Grumpy Cat Face: Good

by Belle Waring on January 10, 2017

I have been avoiding the internet for ages. But Belle Waring, what did you do instead? I went to ten followed by 100 zeroes doctors’ appointments, and I got exercise like a real person, and discovered that actually I rather like Adorno and Horkheimer when they are unfairly mean to Kant*, and I re-read Harry Potter. Also I played Animal Crossing on the Nintendo 3DS. So. Much. Animal Crossing. I recommend it very highly. I thought I could look at the internet again after the election. (Muffled sobbing from every direction). I still can only sort of deal with looking at the NYT. So this article was actually a happy surprise: Women’s March on Washington Opens Contentious Dialogues About Race. I thought, oh God, this is going to be tedious reading about how white feminists are alienating minority feminists by insisting that everyone needs to unify behind the most widely-supported goals and bell hooks needs to shut the f$%k up. But no! It’s about how minority feminists are throwing bell hooks quotes in everyone’s faces and insisting that concerns about racial discrimination be foregrounded even as women unify against the Trump administration! I thought I’d read depressing “this is why I’m not a feminist” quotes from minority women, and instead I’m reading whiny “I’m not marching if people are going to try to make me think about white privilege” quotes from white women. Progress!

Ms. Willis, a 50-year-old wedding minister from South Carolina, had looked forward to taking her daughters to the march. Then she read a post on the Facebook page for the march that made her feel unwelcome because she is white.

The post, written by a black activist from Brooklyn who is a march volunteer, advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less. It also chided those who, it said, were only now waking up to racism because of the election.

“You don’t just get to join because now you’re scared, too,” read the post. “I was born scared.”

Stung by the tone, Ms. Willis canceled her trip.

“This is a women’s march,” she said. “We’re supposed to be allies in equal pay, marriage, adoption. Why is it now about, ‘White women don’t understand black women’?”

Jesus, lady. South Carolinians who feel unwelcome because they are white—this is such an unlovely group of people to throw in with.

Now, I know plenty of people will respond to this with not-crazy concerns about maximizing turnout for the march being more important than intersectionality right at this crucial moment. But what if every moment is crucial? Does intersectionality ever get to be important? I think this addresses it well: “if your short-term goal is to get as many people as possible at the march, maybe you don’t want to alienate people. But if your longer-term goal is to use the march as a catalyst for progressive social and political change, then that has to include thinking about race and class privilege.”

And take it away march organizers:

For too long, the march organizers said, the women’s rights movement focused on issues that were important to well-off white women, such as the ability to work outside the home and attain the same high-powered positions that men do. But minority women, they said, have had different priorities. Black women who have worked their whole lives as maids might care more about the minimum wage or police brutality than about seeing a woman in the White House. Undocumented immigrant women might care about abortion rights, they said, but not nearly as much as they worry about being deported.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ll see from commenters here a lot of argle-bargle about how caring about trans people cost Democrats the election and we need to tone down the gay, and tell bell hooks to shut the f@#k up, also, too, generally. But to the extent that one is being serious about appealing to the white working class, a feminism that serves only the needs of educated white women with relatively high-paying jobs ain’t going to get you nowhere on that front either. Maybe doing the right thing can also be politically expedient?

*John would like to object here that Adorno can dish it out but he sure can’t take it. I haven’t read enough [thin-skinned complaints from] Adorno to evaluate this claim but it seems not implausible. Still, the dishing. So dishy. ‘Do you know what the Critique of Pure Reason reminds me of? De Sade.’ [I note for the benefit of readers that this is a paraphrase but I will post on the topic soon.]

{ 71 comments }

1

Chet Murthy 01.10.17 at 10:17 pm

“Do you know what the Critique of Pure Reason reminds me of? De Sade.”

Belle, um, I’m sure I’m not the only one just -praying- that this is a real quote? And that you’ll share with us where you found it? Gotta be more lulz in there, yes yes yes?

2

Mike Furlan 01.10.17 at 11:09 pm

“. . .advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less”

Sounds like a reasonable request.

Sadly, those who talk the most, think they have not talked enough.

3

Belle Waring 01.11.17 at 12:25 am

No it’s a loose but not unreasonable paraphrase of the second section of Dialectic of Enlightenment, which is about Kant and de Sade’s Juliette. Maybe I’ll single quote it to make this clearer. Also dig out a real quote, but I’ll post on it rather than stick it in a comment; it’s fucking hilarious, seriously.

4

Notmy Real Name 01.11.17 at 12:31 am

Eh, Belle asked for it, so someone’s gotta do it…

1) argle-bargle
2) caring about trans people cost Democrats the election
3) we need to tone down the gay
4) bell hooks: shut the f@#k up Nah, this one is just too rude, even for me.

5

bob mcmanus 01.11.17 at 1:43 am

+1 to the NYT piece and +1 to Waring’s take on, and hoping to observe and learn from for a spirited discussion among women regulars and visits from lurkers in what I’m sure Waring will keep a safe space.

Most of my Adorna is second-hand but have glanced at the Juliette section tonight and read some commentary. That could be fun, there are apparently statements that could be misinterpreted by the ungenerous.

Alternative to Grumpy Cats …from a grumpy cat himself

6

lemmy caution 01.11.17 at 1:49 am

I was looking up what intersectionality was and found that one of the key papers from 1991 attacks Trump for his horrific ad urging the death penalty for the central park 5

https://snag.gy/TbqeUi.jpg

https://snag.gy/WXLoOA.jpg

http://socialdifference.columbia.edu/files/socialdiff/projects/Article__Mapping_the_Margins_by_Kimblere_Crenshaw.pdf

It is nicely argued and has held up well in its judgements.

7

Kiwanda 01.11.17 at 2:00 am

“From Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason to Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, the hand of philosophy had traced the writing on the wall; one individual put that writing into practice, in all its details. The work of the Marquis de Sade exhibits “understanding without direction from another”—that is to say, the bourgeois subject freed from all tutelage”

“Sade demonstrated empirically what Kant grounded transcendentally”

“…writes Kant, distinguishing, not unlike Sade, between this “moral apathy” and insensibility…”

8

Raven Onthill 01.11.17 at 3:30 am

Screw the Judean People’s Front! Splitters!

9

JanieM 01.11.17 at 3:36 am

“You don’t just get to join because now you’re scared, too,” read the post. “I was born scared.”

What is this supposed to mean if not “Don’t come”? Is there more context that names something you don’t get to join that isn’t the march?

Call me whiny too if you like, but I don’t see how anyone gets off telling anyone else, in either direction, that they don’t have a right to come to the march. WTF?

