Update

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Update 1 (Edited to clarify: I wrote this update a couple weeks after the controversy over Marcotte’s Alternet article and the Seal Press debacle at BlackAmazon’s blog, when a book by Marcotte, published by Seal Press, was promoted on Feministe.  The promotion made no mention of the controversies and gave full support to Marcotte):

And in case anyone is optimistic/naive/foolish enough to hope that after all the shit that went down, we white feminists are any closer to “getting it,” just go check out the thread on Feministe going on RIGHT NOW, in which we are fucking up again. And in which I made the mistake of trying to sound nice to Marcotte because I thought maybe that would get through to her; but I shouldn’t have bothered because all the white people on the thread are trying so hard to protect her it’s disgusting. And nothing anyone has said is getting through. At. All. Oh and by the way the book being promoted? Full of racist imagery. Oh yes we are “getting it” all right. Getting that we don’t have to do a damn fucking thing to stop the racism in our ranks, because that’s what privilege is all about. Excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall. Repeatedly. Because that’s more productive than talking to a room full of white feminists.

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Update 2 (edit: For a day or so a group of us, led by Littlem, argued furiously with posters at Feministe trying to get the book promotion taken down, but were ignored.  Radfem had a copy of the book and reported that the pictures in it were incredibly racist.  Still nothing was done, so Wolfa took a camera to a bookstore and snapped some photos of the images):

These are the images from the book being promoted on Feministe. Credit to Wolfa for getting them to me, and Radfem for noticing and telling us about them. (For those just now wandering into this, some background on this controversy is here).

Marcotte 1

Marcotte 2

Marcotte 3

…..

…..

…..

Well. You know what sucks about all this? What makes me feel like shit, and ought to piss off anyone else who sees the pictures, too? I mean besides the obvious racism in a feminist(!) text.

Tiffany in Houston wrote on the Marcotte promo thread in Feministe:

When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted.

Once again, I’ve been proven correct.

Yes. Once again.

Sure, maybe these pictures will FINALLY make Jill et al retract their support for the book and for Marcotte — if they don’t they have no business calling themselves feminists. But see here’s the thing. Even if we win this little battle. Even if for once, just once, the white feminists who have been turning deaf ears to complaints finally take action to correct their mistakes, they have already proven Tiffany to be absolutely correct. The fact that the book was promoted, with those pictures in it, not less than two weeks after the appropriation business, proves Tiffany correct. The fact that several commenters on the thread saw the pictures and STILL refused to immediately retract support for Marcotte, proves Tiffany correct. The fact that it has taken an ally with a camera to throw those images up in their faces, and endless screaming by many outraged people to make it an issue, and that there STILL has been no retraction of support, proves Tiffany correct.

The number of allies who have signed onto the Letter-to-White-Feminists is encouraging, but in the face of this? Of incident after incident with NO apology or change or retraction from the mainstream feminist community?

We have a long, hard fight ahead of us to change things, folks. A long. Hard. Fight.

I am still committed. I still believe in white feminists — that we can become good allies. But NOT in them. They do not, cannot, should not define the movement. So let’s keep fucking fighting.

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Update 3 (Edit: Apologies are issued, though only for the pictures.  There is still no mention of the Alternet article from Marcotte.  I wonder at the fact that we had to fight this hard, and put up freaking pictures, before there was any response at all):

Jill of Feministe has retracted support for the book.

Holly at Feministe writes an eloquent response that asks hard questions of Seal Press and Marcotte. Go and read the entire thing.

Karnythia at the Angry Black Woman’s writes:

I can’t stand in sisterhood with someone that’s (maybe) willing to knife me in the back and it’s taking too much effort to try to weed out the ones that are really allies from the ones that are only claiming the title…. we’re going to need you to commence cleaning up your house before you can help us clean up the world.

(The emphasis is mine) Now go and read her entire post.

And on the topic of feminism and who it really belongs to, Anxious Black Woman has an amazing post here.

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Update 4 (Edit: Meanwhile arguments continue to rage.  At Pandagon, Marcotte’s blog, there is a torrent of commentary about how the images aren’t really that racist, how people are out to get Marcotte, how wonderful a person she is for issuing an apology, etc.  Some Pandagon commenters spill over into Feministe and attack LittlemIt’s worth noting that although we are both biracial (I think), we are treated very differently based on how we self-identify.  I am treated (IRL and online) “white,” because I sound/act white, have a white family and bkgd, and self-identify as “a feminist with white privilege,” which I feel is the most accurate way to describe my identity without long-winded explication.  Littlem, who is able to “pass” but self-identifies as a WOC, got ignored more frequently than I did and attacked more viciously):

All right, being attacked on large feminist blogs is one of the reasons so many WOC are tired of dealing with white feminists. Nice to know it’s still happening. Full story in the comments.

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Update 5 (Edit: Seal Press has promised to reprint the offending book without the images, and has issued on apology.  Responses from several great bloggers follow):

ProfBW has a post up responding to Seal Press. Go and read it to understand why a simple “apology” is not enough. ProfBW also lists some things Seal Press should do if they are indeed committed to change. She lays it out very thoroughly, so let’s keep up the pressure. Add the girlcott logo to your blog and write to Seal Press telling them you will not support them until they make changes!

Sylvia posts a good-bye from BlackAmazon:

I think the point where I went fuck it , is when a law student, a couple writers, and a professor basically endorsed a book and MISSED in reading something they were ATTACHING their names to .

Racist comics, about MY PEOPLE. Yeah MY PEOPLE, being KILLED and destroyed to save a white man and give a white woman the “courage” she so desperately desires .

And people fell over themselves to excuse them . Cause they’re learning

You know what , fuck off.

The Angry Black Woman has this to say, among other things:

The white feminists who are seen as leaders, who are given press and attention and cred are in need of enlightenment. Because there are plenty of white feminists who do get it, who are enlightened, who can see the interconnectedness between anti-racist work and anti-sexist work. So what’s really needed is a good purge. Those of you who know what’s up need to weed out or educate those of you who don’t… quite honestly, I am tired of the burden being on us to fix this mess. [emphasis added]

Fellow white feminists, are you hearing this? Please go read her entire post On Feminism, Part 2.

Sudy writes about how it’s not just about one thing or one person. She makes a long list of instances similar to those of the past few weeks. On the subject of apologies, she writes:

I tend to view apologies as the beginning, not the end. So, if apologies are true and heartfelt, you’ll forgive me for not weeping with joy and instead, again, borrowing this popular term, “Prove it.”

Not to me, but to those who you say you love and have hurt. Prove it to them. [emphasis added]

Go and read these posts, please. Read them, and Sudy’s other post about whether change is possible. She asks hard questions of us. I hope we can examine ourselves and change.

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Update 6, (7/28/08 ) on Alternet: (Edit: Months after the controversies listed above, Alternet puts out an article by another white feminist calling for unity from WOC):

Heidi Schnakenberg has written an article about white feminists, feminist infighting, and unity that reiterates much of what white feminists have been saying for a long time. Namely, that women need to come together and unite despite our differences. I make note of this here mainly to point out that it was Alternet that first published Marcotte’s article about immigrant women. Now they have another white woman writing about issues of race and feminism. At some point, perhaps, Alternet will see fit to have an actual woman of color write about, well, women of color? Or do I ask for too much…?

181 Responses

  1. you gotta be fucking kidding me right? Please fucking say no – this can’t be fucking true. You have to tell me after 3 fucking years of blogging bullshit – they don’t learn jack?

  2. Holy fucking shit.

    I . . . just holy shit.

  3. What Cara said.

  4. They don’t learn. They haven’t learned. They still haven’t retracted the book promo. They CERTAINLY haven’t called out Marcotte on her BS. This is Seal Press, btw, which just ties everything together in a lovely little racist knot, doesn’t it?

    Please voice your outrage on Feministe. Please please please. This should NOT be promoted there and it is disgusting.

  5. [...] If We Could Just Agree on One Thing Then let that one thing be, “This ain’t good.” [...]

  6. I haven’t been able to make coherent sentences.
    Por Dios. I…fuckin’…
    Who thought this was a good idea? And who didn’t notice it wasn’t?

  7. So wait. After anger over the original cover stemming from its racist overtones, Amanda “fights to get it changed” and then includes all of those?

