Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pearl Clutchers and Straw Women

image I have written repeatedly about colluders and the various reasons why they disgust me.  There is however another group of women which I hold in equal contempt; and they would be the Pearl Clutchers.  You know who you are. The oh noez not me crowd.  You are the kind of woman that professes to be all about equality, until a WOC has the nerve to point her finger at you and say the word privilege.

I really do wonder why it is so hard for you to STFU and just listen.  Instead we get the temper tantrum, foot stomping and all around dismissive bad behaviour, that feminism has historically employed as a weapon to silence WOC. 

This is when we start to hear the famous, "IMO its not racism".  You know what, who the fuck asked and you, and how the fuck do you know.  Seriously pearl clutchers, how the fuck do you know what is and isn't racism?

You've never been followed through a store, asked if you were your childs nanny, shown cheaper merchandise, had someone look you in the eye and call you a nigger, jigaboo, babys mama, or mocked during a lecture because you dared to question a professors authority on your cultural heritage.  Do you have your womanhood questioned constantly?  Do magazines create special editions to show that your kind of women can be considered beautiful to?

Here is a newsflash: The oppressor does not get to tell the oppressed what is and isn't oppression. I know that the victor traditionally writes history, but just for shits and giggles, how about you pretend that the subaltern can speak.  I don't want to hear about the ways that you identify with me, because you cannot.  I don't want to hear your comparisons of my life to yours, because they are not the same.  My struggle will never be the same as yours, and your attempts to diminish it by trying to find a reference point in your life, only makes the degree of privilege with which you function even more obvious.

Okay take a moment to grab your pearls and breathe.  Are you working up a venom yet, because I can almost hear the shrill about my angry tone?

The ironic part about this is, that this post isn't even angry.  I simply cannot be bothered to sugar coat my words to allow you to feel comfortable.  The entire world caters to you pearl clutchers ,and I for one need a break from the bullshit. Don't upset the fragile white woman, the mother of the great race.  God forbid there should be a tarnished spot on your pedestal.  Here let me spit shine that shit for ya. 

I know that dragging that pedestal around with you everywhere you go,  must make you tired.  Deep down some part of you must want to cast it into the sea. but it has become like a child's lovey; a symbol of comfort even as it weighs you down and stunts your potential.

I am not going to enable you.  Children eventually give up their pacifiers and you pearl clutchers can do the same with your pedestals and pearls.  WOC live without a safety net because society has not seen fit to afford us with one.  We must meet our daily struggles head on with no shield, and only our strength of will to protect us.  This lack of social coddling has allowed us to develop a unique voice, and it is one that you could learn much from should you ever decide to step off your pedestals and cast your pearls away.

I am not going to beg to be your teacher, or your guide because I don't want to play mystical negro, to your unenlightened white princess.  I am however going to suggest you pull the fingers out of your ears and truly listen.  Bite back the taunt of reverse racism that you have been dying to scream, and hear for the first time that your lilly white, over privileged ass, ain't worth a dollar more than mine.

Now that we have that straight, don't turn me into your new black bff to prove your conversion.  I am not your symbol of enlightenment.  Take responsibility for your journey and do your own work.  While I'm at it...don't ask me for one of those sisterly hugs in your time of need either; black women are tired of comforting upset white people like we don't have enough headaches of our own. You will not be getting a honey child from me. 

Well if you have lasted this far into the post with clicking off in a rage, you are probably on the road to a little thing I call redemption.  It is not an easy thing, but at the end of it all perhaps we can look each other in the eye with some degree of trust, rather than the hidden hostility we daily exchange. Now clean yourself up, square your shoulders and dive into the muck head first.  Decolonizing your mind is dirty work, so don't expect to be all pretty when you are done, but at least at the end of the road you can declare yourself a thinking woman of courage and agency.


59 comments:

Vera H. said...

Good post, and as a WOC, I know where you are coming from, but I know I have to guard myself against taking that feeling to the extreme to see white women only as "clueless overprivileged creatures" that cannot relate to the misfortune of others. I've pushed away real friends because of that extreme attitude and I'm not proud of it.

I'm NOT AT ALL saying become a comforting "Honey chile that's okay Miss Ann" type, but I've seen so many conversations totally go south when a black person relates a problem and a white person will try to sympathize and the black person will give them a response which basically says, "STFU you clueless b#@%t!"

Sure, there are "pearl clutchers" out there, and I don't sugar coat my words, but I also need to remind myself not to shut down conversations that need to happen when others are trying--even in a klutzy manner--to reach out.

harrietsdaughter said...

Thank you thank you thank you!
That is all.

Anonymous said...

"Decolonizing your mind is dirty work, so don't expect to be all pretty when you are done, but at least at the end of the road you can declare yourself a thinking woman of courage and agency."