10

Belle Waring 01.11.17 at 4:34 am

I forgot about moderating. Durrr. JanieM: you, hypothetical white woman, get to come to the march all you want and also talk, but maybe listen more? Plausibly the thing you join is direct political action driven by communally freaking out about our nation, if it’s the case that you weren’t freaking out before because you weren’t directly threatened. “The [Facebook] post, written by a black activist from Brooklyn who is a march volunteer, advised “white allies” to listen more and talk less. It also chided those who, it said, were only now waking up to racism because of the election. “You don’t get to join…” etc. “
1) it’s a FB post by a volunteer srsly don’t sweat it this hard white feminists
2) this is a way of saying “you know, for many people it’s been this bad and this real and this scary the whole damn time right up till now–you know what now might be better actually!–so please don’t get scared for your own self and then come step on organizing done by people who were born scared.”

11

Belle Waring 01.11.17 at 4:36 am

Notmy Real Name: but does someone have to, or is it maybe just reactionary unpleasantness which has the additional disadvantage of being false as an explanation? And honestly, if you’re willing to say ditch the trans rights and tone down the gay I don’t know why you don’t want bell hooks to shut up.

12

efcdons 01.11.17 at 7:18 am

While we figure out the direction the Democratic party needs to take moving forward it is important to listen to voices of people who have been able to get their concerns and opinions receive the attention they deserve. Figuring out what issues are or aren’t important (since it’s difficult to address all issues from all perspectives all at the same time considering the system’s limited “bandwidth” for concrete political action) is difficult. I saw a tweet from Rebecca Traister criticizing Sanders for implying during a “town hall” (apparently, he didn’t use those words but Rebecca Traister could tell what he meant) reproductive rights issues a priority in the face of concerns about inequality and economic justice. But focusing on reproductive rights over concerns about economic justice is ignoring the needs of women of color by educated white women.

Are the fault lines of the left of center going to be based on class? Or maybe age? The type of feminism the woman from SC represents might not be limited to white women as more people of color are able rise up the ladder of the meritocracy. There are going to be more people of color who are generations away from their ancestors who worked low skill, low paying jobs (just like a lot of white people). I’m sure racism will be a meaningful part of the life experience of people of color in the future, but the concerns may come to resemble the concerns of “educated white woman feminism” like being able to attain high powered positions in the work place.

trump’s win brought to the forefront the question of what is the best way to help marginalized minorities groups when we live in a quasi-democracy where certain people hold inordinate political power due to our archaic electoral system. For at least the near future it will be difficult to win national races (and impossible to win many state races) without appealing to, or at least not completely turning off, people who may not be receptive to “the right thing” how does the left of center present a message which can ultimately win elections?

13

resists classification 01.11.17 at 7:35 am

>For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ll see from commenters here a lot of argle-bargle about how caring about trans people cost Democrats the election and we need to tone down the gay, and tell bell hooks to shut the f@#k up, also, too, generally.

As a trans follower of Crooked Timber who is consistently amazed at the quality of the comments here I also hope this is the case but the comment thread on “Safe Space” (which in hindsight I should have realized would be a nightmare with regards to transfeminism going into it) was rife with outdated (and let’s be honest, at this point, completely unscientific) second-waver notions about the alleged “social problem” of “transgendered” people mixed painfully with an analogy of trans women in feminism to bourgeois participants in labour struggles. I sincerely hope we don’t have a repeat of that here but it seems the seeds may have already been sown.

In 2017 even from a vantage of pure political science I don’t see the value in Democrats broadly leaving queers behind. I suspect we already lost the people who are upset with the current state of queer progress (minimal, modulo marriage obviously) long ago and frankly from my point of view queer- and transphobic people are not who you want in the camp of your radical political struggle anyway. Especially for activist youngsters like myself, intersectionality is at worst a “why not?” and at best the animating concern for the future of radical politics.

I obviously don’t expect Crooked Timber to start blogging about queer theory or anything as drastic as that, (I can get that better from more specific sources elsewhere anyways) so it’s reassuring to have it affirmed that at least the contributors here are on our side.

14

ترول 01.11.17 at 8:50 am

Speaking as a member of at least one category whose rights Trump has explicitly and openly threatened, I’ve about had it with more-liberal-than-thou kids sanctimoniously wagging their fingers at “white” people. It’s a terrible strategy as practical politics, and not even that helpful analytically. To quote that intersectionality article linked above, “ignoring differences _within_ groups contributes to tension _among_groups”. Ms. Willis may not be a very impressive ally, but you don’t build coalitions by trying to shame people who want to join you.

15

ZM 01.11.17 at 8:53 am

“Plausibly the thing you join is direct political action driven by communally freaking out about our nation”

Does this usually happen in American Presidential elections? I feel I went to back to front land, where there was 8 years where right wing people said Obama wasn’t qualified to be President, and now it has reversed to left wing people saying Trump isn’t qualified to be President. Is this what happens at all American elections? Or is it just that at some point the electorate became this polarised? In Australia I don’t think it is this polarised. American politics makes me feel dizzy.

16

ZM 01.11.17 at 8:56 am

(Not meaning to downplay the racism over the election period, or ongoing racism since before that)

17

casmilus 01.11.17 at 10:00 am

This march won’t change anything anyway, so why not use it to “foreground” whatever you want? “Zami” by Audre Lorde is 35 years old now. Lobby for it to be a school text, it ought to be.

I haven’t seen any evidence that trans rights and gay marriage were the tipping issues for Trump voters, so toning them down wouldn’t have mattered. As someone one said, it’s the economy, stupid.

18

Hoover 01.11.17 at 11:05 am

Identity politics often turns into racism.

It seems to me the “march volunteer” quoted has prejudged the purity of ideology of these white women, and found it wanting. Even before the march, she’s found that they don’t match up to her requirements. That fits my definition of prejudice.

19

Marc 01.11.17 at 12:41 pm

I think that we’ve grown incapable of listening to one another, and it isn’t just white women or men who have this problem. The most objectionable thing here is the assumption (as noted in the article) that people can make sweeping stereotypical assumptions about what you’re like based on ethnicity (or gender).

Rather than trying to understand what others are saying, there is a tendency to assume the worst about people who disagree with you and lack empathy with them. A discomfort with a set of abrasive tactics becomes bigotry and a nostalgia for Jim Crow. The idea that we should listen to everyone is replaced with a demand that some people be silenced. And we lose elections because we antagonize people who agree with us in the service of self-righteous anger.

20

Belle Waring 01.11.17 at 2:00 pm

resists classification: I can imagine that thread being a painful read and I’m sorry about that. It was the worst part of an otherwise interesting experiment.

