I've been asked over and over to comment on the Kony 2012 thing, and at first I was holding back because I didn't know enough about it. The campaign went viral pretty fast, and props to them for that. It's well made and it definitely does what it's supposed to: inspire an emotional reaction. But it also seemed problematic to me, and I wasn't sure why. I'm not qualified to break it down, but a few things stood out for me in the wake of chanting and tweets, most notably two things… this picture:

And that tweet they had about how they are the voices of Ugandans.

Those things may seem small, but they help shape the rest of the campaign's flow. It isn't just about, "Oh well that's nothing, they mean well": when an entire campaign is built around white guilt and speaking for a monolithic idea of a "people", it becomes problematic. And that's just the beginning of the issues.
Suffice to say, it gave me some really weird feelings, and I'm too new to this to really be able to break it down in a way that is easily communicable. There are hundreds of well educated, eloquent bloggers out there who are qualified to speak on the subject and I'll be linking heavily to them rather than making a fool of myself too much longer.

What's going on with Kony is not a new issue, nor is it [ a unique issue ], but by putting this "evil" face to it who retaliates with horrible killing sprees whenever we've tried to stop him with military tactics in the past, we're setting a hundred thousand people up to just stop and forget as soon as the hype passes as many more die behind them… the same way they did with Darfur, Syria and Libya, and every other popular social issue that's crossed in front of us in the last few years. What happens when Kony is "stopped"? How will he be stopped? It's naive to think it will stop once he's put away, after another historically large and oppressive force has been armed with American weapons? On top of that, he has an entire army, he was a replacement for someone else who was doing it first. It's going to take more than good movie making skills to make a real difference.

Whether or not this issue is currently "the worst" now, or in all of history is also speculative and an oversimplification of a complicated and intense issue. There is also some talk about how this ends up being pretty convenient for some [ other issues ].
Nothing is ever as simple as "lets be the good guys and stomp out evil", and it's not like the people in charge haven't known about this for a while. Reblogging like crazy is not going to do much, if anything, and forcing the hand of a madman will probably do more harm than good (and it already has). It was almost laughable for the movie to spoon-feed us the revelation that after years of public rabble-rousing, Kony "suddenly" knows the USA has sent in troops. As if he is as ignorant about military action against him as the average white college kid is about the politics of war.
I encourage you to support good campaigns actively: give money, give time, have a fundraiser, be a part of something more than simply clicking 'share' or changing your icon and giving yourself a pat on the back. Not everyone is capable of doing all that, and that doesn't mean you suck as a person, but don't fall prey to sensationalism and racist narratives that take the power away from the people who need it. If your ability is limited and you really want to help, take the time to find out the best avenue. These issues are usually a lot more nuanced than we'd like to believe.

[ On Kony 2012 ]
[ You Don't have My Vote ]
[ We got Trouble ]
[ The Visible Children Blog ]
[ Kony 2012 via Vlogbrothers ]
[ The Visible Problem with Invisible Children ]
[ Kony 2012: Causing more harm than good ]
"Why is it the very people you are trying to “help” feel more offense than relief with your aid? “They come here to make money and use us.” “It makes us feel terrible to be presented as being so stupid and helpless.” These are direct quotes. This was the sentiment of the majority of the people that I interviewed in varying degrees. I definitely didn’t see or hear these voices or opinions in your video. If you are to be “saving” the Acholi people, the very least you can be doing is holding yourself accountable to them and actually listening to what they have to say."
[ Think twice before donating to Kony 2012 ] hat tip to Alisa.
[ Do not donate to Kony2012 ]
Video: [ Avoiding scams, and Kony 2012 ]
[ Interview with the photographer who took the photo ] hat tip to Iridescent.Girl. Note: this isn't particularly relevant to the criticisms, it's just interesting.
[ Two visions of 'black' evil, one white gaze: the murder of Trayven Martin and Kony 2012 ]
[ The soft bigotry of Kony2012 ]

ETA: Invisible Children [ has responded ] to the criticisms, sorta.

So have Ugandan people.
[ Growing outrage in Uganda over the film ]
“Suggesting that the answer is more military action is just wrong,” said Javie Ssozi, an influential Ugandan blogger.
“Have they thought of the consequences? Making Kony ‘famous’ could make him stronger. Arguing for more US troops could make him scared, and make him abduct more children, or go on the offensive.”

[ African voices respond to Kony2012 ]
[ Ugandan screening of Kony2012 causes outrage ] Viewers threw rocks before the screening even ended. They are angry.

Also of note, Kony2012 creator compares human rights to getting an oscar :
No one wants a boring documentary on Africa. Maybe we have to make it pop, and we have to make it cool. …We view ourself (sic) as the Pixar of human rights stories. …They are getting in touch with the Academy Awards. They want this to be up for an Oscar.
[ via ]




  • Anonymous says:

    I’m going to admit I haven’t followed a bit of this. But I read this article for some reason (On the Christian Science Monitor, of all things…not even sure how I got to that) and thought of you. Especially the very last paragraph, but I thought it better to link the whole thing.


