You say “Angry Black Woman” like it’s a bad thing.

Amazing!! Cal Thomas, “Syndicated Columnist” for Fox News, thinks all black women are angry. All 12+ million of us. Well, okay. Except one.

THOMAS: I want to pick up on something that Jane said about the angry black woman. Look at the image of angry black women on television. Politically you have Maxine Waters of California, liberal Democrat. She’s always angry every time she gets on television. Cynthia McKinney, another angry black woman. And who are the black women you see on the local news at night in cities all over the country. They’re usually angry about something. They’ve had a son who has been shot in a drive-by shooting. They are angry at Bush. So you don’t really have a profile of non-angry black women.

PINKERTON: Oprah Winfrey.

THOMAS: Oprah Winfrey. Yes, there you go, Oprah Winfrey.

Oh. Well, then. As long as there’s Oprah, there’s hope.

Okay, look. None of us are surprised at Fox behaving badly, now, are we? Even if they have belatedly acknowledged that the “baby mama” drama was, to put it mildly, “poor judgment”. Fortunately I don’t have to point out The Stupid here, since Daily Kos has done it so inimitably.

But he asks an important question, which I think bears repeating:

What I’m also shocked about is that this disgusting statement was made on Saturday, and the first time I heard about it was on Dan Abram’s show tonight. And he didn’t provide any analysis or discussion of the statement. Why aren’t all those people who denounced sexism during the primary race up in arms with this racist and sexist nonsense?

Yeah. That’s a good question, isn’t it? Food for thought.

Michelle Obama Watch thought about it too.

The double-whammy of race and gender make Michelle Obama an irresistible target. And the relative silence from Hillary-supporting feminists reveals a serious flaw in the idea that feminists will defend all women.

In all fairness’ sake, as people in the MOW comments pointed out, some of the third-wave feminist blogs (like Feministe) have indeed come out in defense of Michelle Obama, which I’m relieved to see. But it’s hard not to notice that there’s not nearly as much commentary about this in the feminist blogosphere as I saw when there were sexist media attacks against Hillary Clinton. Talk about angry black women — what those Fox pseudopundits really ought to be afraid of is angry white women. They’re kickass, man. I mean, there was just so much furor out there — and rightly so — over the sexism heaped upon Clinton. All the big names of feminism and politics — Steinem, Ferraro, Jong, and more. All women who speak softly and carry big no-phallic-pun-intended-sticks. I’m sure these same women are going to come out guns blazing now that Michelle is getting the same ugly treatment. It’s still sexism, right? Even if it’s compounded by racism. Sexism’s still sexism.

Right? Right? So the defense should begin any minute now. Right?

Oooh, I can’t wait to hear what Rosanne Barr or Linda Hirshman have to say about this. I mean, they’re just so articulate. (And, of course, clean.) Any minute now, I’m sure I’ll see a trifecta of blasts on the Huffington Post and the New York Times and the Washington Post, all from big-name second-wavers who are disgusted, simply disgusted, by Michelle’s treatment.

Any minute now.

Any minute.

Anyone? Anyone?

Bueller?

72 Responses

  1. nojojojo–yeah, those crickets from some parts of the feminist blogosphere are awfully loud.

    And, hey, was that tumbleweed I saw going by?

  2. [...] first angry black woman that came to mind for me has blogged on this as [...]

  3. I love the assumption there is nothing for black women to be angry about.
    Also, I have a feeling that we’re going to have to put up a lot of support for Michelle Obama in the next year(s) or so. She’s not going to have an easy time being First Lady…

  4. Thank God I’m not the only one outraged over this! Where are the feminists now??? And I’m not talking about the women my age (29) and younger, I’m talking about the famous, powerful, (clinton) feminists. The ones with the big guns – the ones who were yelling that no matter what race we were we needed to be supporting the woman, when the woman was Hillary. Now that the woman under attack is Michelle they are silent.
    Could we have a little integrity, please?

  5. You nailed it.

    I was so stunned by the whole thing, I just reprinted John Scalzi’s post in its entirety. I mean… WHAT?

  6. But but HIllary was imporatnt! SHES FIRST!

    and I’ll be over here with my ” angry black woman tshirt” noticing how delayed the watches for MIchelle got and how so many things to precedence and teh continued

    inSISTANCE that there isn’t some racist component to this and we mean colored ladies are simple being to rough on folks

  7. “Oooh, I can’t wait to hear what Rosanne Barr or Linda Hirshman have to say about this. I mean, they’re just so articulate. (And, of course, clean.) ”

    *coffeespit* OMG! Well-put. (And the rest of the post was fantastic as well, of course.)

  8. Well, it makes me want to puke blood, if that makes anyone feel better.

    Nah, I kinda thought it wouldn’t.

  9. Does the hypocrisy demonstrated by feminism really surprise any of us?

    My grandmother said it pretty right on this one – feminism has never been about women’s rights. It’s been about White women’s thirst for authority.

