Archive Page 5 of 22

I think it smells a whole lot, Willie.

Willie Randolph, courtesy USA Today

So maybe this is just me being a typical paranoid, irrational, bigoted person of color as per usual (hah), but does anyone else think that the firing of Mets manager Willie Randolph came enough on the heels of his comments (and subsequent, sad retraction) about race being a factor in media coverage of him? (SHOCKING!)

I can’t claim to be all up on news about the Mets or even baseball in general (I’m a terrible Yankees fan, really). And from what little I know, I understand that the Mets haven’t been doing all that well and that Randolph was at the helm during last season’s spectacular meltdown, so there are certainly other factors at play. But I can’t help but think that Randolph’s comments and all the media b.s. surrounding them might have something to do with his the shoddy handling of the situation by the Mets management. I mean, even papers like the Post and the Daily News are calling the Mets owners and GM for their shitty treatment of Randolph.

I just hope Randolph finds another, better job with a team that won’t treat him with such disrespect and disregard.

An Important Announcement from Your Neighborhood Angry Brown Butch

I think I came to an important realization today. I think it had something to do with some of the comments on this thread.

REVELATION: Believe it or not, I try to exercise restraint with white people on the internet. But I’m feeling pretty much over it. And I’m okay with that.

In that spirit,

let me tell you internet - is so hard being white

Sometimes a LOLcat says it best.

Why this queer isn’t celebrating

I’ll admit it: I couldn’t help but get a bit happy when I heard that California was legalizing same-sex marriage. And today, when I heard about the first couples in line to enjoy their new rights, couples like Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin who got married again after their 2004 marriage was declared invalid, my heart was kinda warmed. After all, politics aside, it’s beautiful to see people celebrate and commemorate their love, out in the open, and with a long-awaited sense of equality and societal recognition. It’s hard for me not to get a little bit sentimental and proud in the most rainbow-flag-waving sense of the word.

But it didn’t take long for that warmth to turn chill and that pride to shrivel up completely when I read this article from the LA Times:

The gay and lesbian couples who packed a Hollywood auditorium last week had come seeking information about California’s new marriage policies. But they also got some unsolicited advice.

Be aware.

Images from gay weddings, said Lorri L. Jean, chief executive of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, could be used by opponents in a campaign designed to convince California voters that gays and lesbians should not have the right to marry. Those getting married, she cautioned, should never lose sight of what they might be supplying the other side.

Sitting close to his husband-to-be in the audience, hairstylist Kendall Hamilton nodded and said he knew just what she meant. No “guys showing up in gowns,” he said.

The article goes on to discuss how “proponents of same-sex marriage are now taking care to emphasize mainstream unions.”

Many of the … early weddings around the state were also of long-term couples who could have been selected by central casting to appear both nonthreatening and mainstream.

And as the SF Gate reports, even the gay-marriage-themed window displays are being engineered to be as normative as possible:

In window one: two men on a wedding cake, one in a $6,000 Brioni tuxedo, the other in a $4,000 Belvest tux.

In window two: two women, one in a black Roberto Cavalli skirt tuxedo ($3,655) and the other in a $1,900 Catherine Regehr white dress.

“Describe them as straightforward,” [San Francisco clothier Wilkes] Bashford said. “I definitely did not want them to be camp.”

That’s right, folks: no camp here. No gender non-conformity, either. And definitely no guys in gowns.

Why? Because the marriage equality movement is largely predicated on the notion that us queers are just like “everyone else,” meaning mostly white, mostly middle-class or up, gender conforming monogamists. You know, the non-threatening queers. The rest of us should apparently find a nice closet to go hide in for a while, lest we threaten the rights that are apparently meant for the more upstanding, respectable members of the LGsomeotherlessimportantletters community.

Continue reading ‘Why this queer isn’t celebrating’

The Story of Stuff

Cross-posted at Feministe

Every morning I seem to find some distraction on the Internet that leads to me running out the door far later than I should have left or starting my work day woefully off schedule. Usually the distraction is something like Scramble on Facebook, but this morning’s distraction was enriching and enlightening enough that I don’t feel so bad about running late (and running even later in order to share it with you folks.) A friend of mine (thanks, Eli!) linked to The Story of Stuff, a short documentary on the insidious processes that go into consumption as we know it. The video has been online since December 2007 and has apparently had 2 million viewers so I risk recommending it to a bunch of folks who’ve already seen it, but I hadn’t and I thought it important to share.

