Excepted by Latoya Peterson
[Note: Ms. Bella is the only beauty blogger I read on a regular basis for her political opinions. Love, love, love!]
They say that Detective Michael Oliver wept at the defense table. I wonder if those were guilty tears — after all, he did fire his weapon 31 times at the unarmed husband-to-be — or if they were simply tears of relief that he wasn’t going to be sent to jail for his actions.
And these recent blow-ups not only make me angry because of what these white feminist bloggers are doing to women of color, but because it makes me angry at feminism itself. As Aminah put it way back when, feminism just isn’t made for us women of color. And as someone else (I can’t remember who, but someone please tell me in comments if you know) said recently, it seems like what white feminists want is to become white men. They want what white men have going on, up to and including privilege and the ability to ignore voices of color unless it suits them.
Some of you may feel this is an unfair generalization. And others of you are sitting at your computers right now shaking your head and saying, “Nuh uh, not me!” Maybe so not you, and maybe so I am being harsh. But you take a look around the blogs right now and tell me that the view from where I’m standing doesn’t bear that out. And take a good look at yourselves. Think about if you can honestly say that you’ve considered your own privilege when dealing with the issues of feminism and race lately. Some of you have, of course, but some of you absolutely have not.
Dear Tamora Pierce, (and others),
I’ve been black since the doctor smacked my butt and I took my first breath.
I’ve been black while teachers tried to figure out how to keep me behind but send kids far less bright than I into specialized advance placement tracks.
I’ve been black while teachers told me to sit down and shut up about slavery being wrong because black people in Africa had slaves too. […]
So I’m so sorry if my identifying with being black, an immigrant and gay, before identifying with a cause that promotes itself as by/for American middle class white women, whose lives are already filled with CHOICE, reads to you as stupid.
And I’m sorry if you don’t get it.
Yes, these two incidents turned into discussions about individuals and not the larger issues. The thing is, the individuals behavior can only be taken into account with taking the larger issues into account. Calling out these individuals proves that the community at large is willing to try and stop things from getting worse at the very least, by setting boundaries and examples to newer community members. By making people who think along the same lines as those individuals rethink their positions, or at least their willingness to act on those positions. How we treat individuals when they fuck up is what defines what is socially acceptable.
There’s a long history of sexism and racism in the geek and nerd community. We are all aware of this, and we work on this. And if something happens that threatens to cause a mass exodus of women from the nerd community, apparently the men in the community are willing to stand up and show that the idiot does not speak for them. They went on the attack. They pushed the individual and those who agreed with him out into the cold for the sake of maintaining a diverse community. This week, the geek community–a community dedicated to leisure and entertainment–proved that it was willing to police itself.
When a white feminist was called on her bullshit, the mainstream members of the community rallied around her and pushed several demographics out into the cold. When tensions had reached the point that it threatened a mass exodus of people from the feminist community, they let it happen. They made it worse. That community sacrificed a whole group of women in order to preserve one (white) individual’s ego. Business as usual. This month, the mainstream feminist community–a community supposedly dedicated to bettering society–proved that it was not willing to police itself.