    Wow.

  8. I just. Can’t. Believe it. I honestly hope Jill responds some more about this, because she seems like she may come to understand this stuff better, given time, whereas I have little hope for Amanda to do so.

    Thank you for sharing these pictures.

  9. Yeah, when I read the illustration description over on Feministe, I suspected this was what we’d see. So, SO, disheartening. I feel ill.

    I wonder how Amanda’s going to respond to this “attack.”

  10. It’s bad enough to show a blonde person in the jungle without aknowledgement of what happened when blonde people came to the jungle.

    It’s a whole nother level, however, to show the bone-in-nose, speakchucking native stereotype getting beat on by white superheroes.

    Although, I have noticed the bone-nose spearchucking stereotype has had an upswing in popularity lately (see also, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Pirates of the Caribbean II, what I seem to remember was an ad during the superbowl, this book).

    Which bugs me as a POC and as an aspiring cultural anthropologist.

    • What happens to Blondes in jungle? They get ate? And that’s ok, cuz they White, huh?

      • They enslave, slaughter and destroy the natives and their culture.

  11. Well, Vox, she learned that people will find fault with anything she does ’cause they’re haters, right? So why settle for racist undertones with a white woman fighting a big black ape, when she can actually be beating down a spear-chucking, ooga-booga-mask-wearing, bulging-codpieced caricature of an actual black person? To save a clean-shaven whitebread man? With dancing, hooting savages and their animal companions representing all the threats to the erstwhile blonde feminist adventurer?
    Or, oh wait, isn’t the new claim that she had no input on the illustrations of her book, and was given galleys that didn’t include those pages, but even if she had seen them, they’re ironic, and anyway, the only people calling out racism are haters trying to find fault because of personal vendettas?

  12. It is telling, though, that the tale told is a brave white woman flying along, ascending to the heights, and fighting for her man while held back, knocked down, and menaced on all sides by people of color who just want to bring her down.

  13. !!!!

  14. Oh My Fucking God!!!

  15. oh gosh.

    Nuh-UH.

    My jaw is still on the floor. Whoa dude are those some problematic images.

  16. As someone who is just catching up on this whole situation, can anyone provide me with a link (or links) that discuss Seal Press’s behavior? (Is the criticism of the publisher to do with Amanda’s book (and if so, how), and/or are there other instances of the company being a bad actor?)

    And, ITA that Amanda doesn’t have an excuse for allowing the book to go ahead with these illustrations, but ESPECIALLY in light of the debacle over the original cover art (caught up on that thread via a link from Feministe).

    Oy. Vey.

  17. Renska, regarding Seal Press:

    WOC, Ph.D.

    A Book Without a Cover

    Writeous Sister Speaks

    And last but NEVER least:

    Having Read the Fine Print

    Ought to get you started.

  18. HAS SHE LOST HER MIND?

    She hasn’t, has she?

    oh god.

  19. Oh wow. I can’t honestly believe that after the whole first cover blow-up they let the book come out with those illustrations, either Amanda or Seal.

    I don’t really know what else to say.

    Aside to Vanessa: There was also a Wendy’s ad running in Canada (I don’t know about the US) with similar bone-in-nose CANNIBALS. I don’t think it’s running anymore.

  20. This makes me want to throw up. How do you NOT know see how effing wrong this is?

  21. Not ironic at all. Not acceptable at all.

    How could someone not see this before it went to print? Oh, wait, privilege is blind.

  22. Although, I have noticed the bone-nose spearchucking stereotype has had an upswing in popularity lately (see also, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Pirates of the Caribbean II, what I seem to remember was an ad during the superbowl, this book).

    Vanessa, my private theory is that the types of attitudes that permit and encourage this kind of imagery drip down from an Administration that characterizes the Constitution as “just a piece of paper”, and flourish when exacerbation of economic concerns drives people to belief that “others” are taking their jobs, their lives, their mates, their things.

    When a fish begins to stink, it starts at the head.

    All lies, of course, but it sure feels true if you’re too tired from your 80-hour week and/or don’t have enough facts to think clearly. And we all know that oligarchic regimes in power don’t exactly have a vested interest in educating the public.

    (Not the entire public, anyway).

    Ico, you are MADE OF WIN for your investigation and exposure. I am behind the 8-ball today but will email you tomorrow.

  23. I wonder how Amanda’s going to respond to this “attack.”

    Anyone else really not give a rip?

  24. Thanks Littlem, but you should really give credit to Wolfa for getting the pictures. She went to the bookstore and snuck in her camera so she could email us these shots. She is awesome!

  25. LOL So you guys didn’t even buy the book! Ya just took photos! That’s awesome! Good work!

  26. And no one noticed these images were horrible racist? Thanks for the photos, I needed the visual to really get it. Might if I post this on my blog?

  27. Of course we couldn’t buy the book. Can’t support that shit! :D Thanks, Grandpa Dinosaur!

    Moondancer Drake — feel free.

  28. [...] April 24, 2008 at 6:31 pm (feminism, stupidity, white supremacy/racism) Via Off Our Pedestals, this is absolutely unbelievable. [...]

  29. Really bad. Really, really bad.

    (PS: Way to throw some gasoline on the fire, Seal Press.)

  30. Oh, and I just showed these to my hubby (white hubby mind you) and he said “WTF? That’s just wrong.” So not buying that they didn’t know these were horrible racist.

  31. Yep. I was in the local B&N today and saw ‘em with my own three eyes. amazing. I particularly like the one where there’s this brutelike looking darkskinned man slouching out of hit hut, glaring scarily at Our Heroine as she saunters past.

    and, like, they don’t even make any -sense-. they have precisely -nothing- to do with the content, which at a glance seems relative innocuous, even mildly entertaining, of itself. She didn’t -need- -any- illustrations. And–who thinks that shit is funny? let alone doesn’t get that some people might have a problem?…especially after the cover?…like, what, people complain about the Symbolism of an ape but will be totally fine with -actual stereotyped “natives”?- or, what, won’t notice, or…?

    ???

    gobsmacked.

  32. it’d probably already gone to print when the shitstorm with BA came out. not that they might actually y’know actually think about such a thing and go, hmm, oopsie, let’s do something about that before we make things even worse.

    because if they WERE the sort of people to have clue one about that, -they wouldn’t have put those damn things in in the first place.-

  33. >> wonder how Amanda’s going to respond to this “attack.”

    Anyone else really not give a rip?>>

    well, only in the sense of “morbidly curious, pass the popcorn, peeks between fingers.”

    I reckon she’s just about ready for her closeup by now. That, or a Checkers speech. something.

  34. >>Vanessa, my private theory is that the types of attitudes that permit and encourage this kind of imagery drip down from an Administration that characterizes the Constitution as “just a piece of paper”, and flourish when exacerbation of economic concerns drives people to belief that “others” are taking their jobs, their lives, their mates, their things.

    When a fish begins to stink, it starts at the head.>>

    –applause–

  35. “It is telling, though, that the tale told is a brave white woman flying along, ascending to the heights, and fighting for her man while held back, knocked down, and menaced on all sides by people of color who just want to bring her down.”

    There is that. Not to get y’know overly analytical or anything, fuck knows, but…yeah.

    and the content of the book, while of course not focusing on “menacing people of color” explicitly, is all about, well, “you can’t do anything right, gosh darn it.” Funny enough when it’s, like, “what kind of shoes are acceptable footwear for the Feminist.” But as we see: yeah, it does really speak volumes as to where she’s coming from.

    “The path of the righteous is beset on all sides.”

    something.

  36. y’know, just to say, besides that I like Jill and she has in fact just made a declaration in comments at least strongly denouncing the cartoons (and a promise to post about it more fully within 24 hours)–she usually does try to do the right thing–Feministe also has Holly blogging for it, and kactus, who’s currently on hiatus it seems like. And Cara’s denounced this shit on her own blog, at least. So personally, not ready to write them off, although I understand if other people are. certainly I think not -relying- on them or any other Big Blog ™ makes a lot of sense for a whole bunch of reasons.

  37. asd;alskgsdfgfdg grumblemumblegrumblemumble.

    like

    REALLY???

    well, yes. really. because her first book’s cover wasn’t criticized for using the same type of images.

    i think i need to go beat my head against a wall now.