  10. I showed a (white, male) British friend a segment of the Daily Show in which they talk about the “terrorist fist jab” comment from Fox… He spent the next half an hour (as soon as he realized that it was FOR REAL and the anchor wasn’t an actress for the Daily Show) telling me again and again, “That was RACIST.” How sad is it that I could only say, “Duh, that’s Fox News?”

    It’s nice to know we can just dismiss angry people (unless they’re rich, powerful, white men and their campaigns who are pissed about the Democrats’ “secret code” for talking about age).

  11. Anger is a productive emotion. And I hate it when people say to POC, “Stop being so angry! Stop being so emotional!”

    What people don’t understand is that anger (when righteously motivated) can produce social change when it is productive. It starts movements. It makes people shake up the system. It causes folks to question their complacence. It threatens the issue of power and white privilege.

    And I think it frightens a lot of white people when POC are angry because they immediately know that something is wrong with a system that benefits them.

    So, it’s no surprise to me that the FOX folks are trying to make angry black women negative and “dangerous”. It’s the only way to reestablish a stale, antiquated system in which there are one-sided benefits for one group of people.

  12. “They’re usually angry about something. They’ve had a son who has been shot in a drive-by shooting. They are angry at Bush. So you don’t really have a profile of non-angry black women.”

    …so black women are angry because bad things have happened to them and bad people are in power doing nothing about it? Goodness gracious me! Maybe if it was just entitled whining like all the rich white people do, we could ignore it and they’d be so gosh-darn less threatening!

  13. so well written and right on! i wish this could be mailed to all the pro-Clinton feminists who are furiously twiddling their fingers and saying nothing now.

    and i am sure that Oprah must have at least done a terrorist fist jab or something once.

  14. When certain white feminists refer to equality what they really mean is equality to white men. That is what WOC must not forget. We are meant to be tools that can be leveraged in times of crises but not actually supported in times of need.

  15. Scalzi’s a feminist, unless he’s changed a lot since college. That quibble aside, you’re quite right about the big name second wave feminists. Where the heck are they?

    I must say that all the right wing accusations against Michelle Obama are going a long way towards persuading me that she must be a saint. I mean, if the best they can come up with is a false accusation of using the term “whitey” and the infamous “terrorist bump” she must be an incredibly nice person with amazing self control. I’d have called the pundits something far worse than whitey by this point if I were in her situation.

  16. That’s not the worst they can come up with. She’s also an enemy of science.

  17. Shakesville, as you might expect, has started a Michelle Obama racism/sexism watch, which is already 9 entries long and will grow quickly, I’d imagine.

    The other side of the spectrum are the “people” over at Hillaryis44. Sorry–I’m not linking those racist pieces of crap.

  18. I stopped by the NOW and the Feminist Majority websites this morning to see where the Feminist Establishment was at on the latest attacks on Michelle Obama.

    Not a peep. Thankfully we do have a younger generation who did step up to plate.

    I’m over 60 and it makes me ashamed to to be a Baby Boomer. Were these people out of town during the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements?

  19. What I would love, is to be a listener (not a participant) when Michelle Obama and Barack Obama have discussions about health care in this country, and potential remedies. Her work in a hospital whose administration is primarily white and male, situated in a primarily low income and black community — well that alone gives her far more insight and expertise into health care in the U.S. than Clinton’s work as a long-time member of boards and as a friend to the lobbyists of the health insurance corporations.

    So far I have not liked her husband’s health care plans at all. Mandatory health insurance is just not going to work. We already see it not working in California.

    Michelle Obama’s professional experience and credentials are deeply impressive. She’s as qualified to hold a high office as anyone else in this particular elections season, and much more so than, say, an emotionally unstable, intellectuallty challenged John McCain.

    As for some of those alpha feminists attacking the dorkdong attackers of Michelle Obama, perhaps — this is a feeling I have, and I may be wrong — they don’t actually ‘see’ it. I get the impression that this ilk of alpha white feminist has by now become an entrenched segment of the white ‘dem liberal’ establishment. They don’t really have black friends, and certainly not black friends who aren’t part of that same political power circle. So what is happening is not registering on their radar. This is not a defense of them, by any means, but an indictment. It is part of what went wrong wit h that wave of the feminist movement in the first place, which btw, left out a whole lot of women as well as woc.

    I am hoping that this period will provide those influential women (though not as influential, not mattering anywhere near as much as they do in their own minds — and somewhere knowing that, and resenting it very much — that disappointment thing again, that afflicts so many of we aging women) an opportunity to develop some understanding that this world of 2008 is so different from the world of 1978, and that they can grow some flex.

    Love, C.

  20. Yeah, a couple tumbleweeds going by…

    Thank God I’m not the only one outraged over this! Where are the feminists now??? And I’m not talking about the women my age (29) and younger, I’m talking about the famous, powerful, (clinton) feminists. The ones with the big guns – the ones who were yelling that no matter what race we were we needed to be supporting the woman, when the woman was Hillary. Now that the woman under attack is Michelle they are silent.
    Could we have a little integrity, please?

    I think some of them were too busy getting all up in arms over the so-called “Whitey video” right alongside those conservative men.

