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Pre-2008 Posts

Come Together: Healing Tensions Among Women Working for Equality ~ A Women’s History Month Blog Carnival

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Only TWO More Days!  Get your entries in, women!

A Women’s History Month  Blog Carnival
Come Together: Healing Tensions among Women Working for Equality

What Tami Said and Women’s Space are partnering to host a blog carnival to encourage a dialogue between all women committed to gender equality. 

Dates: March 1 through March 31
Theme:
Come Together–Healing Tensions Among Women
Working for Equality

We are accepting essays, poetry, photographic essays, art, You Tube presentations, short fiction and other creative expressions designed to strengthen the bonds among women and heal rifts caused by historic and current conflicts, as well as by differences in race, age and sexual orientation.

Beginning March 1, submissions will be posted alternately at What Tami Said and Women’s Space, and eventually on an as-yet-to-be-developed blog dedicated to the Come Together blog carnival. We are planning to close the month with a live open discussion on Blog Talk Radio. 

Submission Guidelines: Submit work no later than Feb. 28 to Tami at What Tami Said  or Heart at Women’s  Space. We cannot guarantee on which blog your work will be posted.

Along with your submission, please include a short bio (2-3 sentences) and a link to your blog if you have one.

Rules

  • Women only
  • Feel free to voice your hurts and disappointments, but focus on solutions not attacks
  • No personal attacks
  • No hate speech
  • Use examples and facts to back up your statements
  • Contributions should reflect personal experiences or direct personal investment as opposed to the academic or theoretical. This is important: We want to hear your truth, your lived reality. This includes how you have been personally affected by conflicts over feminist politics, strategies, history and theories.
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Possible topics

  • Painful chapters of women’s history (conflicts around black male suffrage/women’s suffrage, lynchings, the role of black and white women in bringing lynchings to an end, sexism in the Civil Rights movement, racism in Second Wave feminism)
  • Conflicts between women over strategies to end racism (i.e. radical miscegenation v. racial separatism/black nationalism,  race traitors v. anti-racists, identity politics v. deconstructing race)
  • Conflicts between women over strategies to end lesbophobia and heteronormativity (i.e., lesbian identity politics v. Adrienne Rich’s lesbian continuum v. political lesbianism v. celibacy)
  • Being heterosexual, married, a mother, a feminist and experiencing the rejection of feminist women
  • Being a lesbian and experiencing the rejection of feminist women
  • Issues related to pornography and prostitution
  • Immigrant and indigenous women’s experiences of alienation, isolation, rejection from other women
  • How poverty or growing up poor affect relationships between women
  • Issues around how women look and how that affects our relationships (race, gender nonconformity, being fat, disabilities)
  • Generational issues; how disrespect because of youth or age affects relationships between women
  • Personal experiences of racism/lesbophobia/classism/ableism/looksism in women’s communities of all kinds (school, church, political groups, professional organizations, unions)
  • Conflicts over spirituality, i.e., women rejecting one another because of their religious beliefs
  • Conflicts over issues of reproductive choice (i.e., focusing on abortion rights/focusing on the right to bear children/forced sterilization/genocide with respect to indigenous people and people of color)
  • “I’m sorry” contributions: Posts, poems, art, etc., apologizing to individual women online or to groups of women you have intentionally or unintentionally offended

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  • “Post Secrets”: Anonymously submit secrets about your feelings about/relationships with women (a take off from the Post Secrets book, see above)
  • Or just do your own thing

All women are invited to participate, including women who have tangled with one another in the past, women who have fought with each other or attacked each other online or in real life, women who have offended other women or been offended by other women, online or in real life. This includes all of us!  The hope is that by our honesty and truth-telling we can move in the direction of healing and building bridges, no matter what has happened between us in the past.  Even if we aren’t ready to forgive and forget quite yet, or to say “I’m sorry,” we can declare a truce for the month of March in honor of  Women’s History Month.

We need a graphic!
Come on all you talented artists. We need a logo or three or four for our blog carnival. Whip one up and send it to me or  Tami at  What Tami Said.

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Tami and I began e-mailing after our exchanges in the “Good Bye to All That Part 2” thread.  She proposed this idea and I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d heard in forever.

Thanks, Tami.

Heart

Discussion

28 thoughts on “Come Together: Healing Tensions Among Women Working for Equality ~ A Women’s History Month Blog Carnival

  1. Wow, that is a brilliant idea! I am so looking forward to this – it feels like just what was needed, just at the right time🙂

    Posted by Debs | February 11, 2008, 8:55 pm
  2. Debs, that’s exactly how I feel. Building shelters for and with each other instead of ducking behind walls and firing rock-hard snowballs at each other.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 11, 2008, 10:49 pm
  3. I am not criticising this project, I’m just saying something. Everything listed is something we should all be discussing on our blogs and in comment sections. However, because we are attacked for every fucking thing we say, we have to make these separate kind of carnivals in hopes (I believe) that this or that particular carnival will be spared the viciousness in the name of it being a carnival. Every woman on line who claims she is a feminist should want equality, should want to mend the divide between other women, and that means knowing, allowing women to have one opinion one day, another opinion the next day, having history, experimenting and experiencing, talking through, talking about, hypothesising, synthesising, and theorising. Yet we can’t. Because women are labeled as bad women by other fucking women, labeled wrong, not good enough, not trying like I’m trying, not superior like I’m superior. I have not posted since Friday on my blog because unlike the merry and happy sunshine people who are satisfied with one fucking face, one fucking facade, I want to a space that I can really get down and dirty. But it’s the internet doncha know. People should be able to peruse your archives, copy and paste your work, comment after they called you a piece of shit somewhere else (using your name) or calling you other derogatory names and it supposed to be just dandy because it is the internet. That women can read and agree or disagree or like or dislike but still not resort to violence, internet violence, but that place does not exist. There is always one hating ass fucker waiting, I would like to say it is always men, but it is not, there is that trifling ass who is always standing there waiting to take something apart, pick something apart, not allowing women (all women, if you assume white, then that’s on your ass) to be humans, because only FUCKING men, get to be human. Men get off the hook. It’s okay because they started it, they did it first, they they they they they.

