Slutwalk, Slurs, and Why Feminism Still Has Race Issues

Lennon Ono

Woman is not the nigger of the world.

John Lennon is not the final authority on whether it’s ok to use the term nigger.

Quoting black men from the 60s is not a valid defense against critiques from black women, black feminists, and our allies today.

The term nigger is not “in the past.”

The term nigger has not, and has never been, a term that can be equally applied to everyone.

Arguing that black people don’t have a monopoly on the term nigger is just fucking disgusting. You want it that bad? Really?

Over on Facebook, the woman posing with the infamous Slutwalk NYC photo (and the woman who created the sign) defended themselves. The tl; dr version of their statements: “It was wrong to use the word nigger, but the song is true!” Here’s the convo:

Christina Jaus How does this photo speak to inclusion?
Yesterday at 11:23am · Unlike · 9 people

Betty Chantel Jesus Christ, this is just shameful! SlutWalk &SlutWalk NYC what do you have to say about this??
Yesterday at 11:29am · Like · 5 people

Nicole Kubon This sign was not made by an organizer and, when it was noticed, an organizer respectfully requested the sign be put away and took some time to talk with the sign holder about why this message was not in line with our cause. Unfortunately we cannot police all attendants to our event, or any event, but it is a sign that was frustrating to all of us and has sparked discussion amongst organizers. We do not agree with the message being displayed here and addressed it as soon as we saw it.
Yesterday at 11:50am · Like · 2 people

Clare Mackay i don’t get the sign. is a word(s) on the poster out of view?
Yesterday at 2:02pm · Like

Amina Ali This is the title of a song written and performed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the 1970s. You have to listen to the whole song to understand it. It is not offensive to anyone other than sexists in its entirety and was a very powerful message, then and now. I can understand how the sign out of this context would be disturbing. But I urge everyone to check out the full lyrics and listen to the song and judge for themselves.
Yesterday at 2:59pm · Like · 6 people

Tyrra Kiri Adrien Ramos Whether the Lennon song is meant to be offensive, that word should just not be said by any white person.
Yesterday at 5:16pm · Like · 6 people

Amina Ali I think it is more productive to look into the deeper meaning of things than to exercise censorship.
Yesterday at 5:20pm · Like · 5 people

Christina Jaus ‎@ Amina, did you talk to any Black people (women or men) in the 60′s and did they themselves tell you at that time that they felt empowered by that John Lennon song?
Yesterday at 5:41pm · Like · 6 people

Christina Jaus And, the sign “out” of context or not is still offensive. When is the N word ever in context outside of dehumanizing?
Yesterday at 5:43pm · Like · 4 people

Erin TheBeatles Clark Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is…think about it
Woman is the nigger of the world
Think about it…do something about it

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won’t be a slave, we say that she don’t love us
If she’s real, we say she’s trying to be a man
While putting her down, we pretend that she’s above us

Woman is the nigger of the world…yes she is
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the one you’re with
Woman is the slave of the slaves
Ah, yeah…better scream about it

We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother hen
We tell her home is the only place she should be
Then we complain that she’s too unworldly to be our friend

Woman is the nigger of the world…yes she is
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the one you’re with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Yeah…alright…hit it!

We insult her every day on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she’s young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb

Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is…if you don’t believe me, take a look at the one you’re with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Yes she is…if you believe me, you better scream about it

We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
16 hours ago · Like · 1 person

Mina Johnson I heard the song…but what you fail to realize is regardless of the context, that word is still hurtful and disrespectful to a lot of people (especially when spoken by a white person). Conjures up a lot of pain and nightmares for many still
10 hours ago · Like · 4 people

Kelly Hannah Peterlinz There was no disrespect, hurt, pain, or offence intended. I don’t think there was one racist person there. I, the one holding the sign, though not the one who made it, would never use that word offensively. The word and it’s meaning is wrong, but the sign is true. There is no contest about it. I am probably the least racist person out there. I have never even mistakenly judged someone by the color of their skin. Don’t judge before you know what is really going on.
9 hours ago · Like · 1 person

Kelly Hannah Peterlinz I did not make the sign, but still feel wrong and sick. I apologize for being photographed with it and would like to ask for it to be taken down. I never thought this experience could make me ashamed or hurt, or even make me cry, but it has. Anyone who has seen photos of me with it please ask for them to be taken down. Erin this is not your fault, I just don’t wish to be hated for a word.
9 hours ago · Like

Kelly Hannah Peterlinz Also, it did not, in fact, take time to convince Erin to out the sign away. Less than twenty seconds of conversation took place. I stood next to Erin as she discussed this with the woman respectfully, on both parts, Erin complied, folded the sign up, and put it in her bag.
9 hours ago · Like · 1 person

Aura Bogado Don’t judge before we know what’s going on? Wha, wha, what? I can see what’s going on: a white girl holding a sign with the n-word on it. You should be ashamed of yourself–and please, stop telling us that this made you cry. You get no sympathy.
8 hours ago · Like · 4 people

Aura Bogado And Erin: STOP WRITING THE FUCKING N-WORD
8 hours ago · Like · 3 people

Aisha Tayo Ijadunola Wow, if women are the niggers of the world what the flying fuck are Black women? Double niggers? And White feminists wonder why women of colour especially Black women don’t want to join them.
6 hours ago · Unlike · 3 people

Emilie Rosenblatt kelly, i searched the web hoping to find some words from you, the woman with the sign, hoping for an explanation. it’s upsetting to me that, even after the fact, even after seeing people’s reactions, even after talking it out with slutwalk organizers, you seem to show no understanding of what your sign meant to so many women, to so many survivors who are women of color. you don’t seem to realize that your carrying that sign made it harder for all of us, because we only win if we unite, and we can only unite when our spaces are safe for everyone’s voices and experiences. i’m white, but if i were a women of color and i saw that sign, i would say, “slutwalk is not a space for me.” and that’s a serious problem. please try to internalize people’s reactions and own your agency in this. take the discomfort that you’re feeling right now and really sit with it, and you can use it to grow.
6 hours ago · Unlike · 4 people

Aura Bogado I blame SlutWalk for creating an institution that supports white supreacy: http://tothecurb.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/slutwalk-a-stroll-through-white-supremacy/
5 hours ago · Like

Erin TheBeatles Clark I’m the one who made the sign, I asked my friend Kelly to hold it for a SECOND while I fixed my bag, and THAT is the picture that’s been circulating.

Like Kelly said ^ when a girl asked me to take it down, I apologized saying it was never meant to offend anyone, and that was that. Very civil, very respectful.

You’re saying the context doesn’t matter but it does! Otherwise the only thing everyone sees is a girl holding a sign that says the “n” word. But it’s a John Lennon song, it’s an incredibly moving, feminist song that inspired me to act as a feminist. And since I love John Lennon more than anything in the world, and because I was attending a feminist protest, I was delighted by the connection I made with the two.

I’m not trying to justify what I did necessarily, the fact is: I offended people and I’ve undermined the Slut Walk, and for that I apologize profusely. I am truly sorry. But please, I never meant any offense or hate.

Also… yes, my skin is white, but I get offended by racist comments!! And I’m not Jewish, but I get offended by antisemitic comments, and I’m not gay but I get offended by homophobe comment– because I’m a fellow HUMAN being, and anything hateful towards my other fellow humans I take offense to……. that’s why I drew a PEACE sign…!! I promise I never intended to be offensive, and I apologize for using the “n” word since that is my crime, for using the “n” word. But I promise, there was absolutely no hatred or violence involved.
4 hours ago · Like · 4 people

Robert Busillo Aura, what you said in your article is true… Slutwalk will do NOTHING to stop the criminalization of black women in New Orleans, nor will it stop one woman from being potentially deported after she calls the police subsequent to being raped.

