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What Shakesville Said

Shakesville: We Write Letters

This blog resolves to acknowledge our social privileges without defensiveness, to welcome the comments and contributions of socially marginalised voices, and when our work builds on the ideas of others we will fully attribute our debt to their work.

We will no doubt get it wrong at times. Call us on it. We will listen. We may, in the end, still disagree with some criticisms, but these disagreements will be discussed respectfully and we will still be your allies.

Update May 2nd 2008 – Related Post:
Feminism Friday: When Women Who Advocate For Women’s Rights Reject The Label Feminist – links to many discussions on the shortcomings of mainstream feminism when dealing with matters of race and racism especially. That post was updated May 2nd, 2008 to include some of the excellent posts written in the last few weeks.

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writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

5 comments on “What Shakesville Said

  1. Yeah, I was very sad about BFP. I always read her blog and was happy to hear more about other latinas experiences. Damn.

    This may sound extremely silly, but it always bothered me. ‘We’ in feminist spaces is always white women; almost like when you say ‘person’, but you are talking just about men in mainstream media. (‘why should people do about their women?’)

    As in ‘why we should do about the experiences of WoC?’, or ‘why should feminists do about women in other countries?’. And you are talking about what white feminists in first-world western countries should do. Because I’m a feminist in a third world western country (I’m Latinamerican) and… well, I’m a feminist too.

  2. I think I see what you mean, Noir. My “we” in the post above was meant to mean merely “we, the authors of this blog”, and the rest of my resolution was also meant to acknowledge that women of colour are not the only marginalised voices within mainstream feminism.

    I think the main thing white middle-class feminists such as myself can do is fully acknowledge that other feminists/womanists such as yourself aren’t waiting for white liberals to come and rescue you and explain your needs to you. We need to get out of the way, cheer you on and watch your backs, not think that we need to lead.

  3. Why is “Race” not listed in categories or tags on this blog.

  4. Because when I write on racism I categorise it under “Social Justice” and “oppression” and “privilege”. Perhaps that’s inadequate. I’m sure that I have actually used “racism” or “racist” as a tag, but the tag cloud only shows those which are most frequently used, not every single tag used ever. I can certainly add the appropriate categories/tags to make sure that race issues are more visible in the indexing of the archive. I can see that it’s important that people don’t feel that they have been disappeared from the discussion here.

    Why haven’t I done so previously?

    * I don’t blog much about race, obviously. No doubt that’s partly because I’m of European ancestry, but it’s also because I’m not American, where the most analysed and commentated racial divide exists: I don’t fully understand the tangled issues there. That’s not to say that my own country (Australia) does not have a racist history and continuing legacy of racism, but the dynamics are very different. On my other blog my co-blogger and I have written quite a lot on the politics of indigenous issues, but I haven’t cross-posted that here because this is not a general feminist blog, this is a Feminism 101 blog.

    * This blog is based on answering questions that frequently derail feminist discussions, while discussing race issues that arise in discussions of feminist posts that initially focus on another aspect is not a derailment – discussing intersecting oppressions is essential. Therefore I haven’t previously seen any need for an FAQ specifically dealing with race questions.

    Perhaps the easiest way for me to address this in future is to do themed Links Roundups, so that I can collect a pile of reading that I can categories and tag under just a few labels instead of having so many different issues that I end up just categorising round-ups as “recommended”.

  5. I’ve now reorganised the categories and tags to include race & racism as a separate issue under “intersecting” int eh gender category.

    I also should have linked to my earlier Feminism Friday post
    When Women Who Advocate For Women’s Rights Reject The Label Feminist, where there are many links to discussions of mainstream feminism’s continuing failure to adequately engage matters of racial inequality within the movement and as a fundamental part of feminist activism. It’s just been updated to include some of the excellent posts written in the last few weeks.

    I’m adding it to the foot of the post now.

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