Wednesday, September 27, 2006

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun."
(Ecclesiastes 1:9)

As I was in the shower today, my mind kept coming back to a post written by Belledame222 on her Fetch Me My Axe blog. She has one of those blogs that I intend to visit regularly but often forget to do so. Well, maybe it isn't just "forgetting". To "keep it real", I'm pretty envious of Belledame222 and not just a little bit. I mean, she has a catchier blog name than I do. She's not nearly as difficult to get along with as I am. And on top of it all, she's ethnically Jewish! Well, maybe that last one doesn't mean all that much because, you know, you have to be a "religious" Jew for it to count, according to some people. I'll explain that part in just a moment.

Okay, most people who know me are aware of the fact that I'm religious, some might say uber-religious even. Don't worry, I'm not about to start proselytizing and if I were to ever do so, it would only be to recommend that more people join the "church" of sound reasoning. Nevertheless, I am very fond of religion in general--not because of how it's expressed by some people, but because of the potential that it has to persuade a great number of people in this world to aspire to better behavior.

It was through religion that I got my first sense of ethics. I remember being a kid wanting to steal some extra snacks from the refrigerator but being pretty disuaded from doing so by the idea of God frowning down on me and adding the word "thief" to the list of things written about me in the eternal record. Now that I'm an adult, I can think about how stealing snacks would have deprived my siblings of their fair share and that, ultimately, stealing makes one more distrustful and also promotes a certain sense of entitlement that isn't exactly attractive in children.

Since I grew up in a stiflingly-religious family, I have done more than my fair share of Bible reading. That being the case, when I am going through or hear about a situation, I frequently think of scriptures from the Bible that seem to relate to it, in my opinion. Sometimes I also think about scriptures from the Qu'ran or some Buddhist teachings that my sister has discussed but most often it's the Bible because that's what I'm most familiar with.

Anyway, a few days ago, Belledame222 wrote a post about the same lunch with Clinton affair that I've been writing about here, here, and here. In her "Class(y)" post, Belledame222 examined the hypocrisy of certain folks who decided to have a long, drawn-out discussion about some woman's breasts and what likely motivated it. She also wrote about her recent experiences with a variation of the same "some of my best friends are" arguments that I wrote about in the first post about the Clinton lunch. As a matter of fact, she wrote about it before I did in her August 12th post, "Some of my best friends are handy justifications for my political crusade!"

Apparently, David Ferguson isn't the only person on the blogosphere that thinks having some distant connection to people in other groups makes anything you say about that group a-okay.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

THE SAINTS ARE COMING!

Okay, yesterday was absolutely NUTS! I hope everyone saw last night's official re-opening of the Superdome. The New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons TWENTY-THREE to three!

Now, I'm not going to pretend to be a really big fan of American football but like most New Orleanians, I hold a special place in my heart for the Saints. Sure, they hurt me to my heart year after year and, after every season, I swear I'm not going to let them get my hopes up ever again but, come August, I am drawn back into the game just to watch how the Saints perform. Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember the one year that the Saints went to the playoffs. The hype in and around the city was unbelievable. I was hooked on the team from that point on.

When you live with a true believer like The German, it's hard not to care about the Saints. Back when we first started dating, I was quite sure he was on his way to getting fired from his job. But was it because he was spending so much time with me? Nope. Instead, he decided that no matter how his boss scheduled him, he was simply not going to show up for work on the weekends until after the Saints game had gone off. It really made his co-workers a bit envious because they didn't feel like he should be able to get away with that but, apparently, he was so good at what he did that the management simply turned a blind eye when it came to The German's football addiction. Now that my cousin has moved down the street from us, The German has someone else around that loves the Saints as much as he does.