Slutwalk will also do nothing to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, help me pass my math test, end wars, start wars, or cure AIDS.

Because that’s not what Slutwalk is about. Slutwalk didn’t create this
“institution that supports white supremacy.” Slutwalk was, at best, a group of men and women joining together to make it known that they’re sick and tired of “victim-blaming” in our culture. At worst, it was a bunch of rowdy, hypersexualized young adults and teens with an excuse to dress skimpily and march around yelling tasteless things.

And the sad truth: most of them just really don’t care about the struggles of women of color. They’re privileged, wealthy, and white…. it’s not an issue in their minds.

Also, please stop using the “F” word, it offends me. Also, please don’t use the Lord’s name in vain, and don’t say the “F” slur that refers to homosexual men. Stop being pro-life or pro-choice, because either way, you’ll offend someone who feels just as strongly as you do about the use of the “N” word. You can’t please everybody, so please stop expecting everyone to try to accommodate your hypersensitivity to some words scrawled sloppily on a sign. YOU get no sympathy.
about an hour ago · Like · 2 people

Robert Busillo ‎”I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Margaret Thatcher said that… smart broad.
about an hour ago · Like · 2 people

Dean Busillo ‎Robert Busillo if there was a LOVE button…..
about an hour ago · Like · 2 people

Latoya Peterson I posted a video, on my site, of John Lennon’s rationale for the song. It was a 2 minute song that he spent 9 minutes trying to explain. He also cited support from black male leaders in writing the tune – there was no mention of black feminists like Pearl Cleage who opposed the usage. Aishah Shahidah Simmons has written on this, as have I. The question on I posed was:
about an hour ago · Like · 5 people

Latoya Peterson ‎”But can you appropriate a term like nigger if your body is not defined/terrorized/policed/brutalized/diminished by the word? Can we use it in a context that is supposed to belie gender solidarity, without explicitly being in racial solidarity?” There are a few different ways in which we could play these critiques, but I find it fascinating that black women are not marching under that banner. And it isn’t because we’ve never heard the John Lennon perform the song.
about an hour ago · Like · 5 people

Aura Bogado Robert: No, no, no. Don’t get it twisted and try and act like I did something wrong here. If I parade a ridiculously racist sign and someone calls me out on it, it doesn’t all of the sudden become their fault for doing so. Nice try derailing the conversation and such, but it won’t work here. SlutWalk as the organization bears the responsibility as an institution for attracting this kind of shit, and Erin Clark, Kelly Peterlinz and whoever else proudly waved that sign bear responsibility as individuals.
47 minutes ago · Like · 1 person

Robert Busillo I’m not saying you DID anything wrong. I’m really just confused as to what you WANT. Just because you’re mad that something upset you, and lots of other people, doesn’t mean that they have any obligation to apologize. They’re sorry for offending you, yes. They shouldn’t have to be sorry for their message. You don’t know what it’s like to be a white girl. They don’t know what it’s like to be a non-white.

You should still be able to understand each other.
38 minutes ago · Like · 1 person

Kassidy Go Forth Clark First of all, i invite all those who are viewing this poster/photograph to actually ponder the INTENT of the quote.
lets try that out first before we jump to conclusions, and then see if we’re still feeling personally offended to a political statement that was to draw attention towards the treatment of black “niggers” in the 1800s and the treatment of women all over the world today.

if you are getting offended by this poster then it is your choice to get offended because the intention was not at all to call out blacks or whatever conclusion people have come up with.

the intention was a PROfeminist point that women all over the world are seen, treated, and thought as the “nigger” ; the equivalent of what “nigger” has meant strictly for black people during their reign of slavery, john lennon extended to the treatment of women so as to invoke extreme and serious inspection to the way we do treat the females of this society.

John Lennon was backed by Congressman Ron Dellums who stated, “If you define ‘nigger’ as someone whose lifestyle is defined by others, whose opportunities are defined by others, whose role in society is defined by others, the good news is that you don’t have to be black to be a nigger in this society. Most of the people in America are niggers.”

if this was a call out against blacks, i would be all with you taking those “white supremacists” down.
but it’s not.
i implore you to pay attention to the meaning of words and phrases before attacking someone who was not making an offense.
34 minutes ago · Like · 1 person

Tracey Salisbury What kills me is that white folks still have NOT moved one inch past telling women of color how to feel or think about anything and everything. Even worse, we are still explaining that we are both BLACK and WOMEN, all day, everyday….There is something just plain sad about feminism and feminist movements that can’t get this basic concept. Regardless of the “intent” or what white folks “think” the sign was supposed to mean, black women in significant numbers are offended, deeply. To make light of those feelings, to keep trying to avoid responsibility for the screw-up, makes the ability to have any kind of positive dialogue about what went wrong impossible.
31 minutes ago · Unlike · 5 people

Aura Bogado Kassidy, stop adding insult to injury, and stop derailing the conversation….

*You’re Interrogating From The Wrong Perspective*

“This is a very special tactic but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be freely or liberally used. If anything, it means you should use it as often and as widely as you can.

You see, in this one you get to insult their intelligence and perceptiveness but in a very subtle and underhanded way! This one is very useful in discussions about literature and other media or academia.

The gist of it is this: there’s nothing offensive in there, you just don’t get it (because you are too stupid)!

For example – you might want to impress your belief that context is irrelevant (there’s no racist parallels in a mythological planet where beautiful white elves keep horrible, animalistic orcs as slaves – it’s completely detached from earth’s history!), or that they’re just reading it wrong (well sure, you could take that attitude if you approach it from that perspective, but that’s not the perspective it was meant to be read with so your argument is just flawed!).

Once again (and truly a fundamental aspect of derailing) you demonstrate your lack of awareness of their issues but you also get to tell them that they’re wrong because you (and all the other Privileged People®) simply know better. Try it out and just wait and see what you get back.

Burn, baby, burn!”

See: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#wrong
29 minutes ago · Unlike · 3 people

Latoya Peterson Kassidy: You are ignoring what people have already said as to why that was not okay, and quoting black men when black women (black FEMINISTS) have historically objected to the song and who are now, coming out against this term and use. Do we really have to break it down farther? No, everyone is not a nigger, and if you were ever treated like one, you would know. Appropriating a term that never has and never will apply to you is not what you are trying to accomplish,
28 minutes ago · Like · 3 people

Robert Busillo For some people, intention, facts, and reality don’t matter when you use the “n” word. Because sticks and stones can break our bones, and if anyone ever uses the “n” word in any context they’re a racist bastard.
28 minutes ago · Like

Bones Patterson kassidy- this is on another level, for real. i invite you to PONDER this article, for starters, http://www.racialicious.com/2011/10/05/which-women-are-what-now-slutwalk-nyc-and-failures-in-solidarity/ Latoya Peterson, of racialicious.com already tried to relay some of this information to you. maybe you didn’t read it? maybe you did and decided that what you had to say was more important. i can’t be sure.
28 minutes ago · Unlike · 3 people

Tracey Salisbury ‎@Robert – How many FAGGOT signs were at the event? How many GOD DAMN signs were at the event? How many FUCK YOU ROBERT signs were at the event? How many white women were skipping down the street with a racial slur on a sign at the event? AT LEAST ONE (one too many), the one sign that SUCCESSFULLY singled out black women and made they feel not apart, it doesn’t matter if the sign was up for 30 seconds or 30 minutes or 30 days. It’s easy to call someone “hypersensitive” when it’s not you be sullied….
26 minutes ago · Unlike · 2 people