Annie Leonard, a scholar who has done many years of research on consumerism, development, sustainability, and environmental health, guides us through the linear process that drives the material economy – extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal – exposing the many moments in the process that are often left out of the big picture but which are often most telling of the damage occurs within each of these steps. I’ve seen and read many things about consumption and its effects on our world, but this movie broke things down in a clearer, more complete and more urgent way than I’ve seen before. Leonard does a good job of bringing to light the environmental, health, labor, globalization and other social justice problems inherent to the system of consumption.

Some of the facts that Leonard cites are truly frightening. One fact that I’d never heard before and found particularly shocking: when talking about the countless toxic chemicals used in production and therefore brought into our homes and our bodies, Leonard says:

Do you know what is the food at the top of the food chain with the highest levels of many toxic contaminants? Human breast milk. That means that we’ve reached a point where the smallest members of our societies – our babies – are getting the highest lifetime dose of toxic chemicals from breast feeding from their mothers. Is that not an incredible violation?

I appreciated that Leonard called this a “violation,” because that’s precisely what it is. We have allowed corporations and complicit governments to violate our very bodies, as well as our environment and countless cultures and communities, simply in order to give us cheaper, more consumable products.* Leonard thankfully goes on to stress that “breast feeding is still best,” but as someone who plans to probably give birth and subsequently breast feed, that fact about the toxicity of breast milk is frightening and enraging. It really does feel like a violation – corporations and the government have allowed this shit to get into me.

Of course, there’s a large degree of agency here – we, primarily meaning Americans and other westerners, have a tremendous responsibility to reject the system of capitalism and consumption that got us into this mess. We need to wake up to the realities of what cheap, easy, and disposable all really mean in the long run – as Leonard says, someone, or more accurately many someones, are paying the real price for all of that cheap crap that many of us in the U.S. can buy easily thanks to our huge privilege relative to the rest of the world. Sometimes the people paying the price are far away and look nothing like (some of) us, but sometimes, as with toxic breast milk, we’re also paying directly and dearly. And whether we pay or someone else pays the immediate and direct costs, when it comes to the destruction of the earth, we’re all most definitely going to pay up sooner rather than later. And therefore we who live in the countries that use and abuse and benefit from the system of consumption the most have an urgent responsibility to do something about it.

Unfortunately, that responsibility and our agency to act on it are both so limited by our lack of information. The true costs of American-style production and consumption were never covered in my schooling, nor are they something that make it into the mainstream media with any depth or sufficiency. It’s easy to go through life just not knowing or even questioning how our actions and our consumption are part of a much larger system with far-reaching effects, and the profiteering corporations are more than happy to keep it that way. In such a dearth of information and truth, resources like this movie are vital and can go a long way towards providing the knowledge people need in order to understand what this culture of consumption is doing to them as individuals, to their communities, to other people, and to the environment.

Of course, it’s hard to figure out what the hell to do after looking at a video like that. I appreciate that the Story of Stuff site provides “10 Little and Big Things You Can Do”, along with a resources page that includes recommended reading and links to NGOs working on these issues.

* Note that for the most part this doesn’t mean “better” products in terms of durability and sustainability; Leonard also states that only 1% of consumer products are still actually in use just six months from the date of purchase, which boggles the mind.

The honeymoon is officially over.

Towards the beginning of the primaries, I kinda fell for Barack Obama. I feel quite a bit harder than I ever expected I’d fall for a front-runner for the Democratic nomination. My girlfriend and I were glued to the TV during the first primaries and especially on Super Tuesday, cheering every time Obama won a state. I felt hopeful, I felt energized, I felt invested. For the first time in the eight years that make up my voting life, I actually donated to the campaign of a presidential nominee. For someone who’s quite cynical about electoral politics, these were remarkable things to be experiencing.

As the campaigns continued on, I began to grew weary. The novelty and optimism began to wear off. All of the political posturing, maneuvering and bullshit started to try my patience. Obama kept doing things to remind me that he’s still a centrist Democrat and was pretty much destined to disappoint me, annoy me, or straight up piss me off. On primary nights I barely payed attention the the television reports, if I watched at all. And if I did watch, I tuned out about one minute into Barack’s speeches, which all sounded the same by now.

