Wednesday, March 29, 2006

All That Is Necessary For The Triumph Of Evil...

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.
-Edmund Burke

This quote has been wandering through my head for the past day so I have decided to create some resolution for that. I've been rather absorbed with several issues, including the writing of a set of posts about my post-cancer-diagnosis body. However, during one of my breaks to come up for air, I realized that a rather dear sister-friend of mine was experiencing something that she did not deserve to go through alone. It seems that a certain blogger (who shall not be given the benefit of a link from me at this point) had decided to focus her energies on attempting to coerce my sister-friend into kowtowing to her needs.

It's rather sad, really. Upon my initial visit to the blogger, whom I've decided to refer to as TheNeedyOne, it seemed absolutely brimming over with promise. Like me, she is a mami blogger, a woman of color and she and I happen to have similar views on certain institutions. However, the hypocrisy that I also found there left me simply shaking my head at it all. Incredibly, it seems that behind all of the machismo and bravado, there was only one basic emotion behind it all and that was envy. You see, my sister-friend has a very well-developed blog where almost every post she writes draws in a very impressive mix of readers who are quite eager to flesh out the topics my friend introduces.

Enter TheNeedyOne. She's also a blogger but for many reasons, her work doesn't garner the same level of interest as my sister-friend's does. Anyway, she happened to be mentioned by another blogger who has ties to the sacred space created by my sister-friend. Evidently, she (TheNeedyOne) did not approve of the fact that this blogger did not view some of her assertions with the deference she seems to be accustomed to in some sphere of her life. However, I think one would have to be the sort of person who, as Dickens said, "could build a squinting at a sheet of paper" in order to consider TheNeedyOne's next actions as healthy or even logical.

Instead of stating her grievances and negotiating for a solution that would be satisfactory to all of the parties involved, she chose to play the role of petty dictator. She attempted to force my sister-friend to change the entire nature of this blog that was functioning rather well the way it already was. As a result, she ultimately got what she gave off. That is, treatment that was considered rather unsatisfactory to those who received it. I do wonder, how did her behavior get so reinforced prior to this situation as to make it the sole means (of expressing herself) she was able to exhibit when all of this occurred? Unfortunately, because of our differences in communication styles, I doubt that we could even discuss the answer to that question in a way that I would find worth my time.

What's with the sense of entitlement that so many physically healthy people feel? Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke of poverty as being beautiful in a way and this always aggravated me when I was relatively healthy and enjoying the benefits of my solidly middle-class existence. I'd seen how the possibility of drifting back into poverty was a motivator like no other for those adults around me who had seemingly "lifted themselves up by their bootstraps" from their childhood of subsistence-only living (spent in some "ghetto", "barrio", "tenement" or "housing project") to achieve a Black/Native/Latino/Asian form of the "American Dream". So, how could poverty be a beautiful thing? Well, so far as I've come to see, it's not the poverty itself that is beautiful inasmuch as it is what the poverty can bring with it and that is something that I was only able to see once I was further along on my personal journey.

And that sometimes-companion to poverty is appreciation. It's true that not everyone who experiences poverty of some type will come to appreciate something about life. There are certainly an abundance of folks who will remain bitter and indignant despite the fact that their experiences with oppression only amount to minor inconveniences when measured against the grand scheme of things that people on this planet have faced. However, outside of this group, there are those who use the situations they go through as a means of finding the bittersweet, an opportunity to explore those financially unrewarding but ultimately exquisite delights that are available to every individual with some modicum of sapience.

I think that this ability to see the beauty inherent in everything is what ultimately separates these two potentially powerful women (TheNeedyOne and my sister-friend); One has it and the other, as far as I can see, does not. So, where does this leave all those involved? Well, instead of allowing TheNeedyOne and her cohort TheRiverDenial to co-opt the spaces that my sister-friend has worked so hard to craft, they are simply free to create their own spaces where they can determine what topics will be made a priority. Sometimes, the best we can do is to leave someone to follow their dreams and create their own reality because to do otherwise would require us to forego the pursuit of our own dreams and that is something that no stranger (i.e. those outside of our support systems) has any right to expect us to do. If someone wants to view this as proof that your views and theirs have some sort of adversarial relationship, then that is their issue to work out if it is to be worked out at all. In reality, they may thrive on proving to themselves that there is a dichotomous relationship between them and everyone else. So why take away what seems to make them happy by giving them what they claim will make them happy?