  21. Triumph? XV: Sisters

    One woman told “Your husband is your lord”,
    One woman’s murder captured on the phone
    One woman’s clitorectomy went sour,
    Three women told “you’re weak and all alone.”

    But we have sisters, right? We can be strong;
    We’ll show them, sisters, faces filled with light!
    My sisters, righting every wrong — but wait.
    Is sister power only for the white?

    “We’ll deal with Race when Gender is all through.”
    “And you ignored the irony I meant.”
    “Ha, hurting? Shut it. Would I backstab you?”
    “You’re oversensitive. Now don’t get bent.”

    So, sidelined in pursuit of sisters’ ends,
    We learn that sisters aren’t the best of friends.

  22. First Ladies are a public face of the presidential family and recieve a lot of sexist crap thrown at them. So yeah, this is definitely a feminist issue that you’d think 2nd wave feminists would be interested in..

    I think Many 2nd wave feminists are
    1. upset that Clinton didn’t make it
    2. holding onto an ideal that any woman worth feminists’ time would not “support her husband” at the expense of her own career.
    3. afraid they will die before there is a “First Gentleman”

    And therefore, they abandon her. The first will disappear with time and hope for a woman president in the near future. The second, there is no changing their views on this…
    The Third… it was something to hope for. They’ll get over it or they won’t.

  23. “What I’m also shocked about is that this disgusting statement was made on Saturday, and the first time I heard about it was on Dan Abram’s show tonight. And he didn’t provide any analysis or discussion of the statement. Why aren’t all those people who denounced sexism during the primary race up in arms with this racist and sexist nonsense?

    Yeah. That’s a good question, isn’t it? Food for thought.”

    I stopped watching Dan Abrams show when he first started using the “angry black woman” meme back in April or March. It was after the Obama’s had given a televised interview and had addressed the Wright controversy. Michelle had politely and effectively shut down the reporter and after the clip played Abrams immediately stated that “she looked angry to him, why was she so angry?” There is your food for thought for you, Abrams is just one of the MSM who totally buys into Thomas’ crap.

    I was so disgusted with Abrams I haven’t watched his show since. Unfortuantely I’m not the only one in my household so Abrams still gets played on occasion.

  24. I don’t normally comment twice on the same blog post, but these attacks on Michelle Obama are starting to seriously piss me off. Neither she nor her husband are divine beings above criticism, but what I’ve seen recently on the Corporate Media has nothing to do with honest criticism.

    I spent 15 years teaching at a Catholic women’s high school on the South Side of Chicago. I never met Michelle Obama, but I met a lot of people like her: bright, talented, ambitious working class young women determined to make this world a better place. Believe me, nobody gives anything away to the working class of South Side Chicago. You have to work hard, study hard and struggle hard just to make it through the week.

    Graduates of my school would come back from college and look up their old teachers. I’d hear the stories about all of the racist and class-based snobby crap they had to put up with. One young woman who was in her first year at Northwestern kept saying over and over again that a lot of the white students seemed to be straight out of Rush Limbaugh. When she told people she was from the South Side they would look at her like she was about to mug them or something. She’s now doing a double PhD. I thought about her as I was reading Michelle Obama’s senior thesis over the weekend.

    Sure I had seen that kind of stuff before, but when it happens to people you know and respect, it’s not just a social issue anymore. It’s personal.

    Like I said, I never knew Michelle Obama personally, but I know a little bit about where she is coming from. So to Lars Larson, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh et al: fuck off, you don’t know shit from shinola.

  25. I think Many 2nd wave feminists are
    1. upset that Clinton didn’t make it
    2. holding onto an ideal that any woman worth feminists’ time would not “support her husband” at the expense of her own career.
    3. afraid they will die before there is a “First Gentleman”

    1. I can see that. I was kind of upset that Clinton…wasn’t the person I wanted to support. I’d love to see a woman become president. I’d love to see a minority person of either gender become president. (What I’d really love is to see it become a non-issue: “Ho, hum. Yet another black atheist lesbian running. That’s nice, but what’s her position on the economy?” )

    But really, get over yourselves, people. If Clinton were elected it’d just mean that your needs would be ignored by someone who looked a little more like you than the current president. Even if Clinton were the feminist/womanist ideal, a social liberal, and completely without racism, she didn’t win this round. Too bad, but now go on to support the excellent candidate who did win and is now facing unbelievable shit from his opponent.

    2. Wha–huh? Clinton supported her husband through all sorts of crap that would have led me, at least, to dump him long ago if he were my partner. And it’s not clear that her staying with him was the best way to further her career. If she hadn’t had Bill shooting his mouth off and Bill’s incompetent friends in her campaign, she might have won the nomination. So who’s supporting their husband at the expense of their own careers?

    3. Clearly an issue. Erica Jong said so in so many words.

    I understand why their concerned, but ultimately Jong et al need to get over it. Clinton’s not the only woman out there who would be a credible candidate for president. Nancy Peloski. Condi Rice (not that I’d vote for her, but she’d be credible.) Napolitano. And so on. Heck, Clinton’s not so old that she can’t try again in 2016 (or if, FSM forbid, Obama loses, 2012) if she wants. If Clinton were indeed the only woman who could possibly become president within the next, say, 20 years, then her victory would be pretty hollow anyway: not a victory for women or even for rich white women but just an anomoly.