    Again, not criticizing this effort, it looks promising, rewarding, beneficial, and I could write on every topic easily, but the fact that it is needed in a separate milieu just makes me angry, sad, even left feeling why should I bother with the internet. To be honest, I never knew people hated me (not necessarily me personally but what I may or may not represent) so much until I started reading the internet. It explains a lot of past experiences that I had chalked up to misunderstandings.

    Sorry for being the buzzkill.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | February 12, 2008, 6:17 am
  4. ***To be honest, I never knew people hated me (not necessarily me personally but what I may or may not represent) so much until I started reading the internet. It explains a lot of past experiences that I had chalked up to misunderstandings.***

    Yes, the same here.

    Posted by Branjor | February 12, 2008, 3:25 pm
  5. allowing women to have one opinion one day, another opinion the next day, having history, experimenting and experiencing, talking through, talking about, hypothesising, synthesising, and theorising.

    Yeah, kitty, this is really key. Women need to work through their own ideas and theories and be respected while they’re doing that. What gets to me most, honestly, is related, but a little different from what gets to you, although what gets to you gets to me, too, of course. What bothers me is the way, when women begin to process through something — especially when they first start thinking about it or hear about it — they insist that now you have to process through the thing too and if you don’t, you don’t care about whatever it is they are processing through. When in fact, you’ve been processing through the thing for who knows how many months, years, decades, and not only that, you know for a fact that give them time, they are going to do several 90-180 degree swoops and and turns. That’s all part of the deal. So your thinking is (rhetorical “your”), just let them do their thing just like you did your thing, they’ll figure things out for themselves. But no! If you don’t involve yourself *right then* with whatever it is they think you should involve yourself with, you’re an anti-something or worse, who knows, whatever bad thing someone can come up with.

    I have seen this happen in every movement I have ever been part of, it’s not specific to feminism, this bandwagon or soapbox deal where all of a sudden you suck because you’re just not going there right now, thanks.

    An example from a wholly unrelated movement to feminism, well not wholly, but very, is the homeschooling/unschooling movement. You are puttzing along in some support group or community or whatever and all of a sudden someone decides the true homeschooling path is XYZ approach. You don’t really believe that or agree because you tried XYZ approach five years ago the first time it came around and so you have these other ideas about it. If you say this, you will be accused, like you say, of being a buzzkill or a know-it-all or negative or whatever. If you say nothing, you will aggravate people because you are saying nothing and why aren’t you saying something. If you go along with the program you betray your own experience and insights just to make other people feel good.

    The whole thing can be avoided if everybody ****does her own work and respects other women’s work and need to process through things, grow, change****. And if everyone just accepts ahead of time that women ARE going to change and decides ahead of time not to hold it over their heads *for* changing. And if women don’t insist on roping everybody else into their own projects and respects the fact that their projects are *their* projects.

    Of course when you have situations where someone is simply gunning for you, nothing you do is going to be right no matter what you do, and all you can do then is go away.

    But, my belief is, we have to keep trying despite how discouraging it is. I told Tami I wanted to announce this asap and one reason is, I hoped we could get some of our frustratoins off our chests and out of the way before March 1.

    Posted by womensspace | February 12, 2008, 4:45 pm
  6. When I was in the weight loss business we called it the diet cop syndrome, the same can go for the smoking cop. Person A loses some weight by eating healthy and exercising and suddenly she/he must scold you, ridiculed, elevate themselves, etc, to you because you are eating that seedy little chocolate bar and coming home and plopping on the sofa. Never thinking that more than likely “fatty” has tried that method before along with hundreds of other methods. The same for the smoking-cop. Person B stops smoking now smoke is everywhere, people are killing themselves, wasting money, are weak, etc.

    Same with the new anti-racist cop. Suddenly they discovered that there are more people in the world than themselves, so lo and behold, what are you doing to save the fill in the blank………..

    Not to imply that I have been there and done that before someone else, but I am entitled to have my turn in due course just as well as others and by and by I have had my turn just as well as the neophyte is about to take his/her turn.

    I just don’t understand why people don’t get this. It demonstrates a few things (in my opinion). First, it sort of suggests that they truly do believe they are the center of the world, how else can it be explained that when they are on a particular bandwagon they feel as if everyone else should be on that bandwagon at that very moment. Second, it dehumanises humans. Humans are not machines to be turned on or off at the whim of someone else’s mission.

    Nevertheless, I think I shall get to work and write something for this carnival.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | February 12, 2008, 5:16 pm
  7. Kitty,

    If I understand what you are saying, I attribute a lot of this phenomenon to human nature. Call it born-again syndrome: “My eyes have been opened, now it is my duty to save you.” Add to that the anonymous nature of the Internet, which makes people more reactionary and explosive, and less diplomatic than if they were standing in your face.

    I don’t think these kinds of debates ALWAYS have to happen in the context of a carnival, but during this tense time, I think the carnival format may help people listen to each other. At least that is my hope.