Everyone who wants the people, united, to never be defeated, etc.: I will say something smart about this later probably when it’s not so early and I get back from the Mayo. Except I don’t think there’s the remotest statistically probably story you can tell in which not wanting my daughter’s high school trans girl friends to be threatened with arrest if they try to pee in the girls’ bathroom, which is a totally obviously morally right thing to not want, made some dude in Pennsylvania pull the lever for Trump, and for want of an anti-trans nail blah blah blah. Like, it’s wrong and it’s also bigoted and generally just no.

21

Frank Wilhoit 01.11.17 at 2:12 pm

Speaking as a musician, it is not okay to like Adorno, no matter what he is doing.

22

JanieM 01.11.17 at 2:30 pm

My earlier comment was written late at night when I was especially cranky, but it comes out of an adult lifetime of being told what I’m supposed to be thinking and feeling by activists (following, of course, a childhood of being told what I was supoosed to be thinking and feeling by everyone, from the Pope on down). I’m beyond tired of what is described succinctly at #14 (1/11/17 @8:50 a.m.) (by someone with an uncopyable handle).

So Belle — #2 in your response to me was especially helpful in reminding me to try to hang onto some perspective when I get cranky. I might even print it and tack it on my wall. Your bigheartedness is an inspiration — maybe when you’re done at the Mayo you should think about becoming a mediator. : – )

23

Trader Joe 01.11.17 at 2:31 pm

I suppose my reaction is that the black-activist from Brooklyn has lost track of who she is protesting to, in favor of what she is protesting for. The White woman from SC most likely agrees with the concerns her Brooklyn counterpart is trying to highlight – more support vocal or not is better than less.

When I think about things like the Occupy movement, the thing that made them work was their willingness to be inclusive. The power that supresses – the people the message is targeting – is the same whether the oppression is racial, gender, economic, religious or half a dozen others.

Subdividing a cause between white and black women (for example) can only weaken both. Taken to its extreme, every person’s particular cause is their own and eventually you subdivide down to being the nut on the corner ranting alone.

24

Ebenezer Scrooge 01.11.17 at 3:02 pm

Belle seems to have two arguments here:
1. Human rights movements have a way of getting hijacked by the concerns of wealthy [insert: women, gays, African-Americans, etc.] Word. This is particularly true for campus activism and among the chattering classes. The concerns aren’t illegitimate, but–how to put it? Rich women can get raped; they cannot suffer from unaffordable childcare. This sets priorities. And it tends to marginalize social class from the discourse, since wealthy-chattering working class is kind of an oxymoron. Okay, there’s always Chris Kluwe and JD Vance.
2. Intersectionality. I’m not sure what Belle arguing here. It can be a good thing? It is always a a good thing? It is never a tool of manipulation?

25

AH 01.11.17 at 5:45 pm

Who defines who we should we listen to though? Black and Latina women are quite a diverse group. No one is arguing so we should make special time for the black women for Trump ladies. So how do we know who we should listen to?

26

Belle Waring 01.11.17 at 10:10 pm

Hoover: wow, that fits your definition of prejudice? That makes it…reverse racism. That’s deep, man.

AH: I don’t know, listen to everybody? But if they belong to a group that’s historically been seated far from the levers of power maybe listen extra because you don’t already know what they’re going to say? And if you are a member of a group that’s been running things since day 1 then, think before you talk, like, is it necessary for me to pipe up here? The reason we don’t need to make special time for the “black women for Trump ladies [sic]” is there are like nine of them. PSYCH there are ten but the real reason is that they have wrong-headed political views that can’t play any role in an anti-Trump protest movement, as I think should be obvious?

These people are all actually organizing or participating in direct political action, so, yay them. And yay to this woman in S.C. for celebrating gay marriages! Just, again, maybe she should chill out and not let what someone said on FB make her poutily refuse to enact her deeply held political beliefs about feminism?

Ebenezer Scrooge: intersectionality could be dragged into a bad-faith political argument in order to do harm but as outlined I don’t think it, definitionally, would be bad. Someone can make harmful claims that ostensibly are founded on the ideals of democracy. If by your lights that would be democracy itself being “a tool of manipulation” then sure, intersectionality could, ever, be a tool of manipulation, I won’t deny that. I don’t see it being such a one here.

Frank Wilhoit: Adorno is not such a non-classical-music-hating asshole as he is made out to be. He was in temporary exile in London while the war was still on and needed to write something to get a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation that would allow him to escape to true safety in the States. The thing he was calling “jazz” in the article generally cited was in fact the treacly songs from 30s MGM musicals. That a) wasn’t jazz and is b) mostly pretty bad. Plus you can imagine he was playing to his audience a little there, and he was in actual danger. Having said that, he was unquestionably a snob of the sort you imagine. He just wasn’t so dumb or quite so unimaginative a snob. And paradoxically he had watched a lot of MGM musicals on the way to this conclusion…

27

AH 01.11.17 at 10:22 pm

https://twitter.com/aurabogado/status/819206465529352192

Well how about this tweet where a WOC responds to Snowden calling for a defense of Chelsea Manning by saying, “This is why people of color don’t trust you.” because Snowden does not amplify plight of POC prisoners. Should Snowden shut up about Manning?

Basically, “the left” is terrified of directly confronting Adolph Reed Jr.’s arguments that identify politics are detrimental to social justice. Instead people tend to hand wave and make jokes were “lol white women” is the punch line.

28

Belle Waring 01.11.17 at 10:28 pm

WOC can be wrong about stuff, AH, schocka. I would say that identity politics are most detrimental to social justice when the identities are ones like “white nationalist.” And no, I’m not saying lol white women, I’m saying our real enemies are on the right.

29

Belle Waring 01.11.17 at 10:31 pm

What kind of policies to enact “social justice” in America would you devise that weren’t able to foundationally recognize “African-American” as an identity? When I try I just hear a weird buzzing noise. Wait, that’s a leaf-blower down the block? No, no, I was right the first time.

30

lemmy caution 01.11.17 at 10:45 pm

–And paradoxically he had watched a lot of MGM musicals on the way to this conclusion…—

“Every visit to the cinema, despite the utmost watchfulness, leaves me dumber and worse than before.”

31

mpowell 01.11.17 at 11:38 pm

Well, probably something can be learned from the Tea Party movement. What I have read is that they were very inclusive and strongly encouraged people to participate without worrying too much about viewpoints. Maybe this was easier for substantive reasons, like it’s easier to have an inclusive white nationalist movement of white people. But the left also has a reputation for being super divisive and this emphasis on intersectionality feels similar to all the old school splitting. That is never going to actually work.

32

bob mcmanus 01.12.17 at 12:19 am

The thing he was calling “jazz” in the article generally cited was in fact the treacly songs from 30s MGM musicals.