Shared sacred spaces are a wonderful idea but there is no reason why all must be assimilated into the Borg. Having a voice on the internet is not a zero-sum situation. There is room for an infinite number of views to create their own space without diminishing the intrinsic value of any other voice that wants to be heard. I would love to help anyone develop their own space but I REFUSE to allow my space to be defiled by those who seek, not to deconstruct, but to destroy all that I seek to create in order to temporarily satisfy their need to "come, look, and conquer". I only hope that my sister-friend will take the same stance and reclaim that which is hers and hers alone by virtue of her hard work.


Assata said...

Thank you very much for this.

Ktrion said...

Hey Bint Alshamsa,

What an incredible person you are!

Thanks for having BFPs back!

phoenixfish said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yolanda said...

The context was plenty to convince me that Brownfemipower was right. Thank you very much for providing it!

Bint Alshamsa said...

Assata: It was truly my pleasure, I can promise you that.

Ktrion: I can't imagine leaving her alone to deal with this given how much I've grown to love her soul. She is what's right in this world and the other person...Well, I think you can make your own determination about her.

Yolanda: For me, it was TheNeedyOne's own words that proved how ridiculous her demands and claims were.

Bint Alshamsa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bint Alshamsa said...


You are free to express any thought here but you are not going to be allowed to leave links here. So, I've decided to reproduce your comment sans links below with my responses interspersed within it (in bold type). In my space, one must earn the privilege of leaving links and you have yet to do so.

Assata said...

I admire the solid as steel character you have in your last response to RiverDenial. You made me realize that it's important to earn the right to put links in comments.

Bint Alshamsa said...

From TheRiverDenial:

Hi there Bint,

I find myself surprised/dismayed/disappointed that each time I comment on ***’s blog (now for the second time in as many days)—within hours of my comments—(which are about offering context and continuing to hold her accountable for her choices re: the Jan carnival—but also how she is positioning herself since I wrote my first comment on her blog a couple of days ago )—she removes her blog—complete with her comments and my comments that critique, question and offer context.

Why in the world are you surprised/dismayed/disappointed that my sister-friend has decided not to give you free space on her blog? You also choose not to include certain responses that are left in your comments section. I used to think that this was rather unnecessary but I've decided to switch to doing the same since that seems to be what an increasing number of people prefer, including you.

I can only surmise by the fact that she promptly removes her blog after each of my comments that she is keen on blocking others from seeing them (and from having the context that they offer).

Well, if that's all you're capable of surmising, then there isn't much that I can do about that. Of course, the fact that you also do not offer those who post on your blog the unqualified ability to post whatever they will in the comment section means that you likely share the same values as she does regarding the freedom to control/moderate your spaces.

That is unfortunate. In any case, I am not planning on removing my blog now that you’ve posted a comment on it, and I’m willing to respond to your comment.

No, that is reality. In any case, I see that you have not changed the format of your blog to allow others to have the unqualified ability to post, so I'm sure that when you truly want others to do so, you'll first set the example. Since you feel free to slice and dice at will, do you think that others should treat your comments any differently?

My response: the blogger in question does not feel ‘victimized and attacked’ by posts in the carnival.

I certainly didn't claim that she did. It was YOU who asserted that TheNeedyOne was being attacked.

I wrote that the blogger brought up the issue of the oppressive nature of the pro-monogamy article in the carnival. The blogger in question didn’t position herself as having been victimized and attacked

That is a matter of opinion. It certainly seemed to me that you were trying to position TheNeedyOne as having been victimized and attacked.

but did point out—that when she made her critiques- folks in the Carnival chose not to be responsible to either the first point (the oppressive article) nor to their choice to not engage her critique of oppression in regards to the carnival.

What you pointed out was just your view of the situation. As I saw it, the people involved in the January Carnival did choose to be responsible to all that they needed to address. There was nothing raised by you or TheNeedyOne which added to what the Carnival folks had any responsibility to do.

I explained in my post why I understand a pro-monogamy article to be oppressive. Here is what I said: “Given that the world is already compulsorarily pro-monogamous or monoganormative—monogamy is dominant.

As I explained, your premise is false. If you want to know why and how, then do the work.

