[UPDATE (5-14-07): Thanks to some recent clarifications by 'Da Queer Bitch; I've gotten some second thoughts on Jessica Valenti that may have made my critique of her a bit too strong and off the mark...more on that in a future post. I'm retracting my original critique of her pending a further review of her book, and making editing adjustments thereof to this post.]
I am writing this at around 1 AM (Lafayette time), just off a shift from work, while my mind is still awake before the sheep start barging in….so excuse the stream of conscious thought.
To say that it’s been an interesting week around the Prog 101 Fighting Headbussa Brigade ranks would be a freakin’ understatement.
First, there’s The Badassssssss Mexicano known as Nezua over at The Unapologetic Mexican , who’s been taking the names and kicking the asses with a series of pinpoint accurate posts on not only the react to the May Day LA police riot, but the seeming lack of action amongst certain A-list liberal bloggers….not to mention the overall attitude of what he derides as the “WHITEPROGRESSIVE”(tm) attitude towards issues affecting people of color and poor people.
I find it very interesting, as a hallmark of this “White Lens” that I continually speak of that one group of people is allowed to decide the reality for another group (or many groups), as well as what is best for them. True, it’s infuriating, but more than that, it’s sad. It’s frustrating. It’s challenging. Because the very dynamic that continues harm on the Brown™ prevents the mind suffering behind the dynamic from coming to awareness of same. So tricky.
This “knowing what’s best for all” is typically White® and what I call “the colonizer’s” view. If you grok my use there, you understand better the controversial post I wrote about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s transracial adoption habit, titled Nezua’s 2006 Colonizers of the Year.. When understanding this “colonizer’s view,” as I call it, we can just hear Kirk on the bridge, talking about some good but primitive group of aliens that need the Federation’s intervention to find their way. This is part of why some grow so very offended and befuddled by my take on Jolie. In their eyes, I am attacking benevolence. How gross. What on earth is wrong with me? How DARE I posit that placing a brown baby from some “third world country” and immersing them in the home and culture of an American celebrity, giving them a snazzy new name and a place in the roost of our collective dreams—American celebrity—was not THE MOST bestest thing you could ever do? What am I? Some kind of Jolie-hater? Some kind of woman-hater? Some kind of commie?
A recent comment on the post asked me “where’s the data to support the claim that kids uprooted from their ‘true’ cultural/ethnic heritage and raised in the US suffer/are alienated/resent their colonizing parents?” And I have to assume they did not read the thread. And thus, don’t really want to learn about what we are discussing.
“Data” they want, so they say. And what would this be? Books housed in accredited libraries, perhaps, they want. Science journals measuring the fractions that add up to a pile of sharp-edged and fractured identity and pain in an individual. I don’t have that data. What I do have are numerous blogs that swarmed to link to me after that post. Blogs like The Transracial Korean Adoptee Nexus and Twice the Rice and Racilicious. I got letters from transracial adoptees thanking me profusely for making the post. I dug up wounds, and posts ensued where memories, and pain and anger poured out, and others reading got to understand a bit of what was behind such a seemingly benign and benevolent act as the wiping out of a person’s culture in the name of “colorblindness.” Those who wanted to understand, that is. Because like that commenter’s rebuttal to the post, most challenges such as this—”prove to me that my view on others is wrong”—come in the form of an impossible request. There is no “proving” to these people that their views on others are not the end-all-be-all on that issue. If I point them to personal stories, they say that this is “largely speculative and anecdotal.” Very snazzy English. Very arrogant Deciders. They refuse to consider that they may not understand everything in the world, even when at issue is the lives of others, the thoughts of others, the feelings of others.
This is the White Lens. And it will not be pried off. This is why my brown friends do not engage in trying to change any minds on it. The owner must one day turn and realize there is a painful glare in their eye. Then, they can do the work of tearing it away themselves. And just as my verb choice indicates, there will be pain in this loss of vantage point, as it implies a loss of privilege.
– excerpted from “The Unapologetic Mexican: The True Front of Progressivism”; reposted at Jesus General and CorrenteWire
I’d rather that you go over there to Nez’s blog and read up the whole post and the commentary…I can’t do the man more justice than that.
Segue over to the lucious and lovely — but very deadly, if you push her too far — Renegade Evolution, who has been spreading her…..errrrrrrr…..wings of late on almost everything. Like, for instance, the apparant conflict amongst some feminists between freedom of choice concerning abortion and reproductive rights, and the supposed lack thereof concerning consuming and producing porn.
When it comes to abortion, the battle cry is often “Her body, her choice! Her right! You do not get to question! How dare you judge? How dare you ask? How dare you seek to control, influence, shame, or otherwise do anything to this woman? It is Her Choice
But when it comes to porn, well…it’s not her choice! She’s been duped, controlled, has no choice! She cannot be expected to think and decide for herself! There must be something wrong with her! She must have been abused, or on drugs, or tricked! We must ask! We can judge! It is our business! She did not make a choice, there is no such thing as a choice when it comes to this, no one would make this choice! No one would willingly and with forethought do that with their body! There is something wrong with her! This is not a choice!