Oh, how I wish I would have thought of this brilliant, show-stopping quote when I was involved eons ago in Arab-Jewish women dialogue groups. Thank you for this post; it applies equally to (mostly white) Western mainstream feminist women and how they relate to their sisters from and in the Global South. Would love to see more on this.

nia said...

Vera H, I understand where you are coming from but the thing is, it's not really about sympathizing at all. A true ally I believe will always ASK first, not just give their opinion, sympathy or 'help' no matter how constructive or well-meaning.
I am a WOC but I had to learn this lesson myself the hard way. I have a disabled friend who I was very close to and on a couple ocassions I felt it was my right to just jump in and give an opinion on what he must be feeling in certain situations where he was placed at a disadvantage because of his disability and to sympathize and advise him on what he should do. Because we were so very close I felt he would understand that I was only speaking out of concern and love for him. I could not understand why on one ocassion he got so angry with me. I in turn became angry with him because I was hurt. In my mind I thought I was only trying to help. It took me a long time to understand that as someone with able-bodied privilege it was simply not my place to make that call. How could I as an able-bodied person ever know what he was going through even though I knew him everday? We always remained good friends, but he has since passed on and I will always regret that I was not able to tell him "Oh, I get it now."
Being someone's ally - you really have to listen to the person or group and ask questions first. Your opinion and sympathy is only needed when asked for.

Vera H. said...

Hi Nia,

We are all human. We all have privileges and trials. You are right. We all need to listen to each other.

I have also seen the "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand" phrase used as a weapon and a way to cut off dialog. Going back to my first comment, there are indeed those clueless "pearl clutchers" out there, but there are also people with good hearts and intentions and it doesn't get us anywhere to slap them down if they ask a question or say something that may seem clueless to me.

I also don't want to make the wrongheaded assumption that just because someone is white and in a higher income bracket than mine, their life doesn't have any problems or they are a dummy. That's just the same kind of dehumanization that we WOCs are working against.

julie said...

Hi Renee, I think it is obvious I have been a pain for you on this subject.

But I just want you to know that this is an excellent article.

Anonymous said...

White woman here. My those are some lovely pearls you have pictured. I hope I can add something regarding this. After living for 50 years as a white liberal woman, very comfortable in my certainty that I couldn’t possibly be racist in any way, I think I am finally starting to “get it”.

Though I always was one of those who meant well, unfortunately it took my own experience of extreme sexist oppression, when I was feeling compelled to say (to men) many of the above sorts of things that you mentioned in your post, and in my effort to understand my own situation I came across people like you who were talking about sexism and racism, to finally open my eyes to the world around my pedestal.

“I was the only white person living in a black neighborhood when I was nineteen and they slashed my tires, so I know all about reverse racism.” “I have nothing to feel guilty about regarding slavery and its residual effects on our society because as a descendant of Italian immigrants my family never owned slaves.” “I was laid off from my job because of affirmative action and I didn’t even start to hate minorities.”

Using thoughts or statements such as the above as my answer to being confronted with racism I could separate myself from having to feel bad, or actually pay attention to what the other person was trying to tell me. It acted as a sort of passive resistance toward being open to the kind of deep change that is needed to eradicate inequality. And I was not aware of that. Now I will go back to enjoying S-ingTFU and listening. Thanks for your blog.

Amber Rhea said...

Love this post and also love the comments by Vera H. I think it's important to take this stuff on a case by case basis - context matters. E.g., it's a very different thing to be talking to some random person you've never met vs. a friend you've known for years.

bluelinchpin said...

I love how you don't kiss up to your readers like I do ;)

I won't however, toss out my 'white girl apology' like you see in the comment logs here. There's little point in improving ourselves as women, if we have to broadcast to others to find any worth in it.

Anonymous said...

*snort*

I could rewrite this thing nearly word for word from a deafie's pov...

good job.

dollyspeaks said...

Renee, as a white feminist I am going to work hard to take off those pearls. Well, actually, I don't wear pearls, but I know what you mean. I know before I could come to acknowledge my white privilege, I thought I would lose something awful and the world would come to a crashing end. When I realized a lot of people of color didn't have the things I had in the FIRST place, it was a lot easier for me to own up.

I'm surprised at how easy it was for me to read this post. Not too long ago, I probably would have felt defensive and angry and would have clicked away in a rage. But I think I'm starting to learn. The more I listen, the more I understand. And while I can't change my skin color to fully understand and empathise, I feel like a better, kinder person for what I do know.

I'm only about 20 years old, so I hope I can represent a new shift in feminism. I want there to more WOC voices, and I want to hear them. And if that means shutting up sometimes, I'm gonna do it. I want to be that woman of courage you describe in the post.

I can't promise I won't screw up, but I promise you as one of my favorite bloggers that I'm going to try!

julie said...

These comments are starting to sound like, "I have something someone else doesn't so I will say I am privileged for what I have".

I can see where this is going. (sad face)

Never will I say communism is a good thing under a one world government. I will never stop being a pain for where this attitude is taking us.