  26. Why aren’t all those people who denounced sexism during the primary race up in arms with this racist and sexist nonsense?

    From what some people in comments sections are saying, they feel that all of the sexism in the primaries was somehow all Obama’s fault (because, of course, there would have been no sexist coverage if Hillary’s opponent had been male … ahem) so therefore Michelle Obama doesn’t deserve to be defended.

    Oh, and R’s link above takes you to the blog of racist fuckwit Steve Sailer, who’s very upset that Michelle Obama objected to medical experimentation on black high school girls. Just so you don’t have to bother to follow it.

  27. For what it’s worth, there are a LOT of 2nd wave feminists out here, albeit not rich, powerful, or in the public eye, who have either always supported Obama or who switched to Obama when Hillary started race-baiting as part of her campaign. Virtually evey woman I know (and that’s a lot of middle-aged moms) supports Obama. We were not happy about the sexist media attacks on Hillary, but we have the acuity to know that Obama does not secretly control the media.

    The rich, powerful, women who are the subject of this conversation can’t get over the idea that they lost. This is a tendency every rich, powerful (and over-confident “mouthpiece” of a generation”) person has. These people do not really speak for anyone but themselves.

    But…you know that….

  28. Ceci, you’re absolutely right.

    TP, for what it’s worth, I intend to start talking about this at my little whole in the ground blog. I’m a former Clinton person, but I’ve always liked Obama, waited all day to see him when he came to Oregon, and I’ve been following the treatment of Michelle in the media. I failed to talk about it, though, because of my personal life and this thing with FISA, although that’s hardly an excuse.

    Thanks for waking me up.

  29. I’m willing to wade in with the (somewhat) unpopular counterpoint that this “why don’t the people who complain about sexism and Hillary complain about what’s being done to Michelle Obama” argument isn’t getting anyone anywhere. In the first place I think it’s rather unfair – as attention has shifted from the primary to the general, focus on Mrs. Obama has grown, and many people have started to speak out about it. Second, I think there’s an equivalence here that’s dangerous and more than a little misplaced – Mrs. Clinton was running for President; Mrs. Obama is the wife of a candidate. When we talk about what happened to Mrs. Clinton (attacks that, no matter how one wants to slice it, came from Obama supporters as well as others), we’re talking about attacks on a woman wanting to be President. Sexist, unpleasant jibes about the women who would be First Lady is a longer, and more familiar storyline, and speak volumes about our nation’s notions of “helpmeet” roles for women. Michelle Obama doesn’t – and I suspect doesn’t want to – fit those easy definitions. She’s bound to face criticism and scrutiny over that,… and then there’s being a black woman on top of all that.

    Look, I was appalled by the “Obama Baby Mama” kyron; I was amazed at the “fist bump” brouhaha. Clearly, Michelle Obama faces a unique set of attacks that will be aimed at her as a woman and as an African American. And as a feminist, I’ll be glad to add my voice to criticizing them. But this is not “the same thing” as discussing sexism and Mrs. Clinton’s run, and expecting a similar level of outrage – or really, the same outrage – seems an unnecessary step. Sexism is a problem because it takes many forms, not because it has one, simplistic form that’s all-purpose, and across the board. The sexism about deciding whether a woman can be President is different than the sexism that says a First Lady should be quiet, meek and secondary. And the positive development this year, it seems to me, is how many people, men and women, have resumed an examination of gender roles, gender expectations, and awareness of our national problem with sexist notions, that’s deep and difficult. And complicated. Women (and men) who care, it seems to me, need to find ways to come together. And finger pointing, and blame making… seem less than productive in ways to bring the energy together that’s needed.

  30. ” And the relative silence from Hillary-supporting feminists reveals a serious flaw in the idea that feminists will defend all women.”

    really?

    I guess my voice doesn’t count.

    I’ve been vocal about the way she has been and will continue to be depicted…I’m not alone.
    There are women, of every shade and size, every age, who are disgusted, offended and hurt by the treatment Michelle Obama is getting in the media.
    I think we all know it’s going to get worse and worse as the fight for the White House continues.

    Alienating, blaming or pitting women against women has not ever – ever helped any of us.
    Accusing women of not doing enough to change our plight…Accusing feminists of that…I don’t think it’s the best tactic, so I wont employ it.

  31. T, I understand what you are getting at, but remember, Feminism is a movement that has not been friendly to women of Color.

    Where is the outcry that Gloria Steinem, Geraldine Ferraro, and so many other feminists that were angered at the sexism that Hillary and her campaign received when Michelle Obama is getting DOUBLE that – racism AND sexism. Additionally, look at the news as to how they’ve been referring to “women” who are angry over Hillary Clinton losing (because only white women are TRULY women), and their desire to vote for John McCain to get back at the Democratic party for the sexism that they believe that Obama wrought on the Clinton campaign. (Which, I feel jumping on the McCain side is fucking insane – especially after McCain referred to his wife, Cindy, as a “cunt.” )

    Notable feminists have said nothing. Feminist blogs have largely been silent with the exception of one or two. And what are WoC to think? How are some of us to side with a movement that has never regarded WoC as being worth defending against sexism and racism? How are we to side with a movement who preaches sisterhood to only a select few?

