The Silence of Our Friends

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Allies Have Each Others Back, That's The Secret Agenda

I keep quoting BrownFemiPower, and I really gotta stop that, if only she would stop saying all the things I wish I had said I would stop.

Over at Leftist Looney Lunchbox AradhanaD appended a post with this:
PS. If you're from the pro-pornstitution feminist tag team (you know who you are) that somehow miraculously appears to suddenly 'befriend' every dissenting feminist voice on the net, to support them with their 'radical feminist bashing', there's no nice way for me to say this 'don't bother'. Seriously, on any other post I'd love to hear your comments - just not this one. Pornstitution is racist, it harms WOC and I have no desire to get support from any of you - just because you think 'I'm bashing your enemy'. No thanks. I do however, encourage you to comment on my other posts if you ever feel like it because like "white radical feminists", I do know that we have things in common - just not as many as I'd like.

Then she miraculously appeared over at BFP's place to continue her 'pro-pornstitution feminist tag team' bashing, and BFP had this to say:

I’m sorry I left the comments at your blog, and as I soon as I paid careful attention to your p.s., I took down the link I had put up here, and sent you the note retracting my stuff.

I don’t know where I fall in your p.S., if I am the radical feminist basher or the “rest of the camp” or whatever, but all I can say is that bitch and belle have been good friends to me for a very long time–about 3/4 of my blogging career (which, comparably, has been about 1/10th of what you and heart and bitch et al have had). So I am not sure where you got the idea that they are “suddenly” befriending anybody. They have posted regularly here, at amazon’s, and at pretty much every radical woman of color’s blog who posts here. I may not agree on everything they write, but they have made a committement to this community that has lasted for about a year now, and to insinuate otherwise is just wrong. period.

Having said that, I am wondering why I am positioned in your p.s. as somebody who belle and bitch just randomly choose to tag along with and support because….why? I don’t have anything really that worthy to say? Because they couldn’t possibly be interested in and support any of the anti-violence posts that I have made? And on that note, I couldn’t have possibly disagreed with and had long intense conversations with them on their stances on sex-positivism? This is not the first time that bitch and belle have been accussed of supporting radical women of color bloggers just because they hate “x” group. Is it really that unbelievable that women of color could have anything worth discussing if it doesn’t center white women?

And as I said before, I am sick of trying to sift through the politics of all the different radfems, when those radfems don’t return the favor–apparently now not on radical feminists of color theory/activism OR on my own history in this blogging world

I will not make the mistake again of trying to talk about or even think about the radfem community. As I stated up above, the beginning of that huge conversation had nothing to do with the radfem community, it had to do with a bunch of fucked of commentors talking some really horrible shit about people that are my friends, allies, and a part of my community and somehow, within the course of the conversation it shifted into a conversation about radfem’s. Next time, I will not allow that turn to happen.

But the bottom line is that the very first point I made still stands and I support and will not back down from and if that makes me a feminist basher, so be it. I don’t need to know anybody’s theory or who belongs to what to know that the things that were said were fucked up and that just as the trans community is not considered worthy, women of color are not considered worthy. As heart so politely pointed out–women of color work, theory, activism is nothing more than a paragraph to be entered into a *real* discussion.

So as I see it, there’s nothing left to talk about with this. All I know is that I’m not going to keep centering “that” community (whatever “that” community may consist of) in my discussions any longer. This blog is not about trying to figure out factions of bloggers that have been around forever (in other words, trying to gain entry into a community where radical women of color have not been before), it is about using the internet as a tool of social justice. I really don’t care if heart or twisty or anybody who loves reads and supports them thinks that gender will not survive the “fall of the patriarchy”–I really don’t care. And I just don’t care enough about any of those communities, whatever and whomever they may be, to devote any more time or energy to any of them.

So, AradhanaD, thank you for your comment, and again, I am sorry that I posted on your blog. But this blog is moving on now. This is the second time a conversation about trans people of color and women of color has been interrupted, and it’s not going to happen again. As you said in your p.s. maybe on a different post on a different topic, we can talk about things. right now, however, is just not the place.

I make a couple of notes of my own now, first B|L, belledame222, and sex-positive feminists in general have been true allies. They do actually read our blogs and engage us on our blogs and at their own. Not all of them, but there really is this tendency to being open to listening and learning. Radical Feminists, unfortunately, not so much. Often when we go to their spaces we soon find out we are ignored, dismissed, or tokenized and patronized. While we have gotten that sexism trumps racism card thrown at us from both sides, it is more likely to come from the RadFems and more quickly.

In fact, AradhanaD may know this deep down because the title of the post where interaction with Sex-Pos feminists isn't necessary is, "How to Stop Being an Ignorant/Indifferent White Feminist..." which I read to mean that sex-pos feminists aren't the ones who tend to be ignorant or indifferent, they don't need the dressing down or to learn anything from AD.

I now turn the podium over to Bitch|Lab who has a few things to say about this too. And maybe AD will understand why labeling sex pos feminists "pro-pornstitution" is as offensive and unfair as labelling radfems as "man haters".

Who is an NDN? and Other Oddities in Native American Politics

I think I better warn you that I don't know where I am going with this. Ah hell, when do I ever know where I am going when I sit down to write? I was once told by a friend that I am a stream of consciousness writer, which reminds me of that fuckhead TRex telling POC that they are useless crappy writers unless they write in a linear fashion. I guess he will never be a fan. *sigh* It also reminds me of belledame222. Which probably will horrify her that I think of her hot on the heels of thinking of the biggest racist/sexist asshat in the lefty blogosphere, but no, it's not that. It's the way she multiple posts her comments. I think that is also stream of consciousness, you can see the way her mind is working by following one connection after the other, and I like that about her.

