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.

niice.

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.

3 comments:

bitchphd said...

This whole fracas has just made me very glad that I thought Amanda's and Jessica's books looked kinda meh, and didn't decide to review them.

ding said...

the whole fracas has made me want to blog more about summer shoes, getting my hair done and what i'm going to do for sex for the summer.

i mean, really. i'm just completely feminist-ed out, you know?

bitchphd said...

Indeed.