want to give up male privilege) just don't see this at all when it comes to the possibility of THEMSELVES being in the "oppressive majority" seat.

I have a slightly different take on the whole thing, although I certainly don't rule out the possibility of what you're saying wrt being reluctant to give up privilege. of course, if this is true, then it suggests a certain...consciousness of what one is saying and doing; i.e. deliberate disingenuousness. as i see it. just saying. again: in some cases it may well be true.

but: here's another possibility. (consider this "in addition to," not "instead of:")

When you say:

>A substantial subset of the white liberal audience simply does not want to listen to or deal with POC.>

...actually, I think an overwhelming majority of liberal folks--hell, people in general--don't want to hear anything they don't already know. Particularly if it means having to rearrange comfortable thought patterns. It may be as concrete as "fuck, then I might not get as good a job," but it doesn't have to be. And in fact, as I'm observing it, a lot of the most stridently defensive white liberals are probably FOR affirmative action (for example) (i would have to really do a more thorough study to confirm that hypothesis, i admit). But: there's no question that a lot of folks are terribly terribly anxious to not be -thought- racist.

When it comes to high-profile political climbers like Hamsher, I think it's probably safe to say that at least some of this supposed desire to be friendly toward "minorities" is pretty cynically calculated: yesyes, make the gestures toward "tolerance" and then get back to what's important, i.e. Winning as much goodie for Our Team as possible. and while Our Team might be able to make way for the occasional representative of color, frankly there just are only so many slots available, and, well, "we' need the rest of them. iow: not a terrifically democratic impulse, this, at best.

But for Joe Schmo on the Internets, well, yeah, there's a lot of confused defensiveness as the newfound liberal "thou shalt nots" struggle for dominance over long-ingrained habits of culturally & parentally ingested racism (among other things); but probably the reason Joe S. turned to liberalism in the first place was that Joe S. wanted to be "good." Did NOT want to be part of the greedy power-grabbing motherfuckers; count me out. Thus: diversity, tolerance, yadda: it may be a shallow understanding, but in many cases i do believe it's not just calculated lip service: it's just all they understand.

Here's the problem, though. Because of a number of factors which are probably too complex to really explore here (and i confess i really don't have the answers myself, although i think about this shit a lot lately), the way forward, the "consciousness raising," if you will, is largely understood to be a process of guilt-tripping, pretty much. That is, what is perhaps an inevitable byproduct ("oh, fuck, i belong to such and such a demographic; look what 'we've' done; goddam, we suck, and me too by extension") becomes elevated to the only possible way to go about...whatever it is, being a "good liberal," being an "ally," being whatever.

Trouble with that is, as much as people will tell themselves and each other that in fact a generous helping of guilt is GOOD for you, just suck it up, this is the way forward; truth is, nobody -really- likes feeling guilty/shamed. And the people who are the most strident proponents of "feel bad! this is the way forward!" are, ime, people who are, perhaps not consciously, of the opinion that in fact their work is pretty much finished. Iow: yeah, the consciousness raising was unpleasant, but thank God, it's over. Now my job is to help enlighten the rest of you unconscious folks.

So of course when someone comes along and goes, "um, actually? Not so fast there, bucko: you've never even considered THIS, have you?" then of COURSE they're gonna get hyper-defensive: fuck, i have to go through all that unpleasantness AGAIN?? i'm STILL a bad person instead of a bad person who made some amends? fuck that noise. no, the problem is YOU, clearly!

also of course: ego blow. "What do you MEAN there's shit I didn't already know or even consider? I am the very model of a well-enlightened liberal!"

particularly if it's coming from a source that isn't already trusted: many such folks will consider criticism of this sort more carefully if it comes from someone they already know don't think they're Bad People.

unfortunately, such people are likely to be the ones in their inner circle; the folks in their inner circle are quite likely to NOT be (for example) people of color, in large part because of the very structural/unconscious racism we are talking about (Bird of a Feather Flock Together); therefore, the criticism which comes from the POC "outsider" is gonna be treated as an ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK.

Later, rinse, repeat.

The way out of this, I maintain, is to maybe just let the fuck go of some of the endless self-flagellation, fun as it is for the whole family; and just cultivate more basic curiousity.

Because imo that is the OTHER root of the problem here: not nearly enough people are terribly -interested- in the people whose rights they supposedly want to protect. They may not wish them any ill; they may MEAN well; but, well, again: a lot of people don't want to know what they don't already know.

Because that is sort of existentially uncomfortable-making.

It's one thing to give up one's (concrete) privileges; some may be more defensive about that than others, sure. But it's yet something else to be willing to rearrange one's whole worldview; that experience is, well, profoundly unsettling, and most people don't care for it. and the people, as I've said, who are pretty well convinced that they've ALREADY DONE THAT (and particularly with the extra-unpleasant experience of "fuck, i just suck, then" added on), are probably gonna be even -less- likely to want to do this.

But, well, that's what has to be done, as a continual process; or nothing's gonna really change.

'Fraid so.

and the good news is, it -doesn't have to be so upsetting.-

It can actually be, well, kind of fun and exciting. Look! Something I had no idea about! Wow! New people! New ideas! New ways of doing shit! Oh, wow!

And while that basic curiousity is probably not enough in and of itself, it is, i would say, necessary, if not sufficient for genuine empathy; which in turn is necessary (if not sufficient) for genuine coalition-building, ally work, what you will; which in -its- turn is necessary-if-not-sufficient for, in Kevin of Slant Truth's words, "transformative politics."

That, to me, would be real "consciousness raising."

And is ultimately the goal of not just genuinely "progressive," (liberal, what you will) politics, but of, well, life. Frankly.

72 comments:

Amber said...

Great post. I'm going to have to re-read it later (maybe a few times!) and really think about everything you've said. Nice work... I've been trying to articulate some of this stuff for a while.

One thing real quick... wrt this:

So why the defensiveness? Well, one answer is that people don't want to give up their privilege.

I know you expanded on this more, but I think that answer is, quite frankly, kind of a cop-out. I'm not saying that's not the case for some people. As a matter of fact, I'm sure it Is the case for a lot of people. But that's not the only story. Frankly? In a lot of cases, the situation is that white folks don't want to offend people of color or inadvertantly sound ignorant. I know that's been the case with me.

I want to write more about this later...

belledame222 said...

well, this whole post was pretty much a riff on that point.

although i wouldn't call it a cop-out exactly; it's more, well, from one's own perspective, that's sure what it's gonna look like. and frankly most people who're already feeling one-down (and for good reason) aren't particularly in the mood to put themselves in the shoes of the "privileged;" they feel, with good reason, they've been doing far more than their share of that as it is; now it's "their" turn. Fairly or unfairly.

and like i say, from the other side (more or less), i also see this happening in (white) feminist circles wrt "male privilege."

it is sort of entertaining when i make this sort of argument in -those- circles--to wit, the business wrt male aggression and rape porn (see post below). Well, you know how -that- one goes, amber. Rape apologist! "john!" "Concern troll!" Sinister shill for the evil pornstitution empire! Male-identified patriarchy-fucker! "You're really a man, aren't you." etc ad nauseum.