Those who argue ‘for monogamy’ are already in a power position and are already in a dominant position… it would be like arguing for ‘men’s rights’ or ‘white rights’ in a context where they are already dominating

Indeed, it would be and I think that is something worth doing. If we decide that some points should not be made because others have been sucessful at having those points expressed, then we can also say that your views should not be expressed because others have had measures of success with them too.

and so the only point of arguing thus would be to silence any voices in opposition, any voices that challenge.

You are assuming that your unfounded opinion is true. That is a non sequitur and it would remain so even if your premise was correct, though it wasn't.

So, a woman of color wrote a blogpost in “defense” of ‘monogamy’ or ‘pro-monogamy’ in a sexually conservative/pro-monogamous world—in response to reading posts that challenge sexual conservatism in feminist/women of colour/activist spaces. And the radical woman of colour carnival supports her work, supports her post and includes it in their Carnival..”

You betcha! I am quite proud of the Carnival organizers saw fit to support the sister who wrote how she feels. You also support the posts of your friends and include them on your blog, don't you? Well, anyone who has seen your blog knows the answer to that question so you can consider it rhetorical, if you like.

So, just like I wouldn’t include writings by a man (or woman) in ‘defense of patriarchy’ or by someone on ‘the merits or heterosexuality’ in a space for radical women of color doing ‘anti-oppressive’ work… I would find it extremely problematic to include a pro-monogamy article.

Well, fortunately, the Carnival organizers are NOT you and make judgement calls based on their own standards which work for them at least as equally well as yours do for you.

And that is one critique that said blogger offered to the carnival—an anti-oppression critique—a critique around creating a safe space for ‘radical women of color’ and she was told to go to hell, and that no one had to be responsible or accountable to her.

TheNeedyOne is free to offer whatever she wants but even if you and her may find the offered topic interesting does not affect the fact that the Carnival organizers needn't address it until and unless THEY find it more thought-provoking than the other topics they might pose for discussion. I for one think that being told to go to a mythological place is right next to calling someone a "pineapple-head" when it comes to the worst things that someone can be told when they start making demands that they have no right to see others satisfy. Since none of the Carnival organizers were responsible or accountable to TheNeedyOne, it appears to me that she was given the correct message. So, what was your issue with that?

You say: Even if you see what DD is doing as asking others "to be responsible and accountable" to others, it does not alter the fact that her actions (and yours) are seen as oppressive to many others who have become aware of them. I say: and so too do mainstream men say that they find it ‘oppressive’ when women talk about ‘women’s liberation’ or ‘feminism’, and so too do straight folks find it ‘oppressive’ when the queer folks talk about ‘queer liberation’…

First of all, you left off some very important qualifiers on your assertions here. SOME of those folks within these groups do make those claims you mentioned and I encourage them to do so (that doesn't mean the groups as a whole claim to feel oppressed by the mentioned groups). As a matter of fact, I encourage everyone who feels oppressed to express those feelings. If someone feels oppressed and they can get somebody to listen to their complaints, then that doesn't bother me in the least. Because I believe that the amount of good in the universe is greater than the amount of evil, I have utter confidence that those who seek to do good (e.g.treat their fellow (wo)man with respect, dignity, and compassion) will see the superiority of Truth over (somebody's interpretation of) "truth".

The fact that you and *** are spinning a situation where you are being called into account for power/privilege and oppression that you chose not to address on the carnival—into a situation where the folks who are challenging you are being blamed and being called oppressive—is fairly standard behavior by folks who are called on their power/privilege and oppressive choices

Ah, ye of little facts, perhaps you ought to do some work and find out the details of the situation before you make an arse of yourself again by showing that you have not done so. I chose not to address something on the Carnival? Well, that's certainly news to me. Actually, it's quite laughable really. By the way, you lack the ability to call me or my sister-friend into account for anything. Did someone mistakenly tell you otherwise? I'd also love to hear what power/privilege and oppressive choices did you think you called me on. This should be really good! If you're going to fib, please do so creatively so that I can at least admire it for its uniqueness. Guilt by association is a logical fallacy so that dog won't hunt here. Nice try though!

they quickly begin to talk about being victimized and about being oppressed—and they usually call the person who has challenged them an ‘oppressor’. It is a standard way of evading responsibility and accountability—it has been termed ‘blame the victim’.

