Wednesday, January 16, 2008

-waves rusty gardening shears at Chris Matthews menacingly-, o what a giveaway

So, just to get this out of the way up front: this sort of thing does -not-, of itself, make me more inclined to vote for Hillary, or for anyone else, for that matter. I remain just as enthusiastic about this whole process as I was before.

What it -does- make me think/feel is

1) y'know, if the point is the pervasiveness of good ol' fashioned sexism in the media and specifically that of Chris "Tweety" Matthews, no arguments from me here; and, yes, they ("they" being Media Matters, who sent the following in one of the six squillion mass emails I get from various sources) have a point there, kids

2) thank -fuck- I got rid of cable, my sadness over missing the debut of Torchwood S2 notwithstanding; it's worth it to have had my eyeballs be more or less blissfully free from Big Noxious Giant Talking Head-induced pencil stabs

3) sweet Jesus, I hate Chris Matthews.

Oh, yeah, the email:


Dear Friend,

By now, you may be familiar with this recent exchange between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews:

Sen. Clinton: "I don't know what to do with men who are obsessed with me. I honestly have never understood it."

[...]

Matthews: "It's not obsession."


If you have ever watched an episode of Hardball, you may find Matthews' above statement a bit suspect. After all, as Media Matters for America has previously documented, after The New York Times published an article on Hillary and Bill Clinton's marriage in May of 2006, Matthews asked at least 90 questions on the subject over the course of seven broadcasts on his two programs (Hardball and The Chris Matthews Show). One of his guests during these broadcasts, Washington Post reporter Lois Romano, called Matthews out after he repeatedly inquired about how many days the Clintons slept under the same roof. "[W]hat is your obsession with logistics here?" she asked.

To get an idea of the type of language Matthews regularly uses when covering Clinton, take a look at this sampling:

"I hate her. I hate her. All that she stands for."
"She Devil"
"Nurse Ratched"
"Madame Defarge"
"Witchy"
"Anti-male"
"[U]ppity"
"She's going to tell us what to do."
"Her scolding manner in terms of her public speaking"
"[L]et's talk about the troops ...Will they take the orders?"
"[D]oesn't she know she looks like a fraud?"
"Look at those eyes. Look at the cold eyes that she's giving him. Look at that cold look."
"[L]ike a strip-teaser saying she's flattered by the all the attention"
On Sen. Clinton's endorsers: "castratos in the eunuch chorus"
"Let me tell you how short Hillary's leash is."
"Is she a convincing mom?"
On Sen. Clinton's laugh: "What do you make of the cackle?"
"[S]he's clapping, like she's Chinese. I know the Chinese clap at each other, but what is she clapping at? I mean, it's like one of these wind-up things."
"[S]he was giving a campaign barn-burner speech, which is harder to give for a woman; it can grate on some men when they listen to it -- fingernails on a blackboard, perhaps."
"Is there, out there in the country or out in the Atlantic Ocean, some gigantic monster -- big, green, horny-headed, all kinds of horns coming out, big, aggressive monster of anti-Hillaryism that hasn't shown itself: it's based upon gender ..."
"[B]eing surrounded by women, does that make a case for commander in chief -- or does it make a case against it?"
"Is she hemmed in by the fact that she's a woman and can't admit a mistake, or else the Republicans will say, 'Oh, that's a woman's prerogative to change her mind,' or 'another fickle woman'? Is her gender a problem in her ability to change her mind?"
"[T]he reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around."
"She may have gotten The Des Moines Register's endorsement the other day, thanks to her husband's lobbying with its female editors and publisher ..."

She may take the brunt of his vitriol and sexist commentary, but Clinton is far from the only woman targeted by Matthews. Here are some other notable examples:

On House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

Described her as "scary"
Suggested she would "castrate" House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
Wondered how she could disagree with President Bush "without screaming? How does she do it without becoming grating?"

On Michelle Obama during the first Democratic presidential debate:

"I thought Michelle, whatever you say about Obama, his wife looked perfect -- perfect for the occasion ... I'm sorry, those things are important. You guys are ignoring it. Some people are, by the way, just watching tonight. They stopped listening a half-hour in, and they noticed how pretty she is -- Michelle -- and they said, 'I like the fact he's got this pretty wife. He's happily married. I like that.' " After Matthews' take on Michelle Obama's appearance, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell was compelled to remind Matthews that Mrs. Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer.

On potential future female presidential candidates:

"[T]here's not even another on the horizon. Where are the governors? Where are the big-state women governors? Where are they? Name one. They don't exist." (Note: Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius all run states with populations comparable to male governors who have recently run for president, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Bill Richardson.)

On women who live in the suburbs who "may not work outside the home":

"They're talking around election time -- the husband and the wife -- you know, she says, 'I sort of like this Hillary, the first woman president. She's pro-choice.' And the husband says, 'You know, dear, you know, this is going to kill our tax bracket. You know that tuition thing we pay every couple of years for the kids, every year, we can't do that if we get a higher tax bracket. We have to pay more money.' "
...

yadda yadda etc. etc., world without end, ad frakkin' nauseum.

117 comments:

soopermouse said...

I had resolved a coule of days ago to not follow the US elections anymore. It is far too disgusting when even so called feminists ( I am referrign to pandagon) find it fun to excuse their preferred candidates' sexist attacks at Hillary..,
However the pervasiousness of the smear media has caught me again. Thank you for your analysis.

belledame222 said...

Soopermouse! How you be?

and yeah, I've been lackluster at best about following this shit; still, at this point it's hard not to be a little caught up in the betting pool aspect, annoying and depressing as it is. I mean, it matters to me insofar as: yeah, it makes enough of a difference -not- to get one of the ghouls that the R's are running; beyond that I find myself...meh. It sucks; at one point I was enormously excited about Obama; his tenure in office has not exactly been what one would call radical, however, and he's made some moves in the campaign that I'm really really not happy about. and I don't really trust any of them to be other than what they are, i.e. callow politicians. still, better the devil you know, I guess. some goddam thing.

ilyka said...

Oh awesome! Spoken with all the force and passion I have for the subject myself.

--no, I meant that as a compliment! Besides Matthews doesn't deserve to have the GOOD pair of gardening shears waved at him.

I can't stand him either. He's right there in the dictionary under "insufferable" and he is basically an all-natural emetic in human form. I'm just not going to hop a plane to go protest him, because as you say, yadda yadda etc. And why don't I just go see what the proprietor of American Digest dot oog is up to if I want that kind of fork-in-eye action?

Alon Levy said...

Get cable back, for HBO. Or cut the middleman and buy the DVDs of The Wire. But... just watch that show.

Alon Levy said...

As for Matthews... a long while back, maybe in late '06, I read about a quick conversation he had with Tom DeLay, which they didn't realize was live. He gave DeLay some advice about how the major Democrats were polling, and noted Clinton was polling badly. One of them - I think Matthews, but I'm not sure - added, "Yeah, nobody likes a woman know-it-all."

The blog I read this on then noted that Matthews' career was based on his being a political know-it-all.

belledame222 said...

yeah, protesting Matthews seems like far more attention than he's worth. I just want to kind of..-disdain- him to death.

as for cable, I'm afraid the glories of Youtube have spoiled me for Paying For It. sssh.

soopermouse said...

I be surviving :) Funny how i blogged about pretty much the same theme a while ago.
Sexism is supposed to be the enemy of all feminists, right? So tell me what excuse do "some feminists" have to excuse it when it comes from the supreme pants moistenign candidate?

Anthony Kennerson said...

Oh, but Tweety's a certified ASS....and he was one even before he got his MSNBC gigs. My ears are still grating from his McLaughlin Group days when he pretended to play the role of "The New Centrist Liberal", pimping his infamy as Tip O'Neill's chief legislative aide.

Small wonder that he would have such a problem with women..especially women like Hillary.

Then again, he still doesn't compare to Dick Morris for sheer audicious anal fuckitude..and that fool is probably still on Hillary's salary.

But....Matthews does come pretty damn close.


Anthony

carpenter said...

Nice list of crazy. How did you compile it without barfing? I ahve decided that if they replace the real Matthews with his SNL caricature no one would notice.

Eli said...

I ahve decided that if they replace the real Matthews with his SNL caricature no one would notice.

Funny you should say that - I believe he claimed that when he was feeling off his game, he would actually imitate Darrell Hammond imitating him in order to regain his mojo. It is possibly the only thing he has ever said that has made me feel the slightest bit warmly inclined towards the useless bastard.

He did kinda-sorta begrudgingly apologize at the beginning of the show, but only for the remark about Hillary winning her Senate seat only because Bill fooled around; but not for the rest of his long history of misogyny, anti-Hillary and otherwise.

But ya know what? That's all we're ever gonna get. The appearance of contrition has been provided, so the issue is now closed.

belledame222 said...

carpenter: I just cutnpasted that bit directly from the Media Matters email, they did the work.

Trinity said...

yeah i'm gonna make myself unpopularz here maybe but i really think people are raking Clinton over coals that they're not raking Obama over and... I sometimes do suspect that this is because

well, Obama's warm. He knows how to be smily and reassuring. I mean I don't think the man is *intentionally* flashing his pearly whites at Whitey to calm Whitey's fear of The Blackness, at all... but I do think he's got a sort of charisma that makes some of the stereotypes stick less for some people.

Whereas what's the stereotype of a powerful woman? Well it's exactly what Clinton comes off as: really smart and businesslike, but not warm. And I keep thinking, if she had that grin and that laugh, all this "she's so cold" wouldn't be going on at all.

And... she's not apologizing (much) from what I see. I admire that, personally. I don't think she's perfect oh Gods no I don't but I really admire her for not going "oh, yeah, gotta temper the smarts, someone else'll call me ice princess."

Deoridhe said...

"oh, yeah, gotta temper the smarts, someone else'll call me ice princess."

Totally.

Hel, even if she doesn't win, that's been broadcast far and wide, I think.

belledame222 said...

yep. well--personality wise, it's true, Obama -is- warmer than Clinton, and yeah, that just generally plays better in Peoria. hell, I respond to it myself. IT was a big part of BC's charm.

and that said, it's also true that there's a lot more leeway for "coldness" in men than in women.

and it's also also true that if she weren't playing ice lady/Iron Lady, however natural that really is for her (I expect at least somewhat), they'd be slaughtering her for being a weak little flower, unfit to lead. I mean, you saw the tears thing. Damned if you do, etc. Given a choice, in politics, if you're a woman, better to go with the Ice Maiden; better to be feared than loved.

maybe someday we'll have an actual Laura Roslin, but...yeah. There's a reason women in politics wear the "power" suits, have helmet hair and other forms of "armor."

belledame222 said...

and yeah, I -admire- her in many ways, I would say; there's no question that she's smart and fierce. Is that enough to make me vote for her? No, not of itself; still, if one's going to have a Machiavelli, and it doesn't seem like there's a way out of that right now, I can think of worse, I guess. at least a -competent- Machiavelli is better than an incompetent one. um, probably. ugh. -rolls over and goes back to bed-

soopermouse said...

hell yeah, Obama's warm. And hot. And charismatic. However, thi isn't Mr America. Looks and charisma are nice, but history shows that they aren't quite the guarantee for being a good leader that the obama makes my panties wet group would have you believe.
There is also the little tiny matter of Obama's record. Ya know, the "voting present", absence for major votes, flip flopping...
On issues Obama=Clinton. On War, Obama-Clinton for all the matters they both voted on ( with one exception where she wouldn't cponfirm a chief of staff appontment)Only she is more competent and not afraid to stand up and be counted.
Did I mention the hypocrisy? The OMG Hillary-voted -for-Kyl Liebermann =while-Obama-didn't... while conveniently forgetting to mention that Obama was JUST NOT PRESENT at the vote, and the little tiny fact that Obama co-authored a certain measure early in 2007 that ALSO asked for the Iranian national guard to be proclaimed a terrorist.
organization.

Now how about that...
To note that I have asked these uestions at Pandagon, and the new Obama supporter Amanda didn't dignify them with an answer. Wonder why

Alon Levy said...

Soopermuse: yep. That's pretty much why I support Clinton. Obama was against the Iraq War from the beginning and deserves points for that, but in the Senate his voting record on Iraq is identical to Clinton's. Like Edwards, he also seems to think foreign policy is a distraction from Real Issues, which is worse than hawkishness. The US got into Vietnam not because of Kennedy, who was a hawk, but because of Johnson, who was into domestic policy and let the hawks in the administration guide policy.

That said... Clinton's using race to attack Obama as much as Obama's using gender. If Obama were white, nobody in the Clinton camp would've brought up his past drug use. The mainstream media recognizes this, and has run a lot of stories in the last few days about gender and race in politics. It's just the feminist movement that seems to be oblivious to the existence of oppression that isn't about gender.

carpenter said...

duh, thats what I get for skimming.
Did y'all catch the video of Matthews apologing? Bien Sur he couldn't get through it without bringing up the evil PC monster
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLIasbt_0xE

soopermouse said...

Alon
If Obama would have been white nobody would have paid attention to him. The guy is not competent enough.
And No, he hasn't been against the war from the beginning. In 2004, he was stating that he agreed with Bush on the war. He also helped bury Kerry's initiative to bring the troops home last year.
As for foreign affairs? The guy is the head of a Senate subcomittee that deals with public affairs, and he has held exactly 0 meetings on it.
Obama is an empty suit, and I agree with Gloria Steinem.
I don't think anyone would have given him one look if he was white. But the mainstream America is currently with suce a weeping willow attitude about how "racism is uncool" and people who have no problem being racist and thinking racist feel the urge to tell themselves that they aren't, and the evidence is the vote for Obama.

There are a ton of types of oppresion in the world. Sexism is only one of them. But I am sick and tired to see the oppression olympics being considered "more important" than the actual issues.

Gloria Steinem's piece was spot on, and I did feel incredibly amused at the fact that someone jumped with the red herring "what about the black fewminists" and failing to acjknowledge her valid arguments. What about the black feminists? Once they will stop being oppressed for beign black they will still be oppressed for being female.
And yeah, racism is still alive and well. It is just not cool anymore to express it in public, unlike sexism. I am yet to see anyone getting fired form a media job for being mysoginistic on te air.

belledame222 said...

well--I don't agree, wrt Obama; he had, let's say, a certain presence at the 2004 convention. charisma's not nothing, and he wasn't just charming; he had, I thought, a genuine...yeah, I want to say it: spirituality about him. something. He seemed like the real deal. Sadly, given yep his habit of voting "not present," I have to conclude unless or until proven otherwise, more sizzle than steak. shame, though.

belledame222 said...

Once they will stop being oppressed for beign black they will still be oppressed for being female.
...And yeah, racism is still alive and well. It is just not cool anymore to express it in public, unlike sexism.


uhhhh. Strongly disagree; haven't the energy to get fully into it right now, need to do school applications, with apologies to friends who might be reading at the moment.

Just: y'know, the black feminists I know don't consider themselves a red herring. Neither do I. And: it's not an either/or; intersections are greater than the sum of their parts.