'k thanks for sharing 'bye.

i've no doubt that POC get similar "sellout" crap from the more...something...wing of their own political circles when it comes to this shit. hell, i've seen some of it. "white-identified," "Oreo," "banana," "Uncle Tom," yadda.

good times all 'round, d00d. goooooood tiiiiiimes.

some days i -almost- think, no wonder people give up and swing rightward.

Almost.

i mean, as i gather from ilyka damen's adventures in wingnutland, the welcome wagon of "we're refreshingly Incorrect here! c'mon in and grab a beer!" gets yanked away pretty fucking fast.

not that my queer ass would be particularly tempted anyway...

although now that i think about it, i did actually encounter some Bush-supporting lesbians shortly before the '04 election. (yes, -that- Bush).

i probably should've questioned them more, in the interest of scientific research (*poke*, make it DO something), but i had to stop; my head was threatening to explode a la Scanners.

R. Mildred said...

In a lot of cases, the situation is that white folks don't want to offend people of color or inadvertantly sound ignorant.

I call bullshit on both of these excuses, if ignorance was feared then this whole blowup wouldn't of happened due to how everyone involved would have bothered to get educated about the facts of the matter.

And if offense was really a problem for white bloggers, then they'd speak up more because their silence is offensive also - and when they do do something to offend people, they'd actually be able to realise that they did something offensive, and their inability to apologise for being offensive has been the very crux of the whole issue.

Even if both of those excuses weren't used too routinely to be anything other than cheapass rationalisatons for POC issues being invisibleised by mainstream bloggers, they're rebutted by the very behavior of white bloggers who use them to justify their bullshit.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
belledame222 said...

well, put it like this:

It's true that a lot of people don't want to be -offensive;- trouble is, they aren't actually thinking about what will or won't -offend the other person- (strangely enough, the other person saying in so many words what is and isn't offensive -to her- doesn't seem to make a dent in a lot of cases).

What they mean is--again: I Am Not A Racist/Bad Person! I'm not i'm not i'm not!!!

problem being: even if that's true (certainly the Bad Person bit, at least), it's really beside the point, as it's still the offender making it all about -herself.-

And you'd -think- the -smart- thing to do would be to just put down the damn shovel and stop digging.

but, you know: defense mechanisms: not rational.

and, too: if person were terribly good at paying attention in the first place, she probably wouldn't have said the offending thing to begin with. Or at least would've known early on to say "duh, you're right, i stuck my foot in it, apologies."

iow: people are so busy responding to/defending themselves against whoever-it-is they've made up in their head--the one that's telling them BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD (for example)... that they don't have -room- for the actual other person. and all they tend to hear is the stuff that reinforces what's already on the tape loop playing in their haids.

"blah blah blah GINGER blah blah blah..."

which is effectively what "objectification' -is.-

Hanna said...

Thank you, BelleDame.

My personal experience has been very different, but I wouldn't think to say that my experience is the same for all white people. I know that I was raised to be racist, continue to be fed messages that build on that foundation. Yet I continue to try to work toward being a good ally. It's very difficult work for me personally, for a lot of reasons I won't go into here.

It's extremely traumatic for me that white people who spend every day talking about how they are confronting the badness in the world are unable or unwilling to deal with racism. I've been there, it's difficult to navigate. For me, for different reasons. So, I'm not sure how much is applicable if any.

But there's no excuse for Hamsher's peers not to confront her. Maybe they do, but Hamsher's rule of blogging seems to be to admit no mistakes and attack at all times. I knew there would be very negative repercussions from the theory that liberals weren't "tough enough" and had to start acting like conservatives to get things done.

Personally? I think she's afraid, like many other white bloggers, of admitting mistakes because they feel it can be used against them by the right-wingers. Nevermind that right-wingers aren't so stupid that they don't see right through it and call us on our hipocracy as well as our racism.

Two strikes for the price of one.

During the Liza's Confrontation, many white people (and some people of color) said that she was too confrontational. I didn't agree with that. Then Zuky brought up another issue of Firedoglake fucking up again in as polite a way possible and the silence was even more deafening.

Clearly, blaming people of color for not creating an environment friendly enough for white people to admit their mistakes is a big load of hogwash. This fits with my experience.

I wish I had answers. I tried so hard when Liza was being attacked from so many directions (and I barely posted at all, especially in quality, and most people didn't listen to what I was saying anyway). I really don't know what I could possibly bring to the table anymore.

I support you. You're so much smarter than me, so much more well spoken.

This isn't me saying I give up. I have personal issues I'm not going to go into here. I just can't handle the internet, it's too much for me.

But if you ever need me for anything, please let me know and I will be there for you if at all possible. For whatever that's worth, as I find myself capable of less and less every day. This is one of the most important issues in the world for me. It's very personal.

Love,

Hanna

Amber said...

R. Mildred, you can call bullshit; but the "excuse" I cited is an accurate reflection of how I often feel wrt a lot of these issues/discussions. Hence:

In a lot of cases, the situation is that white folks don't want to offend people of color or inadvertantly sound ignorant. I know that's been the case with me.

So, that's been my experience with it. That hasn't been all of my experience, but it's enough to warrant mentioning. And, like I said, one of these days I'm going to get off my (recovering from this damn cold/sinus infection/whatever) ass and actually write a lengthy blog post about this.

I know, I'm such a tease.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, one's personal shit makes a difference, i expect.

I was raised by good secular-humanist-Jewish liberal Democrats who would never have dreamed of using a racist epithet, believed in affirmative action, had...well, as many friends of color as a typical upper-middle-class white academic has; i.e. not many, the structural racism was there, sure; but some, at least.

So, while I've had as much cultural crap to wade through as any other white not-particularly-conscious person ("I'm no more racist than the next person pretending to be racist," tm Hothead Paisan), it is possible that i tend to forget that other people may be coming from a different place entirely, originally at least.

so but anyway, that post was probably directed to the people i'm most familiar with. or think i am, i guess. who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of...?

belledame222 said...

("...pretending not to be racist," that is).

belledame222 said...

slip, was going off hanna's post, but that works as well, i expect.

belledame222 said...

at any rate, Hanna, i was specifically -not- talking about the likes of Hamsher with this post; but rather with some of the "B-list" (or whatever it is) bloggers who're currently embroiled in another mega-thrash; difference between them and the fdl/Maha folks being, at least some of 'em are engaging at all, not banning, not stonewalling.