The reason I don't know where I am going with this is because Native American politics are extremely confusing, our identity is extremely confusing, especially the farther east you go in Canada/US. I imagine it is similar for our brothers and sisters in Mexico/Central & South America, but I can't speak to that and will step off the soapbox to let them have their say, if they wish. I am Wabanaki, which means People of the Dawn, you can't get much farther east than that. The eastern tribes are the first to come into contact with the Europeans, we're some of the most mixed race you will find and the most colonized. We've lost alot of our language and culture to those Europeans. Some of this is simply adaptation, but also residential schools or other ways of beating the "savage" out of us.

That sets the stage for what I am going to say next. Over at The Primary Contradiction there is an interesting and heated exchange going on between Yolanda and Pony, but what really interested me was something BrownFemiPower said:
I think that metis is a contested identity, just as mestiza (what I am) is. I am native too, mixed with white and from mexico and all that comes together to make una mestiza. And a Mestiza is very much a contested identity within native/chicana circles, in ways that mestis identities are as well. the largest arguement that native peoples (in canada, the U.S. AND latin america) have about mestizas and metis is that the “native” part of the identity is a generalized” identity. That it completly over writes a tribal identity.

This is true, even in Canada. Pony is also correct that the Canadian government does recognize Metis as a legitimate people and culture...but that there is the problem. Many native communities do not. They are so far and away from the original native cultures and people that they sometimes are not recognized as "real" NDNs, but they sometimes are. Part of the argument is why should we let the white Canadian government tell us who and who is not an Indian? Another part is the new agers and part time Indians. In the US these are the white people with a great great great great grandmother who was a Cherokee princess. We've got similar white people in Canada too and they generally identify as Metis. So you can see why someone who identifies as Metis would immediately get the suspicious looks from someone who is Native American in Canada.

Another problem we have is sorting out who is and who isn't Native American within our own communities. My mother is a rez born and raised Maliseet, but she made the mistake of marrying my white father and lost her status. During this time if any white woman married a Maliseet she would officially be Maliseet too. This was official Canadian policy according to the Indian Act until 1985. If you want to see the patriarchy in action, both in Canada and on the rez, read this excerpt on Sandra Lovelace, a Maliseet woman who was instrumental in getting the Indian Act changed and who also happens to be a very good friend and distant cousin. As you can see there were alot of Native American men who were resistant to the change, I think alot of it was fear of their wives and children losing their status (this did not happen) and the fact that on reservations there was/is EXTREME poverty, which means there already isn't enough resources to go around and the fear was, how would they handle the influx of native women and their families returning? But what you don't know is that there were alot of men who wanted this change too, remember, it is their granddaughers, daughters, and sisters who became persona non grata. I don't recall alot of sexism on my reservation when I was there, I really don't remember anyone treating me like I am less than the men or treating any women around me like that. I think it is still there only because it is harder as a woman to be elected to the council, but there may be other factors to that too. I notice the social butterflies tend to get elected be they man or woman, and sometimes using a popularity contest to elect your chief or councillors is pretty stupid, yeah, we've had some doozies.

There are some loopholes to the Indian Act/tribal law even now. For example, I have status as do my sisters, but since we all married white guys none of our children do. But there is a really big weird loophole, if I had married a Native American man from another tribe and he also happened to be second generation, our children would still likely lose their status. I better explain something else, part of the change was that Canada now gives more or less guidelines and the tribes themselves are free to make some adjustments in deciding their own citizenship. My kids could possibly get their status now if we moved back to the rez and lived there a year or two, the council would have to vote on it, and there are third generation kids who do have their status this way. On the other hand I understand that some tribes were matriarchal (actually so were the Wabanaki but as far as I know none of the rez's did it the way I am about to explain) and they have decided to continue that tradition. So in my hypothetical I could have married a man from one of these tribes and our children would lose their status because of the matriarchal lineage being broken on his side and because with my people I'm second generation. So neither tribe would recognize them. Sounds stupid since they would have more native blood than I, a status NDN has, eh? I told you it's complicated.

And we haven't even gotten to the United States and those peoples and the way Washington DC sorts them all out or how they sort themselves all out. I don't actually know enough about it to give you the run down, but I do know it's more fucked up than Canada, if you can imagine that. I bet we could get steam erupting from MB's (my Abenaki sista) ears on the recognition, or rather lack of it, of the Abenaki people in the US. By the way, the Wabanaki are the Maliseet, Abenaki, Mi'kmaq (Micmac), Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot. The Wabanaki is a confederacy like the Iroquois.

I'll leave this for now since I think I've given the multitudes who read this blog enough to chew on. Multitudes I tell ya!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Other People Say Things I Missed

Many times these internet brawls have me thinking of many things at once and when I sit down to write I forget some of them. That is what happened with my last post, although I did say much of what I wanted to say too.