    Thanks to the current election cycle and the historic Dem candidates, a lot of normally reasonable folks are inflamed. (In many cases not without reason) The media’s continuous parsing of election results based on gender, race and age doesn’t help. There is so much to be angry about, so much to shout about, that those of us who need to work together are not listening to each other.

    What I found most frustrating about the many discussions that took place post-Gloria Steinem op-ed, was that I felt women like me weren’t being heard. I’ll bet a lot of other women–like me and not like me–felt the same. We have all taken to our battle stations to defend our positions, but we’re not communicating.

    I see the carnival as a way for us to discuss, in a safe place, our differences and how we can overcome them to work together. And maybe it’s a little reminder for us all to remember to take a breath before we attack.

    I can’t wait to read what you write!

    Posted by Tami | February 12, 2008, 8:17 pm
  8. Yeah, Tami, re not communicating/being inflamed.

    I have consistently been frustrated throughout these debates because:

    (1) I am running for President myself and I support my own candidacy first! Meaning when I talk about HRC or Obama or whomever, I am talking about candidates who are my opponents, not candidates I am supporting.

    (2) I can understand why people support Obama and I can understand why people support HRC and other candidates as well; when I talk about that, I am not attacking the other candidates, I’m talking about the candidate I’m talking about, but I am immediately read (by many) as supporting that candidate as against the other candidate (again because of the alienation you’ve described, I think.)

    (3) I think talking about sexism and racism in this election is really important. Talking about one doesn’t mean it is more important to talk about than the other is.

    (4) Agreeing that sexism in the election is to be denounced doesn’t mean agreeing with everything else the denouncer might have said and doesn’t indicate support of HRC as a candidate. And the same as to racism.

    (5) One thing I haven’t read many people say but it is certainly my experience, and I have written about it– most of us are torn as to supporting either Obama or Hillary Clinton, at least to some degree. I am completely torn. I am in the position of, for example, having one of my adult sons come to me to say that he supports Obama but he doesn’t believe the U.S. is ready to elect a man of color over a white woman, and having an adult daughter say to me she doesn’t think the U.S. is ready to elect a woman of any race over a man. (Both of the kids I’m talking about are biracial/read as black). I think all of my kids would like to see Obama as the symbol of the United States, the figurehead so to speak. I think all of my kids would like to see Hillary break this important glass ceiling. Me, too! I think about one of my younger kids, my youngest son, who is 12, who asked me at about 7 or 8, “Mom, why were all the Presidents men?” He was completely befuddled by this, that all the Presidents were men, it made no sense to him.

    I don’t want to live in a world in which I have to try to answer that really horrible question, you know?

    So like all, I believe, progressive people, people of good will, I feel really torn so far as my loyalties and allegiances. I want my kids to have the experience of knowing there is a biracial President — someone like them, with a white mom and a black dad. I want my kids to have the experience of knowing there is a woman president as well.

    I think that sometimes I attempt to resolve my own dividedness or tornness by deciding that right now, I’m going with Hillary Clinton. And another day, I might decide right now, I’m going with Obama. I have heard many people say that regardless who is nominated, they will be 100 percent supportive.

    I’ve also had long discussions about the fact that what I think we would all like to see, or many of us, Clinton and Obama running on the same ticket, is very unlikely to happen.

    But I agree that it’s very worth it for us to have our say and a place to say it in which we determine ahead of time we are looking to connect and understand more than we are looking to win any argument.

    Kitty is talking, I think, about tons of old stuff, too, that precedes these presidential campaigns, as opposed to just what is in response to the campaigns (though it is all connected– always!). It is hard to face up to feeling truly hated (and it’s true, it’s almost never really us personally who is hated but what we signify, what we represent in someone else’s mind, very jarring in a certain way and deeply disturbing.) There are components to the hatred — or maybe the feeling that we really are hated, even if that isn’t exactly so — that are really worth talking about, I think, in a context of women deciding we do want to connect and hear each other.

    Posted by womensspace | February 12, 2008, 8:49 pm
  9. I know I jumped at the idea of having a space to say — even if in the end I have to say it anonymously or not mention names — that I really miss some of the people I’ve encountered online, that I’m sorry for having said something I said, that something someone did really, really hurt and why did they do that? Not so I can rail at them but so I can understand, why did you do that? I jumped at the idea of even the possibility of connecting, of understanding, even if it’s just temporary! Even if on April 1, we all look back at our month of attempting to connect/work through things/communicate/be heard/be at peace, and say, “April Fools!”

    Of course, I hope we don’t do that!

    Posted by womensspace | February 12, 2008, 8:59 pm
  10. This carnival sounds like an interesting one.

    I think we expect way too much from the Internet. We can talk about the issues, or we can talk about our lives, but we cannot really know anyone through this medium alone.

    Since I don’t know who my audience ever is exactly, I can only say what I think. For some reason, I always have faith that the people who hate you just hate you, and the people who love you will just love you.

    Feminism pretends to be all things to all women, yet its very diversity among starving (intellectually speaking) women is part of its problem. For example, if you’re a black women and you know white women never really listen to you anyway, you might be extra blunt here. You have used up every ounce of patience.

    I know from personal experience that the real connections I’ve made with people have only been one on one. Group process simply never worked very well for me. I have to know the rules of engagement, and I have to have some assurance that I’m dealing with my equals. My great search is for my peers and equals, that is the hardest thing for me to find.

    Difference is very easy to find here, but homogenaity is not. That may be part of fights. There is a certain irony to this realization for me. If you wanted to connect, say with conservative homeschooling Moms, for example, chances are this would be easy to do. But a band of lesbian feminist equals would be very hard to find in a mid-sized town, for example.