Hamsher's an ass.

belledame222 said...

>I support you. You're so much smarter than me, so much more well spoken.

This isn't me saying I give up. I have personal issues I'm not going to go into here. I just can't handle the internet, it's too much for me.>

...shit. my gut response is to say, "please don't say that," not the giving up and not the I'm so much smarter either. I just talk a lot, you know? i've had a lot of practice. i'm a mouthy broad. and i read a lot.

but do what you need to do; i understand, life intervenes. i wish you well and easing of whatever burdens are pressing on you right now.

>But if you ever need me for anything, please let me know and I will be there for you if at all possible. For whatever that's worth, as I find myself capable of less and less every day. This is one of the most important issues in the world for me. It's very personal.>

Thank you, that means a lot.

Nanette said...

Hanna, for what it's worth, I noticed your postings and listened to what you said, both at culture kitchen and feministe and other places where people were posting. I definitely appreciated them, especially as you mentioned your history, sort of.

there is shit going on that a lot of people haven't really considered before, because they hadn't had to, is the gist, and it stings when other people point this out).

I think part of what we are seeing is, of course, the fallout from the entire FDL racist thing, and the silence that was pointed out by many. Well, and the probable results of that silence, as was also pointed out. One very big thing that the "white blogosphere" lost (in general, beyond a few specific persons) is the benefit of the doubt. I am not sure some realize that yet, but it's likely they will fairly soon.

I could be very wrong (that has been known to happen once or twice), especially as I am only just barely catching up on the various interblog dynamics among these various sites, but I would say that part of this is not only the white privilege part, and the ignorance (or not) part, but also the loss of the privilege of being considered presumptive allies of non white communities. I, at least, do not consider some any such thing, but then there is that history thing that others have with some of these blogs/persons which might offer them a different view, and so I may be projecting.

Hmmm, well I'm distracted at the moment and probably not saying what it is I actually want to say, but will leave this as is and maybe expand later. Or something.

Nanette said...

Well gee, super distracted. I realize that most of what I just typed was already said in comments and in the post itself, lol.

Ah well, nothing like positive reinforcement, I say. At least, I do now.

Veronica said...

Ya know, I've been busy writing in the non-bloggy way (Did you know they still make paper? Crazy, ain't it?) and I feel about two steps behind in all of this.

I know that a lot of people are upset, but I sincerely can't keep up. Are we still pissed about FireDogDude? Or, is it Pandagon, now?

So, if my silence is an indication of anything in particular, it's an indication that I'm three days behind at any given moment, and that I don't read a lot of the blogs where the drama happens. So by the time I catch up, the drama has already moved on...

Very good post, though. Most liberals don't want to look stupid and/or racist. So, if you say they are racist or ignorant, they deny it or they explain themselves into a pretzel. A pretzel that's a good person, really, they promise.

belledame222 said...

"some of my best friends are salted twists of dried dough."

yeah, we've now more or less moved from fdl and maha to Pandagon, and a couple of eruptions via Punkass, and various contretemps directly at bfp's and BA's, and an incident at Alas, and probably something the hell else that i'm forgetting and a few things that haven't even crossed my radar yet.

but yeah, it does tend to make one feel a bit like Vicky Pollard after a while.

"Yeah, but, no, but, yeah but no, but yeah but no so anyway, someone said (mumble) called (mutter) a total slag, but shut up! she wasn't even there so shut up! god, this reminds me of this whole thing that was just like that other thing where (deleted) said (static) was 100% minger, but she is anyway, shut up, and she's not even supposed to be in the pub, everyone knows she's only nine, and then there was this whole other thing where Monica had her hand down Billy Clinton's trackie bottoms."

belledame222 said...

nanette: great minds, etc. etc.

btw, your magazine/website looks terrific, linked.

Unsane said...

Good writing. I have often -- very often been the target of so many feel-good "anti-racist" masturbation sessions because I am a white who comes from Zimbabwe. People presume that this would have made me uncomfortable with blacks, but somehow I always have had the impression that those who chastise me thus:

1. believe me to have come from South Africa, not Zimbabwe

2. Have certain conditioned ideas about my experience of "apartheid" (which I haven't actually experienced).

3. Always fail to ask me anything about my personal life, my values, my actual experiences, and so on. They just presume that they already know these somehow.

4. Are inclined to bully. I was the victim of workplace bullying partly because I made an easy target as a member of an unpopular social group.

So, I appreciate your writing of this article.

Nanette said...

I think I've just pretty much burned my "white liberal, feminist, connected,blogosphere" bridges. If the comment even stays up there, no clue of the policy at Lindsay's.

btw, your magazine/website looks terrific, linked.

Thanks, belle! I'm reall, truly going to make a blogroll soon, and will be adding you to it as well!

veronica, my personal concern was not so much with the commenters (although there was that as well), but with the larger, what I consider feeder type blogs... the ones that blared boobgate far and wide, and so forth. But positively ignored racist freak gate.

little light said...

More substantive response later, as I'm at work, but:

Hells yeah.
Thanks, BD. I was just arguing about this very thing today, and it's nice to see people who get it.

belledame222 said...

nanette: I've not known Lindsey to delete comments, but i haven't been around there for a while. anyway you're completely right, and that was civil by anyone's standards, -i- think, if blunt.

I do not understand what is going on with her. She's certainly more than capable of "getting it" in other contexts; reading her comments at Punkass is threatening to put a permanent dent in my forehead.

ll: thanks!

belledame222 said...

...i'll say this: whatever it means, her posts on the subject have been among the more affectless that i've seen. perhaps she genuinely is one of those people who doesn't "get" strong emotion? certainly she doesn't seem to get why BA might be upset; then again, she keeps siding with Marc and -his- presumed strong emotions...naw, i dunno. it's like she's not processing what people are actually seeing at all. generally i tend to be a bit more understanding of people in that state when they're clearly beside themselves with passion of some sort.
that someone can post in this seemingly logical way and still not actually seem to have taken in a word some people are saying...

i dungeddit.

Veronica said...

I saw the Alas thing yesterday, because BFP posted about it at Taking Place. Woot! I'm not as slow as I thought!

Nannette, I already had my "You big blogs have more of a responsibility to not be total fucking assholes just for the sheer joy of assholery..." crash and burn at Pandagon. I got called a Politeness Nazi. For some reason the folks with the bigger microphones don't want acknowledge they have bigger microphones. It would fuck up their street cred or something.

