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Mar 28 2006

Repeat Offender


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 that’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. Patriarchy’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!

159 comments

1 ping

  1. Ms Kate

    Well, hey. I think it’s classist that you are managing to have cancer and not lose your house, racist that you are white, elitist that you like good food and cars, etc.

    So the fuck what? The problem isn’t your speaking your mind, the problem is people who seem to think there is some basic “test” of “marginalized status” one must pass in order to say anything valid. I tend to throw such people in with the “must be Christian or else” crowd because their dogmatic and rigid approach to orthodoxy is just as fasciest, in the most skin deep meaning of the word. Just look at what happened when HipMama went doubleplusungood.

    It’ ain’t just blaming the Patriarchy here … its blaming ANYBODY’S patriarchy, including those who like to sling mud rather than grow new things in compost.

  2. Sylvanite

    One doesn’t have to read very many posts here to realize that La Twisty is against breedering and marriage. However, I’ve been an avid reader of IBTP for quite a while now, so am somewhat biased, I suppose. However, I do think I should maybe spend some time at Blac(k)ademic. I’m sure to learn new things.

  3. Kelda

    Heh. As a rural person I read that entry and went ‘OMG Twisty hates all farmers’. Then I went ‘that’s daft that is’. But then again I’m so white you can see my veins, so I can’t possibly comment.

  4. Pony

    Twisty isn’t going to stay read if she’s all over the map. She knows that. She’s a writer. Those who demand this blog, or any, be all things to all feminists, are misguided, and don’t understand what it takes to be a catalyst for change using the written word.

  5. Kelley

    I guess reading the instructions helpfully provided in the FAQ page was out of the question?

    If all else fails, people, read the frickin’ instructions!!

  6. CGG

    It’s insane to expect any blog to be all things to all people. You can’t be expected to speak for every woman on the plant. A blogger can only blog about their own experiences and views, even on a topical blog like this one. Trying to be otherwise would result in a loss of authenticity.

  7. Crys_T

    To be fair, I don’t think that Nubian was trying to say that white bloggers should be trying to turn themselves into voices for people of colour. What I got was that she was frustrated at the lack of interest & participation in blogs run by people of colour on the part of white progressives. Which is true. One of her points was that whites only pay attention to bloggers of colour when they write about examples of white racism. When the topic is one that specifically concerns people of colour, whites rarely bother reading. Which is also true.

    I did not at all have the impression that she was requiring any bloggers to be all things to all people.

    Bitch|Lab’s comments were quite a different story. Why she is trying to paint Twisty as pretty much an out-&-out racist only she truly knows, but my nasty cynical mind tells me it has more to do with Twisty’s attitudes towards the Topic Which Must Not Be Named than with anything connected to Korean farmers. But that’s just me (I cannot stress enough).

    Which of course in no way means that those of us who regularly read and/or post here ought to feel we can blow this off. Women of colour have been telling us openly and constantly that we don’t listen for, what, at LEAST 40 years now. It’s long past time we stopped making excuses for why we can’t be bothered and just fucking did it.

  8. Violet Socks

    O my fucking taco. Is Bitch|Lab actually calling Twisty out for not being truly feminist? Well, I suppose that’s one way to get attention.

  9. Ms Kate

    Women of colour have been telling us openly and constantly that we don’t listen for, what, at LEAST 40 years now. It’s long past time we stopped making excuses for why we can’t be bothered and just fucking did it.

    That makes sense on the face of it but, as a white-poverty trailer trash academic, I have found some women of color to be openly hostile to the concept that much of what they decry as marginalization due to race and gender is really marginalization due to class culture and gender. In other words, what they talk about honestly speaks to my experience of my life, but I can’t bring that up because I’m and educated and white and therefore I can’t possibly understand or relate by definition. Black students I know who do understand that academic hurdles are not so simple as gender or race alone seem to share my frustration, because such divides only serve the conquerers.

    Some listening is due on both sides and within each side when blaming the patriarchy.

  10. weeza

    I had the privilege of hearing Linda Bellos speak a week or so ago. Hearing her talk about feminism with the perspective of a black woman opened my eyes to how truly ignorant I am about black feminist issues. Reading Twisty for the first time a few months ago opened my eyes to how truly ignorant I am about feminist issues in general. I’m sure reading Blackademic (which I will, now I know about it, thanks to Twisty) will greatly extend my blaming capability. I salute you all and wish you and Twisty the best of taco-consuming health.

  11. finnsmotel

    Maybe I have a one-track mind (read: incapable of multiple thought processes), but…

    Isn’t this discussion on patriarchy, feminism, racism, etc. another of the damned if you do, damned if you don’t dilemmas?

    I’m a soon-to-be-40 white guy.

    If I do post on a feminist blog, I get flamed directly.

    If I don’t post on a feminist blog, I get flamed indirectly for not participating in the discussion.

    Similarly, if I created a blog and did include information about racism, being white, I most certainly would be flamed for not being part of the marginalized group to which i was referring. My opinions would likely be, perhaps correctly, discredited.

    If I, and others like me, avoid these same discussions, it’s said that white people are generally uninterested in discussions on racial issues.

    Personally, I feel like it’s lazy analysis to automatically dump anyone in a category without giving them the benefit of having their say and telling their story. So, if you come to a blog of the quality of IBTP and you find fault in a single post and use that fault to throw the entire puppy out with the bathwater (don’t want to get the baby thing started), I think you may have missed the point and you certainly have mischaracterized the intent of the author. And, yes, I know that’s a run-on sentence, but I think you know what I mean.

    -finn

  12. Puffin

    Ugh, Bitch Lab is getting play here? Why? I mean, really, Bitch Lab??? She’s all over feminist internet blogs with her stamps of approval/disapproval and I’ve always sort-of been reminded of the kid in junior high who wasn’t really a part of the subversive clique but dyed his hair purple and wore a Ramones t-shirt and talked a whole lotta crap about all the jocks because he thought that would make him belong to *something*. But really it was just sad and everyone was like, “Dude, you so need to chill.”

  13. stekatz

    You know, I thought a man might post in response to this. One of the first things in my mind while I was reading it was, “Well, this is kind of like how women’s issues rarely make it into men’s blogs, and some forward thinking men are pretty confused about what to do about it.”

    I just don’t know, outwardly white as I am. I read blogs and other websites about people of color (Black Commentator is a good one), but to be honest, I just don’t feel like I have anything to say. It’s hard to know where to plug in.

    I also come from the mindset of butt out. I respond here because, as a woman, I get it. I probably would not respond to a post about the direct experiences of women of color because I cannot get it. I didn’t grow up as a woman of color. Sometimes I stay silent because I feel it’s just none of my business, and I would have little if anything to add. I can empathize and increase my awareness. However, I can never really comment on that specific experience. I have no ownersip of that expericence. I can only own my own white female experience.

    For example, you all know that VERY SPECIFIC nausea that you get in the pit of your stomach when you hear about a rape. It’s a feeling men just don’t experience. No one’s fault. It’s just the way it is. It’s based on a female experience. I imagine that when black people saw the photos of all those people stranded at the SuperDome, most of them had very similar responses to those images. I’m sure my response to those images was quite different.

  14. stekatz

    Dang. Now that I read that, it sounds totally not how I meant it. I think that’s a sign that I need to get off the computer and get to work. Pay no attention to me.

  15. Ledasmom

    My first response to this post was to try to remember whether it was, in fact, your left one that was no longer vulnerable in any way to being bitten off and fed to dingos. I blame the patriarchy for my trivia-oriented mind.

  16. winna

    I tend to agree with Crys_T about the source of the Labs comment.

  17. Hattie

    It’s the communication that’s so important. All the voices get to speak here. Sometimes it takes a while to get heard, but that’s no reason to pack up your marbles and go home. It’s wearing, I know. I get worn out by the way people regard old women like me. But I refuse to act young. Don’t expect me to take up skydiving.
    I’m in the midst of reading Octavia Butler’s *Lilith’s Brood.* I was sad to hear that she died last month in Seattle when she tripped and fell on a patch of ice and hit her head. She was 58. I originally typoed “feel on a patch of eyes.” If you read her book, you’ll understand why.
    I took a lit course a while ago. We read *Paradise.* The biggest critics were white women who claimed that Morrison was unfair to black men, that the book was poorly written and she could get it published only because she was famous, etc. I read *Paradise* five times. I made a map of the town and wrote biographies of all the characters. I had that much trouble understanding it, though it moved me very much the first time I read it. But I had to study it.
    *Moby- Dick* isn’t a good read. *The Sound and the Fury* isn’t a good read. Things are not clear-cut in literature or in life.The older I get, the more I know this to be true.

  18. Burrow Klown

    I’m going to have to agree with Crys_T too. It seems that any feminist who blogs against that which cannot be named or porn is someone she feels the need to attack.

  19. Twisty

    Y’all are talkin’ about BDSM? I thought you meant bonobos!

  20. Chris Clarke

    I’m a soon-to-be-40 white guy.

    If I do post on a feminist blog, I get flamed directly.

    Speaking as a 46 year old white guy. I think you’re missing a point there.

  21. Violet Socks

    Puffin nails it:

    Ugh, Bitch Lab is getting play here? Why? I mean, really, Bitch Lab??? She’s all over feminist internet blogs with her stamps of approval/disapproval and I’ve always sort-of been reminded of the kid in junior high who wasn’t really a part of the subversive clique but dyed his hair purple and wore a Ramones t-shirt and talked a whole lotta crap about all the jocks because he thought that would make him belong to *something*. But really it was just sad and everyone was like, “Dude, you so need to chill.”

    Sorry, I just had to quote the whole comment because it’s so fucking perfect.

  22. aldahlia

    Hrm. I was Bitch|Lab’s least favorite white feminist racist last week (for good reason, btw.) Perhaps she plans on calling us all out, one at a time. For the record, in her entry on me, she mentioned “Patriarchy Blaming” and prudery, so I do believe she’s had you on her mind for a little while.

  23. Dr.Sue

    I can’t see how this blog perpetuates racism. OTOH, there is a lot I don’t see. Bitch/Lab also took the commenters on this site to task for making snide comments about MIM without familiarizing ourselves with her blog or her outlook. I dismissed B/L’s comments at first, but when I did read more of MIM’s blog, and then looked at what I had written here, I saw that she was right–I had made certain ignorant assumptions that I wish I hadn’t. I plan to spend more time at Nubian’s blog and other WOC blogs, then revisit B/L’s post and see if it makes more sense to me. Sometimes it really isn’t the person who sounds farfetched who needs to revise her thinking.

  24. finnsmotel

    “Speaking as a 46 year old white guy. I think you’re missing a point there.”

    Do tell. I’m all ears.

    I come here with the intention of having my opinions shot full of holes. Maybe it’s male guilt, maybe it’s the old college debater contrarian spirit, I don’t know, don’t care. But, I don’t frequent many blogs where I agree wholeheartedly with the host or visitors.

  25. Chris Clarke

    Dear finnsmotel’s ears;

    What I mean is that as I’m a dude over 45 and thus really too old to be calling myself or anyone else “dude,” and I post here, and though I have attracted a bit of ire from time to time it has been neither frequent nor universal, my guess is that it’s not your gender for which you’re being flamed, in and of itself, but rather what you say – though our gender may well earn us somewhat less slack than a female-appearing poster might get, which is only fair.

  26. TP

    When I read Debra Dickerson’s The End Of Blackness it was a little like reading this blog, only swapping out race for gender. Racism and sexism are essentially the same things and are used and abused the same ways. Plus, she’s funny, intelligent and I went to Grade School with her.

    I love the straightforward acknowledgment Twisty gives to being a beneficiary of whiteness, just as I feel compelled to own up to being a beneficiary of male privilege, even if I do my best to spurn whatever parts of it I can identify as a unfair and oppressive. You’ve got to face up to who you are and how you benefit from the patriarchy and our racist society before you can stop contributing to the oppression. It appears that you collaborate most perfectly with the oppression you are oblivious to, which is why it’s so important to speak out and educate and be educated about these things.

    Men can get a huge stomach ache from the mention of rape if they’ve ever been raped by a man. That’s the only way some men will ever learn exactly how ingrained feminization is as a cardinal sin, and how it reveals their unconscious feelings about what they define as feminine in a patriarchy.

    So this is yet another reason why I don’t see it as a cruel punishment to relieve a man of his genitals for the crime of rape. If becoming more female and less male is considered cruel, then what does that say about how we view the status of women? Estrogen levels rise, testosterone levels fall, and men take on a more feminine look after castration. IS that so cruel?