    Women in general have a hard time with arguments. They tend to run away from them, rather than battle it out. Women can easily quit things in a huff, without working through things over time.

    We can assume some things about feminism; it’s about different types of feminism. No one size fits at all.

    The part about the Obama / Clinton dilemma is interesting Heart. For me personally, this choice is quite simple. I will not support men for high public office EVER if I have the choice of a good liberal intelligent woman. I give women the automatic default vote, unless they reveal themselves to be particularly yucky or conservative. Elizabeth Dole I would never vote for, for example.

    My feminism is very very simple — good, qualified women come first, period end of it, no compromise. But if I had bi-racial kids and got these kinds of personal questions: “Mommy how come black men don’t get elected?” I know something like that would really get to me.

    For me, it is simple to be an ideological stubborn purist, because in many ways this is how life makes sense to me. I do live this kind of life, and I don’t compromise or wait around for the rest of the world to come my way. This attitude causes me to have a very strong position in the world, but it would be incomprehensible to most other women in America. Somehow, that’s fine with me.

    You can always be hated for your opinions on the Internet, especially if you are a radical lesbian feminist. People don’t know this exotic species very well, and yet we have been out there for decades. We have had the luxury of a kind of non-complex purity that would be hard for many other women to ever achieve. So what is exceedingly a point of pride to us personally, can make the rest of the feminist world go nuts.

    Can all women come together? Yes, they can, but only after each woman had EQUAL time — as in a time clock and a specific equalized amount of time to speak, no exceptions.
    All views could be heard completely. No one would necessarily agree with the points of view, but they would all be heard.

    Most of my views are never heard by a lot of women out there in the world. But nevertheless, I’ve thought about these issues for decades. The majority, historically speaking, is never really listened to at all. The minority seizes territory and pushes the bar forward, the majority fights against this, until the minority is too persistent, the law suits become too severe, and finally a wall comes crashing down. The Berlin Wall is a good metaphor here.

    I think it’s easier for men to just flat out support each other in oppressing women. Women, the oppressed, have not had enough time in their own freedom to make a world that is kind to women. That’s why we have these battles to begin with.

    Since I am in this for the long haul, I am less disturbed by anger among women. Anger is a good thing, not a bad thing. We have way too much silenced “agreement” and not enough truth.

    So this latest Carnival can be a place to test out the unifying truths among women! 🙂 Hope to think up something to write for it– I think I have enough time till Feb. 28.

    Posted by Satsuma | February 12, 2008, 11:32 pm
  11. God, Heart, your comments about what your kids are experiencing and thinking in this election really choked me up. Wow. Just “oh my god,” wow.

    When my daughter was little (about five), our usual bike route was blocked one day when Gore was in town to give a speech. My daughter was intrigued and wanted to write him a letter. At some point, she asked me who the “girl” presidents had been, and I had to explain that there haven’t been any. So, one of the things she wrote to Gore was, “Who will your choice for Vice-President be? Will it be a girl? Because my mommy says there has never been a girl president and that’s wrong. I mean, is the boy section just going first? They need to take their turn and be done, because those boys need to learn to share. So, try having a Vice-President who is a girl, because my mommy always says, ‘You never know until you try.'” (FWIW, Gore wrote back and responded to her various points, a cut and paste job, and included comments about his lifelong commitment to women’s equality – right, and then he picked Joe Liebermann for veep).

    Heart, I did homeschooling for a year. It was difficult to do in a very conservative town, since I wasn’t doing it for religious reasons, which meant I had zero support and networking. I also couldn’t afford to buy a lot of materials. It was impossible for me. I think it’s awesome that you’re doing it, because anybody who has tried it knows it is tough!

    Satsuma, I appreciate your philosophy about giving liberal women the default position of having your support. That is really something I will think about! As I’ve said, I have made a different decision in this election (which I see partly as a function of loyalty to Cindy Sheehan, with whom I camped for five days in August of 2005 outside of George Bush’s ranch), but I really appreciate the way you phrased this. It’s definitely something to think about over the long term, and I promise you that I will.

    Personally, I appreciate the idea of a carnival of reconciliation. Internalized oppression always leads to stresses that we have to work especially hard to work out. I’m also interested in this because something weird is going on with my mother this past year or so, and it’s really hurting me. It’s long, long, long, so I won’t spill details and bore you to death here (except to say that just one aspect of it is her reflexive racism against Obama; it has finally come out, directly, that she and my aunts “will never vote for a black man,” and are angry with me for even considering it, and I am angry because how in the hell does she get away with saying she is FOR women’s rights but “sick of hearing about race” and also with being vehemently anti-union? She’s for women’s rights, but which women, since labor union membership ups women’s pay by 30%?), but I will say that because of it the idea of reconciliation / healing tensions appeals to me greatly right now. Thank you!

    Posted by ceejay1968 | February 14, 2008, 5:11 am
  12. I should add that my mom/the aunts won’t vote for Obama not out of a principled stand in favor of liberal women, as in Satsuma’s philosophy, which is something entirely different and ethical, but rather, from a position of pure racism. Yes, they want a woman president, which is great. But their reason for being against Obama, as opposed to still LOOOOVING Bill Clinton and voting for other white guys, is his race, period.

    My mom and the aunts, lifelong hard-core Democrats, are threatening to vote for McCain now, if Obama is the nominee. I sent my mother photos of a woman found dead after a botched pre-Roe abortion as well as photos of flag-draped caskets being shipped home to Dover AFB along with a note telling her that if she votes McCain and her granddaughter ends up like this (first photo) or her grandsons like this (second photo), I hope she will think her racism was worth it. I know that was rotten, but I am getting so pissed off. I keep trying not to take the bait, but it’s difficult not to.