  32. I guess my voice doesn’t count.

    Wait, what? You were attacking her as an anti-feminist three posts down. Now you’re offended because you’re not being counted among her defenders? I’m confused.

    Alienating, blaming or pitting women against women has not ever – ever helped any of us.

    I’m glad to hear you say that now, given how you responded to that point when I initially made it.

  33. its not just the angry black women,

    apparently Dr King was looking a little to angry in DC statue,
    solution? facelift!

    http://gawker.com/tag/martin-luther-king-jr%27/?i=5018193&t=angry-black-statue-given-smiley-face

  34. [...] stereotypes, whether it’s Obama as “angry Black male” or Michelle as “angry Black woman“, represent something [...]

  35. The media, and particularly the righwing media and the rethugs have a tremendous vested interest in keeping this ‘white feminists don’t defend Michelle Obama” thing going, and keeping up ‘the Hillary Clinton was robbed of the nomination by sexism.’ They are far more interested in both of these memes continued roll than we the voters are, I’m guessing. And for all the usual reasons, which are all about putting that insane old white bombombomb guy in the oval office so all biz can continue for them all as usual.

    Love, C.

  36. Hey, this obama supporting white feminist is NOT happy with any of this – not the please-god-won’t-they-just -GO-AWAY faux news, and not that whiney subset of feminists that can only complain about clinton’s treatment. but there’s those of us feminists complaining about obama’s (michelle’s) treatment…we’re here…

  37. T,

    really? I guess my voice doesn’t count.

    Sorry — I was unclear. My post was specifically intended to call out the big-name second-wave feminists who’ve made such a big deal about sexism being more important than racism (or any other “ism”, or intersectionality in general) in the past few months. I don’t (think I) know you, but if you’re not blogging on the Huffington Post or Salon or some other major media outlet, which even most of the big-name third-wavers can’t seem to penetrate, then you’re not among the feminists I’m angry with right now.

    Oooh, there’s that word again: angry. ::shiver:: =)

  38. Foxessa,

    Your point is well taken. There’s a reason the only feminist voices being heard in the mainstream media are the most divisive. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    Still, it’s precisely because this is such a calculated, constructed problem that we need to speak out about it. That’s the only way to stop a meme from “rolling”, as you put it — put out a counter-meme that gets people thinking about something else. I think the conspicuous silence of the Gloria Steinems of the world is doing real harm by letting the “PoC can’t trust white women” meme roll. I want them to speak up because only they can counter this. I think that if they make some effort to heal the breach they’ve widened over the past few months, that will stop the Repubs’ patented Democratic Constituent Wedge Attack Mark IV.

  39. Actually, the team of women bloggers at Slate have been doing a fairly good job of nailing this stuff — http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/xxfactor/archive/2008/06/16/michelle-we-are-on-to-your-tricks.aspx

    Here’s another piece that, while not precisely on this topic, doesn’t toe the party line about Obama’s nomination being a defeat for feminism — http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/xxfactor/archive/2008/06/16/the-feminist-son.aspx

    So that’s a little bit hopeful.

  40. Interesting too that the very same people who denounced racism against Obama didn’t really care when Hillary was the target of blatant and sometimes (visually/verbally) violent sexism. There’s hypocrisy there too.
    And why blanket statements about feminists? You’re assuming they’re all white? Like the definition of “feminist” is “white rich woman.” Really, FFS. I am a woman of color and a radical feminist and I find it pretty fucking demeaning to be thought nonexistent. I am sick and tired of the ways commenters (and a few aspects of this blog post) pit black women against white women, as if they are two monolithic groups. There are actually quite a few feminists of all colors, including myself, that are horrified with the racist misogyny directed at Michelle Obama. All of that shit, the misogyny against Hillary, the sexism directed at Michelle, is connected. White Supremacy and Patriarchy cannot exist without each other.
    Most feminists I know are not rich, powerful white women. In fact, most feminists I’ve met are women of color, k?
    And enough with this race-trumps-gender/gender-trumps-race bullshit. The two systems of oppression work together all the damned time in this country. I can’t believe people are still thinking on this elementary level.
    My north african feminist ass is annoyed now…

  41. Sorry about the double post, but I just want to add that it is all part of white men’s plan to draw this division between racism and sexism, and between “PoC” and “women” (as if all women are white and all people of color are men :/ ).

  42. I can’t wait to hear the spin when our first lady is an African American. She will be a first lady I can feel proud of…no others in my lifetime.

  43. I was bothered enough by the “rock behind Barrack” line in the campaign and her nodding along with it to comment about it. It was the sexism in the statement that bothered me, especially knowing that she was not only his professional equal, she was his mentor at one time.
    It triggered a lot of personal experiences of men saying I have to get behind them so they can make the world better for me because I am “other”.