Latoya Peterson If Slutwalk is about the ways in which sexual violence is visited upon female bodies, why are you all so bent on defending a statement that has nothing to do with that? Why do you keep ignoring the voices of women who object to this framing if this is a movement by and about women? The term nigger has been used against Arab Americans, South Asians, as well as African Americans – but it has never been used against white women! You know what has? The term “nigger lover” which was hurled at white women (one of whom was murders) participating in the civil rights movement. White women also used the term nigger against black men and women in similar struggles. Look at the suffragettes. “Woman” is not the nigger of the world. You can make the point that women are treated as second class citizens in almost every society without veering into blatant untruths.
23 minutes ago · Like · 5 people

Robert Busillo OK, you caught us. We’re racists and we hate you. Is that what you really think? Not everything is so black and white (……)
21 minutes ago · Like

Nicole Kubon Kassidy, I understand what you are TRYING to say but the reality is that a white woman, a white person, can never know what it is like or has been like, throughout history, to have this word used against you, used against you while experiences all sorts of oppression, including MASSIVE violence. We, as white feminists, do need to sit with the discomfort that comes along with unintentionally using hurtful language. While the intention may not have been malicious, what this sign said to many people of color attending SlutWalk NYC is that it was not a safe space where the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and other identities are important. This is why the sign and attempts to defend this sign are so upsetting to so many people, including SlutWalk organizers like myself. During the organizing process of SlutWalk NYC we wanted to pay special attention to the critiques SlutWalk had been receiving and to make a special effort to create this safe and inclusive space that others were lacking. We can’t police everyone at a huge event but it is definitely disappointing to me that others in attendance and we as organizers did not see and react to this sooner.
21 minutes ago · Unlike · 2 people

Nicole Kubon This is important stuff! We need to be able to call each other out and to engage in a discussion when we hurt one another, especially in an atmosphere where most everyone cares about these social issues. The fact is that often times white privilege is invisible to those who are white and it is not a one-time self-investigation where you read Peggy McIntosh and then abandon all of your unearned privilege. It is an ongoing process and it is important that we as activists be able to accept responsibility when we realize in retrospect that our lens is limited. We need to teach one another and be willing to learn from one another. I’m sad that this sign was used at the rally but I’m not sad that it has created an extremely important discussion with some well-intentioned young feminists who will hopefully keep learning from their experiences in activism, I know I have continued to grow and learn from my feminism and my unearned privilege and how they inform one another.
15 minutes ago · Like · 1 person

Tracey Salisbury ‎@Robert – spare me…if you can’t be an adult, don’t comment. No one called you a racist and no one said anything about hate. If you want to reject the real feelings and thoughts of people in a discussion, but lecture them at the same time, you be more thoughtful instead of flippant when you comment….
11 minutes ago · Unlike · 2 people

Bones Patterson the key, for me, as a white woman is constantly investigating my privilege and taking inventory. it’s huge. and i worry about the possibility that an investigation/ inventory might not be made. (i hope there will be one. and i hope there is growth.)
10 minutes ago · Like · 1 person

Kassidy Go Forth Clark ‎@everyone – you know whats ironic? is that we’re being accused of being racist because we’re defending the intention and meaning of a non-racist quote and yet you are the ones assuming i’m priveleged because i’m white. nice.

i don’t understand the meaning of the word nigger because it wasn’t directed at me? … nigger wasn’t directed at you either – it was used before your time. so we can play this game all day if we want.

white people have not moved one inch huh?
speaking about being adults why don’t we not use ridiculous over exaggerations and painful examples of being racist in your own way.

you are all jumping to side and rally against the black version of “nigger”
we are simply rallying against the human version of “nigger”

-peace, love, equality, RACISM ENDS WITH YOU
14 minutes ago · Like · 1 person

(See, this is why racism isn’t over. SMDH.)

Jaymee Martin oh. my. god. you have got to stop!
9 minutes ago · Like

Nicole Kubon Kassidy, its disappointing to hear you being so defensive. You DO NOT know what it is like to live without white privilege. I am not speaking to any other forms of privilege or oppression you have or do experience but if you hope to be an activist you need to be able to listen to others voices, and humble yourself. There is more to life than the Beatles, and while I think much of there music was progressive and influential, this is a word that white people do not get to reclaim, not for themselves (not sure how that would be possible) and not for humanity in general. The Beatles are a pop band made up of white men, let’s not say they are any sort of authority on feminist or racial issues.
3 minutes ago · Like

And fin.

Just… no.

Again, we have published tons about Slutwalk and what it means for women of color:

Slutwalk – To March or Not to March (Vancouver Slutwalk, Indigenous women, violence against women)
SlutWalks v. Ho Strolls (US Slutwalks, critical race critique, black women’s issues, the Stop Street Harassment Movement)
I Haven’t Actually Been Called a Slut (Malaysia, Western Slutwalks, “sexy as a slur”)

And there’s this “Open Letter from Black Women to Slutwalk” from BlackWomen’s Blueprint that encapsulates a lot of the concerns.

And that’s just the beginning. See, Slutwalk is one of the many long, long conversations about relationships between feminism, racism, class, nation-states, colonization, and power. We’ve got more than 70 posts on feminism and its discontents on our blog alone. And it’s a big, big internet with many others debating, writing, blogging.

So at this point, these aren’t accidents – it’s willful ignorance. One of the respondents says she’s fifteen – that she really didn’t think about all of those things. She’s still early in her walk, and people can change, if they chose to.

Unfortunately, as we see from the continuation on the thread, some people don’t want to understand why women of color would be angry at that phrase, and they don’t care why John Lennon isn’t the best representative on race issues. As Miles pointed out yesterday in the comments to the original post, some “white people just want to say the word nigger.”

And that they have.

The message – and the subtext – came through loud and clear. It just wasn’t the one they meant.

  • LL

    As a white feminist (and womanist ally) I just wanted to add that reading this made me want to gauge my eyes out.
    And something I’ve been thinking for a while:

    Why the fuck does ANY talk involving race with whites have to culminate in either one of these reactions:
    1) “OMG, I’m not a racist”  *runs away and cries* 
    2) “OMG, I’m not a racist” *defends whatever racist thing was said/done without even considering what POC has to say*

    To these whites I offer this: Not everything is about YOU. Seriously, get the fuck over the idea that you are being labelled a racist. You’re not on some weird trial where you have to prove your ethics & innocence or die with ‘racist’ emblazoned across your tombstone. It is wholly possible to believe you are not racist while still doing things that totally racist. I can pretty much gaurantee you that no white liberal does this stuff while thinking ‘cool, right now I’m being such a racist’. This isn’t about your intent. NO-ONE is immune to doing or saying racist things, to being blind to the priveleges they are cloaked in. If someone calls you out on something, THINK about what you did and why you did it. KNOW that you have hurt someone, that you have done something offensive. Before jumping into ‘not racist’ defense mode, think critically about WHAT you did, WHY you did it, and WHY it is inappropriate, regardless of what your intention was. Think about WHY you were unaware of the racist implications and call yourself on your ignorance. Rather than fighting with people, be thankful that they are brave & strong enough to call you out on your shit even though they should never have to. Be thankful that you can now be critical of what you have done, and move forward. NO-ONE wants to call you racist. Do you really think poc relish the thought of there being another racist out there? Of course not. But understand that you’ve done something that has excluded, alienated, offended & hurt others. If you want to prove you ARE racist, a great way to do that is to shutdown discussion with poc, to buffer yourself from criticisim by playing victim, to defend or refuse to acknowledge racism, and basically to shout “MY WORLD VIEW IS THE ONLY WORLD VIEW”. Empathise & think critically.