  • Anonymous says:


    “We feel like God calls us to be joyful in the work that we’re doing, no matter what we’re doing. […]

    A lot of people fear Christians, they fear Liberty University, they fear Invisible Children – because they feel like we have an agenda. They see us and they go, “You want me to sign up for something, you want my money. You want, you want me to believe in your God.” And it freaks them out.”

    — Jason Russell, speaking at Liberty University, November 7, 2011

  • ozoozol says:

    First thing

    I thought when I started that video was “oh. White saviors. That’s nice.”

    Didn’t finish watching.

    (ETA: and have read enough anti-racist criticism of the group and its methods since then that I remain dismissive.)

    • admin says:

      Re: First thing

      I think a lot of people confuse dismissal of the charity and it’s methodology, with dismissal of the issue… which are not one and the same. Every time someone speaks up about a valid criticism, particularly having to do with the racist connotations, it’s immediately dismissed as either, 1. not caring enough (or at all) about the lives of those in danger, or 2. we’re not African (or PoC, if you’re white) therefore we shouldn’t discuss that.

      To say it’s frustrating is an understatement.

      • ozoozol says:

        Re: First thing


        I acknowledge my “I want to fix it! I could make it better!” impulse and know to check it as soon as it comes out from the shadows. If I want to help, the best thing for me to do is to step back and follow the lead, directions, and requests of the people I would like to help. They know much better than I do what is needed. Let them call the shots.

        • admin says:

          Re: First thing

          Agreed. One caveat is that I don’t believe that charity work is bad, nor do I think that people should never try to be active in helping… there’s just right and wrong ways to go about it, and the “savior” narrative is never a good one. It’s wrong when lending aid, it’s wrong in international adoption, it’s just plain wrong all over.

          I think there’s a medium between “Great White Savior” and the bootstraps mentality (both of which I find extreme ends of the spectrum of lending aid), and there is a way of getting there while also appreciating the fact that it makes us feel nice to be nice. I also don’t think there’s something inherently wrong with feeling good for helping… it can just be taken to totally weird extremes without the right amount of voices to temper it. I don’t know, that may not make sense, but I hope it does.

          • ozoozol says:

            Re: First thing

            I agree.

            Though, reading over it here in black and peach, I think that “bootstraps” can sometimes be categorized as a type of “Great White Savior,” as in “I know what’s better for you and what’s better for you is to come through this without any help — I’m letting you suffer for your own good.”

            On a different axis, perhaps (a lot of assistance vs not enough, intersecting with a line representing the degree to which power and privilege are exercised)?

            • ozoozol says:

              Re: First thing

              Cruel fate — I added a note to say that this comment was not intended to be an authoritative statement because I am not qualified to make them, but then I thought “I should just edit the original and put that there!” And so I deleted my response, only to find that since I had responded to it, I couldn’t edit the original…

              These are things I would know if I actually participated in LJ communities more frequently.

            • admin says:

              Re: First thing

              Good points.

              This would be an interesting discussion to see held on some of the more political bloggers… I’d be interested to see what others, particularly those who are more experienced/educated (and most particularly those living it) had to say about it.

              Thanks for the stimulating conversation, regardless. 🙂

  • smasharash says:

    Thanks. It’s showing up now. It’s a weird picture. What do you think it is about it that makes you uncomfortable?

    • admin says:

      The image of three white men posing with large guns in front of the Ugandan army (I believe) is a pretty apt commentary on their entire campaign. :-/

      They also admitted the image was a bad idea in their rather side-stepping response to the “critiques”, so for even them to acknowledge that I think it’s pretty big.

      • elisesahcra says:

        As an art historian, can I say that I appreciate critical analysis of imagery in campaigns? It’s not just the words people use, but the images that they use to define themselves that impacts their message and the way they are perceived by the public.

        • avidity says:

          absolutely! the intent may be one thing, but the message that is perceived is what is important. it’s loaded with so much and that is the “truth” that people will read from any given image… what THEY see, not what you think they see.

  • smasharash says:

    That photo isn’t showing up, can you describe it?

  • Anonymous says:

    It always comes back to race with you.

    • admin says:

      It’s crazy right? I can’t imagine why that might be an important discussion point.

      • Anonymous says:

        Race is a wildly important issue, and all of us liberals are working our asses off to make sure it stays in the conversation. However, it is a valid point (you have to admit), to ask why it’s so important to you. Not that it SHOULDN’T be important to you, obviously, but there is plain logic in the question. You are not a minority black woman struggling to single parent. You are not African. What is the driving force behind your concern, and why do you feel the need to tell other good-hearted white people how to respond to it? I’m not saying we shouldn’t all care, but honestly, given the choice to be a white, privileged dick, why DO you care? You could actually get away with being just another white, privileged dick, and that would be OK with the universe. I’m glad you chose to want to be a decent person about it, as most of us here also did, but why? You have no mixed race children, minority relatives that I am aware of, etc.

