A spinster aunt cannot advise being offensive without a honkin’ big bowl of ratatouille with saffron rice.
As a consequence of my having been but a sporadic reader of Blac(k)ademic—a progressive blog on race, feminism and queer studies—Bitch | Lab has taken the opportunity to point out that I Blame The Patriarchy is offensive to women of color. Her remarks are here.
What she says about the Blog As Infinite Oeuvre interests me strangely. To wit:
“[Nubian] was speaking to a discussion thatâ€™s been going on among Women of Color bloggers and assuming, as many of us do, that people who were familiar with the discussions would understand what she was saying without elaboration.”
The idea that blog entries are not stand-alone essays, but may in fact depend on not just the whole rest of the blog, but on whole clumps of blogs for context, is one behind which I have occasionally taken refuge without entirely thinking it through.
The consequence of viewing, whether consciously or no, a blog as an open-ended work-in-progress, wherein all previous entries are to be construed as prerequisites, or possibly an indoctrination, to an acceptable level of comprehension of the post under review, is that the reader must have an uncommon dedication to the work of the blogger in question. If the reader is but an occasional visitor, she is liable to perceive the clevah verbiage du jour through the narrowed eyes of what Burke called “just prejudice” and interpret it, god forbid, at face value, without the benefit of months or years of implied blog-specific allusions, subtexts, in-jokes, and lexicons .
This methodology strikes me, upon reflection, as lazy, but in the end I can do naught but condone it, since a spinster aunt, despite her giant brain, is nothing if not indolent. Still, the gambit is hazardous. It may lead, for example, to the random or intermittent reader who encounters a post about the Korean government’s subsidy of Chinese bride-pimping only to conclude that its author is a racist assbag with an abiding conviction that all Koreans are ugly rednecks.
Such a conclusion may strike the author as pretty comical, but then again, the author has made certain erroneous assumptions about the reader’s intimacy with the blogular oeuvre. If she were a better writer her essay would require no previous apprenticeship. But as it stands, the thing has no expository preamble. It fails to alert the reader that, because the author does not consider it justifiable, even for Koreans, to purchase Chinese women for slave labor, she is exercising some poetic license in describing those who indulge in this practice as undesirable fucktards. Another idea that the nonextant preamble might address is that the author’s unflattering remarks about unmarriagable Korean farmers should be construed as a negative pronouncement on the overall physical beauty and intellectual sophistication of Koreans as a class only by those who wish to see malignancy where mere satire exists. In relying on the previously-established spirit of the blog to imply a general lack of racist enmity towards Koreans, the author is clearly bringing this unpleasantness on herself. No surprises there. White chicks, to paraphrase Nubian somewhat, are fucked up.
Bitch | Lab is for social justice, and she stops short of calling me a racist. Still, I’d like to meet the white chick who writes pretty ceaselessly about the violence wrought by the dominant culture, yet who isn’t accused, at least once a month, of racism. I won’t hold my breath. White chicks are, after all, beneficiaries of racism—automatic racists, whether we like it or not— and essentialism prevents us from being trusted, understandably, by black chicks. That our racism is also pointed out fairly often by those “good” honkys who “get” race is pretty good for a laugh. Of course, I don’t really trust white people, either.
Bitch | Lab does aver that I Blame The Patriarchy is exclusively concerned with what she calls “breeders*” and “whether to take your husband’s name.**” She further declares, and I agree, that there is more to fighting The Man than that. Do I see white chick liberation, she wants to know, as connected to that of women of color?
Yipes. We’re women, aren’t we?
For interested parties, I have provided, for the past year, a synopsis of my personal feministo-blogular views in the FAQ, with which FAQ I always implore (to little avail) visitors to familiarize themselves prior to tackling the blog proper. The synopsis, if you’ll forgive me the presumption of quoting myself, goes a little something like this:
“My views are centered on evidence that patriarchy is a violently tyrannical but nearly invisible social order based on an oppressive paradigm of dominance and submission fetishizing class and status. Patriarchyâ€™s benefits are accrued according to a rigid hierarchy at the top of which are rich honky males and at the bottom of which are poor women of color. The Twisty Revolution envisions a post-patriarchal order free of theocracy, gender, race, marriage, prostitution, exploitation, reproduction, caste, pornography, rape, and government interference in private uteruses, domestic arrangements, drug habits, lives, and deaths.”
While I disagree with Bitch | Lab’s characterization of this blog as suffering from quite such a narrow scope as one of breedering and surnames (she neglects to mention the divers photographs of my dinners, for instance, or the time I flipped off Lance Armstrong), I do concur, as should be evidenced by the afore-quoted blogifesto, that patriarchy-blaming can and should be approached from numerous angles. Racism’s intersection with misogyny, unlike math, is hard. I do not pooh-pooh writers who choose to focus on such aspects of the evils of white supremacy that fall within their area of expertise, even if this expertise has nothing to do with tiny handbags. In fact, I hold these writers, when they can actually write, in high regard. If that’s not good enough, please bite off my left one and feed it to the dingoes.
Because although it’s not a free country, it’s still free enough that everyone is welcome to read whatever modicum of the blog will satisfy their desire to be offended.
* I discourage breeding of every kind
** To the best of my recollection I have never written Word One on whether women should change their names when they get married. Although, now that she mentions it, of course they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t get married, period!