As a matter of fact, my cousin was one of many first responders at the game last night. What a lucky duck he is but, after all that he's been through in the past year working as a New Orleans firefighter, I'm really happy that he got the opportunity to go. I only wish I could have been there with him. Heck, I wish I could have been there even if he wasn't! The Vieux Carre was packed like it was Mardi Gras this past weekend and I sure am grateful to all of the people who came from out of town to attend the game. The local economy badly needed this boost.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope for a win but I'd made up my mind to be satisfied if they could at least manage to stay in the game. Well, they outperformed all of my expectations by beating
the pants off of the Falcons. That blocked punt in the beginning of the game set the tone for the whole evening. Nothing could have made the night more memorable than watching the Saints go on to win in the middle of all the hype surrounding the Superdome's re-opening. It was just perfect!

Speaking of perfection, Green Day and U2 performed together before and during the game to highlight a program created to help New Orleans. Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" sounded absolutely amazing with the addition of several horns played by local musicians. Introducing the performance was a slew of second-line bands and black social clubs doing it up in high style and full array. The two bands performed together to highlight a program founded by U2's lead guitarist, The Edge, after visiting New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The program, called Music Rising, is designed to replace instruments that musicians lost during the storm. They've already provided over two thousand musicians with brand new instruments and in the next phase, Music Rising will be working to put instruments back into the local schools and churches.

This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart because of how much music has enriched my family and it all started in the schools. Every single one of my mother's children played an instrument thanks to music programs in the public elementary schools we attended. Almost all of the top jazz musicians out of New Orleans are the product of public school music programs: Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Branford Marsalis, Irvin Mayfield, Donald Harrison, and Kermit Ruffins, among many others.

You can go to Rhapsody and see the U2 and Green Day performance and check out some other really nice clips including a performance of the song "Vertigo" that The Edge did with a local band awhile back ago. If you happen to be wondering what you can do that will make a real difference to New Orleans, PLEASE consider donating to Music Rising. I have already witnessed musicians benefiting from it and whatever helps New Orleans musicians helps the whole city because music is our most defining trait.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Hypocrites Abound

While all of this controversy about the lack of people of color at Clinton's "Meet the Bloggers" event has been going on, another conversation about it has been running concurrently to it. While (white) David Ferguson was telling (person of color) Liza Sabater to stop considering herself equal to them, Jessica Valenti over at Feministing (another blogger who attended this event) was busy feeling angry because people were talking about her breasts over on Ann Althouse's site. Here's my take on it all:

If I had been anyone who worked for either the former President or Senator Clinton, I'd have found a way to make sure that, regardless of height, Jessica was not positioned where she was, just as if I were an employee for Bush, I'd never let him be photographed next to a banner for that crappy Mission Impossible movie; Any failure to consider the impact of such a picture will almost assuredly result in jokes or criticism that simply isn't to the politician's advantage.

Do I think Jessica looks ridiculous in this photo? Yep. All of the people in that picture look absurd to me but it has nothing to do with anyone's goofy pose. The reason why they look so foolish to me is because I've had the chance to read what several of them have had to say about this visit which provides a lot of insight on what sort of people they are.

Like many others, I do not see how this meeting did anything positive for feminism. For me, it's not about how Jessica's breasts looked; It's about the fact that a self-professed feminist was so obviously delighted to be able to schmooze and pose with a man who used his position of power to sexually harass women--women that looked just like her. I wonder if Jessica was able to hear the sound of solidarity amongst women going down the drain while she was busy taking that photo with Clinton?

The part I don't understand is this: Who did Jessica think she was aligning herself with when she decided to be a part of this picture? If she truly believes that a woman deserves to be seen as more than a collection of sexually-appealing body parts, then why would she choose to associate herself with Clinton of all people? It just doesn't make sense. Then today when I visited her website I see this post: Anti-feminist hypocrisy.

Now, can someone please explain to me how Jessica could have a post on her site talking about how a woman posed nude in some photographs and still have some justifiable complaint about people discussing her breasts? Am I the only one who noticed that the link on that post is to another post entitled "Somebody Slap this Slut"?

Given all of this, I see her gripe regarding a discussion about her breasts to be quite hypocritical. If Ann's post was as "un-feminist" as Jessica seems to think, then what should we think of what's on her website? How can someone with a blog featuring a discussion about how a woman's nude photos showed her "open wide" really have room to complain about this post? I'd love to hear some of those who are so offended by Ann's post show how that's logical.

