Something I Need to Say to Sister Clever

Also, just for the record:

I think there is something that you should know about my life just in case this *middle-class white women think they own feminism* has anything at all to do with me. Because frankly it seems odd timing that you bring up race with me shortly after I privately introduced myself as a middle-aged white woman. Maybe I’m paranoid but since I’ve been through this many, many times over the years I’d like to get it straight with you and the community-at-large now…

Having no personal choice in the matter of the hue of my skin at birth, nor the circumstances of my parents’ economic status, the result was that I was born female, *white* and middle-class. Because my mom was a feminist activist in the 70s, I was raised hanging out with a wide variety of women from every kind of background imaginable and I’ve been witness to all the varieties of quilt tripping about race/economic/academic/sexual orientation privileges there are when it comes to Feminism on the ground (and now on the internet); it’s so *classic* it should be trite.

My partner is Korean, the offspring of a prostituted woman and abandoned on the streets of Inchon. Her name and language were taken from her when she was adopted at 8 and flown half way around the world by an elderly amerikan military officer and his wife. He was, and is, a pedophile. Add to it that she is, and always has been, a butch (looking) Lesbian and I think she pretty much has all the Oppression Olympics bases covered. Also our daughter (conceived by anonymous sperm donor and my organs) is a girl of color, also Asian.

So, what does that make me?

A white woman who loves two females of color more than any other people on planet Earth. Every single other female on planet Earth comes in a very close *second* though.  It makes no difference to me what color their skin is, how much money they (or their men) have, how much education they‘ve been lucky enough (thanks to feminists) to avail themselves of or even if they‘ve done awful and cruel things. Because, in the end, all of those *markers* are man-made, man-dictated, man-approved/non-approved, man-owned and operated and females of all walks of life are doing the best they can to get by with what crumbs they’ve been allowed to have.

Which brings me to compassion. Yes, it can be extremely difficult to have compassion for females, all females; almost no one is modeling the behavior.

As women we are groomed to always think of men first because it’s our *job* and when we don’t we are attacked and threatened not only by men, but usually by other women which can be personally painful, but understandable given our circumstances. As a very personal example: I no longer maintain a relationship with my mom because when I tried to explain to her – we were talking about “porn-culture” at the time – that my brother is a bondage fetishist and addicted to violent pornography so much so that he believed that he could talk his way into fucking me in my own home at the age of 24 (he was 30), she blamed me in a lightning-quick, knee-jerk reaction.  She attempted to apologize by saying that my brother had “betrayed” me. My mom, the Feminist Activist.

So when I see an obviously bright, talented and compassionate woman, especially a feminist who is in the business of counseling women who are trying to heal, say something like *I’d side with a man of color over a white woman any day* to a public feminist audience, I die a little.

I really do.

Peace be with us all.

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19 thoughts on “Something I Need to Say to Sister Clever

  1. To clarify about my mom: I don’t *hate her* or anything, it’s just that she’s the kind of woman who can’t seem to break free of blaming women for circumstances beyond their control (which is basically everything) or making fun of them in cruel ways.

    She was also a middle-class, white woman who wore the Scarlet R for being born and raised a middle-class, white woman even though the majority of her paying work was directed toward Prisoner’s Rights (human rights), and in California that means Black and Latino men.

  2. I give the middle finger to any female who sides with any males over females. My life experience is that there aren’t that many females left over.

  3. SS and Mary Sunshine, I second both of you. If that’s her attitude she shouldn’t be allowed near women who are trying to heal. And to think that a few days earlier I thanked her on her blog for what she does (in her counseling work with women).

  4. Here are Clever’s actual words:

    “In cases of social justice/human rights, there are plenty of times I would stand with a man of color over a white woman.”

    (I don’t ever feel comfortable about linking to another woman’s space without her express permission so that’s why I paraphrase. She can be the judge of whether I’ve misrepresented her position.)

  5. Wow.

    I’m speechless. I guess this has officially severed our newfound relationships with each other. I have an opinion different from yours, but I guess that makes me deserve having my personal and professional character attacked.

    I am so so sorry you took general comments on my blog so personally.

    I will leave you back to your lives.

    With Peace.

    Sarah

  6. Oh yea, SS,

    forget about the comment I made about wanting to meet you and thinking you would be a great mentor.

    Also, with respect – please do not email me anymore.

    I wish all three of you ladies the best.

    PEACE

  7. I’m not “attacking” your personal character, AC. I don’t know you and you don’t know me.

    Your personal stuff belongs to you, and the last damn thing I’d set out to do is jeopardize your independent livelihood. Quite the contrary, but it is worth bearing in mind that what you say publicly has public consequences. One of which being that most (white) women who have *been there* would not be enriched if they knew their counselor felt the way you do.

  8. Sarah, I am writing this with the hope that you come back and *listen* to what I have said and what I’m trying to say:

    I am greatly honored that you had thought that I might have made a good mentor, but mentors are not mirrors. It’s part of the job description to see the strengths (often unknown to the possessor) in a person and guide her toward them and encourage their development. In my estimation and based solely upon your words, I see a number of qualities which you could hone into a major, driving force in the future of female freedom. And that is why I contacted you in the first place – it’s not often that we see women quite like you.

    And I respect your request that I not contact you again, of course, but I wouldn’t be doing what’s right if I didn’t insist that you disclose your feelings about white women/MOC (if you haven’t already) to your intern supervisor as a matter of professional ethics and let the chips fall where they may. It’s the right, true and moral thing to do and you will be rightfully proud that you did it.

