On feminist blogging, community and privilege

All of us at Feministing have been following the heated discussion happening in the feminist blogosphere right now about issues of race and privilege. (We’re not going to summarize, but here is some suggested reading. ) We want to say up front that Brownfemipower’s voice will be greatly missed. We also want to say that, yes, there is a history of white women (and white feminists) appropriating the ideas of women of color. It’s a problem that persists today. That doesn’t make Amanda a plagiarist, and we don’t believe she is.
And that’s all were gonna say about the specifics. Not only because we don’t want this to get too blog-insidery, but also because many brave bloggers have forayed into this territory before, and the discussion doesn’t seem to be getting any more constructive. Here, we hope to have a larger conversation about feminism and privilege and community. And how Feministing, as a website and as individual bloggers, can find ways to contribute to a blogosphere that is vibrant, accountable, forward-thinking and just.


We are all aware of the privilege we enjoy because of our large base of readers, and we’re aware of ways in which we could be better bloggers. Being part of a feminist online (and offline) community is a big part of our mission, and we don’t want to neglect the huge number of smaller feminist sites that make up that community. We’ve heard from some bloggers (particularly those who write a lot about race) that sometimes the traffic they get from our site fundamentally changes their commenting community, so they’d rather if we didn’t link. We’re cool with that. But if you run a smaller blog — particularly if you’re a woman of color — and you think we do a shitty job at link-loving sites like yours, please let us know. We are making a concerted effort to be better about this.
We’re actually going to take this opportunity to pledge to do better. With every post we write, we’ll do a search to see if another feminist blogger has covered the issue. And when it comes to linking, we will privilege blogs with smaller audiences and those with greater expertise than our own in the given subject area. We’ll also continue to make alliances with grassroots and other organizations who are doing antiracist, and community-building work on the ground, and highlight the work of those people here on the site, with posts like our Voices Of… series. We also hope that with our soon-to-be-launched community site, we can continue to do good work — and maybe even great work — with the direction of our readers, allies, and friends. So if there are specific things you think we can do better, we want to hear about it.
Given the history of Western feminism and its often problematic relationship with the feminisms of women of color, working class and queer women, it is easy to reproduce those same inequities, online and off. This history in many ways has set the parameters of the debate around the way difference functions within the feminist movement, and it is a difficult history to move past. However, in order to move forward — to lead with race, to lead with gender, to create feminisms that work for all of us — we need to look hard at where we stand and how it relates to those around us (and in our case, to those who read us or are influenced by us). None of us is perfect, we all have our blind-spots and we have to keep each other accountable. To move forward is painful, awkward, often uncomfortable, but it is the only way to create the community we want here at Feministing. It is because we value this kind of community that our editorial make-up will continue to be and work towards being diverse, defined in the broadest way possible. We’ve got writers who grew up immersed in Evangelical Christianity, Buddhism, and Catholicism, writers who land on various places on the sex and gender spectrum, writers from contrasting class and cultural strata, and writers from a range of ethnic backgrounds. We don’t always agree, but we are committed to the necessary beauty of that complex diversity.
Feminist blogging is a labor of love. Most of us do it for no money, with jobs and school and lives and kids vying for our attention — but we do it anyway. So we write this with nothing but love for the feminist blogosphere and all the hard work that so many put into it. Even though we don’t always agree.
~Ann, Celina, Courtney, Jen, Jessica, Miriam, Samhita, Vanessa
*Note: We ask that the comments section to this post contain no attacks on Brownfemipower or Amanda. Please use this space to have a larger conversation. (There are many other forums in the feminist blogosphere where the events have been rehashed.) We’d like the conversation to be a forward-thinking and constructive, or as constructive as possible. We are going to take a heavy hand in moderating this post in order to ensure that this kind of safe, and progressive, space happens.

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60 Comments

  1. Posted April 14, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Amen; I appreciate in particular the willingness to keep in mind whether or not smaller blogs want the link-love.
    “to create feminisms that work for all of us.” Indeed. That’s what Feministing has already been doing, and am glad that what has been consistently strong will become even stronger.

  2. Izzy
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    “To move forward is painful, awkward, often uncomfortable, but it is the only way to create the community we want here at Feministing”
    As a relative newcomer to the feminist blog community, watching all this unfold is very much like watching your parents have an argument: everyone has a different opinion and you don’t have nearly enough facts to decide who’s right.
    I really appreciate the stance Feministing is taking on this issue, particularly through the reaffirmed commitment to diversity. Thank you!!

  3. WheresTheBeef?
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I haven’t been reading feministing for that long, but I’m a big fan of the site and I appreciate the range of stories and issues that you cover. I think this post is thoughtful, and I like that you’ve focused the discussion on what you guys in particular are going to do to address the issue.
    That said, I’m disappointed that you didn’t address the issue of appropriation at all. After reading some other posts on the matter, I really understand the desire not to go into specifics. However, I think the situation warrants more than simply saying the blogger in question is not a plagiarist because I don’t think that was the real issue, appropriation was. The best analogy I can think of is when I was on a college campus and someone would do something that was racially insensitive. People defending the person would often say, “So and so is not a racist.� For me, the issue was never whether so and so was a racist or a bad person, but rather the impact of their actions on the offended community, and the conditions that led to such an incident in the first place. I think that same framework holds here. X may not be a plagiarist, but people are upset for a reason. I would like to understand why. Again, I completely agree that it’s counterproductive to argue over the specifics of what this person did, but I think you could’ve been a little more direct in talking about appropriation.

  4. BWrites
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    For me, the issue was never whether so and so was a racist or a bad person, but rather the impact of their actions on the offended community, and the conditions that led to such an incident in the first place. I think that same framework holds here. X may not be a plagiarist, but people are upset for a reason. I would like to understand why. Again, I completely agree that it’s counterproductive to argue over the specifics of what this person did, but I think you could’ve been a little more direct in talking about appropriation.
    I have to agree. There are a lot of people who feel they are being silenced, or that their topics only begin to ‘matter’ when the white blogosphere picks them up, and that’s a real problem.