As for the idea that Clinton should have felt honored to be in the room with these bloggers, all I can say is this: I think that all of these people deserved each other because I figure every politician needs sheeple who support him and Peter Daou went out and found Clinton a group of bloggers who were willing to sell out progressive causes in order have the opportunity to take that photo.

I gave up on feministing months ago when the writing on the wall came in the form of Jessica

1. deciding to allow her readers to repeatedly make racist comments to a blogger that she had interviewed

and

2. leaving this interview (along with the despicable comments) on her site despite the interviewee's request for feministing to remove the post since she no longer wanted to be associated with what they were willing to allow there. That means I have a little more time to explore other blogs. I know one thing for sure. I'd definitely prefer to check out Althouse regularly before I'd ever go back to visiting Feministing when I'm on the look out for logical arguments but hey, that's just me. What do I know, I'm just another inconsequential black chick who's probably just envious because I can't be just like these clowns, right?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why FireDogLake Is No Innocent Party

In my last post, I mentioned FireDogLake's reaction to one blogger's views about a recent Clinton meeting in Harlem with bloggers that just so happened (as some would have us believe) not to include any bloggers of color. Well, I think it warrants a bit more attention.

Unfortunately, things got even nastier over there. At first, I simply read what the other commenters had to say. Several people tried to explain why so many bloggers of color weren't just chock full of happy thoughts (about this event) as their writers, David Ferguson (also known as "TRex") and Jane Hamsher, seemed to think we should feel. Instead of focusing on the point that she was making, Ferguson decided to make it quite clear that those at FireDogLake do not consider our issues, their issues. After making this comment:

So, Liza, dear, before you go assailing your betters and making Jane stand in for every blond white woman who ever pissed you off, maybe you should head back to eighth grade English and, you know, learn to spell and to write in a linear fashion.

and having his own supporters point out how detestable it was for him to make such a racially-loaded comment, this is what Ferguson had to say:

"Okay, let's get something straight here. By using the word "betters", I meant people who are more talented than Liza, and they are legion. If you’ve decided that there’s racial baggage in that statement, it says a lot more about your issues than mine."

Notice, nowhere in his statement does he show that he considers any of our issues to be the same as his and simply wanting to believe that his statement was not racially-loaded doesn't change the fact that it was. Furthermore, I find it very interesting that Ferguson was willing to leave the comments section open until more bloggers of color started commenting and proving that this had nothing to do with the envy that he seems to think motivated Sabater. After reading his vitriol, I gave up on the idea of trying to reason with him and instead responded to one of Hamsher's comments.

I wonder if my response had anything to do with the fact that FireDogLake immediately closed the comment section for this post. Well, since they decided to delete it on their site, I'll just put it up here and see if anyone else concludes that all of this shows that Ferguson had no intention on discussing this topic seriously. Focusing on Sabater was a classic diversionary tactic in order to avoid engaging in discussion about what many bloggers of color felt after learning about this event. Anyway, here it is--this one post out of the four hundred and thirty-eight comments under Ferguson's post that FDL felt shouldn't be included in their back-patting session:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jane, no one had to say that it wasn't a valid question. By focusing on one blogger of color's grammar and going on ad nauseum about irrelevant nonsense like who has the most readers, this post effectively showed what those here thought was valid. It doesn't much matter whether or not Stoller brought up the problem of race at the meeting. The fact is, people of color never elected Stoller or any other white bloggers to speak for us at this event. So Stoller's words did not and could not serve as a substitute for having people of color there to discuss the issue of race on our own terms. I find it a bit saddening to see how hard it seems to be for some people here to wrap their brains around why people of color bloggers see the attitude of those who attended as extremely patronizing and quite condescending.

How long will those who consider themselves "liberal" continue on with the same sort of comments that people of color have been subjected to for several hundred years in this country? When I read your comment about whether Daou is racist, I instantly thought about the American slavery period and how so many Northern whites simply refused to believe that anything they did could be racist because when they thought about the term "racist", they tended to see that word as only including those acts that one engages in with the express purpose of discriminating on the basis of race. However, racism is much more than that. This is what this whole incident is about.