Are you so averse to reading before you post that you were blind to the link on my page regarding the very topic of "blaming the victim"? I'm so glad that you are starting to understand the point I'm making though. You and TheNeedyOne's claims that those here are being oppressors reveals that you are indeed playing the "blame the victim" game. If you don't think it's a valid tactic, then don't use it and I'm sure that will reduce the amount of times you encounter it from those who see through your hollow claims from the beginning. In other words, we can all play the "I'm being oppressed" game just as much as we can all play the "blame the victim" game. Both are poor substitutes for actually PROVING your claims. Assertions do not make facts and that's plain and simple.

And so how is it now that she is saying that the person who pointed out those oppressive structures of her carnival (which she acknowledges) is oppressing her?

You'd have to first show me where she said that if you want an answer to the question you're now posing. Once again, you're putting the cart before the horse.

Its like when you call out a man for his sexism or a straight person for their homophobia. The first thing they do is get mad at you, and tell you they don’t have to care about what it is you are saying, and basically tell you to fuck off.

That may be what happens when YOU attempt to call out someone but it certainly isn't what happens to me. Perhaps the response you get is affected by how you tend to go about calling others out.

It is an effective strategy for taking attention away from the original point—which is—someone challenging you on your choice to oppress.

Have you ever considered the fact that your original point may not be their original point? That would certainly explain why they go back to discussing what is important to them instead of allowing you to take attention away from how they're calling you out on your acts of oppression.

You say: It seems rather odd that DD would be upset that the carnival had included her work without consulting her given the fact that DD also includes work on her blog without consulting all those whose work she links to or quotes. I was under the impression that such activities constitute fair use but if DD does not think so, then it seems rather hypocritical for her to engage in the same behavior. I say: well, once again you are diverting the issue from the original questions and critiques around oppression @ the carnival.

The only way my comment could be a diversion was if the issue was TheNeedyOne's demands. It was not. The Carnival in question was about something entirely different. So, if you are against diversions, then I'm more than happy to discuss the January Carnival topic with you. If you don't mind diverting the conversation away from that, then I certainly don't mind doing it either. As long as it's consensual, I can roll with it. ;o)

But, sure I’ll go for a ride with you—actually DD generally has the habit of emailing folks and engaging with them about their work (and also contextualizing who she is and why she is interested in engaging with them and their work) before posting their work on her blog.

Despite your claims, TheNeedyOne has several links folks that she has not engaged with. Unless she had never ever linked without express permission, then she is as guilty of applying the "fair use" principle as are those Carnival organizers she complained about. I, for one, am a supporter of the fair use principle but if I were not, it would be hypocritical for me to use it and moan when others do so. TheNeedyOne's use and subsequent complaints were also hypocritical for this very same reason.

But to be real, this is not about DD and what she does or doesn’t do—

Of course it is. You've been writing post after post about what she does and has tried to do. Have you forgotten your own words already or are you just in denial again?

Just because I say that it is a reality that all of these are oppressive doesn’t make it a ‘reality’ – but it is actually a reality, and only a person that is not in the situation of being oppressed can have the luxury of debating whether that oppression is a ‘reality’.

The issue wasn't regarding whether it was "a reality". It was regarding your claim that it was "THE reality" (caps mine). Furthermore, can you provide any proof that only those who are not being oppressed can have the "luxury" you mentioned? What persons have ever walked the face of the earth without facing oppression? If your statement were accurate, then no one would ever be able to debate "the reality" that you claim exists. Clearly that is not the case.

I say: I think its safe to say that you wouldn’t include a ‘pro-white-supremacy’ article in a carnival of ‘radical women of color’ (is it?)—on the understanding that such an article can only exist as backlash (given that white supremacy is the dominant and oppressive norm and needs not be argued ‘for’) to anti-racist writing.

Perhaps you ought to get to know me before you attempt to figure out what's safe to assume I'd do. As a matter of fact, I see nothing wrong with adding a "pro-white-supremacy" article in a carnival of radical women of color as long as it met the guidelines for submission. I am not afraid of viewpoints. If my viewpoint is superior to theirs, then that will be apparent to those with good motives. Those who lack good motives aren't my target audience nor will they EVER be. Once again you provide premises that need to be proved and not simply stated as "given" in order to draw valid conclusions. I see no reason why one must believe that any view need not be argued for.

just as I wouldn’t engage in a debate about whether I should consider straightness over queerness, I wouldn’t engage a debate about whether I should consider monogamy over polyamoury—engaging in that debate would be engaging in a debate over whether I have the right to exist, it would be engaging in a debate that questions my right to exist and the ‘merits’ of my existence, and engaging such debates would be (literal) death for me, so I would not engage such debates.