In the thread linked at Women of Color Blog, belledame222 said this:
"what it reminds me of, again: rigidly religious people who are trying to cling to their idea of themselves as brimming over with Christian charity, full of luv and compassion and not bigoted at all and “we’re all sinners,” of course, none of us worse than any other…and yet simultaneously defending homophobic prejudices, justifying it with something along the lines of,

“People can do what they want, I guess, but I just don’t agree with that lifestyle. And, just because think marriage is between a man and a woman doesn’t make me HOMOPHOBIC, and I resent being called that. [I Am Not A Bad Person].”

to which the answer is:

There’s nothing to -agree- with, and it isn’t a -lifestyle.- It’s my LIFE. You are putting your BELIEF against my LIFE, my BEING, as though they were equivalent. No one is arguing about whether -you- have the right to get married to the person you love. Or, in this case: no one is arguing about whether -you- have the right to go to the bathroom in public in peace. You have that privilege–yes, i said PRIVILEGE–regardless of who wins this fight; you do not have the same stakes invested in it. It is NOT equivalent.

Which, when you say this to such people, the response, as here, is usually:

1) Defensive anger/wounded martyrdom/make it about Me and how I’m being Misunderstood, again
2) -crickets crickets-, address something tangential instead."

And now you must go read this post by R.Mildred, There is no cannibalism in left blogistan. Further into the post R.Mildred explains how she felt about the burqa skirmish, and about empathy. Both belledame222 and R.Mildred are saying pretty much the same thing, that it isn't possible to agree to disagree when we are discussing whether someone deserves to be treated as a human being or not. It isn't possible for either of them to just let it pass when they see someone's basic humanity is being denied. It isn't a disagreement over a matter of opinion - do transgender people deserve dignity? how about muslim women or people of color in general? Arguing with these people over this is like arguing about whether the Earth is flat. Which is why this is so mind boggling, we are talking about supposed allies, supposed feminists, and supposed liberals not living-in-the-12th-century-conservatives. Over at IBTP they wanted to label transwomen as inhuman monsters, but check the part about whitemail in R.Mildred's post, she knows who the real inhuman monsters are.

And back to why WOC don't identify with what passes for feminism, who could say it better than BlackAmazon? No one! Here are two great posts on the subject -
AND ..................I QUIT!
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why WOC Do Not Identify With Feminism

While rubbernecking at the latest internet car-wreck I had a few things clarified for me. First I should explain what I mean by the latest car-wreck, over at I Blame The Patriarchy (no, I will not link) there was a recent thread where the commenters were saying hatefilled derogatory things about trans-women. This appears to be one of several instances where Twisty and her crew get to decide who "women" are, and who "feminists" are. As far as I am concerned they are as exclusionary and judgemental as the white-boys-only patriarchy they condemn. This is why WOC generally do not identify with what passes for feminism in America. We understand that all oppression is interrelated for one thing, whereas white middle class feminism only recognizes the oppression of white middle class women as paramount. This is why BA was so angry about Amanda making a sneak attack on sexism vs racism here. White middle class American feminists envy the power that white middle class men wield. They want that power for themselves at the expense of people of color, the lower classes, the disabled, trans-women and men, etc etc etc. That's why they can make it into a pissing contest over who is more oppressed. For a woman of color, she understands that she is oppressed because she is a woman, is oppressed again because she is brown skinned, and may also be oppressed because she is poor, or lesbian, or disabled, or fat, or is colonized, and so on. Feminism for us isn't about eradicating sexism and misogyny alone, it's about ending ignorance, fear, and hate at all levels. It's about recognizing the basic humanity of all people.

Some of the best commentary on this is a post at Women of Color Blog where BFP says this in the comments for example:
"But looking at the actual theory and politics of trans gender-ism and femaleness–I think it gets into the idea–are females really the only ones abused in this structure we all live under? And if you are multiple identities–if you are, say, a transgendered institutionalized woman of color–what is it, really, that justifies the use of harmful sterilization drugs on you? Is it your femaleness? Is it your disability? Is it your color? Or is that you are all of these identities wrapped into one confusing body that oppressive power structures sees no value in?

The thing is–these debates are just a variant on the “gender trumps X” arguement. The idea that you will be abused because you are female, NOT because you are specially a BLACK female, or a disabled female or a queer chicana. And of course, this all links back to the idea that white women and all their battles against THEIR enemy (the patriarchy) must remain central to what feminism is."

Actually you should make the time to read all the comments in that thread, yes indeed, it's very long but so worthwhile. BFP and Yolanda make the important distinction between capitalism/imperialism and worldwide dominance compared to simple patriarchy. Patriarchy is only one method of control. White male supremacy is the power structure, and white feminists by virtue of their Euro heritage do have power in this structure that they are unwilling to acknowledge but are more than willing to use against the powerless.

In the comments Heart comes along to make excuses for Twisty and is taken to task for that but is remarkably blind to understanding what the other commenters object to. It is about how white feminists tend to address the symptom (patriarchy) instead of the cause (the greater white supremacy/capitalist world dominance) at the root of sexism/racism/classism and all the other hate 'isms. Heart wants to make it all about individual acts of violence, but that is like giving a couple aspirin to someone suffering a brain aneurysm. The symptom is a headache after all.

This harkens back to the burka brouhaha. It was objectionable as a joke because 1) this was an argument between two white western women, so why bring muslims into it? 2) if it wasn't for American intervention muslim fundamentalists wouldn't be in power in Afghanistan in the first place, including Bill Clinton's administration. 3) demonizing brown men for their treatment of brown women is an excuse to bomb the hell out of all brown people, including the women and children. 4) The women of Afghanistan have asked western women to get off the burqa fixation, a piece of cloth is not their top priority or the bane of their existence, right now the brutality of war brought by Americans would be that top priority.