  38. WOW. Won’t be buying that one, that’s for sure, which I would’ve done if I didn’t know this crap was in it. I wish the heads up wasn’t necessary, but I’m grateful you took the time to give it.

  39. they probably figured that no woman of color would buy it anyway so they’d get away with it.

    fucking piece of shit assholes.

  40. By the way, those images are not just racist, they are also speciesist. Amanda’s images promote violence to people of color, violence to animals, guns, weapons, and war, Barbie, Ken, destruction of the environment, imperialism, and more.
    I think they’re sexist, too. I wrote about the cover here back in March:

    http://www.elainevigneault.com/guns-killing-and-meat-a-feminists-best-friends.html

  41. [...] Finally, and less belatedly on my part, Amanda’s book itself. These images are racist.2 They come from Amanda Marcotte’s book “It’s a jungle out [...]

  42. they probably figured that no woman of color would buy it anyway so they’d get away with it.

    Well, you know, Kate, even if we’re “mixed”, you know none of us can really READ.

    That’s why I’m trying to find time in my schedule for tea with Boy and Cott. I think the two of them would love to meet my friends (of lots of colors!) who work as tenured professors, university administrators, and in the mainstream press.

    Mmm hmmm.

  43. holy crap. that’s just…unforgivable.

  44. [...] book “It’s A Jungle Out There”, published by Seal Press, is now online at Dear White Feminists. I wrote about Seal Press a short while ago, here, and y’all know about the current [...]

  45. [...] via Dear White Feminists via Wolfa and RadFem. I haven’t seen them firsthand myself, because I haven’t bought or [...]

  46. It’s been said before, but… holy shit.

  47. What this really necessary? Amanda had a post on her site complaining about people giving her a bunch of negative reviews. But when you look up the book on Amazon there’s nothing but 4 and 5 star scores. I get the feeling that misogynist backlash wasn’t the only thing she was worried about.

    At first I was seriously considering buying this book to give it and Amanda a fair chance but I am so glad I saw those pics first. There is not way I could support a book like that no matter how “funny”, “witty”, or “in your face” it is.

  48. Umm, wow. Just wow.

    That comparison Marcotte has repeatedly made of WOC bloggers to right-wing attackers, combined with this….

    Just wow.

    Shame on Seal Press.

  49. Epic.

    Marcotte has a lot of explaining to do, but in her and Seal Press’s fashion of making of making snippy, shitty remarks, that explanation will never come.

    How typical.

  50. How can a serious feminist even contemplate using images like this in her book?

    I have been hesitating about this, seeing that there was a real problem, seeing that Marcotte had fcuked up badly, in the work that drew on the writings of WoC, in the original cover of her book. But you see, I am a Clinton supporter, ‘tho if Mr Obama wins the nomination, I would of course vote for him (not that it matters – I am not an American citizen so I don’t have a vote anyway), and Amanda has been outspoken in her hatred of Clinton. I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, to give her a chance to say something about it, to make an effort to do better.

    No more. These illustrations are just wrong.

  51. [...] pages, which I saw in person earlier tonight at a bookstore. The images were scanned by Wolfa and posted by Ico after being poitned out by Radfem. These pages are chapter headers from It’s a Jungle Out [...]

  52. What littlelight said. Holy shit, what is wrong with this woman? And why did no one at Seal Press stop and go “um, are these images really appropriate”? It’s a perfect storm of racist dumbassery.

  53. [...] ordering “It’s A Jungle Out There” Jump to Comments … And then I saw this on the “Dear White Feminists” blog whose sub-headline reads, appropriately, “Quit [...]

  54. “Having fun while surviving”

    …okay, this has just moved from stupid and infuriating to utterly bewildering.

  55. [...] Dear White Feminists, Maia’s post, and Mandolin in Maia’s [...]

  56. Here’s my comment.

  57. I just have to say that my face is pretty much glued to my palms right now.

  58. [...] Feminist facepalm Posted on April 25, 2008 by nojojojo I have no words. [...]

  59. Gah! Stupid interweb won’t let me post a comment on Feministe. Will write Seal Press.

    This is some horrifying shit. Thanks to those who did the investigating, photographing, and posting.

  60. Incredible research being done here and I hope this breaks the silence coming from Pandagon…though I don’t have much hope.

  61. This is beyond disgusting. I had zero interest in her book before, and now will actively campaign against it.

  62. I actually feel sick over this. These pictures + Jill’s post seem like they should be A BAD JOKE, only they are intended to be taken seriously. Jill actually expects people to believe that she didn’t realize that promoting this dumb book would come off as her taking Amanda’s side, and that she thought it was ok to just ignore all of the appropriation bullshit. I feel so antagonized by this new bullshit. Stop fucking up already, white feminists! And PLEASE stop acting like you think you speak for all feminists, because you fucking don’t.

    Ico, thanks so much for posting this. I’ve stopped reading feministe and Amanda is a lost cause to me, so I had no idea this was even going on.

  63. [...] being dicks. Moreover, this is a debate that’s been going on for decades, largely unheard. http://dearwhitefeminists.wordpress.com/update/ has some impassioned, frustrated stuff to say about the ongoing struggle, as does the comments [...]

  64. whoa. and i am so tired of the caveat that see on feministe, et al “i am sure this wasn’t what they intended.” well, all i can say is that i would hate to see what would happen if they set out to be hostile and offensive!

  65. As an anti-choicer myself, I know that we use love rather than spears. And not all of us are fundamentalists.

  66. [...] Also here at Dear White Feminists [...]

  67. Keeping my eyes peeled for Hugo’s defense of this…. :(

  68. [...] But this is unbelievable. [...]

  69. Thank you for this post, especially the photos, and your previous post too. I’ve linked to them both.

  70. [...] 25, 2008 in feminism, race What the fucking [...]

  71. [...] to the people that could say the necessary things without the profanity. But then I saw this post with images from Amanda Marcotte’s latest book and I decided that the time for diplomacy and [...]

  72. [...] you can take a look at these beauties here. (hat tip to [...]

  73. what THE hell

  74. What the actual –

    Okay, seriously, how can one class oneself as progressive and use such friggin’ racist, colonialist BS imagery in th – I need to go have some tea and look at kittens now, too annoyed. If I proceed everything will just be profane and incoherent.

  75. Trackback:

    MetaFilter and Amandagate

  76. Natalia:

    I just have to say that my face is pretty much glued to my palms right now.

    Likewise. So glad I haven’t posted in Amanda’s sandbox in over a year now. Gack. >:

  77. what………. WHAT?! how the hell did this even happen? why would you put something like that in a book about feminism? what the hell is going on?
    how do you even get a book with pictures like that in the stores!? oh my god…

  78. [...] …this is what I mean. That a book can be published, get several good reviews, and not a single person involved in these processes seemed to notice that the imagery contained within is seriously racist is deeply troubling to me. And let me be clear: I see it as a War on PoC, regardless of anyone’s intent. Perhaps that’s harsh, but really, people should know better by now. [...]

  79. [...] it wasn’t your idea to include these totally unacceptable images as title covers for your latest book; and maybe it’s just your publishers at Seal Press being [...]

  80. [...] in reading it now, I will see what I may have otherwise chosen not to see: that someone made an indefensibly racist decision in its selection of artwork for the book. Quite frankly, there’s no excuse for the image at [...]

  81. If possible, could I use one of your images for my blog please? Will credit! Thank you.

  82. Absolutely. :)

  83. [...] fallout from arguments about appropriation continued, and ramped up in the last couple of days when pictures from the book leaked to the rest of us and there was [...]

  84. Oh, but now Amanda has apologized and she’s getting her ass kissed for it. Never mind that last August, she was TOTALLY smug and unapologetic for the same art, minus the cover.

    Unbelievable!

  85. Totally, Christine! It’s really disgusting. I posted on it at Feministe (where I am in moderation :D ):

    The Amanda lovefest going on at her blog right now, in the comments to her apology, is disgusting. So one incident got so in-your-face she had no choice but to make a public statement. Big fecking deal. It is NOT enough. This celebration of “Oh she’s apologized, Seal Press apologized, Jill apologized, Hugo called her out” — it is NOT FUCKING ENOUGH. Forgive the French but it is just not. Have we all forgotten what LED UP TO this stuff? The pictures are just the final crowning incident in a whole series of events. Here, I’ll summarize:

    WOC bloggers called out Marcotte again and again — on the cover, on the appropriation issue. There was the stuff with BA and Seal Press. Each time WOC were dismissed/ignored/and insulted. The dominant narrative became, “A bunch of mean, angry WOC are endangering the white woman’s career!” And “OMG they engage in negative discourse!”

