Chicago teacher, activist, writer, media strategist
Not my best piece of writing.
It seems you purposely chose not to address the actual bullying and racism exacted by those same WOC feminists who “don’t have as much clout”. The same harassment you received from Hayes’ followers is the same for anyone who calls those women out or asks an innocent question. They “punch down” to those with smaller audiences, I experienced it myself only I punched back and still do. An honest review would’ve addressed that. I and others who are sick of the “toxicity” have yet to find a positive discussion about feminism that doesn’t center on any feminist (white or not) who gives it a bad name.
Give it rest Joslyn, you’re also one that twitter bullies mega tons. #fact #getreal
Joslyn… want a tissue?
Please let those of us who work outside the blogosphere and urban action centers know when online “feminists” decide to work on feminism. A lot of what I’m seeing online are inner circles of posturing, and it trivializes the more educational and insightful articles authored by some of the same.
I have no interest in joining overcooked personal attacks on those who happen to sneeze the wrong way. In fact, I’m more apt to call out such counterproductive toxicity. There are more productive ways…
The best escape route for a known wanted criminal is to walk through a crowd of ‘suspects’.
Great article. As to the comments, I don’t understand the assumption that discriminates “online activism” from “offline activism”. There’s a presumption that those of us who fight privilege aren’t fighting for justice offline and sacrificing and losing lots. It’s false. And furthermore, those who tell us to be quiet, take aversive oppression and stop being “toxic” online are usually the same ones who make “safe spaces” for privilege, and threatening spaces for folks of color in justice circles offline.
Personally, I need my online affinity. When the day’s offline activism is tough and I feel marginalized, it is wonderful to go to a space where the people who accuse others of “personally attacking others for happening to sneeze the wrong way” more often lose.
Kenzo is very effectively addressing the issue of “doubling down”. And he’s right. When you hurt others and you double down on it, people are going to feel justified in attacking that behavior. It’s not bullying; it’s justice. When I mess up and get called on it, I don’t feel hurt, I feel educated.
In the end, let’s not forget that when some folks “sneeze the wrong way”, others get pneumonia and die from infected blankets.
To paraphrase a couple of outstanding offline (and online) activists, Microaggressions are only micro to the aggressor. They shorten folks’ lives.
Well, I can see my post confused you; or perhaps not. You may continue to rewrite my thoughts as you wish, if it pleases you. It does not change who I actually am, nor prod me to do the same to you.
Good luck to you in your online and offline works. But do keep with the works, for it’s generally worth it.
This is my comment: http://wholethinking.wordpress.com/log-of-online-harassment/
I’m glad I took a break and came back with an improved attention span to read this. It is obvious you have a breadth of experience in HR relations. I’m finding such skills are imperative in nearly every aspect of work and social relations these days, as well as team vitality.
One also has another choice: to communicate using sound communication and conflict resolution skills and to try to understand what might be misunderstood. It can be done if all parties are willing and choose to communicate using civility and respect.
Ridiculing the concept of bullying and harassment does not help anything. Assuming that those who are marginalized are incapable of engaging in bullying and harassment is misguided and an incorrect assumption that gives harassers a free pass.
Assuming that WW are only one-dimensional characters who only have privilege is also a mistake; many WW are also disabled, survivors of rape and abuse, Vets and otherwise marginalized.
To allow double standards for communication and behavior based on identity is only going to create continued problems and will not result in better understanding of privilege and bad behavior.
I’d like to see a list of descriptions of actual bullying and harassment (and slander and libel) and allow people to understand what about those instances make them bad behavior on what is substantive about them – regardless of the identities of those who are either perpetrators or victims.
There are many, many WW who want to be allies with WOC and who themselves are marginalized for various reasons but who are also not going to step forward online because they’ve seen too many well-intentioned WW feminists who do work regularly against racism be horribly mistreated by those who are so angry right now that all they want to do is lash out and claim it’s their right to do so.
This is a serious problem. Some of the same WOC who are behaving this way and who have in the past truly harassed and bullied people of all colors who disagreed with them on any topic – are also complaining that they do not have as many WW allies as they’d like.
There are WW feminists who want to be allies with WOC and who do acknowledge the various forms of privilege they have. They do want to engage, but not if they’re going to be slandered, libeled and yes, harassed and bullied for any and every statement they make or because they see merit in Goldberg’s article.
It also worth mentioning that Anna Holmes, a WOC, who is quoted in Goldberg’s article, agrees that the article was well-researched and well-reported, particularly in how it exposed the viral myth that the Barnard #FemFuture meeting included no WOC – when that was not at all true.
What is true and what is false matters. Behavior that meets the definition of harassment – matters – regardless of the identity of who is perpetrating it.
Conflict resolution on neutral ground is a good idea, though I’m not sure how one would go about including a full range of legitimate concerns from various sides, or find a neutral mediator for that matter.
I appreciate the public participation these open venues offer, but I also believe we ‘fan bases’ (pardon me, correct words escape me) sometimes pressure those capable of presentation, civil exchange, and resolution to effectively shut down such positive progressive engagements.
Conflict is often more desirable and self affirming than understanding and resolution; it’s just human nature. Best mutual efforts increase when a clean room is provided.
Good gawd, I must go clean now. My mind is all-a-clutter.
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At some point, people should probably point out that Goldberg’s piece, whatever its demerits, was not actually targeting women of color specifically. And the fact that it is represented that way prevents anyone from looking at what the real problem is, which is self-identified “white allies” who actually generate the majority of the acrimony on Twitter while being exposed to none of the backlash or risk. It’s a class of people who actually do wake up in the morning looking to find something to be outraged about, who use hashtag activism as a kind of personal entertainment while being inoculated by their whiteness from the actual stakes. By immediately deciding that Goldberg is just a white woman attacking women of color, people criticizing her keep anybody from looking hard at the people who treat these politics as a kind of spectator sport and social competition.
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