When the mess about Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright started up back in March, I was more upset by the media’s response and the Clinton campaign’s opportunism about it than I was about Obama’s response. I was angry that he’d be so pressed upon to disavow his connections to a man who was simply being honest and upfront about racism, his own experience and understanding of racism as a Black man living in this country. Obama’s response wasn’t the defiant, firmly anti-racist rebuttal that I would have loved to see, but I understood that he had few choices in this situation that wouldn’t just provide more cannon fodder for his critics and the Clinton campaign. I actually thought that some parts of his speech on race dealt quite deftly with both the Wright situation specifically and race and racism in general. Maybe his speech didn’t reflect my racial politics, but I understood what he was trying to say and appreciated that he dealt with it as well as he did.

But after yesterday’s press conference in which Obama completely threw Wright under the bus, I’m officially over him.

I get that Obama had few choices here. I understand that, American society being what it is, Obama would face political demolition if he didn’t disown Wright. I can see that the media has been happily fanning the flames of this controversy and that it’s miserable timing for Obama’s campaign. I know that politics is a game and Obama’s playing it as best he can.

The whole thing still leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. Especially this part:

But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced. And that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

The emphasis there is mine. That might be the part that angered me the most. No, Obama, not all Americans are offended by Wright’s comments. The implication that all Americans should “rightly” be offended by his comments is, in fact, offensive.

Let’s actually take the three topics Obama references.

But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS …

Why, exactly, is that such a ridiculous proposition? Let’s look at what Wright said on the topic in his speech to the National Press Club:

… based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything.

In fact, in fact, in fact, one of the — one of the responses to what Saddam Hussein had in terms of biological warfare was a non- question, because all we had to do was check the sales records. We sold him those biological weapons that he was using against his own people.

So any time a government can put together biological warfare to kill people, and then get angry when those people use what we sold them, yes, I believe we are capable.

I don’t firmly believe that the U.S. government invented AIDS in order to kill Black people. But I also don’t firmly disbelieve it. And if you take out the part about inventing it and limit the assertion to the government allowing the AIDS virus to run rampant amongst certain communities – gay people, people of color, and poor people primarily – then I come a lot closer to saying that it’s very, very possible, if not probable.

And why not? Why would we think the U.S. government so incapable of such a thing? Wright points out the very good example of the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphillis in the Negro Male, in which the U.S. Public Health Service allowed many Black men and women to suffer from syphillis with neither treatment nor knowledge of their condition. This isn’t distant history: the study began in 1932 and continued until 1972, when it was ended as a result of a leak to the press. Had that leak not had happened, who knows how long it would’ve continued. And there are other examples of such medical violence against people of color in our country’s history, from the more distant British war tactic of giving smallpox-laced blankets to Native Americans to the much more recent forced sterilizations of Native, Puerto Rican, and Black women. (Even though I’ve known of this for a while, it took a lot for me not to cry just now when I read that “By 1968 … a campaign by private agencies and the Puerto Rican [American controlled] government resulted in the sterilization of one-third of Puerto Rican women of childbearing age.”) Given these well-documented incidents in American history, why, exactly, is it so far-fetched that the government might have had a similar hand in steering the AIDS virus and allow it to tear through some of this nation’s most oppressed communities? And moreover, why would such a suggestion be offensive? It’s beyond me.

Let’s move on.

… when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century …

Now, I won’t argue that Farrakhan hasn’t said some thoroughly fucked up things, not only about Jewish people but also about queer people. (Though I did find some Wikipedia background on his various controversies to be far more nuanced than what I usually hear and, in some cases, quite surprising.) Again, though, when you look at what Wright actually said at the National Press Club and on the Bill Moyers show, he’s basically saying that, even though he doesn’t agree with Farrakhan on all points, he recognizes his importance or impact as a Black leader. This makes sense, and it doesn’t seem all that different than Obama’s stance on Wright just a few weeks ago.

And finally:

… when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses.

I’m sorry, but when you consider that more than one-hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have died since the beginning of the U.S.-led war, many directly due to the actions of the United States and its coalition, what is offensive or ridiculous about comparing this to terrorism? And what is offensive or ridiculous about pointing out that the United States should not be surprised that its long history of violence and imperialism against other nations and peoples has resulted in violence directed at the United States?

So, again, I don’t find Wright’s statements to be ridiculous or offensive. What I find ridiculous and offensive is that Obama and his campaign apparently believe that Wright should have shut up and behaved when he was being pilloried in the press. And I find it even more ridiculous and offensive that, in order to win even a shot at the presidency in this country, a Black man must disown and disparage a man he claimed was like family to him because that man was unafraid to be up front about racism in this country.