And I certainly wouldn't tell you that you should do otherwise. However, that doesn't change the fact that others don't share your views and they don't need to in order to behave in a perfectly ethical manner, which is what happened in the case with the Carnival. In fact, the Carnival organizers went far beyond what they were obligated to do when they removed the link to TheNeedyOne's post. I have and do engage in debate over whether I have a right to exist. I find it quite exhilerating, actually. So, perhaps your unwillingness to do so is just a personality issue.

I say: Who gets to have the luxury to accept that a premise is true?

Everyone has the ability to accept or refuse to accept a premise. However, that doesn't change whether or not a premise is true.

I am not arguing about whether north American society is compulsorily pro-monogamous or monogamanormative—IT IS

Actually, you are arguing it. Please be logical. Why say you're not doing something and then do it in that very same sentence? Simply make up your mind. Find a position and stick with it.

but if you need to check the usual indicators to see what is considered ‘normal’ do you see any examples of non-monogamous relationships in the mainstream media,

Yep. All of the time.

is polyamoury and non-monogamy as a tenable family model taught in schools, do parents teach this to their children??

In some schools it is and certainly some parents teach this to their children. Have you ever been to Utah?

No—monogamy is insidious and normative. And you don’t have to accept whether that premise is true, because whether you accept it or not doesn’t change (yes I said it!)-- REALITY.

Oh, how I do love a good conspiracy theory! Tell me, who do you think really killed Hoffa?

I say: no, you don’t have to address the questions, critiques and insights that DD offers. In fact you can ignore them, get angry at her for bringing them up, and then construct her as oppressing you for having asked you about the ways in which you oppress and your privilege. You can also ignore my questions and critiques, offers for additional context and requests for accountability, you can erase them from your blog within an hour after I write them so that the folks who read your blog won’t see them. That is entirely up to you.

Ah, it does my heart good to see you being logical for once in this conversation.

But I’ve since learned that it is more useful for me to sit with critiques that are offered to me, to actually understand them as gifts to further my own process, and to see them as ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL if I am going to be able to build in alliance with another who is differently located than I am

I'm glad that you've found a personal policy that works for you. I have developed my own and in it, I only address those critiques that interest me and, of those, I give priority to critiques that come from people who present them in what I perceive to be a reasonable manner. Anything that doesn't meet those criteria may have a small chance of being addressed if I find myself in possession of time that wasn't allocated for other things. I am less concerned with building alliances than I am with doing what I perceive to be ethical and moral behavior during the time that I am blessed to have during this life.

We as activists need to be able to work out the ways in which we wield power and privilege in relation to each other, and we need to be able to engage critiques of the ways and choices we make that are oppressive, if we are to build solid alliance that can effect real change—and if our movements are not to be splintered and fractured from the inside.

YOU, as an activist, may need to do those things but I, as an activist, have my own ideas about what I need to do and how these things need to be prioritized by me. Instead of focusing on what I think others should do, I have found it more helpful to do work on me because when I do, I find that my treatment of others is more ethical. The "real change" that I mostly want to see is within myself. It never seems to be very difficult for me to listen to others and hear their point of view. However, all that listening will do nothing if my soul is splintered and my sense of reason is fractured. I'd rather make myself into the kind of person that others are drawn to, than to try and force others to draw close to me simply because I think I have a lot to offer.

This is what I’ve learned from interacting with DD. And the reality is, it is the oppression within movements against oppression that have brought them down (whether racism in queer movements, homophobia in womens movements or sexual conservatism in radical women of color blogspaces).

May I ask, why do you repeatedly try to construct reality for me? You might find that we are able to agree on a lot if you stopped assuming that reality is objective; It is not. When I look at the range of claims that are made about what's reality, it becomes clear to me that reality is an illusion. It is maya (a Vedic concept) when we try to claim that our views on a matter constitutes understanding the matter itself. As the Apostle Paul stated, "we see through a glass darkly". You'll never be able to build alliances as long as your reality is the only one that you will acknowledge.