  27. kate.d.

    wow, bitch lab (i don’t know how to make that middle line, i’m such an ignoramus) is really going with a scorched earth approach here, huh?

    interesting.

  28. mythago

    Women of colour have been telling us openly and constantly that we don’t listen for, what, at LEAST 40 years now. It’s long past time we stopped making excuses for why we can’t be bothered and just fucking did it.

    Yup. But it’s stupid white guilt to timidly refuse to speak up if what we’re hearing turns out to be bullshit. Yes, women of color have a different perspective on race than white women, and we should fucking listen. No, being a woman of color doesn’t mean that anything you say about race and white people is true and we daren’t say otherwise.

  29. Elinor

    Seriously, the “there is no real or definitive feminism UNLESS I DEFINE IT” position is very irritating. The “criticizing other women’s choices or ideas, even in the abstract, is not allowed” position is even more irritating.

    I’ve always sort-of been reminded of the kid in junior high who wasn’t really a part of the subversive clique but dyed his hair purple and wore a Ramones t-shirt and talked a whole lotta crap about all the jocks because he thought that would make him belong to *something*.

    Nah, man. She loves the jocks. She’s, like, extra subversive because she loves the jocks. And they love her, because she doesn’t disabuse them of the notion that writing pornographic literature prefaced with “I SO RESPECT women who…” is an act of revolutionary feminism.

  30. finnsmotel

    “it’s not your gender for which you’re being flamed, in and of itself, but rather what you say”

    Flame was probably the wrong word.

    Criticized… probably better. And, yeah, I get what you’re saying about being flamed for the comments, not the gender, but… I wasn’t speaking of myself directly. I was positing the hypothetical “I” and I’m not as articulate as I’d like to be…

    How about if it’s phrased like this:

    Do you have to be one to talk about it?

    Does a person have to be a minority to have an opinion on racial issues?

    Does a person have to be a woman to have an opinion on women’s issues?

    Of course the answer should be ‘no’ but that doesn’t change the general assumptions made about protocol. If the earlier question is accurately summarized as: why don’t more non-minorities participate in the discussion? I would have to answer that it’s probably because we either assume that authority comes from experience or we assume that we’ll be fried for talking about it if we aren’t one.

    Hopefully that makes sense. I’m losing focus.

  31. antiprincess

    Elinor – can you link to what you and Pony are talking about re Bitch / Lab?

    pardon my ignorance – just trying to catch up.

  32. B. Dagger Lee

    Dear Twisty:

    Gracefully done. May I raise some other questions that come into my mind when I read your post? And I ask them because they seem related to your post and because, honestly, I’d like to see them addressed here–by you and by the community here, because I value both.

    I read recently that the historical roots of the term ‘consciousness raising’ (CR) are from Mao’s China, and that the Chinese words for CR mean “speaking bitterness”. So here we all are, bloggers and commentators, practicing feminist consciousness raising, and one of the questions, as I see it, is how do we do it without trashing each other? Ti-Grace Atkinson said, “Sisterhood is powerful; it kills sisters.” There’s a lot wrapped up in her statement.

    How do we disagree without harming each other too much? What’s too much? When can someone join the conversation? After reading all the posts? After reading all of the posts and all of the related comments?

    What are we to do about the static electricity that flies from “speaking bitterness”? I think you said once that Patriarchy Blaming is supposed to be fun. But sometimes it’s not really, is it? The Blame is born in a pretty hot crucible after all. Racism, misogyny, transphobism, polemics-a-phobia—I guess except for the latter the others probably do a lot of murdering every day, one way or another, and if I may presume to say ‘us’, it makes us angry.

    If I couldn’t go running with my dog every day, I would probably chop Miss Patsy into little pieces (and throw mint on top) because I’m that angry at the rulers of this world. And probably there’s some deep-rooted, inherent Angry-Because-I-Am-Not-A-Bonobo. But when I hurt Miss Patsy, I see her face.

    I am, yours truly,
    B. Dagger Lee

  33. Sara

    Thank you, Twisty. Nicely put.

    Meanwhile, can I just say that I love the idea of saffron rice with ratatouille? I’ve only ever eaten it with bread or — dare I admit this? — mashed potatoes. Saffron rice is a very nice idea.

    Did you make that, or was it served to you in a restaurant?

  34. thebewilderness

    It seems to me that having been trained to obey the patriarchy the struggle to overcome that training is hampered by the tools we were trained to use. Contempt, we learn it early, we use it often. We struggle just to be able to hear what one another is saying. That’s why I like it here.
    B|L’s position on one of blackademic commenters was a perfect example. The commenter did not find the blog of interest, but hoped the blogger would continue. B|L thinks this means the commenter has no interest in the issues under discussion. Equipped with misunderstanding and girded in contempt, said commenter is taken to task.
    Remember the pie fight a Dkos. The issues discussed were of interest and so was the writing. The last day I read Markos was the day he said he cared only about winning and if half the population had to be thrown under the bus so his guys could win we should be happy to pay the price. He also said there were plenty of better blogs out there and if we didn’t like being dismissed in this contemptuous manner we should go read those other blogs.
    I went to the sites I liked and proceeded to explore their blogrolls. Now I have bunches of sites to read from all over the world on all manner of issues. Each voice is so unique I read them for that voice. (Have you actually read a thread at Atrios site? Ugh) Then there are the sites like IBTP where the thread is worthy of the blog.
    I love the internets, but I love Twisty best.

  35. tuckova

    “Racism’s intersection with misogyny, unlike math, is hard.”

    This is why it’s worth it to read the blogs of people who believe some things I don’t — because sometimes they’ll drop in something (even so beautifully offhanded as that) that makes me think I should listen to the other ideas with a more open mind; that it might be beneficial and even fun to try learning from them. It seems a more worthy investment to write that way than to engage in combative namecalling, although god knows that’s a lot of fun, too.

  36. ginmar

    Christ, I wrote a post about sexual harassment and Bitch/Lab responded by whining that she’d love to get sexually harassed, and besides, even the boys tried, she’s just so REAL, y’know, that she just fought ‘em off. Because she’s just that cool. Oh, yeah, and did you know she has lots of male visitors at her site? Why am I rmeinded of the sort of woman who has all-male friends and not a single woman friend unless they kiss her authentic ass all the time?

  37. acm

    I felt that the first and last sentences of this post were sufficient for my need to be offended.

    the rest, of course, I quite enjoyed. battle on, oh small-minded enlightener!!

    :)

  38. The Fat Lady Sings

    Hey there, Aldahlia – I remember that discussion – I contributed to it as well. Personally, I found Bitch/Lab’s tsk, tsk, tsking a little outré (as in the ‘bizarre’ sense of that word). You were talking about sex-positive feminism from your own personal viewpoint. It was a matter for discussion; not a litmus test on pornography and Suzie Bright (wonderful lady – I read her faithfully). And by the way – just how is it we all can tell each other’s ethnicity and/or skin color? Unless it becomes part of the discussion, that is? Frankly – I have no idea if Pony or CGG’s black or white, gay or straight, tall or short. And frankly my Scarlett’s of the world – I don’t give a good god damn. Yes, a person’s life affects their take on our society – and I’m interested in hearing how and what that is – from everyone. It’s why I’m here, its why I blog. I learn something new every day. I particularly like Twisty’s (even if I don’t always agree with everything she says), because she says it with wit and panache. The discussions here are always lively and driven by intelligent, funny, opinionated people (who could be blogging from China for all I know or care). So watch who you slap with a racism charge, bucko. I can think of plenty of places where that might be true; and here isn’t one.

  39. Aussie Liz

    Part of the way patriarchy expresses itself is the idea that men are these amazing creative different people, but women are all the same. I first learned this as a young woman the day I went to buy vitamins, and asked for advice. The man in the shop said “this one is for women”. I looked left and right at the shelves reaching out for eternity, full of vitamins for every particular need. But this bottle was for women. See, it had a woman on the front, to show it is specially formulated for the special needs of women, who other than not being men, are all the same.

    There is room in feminism for more than one point of view, race and culture – there’s room for a different point of view for every feminist, including the feminists who aren’t women, and the feminists who are just figuring out what they think, and the feminists who have seen the same ideas roll around for decades, and the feminists who have, for reasons I cannot fathom, married someone who promised to love honour and name them. There’s even room in feminism for the point of view of someone who attacks our Twisty, though I must say I’m not inclined to bother reading her blog. Nothing in nature is homogenous. The patriarchy should be attacked in a biodiverse manner.

  40. Elinor

    antiprincess, the “pornography” thing is a reference to this discussion, particularly a commenter called Anthony Kennerson. He calls non-sex-positive feminists “erotophobes,” expresses his appreciation for watching women “gleefully masturbating” (this is a political point?) and goes from there. There’s more of him on the linked posts on Pandagon.

    The “don’t criticize anyone” point is here and BL refers to it approvingly here.

    bell hooks, despite her commitment to process, has been intensely critical of “whatever I like to do is empowering and above criticism” lifestyle feminism. I find it hard to imagine what we can talk about if we can’t criticize any choices that some women willingly make (such as changing surnames), or if we have to heave issues over the Triviality Bar before we can even discuss them.

  41. scratchy888

    Personally, I feel like it’s lazy analysis to automatically dump anyone in a category without giving them the benefit of having their say and telling their story.

    And yet it happens all the time. I’m so tired of it myself. I suspect that this is something to do with lazy structuralist presuppositions which slip into various ideologically based interactions.

    Yet, the effect of such sloppy thinking/ feeling is almost too contrived and ideologically agendered to be considered simply accidental.

    How can I put this? Basically I have found that, among certain types of the self-annointed politically correct, I am absolutely not PERMITTED to be seen as anything but white and privileged. Furthermore, the emotional valences and connotations of my every word are interpreted back to a white and privileged position — as if that was the only position which they might emanate from, or the only context permitted for giving them meaning. I cannot say anything which is not possible to read back as self-indicting. If, for example, I was to say, “Hey I have some black friends!” — the complete and utter meaning of this statement, including all of its emotional resonances would be that I am being self -congratulatory. Why must I be understood soley in this narrow and offensive range of meaning? — Ah, because it is impossible to even allow oneself to think (if one is politically correct and holier than thou) that I might be able to make a statement which is not based primarily around issues of racial hierarchy (structuralist metaphysics).

    So, what to do? No matter how much my actual experiences differ from anything which amounts to racial privilege, I am not permitted to acknowledge them and still be considered honest and upright for doing so. In order to be taken as politically correct, the metaphysics (structuralist) which frame my analysis must be of a particular sort — and must not vary from the particular sort prescribed by the white racists of the holier than thou movements.

    In fact, I must in effect submit myself to being oppressed and having my experiences falsified by the holier than thou club, in order to be thought good and wise, at all.

    And what if I do not consider those who form this club (or clubs — of various holier than thou sorts) in any way to represent goodness or wisdom? There is so much of a presumption that I ought to care enough to place myself under the tyranny of such bonds of self-righteous prepossession.

  42. Elinor

    No matter how much my actual experiences differ from anything which amounts to racial privilege, I am not permitted to acknowledge them and still be considered honest and upright for doing so.

    I’m not especially inclined to believe white people when they say they don’t have white privilege. And I’m white.

  43. Vibrating Liz

    Ok, Blamers, for today’s arts & crafts activity we’re going to learn how to make a pipe. This is the technical name for that cool vertical line in the middle of Bitch | Lab. We’ll see some variation in keyboards, but the pipe is generally to the far right, perhaps on the QWERTYUIOP row? On top of that less useful slash thingie? Everybody see it? Down shift, hit the key, and voila: | Ceci n’est pas une pipe! Carry on.

  44. AoT

    This discussion is really getting to me, I read:
    “Did you make that, or was it served to you in a restaurant?”

    and instantly thought, “Don’t answer! it’s a trick!”

  45. TP

    It’s interesting that scratchy888 is annoyed by people not allowing her to be other than what she is. I find that when I’m attacked on such narrow grounds that the blindness is in the eyes of the attacker and just pity the fool.

    I don’t ever defend myself for being a white male, nor do I apologize for it. What will raise us all up is to transcend it and move beyond it. I want to live in a raceless world; I want to live in a patriarchy-free world. I don’t want to see my friend Twisty as a woman first, a white woman second, and this and that until finally I get to the bottom of the barrel of categories and pigeonholes and say and as a person, too. I want to see her as a person first.