I haven't read the Steinem piece, but, as noted and linked in the post above, I'm very excited about the Bernice Johnson Reagon piece.

belledame222 said...

and I certainly think he's at least as competent as any of the rest of them, Obama. and that's without even considering Jesus Christ look who we have now for fuck's sake. but he's smart and he knows his shit. I'm as fine with the prospect of him becoming President as either of the other two, give or take an issue here and there. he's just...another politician, is all; and for a while there it did seem like maybe he might turn out to be more. he has been quite disappointingly cautious.

as for the media business: Alon is right: there's been a ton of race-baiting; whether or not Obama truly is the bee's knees is no more the point than whether or not Hillary is wrt Matthews' assholery.
And besides plain ol' racism, it dovetails neatly with the HELP HELP THE MOSLEMS/IMMIGRANTS/ALIENS ARE COMING that's so popular with all the Republican kids today: ooh, he has a funny name! sounds kind of like Osama! hell, he LOOKS kind of like, mm, well, he's no Mike Huckabee, that's for sure. oh, and didn't he go to a madrassa? he's a terrorist sympathizer, isn't he? he's gonna sell us all to the barbarian swarthy hordes, isn't he? ISN'T HE??!!

no, seriously. this is the level of discourse we have. it's grrreat.

belledame222 said...

to adjust a bit: Alon is right that there is indeed racism and race-baiting coming from Obama's competitors, and it'll be much more pronounced if he wins the nomination (and Clinton and Edwards and especially whoever gets the veep will be falling all over themselves condemning the shamelessly racist Republicans. likewise if Hillary wins, with the sexism).

this bit:

It's just the feminist movement that seems to be oblivious to the existence of oppression that isn't about gender.

y'know...we've all been through the same blogwars and such, and I know, Alon, you've probably changed your position/view of the mainstream white feminist movement over the last...while. A lot of people have. Us. Thing is, yeah, I'm frustrated with them too, but it's by no means limited to the feminist movement. Mainstream Dem politics are at least as bad. As for the media in general: tbh I'm just sort of avoiding the whole thing right now, so can't really say with any conviction, just: the sins of the feminist movement are not worse in most respects than those of the, um, non-feminist...non movement? it's just, it's a lot more disappointing when you previously had high hopes for someone or something and they turned out to have feet of clay.

which, come to think of it, sums up much of my lackluster feelings for Obama. (Hillary, that happened long since. ditto the Democrats in general).

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

as for racism in the media: for every widely publicized tap on the wrist, there are -so- many more incidents of Talking Heads being jaw droppingly racist and nothing at all happening (except possibly mockery by Colbert or something). O'Rly is a past master of this, for instance; and I can't even begin to catalogue how much -crap- I've been hearing from, say, your average DJ.

there are certain Magic Woids and Phrases you can't say without getting a rap on the nose, now, is all. that's actually true wrt sexism as well. as for the "subtler" stuff, we often tend to notice what affects us personally that much more readily; doesn't mean it isn't still there for other folks.

Ravenmn said...

I'll never vote for a Democrat, so it's not Obama or Clinton for me. I am, however, very impressed with the way women of color have taken on Steinem's horrible op-ed piece. Here's what I've been reading and listening to the past couple of days:

Steinem's op-ed in the NYT (must be registered to read?)

Reappropriate's comments

Steinem and Dr. Melissa Harris-Lacewell on Democracy Now. You can read the transcript or listen to the interview at this site.

Sally Kohn

I especially recommend the Democracy Now interview in which Steinem's "solution" to the problem of campaign's making insensitive comments is for powerful people to call up other powerful people and tell them to "cool it".

She's been an insider so long she doesn't even get that she sounds like a pretentious asshat to those of us who are participating in grass roots political action.

Plain(s)feminist said...

I guess I must have imagined Hillary's pro-war stance and the grassroots movement Obama has inspired.

(If you say "If Obama were white" one more time, I think you might win a prize.)

Deoridhe said...

Soopermouse:

First off, why do you keep saying "moistened/wet panties", as if feminists are choosing candidates based solely on sex appeal?

Also, what's with the racism? I know historically it's vogue in feminism to dismiss and disregard feminists and women who aren't white, but that's not exactly a practice for emulation.

Personally, I don't think any of the three are a prize. I have significant differences with all of them, and none of them are radical enough for me in terms of social liberalism. I think buying into the media's presentation of this race as "woman versus black" is hugely damaging, though, both macroly within the sloppiness of the reporting, and microly as people "pick sides" as if that makes any sense at all.

It is amazing we finally have a white woman running for president. It is amazing we finally have a black man running for president. It should have happened decades ago. However, winning the presidency is neither a sinecure for either group, since they'll end up spending a lot of time dealing with fucking backlash, nor a death knell for either group, since there is more than one white woman and more than one black man in the world - even in the political arena.

Hel, I even heard there was a BLACK WOMAN in the political arena somewhere, though the media seems mostly preoccupied with her hair. There might even be some Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, Indian Indians, Sinti, and Germans running amok! Amazing! The fates of cultural minorities aren't dependent on one presidential race! Whodathunkit?

Me? I want campaign finance reform. Have you heard how much money they're blowing on this idiocy? Its insane. As long as running for President requires blowing six figures a week for two years, we'll be stuck with a quasi-monarchy of wealth.

Anthony Kennerson said...

Obama??? Grassroot movement??? Pul-leeeeze.

Unless you consider Oprah's Book Club a "popular movement."

Not that I'm a Hillary fan either (she's just gravy-training off the power of her husband, and using the "wounded sister" card to fend off the usual prejudices), but Barack isn't quite the populist orator, either. In fact, he's probably closest to his Illinois US Senator predecessor, Carol Mosley Brawn, who started out with such hype as the first Black female Senator only to fade out like a wet candle after 6 years due to too much corporate lobby money.

I'd say that Obama is simply a bad mixture of Al Sharpton without either the smack or the hard edge....and Harold Ford without the Playboy Bunny fetish and open fawning of the Right. (Though, with his latest tributes to Reagan, he's come pretty darn close.)

Sure, Obama wouldn't be getting the attention if he was White; and nor would Hillary be getting her share of the power if she didn't have Bubba as her husband, either. Neither one, AFAIK, deserves to be proclaimed as sole martyr of their respective groups; since neither one has really done that much to actually represent those groups.

In my view, they're just two different flavors of conservative Democrat, both trying to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory and deliver the final blow to authentic Democratic liberalism.

Just pardon me while I just enjoy the view from the bleachers while I cast my Green Party ballot for Cynthia McKinney. At least, I don't have to get caught up in this train wreck.


Anthony

Octogalore said...

Trin: YES.

Soopermouse: I took issue with parts of the Steinem piece, but you know what, I agree with with you that people ignored her valid points. I don't agree with her that sexism is the primary oppression. But I think there's a kernel in what she says, and it's the point Trin's making. It's easier for folks with gender issues to label their concerns about Clinton in other ways (cold, bitch, Machiavellian, etc) than it is for folks with race issues to label their concerns about Obama in other ways, IMO.

For example, in seeing both in debates, while he's more attractive, I don't think he's necessarily warmer. And he's been as strategic as she has in many ways, but on him it's not billed as Machiavellian in the negative sense.

I also don't see how it can legitimately be said that he's as competent. He's certainly as smart. But he's had much less political experience.

That said, I don't agree that racism will vanish before sexism, or that "It is just not cool anymore to express [racism] in public, unlike sexism." Both are expressed, all the time, by folks who wouldn't admit to either.

Plain(s)feminist said...

AK:
1) Last time I checked, Obama was actually running for president - and inspiring people - long before Oprah got into the picture.

2) The rest of your comment is essentially about how neither he nor Hillary would not be viable candidates if they weren't Black or married to Bill Clinton, respectively. How lovely that you frame your critique in such traditionally racist and sexist ways. This goes for Soopermouse, as well: if you're going to attempt to criticize a Black presidential candidate, puh-leeze come up with something more original than bringing in Al Sharpton references or the now-ubiquitous "if he were white". And if you're going to attempt to criticize a female presidential candidate, maybe you can be a little more creative than adding to the chorus of "her husband, blah blah blah." Those are the most common ways to discredit white women and men and women of color. Yawn.

All that aside, yes, neither is especially liberal, though of the top three, Hillary's voting record has been the most liberal.

Anthony Kennerson said...

Ahhhh....Plain(s), perhaps some clarification is in order regarding your response to my points.

First off...in case you might have missed it, I happen to be a Black man and a supporter of feminism. Which means, that my criticism of both Obama and Hillary cannot be easily assumed as a general attack on all Black people or on all women....or even all Blacks and women who tend to support those candidates. It is only a critique of Hillary and Obama as politicians; nothing more.

The references to Hillary "gravy-training" off the power of Bill may be a bit strong, but considering that Bill was the President of the United States and that Hillary did manage to exploit her powers as First Lady (and let's not forget about her panel on health care reform; for which she probably would not have even gotten were she only be named Hillary Rodham), I still feel that it is appropriate in her case.

Similarly, the fact that Barack Obama is basically using the capital gained by his predecessors in Black politics (namely, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson, not to mention the social capital of Oprah Winfrey's empire, to sell an essentially center-right political agenda (only "liberal" when compared to the Repubs, but mostly stripped of anything remotely genuinely progressive), more than justifies my statements about him. You can disagree if you wish, but don't deny me as a Black Leftist my right to state my own opinion and then whitewash it as "demeaning to women or Black folk".

Barack Obama may be a great orator that may "inspire people," and Hillary may be a gifted politician and an independent woman on her own right (and I do grant both of them their due on that); but that does not change the basic fact that they are simply two sides of the same centrist-to-center-right political coin that offers really not much of an effective alternative to the Republican Right juggernaut. You may feel free to vote for either of them as an alternative to the GOP if you wish, Plain(s)...but pardon me if I as a Leftist who expects a bit more from someone who labels him/herself as a "progressive" decides that I'd rather work for something better.

BTW...I never even implied that either Barack or Hillary wouldn't be viable candidates if they happened to be Black or female, respectively. I said that Obama is suddenly "viable" because he is a Black conservative Democrat who appropriates the language of Black symbolism that Jessie Jackson made famous and makes it acceptable for conservative audiences. And, Hillary does the same thing with feminist rhetoric. There is a difference, you know.

And if I was that much of a racist or misogynist, why would I go so far as to smack down Ron Paul as a misogynist and racist....or give my support to Cynthia McKinney.....who, I last checked, happened to be a Black woman???

It's not their viability or their race and/or gender that bothers me about Obama and Hillary...it's their actions and stands on the issues I care about.

But, thanks for playing, anyway.


Anthony

belledame222 said...


I also don't see how it can legitimately be said that he's as competent. He's certainly as smart. But he's had much less political experience.


dude, I'm just measuring against our current stellar example. at that distance the differences look fairly negligble...

belledame222 said...

also, the question was whether Obama was competent enough, of himself, to be paid attention to as a serious Presidential candidate. the idea that it's only his -race- that's making him be looked at as such, I mean as an -advantage,- you know, because -white- people who're barely qualified are never considered for positions of high power...is laughable. frigging Giuiliani is or was a "serious" candidate, and he's only ever been Mayor, and a fucktoff of a one at that. fuck me, a lot of people were ready to vote in Ross Perot, you know? p.s. have you met our (my former home state) Governator?

belledame222 said...

all that said, yeah, foreign policy. I just...ih. it seems like it basically comes down to a person who's willing to talk pretty damn hawkish already, and a couple of people who'd rather just not talk about it, thanks, because um lalalalala gosh that's an unpleasant subject right now isn't it? either way, it's not looking wonderful for I don't know getting the fuck out of there any time real soon.

Octogalore said...

He's absolutely competent enough to be considered as a serious candidate. Much more so than our Gov, of course (what a joke), or Perot. I meant wrt "he's at least as competent as any of the rest of them," I disagree as compared to Clinton. Whether or not his tenure has been more liberal than hers (and it actually hasn't), she's had substantially more track record enabling her to hit the ground running -- that, to me, is competence.

Donna said...

About that political experience...um Barack Obama has 11 years as an elected official, compared to Hillary Clinton's 7, and John Edwards' 6.

Plain(s)feminist said...

AK:
Nope, had no idea who you were beyond occasionally seeing your name in comments at one or two blogs.

You wrote
Sure, Obama wouldn't be getting the attention if he was White; and nor would Hillary be getting her share of the power if she didn't have Bubba as her husband, either.

Now, you write
The references to Hillary "gravy-training" off the power of Bill may be a bit strong, but considering that Bill was the President of the United States and that Hillary did manage to exploit her powers as First Lady (and let's not forget about her panel on health care reform; for which she probably would not have even gotten were she only be named Hillary Rodham), I still feel that it is appropriate in her case.

I appreciate that you are a supporter of feminism. I still think the above comment is off base. First, this thing about exploiting her powers as First Lady. ??? Is that like exploiting one's powers as Queen? The thing that bothers me about this idea is, first, that it suggests that *anything* she did would somehow be "exploiting" her "powers." Once you're a First Lady, or a President, or a CEO, or whatever, the next position you move into is certainly going to be determined by that office. You seem to be suggesting that this was undeserved on her part. Why is that? Why is she not allowed to use the work that she's done - and it *is* work - to create a career for herself? Isn't that what every other person does? Why is that wrong in her case?

What seems to be implicit in this comment, and I may be misreading you, is that her First Lady gig wasn't something that she should be allowed to claim any credit for, since it was her husband's job that earned her that role. If this is indeed what you are saying, then you are going after her instead of the institution that demands that she serve as First Lady, and I do find that sexist. It is a way that - so far - one can only attack a woman, as it is a role in which - so far - only a woman can serve.

Further, "gravy-training" is essentially what you accuse Obama of doing, but you use it only for Hillary. And it has pretty gendered connotations. So, yeah, it's a problem, I think, to say that.

Similarly, the fact that Barack Obama is basically using the capital gained by his predecessors in Black politics (namely, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson, not to mention the social capital of Oprah Winfrey's empire, to sell an essentially center-right political agenda (only "liberal" when compared to the Repubs, but mostly stripped of anything remotely genuinely progressive), more than justifies my statements about him.

So are you saying that Obama in particular is doing something specific to capitalize on Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson's political capital? Or are you saying that any Black candidate is, by virtue of being a Black candidate, doing this, and you are objecting simply because Obama's platform is more conservative than either of theirs were?

Barack Obama may be a great orator that may "inspire people," and Hillary may be a gifted politician and an independent woman on her own right (and I do grant both of them their due on that); but that does not change the basic fact that they are simply two sides of the same centrist-to-center-right political coin that offers really not much of an effective alternative to the Republican Right juggernaut. You may feel free to vote for either of them as an alternative to the GOP if you wish, Plain(s)...but pardon me if I as a Leftist who expects a bit more from someone who labels him/herself as a "progressive" decides that I'd rather work for something better.

Actually, I agree with all of this. What I took issue with was your framing of your critique in ways that sounded like the typical sexist and racist bullshit I've been hearing elsewhere. (I appreciate - now that you've clarified your intent - the difference, but you have to grant me that comparing Obama to Sharpton (and unfavorably at that) is pretty much a classic white liberal move.)

Finally - you're not really going to tell me that voting for a Black woman makes someone not racist or misogynist, right? Right? I'm not arguing that *you* are racist - I'm arguing the principle. Bush the elder's nomination of Clarence Thomas did not make him not a racist (I think it made him more visible as a racist - all that stuff about what a great laugh Thomas had, and all). Bush the younger's appointment of Condi Rice? Are you going to tell me he's not racist or misogynist?

Plain(s)feminist said...

And furthermore (for Soopermouse):
Re. Obama's "present" votes - that was Planned Parenthood's stragegy. They ASKED him to do that. Read on.

Trinity said...

"Soopermouse: I took issue with parts of the Steinem piece, but you know what, I agree with with you that people ignored her valid points. I don't agree with her that sexism is the primary oppression. But I think there's a kernel in what she says, and it's the point Trin's making. It's easier for folks with gender issues to label their concerns about Clinton in other ways (cold, bitch, Machiavellian, etc) than it is for folks with race issues to label their concerns about Obama in other ways, IMO."

That's pretty much how I feel about it too. I'm totally sure that some people who believe Obama can't do the job believe it because he's black. But there isn't the same sort of cover for that kind of racism as there is for the sexism. They can't call Obama a hoodlum, for example, for fear of getting called on it. But they can call Clinton Machiavellian, which has a whole history of being a veiled statement about what happens to women's natural tenderness when they get "too" power-hungry.

Anthony Kennerson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthony Kennerson said...

Once again, Plain(s)feminist, you totally misread and misinterpret everything I say.

In the interest of brevity and respecting Belledame's space, I will make my position explict one last time.

1) To say that Hillary Clinton is basically using the power granted her as a First Lady and the noteriety of her husband's Presidency is still NOT, whatever you may think, a sexist assault on her abilities as a politician on her own worth. It is simply the truth. Do you really think that she would have been able to get to head her task force on health care reform had she been an ordinary Congresswoman rather than the First Lady???