I say: no she did not have any responsibility to inform DD about when she came to the conclusion that “said blogger was right”…but the real is—the information that DD provided (the questions and insights that she offered) COST her—they COST her in being told to go to ‘hell’, the cost her in being pushed out of the carnival, they’ve cost her in how she is now being constructed as ‘oppressive’…

If that's real, then it is only a part of "the real". Another part of it is how her so-called invitations cost those who tried to act in good faith with her. She was never pushed out. As her own blog states, she ASKED to be taken off. In fact, the post is listed under her list of favorite posts with the title "Take me off...". And if her information costed her in how she's being constructed as oppressive, then it should be quite easy for one to see how it has also cost those who were constructed as such BY her. A long time ago, I came to see that when we harm others we are harming ourselves because every form of life is a part of the great all-in-all. So, if you don't want to pay a high price for your actions then don't act in a way that will likely lead to you being treated that way. Perhaps if TheNeedyOne's information had been delivered in a more palatable manner, she might have seen a more receptive response but if she wanted to remain firmly entrenched within her comfort zone by ignoring how she came across, then...well, you get what you pay for, right?

So **** gets to have a ‘conclusion’ and a ‘realization’ (that a person was right in their point about ‘oppression’)

Yep, and TheNeedyOne also gets to have a conclusion and realization if she wants one too. It's not like the world is in danger of running out of them.

but that realization came after that person was told to go to hell (was ostracized)…

Being told to go to a mythological place does not equate to being ostracized. The fact of the matter is that most of the people who know about this incident only became aware of it because of the three month long chain of posts on TheNeedyOne's blog.

that came off the back of person’s work—but that also resulted in that person being pushed out of a community that stated they had no need to be accountable or responsible to her—

Every conclusion that ANY individual on earth may come up with is off the back of some other person's work. And what's up with the external locus of control you have going here? Those who decided to formulate an opinion of TheNeedyOne did so on their own. My sister-friend may be quite beloved but if you know anything about the people who tend to post on her blog, they are quite opinionated without needing to simply adopt someone else's conclusions without reasons of their own.

in my view she does have a responsibility to acknowledge that ‘her conclusion’ was paid for in ostracizing dd—and that her learning curve came at someone else’s expense. Just as this learning curve is coming at someone else's expense.

You're still entitled to your opinions but unless you have facts to back them up they will remain unproven assertions.

And so dd chooses not to engage when folks are asking her to educate them and bringing her debates about why it is justifiable to oppress her and hers (whether in articles about pro-monogamy or in similar conversations).

Likewise, the Carnival organizers chose not to engage her invitations to educate her or her attempts to claim that that they were purposely oppressing her by choosing to live lifestyles that are different from hers. Either it's understandable to turn down these "invitations" or it's not. Which stance are you going to take?

So why are you now trying to take that back and say “but that needn’t be the way the rest of us view it”.

Uh, how could I take back a statement that I didn't make? I'd be really interested in seeing how that could be possible?

I say: you never actually responded to my assessment of what **** and the w.o.c Carnival did.

You're wrong, again. If you do the work you'd really waste less of your own time making arguments that simply aren't true.

which were simply promptly removed from ***s site so that there would never need to be any accountability to her readership

Even if she left up your posts from then to infinity, it still wouldn't make a single soul accountable to you or what you wrote. Instead of delusions of grandeur, you might be able to debate better if you defined your own motivations instead of trying to use whatever psychic powers you seem to believe you have.

That is what APPROPRIATION looks like.

I think that the readers who left comments on TheNeedyOne's post where she claimed her work had been appropriated were right on point. If you can prove that TheNeedyOne's mentioned ideas were actually unique, then there might be some clear case to claim that appropriation had taken place. However, nothing I've read from her is anything that I have yet to see before. If she wants others to mention all of the sources of every single thought they have, then she can do her best to start the trend and do so herself. If she's unwilling to do it herself, then, in all likelihood, most people aren't going to feel inclined to do it for her sake.

I say: unfortunately, **** hasn’t addressed any issues—including that of appropriation-- that were brought up. Instead she keeps erasing my comments on her blog that ask her to address the issues.

Tough break! Maybe if you presented your questions in a different way, you might get a different reaction.