  5. lotus
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Where’sTheBeef – I like what you said. I think, just as you would see when you look at the way women tolerated sexism in the civil rights movement for the perceived greater good, there is a similar vein where we tolerate racial or class-based prejudice in the feminist movement.
    The fact is that the feminist movement’s history begins largely with women of privelege, and in those days, they were overwhelmingly white. Nothing will change that.
    I sometimes feel I expect more understanding from feminist or civil rights-minded groups because the nature of their goals implies that they know what it’s like to be systematically oppressed, and they don’t want it.
    However, maybe this is unfair because consciousness in one area doesn’t translate as consciousness in all areas. Perhaps the best thing to hope for at this point is that the voices of the nonwhite and non-priveleged are heard without judgment or defensiveness? Because it seems, from my experience, that the moment you say “oh well XYZ isn’t a racist” the discussion stops cold.

  6. Kristen
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Well, here’s the perspective of someone who is incredibly privileged.
    It is my obligation as a person who calls herself “progressive” to listen to the voices of the marginalized. To recognize that the many benefits I enjoy as a white, upper-middle class, educated, cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied (etc.) woman come at the expense of those who do not share those privileges.
    It is my obligation to not just hear, but also listen without reflexive defensiveness to those that are not heard because of the privilege I benefit from every single minute of my life.
    It is my obligation not just to listen but also to underscore, direct attention toward, and respect those same voices.
    Even when I disagree with them…even more when I disagree with them, because my voice, my opinion, my perspective will be heard over theirs and honored for reasons that have nothing to do with truth or falsity of what I am saying but only because I am who I am.
    This is an obligation. Not an attempt to rebuild bridges between feminists, but an obligation to acknowledge and address our own privilege regardless of its origin.

  7. Posted April 14, 2008 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I like this posting and I am glad you are taking the opportunity to tell everyone that you pledge to do better. I appreciate it!
    As a Ojibway woman there is a lack of Native American woman’s issues and news that is covered on this website. But, there is a lack of coverage on Native American, Indigenous and Aboriginal issues worldwide so this is no surprise to me. This is why I started my blog. I realized as a Native woman I have a lot to offer in terms of what I have experienced, my wisdom and awareness around all issues afffecting Native/Indigenous/Aboriginal people worldwide.
    “Given the history of Western feminism and its often problematic relationship with the feminisms of women of color, working class and queer women, it is easy to reproduce those same inequities, online and off.”
    This is true. This is why I have a blog now that focuses on Native women. What I would like to offer is to raise awareness and consciousness various issues affecting Native people and especially woman. Native peoples are now reclaiming, land, life, spirituality and who they are overall. I am for this rebirth and believe many people are in the world today.
    I grew up in a working class background as well. Still am working my way out of it. I have had a hard time relating to feminists who came from middle/upper class backgrounds. When you grow up working class there is a lot of guilt and shame associated with being “poor.” I have done much inner work and believe that it is my choice to use this guilt and shame as ferilizer for growing relationships with all people through understanding and compassion. Presently I have a different set of tools compared to several years back. Now I am now able to relate to feminists who come from middle/upper class backgrounds.
    I appreciate the commitment and wisdom of feministing. I do believe we must commit and recommit ourselves to everything in our lives all the time. Its how we personally evolve so we can help others evolve as well!
    =)

  8. JPlum
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t get to read the original post by BFP, but from what else I read, it sounds like it was much more about how when a WOC says something it is easily ignored, but when a white woman says the same thing, people pay attention. And that is a really important thing to address. However, it quickly turned into some of BFP’s readers accusing Amanda of plagiarism, which was entirely unwarranted. She was accused of deliberately silencing people, as though she had some sort of control over who gets to speak.
    Then there’s the whole dynamic about mainstream white feminism being criticized for not addressing issues that are important to the other communities who are ‘fellow travellers’. But when Amanda tried to address one of those issues, she gets told she’s doing it wrong. Defensiveness naturally ensues: “You complain that I don’t address X, and then you complain when I do address X. What the hell do you want from us?”
    Ultimately, I think we all just need to calm down, and stop ascribing evil motives to anyone not us. Screaming that the white girl is plagiarizing the girls of colour and silencing their voices is just going to put the backs of the white girls up.
    Stop attacking people, and stop viewing criticism as attack.
    N.B. This is from the point of view of a white girl, since that’s the only point of view I’ve got.

  9. JJ
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Wow, the discussion about the lack of coverage of WOC topics on this and other sites has been really eye-opening. First, let me say, I think the bloggers of this site did a pretty good job of addressing this criticism with this post (I too would like to see the point of appropriation addressed better though). But the discussion here (http://feministing.com/archives/008996.html#comments) and many other feminist blogs has really opened my eyes to why some WOC choose not to call themselves “feminists�, while for so long this just confused me. When people bring forth valid criticisms, they are attacked in so many ways. They are told, why don’t YOU blog about it then? White feminists cover these topics enough already! Why don’t YOU link to the article you think is important? They are told that everything is equal in the blogosphere (!). You are told that if they covered WOC issues more then there wouldn’t be room for coverage of other important topics. You are told well, it would be personal suicide to cover the seal press stuff since one of the bloggers has a book deal with them. You are told you’re making too big a deal about nothing. You are told, look WOC blog here, you have no argument.
    For the love of god people check your white privilege!!
    Imagine that some white women left some comments on a very prominent liberal, equal-rights oriented (but male-dominated) blog asking for more coverage of women’s issues and were told—start your own blog, leave links for these stories if they’re so interesting, we don’t have to cover them, covering women’s issues would take away from covering other important issues, besides women are equal to men on the internet (just look we have a several women bloggers already). I know many of you will say, well that would be fine, it’s their blog. But I sincerely doubt this would be the overall response from feminists.
    Seriously everyone needs to take their heads out of their asses and take the criticism (as feministing is doing some here) to heart, and quit being so defensive. Comments like a lot of the ones I’ve seen are why people of color don’t want to talk about race with white people. All you get is offensive, defensive bullshit back. Just a few weeks ago I couldn’t imagine why some people wouldn’t call themselves “feminists�, but I’m starting to lean in that direction myself. If you so much as criticize white feminists almost all you get back is attacks. It really makes you think nothing will ever change.

  10. tink manslaughter
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I will say that one of the reasons I refrained from commenting HERE for so long is that I got tired of “you just need to get an education and pull yourself up” type comments whenever I pointed out that a post seemed elitist to me. As a woman of color from a working-class background I have a sensitivity to elitism/classism. But I am not now working class nor uneducated, and the assumption that I am…well, I don’t need to explain it. I would love it if at least OCCASIONALLY the MODERATOR called a commenter on this.