And NO, Plain(s)feminist, I am NOT even implying that Hillary (or any other First Lady, for that matter) does not deserve to wield such powers given her as a result of her position. Its not her power that I question; it's what SHE has done (or not done) with that power concerning real actual progressive policies.

2) The comparison I made between Al Sharpton and Barack Obama was more based on orotorical style and approach, not on politics. That is no less "gravy-training" than how Hillary is using Bill Clintom. Just because I used the term explicitly for Hillary but implicitly for Obama means absolutely nothing. Would you feel better if I explicitly said that Obama was gravy-trainning Carol Mosley Braun and Jessie Jackson???

3) Yes, Barack Obama is using the same themes of "hope" and "change" that Jessie Jackson used in his own campaigns of 1984 and 1988. The only difference is that Obama is well to the right of Jackson's campaign (which, if you remember was totally rejected by the DLC and the Democratic establishment as dangerously radical) and which actually fueled the reaction that allowed Michael Dukakis to win the nomination in 1988. Obama, on the other hand, is a corporatist Democrat who had from the very beginning the blessing of the DLC, and who has further pandered to the Right in numerous fashions (including accepting anti-gay bigots like Dennis McCracken and issuing palliatives to Ronald Reagan).

The Black Agenda Report website (and particularly Margaret Kimberley's columns thereof) contain what amounts to my own personal critique of Obama from the Black Left. I strongly suggest a visit there to understand where I'm coming from.

3) And one last time, Plain(s)feminist; yes, I am well aware that racist people in power will and do nominate Black conservatives and rightists (including Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice). But to attempt to use that to attack my critique of Obama and Hillary as conservative Democrats who don't, in my personal view, offer much in reality for working people -- a significant portion of which happen to be women and/or Black people -- is, to say the least, bizarre. My vote and support for Cynthia McKinney has less to do with her race and gender than it has to do with my personal politics (which happens to be well to the Left of even liberalism), and my goal of building an effective Left-of-center independent movement that isn't controlled by the Democrats. You choose to support Hillary and/or Obama as liberals, and I can respect that...but please, don't disrespect my right to vote my way or suggest that whatever their merits as politicians and as people, they are still part of a system that is rigged against the majority of non-privileged people.

You are entitled to your opinion, Plain(s)feminist, and I'm entitled to mine. Let's agree to disagree and be civil about it.

Sorry for the derailment, Belle, but sometimes I have to respond when my chain is yanked.


Anthony

[edited to close an inadvertent tag]

soopermouse said...

plain(s)feminist: Planned parenthood asked Obama to vote present on having teenagers trialed as adults?
WoW

My question still stands: when was last time when someone got fired from teh media from being sexist? until there is an answer to that, I can't really buy the "but it's equally sexist and racist" Sorry

If we want to look at the political activity of both HRC and Obama, then we haver to account for that covered under "non elected " as well.
Considering that HRC did have a political activity and iitiatives as First Lady, that should count towards her career. Also, her activism, etc.

Where I am from we say that what you do when you aren't being looked at is what matters. Someone who doesnt figth for elected office has a lot more chances to be honest in their political work.
Just saying.

PS: I have phrased myself wrong and I apologize: I mean the issue of teh black feminist being used as a red herring. Different thing ( pls remember: my maternal language is not english. I translate all i think) :(

belledame222 said...

SM: I understand, but the thing is, it implies, again, that (white) feminists are talking -about- hypothetical black feminists who may or may not be concerned about this, as opposed to--actually, a number of black feminists who have in fact voiced concerns about this and similar points of contention.

belledame222 said...

As far as a few individual flashpoint media figures being or not being fired/censured for this or that: I just think, why even go there? How is that -not- Oppression Olympics? Regardless of what the answer is? I mean, you know, one could go: right, but the UK already had Margaret Thatcher; there's never been a Prime Minister of color. How much difference, and this is part of the point I was getting at in the first place--how much difference does a symbolic figurehead make, -really-? A bit, maybe, but ultimately? So we have Condi Rice in office, and we had Colin Powell being considered for President at one point, and Maggie was already Prime Minister. A couple of talking heads got fired--again, more often, slapped on the wrist, sent to "rehab" or suchlike--for making blatantly racist remarks on air. What does that change, of itself, really? How much -more- crap is there that goes unremarked and unanswered?

belledame222 said...

AK: yeah, the anti-gay preacher was what finally frosted my flakes.

I mean, I never thought he was this radical leftist, okay; but stupidly at one point I thought he might be able to really bridge the gap along religious lines, which is actually not a small thing, without pandering to bigots. Oh well.

belledame222 said...

personally, I'm not exactly overwhelmed by the Green party's effectiveness, but at least I well prefer McKinney to bloody Nader. I've no idea if I'll actually go out of my way to vote for her, support her, or not. I do feel rather cynical and like--it doesn't matter what I do or think, at this point, to be honest. Which I know isn't great; nonetheless, it's how I feel. I think, apart from making sure we at least don't get someone -so- awful they'll send us all spiraling into total chaos/theocratic hell, I'd rather put my energies (such as they are) somewhere other than electoral politics, esp. at the national level, right now.

Octogalore said...

Re political experience -- Obama has four years of federal experience, Clinton eight. She's taken part in considerably more votes and initiatives. During her time as First Lady, although the health care plan didn't get approved, she helped establish the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. She helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the DOJ. So that period cannot be simply written off.

Trinity said...

"yeah, the anti-gay preacher was what finally frosted my flakes. "

YEAH THAT

Plain(s)feminist said...

1) To say that Hillary Clinton is basically using the power granted her as a First Lady and the noteriety of her husband's Presidency is still NOT, whatever you may think, a sexist assault on her abilities as a politician on her own worth. It is simply the truth. Do you really think that she would have been able to get to head her task force on health care reform had she been an ordinary Congresswoman rather than the First Lady???

It *becomes* a sexist assault when you raise this, not in order to say that she has experience and networks gained from her terms as First Lady, but to suggest that she has somehow done something wrong by having had this position and that she is somehow cheating by entering the race with this background. You are casting aspersions upon the position itself.

Its not her power that I question; it's what SHE has done (or not done) with that power concerning real actual progressive policies.

See, this is a totally different critique.

2) The comparison I made between Al Sharpton and Barack Obama was more based on orotorical style and approach, not on politics. That is no less "gravy-training" than how Hillary is using Bill Clintom. Just because I used the term explicitly for Hillary but implicitly for Obama means absolutely nothing. Would you feel better if I explicitly said that Obama was gravy-trainning Carol Mosley Braun and Jessie Jackson???

I would feel better if you didn't not use the term only to apply to the female candidate, yes, simply because of the tradition of dogging women for being nothing more than an extension of their husbands. I understand that this is not what you intended to do, but that history and association is present, nonetheless.

Thank you for explaining the connection you were making between Sharpton and Jackson and Obama. And I will check out the source you mention, though I think that the points on which we disagree have more to do with semantics than anything else.

3) And one last time, Plain(s)feminist; yes, I am well aware that racist people in power will and do nominate Black conservatives and rightists (including Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice). But to attempt to use that to attack my critique of Obama and Hillary as conservative Democrats who don't, in my personal view, offer much in reality for working people -- a significant portion of which happen to be women and/or Black people -- is, to say the least, bizarre.

Actually, it is you who are misreading and misinterpreting me, here. I am not taking issue with your critique of the two as Conservative Dems, etc., etc. I was challenging your earlier suggestion that voting for a Black woman was evidence that you, personally, were neither sexist nor racist. And I was also not there calling you sexist or racist, but rather challenging the idea that supporting a Black or female or Black female candidate proves that one is not sexist or racist. Which you obviously seem to agree with, so I'm not sure what the problem is.

Plain(s)feminist said...

plain(s)feminist: Planned parenthood asked Obama to vote present on having teenagers trialed as adults?

And it was a strategy that apparently worked for PP, if you read that link I posted.

My question still stands: when was last time when someone got fired from teh media from being sexist? until there is an answer to that, I can't really buy the "but it's equally sexist and racist" Sorry

So that's the way you judge the existence of oppression? By whether or not someone gets fired from the media? (Actually, a number of people have been fired from the media, in recent memory, for sexual harassment.)

the issue of teh black feminist being used as a red herring.
Actually, this still implies that Black feminists are somehow a red herring. Esp. since Black feminists are the ones pointing out that they've been erased in this debate. Are you saying they're making *themselves* a red herring?

soopermouse said...

"(Actually, a number of people have been fired from the media, in recent memory, for sexual harassment.)"
A cmpletely different thing, and you know it. If sexism and racism would get equal treatment in the media, matthews would have been fired 15 times over for his comments on HRC. Was he?
Sexcual harassment is a competely different animal than "expressing sexist views on air". We ahve seen the last year that "expressing racist views o air" got severely punished. can you show me a similar event with regards to sexism? One?
Plain(s)feminist
Do you actually know what I was referring to? Because the fact that PP asked Obama to caste a presnt vote is not an excuse for Obama voting "present" on having teenagers trialed as adults.
The problem is: Obama has a LONG line of "present" votes, insluding on incouous issues( like having kids be taught respect for others in public schools). The pattern is the problem, and it is a bad one. It smells of pandering and spinelessness.
belledame:
"SM: I understand, but the thing is, it implies, again, that (white) feminists are talking -about- hypothetical black feminists who may or may not be concerned about this, as opposed to--actually, a number of black feminists who have in fact voiced concerns about this and similar points of contention."

Identity politics has a way of going like this because a lot of people identify as belonging to more than one category. If we wnat to discuss the identity vote as opposed to the issues vote... I agree that Black feminists would probably find themselves in a rather narrow place. What comes first: being black or being woman? What is more important? I would guess that is a question for them to answer.
The way I see it, it wasn't for Steinem to walk in the shoes of the black feminist because she isn't one. Talking theory might be fine and dandy, but nobody can reappropriate someone else's experiences to the point where they can speak confidently and competently in the name of a person with such a different background. I would have to say that Steinem is talking from her point of view.The view of the white feminist is different tha that of the black feminist, and as such it doesn;t really fall on her to express the latter.
Our experiences make us who we are. Assume for a second that Steinem would have approached the issue of the black feminists. Can you imagine the outrage at the audacity of the white woman to speak for the black women?

It is a sad state of affairs that the people calling themselves progressive are debasing themselves with something as repug styled as identity politics. It is my strong belief that, on the issues, on competence, between Obama and Clinton, Clinton's positions are the most beneficial for the USA ( I'm not mentioning Edwards here because he appears to be almost out). But since identity is being pushed upon people whether they like it or not... we have to consider it. And everybody knws their own identity... and that is about it.
The position that the black feminists will choose is theirs to choose. And sadly, whatever stings they will receive for it is also a problem that they have to deal with. I can't speak for them because I am not black. I knwo what it is like to be "not white enough" and "immigrant" and to be fired because of having expressed a political opinion on my blog (which you might remember. I am trying to not get into details yet as this whole mess is in the legal phase). I can speak for myself and for those with a similar experience. But I cannot speak or a black feminist, because I am not black, I haven't faced the same type of oppression and experience and while I theoretically KNOW of it, I would be a fraud if I would attempt to speak for them.

soopermouse said...

I didn't finish :(
I'm not sure that black feminist have bene left out of teh debate. Anything other than a nod to their existence would have bee regarded as preposterous- the white woman trying to talk in teh name of the black women. We all know it doesn't work like that. So where is in fact the problem? That Steinem didn't acknowledge the exitence of the Black feminists? We are in the year 2008. Anybody who's read a Steinem column would know that there is such thing as a Black feminist movement. But Steinem has chosen not to speak in their name, which is not a bad thing imo. The Black feminst movement has its own voice, and only by one of its representatives that movement can actually show its point of view.

There is also worth noting that at the moment Steinem's column was wriotten, only iowa and NH had had caucuses, and these two states don't have a large black population. Not large enough to tip the scales from a demographic POV anyway. That should also be seriously taken into account.

Alon said...

What I said about the feminist movement misunderstanding the gender/race interplay more than the mainstream has nothing to do with blogs. I think the feminist blogosphere is useless, but for very different reasons.

Basically, if you're a feminist, you're used to the forms of oppression that apply to gender, like unfair parenting burdens, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women in science. So you look for their racial equivalents, and find less intense discrimination, since you're trained to look elsewhere. And conversely, if you're a civil rightist, you're used to overhyped fears of crime and drugs, unequal school funding, and police brutality, so you won't find the main forms of gender discrimination. Of course there are a lot of forms of oppression that work the same way in both cases, like the wage gap, but the point is that there are a lot that don't.

More subtly, it applies also to how different members of the movements deal with the perceived difference in level of oppression. Feminists, who are sure they do know what the main ways racism works in the US are because everyone knows the civil rights movement, invoke trumping hierarchies. Civil rightists, who don't, instead assume gender is an internal issue and support misogynistic pop culture figures. And then this discrepancy causes a second-level "My cause is more important than yours" haranguing on both sides...

And the mainstream in this particular instance misunderstands this a lot less than the movements. If you're a guilty liberal or moderate with no clue about feminism or civil rights, you'll likely take feminists at their word about feminism and civil rightists at theirs about civil rights. If you don't, you run the risk of saying something offensive enough to cause outrage. If you're a feminist, you're a lot likelier to have a base of support that thinks criticizing you is a form of sexism, so you're insulated from the outrage effect. The only other insulation you can get is from being all about outrage and shock, like Imus, but then nobody who matters will take you seriously anyway.

Tellingly, members of those movements who aren't so insulated don't say these things. Kim Gandy's political capital is based on her presidency of NOW, a mainstream feminist organization that could kick her out if she pissed on too many left-wing constituencies. So of course she said in response to Steinem's editorial that no, gender doesn't trump race. Steinem, whose power is based on her personal fame, had no such constraint.

Deoridhe said...

It is a sad state of affairs that the people calling themselves progressive are debasing themselves with something as repug styled as identity politics.

Yeah! Screw people who complain about little things like being locked up without representation, sterilized without due notice, and called inexperienced with 5-6 years more experience than other candidates! It's the evil IDENTITY POLITICS! Everyone knows the concerns of (white) people are MUCH more important to progressives.

You are an excellent object lesson.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravenmn said...

SM: The way I see it, it wasn't for Steinem to walk in the shoes of the black feminist because she isn't one.

Unfortunately, she did. Her opening metaphor "used" a black woman. Not as a human being, but as a fricking metaphor. How white of her. Sort of like throwing a burqa over a white woman and calling her a Muslim. Heh.

In the Democracy Now interview I posted, Dr. Harris makes it perfectly clear:

"Well, I mean, honestly, I’m appalled by the parallel that Ms. Steinem draws in the beginning part of the New York Times article. What she’s trying to do there is to make a claim towards sort of bringing in black women into a coalition around questions of gender and asking us to ignore the ways in which race and gender intersect. This is actually a standard problem of second-wave feminism, which, although there have been twenty-five years now—oh, going on forty years, actually, of African American women pushing back against this, have really failed to think about the ways in which trying to appropriate black women’s lives’ experience in that way is really offensive, actually."

This isn't the first time Steinem has been called on this practice and yet she continues to pull stunts like this. In the interview, she says her point was exactly the opposite of what came through in her article. How long has she been a writer? How often can we accept the "but I didn't mean what I said" from people like Steinem?

soopermouse said...

"Unfortunately, she did. Her opening metaphor "used" a black woman. Not as a human being, but as a fricking metaphor. How white of her. Sort of like throwing a burqa over a white woman and calling her a Muslim. Heh."

Because after all we can't use metaphors anymore, now can we?
IS her description inaccurate? Would a black woman in the position of Barack Obama have been accepted as a valid politician and had been given the same chance? If she would, then congrats, you have proven Steinem is wrong. If she is right in her assertion, that a female Obama would have had no chance in hell, then what IS the fucking problem anyway? That she didn't make a big motherfucking expose as to how the poor black women are oppressed and so on, because without that obligatory nod people get waxnosed and offended?
This is the exact same thinking that claims the term "fairy tale" used by Bill Clinton was racist because it was aimed at Obama.

basically, I call bullshit. And nitpicking. If it is perceived that a white feminist cannot write about a black woman without everyone jumping at her because she "appropriated the black women's experiences" then the movement has bigger problems than I thought.
And since I come from a category nobody speaks for, maybe I should kick up a stink each time anyone mentions the word "immigrant".
"Much ado about nothing". Or maybe there is a something. Maybe in the identity politics we have been forced to pursue the line between the white and black feminists has to be emphasized in order to make the black feminists not feel like traitors when voting for a candidate who, while sharing their skin colour, doesn't share their experience nor does he share their issues.

