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View Diary: White Privilege Diary Series #1 - White Feminist Privilege in Organizations (481 comments)

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  •  But deo... (13+ / 0-)

    ...as DKos daily demonstrates, identity politics has fractioned the US left. True, different groups can seek common cause in certain civil rights issues. But their joint interest is only utilitarian: I'll help your cause as long as you help mine.

    I think the principles of justice and equality transcend identity politics. Surely they have to. Though organisation and affiliation might focus around a particular issue of civil rights, the ultimate power of that appeal is always to something universal like justice or equality.

    That's the lesson this diary surely demonstrates: a feminist movement that doesn't take into account the injustices of race becomes a vehicle for a new kind of white privilege - white feminist privilege.

    The only way around the conundrum is to attack the idea of privilege, whether that's exercised through gender, race or class.

    "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us." Walter Benjamin. More sane debate on the Moose

    by Brit on Sun May 22, 2011 at 01:52:08 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  agree. But unless certain groups (19+ / 0-)

      first grapple with privilege and take a good hard look at it - it will continue and it will never "transcend".  

      When Combahee was founded they knew they were not welcome among white feminists.  

      You know as well as I do - that many black folks here at Dkos feel unwelcome, and have had that demonstrated - by some  folks.

      Many have left - those who stay have found a safe porch from which to recharge our batteries and keep trying to work in coalitions.  

      Why do we always have to be the universalists...the forgivers...the embracers?

       Don't know why I'm asking you :)  

      Since I don't disagree with you - I'm just in a pissy mood.

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun May 22, 2011 at 02:09:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your premise is flawed... (10+ / 0-)
      as DKos daily demonstrates, identity politics has fractioned the US left.

      First sentence is incredibly wrong, Brit.  These fissures on the left are centuries old.  It isn't marginalized groups asserting themselves that are the problem.  And, I'm going to be blunt, the "left" had better grapple with it because the reason they can't get legislators that are more to their liking politically is because of their fumbling with identity groups who share their values but see no need to vote.

      We are here and we are not shutting up for solidarity because I can't and won't be unified with entities that fundamentally do not recognize my value, my history and my life condition.  If that makes some uncomfortable to bad, but do not hold my life and its condition over my head as if me and mine are the issue.  Flip the paradigm and push back on this obvious racialistic meme, Brit.  Why is the white identity group the problem?  Who is asking that question?  What is being done about it?  

      I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

      by princss6 on Sun May 22, 2011 at 03:04:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You misunderstand me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tempus Figits

        I don't think identity politics applies to racism. I actually hold racism - more than capitalism or empire -  to be the cause of the two greatest catastrophes of the last two hundred and fifty years, the Holocaust and slavery.

        Indeed racism is not only the biggest flaw in the American Dream, it is the poisonous legacy of the last 2,500 hundred years of Western Thought as evidence by the Greeks who proposed democracy, but not for slaves.

        But here's the thing. If identity politics is hypostatised  then you end up with an infinite number of oppressed identities, none of which can cohere. Kikuyu is oppressed by British colonialists, but Kikuyu then oppresses Luo. On race, when it comes to identity, there are infinite gradations of whiteness and blackness. I lived in India where 'wheaten brides' are still advertised, and dark dravidians cursed both for their caste and colour.

        How do we separate these 6 billion different identities (for identity is ultimately particular and individual) to create a common platform?

        The Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s is a much better model than the Identity Politics movement of the 70s and 80s. I say that, because of the clear cut political rather than academic successes.

        The same is true of the Anti Apartheid movement. Both were very clear in their conscription and appeal to people who weren't, by their national or racial identity, immediate victims of oppression, but whether they be leftist, Jewish, gay or working class, understood the overall principles of injustice or oppression.

        I call it the Niemoller effect, and I just think it's been a lot more powerful than the 'I'm speaking to my group alone' effect. Sure, the second is needed in terms of coherence and strength in organisation and activism. But this is a means to a political platform, which always seeks to appeal beyond the particular constituency it comes from.

        "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us." Walter Benjamin. More sane debate on the Moose

        by Brit on Sun May 22, 2011 at 03:18:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are looking at in from a negative frame, Brit. (5+ / 0-)

          pointing to ethnocentrism and pretending that is the sum total of identity politics is myopic.  

          The CRM was identity politics, Brit.  You are choosing to define it differently to support your argument.  What problems were these of the 70 and 80s?  How are you judging their success?  

          I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

          by princss6 on Sun May 22, 2011 at 03:24:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm judging their lack of success in the US (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tempus Figits

            ...since the 1970s, both electorally and legislatively.

            The great coalition of the civil rights era and the Big Society, between (for example) the white working class, African Americans and Jewish Americans, was broken by Reaganism, which applied exactly the same identity politics games in the culture wars.

            So god fearing gun owing whites in Pennsylvania feel threatened by professorial East Coast types, even though the latter will do much more for their economic interests than fake good ole boy republicans.

            It's identity politics of the right. Indeed, I put Sarah Palin's (hopefully) brief success completely down to identity politics.

            She's a hockey mom. She sounds like us. Therefore she must represent our interests.

            The Republicans have played this form of politics ever since the late 1970s, and it has worked.

            "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us." Walter Benjamin. More sane debate on the Moose

            by Brit on Sun May 22, 2011 at 03:35:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  qwerty (0+ / 0-)

          'dark dravidians cursed both for their caste and colour.'

          Could you please stop using this British colonial era's and missionaries' divide and rule gambit of "dark dravidians" and such? Plenty of "dark dravidians" are doing well in today's India in all walks of life, including holding high political office etc.

          •  Please re-read my comment (0+ / 0-)

            Of course the British divided and ruled in India and Kenya, and played on existing tribal or racial distinctions. But don't pretend they completely invented them.

            I lived in Tamil Nadu and Kerala so of course I know that these racial distinctions are ridiculous. But racism is not just a European phenomenon, and you seem to have completely missed my point.

            "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us." Walter Benjamin. More sane debate on the Moose

            by Brit on Fri May 27, 2011 at 04:20:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  While (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              i like bbq

              "tribal distinctions" have been and still (unfortunately) continue to be an inherent part of human existence everywhere, India has been a grand melting pot with a strong cultural identity and presence spanning over 3000 years.

              I take particular exception to the "dark Dravidian" term you have used from many an angle, but I'll keep my response brief.

              The term "Dravidian" was coined by a proselytizing minister called Robert Caldwell in the 1800s to facilitate his conversion agenda. Unfortunately, the seeds of division he thus sowed has led to a lot of destruction in South India and Sri Lanka since then.

              Technically, based on extensive genetic studies that were recently conducted, apparently, the main branch of ethnicity in India is a mixture (mixing having taken place over a 40K year period) of two strains called Ancestral North Indian (ANI) and Ancestral South Indian (ASI). While one can try to think of ASI as being roughly equivalent to "Davidian," because of the mixing that took place, the distinction can't be so easily drawn. And, there are plenty of dark people in North India and plenty of fair-skinned people in South India today.

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