    During the primaries I considered Clinton, Obama, Kucinich and McKinney.
    I supported them all to a certain degree while investigating and witnessing, interpreting from my perspective and making my choice.

    I’m sensitive to the slightest hint of sexism whether it is directed at someone I am am thinking of voting for or a possible, future first lady.
    I do not believe being against sexism makes one a racist.

  44. I do not believe being against sexism makes one a racist.
    Of course not, but no one made that claim. It is, however, odd to be attacking someone heatedly for not making a fuss over a comment she didn’t even make and then to get huffy because you’re not counted as a supporter of hers. And since that very much constitutes alienating, blaming, and pitting women against women, I’m glad you seem to have had a change of heart.

  45. All this negative coverage of Michelle is certainly turning me into an ABW.

  46. nojojojo — You are on the money here.

    My devalued United States cents on this is that not enough so-called journalists, self-proclaimed pundits, dem strategists and all the television programs, who are the one$ who reap all the Very Large Buck$ the campaign$ generate — more than budgets of many nations — is none of them have been at a gathering where they may well be among the only 8 white people in the room, a gathering of all kinds of black educated, professional, artists-musicians-writers-scholars, and just felt the joy at the prospect of the Obamas in the Oval Office.

    Honestly, speaking as one of those few white people in the room (a thing for the African American history magazine, American Legacy, celebrating its annual music issue) — I don’t think you’d find that in a room of white people ove the prospect of Hillary Clinton going to the Oval Office. I just don’t, because, you know, if she hadn’t been married to a former POTUS, nobody would ever have floated her as a potential POTUS. That is something that keeps me from feeling like this was a ‘feminist’ issue in the first place. She didn’t run because she worked her way into it on her own force. She did work, yes, of course, and hard, and maybe brilliantly, even, on behalf of her husband. But she didn’t get drafted to run for POTUS because of that or herself. She got drafted because she was married to an ex-President.

    I had many other objections to her as well, but that’s near the top, which is why this feminist division bothers me so much.

    Love, C.

  47. …and bloody devalued your United States cents are too, Foxessa. So vote wisely. Hint: Europe’s whispering…….

  48. Susie,
    I’ve been a feminist for decades- it’s not a change of heart. It continues to put me off when women take on the submissive wife role as the woman behind the man. It is not a new feeling created within me just for Michelle Obama. As for being a supporter of hers, I am not voting for her. Her husband is running and she is being treated horribly by the press. I was and continue to be against that sexist treatment. I do not excuse sexism when it is directed at someone I do not cast my vote for (or someone’s spouse). I am in support of all women being treated fairly and with respect in the media. I’m not going to like any sexism thrown at McCain’s spouse either- even though I am NOT in support of her Republican husband.
    The additional layer of racism directed at Michelle Obama is disgusting to say the least.

    I wasn’t asking to be counted as a supporter so much as one of many who are against the blatant racism and sexism being used to manipulate the masses via media. I think there are many who are disgusted, hurt and negatively affected by the racist and sexist attitude of the media.

    As for her not making the statement that triggered me, she agreed, nodded and confirmed it on Television. It’s a tactic being used to make her seem like a Betty Crocker, cookie baking, mommy for the masses. I am looking forward to the day women stop playing into that image solely to support their husbands success.
    All women, not just Michelle Obama.

  49. Was my comment lost in moderation? Or did I say something against mod rules?

  50. Hara,

    You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying. One moment you’re attacking Michelle Obama and claiming she’s anti-feminist on the most picayune basis, the next minute you’re decrying “alienating, blaming or pitting women against women “. Pick one. That’s all I’m asking. I’m not asking you to vote for Barack. I’m not asking you to like Michelle or Barack. I’m asking you to recognize that when you make sweeping accusations of anti-feminism based on one moment in a televised interview, you are most definitely blaming her, alienating me for one, and trying to pit other women against her. It’s not only bad when other people do it, it’s bad when you do it, too.

  51. Hara – you totally ignored what everyone else was telling you, for the purpose of taking what you wanted out of it. There is an ENTIRE POST where you started in on Michelle Obama due to your issue with “The Rock Behind Barack” statement.

    Stop. Trolling.

    Additionally, if you want to talk about sexism, you are so quick to point out sexism with Obama, but quickly ignore the fact that John McCain called Cindy a cunt.

    Rock Behind Barack?
    Cunt?

    Which is worse to you?

    Behavior like THIS is why I’m done with feminism. You keep proving my point, time and time again. Thanks for that, really.

  52. Behavior like THIS is why I’m done with feminism.

    No wonder the patriarchy is alive and well. We’d rather run away and pout than fix things.

  53. Behavior like THIS is why I’m done with feminism.

    No wonder the patriarchy is alive and well. We’d rather run away and pout than fix things.