Communism cannot, will never and never has worked on a large scale. This is a road to death for our children.

The 70's blacks and whites both knew this. No wonder Obama is being called white. He is walking down the exact road the elite white want us to go.

But know this as a fact. Money and power doesn't discriminate. They are not only whites who run this world. They are from many Nationalities.

Octogalore said...

Nice work, Renee. And I like Vera's addenda as well. I do think sometimes there's a fine line between an honest back and forth, and a request for spoonfeeding. But I know you know the difference, and you've got the right to expect the reader to know as well.

That said, I still want that hug!

Renee said...

@Julie
They are not only whites who run this world. They are from many Nationalities.
This is evidence that you totally missed the point of this post.

@Octgalore...You can have huge hug.

Renee said...

@dollyspeaks...thank you knowing that people get it, and are working on privilege is what keeps me going. This is how good ally work begins.

julie said...

No Renee, I do not miss the point. I get what you say.

Yes there is white collar crime and black colour crime. And blacks come out worse off. It is discriminative.

But we are working on that as you know as a Canadian.

Yet, you are bringing in women who have no idea what is the big picture. What went down in the 70's. This is not a new movement.

If a black is discriminated against the law is there for help. It is as simple as that. You can't expect to drag this up for every man or woman that you find who is behind the times.

..........

OK, let's say you as a black woman are treated really badly by all white people. Shit Renee, you have Scott and you and him are a wonderful, funny couple.

Get rid of that woman who you hold so high who you quote. Even though I love her quotes you don't live in that day. You live in this day.

Renee said...

@Julie

Don't think for one moment you have any understanding of my life. How dare you after reading this post think that you should waltz onto my blog and try and discipline me in this way.

The point of this post is that people need to STFU and listen. This is something that you need to do because your privilege is just reeking from every ounce of your being.

You are constantly working an agenda with no concern for the subject matter at hand. I am trying to be patient but you are quickly approaching the limit with me. On the TDOR you turned into a mens right thing, it was such a terrible display and now this.

Julie stating your opinion does not mean that you continually get to disrespect and demean others. I am asking you as politely as I possibly can at this moment, to please think carefully before engaging.

julie said...

Renee, I can't believe I said what I said in my last comment. But I did.

Now here it is for the world to see why we say, "It is a white problem or it is a black problem".

I want to kick you up the arse as a girlfriend. You don't need pity. Don't ask for it. But I can never be your girlfriend because you already have a wall around yourself that I cannot penetrate.

You are a victim because I am white. I am the perpetrator because you are black.

Isn't there even a slight little piece of you that thinks this is BS? Or is it not PC for me to ask this of you? BTW, communism is PC!!!!!

Can only you make it so that I am fitting to speak my mind?

I am not dumb enough to fall for this. And you should put your next Sunday Shame saying, "I hate Julie because she will tell me what I don't want to hear for my benefit".

Renee said...

@Julie that was just the most patronizing piece of bullshit I have read in a long time. You don't want to, acknowledge unearned privilege so I am playing the victim care..how fucking unoriginal. Read the post again and again Julie your pedestal and your pearls are weighing you down.

julie said...

Renee, I asked wealthy old school feminists if whites have privilege. I didn't stay on this site about this issue.

In fact, I asked heaps of people.

The feminists said "Yes" OK, you have their pity.

Then I asked, "Do I have to agree with this?"

The answer came back, "NO! Julie .. in your standard blacks and whites are equal."

Do you know why they said that Renee?

Because YOUR life is far more privileged than mine.

But I never fell for the "Poor me." I fell for the, "I can do anything I set my mind to. And I don't give a fuck what others think."

How many rich and/or powerful and/or successful blacks fall into your category?

The answer is "None". It doesn't relate to them no more than it relates to me.

When they walk into a store people fall at their feet.

It is their attitude!!! BTW, the rich clothing helps. (smile)

And I bet they don't say the homeless white men are more privilege than they are.

bluelinchpin said...

Julie, how hard is it to understand...?

Renee said...

@Julie do the world a favor and stop talking out of your ass. You are purposefully being obtuse so that you can wallow in your privilege. It is insulting and disgusting. You are not going to get away with that kind of crap on this blog.

This issue has nothing to do with men so don't derail this thread I will not tolerate it. The issue here Julie is that POC are globally disenfranchised a fact which you of course cannot admit. Read a real history book if you doubt the truth of this, study economics and figure out who actually owns the wealth on this planet.

I don't want your pity and I resent that you keep using that word. I am simply challenging you to own your privilege. There is a huge difference between that and pity.