    I expect the same from others, and if they don’t care to give it to me, I pity their arrogance and presumption. I’m a person first and a male somewhere else way down the line.

    My wife, for example, is the most important person in the world to me. Not the most important woman in the world.

  46. Pony

    Bitch | Lab

    Holy shit I did it. Wikipedia here I come.

  47. Ms Kate

    I’m not especially inclined to believe white people when they say they don’t have white privilege. And I’m white.

    I don’t think anybody here is challenging the existance of white privilege. HOWEVER, much of what I have seen held up as examples of said “white privilege” is really CLASS and GENDER privelege heaped on top of white privelege.

    In other words, it’s shit you take for being poor and/or female. Not stuff that Ron Brown (or Secretary Rice) likely ever had to hurdle or duck.

    For that reason alone, I find such discussions to be divisive. We should be comparing notes and joining for common cause – not picking nits over who has what perceived birth privilege or a right to talk about it.

  48. Vibrating Liz

    From Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, by Paul Kivel:

    “Sometimes, to avoid accepting our part, we want to shoot the bearer of bad news. Whether the bearer is white or a person of color, we become angry at whoever points out a comment or action that is hurtful, ignorant or abusive. We may accuse the person of being racist. This evasive reaction creates a debate about who is racist, or correct, or good, or well-intentioned, not about what to do about racism. It is probably inevitable that, when faced with the reality of the benefits [of being white] and the harm of racism, we will feel defensive, guilty, ashamed, angry, powerless, frustrated, or sad. These feelings are healthy and need to be acknowledged. Because they are uncomfortable we are liable to become angry at whoever brought up the subject.”

  49. Ampersand

    Kate wrote: I don’t think anybody here is challenging the existance of white privilege. HOWEVER, much of what I have seen held up as examples of said “white privilege” is really CLASS and GENDER privelege heaped on top of white privelege.

    In other words, it’s shit you take for being poor and/or female. Not stuff that Ron Brown (or Secretary Rice) likely ever had to hurdle or duck.

    Implying that rich black folks don’t have to hurl or duck racist shit sounds a lot like denying the existence of white privilege to me. Powell has probably had to be twice as good as the white soldiers his entire life to get the same amount of credit.

    Similarly, when you wrote “that much of what they decry as marginalization due to race and gender is really marginalization due to class culture and gender,” it sounds like you’re saying that “really” it’s about class and gender, not about race and class and gender.

    If you’re not trying to deny white privilege – and I’m glad you say you’re not – then imo you need to seriously rethink the way you’re expressing yourself here. Please stop talking about race as if it has no important effects independent of class and gender.

  50. Ms Kate

    I did not say that rich blacks don’t get shit … I SAID THAT RICH BLACKS DON’T HAVE TO DUCK THE SAME CLASS SHIT.

    I’m just FUCKING SICK AND TIRED of hearing people like yourself attribute ALL THE SHIT TO RACE ALONE. As a white who grew up IN POVERTY – AND YES THAT IS POSSIBLE – I struggle daily with the class shit and it smells the same to me.

    There. Clear enough for ya ampersand? Pull your head out of your theories long enough to read clear text, okay?

  51. Ms Kate

    BTW – Colin Powell did not start out rich – he did not have the privileges of class that Rice and Brown had – INCLUDING an education in how to work power structures that comes with the package.

    His only advantage was being male – which seems to have turned into a disadvantage for men of color coming of age today.

  52. spotted elephant

    “HOWEVER, much of what I have seen held up as examples of said “white privilege” is really CLASS and GENDER privelege heaped on top of white privelege.

    In other words, it’s shit you take for being poor and/or female.”

    Of course class matters. All types of inequality matter. But your comments come across as saying class and gender are the root problem, and race doesn’t matter very much.

    “For that reason alone, I find such discussions to be divisive.”

    Well, no wonder. You’re sweeping away pervasive effects of racism. On one hand, you’re saying we should be unifying and fighting oppression. On the other hand, you’re making a point to emphasize class and gender, and to de-emphasize race. You can’t have it both ways.

  53. jonk

    [jonk=white, queer, fattish, mostly able-bodied, fargo-born, white suburban-raised, u.s.a. big-city livin', english speaking, plain-looking, MA educated, (twisty-defined) patriachy-blamin' male]

    i think what is being missed by a couple folks is that one’s whiteness does not make one unable to comment on race – whiteness is not racelessness. an example, finnsmotel writes (and there were others with the same vibe):

    Does a person have to be a minority to have an opinion on racial issues?

    Does a person have to be a woman to have an opinion on women’s issues?

    so minorities have race just as women have woman-ness? i reckon this can be rewritten, but it IS telling how it is already written. one of many charms of the whiteness of patriachy, of the privileged racelessness of whiteness. finnsmotel, and others, if you really want to write about race, write about your skin-privilege. but also talk about your skin-privilege, do something about your skin-privilege, decline your skin-privilege, note your skin-privilege. of course, same goes for your stable of other privileges.

    more than enough blame to go around.

  54. Ms Kate

    For the last time RACE MATTERS. Duh. I get that. I have enough african blood/family history baggage and enough contact with the real world to know that race piles on top of all the other woes and makes bad into worse.

    That said, I do tire of is those with no fucking clue about the extent and effects of poverty in America who deny that anything BUT race matters. I will not get off that point, no matter how often I’m exhorted to carefully contemplate the racist lint in all my white orifices. To do otherwise is to buy into the very grand patriarchal mythology of American society that continues to shackle a large fraction of our society.

    The power in our society remains in the hands of the Wealthy and Male and White. If you ain’t wealthy, strike 1. If you ain’t male, strike 2. If you ain’t white, strike 3. (note: this is a bit overimplified, as it does not include the interaction term: race and gender effects do mix because of the “all males in jail” situation we now see.) Of course all you know it alls prolly haven’t even read this far because it clashes with your religious paradigm and you have already passed your pious scriptural pronouncement of racist on my contrarian head.

    Somehow, however, women like me, who manage to struggle up from impoverished backgrounds (via the military, in exchange for education) are all lumped in with the white males when race enters the building. It is what I see going on here. It is what I see when the urban black students in my college co op for low income students became totally astonished that whites could possibly be as poor or poorer than they or their neighbors were (and might actually be expected to fish or hunt for dinner). It is what I see when I do an exercise in a workshop at school where we step forward or back each time somebody reads out a class/race/gender marginalizing situation we identify with, and I end up near the back with the other white trash and some rather astonished minority students.

    MLK had it right: it should be a poor people’s crusade. But it will never be that united so long as those obsessed with examining the sin spots on their racist navels deny their gender and class priveleges too. It will never be united so long as people of color are led to think that all of what they experience is SOLEY due to race. It will never be a united struggle so long as so many choose to accept the doctrine of “original sin” as their answer to racism, when they wouldn’t dream of accepting it as their religion.

    In other words, you pidgeon-hole society know-it-all New Yorkers (taking a wild guess here) need an Aroostock County vacation – or maybe a West Virginia recruiting ramble?

  55. lcgillies

    I guess I’m seeing a lot of the heat in the implicit interchange between Auntie and Bitch | Lab as a question of rhetorical style. there is a style that utilizes first person discourse and experience to exemplify. this style makes no pretense to logical completeness. its more like a sharp edge that cuts unexamined connections between various stupid ideas that (in twisty’s case) prevent us from blaming the patriarchy as fully as possible. anti-racism has had similar approaches, like richard pryor’s.

    then there is a style that seeks theoretical balance and analytical completeness. the uber-model here i think is Marx, begat of Hegel. in this approach, formal gaps are symptomatic of analytical failure—for example, not blogging about issues of women of color on a patriarchy blaming blog demonstrates some level of racism.

    it’s hard to talk across the rhetorical difference. twisty closes the formal gap by pointing out that women of color are women, but that’s really just a formality. as a writer who uses her personal experience to exemplify her message, who also happens to be (as we know) white, one would expect there to be a certain consistency in the whiteness of her exposition. she’s on a mission to blame the patriarchy, and to help us blast the patriarchal crap out of our stupified brains.

    this is not the same as, to take one of B|L’s complaints, ignoring genocide. what is the more pressing issue—the daily slaughter of women, of people of color, of children, of (at times) Jews? in this kind of nightmare, it’s critical to recognize your friends and allies, even though they don’t fit your model of discourse.

  56. Elinor

    MsKate, my comment was directed at scratchy888 (“I must oppress myself”), not at you. I do understand your frustration — I’ve banged my head against that particular wall in debates with others. I wouldn’t say that what people experience as racism is only racism or only classism, but I have seen people deny the very real mitigating effect of economic power and social connections on experiences of racism and sexism, or attribute the very specific behaviours of rich white people to whites as a group, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those people were upper-middle-class.

    I don’t think a union that glosses over differences is really possible. It certainly hasn’t been for women across race and class; it won’t be for poor people across race and gender. But I see the denial of class a lot more often than the denial of race and gender.

  57. Elinor

    I don’t ever defend myself for being a white male, nor do I apologize for it. What will raise us all up is to transcend it and move beyond it.

    But do you see how that in itself is a privileged statement? I don’t have the option of permanently “transcending” my gender and ceasing to see it — people remind me of it with great regularity, and they would do so more if I didn’t live such an otherwise privileged existence. People who regularly have to deal with racist insults can’t choose to move beyond race.

    Maybe you mean that everyone in the world, at once, should move beyond these categories. That’s nice, but it’s not happening any time soon. Saying we should “move beyond” these things is like saying we should all just wait for the glorious socialist revolution, or the day we are all converted to pure energy.

  58. Sophist

    TP :So this is yet another reason why I don’t see it as a cruel punishment to relieve a man of his genitals for the crime of rape. If becoming more female and less male is considered cruel, then what does that say about how we view the status of women? Estrogen levels rise, testosterone levels fall, and men take on a more feminine look after castration. IS that so cruel?

    It’s not the feminization (or not JUST the feminization at any rate). Becoming neutered isn’t the same thing as becoming feminine. It also involves sterilization and destruction of the sex drive.

  59. Pinko Punko

    So let’s not get too heated, or speak in too many capitals. I just want to say that I am glad the discussion is happening. There were some aspects of Bitch|Phds comments that I was glad she brought to the table, but her comment was passive aggressive in that it could not but squelch discussion. It is like saying that there is no possible way for someone to understand something, and then denounce them for that lack of understanding, and doing it at a place where people actually give a shit, or several shits more that the average chumpwad. I mean why bring the chainsaw to a friendly tea party? Obviously, there is a lot to be said about speaking the ol you know what to you know who, but when you bust down the front door referencing ground rules of your own making, how are people going to react? Like they just got trolled, that’s how, and o’ course that’s not what she meant to do right? I mean TF wields a powerful rheotorical bludgeon but she doesn’t seem to be doing from her high horse. It’s just honest patriarchy blaming. No games. I thought B|P was playing a game, and that is not meant as a pile on or partisan defense of TF- it is an honest statement.

  60. BetaCandy

    Re: MsKate’s comments. I don’t find them as imflammatory as some of you, and I wonder if it’s just a communication gap.

    I come from a fairly poor white family. I recognize that I am afforded certain privileges just because people see my skin color and respond in a certain way. I also recognize that I will probably never realize just HOW many privileges that affords me, just as a white man may have difficulty discovering all of the invisible privileges he has over me.

    But I am rather lacking in the class privileges associated with my race, because we weren’t middle class (I would call us working class). Most of my middle class friends – white and otherwise – had dance classes and summer camp, had parents who knew people, had opportunities and experiences that cost money my family didn’t have.

    It’s not something I discuss offline much, because arguing about who’s got it toughest just serves the patriarchy, and frankly I have no investment in winning trophies for Saddest Sob Story. As long as we keep fighting amongst ourselves about the details, the methods for change, and the specific problems, the oppression of all of us, to whatever varying degrees, continues.

  61. sybil

    Ms twisty, you are too much! I can’t even get through the whole piece without having to break and write you that. Responding to this whole mess in a way that has me screeching with laughter over and over: you’ve done it again.

    I’ve spent the past couple days trying to get some understanding of this conflagration, and that included going back through archives on several sites. Even as I was doing this, going to bed feeling like there was a nagging itch i couldn’t reach, getting up and looking some more…I had to ask myself if this was just some bit of voyeurism, or cheap thrills on my part. And now I’ve become more and more fascinated by the ways in which we the discourse gets opened up or closed down. DaggerLee (32), thebewilderness (34), and aussieliz,(38) really nail it for me. Then I got a bit freaked out about the labelling of bitch|lab, until I saw more comments filling in that picture, including what seems to be her main bitch. oh, that.

