Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mirror, Mirror

I'm sure I'm not the only privileged white girl who has been watching the most recent chasm between certain feminist bloggers with the sinking feeling that I really ought to be much less confused by all this than I am.

If that describes you as well, I suggest you go read this. Also this. I'm still feeling confused, but much less so, and a little more ashamed. Which is almost certainly a good thing in the long run.

(And, needless to say, if you don't even know what they hell I talking about, you really ought to educate yourself. Here is a good place to start. And this is a must read as well.)

Even though I'm sure it's been said several times already - on the links above for starters - I think this is important enough that it bears constant repeating:

It is one thing to make mistakes, or have learned racism from a racist society. It's something else altogether, though, to do racist things while claiming not to be a racist. And yet another level of wrong for self-described anti-racists to get defensive when someone points out their racism.

It may be true that it is the system more than any minute decision of yours that contributed to you benefitting from privilege - whether it be a book deal, attribution of an idea, or anything else. But don't dare call yourself a progressive and not acknowledge that being a progressive means pointing out that such inequalities exist and working to dismantle them, rather than ignoring them when they benefit you.

On a personal level, I can understand why Amanda reacted as she did. I rather suspect I would have done the same.

However, she is also a member the feminist blogosphere, a very visible one at that, and that carries with it a higher expectation than the average Jane on the street. An expectation that amounts to "not pulling shit like this."

Ragnell is right as well, it's our responsibility as fellow members of that community - especially those of us that also benefit from the same type of privilege - to call out our fellow feminists/progressives out when they act like this. Not doing so gives everyone the message that it's ok to do it, and while it may be understandable in a "I can see how that happened" kind of way, it's never ok.

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