I am done breaking this down for you because it is clear you are not interested in learning a dman thing you are only interested in pushing your shortsighted over privileged agenda. There are plenty of places for you to push your MRA anti-woman racist screed. It will not be tolerated here as truth because it is full of falsehoods.

julie said...

bluelinchpin, I saw your site and read you pro communism article. You need to make better arguments to get real attention. And I look forward to it. (smile)

I have so much stuff to prove you wrong going back to the 70's but I don't care to do so at the moment.

julie said...

Renee, hey! I am not wanting to derail you thread.

This is hard for me to take on board.

Honestly, I like you!

There is nothing to change. Nothing is going to stop the train of progress. It is going to go where it is destined to go.

Anonymous said...

@Julie - The Train of Destiny? That's plain privileged wrongheadedness and it would do you a world of good just to listen to those who advise you to put that privilege down. Renee absolutely knows more about the effects of racism than you. I can't believe the number of ways you tried to discipline her, not the least of which was guilt tripping with your false-sounding words of "friendship".

At least your comments were nice plain reiterations on how not to be to people.

I've delurked just to say that and also how much I appreciate this blog and getting the chance to read things from Renee's perspective. Thanks for sharing your voice with us.

Kath

julie said...

Anonymous said...

@Julie - The Train of Destiny? That's plain privileged wrongheadedness and it would do you a world of good just to listen to those who advise you to put that privilege down.

Gosh, that's amazing. Blacks are not going to lose out of the privilege that is coming.

I wish I could. They will get fed and watered just as a white will.

Do you not know the left wing policies? All will be equal. All will receive the same wage regardless of what work they do. And all will be chipped so if I say something politically incorrect to Renee don't worry! Technology will have me zapped from the satellite.

Is New Zealand left wing sites really that far ahead of Canada and America?

Arum said...

@ Julie

Is English your first language? (I'm not being snotty here). I've been giving you something of a pass on the basis that you're struggling to communicate in another language. However, if you've just got a really odd turn of phrase, the all bets are off.

Renee's post is about how, in an effort to find common ground, privileged people tend to start telling non-privileged people how they should respond to things, how it's 'really' the same for them, how they understand perfectly where you're coming from. It is, at best, extremely irritating.

Think about how frustrating it is when you start to vent to a male partner/friend about some shit that's happened to you today. Then they start telling you what you should do about it, because they've been in 'almost exactly the same' situation, and that's what they did. Don't you just want to smack them round the head?

I also don't buy your "Come the Revolution, it'll be free beer for all the workers" stuff. Unless problems are acknowledged and addressed, progress will never happen. There is no mysterious event that happened in the '70's which set us all on the Freedom Train. While I disagree with Renee that ALL ethnic privilege is white privilege, it certainly is where she lives. She can't just sit around waiting for things to magically get better - she has to fight. And insisting that other people shut up and listen is just the first step on a long road!

Octogalore said...

Julie, you seem to be talking at cross purposes. Renee is not saying that every individual white person is privileged in relation to every individual black person. Obviously there are many other forms of oppression or unlucky circumstance. She is saying that there is systematic racial discrimination, such that whites cannot dictate to POC what racism looks like. She's also pointing out that defensiveness can reflect an inability or unwillingness to listen, and that's it's important to get that there are some experiences white people can never identify with.

I'm not sure where you are getting your comments about communism, or guaranteed equal outcomes irrespective of contribution, from what she is saying. Or that she is claiming that all white people are victimizers or that no black people have economic privilege. Those are all huge reaches from what is actually being said. It seems like you're doing some projecting here.

Anonymous said...

"You've never been followed through a store, asked if you were your child's nanny, shown cheaper merchandise, had someone look you in the eye and call you a nigger, jigaboo, babys mama, or mocked during a lecture because you dared to question a professors authority on your cultural heritage. Do you have your womanhood questioned constantly? Do magazines create special editions to show that your kind of women can be considered beautiful to?"

I am a low-income middle aged FAT white woman, and the answer to most of these questions is yes, I have experienced most of these things.

I am constantly followed in stores, have been yanked by the arm into the office by the security guard three times and accused of shoplifting (I would never steal anything), been asked if I was my child's grandmother, been shouted at and called every abusive name in the book by men of all ages when I go out in public and had my opinions ridiculed and disregarded by patronizing men of all socioeconomic and educational levels.

As a fat woman, I have no womanhood (fat women are gender-neutral) and yes there are magazines devoted to "my kind of beauty", although such a word could never be used to describe me.

I am glad to say that few other women seem to care what my weight is. Most women treat me as an equal.

This treatment has been going on for over 44 years, since I was 8 years old and started being chastised for eating anything at all.

Your post is a good one. Thank you.

Valerie said...

OMG Julie step away from the keyboard....

Anonymous said...

"Think about how frustrating it is when you start to vent to a male partner/friend about some shit that's happened to you today. Then they start telling you what you should do about it, because they've been in 'almost exactly the same' situation, and that's what they did. Don't you just want to smack them round the head?"

I've got a simple solution to this problem. Don't vent to us about your problems. We are not interested anyway.