Check it out!

I’m blogging over at Feministe now, “too!” Don’t worry – note that I said too. I plan on blogging plenty here as well. Some stuff will be posted only here, some stuff will be cross-posted, and some stuff will be posted only over there. You’ll never know where my next screed rant thoughtful post will appear next. That’ll keep you on your toes!

I’ve already posted one somewhat rambly post about what it means to be blogging on a feminist blog, in response to some conversations I’ve read (and bungled about in) recently.

Examining the justice that we seek

Thanks to Margarita for helping me talk and think and rethink through these issues today.

Like the other people I know with politics similar to mine, I was angry when I heard about the verdict in the Sean Bell case this morning. And I’m still angry, for sure. I still feel like justice has been controverted yet again. I still feel like a few sad messages have been reinforced by the verdict: that the lives of people of color are given little worth in our society; that the “justice” system is of little use for many classes of people, including people of color; and that the police pretty much have a carte blanche when dealing with people of color, amongst other oppressed people.

However, I’ve also had time to do a lot of thinking and talking about the case, the verdict, what “we” (me, my friends, others with politics like mine) would have liked to see happen today, and what that all means. And it’s really complicated stuff.

I was reminded of this complication when I saw this picture of the cops who killed Sean Bell in the NY Times:

Since the shootings in 2006 and throughout the subsequent trial, I’ve found it jarring to be reminded that two of the three cops being charged in relation the incident are people of color. It’s almost as if that detail gets lost for me in the bigger picture of the case and I need to be reminded of it again and again. When I saw this picture this morning, it troubled me more than usual, because it made me realize that I was angry that three people, two of whom are men of color, are not going to prison.

I’m not used to being in that position.

If all of the cops being tried for the shootings were white, I think that my anger over the verdict would have been much more clear cut. I would have interrogated it far less. It would been black and white, quite literally; another case of white cops working within a racist police department taking the life of an innocent Black man. If they were convicted and sent to jail, I wouldn’t have shed a tear for them. If they were acquitted, I would have been enraged.

But feeling anger over the acquittal of two men of color? Yeah – that’s a weird spot for me to be in. Probably in part because that doesn’t happen very often; usually the story is the other way around and I’m getting angry over people of color being unfairly convicted and sent to prison. I don’t believe that imprisonment is the answer to any of society’s ills; in fact, for the most part I believe in prison abolition. As has been demonstrated many times, including some reports that have received a bit of public attention, the United States imprisons an appalling amount of people, and the vast majority of those people being imprisoned are people of color and poor folks.

And then there’s this case. Three cops shooting three unarmed men of color and killing one of them with 50 bullets. Two men of color on the trial for shooting three other men of color and killing one of them. Two men of color acquitted, one dead.

In a situation like this, where and how could we possibly find justice?

This is the crux of the problem: the situation is framed within a system that is so completely fucked up to the point that little good could possibly come out of it. Our ability to achieve justice is limited by the fact that the only recourses for justice available in our society are inherently unjust. So instead, we’re left grasping for approximations of justice that will invariably be unsatisfactory in the end.

Many of the organizations involved in the People’s Justice coalition – ALP, FIERCE! and SRLP among them – do not believe that imprisonment equals justice. Some of the organizations are explicitly abolitionist. And yet the emails and web postings coming from these organizations and their members about the protest at the Queens D.A.’s office, a protest that was planned no matter what the verdict wound up being, today all began with the news that all three cops were acquitted. One can only infer that these organizations don’t think that was the right verdict. Like me, these organizations are taking a stance that seems to conflict with their larger politics.

But what are we supposed to do? In this society, we take what justice we can get. A guilty verdict in this case would have sent the message that no, it is not all right for the NYPD to shoot and kill unarmed people of color with abandon, that yes,Sean Bell’s life and the lives of other people of color are worth more than that, that no, the NYPD can’t kill and injure and oppress with impunity and walk away scott free. The family of Sean Bell would have felt like someone was truly being held accountable for the murder of their son, their brother, their husband-to-be, their father.

And yet, a conviction would still be no more than an approximation of justice. First, because nothing that could possibly be done could make up for Sean Bell’s death. Second, because these three cops aren’t really the problem. Imprisoning them wouldn’t suddenly make the NYPD stop being the racist, classist, homophobic and transphobic force that it’s been for its entire existence. These three cops would take the fall, but the system that shaped them, trained them, set them up to fear and distrust and undervalue people of color – that system would emerge relatively unscathed. And in the end, two more men of color (and one white guy who’s probably not terribly high on the white male scale of privilege else he wouldn’t be a cop) would be in jail. All of that doesn’t add up to justice to me.

