Friday, September 15, 2006

Sometimes It's The Best You Can Do

While looking through articles on my favorite punk and emo bands, I happened upon a post by Liza Sabater at The Daily Gotham that commented on the fact that apparently, "there are no black bloggers in Harlem or New York City". Oh yeah, just in case you're wondering, there aren't any Latinos there either. That being the case, I guess when Bill Clinton decided to meet with some bloggers down there at his office in the middle of a historic black neighborhood that is famous for spawning an era of music, art, and literature created by people of color living in this area from which the period derived its name, Peter Daou just wasn't able to find many Blacks or Latinos to include in this event.

By the way, I love the way Sabater points out how all of the bloggers who were invited managed to get all the way to the heart of Harlem to attend an event where not even one of the guests were Black or Latino and remain oblivious to what this shows about their mind-set.

In her post about the event, Maha (one of the invited bloggers) tells her readers that they "had some local Harlem cuisine (fried chicken, cornbread, sweet potato fries, salad, spinach, corn, and sweet tea)". Well, maybe that means the organizers at least invited some "local" Harlem folks cook the food for them. We should be grateful for that, right? When someone suggests that the meeting, which was set up by one of Senator Clinton's employees, may have had something to do with the 2008 presidential race that most people believe the senator will enter, that commenter was promptly banned from the site. Frankly, I don't see why Maha was so offended by the idea that these politicians might be engaging in a political strategy. I mean, isn't that what makes them politicians? I also noticed how she referred to the commenter in diminutive form. It's really quite sad to see someone let one event bring out such ugliness.

Another one of the bloggers (Chris Bowers) has a lovely recap of the visit on his blog. He waxes positive when he proudly wrote about how the event evoked his nationalistic streak. He goes on to mention the afternoon's backdrop (the New York City skyline) as

"quite possibly the greatest architectural achievement in the history of humanity. And we were doing it in a neighborhood, Harlem, which has never been particularly wealthy but whose residents produced some of the greatest works of art worldwide in the 20th century"

Now when it comes to the world's greatest architectural achievements, I tend to think that the Great Wall of China, the temples at Machu Picchu, the pyramids of Teotihuacan, the Nasca lines, will always beat the New York City skyline hands down and I'll wager that the Treasury in Jordan is more beautiful than any building found in the entire city of New York. But really, what made Bower's comment notable to me was that it pretty well reflected the same gushing that all of the invited bloggers have engaged in so far. What happened to critical analysis? I see no difference between the behavior of these bloggers and the same indiscriminate praise for Bush that they criticize his supporters for giving. When one commenter pointed out the irony of an all-white group of (supposedly) progressive people meeting in Harlem sans black people, Bowers and the others who responded to his post have nothing to say.

Of course, I decided to forgo making regular visits to Feministing back when they decided to allow their readers to verbally assault Nubian with racist comments and blatant lies and allow those insults to remain on the site even after they read them. Then there also was that little incident where they allowed their decidedly-less-than-enlightened readers to attack Samhita (a woman of color blogger) who happens to be one of their very own writers, in a similar manner. Nevertheless, I did go and take a look at what Jessica had to say about her trip. Sadly, it consisted of nothing more than what I've learned to expect from them.

If you haven't eaten in the last hour or so and you don't have a tendency to vomit at the sight of disgusting tripe, you could be adventurous and take a gander at FireDogLake and see those bloggers' reaction to Sabater's feelings about this all-white meeting in Harlem. If Sabater's blog is really as inconsequential as the poster claims, why did it warrant so much attention from them? The rant about Sabater's grammatical errors doesn't help their claims at all. I'll never understand why people who aren't new to the internet still resort to being grammar police whenever they run out of logical arguments to make. Can they really not know how transparent this tactic is by now? I wonder how many more comments it will take before it all shifts to reductio ad Hitlerum. I know the grammar gods must have a sense of humor because I have yet to see even one attack like this that did not also contain grammatical errors. I mean that literally. Not ever.

No assessment of the FireDogLake entry would be complete without pointing out the "some of my best friends are black" statements that were simply embarrassing to read.* I guess some folks are just trying keeping that one alive for posterity's sake. It seems that this and that annoying "Hammertime" song are doomed to crop back up for as long as Caucasian-Americans continue to exist as a distinct entity.

