• /* ----------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Name: Dots Dark Designer: Douglas Bowman URL: www.stopdesign.com Date: 27 Feb 2004 ----------------------------------------------- */ body { background:#123 url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/bg_minidots.gif") 50% 0; margin:0; padding:0 0px; text-align:left; font:x-small Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#abc; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } /* Page Structure ----------------------------------------------- */ #content { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/bg_3dots.gif") no-repeat 250px 50px; width:700px; margin:0 auto; padding:50px 0; text-align:left; } #main { width:450px; float:left; padding:20px 0 0; font-size:85%; } #main2 { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/bg_minidots2.gif") -100px -100px; padding:20px 10px 15px; } #sidebar { width:200px; float:left; font-size:85%; padding-bottom:20px; } #sidebar2 { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/bg_minidots2.gif") 150px -50px; padding:5px 10px 15px; width:200px; width/* */:/**/180px; width: /**/180px; } /* Title & Description ----------------------------------------------- */ #blog-title { margin:0 0 .5em; font:bold 250%/1.4em Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#8dd; text-transform:lowercase; } #blog-title a { color:#8cc; text-decoration:none; } #description { margin:0 0 1.75em; color:#9c7; } /* Links ----------------------------------------------- */ a:link { color:#da7; } a:visited { color:#799; } a:hover { color:#fff; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:0 0 .75em; padding-bottom:.75em; border-bottom:5px dotted #567; font:bold 100%/1.4em Verdana,San-serif; text-transform:lowercase; color:#7bc; } .post { margin:0 0 .5em; line-height:1.6em; } .post-title { margin:.25em 0; font:bold 130%/1.4em Verdana,San-serif; color:#ad8; } .post-title a, .post-title strong { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/bg_post_title.gif") no-repeat 0 .25em; display:block; color:#ad8; text-decoration:none; padding:0 0 1px 20px; } .post-title a:hover { color:#fff; } .post p { margin:0 0 .75em; } p.post-footer { margin:10; text-align:right; } p.post-footer em { display:block; float:left; text-align:left; font-style:normal; color:#9c7; } a.comment-link { /* IE5.0/Win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/icon_comment.gif") no-repeat 0 .25em; padding-left:15px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* Respecified, for IE5/Mac's benefit */ background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/icon_comment.gif") no-repeat 0 .25em; padding-left:15px; } .post img { margin:0 0 10px 0; padding:10px; border:1px solid #567; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments { margin:0; } #comments h4 { margin:0 0 10px; border-top:1px dotted #567; padding-top:.5em; font:bold 110%/1.4em Verdana,Sans-serif; color:#9c7; } #comments-block { line-height:1.6em; } .comment-poster { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/icon_comment.gif") no-repeat 2px .35em; margin:.5em 0 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-weight:bold; color:#9ab; } .comment-body { margin:0; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { margin:0 0 .5em; } .comment-timestamp { margin:0 0 .5em; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; color:#996; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#996; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } /* More Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ .sidebar-title { margin:2em 0 .75em; padding-bottom:.35em; border-bottom:1px dotted #567; font:bold 100%/1.4em Verdana,San-serif; text-transform:lowercase; color:#7bc; } #sidebar p { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } #sidebar ul { margin:.5em 0 1em; padding:0 0px; list-style:none; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar ul li { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/dots_dark/bullet.gif") no-repeat 3px .45em; margin:0; padding:0 0 5px 15px; } #sidebar p { margin:0 0 .6em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ .profile-datablock { margin:0 0 1em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 8px 5px 0; border:4px solid #345; } .profile-data { margin:0; line-height:1.5em; } .profile-data strong { display:block; } .profile-textblock { clear:left; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { clear:both; padding:15px 0 0; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; }

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    This Week In The Blogosphere

    On Jealousy

    You may have noticed, if you are a regular reader, that I am jealous of rich people. I am especially jealous of rich, connected people. I know some, some are very nice people, but I am so so so fucking jealous of them. I have heard so many times about how I shouldn't have some of the political stances I have or even just immediate reactions I have because of jealousy. For example, I don't fucking care about the NYU Grad Students effort. I know, ideologically, I should, but mainly I think to myself: "Suck it up, you still make more than the grad students anywhere else in NYC, and, in this academic climate, you should be fucking grateful anyone pays you a cent, you spoiled brats." There is a place where I kind of want to be in solidarity, as I know it's the right thing to do, but I simply can't. I can't get too upset about wealthy female executives not being allowed to go to the August Golf Club. Yes, it's biased and sexist. But, seriously, I can't bring up any sympathy. I remember this one woman telling me about how, at Yale, the people who helped place you in firms after law school, tried a lot harder for the men graduating than for the women. And I thought, "It's not like you're going to be unemployed and poor because of it, so wah wah wah." Now, I can say, with the strength of my intellectual convictions, "Yes, these women should be taken just as seriously as lawyers." But not with my emotional convictions.