I am, however, of the opinion that one you hit a certain critical mass your blog is officially clique driven, and after about 3 comments everyone is sure to have lost all touch with Fucking Reality(TM). I mean, really? Posts about whether it was the right thing to apologize? Who the fuck besides Amanda should even HAVE an opinion on whether or not Amanda should apologize? Posts from other folks saying that the apology wasn't enough? For a fucking photoshop picture of a burqa? Posts about whether the burqa in the picture even has a woman in it? Posts defending an piece of mandatory streetwear where you can't fucking tell if there's a human in it? Posts about "us" and "them" and "She's such a bitch" and "did you hear" and "OMG, we're so not like that" and "Fuck that, you bootlicking assholes." Get fucking real--when did this become Blogville High School?

Beccause, I can't keep up with who sits at what lunch table, and who wants to sit at what table, and so on. And, I dunno who is supposed to be "okay" to talk to, and who can't sit at my table without bringing our collective cool factor down. Most of the time I'm not even sure who is actually at my table, anyway. And, I really can't bring myself to care. Especially in light of all the recent fights.

So, yeah.

Fucking drama. Then again, this is what happens when you discuss religion and politics...

belledame222 said...

...no, on second read, it just looks pretty boilerplate, sadly.

you know, in the time it took to get as defensive as all that, in several different mainstream feminist blogspaces, no less, one could've done just a lot of reading of the actual POC in question, maybe find out who they are and -why- this is making them as upset as it is.

gargh.

i mean according to some people the Jessica business was no big deal either, right? How can one seriously not see any parallels? Any at all?

Veronica said...

Ack. Damned little box. When I said, "Who the fuck besides Amanda should even HAVE an opinion on whether or not Amanda should apologize?" what I meant was:

Who the fuck besides Amanda should even HAVE an opinion on whether or not her giving an apology was the right thing to do?

As in... it was a done deal. If a person gives an apology they obvious already feel they did something wrong. What was up with all those folks getting self-righteous and pissy on Amanda's behalf for an apology she'd already given.

I strive for clarity ;)

Hanna said...

Can I sit at the lunch table with everyone who has posted in this thread?

Love,

Hanna

belledame222 said...

Veronica: ooh politeness Nazi! Heil! at least you didn't tell them all to SUCK MY TAMPON; not sure what kind of Nazi that made -me.- a schmaltz Nazi, perhaps.

belledame222 said...

...heh. i dunno. what'd your mom give you?

belledame222 said...

>Who the fuck besides Amanda should even HAVE an opinion on whether or not her giving an apology was the right thing to do?

As in... it was a done deal. If a person gives an apology they obvious already feel they did something wrong. What was up with all those folks getting self-righteous and pissy on Amanda's behalf for an apology she'd already given.>

People do keep saying this (at Punkass, for one). It is a very curious thing, to be sure.

i mean, if YOU want to say or do something offensive and not apologize for it, floor's open, you know? Go for it! Why settle for someone else's stymied guilt?

Nanette said...

I do not understand what is going on with her. She's certainly more than capable of "getting it" in other contexts; reading her comments at Punkass is threatening to put a permanent dent in my forehead.

Well, that is why I went there - to sort of attempt to put her in context. Because what I was seeing of her comments on the other blogs was sending off alarm bells, but (even if I say it doesn't exist any more) I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially if I only know them in one narrow frame.

Done with that, though.

Veronica, I know! Drama, drama, drama (and eyes opened, sigh). Heh, politeness Nazi. I'd not heard of that one before... is that akin to a 'concern troll'?

I was actually almost wishing, today, that I had followed my regular practice of not reading Gilliard's blog that day a couple of weeks ago, when he posted Liza Sabater's post, which is where I started with all this.

Almost, though... even if the people involved are not ones I usually pay much attention to, most all involved are who people outside of the blogs themselves look to as the "leaders of the blogosphere", and indeed they look on themselves as that. So, it's best to know what is going on with whom, and why, sometimes.

Nanette said...

Can I sit at the lunch table with everyone who has posted in this thread?

Anytime, Hanna. We have CAKE at our table! Or tofu and rice crackers, if you prefer.

Alon Levy said...

If the comment even stays up there, no clue of the policy at Lindsay's.

I don't know what comment policies you're used to, but in a year and seven months of reading Majikthise, I haven't seen Lindsay delete a single comment that wasn't spam or sexual harassment. She only put up her current policy after a few idiots sexually harassed her in March or April of 2005.

Alon Levy said...

Well, that is why I went there - to sort of attempt to put her in context.

The thing about Lindsay is, she sees shades of gray. Where radical antiracists see obvious racism, and racists see obvious radical shrillness, she sees two sides. Here she sees Amanda as having a better point, and she's right; Brownfemipower's argument boils down to "Some neocons pretend to care about women's rights as an excuse to bomb other countries, so let's not talk about other countries' abysmal misogyny." Which is especially bizarre when directed against a blogger who a few months ago ran an article by Mandos about that very issue.

I'm firing off emails to the two bloggers I know from the region (one of them is male, and I think that so's the other but I'm not entirely sure) and asking them what they think.

Nanette said...

Brownfemipower's argument boils down to "Some neocons pretend to care about women's rights as an excuse to bomb other countries, so let's not talk about other countries' abysmal misogyny."

This is not brownfemipower's argument. Jeebus.

I don't know Lindsay, but it does not appear to me that the shade she is seeing is gray.

I will look forward to hearing what your email friends say... if they actually read the various points presented as such, and not from condensations of what others think the point was.

belledame222 said...

yes. it's also not only brownfemipower's argument, either.

and the follow-up business with Marc and BA, which for some strange reason had been reasonably well worked out between them, but Lindsey seems to want to insist that no, dammit, even though he -already- apologized and BA -accepted-, Marc shouldn't have, doesn't need to apologize.

i'm with nanette here. I've liked Majikthise, i'm not saying i dislike her now, but i am finding her behavior here strange and dismaying, to say the least.

belledame222 said...

the underlying point is: bloggers of color have been feeling massively taken for granted and ignored, alternating with being appropriated ("spoken for," as opposed to "spoken to") whenever it suits the mainstream white bloggers' convenience. That Lindsey and a number of other people apparently cannot or will not begin to appreciate this greater context; that she then took it upon herself to lecture BA as to just how angry she ought to have gotten, or how she ought to've expressed herself...this is all very problematic. and it just keeps getting compounded when people just fucking refuse to accept: okay, maybe you have a damn point.

i mean, as i've been saying: the most annoying thing from -my- perspective is that it takes something like THIS to get a lot of mainstream white bloggers to have even -heard- of any of these people. and when they do encounter them, sure, context: inflammatory; but the tone: so patronizing! so dismissive! there are some fucking brilliant voices out there that have just gone by the wayside, and it truly irks when people are so much more invested in "no i'm RIGHT, DAMMIT" than in trying to find out anything -else- about, you know, other people?

Veronica said...

