I came across a post by Nubian on her Blac(k)ademic blog entitled "did i hurt your feelings?". Apparently, a few white people had a problem with one of her earlier posts. In "amc: the good, the bad, and the just plain sad", Nubian wrote about some of her experiences at the recent Allied Media Conference (AMC). You can read what she said for herself because Nubian is an excellent writer and I don't want to get any of the details wrong. After reading Nubian's AMC post, another blogger (Nio) felt inspired to blog about her interpretation of Nubian's experiences. After reading Nio's post "Equality in the Feminist Movement", I decided to write my comments about her views here on my blog.
Nio's message was so full of illogicality that it practically begs to be critiqued. So, where to begin? Where to begin? How about with the part where Nio tells us about why she felt left out of the feminist movement?
"Oh sure, I read the books and even went to a few marches and the like, but never did I feel like I belonged because I wasn't in college (or college educated) nor was I a lesbian. You don't have to be a lesbian to be part of the feminist movement nor do you have to be college educated but if you aren't, it's very difficult to access the organizations that promote female equality."
I think this comment is a good place to start because it provides some nice clues about why Nio felt rankled by Nubian's words in the first place. It may have been very difficult for Nio to access feminist organizations but that doesn't make her statement generally true. I wonder if she ever stopped to consider whether it might be her attitude that made it difficult for her to find such organizations. As far as I know, most of them do not offer any shortcut to membership specifically for those who have been to college or happen to be lesbian. However, if there are some that do, I seriously doubt that these outnumber the number of groups that care more about your views than they do your education-level or orientation.
"If you can access them, you don’t necessarily make any meaningful connections because you’re not in the same economic class as those who run the organizations on the local level and those who make the agenda on the national level."
I don't think that one should expect to necessarily make meaningful connections in any group. Sometimes you do and sometimes you don't. This idea that one's economic level matters most to those who run local organizations is just not based on fact. I'm sure that there are some organization administrators who feel more inclined to bond with those who do belong to a particular economic class but is there any reason to believe that this is the case with all or even most of them? This is a big assumption that doesn't seem to be backed up with any facts.
"blac (k) academic’s post was on her deliberate exclusion of some. And this is the exact problem of the feminist movement and why not much has been done over the last decade. Why we've lost rights once gained. Every group, it seems, wants to self-isolate, to hear only the voices of those with the same economic background, same musical tastes, same religion, same skin color, same sexual orientation."
Right here, Nio shows that she really didn't bother to even examine what Nubian wrote. Nowhere in Nubian's post does it say that she excluded ANYONE from ANY part of the conference but that doesn't stop Nio from claiming that Nubian's comments are "THE exact problem" of the feminist movement. Pardon moi, but could it really be that this is the only problem that the feminist movement faces, that some people are unwilling to allow white people to define feminism and control spaces specifically designed for women of color? We should be so lucky! Maybe the fact that feminism (as defined by predominantly non-disabled, white, western women) just doesn't appeal to many women (in a world that is predominantly people of color, living outside of the western world) isn't really a problem to Nio but it certainly seems like a rather serious one to me. Meanwhile, I see the feminist movement as making a lot of progress but Nio might not have noticed because the much of it is taking place in areas where many white feminists just don't tend to hang out.
I could also take some time here and explain why it's impossible to lose or gain rights but I think it might be a waste of time to attempt to explain it to her at this point given how much she misunderstood in Nubian's post.
"When did it become ok to be rude and hurtful? When did it become ok to deliberatley exclude someone based on their race, sexual orientation, class, or educational level?"
Apparently, a long time ago. I can't tell you an exact date but I will say that it must have happened some time before the conference given the fact that the white woman Nubian was referring to decided to ignore the purpose of the panel and showed utter disrespect for those who were present by implying that black people should "work to not exclude whites". Personally, I think that people of color have enough to do just trying to survive in a world where we are most often the targets of exclusion based on race, sexual orientation, class, education level, et cetera. When white people become the main targets of these kinds of exclusion, then I for one would be more than happy to focus my energy on making the world a better place for them. Until then, I think people like Nio are more than capable of representing for all of the oppressed white people of the world.
"When will we get over ourselves and realize we need each other? Why do we continue to hate, exclude, expell, ignore, and put down voices that are unlike our own?"