    Kevin speaks to the jealousy issue on his blog (discussing that gross NYT article on poor little Cornell University) and on Bitch|Lab:

    I know of few people here at Cornell who have to have part time jobs to survive. Often, as I’m walking to class, I’ll see my 18 year old students drive by in $50,000 cars. And no, this isn’t about jealousy. This is about privileged people, people who are going to get good jobs and go on to grad school at Harvard or Yale regardless of whether or not people realize that Cornell is an Ivy League school.

    And the language betrays that priviledge: marketing, branding. Nothing about education. Not to mention that Cornell is consistently ranked as a top ten institution. So what? Are they pissed because their Yale buddies might get a job making a few thousand more a year? Well, I’m pissed that my Community College of Denver friends, many who are as bright and talented as anyone here (some moreso in my opinion) will never have the opportunities that these whining fuckwits have.

    And here's what I'm thinking to myself: Does envy help me to clarify my political positions or does it blur my vision? Am I right to say, "Let's put the issues of middle and low-income women, as there are more of us, first," or is that, in the end, going to defeat any effort against sexist oppression (a whole DuBoisian "Talented Tenth" - read: "Rich Tenth" - sort of thing)? In other words, is jealousy an effective political emotion, or is it the "chip on the shoulder"?

    In general, I think there is a certain not-particularly-well-thought-out position that says, "White rich straight people don't really know anything except their own experience, but the farther down on the oppression ranks you are, the more you know about the world in general," amongst some Leftists. I think that I am just as blind to some things as people both "above" and "below" me in the hegemonic food chain of human life, and vice versa. I change my mind all the time. I am confused and sometimes emotional, sometimes rational, sometimes certain and righteous, sometimes shaky and mute. I don't want to tell the richest WASPy Northeastern Ivy-educated heterosexual male that I know more than he does about the world because I simply know different things. I am as likely to be biased by having experienced oppression as he is by not having experienced (much) oppression. I truly believe that. I truly believe also that people are often complicit in situating their own oppression and that people internalize the systems of oppression that oppress them, and sometimes internalize them in reverse: "I am so superior to these people because I've really BEEN POOR!" or whatever.

    It reminds me of the 2004 Democratic primary. I loved John Edwards and John Kerry, but, in the end, I got behind Edwards, I think primarily because he "was the son of a mill worker". I don't like to think of myself as a person who would do this, but I did. When Kerry got the nomination, I was all-the-way for him, but I wanted "the son of a mill worker" in the White House, especially someone who didn't go to an Ivy. Anyway, I felt this way, EVEN THOUGH I'm one of those feminists who believes it's total bullshit to support a woman just because she's a woman.

    As I began to think more about Senator Kerry, I began to think that there was something truly special about his life because he was born into such privilege: he served in Vietnam though he could have easily have gotten out of it, he fought for the working poor though he'd never been among them, he worked hard to contribute to a society wherein he was born privileged, and maybe that should have made him my choice to begin with? I'm still not sure. Because then my next thought is, "If only we all had the privilege to prove how great we are despite our privilege."

    So, even though I had those thoughts about Kerry, it was easy enough for me to get behind him once he got the nomination (I loved him for picking Edwards as his running mate), in part because I didn't work on the campaign. In my activist work, dealing with the privileged assumptions of people (even if my assumptions were just as egregious) has made me basically want to quit.

    I heard some radio program about the youth protests in France around the change in the labor law and one of the interesting things about it was that the vast majority of protestors were middle-class Parisian students, but they were joined by suburban young people, mostly immigrants, many of whom had been a part of the summer's riots. The suburban participants were found to be stealing tons of stuff from the middle-class "leaders" of the protests and, generally, causing chaos. In some ways, they were guilty of trying to sabotage the protests. Was jealousy keeping them from thinking clearly? I think so. And I realize that I have done (less criminal) similar things in activist groups of which I've been a part, despite having felt tremendous frustration when I thought it was being done to actions I was leading.