I do find identity damaging and pointless. Politics should be about issues, but what do I know? Maybe I shouldn't vote for anyone who doesn't have the experience of a female immigrant of first generation. maybe i should scoff and hiss at everyone who would date to talk about my problems because "they just don't know". Or should I maybe, being that my own community rejects me ( the romanians that have been here for a while reject newcomers with the force of the fist of an angry god) take my allies rom wherever I find them?

Deoridhe said...

I do find identity damaging and pointless. Politics should be about issues, but what do I know?

Politics isn't about issues. If politics was about issues, Steinham wouldn't have written an article about how if Clinton didn't win this election, then it was a problem for all women. If politics were about issues, then "is he black enough" would have never been news. If politics were about issues, then no one would care about anyones' religion.

All politics are identity politics - it's just that the politics "progressives" focus on is white identity and thus named "normal" or "important" instead of "white".

Hel, what do you think the whole bleeding immigraiton rhetoric is all about. Securing our borders? If it was about that, people would be scrutinizing trade and asking why less than 10% of imports are checked. No, it's about white people being outnumbered by non-white people (note the IDENTITIES) for the first time since we killed most of them off when we invaded.

Hel, you brought in identities when you claimed women were voting because they were turned on by male candidates. The sexual attractiveness of a given person isn't "issues".

You brought up identities when you claimed Obama is only paid attention to because he is black.

You are the one who is claiming that pointing out some people are both female AND black, and thus shouldn't be expected to line up with white women automatically, is playing "oppression olympics". How is that about "the issues"?

Not that you'll actually address anything I've said. ^_^

soopermouse said...

"Politics isn't about issues. If politics was about issues, Steinham wouldn't have written an article about how if Clinton didn't win this election, then it was a problem for all women."

In the context of feminism, it is a problem for all women. The opening of a road untravelled and the creation of such a precedent is something that concerns each and every woman in the USA.

"All politics are identity politics - it's just that the politics "progressives" focus on is white identity and thus named "normal" or "important" instead of "white"."
Would you look at that red herring? it's positively purple.

"Hel, you brought in identities when you claimed women were voting because they were turned on by male candidates. The sexual attractiveness of a given person isn't "issues"."
the repeated mentioning of Obama's Charisma as a valid replacement for competence or a spine is a trap that should be avoided. Not a matter of identities funny enough, but of priorities.

"Hel, what do you think the whole bleeding immigraiton rhetoric is all about. Securing our borders? If it was about that, people would be scrutinizing trade and asking why less than 10% of imports are checked. No, it's about white people being outnumbered by non-white people (note the IDENTITIES) for the first time since we killed most of them off when we invaded."
The anti immigration attitudes in the black community seem to be left conveniently aside here.Funny how even Obama acknowledged it, which was a classy touch. Nice.

"You brought up identities when you claimed Obama is only paid attention to because he is black."
re read my posts please. Obama does not have the competence and record to be qualified for the position. So what makes him a viable candidate again?

"You are the one who is claiming that pointing out some people are both female AND black, and thus shouldn't be expected to line up with white women automatically, is playing "oppression olympics". How is that about "the issues"?"

so I was correct in assuming that all of this tasteless mess happened because of the lack of the obligatory nod towards the black feminists? I hate being right.
If black feminists should not be expected to automatically support HRC because she is white, why is it acceptable to expect them to line behind Obama because he is black?

Or maybe you are trying to suggest that black feminists will not vote for a woman unless she is black?
And one more time people: read her actual column: she was discussing the Iowa and NH caucuses. Two states with a very small black population. In that context, it is plausible that the presence of the black vote did not seem entirely relevant for the whole issue.

If the black feminists are so eager to frame this as being about race... that is their problem. Maybe it should be brought to the table in the public debate. After all, weren't we do for another racial divide? Would that not be wonderful?

belledame222 said...

you know, there are those who think feminism is divisive and "identity politicking," itself. just noting.

soopermouse said...

I would agree that feminsm was divisive if there would have been something to divide to begin with,

Deoridhe said...

In the context of feminism, it is a problem for all women.

So your identity politics are around the identity “woman”, huh? And I wasn't aware that the future of women in Zambia was so reliant on US politics.

You throw around "all" pretty freely when you’re explaining your identity politics.

The opening of a road untravelled and the creation of such a precedent is something that concerns each and every woman in the USA.

The same can be said for the opening of a road untravelled and the creation of a precedent for blacks, too. Why is that less important to Ms. Steinham?


Deo: "All politics are identity politics - it's just that the politics "progressives" focus on is white identity and thus named "normal" or "important" instead of "white"."

Would you look at that red herring? it's positively purple.


You brought up identity politics and said progressives shouldn’t engage in them. How is pointing out that all politics is identity politics a red herring? Or are you conceding this one, but unable to say so for some reason? Over-identification with your identity, perhaps?


the repeated mentioning of Obama's Charisma as a valid replacement for competence or a spine is a trap that should be avoided. Not a matter of identities funny enough, but of priorities.

Yes, so why exactly did you make that a central point instead of “the issues”?

Deo: "Hel, what do you think the whole bleeding immigraiton rhetoric is all about. Securing our borders? If it was about that, people would be scrutinizing trade and asking why less than 10% of imports are checked. No, it's about white people being outnumbered by non-white people (note the IDENTITIES) for the first time since we killed most of them off when we invaded."

The anti immigration attitudes in the black community seem to be left conveniently aside here. Funny how even Obama acknowledged it, which was a classy touch. Nice.


Yes, I was going by what showed up in the media. Care to bring in the ISSUES around this?

re read my posts please. Obama does not have the competence and record to be qualified for the position. So what makes him a viable candidate again?

His record is similar to the other candidates and he’s been in the political arena longer.

So what makes them viable candidates again?

so I was correct in assuming that all of this tasteless mess happened because of the lack of the obligatory nod towards the black feminists? I hate being right.

No. You are incorrect in assuming that we owe women an obligatory nod due to the color of their skin. The assumption that women who happen to be other than white should be excluded because they aren’t “just” women is racist.

If black feminists should not be expected to automatically support HRC because she is white, why is it acceptable to expect them to line behind Obama because he is black? Or maybe you are trying to suggest that black feminists will not vote for a woman unless she is black?

Reread my posts and please point out where I said anyone should line up behind anyone due to any physical characteristic.

And one more time people: read her actual column: she was discussing the Iowa and NH caucuses. Two states with a very small black population. In that context, it is plausible that the presence of the black vote did not seem entirely relevant for the whole issue.

Because black people aren’t women.

If the black feminists are so eager to frame this as being about race... that is their problem. Maybe it should be brought to the table in the public debate. After all, weren't we do for another racial divide? Would that not be wonderful?

The divide is already here, you’re just pretending it isn’t by restricting “woman” to exclude anyone who isn’t white and turning women of color into a group to get obligatory nods instead of thoughtful and open inclusion as women whose opinions are valuable.

And why are you making this about “the black feminists” (who apparently don’t even have names) when you’re talking to me? What race, exactly, do you think I am?

Plain(s)feminist said...

"If sexism and racism would get equal treatment in the media, matthews would have been fired 15 times over for his comments on HRC. Was he?"

Huh? I hear racist bullshit in the media ALL THE TIME. The fact that a prominent, popular talking head doesn't get fired doesn't mean anything.

"We ahve seen the last year that "expressing racist views o air" got severely punished. can you show me a similar event with regards to sexism? One?"

Actually, I can only think of one situation in which expressing racist views on the air got severely punished. I can think of far more that did not.

"The problem is: Obama has a LONG line of "present" votes, insluding on incouous issues( like having kids be taught respect for others in public schools). The pattern is the problem, and it is a bad one. It smells of pandering and spinelessness."

Actually, he's far from alone in his history of "present" votes, just FWIW. And I don't necessarily disagree with how you interpret that, generally, though I would prefer to vote for a candidate who has enough spine to vote against the war.

"I agree that Black feminists would probably find themselves in a rather narrow place. What comes first: being black or being woman? What is more important? I would guess that is a question for them to answer."

Actually, no, it isn't. Black feminists have long made the point that neither comes first, that neither is more important, that they are inextricably intertwined.

"The way I see it, it wasn't for Steinem to walk in the shoes of the black feminist because she isn't one. Talking theory might be fine and dandy, but nobody can reappropriate someone else's experiences to the point where they can speak confidently and competently in the name of a person with such a different background."

This is a cop out. It's an excuse not to educate yourself about the experiences of a group of people that you don't belong to to the point where you can speak confidently and competently about what the issues, debates, and struggles within that community are. For someone railing against identity politics, you're pretty much stating them here. By this logic, no man should ever teach Women's Studies. That's an identity politics-based argument.

"I would have to say that Steinem is talking from her point of view.The view of the white feminist is different tha that of the black feminist, and as such it doesn;t really fall on her to express the latter."

Steinem is an educated woman and an icon of feminism. It absolutely falls on her to express Black feminism. And if she's not gonna do that, then she should say, "I'm speaking only about/to white feminists right now."

"Assume for a second that Steinem would have approached the issue of the black feminists. Can you imagine the outrage at the audacity of the white woman to speak for the black women?"

Um...that would depend on what she said, wouldn't it, and on how accurate she was. Many Black feminists have advocated for white women to be allies and to say the things that need to be said (as in the critiques of Steinem) without leaving it to Black women to always have to do it.

"But I cannot speak or a black feminist, because I am not black, I haven't faced the same type of oppression and experience and while I theoretically KNOW of it, I would be a fraud if I would attempt to speak for them."

No one is saying anyone else should speak FOR someone, as in, in place of. Perhaps that's where the difference of opinion lies. But you can't ignore people and their issues because you are afraid you might say the wrong thing if you attempt to point out what these issues are. And incidentally, it's not like Black feminists haven't already been making these critiques - some of them in Steinem's very own magazine, and for that long. It's not like she doesn't know Black feminists and hasn't heard them say these things. She could have spoken WITH them, and she chose not to.

soopermouse said...

"The same can be said for the opening of a road untravelled and the creation of a precedent for blacks, too. Why is that less important to Ms. Steinham?"
SteiNEM. If you desire to talk about her, please have the courtesy of spelling her name correctly.
And to answer your question: because it's not her politics, nor her fight. Feminism is not supposed to be that all-inclusive. This is a red herring used a lot by the conservatives "If you care about X how come you don't care abot Y?"
or to be more precise, because she cares about women without making the race divide.



"Because black people aren’t women."
Again with the red herring, which seems to be quite frequent.So you are so starved for the polite nod? Is it so incredibly important in the context? let's be serious, it's nitpicking and nothing more.

"And why are you making this about “the black feminists” (who apparently don’t even have names) when you’re talking to me? What race, exactly, do you think I am?"

I try to abstain from making pronounciations about people's backgrounds without being aware of them. You might want to try it too.

"The divide is already here, you’re just pretending it isn’t by restricting “woman” to exclude anyone who isn’t white"

I have never said anything of teh sort. nice strawman, does it bite as well?

You seem to operate under the idea that I am "white". I am by race ( Caucasian - Romanian Jewish) but not by the aparent Western definition of the term, as it has been repeatedly pointed to me in the UK and USA.

I regard the category "woiman" as one that comprises form women of all races. However when one group insists on bring their specific color onto the table as a degree of separation, pardon me for not making the formula " women, and black women". It doesn't work that way.

"...and turning women of color into a group to get obligatory nods instead of thoughtful and open inclusion as women whose opinions are valuable."

You have ASKED for the obligatory nods. In a discussion about two states in which the issue is the vote in NH and Iowa. Iowa has a percentage of 2.5% blacks, NH about 1.5%. In that context, because the discussion was about these two states' elections, what would the discussion about such a small minority be, if not a polite nod of acknowledgement?
It would appear to me that you are trying very hard to be offended.

"You brought up identity politics and said progressives shouldn’t engage in them. How is pointing out that all politics is identity politics a red herring? Or are you conceding this one, but unable to say so for some reason? Over-identification with your identity, perhaps?"
As stated before, there is nobody to talk for me, and my identity is making me a part of a very fucking small group that nobody speaks for.Woman, Jewish, Eastern European, Immigrant, and Queer. I don't HAVE a community, and each of those where one side of my identity puts me into rejects the other sides. So in the end I stand alone. You want to play the "oppression olympics"? you might lose if I'd decide to play that game.


"No. You are incorrect in assuming that we owe women an obligatory nod due to the color of their skin. The assumption that women who happen to be other than white should be excluded because they aren’t “just” women is racist."
Nobody said anything about excusion. "Women" is an al inclusive term. "Black women" is an exclusive one, and even pointing that out makes me apparently somewhat deserving of teh "racist" categorizing.
It migth be a good way to silence opponents in the USA, but it won't work with me. It would appear that it's convenient: *some* black feminists get to diss the feminist movement in its entirety because they don't get specifically nominated as a separate category, and those who don't automatically bow to the difference and nod at the fact that there are Women and there are Black Women, get to be labelled as "racist". Convenient, isn't it?

Actually, it is bullshit.

"His record is similar to the other candidates and he’s been in the political arena longer."
And that is a lie. A provable one, but then again it is not like you had any problems with distorting the truth so far.

"Actually, he's far from alone in his history of "present" votes, just FWIW. And I don't necessarily disagree with how you interpret that, generally, though I would prefer to vote for a candidate who has enough spine to vote against the war."
ORLY? Too bad Obama would have probably had voted for the war. Here's Obama in 2004 saying:

"In July of `04, Barack Obama, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know,” in terms of how you would have voted on the war. And then this: “There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.” That was July of `04. (”Meet the Press,” 2004, via MyDD, Nov. 11, 2007)
"

So let's not rewrite the past here.

There is also this:
"... .. For all these reasons, I would like nothing more than to support the Kerry Amendment; to bring our brave troops home on a date certain, and spare the American people more pain, suffering and sorrow.

But having visited Iraq, I'm also acutely aware that a precipitous withdrawal of our troops, driven by Congressional edict rather than the realities on the ground, will not undo the mistakes made by this Administration. It could compound them.

It could compound them by plunging Iraq into an even deeper and, perhaps, irreparable crisis.

We must exit Iraq, but not in a way that leaves behind a security vacuum filled with terrorism, chaos, ethnic cleansing and genocide that could engulf large swaths of the Middle East and endanger America. We have both moral and national security reasons to manage our exit in a responsible way.

I share many of the goals set forth in the Kerry Amendment. We should send a clear message to the Iraqis that we won't be there forever, and that by next year our primary role should be to conduct counter-insurgency actions, train Iraqi security forces, and provide needed logistical support.
"
Obama helping to bury the Kerry ammendament that asked for the troops to be brought home.

"This is a cop out. It's an excuse not to educate yourself about the experiences of a group of people that you don't belong to to the point where you can speak confidently and competently about what the issues, debates, and struggles within that community are. "
I don't think any non Black women would be welcome to talk in the name of Black women, not without the big huge roar of anger and accusations of "reapprorpiating their experience" and such. It's "damn if you do and damn if you don't".

Donna said...

