Sunday, September 07, 2008

Racism on the internet? Reading comprehension what?

All right.

I was sitting working on another project and this gem popped up in my comments from my entry yesterday.

AnnieMcPhee has left a new comment on your post "Allies, criticism, etc.":

The crane project is NOT racist. It isn't. You are a nattering asshole if you think it is. It's NOT.

And yeah activisim is ugly but fuck you - It is NOT that.

So go ahead token. You're a token of the race wars in thew fatosphere. No one gives w fuck.

First of all Ms. McPhee, had you read what I actually said I did not use the word racist.

I do think it's problematic and in my circles was not presented well. It is my personal opinion that this particular project is not something I would be interested in because it does not feel like something good to me. Using cultural symbols willy nilly from the Big Ole US of A is not a good thing in my view.

I may be an asshole but not because I disapprove of a project. There are lots and lots of other reasons.

For further clarification, I don't have a problem with Marilyn Wann, I think she's a pretty cool person. It was not a personal attack (which your comment does fall under) on anyone. I loved Japan when I was there. I don't think their law against waist sizes over a certain arbitrary number is a good thing at all. I think it's pretty fucking shitty.

I will assume a few things here. I notice you did not comment with your name on the entry at Fatshionista that questions the project more in depth.

I can guess that this is because when you want to let out your inner racist, you don't want to do it somewhere you think has a bigger audience. And I will further guess that you don't read me regularly because, this is the sort of fuckery that I don't put up with. And as I've said before I don't delete comments. I do hope you really meant what you said.

When did the "race wars" start in the Fatosphere?

Did I miss the memo?

If there was in fact a race war going on in the Fatosphere Tokenism would probably be the first thing out of the window.

If we are in the middle of a race war you might want to tell NAAFA that their statement on diversity shouldn't include people who aren't white.

You also might want to tell Marilyn Wann to take those non white people off of her myspace.

And you might want to give Kate a heads up to stop with the talking about racism. If the war is in fact on.

Moving on.

If I am supposed to feel intimidated by your hateful message and run off of the Fatosphere weeping and beating my breast. Yeah that's not going to happen.

Racists don't scare me. You didn't hurt my feelings. You did however give me a little bit of a giggle because I haven't heard the word token in reference to myself in probably more than a decade. If you're going to fly the racist flag do it proudly and not skulking about where you might not get caught.

In other news.

I recently surpassed 30,000 hits. I've only been using that particular counter for a year or so. If I could remember my password to my original one it's probably closet to 80-100K.

I also have a fantastic thing coming up to celebrate the return of sexytimes advice.

But I can't tell you what it is yet but it is in fact awesome. Look for that tomorrow.

For right now though I am off to work on said project, eat some fantastic chili/paprika/sugar dredged mango slices and try to sweet talk Uniballer into bringing home then cooking bacon.

Homo Out



Lalaroo said...

Wow. I'm so sorry she said that to you! And I know it's stupid, but I feel like she said insulted me, too, because I know her blog, I've read her comments, and I appreciate her perspective. So for her to reveal herself like this makes me sad, too. That sucks, but I'll be taking her blog off my list.

I love your blog, though, and I really enjoy reading it - keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

As much as I'm not a fan of Annie McPhee right now, I can't see that comment being left by her. Have you considered the possibility of a troll, and you're playing into his/her hands? Trust me, the trolls have been taking note on the infighting going on in the fatosphere right now, and this particular posts sounds suspciously like the work of tara (the troll, not tarashui).

She has her own entry about how she disagrees with the fact that she doesn't think the project is racist, but she's a lot more eloquent than that comment, and she wouldn't just resort to racist comments, she'd spend 10 comments telling you you're wrong (which she did to me when I happened to tell her I thought the cranes project was racist, and that Wann might not have thought of the implications beforehand).

Anonymous said...

Anon because I don't want to get embroiled in drama.

But the comment was from AnnieMcPhee's blogger profile. And if you read the end of the comment thread on Annie's blog she posts about being drunk and deleting some stuff.

NudeMuse, I'm sorry that you have to put up with such vile nonsense. I wish that being a person of color, a woman, fat, unashamed didn't make you a target. At least now we know who to disregard.

Anonymous said...

Anon, thanks for pointing that out to me, I hadn't noticed that it was from her blogger profile.

As for drama, I figure, what the hell, it's already there, so more can't hurt.