    Sigh…yeah…reconciliation needed, indeed. And this is the single mother who raised 3 daughters to BE feminists after having fled an eight year abusive marriage to my dad. It’s all tough to figure out.

    Thanks for letting me ramble!

    Good luck no matter who your candidate is, sincerely. I will see you, united, in November, and against McCain.

    Heart, are you on the ballot in all states?

    Posted by ceejay1968 | February 14, 2008, 5:26 am
  13. Cindy Sheehan has not yet endorsed a candidate, but Cynthia McKinney has been supporting her campaign, so it is hard to imagine Ms. Sheehan endorsing any Democrat, especially after the way she stormed out of that party.

    Posted by Aletha | February 14, 2008, 5:44 am
  14. My reaction to this: “the country just isn’t ready to elect a man of color over a white woman” is: what is he, blind and deaf, or just ingenuous? The misogyny/sexism has been raging throughout this primary, the racism mostly absent. It is obvious who the msm has ordained as the winner of the Democratic primary, and it’s not the white woman. I could understand if the feelings of being an underdog were in relation to a white man, but a white woman? This country gave black men the vote 50 years before any women and racism has been seen as a more serious offense than sexism/misogyny throughout the country’s history. It is a pattern with men of all races, I notice, that they often declare they feel themselves underdogs in relation to women of all races, when in fact they are, as always, on top.

    I have decided that I am not going to vote for men anymore until women have an equal share of power in this world. If Obama gets the nod, as I believe he will, I will not vote for him unless Clinton is on his ticket as vice president.

    The trouble with the 2 front running dem candidates right now, besides the fact that they are both in the corporations’ pockets like all the others, is that Obama, as a biracial/black man, does not change the male face of the presidency, and Clinton, as a white woman, does not change the white face of it. The ideal candidate would be a woman of color who is also a feminist and would work for peace in the world and equality for all.

    Heart, I am also wondering if you will be on the ballot in any states as of now?

    Posted by Branjor | February 14, 2008, 2:31 pm
  15. Branjor, I think my son inhabits the world men of color inhabit. He is a union construction worker and all of his white coworkers are either openly, unapologetically, hatefully racist or silent about the ongoing racism. On weekend nights, he’s a bartender in an upscale bar, and breathes and swims in racism in that work as well. There is ongoing racist graffiti in the johns on worksites, constant racist talk. That’s what he knows. He doesn’t know our world– yours and mine, as white women. He doesn’t, for that matter, know his wife’s world, either.

    I am not on the ballot anywhere as of yet. I’m waiting for the winds to blow in my direction, if they are going to blow. I’m about to unveil, however, the platform for the rest of us, created by Aletha of Freesoil and I, for the candidate for the rest of us, as Lucinda Marshall (of the Feminist Peace Network) described me. I know it’s late, but it wasn’t time until now. If not this election, then the next, or the next. There’s a change in the wind– I feel it.

    Posted by womensspace | February 14, 2008, 4:24 pm
  16. Branjor,

    As a black woman, I cannot agree with you that racism has been absent in this presidential race, nor that sexism is more pervasive generally than racism.

    It is true that black men were legally given the right to vote 50 years before women, but then black men were prohibited through violence from voting until well after women won the vote in 1920. And when women won the vote, please remember that decision did not include women like me. Neither my grandmother nor grandfather in Mississippi were able to vote until well into their 60s, after 1965.

    As Heart demonstrates when she talks about her son, sometimes race and gender create different worlds for each of us. As a black woman, I know very well that both racism and sexism are alive, because I experience them both (and not just from white men, mind you). And as Heart does with her bi-racial son, I see my father and brother and husband and stepson struggle with racism.

    I think the first step toward healing the rift between feminists of all colors, ages, etc…is acknowledging the different roads we tread and taking care to not dismiss another woman’s struggles.

    I’ve been wondering how I might make a symbolic vote that still allows me to participate in the political process that my ancestors died to be able to join. My sisters (women) do not have equal power in this country. My race does not have equal power in this country, which means I don’t even have equal power to some of my feminist sisters. If I refused to vote for both men and white people, I would be left waiting through the years for the odd Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley-Braun or Cynthia McKinney. God help me if Condi Rice runs. That stance would prohibit me from voting for Hillary Clinton.

    I have chosen to use the issues as my guide, because I think doing otherwise would narrow my choices in relation to the rest of the citizenry. And because my women and black ancestors fought like hell for me to be able to fully participate in the democratic process.

    I supported John Edwards, but now back Barack Obama. I made that decision after reviewing the candidates’ platforms. I will definitely support Hillary Clinton if she is the final Dem pick.

    Posted by Tami | February 14, 2008, 11:35 pm
  17. So true, Tami. I agree 100% that analyses of race and class can not be separated from those of gender. Each of us exists in a matrix of those factors – race, class, and gender.

    As for race being less an issue in this campaign than sex, I think that while racism is less OVERT in some public spaces, it is still every bit as strong as ever, and as strong as sexism. Yes, Chris Matthews et al still feel free to engage in OVERT sexism in a way that they would not dare with racism (and I’m not sure exactly what that means, the signifiance of that, the meaning behind it), but I know for sure that racism is also right there, every place that the glare of the t.v. lights does not shine.

