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Et tu, Kass?


Sigh.

I don't know why this makes me so sad...(and let me point out at the outset, this is MY damn journal, not a sweeping pronouncement to the world.)

[MUCH LATER EDIT--any latecomers to the party, might as well skip this and go straight to lady-jem.livejournal.com/74584.html in which there may well be yet  more screwuppage on my part, but at least it's about what it's actually about, rather than still groping around the issue which is what I was doing here...up to you, though.]

[EDIT--I'm not removing anything from this post, which upon reflection and re-reading is definitely snarkier than it had to be, but if you feel the need to comment and tell me I'm a jerk please read down to the comment where I admit I called some things wrong and will go away and think about it before doing so.] [my "about this blog" post at the beginning might be good to take a look at too.]


kass-rants.livejournal.com/259150.html
(in which lady jem makes a comment somewhere about 35 down that will probably bring down wrath upon her still-bleeding scalp)

I thought I was done with it, I had so had enough of the RaceFail, and I'd pretty much come to terms with where I was on it.   I went into racism_101 with goodwill and a desire to learn, and I still read the posts there and am interested in what happens.  I don't have any sense that I've learned all there is, nor all that I need to.  But I also have begun to come to terms with those aspects of the...well, we'll call it the Zeitgeist of race relations at least here on LJ that I believe are unhealthy and counterproductive.  And part of this particular Zeitgeist says that if there is a conversation between a POC and a non-POC, and the non-POC wishes to be truly anti-racist, then anything the POC says is more true, right, valid, etc. than anything the non-POC says.  And in such a non-oppressive conversation, the POC is never wrong, never out of line, never anything but completely valid and correct.  If the POC hears something offensive in the words of the non-POC, there is no question that there could have been any miscommunication or error on the POC's part, the intended meaning of the speaker is irrelevant. What is important is what was heard. And any attempt to "right" the communication is immediately decried as "silencing." There's almost nothing any non-POC can ever say that doesn't at least allude to a square on some mythically-proportioned bingo card, unless it's "I'm an asshole, I'm sorry." And they usually have to say it about 7 times, because the act of apology itself is seen as an invitation to further castigation by the angry pack.  [EDIT: there are plenty of angry people who don't resort to pack behavior, and I didn't mean to lump them in here. The angry and the pack aren't necessarily the same thing...but the pack is unbelievable, and there's no way to call them on it.] When the carcass is picked clean and suitably chastened, the original speaker is allowed to slink off. (And God forbid they delete their journal. Cowards. Silencers. Privileged jerks who exercise their ability to run from a mode of conversation a POC can never escape.)

(And yes, note that I used the word "angry" in the previous paragraph. This appears to be a none-too-veiled manifestation of the "tone argument," in which the non-POC person uses some variant on, "if you could just be a little nicer, we could have a real conversation."  That I intend it only to refer to the anger that is simply there and acknowledged by indeed the angry ones feeling the anger--though they would probably not care for the ravenous pack metaphor--does not in any way mitigate the perceived presence of the tone argument, because my intent is irrelevant, and if someone perceives tone argument, it must be there.)

On the one hand, the whole invitation to "shut up and listen" is a crucial one for members of the privileged classes who have never been here before, and one that must be learned before any growth can happen.  And the experience of being the one doomed to not ever have the upper hand in a conversation is something else a lot of us have probably never been through, and it's a fairly important one, I think. Especially since a lot of the debate hinges around the very reality that conversations like this are what POC experience all the time.

But somewhere along the way one needs to grow beyond this.  As a stage, maybe it has to happen.  As a settled and accepted way of life, it's profoundly unhealthy.

I shut up and listened for about 4 months. Maybe not long enough, but a helluva lot longer than a lot of other folks.  I'm done with my own silence. Racism is real, prejudice is real, abuse of privilege is real. Anger is justified.  Change is needed.

But this passed the point of healthiness ages ago.

It's just so bloody depressing.  Now Kass's journal, the one that's always such a lovely acerbic funny joy to read, has gone there too.  Viral, indeed.

not so much peace,
J
 

Comments

( 19 comments — So talk to me )
logicalargument
May. 20th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. It needed to be said.
lady_jem
May. 20th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
:::bracing for the poopstorm...if it doesn't come, I'll know my assumption that only about 4 people read this journal is actually true.

:-)
lady_jem
May. 20th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
...not that I actually want a poopstorm, mind you.
dharma_slut
May. 20th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Hopefully, it's just the one post. I adore Kass, and she's a total inspiration to the rest of us who have home-based businesses.