  11. WheresTheBeef?
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Lotus- I can definitely see your point about marginalization being an issue in social movements. Still, I don’t know if I would describe it as the marginalized group “tolerating� sexism, racism or classicism within their movements for the sake of the better good. I think it has more to do with which voices get heard, both inside and outside of the movement, and why. Thinking about the history of the women’s movement for instance, it’s not that these white women of privilege were the first to start demanding and fighting for equality, but rather that they were the first to actually be heard. It’s the same point that BWrites is making about the blogosphere.
    I also agree that it’s especially frustrating because we expect more understanding from oppressed groups. It’s a struggle for a group as big and diverse as women. It’s difficult to address everyone’s needs without losing focus on the main issue. Despite all that, I’m leery of most attempts, usually by white women of privilege, to define what that “main issue� is. I can’t tell you the number of times feminists on my campus told me that issues affecting women (but that didn’t interest them) such as welfare reform, the impact of the drug war, etc. were not “real� women’s issues. I think a big first step would be acknowledging that as feminists and as women, we are all coming from different places.

  12. JPlum
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    WTB: “I can’t tell you the number of times feminists on my campus told me that issues affecting women (but that didn’t interest them) such as welfare reform, the impact of the drug war, etc. were not “realâ€? women’s issues.”
    I think one of the reasons that white feminists can get defensive is when they AREN’T like the above ‘feminists’ and someone brings up that kind of situation or comment.
    When you’re already feeling super-sensitive (as many white people are when it comes to race), and someone points out that kind of near-sightedness, it very easy to go from “Wait, I’m not like that” to “How dare you accuse me of being like that?” And knee-jerk expressions of “How dare you accuse me of that?” can often lead to actually saying things like that, completely unintentionally. Which then gets pointed out by someone else, and depending on personalities and how it’s phrased, can lead either to ‘Crap, you’re right’ or ‘Help, I’m feeling attacked.’ Both of which are valid, reasonable responses. Because sometimes you are being attacked, and sometimes you may feel like you are. Either of which make it difficult to get to ‘Crap, you’re right.’

  13. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    “They are told that everything is equal in the blogosphere (!).”
    I assume this is in response to my comment from yesterday, in which I said that the blogosphere is the ultimate democratic media space. I was hoping someone would explain to me the error in my thinking, and instead I got a response that “if you think everyone is equal in the blogosphere, you’re incredibly naive,” then a day later this sarcastic exclamation point, which I assume is meant to show how shockingly idiotic my comment was.
    Can someone please explain how my thinking is wrong? My assertion was that it’s impossible to marginalize someone in the blogosphere, because you can’t stop someone from writing or reading a blog. I don’t mean that it’s invalid to critique Feministing for their handling of WOC issues, just that the kind of discourse that treats them as the oppressor or ascribed them scurrilous motives is fairly senseless. Maybe this is white privilege speaking, but I don’t see where the weak link in my logic is here.

  14. Posted April 14, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    As a minority male, I find it highly ironic that women who are able to spot sexism, oppression and “the patriarchy” in almost everything they see are unable to recognize the blatant double standard and exploitive privilege being enjoyed by Amanda Marcotte.
    Put quite simply, it takes a rich white woman to get a book deal for something a brilliant, nuanced and passionate person like BFP has been writing about for years. And you wonder why WOC are upset? Please.

  15. Posted April 14, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I think one of the reasons that white feminists can get defensive is when they AREN’T like the above ‘feminists’ and someone brings up that kind of situation or comment.
    Yes, but when men come along with their male privilege and start whining on a post about rape about how THEY’RE not rapists, and THEY think that rape is wrong, so what is all this talk about rape culture . . . what do we do? As a general rule, we tell them that IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THEM, or we mock them and tell them to go back to Feminism 101 before they try to engage in these discussions. And personally, I think that’s a pretty valid response. So why should it be any different for white feminists? If I’m not going to give a man a pass for sticking his head up his ass just because he has male privilege, I don’t see why anyone else is going to give me a pass for sticking my head up my ass just because I have white privilege. And actually, it seems to me that when you’re the one who has the privilege and goes around abusing it with the kind of arrogance I described above, you get less of a pass because your privilege means that you usually do get a pass.
    Can someone please explain how my thinking is wrong? My assertion was that it’s impossible to marginalize someone in the blogosphere, because you can’t stop someone from writing or reading a blog.
    As the fact that we’re even having this discussion shows, you actually can marginalize someone in the blogsphere and stop someone for writing or reading a blog. No, no one made BFP shut down her blog, but it seems that part of the reason she did so was because she was feeling marginalized by those who in theory are supposed to be on her side. You cannot seize a person’s computer so that they can no longer read a particular blog, but you can talk trash about them — or, sometimes worse, not link to them at all when their work is worthy of links. The fact that anyone can start a blog doesn’t make us all equal. Feministing (to use a stand in blog) gets a hell of a lot more traffic than most other blogs out there. They have a much bigger voice than I do, I have a bigger voice than many others, and down the line it goes. And just like the real world, privilege is a factor and those with more of it float to the top.

  16. JJ
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    joshua–
    I’ll take a little time and try to explain some. First there is the really obvious point which you kinda allude to yourself: “How can anyone be marginalized in the blogosphere, besides those without internet access?� Don’t you think that women and women of color (and any oppressed group) may have less access to the internet? Computers and internet access cost money, and women of color are often in a lower socio-economic class. Don’t say, but the library is free. Blogging from free internet sources not in your home already puts you at a disadvantage, and if you don’t have as much money or resources for internet access at home, you don’t have time to go all over town for free internet or for unpaid blogging.
    Second, socio-economic status aside, do you think all voices are given the same consideration on the internet?!? Why do you think so many women choose to use gender non-specific names when commenting? Women are so often told to quit being so upset, women of color are told to quit being so angry and mean (and I’m not referring to any one instance, it happens ALL THE TIME on their blogs). They are told they are making up racism where there isn’t any. They are told over and over and over they are wrong, and talentless.
    And finally, why do you demand people to spoon-feed you reasons why you are wrong, when at least part of the answer is painfully obvious? Why can’t you add two and two together? Why do the oppressed have to hold your hand and guide you around? People of color are fucking sick of wide-eyed white people (and this really refers more to people you don’t see on sites like this) innocently saying they didn’t mean to be insensitive, can you please explain everything to me? It really is so fucking annoying, so when you come to supposedly progressive sites like this and get it again, you brush people off with “you are naïve�. Why can’t people with privilege self-examine more and seek out the answers (again, as feministing is doing here), put themselves in others shoes?