For someone with the complete Benny Goodman in his playlist them’s fighting words. Fred & Ginger? Busby Berkeley? Eleanor Powell? I’m trying to give the guy a diachronic break here and presume he isn’t disrespecting Meet Me in St Louis or On the Town or even Dubarry Was a Lady Mid-WWII were arguable the best years of Kelly and Garland, back when the country needed good clean fun. Adorno should have stuck to some philosophy from the bedroom.

PS: The original of Carousel, 1934 with Boyer, Liliom by Fritz Lang is a wonder.

(Threadjack can be deleted)

33

derrida derider 01.12.17 at 12:29 am

What mpowell said – whatever happened to the “rainbow coalition”?

And politics in the US does seem extraordinarily hyperpartisan – people of all parts of the spectrum seem to believe that anyone with a different view or concern on any particular issue must be a dyed-in-the-wool grown-old-in-sin tool of Satan. It is, of course, the Puritan influence – those Mayflower religious nutters have a lot to answer for.

34

AH 01.12.17 at 2:05 am

The clinton campaign was what convinced me Adolph Reed Jr. was right, just last year I thought he was way to hard Tim Wise types, but the Clinton used identity to cynically attack the left and now we have Trump. (Talking about “intersectionality” didn’t lose the campaign for Clinton, but it didn’t help).

I think you can see how harmful it is just from the Times article. Why are abortion and immigrant rights being put forward as if they are in some kind of conflict?

What to make of this bizarre argument?

““Yes, equal pay is an issue,” Ms. Sarsour said. “But look at the ratio of what white women get paid versus black women and Latina women.””

The implication here is that women should be less focused on equal pay. But of course equal pay policies would likely to help black and latina women even more than white women, precisely because they suffer from intersectional oppression!

But these policies are being resisted because they are coded as “white feminist”.

35

Belle Waring 01.12.17 at 2:41 am

bob this is a fair cop, but let’s just go with the 95% of everything is crap rule and remember there must be tons of drecky musicals no one ever watches anymore.

AH, any thoughts on how social justice could be advanced without acknowledging identities like “African American”? Any particulars on “The Clinton’s” incessant harping on intersectionality, which I kind of missed? Further, you have misinterpreted the argument you characterize as bizarre. The “Equal” in “Equal Pay for Equal Work” has always been understood to be “equal to men’s pay.” It’s fair for minority feminists to point out this and the fact that the ratio between white women’s pay and that of black or Latina women is similarly bad and ask, “what are we, chopped liver?” Do the white feminists blandly offer trickle-down equality at some future date or do they think about whether varying tactics and new goals may be required?

36

Gabriel 01.12.17 at 2:47 am

Black Lives Matter protesting Bernie Sanders, this nonsense – it is so very much the opposite of any idea of ‘intersectionality’. The left has never been less relevant, and instead of working to reach out and say, ‘We have differences, but they pale in comparison to those other fuckers’, we have internecine knife-fights and tribal identities that grow ever more specific. There is no future there, but people don’t seem to be fighting to win real power anymore – they would rather fight a glorious, doomed struggle and die righteous martyrs.

37

Belle Waring 01.12.17 at 3:12 am

finally AH, you think the tweet in question invites racial divisiveness into an appeal to Obama for justice for Chelsea Manning. The tweeter thinks that appeals to Obama for clemency that don’t address the racial aspect of our nation’s tragic incarceration system exclude the most obvious injustice. Perhaps neither of these things is totally wrong?

Everyone else: y’all are harshing my mellow.

38

Chris "merian" 01.12.17 at 4:12 am

Good to see a post from you!

And I agree with your take. and think (not in contradiction to you, though to some commenters, I guess) that it’s not a simple either-or that’s going on here. I’ve been thinking along those lines since I found myself on the wrong side of pretty much this very discussion yesterday.

It was about those blasted pussy hats that pretty much everyone in command of knitting needles seems to be fabricating right now for the marchers. I wouldn’t have, but a very dear friend read about them and put out a request, so I’m making some for him and his family after all. A rather intransigent Facebook friend of mine (white, techie woman in NYC) somewhat passive-aggressively inquired what the attraction is. I told her what I observed in the (overwhelmingly, though not exclusively, white and middle-class) knitting communities I hang out in. Then HER friend (African-American, avatar a “don’t whine, organize” stickers) said some disdainful things about real resistance being hard and dangerous, and my FB friend quickly sorted me into the “white pseudo-activism” pigeonhole. Which I found a little harsh, but not because I fundamentally disagree with the assessment (about the hat thing, not me). I mean, I can take it, having been on the other side of this many times about LGBT issues. Pushing the envelope is a good thing — though I’m a little insulted she thought she needed to do this with me (and overall, frankly, it’s not like my white friend’s activism is so superior to my own situation living in red-state rural America without even the right to vote…).

No, the thing I want to do better than what happened there is that I’m coming to get a little fed up with the “you’re doing activism / outrage / solidarity wrong” argument, especially when it comes from someone who could also do with a little listening. What’s happened to the left-wing educational approach to draw new women into the movement? (Actually, WOCs do initiation of new WOCs quite well. It’s white women who fall down a lot more with new white women, generalizing terribly. I accept it’s not the WOC’s job to explain racism 101 over and over.) And this approach wouldn’t imply sparing the half-baked liberal marchers the recognition of their own white, straight, male, whatever privilege. On the contrary. But if I want to change minds it’s a good idea to take people where they are. And if their perception that the world is seriously out of kilter right now comes out in knitting hats with cat ears in a fetching shade of fuchsia, well, that’s where they are, and it’s not doing any harm. Sure, there will be noise, losses and failures to communicate — the woman in your story is an example, as is a WOC who is wrong about something.

I’m not going to blast people who are right when they are assholes about it, because a a feminist, or a WOC, or a lesbian isn’t any less likely to be an asshole for it. But I wish there was more activism with a no-assholes rule – one can be right and say every single thing that needs saying without being one. (And not being an asshole goes for both sides. Any side. It’s going to be uncomfortable sometimes. That’s the nature of the thing.)

PS: I’m looking forward to Adorno and Kant. I’m rather fond of some parts of the Critique of Pure Reason, especially the passage about the billy goat.

39

Chris "merian" 01.12.17 at 4:18 am

I followed AH’s tweet, and can’t even see much wrong with @aurabogado’s point as clarified by her on request. Isn’t it a little overly sensitive to even ban the use of sarcasm and pointed formulations? Snowden, of course, is free to choose his battles, and the one she would like him to choose isn’t among them. She’s free to be disappointed in that. I don’t have to bloody side with one over the other. Her envelope-pushing is fulfilling an important, if obviously thankless, role. It’s how our opinions get better.