    I don't know where to leave this. I'm not sure. There's this deep-seated envy in me that wants to somehow defend jealous as an important somehow revolutionary feeling- I want to write, Audre Lorde-style, "The Uses of Envy: Envy As Power," but some voice inside me says that envy has never worked for me, has never brought be to real, substantive, and effective political action, or even clear political perspective. ????

    On Tokenism

    SarahS in the comments on this Feministing thread said that she feels the rise of Blac(k)ademic/Nubian/Kortney on the feminist blogosphere is a case of tokenism. She seems to be referring to her being chosen to guest blog on Alas, a Blog where Nubian got raked over the coals by a particularly frightening flag waver of White Supremacist Radical Feminism.

    Now, I don't think AT ALL that Ampersand chose Nubian to guest blog out of tokenism. He is a master at choosing top-notch guest bloggers, including some of my very favorites, like Rachel Sullivan. He is also quite meticulous at maintaining the quality of Alas and I don't think he would choose anyone he felt would jeopardize the consistency of his contribution to the blogosphere.

    All that said, there is most definitely racial/ethnic/class/sexuality tokenism in the feminist blogosphere. Here's what I mean: I see these blogrolls on some of the biggest blogs filled with blogs with the word "Black" in the title, "Latino/a" in the title, "Queer" in the title, and then I watch as the Big Blogs consistently link to each other or to the news, rather strictly. When asked their favorite blogs, these bloggers go "Oh, Black Negro African-American Woman" of course, and "Queer Lesbian Transgendered Person" of course and of course "Welfare Mother in Alabama". But then, their posts are all about what's happening on the other white, hetero, middle-class blogs. And you rarely see these people posting in the comments on the blogs that they supposedly love so much.

    Now, I've said this before and I'll say it again: I'm skeptical of how much blogs can do to change the world. I blog because I want to and I expect other people do to (and I know some people blog because they want writing careers, etc). As such, unless you're a blog associated with a newspaper or particular organization, I don't particularly think you have a responsibility to anyone except yourself and your own interests. (Note: that doesn't mean I won't criticize the hell out of blogs when I don't like what they're doing, even if they don't have a responsibility to me.) I think that white, upper-middle-class, heterosexual women should be able to blog to their hearts' content about how marrying a multimillionaire has brought up the stay-at-home-or-not question (I kid, I kid, I know there are further issues). But, even though I think they perfectly have the right to do that, just as I love nothing more than to blog about miniscule queer happenings in the media, I wish they didn't pretend they were so "multicultural". To me, that's tokenism. Sure, it's nice that they have some people of color, some people of lesser means, some queers, some rural folks, on their blogroll, but, I often see those and think, they're just using them.

    The other thing is that it seems that, when the so-called "privileged" (I have no idea how else to say this) bloggers do actually link to a post on one of their *favorite* blogs, they usually choose some short manifesto-type thing, rather than any complex, you-might-have-to-think-about-it post. Now, we all have a variety of posts on our blogs, and most of us move from style to style and form to form, at least to some extent. It's very clear to me that there is one particular "underprivileged" voice that people can stand hearing.

    It is legion in academia too. A certain black gay scholar I know has been chastised up one side and down the other for his new book because it is "too complex" and therefore "more queer than black" and it talks too much about "literature" and not enough about "hip hop" and stuff, so it's not nearly as good and representative of "the folk" as it could be. This isn't a bunch of black scholars putting down his book, it's a bunch of white scholars too.

    When I read the stuff about tokenism over on Feministing, I felt that this had to be said because I think that SarahS is misplacing her sentiment, but that she's reacting to something very real bubbling beneath the surface of a lot of the popular feminist blogs. (I might add that I think another element of all this is a sort of resurrection, at least in blogland, of old-school radical feminism, which tends toward these things, generally. GENERALLY.) A lot of bloggers, including the tip top, are hip to all this and aren't the perpetrators of it, so please don't take this comment as blanket-across-the-board. Just an observation.


    Blogger kactus said...