    I feel very distressed that brownfemipower disappeared her blog, and nubian’s considering doing so. They made me reflect a lot, there were many aspects with which I could empathize. As I said elsewhere, I hope this shit can grow something that’s stronger, healthier, more vital. Our side of the political divide needs more, not fewer voices.

    (BTW, are people aware that Pakistan Blogger has pulled the plug? a couple weeks ago. Those Cartoons got published, so all bloggers are now in the dark. there’s more info at yeahpope, links to a petition.)

    It literally does my heart good to engage with you twisted mob. Stylish writing second to none, committed to laughing at what’s often tragically unfunny, supporting analysis so sharp it cuts to the bone. Truly, I feel it as another way I’m privileged, to sit in my own space and any time I like log on and find that I am not alone. enough for today.

  62. Pinko Punko

    oh jeez, everybody’s moniker seems to be Bitch som’thin, I was referring to Bitch|Lab, I believe.

  63. Crys_T

    Ms Kate: I honestly don’t think too many people here can be accused of being blind to the effects of gender and socioeconomic class in oppression.

    Also, these issues extend far, far beyond looking at “the extent and effects of poverty in America”–a lot of people posting here, including myself, don’t even live in the US, and even a lot of those who do choose to look at issues beyond political borders.

    Finally, I don’t see how anyone can claim that people in general believe that race and only race matters when looking at this very thread, we can see how race issues have been shunted aside so people can go on about their own personal positions? How is this any different to when men break into feminist discussions with, “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too!”? How do we as feminists react when that happens? So why the hell should we NOT expect people of colour to have the exact same reaction, and for the exact same valid reasons, when someone breaks into a discussion on racism to point out how white people also suffer? Your intention may not have been to minimise the effects of racism on people’s daily lives, but that’s what it looks like you’re doing.

    You even did exactly what certain clueless-to-feminism types tend to do when they try to shift focus away from women back on men when you said, “I have found some women of color to be openly hostile to the concept that much of what they decry as marginalization due to race and gender is really marginalization due to class culture and gender.” And why the hell shouldn’t they be hostile, when someone who has never, not one day in her life, walked a mile in their shoes comes to them and tells them that, no, they don’t know their own lives, SHE knows better? If you haven’t got brown skin, you don’t know for a fact just how much that skin has to do with what you face in life.

    No one is saying that class is irrelevant, but why the fuck should acknowledging its importance mean that we have to pretend that racism is less destructive than it really is? Just so working-class whites don’t feel left out? Yeah, well a lot of the time, patriarchy *does* hurt men too, but I’m damnned if I can see why that means that every fucking discussion we have on it should go out if its way to make them feel welcome and assure them that they aren’t being forgotten, blah, blah, blah. When the topic is women, we need and should be able to focus on women. And when the topic is racism, we need and should be able to focus on people of colour.

  64. Crys_T

    And how did I miss Mythago’s comment?

    Let’s do a little tweaking, shall we?:

    “But it’s stupid male guilt to timidly refuse to speak up if what we’re hearing turns out to be bullshit. Yes, women have a different perspective on sexism* than men, and we should fucking listen. No, being a woman doesn’t mean that anything you say about sexism and men is true and we daren’t say otherwise.”

    Feminist reactions to a statement like the above?

    *I admit this may not be the best option, but I was unsure if Mythago meant race itself or race-as-it-is-played-out-in-racist-environments. Maybe “gender” or “sex” would be better? Even so. Put them in and see how it sounds to you.

  65. Branjor

    “In other words, you pidgeon-hole society know it all New Yorkers (taking a wild guess here), need an Aroostock County vacation – or maybe a West Virginia recruiting ramble?”

    Yes, that’s a pretty wild guess. Do you have any idea how many white New Yorkers grew up in poverty or near poverty? I include myself in that number.

    Other than the above, great post, Ms kate!

  66. Sara

    “This discussion is really getting to me, I read:
    “‘Did you make that, or was it served to you in a restaurant?’

    “and instantly thought, ‘Don’t answer! it’s a trick!’”

    BWA HA HA!

    No fear, AoT. I really wanted to know about the saffron rice. I think it’s a lovely idea (because of the saffron) and wanted to know whom to credit. That’s all. Really. I promise.

    It’s a gorgeous day here in eastern Massachusetts. After 10:00 a.m. at the latest, I’m going to spend the entire day as far away from the computer as possible. I recommend this path to others, wherever practicable.

  67. allison

    It seems many of the commenters (at this blog and at Bitch | Lab) have already decided whose ‘side’ they belong to, for reasons that seem primarily to include their understanding of particular kinds of feminism; that is understandable, and most likely unavoidable. But I do think there are ways of approaching this topic (or myriad topics) of dealing with how (or whether you should feel compelled) to speak for and about race (or class, or gender, or sexuality) or even other feminists that might move people on BOTH sides away from wanting to insult the other for ‘not doing enough’. Maybe not, but it’s worth a shot. For instance, I think Linda Alcoff’s “The Problem of Speaking for Others” really works at addressing two sides of this issue – it may be worth a read.

    http://www.alcoff.com/content/speaothers.html

    Additionally, though I most likely would choose this blog’s ‘side’ if I thought anybody cared, I would like to add that I came to this article via a suggestion from Bitch | Lab. I may not support every aspect of her feminism, but reading this article encouraged me to keep an open mind about her and all feminist bloggers who are attempting to negotiate their own way.

  68. Loosely Twisted

    I have been an avid lurker on IBTP for quite some time now. She and I agree somewhat on ideals and beliefs, but not entirely. She has piqued my interest in feminism, and how it affects me and my own. Even styled my log in to show it. This is my first post to this blog. I wanted to say something that I really haven’t heard said yet.

    *If I can articulate this it would be a miricle*

    The affect of the different predujice affluent in our culture promotes untrust even among us. Be us of color, or of non color, different creeds, religions and sex. The Patriarchy is invisible. Twisty has said this more then once, and the fact that her “fan” base hasn’t even elluded to this astounds me. The other invisible part of the Patriarchy is to create insecurities, distrust, and avid blaming everywhere. My take on Nubid’s (sp?) Rant was that exact same invisible hate that permeates all of us at one point or another.

    It promotes individualism while squashing it down for those in power. One comment that really rialed me up was Kates, wherein her pure unadulterated priviledge showed a glowing example of how it can divide all people no matter how good their intentions. I can’t find the post now as the comments have exploded; While I was attempting to express my ideas. But the fact that it showed, that it was glaring, was what prompted me to comment.

    And I don’t normally comment. Kate mentioned that our views, our ideals, and other things are “listened” to. I want to ask you Kate, where are you from that this happens? Not in my life, not in my experiences has anyone listened to me. Not once have I been able to make a comment, give a fact, or otherwise contribute to a group setting where I was heard. This is the invisble affect our culture has on everyone. The ability to lock out the experiences of other people. The dividing line between the have’s and the have’nots. The privilage of the few.

    To be heard is the lowest common denominator in this whole equation. You figure out how to answer that question, and life will be alot easier for everyone.

  69. curiousgirl

    sometimes in these debates, It seems to me that bloggin’, blamin’, political organizing, and changing the world (I believe Bitch/Lab used the phrase) get all squashed together as if they are the same thing.

    Of course they are not unrelated. But it seems odd to hold a blog to the standards for “representation” and responsibility that one might a political movement. It seems strange to refer to other bloggers adn readers as “allies” as happened over there at blac(k)ademic. If we are really to hold IBTP to the standards one might use for movement organizations, I’d say twisty needs to lay off the tacos and stop wasting time with witticisms.

    Put another way–twisty is a fictional character with a sateric analysis of the world, for which blaming and blogging is the perfect praxis. The analysis is this “every form of opression in the world is an expression of patriarchy” Twisty uses this iron law to condem everything in the world on a daily basis, and bring humor to us all.

    That is why its funny when people get uptight about Twisty’s opinions on breeding, spanking, purses, high-heeled shoes, straight sex, gay sex, monogomy, polygamy, etc, etc, etc. In the twistysphere every concievable choice one might make is an expression of the patriarchy. There is nothing left to do but blame. and giggle.

    BUT–that is not the same thing as poltiical analysis, strategy, or even real, useful theory. Lay off for petes sake.

    That said, white people should read black people’s blogs more often if they want to learn things, and comment if they want to have more interesting discussions. Race is not reducible to class or to gender. Lots of white people are fucked up. But can we look at the context here an lighten up a little?

  70. Kat

    Yes, that’s a pretty wild guess. Do you have any idea how many white New Yorkers grew up in poverty or near poverty? I include myself in that number.

    Me too, I grew up in a trailer park in upstate New York. Poverty lives everywhere.

  71. Ms Kate

    Loosely, I agree with your early paragraphs. There is no divide and conquer like pitting marginalized groups against one another for resources.

    Just look at how the power structures in Boston set up the powderkeg of the bussing crisis. Part of the problem was that the black community schools were very very poorly resourced. The other part was that the schools in the poor white communities were poorly resourced. Bussing avoided solving the root problem: the belief that if you really wanted an education, you paid tuition to a prep school or Catholic school – options denied to people of color and white underclass alike. That problem has yet to be addressed, but the ugly black-white conflagration which followed the court order served the powers that be most well.

    As for the rest, well, I’m off to brush my privileged white teeth. They are all crooked, some lack enamel, and half of them are broken as a result of years of not being able to afford dental care. But I’m not allowed to say that, now am I?

  72. curiousgirl

    ms kate, whoa. clearly you are allowed to say it, you have said it.

    “Part of the problem was that the black community schools were very very poorly resourced. The other part was that the schools in the poor white communities were poorly resourced.”

    Was any part of the problem that the schools were segregated?

  73. finnsmotel

    TP sez: I don’t ever defend myself for being a white male, nor do I apologize for it. What will raise us all up is to transcend it and move beyond it.

    Then Elinor sez: But do you see how that in itself is a privileged statement? I don’t have the option of permanently “transcending” my gender and ceasing to see it…

    This is the dilemma I was speaking to yesterday. No matter how great a point TP makes, eventually someone is going to discredit him due to his privelege.

    Using this logic, I’m afraid the only people allowed to comment on the oppression are the oppressed themselves. This lump-summing ignores the fact that oppression is often a transient condition. Folks do often rise above oppression into positions of privelege.

    What say we of them?

    Hey, I grew up poor, but these days, things are much better for me. Does that mean I can’t claim to be ‘officially poor’ anymore. Does that mean I’m no longer qualified to speak on poverty? When did my membership run out?

    Twisty rails on patriarchal oppression, but obviously has the ways and means to eat at some pretty nice joints… I wouldn’t discredit her take on patriarchy simply because she enjoys some privelege? Does she have to be a raped and beaten woman to speak with authority? I hope not.

    I’d like to think we can agree that experience is only one type of authority. Yes, it’s a very powerful form of authority, but it also carries with it a strong risk of anecdotal bias.

    Study, research, and continued dedication are also qualities that lend authority.

    Someone will undoubtedly (and perhaps rightly) point out that I don’t understand because I’m white and male and middle class (these days), but I don’t think my credentials as a semi-studious, empathetic human being are diminished because I enjoy some privelege. And, despite totally understanding the frustration expressed by Nubian over the lack of traffic on her blog, I feel like it was a form of reverse-trolling to call people out on it.

    Stomping on eggshells…

    -finn

  74. Karolena

    Ms. Kate:

    “As for the rest, well, I’m off to brush my privileged white teeth. They are all crooked, some lack enamel, and half of them are broken as a result of years of not being able to afford dental care. But I’m not allowed to say that, now am I?”

    I love how, at every conversation on race, white people come crawling out of the woodwork to talk about how poor they are. NEWSFLASH: race and class are not the same; your experience is important, but it’s not what we’re talking about here; and most importantly, **feeling entitled to hijack discussions on race with tales of your own marginalization is a perfect example of white privilege.**

    Also:

    “I have found some women of color to be openly hostile to the concept that much of what they decry as marginalization due to race and gender is really marginalization due to class culture and gender.”

    Can you honestly not see how fucking offensive this is? Imagine some man telling you, “much of what you decry as marginalization due to gender is really marginalization due to the fact that you’re left-handed.” And then they start lecturing you about left-handed scissors and desks. Um, yeah, fuck off.

