Tag: feminism

September 3, 2008 / / dating

by Latoya Peterson

One of the many issues I have with feminism is how my racial identification is treated as a problem, separate from the “real issues” that feminism seeks to deal with – despite the fact that the world perceives me as a “black woman” rather than a “woman.” (The “white” that goes before “woman” is silent.) My race is supposed to go unmentioned and unnoticed – until, there is some kind of “black culture” thing to tsk-tsk and blame on the inherent sexism in the black community.

So, it was with great trepidation that I clicked on a header post from Feministing. Titled “Dating Advice from Assholes: ‘Stop Treating Women Well,‘” Ann summarizes a Washington Post article about yet another crappy book about how to catch a man.

Titled “The Re-Education of the Female” (charming, right?) some bama basically regurgitates the same bullshit being spouted at women since time eternal – cook, clean, fuck, and STFU. The cover lets me know that my initial eye-roll was the right reaction.


Now, Ann’s post was cool, and I was about to click off to some other part of the internet, but for some reason, I decided to read the comments.

The first ten or so were cool, expressing general disgust at the ignorant sentiments. And then, we get to this one:

I echo the sentiments already expressed. I am disgusted by this.

I am also disheartened by the fact that this filth is targeted at black women. I have a feeling that black women generally (but not all, of course) would be more susceptible to these ideas. There seems to be an a fairly strong sentiment among many black women that they need to stand by “their” men, as though they are disgracing themselves and their heritage by dating outside of their race. I have several times seen reference to the shrinking number of black men due to incarceration and consequently a shrinking dating pool, the implication always seeming to be that women have little choice but to date in this pool. Furthermore, there is the specter of single motherhood looming over black women. I fear that the expectation that black women date black men and the fear of scarcity of good black men will cause the women who identify with these issues the most to buy into these horrid ideas for fear of ending up alone otherwise.


Paging the white savior – the Negro women need your guidance!

Read the Post Feminism, Race, and Sexist Dating Guides

August 27, 2008 / / feminism

by Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

Should white feminists be taken to task if they don’t defend Michelle Obama from the misogynistic attacks sure to continue coming her way as the presidential campaign unfolds? Not necessarily, say Corinne Douglas and Jacquelyn Gray, who wrote an editorial called the “Cost of Silence” at the Root.com.

In the article, Douglas and Gray argue that black women remained silent when Hillary Clinton suffered a litany of misogynistic attacks. Therefore, white women can’t be held accountable if they refuse to defend Michelle Obama from the evils of sexism. Douglas and Gray write:

“The misogynistic savaging of Hillary Clinton was one of the most inexcusable elements of the primary campaign, and the silence from black women in the face of those attacks, because they supported Obama, was, at least, a tactical mistake. It is entirely unacceptable to go along with unfair attacks against women simply because you disagree with the particular woman under attack.”

Read the Post White Feminists and Michelle Obama

August 18, 2008 / / feminism

by Latoya Peterson

Megan over at Jezebel provided a provocative conversation topic in her post “Aussie Feminist Germaine Greer Argues That Domestic Violence Against Aboriginal Women Is Understandable.”

She writes:

Despite Kevin Rudd’s official apology to the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders for their treatment at the hands of the Australian government, his government continues to support and fund the previous government’s Northern Territory Intervention, which puts troops on the streets of Aboriginal towns (among other seemingly repressive measures) to combat the well-documented widespread epidemic of domestic and child abuse. That said, feminist Germaine Greer’s response to it is nearly as shocking. She suggests that domestic violence is an understandable outlet of rage against oppression and thus argues that we shouldn’t ask them to stop. What?!

When I first saw this story, I thought she was joking, but she’s not. In trying to argue that rage, substance abuse and violence is a result of the oppression of the Aboriginal people, most people would be hard pressed to say that she’s wrong. Addiction begets addicts, violence begets violence, and crushing and hopeless poverty and societal isolation does nothing to help. But that does not mean that no one should try.

Read the Post Conversations on Feminism: Domestic Violence Against Aboriginal Women in Australia

July 14, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Latoya Peterson

I was planning to write this post when I began my guest blogging stint over at Feministe. Then I looked around and noticed a lot of smart women were thinking along the same lines, so I decided to go ahead and put this out there.

After all the issues in the feminist blogoshere, I had decided I was sick of feminism. Feminism is a space in which I feel like I shouldn’t have to fight so hard, and yet I do. I am getting sick of learning knowledge and tools and tactics at such a high cost. And while I have chosen to stay, it is more out of a sense of duty to others than edification of the self. Read the Post A Continuing Conversation on Feminism: Do You Know Who You’re Fighting For?

July 2, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Thea Lim

In order to show that I am an interesting person with diverse interests and a multi-track mind, I was going to stay away from the topics of Barack Obama, feminism and personal experiences for my second Racialicious post.

But sometimes good intentions get derailed by the nonsense we receive in our inboxes. In early June, via a feminist listserv (sigh), I received a link to this article from UK paper The Independent: “Calling Obama black is an insult to his mother” by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

Call me close-minded, but just from its title, this article would appear to be too offensive to even comment on – its problems are pretty self-evident and don’t need an outraged commenter (ie me) to point them out.

But here’s an exhausting (discouraging, nightmare-inducing, etc…) thought: if Obama wins in November, we may just have four years of ludicrous op-eds spewing nonsensical assumptions about race – and mixed race people – as if it is the business of journalists to tell mixed people how they should identify. So here we go: round one of defensive blogging.

Says Alibhai-Brown:

Barack Obama is not black…the adjective has become an identity and racial marker for the Democratic nominee, and used that way, “black” is disingenuous, and in my view, iniquitous. Successful mixed-race Americans are pushed to call themselves “black” as a badge of honour, evidence that they are not ashamed of that background. And that too is wrong.

