Friday, April 18, 2008
not that I could have contributed to that in any meaningful manner, except to say that white girls need to be very very VERY thoughtful before they go shooting off their mouths, either on the blogosphere or between bookcovers or wherever feminism is served, and also need to realize that no matter what they say, someone somewhere is going to take issue with it.
to that end, I have been very very VERY thoughtful about race lately. I'm really bad at writing about it, really inarticulate and shallow and never really contributing anything of weight or relevance. But here's something new (to me) about race and feminism, maybe, or race and me, at the very least.
from the time I got pregnant, maybe a little before, until just a coupla weeks before I delivered, I worked here, the Capital Region Education Council CHOICE Program.
back in the day, programs like the CHOICE Program used to be called simply "busing", wherein students (mostly black, some hispanic) from city neighborhoods were selected to attend suburban schools mostly attended by white students. Nowadays, playing the funding game requires cool catchy acronyms and mission statements and all that crap to stay hip and cool and relevant and funded, but it's the same thing today that it was 30 years ago.
The focus of the program is to reduce social, ethnic and economic isolation by integrating educational settings. and for the most part, it sorta works. at least, it tries real hard.
more importantly, the people in the office try real hard, struggle mightily against underfunded budgets, byzantine bureaucracies, vapid school administrators, angry parents and the students themselves.
here's the relevant part for today - out of an office of about ten people, I was the only white person. (I think I was one of five white people on the entire floor, in fact.)
the thing about diversity, as I experienced it at the office for nine months, is that it's. well, diverse.
three women were Puerto Rican. three other women and two men were African-American. the boss lady was Jamaican. and for every issue that came up, these nine people came up with ten different solutions. (my opinion totally did not count, not because I was white, but because I was a temp, and not an educator with a college degree.)
the lives of these people differed wildly - some came up hard on the mean streets, others had relatively comfortable childhoods. some grew up in rural areas, some in cities. some had children, some did not. One did time in prison. Many were very very religious.
one woman out of the seven called herself a feminist, but reluctantly. she didn't feel like feminism really spoke to her needs, but felt guilty abandoning the idea entirely. six women out of the seven were explicitly NOT feminists.
Obama-vs-Clinton? well, actually I think at least one woman intends to vote for McCain. Make of that what you will.
What I learned at the office is that, at least in that particular environment, yeah, feminism is not relevant to women of color. it's seen as a hobby for white women with more money than sense.
if the shoe fits, y'all.
more later maybe, as my little oppressor-kins is making a terrible racket, exercising his dominance in a most white and male manner...
Thursday, April 17, 2008
So, I seems I might be uninvited to the forum at William and Mary. Why? Because apparently, Sam Berg, who has been booked as a panelist longer than I and is traveling further than I, is uncomfortable with me being there. Apparently, once upon a time I said I wanted to push her in front of a truck.
Sam, let me say this plain: You are a big old baby.
you think you're right? you think your position is defensible? you believe in what you're doing? be brave, sister! the William and Mary debate is the perfect time and place to emerge victorious over the dirty dirty sexpoxes. and yet you lose your nerve, right at your golden moment.
Ren doesn't make you uncomfortable. the prospect of getting your ass handed to you makes you uncomfortable.
which, you know, is human. lots of people make me feel like a failure. I get that. but if you have any love for your movement at all, you'll take the podium and give it your best shot.
now, back to the Littlest Patriarch. see you in another month or so, probably.