Symptom: Muslim men forcing women to wear burqas.
Cause: American support of fundamentalist muslims in Afghanistan against Soviet dominance led to the rise of the Taliban. We would have continued supporting them if they were our puppets, and who gives a damn if the women have no rights and suffocate in their burqas.

It is only once other countries try to throw off the imperialist yoke or fight back against us that we suddenly care about how they treat women, or other groups, or their "barbaric" practices.

The only way that western hegemony works around the world is if we can corrupt the governments of weaker nations in order to control their resources. This does not work well in democracies, which is why we do NOT support democracy and tend to prop up repressive governments. A democratic nation does what is best for it's people, not what is best for the US/Canada and Europe. We support misogyny, racism/genocide, and any other brutality visited upon the people of these countries as long as our interests are served; so at the time Hussein was gassing the Kurds but was our buddy we didn't care and Rummy was shaking his hand, but when Bush wanted war, suddenly "He murdered his own people!" becomes a rallying cry. We also fail to acknowledge the violence when we have no interests involved, like Oaxaca and Darfur.

Sadly, these same white middle class women (and men) think that POC are making excuses for violence perpetrated by muslim men in this case. No, we are saying that the root causes are much deeper than "bad bad brown men!". Without the meddling from western powers many of these countries would be more democratic, socialist/communist, and secular; in other words they would be more egalitarian and it is our meddling that supported the inhumanity. Therefore the burqa wearing women are not grateful when we come to "save" them with our bombs and soldiers who clearly view them as subhuman, and will not appreciate being the butt of jokes between a couple of privileged white American women.

When we point out these kind of things white people tend to misinterpret us, or become defensive, or find ways to derail the discussion on tangents or logical fallacies. I'm not saying all white people, we do have true allies who are not looking to coopt us, and are working towards a more egalitarian world (you know who you are). But far too many of the mainstream feminist and liberal bloggers are like this. They may be a kinder gentler white supremacist, but they are following the blueprint all the same.

UPDATE: See if you can find the common thread between this post and what Nezua has to say about Apocalypto.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays!

I've been a little scarce over the last few days because my in-laws have decided where they want to go for Christmas. They want to come to my house. So my husband and I are going nuts getting the place all spiffy and buying a nice Christmas dinner. My husband doesn't like turkey and his niece doesn't like ham. Swell. My husband also has to prove he's a big shot so he's decided we are cooking crown roast (pork), at least I've cooked this once before and it came out great so I'm not worried, but he also has decided we are doing prime rib too. I don't know what to do with that! So yes, he has bought the most expensive cut of meat known to mankind for me to burn this Christmas.

I'm actually glad they are coming here. I don't like travelling on Christmas day. He also has a nice family and get along fine with all of them, so it should be fun.

To everyone who stops by, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadan, Kwanza, Festivus, or any other excuse you use to get together with family and friends to overspend and overeat. And if you don't celebrate any holidays, I recommend you still get together with family and friends and do the overeating part anyway.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tips to Troubleshoot Your Computer & Keep It Clean

I figure it couldn't hurt to tell people what I learned messing around with the computer all day yesterday.

First, when we were getting the blue screen of death our computer would shut down and start back up, but since the fatal error happened each time within a minute or so of start up, it was a vicious cycle. The worst part is that I couldn't read what the error was in the bsod, not that I was sure I could understand that gibberish anyway, but you know. Anyway, I found out that Windows XP is set up to automatically restart when there is an error like that. If you need it to stop so that you can read the error, then you right click 'my computer' (Usually under the start menu but also can be on the desktop), then click 'properties', then click the 'advanced' tab, then the 'settings' button next to start up and recovery, in there clear the box next to 'automatically restart'. Now you can read the bsod. There was a line in mine that said: C:\windows\system32:lzx32.sys So I went online and looked up lzx32.sys and found out it is a rootkit trojan with many names but the one I needed to know was backdoor.rustock.b since there is a program made specially to get rid of it, and damn I could have saved myself alot of time yesterday if I knew that.

If your computer is getting the bsod too fast to do this, then it might help to start your computer in safe mode. In safe mode it starts with the minimum drivers so that all your programs aren't loading, and hopefully whatever is causing the error won't load. When you start your computer click F8 repeatedly before windows starts, there should be a screen that you can use the arrow keys to start in safe mode.

The other thing I learned is that some of these viruses and trojans find good hiding places in your computer to self replicate. You need to clean out your temp files and cache at the very least. Windows makes a program especially for this; go to start>programs>accessories>system tools>disk cleanup. Even if you aren't having problems with your PC it wouldn't hurt to use this once in awhile since your computer will run faster the less crap it has on it.

One last thing, these viruses and trojans will hide in system restore, that's right, your computer saves a copy of them in there. That's why it didn't help for me to use system restore on our computer. So if you find that using it didn't help, then you will have to shut it off so that when your virus scan runs it will get all of it. The bad part, if you shut it off you lose all your restore points, but if they have viruses in there they aren't worth saving anyway. To shut it off right click 'my computer>properties>system restore and mark the box to turn it off.


Some antivirus programs are very good, the same with the programs to find spyware, but none of them are perfect. So the best thing to do is use several, what one misses the next one might get, or the next, or the next. I only have one antivirus program on my computer, but when there are problems I use the free online scans too, I also have three spyware/malware/adware scanners, a firewall, and a program that warns me when new programs are being added to my computer. And, um, er, they are all free. Yes everything I use to protect my computer is free, because I'm cheap, and you'd think the free stuff is crap compared to the programs you pay for...BUT YOU'D BE WRONG! Free is good all around. So if you don't already have an antivirus program on your computer, get one! Here's a few to choose from:

The one with the highest ratings in reviews is AntiVir. It catches alot that the others miss.