And to Shannon, I apologize for my mistake in defending someone who made a racist comment on your blog. I may not comment on here, but I enjoy your blog immensely.

Anonymous said...

im usually a lurker but after i read this i was like "the fuck?" now granted i stopped reading the fatosphere feed so i don't know what some of the drama being referred to is but what the hell.

way to have a conversation about activism by attacking others. i don't know who she is (i did mosey on over to her blog to check it out but maybe i need to go read through later when im not all flabbergasted by the fact that she told you that your an asshole who needs to fuck off. kinda hard to read about alleged race baiting when she came over here and called you a token of the race wars.)

you know what else? good on you for not backing down and for calling her out on it. the project is a bad idea and people shouldn't result to bullying behaviour instead of having a conversation.


Rhiannon said...

You are teh awesome!

Meowser said...

I have to admit, although I'm aware of Annie's politics, I'm surprised that she went that far. And disappointed. Disagreeing is one thing, trollery is another. Plus, she's factually wrong; you are NOT the only POC (or even the only African-American woman) on the feed. I'm sorry you had to experience that.

Anonymous said...


I cannot believe anyone would be such a rude asshole to someone else. That comment was way over the line.

I find Ms McPhee to be seriously rude- she's always complaining about how oppressed she is because she doesn't care about anyone's rights but the fatties. It's so hard being against women's rights and gays rights when those damned other fatties think other people should have rights to

(Seriously, every comment I've read from her- all over the fatosphere is "Woe be me. I am right wing and oppressed. Who cares about non-fat oppression?")

Sorry for venting, but someone who displays hatred like that shouldn't be on the fatosphere.

I seriously can't understand the people who are for fat people's rights but against black / gay / women's rights. I cannot believe there are people who dislike feminists on the fatosphere. Umm, the oppression that fat people get is related to women hatred.

-Rachel, proud feminist anti-racist queer fat chick

(And the cranes are racist. They're taking a symbol of a nations tragedy and using it against them. It's like someone using September 11 memorials to protest against a US government decision. So disrespectful)

Lindsay said...

Add me to the list of people going WTF.

Because, dude. WHAT. THE. FUCK.

I'm not awake enough to be entirely coherent. But holy crapsticks, i'm not sure if i'm more sorry that someone said that to you or more pissed that someone had the fucking gall to say that.

Anonymous said...

Okay, one, Shannon, I fucking love you. I rarely comment because that's the way I am but I subscribe specifically to your blog (but not the fatosphere feed) because you are always making me think about fat politics and race and/or queerness OR you are making me think about sex OR you are dazzling me with your make up skills or more often, all three at once.

As for two, pretty much anything else I am going to say will devolve into mean ass ad hominen attacks on Annie McPhee and I guess I should be above that or something. But if you want to start throwing some chairs... you know where to find me.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, every comment I've read from her- all over the fatosphere is "Woe be me. I am right wing and oppressed. Who cares about non-fat oppression?"

I'm so fucking sick of this. There's a book called The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank (there's also an excerpt in last month's Harper's) that traces the origins of this "We conservatives are so oppressed by the liberal monolith WAHHHHHHHHHHH" talking point, and man is it illuminating. The thing about the right winger fat bloggers is that I don't even think they are savvy enough to recognize that they are engaging in a tried and true conservative tactic. I think they just buy into the mythos of the poor, poor, oppressed conservative and the Great Fat Liberal Conspiracy because that's a fuck of a lot easier than recognizing that they have a fucked up, harmful world view. And one that totally falls apart on closer inspection.

Christa said...

Oh man, I don't think I've ever seen anything like that! I'm big on the WTF train too. I'd rant further but I'm not really very good with words and I think it's all been said by those above me.

Also, those mango slices sound beyond delicious... and now I want some. Please do share.

Kate Harding said...

As for two, pretty much anything else I am going to say will devolve into mean ass ad hominem attacks on Annie McPhee and I guess I should be above that or something.

Ditto. I've got more to say, but no time at the moment. Just... this is exactly why I'm a hardass about comments at SP, even if it's also exactly why you don't moderate, Shannon. Unlike some others, I'm not surprised to see this, because Annie McPhee used to give me the stabby pain a whole lot. And I don't think "tolerating different viewpoints" extends to tolerating hateful assholery.

(Okay, maybe I failed at that whole being above it thing.)

Janny said...