        Calling all the rest of us white, ignorant, privileged dicks (when most of us reading your blog agree with you and AREN’T jerks!!!) doesn’t really help the matter. It just makes us feel cranky. I’d prefer to leave that name-calling to single, black, inner city teenage mothers who have a point that their life was worse than mine. Just being yelled at by you doesn’t make me feel great. I was a white college student, and I was a radically liberal one. I lived a radical, hippie, alternative lifestyle that no one understood or “got.” I did activism. I protested wars. I don’t see what much else I could have done, aside from painting my face darker/tan. Similarly, I wouldn’t ask a white, rich male to do anything other than just join the feminist cause either. I wouldn’t ask him to go through gender reassignment just to not be white, rich, and male anymore. He’s in power, and he’s always going to be. As a white woman, I’m also in power. I focus more on knowing how to use my power for good than pretend I don’t have it and self-hating. I learned that some years ago. It doesn’t do any good after a certain point. The activism reaches an ending point where you have hit a ceiling and cannot go on any more as a non-minority. It’s not going to change anything.

        And oh, by the way, I’m also American. I’m also not going to apologize for that. There are good, liberal Americans in the world. In fact, Americans as a whole are pretty wonderful. I know thousands of great ones, not sure who you’ve been hanging out with. We’re not all tasteless, ignorant pigs despite your obvious (and rather hurtful) opinions of us. 😉

        It would be nice if we could all get along globally on the internet, without concern for nationality, but it seems that time and time again, you prefer to take a Canadian standpoint and state that Americans pretty much suck, individual ones included, despite the fact that many Americans read you blog and have been your loyal followers for many years. Doesn’t feel great to constantly see the anti-American sentiments in your writings. I feel like you could use more compassion or grace or blogger’s tact about the issue. Personally, as an American, I’m a little shocked. Like a stereotypical gruff/Republican yet polite/good manners/mama-fearing Texan, I would never state nasty blanket things about Canadians or Canada as a whole. I would never suggest Canada disappear or was stupid, nasty, etc. I respect Canada and always thought it was a privilege while growing up to live on your border. However, after one too many years of reading you, I’m starting to feel otherwise. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. :/

        Just a note, you have many American fans, but you’re doing nothing to keep them…. If you want to insist there’s a divide between us as nations, I suppose I can’t argue with you, but it would be nice if you worked to reduce that, rather than reinforcing it every other post or so.

        With all due respect,

        -An unabashedly white, yet globally caring female person.

        • admin says:

          It’s a whopper, pt 1

          This took me like an hour to write due to having to stop and feed the baby, take my meds, blah blah… so it may be disjointed.

          There’s so much about this comment that’s problematic I don’t even know where to begin1. At the very least, you’re not being an ass so there’s that. I ignore 99% of the anon comments that come in2 but I skimmed over yours while answering something else and didn’t immediately see the standard “mah truth bomb be so badass u must not be respondin so i win your blog” trolling thing, and then took the time to read it. However… it’s still problematic.

          “It’s always about race with you” + “race shouldn’t matter to you” is totally not a valid point. For one thing, the times I talk about race in relation to current issues it’s usually because that’s the topic being discussed on the politics/current events/race/culture/news blogs I follow, and I’ve been reading/learning about it elsewhere so it’s not like I randomly made it up on my own. Also: being aware of racism and recognizing it, regardless of whether or not you have PoC relatives/SO/friends, is not a bad thing. On the flip side, having PoC relatives, friends or SO does not give you a magic pass to talk about race like an expert, or to suddenly not be racist (and generally people that give those excuses or use them in conversation, are BEING racist by tokenizing people or acting as though that one person is a mouthpiece for an entire race, country, or skin tone).
          I talk about racism because it’s important, and because I’ve lived most of my life completely ignorant in my own privilege… doing and saying racist things without any knowledge of it, and I want to change that and never be that person again. I want to keep talking about it, pointing it out, learning about it, speaking up when I see it, and reading and listening so that my children have a chance to grow up and NOT do and say the things that I did. Because intent doesn’t matter and just because you “didn’t mean to” doens’t mean it wasn’t racist.
          I wasn’t a cross-burning racist, more like an “igno-racist”. The typical white liberal shit like, “There’s no racism here!”, stereotyping, believing that reverse racism was a real thing, and perpetuating harmful ideas. The list goes on, and I’m sure some of the more freaky obsessive trolls can pick through old entries and find tons of it. They could probably even find some recently. I can think of comments I made within the last six months that make me cringe. I’m learning. I actually find us liberal, white, hippie, “alternative lifestyle” types are the WORST – by far – for this kind of racism. Exotification, fetishization, cultural appropriation, stereotyping, erasure, “I don’t see colour!”, “There’s only one race!”, “Race is a social construct and doesn’t exist!”, “there are people starving in Africa, lets save them” et al…
          It took me a long time to understand that real racism is very subtle, and deeply ingrained in not only our culture, but in your upbringing as a white person. You don’t need to have “cross burning racist” parents to become a racist white person… and the more I learn about racism the more I realize that unless you can deprogram at an early age, you’re probably racist without realizing it. Knowing that isn’t bad, nor do you have to then live your life on your stomach apologizing for being white (and by doing so, you put it all on PoC to deal with your guilt complex rather than dealing with it yourself). If you want to be a better person you need to acknowledge you have privilege, you will always have privilege, you can’t do anything to get rid of it or minimize it… but being aware of it goes a long way. Try not to lord it over people. Understand it has awarded you things throughout your life, and will continue to. Listen and learn. Speak up. Read. Write. Realize you’ll make mistakes, get called on them by PoC, and listen to that. Realize other racist white people will criticize you for caring or speaking up, and make a choice to either ignore that, or point them in the direction of learning. Try not to ever speak for, or over, PoC and let those speak for themselves. Understand you’ll make mistakes – tons – and you’ll have to deal with that.