I'm no psychic but I suspect that it probably won't happen as long as there are lots of folks who just don't value anything that doesn't include plenty of white people. I won't pretend to be an authority on this but I have a hunch that hatred and exclusion will continue as long as some people keep preaching that we should get over ourselves when so many of us have yet to experience any of the "perks" that come along with race-based, gender-based, class-based privilege. By "perks" I mean the kind like where you have the luxury of being able to believe that people like Nubian are the only thing preventing the success of feminism.
"I would’ve like to have gone to the conference blac(k) academic attended. But I can see by her post that I would have been vilified for caring, for wanting to change the world for better, for going in the first place."
Oh yes, I'm sure that Nubian and all the other people of color saved their hard-earned money just so that they could have the opportunity to vilify any white people who care, who want to change the world for the better, who dared to show up at all. Come on! Can Nio actually believe this nonsense she wrote? I really wish some people would just think before they write. Perhaps while she was busy nurturing her persecution complex she forgot that nobody turned away white people. Nobody said that white people shouldn't care, even though Nio fails to specify who it is we're supposed to believe she cares about.
"It’s too bad she and I will never be able to work together as she won’t allow me too access her knowledge and connections."
Now we're getting to the bottom of Nio's issue here. Notice the conditions that she says would need to be met for her and Nubian to work together. Unless Nubian hands over the "goods" Nio desires, she doesn't even consider it a possibility for her to be willing to work with Nubian.
"The equality movement, and us as individuals, will be the ones who suffer. Now both of us will be doing the same work twice, reinventing the wheel each time instead of working cooperately."
I am a bit curious about how Nio came to believe that Nubian will suffer from not working with her. I don't know what Nio has done with her life but I do know that Nubian certainly has accomplished a lot so far and she didn't need to share anything with Nio to get to where she is now. Is there any reason to believe that Nio will be doing the same work as Nubian? Since she isn't even able to see the value in what Nubian does, I don't think it's likely we'll see Nio tackling the problems that she doesn't even recognize exists.
In the comments section, Crys T points out that "WOC, Jewish women, disabled women, queer women, women who come from minority or minoritised cultures have other identities than Just Woman because THAT’S THE WAY IN WHICH THE WORLD TREATS THEM". To this, Nio replied
"First off, let me make this clear, you will not insult or attack other commenters on my page. There is no room here for hate. By typing this line as you have, you cut womyn into groups but didn’t build any way for them to cross from one realm into another and become aquainted with one another. Rather, you isolated them from each other making each group it’s own island. Why did you do that?"
Did this turn into a Twilight episode all of a sudden or what? Nio's comment here reveals a bit more about the source of her problems. She decided that she had some authority to speak on behalf of all women of color, women with disabilities, queer women and claim that Crys T isolated us from each other. In actuality, I felt more included by Crys T's comment than I did by anything Nio said. What's insulting is how Nio took it upon herself to make this assumption without even asking any one (from the groups mentioned) whether they felt isolated by Crys T's comment. When I want to become acquainted with women, I am quite capable of doing so myself so why does Nio think that someone else bears any responsibility for bridging some gap between groups that can do it for themselves? I think what Nio does here is a lot like what the white woman at the conference did. Instead of listening and learning, both of them decided that others should fix these problems that really only exist in their imaginations.
"I’ve been attempting to articulate that exact point: that she enjoyed hurting a white womyn merely because she was a white womyn."
Again, Nio shows that she really didn't understand what Nubian wrote at all. Nubian never claimed to be excited because she hurt a white woman. She said that she was excited because she called the woman (who disrespected both the panel and the audience) out in the room full of people, you know, the place where the woman's disrespect took place. I think it's rather disgusting that Nio would claim that Nubian enjoyed hurting a white woman because she was white. I don't expect that she'll apologize, though. I don't suppose truth-telling is a part of her definition of "polite" behavior.
The existence of people like Nio shows exactly why Nubian needed to make the comments that she did at the AMC. The ugly truth, epitomized by Nio, is that no matter how much privilege some people have, it will never be enough for them to figure it might be okay for people of color to finally get to do something that doesn't revolve around making white people more comfortable with themselves.