Feb 15, 2006

Radical Women of Color...Oh So Fascinating!

It had been a few days since I'd blogged, so the first thing I did today was visit my favorite blogs to see what everyone had been up to (so many blogs, so little time!). Originally, I had planned to make this post about my understanding of the term "radical", but then I read one of Brownfemipower's posts and was totally annoyed/enraged/upset by a comment from a random blogger. After ranting about how sickened he was by BFP's post regarding her husband's vasectomy, the blogger stated:

"I simply cannot stay away from the whole racialist/feminist/multiculturalist blog-ring. I find you all to be utterly fascinating!"

Disgust and Fascination. The first two words that come to mind are "fuck you," which are then followed by "fuck off." Ugh. Here is a moment where the blogosphere becomes a space of intrusion, where the reactionary words/politics of a white, straight, man attempt to colonize a space that does not invite him nor welcome him - in fact, the very place that challenges him.

It's not such a nice feeling to know there are people like reactionary white dude who are reading our blogs. Which takes me back to a post I was working on a while back for the first Blog Carnival submissions. I was trying to work through my thoughts on the blogosphere as not being a "safe space" for women of color.

Anyway, this is more of a rant than a post (!) but I'd like to know your thoughts on the issue of "safe space" in relation to your blogs.

On a final note, I'm all about dialogue and discussing differeing points of views - I mean, god forbid, I wouldn't want to purposely exclude or silence reactionary straight white guys in my blog space! ;)



Blogger brownfemipower said...

hey there PQ...i'm glad you commented on this because I felt the same thing...but I also know this guy cuz he has posted and gotten in a ton of bitch fights with other people like nubian and eric stoller (the eric and he are currently duking it out on each other's blogs, quite viciously, I might add)...so long story short, i didn't want to engage in a fight with him, because then he'll never go away. I'm just so unsure of how to handle comments...some people just erase or delete comments they don't like...i find it so hard to do!!!!!! I even had to email nubian once to ask her if it was alright to erase a persons comment, she was like, duh! it's your blog girl, ERASE!!! ;-)
I think that is my form of internalized oppression...whereas others have a hard time leaving comments, I have a hard time confronting and dealing with assholes (just as I do in real life). I would rather take a back road some times, than deal with the brightness of the main road...must just be the vampire in me.
but anyway, it is gross knowing that unfreindly people are reading your site...and when it comes to safe space, that is what I am most worried about...how is this creep going to change the space that I have on my blog? on the one hand, i dont want to moniter posts because I think women of color have had their words monitered enough already, but on the other hand, if the shit that people are commenting basically rapes the safe space that women of color need in order to get shit done---i just don't know. ANyway, I look forward to hearing what you and others have to say...maybe i can figure this out in my mind after i hear your thoughts...

11:50 PM  
Blogger fiercelyfab said...

Hey PQ this post speaks volumes. Not only white men though--it is also men of color that I have seen attack some of us.

It bothers me so much that in my "real" life I'm pondering about the shit said, the labeling, etc.

But to me, it also includes topics that are very sensitive, for instance for this next Carnival--I'm particularly interested and concerned about what would be said about stay at home motherhood either halting or diluting feminism, mamis crowding the blog world--etc.

For me, the blog world isn't a safe space many times. I think once in a while that I don't have the thick skin to take the ad-hominems, the sarcastic and condescending/patronizing "how do you fit a definition of radical, feminism, Chicana or fill in the blank here with whatever..." Then it is like we have to not prove ourselves, confront or what? I don't know I've been thinking a lot about these issues the last few days to the point where I'm not writing.

But they ain't stopping me! Fuck that, none of them should. What I have seen that folks that do say something should be either directly warned in a comment, hopefully also directed by one of our fellow blogging camrades and/or deleted. Screw it. Obnoxious comments should not hold a space in our spaces that we're trying to create.

2:14 AM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

I totally feel you both on what you're saying. I'm conflicted myself to be honest, a part of me just wants to say "fuck it" and write whatever, but I do worry sometimes and self-censor.

Seriuosly though, I don't know if I could do this if I didn't have women like you to "have my back" and by that, I mean, other women who "get it" who I know exist, who I know are out there doing the same thing (and face the same challenges)- I know i'm not the only one blogging about similar issues and this in itself gives me the strength and drive to post what matters to me. So if the blog carnival, or even our own circle of bloggers has done anything for me, it's done that. I guess that's what community building is all about, even if it's in the blogosphere! And I guess it's about us creating as much of a "safe space" as we can for one another.

BFP - I also didn't want to engage with the guy which is why I decided to post this on my blog, although I would have definitely done my part if he'd continued! And your response to him was so on-point and direct that i'm surprised he even had the "balls" (no pun intended!!! lol!) to write back!

Also if things go too far, i'm all about deleting the comments! just trash them shits!

Fabulosa, it couldn't be more (sad but) true that men of color come at us with their shit too...it violates our space just the same, but it's a different articulation than a white man's but it is still violating.
The next topic on the carnival is going to be sensitive, especially in terms of the potential for being "attacked" by other women of color (which is always always so hard to deal with for me!)

as you said though, "obnoxious comments should not hold a space in our spaces that we're trying to create". And they really shouldn't. But the reality is they can...after all, apart from deleting them *after the fact*,
there's not much else to do to prevent them from happening...I guess we just keep doing our thing, and deal with them as they come.