    Cola, have you read this whole thread? I don’t want to put words in A’s mouth, but as far as I understand the argument: people aren’t “running away” from the struggle against patriarchy, and they certainly aren’t “pouting”; they have plenty of other struggles in hand; they’re withdrawing their energies from the women who have appropriated the word “feminism” (mostly middle-class, white, second-wavers who have a voice in the mainstream media) and who haven’t been behaving as allies in the current situation.

    Instead of putting effort into trying to reclaim “feminism” from the narcissist feminists*, or into persuading them to pay attention to intersectionality, A and other posters here are concentrating on their own life-or-death struggles, and on things they can fix. You could call it pragmatism.

    *phrase coined by BetaCandy on The Hathor Legacy

  54. Legible Susan, you didn’t put words in my mouth. You said it perfectly.

  55. Additionally, Cola, why should I, a woman of color, be allies to a bunch of white, middle-class women (some of which with total entitlement issues), who don’t want to ally themselves with me? Why should I bother trying to make myself and my issues known to feminists so that they (think) can fight it when in actuality they’re fighting alongside White Patriarchy so that they can retain an exalted status over WoC, but tell us all the while that “We’re for women having equal rights!”

    Why is it that they whine and bitch about Hillary Clinton dealing with sexism, but when a fellow woman in Michelle Obama is dealing with both sexism AND racism from the same types of people that wrought sexism on Hillary, they are largely silent? Most of the feminists who are speaking up are people who aren’t big names in the movement.

    Why is that people like Amanda Marcotte can appropriate from WoC and get fucking PRAISE, but when WoC call her out on it, as well as use of racist imagery in her book, not only are we generally rebuffed with a shitty “I’m sorry you were offended” apology, but the white men that she claims to be fighting against are the ones who are simultaneously coming to her aid – thinking that they’re being chivalrous. She does nothing more than bask in that shit, and doesn’t even tell them that they need to fuck off.

    Why is it that WoC only matter when it comes to feminists wanting to make themselves looks good? Why is it that WoC are only regarded when feminists want something out of us? Otherwise, we’re invisible.

    Why treat racism and classism as if they are merely tangental in comparison to the aims that white female feminists must fight for? Only their movement matters, right? Fighting for civil rights for not just WHITE women, but all women is too much to ask for, right?

    But yet, WoC are told that we’re pouting when we voice discontent with the White woman’s movement.

    We’re told that “YOU NEED TO STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH US!” and that we’re being divisive. But meanwhile, even though feminism’s shit is RANK in regards to WoC, we need to just realize that our desires mean nothing in comparison to the gains that white women want, and just go along to get along.

    This WoC is saying fuck that. You want to know why the patriarchy is alive and well? It’s because too many feminists are alienating those who want to help. It’s because too many feminists are too damn selfish to walk in the shoes of some of their allies. It’s alive because ultimately, feminism has become a movement to fight for scraps at patriarchy’s table instead of trying to work alongside those of us who want to actually dismantle those special privileges that the Rich, White Patriarchy has for the sake of total equality.

    So talk that shit about “running away and pouting instead of fixing things” to me another time when you deal with the shit that I have with feminism. Maybe I’ll be a bit more likely to lend you an ear then.

  56. I think Hara was responding to how lots of people are painting Obama as the Son of Heaven all-perfect candidate. God Forbid some critical thinking that doesn’t blindly praise him and Michelle Obama. She flat out told you all she is against the racism and sexism. She doesn’t like the traditional sexist gender roles going on in the limelight. Is she wrong? I don’t think she asked anybody to criticize him more than anybody else- I think she is just asking everyone to keep it in their minds as they get excited about the candidate. It’s something to get excited about, but don’t ignore the obvious sexism of the election.

    Kudos to you Hara for not getting catty and calling people names (“troll.”) There are women out there who understand what you’re trying to say.

  57. Also- nobody is talking about McCain on here because he is obviously a total ass and nobody is concerned with deconstructing and/or opposing his statements because it’s expected.

  58. “Where is the outcry that Gloria Steinem, Geraldine Ferraro, and so many other feminists that were angered at the sexism that Hillary and her campaign received when Michelle Obama is getting DOUBLE that ”

    As a feminist and woman of color it’s disppointing to me too (not that I have any hope left for someone as atrocious as Ferraro, but other big names) – but you know what? It also made me mad when during the primaries Clinton supporters pointed out sexism and (some) Obama supporters laughed in their faces every time and basically called them whining bitches who should shut their holes about imaginary sexism.

    So I can understand why these same women would now respond to the taunts of “Where are you now, girls?” with “Oh, so now you want to hear it? After disrespecting us? Please.”

  59. …one of my comments is in moderation.

  60. In terms of response from feminist organizations, over at the California NOW blog we did a piece on the “baby mama” fiasco when it first happened. We also made a post that included asking people to sign on to the Stop the False Race/Gender Divide petition.

    As individuals, many of us are third wave, but we are working within a second-wave organizational context.