    White feminists should consider this: We’ve all known a self-proclaimed feminist or ally who says/does things that are  sexist. For example, I knew a male ‘feminist’ who told me I wasn’t ‘well-read’ enough to understand feminism, who talked over myself and other female activists and on another occasion did things that seriously undermine any notion of consent. I called him on his sexism, and the discussion that followed was pretty much “OMG, I’m not a sexist” while ignoring anything I had to say and defending everything he had done. Sound familiar? He had related his understanding of patriarchal oppression to the oppression he faced as a poc, and while I empathise with him on one level, this doesn’t excuse or explain his behavior. He doesn’t understand what it is like to be a woman, and he proves this by his actions. But what I detest most is that he ignores the women who try to help him and school him on this behavior, thinking he knows better. THAT is undeniable proof of his sexism.
    Likewise, your oppression as a woman does NOT give you free reign to say/do something racist because you apparently ‘understand’ what it is like to oppressed. You do not have a fucking clue what pocs go through, so listen to what woc are telling you! This is not the oppression Olympics, and comparisons like the one on your sign are REALLY offensive and simplistic – with or without the n- word.  If you’d rather just carry on doing racist things then guess what? You ARE a racist, and you’re the one labeling yourself.

  • Pingback: SlutWalk from the Margins | The Feminist Wire

  • Pingback: The Week As We Read It | Canonball

  • Pingback: Developing Intersectional Solidarities: A Plea for Queer Intersectionality « Fedcan Blog

  • http://progressivepoc.com/ princss6

    I hear you. I was propositioned by a white dude while in a suit in NOLA attending the NBMBAA convention.

    I also take issue with the privilege of it all. Has the thought ever occurred to the organizers that less expensive clothes tend to be less conservative? What may be slut attire to some may be all that some women can afford. Donning that attiring and labeling it slutty really speaks to a level of economic privilege that has not been addressed. And of those women who have no choice and/or prefer this manner of dress who do not consider it slutty, what does this movement offer?

  • Pingback: Dispatches from Indigenous People’s Day at OccupyMN - Twin Cities Runoff

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000408613410 Helen Bennett Dunson

    Kassidy Go Forth Clark ‎@everyone – you know whats
    ironic? is that we’re being accused of being racist because we’re
    defending the intention and meaning of a non-racist quote and yet you
    are the ones assuming i’m priveleged because i’m white. nice.
    i
    don’t understand the meaning of the word nigger because it wasn’t
    directed at me? … nigger wasn’t directed at you either – it was used
    before your time. so we can play this game all day if we want.
    white people have not moved one inch huh?
    speaking about being adults why don’t we not use ridiculous over
    exaggerations and painful examples of being racist in your own way.
    you are all jumping to side and rally against the black version of “nigger” we are simply rallying against the human version of “nigger”
    -peace, love, equality, RACISM ENDS WITH YOU  

    UGHHHH this stupid brainless android…. human version…and black version?…ahghhh there is something wrong with people..i mean like a broken down  no actual thought kind of way..its a sad thing…..and i love that if the intent of what you said is horrible….its still okay because you “didnt mean it”. EYEROLL! HAHAH assuming? girl i know it! It was used before your time? oh gosh my heart hurts at the ignorance..its like life has not even happen for this person..like the cells in her head have fallen ill! I cant sometimes….i try to stay away from racialicious because i become angered by stupid comments and the bull crap not only i but other POC men/women deal with…im sick of it! you try to educate but there is always something wrong! it drains me!

  • Pingback: SlutWalk Protestors Still Defending ‘Nigger’ Use | Parlour Magazine

  • Pingback: It’s Not Just About The Word | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

  • Pingback: Privilege & Activism « Inquisitive Spark

  • emily

    They don’t realize that the (implied) full line is “The WHITE woman is the N— of the world.” 

  • Pingback: Mädchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » Kackscheiße des Monats: das N.-Wort auf dem Slutwalk

  • Pingback: Mädchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » Kackscheiße des Monats: das N.-Wort auf dem Slutwalk

  • oatsofwrath

    Ugh. The defensiveness, the obtuseness, the hypocrisy in that Facebook discussion is just appalling. And I can’t believe (well, I can, but I wish that I couldn’t) that ridiculous claim that, “I am probably the least racist person out there”. Looks like this white woman can do non-racism even better than POC! Someone get her a cookie! Defining racism as, “mistakenly judged someone by the color of their skin” – is an absurdly simple description of what racism comprises. Note she said that she has never “mistakenly judged someone by the color of their skin” – does that mean that when she does judge someone in that way, she is always accurate? And, zomg, white women’s tears too. Do we have a bingo?

    I find it so frustrating, and so embarrassing, that so many white feminists refuse to do the sort of self reflection we, as feminists, ask men to do. We need to do so much better.

  • Anya D Night

    Reading this made me so angry that halfway through I had to take a break and pet my dog. Then I forced myself to go back because as a white person who has tried to tell other white people about our privilege and about race and gender and… stuff.. I’ve encountered this crap and it’s personal and it makes me angry and oftentimes that anger is used against me (why are you getting so EMOTIONAL?) I am angry. Thank you for trying to explain this to people. Thank you for being better at explaining than I am. I know that it is difficult and personal and emotional for you and I know that it can’t be very easy to hear from people who claim they are totally not racist while refusing to listen to a person of color describe their experience of a hurtful sign or even admit that, yeah, the people who are the subjects of the sign are ultimately the ones who get to decide if it is ok. You have given me some words and some thoughts that I hope I can take into my next discussion of privilege and hopefully your words will make an impact on the other participants– even if they don’t want to admit it. Thank you for doing this work. You are so strong and I hope I too can be strong. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/JOon-Hancocky/100001984456337 JOon Hancocky

      As a white male I try to remember that when I encounter someone who is unfamiliar with and/or denies their privilege, they will always have the same reactions: denial, anger, guilt, anger, denial..rinse and repeat. I myself had the same reactions. “But I come from a poor family…but I’m working class…” I’m sure you’ve heard those denials of empirically proven-to-exist privilege. But I wrestled with the issue, and my privilege-conscious friends stuck it out with me. In the end I figured it out, I dealt with my emotions. Now I hope to help others overcome denial and gain privilege-consciousness.

      So if I may express support by saying, when you have one of those discussions and the predictable emotions ensue, you likely won’t have outcome of acceptance. Sometimes the result comes later, and you might not be there to see it. But you made a difference. And if they don’t come around, it’s not your fault. It’s theirs.

  • Pingback: Critical Mass Progress | SlutWalk and Racism

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Donovan

    who on earth is “allowed” to use it? 

  • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Donovan

    who on earth is “allowed” to use it? 

  • Anonymous

    Same here. I’ve been known to shed a few tears when I needed to get something across and talking wasn’t doing me any good. I do have to draw the line at fainting, though.

  • Pingback: #OccupyWallStreet, SlutWalk NYC and Racial Blind Spots: Editors’ Picks, 10/2-10/8 : Ms Magazine Blog

  • Anonymous

    What is lost in this is that it’s Yoko Ono who came up with that line during that Nova interview. It was a pun on  “the nigger woman is the mule of the world” uttered by Zora Neale Hurston, about Yoko’s experiences in a male-dominated night club where, aside Yoko, the only women there were female dancers in skimpy outfits. Nova used the line on their cover, which inspired Yoko to write the lyrics. John Lennon co-wrote the music and sang the song.  
    Right or wrong, the line and song were created by a woman of color.  Why the hell are we giving the credit to John Lennon while leaving Yoko out of this entire picture? The phase is still unfair, ridiculous and shallow, but giving Lennon the solo credit is even more unfair. Why didn’t anyone ask Yoko for her explanation of the phrase and how she feels about it today? Why did people ask Lennon only about it? Failing to ask the actual creator Yoko for HER explanation and view was and is still an act of oppression. There is also a huge implication in this discussion that Yoko Ono is still seen as a passive, unthinking and banana wife of somebody famous.  Let us be clear: She wasn’t a white [woman] who just wanted to say the word nigger.  She rightly or wrongly spun a new spin on Zora Neale Hurston’s phrase. She is a woman of color. She is privileged (she’s a daughter of a wealthy banking family). She is a feminist. She is an activist. She has been oppressed. She has been discriminated against. She has been demonized by the public and the media. Her historical contributions and influence are still ignored. Please don’t act as if she’s invisible and white. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TBDIIIOGWXGOBLQ57FGJTUYYLI logan

      When did Yoko become black? 