  17. Posted April 14, 2008 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    “Can someone please explain how my thinking is wrong? My assertion was that it’s impossible to marginalize someone in the blogosphere, because you can’t stop someone from writing or reading a blog. I don’t mean that it’s invalid to critique Feministing for their handling of WOC issues, just that the kind of discourse that treats them as the oppressor or ascribed them scurrilous motives is fairly senseless. Maybe this is white privilege speaking, but I don’t see where the weak link in my logic is here.”
    You would be correct if all blogs had the same amount of traffic, but they don’t. Some are more popular and draw the largest audience which means that generally what they speak about, what they feature becomes more important for having been spoken about or featured. If they never bring up the topics, even if hundreds of WOC bloggers are talking about them, it doesn’t really get out. It reminds me of a post I saw a while ago on another blog about how men need to step up in regards to feminism, since sexist men are more likely to listen to them and saying nothing is showing complicity with sexism itself.
    I don’t know about the role as active oppressor, I don’t believe that the neglect of various intersectional issues is an attempt to keep WOC down. At the same time, it’s sort of a glaring hole in the message of solidarity when a good portion of women’s issues get ignored because they aren’t mainstream. I mean the feminist blogosphere isn’t created equal, isn’t it the job of the people with the biggest voices to speak out for those who don’t get heard or won’t get heard otherwise? I’m interested to see how this stated pledge to pay more attention to the rest of the blogosphere and issues therein will change matters.

  18. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    JJ — forgive me for attempting to engage in a dialog or learn from the women hear. I was under the mistaken impression that the internet was a tool of communication, having momentarily forgotten that it’s primary function is the anonymous venting of rage. I’ll just be in the corner beating myself up over having the white privilege to ask a question.
    Outcrazyophelia — thanks for answering my question without attacking me. Your point is a fair one. I’d also like to see more focus on WOC issues here, and appreciate the pledge. Generally, though, I feel like the blogosphere regulates itself — audiences create the content providers. If there are a huge number of people aching for more WOC content, blogs that do a better job with those issues should thrive. Again, none of this is to say that Feministing is beyond critique — as I say, I’d like to see more coverage of WOC issues. But the blogosphere is a constellation of voices, and of course no voice is going to be perfect, or cover everything. What I object to is not the critique of the content here, but the conspiratorial language of “oppression” and “marginalization.” The only sin you can accurately accuse the moderators of this blog of is that of omission. If the blogs that cover WOC issues better have low readership, then the readers (or non-readers) are to blame, not their sister blogs.

  19. Posted April 14, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    every time samhita posts a critical analysis of a race issue, at least two commentors say “thats cool and all, but what does this have to do with feminism?” (and, indirectly, “stop wasting my time.” that is, if the thread isn’t largely ignored.) individual feministing writers have addressed this issue, but it should be a central issue of any feminist blogging, right up there with abortion and marriage.
    i do think amanda deserves criticism, but she’s not the only guilty one, so our focus shouldn’t be on her. that only distracts from the real issue, that it happens all over the blogosphere.
    tim wise has never said anything that a famous writer of color hasn’t said. he admits it though.
    I love feministing, by the way.

  20. Posted April 14, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Again, none of this is to say that Feministing is beyond critique — as I say, I’d like to see more coverage of WOC issues. But the blogosphere is a constellation of voices, and of course no voice is going to be perfect, or cover everything. What I object to is not the critique of the content here, but the conspiratorial language of “oppression” and “marginalization.” The only sin you can accurately accuse the moderators of this blog of is that of omission. If the blogs that cover WOC issues better have low readership, then the readers (or non-readers) are to blame, not their sister blogs.
    Well I don’t think that any of us were talking about Feministing specifically. But if you think that words like “oppression” and “marginalization” are “conspiracy language,” I think that you might be in the wrong genre of blogs. Sorry, I just can’t think of a nicer way to say it. And to address your other points, activism, alliances and media coverage should simply not be based on supply and demand. The fact that they so often are doesn’t really change it.

  21. Posted April 14, 2008 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    “If the blogs that cover WOC issues better have low readership, then the readers (or non-readers) are to blame, not their sister blogs.”
    I have to disagree if only because the eyes that need to be cast upon these issues don’t often understand them or know that they exist. They aren’t going to seek out oppressions that have never even occured to them. I’ve literally had people ask me what race has to do with feminism, what economics has to do with it, what class has to do with it. They really don’t know. The blogs that attract the noobies are purporting to present important feminist topics and in eschewing those of that don’t jive with the generally white, middle to upper class, well educated, heterosexual woman, they are doing their audience a disservice.
    If those with the loudest voice and the most eyes upon them treat marginalized women and their issues as nothing important, they are complicit with the message of the rest of society. We shouldn’t be left behind by those who say they’re on our side. The blogosphere is supposed to be communal, when someone makes a good point, we link to it and discuss it. When we make mistakes, we acknowledge them. I’m not saying that everyone can focus on the same issues equally, but if the stated mission of the blog is broad enough to allow for a wide range of topics–and they remain narrowly within the allowable topics of white feminism, it’s not right, and their short sightedness is their fault.
    It’s hard to get readers for a topic that they didn’t know existed and don’t understand the importance of, and I’m not sure its the fault of an audience that has ascribed to the traditional feminist model which unknowingly (or knowingly) marginalizes non white women and has gained the most popularity on the blogosphere.

  22. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Cara — that was an inelegantly phrased sentence of mine. I didn’t mean to imply that the concepts of oppression and marginalization are silly conspiracy talk — I just think that they’re being misapplied here. There are, in the world, many actual conspiracies to oppress and marginalize minorities. I just don’t see any such thing in the feminist blogosphere.
    Ophelia — I basically agree with everything that you just said. Thanks for making a lot of good points.