"The point of this post is that people need to STFU and listen."

People might be more interested in listening if you didn't tell us to shut the fuck up.


...Tim

Renee said...

@Tim

What, are you and Julie pals because your commentary is once again an attempt to discipline. WOC have historically been silenced and so yes you need to STFU and listen.

Burning Prairie said...

Renee, I always learn so much from reading your posts and the comments that follow. Here I was thinking I was so comfy, cozy, basking in my own light of privilege-owning. Then I remembered something that happened several years ago. As you may know, I am an Oklahoman and a registered member of the Cherokee Nation, nothing special around here as CDIB-card holders are thick on the ground. Well, several years ago my oldest friend told me that her brother was dying of cancer. He had a medical condition for years that wasn't attended to as it would've been in an ideal (cough*socialized medicine*cough) world. I asked her, "Why didn't he just go to the Indian Hospital?" She looked at me, confused, and said, "We aren't any Indian at all." I assumed that because she was from a tribal-seat town that her family must be part Indian.

Having access to the Indian Healthcare System literally saved my life, not having access to it cost him his. Thank you for reminding me that privilege comes in all shapes and sizes, I'll try to do better.

Anonymous said...

@Renee,

"WOC have historically been silenced and so yes you need to STFU and listen."

You tell me to shut the fuck up but I'm the one doing the silencing? How does that work?

And for the record I don't know Julie.

...Tim

Jadelyn said...

Renee, I'm sorry you've been infested again.

But hey, clearly you're hitting enough of a nerve to piss them off. I'd say that's a good sign.

@Tim - Why is it so threatening to you to not be the top voice? What are you so afraid of, if you do shut up and listen? Seriously. What do you think will happen that's so terrible, if you do shut up and listen to someone else for awhile?

bluelinchpin said...

@ Tim

You know how silly your comment is and you're doing a bad job of pretending otherwise.

She is saying that blacks, women, and fruther black women have been silenced for so long and still are. When you sit there and try to tell them they need to shush and listen to what YOU are saying, that's like talking for 100 years then complaining because someone else wants to have a say.

Anonymous said...

Why is this post directed ONLY at white women?

I think Renee writes these just to stir up trouble. Nothing a white person says is 'ok'. She'll dissect every word and turn it around on you.

I like the other posts, but these ones only seem to serve to push 'others' away.

Renee said...

@Anon 37 are you having fun walking around with your pearls and pedestal?

In case you have not noticed plenty of white people comment on my posts about privilege. The idea is to fight the systemic inequality by owning your unearned privilege. I am quite sorry that I don't play docile happy negro enough for you but that is contrary to my personal dignity.
If you feel that you are being pushed away the issue is not me but you. I don't have a problem owning my privilege or admitting when I make a mistake. Perhaps you should turn the lens inward before you make unjust attacks.

Anonymous said...

Goddamn, the trolls crawl out.

The point of this post is that my goal, as a white feminist (and as a fucking decent human being) is to shut up and really listen to other people, especially to those who don't usually get to speak. I don't need to relate to them, I don't need to argue with them, I don't even need to fucking AGREE with them as long as I HEAR them.

Anonymous said...

Hate to hop in with conjecture on Renee's point here, but all the "why are you picking on white people," questions seem a bit ill thought out. Perhaps I just have a particularly thick skin (it has been said of me) but I can read all these "white privilege" posts without feeling particularly "picked on" at all.

A. White people are the majority and the "norm" in the US and Canada, thus are less likely to put our experience into broader context rather than to compare "other" experiences to our "normal ones." This makes it easier to ignore the broader spectrum and remain unattractively clueless well into adulthood, when ignorance is no longer a valid excuse.

B. Having not spoken to every other American white woman, I'm just going to assume that most (rather than all) have probably made these "pearl clutching" arguments or some other racial faux pas at some point in their lives. Whether over it, getting over, or still clutching to it, reminders don't hurt.

C. Renee does use quantifiers. She addresses these posts specifically to a particular argument or attitude (e.g. "white privilege denier"). Unless you actually are (still) guilty of the behavior she is pointing out, she's not actually talking directly to you.

D. Even if she isn't talking to you directly, they're still worth reading, because you may not have seen the point quite that clearly before. Also, it may bring to mind some new point worth recognizing and looking into.

E. If you think you're kind of getting the point here but need a little clarification, respectful dialogue is encouraged. If you still don't get it, drop it. Just "listen" for a while. Maybe you'll change your mind, maybe you won't. Oh well.

F. Of course not all of the viewpoints here are universal. If you are diametrically opposed (e.g. an MRA or a member of a white pride organization) you may want to consider commenting elsewhere.

G. Tim, take your own advice. Don't vent here about your problems. No one here is interested in you either.

Why you'd bother commenting here if you're not "listening" is beyond me (please don't bother educating me, still not interested).

H. I'm done.

julie said...