    That was only about 2 weeks ago.

    Now, right after that, what happens? Jill posts a thread promoting Marcotte’s book (the one with the racist pics no one noticed) as if NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. She didn’t fecking notice or think or care until a bunch of us threw a fit about it and asked her to retract her support because it was so damned insensitive and wrong. And by “a bunch of us” I mean those of us who are left, because so many WOC bloggers got sick of us and are already gone.

    And the pics — oh, the pics. Hugo and Jill BOTH had the book and both had access to them. Was there an immediate cry for Marcotte to apologize or remove them?

    NO.

    Littlem and others were calling for Hugo, Jill, et. al to retract promotion of the book from the moment promotion of it began. Radfem summarized the pics and we immediately called for a retraction. That was a full day before the pics went onto the web. We demanded it, screamed it, over and over, but NOTHING WAS DONE. EVEN THOUGH HUGO ET AL HAD ALREADY SEEN THOSE PICS. They didn’t react to them except to say, “Hmm, yeah, they’re problematic.”

    It took one of us with a fucking camera sneaking into the bookstore to get those pics and post them before anyone reacted. And then it was just too in-your-face too ignore. THEN Hugo called out Marcotte. Then Jill apologized. Then Marcotte apologized. Because it went public. Not because the people defending the book were immediately horrified and appalled and took quick and decisive action, but because suddenly they looked really bad.

    And now Marcotte’s apology thread is a lovefest over how great she is.

    The way this all played out sickens me. Totally. Utterly. I am a white feminist. And I am disgusted with us. Tell me I am wrong. Tell me Seal Press, Marcotte, Hugo, everyone who supported that damned book from start to finish until the whole thing exploded — tell me there was a good reason that there was no apology or retraction until AFTER the images went public.

    Tell me there’s a good reason that we’re giving Amanda a pass on the whole appropriation thing now, just because she “apologized.” Has Amanda apologized for the way she has treated WoC? For her dismissiveness during discussion of the cover? For anything else?

    Has anyone asked her to? Hugo? Jill? ANY OF YOU who are now forgiving her?

    You’ll forgive me if I don’t mince words or bother watering down my sentiments just now, but I think too much has happened for this to be sufficient. At. All. There is so much that still has not been addressed or in any way rectified.
    _______________________________________________

    So yeah. The lovefest = ugh.

  86. Some suggestions:

    If you have friends that work as
    – university administrators
    – tenured professors
    – lecturers

    you can let them know that the attitudes that are espoused in the book as perpetuated by the illustrations are NOT attitudes that should be supported and disseminated in institutions of higher learning.

    If you have friends that work at
    – Borders
    – Amazon
    – Barnes and Noble
    – Powells

    you can let them know that this is not a voice that should be supported — and that you have let prospective large-scale purchasers KNOW that it should not be supported — until such time as the offensive images are pulled and a new edition of the book is issued without them.

    If you have friends that work in
    – the mainstream press
    – the offline alternative press

    you can let them know that the attitudes that are espoused in the book as perpetuated by the illustrations are NOT attitudes that should be supported and disseminated in public institutions or public lectures.

    There are things (when and if one is not falling down tired) that can be done in addition to powerful withdrawal — like BFP’s — to demonstrate that there are voices that should not be marginalized, dismissed or ignored, and some things that should NEVER appear, in a culture that says it supports equity and justice for all people.

  87. I started reading “pandagon” as a nineteen year old, and stopped not long after because everything I see written all over the web the last few days was blatantly obvious long before this little piece of racist trash came out.

  88. Oh boy. The “Amanda lovefest” has me at a loss, too. I don’t get it. People are saying these apologies are refreshing. Refreshing?! If someone strands you in the desert for days then comes back and presents you with a glass of warm piss, that is not refreshing. That is the bare fucking minimum they could do to keep you alive. Refreshing would be some, I don’t know, ACCOUNTABILITY, for AM and the editorial masterminds at Seal Press.

  89. Oh, lighten the hell up!

  90. I was pondering deleting Terry C’s comment, but I think I’ll leave it as a reminder of how people typically respond to charges of racism (or sexism, or any other ism for that matter).

  91. Dear Terry: DIAF. Just kidding! Lighten up! lol ;-) :-) :-0

  92. corey: I’m ganking that for quote of the day, hope you don’t mind…

  93. It took one of us with a fucking camera sneaking into the bookstore to get those pics and post them before anyone reacted. And then it was just too in-your-face too ignore. THEN Hugo called out Marcotte. Then Jill apologized. Then Marcotte apologized. Because it went public. Not because the people defending the book were immediately horrified and appalled and took quick and decisive action, but because suddenly they looked really bad.

    I want so much to find some way to argue with you here, but I can’t.

    You’re right: It took too much.

    I say that as someone who likes Hugo (and therefore as someone who may need her head examined), someone who likes Jill (a lot), and to be honest, someone who has liked and wants to like again Amanda. I’ve seen her do good things; I want to see her do more good things.

    But it shouldn’t take this much. I can’t argue with that. And it just underscores for me exactly how exhausting and crazy-making this must be for any woman-of-color blogger who tries to speak up about things like this. Especially when there are other things, even more important things, she’d rather be speaking about.

    If it takes this much just to get an admission that yes, these are racist caricatures illustrating an ostensibly feminist book and that’s wrong–no one wonder some women conclude it’s not worth it and just walk away. And how am I supposed to stand on the corner hollering, “Wait! Come back! We miss you!” under those circumstances?

    I can’t.

    Thanks for laying it all out, Ico.

  94. I was going to read her book, just so I knew what I was talking about with it. But after hearing about these “illustrations” through Hugo?

    No.

    No, no, no.

    That’s fucked.

  95. NO- IT’S STILL NOT OKAY
    SO IT WON’T GO AWAY

    An addendum to my previous post to accommodate apparent recent developments.

    Should someone who chooses not to read or purchase the book write about their concerns to
    – Seal
    – Perseus (Seal’s parent company)
    – Their own local press
    – The press of cities scheduled for the book’s tour stops,

    you may want to suggest that the TOUR BE POSTPONED UNTIL THE NEW BOOKS WITHOUT THE IMAGES BECOME AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. PERMAMENTLY IF NECESSARY.

    Until that time, should you write to the local press of cities scheduled for tour stops to tell them you will not be attending,
    TELL THEM WHY.

    Should you decide to reach out quietly, by private telephone call or email — especially for you more shrinking violet-esque types — to your friends who are
    – publishers
    – booksellers
    – university administrators
    – university professors
    – conference organizers
    – mainstream and alternative print, radio, and television journalists

    to let them know that you will probably not purchase the book until an edition is released without the images in question,
    TELL THEM WHY.

    (Because somehow I can’t quite see the author or the original press including a statement in the second edition as to WHY the first edition was pulled).

    That way, you and your friends have an opportunity to parse the extent to which you want a press – or an author’s voice – that purports to be justice activist but will suppress, but not concede, an error of privilege, in the
    – classroom
    – lecture hall
    – conference
    that YOU call YOUR “safe space”.

    NO- IT’S STILL NOT OKAY
    SO IT WON’T GO AWAY

  96. I actually did skim through her book when I was at the bookstore the other day. I read parts of it — mostly the second half.

    … meh. *shrug* The content is meant to appeal, I guess, to white, middle class young women with pretty mainstream ideas and concerns. Might seem hip to that age group. It has stuff like movies to watch that aren’t sexist, what kind of footware is cool, that type of thing.

  97. What Littlem said!

  98. [...] meant to be ironic.YeahExplain that irony to my 10 year old. She doesn’t get it.Images Via / Dear White Feminists  This was written by mamitamala. Posted on Friday, April 25, 2008, at 9:02 pm. Filed under books, [...]

  99. yeah, like I said, the content itself seemed pretty innocuous, if of limited appeal. (“for those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you’ll like.”) it is bizarre.