        • admin says:

          It’s a whopper, pt 2

          There’s this really fucked up reaction that some people get when they become super protective of their racist ideas, and their privilege, and when another white person is challenging that they freak out and start talking about being a race traitor, or that you must hate all white people, hate yourself, etc… And honestly? Those people are unapologetically racist, and you need to not engage them in conversation. At all. That may just be my opinion, but I’m sticking to it. I have no interest in wasting my time with those people.
          Also, to ignore the race element in these stories is contributing to erasure by completely ignoring the voices of PoC that are discussing this, feeling angry about it or even attempting to get others to understand why it’s important.

          2. I’ve never called all white people dicks as far as I know, and if I did, it was tongue-in-cheek3. However, I have said that all white people have privilege – which is true – and am not shy calling it where I see it. Just because I didn’t see it 3 years ago, doesn’t mean I hate myself (I honestly don’t even understand how this line of thought even works). I don’t “wish” I was PoC (that would be fetishizing), I’m comfortable being white, but I’m also becoming aware of what that means to people who aren’t. That isn’t self-hate. That is awareness.
          Also, it isn’t my job (or anyone’s job, particularly not PoC) to treat racist people nicely, to hold their hand, or to “win more flies with honey” when a conversation with someone is like slamming my head against a brick wall. I don’t have to engage in conversation with anyone I don’t want to, and exercise that right frequently.

          3. America as a whole scares the ever-loving-fuck out of me. There’s this insane war on women happening, the laws are horrifying, the Republican candidates are like a pantomime of hatred and it goes on. We make jokes because that’s how we deal with the stewing fear that our country is headed in the same direction, because Harper – while more intelligent than Bush Jr. – tries his damndest to emulate him.
          I don’t hate all Americans. I’m not even sure where this absurdity comes from. I’m married to an American, my parents are American, my entire family save for me and Marika are all American… also, I’m fairly certain all but one or two of my main blogging friends are American. The accusation that I hate-all-Americans-even-the-individuals is kind of silly. (Do not confuse this sentence with the racist tokenizing I was speaking about above. Americans aren’t a race and this is not using a person as a mouthpiece of a country. By conflating the two, you downplay the impact of racial tokenizing. This is a rather silly response to the rather silly idea that I hate all americans “including the individuals”). You don’t have to lecture me about the righteous solidarity of North America… really. I joke a lot, but if I truly had this big pit of swirling hatred for all of America and every last American who was ever born or set foot on its soil… you’d know. I wouldn’t be subtle about it.

        • admin says:

          It’s a whopper, pt 3

          4. I don’t really care about “gaining followers” or “losing followers” because I have aggressive commentary on frightening laws, write about things people may not be interested in, or toss silly jokes around with Curtis. I also don’t care to post those meme surveys, accept offers to hock random products on my blog (and believe me, I’ve been approached about this) or accept guest bloggers and all that shit that’s used to coerce people into reading you. I’m not that kind of blogger. I don’t run an e-zine, I’m not part of any big circle, and I’m not up for interviews on NPR or something. I don’t blog for power or numbers. Hell, I’m not even active in any LJ communities anymore.
          I started doing this as a form of therapy something like 12-13 years ago; I enjoy it. It has helped me understand myself, get through difficult times, and grow as a person. I blogged for years and years and years without any readers other than a few friends IRL, and only started getting a crazy following after Jericho’s death. It doesn’t really bother me that some people may not enjoy my sense of humour, or the topics I write about, and I’m not going to censor or change that because some Americans find it offensive when I joke about their crazy-ass country4. Most of the people that comment here joke right along with me, and you’re the first person in 12 years who has ever told me that they thought I genuinely hate all Americans. I don’t care about your nationality, if you live in America, or if you hate or love your country… but a lot of your laws, your politics and your ideas are freaky-deaky. I find the paranoia that comes out of America weird and uncomfortable, and I don’t like it when people apply Americo-centric ideas to me.

          I also hate how you guys charge obscene shipping rates when I buy shit. I mean seriously, $26 for a disposable cock ring and a sample of lube? That’s criminal.