    • dp

      Yoko Ono grew up in one of the most racial homogenous societies in the world. True, she encountered racism later, but in any case it has NO comparison to the systematic treatment of African-Americans in the US.

      Let me put it this way: ask a black man which he would rather be called. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that one is more offensive than the other.

  • Anonymous

    What is lost in this is that it’s Yoko Ono who came up with that line during that Nova interview. It was a pun on  “the nigger woman is the mule of the world” uttered by Zora Neale Hurston, about Yoko’s experiences in a male-dominated night club where, aside Yoko, the only women there were female dancers in skimpy outfits. Nova used the line on their cover, which inspired Yoko to write the lyrics. John Lennon co-wrote the music and sang the song.  
    Right or wrong, the line and song were created by a woman of color.  Why the hell are we giving the credit to John Lennon while leaving Yoko out of this entire picture? The phase is still unfair, ridiculous and shallow, but giving Lennon the solo credit is even more unfair. Why didn’t anyone ask Yoko for her explanation of the phrase and how she feels about it today? Why did people ask Lennon only about it? Failing to ask the actual creator Yoko for HER explanation and view was and is still an act of oppression. There is also a huge implication in this discussion that Yoko Ono is still seen as a passive, unthinking and banana wife of somebody famous.  Let us be clear: She wasn’t a white [woman] who just wanted to say the word nigger.  She rightly or wrongly spun a new spin on Zora Neale Hurston’s phrase. She is a woman of color. She is privileged (she’s a daughter of a wealthy banking family). She is a feminist. She is an activist. She has been oppressed. She has been discriminated against. She has been demonized by the public and the media. Her historical contributions and influence are still ignored. Please don’t act as if she’s invisible and white. 

  • Pingback: Aishah Shahidah Simmons asks “Is Woman the ‘N’ of the World” at SlutWalk?

  • rochelle

    Very relavant ‘view’ discussion in which they talk about the N-word, first in the context of Rick Perry’s campground and then in the context of how Barbara Walters’s saying the word affected Sherri, a black panelists. Getting over the embarrassment that I was watching the view, I thought it was so ridiculous and very reflective of the discussion on here: 
    http://abc.go.com/watch/the-view/SH559080/VD55145984/the-view-103#abc-comment 

  • BlackAce

     No offense but as I said to other women in the blogosphere, SlutWalk is a White Liberal Feminist Movement. We’re supposed to be so post racial that the n word isn’t even a thought. That’s why I can’t hang with SlutWalk as a movement. Not to mention the movement in itself is nonsense to me. As a woman of color,I’ve been knowing that (unfortunately) the dominant majority already sees us as sluts at birth. We’re not human,just sexual orifices-to them. White women can gleefully bask in labeling themselves as “sluts” because they’re a) already afforded human status b) are the default female c) can wipe the old label off by taking off the gaudy attire and go to their homes where they’re seen as respectable people. Shit,just look at the name of the movement..it’s quite clear words do not  matter to these folks-that’s the attitude it gave the moment it was born,of course it would attract ignorant people.

  • http://pickygirltriestoeat.wordpress.com/ mclicious

    This is highly depressing. We just finished our feminism week in my criticism of children’s literature class, and this conversation makes that class look so easy, because I was actually allowed to BEGIN to explain womanism and its difference from feminism. It saddens me that the girls here and so unwilling to understand what’s going on. The one who keeps saying that it’s a “nonracist” quote where “nigger” is used as “human” word rather than a “black” word…..what does that even mean?

  • This is why I can’t

    I thought it couldn’t get worse, but then true ignorance right here:  “i don’t understand the meaning of the word nigger because it wasn’t
    directed at me? … nigger wasn’t directed at you either – it was used
    before your time. so we can play this game all day if we want.”

    wow… when people really need to shut the hell up because every word just digs them in deeper, and she seems so proud of her point here when in reality she sounds like a damn fool.

    EXCUSE ME? I had no idea that “nigger” stopped being a racial slur after the slaves were “freed.” Tell that the black activists of the 1960s and 1970s… I mean, they were not “the black ‘niggers’ of the 1800s” but um, I’m pretty sure they had some foul experiences with the word and racism. Tell that to  me who as a CHILD in PENNSYLVANIA was told by a girl who was friendly with me in the first days of school that her mom said she couldn’t be friends with a nigger. I’m 27. That happened to me… that hurt me in the early 1990s. I didn’t even know what she was calling me, and I had to ask my Puerto Rican mother. And I love my mother’s side of the family, in which many of the women children with black men, but even they show their ignorance when it comes to racism and their ideas.

    I’m not sure how the idea that racism is not possible in young/youngish people today began, but it is not a fact. Chances are that if you think racism is “so over,” you’ve probably said something racist and no one has called you out on it, yet.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WGLCI454SF6L67KRV7SNAX6VEY I Ate

    Looks like someone took the picture down. Let’s stick our heads in the sand and pretend that it never happened!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/HierKommtAlexis Alexis A.

    I can’t believe some of the crap on that thread. I would like to point out, for what its worth, some of what an acquaintance of mine has said on the subject of inclusion, race, and SlutWalk. She’s one of the NYC organizers  and has repeatedly stated her reasons for involvement on her blog, suzyxisntreal on tumblr. (Hope she doesn’t mind me pointing people her way but I trust y’all not to be mean :) ) She does identify as a queer POC and (like me) gets upset at the responses to SlutWalk that assume that all the organizers are white hetero women of privilege. It does erase organizers who are non-white and/or queer and trying to make SlutWalk as inclusive as possible.

    • http://www.redlightpolitics.info/ Flavia Dzodan

      Sorry but your friend who is not Black but a Latina like myself was EXTREMELY disrespectful of Black women ALL OVER TUMBLR. She insisted Black women should not find offense in the sign, she was dismissive of complains and every attempt at reasoning with her was met with further retorts towards the very same women affected by this disgraceful sign.

      A Latina, no matter how involved in SWNY or knowledgable of its inner workings has no place telling Black women how they should or should not react to racist attacks.

  • Anonymous

    Yay my comment was included I’m Aisha Tayo.

    Anyway I had to get my double nigger arse off that page with the quickness because I do like my laptop and I do not want to break it in frustration.

  • http://twitter.com/elledub_1920 Elle

    i’m thinking that some white people get upset when we are allowed to do something that they aren’t….namely, saying nigger.

    • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Donovan

      Except I’m black and I’m not “allowed” to say “nigger” there are serious consequences if I use that word. To really talk about this we need to talk about the intersection of race and class. Black people use the word at the expense of being seen as the “wrong kind” of black person. If you want to be a professional the word is off limits for every reason it is off limits to a white person and then off limits AGAIN even more so because of what it would do to your social status if you start using it.

      I mean, I get what you are saying, but it’s a pet peeve of mine when someone (most often a sulking white guy on the internet)  says “black people can use the n-word and white people can’t” as if there are no consequences for me when I say that word, I think the consequences for black people are worse, really.

      Not that it matters I have no use for the word.

    • http://www.futurebird.com Susan Donovan

      Except I’m black and I’m not “allowed” to say “nigger” there are serious consequences if I use that word. To really talk about this we need to talk about the intersection of race and class. Black people use the word at the expense of being seen as the “wrong kind” of black person. If you want to be a professional the word is off limits for every reason it is off limits to a white person and then off limits AGAIN even more so because of what it would do to your social status if you start using it.

