Archive for the 'blogosphere' Category Page 2 of 2

(re)defining racism: who gets to?

I’ve been neglecting this blog for the past few days, mostly because I’ve been caught up in debate over on this thread at Alas, A Blog. The part of the conversation that I got involved in began with someone comparing my saying that white gentrification can seem like an invasion to anti-immigration rhetoric, but the whole thread travels down a long and winding road about immigration and gentrification in general and winds up (yet another) debate on the correct definition of racism. I ascribe to the definition of racism as racial power and privilege plus racial prejudice, and the notion that, while all of us are prejudiced as a result of living in a racist society, only white folks have the racial power that enables them to be racist. As usual, some (actually, only two) white folks disagreed, vehemently, and many other folks, people of color and white people alike, disagreed with them in turn.

In the course of this discussion, I discovered one of the best breakdowns of this definition of racism that I’ve ever read, an Understanding Racism workshop outline from the Prison Activist Resource Center that is inspired by the Undoing Racism workshops of the People’s Institute. I highly recommend that folks read it.

Coming soon (hopefully tomorrow): what happened at the Dyke March, and a whole lot of replying to comments, old and new.

if my friends could see me now

Lookie here – my piece on polyamory and radical feminism made it into the 17th Carnival of Feminists!

The carnivals kind of mystify me. I’m never on top of my game enough to actively submit something to one, and yet I’ve wound up in three so far. Hmm. I’m not complaining!

Also – I’m dreadfully behind on responding to comments. It makes me want to weep. Well, maybe not weep, but I definitely pout about it. There’s been a lot of thought-provoking stuff written and I’ve read it all, let me reassure you. Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to write anything remotely thoughtful, whether it’s in agreement or in disagreement. I guess I never expected my blog to get this many comments and I haven’t yet hit my stride for handling them! Perhaps I should also not require myself to respond to nearly every single comment, since, you know, this is most certainly not my full time job.

I have smart friends.

Many of them, in fact. Here’s some recent words from two of them.

My friend Dean writes about polyamory in “For Lovers and Fighters” on Make. This article really resonated with me, as a currently poly person, in so many ways. In it, he touches on many things: “how interrogating the limits of monogamy fits into [his] queer, trans, feminist, anti-capitalist, anti-oppression politics,” how we treat people we’re dating or in a romantic relationship with vs. how we treat our friends (and how we might do well to treat our friends more like our dates and our dates more like our friends, sometimes), and how polyamory is emergent in communities that question and break gender rules and norm. He also talks about the negative aspects of the relative popularity of polyamory in some communities – how sometimes polyamory is seen as more “radical” and right on, while monogamy is seen as a throwback; how poly people can hold themselves up to stringent and unrealistic standards of behavior, with any jealousy or insecurity yielding feelins of shame and inadequacy. Dean writes:

It seems like the best answer to all of this is to move forward as we do in the rest of our activism, carefully and slowly, based on our clearest principles, with trust and a willingness to make mistakes. The difficulty of having open relationships should not be a reason not to try it, but it should be a reason not to create new punishing norms in our communities or in our own minds. We’ve done difficult things before. We struggle with internalized oppressions, we chose to live our lives in ways that our families often tell us are impossible, idealistic or dangerous, and we get joy from creatively resisting the limits of our culture and political system that are both external and part of our own minds.

In a post entitled “The internet ate my subculture,” Anne writes about whether something has happened in recent years to “completely destroy american public culture,” and whether that something might be the internet. She writes:

Is it totally trite to blame MySpace? Or Friendster? Or hell, livejournal? The timing is right. They keep everyone “connected” without having to, y’know, do anything together except catechise our daily living and fuck. Memoirs are now the best-selling genre of new book. Coincidence? We can get all the kudos and sexiness we need without ever leaving the house, without ever extending ourselves beyond our individual choices of which job, which identity, which sound card, which sex act we prefer. Narrativize it, publish it, let the appreciative comments pour in…

Who Said It Was Simple

I’m a bit behind on the blogging and probably won’t catch up until next week. But I just stumbled upon this brilliant poem by Audre Lorde, one of the few by her that I haven’t read before. It reminded me of the recent conflicts that I’ve witnessed between certain white feminist bloggers and women of color (also feminist) bloggers, especially the drama that was playing out at blac(k)ademic. This poem seems a good response to said white feminists.

Who Said It Was Simple
Audre Lorde

There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.
Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in color
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.