Well, see, I find that ironic, and little sickening, actually. Truth is both are choices women make, in a variety of conditions, for a variety of reasons. No choice is made in a vacuum, but both are choices. Her choice. Yet one is supported, defended, and protected without question in a great many circles. The other is not accorded that same consideration, at all, in those same circles. Both come down to the same thing…the idea of a woman’s right and ability to choose what to do with her body and what happens to and in it…yet…
One choice is a sacred, personal, and rallying point choice.
The other is decidedly…not.
Why is that? Do tell. Call me curious.
– excerpted from Renegade Evolution: Abortion and Porn: Choice Revisited
And then, there is BlackAmazon, who always seems to find the perfect stream-of-conscious phrase to put some jackass fool in his or her place….especially when she gets really pissed off. Like this throuogh ass-whupping leveled at Feministing’s Jessica Valenti for her recently released
bromide for rich Valley Girl slut wannabes book, Full Frontal Feminism:
Nubian who has of course left for her sanity was right about this six months ago
WHEN SHE JUST SAW THE DAMN COVER
But this has nothing to do with me.
As a woman of color
As a woman of a certain class
As a woman of a certain education level and mindset
As a woman of a certain faith
So officially when I say
I’m not a feminist but,
If this is how you will be introducing “feminism” to young women,
When I say this is not me,
I would appreciate if you not be so brilliantly uninformed as to try and disrespectful as to try and dismiss offhand like I was some recalcitrant toddler or couch your condescension by only quoting the most baseless ( yet the fact it comes up in every piece you talk about ) homophobic bile in an effort to make yourself look better.
As a 22 year old women reading this book , I felt disrespected. As a teacher of nearly 9 years especially of “at risk ” youth, I was appalled.
Young women do not need friends who reduce their problems with feminism to some issue with the coolness factor.
The definitely do not need it from people who would choose a very specific half naked torso and various approximations of Valley girl lingo .
I am a young woman who is NOT a feminist. I am a young woman who is one of many young women who has disagreed ,disengaged, delinked, and been disrespected by many of the feminist sisterhood.
I am part of a much longer line of women who has been caricatured, stolen from, and used .
– excerpted from Having Read The Fine Print….: Imperative of the Life
BA has a hell of a lot more to say about J-Val and her brand of feminism…but you get the gist of where’s she coming from. Ren gets in her licks as well here.
And then there is the saddest part of this post….namely, that Brownfemipower may have had enough of blogging; mostly from a combination of continuously banging her head against the wall from frustration over the constant racist barbs she recieves for defending herself as a radical Latina. As in…this nice masterpiece love letter to her that she posted yesterday:
I am tired of reading sob stories detailing how these criminal aliens are “invisible” and must “live in the shadows.”
Myself, I see them everywhere. Target. Walmart. Mobil gas station. My apartment complex. My place of employment.
They talk loud in Mexican and advertise their lawless presence here in the US. They move into our neighborhoods though we make it obvious we don’t want them. They march openly and defiantly against America yet they survive chiefly as a parasite to America’s public assistance programs.
UGH! What an ugly race!!!!
Ms Taletha of Texas | Thrillseeker96@yahoo.com | IP: 18.104.22.168
Such deep affection for the human race, no??? Could have been written 40 years ago about Black folk…or gay/lesbian folk, or Native Americans, or…..
But it may have been something else that finally snapped Bfp over the edge…something related to J-Val’s brand of poor rich Valley Girl feminism. Quoteh Bfp in her “Fuck this shit, I’m outa here” post today:
[...] * white women continue to be the dirty little slut of color at their oh-so-funny south of the border parties…
* but will it make a difference to anybody that most latinas have had to deal with the “HOTT” mamacita stereotype most of their lives? that white women express their sexuality by being “exotic” and “spicy” like the dirty little slut mexicans (or black women, asian women, arab women etc)–and that their sexuality is based on nothing more than our embarrassment and shame? does it make a difference at all? Does it make a difference that it’s NOT the patriarchy that is fucking up latina’s sexuality in this case–and that it’s NOT “just sex” either–that I’m not slut-shaming, I’m not sucking the patriarchy’s dick–I’m just sick and fucking TIRED IN MY BONES of racist white women making me feel ashamed and horrified to be Latina? And scared to death that my daughter is going to hook up with some racist white man or woman who thinks that she’s a dirty hot mamacita that loves to fuck like crazy? Your sexuality makes me fear for my daughters mental and physical well being BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT IT’S DONE TO ME–does that mean nothing to you???