      I mean, I get what you are saying, but it’s a pet peeve of mine when someone (most often a sulking white guy on the internet)  says “black people can use the n-word and white people can’t” as if there are no consequences for me when I say that word, I think the consequences for black people are worse, really.

      Not that it matters I have no use for the word.

  • Katie

    oops, I meant to reply to this, not like it.

    Maybe there ARE more racism problems in anti-sexism struggles than there are sexism problems in anti-racism struggles.

    I realize my own personal experience has serious limitations, but I’m going to put it out there anyway. Most men I have met who are actively anti-racist treat women with significantly more respect than men in general do.

  • http://chainreading.com/profile/baiskeli Baiskeli

    Wow!

    This is turning into an even bigger epic fail than the whole  It’s a Jungle out there kerfuffle from a few years back. That Facebook page is painful to read and essentially boils down to my experience as a white woman means I can ignore the multitudes of black women, with all their experiences over their lifetime, and the experiences of their family and ancestors, telling me that no, it is never appropriate to use the N word..

  • http://twitter.com/erg79 Evan G.

    “Robert Busillo ‎”I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Margaret Thatcher said that… smart broad.”

    So much fail. 

  • Katie

    I like how they keep saying “I am the last person in the world who would say something racist.” Umm, did you look at your sign? Really?

  • http://blackdiamond2008.blogspot.com ASmith

    I’ve been nodding along to a lot of what I’ve read over the last week about the SlutWalk and it’s relationship or non-relationship as it were, with black women but this one… this one might drive me to drink.

    Did this girl really suggest that no one in this thread had ever been called a nigger?  Well I’ll be… SMH.  The irony and level of ridiculousness is far too much to even note here.

  • k.eli

    Oh my gosh, I had to take a few sanity breaks in order to get through all of this. Once I finally finished I hated myself for not having my racism bingo card out. I’m pretty sure I could’ve gotten a full sweep from Robert Busillo’s posts alone. But yeah, this is just a helpful reminder why I’ll probably never be on the feminist bandwagon. And it’s sad really because there are a lot of feminist issues that I do support but I just can’t consciously join a movement that clearly shows no interest in supporting women like myself.

    And can I say I almost had to chuckle at the emergence of the infamous “white woman tears” in this dialogue. How dare we POC/WOC meanies make a white woman cry?

    • http://rvcbard.blogspot.com RVCBard

      As Paul Mooney said, POCs (especially Black folks) need to learn how to cry and faint.

  • Sanoe

    I think it’s great that the SlutWalk organizers told her to get rid of the sign and have apologized with out any ifs, ands, or buts. 

    However, I’d guess that the average white feminist at the NYC SlutWalk thinks the quote is fine and that Kelly and Erin were in the right.  

    • Anonymousiva

      I found that sign (And the defensiveness about it!) pretty appalling, but then again, I’m not your typical white feminist at slut walk. I’m your typical white feminist who chooses to engage in activism at a micro-level within the communities I operate within, and who chooses often not to engage in things like slut walk and the occupy movement because I don’t feel that they represent me, because while performance has it’s place, living is more satisfying. But, this is not about me. This is about respect and recognizing that you can’t build a movement without it. This is about listening, recognizing when your actions are hurtful, and committing to change. This is about realizing that you can’t build a democratic movement while recreating the very silencing structures that you claim to be dismantling. I’m sorry, Sanoe, in part because I don’t want to hijack your response with mine, but also because I can’t say that you’re wrong.

      With as much respect and solidarity that I can channel through my computer screen,

      Iva T.

  • http://twitter.com/danthrasher Daniel Thrasher

    You would think that someone involved with a movement for equality (however flawed their contributions) would at least be familiar with the working definition of privilege in this situation, but maybe that’s just our own privilege working against us. ;)

    • Katie

      right?

  • http://www.redlightpolitics.info/ Flavia

    One other contribution from the woman holding the sign that did not make the edit in this post (probably because she made it after Latoya captured this?):

    “I HAVE suffered because I look like Casper the Ghost. A lot.”

    THIS This is how she attempted to justify her racism! And the implication that she *knows* how it feels because she supposedly looks like a cartoon character. That incredibly offensive statement is still on the thread. Why organizers and the people behind SWNY did not remove it is beyond me. Because that’s another thing, page owners DO have the capability to remove offensive statements. But they didn’t.

    • Anonymous

      I had to tap out. Racism fatigue, it’s going around like the flu – and you know I didn’t get my shot this year!

      • Brandon

        I’m stunned that you were able to stay with that thread for as long as you did.  Thank you, but don’t burn out!  We need you here.

      • k.eli

        LOL @ racism fatigue. There needs to a PSA for that condition:

        Hello POC. Have you read asinine comments on the internet that made you want to throw your computer against the wall? Have you overheard conversations that made you wonder what century you were living in? If so, you may be suffering from racism fatigue. As many as 99.9% of POC have suffered from this condition at some point in their life, but there is hope. Racialicious.com – a place where you can be surrounded by rational, intelligent human beings that will help restore your faith in humanity.

        • http://rvcbard.blogspot.com RVCBard

          May I also suggest Pop In The Mouth Aversion Therapy? It takes a few days for the pops in the mouth to arrive in the mail, but it’s worth trying because it really helps when alleviating symptoms. A pop in the mouth is way less taxing than a drawn-out internet argument.

        • http://dont-read.blogspot.com Angel H.

          “Excedrin: for Racial Tension Headaches”
          http://www.hulu.com/watch/1605/saturday-night-live-excedrin-for-racial-tension-headaches

          an old SNL skit featuring Queen Latifah

  • http://afevereddictation.blogspot.com/ Julie Fischer

    My blood pressure went up just reading this. Thank you for parsing this derailversation for us, Racialicious.

  • Anonymous

    Because issues that benefit xx minority group don’t rely on a standardized version of xx minority. WoC are not receiving the same kind of benefits under US based anti-sexism struggles that white women do. Because women of color and men of color struggle together under a racist system that does not benefit them; white women and WOC struggle against a sexist system, but white women are benefitted by a racist system; in the words of Joan Morgan “white women don’t call white men their brothers; our struggle is a bit more complicated; because while we have to hear shit from both sides about not being loyal to the struggle with all our damn issues, one side is definitely pushing it’s luck a whole lot more…

  • Abby Tallmer

    Hi. Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough coverage of this despicable incident and of the overall lack of racial consciousness – or rather, the prevalent white privilege and lack of even an attempt to deal with race in a conscious and consciously pro-active, anti-racist way – that defines the environment of that phenomenon known as Slutwalk and that frankly also dominates and defines middle to upper middle class white feminism as a whole. (Note: I say this as a white woman, albeit one from a lower class background.) I particularly appreciate the fact that your coverage has gone beyond the tendency of other blogs to deal with this display of revolting and racist signage as some sort of isolated freak incident and has rather, and rightly, looked to the entire pattern of the organization and composition of the Slutwalks and of Slutwalk NYC as a specific example of the more general and pressing problem found way too often in contemporary white women’s feminism: an assumption that middle to upper class white women’s experience = everywoman’s experience and what’s arguably worse, an utter lack of concern as to whether this is in fact the case and/or as to what the implications are for the future of feminism and its prospects, or lack thereof, for inclusiveness and diversity if in fact this premise (that affluent white women’s experience=the universal starting point for feminist discourse and action) proves false. 