While you may feel confident in asserting that Daou is not a racist, really does that matter? Even those who are not avowed racists can engage in racist behavior. The idea that the problems with this meeting could have been solved more productively is also patronizing even if you didn't mean for it to be. Who should decide what is the most productive reaction for people of color to have had when they learned about this? My hopes are that you would not say that it's those who have not had to deal with being people of color in this country.

Would you look at the historical context of this issue? When the actions of those in positions of power consistently seems show that they have little regard for people of color, is it really reasonable to believe that these same persons of color would then go to those very same people and try to get them to address our issues after they've been ignoring them for hundreds of years? If you really think that is a reasonable request, then can you say how many more hundreds of years worth of slighting do you would take for it before it would be reasonable for us to assume that this is a waste of time?

It's true that ONE person singled you out but is that really surprising? If one is a public figure, then isn't that to be expected. I so want to believe that you are educated on the issues of privilege as it relates to gender, race, and appearance. While I truly do think that you regret the blackface incident, can you at least see how it would and has contributed to why your behavior does seem stereotypical to some?

Regarding your question about how things would have played out if you'd "made a comment like that in reverse": If you have done any research on the issue of privilege (I don't know your educational background so it would be appropriate for me to make any assumption about this) I think you know that even if you had made done this, it would have an entirely different meaning due to the fact that Liza's comments did not come from a position of privilege as yours did and would.

In order for it to be true that "Liza set the table for the tone and substance of this one", then there could have been nothing that preceded her post and that simply wasn't the case. Liza wasn't the only one who noticed the fact that not one single blogger who attended this meeting addressed the issue that was quite apparent to many bloggers of color, namely, the absence of people of color. While that may not seem like anything worth noting to you, others would beg to differ.

I also think that there was a very important topic that was lost but it isn't the one that you seem to see. In order for it to have been a flame war, two parties had to participate in it. So, whose post really made this into a "war"? So what's the important issue that was lost? It's this: Once you decide to respond to vitriol with vitriol, you lose all legitimate claim as an innocent party. That's why, whether those at FireDogLake choose to admit it, those who don't like how it played out want to decide who's at fault here, there are a lot more people to blame than just Liza.
Comparing your reaction to Lyons' remark to Liza's simply isn't valid. You were one person in a position of power responding to another person in a comparable position of power. Is that the case with Liza's comment? From the statements made by many of commenters here, that doesn't appear to be the case. How many have gleefully remarked on how they view you to be Liza's "betters" or how much more intelligent they believe the FireDogLake writers to be? Can anyone here really make a logically claim that Liza's post had the same impact as this one did? I don't think so.

I really find this statement a bit perplexing:
"Nobody has ever bothered to either defend FDL or make note of the fact that we're probably the only high traffic blog who goes to such lengths to include a variety of voices on our site."
Haven't the majority of the commenters here been defending FDL? Is there some reason why they don't count or were you referring to how many bloggers of color have defended FDL? If it is the latter and that really is the case, then I think it might be because you all seem to have the defense part covered so well that you decided to switch to the offense. Really, do you think that many bloggers of color would really see any reason to defend FDL when its writers make so many racially-charged and insensitive and downright insulting statements? I think TRex's "betters" comment epitomizes these but it certainly isn't the only one. By the way, if TRex really thinks that you all are Liza's "betters", then isn't this post rather like an adult punching a kid in the face because they stepped on your toe? Sure, the kid shouldn't have stepped on your toe but does that really mean we should defend the adult for their reaction or find it justifiable?
Personally, I don't see Liza's post as cheapening this topic in any significant way. Was she really the one in the position of power here? If we should hold Liza to account for whatever cheapening she managed to do, shouldn't we do so with FDL to an even greater degree, given the utter disregard this site has shown for its negative impact on it has had on this incident?
While you think that it will reign in your memory longer than anyone else's, I must say that is only likely to be true if I die before you do. I can definitely understand why the bloggers who were invited would have preferred for any grievance to have remained private, that seems a bit self-serving to me. Is there some reason why bloggers of color shouldn't feel free to discuss current events as we see fit? I think intelligent people can easily understand how what's considered "respectful" is absolutely subjective, so it makes no sense to suggest that people who do not share your culture should have behaved as you'd like to think you would if you were them.