  61. I think the silence about the racism + sexism Michelle Obama has experienced is a perfect example of why blacks shouldn’t bother with the mainstream feminist movement. I believe in black feminist but I REJECT mainstream heterosexual feminism. I am not surprised that the NOW Organization or the big white mainstream feminists did not DEFEND Michelle Obama. After all, Gloria Steinem and Geraldine Ferraro were the ones that BASHED Barack Obama claiming just because he is a black man he has MALE PRIVILEGE over all women. Yet Steinem and Ferraro refused to acknowledge the WHITE SKIN PRIVILEGE that white heterosexual feminists HAVE. They refuse to discuss their access to patriarchy and the resources of the white man through the marriage market. They also refuse to acknowledge their contributions to the discrimination against blacks. So no surprise the mainstream feminist organizations ignored Michelle Obama. I hope this is a serious WAKE UP call for black feminists that THINK the mainstream white feminist groups give a damn about black women because they most certainly DO NOT. Steinem and Ferraro only cared about getting ANOTHER WHITE WOMAN into the white house. They didn’t care for Michelle Obama and Barack Obama trying to make history they cared about THEMSELVES.

  62. I also believe white heterosexual feminism is all about the white woman “gaining” the same equal rights of the “white male”. I don’t believe they care about Women of colour or people of colour rights that’s not their MAIN AGENDA. When are people going to wake up and realize mainstream white feminism doesn’t work for people of colour? I can’t believe people are still surprised that mainstream white heterosexual feminism is focused on white women acquiring political and social power for THEMSELVES. They will “USE” blacks and other people of colour to reach their goals but they don’t give a damn about the discrimination we encounter. It is TIME FOR PEOPLE OF COLOUR TO WAKE UP stop waiting for white people to help us we have to help OURSELVES.

  63. ABW: Here it is – almost a month AFTER your post and I still hear the CRICKETS ***********.
    As you stated – “Anyone?” CRICKETS******
    I’ll check back in a month.

  64. [...] of courage, as I really am usually too scared to talk about racial issues, and 3) this article: http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/you-say-angry-black-woman/. First of all, I have to like this blog because the author has both a Simpsons and South Park [...]

  65. rejecting feminism all together is ridiculous and counterproductive. also, not all white feminists are out to use and abuse you. there are a ton of feminists, white and of-color, who are trying to create a better world.

  66. No. Rejecting Feminism altogether is quite valid considering how fucking awful it has gotten.

    You want to talk about the one who have been helpful? Where are they out? Why don’t they ever speak out? What are they doing to not just help out themselves, but Women of Color as well?

  67. OK, wait, backup — I’ve been remiss in watching this thread, or I’d’ve called this out sooner.

    I have met, and heard from on this issue, many white feminists who are outraged about Michelle Obama’s treatment. There are some allies out there. However, they’re mostly third-wavers and small-scale in the big picture of things. My point (if you’ll go back to the OP) was that the biggest and most prominent second-wave feminists — the ones everyone thinks of when we say “feminism,” like Gloria Steinem — are the ones who’ve been conspicuously silent.

    I don’t deal in blanket absolutes. I don’t think any of us can do that and make any progress on this or any other issue.

  68. No wonder the patriarchy is alive and well. We’d rather run away and pout than fix things.

    Gee, I’d tend to say it’s more because we’d rather make nasty little cracks than listen to each other’s valid criticisms.

    I have met, and heard from on this issue, many white feminists who are outraged about Michelle Obama’s treatment. There are some allies out there. However, they’re mostly third-wavers and small-scale in the big picture of things. My point (if you’ll go back to the OP) was that the biggest and most prominent second-wave feminists — the ones everyone thinks of when we say “feminism,” like Gloria Steinem — are the ones who’ve been conspicuously silent.

    I don’t think anyone who was really paying attention missed that. Certainly I, as a white middle-class sort of 2.5 waver (I’m younger than most boomers, but technically am one) didn’t feel in any way implicated, and strongly agreed with you. Especially since one would have expected these people (i.e. Steinem and her ilk) to be quick to try to acquit themselves of the implications of racism that had accumulated over the course of their somewhat blind promotion of Clinton’s candidacy — if they really had the ability to be self-critical enough to be concerned about them.

    I’m really saddened. Steinem had been a hero of mine — she was once kind to me in a small but meaningful (at least for me) way many years ago, and I’d treasured that. Now I’m sorry to feel she’s not the person I thought she was.

  69. By the way, going way back to the post itself, this just leapt out at me:

    Politically you have Maxine Waters of California, liberal Democrat. She’s always angry every time she gets on television.

    Incredible. First you only give the woman airtime when she’s pissed, then you blame her for that. Catch-22 FTW!

  70. [...] Now, I have also been a member of the american culture, which generally tries to treat everyone fairly, or at least give everyone the same chances, even when white culture and/or conservatives raise a fuss. However, I’m not very pleased with how the feminists who were up in arms defending Hillary have backed into the shadows now that the spotlight is on Michelle Obama. [...]

  71. Isn’t it interesting that whenever a black female asserts her position with a powerful, confident commentary that she is percieved as angry? Not that there is nothing for black women or any person of color to be angry about; but, that assertion is steeped in racism and gender bias. There must come a time that white men or men in general abandon their dismissive attitude and respect all women as people worthy of being heard and respected.

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