* I just don’t have the drive any more–nobody gives a shit about mother’s being ripped from their children, nobody gives a shit if the cockroach slut is “rounded up” (and i don’t care if you hate that term, you’re still a bitch for saying it) and incarcerated like an animal, and EVERYBODY considers that a criminal latina may be lying when she speaks her fucking reality–oh, and I forgot–centralizing women in the immigration debate is dividing the community, letting the whites win, blah blah blah (as told to me by both male and female Latin@s).
I’m beginning to think that nubian was right–that there really is no place for a woman of color to speak specifically AS A WOMAN OF COLOR in this blogging world–blog posts directed solely toward other women of color get a handful of comments–blog posts to anybody, begging somebody to please, for god’s sake, pay attention–only get attention if they are angry and hostile and contain more energy than I’m willing to put into any more.
* And goddamn it, yes it bothers the shit out of me that when black or white women are shit on by sexism, men of color have something to say about it, but when latin@ mothers are fucking ripped from their children, imprisoned, deported–there’s silence–silence that is interrupted by nationalistic fuckheads that call me traitor and vendida. Is it being a traitor to remember your own? It’s being a traitor to love the your sisters and mothers and aunts and grandmothers?
I’ll just let her words speak for themselves….although BA’s words in response can speak volumes, too.
I notice that no matter how many times Twisty degrades and insults you yoou make sure you keep her as a high respected blogosphere link.
No matter how many times you steal form BFP and report race issues smugly with little consideration, you can’t be arsed to put up one sentence when she’s gone?
Stumbling into conversations about memories of bar and fictitious happy childhoods and I’m not evil I swear it while she and others fight for our lives.
You talk about wanting to hold media responsible yet the only attention you pay is to ” big fish ” while women who claim to be fore literally face death and fury and threats for putting words to page.
How many times does KOS of Firedoglake have to do dumbshit before the price of it to real people is less than the opportunity to mug with Hilary Clinton or have a new byline ?
Links for us and comments are not about traffic. Links are what makes it known that you cant come to a certain place and degrade our lines. comments are the voices that let the trolls and the assholes know you will be reckoned with.
They are the things that keep us from disappearing in the night. You can’t be bothered to be challenged or discuss or even say
We’re here so you don’t have to be alone in front of a motherfucking keyboard.
While debate dissecting our shit for your own self glorification
and you know this when you joke at calling people sluts. You know this when you sit and talka bout how much smarter you are than the discourse, you know this when you call us stupid, or misquote us , or mischaracterize us , or deliberately disrespect or requests for privacy and autonomy.
Use our names and bodies for press or conveniently rember how important it is to be one of us when you can get paid.
But it’s not really powerful until then,
We can’t organize till then
Our lives aren’t worth it till then
YOU KNOW THIS
You know how little it takes to not feel alone or left out
You know how powerful a simple I’m here can be
And you fail
you fail us time and time again
Clavicles are more important than bombs, than children
Torsos need more defense than the first amendment
with I don’t have the time or I didn’t know or I can’t I can’t or oops I missed it
but never a chance to get paid for it or worshipped for it?
Time and time a gain the ball seems to get dropped with no steps towards being better
AND YOU WANT PEOPLE TO TRUST YOU WITH A MOVEMENT?!!
Fuck you .
This, friends, neighbors, and Clones, is the very reason I am a radical, not a liberal.
An Independent Leftist, not just a liberal Democrat.
A (pro-)sex radical, not just a libertarian.
A democratic socialist, not just a social democrat.
A Black man, not only an African American.
Because I know more than anything else that it’s not just right-wingers and Klan bigots who use and abuse Black folk and Brown folk and female folk and sexual outcasts.
They are just the most boisterous and open about their hatred.
It’s the pseudo-“liberals” who mask their loathing of us outlaws behind the sacchrine of “unity” and “equality” and “human rights” and “colorblindness” and “let’s all get along” and vote for the lesser evil because the Republicans are pure evil”…yet are the first to grip an moan about “why you talking about us; we’re your saviors?” when called out for their presumptions of speaking for the outlaws.
And yet, for all their preening and squawking, they still can’t beat the conservatives and “centrists” at anything.
No thank you,
J-Val, Kos, and the rest. We outlaws aren’t playing this game anymore..at least, not with your rules.
Feministing Ariel Levy and Genderberg; Daily Kos and Townhall; Democrat and Republican; Radfem, Liberfem, and AntiFem; MRA and Burning Man, Randi Rhodes and Bill O’Reilly, there is only a flip of the same tired coin of traditional White privilege. For the rest of humanity, there is only the basic principle of social solidarity, struggle, and the queer notion that humanity is non-negotiable, and not subject to either debate or majority vote.
To Nez, BfP, BA, Ren, Nina, and all the other outlaws: may you ride long, fly high, and kick ass….and smile, laugh, and fuck a hellava lot during the journey, too.