11:27 AM  
Blogger fiercelyfab said...

You are right, developing thick skin I guess.

Is it just me, but a lot of what happens in these blog communities, attacking commenters on my favorite blog women's sites and sensitive subjects do affect me in my "real life." I can't remove myself from what I read, others say etc., I'm like is this healthy? My answer is, no it is not. Remove yourself.

Developing that thick skin and quickly....

8:11 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

I think that after much thought I think the problem I have with comments is that in having the power to deleate, I have the power to silence, and for me, a long silenced woman of color, this is a very very uncomfortable power to have. even if I don't agree, even if everything said is callous and horrible, even if it is violent, I still have problems with raising that ultimate power and silencing a person's voice. I think the thing that is putting it all into perspective however, is what you said PQ, about having that community there to back you up...but also having that responsibility to the community as well--for example, I think that in allowing anti-homophobic people to come post on my site, I would be silencing many queer women who read my site. KWIM? So in all reality, I can either not silence the one loud mouth and let him continue to silence my community, or I can wield my power, shut him up, and keep that space open and safe for those who read my blog.
boy. I think I got this!!! ;-)
just takes me a couple of days talking with friends, that's all!! ;-)

4:36 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

ps i just saw your suheir hammad link...

she came to the university of michigan last summer, and I met her personally at a get together...she's such a funny hot mama...i love her so much...

7:38 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

I know, she's great! I really want to take a poetry workshop of hers...i'm crossing my fingers there's one coming up soon.

8:02 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

and girl I had to tell ya, I down loaded a bunch of sade--and it so darn weird...every time I listen to her I have this OVERWHELMING desire to have sex!!!

11:52 PM  
Blogger fiercelyfab said...

Yes PQ there is a different articulation between men of color and white men clearly wanting to attack, thanks for pointing it out.

Second, I tend to write what I feel should be the end all like deleting obnoxious comments, getting thick skin. I know it will be difficult trying to delete them, as BFP stated for very personal reasons or developing thick skin when all of our lives our skin has been ripped from us.

But yes backing each other up is definitely the best way and being accountable to one's community. Yes, like talking back to a random commenter with an articulate post you disagree with and not have the courage to respond back...like me. I did after a few days though.

All right now I know of Chrystos, Andy Smith and Suheir--anymore recommendations?

4:43 AM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

Sade is definitely sex music I tell ya! someone once tolf me it was great "baby making" music ;)

having thick skin is important, but a part of that thickness comes from having a community (something many don't have)

Chrystos, Andy Smith and Suheir Hammad...let's see, I would include Sonia Sanchez (if you haven't read her work), i'll think of more...

10:44 AM  
Blogger nubian said...

i had coffe with andy the other day!

hah, ok...i'm still cheesin' from it :-)

4:31 PM  
Blogger Bint Alshamsa said...

To be honest, I enjoy confronting provocateurs. If someone comes to your blog space and acts, not as a respectful guest but in a manner that offends the people I actually care about, I'm more than happy to give them the opportunity to explain whether they intended to be offensive or not. If they go on to prove it's the former, then I have no problem with making them the butt of many future jokes.

It can be difficult for me to foresee whether a blogger that I'm not familiar with welcomes dissent in their comments section. Personally, I really like to see where others part ways with me on issues I've written about. However, it's how you approach it that would determine whether I'd delete your comment. This world has consistently violated the sacred spaces belonging to people of color. The least I can do is stop them from pissing on my rosebush

BrownFemiPower, my problem is that I'm often too eager to confront @$$holes. I wish I were more prone to let things slide or at least come across as a little less abrasive. I can understand why you might not have the luxury of just speaking your mind all of the time in academia. God knows I've been there; Sometimes I think that there's some hidden requirement that every guy in the physical sciences department has to be an arrogant jerk in order to get ahead. I guess having the opportunity to speak your mind freely is one of those luxuries that I've reveled in these two years I've been outside of it. I'm a bit apprehensive about what it will be like to go back to such a restricted atmosphere.

10:19 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

bint: I agree with you, that in academia, to speak out is often to shoot yourself in the butt. I know a girl who is palestinian and spoke out about some issues that occured in her dept. that were anti-arab and she wound up getting fired. I have worked with some amazing women in academia, however, and they have taught me how to deal with shit like that--NEVER SPEAK OUT ON YOUR OWN!!!! Speak out as a base of power or have a group of allies speak out for you--I mean, obviously on little issues, you can confront directly, but in the case of bigger issues, like my friend, it wouldn't have been so easy to fire her if there were five, ten other people who had her back and a bunch of allies willing to write letters to the school newspaper, dept. head etc.
So I actually feel more comfortable speaking out on bigger issues because I usually don't speak until I am sure that if something horrible happens, there are twenty other women there to strategize with me. For me, it's the smaller shit--the in your face a-hole, the snotty white woman, the arrogant butthead who finds me (us) so "facinating" (hee hee) that I have a harder time dealing with, cuz then I have to deal with the consequences by myself, KWIM?
I admit it, I'm a wuss! ;-)

8:43 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

speaking out on your own, as some of us have experiences, can be a horrible experience. you need your allies...things always get difficult...the support is necessary.
You are totally not a wuss!!

1:14 AM  

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