  75. Ms Kate

    as any part of the problem that the schools were segregated?

    The power elite, which maintained their class privileges through private education, exploited segregation of neighborhoods to give minimal resources to the townie neighborhood schools at the expense of the schools in black neighborhoods. That was the basis of the court order.

    However, solving the segregation through bussing didn’t address the underlying issue: systematic underfunding of the schools in general. The court order and resulting explosion of race hatred served these interests majestically. It got the political machines under full steam and firm control in the white neighborhoods, and it killed nascent efforts for broader-based activism that would have addressed the wider problems of shitty schools on a city-wide basis.

    Across the river, Cambridge managed to address school quality and desegregation in more constructive ways. Not perfect, but it seems to have preserved vital communities and adequate schools.

    That’s why I believe that separating racism from poverty and classism (or separating sexism from poverty and classism) serves only to divide and conquer. This is but one example of that. You can’t address racism in a vacuum, and singular attempts at intervention merely create a wrestlemania smackdown of marginalized peoples that serve the interests of power and entitlement (not to mention the need for some to wallow in smug self-congratulation on being a champion of the “good guy”).

    That conquering division starts when we adhere thoughtlessly to some abstract thought orthodoxy that holds that those who notice and say “that happens to me too, but I don’t share your race, etc.” are somehow denying the validity of the other’s experience. If we are to challenge the powers that be we need to ask “what the hell is going on here and how can we find our common ground in larger numbers” not “you’re a white privelege racist so you arent’ allowed to have a common perspective”.

  76. Elinor

    No matter how great a point TP makes, eventually someone is going to discredit him due to his privelege.

    I don’t think that (“we should all just get over it”, in essence) was that great a point; therefore your notion that great points will inevitably be discredited is questionable.

    But regardless, if you take intense disagreement as an attempt to discredit an entire person, or the statement “you made a bad assumption and I’m calling you on it” as anything comparable to “you should not talk or write on this subject ever again,” maybe you need to “transcend” that.

  77. Karolena

    Damn. Sorry for totally repeating everything Crys T said in #63. Though, as Ms Kate did not respond, I suppose it bears repeating.

  78. Chris Clarke

    No matter how great a point TP makes, eventually someone is going to discredit him due to his privelege.

    Using this logic, I’m afraid the only people allowed to comment on the oppression are the oppressed themselves.

    finn, you’re battling a straw man.

    Someone may disregard TP’s opinion due to his gender, or for some other reason. Does that mean he’s not allowed to comment? Seems to me he’s treated with a great deal of respect. A few people here have criticized me, some of them making very good points indeed. Does that mean I’m not allowed to comment? I have been treated with astonishing generosity in this venue, and most other feminist venues where I dare to tread.

    The question for men is: do you use defensiveness over the possibility of giving up some privilege as an excuse not to listen? Or do you use it as a dowsing rod to tell you where that privilege has sent roots into your soul?

  79. Violet Socks

    Can you honestly not see how fucking offensive this is? Imagine some man telling you, “much of what you decry as marginalization due to gender is really marginalization due to the fact that you’re left-handed.” And then they start lecturing you about left-handed scissors and desks. Um, yeah, fuck off.

    Can you honestly not see what a poor analogy that is?

  80. Karolena

    I know it’s a poor analogy, but that doesn’t vitiate the point. Ms Kate is apparently going around telling people of color that what they’re experiencing isn’t racism, and then acting surprised when they get pissed. That is offensive.

  81. Ms Kate

    And Karolena, have you ever heard about the concept of finding common ground as a means of organizing larger groups to address larger evils? It starts with comiseration, with comparing notes on experiences and aspirations. It moves from there.

    If you are denying me the right to compare notes, you are denying me the ability to organize and mobilize.

    In other words, you are becoming an agent of that which you portend to rail against.

    Careful not to let that zeal of yours get bogged down in the blinding reeds of orthodoxy of this or that.

  82. Karolena

    Wow. You didn’t respond to a single one of my points, instead making one of the most unintellligible, nonresponsive ad hominems I’ve ever heard. “An agent of that which [I] portend to rail against”? what on earth? “blinding reeds of orthodoxy”??!!!

    What would you say to a white, poor man, who told you that all of the marginalization you faced was due to classism, and not sexism? what about a rich, poor woman, who told you that all of the suffering you’ve ever experienced is because you’re a woman, and class had little or nothing to do with it?

    finally: nobody is “denying [you] the right” to do or say anything. it’s a discussion.

  83. Hissy Cat

    Wow. You didn’t respond to a single one of my points

    What points?

  84. FamousSovietAthlete

    I realize that I’m nitpicking and that I’ve strayed way off the point of this thread, but how is this socialist?

    I refuse to look down my nose at anyone in or who supports the sex industry because to do so suggests that the sex industry is somehow different from other industries. – Bitch | Lab, from the comments here: http://blog.pulpculture.org/2006/01/19/dworkin-sex-positive-feminist-sorta/

  85. Cyanea

    Only posting to say that I read the article linked in 67. That, unlike math, was hard. It’s very relevant, though.

  86. finnsmotel

    Chris sez: The question for men is: do you use defensiveness over the possibility of giving up some privilege as an excuse not to listen? Or do you use it as a dowsing rod to tell you where that privilege has sent roots into your soul?

    Chris, isn’t the definition of a strawman to raise your own questions and then answer them? Seems like that’s what you’re doing.

    I figured I was pretty close to ‘on topic’ considering I tried to tie my point back to the original discussion on credibility and activity at racism/feminism blogs.

    But, it wouldn’t be the first time I missed the point.

  87. Ms Kate

    If you:

    - take the self-centered view that the experiences of your own particular self are unique to your personal combo of race and/or gender, and/or class status

    - vigorously defend that belief in the sum total uniqueness of your perspective against those who can relate to parts or pieces of it but don’t share your exact status/grouping

    - prevent any analysis (qualitative research) which would triangulate your experiences with the partially-overlapping perspectives of others to illuminate the larger patterns and sources of the red right hand of patriarchy and privilege in society (including racist components)

    you will most certainly become marginalized in and of your own actions.

    Then again, there is much money to be made on the web masturbating in front of others. You just have to be an credible exhibitionist.

    So I’ll stop wanking here and go back to my dissertation – which has a strong activist environmental justice component and far more potential to make the world a better place.

  88. Ron Sullivan

    In #64:
    Let’s do a little tweaking, shall we?:

    “But it’s stupid male guilt to timidly refuse to speak up if what we’re hearing turns out to be bullshit. Yes, women have a different perspective on sexism* than men, and we should fucking listen. No, being a woman doesn’t mean that anything you say about sexism and men is true and we daren’t say otherwise.”

    Feminist reactions to a statement like the above?

    Holy shit, of course I expect men to call Bullshit when they think I’m bullshitting, same as women — and more to the point, to back up that call and tell me why. Politely. Ditto anyone else. That doesn’t mean they should insult, threaten, outshout me or try to shut me up. How the hell can I sharpen my analysis without a whetstone?

    That’s why I dial the Quote-A-Matic to Joanna Russ so often, for “‘Uncritical support’ is a contradiction in terms.” It’s also one thing I like about online conversations: Nobody can actually outshout you. The interesting part of that mutual-whetstone exercise is establishing a place where getting disagreed with is not anything like being threatened, and then learning to treat disagreement as nonthreatening (because all that crap does live on in our heads).

    Interesting: I found myself unable to use “criticism” in place of “disagreement” up there, because I do, to some extent, flinch when my words get criticized. And I’m an editor — I do that for a living! I’m also a writer, so I expect to have it done to… see, the word that comes up here is “me” rather than “my work.” So no, QED, I don’t discount the difficulty of listening to critical disagreement of even critical refinement of an argument calmly and without being threatened. That’s why politeness matters, if we actually want to speak about a principle. That’s also where that interesting and absolutely necessary balance between objectivity and speaking from our own experience has its fulcrum.

    This shit’s hard! We need everybody’s contribution. And we need to keep it possible for everybody to contribute. Maybe that’s even harder.

  89. Chris Clarke

    finn, I don’t mean to sound like I’m attacking you, because that’s not what I have in mind. You seem like a smart guy, and I’m just speaking plainly.

    a strawman: “I think TP will get yelled at, and therefore we always get shouted down.” (very loosely paraphrasing.)

    a strawman: “some feminists/racialjusticeactivists/whatever tell me I don’t have a right to an opinion, and their view is representative of all people in their class, and therefore I am being squelched.” (very loosely paraphrasing.)

    That’s what I meant.

  90. Sasha

    Crys_T you say “When the topic is women, we need and should be able to focus on women. And when the topic is racism, we need and should be able to focus on people of colour.” a notion that has meandered throughout this thread. But it is a false equivalence.

    When the topic is women we need and should be able to focus on women. True.
    When the topic is racism, we need and should be able to focus on people of colour. False
    When the topic is racism, we need and should be able to focus on race. True.
    When the topic is people of color we need and should be able to focus on people of color. True

    Which brings us to the fallacy underlying much of this discussion. Discussions of feminism are about women. (I so want to say Doh! but apparently this isn’t obvious.) If we were talking about sexism in all of it’s faces, we would be having a totally different conversation, one in which men would be totally justified in saying “What about men?”

    If you want to cry for a discussion of people of color, say so. But don’t pretend it is a discussion about race using the bigger concept to make it seem like something other than what it is. (I don’t know why Asian’s aren’t shouting to the rooftops here, btw.) Also I don’t expect women to primarily discuss the oppression of men any more than I would expect white folks to primarily discuss the problems of people of color. In fact I would expect a whole lot of shouting from the men/people of color if that was done. The whole discussion is specious – and yes, I’m being offensively dismissive. Now I’m going to push the “blame” button.

  91. Ampersand

    I’m just FUCKING SICK AND TIRED of hearing people like yourself attribute ALL THE SHIT TO RACE ALONE. As a white who grew up IN POVERTY – AND YES THAT IS POSSIBLE – I struggle daily with the class shit and it smells the same to me.

    There. Clear enough for ya ampersand? Pull your head out of your theories long enough to read clear text, okay?

    You know, when one person misunderstands you, maybe that’s that person’s fault. When a whole bunch of people misunderstand you, it’s time to consider the possibility that your writing sucks.

    No one here has said that race is the only important thing. No one here has said that class issues are unimportant, or that you can’t discuss class because you’re white. That you think anyone here has said, or implied, these things, is a good sign that you’ve got your head lodged too firmly up your self-righteousness to be able to listen to anyone else.

    I’ve read enough posts by you, here and on other forums, to know that I pretty much agree with you on these issues. I strongly agree that race, gender and class should be considered in combination, not separately.

    But it’s obvious that the way you’re expressing yourself in this thread makes it sound like you’re denying the importance of racism – as several people have pointed out. If that’s NOT what you mean to say, then you need to seriously reconsider the way you state things.

  92. finnsmotel

    “a strawman: “I think TP will get yelled at, and therefore we always get shouted down.” (very loosely paraphrasing.)”

    But TP did get admonished almost immediately after posting, so how is it a strawman?

    (Yes, the horse is dead and here I stand with the whip… letting it drop…)

    My point was simply that there are other types of authority besides personal experience.

    If a white male uses his position of privelege to learn about people who don’t have the same priveleges, it still seems fair to presume he could become an authority on the subject.

  93. Kelda

    Lots of interesting ideas and thoughts going on in this thread. And arguing and wankery, but I think there’s some Internet Charter somewhere saying that has to happen.

    Just one thing to add – whenever I’ve seen discussions about ‘women of color’, both on and offline, this generally means ‘black American woman’. This might be a biased selection from me, but it does seem to be a common identification. Growing up, most of the ‘women of color’ I knew were UK born, of Indian and Pakistani origin. Yes, racism was a big issue for them (especially as they did have class privilege). I don’t think any of them would identify as being a ‘woman of color’ because they weren’t ‘black’, which seems to be part of the qualification. I’m not sure that this is particularly going anywhere… hmm. Perhaps that we are joined and separated by experience and prejudice in far more complicated ways than simple labels can express?

  94. Hissy Cat

    You know, when one person misunderstands you, maybe that’s that person’s fault. When a whole bunch of people misunderstand you, it’s time to consider the possibility that your writing sucks.

    Can we just all agree to never. . . use this platitude again?

  95. Hissy Cat

    Well hot damn, Twisty, things haven’t been this fun around here since the BDSM affair of ’06!