I'm a white conservative fattie, and I don't hate feminists/gays/non-whites, and I personally don't feel oppressed by all you crazy liberals. That said, I'm a thinking conservative.

I don't know that I would categorize this project as "racist" but it certainly is insensitive and it plays into a cultural stereotype, which is never cool. But, boo on the Japanese gov't's policies on chubbsters. We need love too.

Annie McPhee seems to be a whiner, regardless of her leanings and beliefs. Whiners come in every color, gender, and political demographic, and are equally annoying. Maybe she should find a Whiners Activism blogosphere to frequent?

DiosaNegra1967 said...

ugh. just. fuckin'. ugh.

Fat Acceptance said...

I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED that some members of the fatosphere are pathetic whiners. SUPRISE SUPRISE! The fatosphere is nothing but a bunch op pathetic whiners who are almost exclusively overeducated in a field that has little commercial value and have graduated from "I wish somebody would do something about how fat I am!" to " FAT IS NOT A CHOICE" and "Even a 500 pound person is healthy, fit and eats no mere than any thin person; thy are fat due to their genetic setpoint!" I love the fatosphere!

Rachel said...

Wow, what an extremely rude, hateful and totally uncalled for comment from AnnieMcPhee. She's managed to derail conversations on feminism on my blog, but has never stooped to such a low level as this before. I'm sorry you had to read her comment, but I'm glad that you afforded Annie the respect she denied you and turned her comment into a constructive tool of conversation and debate.

And Fat Acceptance: If we're all a bunch of over-educated whiners, why are you still here reading? Shouldn't you be out, oh, exercising or something? I mean, you wouldn't want to get fat, would you?!

Lalaroo said...

Shut up Fat Acceptance.

And LOL @ Anonymous (Rachel) on how oppressed she is because she doesn't believe in gay/women's/POC's rights!

Karin said...

Wow, *shakes head*

Shannon, you really rock - I wouldn't have been able to stay that calm! I <3 you even more right now. :-)

@Fat Acceptance: Why don't you go get yourself a nice steaming cup of STFU?

Sniper said...

Ew. I am sorry you have to deal with this kind of ... thing.

Deniselle said...

Wow. She was apparently very drunk and wouldn't have written that when she's sober, but still. She posted about similar issues a while back:

Can I ask, as a non-native speaker, what "token" means in this context?

I can understand that conservative non-feminists would feel marginalized in the movement, but I don't think feminist liberal blogs actively seek to oppress or bash them. If they want a voice in the movement, then they should speak out - in a calm, respectful manner. I'm offended by the implication that feminists/liberals can't have a calm discourse with people who think differently, so that you have to be rude and opinionated to have your voice heard.

Deniselle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamani said...

As a black WOC and a relative newcomer to the fatosphere (and still struggling with some issues of FA), I must say that I really do enjoy your blog (that whole smoky eye 411 vid was great!). I think you are an awesome chick and way wiser and more level headed than I would have been in a similar situation. Good for you for taking an most decidedly ignorant comment and using it constructively.

Deniselle said...

Addendum... I've followed Annie's blog since the beginning, and I don't really agree with her politics at all, apart from FA. Since she posted comments in many of my blogs, I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt and link to her, but I have removed the link today. Even if she was drunk, and I was shocked at the tone, I'm not shocked she thinks in this way because of her earlier posts. The post I linked to was to show that even when she's calm, she seems really bugged by the white privilege talk. Which, apparently, is what she means by "race wars" here.

Re-reading her comments both here and in her blog, she comes off as pretty paranoid. Maybe that's amplified when she's drunk.

(Sorry about the deleted post - I thought the link was broken.)

Meowser said...

Deniselle, when Americans say someone is a "token" (woman, person of color, person with disability, gay, etc.), what they mean is, "You're only here because we have to have you here in order to look like this isn't just a haven for straight, able-bodied white men (or women), even though it really is." Most often the term is used when discussing a movie, television show, or workplace.

It's a doubly ridiculous accusation in this case because the Fatosphere isn't a place of employment. No one gets paid to do this. And anyone can create a blog and put it on the feed. I think Fu's only real requirements are that a significant portion of the posts on that blog be about fat in one form or another, and that they are not hostile to general feminist interests.

The Rotund said...

Well, damn. I can't read most of the blogs because of filters at work and a time crunch at home but I did NOT expect things to have devolved into the kind of happy horseshit that comment represents. Unacceptable.