    I live in the South. Do you know I can go online and find a Klan meeting right here in my parish (county, to the rest of you) – online, you know, in the year 2008! They – the Klan – recently left a flyer on my sister-in-law’s front door in a new rural housing development, inviting her to a meeting.

    And as I said at length above, I know a half dozen white, Democratic women whose reaction to my even considering voting for Obama because of his anti-war stand was an incredulous, “You wouldn’t really, would you?” I said something about Bill’s Jesse Jackson comment and Bill’s drawing attention to Obama’s race, and my aunt said, “It’s not Bill drawing attention to it that is the problem. It was always there. And THAT IS the problem.”

    It’s all so depressing.

    Thanks, Aletha. Right, Cindy Sheehan hadn’t endorsed any Democrats. She is running against Pelosi right now.

    That reminds me – yesterday my daughter told her social studies teacher after class, “You know, I’ve met Cindy Sheehan.” And last week, she told him, “My mom went to hear Barack Obama speak in New Orleans.” Sheez, I hope the poor kid doesn’t end up getting flunked! My daughter thinks he’s okay though – something he said in class a while back suggested that he was aware of the countdown until Bush’s last day in office. My daughter immediately understood that “countdown” mentality and figured he was okay to talk to. Hope she’s right.

    Posted by ceejay1968 | February 15, 2008, 3:36 am
  18. Wow, I think my whole long comment just disappeared!

    Posted by ceejay1968 | February 15, 2008, 3:37 am
  19. So true, Tami. I agree 100% that analyses of race and class can not be separated from those of gender.

    Of course it can. And should. Racism and classism are dependent on sexism. But it’s not true in reverse. Sexism can exist just fine without racism or classism.

    Consider sexism the root from which all other hierarchies spring from. Hierarchies are created out of differences. In order for the hierarchies to continue, these differences must be maintained, bloodlines kept pure, and heirs produced. And there’s only one way to do that. By the control of reproduction. Unable to reproduce themselves, men must control those who do. Women.

    It’s called animal husbandry. And it’s been around a long, long time. Sorry, but animals aren’t the only ones men have been breeding and domesticating. He’s been breeding and domesticating women for almost as long as he’s been breeding and domesticating the rest of the animal kingdom. One look at the 2000 U.S. Census tells me the practice is still very much alive and well. Along racial lines, 97% of the U.S. population is pure. Only 3% of the population is bi-racial. As long as we continue to do maintain this status quo, the hierarchies and the problems will continue.

    So how do we eradicate racism and other hierarchies? Well, if you’re serious about it, it’s as simple as this. Taint the bloodlines and reproduce with everyone except those of your own race, creed, class, nationality, etc. Slowly but surely, the lines and differences will begin to blur, blend and vanish — and so will the hierarchies.

    But be prepared. Men aren’t going to stand for it. Because their entire empire will crumble if we do it. And he isn’t about to let that happen.

    There is one hierarchy, however, that cannot be eradicated through random reproduction. Sex. And that is precisely why sex is at the root of it all. Not gender. Sex. Which is also why trans theory is nothing but junk science. Reproduction has always been what it’s all about. Men have built their entire empire on it. Tho ironically, that power isn’t even his! That power belongs women and women alone.

    There’s a little truth to that saying, “The hand which rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” But take it one step further. It’s more like: “the one who rules reproduction is the one who rules the world.” Men figured that out a long time ago. Isn’t it time women did?

    Posted by Luckynkl | February 15, 2008, 12:48 pm
  20. Aaaah! I think I just lost my entire comment! Okay, I’m going to try this again.

    Luckynkl,

    When I say that race and class cannot be unpacked from gender, I mean it in a personal way, not academic or theoretical. My femaleness, my blackness and my middle classness all affect my place in the world and my reaction to it. They affect the ways that I am privileged and not privileged.

    Not to send the thread off track, but I have to dispute your assertion that 97 percent of the American population is racially “pure.” I can only reference the African American experience in this country, but most descendants of African slaves in this country are not purely African. The idea that we are considered such is a result of the racist “one drop rule” that says anyone with any trace of sub-Saharan ancestry cannot be white.

    The commonplace rape of black female slaves by white male masters and others is a historical point that illustrates the intersection of race and gender. In researching my family history, eight out of my 16 direct ancestors in the first census post emancipation were listed as “mulatto” or of indeterminent race. It is the one drop rule that made my ancestors, who were the offspring of white plantation owners, black and chattel, and their half-brothers and sisters white and heirs.

    There is also, of course, black people’s intermingling with and enslavement by the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, etc., and relationships with other white people and people of color. I have found these instances in my family tree, too. And my family history is not unique but the norm.

    What I am saying is, race is already far more complicated than we admit in this country. The rigid lines we draw in the US are not necessarily the same ones drawn everywhere. Unfortunately, even in countries that acknowledge the varied racial histories of their citizens, there is still a preference toward European ancestry thanks to colonization.

    Posted by Tami | February 15, 2008, 3:48 pm
  21. Ah hierachies. I think it might be worth women’s while to opt out of as much “reproduction” as possible.

    Realistically, I think it would be hard to eliminate social class too, because this is often mixed in with other things.

    For example, I highly value education, and love the company of highly educated people. This separates me from people often. Believe it or not, there are a lot of women out there who till give me blank looks when I mention how important it is to study foreign policy and complex economic issues.

    One woman just last week said, “Oh I never pay attention to that account; my husband handles all of that.” Yes, I heard this last week from a very intelligent capable woman. Her husband, by the way, is exceptionally nice, and yet she will defer to him and stay in her “role.”