    I thought that your readers might (??) be interested in a lengthy (page-long) piece I wrote about these issues a couple of days ago when this appalling picture first hit the internet. My piece was posted as a Facebook note and it has generated much reaction, mostly positive but some (mostly from defensive Slutwalkers) markedly negative as well. If you’d like to, you can read it at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/abby-tallmer/white-privilege-101-the-n-word-rears-its-ugly-head-at-slutwalk-nyc-/257451950965127

    Many thanks for your time and for your excellent blog, which I frankly wasn’t familiar with before the whole Slutwalk tolerance of racist signage fiasco. Congratulations on a very well done publication which I plan to keep reading.

    Best,
    Abby Tallmer
    NYC

  • Anonymous

    “you are all jumping to side and rally against the black version of “nigger”
    we are simply rallying against the human version of “nigger””

    I’m sorry, what? Is the black “version” separate from the human “version”?

  • Anonymous

    “you are all jumping to side and rally against the black version of “nigger”
    we are simply rallying against the human version of “nigger””

    I’m sorry, what? Is the black “version” separate from the human “version”?

    • kim

      I know – I seriously cannot believe I just read that.

      • Anonymous

        Also, the signoff: “RACISM ENDS WITH YOU.”

        Indeed, racism will only end once you stop pointing out racism.

  • Pingback: The Radical Housewife » Blog Archive » Thinking about racism (and getting a headache)

  • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

    good god.

    so many things.

    but i think the crux of it is truly this: some white person is upset because there is something black people have that white folks can’t have.  even though it is something no one should want.  this is always the argument behind using the n-word – “but black people say it all the time.”  the unsaid part of that statement is “and it’s not fair that a black person can do something and i can’t.”

    well, we have taken and taken and taken things away from people of color – now we even want their horrific, insulting terms?  we’re so used to our privilege that we can’t bear hearing “no”?

    well, maybe you’ll hear it from a white girl: no. there are some things that, as a white person, it is not okay for me to do.  using the n-word is one of them.

    there are *quite a few* other things that, as a white person, it is fine for me to do.  most of them are much more desirable than being called the n-word. (and, no, i will not spell it out because it is not mine to reclaim – or not reclaim! – i am perfectly happy reclaiming words like “slut” and “queer” that actually have been used against people like myself – and choosing to not claim other words which i think have little hope of redemption.)

  • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

    good god.

    so many things.

    but i think the crux of it is truly this: some white person is upset because there is something black people have that white folks can’t have.  even though it is something no one should want.  this is always the argument behind using the n-word – “but black people say it all the time.”  the unsaid part of that statement is “and it’s not fair that a black person can do something and i can’t.”

    well, we have taken and taken and taken things away from people of color – now we even want their horrific, insulting terms?  we’re so used to our privilege that we can’t bear hearing “no”?

    well, maybe you’ll hear it from a white girl: no. there are some things that, as a white person, it is not okay for me to do.  using the n-word is one of them.

    there are *quite a few* other things that, as a white person, it is fine for me to do.  most of them are much more desirable than being called the n-word. (and, no, i will not spell it out because it is not mine to reclaim – or not reclaim! – i am perfectly happy reclaiming words like “slut” and “queer” that actually have been used against people like myself – and choosing to not claim other words which i think have little hope of redemption.)

  • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

    good god.

    so many things.

    but i think the crux of it is truly this: some white person is upset because there is something black people have that white folks can’t have.  even though it is something no one should want.  this is always the argument behind using the n-word – “but black people say it all the time.”  the unsaid part of that statement is “and it’s not fair that a black person can do something and i can’t.”

    well, we have taken and taken and taken things away from people of color – now we even want their horrific, insulting terms?  we’re so used to our privilege that we can’t bear hearing “no”?

    well, maybe you’ll hear it from a white girl: no. there are some things that, as a white person, it is not okay for me to do.  using the n-word is one of them.

    there are *quite a few* other things that, as a white person, it is fine for me to do.  most of them are much more desirable than being called the n-word. (and, no, i will not spell it out because it is not mine to reclaim – or not reclaim! – i am perfectly happy reclaiming words like “slut” and “queer” that actually have been used against people like myself – and choosing to not claim other words which i think have little hope of redemption.)

  • Kaydee-P

    Kelly Peterlinz, and Erin and Kassidy Clark are poor excuses for activists. They are delusional and sad; they remind me of the spoiled child who wants a double scoop of ice cream at the expense of their sibling not getting a scoop at all.

    I could give NOT A SINGLE FCK that you didn’t expect to come to SlutWalk and end up crying. I didn’t expect to come to SlutWalk and be referred to as the nigger of the world in the context of womanhood, when I already experience that in the context of my race. You know why the word is wrong and who it effects. You just want to badly to be able to say- whether to be cool or indulge in your subconscious racism, I don’t know- without getting in trouble. I find it HILARIOUS that you refer to John Lennon as your defense the entire time- really? When was it a good idea to use a representative of male white patriarchy- the very patriarchy that BROUGHT YOU TO SLUTWALK IN THE FIRST PLACE- to make your point?
    You are not the victims. You are the perpetrators. Find a better way to indulge in your racism (I hear the Tea Party is all the rage), or go away and come back when you’re really ready to fight for ALL women’s rights.

    This is why I can’t

    • Anonymous

      I find it HILARIOUS that you refer to John Lennon as your defense the
      entire time- really? When was it a good idea to use a representative of
      male white patriarchy- the very patriarchy that BROUGHT YOU TO SLUTWALK
      IN THE FIRST PLACE- to make your point?

      Amen, Kaydee-P! But see—that’s the problem with folks  who weren’t alive when John Lennon was here. Too many fools  think he was some kind of revolutionary or something, which is exactly how the corporate media sells him. John had all kinds of fucked-up shit that white guys with too much privilege have: abusive to his first wife, misogynist as hell, neglectful of his first child, assholish to his bandmates, antisemitic as hell, homophobic as all get out, (if anyone knew how he treated Brian Epstein—-maaaaan) and a big ole hypocrite when it really came down to revolution. Interview Bobby Seale on the Mike Douglas show? Yes. Actually share money and power with the Panthers and all them damn radicals? Hell naw!

      That’s doesn’t take anything away from the man’s amazing gifts as a singer, songwriter, and actor—but seriously, white folks? Harriet Tubman he was not. Hell, he wasn’t even Sean Penn.

      • dp

        I hate to pile on Lennon so close to his birthday, but he was also had a serious, near pathological fear/disgust of anyone with disabilities. 

        And frankly, I saw that clip of him on Cavett and I’m just amazed at the idea that “my black friends said it was okay.” Wow.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. Why on earth are feminist activists holding up John Lennon as some sort of justification? I mean, WHAT??

      There was so much bizarre in that thread that I don’t even know where to start. (And I see the photo and thread are now gone from Facebook.)

      But the part that really blew my mind was when she started going on about how the word was “before our time.” In a way, her statement kind of says it all — this is someone who has. No. Idea. What. She’s. Talking. About. Who genuinely believes that racism does not exist today. Who has absolutely no clue that her life experiences are not every woman’s life experiences.

      And that, honestly, scares the crap out of me. How can someone so ignorant believe she’s an activist?

      I’m so sick of “progressives” who think that because they are liberal/feminist/environmentalist/whatever that they are also not racist. Because NOT BEING racist is what makes someone not racist. Instead of “not intending to offend anyone,” how about just NOT BEING OFFENSIVE?

      I just don’t understand why this is so hard for white people to understand.

      • Guest

        Agreed. My favorite quote was when she said “I’ve never judged someone for their skin color even unintentionally!”. The first step in becoming not racist (and not any other socially-ingrained isms) is engaging in the self reflection to realize that these things have been ingrained in you and it takes active mental work to change them. We’ve all been racist ‘unintentionally’. If racism were only present in the people who are so intentionally it wouldn’t be nearly the problem it is.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. Why on earth are feminist activists holding up John Lennon as some sort of justification? I mean, WHAT??