    Great post, el. I've noticed that on the big blogs too, this tendency to have a few names to throw out there to prove their diversity cred. I think in my case what I end up linking to is anybody who makes me think about something in a different way, or who teaches me, or might teach somebody else. Or anybody who makes me laugh. And a few people who prop up my pre-conceived notions, too.

    And that whole mess at feministing was awful. And at Amp's, and just all across the board. What is this--show your ugly racist hand week?

    2:56 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    yeah, it's kind of scary how this racism just sort of seeped up from underneath. Sure, it's been there all along, but this is extreme and gross and rather frightening.

    I mean, I'm not perfect and I don't want it to seem like I think I am, but I do feel like I have to point out how bad it's getting.

    3:28 PM  
    Anonymous Bitch | Lab said...

    just a quick note: i don't think what you're describing is envy. it's anger at injustice.

    you reminded of something i once said once to someone. he's went through grad school, did his english diss on video game and then couldn't get a job. he couldn't pay off his $80k in debt and asked people on a list about how to get out of paying it.

    i looked up stuff to see that he could do so in a number of ways -- such as taking certain jobs that allow you to jettison the loan. this was years ago, so don't know if programs are sitll around.

    I bitched at him and said, "I remember when I first tried to go to college, I couldn't. I was 18 and not living with my parents, but the system had been ripped off by so many people lying, saying they didn't receive parental support, that they changed the rules and made people like me wait three years to get fin. aid. so fuck you and the horse you road in on. pay off your debts, ask them for relief when you can't pay them, suck it up and take a job doing something you don't want to do b/c you can't find the academic job.

    and then a few people pointed out to me that certainly the country could afford to put anyone who wanted through college for free. the money we'd spend on that would be miniscule compaired to the mil. budget.

    all i was doing was reproducing ideology: "I worked hard, you can too."

    that isn't jealousy, it's policing. we're being police for capitalism, that's all.

    when i used to laugh at my fellow grad students who'd whine about the TA stipends we'd receive, i only policed the system by saying, "be grateful, I made less money an hour in my former job. this is a fortune!"

    I wasn't jealous, I was just dirty the dirty work by saying, "you could have it worse, chumps."

    Kevin's not envious, he's angry at injustice. He's angry about a system that maintains that it's based on merit when it's clearly not. it's angry that people who are privileged don't kiss the ground every day for what they have.

    but that isn't the world we want. we shouldn't kiss the ground for the opp for an A class education. It should be our right and the right of every human on the planet. So that emotion, which isn't enby, is a wedge into the system. But like all wedges, it can be an opportunity to really understand the system or an opportunity to be its willing police force.

    3:35 PM  
    Anonymous Bitch | Lab said...

    ha ha. i inteded to write two sentences. what a procrastinating ass i am.

    3:36 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    I'm glad you're a procrastinating ass because what you said really clicked for me and made me understand something I was overlooking - exactly how one is a cop for capitalism.

    I still need to think about this some more , but I'm thinking about it ... in a sort of new, sort of tweaked way now.

    Thanks Bitch.

    4:35 PM  
    Blogger brownfemipower said...

    bitch, that was perfect. that is exactly it, only you switched it around to a more "privileged" areana--i mean, i *get it* when talking about poor resturant workers fighting for the "great" grill cook job, but i *don't* get it when talking about jobs in acadamia, cuz i think that everybody there, regardless of what they're doing, is privileged, cuz they aren't breathing grease fifty hours a week, and they can still have a life after work is done because they aren't physically exhausted. but you are *so right* bitch, and i agree with you 100%.
    this is a great discussion el, thanks for bringing it up...i've been struggling with this shit forever--i went to the university of michigan, which has a nice mix of working class whites and VERY well off whites and then all the rest of us poor ass people of color who are thanking jesus every day for just *being* there--there's a lot of issues in the whole u of m mess that i have even been able to think about until i read this, because it just makes me so mad and it is kinda painful too...
    anway, thanks...

    10:41 AM  
    Anonymous Rachel S said...

    I think there are about 10 or 12 things in your post that I could pull out to comment on, but I'll start with this quote, "'White rich straight people don't really know anything except their own experience, but the farther down on the oppression ranks you are, the more you know about the world in general,' amongst some Leftists."

    I firmly believe that people make a big mistake when they make assumptions about whether or not a person is a political ally based on their identities. I think part of maturing is realizing that these statements may have some merit at the level of generalizations, but once you use identities alone you miss the nuances of personal experience.