  9. Many of us have been commenting on Sister Clever’s comment in other places — thank you for publicly addressing it here, S4.

    A woman who would say that she would stand with any man over any woman is not a feminist. And feminists have every right to point that out.

  10. Noanodyne,

    I’m happy to hear that that discussion is going on. Need those other discussions be secretive?

  11. “A woman who would say that she would stand with any man over any woman is not a feminist. And feminists have every right to point that out.”

    The context of the comment was in understanding women of color’s perspectives when they stand with men of color over white women. There is a reason for that: historical racism, discrimination, being othered and treated like shit by white women in the feminist movements, being silenced by white women, and being labeled NOT FEMINIST!

    I am a white woman, I was giving voice to the ideas and perspectives of women of color – and I support women of color when they discuss WHY they stand with men of color over white women when it comes to certain issues – and I agree with them!!

    If this causes an uproar in the radical feminist atmosphere, or the outcasting or labeling of myself – I don’t give a fuck. I stand behind my words and if anyone would like to take issue with it I will be posting this on my blog and you can come on over and vent all you want.

    Noanodyne, you have taken issue with me from the start. You are the one who didn’t want my blog posted on Redfem Central, it seems I am not “pure” enough of a feminist for you. I distinctly remember you saying I was “waxing poetic” about books written by men, oh yea, and had “sex pozzies” listed on my blogroll. These exact bullshit rigid ideas about what makes a radfem are the EXACT reason I am not one – so your gatekeeping and policing of the feminist atmosphere has succeeded.

    It doesn’t surprise me that you have “secret conversations” about my worth as a feminist. Frankly, it makes complete sense.

    Ok, I have explained myself – and I stand by what I say.

    I am done with the bullshit drama.

    If you would like to further drag me through the mud based on preconceived notions and complete IGNORANCE go for it. I will not be a part of it though.

    And for anyone else reading this, if you want to know me – read my blog and form your own opinions – don’t just follow someone’s opinions blindly because a few people like to listen to someone else’s interpretations of who I am, instead of going to the source.

    Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote all of this. I totally just got sucked into this bullshit. I will not be back on this blog. So please commence to talking as much shit as you want.

    Bullshit, IGNORANT ASS DRAMA.

    This is a beautiful example of white women’s ignorance. Fucking pathetic.

  12. I also think it is funny how some people’s comments on here have magically disappeared. Go fucking figure.

  13. That those of us who have been around a long time can spot a fake from a mile away is not a bad thing, AlmostClever, it’s a very useful skill. You immediately proved in your posts that you haven’t the first clue what you’re talking about, but challenged anyone to a fight when they pointed it out. Yes, I hope plenty of people reading this will go see for themselves. But a whole bunch of us already figured it out.

    And you’re paranoid about who is talking about you because you know what you said was anything but feminist and you got caught in public with your true feelings exposed. MARY said those discussions were secret, I didn’t say that. They aren’t secret, they’re all over Facebook and Twitter for all to see. When someone calling herself a feminist would side with men OVER women (YOUR words), that is going to get discussed, especially when that person has a very quick and recent history of making things up about radical feminists, twisting the words of other bloggers, trolling other blogs with her own agenda (again, not a secret, you leave a trail that anyone can follow), and attacking the abolitionist research only to call herself an abolitionist. You came on the scene thinking you were going to make a big splash, but you didn’t do the work of actually becoming part of the community and knowing what we’re all about. Too bad for you that now you’ve shown your true colors. Don’t blame us for your mistakes.

  14. There, restored.

    Clever, there’s no need to read anything into it. I simply accidentally hit the trash button in my email this morning when I was cleaning it out; an accident brought about by a combination of arthritis and failing eyesight is all it was.

    It’s obvious that you feel like you’re under siege (and are really angry about it too), but I can guarantee that‘s not the case. There is a very good reason that I am engaging you on this subject in a public forum and it is meant with the very best of intentions even though it doesn‘t feel like it to you. Right now.

    But, you are not engaging me. Have you thought about what you are going to do with the ethics issue? This is a drop dead serious professional cross-roads for you and it goes way beyond what the *online radfem community* thinks – you have women’s souls in your hands.

    Again, if you’ve already disclosed to your supervisor that you feel that at many times a man of color’s stance is more real than a white woman’s when it comes to human rights/women’s rights (being one in the same as you‘ve stated) then I‘d like to know about it. It matters.

  15. Also: while I may *swear* a blue streak in the privacy of my own home (and I do), I keep it to a dull roar in public.

    And I’d ask that everyone who may comment here do the same. Thank you.

  16. As to the treatment of black women by white women in the second wave feminist movement, that history has been rewritten falsely to make out the white feminists as evil racists when in fact it was the black male leadership of the civil rights movement which was notoriously sexist. I was alive at that time and remember some of it. There is a good discussion of it in the comment section of this post by Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist:
    http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/2011/04/14/the-normalcy-of-misogyny/#comments

  17. I’ve been meaning to say to the other three of you who are speaking openly here that I (as always) appreciate your input and insight wherever it may lead.

  18. After observing the dialogue about this thread here and at the other place, I am supposing, just supposing that the blogger who counsels women who have been abused is a different woman we have all seen having a tantrum, using expletives like a sailor, offering contradictory statements about her own posts. I am quite certain that the woman who counsels abused women offers level headed words of comfort, refrains from name-calling or blaming them for their lot in life.

    There is tons of respect and admiration for the counselor, not so much for the blogger.

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