Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Getting It

another awesome woman of color left the b'sphere, a casualty of the whole Marcotte/appropriation/racist illustrations/Seal Press diversity training/feminist 'community' split thing.

(and i'm not going to find links for every single one of those terms. if you Google Marcotte/appropriation/racist illustrations/Seal Press diversity training/feminist 'community' split, in any combination, i'm pretty sure you'll be able to find a place to start and work your way backwards. besides, it's 1 am and i really ought to be in bed touching myself or something.)

anyway, i can't help but think about that intent v. impact framework i've had rattling in my head ever since a DePaul women's studies professor came to our office for our staff meeting. she talked about what white feminists can do to be less problematic* and help make the feminist movement also about racial justice: put your intention aside (because no one cares) and think long and hard about the impact of what you do. personally, i think it's a helpful rule for everyone enjoying a position of privilege.

(i was actually going to write 'to be less white' but that's not helpful, is it?)

intention: career building and general liberal do-gooderness (with or without the proper attention to detail and/or previous work done, depending on your POV)

impact: split online feminist community and women of color bloggers dropping like flies, thus depriving the b'sphere of their necessary analysis and experience.


reading all the commentary still reacting to what happened earlier this month has been exhausting and very sad. i have looked at some of my favorite writers with a more jaundiced eye but have also found new writers to replace them. it has made me think that (gulp) perhaps my Roomie was right to be so wary of the 'feminist' moniker. in the words of another writer, it is, after all, just a word.

but before i closed the 'feminist' title away in a box, and began a search for something to replace it more graceful than 'woman who likes the ideals of feminism but some of the other folks in it not so much, right now, though that could change next month when i'm in Italy,' i retreated to the comforting land of comic books.

it is a world with its own issues (heh, issues), like the apalling hyper-sexualization of women who can kick serious ass, but i'm happy to say that there was someone who 'got it.' by 'it' i mean white privilege and i mean, really got it.

not just got it because it's the vow in the Feminist Membership Book, but actually, you know, internalized it and changed her practice because of it. i'm going to bold my favorite parts:

What does it mean to speak as a privileged observer?

It means that I don’t see a lot of stuff because I never experienced it or had to see it.
Related, but not exactly the same: it means that my feminist education overwhelmingly concentrated on white feminist liberal theory, and didn’t pick up on much of anything else. I need to listen, and research, and do my own damn homework.

I don’t want this column to be read as breast-beating or a plea to console me and tell me I didn’t do that badly or a request for congratulations on finally realising my mistake.

Screw that; it was a huge mistake! Recognising that isn’t grounds for applause. I’m going to do my level best to do this better, while realizing that my best intentions are still privileged, and thus still open to totally justified criticism. It’s not anyone’s job to educate me - but if anyone is so inclined, when I misstep I’d really appreciate hearing about it.

I’m privileged. I can’t avoid being part of the problem. But I want to be some of the solution, too.
yeah...a comics blog (and a damn fine one, too.)
last year.
some folks should have read it.

Girls read comics » Blog Archive » Changes: Not Just For The Hulk.

Monday, April 28, 2008

a placeholder

there's a lot for me to write about today but my schedule is already a little packed and i'll have to sneak it in later. but here's a preview:

why come no one's talking about the fact that Obama's loss in PA is basically down to the color of his skin?
why come no one (except the usual folks) took note of sean bell's killers being acquitted last friday?
why come no one gives michelle obama a freaking break?
why come jeremiah wright is still in the news and still making folks mad?
why come there aren't women and people of color in the comics industry?

see? told you there's a lot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

where i ramble and get in touch with my anger

things that have pissed me off today:

1. reading about the blog demise of BrownFemiPower. damn. i came to the whole kerfuffle too late (caught up with it via Post Bourgie as well as some other brown blogs) but it's upsetting to read about. i read BFP on and off and, though she was way more radical than i and it scared me because i'm a timid bougie brown girl who likes things a little too comfortable, her work and voice was/is important, rigorous and fierce.

i call myself a feminist, and have done so for a very long time, but the whole thing (which is part of a larger history of the rigorous work academics/activists of color being completely glossed over and/or appropriated) just makes me wonder why i even fucking care to call myself one anymore. i mean, events like this just rear up to ride my last brown nerve like a pony. it also demonstrates for me again why impact needs to be considered when something like this happens; whatever some folks' intent was when it all first blew up, the end result is that an important woman of color's voice on the blogosphere is gone.

maybe i'm naive, but i don't think 'sisterhood' is supposed to end up with one of us battered and exhausted from the struggle.

(shrug) i don't know.

maybe sisterhood isn't even the fucking point of 'feminism' anymore.

