11 April, 2008

INVISIBLE WHITE PRIVILEGE!11 Rears Its Ugly Head, Again

Frank Zappa, in his song "Trouble Every Day," had this to say (in part) regarding race relations:

Hey, you know something, people? I'm not black, but there are a whole lotta times that I wish I could say "I'm not white."

For me, this is one of those times.

Summary: Famous white feminist blogger doesn't give credit where credit is due in a piece on immigration for a major online progressive hub. Less famous woman of color blogger--who has been blogging on the topic for years, and is presumably read by FWFB--shuts down her blog in the face of all of this.

Everybody panics. White privilege in the progressive blogging world continues to be massively overlooked.

I want to give FWFB the benefit of the doubt, as I respect her as a blogger and as a writer. Caveat: As anyone who is familiar with Foucault knows, power works in many different ways. Many "smaller" bloggers don't get exposure due to a number of factors--and race, predictably, is one of these factors. As Holly says in the comments thread (she's also the author of the above post), when you are a progressive, feminist blogger with a big commentariat, you have certain responsibilities, particularly if you have unearned (ie: white) privilege. I agree.

Caveat Two: In the comments of the above linked post (which also has a much better summary than I've given here!), FWFB starts off by denying all of the accusations--instead of facing up to them--and then starts off on an incredible journey of shooting herself in both feet (must be read to be believed), which includes numerous rantings that people are out to get her.

I cannot give FWFB the benefit of the doubt based upon her behavior in the comment section of the above post. Is it so hard for people to own up when they've made a mistake and--*gasp*-- perhaps apologize for making said mistake, and then work on changing the behavior that led to the aforementioned mistake? Apparently so. It is telling that it seems particularly difficult for FWFB, the prominent white feminist blogger, to do so, even as she crusades against injustices of many kinds.

Step up, white feminist blogosphere, and start examining your own privilege. I'm going to start immediately.

ETA: I can't even bring myself to address the Seal Press/Blackamazon thing right now. I am too angry.

3 comments:

ouyangdan said...

this event did two things for me (i admittedly, having been out of spoons for a couple of days, missed most of the details and am just recently catching up),

1) made me force myself to squirm and read things that, even though i want to be an ally of POC make me uncomfortable. i have learned a lot in a short time, but i have a long way to go b/f i figure out where i fit in that fight.

2) forced me to examine my own privilege in many forms. i have been doing this for a while, but this is the first time i have blogged about it.

i lost a lot of respect for FWFW when i read the feministe thread. and though i didn't read BFP as much as i should have, am completely grieving that will very likely never have the opportunity to learn more from her. i am still gathering details about where SP fits into this, but damn, it was a sad week in the feminist blogosphere, indeed.

thanks for blogging about this, A

Tobes said...

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fellow-ette said...

glad to stumble upon it well!