If the writers at FDL really wanted to do this subject justice, you could have found posts by several other bloggers of color who have written about it. That Liza's post was the one that was focused on really gives the appearance that this isn't an issue you all wanted to address logically or intelligently. However, this is still something that you could remedy if you want to.
If you really want to learn more about how other bloggers of color felt about this whole shameful incident, including the FDL reaction, please feel free to look at what I have written about it.

Oh yes, if TRex is looking for another blogger of color to denigrate or another opportunity to play grammar police, I hope he feels absolutely free to do so with my post. I always appreciate it when people show their true colors.

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.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sick and Tired

No, really. I'm sick and I'm tired. I'm in the middle of a lupus flare-up and, thanks to my suppressed immune system, I've also acquired a nasty summer cold from my bestest daughter in the whole wide world. On top of all that, I had to get new rounds of blood tests in the same arm, two days in a row. In all, I think they took around eight vials from me. That, of course, didn't help my anemia at all.

Really though, it's all kind of funny to me. Given the fact that I'm the biggest walking anomaly that I know, I just have to shake my head and smile at the irony sometimes. I mean, I guess it shouldn't even be a surprise to me how things go sometimes. Both of the phlebotomists that I went to had to use a vein in my left arm because the ones in my right arm are too spidery to try and get a needle into unless it's absolutely necessary. I suspect that getting a needle stuck into the same vein two days in a row would be enough to make anyone's arm a bit sore but since this is also the same arm that is already a bit weak from the surgeries I've had on that side, it was totally out of commission yesterday and it's still achy this morning.

Things aren't all bad, though. I was really thrilled when I found out that my new rheumatologist is a woman. I felt really comfortable talking to her and I think it's going to work out well having her as one of my doctors because she's right across the hall from my general practitioner so it won't be difficult to get information back and forth between them. She recommended that I start taking Plaquenil for my lupus symptoms. I used to take it in the past and I didn't get any adverse side effects from it so I agreed to start taking it. I'm going to get it filled today.

Well, my arm is hurting now so I'm going to go and lie back down. Maybe I'll be back on later to respond to some of the new comments under my last post.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another Example of the Privilege Existing Within Mainstream Feminism

BlackAmazon came and commented on my last post and, as I try to do whenever someone visits my blog, I went to her blog. I often forget about blogs that I mean to check regularly, so I usually wind up losing track with people until they happen to come back to my site and leave a comment. Anyway, when I visited her site, I found this post entitled "I'm gonna go work out pray on this and then respond here" and my curiousity prompted me to take a look at the post in question. Sometimes I really wish that I was more apathetic to what I read.

As if I needed more reason to believe that mainstream feminism has nothing to offer me, I found yet another self-professed feminist who's completely clueless when it comes to the experiences of non-white, non-western individuals. In her post, "The Difference Between Sexism and Racism", Reclusive Leftist asserts that sexism is less stigmatized than racism. In other words, all around the world, people are more likely to hide their racism than their sexism. At least, this is where her argument began. It became a lot more ridiculous when her comments spilled over to the response section.

Even if you do go and take a look at her post, which I'd suggest to anyone who'd like to argue that mainstream western feminists have women's best interests in mind, you won't get to see all of the comments that were left. She decided to remove the last few comments and to change her last comment as well. Fortunately, I happened to get a look at them before she removed them, so I'm posting them here:

67. Blackamazon says:
I posted the longest respons eto this in creation but thought this was STUNNINGLY ( http://coffeeandink.livejournal.com/607897.html) fitting. I like how you avoid all specific criticism of your points within the COMMENTS that actively demonstrate both your privilege,disrespect,and condescension in favor of questioning at least ten people’s reading capacity.Sheeleszebub understood AND STILL AGREED WITH SHANNON but you keep omitting that.
And until you have a crystal ball unto all the tenets of every culture and how they relate globally how dare you presume you know what any culture feels about anything. What “large scale agreement” have you seen ? How many cultures you have intimate knowledge of that say that?
You want to be wrong or keep your opinion fine But we can read , we read you ( in all meanings of the word) and our “grip” is plenty fucking good.
September 6th, 2006 at 9:33 pm EST

68.bint alshamsa says:
Angry Black Woman: I notice that anyone who disagrees with you gets painted with the “you can’t read” brush.
I noticed this too. It’s really just one step up from the “you mispelled something ergo you aren’t educated enough to talk to me” argument that often comes up when some people find out that they can’t defend their views as well as they thought they’d be able to.
I really giggled when I read Violet’s comment about post #55 being “very eloquent”. Maybe Violet can explain how in the world that’s pertinent to this discussion.
September 6th, 2006 at 9:33 pm EST

And then because she decided that the conversation was too much for her, Reclusive closed off the comments for that post. Nevertheless, I had already written a response to the silliness she wrote in her last comment. Here it is for those who might want to read it:

Violet:
bint alshamsa, gracious! Four comments in a row?

Yes, indeed it is four. Thank you for noticing this very irrelevent point.

Your view of human history is certainly interesting — very dark, really — but I must say it doesn’t correspond to what I know of anthropology and the history of civilization.

Well, I find your view of history to be quite inaccurate according to what I know regarding the development of our species.

Weirdly enough, people didn’t sort out that we were all human even before we, er, evolved into humans. Or for quite a while after.

Weirdly enough, you're absolutely wrong. If people didn't realize that these separate groups were indeed members of the same species as them, then they'd have all branched off into different species. As a matter of fact, there has always been a mixing of groups for as long as humans have existed.

The single most common self-identifying name for an ethnic group is some word meaning “the real people.”

That doesn't mean that they believed that others weren't the same species as them. Even groups that considered themselves "the real people" intermingled with those who fell outside of that designation.

Other tribes were useful for slavery and could even be mated with, but somehow they weren’t fully human.

If they were able to understand that these people could be mated with then how can you prove that they believed these people were a different species from them?

As late as 1900 it was still being debated in the United States whether Native Americans had souls.

There are people who are still making the same arguments today. Likewise, back then, there were plenty of people who understood that Native Americans were humans too. If they didn't understand that then we'd have seen the same percentage of marriages/intermingling with them as there were to horses or chickens or any of the other living creatures within that population. How many instances do we know of where people in the U.S.A. were trying to marry and have kids with their farm animals? People aren't as dumb as you're claiming. It seems you're confusing what was expedient to claim with what had already been established as fact.

It only began to be outlawed a couple of centuries ago. It’s now illegal in every nation in the world. Is it still practiced? Of course. But the fact that it is officially illegal, and that nations attempt to disguise its presence within their borders, tells us something about cultural evolution.

Actually, it's not illegal in every nation of the world. Many nations do not make much of an attempt to disguise its presence. That certain nations deny the existence of slavery within their borders only proves that they are simply saying what is most convient for them to claim despite the fact that their actual position has not changed.

Which is what I’m talking about when I mention “moral evolution.” There is a rather stunning gap between what people think is right and what they actually do, but the point is that what people think is right has actually evolved. And continues to evolve.

So you're not talking about morality at all when you use the term "moral evolution"? That doesn't make sense. If you believe a cultural evolution has occurred, why not just refer to it as that? A moral evolution is quite a different matter altogether. Furthermore, what people think is right has not changed or they, we, would not still be engaging in the same practices that were present in our societies from the very beginning of our species.

The mystery is solved: I’ve been alerted that my sudden new visitors, whom I’ll dub “Shannon’s Friends,” are a self-appointed group of blog police with a history of going about accusing people of racism.