2. reading the 'post-game' wrap up of last night's PA primary.
3. realizing this never-ending primary season is going to drag on forever and, meanwhile, whatever hope we had for an exciting and civilized election season is choking in the weeds.
4. my social life. yeah, the thrill is gone. dating sucks and i don't care if i never go on another one again.
5. my wallet. it's nearly empty. oh, to sell out and get wads of cash in return. but how can an overly educated woman of color with authority issues sell out? hm. it's a puzzle.
6. that BFP thing is still pissing me off.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

fine. i'll watch the primaries.

a scene from yesterday, a gorgeously sunny day in chicago with relatively mild traffic while Roomie and Ding left their offices early

Roomie: so what's on your schedule this week? dates?
Ding: nah. a work event and a board meeting. maybe a boy later on this week but nothing's confirmed.
Roomie: what do you want to do? dinner?

Ding: (sigh) but where will we go? what will we do? what will we eat? choices...i'm incapable of making them.
Roomie: mmm, jibarito....
Ding: we can't have jibarito for dinner. that would totally mess us up for the rest of the night.

Roomie: (sigh) jibarito. what about tomorrow? let's watch the primaries at Enoteca Roma.
Ding: euww. no. i can't watch the primaries. i'll just get mad.
Roomie: o-kaay. no primaries.


Ding: no, we can watch the primaries. let's do that. i'll just get mad if clinton wins. and the pundits, i want them to die. and i'm too busy this week to be pissed off.
Roomie: it'll be fine. wine, cheeses, nibblies, primaries with other obama folks. perfect.

so, even though my earlier enthusiasm about this election has practically been beaten from me by this too-long primary season (thanks for that, Democratic Party), i will endure one more night of primary returns and hope i don't slip into an election-induced depressive rage.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


One of my favorite romantic comedies is Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie. In it, a slightly pudgy, cranky, 30-something woman goes out with a guy she thinks is out of her league and, well, you know what happens. True blave. Through the course of the story, she gets together with her friends and they go through a ritual called the If Dinner: they sit around and talk about what their lives would be like if they got everything they wanted.
The other day I'm having lunch with a couple of coworkers and we find ourselves in the middle of an If Lunch: if we got everything we wanted, where would we be in 15 years?
First, I was startled to realize that I'd be 53 (yikes) in 15 years.

Then I said something lame about having a stable career, living in a cute place, being surrounded by friends, blah blah blah.
T-, one of my lunch friends, looked at me over her glasses and said, 'That's kind of boring. What do you really want?'
Without hesitation I blurted out, 'I want to have at least two surprisingly non-crappy romance novels published, maybe a serious collection of essays or a family memoir written; I want to have 2 long term lovers, live in a fabulous urban house in the middle of the city, be a non profit consultant on strategic communications or maybe run for Alderman. Holy crap. Wouldn't that be funny - me, in public office? And, of course, be surrounded by a wonderful group of friends and family.'
C-, our other lunch companion said that she didn't know about the feasibility of running for office while having two long term lovers, but it was my fantasy; I could dream of anything. She's right. I can.
So. If there were no obstacles, what would you want your life to look like in 15 years?

Friday, April 18, 2008

have lunch with me!

Women Employed : The Working Lunch (May 13)

I'm on the Advocacy Council for this organization in Chicago and it is awesome.
Every year, we throw a big luncheon to celebrate our success as well as do some hard public education on the state of working women today. Last year, we had John Edwards come. (He was great, I got to shake his hand and took a blurry photo of his hair.)

This year, it's Arianna Huffington. She's no slouch, either.

If you're interested in attending, click on the link, register and send me a personal email so I can try to sit us together. It'll be like a meet up!

(If you can't come, click on the link anyway, buy some raffle tix and contribute to a wonderful organization that does so much on behalf of women's economic empowerment. I'm co-chairing the raffle, so help a girl out!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

more linkies

the field negro
i like this blog, too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

elitist? i think the word you're looking for is 'uppity'

i'm just so tired of all of this pre-election crap but i, for one, am TOTALLY fine with Obama being an elitist.

fuckety fuck. whatever happened to fucking aspirations in this country?

McCain blah blah blah Obama is elitist blah blah blah - New York Times

Monday, April 14, 2008

un pájaro en la mano vale dos en el arbusto?

a dating question:

what's the etiquette if you've gone on two dates with someone, and a third is in the offing, but you still wanna date around? do you make that a point of conversation to fully outline and manage expectations? or do you assume that he's dating around, too?

i mean, i liked the two dates (as did he) but we're not committed to anything, right?

this stuff is hard and my not knowing the answers is giving me some anxiety.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

my frakkin' luck

so i'm on my second date with B3 (we'll introduce him later); we've had a lovely dinner in bucktown, ingested way too much chocolate and now we're in a local joint in humboldt park listening to a honky tonk band. (i know. honky tonk. but they weren't bad!) when we were looking for parking i thought, 'hm. looks familiar. i remember that chain link fence. i believe there is probably where i lost my purse...' and, looking ahead, i saw the street name from that undiginified morning Walk of Shame.