  96. Sandi

    Funny, really. One of the main reasons that I read IBTP daily is simply because Twisty does cover all the bases. A veritable smorgasbord of issues, all dear to my heart. My comfort level is way high on this Blog. The debate of race, class, gender/sexual orientation,etc. as primary focus has been ongoing for many years in the Feminist movement. Inclusive awareness of others is key. I get that here at IBTP, thank you Twisty.

  97. Pony

    Kelda: Perhaps many people who log on think “internet” equates with “American”.

    Sandi; I disagree, somewhat. I think IBTP topics may be varied, but they’re all from the perspective of the patriarchy. Surprising eh?

  98. Elinor

    But TP did get admonished almost immediately after posting, so how is it a strawman?

    I hardly think I yelled at him. I told him I thought he was making a privileged assumption. I’m perplexec by the objection to this; nobody has said “you were incorrect in telling him that this was a privileged assumption,” but a number of people have complained that I commented on that at all, or that I wasn’t sufficiently nice or welcoming, and that by criticizing this man’s idea I was somehow telling him he had no place here at all. I didn’t intend to do that, and I don’t think I actually did it either.

  99. finnsmotel

    TP originally said: What will raise us all up is to transcend it and move beyond it.

    Elinor says: I hardly think I yelled at him. I told him I thought he was making a privileged assumption.

    I agree that you didn’t yell at him and I think it’s ok that you call him on the statement.

    But, I think you presumed his statement to come from a position of privelege because of the context (where he’s admitting being white and male and essentially refusing to apologize for either), rather than evaluating it on its actual merit.

    If the same statement was made by a woman who had just detailed her oppression, I’m asserting that the forum’s responses would’ve been different.

    If I’m wrong on that assumption, fine.

    But, if we go back to the original question about whether you have to be one to write about it, I’d have to say it appears to be impossible, in an internet/web forum to achieve credibility any other way. For the instant one of us makes a contrarian point, the group is quick to delve into what about our past could make us think that way.

    All that said…

    If you take TP’s statement outside of the context of him being male and white… do you still feel like it’s a statement of privelege?

    “What will raise us all up is to transcend it and move beyond it.”

    It seems to me that, in addition to males relinquishing privelege wherever possible (which I am 100% in favor of), there will be other efforts required to alleviate the oppression. Seems like aspiring to transcendence is a good place to start.

    I imagine the short kid who fights extra hard to make the basketball team (like my sisters both did).

  100. robin

    How about if we expand the idea of privilege a bit?
    1. Mental health/resilience vs. mental illness/fragility
    2. Loving/empowering parents vs. abusive/neglectful parents
    3. Typical/”attractive” physical appearance vs. odd/”deformed” physical appearance
    3. Tall/typical stature vs.extremely short stature
    4. Fluid speech/speech impediments
    5. Physical health vs. physical disease
    5. Physically mobile vs. physically immobile
    6. Socially confident vs. socially extremely shy
    7. Typical social skills vs. autism/Aspergers’
    etc. etc.
    none of these states are in our control, and each of them can determine to a certain extent how difficult or easy our lives will be, and how we will be judged by others.
    For those of us in less privileged race/class/gender categories, let us remember the other categories in which we may be very privileged indeed.

  101. robin

    (hey! I was the 100th commenter – shouldn’t I get a prize??)

  102. Elinor

    If the same statement was made by a woman who had just detailed her oppression, I’m asserting that the forum’s responses would’ve been different.

    Mine wouldn’t have been much different. It’s fine for an abused woman to say “we should all transcend our sex/class/race and whatever happened to us as a result,” but I will still say that isn’t an option for many of us and that it is politically paralyzing.

  103. Hissy Cat

    Hey, Twisty- a comment I made, like, an hour ago has not shown up! Quit silencing my voice! Do you not see how insensitive it is to someonw with my experience to say that the spamulator is “just” a robot?

    This is what I wrote in my robot-silenced post:

    Hot damn, this is the biggest hulabaloo since the great BDSM whats-it of ’06.

    Or something like that. You silenced me so much I can’t really remember.

  104. Hissy Cat

    Twisty, help! Comments getting held up in moderation.

  105. Red

    Ms. Kate:
    “In other words, what they talk about honestly speaks to my experience of my life, but I can’t bring that up because I’m and educated and white and therefore I can’t possibly understand or relate by definition.”

    What I hear in this, Ms. Kate, is frustration at feeling like one can’t speak, which is a *self-imposed* silence. I don’t hear you saying isn’t saying that you jump right into discussions because you feel they resonate with you – I hear you saying that you assume that her opinion won’t be welcome because you’re white and educated. That’s a function of white guilt, and twists into the pretty fucked-up statement you initially posted.

  106. BetaCandy

    The main battle has always been, and will always be, between people who want change and people who prefer the status quo. Status quo supporters tend to stand together no matter how much they disagree about things other than keeping the status quo. Progressives get bogged down fighting over the details of how we’re going to change it, what changes need to be made, and who has the right to speak on which issues.

  107. TP

    I don’t ever defend myself for being a white male, nor do I apologize for it. What will raise us all up is to transcend it and move beyond it.

    But do you see how that in itself is a privileged statement? I don’t have the option of permanently “transcending” my gender and ceasing to see it — people remind me of it with great regularity, and they would do so more if I didn’t live such an otherwise privileged existence.

    Well, no, I can’t see how that is a privileged statement. It’s a hope, an aspiration, and a dream. So it has nothing to do with where we are now, and applying it towards our current oppression is not a logical sequitor.

    If you had the option of transcending gender would you seek to spurn it as somehow related to some privilege you wouldn’t want to have? Is it something you wouldn’t want?

    Wouldn’t you want to live in a world where privilege is erased because the distinctions that make privilege possible are ignored?

    I wasn’t telling anyone to ‘move beyond’ these things. I was sharing one of the methods I use to remove myself from the privileged position I was born to in a positive direction. Ideas about improving things that work on a very personal level are all I am capable of.

    My questions above aren’t rhetorical and aren’t posed to defend myself; they are actually real questions I ask myself as well as others. I’m willing to consider criticism and open to correction.

  108. Christopher

    This sort of strikes me as the essential paradox of being a white progressive;

    On the one hand, I tend to want to avoid talking about issues of racism, because I haven’t had to deal with it.

    If I do talk about racism, I’m likely to sound like a moron.

    If I don’t I’m ignoring an important issue.

    I’d really just like somebody to tell me which choice to make; I hate being in the dark.

    Frankly, though, I find complaints about how we’re screwing up ancient ways to be unconvincing. Old does not equal good.

  109. kathy a

    i’m interested in the ideas of trancendence and whether one can be an expert on something without experiencing it.

    to me, it is one thing for a person who recognizes he or she is privileged to try to transcend barriers to understanding — to listen, work for changes, etc.; it is quite another for that person to suggest to those laboring under burdens they do not carry that these others must transcend their situations.

    no, i don’t think TP was *saying* that latter point, but the idea of transcendence has that echo for me, and i think it is an idea deeply ingrained culturally — that anyone can overcome anything by strong will and hard work. it’s a nice aspiration, but it just isn’t true in the experiences of many people.

    similarly, someone can develop knowledge and sympathy on a particular problem such as sex discrimination or racial injustice, and actively work against it, but that “expertise” is different from experiencing and battling with the beast personally.

    one of the more irritating and abiding features of the patriarchy is that it institutionalizes the credibility of privileged guys who feel they are experts in everything, and that it is their job to tell less-expert people to put their noses to the grindstone in one way or another.

    chris clarke wrote a thoughtful essay called, “why i am not a feminist,” and that has been on my mind. http://faultline.org/index.php/site/comments/why_i_am_not_a_feminist/

  110. Jodie

    As a nurse, I can understand that a patient is in pain. I can’t feel it myself and must take the patient’s word for it. At the same time, I can make observations about things that might alert me to the patient’s pain (verbal and nonverbal cues), but there is also the possibility that the patient is very good at concealing that pain.

    I can never really KNOW what the patient is feeling.

    Yet I am pretty good at those verbal cues. I am pretty good at ferreting out where it hurts, why and when it hurts, and what to do about it (and there are many more options to deal with pain than medication), and when to call the MD. And I understand what pain feels like — even if I haven’t experienced the exact sort of pain that, say, bone pain is, I can still intellectually understand it. I can still work with the patient to find a valid treatment.

    Although I can’t feel the individual patient’s pain, I can understand pain in general and I can offer options that sometimes the patient doesn’t know about or hasn’t considered. I am not an expert on the patient’s individual pain. But you could consider me to be knowledgeable about pain in general.

    ___

    I can’t ever really feel what it is like to be the object of pervasive racial discrimination. But I can pay attention to interactions, I can see the subtle and not-so-subtle put-downs. I can see the structures in society that make it more difficult for people of different ethnic groups. I can listen and learn.

    I can understand what it’s like to be discriminated against, even if for reasons other than race. I think it’s safe to say that it’s happened to all of us in one form or another. For some this discrimination has been very mild and very rare, for others it’s severe and every day. For example, having spent some time in a wheelchair, I have a little more depth to my understanding of discrimination againt the less-than-able-bodied. And I’ve experienced other sorts of discrimination as well.

    I think it’s invalid to say that thoughtful people of whatever background can’t weigh in on the experiences of a large group of people. They can’t feel the extent of what one individual has felt, and shouldn’t try to invalidate that individual’s experience…but the individual’s experience is not an exact mirror of the group as a whole. Those thoughtful people can listen. And learn. And understand — and maybe even have some valuable insights to offer, even if they will never feel the exact sort of discrimination that is felt.

    I dunno, maybe I’m way off base. But that’s how I see it.

  111. Twisty

    Hey Hissycat, just so you know, any comment with the word “BDSM” in it gets thrown in the moderation pile. It’s a vestige from BDSM Week, when I thought I would puke if I had to read about one more liberating empowering beautiful relationship where the writer enjoys getting beat up.

  112. Lauren

    Can we just all agree to never. . . use this platitude again?

    No shit. That was probably one of the most dickish things I’ve read online in a long time.

  113. Burrow Klown

    Who doesn’t make saffron rice? Mmmmm….saffron.

    And to #84, gall dang it. Did you have to bring up that post? Really? Ugh. I know I’m a hairy prude with sexual hangups b/c I don’t like taking my clothes off for men all ready, *sheesh*.

  114. Hissy Cat

    Ha! My comments look so wacky. Damn, if I didn’t already have a handle with a blog attached I’d totally have to re-christen myself as The Bonobozo (unless you’ve got bonobos blocked too). Dear god, it’s time for a nap.

  115. Chris Clarke

    And Lauren reads my blog.

  116. Pony

    “Who doesn’t make saffron rice.”

    Me. It’s about $12 for a couple wisps here, wrapped in paper inside a teeny spice size bottle so you can’t see what you paid for until you get it home. When you still can’t see it.

  117. Elinor

    Wouldn’t you want to live in a world where privilege is erased because the distinctions that make privilege possible are ignored?

    No, because that to me implies a return to the 70-kilogram man and the pregnant person…and also because it just isn’t going to happen.

    There are conservatives who argue that if nobody ever talked about racism again, it would disappear. I’m not seeing a whole lot of difference between that argument and yours.

  118. Vibrating Liz

    Christopher said:

    If I do talk about racism, I’m likely to sound like a moron.

    If I don’t I’m ignoring an important issue.

    I’d really just like somebody to tell me which choice to make; I hate being in the dark.

    Try starting here.

  119. Rene

    My husband made saffron rice for dinner tonight. It was delicious. And so beautifully yellow!

    Rene

  120. felagund

    I would like to say that I, as a white straight male married upper-class Christian, read this blog a lot because 1) I cannot live without food porn, and 2) Twisty is high-larious. The blog makes me laugh out loud, often, and that makes it eminently readable. And it has definitely made me question the lukewarmity of my own feminist attitudes, and even though I thought I was well aware of the extent to which I have and still do benefit from patriarchy, Twisty’s finely-wrought snark has opened several more avenues in which I may blame myself, and enjoy it.

    But Blackademic is just tedious. I’m sure I could learn something from it, but I grow weary and turn away long before I find anything particularly thought-provoking. It is of course her perfect right to say whatever she pleases and in whatever manner she pleases, and I would never write insulting commentary on her blog because it would be a waste of time as well as inexcusably gauche. But it also seems perhaps less self-evident than I might have thought that being entertaining or at least piquantly curmudgeonly is a more effective way to spread blame than is deadly earnestness, no matter how deadly Earnest may be or what level of earnestness the situation appears to require. I think it has less to do with unexamined racist attitudes, though such are likely still present in one so eminently blameworthy as myself, than it does with writing style and a willingness to engage an audience outside of one’s immediate comfort zone.