    I try really hard not to use this method of finding allies. I believe very strongly in coalitions built around ideas first--identities second. The notion that the person who is most marginalized is the "purest" is problematic. Moreover, some of our political allies aren't necessarily the nicest folks while some of our political opponents may not be as bad as we think.

    You also said, "I truly believe also that people are often complicit in situating their own oppression and that people internalize the systems of oppression......"

    Definitely, any discussion on skin color or hair texture among Black folks will very quickly reveal this (and Latino/as are even worse). I personally see system of oppressions as all encompassing. They affect everyone--nobody is immune. I know that is a depressing sentiment, but I think it is true.

    However, I am a little heisitant to use the tem jealousy.

    And I had to laught at this, "White Supremacist Radical Feminism." Yeah, a few of these folks were coming out of the wood work.

    You said, "All that said, there is most definitely racial/ethnic/class/sexuality tokenism in the feminist blogosphere." It's not only in the feminist blogosphere. That's a pretty big problem more generally, perhaps even more so among progressives.

    And do they ever have rural folks??? Nice to see that you raised that one. Because people completely forget about that.

    To be frank I also hate is when some of these progressive folks agree with people just because they don't want to disagree with the person of color, lesbians, disabled, transgender, and so on. If you don't agree, say it. At the very least ginmar and SarahS, were honest with their views. I think they both misrepresented the original intent of the post. All of the other folks (except maybe Qgirl) were agreeing with the sentiment of the post (at the last time I read the comments), but I wonder how many people genuinely didn't agree but didn't want to say so????

    12:25 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    Wow, I'm so fortunate to have such an awesome discussion happening right here on my very own blog! :)

    bfp, I'm interested in what you said about it being too painful to think back to college experiences. I have been very reluctant to engage myself in dealing with the jealousy issue because I'm so ashamed of myself over it. I think one of the things about class is that we're so bred into class jealousy by broader culture (even if our families and communities aren't part of it) that we play not-jealous to seem like the people we're jealous of, and so those feelings end up underground. For me, what brings me to actually deal with them is when I'm in the privileged position, someone is jealous of me, or I've interpreted a situation that way, and then I actualyl grapple with it. Right or wrong, it's the only angle that leads me in.

    The anti-academic stuff that I see all the time, online, as an activist, and, weirdly, in academia itself, where I'm supposed to hide away the manner of expressing myself for which I worked hard, the literacy for which I worked so hard, etc, in order to (in my mind) condescend to those who haven't makes me understand, to some extent, what rich people must feel when faced by the ever-present class envy that asks them to hide their experiences and denounce them as less valuable. Only then do I get what I'm doing with my own class envy.


    I had similar thoughts (who here is agreeing just to be on the side of the WOC?) when all this was going down and that's part of why I felt the need to post this about tokenism. I thought that a lot of what SarahS was saying was coming from something real, from a kernel of an observation about the blogosphere (and i said "feminist" because that's the cadre of which I am most aware, but, from what I've observed, I 100% agree with you that it's progressives more generally).

    Like I said, I don't think Amp is a tokenizer, but I think damn near 75% of the big blogs do it to some degree or another. (And plenty small blogs too, actually.)

    2:37 PM  
    Blogger nubian said...

    you are so right on about a lot of things in this posting. first i have to complain about something:

    i go to a private instituion in chicago. it's not ivy league, but it is continuously ranked as one of the "top ten universities" whatever that means. so there are a TON of little rich kids driving in bmw's while their parents pay their 40,000 dollar tuition. while my ass rides by on a 20 year old schwinn luckily living off of a fellowship while still taking out loans to supplement my income. is that fair? HELL NO. and i do get upset that these kids are so privileged and dont even realize it. they dont work hard in school cuz they dont have too. and i'm always remdinded of how hard i had to work to even be at this school getting a phd. i went to undergrad and took out loans. a maters and took out loans--i'm almost a 100k in debt--and i am still very privileged to even have gotten thus far--but i am always reminded of this false meritocracy all of the time.

    sorry, i was just ranting.

    3:22 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    Yeah, Nubian, that's exactly what I'm saying. I am not at a ritzy school, but even here it amazes me when other grad students show up to class and freely admit to not having read what they're supposed to. They just shrug and I'm like, "What? How can it seem so minor to you?!!"

    3:27 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "And you rarely see these people posting in the comments on the blogs that they supposedly love so much."