But yeah-- it should hit anyone who reads. And that's almost everyone on LJ, after all!

All I can say is that I've been dealing with this stuff in various combinations, for more than fifty years. I WISH I could have had enough after four months, at any point in my life!
lady_jem
May. 20th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
I hear you. (By which, by the way, I don't mean the sort of generic, "I hear ya, man!" implying that I'm there too, just that...well...now that I've said my piece I can go back to shut up and listen again.)

And please don't think that just because I've had enough of RaceFail, I've also had enough of trying to work out what it means to be a person of privileged skin-color and unprivileged gender, in a culture where color means more but a profession where gender is really all that counts, or that I plan to walk away from my responsibilities to all the aspects of what this whole mess has taught me. I've had enough of the LJ version of it, and I'm trying to walk away from it. The rest of life--I'm still listening.

It's a HUGELY important conversation. I just wish we were having it better here. And yours, though I haven't always agreed with you, is one of the voices I've valued throughout all this; you make sense. And I guess it's not fair to blame the come-latelies who haven't been sitting in this for months and are just now starting at the beginning...but they just keep arriving and arriving, trigger-fingers at the ready, and it feels like nothing's moving at all.

Sigh. I'll go back to being quiet now.
dharma_slut
May. 20th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
yeah... I am right with you on all points! (even your compliment to me hahah)

I do want to slow down, as much as possible, on the conversation, and instead work on my issues-- and also, work on my craft of writing and research, so that I can include othered folks in my fiction, in ways I can feel are effective, and maybe satisfy some few reader's emotional needs... Hopefully.
elfwreck
May. 21st, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Your post has been added to a Linkspam roundup.
fifi_bonsai
May. 21st, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
if only I could be a little more evolved?
It must get frustrating, if you look at things from that PoV, that PoC are angry, have the upper hand, seem to control the conversation and that white people have to deface themselves, shut up or agree, listen. It must seem very unfair. Thank God that's not how the world is, huh? It would rly suck.

As a PoC though, I'm not here to tell you that you're wrong. It's true that there needs to be growth, it's true that not everyone expresses their anger in ways which are productive for white people. I totally get if white people get bored with the conversation, feel excluded, find the need to say something from a hyperdefensive position. It's not yr place to tell us we're not acting in a healthy manner though. It's not yr place to tell us we're stagnating and four months is quite enough of these shenanigans and we have to evolve.

Kass was a fun place for you and now it's ruined by Racefail. In yr list of priorities this might seem a great loss. In my list? Not so much. Kass made her post, she choose to get involved. She didn't have to.

It's sad. Sad for everyone involved that someone who seems decent and who "shut up and listened" for 4 months breaks their silence for this, to tell the "angry pack" to grow already. It's been months!
lady_jem
May. 21st, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Re: if only I could be a little more evolved?
Well, it's a facet of my personality that when I break silence it's seldom to "yes" something someone else had said, but rather to say the thing no one else is saying. Often with the result of pissing a lot of people off. So I'm being consistent, at least.

Just to clarify, and I suspect this will be meaningless to many (the whole "intent" thing), but I'm going to say it anyway: I do NOT lump together all of those espousing one perspective of the conversation into "angry pack" mode; much of the debate has been really good and really helpful, including valid expression of anger from a lot of directions. (Reading the OP, I realize I didn't separate the two, which was incredibly sucky of me. I'll go back and do an edit.) But there HAS been pack-attack behavior, and that sentence of two of my OP was directed at those dozen or so people who have continued to kick folks after they were down, after the seventh or eighth apology. Where I come from, anger is valid; punitive attack is not.

I did say, and I think I should have said with greater strength, that the experience of NOT having the upper hand for once is a really valuable one. (I think the white guys who flounced away early, and probably continue to flounce, missed out on some good learning. Have any stuck around on any of the communities? I'd love to hear...) And in a set of relationships as deeply and institutionally befrigged as those between and among people of obviously different skin-and-feature ethnicities, there really IS no way to set up a conversation with genuinely equal ground, so in that light it's important to set them up with as much privilege as possible stripped away, because even with the best efforts in that regard it'll never really be stripped away. It's huge. And on some level, I do get that this is how it has to be.