    I beg Twisty to stick the knife further into my soft, tender flesh — or would, were it possible for me to move her in such a fashion, for is it not the duty of the true master to say “no” when the slave begs for more pain? But Blackademic just gets a “meh”, which is too bad, because on the rare occasions where I’ve powered through the meh, some of it is rather thought-provoking.

    I would also like to say that we Caucasians are also people of color.

  121. Chris Clarke

    I would also like to say that we Caucasians are also people of color.

    Oh, my god. The scales have fallen from my eyes. How blinded I was by my common sense and knowledge of history and sociology and logic and linguistics! If only felagund had spoken up sooner.

    Putz.

  122. Mandos

    No, because that to me implies a return to the 70-kilogram man and the pregnant person…and also because it just isn’t going to happen.

    Reference unresolved. Does not compute.

  123. KMTBERRY

    Men can get a huge stomach ache from the mention of rape if they’ve ever been raped by a man. That’s the only way some men will ever learn exactly how ingrained feminization is as a cardinal sin, and how it reveals their unconscious feelings about what they define as feminine in a patriarchy.

    So this is yet another reason why I don’t see it as a cruel punishment to relieve a man of his genitals for the crime of rape. If becoming more female and less male is considered cruel, then what does that say about how we view the status of women? Estrogen levels rise, testosterone levels fall, and men take on a more feminine look after castration. IS that so cruel?

    Well, it IS cruel, but in SUCH an INFORMATIVE and possibly Enlightening way…..I have to say that it has always sounded like a punishment that fits the crime to me. I STRESS: in a *positive* way. Seriously. Oh I sound like I am not being serious but I am.

    Moving On: Twisty is the Swellmost, and I take issue with any and all detractors. I initially suspect them of being dumb, and envious of her popularity and skill. There are few writing today with her clarity OR “chops”, and while I agree that disparaging the skill of the writer is to be avoided (post #94) I am not surprised to hear many say that Bitch | Lab does not have Twisty’s ability with the wordsmithery. Also, it seems nigh on to impossible to doubt Twisty’s bona fides as a non-racist feminist, unless you just plain WANT to think ill of her. I am going to take a good long look at Bitch | Lab again though, to see what this point is that she made that some have agreed with.

    I shall end by HEARTILY CONCURRING that the preservers of the status quo do INDEED want us to fight among ourselves, and we should just plain refuse to do so. To fight among ourselves is to Be Played. The question of Who Is The Most Marginalized is the EPITOME of the mindset of victimization. Blaming the Patriarchy is an expression of Anger, and Naming, that can be the first step out of victimhood.

  124. Crys_T

    Damn, for some reason I can’t highlight and copy what Sasha said re my mistake (though I had no trouble at all doing the exact same thing yesterday), so I just want to say, you’re right, I was wrong. I should have said, “When the topic is POC, we should be able to talk about POC.”

    And, “when the topic is how racism affects POC, we should be able to talk about how racism affects POC–without all the fucking whinging about ‘what about whiiiiiiite peeeooopple’s oppression toooooo????”

    As far as I can see, the whole point here is that, as Karolena pointed out, jumping into a discussion about someone else’s oppression with tales of your own, different oppression is a manifestation of privilege. It’s like those daft men who are always jumping into discussions of manifestations of sexism that exclusively affect women with tales of how much they themselves suffer. Okay, maybe they do suffer, but why the fuck do we have to hear about it when the topic at hand is something specific to women?

    There’s a time and a place to bring up your own situation, and right in the middle of talking about someone else’s problem IS NOT IT. Save it for when we are discussing how the patriarchy fucks us ALL over. And if you don’t, don’t be surprised when people assume you’re some bloody, boring MRA type.

  125. Sara

    Pony, saffron is the stamen of a particular species of crocus. I believe (but certainly could stand to be corrected, as appropriate) that you only get one to three per blossom. Either way, they aren’t grown just anywhere, and both harvesting and packaging for sale far away are rather labor intensive, hence the price tag. Fortunately, a little goes a long way, just like with whole vanilla beans — except that with vanilla a lot can go a little way, too. (Seriously, can you ever have too much vanilla? No double entendre intended, honestly.)

    Someday, if the Patriarchy ever grants me a trust fund (or if I can connive the salary out of some poor working man or become a welfare queen before my ovaries dry up — same thing, right?), I will try making rice pudding with saffron rice, vanilla bean, and coconut milk. I think it would be insanely delicious — and as Rene said, beautifully yellow. However, I also think it would be about seven dollars a serving, a bit pricey for my home cooking — you know, since I don’t have food stamps or anything.

    Mmmmm…pudding…

  126. Sasha

    Crys_T said And, “when the topic is how racism affects POC, we should be able to talk about how racism affects POC–without all the fucking whinging about ‘what about whiiiiiiite peeeooopple’s oppression toooooo????”

    and I couldn’t agree more.

    (Yeah, it’s a “me too” post. Cause I agree and cause I was too hard on Crys_T yesterday because I was really aiming it at all of the people who think that way.)

  127. Pony

    Nah. Saffron is part of the nutmeg uh nut.

    Lay off the welfare moms.

  128. Pony

    Mea culpa. I was wrong about the saffron. But not the welfare moms. Ok?

    http://greekproducts.com/greekproducts/saffron/

  129. finnsmotel

    “As far as I can see, the whole point here is that, as Karolena pointed out, jumping into a discussion about someone else’s oppression with tales of your own, different oppression is a manifestation of privilege.”

    I suppose I never thought of it that way. Thanks, Crys_T, you give me something to think about.

    I kinda thought we (avg white guys) were doing it to empathize. But, intent is one thing and effect is another.

  130. Sara

    Pony, honey, I’m not really down on welfare moms; I’m down on people who are down on welfare moms. I’m down on the crazies who somehow think being on welfare and raising kids is some kind of getting away with something. See some of the threads here from the last two weeks about the mythical conniving bitch, etc., for context.

    It’s a joke. Not the saffron, which is real and true, the line about trust funds and welfare queens.

  131. Pony

    Finn, there are no rules here hammered in stone but those that have a Twisty sig on them. So telling your own oppression, is not, unless done in an arrogant and thoughtless way which I haven’t oberserved is your style, necessarily outa line. As far as I’m concerned.

    Sara, if you say so.

  132. Elinor

    Reference unresolved. Does not compute.

    Can you possibly put that in less sarcastic language?

    I’ll take a stab in the dark here, and assume that you don’t know what I meant — what I meant is that ignoring the distinctions that make privilege possible (and I disagree that it is the distinctions itself that are the problem) leads to ignoring REAL differences between men and women and between people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. It was that kind of thinking that led to the denial of maternity leave and the failure to test drugs on women — to be equal we must all be the same (which tends to mean we must all be honorary white men); we must ignore distinctions even when doing so is demonstrably harmful.

  133. TP

    Chris Clarke’s statement:
    http://faultline.org/index.php/site/comments/why_i_am_not_a_feminist/

    …is almost the contrary to my hope that we can transcend gender. I don’t want to bring back the pregnant man theory; I just want the patriarchy off my back, telling me what to do, how I should seek these privileges and act in these ways.

    Saying you are not a feminist because you are a man and wanting to be able to claim you are an ally of the movement to free women from the patriarchy sounds contradictory to me. I don’t see why, if you truly desire freedom from the patriarchy, you cannot call yourself a feminist.

    I would like everyone in the world to call themselves feminists. It would be a step in the right direction at the very least.

    To someone who can’t grasp the idea of transcending race and gender it might seem that I’m barking orders. To maintain that you can’t transcend it because you are a victim implies that it’s your fault, that you didn’t try hard enough to transcend something. If it were that simple then we could wish anything away. A white male has the responsibility to erase the privileged concepts of gender from his attitudes as best he can. What those who are oppressed need to do is not within my limited scope to describe.

    I can easily see how an oppressed person can see a privileged person saying that we (the privileged) need to transcend the ideas that maintain this privilege in order to change ourselves for the better and they hear the privileged person saying “You oppressed people just need to transcend my foot on your neck!” But that is not what I meant to say.

  134. Ron Sullivan

    Elinor, I think Mandos genuinely didn’t get it because it’s kind-of medicalese. Drug dosage historically has been computed with the 70kg man as the “ideal” — all those standard doses you see in the PDR and on the backs of med bottles are the ideal dose for that mythical Him. I got an early consciousness-raising

    on that by working pediatrics for some years, and needing to calculate doses individually for various kids. (There are differences other than size — kids metabolize some things differently too, just as a start. And women metabolize some things differently from men — um, diifferently from the way men do. (Urp.)

    The “pregnant persons” thing is a bit of legal history: if it’s assumed that some provision applies to all pregnant persons, male or female, than it can’t be discrimination, right? Really, that rationalization has been invoked. Sorry, no refs till more coffee, if then.

    When I worked in the neonatal intensive care unit, there were frequently kids there who’d been exposed to German measles. A pregnant woman dealing with these kids would endanger her fetus. So there were big red handwritten signs on their Isolettes: “NO PREGNANT NURSES!” Then someone noted that quite a few of the interns/residents were women, so the signs were amended to “NO PREGNANT WOMEN!” Then someone (not me, honest) decided that was redundant, and changed them to “NO PREGNANT PEOPLE!” Then someone decided that was silly and changed them back to “NO PREGNANT WOMEN!” When I left the job, new signs were popping up: “NO PREGGOS!” I suppose some Latinizing purist night have changed those to “NO PREGGAE!” or ‘NO PREGGAS!” but I wasn’t there to witness it.

  135. Chris Clarke

    I don’t see why, if you truly desire freedom from the patriarchy, you cannot call yourself a feminist.

    How about because there is, or at least was, a significant percentage of the women in the feminist movement who feel/felt that men claiming that mantle was condescending at best, and invasive at worst?

    I’m not saying my post is the be-all, end-all truth statement: a lot of very persuasive counterarguments have been raised by feminist women since I posted it, and my viewpoint has been altered. I could be wrong, and I’m still thinking.

    But saying you cannot even SEE the argument against men claiming a name women created to help free themselves from men claiming the right to own women?

    There have been three main kinds of response to that post:

    1) Feminist women, and a few sympathetic men, saying “thank you.”
    2) Feminist women saying “Pro-feminist my ass. that’s a cop-out! We need you to claim the word in solidarity with us.”
    3) Men saying “That’s bullshit. I can call myself whatever I want.”

    I think that’s more informative than anything I said in the post, frankly.

  136. Mandos

    Yes, I actually didn’t get that reference.

  137. Pony

    I love it that you guys are having this guy conversation under “Repeat Offenders”

    I’m easily entertained.

  138. Rene

    To Sara, regarding post #130. For what it’s worth, I immediately recognized the sarcasm in your “welfare moms” comment. I’m vaguely alarmed by the fact that some of Twisty’s disciples seem impervious to irony (how, I wonder, is it that they enjoy her own satire-steeped invective so much when they don’t seem to extend to anyone else the same rhetorical license?). Anyway, don’t worry about it. You shouldn’t even have to explain that you were making a joke, just as Twisty shouldn’t have to explain that her reference to a middle-aged woman as an “old bag” should have been covered at length in Irony 101.

    Oh, yeah: If you should ever make that delicious rice pudding, I would like the recipe. I don’t think $7 per serving is too much, not if you don’t indulge everyday. People spend way more than that on restaurant desserts, most of which, I hazard to guess, aren’t worth it. And no matter how you look at it, saffron is still cheaper than cocaine (well, maybe not by weight or by volume but certainly in the practical-use sense).

    Rene

  139. Ron Sullivan

    Mandos, hey, Explanations R Us. Never say I didn’t come to your defense; it just seemed fair, is all.

    Oh! Speaking of saffron: Joe and I went up to Copia last week, as admission was free all through March. The place was fun, except for one flawed bit of presentation in the cheaper of the two eateries. It’s also Spanish food month, and we were greeted a few yards inside the doors by someone handing out little cups of saffron soda. Subtle and outrageous. Not particularly sweet. Apparently The Spanish Table sells the saffron syrup to make these with. It’s online here.

    Lucky me, it also has a store in Berkeley.