I think that having the people choose you to represent them does count whether it is state govt or federal (or even mayor or town council), and you definitely can't discount it when talking about experience but then use it against him when looking at his "present" votes in state, not federal govt. I do think that Hillary should be credited with the work that she did as first lady, and although it is political, it doesn't count as highly for me since the people did not choose her to do this work, she isn't the elected one...and Obama probably has equivalent experience in activist work to Hillary Clinton's time and work in as First Lady. If we are going to count non-elected work for one we should do it for both. This wasn't actually the point I was making when laying out how much time in each candidate had as elected officials...notice who has the least experience but is still taken seriously. One of the arguments SM was making is that Obama wouldn't have been taken seriously as a candidate if he was white, and I'm saying, maybe he would have, he'd just be another John Edwards candidate. I also think that Obama would have been taken as seriously as a candidate if he had been a black woman with the same credentials, because alot of what Obama has going for him is charisma, that certain something to get people fired up and ready to vote for you. I just happen to think the time is right for both people of color and women to be taken seriously this election season. The country has been so badly mishandled by the white dudes in charge that people want a huge change and are ready for it. I'm with AK on one thing though, it has to be a centrist or slightly right of center woman and/or person of color. Too much money gets dumped into these elections, and the moneybags donors get scared by progressives wanting things like justice and equality. The ones who would be best for the most people (poor, working class, and middle class) will never be given that opportunity without real campaign reform.

Other than that, this WOC grabs the pom-poms and jumps up and down and does cartwheels for Deoridhe and Octogalore! You're kick ass allies!

Plain(s)feminist said...

SM:
This is my last post here because you're giving me a headache.

First, re. Obama's comments on pulling out - I agree with him. The folks who are recognized as experts by all sides of the war debate have expressed concern about the ethnic cleansing that will follow if we pack up and get out. You can believe whatever you want to believe about what Obama *might* have voted; Hillary DID vote for the war and she has not wavered from this position. The fact that Obama can see clearly what a mess Iraq is now, thanks to us, is not a strike against him.

"I don't think any non Black women would be welcome to talk in the name of Black women, not without the big huge roar of anger and accusations of "reapprorpiating their experience" and such. It's "damn if you do and damn if you don't"."

I think that very often white feminists (and some liberal white men) confuse reiterating concerns that they are aware that Black women have with appropriating their experiences. They are not the same thing. Your fear of Black women's rage is really interesting. In fact, what you are saying is that it's better to ignore Black women's concerns altogether rather than risk saying something that someone else might find racist, because someone might yell at you.

Barbara Smith once said that many white people were afraid to do anti-racist work because they were afraid they might have to face Black people's anger. Well, she said, they might. But what she's found is that generally, white people are instead surprised by how much generosity of spirit and genuine warmth they encounter, instead.

Ravenmn said...

"Barbara Smith once said that many white people were afraid to do anti-racist work because they were afraid they might have to face Black people's anger."

Goddess, I love that woman. I actually met her once when she was in town on a book tour. She kept talking about socialism and I kept smiling and she kept noticing me smiling. Afterwards, she said she appreciated our connection. Pardon me for my silly little fan-girl moment.

SM: ""The same can be said for the opening of a road untravelled and the creation of a precedent for blacks, too. Why is that less important to Ms. Steinham?" .... because it's not her politics, nor her fight."

Whoa. Steinem doesn't care about black people? Really?

God, she's worse than I thought.

Donna said...

*Donna does cartwheels and handstands for PF*

There is a big difference between a white feminist using the experiences of black women (or other WOC) for their own ends, like Steinem is doing, and working with and knowing WOC well enough to make supportive statements or repeating the words of those WOC feminists directly to punctuate WOC's own goals.

SM, the only one who is dictating who black women should vote for is Steinem. If she was only speaking about/influencing Iowa and NH, why is her article in the New York Times and not the papers in those states? Everyone else here is saying that black women can not separate out their identity so neatly. They may be influenced by the historical precedent set by having a black president...they may also be influenced by the historical precedent set by having a woman president, or they may vote for many other reasons for any of the candidates including "issues only", but it is for them to decide who would best represent them and their interests. Steinem is the one saying, Oh no! Only your identity as female counts! Nothing else matters! Vote for Hillary!

belledame222 said...


so I was correct in assuming that all of this tasteless mess happened because of the lack of the obligatory nod towards the black feminists?


no. the very phrase "obligatory nod" is...you know, I just don't -care- what Steinem does or doesn't nod toward. Why is she central in the damn first place? Why are we talking about this and not, again, say, the Bernice Johnson Reagon piece? Why am I, for that matter? gah, I haven't the energy right now for this, I really haven't.

belledame222 said...

First, re. Obama's comments on pulling out - I agree with him. The folks who are recognized as experts by all sides of the war debate have expressed concern about the ethnic cleansing that will follow if we pack up and get out. You can believe whatever you want to believe about what Obama *might* have voted; Hillary DID vote for the war and she has not wavered from this position. The fact that Obama can see clearly what a mess Iraq is now, thanks to us, is not a strike against him.

For that matter, I give props to Edwards for changing his mind. I still think they're all being much too cautious about it. then again, whoever inherits this fuckoff mess isn't exactly gonna be in a terrific position -whatever- choice they make. then again again, the candidates are officially -asking- for this.

i miss Wellstone.

Ravenmn said...

"The folks who are recognized as experts by all sides of the war debate have expressed concern about the ethnic cleansing that will follow if we pack up and get out."

Oh, please! Not that nonsense again. The experts that have been proven wrong wrong wrong wrong and wrong again? So now that we all know they are wrong, we decide they are the one's worth listening to?

How about we listen to ourselves? How about we put ourselves in the position of Iraqis? Would we welcome occupation? Are we all barbarians preserved from killing each other by the benevolence of U.S. military occupation?

Honestly, how many human beings are we willing to ignore?

Deoridhe said...

Soopermouse:
SteiNEM. If you desire to talk about her, please have the courtesy of spelling her name correctly.

Yes, I can see why you’re the “issues” person. Your focus on issues, so strong – so eternal! Clearly you are the one to point out to all non-issues people when they go off the issues.

And to answer your question: because it's not her politics, nor her fight. Feminism is not supposed to be that all-inclusive.

I see. So, in other words, you are staying straight out that feminism, as represented by Steinem and yourself, is not supposed to include women of color. So, when the women of color say “Feminism doesn’t include us,” your answer is yes.

Thank you for your honesty. It takes guts to be an honest racist.

This is a red herring used a lot by the conservatives "If you care about X how come you don't care abot Y?"

Yes, I can see how the question “If you say you care about women, why don’t you care about all women” is SUCH a conservative thing for me to say.

or to be more precise, because she cares about women without making the race divide.

Right! Because women don’t have race! Or rather, there is one group of women, white ones, who have privilege due to their race and so can ignore it, so they can privilege their needs above those of all other women.

I think I need to bookmark this thread the next time a white feminist asks “by why do Women of Color think we don’t value them???”, since your answer to that is clearly, “Because they aren’t women.”

Deo: "Because black people aren’t women."
Again with the red herring, which seems to be quite frequent. So you are so starved for the polite nod? Is it so incredibly important in the context? let's be serious, it's nitpicking and nothing more.


Yes, I can see how if black women aren’t women that their existence would seem like nitpicking to you. And why do you keep saying I’m starved for the polite nod? I’m white. Unlike you, however, I’m trying to not be racist.

Deo: "And why are you making this about “the black feminists” (who apparently don’t even have names) when you’re talking to me? What race, exactly, do you think I am?"

I try to abstain from making pronounciations about people's backgrounds without being aware of them. You might want to try it too.


Um… you’re race is REALLY REALLY obvious.

You seem to operate under the idea that I am "white". I am by race ( Caucasian - Romanian Jewish) but not by the aparent Western definition of the term, as it has been repeatedly pointed to me in the UK and USA.

Yup. White.

*sighs*

I regard the category "woiman" as one that comprises form women of all races. However when one group insists on bring their specific color onto the table as a degree of separation, pardon me for not making the formula " women, and black women". It doesn't work that way.

Um, by saying other concerns of white women are more important than the concerns of women of color, and calling race a “nitpick”, you ARE bringing being white to the table. In fact, you are making being white THE table. That you can’t see this is astonishing, given your obsession with “identity politics” in the form of feminism.

Deo "...and turning women of color into a group to get obligatory nods instead of thoughtful and open inclusion as women whose opinions are valuable."

You have ASKED for the obligatory nods.


No, I have asked that when feminists use the word “woman” they include the concerns of all women and don’t disregard some because the word “white” doesn’t exist implicitly before the word “woman”. That you can’t tell the difference between this and a condescending “obligatory nod” is really telling about how racist you are.

In a discussion about two states in which the issue is the vote in NH and Iowa. Iowa has a percentage of 2.5% blacks, NH about 1.5%. In that context, because the discussion was about these two states' elections, what would the discussion about such a small minority be, if not a polite nod of acknowledgement?

Since when was the discussion about two states primaries? And since when were people unable to comment on a state’s primary unless their race was represented highly enough for you? I mean… seriously… should feminists not comment on politics because most of it is dominated by men? Think about what you’re saying here.

It would appear to me that you are trying very hard to be offended.

Nah, I just find racism REALLY REALLY offensive. It’s the progressive in me. I have this crazy idea that feminism should represent all females instead of just the white ones. I know, I know, SO not progressive.

You want to play the "oppression olympics"? you might lose if I'd decide to play that game.

That you consider women who aren’t white to be playing a “game” speaks for itself. That “please include our opinions” is redefined as a game, and not central to a movement that should represent all women (not just white ones who can disregard race because they’re privileged) speaks for itself.

Nobody said anything about excusion. "Women" is an al inclusive term. "Black women" is an exclusive one, and even pointing that out makes me apparently somewhat deserving of teh "racist" categorizing.

No, saying that because the word “black” exists before the word “woman” that the opinion of the person is worth less (because it isn’t just woman, as if any woman exists who is JUST woman) is racist.

It migth be a good way to silence opponents in the USA, but it won't work with me.

Actually, you said you were leaving, so apparently the truth is good enough to silence you here.

It would appear that it's convenient: *some* black feminists get to diss the feminist movement in its entirety because they don't get specifically nominated as a separate category, and those who don't automatically bow to the difference and nod at the fact that there are Women and there are Black Women, get to be labelled as "racist". Convenient, isn't it?

I continue to be amazed that “having ones opinion included” gets redefined to “diss” and “wanting opinion to be considered by feminists” gets redefined as “bowing”. Is it so hard to value the words and experiences of other women when they are a different race from you?

Deo: "His record is similar to the other candidates and he’s been in the political arena longer."
And that is a lie. A provable one, but then again it is not like you had any problems with distorting the truth so far.


Then, by all means, prove me wrong. Bring up the issues and facts instead of going on and on about how hard it is for you, as a white woman, to hear women of color talk and value their opinions because they insist on being a race that is not implicit.

I don't think any non Black women would be welcome to talk in the name of Black women, not without the big huge roar of anger and accusations of "reapprorpiating their experience" and such. It's "damn if you do and damn if you don't".

I’m speaking as a white woman, saying include all women when you say woman, because I value them and their voices. I’ve never spoken for black women (or other women of color), but I do take on racist white women when they spout racist nonsense.

Deoridhe said...

Thanks Donna! I'm trying. ^_^ I wouldn't call myself an ally yet; I have too many blind spots.

The point about black rage (WoC and PoC rage really) is an interesting one. I've been picking through Bell Hooks' Killing Rage and kind of checking into it within myself, and there is a way in which how I was raised (by a progressive, don't be racist parent) made PoC "other" and thus rendered their (very natural) emotions somehow unnatural in my experience of them. It's a bizarre sort of thing, internally, to become aware of.

Why are we talking about this and not, again, say, the Bernice Johnson Reagon piece?

I need to read that again.

I've personally found the image of an elephant in the room stepping on my toes to be hugely useful in normalizing the new way I'm trying to live. I haven't made it out of the room yet, much less the house, but at least I can see the elephant shit. ;)

Deoridhe said...

Oha, dn I mistyped before. Soopermouse is not leaving, so she hasn't been scared away. ^_^

Ravenmn said...

Deoridhe, that was an awesome Fisk.

Soopermouse, you are getting ganged up on here because you are expressing opinions and using the exact "logic" and the same "excuses" that we white women have been using for years. It's particularly nasty because it sounds really logical in the world we've been trained to see: a world without color. One of its best qualities is its ability to hide in "common sense".

We should be able to recognize this because we suffer from the same "common sense" when it comes to gender. You know, like the "common sense" that men deserve more money for doing the same jobs. Or the "common sense" that a wife should obey her husband in everything.

If you want to learn more about this racist "logic" and learn how to avoid making these kinds of mistakes in the future, I recommend reading Jona Olssen's "Detour Spotting for White Anti-Racists." (PDF)

The most important take-home point is that NOT seeing race is only possible if you are a white person. Everyone else in our society has to pay attention to race.

soopermouse said...

"Yup. White.

*sighs* "
why thank you. How largely sighted of you to assume all Caucasian women have the same experiences and privileges. Thank you for denying the experience and oppression of the jewish women.
Then again, it's OK to do it, isn't it? it's not liek we matter, after all , jewish= "white" so it's OK to deny our oppression.

"Then, by all means, prove me wrong. Bring up the issues and facts instead of going on and on about how hard it is for you, as a white woman, to hear women of color talk and value their opinions because they insist on being a race that is not implicit."
The issues and facts have been exlined in this thread but you have chosen to ignore them.


"Since when was the discussion about two states primaries? And since when were people unable to comment on a state’s primary unless their race was represented highly enough for you? I mean… seriously… should feminists not comment on politics because most of it is dominated by men? Think about what you’re saying here."
Steinem, whom the discussion was about, discussed in that particular column about the primaries in the two states and the demographics thereof. Believe it or not, in a discussion in which we discuss large majorities, a minority smaller than the marge of error is not particularly relevant for someone who deals with limited space. And why only "black feminists"? Why not the "Korean feminists"? Why not the "eskimo feminists"?
How about we make a column about something,then spend half of it in half and use the other half for the obligatory nods so nobody feels left out even if the discussion is not really about them?
Read your feminism more and digest it better next time.

Yes, I enjoy seeing you deny the experiences and oppression of the jewish feminists by lumping us all into the privilegd "white" category. it's nice. it is also bordering antisemitism, and walking a little bit more into it than toeing the border.

You don't get to redefine someone else's experiences.

"I’m speaking as a white woman, saying include all women when you say woman, because I value them and their voices. I’ve never spoken for black women (or other women of color), but I do take on racist white women when they spout racist nonsense."

Or maybe you're so eager to see "racism" everywhere, typical of a certain type of American so called progressives. It's a nice and easy label to attach and it's supposed to silence people off. IT DOESN'T WORK.

I know it's regarded as the progressive thing to do in the USA "vote for Obama" because he is black and this way you appear progressive and cool and non racist, but it doesn't work that way.
I have said from the beginning: when I say "woman" I include all women. Adding the racial suffix is nothing but falling in line with the Patriarchal construction of race. "Divide and impera" and it appears to be working just fine.

You're "white"? then thank you for proving my point. I don't regard myself as"white". Not "white fenminist" not "Romanian feminist" not "Jewish feminist" not "bisexual feminist" not "immigrant feminist". Just "feminist". Just "woman", and that is enough. Because we are being divided already more than enough, and look where that brought us.

Insisting on keepig the artificial borders is what hurts women and feminism. And if you haven't learned that, it's your problem.

"The folks who are recognized as experts by all sides of the war debate have expressed concern about the ethnic cleansing that will follow if we pack up and get out."

Umm, that's going to happen anyway. It was the bomb that armed when the USA decided to depose saddam Hussein. Of course, it'a not like there aren't alternative sollutions like UN troops, etc.
Plus, read the date: it's 2006. Two years ago the situation was not as bad as it is now. A lot could have been done about it then.

"Hillary DID vote for the war and she has not wavered from this position. The fact that Obama can see clearly what a mess Iraq is now, thanks to us, is not a strike against him."
She did. And you need to read her speech on it in order to see why she has no reason to regret it. On the data and issues there were at the time, she made a hard decision, and stood up to be counted in making it so. I admire that.
as for Obama? well, everyone knew in 2004 , the year when he was so eager to agree with Bush on teh war, that it was a bad joke. So... what does that mean?

Alon Levy said...

Am I the only one here who thinks that when an editorial gets its facts wrong, it doesn't matter what identities it tries to evoke?

soopermouse said...