But there's a difference between setting up a sort of artificial conversational process and saying, "Okay, this is how it has to be for now because we're all befrigged and this is the only way" and saying, "This is how it is supposed to be." (Which I haven't heard anyone...exactly...saying.) (Shit, who let that little straw man in here?) Because in one we are attempting to strip away privilege and create conditions where POC can feel safe and undiminished, and in the other, no POC --for that matter, anyone on the POC "side" (which in this case includes a lot of white women)-- is ever wrong or at fault about anything. That's just...well, it's dangerous. And just not real. And is, I think, what led to the pack behavior.

I'm not sure I'm saying this well, because I'm not sure it can be.

And also (and whether this makes a difference to anyone else, it does to me)--I would NEVER presume to have put this post on any of the communities, or God forbid any of the blogs of the smart and amazing people (some of whom I know are POC, some I have no idea) I've come across in all this, or not even on the blogs of the people I think have made some pretty heinous mistakes or the blogs of the shredded carcasses left behind (the ones who didn't cancel their accounts, anyway). I have said this on MY journal, and I even put it behind a cut. I'm happy to engage anyone who chooses to read it and comment (up to a point), but I'm not in it telling anyone, let alone an entire group of people (the mythical hive mind) what they should do, or say, or think. What I've said is what I've observed and how I feel about it.

Evolution on command never works anyway. I need to remember that. We all do.
fifi_bonsai
May. 21st, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
Uno
Well, it's a facet of my personality that when I break silence it's seldom to "yes" something someone else had said, but rather to say the thing no one else is saying. Often with the result of pissing a lot of people off. So I'm being consistent, at least.

You rly think people questioning the way we express our anger is a new thing? Rly? You haven't seen ANY other posts where people were talking about how Racefail's angry pack has turned off well-meaning people who could have turned into anti-racist allies if only we PoC handled our anger better? You didn't see the two fandom secret posts that said something to the effect of "I'm racist because of Racefail" or "I've given up trying to combat race, because of Racefail" and blamed that Dirty Dozen for it? You didn't get to see the comment threads in hatman's posts where a nice white person talked about the Person who is Committing a Racist act & Victim of Racism Educational Partnership? You didn't see the post where the nice white guy talked about "circular firing squads" and how the Interweb was to blame for PoC misinterpretations of what the nice white people are saying and vice versa? No? Lucky you.

But there HAS been pack-attack behavior, and that sentence of two of my OP was directed at those dozen or so people who have continued to kick folks after they were down, after the seventh or eighth apology. Where I come from, anger is valid; punitive attack is not.

It didn't seem to. At all. Reading the OP it looked like you were talking about how Racefail was BASED on punitive attack, where PoC and Poc Allies held all the cards. Good clarification there.

And on some level, I do get that this is how it has to be.


Thank that level for me.

is ever wrong or at fault about anything.

That's how it must look on the outside. It's good to know different perspectives on things because it presents the non-PoC non-Allies' huge fucking blind spot about how things actually work among anti-racist allies. We are VERY sensitive to fails within ourselves and each other and helpfully and not always politely give each other checks. We have our own fails to contend with. Nobody, PoC or otherwise ever claimed to be perfect.

We are people and have our own individual ways of dealing with things. I'm sure plenty of people would not use the kind of language I do or the kind of tone. That's not what we're talking about though. I understand if it's a big priority for white people whether I follow Gandhi's* footsteps when I react to their racism, but as much as I admire the man, I don't have the balls to act anyone suffering from racism to emulate him. I'm way surprised other people do.


Edited at 2009-05-21 07:10 pm (UTC)
fifi_bonsai
May. 21st, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
Dos
Perhaps, it's because I'm not religious. I had this conversation with a WoC about the importance of compassion when dealing with racefailers if their intentions are good (she's religious so it shapes her views). I don't agree with that, even though I have changed my ways a bit and do try to discern intent. The reason I don't agree is because you can't ask the person who gets her foot stomped to stop and gauge whether the foot-stomper stomped her foot out of malice or by accident. Not when the person who got stomped gets that foot mauled on a regular basis, not when there's so much info out there about how not to stomp, so much that carelessness or accident is still negligible.

And also (and whether this makes a difference to anyone else, it does to me)--I would NEVER presume to have put this post on any of the communities, or God forbid any of the blogs of the smart and amazing people (some of whom I know are POC, some I have no idea) I've come across in all this, or not even on the blogs of the people I think have made some pretty heinous mistakes or the blogs of the shredded carcasses left behind (the ones who didn't cancel their accounts, anyway). I have said this on MY journal, and I even put it behind a cut. I'm happy to engage anyone who chooses to read it and comment (up to a point), but I'm not in it telling anyone, let alone an entire group of people (the mythical hive mind) what they should do, or say, or think. What I've said is what I've observed and how I feel about it.