40

Lyle 01.12.17 at 4:55 am

Wow, how did this thread fall down so fast?

No one is telling goodhearted white women to shut up. As Belle keeps repeating, it’s instead, “Listen more.” Sheesh, that’s not difficult to understand, but for so many, it sure is difficult to even hear.

41

mclaren 01.12.17 at 5:35 am

As an older white male, what I don’t get is why every Democrat in the country isn’t in this march. Cripes, people, the women are the only people doing anything. We need five million people to swamp the Lincoln Memorial and Pennsylvania Avenue. We need to put so many progressives on the streets that the capitol police have acute embolic infarcts. Nothing else seems to work, so let’s put so many non-violently disobedient protesters on the streets and in the congressional hallways that congress can’t get any work done because no congresscritters can get to their offices. Have tens of thousands of protesters lie down on the racks of the underground subway that takes congress from their offices to the capitol building. Shut it all down. Then Republicans will know we’re serious.
If women are protesting, join ’em. If Black Lives Matters is protesting, join ’em. If PETA is protesting the Republicans, I don’t care, join ’em. The point is to do something. The Democrats I see are all gibbering about Putin and Comey. That’s not doing anything. The election is over. It’s done. Somebody in the Democratic party needs to stand up and so something to stop the Republicans. If the women are the only ones willing to actually stand up and do something, everyone else should join in.

42

ZM 01.12.17 at 5:50 am

My favorite musical comedies from the 20s and 30s are the Brittish ones starring Jessie Matthews. Especially if they have Alasdair Sim in who parodies an abstract painter here in Sailing Along ( he would have done a funny Adorno come to think of it). In terms of class Jessie Matthews’ musical comedies are less ritzy than the Fred Astaire ones, in this one she’s a barge girl who gets discovered by a tinned soup company owner.

https://youtu.be/4TKny_JMpVs

https://youtu.be/alGmHVJTCds

Are there any musical comedies from the Jazz era starring African American singers and dancers?

43

Will Stamp 01.12.17 at 6:03 am

All of the people complaining about the activist’s post, have you read comments on Crooked Timber? Or any other left blog? Ms. Rose isn’t accusing anyone of apologizing for genocide, or comparing them to Hitler, or any of the other terrible things people regularly say on this damn website. In the past week, a commenter on LGM accused someone of being a Kapo over some minor ideological disagreement.

The woman in the article was discouraged by a Facebook post written by someone she didn’t know, that wasn’t targeted at her specifically. If that’s enough to dissuade you, you were looking for an excuse.

Anyway, my parents are going to the march; I’m proud of them, as I’m fairly certain they’ve never been to a protest in their lives. I’ll be going too, and although it won’t be my first protest, it will be several orders of magnitude larger than anything I’ve been to before.

I also know a lesbian couple who will be having their wedding ceremony at said protest. I’m excited for them too.

44

alysdexia 01.12.17 at 6:06 am

nice < niais ye.

45

alysdexia 01.12.17 at 6:08 am

nice < niais < nescius := not-skilled.

y’all -> ye.

46

Bill Benzon 01.12.17 at 6:57 am

ZM, this Nicholas Brothers sequence (w/ the Cab Calloway orchestra) is from 1943:

https://youtu.be/zBb9hTyLjfM

47

casmilus 01.12.17 at 12:51 pm

Now Rod Dreher has picked up the story, hardly surprising as he pretty survives on a diet of “SJWs are destroying America” stories these days. Except on the odd occasions when he notices his own brand of pick’n’mix cultural conservative pseudo-intellectualism doesn’t mean anything to the Trump-voting masses, or even most self-identifying christians:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-lefts-identity-politics-poison/

48

dave heasman 01.12.17 at 1:33 pm

Are there any musical comedies from the Jazz era starring African American singers and dancers?

precious few (any?) until the war – and that was the end of 1941 for the US. Then we have “Cabin In The Sky” and one other that I forget.
There are black cameos in other films, – I remember Hellzapoppin that has Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons, and there are some Lena Horne and Ethel Waters appearances, but they were excised for showing below the Mason-Dixon line.

49

Hoover 01.12.17 at 3:13 pm

Hi Belle,

You said: “wow, that fits your definition of prejudice?”

Yes. Excluding somebody on the basis of a poorly-founded belief that one knows their intentions is prejudice by my definition of prejudice. In your view, is my definition incorrect?

“That makes it…reverse racism. That’s deep, man.”

I don’t think it’s particularly deep. Not everything has to be deep to be right. Why the sarcasm?

50

soru 01.12.17 at 3:29 pm

> No one is telling goodhearted white women to shut up. As Belle keeps repeating, it’s instead, “Listen more.”

When dealing with material reality, two competing demands for ‘more’ can be reconciled by continuing economic and technological development; that’s why the most general name for the movement is called ‘progressive’.

When dealing with an attention economy like the internet, or national media, that is not the case; more for A inherently does mean less for B. Demanding top billing is demanding your co-star comes after you in the credits. In that context, to ask someone to ‘listen more’ really is equivalent to telling them to shut up.

Now, some people (naming no names), telling them to shut up is entirely justified. And if not justified, forgivable. But as far as I know, ‘Ms. Willis, a 50-year-old wedding minister from South Carolina’, had never before spoken on the national stage. So you can hardly be legitimately tired of her voice.

I think this is a reality a lot of progressives don’t get yet, and really will need to learn to adjust to if we hope to repeat pre-internet successes.

51

Kiwanda 01.12.17 at 4:50 pm

LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant will not be attending the march, because “the sense of betrayal white women have expressed in the post-election season is at best disingenuous, since we cannot say enough about the ways they turned out at the polls,” and because, as she wrote earlier, she is “also thrilled about how this moment might signal an end to the dangerous, disingenuous version of feminism that so many (though not all) of you embrace, and which promotes white women’s success over and against anyone else,” and “By all means, use whatever mechanism you require to move through the stages of grief as you bury your false idol of faux feminist solidarity. You must now do the intensive work to heal your troubled soul. And after you have come to terms with your own guilt, embarrassment, and pain, I encourage you to run with your newfound perspective.”

Another march-non-attendee Kali Holliway, as she refused any empathy for poor whites, said “If you’re a white woman, I’m going to need a little more accountability for what happened Tuesday, because 53 percent of you voted for white supremacy over gender equality.”

Candice Huber, also not attending, was among those who wondered if the leadership members who are women of color were figureheads, and who said “White feminists charge forward, trampling on women of color along the way, appropriating their history when it’s convenient and taking their tokens out of the box for statements only when they further the white feminist agenda.”

