Friday, March 13, 2009

WOC and Allies Have Something To Say

image Welcome everyone to the second instalment of  the WOC and ally carnival.  Often when WOC speak or allies attempt to engage with racial conversations critically we are silenced.  It has become essential that we promote spaces where we can engage safely.  This months feature post is by the Uppity Brown Woman and it is entitled On Fundamentally Missing The Point Of WOC – only spaces.

Oppression hurts. It cuts deep. Not all of us know how to deal with it without unknowingly hurting ourselves. Not all of us have the words to relay what we are feeling. Not all of us have the ability to speak out, because though silence isn’t comforting, it’s familiar. WOC only spaces give us a chance to discuss and listen to similar kinds of hurt without having to pander to whiteness. This doesn’t mean that other WOC will not come to the defence of whiteness, or become defensive/offended on behalf of whiteness, but the presence of whiteness in the space automatically makes many WOC feel like they have to watch what they say in order to not offend that whiteness. This doesn’t mean that WOC cannot disagree, or approach oppression differently, because we are all different people. We have chances to speak freely, question systems of domination, and each other in a collective environment. We are not alone. We can speak freely without having to resort to Racism 101 For White People, and any hand holding is done for the benefit of POC… not whiteness.


Please click here to submit to Next months carnival.




The spirit of the stairs by Dori of a Truly Elegant Mess; A critical look at the way privilege works to up hold racism, sexism and homophobia.  The undeserved privilege that many fail to acknowledge maintains our dissonance in worth and value. 

This Is Not A Hotel by guerrilla mama medicineThis is a compelling short true story about imprisonment.  I fear I am not eloquent enough to even write a synopsis of this brilliant work.  It is a must read.





The Jewel of Medina: A book review by Aaminah Hernandez of the Feminist Review. “The Jewel of Medina has hyper-sexualized A’isha’s story, and while there may be concerns about other historical and revered figures being misrepresented, there is a significant difference in Jones’ portrayal of A’isha. Arguments claiming that Jesus may have married, for example, do not denigrate his character, but instead pose questions where historical data has left gaps that people have a desire to fill in understanding his life. Jones, however, did not need to fill in any gaps in A’isha’s life. Instead, she seems to be using the idea of fiction as an excuse to write something completely fabricated and ridiculous that seeks to deny the very virtues for which A’isha is revered. Ultimately, it is the tasteless, explicit sexual discussion in the book that further differentiates it from the way other spiritual figures have been written about.”


AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities: A book review by  Olupero R. Aiyenimelo of the Feminist  Review.  “AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities totally changed my perception on these subjects. As a self-proclaimed tomboy, who happens not to be a lesbian, society is much more accepting of my “ways” than they would be if I were an effeminate man. The essays and examinations gathered here by the editors take this subject to an infinitely crucial level in understanding what it means to fall outside of another proverbial box, from a non-Western cultural perspective.




Against the “replace_____with the word black” school of criticism by Ampersand of Alas A Blog. He writes, “There are a lot of problems with the “replace ______ with the word black” school of criticism.

First, it creates a burden on people of color, to constantly have their oppression used as the measuring stick.

Second, it implies, falsely, that racism is a problem that’s been solved.”


Stuff POC do: restrain ourselves by RestructureInstead of “I’m offended!”, I tend to say, “That’s racist!” However, this method has its own problems, because although you are not calling someone a racist, the accused perceives it that way, that you are personally attacking their character. Calling someone racist, they argue, is an ad hominem and therefore not a valid argument. They say that you are characterizing them as a bad person so that anything they say is characterized as illegitimate. They make it all about them instead of about the action being criticized. They claim that they are being silenced if I use the word “racist”, so that I even considered using the terms “racialist” or “racial discrimination” instead to make the criticism more acceptable.


Why we think we’re post-racial, why it’s a dangerous desire by Mzbitca of What A Crazy Random Happenstance: A post-racial society for them means a perfect opportunity to be the complete jackasses they truly are and then claim that everyone else is over-reacting.  I don’t believe that many of these people actually “believe” in or want a post-racial world, they want others to think that it’s true so they can act as asinine as possible without consequences.  My biggest fear is that these types are going to be able to be more and more vocal due to what I view as the second type of post-racial cheerleaders.”


Race, Skin Color, and the Three Year Old Mind by Elena of California NOW,Yesterday my daughter and I had our first serious conversation about race.

We had gone to the playground, which usually has a very racially diverse mixture of kids, but this time the only other kids on the playground were African-American.

Millie will usually get to the playground and fixate on one or two kids, following them around and joining in their play.  This time she hung near me, reluctant to leave.

"Go on and play, sweetie," I said, pointing out a couple of kids her age, "There's a little girl, and there's a boy your size, you can play with them."

"But they all have black faces," she said very seriously”.


Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and two to listen by Ciderpress. Hir writing includes, “Reading many of the defences I've seen during RaceFail '09, it has been hard for me to be sympathetic to those who still defend the extent of narcissistic, aggressive deracilisation of the conversation, the endless double standards, ad hominem attacks, sophistry and the differing racially offensive, dehumanising statements and racist, misogynistic epithets that have been thrown, that so many white people feel *entitled* to throw, at PoC without regret or even awareness of the privilege that they can do this without any real repercussions. Hard for me to be sympathetic to what is going through people's minds when they ask PoC to privilege white people's racially problematic emotional reactions and feelings above all else, that anyone could have the gall to berate PoC/allies for not privileging white people's emotional reactions above all else


Sick Saturday – See Rappin Hitler and Barack’s Monkey Shots Video by Ausetkmt of Bad Gals RadioThis post looks at various racist activities, that have been presented to the public as simply humour or satire and the ways in which it all supports the white male patriarchy.


I Didn’t Stop Being Black When I Transistioned by Monica of TransGriot. One of the things that irritates the frack out of me is when I run into folks that seem to have the misguided belief that I'm not only no longer Black, but don't have any right to claim my heritage since I transitioned over ten years ago.
The only thing that changed about me is the outer shell. It now matches the way I always felt, wanted to project to the world and who I am, a strong, proud woman who happens to be unabashedly African-American




Listen Up White Women: On racism and feminism by whatsername of The Jaded HippyI've been the newly feminist white woman from suburbia raring to go and finding herself with shit coming out of her mouth that when it was read back to her through the perceptions of those reading it, it was downright ugly. It hurts to find out what your thoughts mean for the lives of others sometimes. Yes. It throws your whole little world into flux to find out you don't have to wear a white sheet to be racist. Yes. I know.”


Darwin Award Nomination: the blogger that advocates overturning Roe V Wade to save the economy by Wren of true adventures in money hacking. Looking at why a reduction in womens rights is not the correct approach to deal with the current financial collapse




Obama calls for more responsibility form black fathers by T’ings ‘N TimesSo why does the man-in-the-house argument carry so much weight? Part of the answer, I believe, lies in the inherent sexism of our patriarchal society, which presumes that men are natural leaders and that social problems arise when men do not lead. After all, we are taught that men lead nations, armies, churches, and corporations, so it is only natural that they should lead households. But the damage done to the Black two-parent heterosexual family—not to mention the wider Black community—is not the result of decisions made by individual Black men. Rather, it is the consequence of the same social and economic structures that continue to keep Black men under-educated, under-employed, and over-represented in the criminal justice system.”


the eastern congo 2005 by guerrilla mama medicine: a heart breaking poem about the mass rape and murders in the congo


The Transgender Talented Tenth by Monica of TransGriot. Too many of us have been focused on the party, the quick money and obsessively finding a 'husband' to validate our femininity. Not enough thought or time has been spent on community building, addressing the negative image we've been saddled with, where we fit in with our biowomen sistahs or how we evolve into becoming the Phenomenal Transwomen we were born to be.


Black Fathers and The Family Court by Randi of Randi James. “the White Patriarchal establishment uses the Black family as an example of what is dysfunctional in society, in order to maintain White male hegemony. And this affects the thinking of everyone operating under this context.”


The Destruction Of The Black Transwoman Image by Monica of TransGriot.One of the things that I and my transsisters have in common with our biosisters besides our shared cultural heritage is

since the advent of the slave trade, the Black female image has been subjected to a wide array of slights, outrageous comments, and bigoted or racist behaviour.”


A Few Words On Chris and Rihanna by Loryn of Black Girl Blogging. “Many rape and domestic violence cases go unreported because no survivor, regardless of their sex, gender, race, or sexual preference, wants to be blamed for the abuse they have experienced. No one wants to be told that perhaps they "deserved" their abuse, and no one wants to go to court only to see their abuser let off the hook


Expanded Commentary ON SB1065/HB890 – Forced Drug Tests For Pregnant Women by Rachel of Women’s Health News. “The fact that it is likely not intended to catch women “like me,” however, reveals a bit of the racist and classist assumptions underlying the bill. It has been rumored that the authors might see this as a way to reduce the appalling infant mortality rate in Memphis. While that is something absolutely worth working on, this bill makes an assumption that the cause is just individual bad/illegal choices by those poor black women that we disproportionately find in Memphis, instead of looking for systemic or medical evidence-based causes. It is quite likely to disproportionately affect women of color, women whose reproduction in this country has historically been subjected to a higher level of policing, and reminds those women that they are still the subject of greater reproductive scrutiny. As the National Advocates for Pregnant Women note, “In general, the justifications for prohibition and regulation of both drugs and reproduction have often been based on various forms of stigma and prejudice, including but not limited to those based on race, ethnicity, and gender. Laws prohibiting and regulating drugs, abortion, and contraception are generally enforced disproportionally against low-income people and people of color.”