I got a big lecture over this today. A smack across the knuckles, so to speak.

"If WOC feel that white people are discriminating them then they have every right to speak up against it", I have been reminded.

"I have no right to tell them that their pain is any less than anyone else's who feel discrimination", I have been scolded.

Once again Renee, this is your site to discuss whatever is important to your life. We still have free speech and I for one do not want to lose it. Your word is just as valuable as mine is. But this is your home and as a guest I should have been more respectful.

Be black and be proud. Speak up for what you believe in.

Anonymous said...

@Tim
"I've got a simple solution to this problem. Don't vent to us about your problems. We are not interested anyway."
What is this? If you are not interested in how people in your life are oppressed, how can you even pretend to care about them? And with respect to the fact that you comment on this blog, what are you doing here if have no desire to listen to the point of view of the people you oppress? What place does any person of privilege have on this blog if not to learn about their privilege and how their behavior affects the human beings with whom they share this Earth?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 42

"What is this? If you are not interested in how people in your life are oppressed, how can you even pretend to care about them?"

I said this because the original commenter said they get upset when they vent to their man and and he offers advice. I admit i chose my words poorly. My point is that what do you expect the man to do. Listen to an endless rant and then say nothing. When we say nothing you say we don't care. When we offer advice you say you don't want advice. When we say we understand you say we could not possibly understand. So what exactly do you want us to do?


"And with respect to the fact that you comment on this blog, what are you doing here if have no desire to listen to the point of view of the people you oppress?"

People I oppress? I don't oppress anybody. We are not speaking in generalities here, YOU said that I oppress people. I come to this blog because i am interested in what the writer has to say. Why else would i come here. I was simply pointing out to Renee that when you tell someone to shut the fuck up the rest of your point is meaningless because you have just insulted me and i will no longer being interested in what you have to say. I am not asking her to suck up to me or kiss my ass. I am asking to be spoken to with the same respect that she would like to be spoken to. I don't think that is an unreasonable request.

...Tim

Anonymous said...

Being told to STFU does come across as anger. I don’t want to speak for Renee, (especially since she said she wasn’t really angry) but often when people sound angry the underlying cause of that anger is pain. If you read this blog then you should have a pretty good idea of the ways in which POC and the disenfranchised have been assaulted by the powerful. To say that those things could be a cause of pain is in my mind an understatement, but assuming that they are, you don’t have to feel that being told to shut up indirectly on a blog is such an insulting affront to you that your pain trumps the reasons the other may feel pain. You don’t have to do anything specific to oppress, we are all a part of an intricate system of mutual oppressions. To break that system we need the ones who feel oppressed to insist on telling their experience, but we need the less oppressed (who often have more power to change things) to listen and give a shit enough to say no to injustice.

People want to feel understood, or even if they don’t think you could understand what it is like to be them, it’s great to know that someone is genuinely trying to understand. Many people don’t have the skill of true listening. We have an internal monolog going when someone else is speaking that we don’t know how to shut off. So we hear their words enough to think of what we think they should do, or how we disagree, or how it compares to what happened to us once. But to listen you need to temporarily shut off that internal monolog. Then you can pay enough attention to hopefully let the other feel listened to. There are alternatives to saying nothing and giving advice. You could say wow I never knew about that, thanks for telling me (and mean it), or ask clarifying questions. If it’s a face to face encounter and you are just looking at the person and nodding I bet it would look different to them if you were truly listening to them instead of your internal monolog. If you want to listen, one way to tell if you are doing it right if for example your female friend is venting to you, is to simply ask “do you feel listened to by me right now” and see where that goes. If she says no ask why. Don’t think that shutting off the internal monolog is easy, it takes work to maintain, and you need to care enough to do that work.

Yet another anonymous

Arum said...

@ Tim,

Firstly, describing someone's anger as 'an endless rant' is belittling them.

Secondly, you ask what exactly we want men to do. Okay. There are a massive range of possible responses that lie between stoney silence and lecturing someone. How about trying sympathy? Or push it up a few notches and go for empathy? Open ended questions? Clarifying statements? Concern for their wellbeing? Even just nodding and making concerned noises? You know, being a decent human being who is worried about a friend.

Sounds like "We are not interested anyway" is not a poorly chosen phrase, but the basic truth. Apart from the 'we' bit. Thankfully most of the men I know are interested in what women have to say, and are supportive enough to be concerned when I've had a shit day. Even if they respond in ways I'd rather they didn't, they at least give it a try.

Anonymous said...

@Arum,

"Firstly, describing someone's anger as 'an endless rant' is belittling them."

I used the word rant because the original poster said:

"Think about how frustrating it is when you start to vent to a male partner/friend about some shit that's happened to you today."

Venting and ranting are essentially the same thing to me.

"There are a massive range of possible responses that lie between stoney silence and lecturing someone."