          • Anonymous says:

            Re: It’s a whopper, pt 3

            Saying that this is a crazy-ass country does not promote the idea to me that you respect this country and the people who live in it. I was raised to show respect to individuals no matter where they came from on the planet, and that includes not insulting their nation TO THEIR FACE (what you do behind our back may be different) in your quest to prove to me that really, you respect me. I’m not feeling that at all, really. It sure doesn’t sound like it, because then you’d respect my right to live here. I just don’t get the animosity. It sounds to me like the only Americans you respect are those who have not lived here for quite some time, or do not live here currently. I’m not sure what gives you the right to just blatantly insult an entire nation you deal with regularly and order products from, etc. (if America “scares the ever-loving fuck out of you,” you should in all good faith be boycotting everything to do with it, like the LLL Nestle boycott years ago, just to bring up something random). I’m still not getting why you get to be openly hostile when I tell you to your face I’m from here and that I like my country, and why you get to focus on the negative and not the positive. I don’t go around badmouthing Canada to all my American friends, nor publicly slamming it. It just seems really mean. I thought Canadians were supposed to be polite?!? To suggest otherwise tends to get wrath. How convenient.

            From you of all people, who talks of learning from others, and humbling yourself, and not profiling others, I’m not getting a sense of open-minded awareness of learning about the nuances of the very large nation that is America, aside from some nasty judgements, and that’s just weird, and ironic. I can see that there isn’t much point in arguing with you, but it pisses me off. I wouldn’t let someone get away with criticizing other things about my life, why should I let you walk all over my country regularly, including in this comment where you had your chance to not do so, in a public blog? You want to go on record as not being anti-people-living-in-America, and yet you are openly, as far as I can tell, anti-American. That doesn’t fit. Either you get to dwell harmoniously with Americans or not. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. It’s very annoying that your blog is well-read in several countries that I know of, and you just continue to be ignorant and judgmental about our whole country, without regard to what might really be going on down here, while you live up there and read news articles about us. You’re always saying you don’t like it when people judge you for various things they don’t understand, but you are regularly wildly judgmental without any shame and very hurtful about America. It’s rude.

            The end. I’ve said my piece and I don’t seem to be getting much from you. As a final statement, I appreciate your apology for biting my head off about reverse racism. It was pretty uncalled for and strange, but everyone makes mistakes, and I appreciate the acknowledgment. That’s cool.

            • admin says:

              It’s over!

              I’m good with agreeing to disagree. I remain confused by most of your points, and part of that appears to be a complete disagreement about what constitutes “angry” or “biting your head off”.

              Ie. you considered this biting your head off and “uncalled for” :
              “Reverse racism is not a thing. Please read this very basic definition of what racism is understood to mean (hint: it isn’t the dictionary definition. Dictionaries tend to be flawed that way).

              …And I consider it very normal talking. No anger, no sarcasm, no nothing. With things like this (as with the racism discussions, as you pointed out earlier) it’s best to go with the answer that the person themselves is saying. However, that doesn’t appear to be working as you keep saying I’m freaking out, angry, lecturing, and otherwise being a big fat meany-pants when I’m not.

              Same thing with the “hatred of a country” when I make dry commentary about news stories. Lots of people in other countries think America has some weird shit that comes out of it, but that does not equal hatred of an entire country and everyone who ever lived there. If I hated America, I would just tell you. Believe me. I wouldn’t try to hide it, or deny it, I’d just outright say, “I hate all of America and I’m totally serious and not joking. Every last American on the planet is an evil-hearted horrible person”. I’ve certainly joked about it before, in that sort of, “I don’t want to live on this planet” way, but I still can’t figure out both where this comes from and the “yelling at you” thing.
              There’s probably nothing I can say to convince you otherwise, and at this point I’m not interested in continuing to try, so if you feel more comfortable with the idea that I’m “anti-American” and hate everyone who lives there, the whole country, etc… then that’s okay. If my “anti-American” sentiment and everything else makes you that uncomfortable, I’m unsure of why you’d stick around to read, but I’m not in the business of blocking people or kicking the out or some such (as that’s both pointless and kind of dramalicious) so… happy reading? Peace.

        • admin says:

          It’s a whopper, footnotes

          1. There are some things you’ve said in your above rant that make me cringe. Like the comment about doing everything short of “painting your face darker”. This is not a compliment, this is blackface, and it is incredibly racist. Or the comment about leaving the name-calling to black, inner-city single mothers. This is also not a compliment, or nice, or… well, anything.
          And: giving a rich, white male a gender-reassignment does not make him a woman. I realize this is a “random example”, but it does not exactly promote an understanding of the trans* community.
          Please don’t say that shit, even if you’re “just joking” it’s gross. :-/
          2. My default position on anonymous comments is “ignore”. Anons have this magical ability to be whatever it is will lend them the most cred in a given situation. Ie. If an anon troll wants to prove I’m a racist ass, they magically become PoC, and I magically give zero cred to whatever it is they’re saying. If a named PoC blogger points out I said something racist, I would immediately stop and listen (or at least I would hope I would). This may be unfair, but it’s just the way it is. I’ve been around the block enough times to know that when it comes to anons, you dismiss everything they ever say unless it’s a compliment – because you can. I don’t owe anything to a random anonymous guy who thinks he has a point through thinly-veiled insults coupled with an encyclopedic knowledge of the last 8 years of my writing, but no reading comprehension (seriously, it’s creepy).
          I don’t get anon comments often, but when I do 95% of it is either trolling or spam. So I don’t ever take the time to read it other than to occasionally unscreen the stuff without links if I remember to (everything is screened by default because I get A LOT of spam. A lot, a lot, a lot of spam).
          3. This isn’t me angry, or even irritated. I’m pretty straight-forward. If I was supremely pissed, you’d know. It’s been a long, long, long, long time since I’ve ever gone on some name-calling angry spree. However, I joke about it on occasion.
          4. My sense of humour is extremely dark, wry and sarcastic. I like that about myself, but I come off as cold to a lot of people. That’s actually okay with me, they don’t have to love me, and I’m happier being myself than I ever was pretending to be a bubbly, bright, quirky person. The vast majority of readers like that about me too… that’s why they read. That’s cool. It’s nice to be appreciated for who you are. I’m not going to tone it down for someone’s sensibilities, because this is my blog where I write. About me. That’s part of my personality.
          Things that aren’t part of my core personality are things like opinions, ideas, misconceptions, etc… those things are fluid and may change over time. Those things can be challenged, talked about and so on – so I talk about them frequently. What I’m trying to say here is changing so that you don’t tell racist jokes because you no longer want to be a racist ass, is not the same thing as changing your personality so that your humour is no longer deadpan and dark.

          Final side note:
          Reverse racism is not a thing. Please read this very basic definition of what racism is understood to mean (hint: it isn’t the dictionary definition. Dictionaries tend to be flawed that way).

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: It’s a whopper, footnotes

            There’s a huge amount in your post, wow, so I am not going to read through it all carefully and reply right now, but in response to your very last “final side note:” I didn’t make up the reverse racism thing. You mentioned it in a one liner to another anon comment, I believe? Unless I got that totally wrong? It seemed a bit harsh to the person, and that’s the only reason I used that phrase or brought it up. I don’t understand your meaning, but since it’s your final note, you must mean something by it, right? I thought I had read you mentioning the reverse “isms” here like, all the time. LOL?? Am I going completely crazy?!?!? I would never have brought that up, nor made it up…Sheesh.

            • admin says:

              This one came after the other reply, but read it first

              There is a distinct possibility that during the hour I took to form the other reply, over constant interruptions, that I mistook the previous note about reverse racism for your own. If that’s the case, then my apologies. I skimmed over your original comment and can’t find what I thought I was referring to…

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: It’s a whopper, footnotes


            You used the phrase “reverse racism” here, in the above link, so I don’t understand why you wrote an epic, dissertation-like, 4-part post, and chose to end the entire thing with a note telling me there is no such thing as reverse racism. That must be like your most important point or something, but I don’t understand it at all? Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have to talk about it, or use that phrase, but it wasn’t like invented it like some kind of uninformed, racist nitwit, nor did I throw it in there to try and be a jerk to everyone and anyone. I don’t think I need to be called on it. 🙁

            And P.S., despite all your wordy points, it remains that my thesis, and those of others too afraid of your passivity to use their real names, is that you are trying to tell the rest of us how to behave, and that feels a little bit off-putting. Does it make sense that some people AREN’T racist? Who, in your mind, is not? Because you have it all worked up that EVERY SINGLE WHITE PERSON IS. Are there liberals in your mind who AREN’T, or should we mind as well not even try because we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t? Is this like telling a white man that he is deeply sexist and there’s no way around it? What if a man comes forward and tells you he has been working on it for years and he doesn’t believe he’s as bad an offender as other guys? Wouldn’t that be possible??? Or would you tell him, “See, the thing is, all men don’t understand women so you still have a long ways to go?” Once he’s gone the long ways, will you still tell him that? What is the point of going the long ways and learning if you believe that we’re never good enough? Could you trust that some of us have figured this out? You freely throw around “PoC” and talk about your “dark, sardonic sense” of humor, but I, who admire theater and all sorts of re-imaging of people, cannot truthfully talk about what it would be like to paint my face tan without you accusing me of saying “blackface?” Could we let the black people weigh in on what’s cool or not cool with them, instead of you giving out all the answers? Could the white college educated people weight in on what’s insulting to us or not, without you telling us that we all suck? It’s the “You all suck” thing that is just really, really insulting here. If anyone dissents with you, we suck, and then you win. If we agree with you, we agree that we suck. I, and some others, do not believe that we suck, and would like to be able to read your interesting blog with interesting points without being told that we suck. It’s just a basic right I ask, but if you cannot do that, I guess that you cannot do that. You label everyone who disagrees with you or uses the anonymous feature (a typical option in debates online under news articles, etc., if people want to say something strong but don’t want everyone on the block knowing it’s them) a “troll” or a coward, and I have a real problem with that. I don’t really know how else to say it without getting yelled at by you. Speaking calmly doesn’t seem to work very well. Yelling or being animated about the frustration I’m feeling clearly doesn’t seem to work very well….