  23. JJ
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    “I was under the mistaken impression that the internet was a tool of communication, having momentarily forgotten that it’s primary function is the anonymous venting of rage.”
    First, I did communicate with you reasons why I felt you were wrong. Second, when I try to explain why these questions are frustrating to people of color you dismiss it as “the anonymous venting of rage.”? When some men in the comments of other threads say “please explain basic feminism to me” people often respond similarly. Maybe you should think for a second as to why such a question is met with anger. But thanks for proving my point. People who criticize against privilege are just met with defensive anger, and never with a thoughtful response. And yes, we often criticize with anger, but there is a fucking reason for that.

  24. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t realize that when you called me “fucking annoying” you were “criticizing against privilege.” I thought you were just being a jerk. Silly me.
    Frankly, if a man asks you to explain basic feminism to him (and he seems to be legitimately curious about it), you should just do it. I would. Replying with, “educate yourself, you fucking patriarchal asshole,” is counter-productive, pointless and mean. One of the points of this blog (I think) is educating uninformed people on various issues. But it sure is more fun to yell at them for not knowing already, huh?

  25. Jessica
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    As a reminder, personal attacks and un-productive conversation will be moderated (deleted). Please keep it civil, folks.

  26. Posted April 14, 2008 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Frankly, if a man asks you to explain basic feminism to him (and he seems to be legitimately curious about it), you should just do it. I would.

    There is a Feminism 101 blog for exactly this purpose, it really isn’t anyone’s job to lead you by the nose to feminism when you’re already at a feminist blog. I can understand asking questions if there are aspects you don’t understand, I don’t understand feeling entitled to derail a discussion when you’re missing basic points of feminism that can be informed elsewhere. The privilege to demand marginalized groups explain their struggle to you so you get it is annoying.
    When dealing with topics of race, I find the same barriers. People want you to lay it out for them, but there’s no guarantee they’ll accept your explanation instead of arguing you down about it. So there’s a good chance that after taking the time to carefully lay out the issues, you’re hit with “Well that’s not the case” “well I still don’t get it”
    “well what about white people/men etc.” It’s generally not very productive and most people find it irritating when someone enters a conversation about feminism /race/whatever and demands to be taught the basics.

  27. JJ
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I never called you fucking annoying. Please don’t quote me out of context. I was stating that being asked to have everything spelled out for someone (who has privilege) is annoying to those who feel that some simple self-reflection and basic research could do the same thing.
    “Frankly, if a man asks you to explain basic feminism to him (and he seems to be legitimately curious about it), you should just do it. I would. Replying with, “educate yourself, you fucking patriarchal asshole,” is counter-productive, pointless and mean. One of the points of this blog (I think) is educating uninformed people on various issues. But it sure is more fun to yell at them for not knowing already, huh?”
    Again I DID address your questions. I never called you personally any names. And I strongly disagree that I should have to explain everything to any person who asks. Again, instead of taking certain phrases out of my post and saying I’m just yelling at you, please think for a second why privileged people (be it privilege of race, gender, etc) should be able to demand to get any explanation they want? Why is it my or any non-privileged person’s job to educate you?
    This is really confirming what I was saying about why woc are not identifying as “feminists”. When we post on feminist websites we are called names.

  28. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    OCO, that’s fair, and I hear what you’re saying. It still seems that directing somebody to a link or something is a lot more effective than yelling at them about how stupid and privileged they are. That serves nothing except to further entrench people into their ignorance.
    In any case, I don’t think I was asking for Racism 101 here — I was trying to make a point about the nature of the blogosphere. I’m pretty sure I understand the basic concept of the marginalization of minorities. The kind of language I keep seeing used here is very effective for critiquing, say, CNN, which spends much more time covering the murder of white people than it does the murders of minorities. But if we all had our own private TV channels — as we essentially do on the internet — that skew would seem less important, because someone else would cover it. The blogosphere, collectively, covers absolutely everything. It’s up to the users what to read.
    That was essentially my argument, which Ophelia has convinced me is probably half-right at best. I wouldn’t say that argument represents a wide-eyed innocents as to the basic vectors of racial oppression, or should in any way occasion people yelling at me. I’m a white male (if Jews are considered white now) who cares very much about issues of feminism and racial equality. There’s no reason to be angry at me.
    JJ, okay, I suppose I did take that quote slightly out of context. And you did answer me question, that’s true. But you can’t deny that the tone of your response was angry and dismissive. Of course it made me defensive — what did you expect? I’m not sure what point this proves, besides “people don’t like being yelled at.”
    All I did was advance an argument and ask for an explanation of what I was missing. It’s not your “job” to educate me. You could have ignored me. I just don’t think you have any reason or cause to be mad at me.

  29. Mina
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    “The fact is that the feminist movement’s history begins largely with women of privelege, and in those days, they were overwhelmingly white. Nothing will change that.”
    Ah, but which feminist movement? I had the impression there was more than one and not all began with white women of privilege.
    “I sometimes feel I expect more understanding from feminist or civil rights-minded groups because the nature of their goals implies that they know what it’s like to be systematically oppressed, and they don’t want it.
    “However, maybe this is unfair because consciousness in one area doesn’t translate as consciousness in all areas.”
    Especially when someone is systematically oppressed *and* privileged at the same time, like when someone doesn’t have white privilege and does have male privilege or vice versa.
    “…has really opened my eyes to why some WOC choose not to call themselves ‘feminists’, while for so long this just confused me.”
    Yeah, I’m reminded of the “definitional hell” Alison Bechdel mentioned here:
    http://feministing.com/archives/008939.html
    Some people say her book _Fun Home_ isn’t porn because it’s not anti-women, and some people accuse _Fun Home_ of being porn because it has sex scenes.
    Likewise, some women who fight against sexism say they’re not feminists because they don’t suck up to rich white women, and some other people accuse them of being feminists for not just sucking up to men…
    “I know many of you will say, well that would be fine, it’s their blog.”
    I would, since if you have to say everything whenever you say something, then whatever you were originally trying to say can get lost in the mix of messages.
    Actually, doesn’t this happen more *to* nonwhite women than *by* nonwhite women (someone being told pretty much ‘*this* is the real primary struggle instead, stay on target…’ by white women and/or nonwhite men and/or someone else more privileged than her)?
    Also, the barriers to entry do exist but are way lower for blogging, web forum hosting, listserv maintenance, etc. than for being published in newspapers, magazines, books research journals, etc. so comparison isn’t very cut-and-dry.
    “I assume this is in response to my comment from yesterday, in which I said that the blogosphere is the ultimate democratic media space…
    “…Can someone please explain how my thinking is wrong?”
    Here’s one reason it’s wrong: *The Internet* is the closest we have to an ultimate democratic media space. Stuff in blog format is merely *part* of that. ;)
    I actually posted on this before, but it had >2 URLs so maybe it got lost in the spam filtering. Lemme try again with spaces in the URLs:
    “How can anyone be marginalized in the blogosphere, besides those without internet access? Anyone is free to start a blog, and anyone is free to read a blog.”
    Likewise for starting a phpBB forum (see www . freeforums . org ), a listserv discussion list (see www . emoderators . com / papers / how2sdg . html ), or even an IRC channel (see www . irchelp . org / irchelp / changuide . html ). Starting a Usenet newsgroup is more difficult what with the RFDs (see www . learnthenet . com / english / html / 29start . htm ) but still doesn’t have fees.
    “Don’t you think that women and women of color (and any oppressed group) may have less access to the internet? Computers and internet access cost money, and women of color are often in a lower socio-economic class. Don’t say, but the library is free. Blogging from free internet sources not in your home already puts you at a disadvantage, and if you don’t have as much money or resources for internet access at home, you don’t have time to go all over town for free internet or for unpaid blogging.”
    Exactly!
    “Second, socio-economic status aside, do you think all voices are given the same consideration on the internet?!?”
    Especially when not everyone’s reading and posting in the same languages?!
    For example, I totally suck at every language but English but I still know feminist blogging include blogs I can’t read (not counting machine translation that screws up half the nuances). Some comments I’ve seen about “the feminist blogosphere” seem to not acknowledge all the feminist blogs in other languages.