I understand that this only resembles a general command for the unevolved rabid PoC and it might just be a personal expression, but people get called out about what they say in their journals all the time. It feels a little passive aggressive to claim that because this is yr private journal it has some kind of scrutiny/judgment immunity.** Or was it yr intention to say that though this is about PoC it's not for PoC's eyes, or something?

Evolution on command never works anyway. I need to remember that. We all do

I see what you did there, slick. lol

Mysterious Dirty Dozen commanding White People Not to Racefail = You telling the Mysterious Dirty Dozen (who are not of the Valuable to the Discussion and Informative PoC's) to Evolve

Good one.

Edited at 2009-05-21 07:11 pm (UTC)
lady_jem
May. 21st, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Uno and Dos
"You rly think people questioning the way we express our anger is a new thing? Rly? "

Nope. Never said I did.

"Mysterious Dirty Dozen commanding White People Not to Racefail = You telling the Mysterious Dirty Dozen (who are not of the Valuable to the Discussion and Informative PoC's) to Evolve"

Huh? You lost me there, completely. (Er...and saying "we need to evolve" isn't the same as saying, "you, dude, I command you to go and evolve!" Is that what you heard in what I said?)

I think you're hearing me say a lot of things I didn't say. I think you're hearing me make a lot of assumptions I don't assume. If you do want to try to sort things out so we can be on the same page, that's cool, we can keep talking--but I genuinely don't mind if you just want to write me off as a CWP jerk who's trying to grow but who had a bad day and spilled over (or you could stop at jerk), and I can bid farewell to you as someone who's gotten her foot stomped on about 153 too many times and has had enough.

However, re the compassion thing, I think you hit the nail on the head of why you and I will probably just not get each other: "The reason I don't agree is because you can't ask the person who gets her foot stomped to stop and gauge whether the foot-stomper stomped her foot out of malice or by accident."

And in my world, while no, one can't ask the person to stop and gauge it, I have to expect of myself that I will stop and gauge it myself whenever my foot gets stomped on. And even if the injury was done in malice, I am required to treat the person who hurt me with all the compassion they didn't give me.

That's my world. I suck at it a lot. This particularly does not appear to be one of my better days.

fifi_bonsai
May. 21st, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Uno and Dos
It's not my job to make this comfortable for you. If you feel uncomfortable talking to me, you can stop at any time. That is one of many of yr privileges.

You're claiming to say something no one else has said. What have you said that is so different?

I never said you shouldn't gauge motivations. I never said I didn't, either. I only wondered at the audacity of Nice White Ladies in asking OTHERS to react in ways which are amenable to them from their balconies of privilege. I wondered how you can honestly ask someone who is raw and suffering to try to discern intentions. Intentions, which for the injured Non-white, might concern only* the one who said something racist.

You say "even if the injury was done in malice, I am required to treat the person who hurt me with all the compassion they didn't give me."

What is wrong with this picture? You who have read all about Racism 101, think about what's wrong with you talking to a Non-white about how you'd walk in "injured Non-white shoes" and how you'd react in that situation. Don't tell me, you don't even have to have the unpleasantness of talking to me again. Really, I'm not even being mean here. Just think about it.


Edited at 2009-05-21 09:01 pm (UTC)
lady_jem
May. 21st, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Uno and Dos
Hey, I'm happy to keep talking with you. Seriously. And all other things aside, it's your privilege to stop talking with me too, whenever you wish. That particular brand of privilege belongs to an internet browser, not a skin color identification. And if I expected to be comfortable, I wouldn't have posted the post in the first place (though I'm still shocked that anyone actually reads anything I say or cares one way or the other what I think).

And please note, I said that I'm supposed to be completely compassionate, and that I suck at it. Not that I've got the market cornered. I really pretty much suck at it. (And yeah, re your last paragraph--thinking about it, and yes, that's fairly effed up and I shouldn't in a million years have gone there. I apologize. This is me doing the *facepalm* thing.)

(The religion question you mentioned is interesting, though. I wish there were a way to go there in a healthy and sort of life-giving way, because that's another element that doesn't come to the forefront in the race conversations...sorry, i'm digressing now, this has nothing to do with anything...)