Ravenma
Thank you for the link, but I am afraid that I'm not "white" in your sense of the word. or, if you want, I'm not "white enough". I'm the one who has to prove her skills at every job interview, because althoguh I have worked for 5 years in this country and I am overqualified, I'm "not British" and that invariably works against me. I'm the one constantly asked by everyone, at work, on the street even over the phone where I am from or what's my accent. I am the one who gets constantly asked upon relealing my jewish ancestry why i don't move to Israel.
I am the one who isn't welcome. I am the one who has to see jobs going to less qualified women because they are born here. I am the one regarded as the scum of the earth because I'm an immigrant who camne to steal jobs from the honest british born citizens of any colour. I'm the one who has to hear the "you know how they are" discussions in a room that get hushened when I enter said room. I'm the one expected to do the job of two people, while my british born coleagues get to say "that's not in my job description" each time any extra work comes their way. When I said it, I got fired and all of my ex colleagues were surprised at my audacity to demand to be treated equally.
I am a minority that doesn't get spoken for because I don't exist. The Brits of all colours tell me I'm not "white enough" and I'm an immigrant. the Romanian living here look upon me suspiciously because I am bisexual. the Queer comunity doesn't have room for bisexual immigrants. the jewish community is almost inexistent outside of London.
Where does that leave me? I'm a minority of one. And lumping me with the "white" category is an insult and denying of my oppression.

Back in 2000 I had a scholarship in the USA and stayed there for 6 months. under the conditions of my visa I was allowed to work, and since my scholarship only covered school expenses, I had to support myself.

I was spat in the face by people of almost each and every ethnicity. I was never considered "white", my skin is too dark for it. I was called a "fake latina" because while I have some latin heritage, I am not from south america. I was bullied by a black coworked because I was "a beggar come to steal jobs from decent american folk". The Jewish community kicked me out of their midst because I was bisexual.
So yeah, I know a little tiny bit about being on the lowest rung of the ladder. Race is not as even as people think.

Ravenmn said...

In the U.S. if you are white-skinned and Jewish, you still command a lot of privilege. Some of the people arguing a different point of view than you in this thread are Jewish.

Your last post makes me see that you do realize that race, as evidenced in the color of your skin, your accent, your immigrant status, has a huge effect in your reality. In the U.S., you would still enjoy more privileges than some people considered lower on the racial, ethnic or class scale.

Since you understand this so personally, I honestly don't understand why you refuse to acknowledge race when it comes to women.

SO: "Or maybe you're so eager to see "racism" everywhere, typical of a certain type of American so called progressives. It's a nice and easy label to attach and it's supposed to silence people off. IT DOESN'T WORK."

No, that's a silly stereotype made up by racists who want to ignore race entirely, as if it doesn't matter or as if it's some made-up fairy tale designed to make white people uncomfortable.

No one is silencing you here.

Plus, that whole line about seeing racism where it doesn't exist is right at the top of the detours we throw at people who want to discuss race with us.

Trinity said...

"Your last post makes me see that you do realize that race, as evidenced in the color of your skin, your accent, your immigrant status, has a huge effect in your reality. In the U.S., you would still enjoy more privileges than some people considered lower on the racial, ethnic or class scale.

Since you understand this so personally, I honestly don't understand why you refuse to acknowledge race when it comes to women."

I agree with this.

But I do think that this conversation raises a really good point, in general -- that sometimes when someone appears to be talking purely from an entirely nuanceless place of privilege, they're not.

I don't know why SM gives such a vivid description of the racism she's faced, yet dismisses what WOC and their allies say here.

But I also think that there's a tendency, when we're all talking identity politics, to read something we strongly disagree with and then form a picture of the person arguing for it. So since Soopermouse is making some of the same mistakes as many middle-class, white non-immigrant non-Jewish feminists in the US, that's what we envision her to be and talk to her as if she is.

And I've seen that miss something huge more than once.

I don't agree with Soopermouse here. I think she has some correct things to say about the particular barbs aimed at Clinton, and I personally am consistently underwhelmed by Obama (but definitely don't think he's incompetent.) But none of that means Steinem's article wasn't deeply flawed. So I'm not in her corner here.

But I definitely think that there's a tendency to go "this person showed up and said something we deem ignorant, therefore she fits such and such a profile." And that can be a very real recipe for dehumanizing others, and that worries me... despite agreeing that SM is wrong here and some of what she's saying is deeply cringe-worthy.

Deoridhe said...

I'm a minority of one. And lumping me with the "white" category is an insult and denying of my oppression.

So, does this mean you want your 'obligatory nod'?

belledame222 said...

mkay. very briefly: I am Jewish. I am queer. Neither of these things makes me 1) nonwhite, in the current U.S. zeitgeist, whatever it might have made me in some other context 2) even if it did, particularly qualified to weigh in on what is or isn't "divisive" on the part of American black feminists.

Yeah, standpoint matters, I suppose; but the reason people are addressing you as though you were a mainstream white first-world feminist, soopermouse, is because up till now you have been using rhetoric that is all too familiar from exactly those people. Using language about what is or isn't "divisive" is -classic-, you know? It's -exactly- the same sort of shit as say Kos says about feminism as a whole;

and for that matter, -no-, "women" is -not- in fact a particularly "inclusive" category at the end of the day; just ask, oh, any -number- of transfolk who've been trying for -decades- now to explain that they are neither a red herring nor a -menace- to the nice Michfest-attending, no doubt Steinem worshipping, -unified- feminists.

and -yes,- that does have relevance to who does and doesn't count as "woman" -really- on the racial axis, -too.- "Ain't I a Woman:" the title wasn't a coincidence.

and YES, other people do get the whole ambiguity of identity, are -also- not sure where they fit in. and still, I am sure, would have things to say about where this particular conversation has gone and why it is yep white-centric, and putting "divisive" on the wrong people.

for further reading:

on 'identity politics'





here

(and yeah, you will find people who may well "trump" you in the "defies category" category in that thread, if you're really interested in such things; I doubt any of them are really)

on the intersections of poverty, color, and gender liminality:

bfp's radical women of color theorist series

once again, Bernice Johnson Reagon on "Coalition Politics"

We’ve pretty much come to the end of a time when you can have a space that is “yours only”—just for the people you want to be there. Even when we have our “women-only” festivals, there is no such thing. The fault is not necessarily with the organizers of the gathering. To a large extent it’s because we have just finished with that kind of isolating. There is no hiding place. There is nowhere you can go and only be with people who are like you. It’s over. Give it up.

...Sometimes you get comfortable in your little barred room, and you decide you in fact are going to live there and carry out all of your stuff in there. And you gonna take care of everything that needs to be taken care of in the barred room. If you’re white and in the barred room and if everybody’s white, one of the first things you try to take care of is making sure that people don’t think that the barred room is a racist barred room. So you begin to talk about racism and the first thing you do is say, “Well, maybe we better open the door and let some Black folks in the barred room.” Then you think, “Well, how we gonna figure out whether they’re X’s or not?” Because nothing in the room but X’s. (Laughter) You go down the checklist. You been working a while to sort out who you are, right? So you go down the checklist and say, “If we can find Black folk like that we’ll let them in the room.” You don’t really want Black folks, you are just looking for yourself with a little color to it.

And there are those of us Black folk who are like that. So if you’re lucky you can open the door and get one or two. Right? And everything’s wonderful. But no matter what, there will be one or two of us who have not bothered to be like you and you know it. We come knocking on your door and say, “Well, you let them in, you let me in too.” And we will break your door down trying to get in. (Laughter)
As far as we can see we are also X’s. Cause you didn’t say, “THIS BARRED ROOM IS FOR WHITE X’S ONLY.” You just said it was for X’s. So everybody who thinks they’re an X comes running to get into the room. And because you trying to take care of everything in this room, and you know you’re not racist, you get pressed to let us all in...

...Now when it comes to women—the organized women’s movement—this recent thrust—we all have had the opportunity to have some kind of relationship with it. The women’s movement has perpetuated a myth that there is some common experience that comes just cause you’re women. And they’re throwing all these festivals and this music and these concerts happen. If you’re the same kind of women like the folk in that little barred room, it works. But as soon as some other folk check the definition of “women” that’s in the dictionary (which you didn’t write, right?) they decide that they can come because they are women, but when they do, they don’t see or hear nothing that is like them. Then they charge, “This ain’t no women’s thing!” (Applause) Then if you try to address that and bring them in, they start to play music that ain’t even women’s music! (Laughter and hoots) And you try to figure out what happened to your wonderful barred room. It comes from taking a word like “women” and using it as a code. There is an in-house definition so that when you say “women only” most of the time that means you had better be able—if you come to this place—to handle lesbianism and a lot of folks running around with no clothes on. And I’m being too harsh this morning as I talk to you, but I don’t want you to miss what I’m trying to say. Now if you come and you can’t handle that, there’s another term that’s called “woman-identified.” They say you might be a woman but you’re not woman-identified, and we only want women who are “woman-identified.” That’s a good way to leave a lot of women out of your room.

So here you are and you grew up and you speak English and you know about this word “woman” and you know you one, and you walk into this “woman-only” space and you ain’t there. (Laughter) Because “woman” in that space does not mean “woman” from your world. It’s a code word and it traps, and the people that use the word are not prepared to deal with the fact that if you put it out, everybody that thinks they’re a woman may one day want to seek refuge. And it ain’t no refuge place! And it’s not safe! It should be a coalition!...

belledame222 said...

trin, that's fair. nonetheless, I think people are feeling, well, aggravated, because they feel they've had this particular conversation, or slight variations therein, one too many times.

and no, it was not my intention to make soopermouse feel put upon or dehumanized; as I said way up at the top, or implied, haven't seen her in a long while and was pleasantly surprised to see her/you back in action. that said, yeah, there is a disconnect here.

Trinity said...

Oh yeah. I'm not saying I think she's *right.*

I'm just... eh. I dunno.

I think I'm just in a mood because, well, everyone just blogged about "choice", and well... for me personally as someone who is both

*female

and

*disabled

I actually see *two different* perspectives on abortion. Not just an intersection that gives me *more* or *different* shit, but actually "this identity says I should fight for all choice for any reason" and "that identity says certain choices are inherently bad for my people"

and well, the thing is, when you hit on an intersecting identity like *that*, where you have to deal with a potential *really* *real* *contradiction*, it makes everything look all fuzzy and funny. Because "clueless privilege" can couple with either position, depending on which standpoint I take as my own. And my ultimate stance on abortion is, as I know you've heard me say, hard-won and has much more to do with what my reason tells me is the best compromise in a world where women *need* bodily autonomy and disabled people *need* not to be deemed pure souls in defective containers.

And that's where I am now, and probably why I reacted as I did. It's perhaps not deeply appropriate here, though, because... yes, indeed, SM is *not* hearing something very important.

It's just something I notice about the nature of the Identity Politics beast, that I think we all should keep an eye peeled for even when we rightly say "No, wait, you didn't hear *us*..."

belledame222 said...

and yeah: "racist" is one of those terms that people treat like it's y'know "baby-raping shit eater:" it's not. It's also not a fixed -identity-; it's a verb. It's something to name and articulate so that it may be begun to be ferreted out of the complex knots it's in, same as sexism.

belledame222 said...

trin: well, again, wrt "identity politics," I think the Reagon piece is fucking ace. And illustrates nicely the particular problem -here-: how trying to claim "woman" as a universal while at the same time decrying "identity politics" is effectively trying to have one's cake and eat it too.

there's a reason why Heart is all over the Steinem piece like a cheap suit and (as far as I know) has nothing to say about the Reagon piece. and last I checked was beside herself about uhhh well whatever it was, you know, -divisiveness-, which is in no wise -her- responsibility, of course, she's Every Woman...

Deoridhe said...

Soopermouse:
Then again, it's OK to do it, isn't it? it's not liek we matter, after all , jewish= "white" so it's OK to deny our oppression.

Yes, you just got a taste of what you were dishing out to Women of Color (WoC). Astonishingly, it lead to you posting about how you are the most oppressed instead of the lightbulb going on and you realizing why WoC are so upset about being denied the right to speak as women.

Deo: "Then, by all means, prove me wrong. Bring up the issues and facts instead of going on and on about how hard it is for you, as a white woman, to hear women of color talk and value their opinions because they insist on being a race that is not implicit."

The issues and facts have been exlined in this thread but you have chosen to ignore them.


No, actually, they haven’t. Provide the numbers, please, to refute what’s in play that you disagree with.

Steinem, whom the discussion was about, discussed in that particular column about the primaries in the two states and the demographics thereof.

The basis of the discussion in this post was Matthews’ sexism.
Steinham’s racism came in the context of her saying that all women should vote for Clinton because: “Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life”.

She also said: “So why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one? The reasons are as pervasive as the air we breathe: because sexism is still confused with nature as racism once was; because anything that affects males is seen as more serious than anything that affects “only” the female half of the human race; because children are still raised mostly by women (to put it mildly) so men especially tend to feel they are regressing to childhood when dealing with a powerful woman; because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them); and because there is still no “right” way to be a woman in public power without being considered a you-know-what.”

Note how woman has been reduced to non-racial (read white) while male is characterized as black or white. One can forgive no other races being mentioned in this specific case to context, but I don’t know how in the Nine Worlds you can think that her comments were limited to only a primary, and thus only white people who support white people above people of color should speak because there aren’t many ethnic minorities in those states.

And why only "black feminists"? Why not the "Korean feminists"? Why not the "eskimo feminists"?

Please look up “Woman of Color” or “WoC”, which is the term I’ve often used in addition to black woman. Black woman was used primarily in reference to your claim that people were saying black women should vote for Obama. Otherwise, I tend to use WoC. In other words – I’ve included them from the beginning. Funny how you only do to try to accuse me of being racist by excluding them when I wasn’t.

How about we make a column about something,then spend half of it in half and use the other half for the obligatory nods so nobody feels left out even if the discussion is not really about them?

You know, you have some gall accusing me of not reading this thread when you have skipped over what multiple people have said about the phrasing “obligatory nod”. Read. Think. Stop being blatantly racist.

Yes, I enjoy seeing you deny the experiences and oppression of the jewish feminists by lumping us all into the privilegd "white" category. it's nice. it is also bordering antisemitism, and walking a little bit more into it than toeing the border.

Ooooo, nice attempt to shift the blame away from your own racism!

You don't get to redefine someone else's experiences.

Neither do you. Why don’t you stop telling WoC that they only deserve obligatory nods.

Or maybe you're so eager to see "racism" everywhere, typical of a certain type of American so called progressives. It's a nice and easy label to attach and it's supposed to silence people off. IT DOESN'T WORK.

No, I see racism where it is sometimes. I miss it, too; I'm privileged and I'm struggling with that. It looks like you’re the kind of progressive to deny racism exist, though, while being blatantly racist and (ironically) accusing other people of anti-Semitism. If black women don’t deserve a voice in this debate, by your logic, than Jewish women deserve even less since no one running for the presidency is Jewish.

Not that I think that rational holds any water, which is why I’m disagreeing you when you use it against WoC, but please be consistent. If you are discounting people because there aren't enough of their "type" (before claiming this is an artificial thing!) then apply it to yourself as well.

I know it's regarded as the progressive thing to do in the USA "vote for Obama" because he is black and this way you appear progressive and cool and non racist, but it doesn't work that way.

And I repeat – I have never recommended anyone vote for anyone for any reason. Repeating that I have doesn't make it any more true.

I have said from the beginning: when I say "woman" I include all women. Adding the racial suffix is nothing but falling in line with the Patriarchal construction of race.

You include all women, but some get an “obligatory nod” while others are REALLY important. Oddly, the “obligatory nod” people all fall within similar patriarchal racial groups. How curious. It’s almost as if there’s a systemic tendency to rate some women and people as more valuable than others according to certain qualities they have…

"Divide and impera" and it appears to be working just fine.

Yes. Would you please stop being racist, already?

You're "white"? then thank you for proving my point. I don't regard myself as"white". Not "white fenminist" not "Romanian feminist" not "Jewish feminist" not "bisexual feminist" not "immigrant feminist". Just "feminist". Just "woman", and that is enough. Because we are being divided already more than enough, and look where that brought us.