  30. EG
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    The fact is that the feminist movement’s history begins largely with women of privelege, and in those days, they were overwhelmingly white. Nothing will change that.
    Depends how far back you go and where you look. Plenty of working-class and poor women involved in the early centuries.

  31. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Mina: Heh, you got me on blogosphere v. internet. However, I did mention somewhere up there that not all people have access, and therefore the internet isn’t totally democratic.

  32. Posted April 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    “But if we all had our own private TV channels — as we essentially do on the internet — that skew would seem less important, because someone else would cover it. The blogosphere, collectively, covers absolutely everything. It’s up to the users what to read.”
    The example you gave of CNN–without directly stating this–proves my point. Those with the biggest voice actually do have an obligation to talk about more topics relevant to more people. Think of it this way–public access tv makes it possible for many people to have their own shows, how many do you hear about? People depend on the biggest voices to tell them what’s important and don’t necessarily seek out less known sources.
    Just like how Finally Feminism 101 is a great, informative blog but not everyone knows about it. Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean people know it or are looking for it. More importantly, how are they supposed to find it? I found it through blog rolls, without those I would have no idea it existed.
    Obviously there is a debate about the responsibility bigger blogs have to less mainstream issues and smaller blogs, but I can’t help but feel that if you have the audience, you owe them a more diverse message.

  33. Mina
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    “More importantly, how are they supposed to find it? I found it through blog rolls, without those I would have no idea it existed.”
    Likewise, how many people would find it by searching for something else but related in a search engine, or by seeing it quoted in an email/newsgroup post/web forum post?

  34. kissmypineapple
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Joshua, people don’t magically become egalitarian when they start surfing the internet. Check the comments on YouTube, for example, for proof of that. Given that, people still bring all of the prejudices they hold IRL with them, and their choices of where to direct their attention are informed by this. Therefore, the internet, and more specifically, is not a perfectly democratic space, and relying on a capitalist metaphor to demonstrate how it is, further shows naivete/privilege on your part. If a person with privilege doesn’t want to be confronted with their privilege, they will not seek out blog posts that do exactly that. If a person with prejudice privileges the voice of a white person over a black person they will read posts by a white person instead of, or more frequently than those by a POC. Just because the demand supposedly isn’t there, doesn’t mean that it’s okay that POC voices are largely ignored.
    I also have to take serious issue with your statement that if a man comes here (or anywhere) demanding that I drop the discussion I’m having to explain some aspect of feminism to him, then I should do so. Female deference to the needs and expectations of men is largely the rule of the world, and I see no reason why I should follow it. That might seem counterproductive to you, but again, it does speak volumes about the privilege you (I assume) have as a male person. You mentioned upthread that perhaps it is your privilege guiding your perspective of the situation, and I believe that it is. I hope that you can put your defensiveness aside and reread what JJ posted. It is not fun to be yelled at, I understand, but it is at least a little arrogant to think that all of that anger was just for you, and to disregard the fact that she or he probably comes up against the same questions, attitudes, etc. on a near constant basis, and so for her, it’s exhausting to come to what is supposed to be a safe space and hear it again.
    That all said, while I’m glad Feministing is making a pledge here, I’m very disappointed that the issue of appropriation was not addressed at all. I think it could have been discussed without dragging Amanda or BFP into it, b/c even outside of these recent events, it’s a huge problem. I don’t think plagiarism was really that much of an issue, though I understand it was part of the original accusations, but appropriation was certainly central to the arguments that are happening all over the feminist blogosphere. I don’t want my post to be deleted, so I’m not sure how to phrase this…
    I have seen, on Feministing, from posters who have made mistakes, genuine apologies and efforts to fix the mistake. I have seen acknowledgement of misunderstanding, even, and especially when the original poster disagrees (sometimes vehemently) with the commenter who brought the mistake, misunderstanding, or disagreement to light. I see this same level of graciousness on sites like Melissa’s, Cara’s, and Jill’s. Recently Jill put it to her readers to help her come up with an appropriate response to something she encountered. This is what I think is productive. In the situation that is being discussed on the blogosphere, I don’t see this at all. I see defensiveness past the point that is warrented. I see a complete inability to admit fault even in the slightest, and an unwillingness to engage in a thoughtful manner or address the issue at hand. Maybe this is because I tuned in late, and patience is gone at this point, and I simply missed the nuanced and civil response that originally occurred. I think real progress will occur not only when big blogs like Feministing actively seek out the voices of POC, but when they can graciously admit when their privilege has blinded them or given them a leg up. This post has done that in large part, but there are prominent members of the feminist blogosphere who are nowhere near this, and it’s disheartening to say the least.

