Some very disturbing readers' comments at a blog I frequently read prompt me to offer the following:
I blog mostly about New Orleans; antisexism activism and theory; antiracism activism and theory; and liberal/radical politics. Sometimes, I just write about being a mom and being me.
I very much appreciate visitors to my blog and welcome their comments on all subjects.
When it comes to racism and sexism though, I am really not interested in debate with people who deny that those things are institutionalized and ubiquitous. As I see it, we exist within social structures, and the social structures in our country are deeply informed by racism and sexism (and agism, ablism, and heterosexism too). Arguing with me about the existence of these things and their profound impact on individual lives would be like arguing with Neo about the existence of the matrix - because once you know, you know. Exchanges about these things are not going to change your mind or mine - and would not be productive for either of us.
My blog is not a free speech zone (I couldn't believe the men who swarmed the site I mentioned above, called her a bitch and a cunt and then insisted on their right to free speech! "What about my sacred right to abuse you...."). When it comes to racism and sexism, the purpose of my blog is to faciliate networking with other activists and theorists in these fields, and perhaps also to reach out to those who are somewhat interested in these subjects but still kind of on the fence. If you find that you profoundly disagree with me about something as rudimentary as racism or sexism being rampant in our country, your time would probably better be spent commenting at blogs hosted by people who share your worldview. I respectfully encourage you to have your free speech and activist networking in those places. There is room for lots of opinions in the world, but this blog comes from a particular perspective. I've heard all the arguments many times before about how the so-called tolerant are actually so intolerant because we won't entertain viewpoints that we see as sexist, racist, or homophobic. Whatever.
Yes, too many times I have seen viciously misogynist comments offered at feminist blogs. There are men who swarm women's blogs with threats of finding women bloggers in real life, cutting off their heads, "grudgeraping" them, even kidnapping their children because feminist bitches must be bad mothers - just horrible, monstrous, crazy stuff (more about attacks on women's blogs here).
I'm also on to the whole "concern trolling" thing that so often shows up in the comments at feminist blogs. Too many times, I've seen these comments derail conversations. The poster pretends to be interested in debate, but really intends to silence women (or - even if that wasn't the intention - that is the effect).
So, I'm setting up rules for comments. When the subject is racism or sexism and if I think someone is just playing games or wasting my time, the submission will be deleted with no comment from me (I know that attention is the mother's milk of trolldom; you won't get that here, ever).
If you have GENUINE questions about racism, sexism, or homophobia, and you are white, male, and/or straight, the best way to start becoming an ally is to begin by educating yourself rather than asking a woman or a person of color to take time from their own work to debate you. Please understand that members of minority groups have lots of work to do when it comes to protecting and healing their own communities. If you really want to delve further into these subjects and want to become an ally, the best way to start is by spending time educating yourself rather than asking someone else to explain the basics; please recognize that this work is not and can not be focused on you. There is so much great educational material out there, and if you are genuinely concerned and are not just a concern troll, you will indeed educate yourself.
On the subject of racism, here are some great sites for white people to begin examining race and race privilege:
For White Folks: How to Become an Ally
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Tim Wise's "White Like Me"
On sexism, here are some sites for beginners:
Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog
XY: Men, Masculinities, and Gender Politics - an especially good resource for male allies
How Not to be an Asshole
Anti-Feminist Bingo 2
Another note: any comments offered that can already be found on Anti-Feminist Bingo or Anti-Feminist Bingo 2 will be deleted without reply. The reason those things are ON those bingo cards is because what you're saying is so unoriginal and predictable.
Also, women bloggers may find Blogging Feminism: (Web)Sites of Resistance a supportive resource.
One final point: This blog is also 100% anti-porn. I used to be one of the sex positive, "fun feminists," and a lot of horrible, painful stuff in my own life, leading to my SO being in treatment for sexual addiction - together with the brilliant analysis of so many radical feminists - changed my mind. I won't post a pornography apologia of any sort. The pro-porn position utterly dominates in our culture now. Ads on city streets are pornified. Television is pornified. Highway signs promise "adult entertainment" just off the next exit. Women who publicly challenge pornography consumption have their names (and in one famous case, a private email to a peace rally organizer in which the woman questioned the event's being partially underwritten by Flynt publishing) sent to Larry Flynt, who uses his mass-distributed publications to viciously attack them with photos and cartoons of them dismembered, bound, raped in every orifice. These days, "we're oh-so enlightened about sex now" academic panels on pornography usually don't include any members who bring a critical feminist analysis. Women's Studies departments have been taken over by the sex-pos cool kids, so that anti-porn feminist academics are having difficulty getting hired and getting published. In fact, "feminist" journals these days won't even accept porn-critical articles (they also ask would-be authors not to use the word "patriarchy" - WTF? When did we sell out to the rest of the academy, and how much did we get paid?). So, this blog is my own space; pro-porn arguments, which dominate everywhere else, are not allowed on anti-porn blogs like mine. It's where women - and male allies - against porn can safely speak our minds; they are precious few such spaces. I hope you will check out the many anti-pornography links on my blog; there are many thoughtful, bright people out there eloquently explaining exactly how pornography is not good for us - men, women, or children. If you disagree, that's fine, but just realize pro-porn comments will be deleted without publication.
Thanks again for visiting my blog.