You know, this would be a lot more believable if you hadn’t already said in this post: “Yes, I enjoy seeing you deny the experiences and oppression of the jewish feminists by lumping us all into the privilegd "white" category.”

Insisting on keepig the artificial borders is what hurts women and feminism. And if you haven't learned that, it's your problem.

Calling something which affects the lives of women “artificial” because it’s a characteristic different from yours isn’t exactly helping feminism. However, if the choice is between supporting and listening to all women, and being considered a feminist by you, I’ll pick the former every time.

Deoridhe said...

Trinity:

But I definitely think that there's a tendency to go "this person showed up and said something we deem ignorant, therefore she fits such and such a profile." And that can be a very real recipe for dehumanizing others, and that worries me... despite agreeing that SM is wrong here and some of what she's saying is deeply cringe-worthy.

Mmmm... good point. I've tried to stay away from personal claims, but I'm hardly flawless on that. I will say the perspective being touted is that of a white women privileged system; people who support this system may or may not be white women. I'll try to be more careful int he future, though; thanks.

Deoridhe said...

I think the anti-Semetic was aimed solely at me, Belle; I'm up for carrying that. I've been carrying racist for a while now, and I'm still around and being a nuicance. Honestly, if you start looking at some of the anti-intellectuallism things, it carries more than faint wifts of anti-Semetism - but that's wildly off topic.

And, for the record, I've never said I'm not racist. I am, and currently trying to come to terms with that, and there is no quick fix, no magical sentance, no magical vote that can change that.

Ravenmn said...

Trinity, you're the awesome. You are absolutely right. I was assuming SM was living in a white world with no experience of racism. That was my error.

Soopermouse, thanks for continuing the discussion, even though we disagree on a lot. I hope you can help me understand your point of view. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me right now.

soopermouse said...

Ravenma:

I really think that there is a severely flawed underlying assumption here: that I use "women" in the way the "mainstear feminism" uses it, as in to mean "white women". I don't. I think "woman" and that doesn't come with a racial qualificative to it. I don't believe the racial defining is needed.

"In the U.S. if you are white-skinned and Jewish, you still command a lot of privilege. Some of the people arguing a different point of view than you in this thread are Jewish." I'm not white skinned. That is the problem. I am probably at the darkest end of caucasian. I have been called a Gipsy more times than I can count. Maybe if my skin was whiter, my hair less black, my nose smaller, my body shaped differently, I would have gotten that. I don't. I'm "white" in Romania and in Israel, where there are enough dark skinned people. Anywhere else, I'm not "white enough". In job applications, I have been toldthat I should put "other" because I am too dark to be considered Caucasian.

"Your last post makes me see that you do realize that race, as evidenced in the color of your skin, your accent, your immigrant status, has a huge effect in your reality. In the U.S., you would still enjoy more privileges than some people considered lower on the racial, ethnic or class scale. "

I'm not sure I would. Some of the identity aspects might, but the whole of them- me, gets irrevocably placed at the bottom of the ladder. It happened in the USA, it happened when I lived in Germany it's happening in the UK.

See, the problem is that it's not a matter of different scales. It is all one big scale, and there is no mitigating factor for my multiple crimes, of which the most severe appeared to be not being "white western". A mexican immigrant who works for less than half the minimum wage is above me on that ladder, because he has a community of people of a similar or partially similar where he/she is welcome.

Do you think a job as a sandwich maker andf floor cleaner paid less than minimum wage is a privilege? My MSc in computers sciences who got me a 6 months scholarship at MIT was not good enough to get me a menial pink collar job. And if you consider having that MSc is sign of a privilege... I'm from Romania. We had until some years ago free superior education for those who could pass the exams. I kept myself through the Uni by working nights.

So no, I am not coming into this discussion from a position of privilege. And while I can understand what doe feel like to be discriminated against and unheard, I do not think Steinem's column was the case. I don't think that it was her intention to exclude the women of color. I think she just talked about the electios in Iowa and NH. Since these are states in which the white population is a large majority, it does seem logic that her analysis focused on that.
I don't think this was aything to do with her wanting to exclude the black feminists from the discussion. It wasn't a discussion about the generl elections, her remarks about women referred strictly to the NH caucus. Not to the general elections. The generalizations made here and the willful blindness to these facts do tell me some stuff, and I'm sad to see it. It looks to me that the divide is artificialy created and forcefully enlarged, by people who have an urge to see it exist. Deo enjoys riding her snactipony and misshaping my words to feet her understanding of me, and continuing to talk to her looks liek a waste of time and space. Does remind me of Heart, in riding that sanctipony inside the common place as well, and then accusing those who complain about the horse's shit that they are racist and discriminatory.
Oh well, such is life.


But maybe there is some sense into it. Where I am from, we say that people see what they want to see. So , I guess I'll enjoy my new racist label. Thank you.

Donna said...

SM, would you feel any differently if instead of a black man running for president, he was a Jewish man? What if Steinem said that it's more important for a woman to be elected than a Jewish man because Jews have it good in the US and aren't discriminated against the way that women are? Wouldn't that feel like a slap in the face to you, since you know you are discriminated against on the basis of being a woman AND being Jewish, and being an immigrant, etc. You can't pull apart your identity and point to the one thing that people are discriminating against, can you? Because they intersect and multiply against you. That is how women of color feel, and in this case black women. Steinem has alot of nerve trying to tell them that they have it worse only because they are women, and it has less to do with the color of their skin. I think black women know better than that, they would be the ones to know how much racism they face, and how much sexism, and to also realize that more often than not they are being oppressed because of both. Steinem is an ignorant fool who thinks she knows better than the women living their lives with both racism and sexism as to which impacts their lives more. She has no right to use them in her example or for her own ends.

soopermouse said...

And since we have to talk about Clinton and Obama's pre elected record of politica work, here's what Wikipedia says:
Obama
"Obama received his B.A. degree in 1983, then worked at Business International Corporation and NYPIRG before moving to Chicago to take a job as a community organizer.[23] As Director of the Developing Communities Project, he worked with low-income residents in Chicago's Roseland community and the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.[24]... In 1990, The New York Times reported his election as the Harvard Law Review's "first black president in its 104-year history".[26] ... On returning to Chicago, Obama directed a voter registration drive.[27] As an associate attorney with Miner, Barnhill & Galland from 1993 to 1996, he represented community organizers, discrimination claims, and voting rights cases.[28] He was a lecturer of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1993 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004.[29]
"

Clinton:
"Raised in a politically conservative household,[11] at age thirteen she helped canvass South Side Chicago following the very close 1960 U.S. presidential election, finding evidence of vote fraud against Republican candidate Richard Nixon,[12] and volunteered for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the U.S. presidential election of 1964.[13] Her early political development was shaped most strongly by her energizing high school history teacher, like her father a fervent anti-communist, and by her Methodist youth minister, like her mother concerned with issues of social justice; with the minister she saw and met civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in Chicago in 1962.[14][11]

Rodham organized a two-day student strike and worked with Wellesley's black students for moderate changes, such as recruiting more black students and faculty.[20]

Rodham was invited by Representative Charles Goodell, a moderate New York Republican, to help Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s late-entry campaign for the Republican nomination.[20] Rodham attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, where she decided to leave the Republican Party for good; she was upset over how Richard Nixon's campaign had portrayed Rockefeller and what Rodham perceived as the "veiled" racist messages of the convention.[20]

Rodham then entered Yale Law School, where she served on the Board of Editors of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action.[30] During her second year, she worked at the Yale Child Study Center,[31] learning about new research on early childhood brain development and working as a research assistant on the seminal work, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child (1973).[32][33] She also took on cases of child abuse at Yale-New Haven Hospital,[32] and volunteered at New Haven Legal Services to provide free advice for the poor.[31] In the summer of 1970, she was awarded a grant to work at Marian Wright Edelman's Washington Research Project, where she was assigned to Senator Walter Mondale's Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, researching migrant workers' problems in housing, sanitation, health and education;[34][35] Edelman would become a significant mentor to her.[35]

That summer, she interned on child custody cases[36] at the Oakland, California, law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein,[37][38] which was well-known for its support of constitutional rights, civil liberties, and radical causes;[38] two of its four partners were current or former communist party members.[38][39][40]
The following summer, Rodham and Clinton campaigned in Texas for unsuccessful 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern.[42][43] ... She began a year of post-graduate study on children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Center.[45] Her first scholarly paper, "Children Under the Law", was published in the Harvard Educational Review in late 1973[46] and became frequently cited in the field.

During her post-graduate study, Rodham served as staff attorney for Edelman's newly founded Children's Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts,[47] and as a consultant to the Carnegie Council on Children.[48] During 1974 she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C., advising the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal.[49][50] Under the guidance of Chief Counsel John Doar and senior member Bernard Nussbaum,[32] Rodham helped research procedures of impeachment and the historical grounds and standards for impeachment.[50] The committee's work culminated in the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August 1974.[50]

Rodham joined the venerable Rose Law Firm, a bastion of Arkansan political and economic influence,[62] in February 1977,[63] specializing in patent infringement and intellectual property law,[30] while also working pro bono in child advocacy;[64] she rarely performed litigation work in court.[65]"
what, do you want more?

"Rodham co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a state-level alliance with the Children's Defense Fund, in 1977.[30][66] In late 1977, President Jimmy Carter (for whom Rodham had done 1976 campaign coordination work in Indiana)[67] appointed her to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation,[68] and she served in that capacity from 1978 through the end of 1981.[69] For much of that time[70] she served as the chair of that board, the first woman to do so.[71] During her time as chair, funding for the Corporation was expanded from $90 million to $300 million,[64] and she successfully battled against President Ronald Reagan's initial attempts to reduce the funding and change the nature of the organization.[64]

Clinton appointed her chair of the Rural Health Advisory Committee the same year,[72] where she successfully obtained federal funds to expand medical facilities in Arkansas' poorest areas without affecting doctors' fees.[73]

As First Lady of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee from 1982 to 1992,[80] where she sought to bring about reform in the state's court-sanctioned public education system.[81][82] One of the most important initiatives of the entire Clinton governorship,[81] she fought a prolonged but ultimately successful battle against the Arkansas Education Association[81] to put mandatory teacher testing as well as state standards for curriculum and classroom size in place.[81] She introduced Arkansas' Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth in 1985, a program that helps parents work with their children in preschool preparedness and literacy.[83] She was named Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984.[84]

From 1987 to 1991 she chaired the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession,

Clinton served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital Legal Services (1988–1992)[91]
Clinton was the first female member on Wal-Mart's board, added when chairman Sam Walton was pressured to name one;[96] once there, she pushed successfully for the chain to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices,[96] pushed largely unsuccessfully for more women to be added to the company's management,[96] and was silent about the company's famously anti-labor union practices.[96][94]

She was the initial first lady to hold a post-graduate degree[104] and to have her own professional career up to the time of entering the White House.[105] She was also the initial first lady to take up an office in the West Wing of the White House,[45] first ladies usually staying in the East Wing. She is regarded as the most openly empowered presidential wife in American history, save for Eleanor Roosevelt.[106]

In 1993, the president appointed his wife to head and be the chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, hoping to replicate the success she had in leading the effort for Arkansas education reform.[81] The recommendation of the task force became known as the Clinton health care plan, a complex proposal that would mandate employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations. The plan was quickly derided as "Hillarycare" by its opponents; some protesters against it became vitriolic, and during a July 1994 bus tour to rally support for the plan, she was forced to wear a bulletproof vest at times.[119][120] The plan did not receive enough support for a floor vote in either the House or the Senate, although both chambers were controlled by Democrats, and proposal was abandoned in September of 1994.[119] Clinton later acknowledged in her book, Living History, that her political inexperience partly contributed to the defeat, but mentioned that many other factors were also responsible. The First Lady's approval ratings, which had generally been in the high-50s percent range during her first year, fell to 44 percent in April 1994 and 35 percent by September 1994.[121] Republicans made the Clinton health care plan a major campaign issue of the 1994 midterm elections,[122] which saw a net Republican gain of fifty-three seats in the House election and seven in the Senate election, winning control of both; many analysts and pollsters found the plan to be a major factor in the Democrats' defeat, especially among independent voters.[123] Opponents of universal health care would continue to use "Hillarycare" as a pejorative label for similar plans by others.[124]

Along with Senator Ted Kennedy, she was the major force behind the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997, a federal effort that provided state support for children whose parents were unable to provide them with health coverage.[125] She promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses and encouraged older women to seek a mammogram to detect breast cancer, with coverage provided by Medicare.[126] She successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health.[45] The First Lady worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War, which became known as the Gulf War syndrome.[45] Together with Attorney General Janet Reno, Clinton helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice.[45] In 1997, she initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which she regarded as her greatest accomplishment as First Lady.[45] As First Lady, Clinton hosted numerous White House Conferences, including ones on Child Care (1997),[127] Early Childhood Development and Learning (1997),[128] and Children and Adolescents (2000),[129] and the first-ever White House Conferences on Teenagers (2000)[130] and Philanthropy (1999).[131]

Hillary Clinton traveled to 79 countries during this time,[132] breaking the mark for most-travelled First Lady held by Pat Nixon.[133] In a September 1995 speech before the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Clinton argued very forcefully against practices that abused women around the world and in China itself,[134] declaring "that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights"[134] and resisting Chinese pressure to soften her remarks.[132] She was one of the most prominent international figures at the time to speak out against the treatment of Afghan women by the Islamist fundamentalist Taliban that had seized control of Afghanistan.[135][136] She helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative sponsored by the United States to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.[137]
"

i think the facts speak for themselves.

soopermouse said...

Donna, I see your point. I don't really think that was her intention though, but I unerstand where you are coming from.

Plain(s)feminist said...

OK, I lied, I'm back to respond to Ravenm.

Oh, please! Not that nonsense again. The experts that have been proven wrong wrong wrong wrong and wrong again? So now that we all know they are wrong, we decide they are the one's worth listening to?

No, actually, these would be different experts.

I'm not saying we should plan to stay in and keep fucking it up. I'm saying, we need not to leave the country the way it is now. We have to figure out a way to help get the situation stabilized, which is obviously not going to happen by the U.S. "soldiering on" in its imperialist way. (And obviously, it's not the U.S.' call, here.) Iraqi Kurds are terrified of the U.S. pulling out, and if you study the history of Iraq and the Kurds, it's pretty clear why. It was after meeting and talking with one man who is an Iraqi Kurdish leader both in the U.S. and in Iraq about this that I began to see that the "bring the troops home now" mentality wasn't necessarily the best thing for anyone except the troops. And then everywhere I turned I started to hear people on both the Left and the Right who had studied the region and who had studied ethnic cleansing and genocide warn that we can't just walk away.

So let me reiterate - I am not advocating business as usual. I *am* advocating that we shift our presence to one that assists Iraq in stabilizing itself. Can that be done after we've been such an aggressive force? I don't know. Maybe our job is to get out and to ensure that other more neutral countries go in, on our dime, to fix what we've messed up. But I don't think we can walk away from this.

OK, now I'm really done. Raven, if you want to continue this conversation, I'm happy to, but I don't want to do it here.

Alon said...

Sorry, in these last few comments, I have to side with SM. I could buy once the idea that underprivileged people who use rhetoric that's associated with the privileged deserve scorn... and then I started reading posts by black people who said things like, "I liked Rudy Giuliani because he put Al Sharpton in his place." These aren't necessarily rich people who have no clue why black people who make under $150,000 a year don't behave the same way; they're perfectly normal people, who just happen to think Al Sharpton doesn't represent them.

To me, Steinem's sin isn't ignoring black feminists. There's no rule that says black feminists are always right. They happen to be right in this episode, but elsewhere they may be wrong. Rather, her sin is hubris, which is causing her to think every issue in the world works like the issues she's most familiar with. A mechanism concerning race, she seems to think, must not really be an inequality unless it works exactly like with gender.

Ravenmn said...