Women of Color Blog Carnival

I’m reposting this here (from many sources) both because I think it’s great and that many women of color should participate, and because I need to remind myself to write something for this, too. You know, in between doing the twenty-gazillion other things on my to do list… sheesh!

~~~a call out for submissions~~~

Because Women of Color recognize that real world structural inequalities such as poverty, violence, imprisonment, and community neglect, have restricted our access to the resources the internet has to offer our communities,

Because Women of Color recognize that computer literacy is a right that has long been denied to our communities,

Because the internet has been used as a tool to further racist, sexist, and anti-queer fantasies/representations of Women of Color,

Because Women of Color recognize that these racist, sexist, and anti-queer fantasies/representations have very real world consequences for our communities and us,

Because Women of Color demand that the resources the internet has to offer be available to our communities,

Because Women of Color demand that computer literacy be restructured as to include those of us who must learn the computer in restricted settings (libraries, prisons, institutions, etc)

Because Women of Color demand a powerful, healthy, intelligent and WHOLE representation of themselves on the internet,

the Radical Woman of Color Blog Carnival has been created!!

**Centering the voices, opinions, issues, interests, demands, problems, and solutions of women of color, this blog carnival will be used to connect the real world issues such as poverty, violence, imprisonment, and community neglect to the blogosphere.

**Publication date will be the first (1rst) of every month.

**The first publication will be put out at Jenn’s blog;

What does the internet *mean* to a woman of color?

Although often touted as the “last frontier” and positioned as something which is essential to learn in the modern day world, the internet has often been used to further very scary and unrealistic resprentations and fantasies of women of color. Furthering this passive violence, it is often the sweat shop labor of women of color that creates computers to begin with.

At the same time, however, the interent can be and often is used as a tool to connect isolated young mothers to other mothers, survivors of sexual violence to advocacy groups, disabled women to resources and a whole generation of amazing teens to other teens. The blogosphere is also used specifically as a space to cover stories that mainstream press refuse to or is too scared to.

To harnass the good of the internet, it is essential for Women of Color to better define what the interent means to us, (the good and the bad) and then work together to figure out how we can use it for our communities purposes and needs.

As such, we will be accepting submissions which question, challenge, discuss, explore, and name what the internet has meant and what it *could mean* to women of color. Is it a site of sexualized violence? A site of sexualized freedom? An opportunity to make your voice heard where there was none before? A site of further marginilization and disappointment? Some examples of excellent critiques of the internet that might get your creative juices flowing:
Where Are My Asian Sisters? by Jenn

Why the Internet Hurts Women of Color by Nubian

But of course, these are just examples–creative writing, art, journal type entries, etc will all be accepted!

Send us your stories!!!

Because this is a Woman of Color Carnival for women of color and put together by women of color, this carnival will prioritize those submissions written by and that centralize women of color issues.

To nominate or submit posts, you may email them to Jenn at

The riots of Paris: a much abused community fights back

The riots in Paris, sparked by the deaths of two African teens and fueled by longstanding racism, xenophobia, and tensions, rage on. It is frightening to watch it happen through the lens of the media, and angering to know that little is likely to be done to address the real oppression, the real discrimination, the real problems at the root of the conflicts. Instead, I worry, the French government and people may respond with further xenophobia, racism, and police crackdowns on African youth and immigrant communities in general.

Black Looks, the blog of an African fem living in Spain, gives us rare, thorough, and nuanced account of the riots. She points out the problems of the portrayals in the blogosphere and the mainstream media of the riots and the communities involved. I highly recommend reading what she’s written, because it’s definitely given me a better understanding of what’s been going on, one that certainly cannot be found in the US mainstream media – when it decides to cover this at all. Two friends heard about the rioting only yesterday, and these are not people who try to avoid news coverage of this sort of thing.

Owukori of Black Looks also describes how the riots are being portrayed as being driven by Islamic fundamentalists, as is further discussed in this Reuters article. Because, obviously, every time a community that includes Muslims lashes out against injustice, it’s not because of the long oppression that they’ve endured, it’s because they’re crazy radical Islamists! Ugh. Is it so far fetched that a community so maligned might be driven to the edge, especially its youths? And even if some “Islamic fundamentalists” are involved, is it possible for people to reflect that Muslims might have very good reason to react with anger towards the French government and other Western governments? Instead, we’re left with governments, media and societies that immediately lump all Muslims together as “radicals” and “terrorists” driven by religious rage, not by rage against a system that works hard to marginalize, stigmatize, and discriminate against them.

Almost as an aside, I found this bit from the Reuters article to be striking:

Ahmed Hamidi, a white-bearded Moroccan electrician long resident in France, had no patience with politicians in Paris, which lies hardly an hour away but seems like another planet.

“All the politicians care about are laws for homosexuals and all those immoral things,” he fumed. “They are against headscarves, against beards and against the mosques.

First thought/gut reaction: ugh. Second thought: I can’t imagine that attitudes towards queer folks in certain communities are made any better when governments do right by them, but then don’t do right by those communities. Until all are free…

Something different.

Welcome to AngryBrownButch. Clearly, it’s brand spanking new. Over the next few days I’m going to be working on design, layout, content, all that good stuff. For now, we’re going bare bones.

If you’re looking at this, either your one of my friends or you’ve amazingly stumbled upon this newborn site. Either way, let me introduce you to AngryBrownButch.

I’m Jack, and I’m an angry brown butch. I like to rant about the sick state of affairs in this world today. Being not only an angry brown butch, but also a techie and lapsed blogger, I’ve decided to take it back to the blog. I’ve done this not least of all because the so-called liberal or progressive blogosphere seems to be overpopulated with mainstream, usually white, usually male voices. The kind of folks who, for instance, freak the fuck out when a person of color (that’s me, surblimity) presents a definition of racism that personally implicates them in the enduring system of racism in our society. I’d like to add my voice to those of other bloggers of color (to be linked to and blogrolled soon), queer bloggers, genderqueer bloggers, and women bloggers. (For more on the lack of attention paid to bloggers of color, check out this article from the Amsterdam News, as posted by Afro-Netizen.)

So, yeah – I’m going to return to getting this place looking good, but soon, there should be some actual content up here. I hope you’ll check back.