Active Virus Shield should also be highly rated since it uses Kaspersky's antivirus engine, and the highest rated for-purchase antivirus is Kaspersky. But it's from AOL so they have to spam you if you use it. You can opt out later on the spam.

Avast! also did well in the ratings.

Bitdefender, I didn't find any reviews or ratings, but I know alot of people use it.

AVG did the worst, and of course it's the one I use. D'OH! It was the highest rated when I put it on my computer a couple years back. It does the trick and I have alot of back up for it anyway.

Now onto anti-Spyware/Malware/Adware programs:

A very good one is the new Windows Defender from Microsoft. The downside is that you must be running WindowsXP or Vista, and it's best for IE. So if you prefer Firefox, Netscape, or Opera it won't clean history and cache as well as it does for IE. A Microsoft product that is Microsoft-centric? What a shocking surprise, NOT! I don't use this one, just heard it is good.

Everyone should have Spybot Search & Destroy. I also like the tools, there is one called secure shredder. What I use that for is when an online antivirus screen finds something but won't fix it for me, I shred the file in Spybot instead.

I also have Adaware and it's always highly rated.

I also have Yahoo! Anti-Spy, and it sucks but since I have Yahoo! DSL I got it free. I don't recommend it.

I've heard good things about A2 (A Squared) but don't use it.

Hijack This! will also scan for viruses/spyware/etc, but it's for advanced users. If you don't know what you are doing you could have it "fix" something you actually need on your computer. What this is really good for is if your problem is so bad that you seek out help from one of the tech pros or tech messageboards online. Almost all of them will tell you to download Hijack This! and post your log to the site, then they will tell you what to do from there. (I have it on this PC because my kids had it so badly infested one time I did need help from the techies!)

On the laptop I downloaded the anti-spyware that was offered free from AVG. It worked great and found stuff that I missed with other programs.

Now for my firewall and that program that tells me when new programs are installing:

I use Zone Alarm. It's as good as any you pay for, although I have heard that the one installed with Windows is good now too. We'll see since that is the one on the laptop.

And you gotta have WinPatrol. It shows all the active tasks, the ones at start up, IE helpers, and alerts you when something new is trying to install. It has a little scotty dog in the system tray, and when something is trying to install it puts up an alert and barks. You can delete and disable programs through WinPatrol too. I love this program.

Ok, last thing, how about some online free antivirus scans, in no particular order:

Symantec Security Check
McAfee FreeScan
Freedom Online Virus Check
Kaspersky Online Scanner
Panda ActiveScan
BitDefender Online Scanner
Trend Micro HouseCall

That's it for my FREE security tips and programs. If you know some that will help us all avoid viruses/spyware/etc or get our PC's running better leave it in the comments. Um, and Mac users, yeah, we know.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Computer problems suck!

I thought I would have time today to write an awesome post that would amaze everyone and the fame of "The Silence of Our Friends" would grow exponentially from this day forward. And then I woke up... LOL

Nah, I did think I would have time to write a thing or two though, but my son started up our new laptop this morning and within a minute or two had the blue screen of death, then the computer would restart and within a minute or two, the bsod again, then restart, bsod, restart. You get the picture. So I had to figure out what went wrong, and you think it would be easy, run an antivirus in safe mode, maybe a spyware scanner, and gone. No, it's never that easy! I even ran system restore and that didn't work. I spent most of the day on this computer using every clue I found to see how to fix this. To make thing even more fun, many of the antivirus sites have their own name for this same trojan that we had. So it took me awhile just to figure out what it is and then perform the SEVERAL steps to get rid of it. Finally the laptop is clean and running well again.

But I am too beat to think straight and write anything worth reading. So I think tonight I will surf around and see what everyone else has to say. Maybe tomorrow I'll be refreshed enough to write something for my own blog.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Helping A Friend Get Through Hard Times

I realize this is probably the worst time of the year to appeal for donations, but BlackAmazon is in a bit of a fix and needs our help. Give whatever you are able even if it's a couple of bucks. If everyone who read her site gave $5, $10, $20 etc it would go a long way to helping her out. The donation button is through paypal and is on the right hand sidebar at her place.

UPDATE: Why is it that some of the best writers are broke? Maybe it's just me, because class issues are as important to me as race or feminism. They are all related. I wish more people were interested in them, and that the blogs that cover these issues in depth were as well trafficked as DKos, Eschaton, or FDL.

Another on my blogroll needs our help. Wampum's MBW and EBW moved from Maine to California and that can be very expensive. They've been hanging in there and doing the best they can, but first they had generator problems and now they have to replace the hard drives that failed in their servers. They run the Koufax Awards as a community building excercise. I've found many good blogs and posts through the Koufaxes and am grateful they are willing to do the amount of hard work it takes and the aggravation that comes with running them every year. The start for nominations is coming soon and their servers will be swamped and they need to get them up and running smoothly as quickly as possible. Do what you can. They have both a Paypal button and an Amazon link up on the left side of their homepage (it's on the right on specific post pages), you can give as little as a dollar if it's all you got. As with BA, if everyone who visited their site gave $5, $10, or $20 they would be replacing those hard drives in no time.