OK, sidetrack to the Iraq issue to make a couple of points.

First, soldiers are not humanitarian workers. They never have been and they never will be. They aren't trained for it. They don't have the supplies or the equipment and they certainly don't have the trust of the people they're invading. The vast majority of Iraqis want the troops to leave. They have the right to be heard.

Second, Iraqis are not barbarians out for each other's blood. These people have lived together through years of hardship and they will live together in the future. There are all kinds of on-the-ground Iraqi organizations building trust and community. Check out Muslim Peacemaker Teams for an example. Learn about the Iraqi unions, most especially the Oil Workers Union that is getting international support in their struggles.

For everyone of your so-called "experts" I can point you to articles and experts who disagree. I'm sick and tired of the Iraqi people being patronized and portrayed like children who need to be controlled by Western "experts".

soopermouse said...

Donna
I gave a night's thought to your question and tried to figure out what aspect of my identity is the one that makes my life harder in terms of discrimination, and I am afraid it is gender. For a logn time, I thougth that being an immigrant was the main problem. But turns out that being a male immigrant isn't that big of a deal. Turns out that if you are male, it's ok and laudable to leave your home and uproot yourself in hopes of a better life. beinag a woman immigrant however means that you are a greedy soulless bitch who isn't happy with her deserved station in life and comes to teh west to steal jobs from decent folk.

Ravenmn said...

SM, the point is that you have a number of issues to choose from. You have your gender, your skin color, your accent, your immigrant status. We're saying all of those things interact. In some instances, your gender will be the biggest factor in why you are treated badldy. In other instances, your race may be the largest contributor to your oppression.

Rather than see it as a contest, I'm trying to see these things as intersecting in interesting ways.

Where I live most people assume I am Christian. I can "pass" for "normal" and don't suffer any significant anti-Jewish oppression. If I lived in a smaller community where townspeople could see that I don't attend church, it could be an issue.

Alon: "To me, Steinem's sin isn't ignoring black feminists. ... Rather, her sin is hubris, which is causing her to think every issue in the world works like the issues she's most familiar with."

Agree on the hubris completely.

I'm not saying she is ignoring black feminists. I'm saying she's both using them as a metaphor and also implying they have to choose their gender over their race in the oppression Olympics.

Steinem has a history of doing this and has been confronted about it repeatedly by women of color. Her decision to repeat this kind of tactic is disheartening.

Deoridhe said...

I really think that there is a severely flawed underlying assumption here: that I use "women" in the way the "mainstear feminism" uses it, as in to mean "white women". I don't. I think "woman" and that doesn't come with a racial qualificative to it. I don't believe the racial defining is needed.

By that logic, the opinions of all women should be equally weighted. So why, the second a racial qualifier goes in front of the word "woman" do you claim their loyalties are divided?

I'm honestly, sincerely confused here. If woman includes women of all races, than adding a racial qualifier should mean nothing to you, the inclusion of "woman" should be enough to give their words equal value with your own.

Language like "give black women an obligatory nod" would be highly offensive if your use of "woman" included all women, because no woman should get an obligatory nod, much less an entire category of them.

So why did you repeatedly use the language "obligatory nod" in a manner which dismissed women and then refuse to address it or any of my other points?


So , I guess I'll enjoy my new racist label. Thank you.

You're welcome. Wear it well.

Also, Gypsy is increasingly being regarded as the ethnic slur it is. While you used it in the context of outlining why you are the most oppressed person ever because you have no community anywhere and everyone discriminates against you, using the terms "Rom" or "traveler" at least shows respect for one of the groups you're accused of being a part of.


Re: Comparison of Obama and Clinton

Why don’t we skip Wikipedia and go straight to the sources. All of the below information comes from their website bios.

From College onward:

He grew up in a single parent household, which given the statistical numbers implies he was fairly poor. Despite this, he went to Columbia University. From 1985 to 1991 he worked as a community organizer) before going to Law School, where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review (Wikipedia says he was elected in 1990, so there’s a discrepancy somewhere). He served in the Illinois state senate for 8 years (oddly not mentioned in Wikipedia) before joining the US Senate in 2004. Senate is a 6 year appointment, so he’s fulfilled three of his term, giving him 11 years experience as an elected political individual.

Clinton:

Her website doesn’t reference her childhood explicitly, but pegs her as "middle class". Her parents were married, but there is no mention of their jobs and emphasis is placed on the jobs of her father's father and her father before her parents married. Clinton went to college, then straight on to University – Wellesley College then Yale. She worked with families and children, and was one of two female lawyers on the House judiciary committee considering the impeachment of Nixon (not elected). She was appointed to a Federal non-profit; it is implied that her husband becoming governor ended her appointment, though it’s difficult to tell. She was the wife of the president for 8 years. She was elected to the Senate in 2000 and served the full six years. So, six years as an elected political individual.

No, I really don’t see how 6 years is automatically more valuable than 11, nor do I see how their non-elected experience is particularly different in quality or quantity unless one considers being a spouse to carry more weight, in which case Obama is at a marked disadvantage since no black woman has run for president, much less been elected for two terms. I’m not sure at the level of governor if any black women have been elected; anyone know?



ALon:

There's no rule that says black feminists are always right.

Ur... who said they always were? No one is always right. However, one is likely to become closer to what "right" may exist if one takes into account the opinions of a wider range of people in the category one claims to be speaking for, which in this case includes black women (among other WoC).

I happen to agree that Steinem’s argument pits a white woman against a black man, that both characteristics of the individuals are important, and that by making the white woman what all women should vote for she deep sixes race as a characteristic women have. I don’t think she's doing it because she woke up and said, "How can I piss off black women and the white women who support them." I think she’s doing it because gender is vastly more important to her than race, and she generalizes that out.

Given this is a major flaw within feminism, I’m not surprised to see her exhibit it. I am surprised at the number of people who agree with her completely and think she should not be critiqued on this point. I am further shocked by the people who object to her critique while claiming anyone disagreeing with her on that point is saying that black women should vote along racial lines when nothing of the sort is being said.

And Trinity brought up a good point about how sometimes there are just basic conflicts between peoples’ experiences that don’t have a common ground, but I don’t think that is the case here. I think the case here is using "woman" to once again exclude many women, and I find that repulsive.

Trinity said...

"And Trinity brought up a good point about how sometimes there are just basic conflicts between peoples’ experiences that don’t have a common ground, but I don’t think that is the case here. I think the case here is using "woman" to once again exclude many women, and I find that repulsive."

*agree*

soopermouse said...

"Also, Gypsy is increasingly being regarded as the ethnic slur it is. While you used it in the context of outlining why you are the most oppressed person ever because you have no community anywhere and everyone discriminates against you, using the terms "Rom" or "traveler" at least shows respect for one of the groups you're accused of being a part of."
Look at the way Hillary Clinton is being treated by Obama suporters, in this very thread: a life of accomplishments and work that affected the lives of thousands of people and saved thousands of lives and improved tens of thousands of lives is being dismissed and somewhat equivalated with Obama's "community organizer" job.Because anything a woman does is not as important as what a man does, regardless how small the man's contribution is. A woman is EXPECTED to do those things. We have already managed to talk about how sexist is to dismiss HIllary's work as a first lady to the fact that she was Bill's wife. Sadly, we all know it doesn't work liek that, and as proof we have the fact that 2 women in a damn century were able to do it. But let's not get in the way of Deo's sexist crusade. I also like how the class argument is brought in. Confratulations Deo. you manage to remind me so poignant of the "People's Advocates" we had under communism it's almost nice. Always hearing what you wanted to hear and bringing the righteous indignation on, turning words on their heads to suit your purpose and truth be damned.
I bet Ana Pauker sounded just the same.

Nobody uses "traveler " in my part of the world.
Second: i know you are so blinded by your need to prove that by attacking me you are yourself somehow less racist, but you seem to miss yet again the point. I was called a Gypsy. not a Roma. I cannot falsify the truth for your sake much as your sanctimoniousness needs it.
third: I seriously doubt you know anything about the Rroms. You just want another feather in your cap to show off how much of an anti racist fighter you are.
Problem is: you're not. The same way you don't get to redefine my experiences, you don't get to redefine theirs. A certain part of their population in Romania got so sick and tired of the euphemisms that they decided to call themselves "gipsies" and even make a political party called " The Romanian Gipsies' Party".
So how about you work on your own issues, stop projecting so hard and maybe look at things that are beyond the reach of your own nose?

"By that logic, the opinions of all women should be equally weighted. So why, the second a racial qualifier goes in front of the word "woman" do you claim their loyalties are divided?"
oh look, it's the strawman again. I didn't bring the "black feminists" into the debate. You don't get to pin that on me for replying to those who did.
Try again.

raven:
"SM, the point is that you have a number of issues to choose from. You have your gender, your skin color, your accent, your immigrant status. We're saying all of those things interact. In some instances, your gender will be the biggest factor in why you are treated badldy. In other instances, your race may be the largest contributor to your oppression.
"
I would probably agree to that except for one thing: None of the males in each and every category I am a part of gets the same deal. Turns out that male romanina, male immigrants idn't quite get the same treatment. It was OK to be a male immigrant. It was OK to be male, romanian immigrant because hey, you left your home to do something better for yourself. Good for you. It appears even male bisexuals get treated better than female ones within the LGBT community. When these things only come out to be shown on a female and not a male of a certain group, how can I believe that it's the racial or sexual component and not the gender component at play?
One might be a mitigating factor for the other, but when a certain gender gets better treatment over the same characteristic than another, then it is logical to regard it as sexism being the prevalent force in the oppression layers.
Again, this is my experience and I can only speak from it. I think this might have been Steinem's point as well. That race affects people of different genders differently, and that is because one gender deals with race and the other with race and gender. So when you have one factor that just makes all things worse on top of everything else... is that factor not amongst the most important ones in defining one's oppression?
Everyone gets to define teir own opression, that is correct.In that there might be the reason why Steinem should have maybe rethought her phrasing. But in the context in which a lot of people do regard Obama as not competent enough, and despite that and race he still gets to have a chance against someone far more competent only because of that someone's gender... doesn't that tell a little bit about how oppression does work?

Deoridhe said...

Look at the way Hillary Clinton is being treated by Obama suporters, in this very thread

Oh for fucks sake.

I AM NOT AN OBAMA SUPPORTER. I HAVE NEVER BEEN AN OBAMA SUPPORTER. I HAVE EXPLICITLY SAID I SUPPORT NONE OF THE TOP THREE CANDIDATES.

Because anything a woman does is not as important as what a man does, regardless how small the man's contribution is.

How in the Hel are you determining that Obama's contribution was "small"? What are you basing this on?

I am astonished that you dismiss eleven years as a Senator as nothing, though, and claim Obama's previous work of years' duration was "small", simply because... I don't know why you're dismissing him, actually. It's really baffling.

I mean, none of my comparison says either of them are not qualified to run for president. Both clearly are, both in their private and their political work, however it simply isn't factual that Obama has no experience while Clinton has tons. They are about equivalent, though in different areas and with different focii.

oh look, it's the strawman again. I didn't bring the "black feminists" into the debate.

Soopermouse, earlier in this thread (fourth post made by her):

"Gloria Steinem's piece was spot on, and I did feel incredibly amused at the fact that someone jumped with the red herring "what about the black fewminists" and failing to acjknowledge her valid arguments. What about the black feminists? Once they will stop being oppressed for beign black they will still be oppressed for being female."

Your post is the first one that uses the words "black feminist". In fact, the only previous use of the word "black" was Trinity saying "I don't think the man is *intentionally* flashing his pearly whites at Whitey to calm Whitey's fear of The Blackness, at all..." In fact, Belle's post doesn't even link to Steinem's article, nor does it reference it, nor does it use the terms "black feminist" or "black" outside of the word "blackboard".

Please let me know when you want to address my points.

Alon Levy said...

SM: going back to what Deo quoted, "You're failing to acknowledge her valid points" assumes she has any. The main point of her essay is that Clinton's unfairly attacked for being female, and in general female candidates can't get anywhere, while Obama's never been criticized on racial grounds. My point here is that it's just plain wrong.

And Trin did acknowledge the valid points; she started from the notion that Clinton gets more flak than Obama for failing to be a white male, and suggested a good alternative explanation that didn't invoke trumping hierarchies.

Deo: you're right about "However, one is likely to become closer to what 'right' may exist if one takes into account the opinions of a wider range of people in the category one claims to be speaking for, which in this case includes black women (among other WoC)."

That's almost everyone's sin in politics, especially movement politics. Obviously, if mainstream white feminists start speaking to WoC and find that they don't particularly identify with feminism, it's up to the feminist movement to change. The problem is that too many people in movement politics take MLK's invocation of thermostats versus thermometers as a license to ignore the opinions of ordinary people. So if ordinary women of any race fail to see the obvious truth of nth wave feminism, they're just oblivious to their own oppression and should be categorized as enemies.

Trinity said...

Thanks Alon. And yeah, what you said. :)

Alon Levy said...

Thanks Trin.

Speaking of black women... staring at the South Carolina exit poll, I can't help but notice that Clinton's gender gap is a lot stronger among whites. White women gave her 42% of the vote compared with 28% of white men; among blacks, it was 20% and 17%. Given the choice between a white woman and a black man, black women overwhelmingly went for the black man.

We report, you decide.

Ravenmn said...

For a different take on the Steinem article, check out Ishmael Reed's long rant at Counterpunch, entitled "Going Old South on Obama: Ma and Pa Clinton Flog Uppity Black Man"

Deoridhe said...

Eh, I'm heasitant drawing a causal conclusion from correlational data, especially when it's a single data point. You're dead right on the political failing issue, though. The other big problem I see is that no one speaks in language meant to communicate anymore; it's all jargon, soundbites, and rhetoric. 8/

bint alshamsa said...

You know what? I'm highly fucking pissed off at the comments some people have left on this thread. It's so ridiculous that I don't know what to address first, but how about we start with this:

Soopermouse, you are full of shit.

Obama IS white, so this stuff you're saying about if Obama was white nobody would pay attention to him is just nonsense. You don't have to be a supporter of him to see that he is adept at motivating and inspiring people.

Your hypocrisy is so glaringly obvious that I think you're the only one here who doesn't see it. I mean, you have the audacity to say

"I try to abstain from making pronounciations about people's backgrounds without being aware of them. You might want to try it too."

even though you've been engaging in this behavior from the very beginning of this conversation.

Yeah, I know that you probably don't want to discuss the fact that Obama is as white as he is black (lest it interfere with your ability to frame the world in whatever way is least troublesome for your simplistic analyses) but, if the fact that you're Jewish is relevant to this conversation, then so is the fact that Obama is white.

Any analysis of Clinton versus Obama that doesn't take this into consideration really isn't based on anything other than assumptions about his identity.

Deoridhe said...

Any analysis of Clinton versus Obama that doesn't take this into consideration really isn't based on anything other than assumptions about his identity.

Or is a reflection of the 1/18th rule,w hich stated so long as a perosn had 1/18 of their ancestry from a black person, they were black.

Of course, this was used by white slaveowners to keep their own children as slaves; the idea that they could enslave their own children because of the color of the mothers' skin is a particularly repugnant racist idea.

Alon Levy said...

I thought the one-drop rule came about after Reconstruction, when there was a wave of interracial marriage, which threatened the established racial definitions.

Alon Levy said...

It's also a reflection of skin color. I know someone who's half black, half white but looks white, so her friends refer to her as "The Italian girl." In contrast, Obama looks very black.

Deoridhe said...

Even if there wasn't laws in place, the assumptions had to be that the black mother rendered the children of white men not-white; my understanding is very few of those children were even freed, much less treated like their fathers' children. Hel, it wasn't until a few years ago that the Hemmings descendants of Thomas Jefferson were considered part of the family; they were denied until there was genetic proof.

Alon Levy said...

Ominous sign: while exit polls show that Democrats who say a candidate's gender is important break strongly for Clinton, those who say race is important tend to be more pro-Clinton as well. In other words, Democrats who're concerned with gender issues vote for women; Democrats who're concerned with race vote for blacks.

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