Nannette-I think Politeness Nazi was supposed to mean that I was, I dunno, oppressing Amanda in asking that she consider her audience, before sending legions of homunculi to attack someone that wasn't even provoking her. It was an ugly scene. A Concern Troll is someone that's harrassing you for the sake of your own "well-being." Technically, in that situation Amanda was being a BIG Concern Troll.

belledame222 said...

>so let's not talk about other countries' abysmal misogyny."

...is putting me very much in mind of certain bloggers' response to my (and others') complaints at how the dialogue wrt The Eternal Subject had been handled (not to mention the treatment of some individual women) has been,

"You just don't want us to 'criticize' anything about sex at ALL."

bzzt. wrong again. but it sure is nice to be read carefully and taken seriously.

belledame222 said...

hey, i got called a concern troll over at Punkass just yesterday! also a "john" and (pretty much) a rape apologist. o yeah, and the radical feminists are "coming to get me."

i do hope they are taking me somewhere pleasant to dine first, at least

i suppose i'd better get ready. do my hair, put on the lippy, don the hairshirt, you know...

Alon Levy said...

I will look forward to hearing what your email friends say... if they actually read the various points presented as such, and not from condensations of what others think the point was.

Well, I'll let you know as soon as I hear from either of them.

I don't have a Muslim or a nonwhite angle on this, but I have a non-American one. And that is that as far as I can tell, people outside the US and maybe Canada don't distinguish black Americans from white ones. If you're a black or Hispanic American, you're considered part of the imperialist machine; having voted for Kerry is sometimes a mitigating factor, but having a non-white skin color isn't. Anti-Americans don't talk of white Americans or black Americans; they only talk of Americans.

Zan said...

Shit like this is why I tend to avoid blogging about race. I mean, I'm a pasty white girl, what do I know about living as a person of color? It's true that I've got friends who are and we talk about things, but when it comes down to it, I'm going to bow to their experiences and not try to wave away what they say they've dealt with with a "oh, but that's not what they meant....you're just being too sensitive."

A lot of white people do not want to acknowledge that yes, we have privilege. It's not our fault, just like it's not any POC's fault that they get penalized in our society for not being white -- but those are both facts. Once you face up to the fact that being a pasty white person gives you special bennies, you can start to really understand why some things that seem perfectly normal to you could offend other people.

But the fact is, I can't talk about racisim with any degree of authority because it's not something I face. It's not something I deal with. I realize it's a very real fact of life and I don't deny it in the slightest, but it's not a subject I am qualified to speak about. What I can do is support those who deal with it. I can accept that yes, their experiences are real and valid. And while I may not see a particular situation in a given light, that doesn't mean that the way the experience it is wrong.

It's like -- okay that damned thread on Feministing about the fat model. I got really upset at some of the comments. She was 'morbidly obese' couldn't possibly be healthy, a freak, no one wanted to see people like her in sexy clothing. I got pissed the hell off. So did a lot of other fat women, who posted to the thread to say so. (Me, I was so angry I had to blog it myself.) And you know what reaction they got? They got told that "no one is saying anything rude or mean. Why are you getting so upset? We didn't mean to hurt your feelings, but seriously, being that bad isn't good for you and if you want to be healthy you should lose weight and why are you so upset that we're telling you that there's something morally wrong with you and that you're normal because of how you look? What's wrong? why are you so sensitive?"

And I imagine, if the rage I felt over that was anything like the rage POCs feel about the way they've been treated, they're the people to listen to, they're the ones in the best position to talk about it and I'll be listening and learning and, if they want some help, offering 'em my baseball bat to take to people's heads.

Yeah, ok. I don't know if that makes any sense. I'm tired and haven't eaten in awhile, so I'm kinda fuzzy. But the reason I tend to avoid blogging about race is I have no authority from which to speak.

Nanette said...

Ah, thanks Veronica. I see these terms from time to time, but no one ever explains them ;).

belle, I have to admit, the apology thing sort of freaks me out, probably because I just cannot see a reason for the focus on it. From what I saw, no one at all said R. Mildred shouldn't have apologized to (mainly) Chris Clarke, because of "intent" and all that. This entire thing (from the lunch on) is like being zoomed back a few decades or something.

Way too much deja vu, although I am really trying hard not to put historical experience and interpretations on present day actions, even if they do bear really freaky similarities.

Nanette said...

If you're a black or Hispanic American, you're considered part of the imperialist machine; having voted for Kerry is sometimes a mitigating factor, but having a non-white skin color isn't.

I am not sure why non white Americans wouldn't be considered part of the regime? Just like non right wing Americans are. We, the People and all that.

Although, with people I speak to outside the country, "American" is still default for "white American". But as for sharing the blame for the actions of the US government, or any other sort of thing like that, I have always assumed that most lump all of us in together.

Who has time, when dodging bombs and stuff, to separate people out?

Nanette said...

zan, I understand exactly what you mean. I don't read feministing, so I didn't see the thread there, but I've come across stuff like that before in various places. Which is why, if I do visit those sorts of blogs, I usually just read the posts, like a newspaper or something. And comment on very few blogs at all.

Well. Prior to all this, that is. Now I'm just blabbing all over the place. But still.

But the reason I tend to avoid blogging about race is I have no authority from which to speak.

I think everyone pretty much has the authority from which to speak... we all experience race in one way or another, even if we don't all experience racism.

Speaking about what you do know, though, or what you question or what you might want to learn and so on, that's something anyone can do. Not that I'm saying that anyone has to or anything, just that there are many ways of talking about race, even if it's only about someone's own journey to understanding their place in things.

Alon Levy said...

Shit like this is why I tend to avoid blogging about race.

I don't see why you need to talk from personal experience to blog about it. I mean, for the identity politics stuff I do see why, but you don't have to do that sort of race-blogging.

Maybe it's just me, but I find statistics like the one that 63% of black Americans born in the bottom economic quartile stay in it compared with 32% of white Americans revolting enough.

belledame222 said...

> and why are you so upset that we're telling you that there's something morally wrong with you and that you're normal because of how you look? What's wrong? why are you so sensitive?">

"No reason at all. By the way, did I ever tell you that I think you could use some serious dental work? Well, i'm just concerned about your health and your future job prospects. and i'm sure i don't have to tell you what a liability it is for future dates. --Sweetie! Don't get so upset! I'm just telling you this for your own good. Also? I've always thought your sofa should be on the other side of the apartment. And what you do for a living: well, it's not you. No, trust me. You just need your entire life rearranged; you are a fuck-up. I mean that in the nicest possible way--hey! come back here! i didn't even get to the part about your sex life!"

Alon Levy said...

I draw the line at people's personal lives. I don't give a damn what consensual sexual practices people engage in, or what food they like, and I'll defend them whenever some asshole tries shaming them for their private activities. They call it the private sphere for a reason.