You know what burns me up? During the Koufaxes these huge blogs will have no problem sending their fans to stuff the ballot, overwhelming the servers, but I bet those same blogs are the least likely to make an appeal to those fan clubs to help out Wampum.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Buh buh buh but...Fighting Racism Is Too Hard & Won't Make Me Popular!

Kai has a post up about one of the latest racist blunders, this time it's Rosie O'Donnell. She thinks this is a funny imitation of Chinese people, "ching chong ching chong". Are you laughing? Me neither. (By the way Kai, we all *heart* you, get used to the permanent blush.)

Kai links to Yolanda over at The Primary Contradiction and she says:
Asian Americans have said for years that anti-Asian racism seems to be beneath the notice of the general American discourse on race. While I agree with this general assessment, for me there are deeper questions about the blackout in O’Donnell coverage—-or to put it more accurately—-the lack of pretend outrage from good white liberal commentators over her remarks.

If you don't already know where the title of my blog comes from:
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. - Martin Luther King Jr

—-the lack of pretend outrage from good white liberal commentators over her remarks. Hmmm, yes. How many times have I heard people say it isn't the gaffes that are so infuriating. It's the reaction, which is either lacking, or worse, excusing racism and telling us anti-racists to get over it and stop being so sensitive...not from right-wing bigots, but from our so called allies on the left.

And then jenn at reappropriate has a progression of blog comments and Rosie O'Donnells response to them. Read the progression, and tell me it doesn't remind you of FDL during blackface Joe, or Amanda during burqagate. You know, the non-apology apology without quite understanding what you are apologizing for, talk of intent vs. what really happened, then you get enough ignorant racists just like you telling you, "Hey racism is cool! Nuthin' wrong with it at all!" so that you can dismiss those "whiny complainers" and um, "debunk" the charges.

From a recent discussion, BlackAmazon says:
"If I was some equivacating bean counter I'd say the tip on THIS issue is that sexism will get a rise out of folks faster than race."

Yup, yup. Quite a few were up in arms over sexism at FDL, including POC. But for far too many fighting privilege is only about themselves. They expect us to have their back, but when we are the ones being slammed, it's - put on the blinders and get out the earplugs quick! Pretend you don't notice because otherwise you might have to do or say something about it. It's really unpleasant when it's "your friend" who is pulling this crap or an A-lister who might delink you. So hard to choose between loyalty to your racist friend or someone you're trying to impress vs doing what's right.

I bet Martin Luther King Jr. had something to say about this too...
Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.

Very similar to what Yolanda said in the second paragraph, on the FDL Racism/Sexism Round-Up I said:
it's A-ok to hate Asians over at FDL and sadly, not many are willing to come to their defense. I assume it has to do with the fact that most Americans are so ignorant about Asian people, cultures, and histories, that it's almost like ridiculing them is like ridiculing fictional or cartoon people. Now that I think of it, much of racism is this way.

Nope, not much in it for you, this hard work of anti-racism. You're not a POC, don't personally know any Asians, or Native Americans, or Blacks, etc. So why cause trouble? Why stand up for the powerless when you can hang with the powerful instead?

Thank you for our true friends, the ones who wouldn't entertain thoughts like this. The ones who see our common humanity. The ones who won't take the easy way and who do fight racism when they see it. But I also wish I didn't have to thank you. I wish this reaction was common and ordinary. I wish the cowardly way wasn't business as usual in America.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Nearest Book Meme

I've been tagged by Sunrunner at Dark Sun for a new meme. The rules are:
1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name of the book and the author
5. Tag three people

Such a suspicion could never have entered her head! If she suspected any prepossession elsewhere, it could not be in that quarter. 'There to be sure,' said she, 'I might have thought myself safe.

The author/book is Jane Austen - The Complete Novels; and is from Sense and Sensibility. I read this about a month ago and it has been sitting on the table directly behind me since then, if I had put it back on the bookshelf downstairs the only other book in this room would be the Bible. I should have cheated and quoted from that, it would be kind of funny having a "Godless lefty" quoting the Bible.

I tag BlackAmazon, Kai, and Eli!

Ignoring It Doesn't Make It Go Away

BlackAmazon has a new post calling me out, indeed she caught me in appeasement mode. What I mean by this is that I have enough hope that certain people grasp the basics of being progressive that I am willing to give them credit for some statements while not quibbling over others. BA reminds me that some things are not only worth 'quibbling' over, but worth fighting for.

The one I noted, but bit my tongue over was the sexism vs racism, "my group is more oppressed than your group". As BA observes, this is easily refuted by these blogger brawls. Both men and women of all races were all over this latest FDL numbskullery regarding sexism, but racism? Not so much. You won't find many, perhaps not even any, posts on various blogs defending FDL's use of the word cunt. After racist incidents, you will find many blogs making excuses and dismissing POC concerns or completely ignoring it. In other words, it's race-baiting when we bring up our 'trivial' concerns with racism; but the few who defended sexism were the hiveminds at FDL and the flying monkeys they sent out to other blogs. In case I'm still not clear, how about a BA quote: "If I was some equivacating bean counter I'd say the tip on THIS issue is that sexism will get a rise out of folks faster than race."

Do NOT read this to mean that I am saying that racism trumps sexism. How about we read it to mean that we fight against BOTH, instead of infighting amongst each other and jockeying for position?