But we’re still angry, and we’re right to be. There is no justice here, not even a conflicted approximation of justice. What little recourse we have for achieving justice, flawed as it may be, has failed us yet again. And what’s perhaps most galling is that, time and time again, it fails us in the opposite direction. This tremendous “burden of proof” that the judge didn’t think the prosecution met in this case so often seems to disappear when the defendants are poor people of color who aren’t cops and don’t have the protection and support afforded to Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper. If Isnora and Cooper weren’t cops and the same scene had played out that night, I’m pretty sure that both of them would be in jail already (and most of us probably wouldn’t have ever heard about it.)

no justice. none.

Reactions outside of the courthouse
Reactions outside of the courthouse. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The cops who murdered Sean Bell have been acquitted of all charges. I would say that it’s unbelievable, but it’s not. It’s all too believable, but no less shocking and appalling.

There may be civil, federal or departmental charges filed against the cops, and those cases may wind up approximating some sort of justice. But in truth, justice could never be served in this case, even if these officers had been convicted on all charges. Nothing could possibly make up for another life taken by the NYPD.

A protest has been organized by the People’s Justice coalition for 5:30pm today at the Queens district attorney’s office. I will probably get my ass out there (ETA: didn’t make it) but admit that I am nervous about it; hopefully the cops will be held in check because of the nature of the case and the protests, but one never knows. We can’t let the police scare us into silence and submission, but be careful, folks.

“We do this because to do nothing leaves others with no options.”

I might not be writing much lately, but other people are. One such person is Valery J, who I work with at one of the organizations I do tech support for. Recently she sent the staff an email entitled “Val’s Reason #2018 for Being Committed to Racial & Economic Justice.” I really appreciated her reflections on gentrification, social justice, and why “the work” is so important. I asked her if I could post it here, and she agreed; she’s also got it posted on her MySpace blog. Enjoy!

On Friday, I attended the first SJL Art of Organizing Session for the year out in Harlem, NY. My partner and I had to bring our daughter to the Bronx to her “Ti-Ti Ta-Ta” (Aunt Liz) for the day.

The session was over and we went to go the baby from the BX and we decided to take a nostalgic walk in the area that evening. It was crazy to see how many buildings that went up that had nothing but gentrifiers going home (it was after rush hour), how bars and restaurants suddenly became “diverse” with ads to rock bands and not salsa or bomba y plena ensembles headlining a weekend event, how many trees were planted in areas that historically had no green space and high asthma rates…the list can go on forever. We took a long walk. The South Bronx looks like Bed-Stuy in its earliest gentrifications stages.

Dave and I are ALWAYS “politicking” and we wondered well, if everything is being “glamorized” for the new folks in town, what’s going on with others who are being pushed out in the name of community development? Where the hell are poor folks are relocating to? We know that shelters are overcrowded and waiting lists for low-income housing are ridiculously long. The economy can only get worse as the Bush and Cheney war continues indefinitely, and New York City Council Members spend millions on phantom organizations while cuts to low income housing, social services, drug treatment, etc. are slashed over and over and over.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I always talk about the psychological effect of racism, poverty, displacement and oppression. We forget that in the midst of organizing for change that the crucible of our arguments shouldn’t always rely on policies or practices but also on the human condition, how everyday people are affected by all of this stuff. It’s easy to point to empty apartments or lack or jobs but not so easy to point to what’s really going on with people who are left out to hang by all of this. It’s not so easy to speak on the effects of disempowerment, disenfranchisement and destabilization on people because they’re not quantifiable.

So, Dave, Aliyah and I got on the 2 train at 149th and 3rd. We took the baby out to play and for a feeding. We were rolling into 125th Street when the emergency brakes went on. We sighed and figured some prankster opened the damn panel. (I’m so old school.) We were in the first car and realized a homeless man being pinned down to the ground by an elder Latino man. The homeless man was about to jump on the tracks when the elder sprang into action. A life was saved because someone cared, did something about it and didn’t think twice to look within.

On the way home, we went on about how sad it is that the land of milk and honey (sarcastic reference to what the US “markets” to the world) has enough resources to waste among the “haves” but doesn’t give a damn about the “have nots.”