I'm pretty much caught upon stuff now and I am appalled at people for real and true. I was meaning to link to your last post about disagreement, but I've linked to this one instead.

Elusis said...

The only thing I have to add to the conversation at the moment is that I'm surprised at people's surprise.

What I mean to say is, anyone who doesn't realize that people in the majority think and talk about marginalized people like this ALL THE TIME, and not only get away with it but get plenty of people nodding in agreement, are living protected by privilege. It is ugly, ugly stuff but just as fat people are acutely aware of how many anti-fat messages are out there in the world, POC are generally not at all shocked when someone blurts out racist BS like Annie did in her charming comment.

Annie's view isn't the marginal one, folks. Ours is. If you're still shocked by that, you're not paying attention.

Lindsay said...

Elusis, that's one of the many questions that's been buzzing around in my head all day: how much of this goes on all around me, how much of it am i not seeing; of the things that are there that i'm not seeing, is it because i don't fully understand how to recognize it for what it is?

I'm something of a recluse. I don't watch television. I don't read printed newspapers (i check news online occasionally). I don't go out with friends all that much. I live in a mostly black neighborhood and most of my direct coworkers are black. Of the dozen or so of the people i interact with face to face on a daily basis, two of them are white, and one of those is my husband. All of that is NOT to say that i'm not experiencing any privilege; far from it. Rather, i think that in the context of my current daily routines, i'm far less likely to run into the kind of thing that Annie has said/done.

In some ways, i wonder if my daily context has made it harder for me to see some of the privilege that i might be benefitting from. I definitely think that it is a large part of why what Annie said/did is so shocking to me.

Tari said...

I don't find this shocking, but I do find it majorly fucked up. I'm with OTM; this whole "oppressed conservative" bullshit is, well, bullshit. And I am tired of it, particularly when it leads to this sort of juvenile asininity, drunk or sober.

Like others have said, Shannon, you kick ass muchly.

Anonymous said...

While I don't have a problem with the fat crane project, I thought your original post was thoughtful and interesting.

I'm also guessing anyone who would label you a "token" hasn't been reading.

Hats off for taking something so ugly and turning it into another great post.

Elusis said...

how much of this goes on all around me, how much of it am i not seeing; of the things that are there that i'm not seeing, is it because i don't fully understand how to recognize it for what it is?

Lindsay -

It's a great question and I'm always glad when people are asking it.

I guess in response, I personally have two thoughts.

1) The idea, which I got from Matsuda's essay "Standing Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy," of "asking the other question. Basically, when you see something that's looks like it's sexist, ask "what are the class implications here?" When you notice fat oppression, ask "is this also heterosexist?" And even when looking at something that feels, along one or two dimensions, like it's inclusive, run through a mental checklist of lenses - "is this racist? Colonialist? Ageist? What would someone from another perspective see when they looked at this?"

It's not perfect, as we're all still limited by the edges of our empathy, imagination, and education, but it's a good habit to get into (and exposes painful oversights all the time when I apply it to myself and my world.)

2) Deliberately seeking out voices that aren't in the mainstream. I've been reading a lot of blogs by women/feminists of color lately, because the debacle with Seal Press last spring made it clear to me how much I was missing (even as a third-wave, intersectional feminist) by mostly listening to mainstream feminist voices in the blogosphere. My learning around the intersections of gender and race has accellerated tremendously.

For one thing, I now get why women of color are so exasperated when white feminists say "well why doesn't any one ever call out black men on how they treat women like hoochie mamas and hos?" (just to give an example). Because women of color have been having these conversations for ages, but they mostly have them among themselves or within their communities of color. But if white feminists don't hear it, it didn't happen apparently.

I recently used the term "Latin@" in a post on my LJ, and had a white friend ask me what it meant because she'd never seen it before. "Do you read many blogs or books that deal with Latino/Hispanic/Chicano identity?" I asked her. "No," she replied. "Well that's why."

So the thing I've been learning is that if I'm surprised, or if I think there isn't a conversation happening inside a group I don't happen to belong to? It's probably because I'm not out there looking, and instead I'm waiting for it to intrude on my life.

It's sad how hard I *don't* have to look to find evidence of casual racism. The comment section on any crime article in the SF Chronicle's online version is an easy one. Listening to people of color as if they're experts on what it's like to be non-white instead of treating them like their experiences are unusual and mine are normal. Leaving the radio on to listen to a Youth Radio story about police profiling in Berkeley instead of turning to see what's on another channel that might relate to me more. But all those things take action on my part - I have to go places and seek out information in order to get sensitized enough to "get it" when stuff happens that normally wouldn't trip my radar.