I guess it's most convient for you to believe that very erroneous assumption just as it's convient for you to believe the other assertions you've made here. Frankly, I've never even conversed with Shannon on any of the blogs I frequent and it's rather juvenile to attempt to group very different people as one united group. However, since we're mostly colored folks disagreeing with you I suppose you won't have a problem ignoring the fact that we've shown that your position is simply fallacious.

If anyone here wants to contact Violet regarding her post, her e-mail address is:
violetsocks@reclusiveleftist.com

Saturday, September 02, 2006

To Donna McAllister:

This is in response to a message left in the comments section of my last post regarding a conversation that spilled over from another site. It might not be of interest to everyone but I wanted to put my message here because it's too long to just put in the comment box.

Hello Donna,
I am absolutely willing to accept your apology. Everyone gets angry and says things they may later regret. Lord knows I have and continue to do so much more than I'd like to. I am very glad that your conscience led you to write to me again because I always prefer dialogues over monologues.

I think you should follow your conscience in regards to whether you should go and post on the abortionclinicdays site again. The thoughts that you expressed here definitely show a side of you that I think would have added to the conversation sparked by that post.

I know you might find this hard to believe but I actually do understand this feeling of being at a loss as to how to behave about the abortion issue. I come from an ultra-conservative religious background and for most of my life, I was as anti-abortion as one can get. I had absolutely no problem with the idea of throwing women in jail for having abortions. Frankly, I didn't even care to hear about why some women believed that having an abortion was the best decision that they could and did make given their circumstances. To me, it was morally wrong no matter what and that was all I felt I needed to understand.

What first started to change my views was going to college and finding out that the abortion issue isn't nearly as uncomplicated as I thought. During my freshman year, I remember the group NOW came to my campus and I angrily confronted them and told them things that would make the stuff you said on the other website seem like a slap on the hand. I was really proud of myself until I learned a few things.

I found out that one in three pregnancies end in miscarriage and if society attempted to save every single pregnancy that occurs, we wouldn't have enough healthcare workers or researchers to deal with all of the other medical issues that people have to deal with. Now, since I have Lupus--which never gets the amount of funding that it should given its prevalence--this really concerned me.

Then there was the issue regarding all of the things that can end a pregnancy. For instance, regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is known to increase medical abortion (the technical term for a miscarriage) risk. In other words, using ibuprofen or aspirin can bring about the same results (a medical abortion) that RU-486, the so-called "abortion pill", induces.

That makes for a very complicated situation for women like us who have Systemic Lupus. I don't know about you but at certain points in my life, I have relied on the over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen to use as stop-gap medications so that the doctors didn't have to increase my Prednisone dosage. As you know, the doctors try to keep steroid doses as low as possible because of the long-term damage associated with them.

Also, the use of birth control pills is contra-indicated for a lot of women with Lupus because the hormones in the pill are known to exacerbate disease symptoms, so many lupies like us don't take them. As a matter of fact, birth control pills are also contra-indicated for a lot of other women like, for instance, those who smoke.

Now, when you add all of these facts together you get a situation where there are many, many women of child-bearing age just like me who

1. Aren't on birth control and are, therefore, more likely to get pregnant.

and

2. Regularly use medications (e.g. Motrin, Bayer) that can cause the termination of pregnancies.

which means they can either get their Fallopian tubes tied so that they have virtually no chance of getting pregnant or they can live with the knowledge that they are basically inducing their own medical abortions if they happen to get pregnant while experiencing the normal ups and downs with lupus that make many of us regular anti-inflammatory users.

I realized that if taking a pill that induces miscarriage (e.g. RU-486) is just another form of having an abortion, then I might be guilty of having had one too. However, I know that I didn't consider myself a murderer; I was just trying to do what it took to stay alive. At that point, it dawned on me that many of the women who have had abortions were just trying to do the same thing--stay alive--and who was I to condemn someone for that?

Once I stopped condemning women who have had abortions, I allowed myself to see them as real people--not some kind despicable creature who just has no sense of decency or compassion. When I started voicing my new views to some of those around me, I found out something that really surprised me: There were quite a few women in my congregation that had an abortion at some point in their lives. It wasn't anything that they could discuss openly because they would have been virtually expelled from our denomination had they done so. These were women I had known for decades. They certainly weren't the amoral, promiscuous women that I associated with those who'd had abortions.