The first thing that rubbed me the wrong way about Alibhai-Brown is her belief that mixed race people just wake up in the morning and declare “I’m Black!”, or in my case, “I’m Chinese!” In my experience, a mixed race* person’s racial identity is based on:

a) the racial identity they identify with most, based on their complicated life experience,

but moreover on:

b) how they are seen by the society around them, based on their physical appearance.

My mother is English and Irish and was born in England, and my father is Chinese and was born in Singapore. In Toronto where I live, I’m usually read as some kind of East Asian. In Singapore where I grew up, I’m usually read as white. My race shifts depending on the racial politics of where I am. Read the Post Bring back my body to me

June 13, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Thea Lim

For the past few months, I’ve felt agitated and short-tempered most of the time. Taking the afternoon off, watching all three of the Bourne movies in a row, unplugging for a long weekend – even the dreaded Talking About My Feelings hasn’t made a dent in the ball of rage that’s been growing steadily in my lungs, my solar plexus and my belly. The rage creates even more rage – and I find myself wondering, why can’t I just freakin’ calm down?

And then I got this note last week from Carmen through the New Demographic newsletter:

A couple of weeks ago I found myself feeling really angry and rundown, but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly was causing these emotions…This has been a grueling year for people like you and me — folks who are passionate about fighting racism and creating social change. While this election has given many of us cause for hope, it has also brought out a lot of ugliness around us.

I’m a Canadian living in Canada, and due to a hangover from a very short affair with anarchy, I’m fairly suspicious of electoral politics, and sometimes don’t even vote. So when trying to unravel the roots of this ball of rage, the Democratic Primary Race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was not the first place I looked.

But you see, I’m starting to understand what my problem is: I identify as a feminist. And I don’t just mean I read bell hooks from time to time and appreciate the equity undertones of Gilmore Girls. I mean, I really live feminism. I work for an overtly feminist women’s health organisation, my first novel was a work of feminist fiction, and I helped put together the Shameless Magazine blog – online companion to Canada’s only feminist print magazine for teenagers.

I’m also an anti-racist woman of colour. Read the Post Whose Feminism?

June 9, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Sylvia/M, originally published at Problem Chylde

The thing that angers me about Obama and Clinton is this is NOT a historical first with regards to a black person or a woman seeking the presidency. The REAL historical first is Shirley Chisholm back in 1972.

Clinton has been using Chisholm’s legacy as a pawn with black folks and black women since one of the things she did as a junior senator is contribute to legislation honoring her. That’s it.

Obama, on the other hand, has channeled her “Unbought and Unbossed” campaign into an appeal to the people, catered to the hopes of young people with complete audacity, and has painted himself as the Every Person Candidate. That’s it.

Just as Chisholm did! Before Jesse Jackson, even!

It’s no coincidence or surprise from either politician to give her lip service about what she did. I mean, I read these words from Chisholm and it sounds like something Obama’s used in his speeches in almost the exact same words:

“You can be part of the system without being wedded to it,” I say. “You can take part in it without believing that everything it does is right. I don’t measure America by its achievement, but by its potential. There are still many things that we haven’t tried — that I haven’t tried — to change the way our present system operates. I haven’t exhausted the opportunities for action in the course I’m pursuing. If I ever do, I cannot at this point imagine what to do next. You want me to talk to you about revolution, but I can’t do that. I know what it would bring. My people are twelve percent of the population, at most fifteen percent. I am pragmatic about it: revolution would be suicide.”

Chisholm’s the one who paved the way. Read the Post Shirley Chisholm is NOT to be forgotten now or ever.

June 4, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published on What Tami Said

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer and the wife of Illinois senator Barack Obama, who is a candidate for the 2008 Democratic Party nomination for U.S. President. She was born and grew up on the South Side of Chicago and then educated at Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After completing her formal education, she returned to Chicago and went to work for the law firm Sidley Austin, on the staff of the Mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley, and for the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Hospitals. She is the sister of Craig Robinson, men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University. Read more

I admire Michelle Obama. By all reliable accounts, she is smart, accomplished and an equal partner in her marriage to a high-profile, powerful man. Obama is not overshadowed by her husband. He complements her, and she him. In many ways, she reminds me of another First-Spouse-to-be that I once admired: Hillary Clinton. And just like Clinton back in 1992, Michelle Obama is being demonized for not being a cipher that stands quietly by her man, enraptured by his power and prowess.

Kathy G. at The G Spot blog nailed it when she wrote about a recent Michelle Obama hit piece written by Christopher Hitchens for Slate:

The Hitchens piece, contemptible piece o’ shite though it is, a surefire sign that, now that it’s clear Hillary’s presidential campaign is all but over, the right is proceeding apace with its attempt to Hillary-ize Michelle Obama. We have, of course, all heard about how “unpatriotic” she is. Maureen Dowd has already cattily attacked her for not being sufficiently deferential to her husband. And now we’re being treated to Hitchens’ exegesis of how her college term papers prove she’s really Stokely Carmichael in drag. Delightful! But hey . . . radical, unfeminine, unpatriotic — remind you of any other right-wing caricatures of a certain prominent Democratic woman with a famous husband? Read more…

I was barely out of college at the dawn of the Clinton years, but I still knew what the deal was when conservatives, and even some Democrats, poked at Clinton for using her maiden name or for “not staying home and baking cookies.” For all our talk of progress, America likes our First Ladies (Can we find a less antiquated term?) decidedly NOT like Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton or Theresa Heinz Kerry or Dr. Judy Dean or their foremother Eleanor Roosevelt. These women are too multi-dimensional, too fully formed, too autonomous. Read the Post Michelle Obama: Ain’t She a Woman?