So any advice i give is a lecture? If i offer advice it is because i care and would like to see the situation resolved. I am not giving orders, I am offering advice. Take it or leave it, the choice is yours. I don't think they response should be anger for simply suggesting a course of action that could possibly resolve the issue in question. I am not saying it would i am saying it could.

I am thinking that many have already decided that i am some MRA troll looking for a fight and have decided to right off anything I say as a result. I am in no way shape or form affiliated with the MRA. I think the vast majority of what they do and what they stand for is wrong. My only original point is that if you want someone to listen to what you have to say you can't tell them to Shut the fuck up!

...Tim

Renee said...

@Tim would you prefer I sorry massa Tim. I shoulda knows my place. Well sorry about your luck, and fuck that. I don't need to sugar coat my words. All your preaching about tone is discipline. If I make my words sweet enough you might decide to listen, how generous of you.

Anonymous said...

@Renee

"@Tim would you prefer I sorry massa Tim. I shoulda knows my place. Well sorry about your luck, and fuck that. I don't need to sugar coat my words. All your preaching about tone is discipline. If I make my words sweet enough you might decide to listen, how generous of you."


This is exactly what I am talking about. For the record, I am African American so the "sorry massa" is way off base.

Tone is important in any civilized discussion. Other wise we are just playing a game of the dirty dozens.


"If I make my words sweet enough you might decide to listen, how generous of you."


I specifically said that i do not expect you to suck up to me or kiss my ass. In your normal conversations do you tell people shut the fuck up! When you walk into a restaurant do you tell the waitress to go fix you a fucking plate and be quick about it!

If this is the case then i have completely misjudged you. I have never sworn at you yet you continuously do it to me. WHY?

...Tim

Renee said...

@Tim if you find profanity hostile or threatening that is your issue and not mine. I will express myself as I see fit. Attempting to discipline my language for your comfort is an example of patriarchal privilege.

I have very clearly stated if you want to learn you need to listen. I choose the language that I do for very specific reasons and you are not entitled to an explanation. I don't always feel the need to curse but clearly for this post I have chosen to, and it is not your place to question my freedom of expression.

Jadelyn said...

Wow, listen to him stomp his feet and demand "proper respect" in your speech.

Tim, what makes you think you're entitled to have people speak to you in a way that makes you comfortable? If you don't like how you're being spoken to...leave! Don't read it! This is a privately owned and operated space, and you are not entitled to coddling, or indeed, even "respect" if Renee chooses not to give it to you. Again, if you don't like it, what are you doing here?

I can understand making the point once, if you felt that Renee's tone was being overly alienating. I can see that; I've done similar from time to time in various places, although I've always tried to be respectful of the blogger and simply inform him/her of how things are coming across, in case they wanted to know, while you came across all "How dare you speak to me that way". But she pretty clearly told you she wasn't interested in taking your opinion into consideration - as is her right, remember - and that's the point at which you should have backed the hell off. Your continuing efforts to discipline and silence Renee - on her own blog, no less! - reek of privilege and a major entitlement complex. Drop it already and move on, either to another blog where people will cater to you as you're used to, or to a more polite manner of interacting here.

(Renee, if I'm overstepping by getting on this guy, I'm sorry. He's just getting on my nerves, too.)

Anonymous said...

shown cheaper merchandise
Oh the humanity!

I don't want to hear about the ways that you identify with me, because you cannot
Yes, you're completely unique in your problems. All of them. Let's continue the speratism.

The ironic part about this is, that this post isn't even angry.
So you're a comedian too.

Don't upset the fragile white woman, the mother of the great race. God forbid there should be a tarnished spot on your pedestal.
God forbid you say something nice about them.

Anonymous said...

@Renee
"@Tim if you find profanity hostile or threatening that is your issue and not mine. I will express myself as I see fit. Attempting to discipline my language for your comfort is an example of patriarchal privilege."

So first you thought i was a racist (based on your "sorry massa" comment. Now that i have stated that I am in fact black you imply that i am sexist. Well, which is it? Because I am in fact neither.

@Jadelyn

Tim, what makes you think you're entitled to have people speak to you in a way that makes you comfortable? If you don't like how you're being spoken to...leave! Don't read it! This is a privately owned and operated space, and you are not entitled to coddling, or indeed, even "respect" if Renee chooses not to give it to you. Again, if you don't like it, what are you doing here?

I think I am entitled to be spoken to with respect because I am a human being. I believe you should always treat people the way you want to be treated. I believe Renee believes this also or she would not have apologized for calling the MRA cockroaches. Let me ask you this. Have you ever had someone call you a nigger? Then say if you don't like being called a nigger you should go back to Africa. That is essentially what you have said to me. Saying if you don't like something don't read it is completely ridiculous. There is a post on this blog today about the sexism/racism in Law and Order SVU. Using your argument the answer is for Renee to just stop watching and not complain about the problems wit the show.