Ryuu said...

I'm not really surprised by the comment, considering that a brief glance at her blog a few days ago gave e a raging desire to stab people. (This was during Babble's who "why is there a schism in the Fatosphere" thing. Annie's on the Fat Liberation Feed that apparently is the other side of the schism.)

I'm pissed on your behalf and on behalf of everyone in the Fatosphere that's trying to talk about more than just Fat.

I don't comment here at all mostly because I don't have much to say, but I've always found you insightful and interesting, even when you're talking about topics with which I've had very little experience.

Sweet Machine said...

Let me repeat that I'm sorry you got such a hateful bullshit comment on your (great) post, and I appreciate you turning that into an opportunity to host a much-needed conversation.

Elusis, thanks for the "asking the other question" framework--that seems both very helpful and awesomely practical.

I don't know how relevant this anecdote is, but maybe it will be helpful; I'm throwing it up there. As I've posted about a little before, I have a brother and cousin who are cognitively disabled (in different ways). I grew up with disability as a part of my daily life, if not of my bodily experience. I thought about it a lot, and I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what a lot of issues were and what my part in supporting people with disabilities should be. But then, when I was in my early 20s, I became very close friends with someone who was physically disabled and a disability rights activist. Let me tell you, being good friends with her--and both of us being willing to have difficult conversations--woke me the fuck up. Because most of my experiences were with people with cognitive disabilities, whose disabilities *in addition to oppression* can make it difficult for them to communicate effectively with able-bodied people, I was used to feeling like I needed to speak up for them. When my friend, who was incredibly intelligent, passionate, and eloquent spoke for herself, I realized that what I needed to do was train myself to think/speak/act with and alongside people with disabilities. It's true that in my own personal life, there are times when I need to speak for my brother (even in a legal sense). But culturally, I can't assume I know best what is good for people with disabilities, because they are not all alike, and I don't live their experience.

I hope that makes some kind of sense--I'm trying (gracelessly) to connect that to what you're bringing up, Lindsay, about feeling like you have a lot of interaction with people of color but wondering if that's actually not giving you the kind of perspective required to be anti-racist. I think there are some things we can learn about oppression by close observation and being friends/colleagues with marginalized people--but it's not *nearly* as much as we can learn by seeking out their voices when they speak of these issues.

Jen said...

I <3 you Nudimuse and sorry you got shit on in your blog. I'm glad Annie's gone and hope we'll never hear from her again.
The comments have been insightful and I'm looking forward to sexy advice time comin' back. ;)

Bree said...

I'm still a relative newcomer to the Fatosphere, but after a few months of reading her posts, she came off as too angry and confrontational. So this outburst didn't surprise me. I'm sure she would have done it if she was as sober as a church mouse on Sunday. Conservative or not, fat hatred doesn't discriminate against political party lines.

JupiterPluvius said...

Whoa. That was a rude and hateful comment.

And it was also stupid and inaccurate.

I'm sorry that that person splashed their verbal diarrhea on you. Much like physical diarrhea, it stinks and it's a sign that they're not well.

withoutscene said...

I'm usually just a lurker here, but holy crap. That's awful and unacceptable...though I agree sadly unsurprising.

Obviously, a lot of people give a fuck.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Lurker here, but I am shocked. I did NOT expect something like that to come from Annie's mouth. I like Annie, and her opinions have never been that hostile. I am really upset that she deleted her blog too.

I am from the "other side" - the fat liberation feed - but I read every single fat acceptance blog I can find. It's a very important movement to me. I can put political and philosophical differences aside for it.

"Fat Acceptance" - I did a warning post on him/her/it at my blog. The person is pretty much a hostile stalker of any blog that will let them comment.

Scattered Marbles said...

I really don't know what to say. I don't know any words to make this better... I just mainly want to give you a hug and to say I am sorry you had to go through it and that I love reading your blog and look forward to every new post.

Thank you for what you do!

William said...

Hi Rachel

As a Fat Guy I am always getting on Feminist nerves when I counter comment on how much what ever they said is prejudice and stereotypes the experiences of Fat Men.

So I kind of understand how Annie could fell left out. but I never revert to attacks against people who disagree with me.


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