    I most certainly would not describe the U.S. population as 97% “pure.” With DNA testing, even Henry Louis Gates was shocked to discover how many African Americans had white European ancestry. We often don’t know where we come from or who we are related to. But we most certainly aren’t “pure” at all — this is an illusion that science is uncovering fast and furiously. Race is an illusion as well – but history has made race into something it wasn’t 1000 years ago.

    What men try to keep women from discovering is “consciousness.” Once women really awaken to the true nature of power in the world, this majority of the human population can change everything. Think of all the cultures of the world where families still force their daughters to marry, think of arranged marriages, which exist even in advanced industrial countries like Japan.

    Do women seriously question the institutional roles that they play so automatically in heterosexual marriage? No, they don’t. Freedom and independence are actually quite difficult, and it takes hard work to have this kind of life.

    We have a long road to go toward freedom for women, and consciousness of reality is the first step in this process. Men do everything in their power to suger coat the servitude they want women to remain in. It’s pretty obvious propaganda to me, but women seem to fall for it all the time.

    Posted by Satsuma | February 15, 2008, 4:22 pm
  22. I agree with everybody. :p

    Actually, Lucky was quoting the U.S. census there, talking about the way white male heterosupremacy in the U.S. categorizes and hierarchicalizes people on the basis of race, *as though* anybody’s race *is* “pure,” as opposed to offering an opinion about racially mixed ancestries going however far back. Generally in the U.S., the category “biracial” refers to one black parent and one white parent. Of course, this is based on self-reporting. When the census folks go to the door and ask what someone’s race is, they write down what the person says, which is one way white male supremacy attempts to keep the race lines “pure”– it reports them *as* pure. Nobody knows this better than biracial people who NEVER get a category to elect! This is one of the consistent aggravations for those of us in biracial families. We are nonexistent. Our children are “black” or “white” or a list of other categories or “other” or “none of the above.” How difficult would it be to include “biracial (black/white)” or “biracial (list races)”? But there is great resistance to doing this. It would be the easiest thing in the world to do. The fact that it hasn’t been done and it’s 2008 and we have 3 percent self-identified biracial people in the U.S. tells me it is something that just is not with the white male heterosupremacist program.

    Most of my kids, and I, when I fill out these forms which ask for race information about my kids, just write in “black/white.” Damned if I’m going to fill in “other” or “black” or “white.” None is accurate.

    So true everything you say about the *factual* IMpurity of the races, Tami. Almost all African Americans whose families have been in the U.S. for any amount of time have white ancestors and many apparently white people have black and mixed race ancestors.

    What is interesting to me that makes everybody right in a certain way is (1) most people of color in the U.S. and many white people are not racially pure by any stretch; (2) the U.S. government insists on classifying people as though they were racially pure, and wants people to identify as though they are racially pure. There is no category “brown.” There is no category “racially mixed,” or “mixed,” or “multiracial ancestry.”

    The other thing is, of course, “white” is not a race, but it is listed as though it is a race in census forms and other white male supremacist forms. White is a signifier of social and racial dominance– that’s it. “White” people are not “white” — they are Norwegian or German or Russian or French. But white male supremacy shoehorns all of the above into the “white” category as part of its policing of race as a hierarchy.

    Tami, don’t worry about your comments. They are going into the spam queue sometimes for some reason, but I am regularly checking and will find them, so you don’t have to repost.

    I don’t know why this happens. After I have approved a certain number of your comments, they will no longer go into spam. As Satsuma can verify!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | February 15, 2008, 4:55 pm
  23. Yes, I can indeed verify that I go into the spam realm far less than when I first came to women’s country here🙂
    Honored to be freed from spam lines🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | February 15, 2008, 5:33 pm
  24. I googled and got a copy of the 2000 US Census and info about it from wherever it was, I will post a link. :p

    Anyway, these are the racial categories listed as options on the census form:

    White
    Black, African Am. or Negro
    American Indian or Alaska Native (print name of enrolled or principal tribe)
    Asian Indian
    Chinese
    Filipino
    Japanese
    Korean
    Vietnamese
    Other Asian (Print race)
    Native Hawaiian
    Guamanian or Chamorro
    Other Pacific Islander (print race)
    Some other race (print race)

    This is the explanation they give for how they developed these categories:

    Federal Uses

    * Need to assess racial disparities in health and environmental risks
    * Used under the Voting Rights Act to identify minority language groups that require voting materials in their own language
    * Used under the Civil Rights Act to assess fairness of employment practices

    Community Impact

    * Necessary to the Community Reinvestment Act to help determine whether financial institutions meet the credit needs of minorities in low- and moderate-income areas
    * Needed under the Public Health Service Act as a key factor in identifying segments of the population who may not be receiving needed medical services
    * Required by states to meet legislative redirecting requirements by knowing the raical make-up of the voting age population

    Why We Ask It This Way

    The racial classifications used by the Census Bureau adhere to the October 1997 revised standards for the classification of Federal data on race and ethnicity, issued by the Office of Management and Budget. These standards govern the categories used to collect and publish Federal data on race and ethnicity. Each answer provided by a respondent represents self-classification according to the race or races with which the individual most closely identifies. This question includes both racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups and attempts to reflect the inreasing racial and ethnic diversity of the US population. The term “African Am.” is included to reflect the increased prevalence of the term in the past decade. Other changes to the wording and arrangement of the categories were made to improve accuracy.

    ***
    Notice that there is no category for “biracial” or “multiracial” person. There is “some other race”, but “biracial” and “multiracial” are not “races,” in the commonly-understood sense of the term. To state your race as “biracial” is to negate the category in the first place.