Even though I no longer identify myself as a conservative, it's this sort of behavior that I always considered when people tried to convince me that I should feel like the Democrats and other (mostly white) self-described liberals are more concerned about people of color issues than those in the right-wing circles. I've changed a lot of my views over the years but one thing hasn't changed. These people are just mirror images of the folks they complain about. The best thing that people of color can do is to start addressing their own problems because we'll extinct like the Dodo birds before either party decides that we have any intrinsic value worth defending.

*To any and all people who do not identify themselves as people of color:
I beg of you, please, if you have any sense of decency, do not shame those black people that you call friends by making these sort of statements. There are few things worse than being with one of your melanin-inhibited buddies and having them do this to some random person of color. The person will likely view you as just another clueless white person but they'll look at us, your friends, as the idiots since we evidently thought you were savvy enough to know why these statements and behaviors are so problematic.


brownfemipower said...

speak it girl.

what a load of crap. And everybodies just SOOOOO thrilled to meet clinton that they "forget" to challenge him--he's the president we LOOOONG to return to--never mind the fact that he is the one who created the current policies on the border whereby more people have died in one year than all the years put together previosly, and he's the one who layed the foundation down for all the patriot act garbage--he's the one who enforced the back to work welfare programs that have been so devistating for the very woc who surround his multi gadzillon dollar complex in harlem--

it's amazing how easily lambs swallow their koolaid...

Professor Zero said...

Ah yes, *sigh*. Anyway, nice to see you on line, as always.

delux said...

thank you for breaking this down. i'm from new york and i cant begin to tell you how irritating this is...

Anonymous said...

damn! my computer crashed when i was in the middle of writing a comment. i don't remember what all i said, some smartass shit, i'm sure. but what i was in the middle of typing was something about how its fitting that the Clintons moved to Harlem on the white-washing gentrification wave. and if rich White folks like them had it there way, Harlem would be like Hammertime - a coopted piece of negrophile culture extinct in all but memory.

and i like the whole "we ate some local food" crap. look at me, ma! i went to South Dakota, ate some fry bread, and put some feathers in my hair, just like a real injun. insane.

anyway, thanks for another great post, bint. and sorry i missed out thursday evening frolic (again). i really need to hire someone who comes over thursday afternoon, smacks me upside the head and says "ITS THURSDAY!"

bint alshamsa said...

Vegankid, I'm sorry I missed out on the smartass version of this comment but I look forward to you making up for it in the future. ;o)

I think I'm reaching the point where I'm going to have to really make a commitment not to read any of these monster-blogs. This incident really makes me angry because I think about all of the people like me who will eventually come across all this stuff.

At this point, there's no sense trying to hide who I am or who I've been to you since I never stop running my mouth on Thursday afternoons. I've never been really comfortable using a lot of expletives when I'm writing even though I cuss like a sailor (VanGoghGirl says I cuss more like a pirate), so whenever I see someone using the sort of language that TRex did, the first thing that comes to mind is "This person is must be really under-educated if they couldn't figure out how to express themself without resorting to m-effing this or g-damn that". I know that's not always true; As SpongeBob said, curse words can be excellent "sentence enhancers" but they shouldn't be the mainstay of your conversation, I think.

What I'm trying to say is this, if I had come across these comments a year and a half ago, there is no way I'd be sitting here today even willing to take any "liberal" blogger seriously. It's an instant turn-off for many of those that liberals need to attract in order to have any shot at changing the direction this country is going in but I'm of the impression that these mega-blogs care much about that fact.

Anonymous said...

As you said "No assessment of the FireDogLake entry would be complete without pointing out the "some of my best friends are black" statements that were simply embarrassing to read"

Totally cringe-inducing. I couldn't read most of the whole raging discussion. There were no people of colour there. Why don't they find that disgusting ?

Head connects sharply with already bloodied keyboard....

Great post as always Bint.

Blackamazon said...

* seriously whens your birthday i can at least indulge ina cupcake and a sparkler every year*

I will get at this later but first

Of course you rule

and second

I'm at a point where the stupid self indulgent and myopic of it all makes the vein above my forhead pop out

belledame222 said...

> Sabater's blog is really as inconsequential as the poster claims, why did it warrant so much attention from them?

