That's why my heart aches for Amanda Marcotte. She's made her name in the feminist community, and now she's under some serious heat. But the more I read why, the more I see that she is the one who can get herself out of this situation and (mind boggle) she is choosing to ignore it... at the cost of many people's feelings. At the cost of the community at large.
For those of you who don't know about this situation. I'm giving a SUPER DUPER CONDENSED VERSION of the events as I understand them:
Amanda Marcotte, blogger at Pandagon and Alternet, wrote a piece where she heavily borrowed ideas already espoused by noted feminist bloggers of color. Marcotte did not reference any of these women or their work. And when the outcry began, she became defensive and sarcastic. As a result, a prominent member of the feminist community, and a women of color, effectively resigned from feminism and removed her blog.
It has gotten much, much worse because Marcotte has a book coming out and other feminist blogs are plugging it. Now they are coming under fire for supporting Marcotte and (by proxy) her inflammatory reaction to women of color's concern.
END SUPER DUPER CONDENSED VERSION
I get that many WOC are angry over this .... I clearly see it in comment after comment at Feministe and other threads. And I have to say, I think the anger is justified. The more I familiarize myself with the situation and other WOC issues with the community, the more I see that feminism has not been perfect (as I so wish it was) -- its like the day you wake up and realize your parents don't know everything and they're not perfect...and it breaks my heart.
My message to Amanda Marcotte
Please, if you're reading this, I had been a fan of your writing for a long time. People are asking for you to be open-minded and examine your privilege and some of the choices you’ve made. This community is too important to ignore any of its voices! These women are too important. I can understand feeling attacked because a lot of people have hurtful things to say (rather than critical, helpful things), but I think a great majority of us watching from the sidelines want to see this resolved and know that, as Jill said, “good people can be idiots sometimes.” Please help fix this. You have power in this situation to do real good.
But here's when I got mad. Someone at Feministe had this to say:
When it comes down to it, you white chicks, ya’ll really aren’t to be trusted.
Not only that, several comments following AGREED with that statement, saying it "said it all."
Really? THAT said it all? If we didn't have untrustworthy white women, feminism would be hunky dory?
I get “wanting” to say something like that when you feel marginalized or silenced. When I feel anger at the patriarchy, I’ve been tempted to type the same sentiment about men. But that’s not dialogue, that’s spewing bile into the world. And frankly, it’s prejudiced.* The fact that I’m a white woman does not mean I would stomp on the back of ANYONE to get anywhere. That’s akin to claiming that all men are sexist assholes not to be trusted.
Feminism is for everyone – men and women of all races.
The fact that BIG mistakes have been made is a problem. I see that we have a LOT of work to do here. I am showing solidarity with WOC on this. When I read that SEAL press (who published Marcotte's latest book) brushed off well known WOC bloggers saying, "A black feminist can’t sell" (seriously?), well quite frankly I could be sick.
Here's my message to WOC bloggers who've been hurt by this:
Plenty of us white, privileged bloggers are TRYING. I know I am. I want to understand better where WOC are coming from. I want to familiarize myself with any specific challenges you face so I know how to be an ally, not an idiot. I want to support you. I don't want to tear you down. I realize that I've been a white woman in the Midwest who (to be honest) has been surrounded by white people her whole life. I realize I have a lot to learn.
But I don’t want to silence any feminist. EVER. Please do not throw up your hands on all white women because some white people aren’t playing fair.
* Originally I called that 'racist' but I see now (thanks to the awesomeness of Daisy) that that word does not apply!
*Update. If you want a good staring point to understand this perhaps check the wikipedia article and its subsequent links.