      There was so much bizarre in that thread that I don’t even know where to start. (And I see the photo and thread are now gone from Facebook.)

      But the part that really blew my mind was when she started going on about how the word was “before our time.” In a way, her statement kind of says it all — this is someone who has. No. Idea. What. She’s. Talking. About. Who genuinely believes that racism does not exist today. Who has absolutely no clue that her life experiences are not every woman’s life experiences.

      And that, honestly, scares the crap out of me. How can someone so ignorant believe she’s an activist?

      I’m so sick of “progressives” who think that because they are liberal/feminist/environmentalist/whatever that they are also not racist. Because NOT BEING racist is what makes someone not racist. Instead of “not intending to offend anyone,” how about just NOT BEING OFFENSIVE?

      I just don’t understand why this is so hard for white people to understand.

  • jetessence

    I just love the way the conversation always devolves into “so, you’re calling us racists, huh?” Urgh! One of these days I might just say, “Yes.” The posters who objected to the sign could not have said anything more clearly. What other conclusion am I supposed to come to for why these folks still do not get it?

  • jetessence

    I just love the way the conversation always devolves into “so, you’re calling us racists, huh?” Urgh! One of these days I might just say, “Yes.” The posters who objected to the sign could not have said anything more clearly. What other conclusion am I supposed to come to for why these folks still do not get it?

    • Mickey

      Because they don’t want to get it.

  • http://www.scribblesandsonnets.blogspot.com Jessica Isabel

    And boom. This is why I can’t do Slutwalk. 

  • http://www.scribblesandsonnets.blogspot.com Jessica Isabel

    And boom. This is why I can’t do Slutwalk. 

  • Digital Coyote

    Suddenly I don’t feel so bad for avoiding this event/movement like the plague.  It didn’t seem like it was about women-ALL women-as much as it was a relatively protected class of women wanting to claim another protection that the rest of us don’t benefit from.  You know what happens when you’re a woman that’s truly a nigger of the world? There’s no “my style of dress doesn’t mean I should be raped” clause because a. you’re not really a woman  (which these goobers and their defenders are perpetuating by never thinking about what that sign would mean to anyone else, especially), b. you don’t have the same value as the “default” woman, so what you think, feel, or suffer doesn’t matter, and c. no one’s going to believe you, take you seriously, or try to get you justice if you are assaulted because of a and b. 

    • Mickey

       I read a book once that contained chapters of how black men & women were viewed by white men & women. A portion of a Black woman’s letter was quoted in the chapter. It spoke of her anger of the racist & sexist treatment of Black women in the country (this was the turn of the 20th century). She was quoted as saying “A colored woman, no matter how respectable, is considered lower than a white prostitute.” That quote, in many ways, still holds today, unfortunately.

  • Gibbsy

    This was concept that took me a bit to work through but now seems pretty obvious: Other peoples’ oppression is not a metaphor.It’s intellectual lazy and wilfully ignorant to deploy other peoples’ oppression(s) as a metaphor for your own.  If you can’t make an argument for why [x oppression] is bad without co-opting another oppression as a metaphor, it might be time to sit down and take a moment to put together a coherent argument that stands on it’s own.

    • dp

      “Other peoples’ oppression is not a metaphor.”

      AMEN.

  • Pingback: I Saw the Sign but Did We Really Need a Sign?: SlutWalk and Racism « The Crunk Feminist Collective

  • Really?

    Does this Kassidy Go Forth Clark person really think that no black person has been called nigger to their face since the 60s? Not over the internet, but in person. I  am a black woman and I have been called nigger more than once in person.  Every time  it was by a white person. The last time was in 2007.

    • http://ihopetomorrowisbetter.blogspot.com Molly Bandit

      According to those comments, Kassidy didn’t think anyone had used that word since the 1800s… which is pretty baffling.  

    • kayj

      Okay?  I remember reading a reply card from a response card my mom sent out for a block party that said, I won’t be coming, there are too many niggers on Berkeley.  I remember some college kids who lived in the house cattycorner from mine yelling nigger as I was sitting on the porch, I remember walking on campus while in college and having someone drive by and shout nigger, I remember being in a traffic jam and having someone yell nigger because I decided to go through the green light rather than let them cut in front, I remember some kid my first year in juvenile court call me a nigger. This last time was 5-6 years ago.  Anyone who can with a serious face act like the word nigger as a perjorative has left the lexicon, isn’t paying attention.

  • Anonymous

    That comment thread was disturbing and fascinating all at the same time. It is incredible to me how often you see these exact same dynamics play out when you point the finger at abuse of privilege. There is a small part of me that wants to be optimistic and think that there are white feminists (and white folks who don’t consider themselves feminists) who are listening to the concerns being voiced here and learning something, but then the realistic part of me sees these idiots blindly stumbling through trying to flip the script and call everyone else racist, use their white women’s tears, and throw a damn pity party. Is there anything that can be salvaged when someone is so obstinately opposed to learning something about themselves? I was impressed at the number of comments that actually tried to take the time to rationally explain what was effed up about the song, the sign, and the rationale behind it. But even those patient, rational comments were thrown aside…

    • hydra

      White feminist here. I’m learning a lot from this thread and, like you, jaw-droppingly appalled at Kassidy Go Forth Clark’s justifications.

    • Tothequick

      Please have faith that some of the ignorance will fade and she, and others, will be able to absorb the lessons here.  It may take time, but it most likely will happen.  I speak as a white woman who spouted the same sort of nonsense that I see in those comments  in discussions about race (“I was oppressed in high school for not being able to tan, etc,”)  Not quite as ignorant but close enough.  I recognize now that I was an idiot then and even more importantly, that I still have the potential to offend just out of sheer ignorance, that my worldview is not everyone’s, and try to act accordingly.  Not always successful, I’m ashamed to admit.  And unfortunately, as with her, it wasn’t immediate.  But if the woman (and the others) in question is so concerned about being called out on racism, she will come around to actually learning how NOT to commit acts born out of privilege and racism.  If she weren’t concerned, i.e. her crying over this, then I would be worried.  Like that Robert commenter, he worries me.

  • Anonymous

    I’d say I’m so embarrassed about this, but somehow that’s not enough.

  • Anonymous

    As Miles pointed out yesterday in the comments to the original post, some “white people just want to say the word nigger.”

    Quoted again for truth. Of course, white so-called activists can’t be honest about that, so you get the miles-long threads of denial and obfuscation that you and other feminists of color had to endure on that Facebook page. What I’m angry as hell about is the pathological need these apologists have to argue about the INTENT of a long-dead white male songwriter. Seriously? And you think Black feminists haven’t been talking back to John and Yoko for the past forty years? Where have you been, white folks?

    White people, let’s get clear: Whatever John Lennon meant by the N-word in 1970, your white privileged behind has no business throwing that nonsense around in 2011. It’s as simple as that.

    • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

      a note on quotations: i can think of some choice quotes, but the fact that someone else said it doesn’t change the fact that it is my decision to repeat it, so i think i’ll leave them off.

  • Anonymous

    This is a damn shame……..black feminists, indigenous feminists, Chicana feminists, Asian feminists, Arab feminists been saying this and similar for YEARS…..at times like this, I refuse to engage because Im super tired of saying the same thing day after day. At a certain point, You DONT WANT to get it. So, just admit that to yourself and others, because we see evidence everyday.

    Shame on you for thinking “nigger” is a positive thing to write at ALL, march or no-march!!

    Shame on you for referencing ANYONE to defend your colorblind , priveleged perspective!!

    Shame on you for refusing to take responsibility and completely derailing the conversation!!

    Mad props and much love to latoya, aura, aishah simmons and others for calling them to task when so many of us just didnt have the energy or reached our tipping point. You have been an inspiration.