But in the public sphere, nothing is above criticism. If I disagree with people's political activity, or think it's counterproductive, I'm going to say so. Comparing that to criticizing personal decisions is no different from the annoying libertarian habit of saying that restrictions on economic activity are as bad as restrictions on personal behavior.

Alon Levy said...

By the way, speaking of race-blogging, I'm probably going to go online with a big race post on Sunday night or Monday morning. I need to do a post for 3QD (whose proprietor, Abbas Raza, is one of the two people I emailed) for then, and I've been planning a big post on race for a while now, so it's all a matter of putting it on electronic paper.

FoolishOwl said...

There's a fundamental split between radicals and liberals. Are the social problems you oppose just surface problems, or are they expressions of the fundamental structure of our society? Is racism a mold infecting an otherwise healthy tree, or is it the fruit of that tree?

There are material incentives for accepting the liberal position, particularly if you're not working class and if there's little active struggle. But, if you like, there are also psychological incentives for it. The classic slur against radicals is that we are superficial thinkers who just want to destroy everything rather than understand it. But questioning everything down to the roots, never quite relaxing your guard -- that's an anxious way to live. It's easier to relax, and trust authority.

And from that perspective, when someone points out that it's not just the Republicans who backed the Iraq war, that liberals and even radical leftists can share in the bigotry that soaks through everything, and so on, it's understandable that liberals will want to say, "Slow down there. Things aren't so bad. You know it's going to be all right." They're scared of the idea that it might not be all right, that supporting the Democrats is making things worse, that a "good" company isn't really better than a "bad" one, and so on.

Amber said...

Yeah. What Zan said. She articulated much better what I was trying to say in my first comment.

That, friends, is a huge part of why I don't blog about race. But it's like, ya can't win for losing. I'm trying to actually listen to what POC have to say, because obviously I can't understand from my own experiences and my own privilege. But then I get told, "Why are you being quiet??" Uh, because I'm trying to listen and learn. Didn't you just get finished telling some other white person to stop trying to dominate the conversation so you could (rightly) have your say?

And I'm sure this comment, too, will get me flamed a bit, or picked apart at least. "No, no, that's not how it is, you don't understand, that's not what is meant by xyz statement..." And especially my casual usage of the "can't win for losing" colloquialism... someone will probably say I'm trying to co-opt POC's experiences, and turn this around to make it all about me.

Argh. It's just frustrating, is all I'm saying. I have thoughts on these issues, but I often feel like I don't have the literary muscle to express them adequately. (Or that I'm not welcome to try.)

belledame222 said...

I go back and forth. Especially since not everyone who cries "radical, radical" is one. Yeah, -question;- but way too many people seem to think they can skip directly to the answers, and then whack people relentlessly over the head until they get the same answers they do.

that's not radicalism -or- liberalism; that is assholery.

belledame222 said...

amber: I get that experience; and yet, you know, ime "can't win for losing" simply means you can't please ALL of the people ALL of the time. doesn't mean you can't still make choices, or that it truly is a no-win situation.

Veronica said...

I'm trying to actually listen to what POC have to say, because obviously I can't understand from my own experiences and my own privilege. But then I get told, "Why are you being quiet??" Uh, because I'm trying to listen and learn. Didn't you just get finished telling some other white person to stop trying to dominate the conversation so you could (rightly) have your say?

Amen to that, particularly concerning bfp's blog. I read it pretty frequently. I never comment. I think what she's doing is important, but I don't think that I'm invited to the party. Which is fine.

I have and will discuss racism in my space, though. And, in other places that don't seem to be "by and for WOC/POC." I dunno. I don't mind fucking up. I'm doing my best, and if I fuck up then I'll apologize and try to figure it out. Being called out for having said something racist isn't the end of the world, it just means you have something to learn. I'm willing to learn.

Alon Levy said...

But then I get told, "Why are you being quiet??" Uh, because I'm trying to listen and learn. Didn't you just get finished telling some other white person to stop trying to dominate the conversation so you could (rightly) have your say?

Personally, I've found that the "I don't tell you what to blog about; please return the favor" response is the most effective one, at least against conservatives (I've never really had to say that to radicals). I've used it successfully on Appletree, and I've seen it used successfully on Majikthise.

Alternatively, if you want to say something about race but don't feel comfortable with intruding on nonwhite bloggers, you don't have to do the kind of race-blogging that involves ranting about white privilege. Gordo writes about racial inequality in education (though less than he used to); I pass along every good statistic of racial inequality in economics that I can find. I feed on that kind of stuff.

But only do that if you want to. You have the right to choose your own issue emphasis; you don't see me go around the blogosphere and tell random bloggers that they must cover atheist issues more. I only attack them when they say something stupid about atheist issues.

belledame222 said...

Or also, you know, go to the blogs in question and comment on...something else. I mean, it's not like bfp (or most anyone that i know of) writes about racial issues -all- the time; very few people do. People are just folks, you know... which i think has been sort of the bottom line, or one of 'em, of this whole mess. people getting tired of feeling like i don't know, eternal spokespeople or symbols or any other form of not-quite-human.

Zan said...

Well, I have no real problem pointing out statistics like, oh, a great majority of the people displaced by Katrina were black and the government programs set up to rebuild New Orleans seem tailored to specifically exclude them, thus seem like an attempt to whitewash the city and turn it into New Republicanville. Hell, yeah, that's I'm blogging about. No question. I think I have a greater reservation with the identity politics/personal realm. Because frankly, I really don't know anything about being a POC.

And if I say something racist, I /want/ someone to call me on it. I admit that I may sometimes do or say things that I don't realize are racist. I'm from the Deep, Deep South and I fight, every damn day, against the attitudes I was raised with but sometimes I miss things. And I want to know when I do, because I need to know about it in order to eliminate it.

It infuriates me to no end that people are judged, cataloged and stuck into boxes based on nothing more than their physical appearance. It's an endlessly stupid way to label people and it makes absolutely no sense to me.

About the apologizing thing. Well, my Mama taught me that if you offend someone, even if you didn't mean to and you don't really think they should have gotten upset, you apologize anyway. Because they did get upset and, unless you meant to upset them, you need to take ownership of that. Find out what upset them, tuck that away in the back of your mind and DON'T DO IT AGAIN. How hard is that to learn? I mean, really? And if someone else feels the need to apologize for something they did, let them. Whether you agree or not. Because sometimes, I'm sorry can lead to a whole new world of understanding. No one likes feeling unwanted or unaccepted.

belledame222 said...

Hello.

Yeah, you know: at a certain level you realize at least some of this isn't even about "isms" or institutionalized hegemonies or ideologies anymore, is it. It's actually something a lot more basic.