The part I missed, (I sometimes scan instead of reading every word), is that both Amanda and Marc are self-congratulatory about their ability to apologize when they are wrong...only neither has shown any indication that they understand why they are wrong. It's mostly to shut POC up, look good for the white readers, but not because they have learned a damn thing. BA notes that Amanda sneers at "sensible liberals" like Markos who minimized women's concerns, but doesn't see herself as one of those same SL's when she minimizes POC concerns. To quote BA again: "YOU DON"T MOTHERFUCKING GET TO DEFINE AND CONTROL OTHERS REACTIONS TO THE DUMBASS SHIT YOU SAY." This is the message that they, Amanda and Marc among others, were trying to get across to TRex and FDL and yet, they should take this message to heart themselves.

There is one point of disagreement. BA thinks that slurs will not deter Pelosi, so the argument that Tom Watson originally raised about watching our own language before it is used against our own really doesn't resonate with her. But I'm not thinking so much about the effect it will have on Pelosi personally, I'm thinking of the electorate or American citizens in general. We on the left lose the moral high ground when we stoop to their level. If we can bandy slurs about someone's sex, race, etc then we can't very well complain when Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter does it, can we? I think there was very little outrage over the Supreme Court making the final decision in the 2000 election, because people were thinking "what's the difference, they're all the same." We have to prove we aren't the same, we have to prove we are better. Injuring those who should be on your side doesn't help matters in any way.

Belledame222 also picks some gems out of BA's post and gives them a good polishing.

And R.Mildred has the next to last word on FDL's assberet misogyny... And proves it's not pearl clutching about naughty language in the bargain. Progressives understand nuance, and online personas too, otherwise we would be fainting dead away after reading Rude Pundit. People like R.Mildred and Rude Pundit know how to walk the tightrope without falling off, while TRex has gotten brain damage from repeatedly falling on his head.

UPDATE: The final word on the FDL fiasco goes to a newer blog, Mo Betta META for The Wonderful World of Meta, another huge round up! Thank you to Nanette for sending this my way.

HOLY CRAP! All this time I haven't had Human Beams on my list of links??? I could have sworn I had it there! I'm fixing that right away and sending my apologies to Nanette!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Parallels and deeper issues

The latest FDL flap has gotten some bloggers thinking and posting...

First there is MBW over at Wampum with Yes, Virginia, the "R-Word" is as offensive as the "N-Word" and the "C-Word"

Which inspires Nanette at Human Beams to post a continuation of the topic.

Taking a different direction, Republic of Palau wonders if over time the desire for accolades like awards, fundraising, recognition by the media or politicos, etc has a corrupting effect; creating an alternate 'Establishment'. MBW has written about this in the past regarding the Koufax Awards. It was meant as a community building exercise and a way for liberals/progressives to discover some great writing. In the last couple of years it has turned into a cutthroat competition with some nominees even directing their readers to cheat. I'm sure she will address this at Wampum in the run up to this years Koufaxes. Anyway, go read RoP's take at Progressive Gold, Metablogging For Fun & Profit

Sunday, December 03, 2006

FDL Racism/Sexism Round-Up

Once again FireDogLake has caused a completely unnecessary commotion by revealing some of their racist and sexist notions. I guess the best place to start would be background on the first incidents, the Blackface Joe graphic and TRex telling a black/latino woman named Liza Sabater to mind her betters, Jane Hamsher: The Left’s Answer to Ann Coulter? and A Chasm Illuminated. You could spend all day just reading those posts, the comments, and the links with their comments for background! In the comments at Dark Sun, check out what Sunrunner says in the 8th comment down about how dissent is not appreciated and stomped to dust at FDL. This aspect of FDL is noted again and again and again in many of the comments sections of these discussions.

Then there is the anti-Japan, and generally anti-Asian angle. We'll pick that up with the most recent episode: FDL’s TRex is at it again. Sunrunner again does the heavy lifting, pointing out a post at DKos where TRex's xenophobia gets the best of him regarding Japan. There are several other examples at FDL; here, here, here (UPDATE-Originally I had asked people to click the link to TRex's post from within the FDL post, but it appears he has removed his blog. If you want to see the post you have to get it from Google cache.) and here. I know I am missing some links here too, yes, it's A-ok to hate Asians over at FDL and sadly, not many are willing to come to their defense. I assume it has to do with the fact that most Americans are so ignorant about Asian people, cultures, and histories, that it's almost like ridiculing them is like ridiculing fictional or cartoon people. Now that I think of it, much of racism is this way.

Which might explain the combustibility of the sexist charges, after all, women make up roughly 50% of the population. More people feel directly targeted, and many men happen to love those 'targets' and understand and feel the same anger. In this latest episode, Pachacutec describes in minute detail how a female Democratic Representative is a whore. Since the word whore is common currency describing both men and women who sell out their principles, it would have barely raised an eyebrow or two amongst readers. But he didn't leave it there, the detail suggests that she is a literal prostitute selling her sexual services. Nearly similtaneously, TRex calls a female conservative pundit a cunt. She definitely is a nasty piece of work, but that has nothing to do with her gender.

I won't go into the fine points of my thoughts on this since the myriad of links cover so much. So onto the links:

Anti-Feminism on the Left III, this is part three in a series. Tom Watson advises bloggers and activists on the left to rein in their sexist impulses, as well as the inflammatory language, and happens to use these examples to illustrate. Then all hell breaks loose.