Brittany Oliver, not a march supporter,
called out earlier iterations of the march name as protest appropriation, noted that Trump won among white women 327-211 in the electoral college, and said that “feminists should not be speaking for Black women or women of color unless asked to do so because that is what allyship looks like”, and that “This is the perfect example of how white supremacy disguised as white feminism can be incredibly damaging to Black bodies, Black culture and Black herstory. “

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AH 01.12.17 at 4:55 pm

“AH, any thoughts on how social justice could be advanced without acknowledging identities like “African American”?”

Acknowledging identities is fine, making identity based moralism the basis of your politics is disastrous.

“Do the white feminists blandly offer trickle-down equality at some future date or do they think about whether varying tactics and new goals may be required?”

Characterizing a program that would help all women achieve a fair ways as “trickle-down equality” is a good example of the kind of horrible politics I am talking about. Women of color have a larger wage gap than white women, if the wage gap was closed they would be helped more. No need for a fight!

“The tweeter thinks that appeals to Obama for clemency that don’t address the racial aspect of our nation’s tragic incarceration system exclude the most obvious injustice. Perhaps neither of these things is totally wrong?”

Yes, but the tweeter starts from a position of claiming snowden is morally suspect. It’s impossible to have a discussion in this environment.

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Belle Waring 01.12.17 at 5:08 pm

soru I’m not telling this lady from the S to the C to shut up. I’m saying if she bought tickets to take her daughters to an important political march she shouldn’t pout at home because someone she doesn’t know hurt her feelings on FB. And saying to her: ‘listen more,’ means just, ‘try to see where this person is coming from, and if you make no headway, then how about you ignore her and go to the march anyway,’ doesn’t imply some complicated reputational, mental-scarcity economy way of telling her to shut up, either. It’s still just plain old listen more.

Chris “merian” and mclaren: good points. And there’s nothing wrong with hats.

54

Belle Waring 01.12.17 at 5:48 pm

“Characterizing a program that would help all women achieve a fair ways as “trickle-down equality” is a good example of the kind of horrible politics I am talking about. Women of color have a larger wage gap than white women, if the wage gap was closed they would be helped more.”

This borders on question-begging. WOC would be helped more if and only if the wage gap (almost equally large as the m/f) between white and minority women was closed at the same time as the gap between the wages of women and men generally, but why would that happen, if no one tried to make it happen? And what is the first step towards solving problems, if it is not, pointing out that the problems exist? I think you’re hostile to my position in such an entrenched way that we have probably said everything useful on the topic. to one another. I’m glad you concede the tweeter quoted upthread has a point, even if you think her inflammatory and unhelpful.

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AH 01.12.17 at 7:03 pm

I’ll just offer the history of medicare and desegregation in the south as a counter example.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/07/30/desegregation-the-hidden-legacy-of-medicare

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Pavel 01.12.17 at 8:31 pm

@Kiwanda,
““If you’re a white woman, I’m going to need a little more accountability for what happened Tuesday, because 53 percent of you voted for white supremacy over gender equality.”
“called out earlier iterations of the march name as protest appropriation, noted that Trump won among white women 327-211 in the electoral college, …”

The number of white women who voted for Trump is truly appalling (and not fully explained by patriarchy in the household, as far as I understand). However, it leads to the interesting question of whether members of a group that they effectively have no control over are responsible for all other members of that group (and to what extent)? This is kind of a serious problem given how it feeds into narratives of collective guilt and responsibility.

If it is indeed the case that members of a group (and in this case, a group that they did not necessarily choose to be a part of) are responsible to some significant extent for the action of other member, it leads to a variety of shitty conclusions. For example, we could end up holding all members of certain religious groups (i.e. Muslims) responsible for the undesirable actions of other totally unrelated members.

If not, then this is a pretty nonsense reason to sit out the march. From what I understand, the march is meant to emphasize general and shared concerns of feminists in the context of a Trump presidency, not the specific concerns of PoC feminists exclusively. PoC feminists could make the argument that the kind of feminism on display at these rallies doesn’t represent them in any significant way, but I don’t think that that holds up even if the various movements diverge in emphasis. There are far more grounds for commonality than divergence.

@Waring
“And saying to her: ‘listen more,’ means just, ‘try to see where this person is coming from…”
I don’t think that “listen more” is the precise language that was used. I also agree that the lady from SC just needs to show the f*ck up, but internal hostility and endlessly questioning people’s motives and credentials is just the kind of exploitable paranoia that drives movements apart. The Cheka/NKVD used it to great effect amongst White Emigres in the post-Revolution period in Paris, and the CIA used it in a variety of ways to undermine leftist movements in Europe in the post-war period. I’m not even making the argument that any external agent provocateurs are involved here, just that this level of bickering is pretty destructive.

“This borders on question-begging. WOC would be helped more if and only if the wage gap (almost equally large as the m/f) between white and minority women was closed at the same time as the gap between the wages of women and men generally, but why would that happen, if no one tried to make it happen? “

Historically, equality and social justice do not seem to proceed in entirely homogenous waves (i.e. suffrage, property ownership, equality before the law, etc). Why should this be any different? I’m not implying that it shouldn’t proceed in a different manner in an ideal world but unfortunately society swallows little bits of progress at a time, and only while kicking and screaming like a spoiled child. If it’s easier to convince men in the US to stop raping white women first, and then extend that “courtesy” to PoC women (I’m horrified that I typed this out btw), then that’s not an avenue that should be discarded because it’s not moving at precisely the rate you’d like. I’m also aware of how much this sounds like “trickle down justice” (as you’ve mentioned), but where does the line between pragmatism and idealism lie in this case? It seems like we’ve swung too far towards one end…

Note: I’m a white, non-American hetero male. Take all my arguments as being purely intellectual in nature. They lack the experiences of any of the people actually involved in these struggles and can be validly criticized on that basis.

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Chris "merian" 01.12.17 at 9:13 pm

Re AH: Yeah, no. We can’t, or at least mustn’t do this, to colonize our own movements by telling those who are more marginalized what they should be caring about. The whole “but they’re voting/advocating against their own interest!”argument must die. Everyone (except opportunists and manipulators) always votes and advocated in one’s perceived best interest. If you want to make the point that something else is what should be at the top of the list of priorities then make the most persuasive argument you have, and then listen to your interlocutor making her point and adjust yours, but for $DEITY’s sake don’t presume you understand what’s important for the other person better than they do. And don’t be too thin-skinned — I care a good deal about women in tech and STEM disciplines and academia in general, but that doesn’t mean I feel blown off and get all defensive if someone tries to pin me down on not doing enough on criminal justice or homelessness.