We need some Work by Hilary of Mom’s Tinfoil Hat. Earlier this year, I didn’t understand why people were complaining that it was wrong to compare gays wanting to get legally married (in the context of the Proposition 8 and similar state provisions) to Loving v. Virginia. Although I still think there is room for nuanced conversations about history and discrimination of other groups in a certain context, but now I totally see why it is wrong, repetitive and annoying for blacks to constantly be the discrimination ruler against which all other oppression in measured.




Ideology and Crises is by Ezra of Rough Fractals, “The current economic crisis, coming, as it does, at the end of the dogmatically reactionary Bush administration, is opening the door to a new dialogue about the nature of capitalism, and the role of the state. Not since the sixties has there been the opportunity for such a far-reaching and essential look at our social arrangements, our economic system, and our political process. Since Reagan, who brilliantly took the country so far right that centrist democrats like Clinton looked like progressive visionaries, a truly progressive agenda has been totally on the margin.”


“Expert” consulted on RE5 Racism Issue: Not An Expert On Race after all from Acid For BloodRecently, interviewed an "expert" to ask him whether the imagery in Resident Evil 5 was racist. The academic expert they consulted was Glenn Bowman, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent. Bowman said that Resident Evil 5 is not racist in that interview. Bowman even went so far as to dismiss views that Resident Evil 5 contains racist imagery as "silly". Major blogs like Joystiq are running wild with the interview.

There's a serious problem here, though. None of these major gaming media outlets have done their homework. Joystiq and the other big games blogs like Kotaku and Destructoid are merely reporting verbatim what published, without engaging in actual, investigative journalism. Doesn't journalism include fact-checking sources?


Comparing Female Protagonists : Portal and Mirrors Edge from Acid for Blood. “Over at The Hathor Legacy, a blog about women and gender issues in media, Kris Ligman wrote a post comparing Portal (2007)and Mirror's Edge (2008). I disagreed with most of it, and I will go through the main points.

Ligman asserts that Mirror's Edge was trying to copy Portal, and based upon superficial evidence, she draws comparisons between the two characters and the marketing of the two games. The only similarities the two games have are: woman of colour protagonist (Chell's race/ethnicity are ambiguous), first-person perspective, minimalistic graphical user interface (GUI), and a theme song with the same name. It's hard to find weight to the imitation argument because the games have quite different design philosophies and different goals for their lead characters. It terms of marketing, it's difficult to draw useful comparisons, because each was released with different promotional goals in mind.”


Thanks so much to all that participated in this months carnival.  I would also like to offer a shout out to the upcoming Asian Women Carnival.  Let us support our sisters and read their work. If you would like to submit to the next WOC and ally carnival please click here.  Please be sure to check back here next month for the next instalment of the WOC and ally blog carnival.


mai'a said...

hi renee
thanks for including my work in your carnival.
but my piece on israeli detention isnt fiction. that is what really happened to us. seriously. all fact. and i think it needs to be acknowledged...

Renee said...

OMG I am so sorry...I will move the category immediately. I thought that it was...It touched me so deeply and I am so sorry that I belittled your experience in that way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Renee,

You write: "Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and two to listen by troubleinchina."

I didn't write this, Ciderpress did. I just submitted it.

Feminist Review said...

Thanks for including us in WOC Speak! I just sent you an email, but thought I should post this here too.

You've got the Jewel of Medina review reading that it's by me when it's actually by Aaminah Hernandez and the AsiaPacificQueer review (which isn't actually fiction) is by Olupero R. Aiyenimelo.

I'm just the one who submitted this. :)

Renee said...

@troublechina I fixed the mistake thanks for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

I am extremely surprised and honoured that my submission is the featured post.

This looks amazing. Thank you for doing this, Renee!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Renee. Thank you for the Asian Women Blog Carnival shout-out!

Tell it WoC Speak is such a great example for us to follow, we appreciate all your hard work on this.

Anonymous said...

Great choices! Many of these I had already read and so know why they should be highlighted. Others I had not read--and I will be catching up on all those posts over the next few days.

P.S.: When is the next carnival and where is it being hosted?

Renee said...


The next carnival will be on the 15th if I get enough submissions. So far I have not had any volunteers to host a carnival and therefore it will be posted here. Anyone is free at any time to volunteer to host if they so desire.

Monica Roberts said...

Thanks for the honor of posting my work here, Renee and the hard work you put in to make it happen.

I've also discovered some wonderful people who are now on my blog reading radar screens who I may not have been aware of previously.

Now let's strive as a writing community to make this even bigger and better, and proudly PROMOTE it next month.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for including my post, and for putting this carnival together.

whatsername said...

Hey Renee, I didn't realize you were looking to do a hosting thing with this as well. You know I'm down for helping out with that if you want to do it. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I will be sure to help promote the carnival in any way I can.

Dancing Diva said...

Another amazing group of writing/writers! I have put a link to this on my blog again and will get it out on The Dish which is for queer women of color and friends in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Go Go Jo Jo said...

Another great round up of posts. Thanks so much for doing this carnival. Hopefully next month I'll have something to submit.

Rj said...

Oh yes, thank you.

----- Jennifer ----- said...

your blog is very nice............

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