  100. um, i did not intend a smilie there. ew.

  101. oooga ooga. want white woman meat. enter my jungle. now me eat.

  102. This white feminist thinks the images are completely unacceptable.

    BAC

  103. If someone strands you in the desert for days then comes back and presents you with a glass of warm piss, that is not refreshing.

    I just laughed out loud for the first time today.

    Thanks, Corey….

  104. “what kind of footware is cool”

    A sharp boot in the a**.

    Sorry. Punchy.

    P.S. If on elects to do the suggestions, a reminder that one does not have to do ALL of the suggestions.

    You can do ONE or TWO of the suggestions. Then pass the list on.

  105. Hey littlem —

    I take your point about not caring about Amanda’s response and now, in light of her response… Oy. I’m quoting myself from Jeff Feck’s post on Shakespeare’s Sister…

    Sure, Amanda may have had no control over the CHOICE of images, but she probably saw galleys at one point. She certainly, as an author, got advance copies (likely before the book was released from the warehouse to bookstores). And she must have, as an author sat down, book in hand, to think “holy crap, I’m a published author” and to look at her words now bound in book format. Hell, she probably got 10 to 20 advance copies and sent one to a friend or two to, in internet parlance “squee” over.

    She didn’t notice. And neither did those friends. Or if she did have a sick, niggling sick feeling over the content of the illustrations, she shoved it down and hoped no one else would [notice either].

    THIS IN LIGHT OF THE INITIAL CONTROVERSY OVER THE COVER.

    If she had noticed, and posted on her site “oh, jesus fuck, I just saw the printed copies and, houston, we have a problem… BTW, I’ve called the publisher on this and I’ll let you know what can be done” she might get a little more sympathy from me.

    But in light of the initial cover incident (you’re just h8ers! and jelus!!!) and the appropriation argument (I did NOT plagiarize) and [these illustrations] (which had to be BROUGHT TO HER ATTENTION BY HER READERS) we get an apology that says “I didn’t choose these” (not my fault) and “I should have caught this sooner” (honey, you didn’t catch it at all, someone ELSE did).

    Yeah. Color me unimpressed.

    It’s instructive, for me, what she’s said, and what she hasn’t. What her supporters say is also (sadly) instructive.

    I do know of Amanda from before — I primarily read blogs about American/electoral politics and Atrios often links to Pandagon. I know Pandagon from before when it was Amanda’s playground but it’s never been on my “blogroll.” But, really, the last time Amanda came to my attention was when she was hired by (and resigned from) the Edwards campaign.

    So this intersection of issues and people is new to me. And it’s an issue that, after a 2-year dry spell, motivated me to engage and learn. Since I’ve been assimilating the controvers, literally, over the past… 24? 36? hours (thanks, ilyaka, for the links), I’m not at the end of my learning (or frustration) curve. But were I you, I’d probably be a lot closer to my usual state of burnout — where I open a window, start to type, and then close it thinking… “what’s the fucking point.”

    I’m not sure that there IS a point to me commenting. I don’t feel like I have any brand-new insights to contribute. But, in this case, I’d rather be just another voice expressing… what have I been expressing… confusion? anger?… than remain silent.

  106. Er… crap. Um: above. Html doesn’t work. Sorry if the post is confusing as a result of my comment of Shakespeare’s Sister not being blockquoted.

  107. >>She didn’t notice. And neither did those friends. Or if she did have a sick, niggling sick feeling over the content of the illustrations, she shoved it down and hoped no one else would [notice either].>>

    at -best-. given her reaction to the initial feedback on the cover a -year- ago, one gets the strong impression that she never really did see what the problem was, after all.

  108. what the f*ck.

  109. belledame —

    OT1H, I agree with you. The fact that she didn’t see the racism in the original cover art makes me wonder whether she’s capable of seeing it without someone waving it in her face and going… “See? No, really. SEE? Wait. Shut up. Listen. Listen some more. NOW do you see?”

    OTOH, the black male figures in the interior illustrations are not coded as gorillas. They’re quite obviously… black males.

    So not seeing it in the second instance, in light of the first, makes me REALLY scratch my head and go… WTF?

    I’m white and have never seen either the original King Kong or the remake. I’m aware of racist tropes involving primates, but the iconic “gorilla on the Empire State Building image” is such a classic mass media image (for me) that if I had seen the initial attempt at a cover for Amanda’s book without any other context, I wouldn’t have equated the racist tropes with “large gorilla holding white female.” But once the larger context was pointed out, I wouldn’t have tried to argue that (my) mass media connotations — which are a) personal to me and b) exist pretty much in a vacuum — somehow trumps the racist ones, or that “no one thinks that way anymore, UR taking things way 2 srlsy!!!”

    At any rate, either Amanda truly didn’t notice the content of the interior illustrations (which is mind-boggling), or she did notice but hoped that she (or her allies) could argue that the use of the illustrations is somehow “transgressive” (which is what I think people mean when they try to argue that the illustrations are “ironic”), and that this argument would somehow cover her ass. Which may be worse.

    Neither explanation excuses her blindness, or behavior.

  110. [...] in regard to the by-now-fairly-ubiquitous images in a recent feminist publication, the same has been said again and [...]

  111. The people in Amanda’s apology thread make me lol.

    Honestly, the men in there have pretty much devolved into saying that “WoC and the people offended are not smart enough to see the ironic sense of humor here.”

    Where does she fucking find these knights in shining armor? You tell them that a white woman’s honor is being threatened (even when she only has herself to blame), and they have to jump all over it.

  112. *sigh* I wish I could lol, A. It just makes me sick and sad and depressed. I was angry before, but now I’m just sad.

  113. yeah, they’re almost as clever and hip and ironic as the Cuttin Up Hookers guy. at such clever ironic hipness I plotz, really.

  114. A., Tell me about it. The thread was unbelievable. How pathetic that the anti-feminist trolls are all rallying by Amanda’s side. Shouldn’t that be a red flag?

  115. I would think so.

    But fuck, she’s gotta take white approval to her apology wherever she can find it. Not to mention that it is very well likely that the men in question don’t know what the hell just led to this. Don’t care really. It’s all about protecting her.

  116. >>How pathetic that the anti-feminist trolls are all rallying by Amanda’s side.>>

    o’rly.

    *

    eventually she’ll become Ann Althouse mark 2 if she doesn’t watch it.

  117. A.,

    I hadn’t realized that you’d posted there until I went and looked in again. I really have to admire anyone who wades into that mess. Wow. It’s… yeah. You characterized it pretty accurately.

    Anyone else getting a kick out of Squashed, though? Srsly, all that “how big is your blog? how big is your readership” stuff is like… ^^ Uh… wow.

  118. now I’m suddenly hearing that to the tune of “How Deep Is Your Love”

    and, so, wait, there’s a person called “squashed” playing size queen over there?

  119. Oh god, this comment over at Pandagon

    I certainly understand your being sorry. But boorish white guys waving breif cases and golf clubs would not have conveyed the sense of danger you were probably going for. There is nothing funny about racial insensitivity. But what are you going to do? Native Americans on the war path? Drunken Hells Angels? I guess we have to go with the little aliens from the cinematic triumph Mars Attacks! I say judge the author on the whole body of work, not a few illustrations.

    Yeah, but why did she need illustrations of a white superwoman being beset by threatening lesser beings in the first place?

    Why?

    Why is that the thread running through so much feminism right now?

    I mean, it’s not just that it’s completely colonialist and elitist, the psychology of it is so unhealthy, and so anti-feminist, really. It’s just the idea that if a horrendously privileged spoiled little girl is having nightmares about evil attackers, it must be someone’s fault, and she’s somehow deserving of praise for ‘surviving’ it. Also, people’s reactions to criticism of her.

    And yeah, to be honest, I’m a little pissed off that it takes images and specific words for us to examine these things in feminism, because all of the problems are present whatever you call them and however you illustrate them.

  120. And while we’re at it, can we widen this discussion to this being, basically, an expression of the extremely privileged trying to preserve their privilege from the threat of the masses, and apply it to middle-class protest movements as a whole, please?

    Because it needs it.

  121. at -best-. given her reaction to the initial feedback on the cover a -year- ago, one gets the strong impression that she never really did see what the problem was, after all.