Re: Kiwanda, I am not sure if you are posting this list as examples of admirable arguments or reprehensible ones. Explicit is better than implicit, as the saying goes. (How do you know Kali Holliway won’t attend the march? The piece you quote is from election week and has nothing to do with marchers.) Brittany Oliver, well, you quote her quite selectively. She also says: “[M]any people have contacted me wanting guidance on whether or not they should attend, so let’s get to it. The answer is quite simple.. If you want to go, you should go. If you don’t want to go, you shouldn’t. Make whatever decision you’d like, which is something I’ve advocated for since the very beginning. However, after the marches are over, what I’d like for people to do ask is to seriously consider the following questions: [read the rest here]” Heck, I, too, feel angry at and betrayed by white women in that last election. Doesn’t mean that I feel angry at and betrayed by any particular white woman who voted for Clinton and wants to go to the march.

Re: both, maybe it’s a good idea to have actual discussions about these things — you know, the type where your goal isn’t to win or to convince the other, but to improve your own position. It’s quite a strong argument for plurality of political opinion.

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bob mcmanus 01.12.17 at 9:16 pm

However, it leads to the interesting question of whether members of a group that they effectively have no control over are responsible for all other members of that group (and to what extent)?

Uh no. The Big Sort is to a large degree about young men and women in flyover country getting educations and moving to the coasts or bigger cities. It isn’t that they have no control, they abandoned and surrendered the possibility of direct influence over large sections of white working class women. They are not going to convert women in Peoria to feminism from the comforts of Manhattan.

“Just listen” is interestingly in the form of a command. These days, people who command at least believe they have the right to do so.

Black women/WoC delivered their base, so much so that it is hard to find any black woman who voted Republican. To me, that does give them the right to command.

But maybe not the older ones, the Neera Tandens and Donna Braziles, for whom I still hold a grudge. But Democratic Women of Color (1) in my opinion should be given everything, the full reins of power and positions of responsibility, and the rest of us should not merely STFU and listen, but follow and obey. (2) (3)

1) There are enough varieties to find something tolerable.

2) “Especially…” clause omitted for civility

3) For a while, just a little while

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Chris "merian" 01.12.17 at 9:39 pm

@Pavel:

I don’t think that “listen more” is the precise language that was used.

Well, right after your comment came one that shows that it was.

I also agree that the lady from SC just needs to show the f*ck up, but internal hostility and endlessly questioning people’s motives and credentials is just the kind of exploitable paranoia that drives movements apart.

The last bit is something I overall disagree. Not that I relish hostility (see my “no assholes activism” point above), but overall it’s the opposite thing that weakens movements: the silencing of the more radical voices. The “exploitable paranoia” can be defanged by growing up a little bit and not getting all wobbly when someone who’s new to that stuff, or who’s used to relative privilege, is throwing a tantrum. I’m not going to tell the more exploited and marginalized among us to go to the back of the line. That would be reproducing the very structures we combat when we demand that men don’t ask women to go to the back of the line. I’ll happily make whatever small contribution I can to building a culture in which it’s a given that we don’t do that and familiarize newcomers with that expectation.

60

Z 01.13.17 at 1:25 pm

Typical CT thread: everybody jumps on details and miss the big picture, which is (you ask) that Belle re-read Harry Potter of course! So what did you make of it this time? (I just completed a re-read of 3,5,6 and 7 myself with my children and I think it holds up really quite well though Order of the Phoenix really is much too long). I am no fan of The Cursed Child as a book; much too fan-fictionish for my taste.

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roger gathmann 01.13.17 at 8:56 pm

Nice shout out for the march. Added bonus is that Joan Walsh – not my favorite talking head, but who cares – has quietly addressed the uberstupid Jonathan Chait, who thought that men couldn’t march cause it was a girlie thing and if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be called Women’s March but something good and serious like Centrist Liberals who are against PC just like you Mr. and Mrs. America march, and is so sad that it isn’t. She also addressed the surprising Josh Marshall, who has happily recovered from sharing his porno interests on twitter to ask why it is not called the Men are invited and we love them and cherish them every drop of them especially when they are straight and love the girl girl stuff march. Here’s a bit of twitter fun:

Jonathan Chait ‏@jonathanchait 22h22 hours ago
Jonathan Chait Retweeted Joan Walsh
For men misinformed by its poorly-chosen name, the Women’s March is for ALL anti-Trump Americans. Please attend!Jonathan Chait added,
Joan Walsh @joanwalsh
@jonathanchait Well, now you can use your platform to let men know they’re welcome. Simple.
139 replies 238 retweets 490 likes
Reply 139 Retweet 238
Like 490
More
User Actions
Follow

Emily Nahmanson
‏@fempathizer
For Women misinformed by the poorly-chosen language “all men are created equal” is for ALL Americans @jonathanchait @joanwalsh

62

Alato 01.13.17 at 11:31 pm

@Bob- Stating “It isn’t that they have no control, they abandoned and surrendered the possibility of direct influence over large sections of white working class women.” is very much assigning responsibility to an entire group of people based on a narrative about a few of them. Anthropomorphizing groups makes for easy mental models, but very poor ethics- and worse, because it invites punishment of innocents. So yeah, a lot of white women voted for Trump, but that doesn’t mean that any particular white woman is responsible for him in power simply because she is a white woman. I really don’t see a ‘they’ here, besides as a convenient device for running statistics.

I think the issue is that if you want a large movement, based on an ethical argument, it has to be rhetorically structured so that every move towards the ‘right’ side gets a person less opprobrium. So what is getting gestured at above seems to be the hurdle where-in a new recruit to a cause, having finally made the jump to ‘yes this is wrong and I’d like to help fix it’, gets substantially more heat than they did before they engaged at all. “[D]on’t presume you understand what’s important for the other person better than they do” goes both ways.

This sort of thing seems like a social hurdle to joining a group, the same way as initiation rituals and things like that, but the whole point of those rituals is to keep the group small and separate from the larger world. So yeah, I think pride in being part of a group leads people to try and make the joiners prove themselves, and I think a lot of joiners fail at that hurdle and leave, taking up a position opposite the group to a greater or lesser degree. (‘They don’t want me to be a part of this? Fine! I didn’t want to anyways!)

The hardest thing I’ve run into while attempting to do my own persuading in the red parts of the country is treating every new person as if they are new. It is so, so easy to hear a catchphrase from someone and immediately assume they are going to say the same thing the last 10 people who started with that catch phrase said. (Similarly, exhaustion trying to give every new person the benefit of the doubt this drives ‘It’s not my job to teach you about racism! Educate your own self!’ to a very large degree, I suspect.) But people DO NOT JOIN if you do not give them the benefit of the doubt.