Ravenmn said...

Something Zan said got me thinking: Maybe it's that white people don't want to allow POC to have privilege on the race issue. I really don't doubt that no matter how much anti-racist work I do, I still will not be as aware of the effects of racism as POC. So I am giving them a privilege I choose not to assume for myself. Is that part of the difficulty here?

Blackamazon said...

I want to talk about something that amber said because it ahs come up A lot recently.

Why are you being quiet??" Uh, because I'm trying to listen and learn. Didn't you just get finished telling some other white person to stop trying to dominate the conversation so you could (rightly) have your say?


Why are you quiet is not the exact flipside of the " please don't talk for me critique".

It's NOT one or the other.

When five car pileons happen to POC at blogs and I read through them and honestly particiapte in some. It doesn't escape my notice that without fail in general the same 7-10 non POC bloggers will show up to go " Well that's not what she actually said no". Always the same folks . One or two I actually dialog with off blog some I don't even know but their there.

They don't say waht she's saying is they don't say well this is important or this isn't they give support and when youre maybe 7 against 20 it's important and it's noted.

It's also noted when other issues come up that you can't stop the amount of I support you or youre so awesome posts taht come in.

One line . Takes five seconds . WHy is it that that is worth it and the race issues aren't.

Do peopel contact us off blog if their trying to be supportive and don't want to be dumb? Not to my knowledge.

But if they want to call us reverse racists and all manner of foulness people get on the send button QUICK

ANd" listening and lerning " is no risk . IT is risky for me tobe blogging as a WOC/broke /whatever. It is risky for ALL people , but my risks are specific and when me exposing myself to danger is treated as someone 11:00 workshop it's not about non offensiveness i feel used.

It also implies that saying something gets your head bitten off in ways I have yet to see happen. As if expressing our displeasure at one person amounts to us not being able to differentiate between people .

And Zuky says it best but " I meant well doesn't cut it anymore" and thr privilege of expecting you're I meant well to ease what is often real emotional pain is INFURIATING. BEcause your feelings are this all heeling balm that should be wnough to soothe my experiences and my hurt?

It;s also extra infuriating because some peopel seem to be willing to step out of teh I dont want to be wrong bubble and make choices and be attentive and participatory. We don't agree on everything (or in some cases most anything), but their there. Their trying to work it out , tehy come to our blogs instead of sticking only to the whitewashed versions of OUR stories on "safer" blogs. They stop choosing who they get to speak to .

Oh and they take the importants time of reading ( A big problem i Have with LIndseys response on her blog is that in BFP's discussion muslim women,arabic scholars, DO SPEAK OUT ABOUT IT but we need to get Muslims taht have been APPROVED for comment).

So when Marc apologizes and seems to get taht I'm asking for respect of my experiences and human courtesy, or someone sends me a one line comment of thank you it is important. BECAUSE IT IS SUCH A SMALL THING TO DO. It's not the big throwdowns it's the small things and too often after all the theory is stripped away it sounds like doing the small things jsust isn't worth it to people while they try to distract us with the BIG things

belledame222 said...

well put, BA, and thank you.

and: if it were me, I would take all that on not so much as "fuck, I really should've known better, I suck," so much as "okay, then, this is something I can start to do."

because ime people do notice and respond when that happens;

which is of course what BA is saying, pretty much, i expect.

anyway as you'll note i just had my very own vent. i expect this will only serve to make Amanda and some others more defensive--say, as long as we're at it, y'all are pretty fucking heterocentric too!--timing-wise, perhaps not ideal; but, goddamit, she started it. You call your post "open a can of worms;" apparently the worms already/still crawling around weren't enough; so, nu, okay, let's roll.

belledame222 said...

>Something Zan said got me thinking: Maybe it's that white people don't want to allow POC to have privilege on the race issue. I really don't doubt that no matter how much anti-racist work I do, I still will not be as aware of the effects of racism as POC. So I am giving them a privilege I choose not to assume for myself. Is that part of the difficulty here?>

DING. i think so. and i think -this- bit, is pretty specific to the left-more-or-less (although i gather this general...template? meme? has trickled into the public discourse; hence all the bitching and moaning about "political correctness," i expect);

but BL was talking about this, and i had observed the phenomenon at least, in a bit more groping-in-the-dark sort of way sometime before that: the weird inverted hierarchy of oppression thing that happens, the Oppression Olympics. But BL nailed its roots as...ohhhh, shit, i am a dunce. fuck. BL? Little help here? ...anyway, rooted in---is- it Hegel? --the idea that, uhhh,

...ever have a brain fart? i mean, you can actually hear your synapses go *poot*?

-drum drum drum-

well. roughly that the oppresseder is privy to a knowledge that the oppressor doesn't have; because the master only has to know the master's world; whereas the slave needs to know the master's world -and- hir own.

and i realize that, problematic as i also find this, i probably did just allude to it more or less in my flameout of Amanda; i "pulled rank," more or less.

well; but no, i mostly -think- i'm just pissed off at being misrepresented, and yeah, the blinding heterocentric shit is -one- part of it. and Amanda: learn to read. seriously.

but you know: i suspect that the response may include a sort of guilt because, o, the sexual orientation card: lesbian! I win the year's supply of Rice a Roni!

...assuming we get past the blow-trading and new layers of defensiveness to even get that far.

but I don't want that, really. tempting as i admit that is: I WIN.

but i don't. i just would like to be fucking -engaged- if one is going to bother "engaging" me at all. same as everyone goddam else. as you say: why is this so hard? seriously?

and so maybe yeah: and even simpler: oppressor="bad guy"; privileged clases, unless they are very very Special indeed, count as oppressors; ergo, to admit that there is a difference between us will make me aware that (to my mind, to the mindset i have more or less accepted) I Am A Bad Guy.

and i don't wanna. so: let's just pretend we're exactly alike, you and I; and I'll keep reassuring myself of the ways in which it -seems- like we're alike (this is where "tokenism" comes in, and "some of my best friends are," and so forth), and you, well, you'd better just go along with it quietly, or i'll get cranky and defensive once again.

Alon Levy said...

By the way, Ali Eteraz hasn't responded yet, but Abbas said there was no grounds for getting offended (the bulk of the email is in one of my comments on Majikithse; the punchline is on my post about the subject).

belledame222 said...

-exhale-

AL: you really don't want to go there. Trust me. Or, well: do, but...whatever, i wash my hands.

belledame222 said...

i mean, okay: such and such an authority said there are -no grounds to be offended-; therefore, OBJECTIVELY it is not offensive; therefore all the feelings of -all- the people of color for whom this was just another flashpoint, including bfp who is -also- good and fed up with not even having the rudiments of post-colonial feminism, which is her baby, understood; -not even just the thing in itself,- are, -poof!- invalidated. Move along, nothing to see here.

