Chickenfried Jo, a white woman who admitted on her LJ that she had only “recently begun reading writers of color” turned the subject from criticism to racism: “That to me says that the person reading it was not smart enough, educated enough, white enough...”
K. Tempest Bradford ramped up the racial focus: “People of color spend far too much time wading through bullshit squicky race stuff to have to put up with it any longer than necessary.”
• I Enter the Fray and Find that Any Criticism of a POC is Racist
I had seen the SJ warriors in action two years earlier. I missed the first days of Racefail 09 because I had no interest in seeing them again. But when Emma said things had gotten so bad that she was dropping out, I made the mistake of looking.
I saw Patrick Nielsen Hayden defending his friends:
I wouldn’t even split the problem into “authors” and “readers.” Some people are smarter than others, to put it as baldly as possible.
Of course, not-so-bright people are entitled to justice, as are (also) people who don’t express themselves well. As the ghost of John Rawls reminds me, all of us fall into both of those categories at many points in our life, so we should always be suspicious of the temptation to “worship language, and forgive / all of those who by it live.”
This does not, however, amount to an unlimited claim on our time and energy by people who can’t sort out the difference between their inner feelings and the exterior world of discourse. We can try to help them but we cannot be their servants.
Vera Copracat quoted him at her LJ and added, “I almost cannot believe someone just said this in a discussion about racism. Except there it is.”
In the comments, Patrick answered, “It wasn’t even remotely a discussion of racism. It was a discussion of people behaving badly in online arguments.”
The discussion in the comments makes it clear that the conversation in which mac_stone felt verbally abused was the recent discussion on racism. The question of sufficient reading, specifically, was one in which racist asshole behavior was demonstrated by coffeeem and medievalist.
Coffeeem is Emma. Patrick and Medievalist are people I’ve considered friends. So I made my first comment in Racefail 09:
Anyone who would say coffeeem or medievalist is exhibiting racist asshole behavior is, in turn, exhibiting racist asshole behavior.Because warriors reject dictionary definitions, saying that a black person was “exhibiting racist asshole behavior” made me a racist. Or maybe a xylophone.
At the time, few of Bear’s defenders knew the warriors were identitarian believers in Critical Race Theory who thought criticism of an Identitarian of Color was a criticism of all people of color. That became clear later when, referring to several white people’s criticism of Avalon’s Willow’s ability to read analytically, Sparkymonster said sarcastically:
It’s cool how POC don’t/can’t read critically. And that critical race theory doesn’t exist.To warriors like Sparkymonster, Avalon’s Willow represented all People of Color, and any “white” person who disagreed with Willow’s interpretation of a book she had not finished reading was racist.
Thus when Medievalist said Avalon’s Willow was “engaging in orcing, performance art and pretty much blog-whoring.” Even though “orcing” had been used to describe mobbing for years without objection, Coffeeandink denounced the term as racist. Her readers agreed. And because some women who were not white have been called whores, Avalon’s Willow denounced “blog-whoring” as “ugly racism.”
So far as I know, no one has yet figured out how “performance art” was racist.
• White women’s tears
About this time one of Bear’s defenders, Mac Stone, reminded of real-life abuse, deleted her journal and was mocked for “white women’s tears.” The Feministsf’s wiki definition of “white women’s tears”:
...a sarcastic / humorous reference to the tendency of race and gender discussions to be derailed by white women into the pain the discussion is causing non-POC.
During RaceFail ‘09, the phrase was mentioned several times. Badgerbag thought it hilarious to post a Photoshopped image in Delux_vivens’s journal of a bottle of champagne labeled “White Women’s Tears – Don’t Cry Baby …” It’s significant that an image of making white women cry was created by a white woman. In groups that bully, members prove their worth by bullying others. The tendency of the bullied to become bullies may be related to capture-bonding, aka Stockholm Syndrome.
When I was young, crying was a feminist issue. At a time when most of society believed that “real men don’t cry,” feminists supported everyone who showed the extent of their feelings by crying. But either feminism changed or warriors have a strongly anti-feminist streak, because they love to mock those they hurt. To be fair to warriors, they don't set out to make white women cry. But when white women who share their goals do cry, warriors think mockery is the appropriate response.
Contrast this with an anecdote from the life of Malcolm X. Many warriors know from watching Spike Lee’s version of Malcolm X’s life that Malcolm made a young white woman cry. Lee shot the conclusion of that incident, but left it out of the movie. Here’s Malcolm’s take from an interview with Gordon Parks, two days before he was killed:
Brother, remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant—the one who wanted to help the [Black] Muslims and the whites get together—and I told her there wasn’t a ghost of a chance and she went away crying? Well, I’ve lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then—like all [Black] Muslims—I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost. It cost me 12 years.
That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days—I’m glad to be free of them.
Malcom X was not proud of having made a white woman cry. SJ warriors seem to regard it as a badge of honor. Hopefully one day they’ll look back on RaceFail ‘09 and the hurt and pain they caused and say, “That was a bad scene brother...”
Resume with • Trying to reason in a flamewar