As for the "what no one else has said"--I could be wrong that no one else has talked about it, but I hadn't seen it. What I wanted to approach was the whole construct of the online (or at least LJ) racism conversation. What I attempted to say, though obviously not well enough, was that in my opinion on the one hand it's important and necessary and I've grown a lot through it, but that it's still a construct, and staying too long there, for anyone, is not going to be a healthy thing. And that it's been abused by some. Not all. Not even many. But some. I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should do about it, or absolve myself from collusion in the whole thing, or tell anyone (individual or as Big Generalized Groups or whatever) what they are thinking or what they should be thinking, or imply that I have half an iota of wisdom that anyone else lacks or that I'm anything but a schlub.

I'm saying, this is what I see. And, from my perspective, it bugs the crap out of me. And I don't know what to do about it. So I post in frustration, probably lose the respect of a couple of people who thought there might have been hope for me, and keep on growing.

--J
sparkymonster
May. 21st, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
nd part of this particular Zeitgeist says that if there is a conversation between a POC and a non-POC, and the non-POC wishes to be truly anti-racist, then anything the POC says is more true, right, valid, etc. than anything the non-POC says. And in such a non-oppressive conversation, the POC is never wrong, never out of line, never anything but completely valid and correct. If the POC hears something offensive in the words of the non-POC, there is no question that there could have been any miscommunication or error on the POC's part, the intended meaning of the speaker is irrelevant. What is important is what was heard. And any attempt to "right" the communication is immediately decried as "silencing."

Really? Interesting.

First, I don't know of any POC who has said "the words of POC are always correct WRT race." One important reason why is because POC are not a hive mind. We have a great diversity of opinions on race, racism and how to talk about it.

It is accurate to say that given two posts about race, teh one writen by a POC will contain the actual experience of living as a POC and encountering racism, and is thus the primary source. The post by the white person would be a secondary source.

Since this is a zeitgeist, there should be many examples of this happening. Could you possibly link to some?

And any attempt to "right" the communication is immediately decried as "silencing."

Interestingly, I have had several examples of white people saying "oh sorry, I misspoke" and I did not say they silenced me. Nor did I leap to insult them. Other POC fans who talk about race a lot that I know I can easily say the same for include zvi_likes_tv (whose ability to not lose her temper when insulted is AMAZING), bossymarmalade, ciderpress, deepad, oyceter, isilya and kate_nepveu. I would also add yeloson, asim, and vito_excalibur depending on how you feel about cutting sarcasm. This is not to say that any of these people have the perfect mythical tone, that these are the "good POC", that any of them have set themselves up as the experts on race or racism or to shame POC who express their hurt and anger in different ways. These are a random assortment of POC on lj who I happen to know and that have chosen to talk publicly about race in ways that (for whatever reason) are generally considered acceptable by white fans.

Something to consider. "Shut up and listen" is a crucial first stage and it's really difficult. I have a hard time with it. That said, I don't think the next step is to say "I know this is edgy/shocking, but POC are wrong about race sometimes! And they get angry! And overreact! Why can't I say that?"

You might want to consider why it is important for you to say "POC aren't always right" as opposed to "POC have a wide variety of opinions" or "I wasn't expecting a POC to say XYZ."

You also might want to consider that Mary Anne Mohanraj wrote a two part post about race on Scaalzi's blog in which she disagrees on various points with the "race zeitgeist" most notably the definition that racism=prejudice+power. She lived to tell the tale. (she also got dealt epic piles of racism in comments)

To me, it sounds like you feel that you have got the anti-racism 101 stuff and want to get to 201. It also sounds like you may be hung up on some white liberal guilt (which is where the "but POC are magical and right all the time" might be coming from). I would strongly suggest reading Tim Wise and Resist Racism. They are really great resources that I think will help you with the issues you are grappling with.

Edited at 2009-05-21 04:15 am (UTC)
delux_vivens
May. 21st, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
Since this is a zeitgeist, there should be many examples of this happening. Could you possibly link to some?

Given how many POC arent even trying to participate in discussions of race in public lj/dw/ij spaces, I'd like to see this too.

Edited at 2009-05-21 06:26 pm (UTC)
lady_jem
May. 21st, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Actually, you named a whole bunch of the people whose names and icons I scan for on the communities and comment lists, because they are smart and fabulous (I haven't found asim too sarcastic?). And I have Dr. Mohanraj's articles bookmarked; they are awesome and IMO should be required reading. (There's actually some good stuff in the comments too.)