'with my luck,' i thought, 'Frakkin' Trader will be inside.' but then i thought, no. the universe doesn't hate me that much.

so imagine my chagrin when Frakkin' Trader walks into my view, stops, turns, looks right at me, stares and circles our booth through the crowd. he's still looking at me and i'm still staring at him over the heads of very young hipsters, thinking, 'frakking universe hates me!' of course, i excuse myself to go to the restroom and send a frantic text to my Roomie, the gist of which was "WTF??"

about an hour later, when we leave, he's still at the bar and i avoid catching his gaze in the mirror behind the bar as we pass.

at home, Roomie said, 'come on, Ding. Bar A is four blocks away, Bar B is one, and his place is right in the middle! he's gonna drink somewhere! did you really think you wouldn't see him tonight? really?'
i said, 'well, i thought there was a chance but i was hoping i wouldn't!'

don't blame me for thinking the odds were in my favor; there at least 10 other people in this city with whom i've froliced (sp? that doesn't look right) and i have never run into them - anywhere - after the frolic has ended. (it was like the universe did me a favor and killed them for me.) why would i expect to run into the Frakkin' Trader now?

Roomie said, 'well, it's clear he's avoiding you like you're avoiding him but you're bound to run into him again. the 'hood is just too small.' indeed, it is. and if i keep going out with B3, and his haunts cross FT's, this neighborhood is going to seem as big as my living room.

anyway, the sorta good news is i've made it to date #3, the farthest i've gone in the hetero-normative ritual called 'dating.' Dr. C- would be happy i've made such progress.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

i like this blog: Too Sense

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Capitol Fax Blog » More cuts threatened

Can anyone explain the governor to me? I mean, really. Explain him to me.
'Persuasion' is a truncheon in his hands - basically, he wants something from the downstaters but, to get it, he's going to destroy what they need.

What the hell kind of political playbook is this man reading?!

Anyway, carry on.

Monday, April 07, 2008

spring dating: where i also think about the 'lost weekend'

Spring is here and you know what that means: boys.

Despite an unfortunate glitch two weeks ago (wherein I woke up in an apartment that was not my own and discovered I had lost a purse, phone, keys, cash, eyeglasses, dignity and memory of the previous 9 hours) I predict this dating season will be fairly mature, sober and, hopefully, boring.

You hear that, universe? I am now OK with boring.

Why, just Saturday, I met an older, sober, divorced father by the park for lunch. It was a gorgeous day and, while my expectations were suitably managed, the weather encouraged me to think this would be the beginning of an exciting spring. Well, at least the wine we had with lunch was nice.

To be fair, he was a perfectly nice guy: smart, mildly funny, successful and tanned. But...he was the size of a jockey. I'm no towering inferno of feminine hotness but even I dwarfed him. And then we started talking about therapy (he brought it up) and he admitted to some issues. Angry, bitter, confrontational issues. So we wrapped up lunch, walked into the park, shook hands at the Bean and went our separate ways.

As I walked down Michigan I told myself that the past 90 minutes would have been better spent browsing the comic book store around the corner.

I've been thinking about that Friday night before last and the responses a story like mine usually elicits from people who feel awfully comfortable turning judgmental on women who may drink one too many and then things happen to them.

Hell, I can even remember saying those things: "What did they think was going to happen? Didn't they think? Why didn't they prepare? Why weren't they careful? How dumb do you have to be..."

Judgment, judgment, judgment.

Taking a look back at that evening, I wonder, Where did my judgment falter? Was it when we were walking to his place? Was it when I ordered the second martini? (A martini that normally would have left me totally unaffected, btw.) Was it when I suggested stopping for a nightcap earlier that night after the event instead of stopping at McDonalds for several Big Macs? Was it when I rushed to get dressed that evening for the event and decided not to grab a bite to eat? Or was it when I had that last glass of white wine at the event and thought a plate of nibblies would do me?

(And these are rhetorical questions. I'm totally not interested in folks telling me how I should turn back the hands of time and not done this or that when, really, the ground zero of that whole night was a skipped meal.)

Though I'm abashed at the amount of fallout that one lost Friday night created, I'm fairly happy that I took care of everything speedily and with a minimum of fuss - credit cards and ID recovered, new phone, new keys/locks paid for, heartfelt apologies to friends made, and Plan B contraception taken. Yay, responsibility.

(And let's give a hearty shout out to Plan B, purchased at CVS immediately the following Saturday morning. With no problem or interference at all, I shelled out $50, took the pills and endured a whole day of nausea and dizziness.)

Anyway, this was all supposed to be about the hot Israeli locksmith who helped me Friday but turned into something else. Oh, well.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

busy busy busy

sorry posting has been so light.

i just got back from springfield last night after a day of chasing legislators, work has been beyond hectic and with all the cuts being proposed in the President's FY09 budget, organizations like mine have gone into super self-defense mode. So, while I haven't been writing here, I've been writing my arse off at the office about the continued need to keep programs serving rape and assault victims in the budget.

but rest assured that i haven't stopped thinking about things over here and that there are still more connections in my brain being made about the recent Rev. Wright flap and how maybe this crap never would have happened if politicians were actually serious about that little thing called 'the division between church and state.' (oh, and if the so-called 'values coalition,' two or three elections ago, hadn't exploited religious fervor in the first place as a substitute for public policy.)