"Your continuing efforts to discipline and silence Renee - on her own blog, no less! - reek of privilege and a major entitlement complex. Drop it already and move on, either to another blog where people will cater to you as you're used to, or to a more polite manner of interacting here."

I have no interest in silencing Renee. I come here because i am genuinely interested in most of the things that are discussed here. I have said multiple times now that I am NOT asking her to suck up to me or kiss my ass.I am asking her to speak in the same manner that she wants to be spoken too.

But i give up! Apparently some people are either unwilling or incapable of having a conversation with out resorting to name calling.

...Tim

Renee said...

@Tim
Let me ask you this. Have you ever had someone call you a nigger? Then say if you don't like being called a nigger you should go back to Africa. That is essentially what you have said to me. Saying if you don't like something don't read it is completely ridiculous.

This argument does not hold any water. I used the word fuck I did not call you an intolerable name there is a huge difference between the two things. Had I called you a name you would have been well within your rights to defend yourself and ask for a modicum of respect. I simply chose to use profanity to illustrate a point and it was you who made it personal not me.

Anonymous said...

@Renee

It's late so lets just call a truce. The comment was actually directed at Jadelyn. Since she implied that me disagreeing with you meant i should not come here or comment. My point is that saying if you don't like something don't read it can be used to justify things that we would both agree are not right.

However, you said "it was you who made it personal not me." I disagree with that. I have attacked your point not you personally. It was you who said:

"Tim would you prefer I sorry massa Tim. I shoulda knows my place"


If that was not a personal attack I don't know what it is.

...Tim

Jadelyn said...

Tim, let me ask you. If you walk into someone's house, and they call you names, are you *entitled* to have them change how they speak so that you're not insulted? There is quite a difference between someone calling you names in public space - as you're referencing with the "go back to Africa" comment you made toward me - and within their own domain. When you are occupying a particular person's individual property - whatever that may be - they are well within their rights to say whatever the hell they want to you. Because, you see, you have no entitlement to even BE in that space. Hence, the "If you don't like it, leave" response. There is no comparison to the L&O post - L&O airs on publicly broadcast TV. I may believe that people *should* be respected, but you do not have the entitlement to demand perfect treatment no matter where you are.

I have said multiple times now that I am NOT asking her to suck up to me or kiss my ass.I am asking her to speak in the same manner that she wants to be spoken too.
Your words say one thing, your actions another. So to speak. You are not ASKING anything. You are repeatedly DEMANDING that she moderate her tone to your liking, despite very clear declarations that she is not interested in doing so. In doing so, you repeatedly show that you feel you are entitled to control another person's manner of speech simply for your own comfort.

For the record? Nobody called you names. You took such umbrage at the fact that Renee told people to shut the fuck up. How is that calling you a name? You just didn't like being told so bluntly to let someone else have the mic for a while. To which, of course, the answer is simply: Get over yourself.

julie said...

Does STFU mean shut the fuck up?

OK, I don't care. I just didn't know that.

julie said...

OK, I do care about STFU. But hey, what can one do about it.

Daisy said...

Nia: I have a disabled friend who I was very close to and on a couple ocassions I felt it was my right to just jump in and give an opinion on what he must be feeling in certain situations where he was placed at a disadvantage because of his disability and to sympathize and advise him on what he should do.

After the last HEROES episode, I got all pissy about the disabled character, and was gonna fulminate at length on my blog. THEN I talked to some disabled people and decided to back off--they were not as 'offended' as I was. They were more interested that a mainstream TV show was using disability as a theme, and wanted to see where it was going before criticizing.

So, I limited my fulminating to a short paragraph, and kept my mind open.

But it's funny, I was thinking, THEY OUGHT TO BE ANGRIER, and then I thought, wait, where do I get off deciding what other people should feel?

Good post, Renee. (Sorry I got here late, as usual!)

Daisy said...

Speaking of communism (*ducks*), I once took part in a very good breakdown/analysis of THIS phrase:

(Tim said) People I oppress? I don't oppress anybody.

We need some Oppression 101 to go with this, I think.

Tim, if you are a citizen of the USA, you are automatically oppressing the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance. (The Empire is using YOUR MONEY to actively harm, maim, kill these people.)

Look around--where do your products come from? China? Taiwan? Mauritius? We are oppressing those people who work for 5 cents an hour, too, so we can have more STUFF.

"Oppression" is not always something we INTEND to do. The writer Deborah Mathis once referred to racism as "a family heirloom"--and it's good to think of all oppressive behavior this way. In so many respects, we have inherited it, like the national debt. It IS the national debt.

But yes, you oppress people simply by living in the West, unfortunately. Radical consciousness demands that we try to undo this, in whatever ways we can, like in Mista Jaycee's post on Black Friday, offering shopping alternatives, talking about the whole holiday con.

Etc.

(Renee, your blog always makes me think!)