Still Recovering… More Feminism and Race & some books

I’m still on very little sleep so excuse any incoherence.

Aaminah, a guest contributor over at Racialicious writes Mocking a Culture, Mocking a Friend a nuanced and in depth response to a Jezebel post that boggles the mind. I’m not a regular reader of Jezebel and the post (linked to in Aaminah’s article) is a really reprehensible set of judgements and stereotypes presented as an interview.

I’ve tried to keep y’all in the know on the recent issues within the Feminist blogosphere regarding the divide (that’s always been there but a lot of younger white feminists seem surprised by) between white and WOC feminist bloggers and the theft and appropriation and dismissal that’s alienated many a WOC from the feminist movement . Now even if you don’t agree with what some WOC bloggers and myself have had to say about the events it seems insensitive and downright stupid to only two weeks later promote Marcotte’s book as Feministe has done. (of course in the comments Amanda steps in to complain about how she’s being unfairly targeted because people want to ruin her career because you know she’s just so important and the hate people have for her for getting a book deal is the issue not that she might have done anything wrong but I digress) the point is that this is exactly one of the problems that WOC have been complaining about from the beginning. By promoting Marcotte’s book so soon after WOC have talked about their anger at Marcotte makes it look like Feministe tacitly approves of her methods. Now I know Feministe is a group blog and Holly actually made a great post on the issue as it was happening but this feels like an erasure of the of WOC feelings and opinions to promote someone who’s been seen as hurtful, damaging and angering and who has triggered an exodus and disavowal of feminism from WOC. It just seems irresponsible of a major feminist blog.

Jill has an update on there now that wasn’t earlier acknowledging these issues and explaining herself and I understand that she supports Marcotte’s book and that’s her choice I’m not judging her on that (though I disagree with the assessment that it’s an important feminist work), the timing is the problem and the way it looks to those who’ve been hurt like it didn’t matter at all, like we’ll have to go through all this again and again because no one wants to learn and Bfp is gone while Marcotte is getting her work promoted on Feministe. We see our voices disappearing and those who contributed to the disappearance being lauded by the white feminist blogosphere yet again. I respect Jill for acknowledging a lot of these issues, explaining her side, apologizing, listening I just wish she had thought about that herself instead of having to have it pointed out to her in the comments.  

Hradzka breaks down some John Ringo books in: books to make my flist’s heads explode: John Ringo some of my friends pointed me to it as a funny breakdown of some really problematic works. It was funny but I’ll admit that I wasn’t able to get more than a few paragraph’s into the breakdown because a lot of the issues hradzka brings up about the book touch on triggers of mine and just realizing this kind of book was popular enough that the series is now coming out in hardcover was raising my blood pressure but I thought some of you might be interested. Make note I’m not judging Hradzka for having these as guilty pleasure books especially as I have some books that I find problematic in some ways but that I read voraciously when they were released *cough*Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy*cough*. We all have those thing we love that we know are not the best or most conscious work but we love anyway, you just have to acknowledge those issues and Hradzka does that very well (from what I read).

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12 responses to “Still Recovering… More Feminism and Race & some books

  1. ” I just wish she had thought about that herself instead of having to have it pointed out to her in the comments. ”

    Yeah, I second that. 24 hours later it seems so obvious — but of course at the time my entire thought process was, “Here’s a feminist event. I’ll post it.” Which is an expression of privilege if there ever was one.

    I am really sorry for pouring salt in the wounds. I did disappear WOC with that post, and I did make it seem like their concerns don’t matter. I truly regret doing that. I considered taking the post down, but 150 comments in, I don’t want to just pretend that this never happened, because it is yet another example of white feminists doing thoughtless, idiotic things that cause serious harm to women of color and allies. That needs to be preserved, even if I’m embarrassed by it.

  2. Great analysis, Naamen. BTW I <3 your blog. And yes, SO disappointed in Feministe!

  3. “nuanced and in depth response”

    BLUSHING. :)

    Thank you.

    And you know… it sounds silly, but I really want to thank you for spelling my name right, LOL. Even friends often don’t get it right.

  4. I understand that Jill seems to be trying to cool this situation down. I understand that she doesn’t want to give offense to anyone. What I have a really hard time getting is how she keeps trying to keep everything vague. I’ve been following this because the interactions on a socialogical level really fascinate me.
    I keep waiting for one of the mainstream white feminist bloggers to say “Goddamn it Amanda stop pouring gasoline on the fire”, because everytime one of these discussions get started that’s what seems to happen. It’s interesting because while the WOC seem to be willing to throttle back and try to explain why they are so angry they’re then accused of changing the goalposts or ignoring what they’ve done wrong. Then the discussion seems to become a referendum on that, with vague murmerings about of course they have reason to be angry, just not right now. If not right now then when?
    I understand that nobody wants to tell a friend “you’re wrong”, but there is something to be said for telling a friend “stop making things worse”.

  5. Jill- I do thank you for keeping the post up because I think it’s vital that it stay part of the discussion and not disappear.

  6. Ico – Thank you and I’m so glad you like the blog! Yeah, it was a disappointment, definitely.

  7. Aaminah – You’re Welcome and it’s really just the truth I love your analysis of the whole thing.

    And the name thing does not sound silly at all. As someone who has a “difficult” (non-western) name I totally understand the joy when someone gets it right.

  8. Justin -
    I completely agree.
    Amanda just seems to keep getting into these discussions that pour more and more gasoline on the fire. I honestly think they can only be the product of some sort of willful blindness because the way people are responding to her continued defense is not positive and she has to know that.

    I keep waiting for one of the mainstream white feminist bloggers to say “Goddamn it Amanda stop pouring gasoline on the fire”

    Seriously! I’ve been waiting for one of them to say that since the first time she dived into a comment battle.

  9. I posted on that discussion and got threatened by Jill with censorship for writing about Amanda in a critical way. They called me a right wing lurker, because I dared to not flatter Amanda.

    I think that when we bring up promoted product, it is part of the conversation to discuss the ethics of the person and the content in a critical way. Feminism is something I believe in. And the immediate leap to – I must be a right wing lurker as a part of a vast conspiracy against Amanda because I don’t flatter her – shows how crazy the kool aid drinking has become.

  10. Sam-
    I think that when we bring up promoted product, it is part of the conversation to discuss the ethics of the person and the content in a critical way.

    I agree, we can’t endorse products or people without looking at their history and past interactions in the very area the product is about. Marcotte wrote a book on feminism, there have been criticisms of her brand of feminism in the last few weeks those things are inextricably linked and inform each other.

  11. Now after I and others took significant abuse from other posters, Jill has pulled her endorsement.

    I’m just a commenter. It’s twisted when I posted to Jill’s site and a couple other feminist site and I wrote criticism of Amanda, in two cases I got threatened with censorship. It’s a shame that the first reaction, though, is, “you’re a right-wing troll for saying any criticism.”

    I wish they’d look at that.

  12. Sam -
    You’re right the automatic reaction of “well you must be a right-wing troll” is a huge sign of problems. Critiques of feminism are important because it has some deep issues, if we didn’t care about it we wouldn’t critique it we would simply ignore it and go on about our business. It’s always a problem when any movement wants to hold itself above criticism because there’s nothing on this earth that is perfect and acting like it is just deepens the problems.

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