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: It’s a whopper, footnotes

            (Doesn’t it make sense to you that some of us might have already been down this path you are on and considered these things? It comes across as a little bit preachy, and then there’s no way to respond, because if we do, you tell us we don’t know what’s really going on, and therefore we’re racist, and we suck. I understand your humble point that you are learning and want to become a better person. However, BIG HUGE however, that doesn’t mean that everyone is at the same stage as you. We don’t all need this lesson. That’s all that was propositioned to you, timidly, if I might add. You’ve got this wrapped up into a perfect little situation for yourself here.)

            Try going to college before insulting those who did. I’m not passing judgement on those who don’t get educated in a standard manner, but if you haven’t gotten a college degree, I wish you would reserve judgement for what that experience is like to those of us who have. You started the comparisons. I would never say being “uneducated” is bad, but you have announced that anyone with a degree who’s also white and middle class probably was in an ivory tower, and that’s hurtful and silly. Experience something before commenting on it. 😉 Walk a mile in others’ shoes and all that. We who went to college don’t all suck. I’m sorry that you only just started realizing how racist you are: Some of the rest of us learned this from a young age and have had years to think it through.

            It still feels as through you are telling everyone else how to deal with race, though, boldly, announcing you’re actually really new to it. How is it that you can be both new to it and an expert? Could you give those of us who have worked on this in our minds and actions for years some credit?


            One anon.

            • admin says:

              Re: It’s a whopper, footnotes

              I was wordy because I thought the explanation merited a lot of discussion, and not just a simple snarky line… that said, you don’t seem to understand a lot of what I write about and are more concerned with the size.

              As for this response: I continue to be flabberghasted at where this is coming from. I don’t think college kids suck, either (seriously? If it isn’t one thing its another). The continual “try going to college before you insult it” has me kind of slack-jawed. I just… what? Where does this even come from? What are you talking about? Even if I had a significant prejudice against college… hating all college-educated adults wouldn’t EVEN MAKE SENSE as an addition to that prejudice.
              My commentary about this campaign being attractive to white college kids is because… well… it is. I’m making a wry generalization about my own kin, and one that is frankly regurgitated from other bloggers talking about this issue, not saying that all college kids are stupid or worthless or something.

              The continual fear that i’m going to yell at you is equally bizarre. Is debate yelling? Disagreeing?…
              I’m not entirely sure I understand where the, “babs yells at people” mentality comes from. Being forthright also isn’t yelling. I don’t like to beat around the bush, it’s tiring. If you could show me an instance where I have yelled at you, that would be helpful, because at least then I would have some sort of idea where this weird idea comes from.

              – “reverse racism” is an idea, but the reality is false. Kind of like unicorns. I can talk about unicorns, but we both know they’re bullshit. Someone saying that unicorns are real is either 5, or stupid. I feel similarly about “reverse racism”.
              – I also don’t think you understand a major point: this is a blog, a personal blog. Not an e-zine. So when I “lecture others about race”, I’m reflecting. This is the first time I’ve ever actually written about race, and the post isn’t even about that. I just mentioned that it had racist connotations. So I also don’t get the, “you keep lecturing about race like an expert” thing. That also doesn’t make sense. This blog isn’t “about” anything other than… me. And my life. I’m a narcissistic blogger. That’s what I do.
              – I don’t even want to get into how dubious it is for you to claim to have figured all this race stuff out a long time ago, and then talk about “painting your face tan” during theatre in the next sentence, as a way to slide the focus off your non-theatre commentary about respecting PoC in tons of neat ways short of “painting your face”.
              – I’m not speaking for PoC that I’m aware of. The things I’ve said sound pretty cringe-inducing are well known issues, and I can link you to some bingo cards if you want. This entry also wasn’t speaking for PoC: that’s why I provided a lot of links, and talked very briefly about how the campaign made me uncomfortable. In comments you asked me directly why race was important to me, seeing as I’m not a PoC. Answering those questions also isn’t speaking for PoC. The whole, “I learned about race ages ago” + “white people shouldn’t talk about race unless they have black friends” + the fact that we’re still having this conversation = why not go to some anti-racist blogs written by PoC and read some stuff.
              – Being “afraid” to leave your name makes no sense. What am I going to do differently to someone who comments with their blog name… talk to them? Are you afraid that I will chase you down at their journal? I barely have time to write my own entries, let alone go after someone else. I do not understand this mentality either. I automatically lend more credence to someone who leaves their name, that’s for sure.

              This is starting to go in circles now, and is getting kind of tiring. Eventually I’m going to stop bothering to unscreen everything, particularly since LJ keeps giving me the runaround (every time I press unscreen I get “COMMENT ERROR” and have to go in circles about doing it. Replying to this comment was the only way I could unscreen yours).

              • Anonymous says:

                Re: It’s a whopper, footnotes

                I’m sorry, I generally consider it really rude to jump into somebody else’s conversation, but I’ve been reading all of this in fascination, mostly because I started a similar discussion a while back. Can I throw something out there?