I remember feeling a deep sadness because my heart went out to the man that felt that in his imprisonment between a rock and a hard place, that his only option was to end his life. Because things were too much and this was what was left to end the hurt.

What I also remembered is why we all engage in the fight for social justice. Because, like the elder, we spring into action, we care and we do something. Even if that action is hard, causes us to sacrifice, causes inconvenience and causes pain, it’s this act of self-less-ness that offers at least some hope to those who are between a rock and a hard place.

This work isn’t easy. And yes, we have to respond to things as they show up. Our shoulders may feel heavy and our minds run a mile a minute. We argue and bicker and gripe to relieve stress, eat mounds of mac-n-cheese for comfort and lay our heads down to rest with left-over thoughts on what the hell to do next.

I guess I just wanted folks to realize that our work is greater than the burdens that we endure. That we do this not to be rich, not to be celebrated, not to be respected at times.

We do this because to do nothing leaves others with no options.

Thank you, all, for being committed to being a voice for the voiceless.

Fight the Power!

Valery J

So, about Ferraro

When I first caught wind of Geraldine Ferraro’s now infamous comments on Tuesday, I was looking forward to tearing them apart on this blog. But until now I just didn’t find the time, and in the past few days her compounding b.s. has only been rivaled by the Spitzer scandal in terms of media coverage, blog chatter and general commentary. There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said already by tons of other people. I haven’t been very good with reading the blogs lately, but I did catch and appreciate this guest post on Afro-Netizen by Dr. Imani Perry, in which she says

It is perverse and dishonest to present Barack Obama as the privileged one in this equation. We know why Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to reveal her tax returns. The image of her as a working class champion will suffer with the revelation that her power is not simply a product of being a political insider and public servant. She also has enormous personal wealth.

There is no affirmative action in politics besides that which comes from nepotism, wealth, and inside connections. If there is an affirmative action candidate in this election it is Hillary Clinton. And if there is a bootstraps candidate, it is Barack Obama.

Also, I was really surprised at how much I loved Keith Olbermann’s special comment to the Clinton campaign on the topic. Whoa! Although I could’ve done without the whole bit in which Olbermann talks about how Clinton and Obama should both understand the pain of discrimination and tells them that they should be avoiding injecting such offenses into their own campaigns. OK, white man, we appreciate the passion and indignation about Ferraro’s comments, but that’s enough telling women and Black folks about how much they’ve been hurt and how they should be acting because of it.

At the risk of simply repeating what others have certainly said and written already, I will say that the most infuriating things to come out of Ferraro’s mouth lately were not her initial comments, stupid and demeaning and, yes, racist as they were, but the things she said later in defense. Damn, even Imus had the good sense to capitulate after making a racist ass of himself. But Ferraro just made it worse and worse. She decided to play the ol’ reverse racism card, claiming that “any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls [the Obama] campaign down … you’re accused of being racist, so you have to shut up. Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?” How’s that? It’s stupid and categorically incorrect. God, white people really do want to lay claim to every damn thing sometimes, even to being victims of racism! Come on, I assure you, you really don’t want that! Just let it go already!

She also echoed notions that other (mostly white) feminists have been putting forth during this election:

But she also echoed remarks of feminist leaders like Gloria Steinem, who argued in the New York Times that Obama would not have succeeded if he were a woman because gender is “the most restricting force in American life.”

“Sexism is a bigger problem,” Ferraro argued. “It’s OK to be sexist in some people’s minds. It’s not OK to be racist.”

WTF? I mean, yes, sexism is certainly alive and well in our society. And one might even argue that subtly sexist language does get a pass more easily than equally subtle racist language. But one only need look at how race is one of most reliable predictors of things like poverty, incarceration, access to quality education and access to health care in American society to see the immense damage that racism does and the immense power that it holds in our society.

But of course white feminists who take this tack would think that sexism is worse that racism in this country, because they’re not affected by racism. They possess the privilege unique to white people to ignore and elide the true affects of racism. I think that reason why I haven’t caught any prominent feminists of color putting forward this position is because, as women of color, we don’t get to ignore racism or sexism, and we realize that you can’t just put them on a set of scales and weigh them against each other. I’m profoundly tired of white feminists doing just that and then speaking as if they could possibly speak for women of color (or “women of any color,” as Ferraro put it.) It’s the same old second-wave feminist b.s. all over again.