  35. JPlum
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Joshua, no one was attacking you. I’ve seen attacking, and flame wars, and you don’t know from attacking! :) I totally get that you felt attacked, but reread JJ’s response, and while you’re reading it, think to yourself ‘It’s not all about me.’ JJ was pretty damned polite, and was talking about how she feels. Her feelings are not an attack on you.
    I really hope Jessica hasn’t had to delete anyone, because reading through this, I couldn’t help but be cheered by the fact that it hasn’t degenerated into the usual flinging of insults.

  36. kissmypineapple
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    That should say “more specifically, the blogosphere,” in the first paragraph. Also, holy cow, that was a novel! Sorry!

  37. Pup, MD
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Joshua, this site simply isn’t always a place for straight white males (like me, possibly like you) to express much in the way of opinion. Our opinions have been declared of less value. And that’s okay. It really is. There are a zillion other places on the internet for the straight white male to explore his experience.
    There are a lot of intelligent women here who have a lot to teach us, if we care to read. And I don’t know of many other places where I can get the opinions of so many thoughtful women all at once.
    And because it’s the internet, plenty of people say stupid stuff, and there are a lot of “I’m more feminist than you” arguments, and there are a lot of people who wrongly think that a single social science experimental methods class makes them experts on all academia.
    But that’s the nature of the blog, and it’s the nature of people who are learning about themselves and others and the world around them. They have a lot to teach me, and they probably have a lot to teach you, too.
    But this ain’t our clubhouse. And we should be grateful we just get to listen in sometimes.

  38. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I’ve tried to do here is learn. I asked a question, and received many thoughtful, informative answers in return. I also received many accusations of exercising some kind of white male privilege. I’m frankly baffled as to what I did wrong, besides express an opinion that differed from some of the people here. (And then change my opinion due to many good points that people made.)
    Kissmypineapple, of course you’re not required to drop everything to cater to the needs of a man who comes blustering in demanding explanations. How about men who politely ask questions (as I think I initally did, though I acknowledge that some of my responses were less polite)? Or how about a woman who shows up here without any knowledge of feminist theory? Anyone who has a political cause would do well to explain their cause to whomever is interested — this isn’t white privilege, it’s just common sense. They called it “consciousness raising” for a reason. You don’t do it by snapping at people for having the temerity to ask a question or express an opposing view.
    Pup, I think you’re right. That’s why I come here — to learn (and to arm myself for various arguments with obnoxious dudes). I come to this site every day, and I’ve hardly ever posted here before. I’m not looking for center stage, and I didn’t mean for this to turn into a big argument. I think I’ll stay away from the comment boards from now on.
    I’m still confused as to exactly what I’ve done wrong. But, as many of you have pointed out, it’s not your job to educate me. That’s fair. But it’s incredibly condescending and, yes, patronizing to assume that my opinions are the result of white privilege. It’s reducing me to nothing but my race, which I’m sure any minority here knows isn’t pleasant.

  39. Posted April 14, 2008 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I very much appreciate the opportunity for this discussion. I discovered La Chola on Blog Amnesty Day and began going there daily, recommending it once on my own blog. It never failed to trangress boundaries in a meaningful, energy-raising way.
    Then one night I read bfp’s post saying she was thinking about not calling herself a feminist any more. There was no explanation offered, just references that seemed to be for those in the know. By that time, however, I knew she had to have a damned good reason, and I literally lay awake thinking about the meaning of the name “feminist”.
    I wear the label with pride, as a core identity. But I’m 52, I started early, I’m raised poor white trash, and for me it includes as a matter of course fighting not just for “gender”-related issues but for poor people, POC, children, animals, the environment — you name it.
    But yes, I have seen my movement appropriated by academia, by revisionism, by the powered money elite, by white women AND men, and by those who for whatever reason cannot hear the reality of my life and the lives of those close to me. My reaction is not to let them have the label, any more than I’m giving up my definition of woman or Southerner or American to those who use it for hateful purposes.
    Still, I understand and support bfp’s choice. It’s another way of working toward the same goal, one that reflects her values and intelligence, not mine.
    I read through every last one of the comments at most of the posts on this issue over the last few days (hours of reading. Here’s what I see:
    La Chola came down not because bfp was “silenced” (you do her no credit if you believe it’s that easy to shut her up). She removed her work from view for more than one nuanced reason, an act of power, not defeat. She was attempting (rather brilliantly, I think) to prevent a blog war in her name, knowing people tend to learn no lessons from that kind of bashing. We are not one another’s therapists, and if we can’t listen to each other, at least we can acknowledge that much.
    Implicit, for me at least, in her step-aside is her belief that her voice will be fucking missed. She KNEW she was one of the great minds in the areas she covered. Her silence gives those who pay attention a chance to feel the loss and learn from it.
    Silence as a tool of communication is either something you know from your own culture (poor, rural, nonwhite) or you learn along the way.
    Her strategy was, I believe, crapped on by the insistence of a few bloggers to wage a vendetta against the white woman whose work absolutely would not have been recognized and rewarded had she not had the teaching of bfp out there in the universe, affecting (if not her directly) then all the rest of us who are trying to deal with the issue of immigration in this country. The idea that someone who is nontarget for a particular oppression can sift through the conversations going on about the oppression and write a definitive essay about it without completely standing in the shoulders of others is elitist and non-feminist thinking.
    There were ways to make that clear without making up a lie about the white woman and attacking her viciously in one or two posts — posts where no generosity, restraint or human give-and-take was demonstrated, and, when you read them, it becomes clear it’s all about the poster’s rage, not the issue, not really.
    This shit happens on the web. Some people use their blogs for little else.
    I have to say, I absolutely don’t believe bfp welcomed this assault in her name or found it useful. That’s my projection, of course.
    In response, Amanda made things much worse by not hearing anything except the isolated lies and attacks. I know it’s hard to ignore crap thrown in your face, but at this point on the web, you HAVE to. There were other voices and ideas she needed to hear, and she missed them because she was focused on the crazy haters. Furthermore, when she counter-charged, she failed to name names, which meant it sounded as if all WOC were being accused of assaulting her.
    Is that racism and classism in action? I’d say yes. Both direct (on Amanda’s part) and internalized (on the part of those posters who thought it was their right and duty to make up theories about what happened instead of letting bfp handle it).
    This is all incredibly easy to parse in hindsight.
    But there are still lessons to be learned, and I think some of us are working on it. Answering, what does appropriation look like, in every kind of setting? How do we fight for the egalitarianism of the web when some people are making careers from our conversation and concerns? I link everything I possibly can (though my blog is tiny) and spell out, often, how I know we got from A to B over the last 30 years. I also define my terms, especially in comments, because we are definitely not using the same vocabulary out here.
    I also, always, return to the training I had from Sharon Bridgforth, to my mind the finest African-American writer in the U.S. today: She said real art always raises the level of discourse. Real activism leaves you with hope and vision. If I can’t write something that offers these things, I shut the fuck up and wait for wisdom. Someone else can take my turn, and will.
    Lastly, if you are in the habit of feeding a doberman out there — if you know a blogger who is fond of attack and keep her on your leash because sometimes s/he savages your particular enemies, if you lay down a blood trail — STOP IT. We have to start calling each other out on rage behavior to the same extent we call each other out on oppressive bullshit. You know what I mean.