    Got it in one. c.f., Burquagate, Pickaninnygate, Voguegate.

    Sudy puts it nicely. I will go get her link if she’s given permission, for a more succinct summation of the problem I have yet to see.

    As for the trollesque white male hipsters, I really really really REALLY hope none of you were expecting any different behavior from them. After all, they’re the only people who ever know the truth, right?

    Also, white male hipsters rushing in is a textbook response to White Lady Vapors. To paraphrase the snappy “Rotund”: “There is a pattern and it is not floral”.

    [[ OT for one minute - I would like to extend my deep personal gratitude to Ico, bd, Lisa, and others who defended me on the Feministe thread the other day. Bea's hysterics were yet another manifestation of the White Lady Vapors -- for they are legion -- but at this point her idiocy is up there for posterity (noting also that there was some sort of hipsteresque type who came to christine's aid. You see it frequently enough and the patterns become quite evident).

    So at that point I would like to paraphrase my mom -- if one argues with a fool too long, people might not know the difference.

    I'd like to think that you all eloquently made your point.]]

    Ico, I am working on an email to you and Ilyka right now. Apologies for the delay.

    Back on topic, I want to just remind anyone who is interested that there are suggestions available that can be used this week. If there are not books available without the illustrations in question, then I’m not sure why any books should be sold, either in stores with author appearances or online.

    After all, I can’t imagine that the second printing was some sort of empty gesture. *smirk*

    What do you think?

  122. >>If there are not books available without the illustrations in question, then I’m not sure why any books should be sold, either in stores with author appearances or online.>>

    agreed.

    and really, you’d think that they’d want to for their -own- sakes; seriously, is -no one- who just happened to pick up the book after a casual glance gonna take it home, do a double take and then…?

  123. “pickaninnygate??” i, uh, think i missed that one. do i even want to know?

  124. [...] Dear White Feminists (tagline: “Quite Goddamn Fucking Up”): Update [...]

  125. To paraphrase the snappy “Rotund”: “There is a pattern and it is not floral”.

    Hah, that cracked me up!

    Bea’s hysterics were yet another manifestation of the White Lady Vapors — for they are legion

    OMG, they are! I didn’t realize at first that they were spilling over from Pandagon. Explains a lot, really. At this point (well actually, long before this point, but anyway) I think I’m pretty much ready to write Marcotte off as a) a lost cause and b) someone whom I will never again refer to with the label “feminist.” Not only did her apology ignore all the issues that have come before, but she allows her posse of readers/supporters/fans to slam any criticism of her no matter how accurate it may be (see Yliza’s comments and the subsequent attacks, among others). So I just want to put a tick in the “racist white liberal” checkbox and move on, noting that she. is. not. a. feminist.

    This is just my own personal choice here, but yeah. Fed up with her. And with the folks who refuse to call her out no matter what.

    Also, from Sadassa’s comment upthread:

    And yeah, to be honest, I’m a little pissed off that it takes images and specific words for us to examine these things in feminism, because all of the problems are present whatever you call them and however you illustrate them.

    YES. Very well put. And your second comment too, spot on! I would love for there to be more dialogue addressing this. Thoughts, anyone? Sadassa’s comment is here:

    And while we’re at it, can we widen this discussion to this being, basically, an expression of the extremely privileged trying to preserve their privilege from the threat of the masses, and apply it to middle-class protest movements as a whole, please?

  126. I do not support this book or Seal Press whatsoever. But is telling all white women you don’t trust us now really going to do any good? FYI, I don’t identify as feminist, and I’ve been following this from a distance after seeing a blogger I read mention it, but had no experience of Seal Press previously. The only thing that is NEARLY as shocking as that a for-profit publisher would put this racial smut out and pass it off as progressive, is that a bunch of activist women are taking this not as a chance to discuss and educate the white women who don’t even know this stuff is going on, but as a reason not to trust us because we’re white. Huh?

  127. [...] black feminists online on at least two levels – in substance, as blogger BFP describes, and then in illustration choices. She apologized, at least for the second offense, but even from the outside that apology [...]

  128. [...] brouhaha isn’t about the contents of the book as much as the cover and illustrations.  The original cover was a busty, blonde, white, me-Jane sort of superheroine in a retro [...]

  129. [...] answer:  basically I think people who really opposed colonialism would have had a problem with these images right away. White liberals pretty much support colonialism, though.  Most would even go so far as [...]

  130. Um, LisaDroesov,

    Really? WoC should take this opportunity to educate white women who aren’t aware? Let’s examine the assumptions underlying that statement.

    White women aren’t aware of racism, or of particular racist occurances, through no fault of their own.

    But there are women of color who *do* know this is going on. Since it’s not the white women’s fault they don’t know, obviously it’s not their job to find out about it, or to educate themselves about context or history.

    Never mind that there are like, upteen hundred links to posts on here, with explanations from women of color as well as white women as a) to why this is not okay, b) history behind the current debacle c) a number of analyses about the messages conveyed by these images and on-going discussions, both here and on the aforementioned “big blogs” where, in fact, there are at least a few people engaging the folks who “don’t know” or don’t get it.

    But, you know, despite all of that, the thing that is MOST enraging is the fact that some women of color don’t trust us white feminists. Yeah, I can’t understand that either. I mean, I know everytime *I* get angry at someone’s homophobia, transphobia or misogyny, the people I most look to for support are the ones telling me that my rage is more upsetting than the outrageous way I’ve been treated.

    Won’t you be *my* ally?

  131. Er, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have an account, and this is it. I pinged this post in my own — attempting to follow etiquette.

  132. [...] April 28, 2008 Explosion of Rage Posted by butchfatale under Uncategorized | Tags: allies |   As in, I had one, over on Dear White Feminists. [...]

  133. Lisa,

    Wanting to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but I really need to question your motivation in coming into a thread at question number hundred and something in the update, and then making the priority the ‘white women who don’t even know this stuff is going on’.

    Either you are supremely arrogant and think that it’s always about the white women, or, and I’m really not being sarcastic, but perhaps your very obvious ignorance is showing.

    If that’s the case, there are literally hundreds of comments above and all over the blog world that can tell you why it may be appropriate for women of color to not trust the average white feminist! These discussions presuppose that one will have at least somewhat of an awareness of what they are talking about, before they sound off. Maybe next time?

  134. [...] of some great bloggers out there, the images that appear in that book became public. Racist images. See them for yourselves. After that, two apologies appeared. One from the author of the book and one from Seal Press. I am [...]

  135. [...] feminism and racism go hand in hand (4/25) about racist imagery in Amanda’s new book. * see update @ dear white feminists * i guess it’s a jungle in here too huh * why seal press is off the [...]

  136. [...] (Images lifted from Feministe, who lifted them from Dear white feminists: quit fucking up.) [...]

  137. I’m a feminist blogger, too! I rant here: SteveThePenguin.com

  138. Butchfatale, I wrote out a really really really long response to your response to my comment, and then I erased it because it really didn’t say what I wanted to say at all. Condensed, the point is regarding this part of your post:

    “Never mind that there are like, upteen hundred links to posts on here, with explanations from women of color as well as white women as a) to why this is not okay, b) history behind the current debacle c) a number of analyses about the messages conveyed by these images and on-going discussions, both here and on the aforementioned “big blogs” where, in fact, there are at least a few people engaging the folks who “don’t know” or don’t get it.”

    How many white women who stumble across this- as I did- out of curiousity and without much prior context, are going to stay to read those links and analyses after they see “When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted.”

    Do you want to stay and see what the point of those awful comics posted above is after you see them insulting your race? Do you want to stay and see if the “author” (and I use that term loosely, as it implies creation) discusses or analyzes umpteen hundred historical reasons that those completely obscene examples of racist venom are totally accurate and okay? No! You know it’s not okay when you see the images. There’s no need to read further.

    The average white chick who stumbles across this isn’t going to say, “Gosh, this blog makes racist statements about white chicks. I think I’ll read further and find out exactly why they feel that way,” any more than you’re going to say, “Gosh, this book is full of disgusting images depicting killing and beating people of my race. I think I’ll read further and find out exactly why they drew it that way.”