    Hmmm... Couldn't this at least in part have to do with the suspicion on a White reader's part that the folks who run those blogs might prefer to just talk amongst themselves ?

    I remain convinced that in some cases, the lower you are on the food chain, the more you *do* know, at least under some circumstances. Just one example, I know a lot more about Christian holidays than most Christians know about my holidays. That's inevitable, and doesn't really have to do with me being particularly virtuous or studious. It's simply that there are way the hell more Christians in this country than Jews. I absorb much more of Christian culture through osmosis than a random Christian will absorb of my culture the same way. There isn't enough of me to disperse that widely, so to speak.

    I pretty much gave up on caring what background the latest Demo hero du jour came from when I saw how little Clinton's roots prevented him from stabbing poor folks in the back when he got elected. Just saying... --alsis39.75

    5:02 PM  
    Blogger EL said...


    Welcome to My Amusement Park!

    I think you're right on a couple of coun.ts. Especially on the "roots" issue- I know that it's not going to matter (look at Bill O'Reilly, Dick Cheney, etc) where someone came from, their public policy rarely reflects that. Thats' what I keep kicking myself for- my knee-jerk trust of people from "humble beginnings"!

    I think there are ways that the "oppressed" group most certainly knows more about the "oppressor" group than vice versa, but I think this is more structurally and it ends up basically being a series of stereotypes.

    Your example of a non-Christian's relatively thorough knowledge of Christian holidays makes sense in this rubric. You probably know what Easter is about, what a good many of the customs are for celebrating it, many even what the differences are within denominations' particular observances, whereas you hear people going, "Hey, happy Passover!" There's no doubt about that (especially in some parts of the country, like where I grew up in Colorado - very low on Jews.)

    But, what generally happens is a sort of superficial knowledge of the Oppressor class, like I discussed on this blog in my post about the Styles section of the NYTimes. In many ways, what happens is that the knowledge of the Oppressed class about the Oppressor may be broader (Christmas, Easter, crucifix, communion) but is rarely deeper.

    I have read a lot of arguments that, just by being most often in service of the Oppressor class, the Oppressed class does, in fact, become privy to details about their lives - see security guards and doorpeople, domestic help, nannies, servers, etc. It goes both ways though. Since this culture has very little respect for the notion of "privacy" when it comes to the poor, people of color, and queers, I think that the news, for example, does a lot of "exposing" - "these are the criminals, the victims, and their families, this is what they've been through, etc". Of course, finding out that someone's mother was a crack addict and finding out that someone's mother was a millionaire socialite who left the childraising to the nanny have very different cultural currency, but are about equally "valid" as far as "knowledge" goes.

    In other words, stereotypes function in place of knowledge both ways.

    To use an example closer to my understanding, there is a lot of "knowledge" now proliferating about what the "queer lifestyle" is. The truth is that we have been hearing about marriage and wedding bells and heterosexual dating protocols for a million and twenty years, but someone who has not been involved in a heterosexual relationship is only working from two places of "knowledge": 1. stereotypes 2. personal relationships. The real "knowledge" is actually coming, then, from the straight people and relationships one knows.

    In other words, I don't think the "knowledge" the Oppressed have of the Oppressor class is particularly trustworthy when it is structural and cultural because it is generally a cultural product ("rich selfish white bitch", "hard-charging-macho-CEO", "guilty-hier", "geeky white guy", "bimbo-white-cheerleader-girl", etc), just as much as cultural products of the Oppressed class include "welfare queen", "black male rapist", "spic-and-span-gay-man", "burly non-trad man-hating dyke", "ditzy tits-flashing bisexual woman", "asexual-infantalized, wheelchair-bound man", etc.

    As far as the assumption that people of color, poor and working-class people, queers, and rural folks only want our similars posting on our blogs, to be totally honest, I tire of that kind of justification. I mean, there's no reason that, as brownfemipower has on her blog, some threads can't be WOC only, or queer only, or whatever, but, as long as they're not, I think it's a bit disrespectful to simply assume that "those people just want to talk amongst themselves". I find it disrespectful because it assumes a primacy of Difference, it, in fact, prescribes that Difference as central in a way that might not reflect the opinions, experiences, or goals of the blog/blogger. If it is that "Oppressor" class blogger's experience that s/he can only discuss issues with people like her/himself, then I would think that blogger might consider rethinking what s/he may need to learn by engaging outside of his/her immediate "natural grouping".