    Then, notice the way there are all of these many categories for people of different countries, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Pacific Islander, and with American Indian/Alaskan Native people are asked to state their enrolled or principal tribe.

    But when it comes to white people and black people, there are no similar categorizations. But, in fact, white and black people have ancestries, too. Black people came, at some time in their history, from specific countries and geographical locations. Same with white people, white people come out of specific countries and geographical locations.

    Note that there is no category (!) for Hispanic/Chicana people at all! They are invisible. They have to fill in the blank.

    Same with Arab people.

    Well, I know that there are legitimate reasons for some of this, as I’ve pasted up there.

    But I think this does evidence this dedication — however unconscious, subliminal, unexamined, flying-under-the-radar — in distinguishing between “white” (as a socially dominant class) and “black” (as a subordinated-to-white class) as though there is something essential there, inherent, unchangeable, unavoidable, obvious, apparent, blatant, something that exists outside of and apart from the geographical areas, or tribes, or ethnicities people or their ancestors come from. I think it indicates a white supremacist dedication to preserving race as immutably a hierarchy, in particular, the black/white hierarchy in the U.S., just given the facts of U.S. history.

    Biracial/multiracial people are just out, erased. They are forced to choose some “primary” racial identity. In fact, many biracial/multiracial people have histories which span many races/tribes/cultures/ethnicities, such that none is “primary” — they are equal parts all of the various elements and histories of themselves.

    Posted by womensspace | February 15, 2008, 6:07 pm
  25. thanks for this post and the shimmering collection of comments that followed. though i agree we cannot truly know one another through blogging, it sure beats the isolation from thoughtful women i experience in the everday,

    oddly reassured about future for grandcilren by reading here. try to get something to carnival re women and fiber. curremtly typing one-handed…slowly.

    thanks, naomi
    http://www.alittleredhen.com
    http://www.KnitaCondomAmulet.com

    Posted by naomidagenbloom | March 27, 2008, 11:34 am
  26. Coming Together….
    Thanks Heart for inviting me to comment.

    I actually have no profound thoughts on coming together. One thing that I found helpful is to assume nothing, and to accept invitations.

    Coming together for women simply means caring. There are only a limited number of hours in the day, so we have to be very honest about what we truly care about.

    In many ways, I’m quite delighted with the progress of women around the world. I see a million more opportunities daily, than I did maybe even as recently as 1990, for example.

    The thing is, I’ve become increasingly irrelevant to feminism, and my ideas are old fashioned, and often irritate women. But yet, they are my most powerful insights, and these ideas made my life easier.

    Where once having the guts to come out of the closet was a very risky, dangerous act, now it is common place. So as you get older, you simply realize that you just go ahead, you don’t listen to people holding you back, and you support women, and try to undermine patriarchy in clever and specific ways.

    Feminism holds the promise of freedom for women, but we are still at a disadvantage because feminism is not the norm. We don’t all agree on what it is. My feminism is simple: I want more and I don’t want to settle for second best, third class etc.
    When I hear women talk about overthrowing the patriarchy, I just don’t believe women really want to do this very much. I’d love this, but I don’t think it is really going to happen, because we all have different ideas on what patriarchy is.

    Radical feminism essentially lost the battle over pornography, largely due to the creation of new technology that makes it easier for men to get at it. So they go for it, and don’t care how much they degrade women in the process.

    How would women stop the sexual aggression of men, and how would women become united in putting a stop to womanhatred in the world?

    No one knows the answer to this. All I know is that I speak up strongly against pornography, and against the men who support other men in power who aid and abett such awful crimes like child rape. I argue with them, I put them on the spot, and tbey have no valid come backs to my arguments at all. Men are sex monsters and they don’t give a damn as long as they get to do anything they want to with children, girls and wives. That’s pretty much how almost all gay men out there see their right to gay male porn, for example.

    When you see how gay men behave in the worldwide porno market, you can pretty much see how they treat other men as trash, objects and toys. This is how men treat other men, and they could care less. Just think how men then treat women.

    We need to know just how deeply sick men are, and that we as women don’t have to tolerate any of this.

    We can rise up, we can change and are changing the world. I think we are getting a lot farther than we give ourselves credit for, but we do have a lot of posturing now.

    Our challenge as women is to truly come together across the radical feminist generations and to get serious. We need to know and respect our own herstory, the way men take seriously their wars, their statues and their heros.

    We can take ourselves seriously, and we can work together. I see this in my daily life all the time, but sometimes I notice that the blogs kind of skew things, and that’s ok. But the fights on here get a little unreal at times.

    Those of us who have been life long feminists perhaps have a slightly different take on it all. We fought the battles, we saw the women trapped in terrible lives, and we did everything in our power to create alternatives. The thing that bothers me, is that my work often is erased and dishonored by the flippant, the hip and the third wave. My work as a lesbian feminist is erased all the time by straight women. Straight women now invite lesbians to join their groups, but only on the terms straight women have created. The same can be said of white women and their treatment of black women.

    So the challenge is, honor those who did the work, give them their due, and also let the old guard like me enjoy the fruits of my labor now and then. I have earned my life, and I intend to enjoy it in my own way. Let’s celebrate more, and fight less now and then. Let’s congratulate success and respect it, not denegrate it as feminists often do.

    It is not a crime for a radical lesbian feminist to really want to enjoy an incredible meal, have the best cognac around and to savor a fine cigar now and then. I’ve earned it, and I intend to share my happiness with all who want to join me🙂

    So this is my contribution to the carnival!

    Posted by Satsuma | March 31, 2008, 10:20 pm

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