Once Is An Accident, Twice Is Coincidence, Three Times Is Enemy Action, where I first became aware of the brouhaha because I avoid FDL since the "mind your betters" chapter; but I love Progressive Gold!

I knew Kai would have a thought or two and he picks this up in his Thursday Roundup.

Then Feministe goes on an informative spree with three related posts. Zuzu's Sound Familiar?, Piny's To Review, and Piny's That's One Word For It.

It rates a mention by Wolcott in Bilbo Baggins Beyond the Valley of the Superboobies.

Shakespeare's Sister weighs in with On Cunts.

As does Neddie Jingo in Lefty-Backbiting Brouhaha.

Pinko Punko let's 'er rip with Nobody at Three Bulls. The way I wrote that sounds like shadow boxing LOL, eh, just go read. Then come back and explain cucumbers and emus to me. I must know!

Punkassblog fires one off with Firedoglake eats shit, fucks the dead, and misses the point entirely.

Thersites decides to take a different tack in Weird Weather.

And if that was different, how about this at Ezra's place, On Obscene Sexual Expressions.

For the first time ever, Lance Mannion needs his mouth washed out with soap in Whoring the language.

Echidne gets out the firehose for The Arid Land Of Politically Correct Debate

Bellatrys is not amused and says so in In re the recent FDL defense of sexist language.

This one is Bizarro World, Naughty Words and Pictures. Maha was having a heck of a time trying to explain the sexism to some willfully ignorant characters, while at the same time being willfully ignorant to racism. I'd like to give Elayne Riggs a big sloppy smooch for making the effort to explain, Timewarp, and Ebogjonson too! Maha sticks her fingers in her ears and says, "LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" and closes her comments. No matter, Ebogjonson is gonna say what has to be said. For more background on Maha's reaction check here. (Yes, I rewrote this paragraph, updates were too confusing.)

Elayne also covers the dust up in Pressies and check out the great graphic one of her readers made for her birthday. This makes me feel terribly guilty since I haven't been making my blog rounds for the past several weeks and have been playing catch up, but hadn't caught up with Elayne or wished her HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELAYNE!

Amanda reluctantly tells her friend TRex, and his apologists, that he is full of shit in Dogs that won’t hunt (because they’re pussies)

Republic of Dogs does the Roundup To End All Roundups on this one in {the right tools for the job}, maybe I shouldn't say it's JUST a round-up, because there is alot of analysis in this one too.

Apparently FDL has gone too far this time since this one isn't dying down but appears to continue gaining momentum. If true, I'll add more links as I find them (or you find them and tell me in my comments).

UPDATE: HAH! No sooner do I post this and just surfing my links and I find Belledame222 is grinding her axe, In other news, firedoglake has just changed its name to Assberets, Inc.

UPDATE 2: Lindsay Beyerstein opines on Sexual metaphors and profanity. She words this in a way to avoid linking it to the FDL situation, but I found some of the best commentary on that situation in the comments anyway. Here Amanda Marcotte says:
Well, the root cause really does go back to agenda-setting. People really look up to Fire Dog Lake as a blog where they don't have this hostility to "identity politics", but in fact see the big picture here, and the importance of having the liberal resurgence be about economic progressivism AND foreign policy issues that are based in trying to keep peace AND opposition to oppression by race, sex, and sexual orientation. Markos and the Sensible Liberals out there want to see these goals as somehow opposed, but I think that will are fixing to see that they are intermixed.

And Nancy Pelosi's rise to Speaker is going to be huge for us peddlers in mere identity politics. Sensible Liberals are always seeking what goal they have to compromise on to get another, and while they were debating---do you give in on the war? do you give in on women's rights?---a woman rose to the 3rd most powerful position in the country, and controls the agenda of DC now and guess what? She was against the war from the beginning and a supporter of women's rights. Compromising your principles to get things done turns out to be the exception, not the rule.

And now we're seeing the damage that the widespread tolerance of sexist slurring is going to do to the Democrats because this whole arsenal of attacks against Pelosi will be handed out in the mainstream media that wouldn't be there if sexist language was as shameful as racist language. And it's going to hurt the people who were against the war all along, because she's been there with us. If more people would got on board with this antagonism to sexist language that feminists demonstrate, then we could have had a much better chance of minimizing the damage of these attacks. The reason tensions are high right now is the people who mock the "PC police" were often doing so, like Markos, to make us seem inconsequential so people like him get to set more of the agenda. And in doing so, they shot themselves in the foot. I think the whole cloth liberals who think all these issues are important are seeing this happening, seeing that we were right, and getting pushier because of it.

You go girl! This is the point Tom Watson was making in his series. How can we pushback against sexism from the right when we have it on display here on the left? Why shouldn't a rightwing blogger be able to call Pelosi, Hilary Clinton, or any liberal/progressive women they abhor a cunt since it's acceptable for our side to do it? I also like the point she is making about how men like Markos have no problem throwing us (women/POC - identity politics) and our issues under the bus to increase their own influence, and that they are finding out they were wrong to do so.

Then there is an interesting twist at Eli's place where in impromptu reunion of FDL diaspora (tip of the hat to Karen M) took place; Irony-Rich Bloodletting. There are many examples of the autocratic attitude of the frontpagers at FDL there as well as here and here, as well as the comment at Dark Sun (mentioned above) with the bile Jane Hamsher unloaded on some poor commenter named Margaret who had the audacity to mildly criticise Jane.

UPDATE 3: Ebogjonson shows FDL how to punk rock with the dreamlife of potted plants.