    It's like the whole "black kids' lunch table" - if they don't want you there, you'll be told, but there's no reason in the world not to hold yourself accountable individually for your role in racial isolation or segregation.

    I am more likely to believe that the "those folks want to talk amongst themselves" excuse is a cop-out by which people absolve themselves of responsibilty while simultaneously feeling safe because they're not in a place where they're going to get called out. It's their prerogative - it seems masochistic to me to constantly put one's self in the line of fire - but to avoid difference altogether in the name of progressivism seems as problematic as the oft-maligned notion of "colorblindness".

    Wow, my response went a little wild there. I'm talkative/typeative? today!

    6:27 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey, El. Thanks for the welcome. I see your points. Especially in that last paragraph. Perhaps it is indeed a cop-out, and perhaps I'm just very twitchy at the moment because of the way some folks treated nubian on Alas-- and the fact that when I went to check out her board, I pissed somebody else off mightily, without really trying hard. >:

    At any rate, I've had some really fruitful exchanges with some folks very different from myself or the run-of-the-mill big-name liberal blogger, but always with some trepidation and hyper-attention to detail. I worry a lot about angering people by asking them to reinvent the wheel over and over again for my benefit. (NOTA knows, every year as Xmas approaches, I get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, wondering how many total or near-total strangers are going to want me to explain the whole Hanukkah thing and why I don't [heart] Jesus, etc. Not fun.) It also doesn't help that Blogger barfs all over me every time I try to create an account, so I'm stuck being just another Anonymous until further notice. :o

    Cheers. --alsis39.75

    8:22 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    Wow, I didn't know what had happened at Blac(k)ademic's place.

    I totally relate to what you're saying about the dread of the so-called "holiday season". I feel it everytime someone asks me where I'm from: "Colorado? Ooh. Did you have running water?"
    I have had more than a few people ask me that.

    Anyway, I know what you mean and I think you're right that one can be rightly wary of asking for people to keep explaining and explaining. I guess I just find it's necessary less often than people think if they simply read carefully. Sure, it's always going to go on and sometimes people won't want you around (which is why I fully support brownfemipower, Ampersand, and others who have limited comments on certain threads) but I guess I feel like, for me, it's gratifying to have people engage me on my own turf, so I think (at least some) others feel that way.

    I really love that you came back to re-respond.

    And I think there is a way for a non-Blogger-blogger to make a Blogger account (unless you have a blog?) I'll look into it and let you know.

    8:55 PM  
    Blogger nubian said...

    i came back and read this posting. i am sorry for ranting--i feel like i am complaining when i shouldn't be :-(
    bad, bad kortney

    8:59 PM  
    Blogger Lis Riba said...


    My husband studied rhetoric for a while, and Aristotle made an interesting and useful distinction.

    A situation exist where somebody else has something you don't.
    Emulation is the emotion evoked when you want it too.
    Envy is the emotion evoked when you want to deny it to them...

    Just food for thought over whether something demonstrates "envy"

    9:06 PM  
    Blogger Lis Riba said...

    PS: When I view your blog, there's something wrong with the HTML code.
    I'm seeing a whole bunch of CSS and no styles on your page...

    Just FYI

    9:07 PM  
    Blogger EL said...


    Don't feel bad. It actually made me feel better about admitting what an asshole I am inside my head! :) So, in other words, don't leave me alone out here in my ranting!

    Lis Riba,

    I like what you said about the Aristolean distinction. I didn't know that and I think it makes perfect sense and actually redefines my feelings a bit more clearly, fine-tuning the whole justice/anti-justice question. Thanks for that.

    As for the HTML, I am on Blogger for a reason, that reason being that I don't know much HTML, but thanks so much for your note - I'll try to do something about it. :)

    9:18 PM  
    Anonymous Rachel S said...

    I have had the same problem view this blog for months now.....I have to scroll down really far after sifting through the code...

    10:27 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    Good to know, folks. Thank you.

    9:10 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    [drift]El, so far as I know, it should be easy to get a Blogger account as long as you have gmail. With an emphasis on "should." [/drift] --alsis39.9 at Alas

    2:14 PM  
    Blogger EL said...


    I see. Typical technology.

    12:15 PM  

    Post a Comment

    << Home