                Babs, you speak with a passion and authority born of confidence that you have studied what you believe and are comfortable with your conclusions. You’re also not at all afraid to tell people when you think they said something stupid. THAT is what some people take as “yelling”. I said something that you disagreed once and it scared the shit out of me. But I’ve been reading your blog and your comments long enough to realize that you’re blunt and you don’t take BS, so I mentally ducked and kept right on asking questions. Those who hide behind anonymity and dislike having their beliefs questioned are likely to be put off by your confidence/bluntness/authority/whatever you want to call it. It’s rather refreshing, actually, to come across somebody who will put their opinions out in the open without dancing around them out of courtesy. Thank you.

                Now…sorry for butting in. You may resume your head-butting now.

                • admin says:

                  Re: It’s a whopper, footnotes

                  Thanks for this.

                  In one way I sort of understand, but in another way I totally don’t. I don’t get it when people dance around stuff, it’s confusing for me and it gets irritating and annoying… and I don’t feel like I have the patience to do that. Nor do I really understand how. It’s like this complex web of bullshit and I don’t really feel the need (or understand the allure) of spending time weaving it.
                  The idea that speaking frankly is “yelling” or lecturing or whatever is a concept that I don’t think I’ll ever get. I remember once getting chastised by a friend for telling a mutual friend that forward-facing her child under a year is very dangerous, and she thought I could have sugar-coated it a little more because it was too blunt. I can’t for the life of me understand the purpose of this. It’s very dangerous and is also illegal… what’s to sugar-coat? What would be the purpose of dumbing it down? I don’t get it. She said I’d yelled at her, when I’d never raised my voice or been stern. I had said that she was potentially putting her child’s life at risk, but that’s no exaggeration.

                  There’s one or two anons that occasionally send messages about how I can’t stand disagreements. And the only evidence to support this claim is that I open a debate with people who come in with something constructive. The conclusion I can draw from this is that unless I take every criticism or disagreement with the response, “You’re right and I’m wrong”, then I become a person who “can’t take criticism” or, “doesn’t let anyone disagree with her”. If that’s the case, then I suppose they’re right. Though I would characterize someone who “can’t take criticism” as someone who becomes unstable, emotional or cries or otherwise freaks the fuck out every time someone comes in with something constructive. Or worse still, forbids anyone from speaking a disagreement around them. I don’t consider someone sticking to their guns (right or wrong) as “someone who never lets anyone disagree with them”… but I suppose others do?

                  Anyway, if you look back I have regular debates/disagreements with friends and commenters all over the damn place. The worst thing that can possibly happen by disagreeing with me is that I’ll continue to disagree with you. And…. that’s it.

  • bluealoe says:

    I haven’t followed this issue very closely and I don’t know much about it, so thanks for the links and the information.

    John Green made an interesting video about the importance of paying sustained attention to these issues, rather than just pay attention for a few hours (and he plays video game soccer at the same time).

  • Anonymous says:

    Speaking of racism…

    Some of what you’ve said seems reasonable, but I need to let you know that white guilt does not motivate every campaign with which white people get involved. Maybe it does for you as a white person, but thankfully, some of the rest of us are able to experience a range of different motivations. Could it be that people (of any color) are capable of seeing other people (of any color) suffering and actually want to do something about it (even if in a misguided way)?

    I know you are really into white self-hatred, but martyrdom doesn’t give you any cred except with other self-flagellators, you know? It also doesn’t help anybody solve any problem or improve their world.

    Also, what is the deal with the comment about white college kids? Are you saying they pay less attention in school / to current affairs than kids of other colors?

    • admin says:

      Re: Speaking of racism…

      I invite you to ask these questions to this blog: http://dumbthingswhitepplsay.tumblr.com/
      or this blog: http://karnythia.tumblr.com/

      Both authors are PoC, extremely knowledgeable about these issues, and can answer your questions. Unless, of course, you’re just trolling. And racist. Which I strongly suspect is the case by hitting a bullseye in the derailing bingo card.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Speaking of racism…

        I’m not racist – are you? I am also not trolling. I do agree with what you’ve said about these issues being complex and about the dubiousness of any claims that all the violence will stop if we can bring down a single man.

        However, I don’t understand why you are recommending that I ask other bloggers about statements you made. I am asking you about words you wrote in your own journal. If you cannot defend the seemingly racist comment you made about white students, for example, then why say it in the first place? It’s not as if making inflammatory blanket generalizations about white people chips away at privilege and sets things right or something.

  • avidity says:

    I didnt know much about this either and felt inundated by the amount of times it got linked on my FB. I finally gave in and started to watch it to see what was up. I honestly couldn’t get through half the 30 minute clip. and even then I skipped through a bunch of it. By the time i quite, I was frustrated that I was waiting to be informed and all I got was a story about a white filmaker and how this is affecting him and his little boy… really? REALLY? Thank you for the links which I assume will actually tell me something.

      • admin says:

        I felt that way after seeing the movie as well. Lots of emotional stuff, good film-making, an endearing plot line about the relationship between father and his son believing he’s superman (“fighting the bad guys”) but no REAL information.

        While some of the above links pick apart the organization, several offer a much broader view of the conflict and history.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ah but it’s working

    Well their agenda has worked, they got you to talk about him regardless how you feel about their campaigns and any press is good press.

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