To be honest, it was pretty common amongst the evangelicals that I worshipped with to perpetuate the idea that "godly women" just didn't have abortions. The difference between the stereotypes I'd learned and what I saw when I stopped condemning people really confused me. Being the evangelical Christian that I was brought up to be, I turned to the Bible because I was sure that the truth would be there and that this would help me sort things out. Well, when I started this goal to find out exactly what the Bible said it turned out to be a lot different from the attitude that many of my very judgmental fellow worshippers seemed to think. When I looked in the Bible it showed that only God can determine what's in someone's heart because, as imperfect humans, we are all incapable of truly understanding what is someone's "just deserts" but we do know that He can. I also remembered being a kid and being taught that simple lesson that "God is Love". If all of that was true, then it just might be that His love is big enough to include everyone and I do mean everyone--women who went to church three times a week like me, women who had abortions, women who had unprotected sex, women who were sick but still wanted to have babies in the future, etc. Really, all we can do in this life is speculate about who is going where to spend the rest of eternity. Heck, some people even say our pets will be with us and, frankly, I hope they're right. I haven't found anything in the Bible that says they will but I also haven't seen anything that says they won't so I'm gonna to stay hopeful on that point.

As Christians, we were also taught that all of us have "sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" which means that those who haven't had abortions are no worthy (of the benefit of Jesus' sacrifice) than those who have had one. The book of Isaiah says that, to God, even "all our good deeds are like filthy rags". If that's true, then I really don't have any business looking down on others no matter what they've done in their lifetime. Besides, I've read my Bible from cover to cover 20+ times and of all the people that Jesus condemned, ne'er a one of them were those who'd had an abortion, had sex outside of marriage, or even murdered someone. So, there just isn't any Biblical precedent for those who would call themselves Christians treating the abortion issue as many do. The final nail in the coffin for me was when I was reading my Bible, not even looking for anything about the abortion issue and I found Romans 6:23. It said:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

That really convicted my heart because I thought about what it DIDN'T say. It didn't say that some sins are worse than others. I didn't say that some people deserve to die and others don't. It says that all sinners--everyone on earth who has ever existed, with the exception of Jesus--are worthy of death. That definitely includes me. At the same time, there is the possibility eternal life and it's a gift from God. It stood out to me that it was a gift because I know, as a human being, I can give a gift to someone if I choose to and there doesn't even have to be a real reason for me to do it. I don't have to justify my choice to give someone a gift. Now, if I don't have to explain to someone why I decide to give somebody a gift, God sure doesn't have to explain to me why He might choose to give His gift of eternal life to whomever He wants to.

As for me, if I die and find myself staring in the face of God, I'm sure not going to complain even if He decided that having had an abortion isn't enough reason to turn His back on someone. After all of the times I've put my foot in my mouth and said or done things that I knew I had no business doing, I'll just count myself as blessed to be numbered amongst those He saw some good in.

I know that you might not understand why I'm saying all of this but I really wanted you to see why I am passionate about supporting all women. Just like you, it all boils down to my beliefs. My hope is that if you can look at this issue and see that those who disagree with you aren't doing so because they don't care about life or they don't hold any heartfelt religious or spiritual beliefs, then it will maybe make it a bit easier for you to deal with them because you'll see them as people just like you who are doing the best they can in a world where we often don't have good choices, only bad and worse ones. As a woman who has SLE and has had her life impacted by cancer, I'm sure you've been in that situation before so, in my heart, I want to believe that you are kind enough to try and show sympathy for others in the same way as we want sympathy shown for us.

I'm in the middle of a flare-up right now and I'm totally with you on the idea about not fighting anymore. Just trying to get the insurance company to pay my parents what they owe is taxing enough for me today. I will be praying for good health for you and your loved ones and I sure would appreciate any prayers for us down here in Louisiana. We need as many as we can get.

P.S. I hope you'll come back to my site and visit and comment again. I really mean that.