The eternal question.

And yeah, I think the "A-list" blogs are probably pretty much doomed to this kind of shite, for whatever confluence of reasons. anyway i like places where you can hold an actual discussion.

belledame222 said...

and bfp, you're right, of course--I don't blame people for accepting the invite, myself, seems like it SHOULD be a great opportunity in a number of ways--but yeah, people have a way of going "ooh, treats, okay, i'll be a good boy/girl" in such circumstances, sadly. assuming that the problems you mention occurred to them at all, of course.

as I forget who was saying somewhere wrt Bush's desecrations of civil rights and free speech, among other things, yes, blame him, but also remember that he was standing on some pretty tall shoulders to do it, including BC's. actually he focused pretty exclusively on BC; i agreed with what he was saying but also pointed out that in turn of course, BC was standing on -Reagan's- shoulders.

Yeah, Reagan. How quickly we forget. goddam but that man was a busy little beaver, wasn't he?

and others, and others, and others, of course; still, they didn't call it the "Reagan Revolution" for nothing.

and then throw in the Republican Congress in '94, and well nothing but good times ahead.

The thing, or my thing, wrt BC himself, is sort of i think the same thing that people are having toward the people who went to the luncheon: in a way it feels MORE bitter, because unlike the fuckers Reagan and Dubya and their enablers, he/they SHOULD have known better; he gave the PROMISE of knowing better, of DOING better...and then, he caved.

In psychology, there is a noted phenomenon, forget how called or who by, wherein if there is a dynamic in which (for example) Dad is abusive and Mom is sympathetic but seemingly powerless, or rather she fails to protect, time and again, ends up siding with the powerful abuser because "there's nothing I could do," the children will tend to be MORE angry at -Mom- than at Dad. Because Dad may be a beyond-the-pale monster, but Mom -should have known better,- DID know better, was supposed to be the savior and protector...and didn't. And then turns around and wants YOU to protect HER, sometimes; and of course all kinds of feelings bubble up, but among them is, yes, sheer rage. Protect YOU? Defend YOU?? Where the hell were YOU when I needed you???

...and then grief, again, that it's come to this, and how in the blue FUCK to get past this?

belledame222 said...

I have never read or even really noticed that Maha blog, but ye gods and little fishes. "Local color! Oh delicious delicious: how quaint, a taste of Harlem." BLEAH.

Anonymous said...

I learned about your blog from a link from XicanoPwr, and what a pleasure it is, as an African American male to see a sistah tellin' it like it 'tis.
The great W.E.B DuBois said it best when he discussed the 'false compensatory wage' of white supremacy, to describe the unearned white skin privilege that white folks, regardless of economic status earn in this society. This recent fiasco with Clinton, and the predictable denials from white liberal bloggers, plays out to a 't' what DuBois stated long ago-it's as normal to these people as breathing air.
Given that most of these mega bloggers have never shown any inclination on discussing matters of race in an honest manner(Gilliard being an exception),
generally, I tend to not take what they have to say seriously, and have begun to frequent more explicitly left-wing bloggers, many of them not in America.

Sorry for going on for so long, but I'm sick and tired of alot of these liberal bloggers and their slavish devotion to one wing of the business class as some sort of saviour for America, when they've totally lost the plot in regards to race.

belledame222 said...

I'd be curious as to which non-U.S. bloggers you were looking at, bogan3253.

Yah, besides everything else, the U.S.-centricism of the American loosely self-defined left is, well, it irks. And it's dumb. We could be not only networking but learning a lot about what might or might not work here based on precedent somewhere -else.- Instead it's like we keep reinventing the wheel, over and over and over...

Red Tulips said...

While I generally agree with your post, I wonder how much race was an issue at the Clinton event, given on DKos, all one sees are words on a page, and it is not clear that people are choosing to only hang with white folk. Gosh, I am defending DKos now! :-p

Of course, one would think that at a Harlem event, they would go out of their way to find local bloggers who have informed opinions on the issues. (and there are many, as Harlem and NYC is a big city)

Obviously they did not do that, and I think they should have.

Red Tulips said...

P.S.: Stephen Colbert has a very funny bit on his show about having a 'black friend.'

Hazelnice said...

Right! I think they should have too.

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