    It doesn’t take a lot of insight or effort or research to know that racism is just plain wrong, whether it’s blatantly plastered across a book published by a really evil company, or plastered less violently, but still blatantly, across a blog responding to that book.

    • I’m a white woman who continued to read after that point. You don’t speak for me

  139. Ooh boy.

    *fetches popcorn*

    This should get….interesting. Please Lisa, tell us more about how reading someone’s understandable frustration (with a longstanding and widespread pattern of behaviour) hurts your feelings. Do you ride the subway? Are your feelings hurt when people tell you to watch your wallet because people on the subway can’t be trusted?

  140. How many white women who stumble across this- as I did- out of curiousity and without much prior context, are going to stay to read those links and analyses after they see “When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted.”

    The ones that are at least curious as to why someone might say that about them.

    However, if you don’t feel that you have the grace or political and historical background to comfortably feel a part of that group, by all means, feel free to duck out.

  141. “This should get….interesting. Please Lisa, tell us more about how reading someone’s understandable frustration (with a longstanding and widespread pattern of behaviour) hurts your feelings. Do you ride the subway? Are your feelings hurt when people tell you to watch your wallet because people on the subway can’t be trusted?”

    Is it OK to, as a police officer, pull over every black man you see driving a nice car to make sure they didn’t steal it, based on the argument that black people on average have a lower income, and car thieves are more often poor than rich?
    If you find that offensive, how could you possibly justify saying that ‘white chicks’ as a group are not trustworthy, based on them being more often racist than other races of women?

  142. LisaDroesdov and Ettina,

    A Racism 101 blog (or Feminism 101 blog, for that matter), this is not. Any understanding of the situation requires reading the links to some degree (or previous familiarity with the situations explained in many of the links); that’s why this is a hypertext document. It’s also addressed to feminists (that is to say, those who know something of feminist theory and/or principle and, in connection to that, hopefully something of racism as well)

    So Ettina, instead of getting upset at the very blatant racism in those pictures, you get offended at the anger expressed by a woman of color about that racism. Because it’s all about you, isn’t it? Can you even see how you are prioritizing your own personal responses and indignation, steering the subject to “What about MY feelings” when the fact is, love, YOUR image is not the one in those pictures. It isn’t about you. And if one comment by a single frustrated person angers you more than the printed, advertised, widely distributed pictures in a book that is marketing and selling racism right now (not to mention all the shit that led up to those pictures)… this is not the blog for you.

    Others are free to respond to LisaDroesdov’s and Ettina’s comments in order to set ‘em straight and perhaps point them someplace else.

    Meantime, discussion here is to focus on the feminist blogosphere and problems of racism therein. I will delete comments that derail the discussion, and I will also delete comments by anyone who has not read the links. Because most of said comments? Can be answered by reading the links. This is the only warning I am giving.

  143. Ettina, the subway analogy has come up more than once in the discussions of this issue. If you do as Ico suggested and read some of the background material, and are still confused as to how it differs from racial profiling by police, I’d be happy to fill you in with more detail. However, since, as Ico points out, this isn’t a Racism 101 blog, you might want to use my contact info above rather than posting here. Happy reading!

  144. I skimmed through Amanda’s book at my local B and N. I did notice the images, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t really think about them. It’s easy to overlook something like that when it’s obviously been given the okay by a Big Official Company. But now that I see the images published on the Internet, I see how blatantly racist they really are. To the person who mentioned that this old racist stereotype of bone-in-nose “jungle” natives seems to have had a resurge in popularity recently, I’ve noticed that too. What’s up with that? It’s not like we don’t have enough REAL bad guys to cast in our movies and commercials without resorting to offensive old comic book cliches.

    Another thing I’ve been thinking about lately is that Feminism (with a capital “F”) seems to have a pattern of ignoring or even participating in racism, while scrambling to secure the “rights” of white women and white women only (I’m white BTW). My neighborhood is full of white ladies who are exercising their God-given, oh-so-feminist right to have a career and a child under five simultaneously, because ya know, we all deserve to Have It All (note sarcasm). Guess who has to stay with the kids and change diapers? Right. And then there’s the whole clutching your purse when a black man walks by thing.

    I still support the ideals of feminism (with a small “F”), because I’m a woman, and of course I believe in equal pay, equal career opportunities, the right to be safe from rape etc. In this day and age, I think just about EVERYONE supports these ideals, which is why it’s too bad mainstream Feminists have alienated so many people who would otherwise be identifying with the label. Sigh. I’m going for a walk to cool off now.

  145. Sorry I got carried away in the last post and strayed from the topic. I don’t post in these things very often, so when I do, it’s usually cause I really need to vent.

  146. ChloeJ, your comment about Feminism (mainstream) versus feminisms is totally on topic, and it’s okay to think things out loud in the comments section. This kind of stuff is useful for discussion, both in terms of what’s going wrong in “mainstream” feminism, and how we can fix it. I made the warning above mainly to prevent derailing in the direction of “why are WOC so mean???”

  147. Lisa,

    1) I’m white, and perhaps part of it is growing up in Chicago, but when people of color express a lack of trust for, frustration with, or anger at white folks, I am not shocked, offended, hurt or surprised. Sadly, I’ve seen and sometimes been complicit in or the perpetrator of really dumb, clueless, ignorant or other wise fucked up shit that white folks do that supports racism.

    2) I can’t speak for everyone here, but I think a pretty good approach to talking about racism is to acknowledge that racism is a system which privileges some people (white folks) over others (people of color). Complicity in that system by white folks is racism, skin-based hatred of white folks could be bigotry, but it’s not racism because it’s not about benefitting from or supporting that system of skin-color based privilege.

    3) When a group that I don’t belong to is angry at a group to which I could belong, I have learned that it is better to find out why and examine my own behavior before I start lecturing people on how much they are offending me. Because it is possible that my comfort may occasionally be less important than whatever else is going on. But I won’t know if I decide to skip all the information and history laid out for me and start lecturing on how to convince folks with privilege to stick around and hear about how they might occasionally be wrong.

    4) Being mistrusted for your whiteness is not at all in any way the same as being mistreated for being a person of color, and so while I know that plenty of white folks walk away at the moment they are criticized in a way at all relating to their race, that is a position of privilege and you cannot assume that your reaction when offended is a universal one.

  148. I re read my post above, and realized it’s not very clear — apparently posting while sick is not always productive. But I do want to try to clarify.

    To be clear about point one: The point about growing up in Chicago was supposed to say “and have experienced getting called on my shit from a pretty young age”. Not because Chicago is by any means a magical land free of racism or privilege blindness. The point about my own complicity at times was intended to go in a similar direction. It was not intended to convey that I feel no emotion when people of color express anger at white folks, but rather that it is not the case that the expected response from white folks under those circumstances should be anger and scolding of the POC involved for their “racism”.

    Point being, it’s important to understand that as beneficiaries of racism, we have to be willing to step back from our own discomfort when it’s brought to our attention.

  149. why hasn’t seal press and amanda marcotte taken this book down from amazon? it is still available and I am assuming they haven’t reprinted it yet. If they are sorry why are they still distributing and advertising this book?

  150. I do not believe they are sorry at all. Well… maybe sorry that they got caught. But nothing else. Marcotte has been involved in several controversies around race, and has been dismissive of concerns until this latest fiasco made it quite impossible for her to do anything but apologize. She has NOT apologized for or even addressed the other issues that came before this one. The pics are the tip of the iceberg.

    Seal has been given a long and thoughtful list of steps to take in order to correct their… er… “issues” with racism in their feminism, all laid out by ProfBW. So far they have ignored ProfBW’s suggestions entirely. Like Marcotte, they have not taken any action at all beyond “I’m sorry.”

    … which, it is becoming abundantly clear, they are not.

    If you find such behavior unacceptable, you might drop them both a message at their respective blogs. :) Seal especially could use the pressure.

  151. [...] controversies in the Left outside of SDS that are going to come to our doorstep one way or another: the controversy of Seal Press, or the drama of clueless white anarchists talking shit about APOC. I don’t know if we’ll have [...]

  152. [...] well as a call to girlcott Seal from WOC PhD. You can see copies of some of the images in the book here. Published [...]