  140. kactus

    Rene, as an irony-deficient Twisty reader, I know exactly what you mean. A few months ago I chided her on the use of the word “chick” and when she pointed out the obvious irony intended in it I was slapping my forehead and wondering what the fuck was wrong with my insight. I’m a little less knee-jerk these days. Which all goes to show that even us grown-ups have a few lessons to learn.

  141. Hissy Cat

    Actually, ounce per ounce, saffron is more expensive than coccaine. This came up in a conversation the other day. A conversation about saffron! I swear!

  142. Thalia

    Oh my god Sara in #125 that saffron rice coconut pudding is such a fabulous idea. I’ll have to try to figure out a version of it next time I get my hands on some saffron. I even tried growing the crocuses myself one year but it didn’t seem to work, since they didn’t come up the next year. Sometimes though I’ve found saffron in the Spanish/Portuguese section of the supermarket for a lot cheaper than the regular spice aisle. Might work for you.

    Someday I’m going to bake a Satan’s Own Devil’s Food Cake, in which the chocolate is so dark it is almost black, and the competing ingredient in a delicate and equal balance is a hot, hot cinnamon. I’ve been trying to figure out this recipe for years, off and on, and the problem is getting the cinnamon hot enough. I think I need to go bake something now…

  143. Chris Clarke

    I’ve been trying to figure out this recipe for years, off and on, and the problem is getting the cinnamon hot enough.

    I will happily consult with the baker in my household, but it occurs to me that a mix of cinnamon and ginger might have the desired effect: cinnamon to burn the tip of the tongue, and ginger for the back.

  144. cypress

    In #135 Chris Clarke: I don’t see why, if you truly desire freedom from the patriarchy, you cannot call yourself a feminist.

    How about because there is, or at least was, a significant percentage of the women in the feminist movement who feel/felt that men claiming that mantle was condescending at best, and invasive at worst?

    here’s my reason for thinking that it is difficult indeed for men to *be* feminist/s. men do not experience the patriarchy in the same way/s as women. certainly it is correct to say, generally, that men are wounded by the patriarchy and that women are wounded by the patrarchy. the differences in experience are crucial to this particular argument.

    I think too that the question > why are some men so desirous of the label ‘feminist’?

  145. Thalia

    I like that idea, Chris; the heat should have a depth to it to that the ginger would provide. I was wondering if I wasn’t going to have to cheat and add some capsicum-type derivative to get a bite to the front of things; the cinnamon just doesn’t have it to begin with, or the cooking process blunts it or something. Or maybe there’s a special kind of really intense cinnamon oil?

  146. cypress

    sadly my prose has died. well, some of it anyway.

    I think too that the question > why are some men so desirous of the label ‘feminist’? was followed by other wonderful words, which I will try to remember and retype.

  147. Kate

    #41 Scratcy: Furthermore, the emotional valences and connotations of my every word are interpreted back to a white and privileged position — as if that was the only position which they might emanate from, or the only context permitted for giving them meaning. I cannot say anything which is not possible to read back as self-indicting. If, for example, I was to say, “Hey I have some black friends!” — the complete and utter meaning of this statement, including all of its emotional resonances would be that I am being self -congratulatory. Why must I be understood soley in this narrow and offensive range of meaning? — Ah, because it is impossible to even allow oneself to think (if one is politically correct and holier than thou) that I might be able to make a statement which is not based primarily around issues of racial hierarchy (structuralist metaphysics).

    So, what to do? No matter how much my actual experiences differ from anything which amounts to racial privilege, I am not permitted to acknowledge them and still be considered honest and upright for doing so. In order to be taken as politically correct, the metaphysics (structuralist) which frame my analysis must be of a particular sort — and must not vary from the particular sort prescribed by the white racists of the holier than thou movements.”

    I take it from your post that you have white skin. If you live in America, how can you assert that your ‘actual experiences differ from anything which amounts to racial priviledge”? when you also asserted before that statement that you are ‘white’? One major facet of the cultural, social and once economic system in the US was based on distinctions made by skin color. Only small inroads have made the deconstruct the cultural mores that have developed out of over 300 years of the slavery economy.

    Your being white has been your birthright to be free of racial segragation, stereotyping that keeps you from getting hired, that keeps members of your family spending more time in jail, being more prone to police brutatlity, your women being more prone to rape and just you in general being more prone to being dismissed, abused or exploited.

    So there’s your white priviledge on a stick for you. Even if you live in a trailer park on welfare, you still don’t need to struggle with the additional burden of proving you are not a crack whore or that your daddy ain’t in prison, or that you aren’t a high school drop out, or that your kids will all be gangsters and drug dealers.

    Get my point? You have more sovreignty over your life than most people of color, that’s your white priviliedge.

    ” Why must I be understood soley in this narrow and offensive range of meaning? — ”

    Because that’s the fucked system we live in. Why must you always be heard? Why must people always stop and listen to you? Those who must fight to be heard, to be taken seriously, those who have white or rich people telling them what to think all day everyday and not giving a hoot about shutting up and listening to them for once might kind of resent your pushiness about how you are understood or misunderstood.

    Why do you think you are always right? Do you think about and analyze what their point of view without projecting your judgement on it? Yes, it is important for us all to speak, but we can speak much of this amongst ourselves. People of color get sick of having to ‘approve’ white folks or listen to them or pat them on the back. White priviledge has taught us that we have that right first and foremost, regardless of what the other says. That is not always true. Put the shoe on the other foot and see how it fits. Don’t like it? Well, now you are a little wiser.

    And yes, racism and classism and sexism are very closely aligned as they all are constructs of a social order that seeks to divide in order to gain power.

    Those who are white and middle/upper middle class must sit back and listen to other voices in order to better understand and address the aspects of racism, because we cannot identify anything we fully understand, especially when it is right between the eyes.

  148. finnsmotel

    cypress sez: here’s my reason for thinking that it is difficult indeed for men to *be* feminist/s. men do not experience the patriarchy in the same way/s as women. certainly it is correct to say, generally, that men are wounded by the patriarchy and that women are wounded by the patrarchy. the differences in experience are crucial to this particular argument.

    I sez:

    I’ve been thinking about this now for several days and while I agree that there are major differences in experience, I’m not convinced that they are crucial to determining the accuracy or validity of an argument.

  149. finnsmotel

    Meant to add to that last post:

    I understand that the experience of women may cause them to feel insulted when a man asserts himself as a feminist. Maybe there need for different types of membership in this particular club, I don’t know… I’d like to think I am capable of being, at the very least, an Honorary Feminist.

    Maybe it’s simply a question of terminology. The term “feminist” does at least imply female-ness. Maybe men can’t be feminist, by definition. I’m not hung up on the rhetorical framework. I’m interested in change.

    And I don’t think experience is necessary to inspire a desire for change.

    If one of the main goals is to eliminate gender differences, seems to me that feminists/gender-free-peeps could be people of any gender unhappy with the roles of everyone within the current system.

    Whatever we decide to call that club, I’m in.

  150. Mandos

    I think too that the question > why are some men so desirous of the label ‘feminist’?

    Because some men recognize that there is a problem. If the movement to correct the problem seems to have named itself “feminism”, and some men recognize there’s a problem to be solved, it’s a natural tendency to want to join the side of the angels, so to speak, and hence adopt the labels. If use of the label is challenged, it’s also a natural tendency to imagine that one is being considered a Bad Guy for being male—even if it’s a false dichotomy.

    Me, I’m not hung-up on labels. It’s a waste of time to get into the discussion of who qualifies as member of club X and who doesn’t.

  151. Pony

    From my very first ‘click’ I understood that “feminisim” was like “socialism” or “conservatism”. A political belief system. Male or female, one can be a feminist, and by one’s own definition. I’ve known men who’ve had a very feminist point of view about one thing, and caused me to near apoplexy with their very masculinist point of view about something else. It’s a learning curve (where’d I hear that…?).

  152. Sara

    Rene, post 138: Thank you for assuring me that some people could tell I was kidding. I was genuinely worried. I only ever mean to offend the Patriarchy and its various willing tools.

    Ron, post 139: Saffron soda! What an excellent potential companion to, oh, I don’t know, maybe saffron rice pudding? Hm? Thank you so much for that link.

    Have you ever tried elderberry soda made with elderberry cordial? Belvoir makes a lovely syrup. Blended with chilled Pellegrino, it is the lightest, most elegant nonalcoholic summer drink ever. Well, except maybe for saffron soda.

    Rene, post 138, Ron, post 139, Thalia, post 142, and anyone else interested: Instead of further hijacking this thread into Pudding Land, I created a post at the message board of the Chubby Girl Brigade exhibiting what I had in mind. (We are big pudding fans over there in the Brigade.) You can find it here: http://jhpool.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=562&sid=3ad9ea929de2ebc2b6fda44ad836754f#562

    Thalia, posts 142 and 145, and Chris, post 143: From my mother’s coopted sour-cream-batter chocolate cake, and inspired by Dolfin’s “hot masala” chocolate bar, I have developed an awesome chai spiced chocolate cake, which I serve under a nice layer of cardamom butter icing dusted with coconut. This cake uses cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, and cayenne. It has the heat you’re seeking, plus the mellow subtlety of the other flavors. If you want the recipe, e-mail me at sara at saraarts dot com with the words “cake recipe” in the subject.

    Thalia, post 142: Great idea re sources for less expensive saffron. Now, I work for the time being at Whole Foods, where I get a 20% discount, but I will also hit the Indian and Middle Eastern markets next time I’m wandering the streets over in nearby Waltham. Thank you.

    I now release this thread back to more serious discourse, as its various participants may desire.

    Oh, Twisty. Look what you started.

  153. Ron Sullivan

    Thanks in turn for the soda tip (and the pudding recipe!), Sara. We buy fizzy water by the case at Costco to mix with stuff because we can’t afford Cel-Ray, or even Pelligrino lemon and orange sodas all the time.

    I’ve been seen drinking Coke in public but that’s just for the caffeine.

  154. Cast Iron Balcony

    Similarly, if I created a blog and did include information about racism, being white, I most certainly would be flamed for not being part of the marginalized group to which i was referring. My opinions would likely be, perhaps correctly, discredited.

    Finnsmotel, you obviously havent’ read Ampersand of Alas, a Blog with his excellent dissertations on white privilege, or Dave Niewert (Orcinus) with his equally excellent updates on what is happening with racist hate crime and neonazi racist organisations in the US. Go and read, be impressed.

  155. Edith

    Personally, I agree with scratchy888 (comment 41) and her distaste for “structuralist metaphysics.” I also agree with MsKate’s comments and really dig her overall message. Although it is much easier, much more comfortable for us to think in these terms of “white versus everybody else,” sometimes racism doesn’t work as neatly as all that. Speaking in terms of essentialism, as in, “white people are essentially privileged, Black people are not” ONLY works if we ignore the triad of race, class, and sex. Unfortunately, no one’s set the rules really that one dominates the other. I find it upsetting that many seem to believe racism trumps all, or sexism trumps all, or classism trumps all. It’s not a contest, people. If someone is white and poor and someone else is Black and poor, that doesn’t mean that the poor white person is still not oppressed every bit as much as the poor Black person in regards to economic class. In terms of race, and race’s interactions with poverty, however, the person who is Black obviously is more oppressed. Overall, who is more oppressed? Who cares? What’s the point in thinking like that, other than to divide people with a common oppression (in this case, class) from working with each other?

  156. finnsmotel

    “Finnsmotel, you obviously havent’ read Ampersand of Alas, a Blog with his excellent dissertations on white privilege, or Dave Niewert (Orcinus) with his equally excellent updates on what is happening with racist hate crime and neonazi racist organisations in the US. Go and read, be impressed.”

    Please link!

  157. Twisty

    Alas, A Blog

  158. Cast Iron Balcony

    ….And heeeeeeere’s Orcinus. (Drumroll)

  159. anueljackson

    The reason there are so many phedofiles running aroumnd free is that the congress is probally full of them, both male and female

  1. Slant Truth » Am I Reaching My Limit?

    [...] I’m reading I Blame the Patriarchy today. A post on Blac(k)ademic, Bitch | Lab, and racism in the progressive/feminist blogs. I can get past the “hey, you can’t be everything to everybody so it’s all good” excuses some are making in the comments, but then I read this: Women of colour have been telling us openly and constantly that we don’t listen for, what, at LEAST 40 years now. It’s long past time we stopped making excuses for why we can’t be bothered and just fucking did it. [...]

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