So… I think everyone should go to the march. I think WOC should be in the front ranks and leadership. But I think that a colder, more manipulative attitude towards newcomers and fair weather friends would be very useful: Is a person useful to advance the issues I care about? Use them. Don’t burn useful tools because they aren’t allies, but don’t let them near running the show until they demonstrate they are allies.

63

ZM 01.14.17 at 1:08 am

Bill Benzon and dave heasman,

Thanks for the recommendations — that Nicholas Brothers sequence is really great :-)

***

I think one issue is that black women might identify as belong to 2 disadvantaged communities, black people, and women. I would say that black people are probably the more disadvantaged community, compared to women. I suppose they also might identify with the working class or lower income community of people too depending on their income.

In that sense they have two communities of relative disadvantage that they might choose to objectively identify as belonging to, that also include men.

White middle/upper class women on the other hand can mostly identify as being disadvantaged due to being female, although they can be allies of other groups who suffer disadvantage in other areas.

I think this is the main difference, not about who the individual white women voted for as Chris (merian) says “Heck, I, too, feel angry at and betrayed by white women in that last election. Doesn’t mean that I feel angry at and betrayed by any particular white woman who voted for Clinton and wants to go to the march.”

Its not who they voted for, its that they don’t suffer the same degree of structural disadvantage as black working class women, and the black women may identify being black as the stronger structural disadvantage, which applies to black men as well, meaning that the feminist view point seeing gender as the essential category of disadvantage becomes complicated.

64

F. Foundling 01.14.17 at 12:10 pm

Doubling down on all the divisive identity-based rhetoric, I see. Establishing and scuffling over the pecking order in ‘reversed’, ‘compensatory’ identity/victimhood-based privilege hierarchies that nobody who is truly committed to equality, freedom or rational discourse would want to have any business with. ‘Talking less’, nay, ‘drowning’ to satisfy those lusting for ‘compensatory’ domination. All of this will only hurt the cause of equality or freedom – both by producing splits and alienating potential supporters and by ensuring an authoritarian result in case of success – but who cares about all that anyway; scuffling for domination is the real point of the endeavour, and BDSM is always fun.

I would have stopped here, but 58 is so, umm, interesting in so many ways that I just can’t resist the temptation. Everyone always acts solely based on what’s best for themselves (!) *; everyone also always knows best what’s best for themselves (!!); but we can still convince other people to change the way they are acting (???). I’m sure the response will be that this is in no way a sensible reading of the formulations as they stand. I promise that I won’t be objecting to any corrections of my malicious misreadings, since this will be my only comment on this thread anyway. :) I would, of course, love nothing more than to spend every waking second in delightful bickering in the distinguished company of CT commenters, but – alas, duty calls!

* Except for bad people, who are apparently altruists.

65

Belle Waring 01.14.17 at 8:15 pm

Perhaps altruism is the real reason you’re not commenting again!

66

Collin Street 01.14.17 at 10:02 pm

Why did you even let FF’s turd of a post through, Belle? It’s grotesquely wrong[1], and also hyper-aggressive in denying anybody the ability to meaningfully respond; there’s not a single thing we can learn from it, and there’s nothing FF is willing to learn from us.

[1] Text: “Everyone (except opportunists and manipulators) always votes and advocated in one’s perceived best interest.”
Reading: “everyone also always knows best what’s best for themselves”.

67

Pavel 01.15.17 at 5:07 am

@bob mcmanus

“Black women/WoC delivered their base, so much so that it is hard to find any black woman who voted Republican. To me, that does give them the right to command.”

I agree that black voters have been by far the most exemplary group in this election, but I think I can disagree about some of the assumptions about why that is.

The basis of my disagreement is that given the gradient of racism in America (by that I mean that the darker you are, the more you are discriminated against), black voters stand to lose the most when electing an outright racist and are the more likely to feel the effects of racism. This means that they’re more likely to vote against racism as a group, so I don’t think you can ascribe the vast majority of their voter outcome to PoC feminists. Turnout and votes for Hillary in Latinx communities was lower, supporting my position that PoC men and women in these communities voted as a block and largely voted along the racism gradient.

My other point of disagreement is on the notion that white feminists have abdicated anything. Yes, they have left a number of rural or exurban areas, but in many cases that was motivated by self-preservation, employment or education, none of which imply abdication in the formal sense. They left because that’s what any rational liberal/feminist or proto-feminist would do. Without leaving, they may never have become liberal/feminist in the first place.

To a certain extent, white feminists are fighting a somewhat more uphill battle, apart from their lack of geographical co-location. Whereas PoCs/WoCs typically don’t have anything to gain by identifying with racist/patriarchal structures, white women do have quite a bit to gain from both. It’s a bit more complicated to argue through that additional level of tangible self-interest.

@Alato

“I think the issue is that if you want a large movement, based on an ethical argument, it has to be rhetorically structured so that every move towards the ‘right’ side gets a person less opprobrium.”

I agree strongly with this. Instead of just HTFU (“Harden the F*ck Up”), movements like these may need to have a better sense of the incentives that draw people further into the movement. While some people may have a thicker skin or understand where the internal hostility is coming from, this isn’t going to be available to the vast majority of people who are new to a social justice movement. If you want more recruits, figure out how to draw them in and keep them incentivized toward better behaviour and greater understanding of the plight of the groups they’re trying to assist. HTFU always sounds a bit like “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”.

68

engels 01.15.17 at 2:27 pm

“Safe Space” (which in hindsight I should have realized would be a nightmare with regards to transfeminism going into it) was rife with outdated (and let’s be honest, at this point, completely unscientific) second-waver notions about the alleged “social problem” of “transgendered” people mixed painfully with an analogy of trans women in feminism to bourgeois participants in labour struggles

Since I was the one who drew that analogy (as a parenthetical aside, if memory serves), for the record I was trying to argue AGAINST the (possibly transphobic) opinion several other commenters had voiced that trans women should be excluded from feminism. So they weren’t ‘mixed’ but entirely opposed.

It was based on the premises that (a) trans women are women who were born male and (b) feminism is a movement for self-emancipation of women from male domination. I appreciate neither were universally shared and I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

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engels 01.15.17 at 2:35 pm

Also for the record it was ‘workers of bourgeois origins’, not ‘bourgeois participants’ (they would be analogous to men)…

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Igor Belanov 01.15.17 at 8:02 pm

Collin Street @ 67

“Why did you even let FF’s turd of a post through, Belle?”

Yes, because what this blog really needs are commenters cheerleading for censorship.

He said nothing racist, offensive or abusive. Living in a bubble might make you feel better, but it will do little to change anything.

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Belle Waring 01.15.17 at 9:54 pm

Eh I’m a moderator slut.

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