I say: now you are attempting to put me in a position where I should defend myself for having harmed dd?? This is too much spinning of the situation for my head.

Who ever said that you should defend yourself? Certainly not me. I was simply expressing my views just like you were. If you can't handle that, then why are you asking people to engage in dialogue with you?

I say: quite simply, I’m not speaking to her motives—I have no clue what those might be. I am only speaking to ****’s actions online

Please, get your stories straight. In this very same post you make several assumptions about why my sister-friend made certain decisions. If you're going to keep doing it, then at least don't be in denial about it, please.

I say: as I’ve already suggested, why don’t you go a ahead an link dd’s post that you claim is a ‘ripping of the carnival to shreds’ to let folks see for themselves what is being said in the post.

Why should I give TheNeedyOne a link on my page? You two will have to come up with some other way of getting people to come to your blogs. By the way, can you show where I ever claimed that TheNeedyOne was ripping the carnival to shreds? Of course you can't because it didn't happen. Really, more careful reading is probably essential if one wants to keep their claims about others accurate.

And yes I see that your views suit you perfectly well, your choice to maintain an oppressive worldview and stance is your choice to make.

As is your choice to remain blissfully ignorant of the oppression that you inflict on others in the world. It is indeed your choice to make.

I do see it as absolutely urgent and necessary to build up alliances with other w.o.c, self-proclaimed activists, feminists ect…because ostensibly we can share a vision and we share (some) common oppressions

But why should others see this as urgent if they do not care to have the same vision as other or all women of color? I know that I certainly don't care to see all women of color pursue what makes me happy when they have their own distinct visions for themselves and their future.

That is what dd invited the w.o.c carnival to do, and what I’ve subsequently invited bfp and yourself now to do… all of this has actually been an invitation to build alliance—

That may be what she MEANT to do but that certainly isn't the way her demands have been interpreted. Similarly, I see nothing in your words that leads me to believe you want build an alliance with me. If that was what you wanted, you could simply have asked me what I felt we'd need to do in order to decide whether such an alliance would be mutually beneficial.

But you keep saying “you have no need to be accountable”.

Nope. That's not what I've said. I've expressed that I am not accountable to strangers. Imposing on me is a privilege. Where I come from, privileges are earned. If you're looking to see me say that I feel accountable to you or TheNeedyOne, then you should know that it would require something entirely different from what you've presented.

I wasn’t being facetious when I said I wanted to join the radical women of color blogring.

I never claimed that you were. I simply think it's counter-productive for one to join a group that is supposedly oppressing you just by maintaining the relationship-structures that give them joy.

I do want to build with women of color, as obviously does dd—the question is though -- are the w.o.c we are currently engaging with willing to honestly look at their power/privilege and choices to oppress

That may be your question but it certainly isn't the one that every other woman of color should feel obliged to address. If you want an alliance with them, you simply won't be allowed to define all the parameters of the relationship. If that's what you're hoping for, then you really might want to consider starting your own women of color ring because the ones in THIS blog-ring have worked very hard to build a particular kind of alliance with each other and changing it to suit you (and TheNeedyOne) ain't likely to occur.

Anonymous said...

Linking to other people without permission is what the Web is all about. It's called hyperlinking and years ago, people felt it was a way to undermine the hiearchies of information as it was normally organized.

in order for such a claim to have any teeth whatsoever, the person who files the claim has to, at least in the US, register the material copyrighted, first. It costs $30 and there's some dispute as to whether you have to copyright every article or you can copyright an entire blog with one $30 registration. This has to happen within 90 days of publication in fixed media (email, notepad, blog, typewriting on paper, saved to a hard drive, saved to a disk.)

If you don't register in 90 days, then you cannot collect statutory fees of up to $15000. Even then, a judge will not levy huge fines against someone with no money and who made no money and is/was doing what millions of others do on the Web.

For that reason alone, raising the specter of a lawsuit is laughable.

If you haven't registered it, then you can show that the person harmed you, defamed you, gained profits that you should have otherwise.

None of that happened.

Given that it will cost a small fortune to initiate such a suit and will, in turn, cost BfP $15k US or more to defend herself, I'm getting the sense that there is far more at stake here that has nothing to do with oppression and everything to do with bullying.

Bint Alshamsa said...