I'm still wrestling with the whole "to post links or not to post links" question...and at the moment I'm leaning to not. I have them, yeah, but it's sort of like at the moment I'm just making uncited observations that may or may not have come out of my nether regions, and if I post links I'm making accusations against specific people. And I'm not really ready to go there.

Also, for better or worse--the stuff I outlined in the OP is less about what individual POC (and I have to keep reminding myself, as do I think many of us, that we can't assume we know the C of any of the P we run into on LiveJournal unless we know them in other life or they volunteer the data) have said to other people than about the "rules" of the conversations that I, as a non-POC, picked up through my following of the Fail and then the Racism_101 community. (Which is to say, I own it, it's what I heard, and it may be wrong, unless the "intent means nothing" really is true for everyone.) (And by the way, I totally get that this conversation only gets to be about me because it's my journal.)

I'll try to crystalize my thoughts and give more later...because you're right, there have been a lot of occasions where the debate has been healthy and okay, and communication has happened. Probably only 5 or 6 times have I witnessed the whole pack attack thing, and somehow those are what sticks in the mind. And maybe it's worth it, having a place where those conversations can at least begin, even if it is an artificial environment playing by carefully constructed rules, and with some openings for unaddressed toxicity. But no one has been talking about the toxic stuff, or the artificiality of the environment, and it's just felt so WEIRD and disturbing, for a while now.

So yeah, I'll go away and think.

sparkymonster
May. 22nd, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
about the "rules" of the conversations that I, as a non-POC, picked up through my following of the Fail and then the Racism_101 community.

Well....one thing I want to say is that I think the racism_101 community is...kind of meh. If you're basing your thoughts on that community, I more see where you are coming from. You may want to check out debunkingwhite.

In my experience, it sounds like what you're seeing and grappling with is a manifestation of white liberal guilt. POC are lauded as monolithic experts of race, instead of individuals. This leads to well intentioned "well tell me what black people think about XYZ" with no real acknowledgment that "black people" are an incredibly diverse community with a wide variety of opinions. I also think this viewpoint (that POC can do no wrong) is not one that I've ever seen advocated by actual POC, and is one that is dismissed by most white allies who are active/aware of anti-racist beliefs.

I don't have a great response for you other than that I think this is a stage that white allies often go through as part of unlearning racism. You might want to think about where these messages are coming from and why. You also may want to think about are they explicit or implicit messages, and who seems to be promoting that viewpoint. I think you need to really think about why the "pack" thing, which you agree doesn't happen often, is something that sticks out so clearly in your mind (and why your first choice of metaphor was wild animals), and why you think it is such a problem for someone to express anger. FYI, there is no simple or easy answer to any of these questions. For me, in simliar situations, I have had to really sit with my discomfort and think about why it is there. The results have not always been pretty or comforting, but they have ultimately helped me move forward.

I also think Tim Wise, and the blogs I linked you up thread may have have some entries and stuff that you will find helpful. If online communities/communication doesn't work as well for you, there are discussion groups in most major cities for unlearning racism and working on one's white privilege. There are also lots of books on ally work and unlearning racism, if that works for you (I htink Tim Wise has written one or two).
lady_jem
May. 22nd, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the thoughts; I think you're probably right on target in terms of everything you've said. (Unsettling when complete strangers see things we can't see ourselves...hmm!)

I've actually been lurking over at debunkingwhite for a while off and on, and quite frankly the recent brouhaha about the clowns is an example of why I don't join. And that was an angry exchange among POC--on the one hand it was good to see a healthy and openly expressed exchange of anger. (White women seldom do open anger, unless we've unlearned our Basic Training somewhere along the way.) On the other, I still see (and the wild animal metaphor still holds) a dynamic there where the exchange is not over until one party rolls over on her back in submission, ceding defeat and vulnerability. And (and I still have to process this in my guts) I discovered I had every bit as much trouble watching a WOC roll over for other WOC as I did when it was a woman of my skin color. Which says nothing whatsoever about the women involved, of course, but a lot about me.

I just posted another entry with a link to a fairly amazing article about anger and its expression among women. It's giving me a lot to think about. Anger, and white women, and black women, and variously-chromaticked women, and anger, and hard hard work. I have a lot of thinking to do. After which will probably come the writing.

So thank you for your thoughts and your patience with me...I'll take another few days, do some writes and rewrites, and then probably stick my foot in it again. :-)
( 19 comments — So talk to me )

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