The Clinton luncheon? Oversight. The burqa? Well, just the fact ma'am: so and so is here to settle this for once and for all. This incident? Regrettable; chalk it up to some random asshole. That one? Same thing. The -heart- of the problem here,

THERE IS ONE BIG FUCKING GAP BETWEEN THE BULK OF THE MAINSTREAM "BIG" WHITE BLOGGERS AND THE PEOPLE OF COLOR WHOSE SIDE THEY ARE SUPPOSEDLY ON

...who? what? huh? We're just talking about a burqa here, right? What's everyone so upset about, anyway?

-crickets-

*sigh* Look, AL, this is not a good time, okay, for me either, for my own reasons. I appreciate your desire to go out and find the answer, really, it's more than a lot of people do, and later on when i'm not quite so frigged off i will probably go take a look at what you found.

But: it's just not the point here. It's not. And...yeah.

..okay, Alon, I did go and take a glance and straight off the bat: you know what, no. Just, No.

Donna said...

Well damn! I've been coming here looking for new posts but not seeing any, until I cleared my cache... I was getting a freaking cached page for at least a couple days. I hate coming late to the party!

The really bad thought I have been having is that alot of the ones who don't get it, and the ones who won't "approve" the apologies...it's because they really can't bring themselves to admit that POC can be as intelligent or moreso than white people. It's just the feeling I get when I am patted on the head and told that I shouldn't concern myself and now, run along.

When you think about it we are like a pet project for these white liberals. They're smart, they are educated, they know what's best for everyone; so no need for us to interfere or raise our silly objections. It's just so much barking and mewling and keeps them from important subjects.

belledame222 said...

Donna: definitely i think it's wounded vanity. and there may be a racial element to that as well.

otoh i have noticed people who aren't or at least aren't necessarily tagged as non-white getting this as well from erm Certain People: "intellectually dishonest," or, "I KNEW THAT!!" or, as above, oh, -yawn-, that was so obvious...

but yeah: i think there are a number of people who -also- don't want to admit that there was shit they didn't know about, because, they're -smart,- dammit.

whether there's other shit bound up with that as well, i can only speculate, i guess. could be.

this country/"mainstream" culture has a seriously ambivalent (at best) relationship with "book larnin,'" you notice?

sadly, supposed progressives are not except from that, either.

belledame222 said...

then again, specifically after witnessing the BS between Lindsey and BA, it is hard to know how to interpret that. certainly i don't recall ever being on the other end of something like -that.- So, yeah, maybe. pat, pat. indulge. scold. cluck. gah.

belledame222 said...

then again again (or not); if memory serves me right, i think Amanda's banning of BL came just about when BL started seriously talking theory over at Pandagon.

and now i wonder whether part of that wasn't: "how DARE you talk as though you know more than i do!"

anyway, i have also gotten, more from the radical contingent, something like this:

"oh you just know EVERYTHING, DON'T you."

yeah. i was actually gonna do a post about that; call it something like,

"YOUYOUYOU just think you are so SMAAAARRRT, don't you?!"

BA's written about that from the "being thought to be stupid" angle (as you say: race, there; nubian got that one, too); "with my nappy headed ass" wrote something not long ago about the experience of being thought too big for her britches by her peers, you know, "acting white?" i think, because of the book larnin'; BL's got plenty to say about all of that as well, of course...

and me, you know, i had a miserable childhood and adolescence in school, (insert violin music here), bookish shy thing that i was, & was tagged as a "nerd..." but also, "stuck up."

which eventually became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as i got to fiercely loathe all my little peers who were, as i saw it, simply being awful to me for no good reason;

which is not i think unknown among a certain let's say demographic of adults, and actually does play out in certain ways in politics (among other things); "smart kids' syndrome."

and of course, i realize now, folks without formal education (but are smart and well-read anyway) have their own stuff;

but now it occurs to me that perhaps some of the -other- people have lasting stuff as well. jock and jockette who went to the "good" schools, debate team, glittering prizes, with the 3.3 GPA or maybe even the 4.0, sure, you know, did everything they were supposed to and outshone the others by just so much, but not enough to feel REALLY -special.-

and by god, if there's one thing you're supposed to be in this culture, it's SPECIAL.

one way or the other.

because you're nobody if you're not anybody...

...something like that.

yeah, i have to think about that one a while.

fastlad of course has mentioned that having grown up in Ireland, he finds the American education system (and all its ramifications) very alien.

it's certainly got a lot to -not- recommend it, i tell you what.

belledame222 said...

o right and of course! i forgot! at least where i'm from (American white-dominated middle-to-upper-mid SoCal 'burbs), i wouldn't swear this bit was universal but hey, not exactly unknown either:

smart WOMEN.

problematic, for a lot of people.

sadly, often including other women.

anyway, it took me until after high school to cotton on that maybe it wasn't -completely- random that one of the banes of my existence, a budding neocon with a hardon for all things military and a delicate little frame (surprise), first called me a "bitch" after i had had the right answer to something or other in class, next to him.

and echoed ever after.

because of course by the late 80's/early 90's, in theory no one was telling women to not be smart...or at any rate i didn't get that at home, i guess, and i was so out of the loop for a number of reasons that actually i don't know what the other girls got.

but at least, you know, going to college and having career ambitions: hardly unknown. Sexism, like racism, was, you know, a relic of the past...

ah glory be with the days.

sheesh.

Donna said...

I know for a fact that you don't have to be educated to be intelligent. One of the most intelligent women I know is my mother. Her father died when she was only 12, and she continued on at school for as long as she could but eventually had to quit to help her mother at home in the 9th grade. She just recently retired but she worked as...a teacher. She speaks both English and Maliseet and they needed someone to teach Maliseet to the preschoolers on the reservation and she was hired. I can't imagine how her life would have been different if she had the opportunity to continue her education and go on to college.

I haven't a clue what is going on with Lindsey, she seems determined NOT to understand, like it would be a failing for her to do so. Amanda on the other hand, I don't think she ever really understood why she was apologizing, and now she is being blown by whichever wind comes along next. It really seems like one minute she knows her mind and the next she is wavering. I do understand that somewhat, when you are unsure of yourself then you are testing everything out seeing which makes the most sense. On the other hand, it's "intellectually dishonest" if you aren't really willing to admit that you are unsure and take to the defensive instead.

belledame222 said...

*nod* to all of that, pretty much.

belledame222 said...

and yeah; not only do you not have to be formally educated to be intelligent, but, sadly, the converse is true as well.

and: there are many -kinds- of "intelligent," I do believe that, also.

there's book smart; there's social smart; there's street smart; there's emotional smart. and a lot more besides.