  153. Thank you for your comment–I thought it would be a good idea to post my response here as well.

    Again, I apologize for the uninformed timing of my article. If anyone would like to submit a rebuttal, please let me know and I would be happy to pass it on to Alternet or you can send it via their submissions page (they don’t pay any of us for their articles though, unfortunately.) I can be reached at schnak@gmail.com.

    Take care and thanks!
    Heidi

    Dear Ico,

    Thank you for your thorough comment and information. This adds an even deeper dimension to what was really going on–thank you. It is true that I was out of the loop for that whole thing (I just had a baby, and I’m also generally out of the mainstream feminist loop because I’m more of a street feminist.)

    I see that white feminists were ignoring the racism that was going on and it must have been incredibly painful and disheartening for the WOC feminists involved. And I’m sorry that my article (and subsequent unaware blog posts) had such poor timing in light of all of that.

    I wrote my piece as a commentary on issues I saw happening in the daily lives of ordinary women (most of whom have nothing to do with mainstream feminism), and my perception that mainstream white feminists like Gloria Steinem were being too quickly dismissed because of their privileged status. Some of it was inspired by women of color in my life who urged me to share my unusual perspective, and some of it from personal experience, having spent time as the only white girl in a black and Latino community. I was often left to fend for myself because I was perceived as too privileged to have any real problems, and it was hard. I constantly had to prove that even though I had white privilege, things still weren’t easy and I still desperately needed the women’s support. I’ve seen too many women in a lot of pain who need each other, but who are divided along racial lines (and even within races, for that matter), simply because they misunderstand each other’s experiences, and I felt compelled to speak up about it. I have had great success in reaching out to women in the most varied communities you can imagine, by insisting on perceiving women through a “women first” lens, which allows all of the differences between us to fall away in an instant. I have a vision of seeing this happen among all women.

    In any event, since white women are the most commonly cited cause of division, I wanted to dismantle myths about white women and appeal to racist white women as well. Little did I know that there were white feminists doing things that directly contradicted my case that white women aren’t so bad!

    In any event, I apologize for my disconnect from the feminist world before publishing the piece. Again, I was offering a street perspective and the timing was clearly off. I understand that the WOC feminists involved in that issue will need time to heal before they have faith in feminism again. (The truth is, none of us have a lot of faith in feminism because it doesn’t translate in the street at all and still has failed to end rampant gender-based hate crime). If you speak to them, please let them know that my article was directed at all the women out there in the street who adopt an intersectional lens and end up using it against each other–not the WOC feminists in this dispute (I cite Linda Hirshman in my article, but I didn’t do a background check on some of things she discussed in her articles–I was just receptive to her theories, which I agreed with.)

    I know we’ve all seen too much as women, we are all wounded, and we are all desperately examining the failure of feminism to reach ordinary women and are trying to find a solution. Sometimes in doing so, we hurt the feelings of the very women we want to help and connect with so much.

    All comments and feedback are welcome. Take care and thanks.

    Heidi

  154. [...] males are among the most feared, loathed and ridiculed people on the planet, and remembering the rather unfortunate illustrations in Amanda Marcotte’s book, you really have to [...]

  155. Ok, Heidi. I see you have other posts on this — didn’t notice those before. Anyway, I left a comment for you at your blog that I will repeat here, ’cause I don’t think I’m being clear enough.

    We agree that racism is a problem in feminism. We agree that wrt the Marcotte/Seal Press/Alternet stuff that WOC were treated very badly. This is part of a pattern, as I have been pointing out.

    Here is the part that is most important:

    You are part of that pattern.

    I am not trying to attack you. But you keep asking what we can do? What kind of self examination can we do? YOU can. You can start by examining that pattern of white privilege as it manifests in feminist circles. Where do you fit in there? In, say, white women writing about WOC on outlets like Alternet? Calling for unity from our sisters of color who have been routinely dismissed? Focusing on the division, and not on the racism that has caused that division?

    THIS is the hard part of feminism. The part where there is fierce resistance. The part where we have to examine not other people — because doing that is easy — but where we have to examine ourselves.

    I haven’t read *all* 268 comments on your article. Actually I’ve only read a handful of them. But after glancing them over, I think they’re actually a pretty good place to see the dismissal of WOC by privileged white feminists. Do you have any way of engaging some of your commenters in conversation? The discussion got pretty heated there, and from the looks of it pretty OT at times (like I said, I only read bits and pieces because wow, that’s a lot of posting). But it looks like a few people are trying to get through and offer some perspectives.

    Perhaps you could reach out to some…? The way to achieve progress on eliminating racism in feminism — it’s there.

  156. [...] White Feminists, (Quit goddamn fucking up) – Update (many quotes from many different [...]

  157. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  158. Please copy the following link and paste it in your browser.

    http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2008/09/feminism_of_tod

  159. [...] the heels of the Seal Press girlcott, there was also Amandagate (have I mentioned I hate the use of -gate as a suffix for any scandal?), [...]

  160. I got a link form here so I wanted to update this .

    The pictures are still in.

    It was signed and read at netroots nation

    wit peopel who were so conflicted on a panel telling others how to build community

  161. I’ve stopped caring about the orthodoxy required to be a feminist. … Probably because of protracted arguments like this one. Let’s face it…racism is everywhere. It’s alive and well. As white women, we have to admit that we’ve benefited from a history that has systematically oppressed everyone and admit that we are oppressed and oppressors. Our loyalties shift. Why? Because everyone who’s not in charge of the pie has an agenda about how they are going to get pie.

    As imperfect, and for some intolerable, as it is to be a member of an alliance of pie scrappers, I think the stakes are too high not to find a way back to each other. I don’t care if we all get along. I just want to stick it to the jerks that have convinced us that fighting over a comic book is somehow akin to real power in the publishing industry or anywhere else for that matter.

  162. “Let’s face it… sexism is everywhere. It’s alive and well.”

    There. Fixed it for you.

    The attitude that any particular –ism is everywhere, and therefore we just have to accept it, is exactly the sort of attitude that helps to maintain the status quo. And when it’s white women who are directly responsible for acts of racism against WOC–that’s not just a problem of “getting along.” That’s white women maintaining a hierarchy based on racial privilege in the same way men maintain a hierarchy based on patriarchy.

  163. BA–sorry, I have not checked comments here in so long! Ack! The pictures are still in? Oh lord…

    I need to add an update.

  164. [...] the most egregious: racist imagery. Now, you’d think Seal Press would have learned from the aftermath to Amanda Marcott’s It’s a Jungle Out There. But, no. For some people, putting their hand to the flame does not teach them to keep it out of [...]

  165. [...] of some great bloggers out there, the images that appear in that book became public. Racist images. See them for yourselves. After that, two apologies appeared. One from the author of the book and one from Seal Press. I am [...]

  166. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your site. You have some really good articles and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested. Many thanks!

  167. “Not that racist?” Seriously? A thing is either racist or it isn’t. Sure, some racism is more blatant than other racism, but that doesn’t make the subtle racism less racist! IT’S STILL FUCKING RACIST, people. -_-;

    Sometimes I don’t want to live on this planet anymore. I want to live on the People Use Their Brains Once In A While planet–I’m sure it’s less prejudiced in ALL ways, by definition.

  168. Hey very cool site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?I’m glad to find a lot of helpful info right here within the submit, we need work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  169. [...] Considering that VAWA disproportionately affects men of color, this is just really dishonest.  Well, wait – perhaps for Ms. Marcotte it’s that bit about them being men that disqualifies their rights from any consideration. I guess you can take the white woman out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the white woman.  Come to think of it, she has form on this particular point. [...]

  170. […] been arguing online with supporters of Amanda Marcotte who, despite all logic and reason, has somehow made a name for herself as an advocate for […]

  171. Hey, I think your site might be having browser
    compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when
    opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then
    that, awesome blog!

  172. […] I dare say that Marcotte is just as racist as GL Piggy. She hides behind faux liberalism and Pigster hides behind psuedo science like HBD. […]

  173. Thanks for the enlightenment. Brother trying to work it out.

  174. […] like Mandy Marcotte would scream RACISM at the top of her lungs against someone who uttered the word […]

  175. Hi, just wanted to mention, I loved this post.

    It was funny. Keep on posting!

  176. […] most feminist’s go to great length to hid their racism–Clarence has apparently thrown in with the HBD Race Realist […]

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