To Assata:

I certainly think of it as a privilege when someone allows me to leave comments on their site at all. If someone wants democracy, they can find a nice open chat room and rant their little heart out. If they want to come and post on MY blog, then they will have to follow my rules.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the person has to agree with me. They just have to be able to adhere to some basic principles like showing respect, not using too, too many expletives (after all, my daughter visits this blog from time to time and she doesn't like that sort of speech), and writing in a language that I can understand. Other than that, I'm pretty open. I'll respond to a post no matter how long or how short and I'm quite willing to debate any of my assertions.

I'll even bend the "no links" rule if you're making (what I see as) a good point. But blatant advertising for someone to come and look at how you've attempted to disrespect and bully my friend just ain't going down here.

I haven't survived all that I have just to let someone else make my rules for me. Life is too short to cater to idiots and that's the bottom line.

Bint Alshamsa said...

To Anonymous:

This really is about bullying. If you visited TheNeedyOne or TheRiverDenial's blog, you'll see that they have absolutely no qualms about hyperlinking the work and images of others. Maybe they thought no one would notice. However, I suspect that they simply don't think that the rules they want others to follow should apply to them.

Before I even commented on this entire affair, I went through both of their blogs and heard what they had to say about it. I did that before I even spoke to my sister-friend about it because I didn't want her view to bias me before I got to read things from their point of view. However, even the information TheNeedyOne had on the topic showed she was dead wrong.

As the EFF pointed out, hyperlinking is what makes the web what it is. If they don't like linking, then they'll have to find a prior century to exist in because it appears that the internet is here to stay.

If these two wanted to be treated as our sisters, then they should have behaved like our sisters. They acted like (obnoxious)strangers so they earned the treatment they got. My body may be close to kaput but my mind is sharper than ever and as long as it's still working, I'm going to use it to the best of my ability. The day I back down from a couple of hypocrites is the day y'all might as well get the chicken and potato salad out for my fun-eral. ;o)

Assata said...

Bint Alshamsa,

I agree with you. I think it's a good point and it just never occured to me. Most people say something like, "I don't mean to pimp my blog, but I hope you'll enjoy this post I wrote at my blog."

That's a way of saying:

"I respect your blog and I'm engaging with your ideas here. I don't want you to think I'm just using your blog to advertise myself, but I think you'll appreciate what I have to say in a longer post at my blog."

Otherwise, superficially engaging in a discussion as a way to draw attention to yourself is just abusing other people.

Assata said...

I'm sorry to hear about your health Bint. I'm sure you hear that often enough, but my family will pray for you and yours.

Bint Alshamsa said...


I've been thinking about what you've written and I've decided to make a post about My Casbah's rules. Would you mind if quoted you in that post?

By the way, since you've been such a sweetie, do you happen to have a blog that you'd like to "pimp" here? You have such a clear voice that I'm sure I'd love reading what you have to say on those topics that you like to discuss.

I also wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your prayers. I never take a single one for granted. They are the only thing that has kept me alive this long against so many odds.

I wish you and your family all the happiness you can possibly stand!

nehanda said...

i have been reading your posts, slowly and chewing them for consumption. its kismet that im reading about you, your battle with cancer and the victory at a time when im battling heavily with a relapse of an autoimmune illness similiar to ms. i havent written much about it on my blog, i dont know what to say...well i can begin with being pissed with my body, unleash my fear, embrace my rage.. i dont know.. its just so confusing and painful and upsetting and oh so very humbling..& id like to thank you for laying it all out. your unsilence.. is giving me courage.. to fly via

janine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bint Alshamsa said...

Sure. I'm game, Janine.

Carlos ("Carl") said...

Thank you for a wonderful blog. I've just discovered it, and will enjoy dipping into some of your earlier entries, as I have time and am feeling up to it.

I, too, have found it helpful to chronicle my own journey through cancer (Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma) in this way. Oddly liberating, is it not?

I hope it's all right with you, but I've put a link to your blog on my own. I won't put a link to my blog here, as you evidently have had some difficulty with others doing that in ways that are not appropriate... but if you're interested, I'm sure you can find your way to mine through my profile.

Blessings to you on your journey.


Bint Alshamsa said...

Hello Carl,

Thank you so much for visiting me here. I have already started perusing your blog and, if it's alright with you, I'm going to put you on some prayer lists that I know of. I really enjoyed your post about the recently concluded study on the results of being prayed for, by the way.