  40. Posted April 14, 2008 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    “But it’s incredibly condescending and, yes, patronizing to assume that my opinions are the result of white privilege. It’s reducing me to nothing but my race, which I’m sure any minority here knows isn’t pleasant.”
    You’ve already stated yourself that your opinions may be colored by your life experience. Acknowledging that is not reducing you to nothing but your race–that implies that one with white privilege can never understand it or learn to broaden their perspective. No one has said that. Is it truly impossible that your lived experience as a visible member of the majority as far as race and gender has affected you and your views of the world? I don’t think it is, and acknowledging that is the first step to learning anything about the lived experience of others–you have to know why you see the world the way you do to understand where anyone else is coming from.

  41. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Of course being a white male has colored and changed my view of the world. But if I’m having an argument with, say, a Chinese person and I say, “You only think that cause you’re Chinese,” it’s offensive. I’m making unfair assumptions. No one can get around white privilege, but I fail to see how any of my comments clearly exhibit it. It’s easy to ascribe someone’s views to their race, but it’s something we should be careful with.

  42. Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Well one could offer the fact that you expressed a belief that it is the responsibility of the would be students to seek out the blogs relating to issues of race as evidence of white privilege. It espouses a belief that those issues, while worth looking into, are not mainstreamed and if people don’t know about them it’s their own fault rather than the system that privileges the discussion of one group over the other.
    I’m not sure white privilege is something to get around so much as something to work around.

  43. Wildberry
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I just want to add to what’s already been said, Joshua.
    You gotta understand that we are constantly having to explain feminism to people, both online and offline. Basic feminism just isn’t taught in schools, and it really should be. Just today I got angry with these two guys in my class, because they were joking about “radical feminists,” which they defined as “those feminists that think women are better than men, and want them to die.”
    First of all, they were discussing this because they passed a feminist group protesting an anti-feminist bake sale. They could have taken two minutes to stop and learn a bit more about feminism, but instead they walked on, assuming their preconceived notions were correct.
    Secondly, when I asserted that I had never heard a feminist say that she wanted men to die, one of the men claimed that he had. Upon further questioning, I learned that these women did NOT identify as feminists. Rather, he ASSUMED they were feminists because in his mind, that’s what “radical feminism” was. I believe I am correct in labeling this as circular logic.
    Thirdly, as soon as I started protesting what he was saying, he asked, “So I take it you are a radical feminist?” God dammit, what was that, an attempt to shame me into silence? Cuz that’s what it felt like.
    And finally, those two men were laughing about the “radical feminists” who “wanted men to die.” This screams privilege to me, I know I certainly wouldn’t be laughing about any men who wanted women to die.
    That ended up mostly being a rant for my own benefit… Sorry about that.
    Well, my point is that after dealing with this in REAL life, when we come to feminist blogs, wanting to converse with other feminists to discuss feminism, it’s extremely annoying when a man comes here, claiming to be ignorant but well-meaning, expecting us to take his hand and walk him through the transition to feminism.
    The message they bring usually seems to be, “Hey, I don’t have to do this, it’s your responsibility to make this as easy as possible for me, and if you’re mean, well, I’ll just take my privilege and leave.”
    I know the thing that helped me to become a feminist was my Women’s Studies course. It may behoove you to take one if you can.
    P.S. joshua, it has more to do with privilege than race. It’s not that you’re blinded by your race, it’s that you have the privilege of not having to be bothered by these issues.

  44. joshua
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I’ve taken five women’s studies courses. I might minor in it. These are really issues that are important to me. And I don’t believe I ever did ask to be walked through Feminism 101. My mother taught me that. I just disagreed on one issue — and asked to be shown where the flaw in my thinking was. I still fail to see how that’s privileged behavior. Though I did get somewhat defensive and agitated afterward, and do wish I could rephrase some of my responses.

  45. misskate7511
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Redripley — Your comment was the most thoughtful, well-spoken thing I’ve read on this whole, well… you know what I mean. Not going to try to label it for fear of misspeaking or misquoting.
    What you said was great. Really, really great. Thank you.

  46. Posted April 15, 2008 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Geez. I think Joshua has been flogged enough for asking a valid and reasonable question.
    Enough already. He gets it.
    Can we stop hypnotically repeating “white privilege” by the way?

  47. apeejam
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Joshua, since Feminism 101 has been mentioned already in this thread, I thought it might be helpful to provide the following link, which explains where JJ is coming from:
    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/14/faq-i-asked-some-feminists-a-question-and-instead-of-answering-they-sent-me-here-why/

  48. Posted April 15, 2008 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    joshua, for the record, I like it when people ask sincere questions, and I thought yours were for real. Some people get understandably tired of having to stop and teach people things when they could be going deeper, but I’m some kind of freak that likes doing that, so if you ever want to, you’re welcome to ask questions on my blog, tiny as it is.

  49. kissmypineapple
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Getting back to the original point of this post, WOC Bloggers are not remotely impressed with the response from some of the big blogs to this situation, and I think that’s what should be the focus here. We talk about respecting others’ experiences and accepting that when a large group of people tell us that something is X, that we should believe them, because we haven’t lived that experience, well, then I think we’re doing a piss poor job of living up to that right now. Case in point: ABW.

  50. Posted April 16, 2008 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    You can start by linking to the blogs that are the actual sources for these issues instead of to another large, white blog which links to them.

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