In solidarity with Celie’s Revenge – Sister Outsider

by Milla [she=he]


THIS SOLIDARITY STATEMENT IS POSTED WITHOUT ME SEEKING THE CONSENT OF CELIE’S REVENGE – AND COULD THEREFORE BE CALLED A RACIST ACT OF APPROPRIATION and/or TOKENISM (Space given on my terms alone).

Me being a white woman stating that I’m in selfish solidarity with this struggling radical feminist might even cause more hateful attacks directed at her and not against myself according to the twisted logic of racist hatred dished out by the “Sister Insiders” of the radical feminist scene.

So, saying here in this space that “Hey! I like what you do. And it’s seriously wrong that you don’t get listened to. I wish I knew how to support you in a sensitive unselfish way, and that there was no such thing as hierarchies creating insiders and outsiders in this scene, but instead that there could be non-threatening ways for the marginalized to take space by a welcoming mainstream — That it would be possible to speak without fear of punishment.” Making a simple statement like that – openly – could in fact be causing harm, and doing her a huge disfavor!

When everything is this fucked up. Hierarchies so strong – ignorance so wide. Words are not just words but carry worlds of pain, hate, disappointment. Power. They distance and tear us apart. The tactics and morals by the ones in constant confrontation – constant struggle, are sometimes inconsistent and sometimes not even known to ourselves, and when not talked about, when not made clear – the distinct behavioral patterns, defense mechanisms, political actions end up clashing against each other, resulting in Distrust, Alienation, Frustration. Rupture. I’ve let this woman down by speaking without care, and I’ve let others down by speaking without care. Talking is my way of surviving this madness called life. I’ve been told to Fuck Off and that I don’t recognize my white privilege, which is true. And yet, I’m willing to be accountable for what I do.

By re-posting her words I might just do the wrong and selfish thing again. But this is what is in my heart at the moment.

Listen!

Copy pasted without permission for the purpose of inserting (absolutely random googled!) links in the text. Read the original !! by clicking the link below. Before this some words by Shakespeare..

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

Audre Lorde Called Herself “Sister Outsider” For a Reason

by Celie’s Revenge


What you hear in my voice is fury, not suffering. Anger, not moral authority. — Audre Lorde

I’m both amused and annoyed by how many white women in the radical feminist blogosphere are invoking Audre Lorde. As if they actually understood Audre and would support Audre if she were alive today?

Doubtful.

Audre Lorde said her response to racism was anger. But angry black women get made out to be liars, thieves, mentally ill and dangerous if we don’t direct that anger at white feminist approved targets like men, preferably black men!

Audre was nobody’s darling so don’t claim her now if you wouldn’t have claimed her then!

How many white women would Audre be allowed to call out on their racism before she’d be crucified by white supremacist feminists and their black and brown enablers?

I say the same thing to black men who now find it trendy to read and quote bell hooks as proof positive of their feminist dude status: would you have heard bell hooks before she became bell hooks?

Since the crux of bell’s earliest work dealt with the struggle to get black males to own their male privilege and hear black feminist critique without defensiveness how many of these same feminist dudes who quote bell now that she’s a achieved legendary status wouldn’t have called bell bitter, crazy, man-hater, divisive in the same way that white women who have come to essentialize Audre’s radical feminist legacy wouldn’t have branded her essays “rants”, called her a liar and divisive (for the Daly drama), crazy and a trouble maker?

Black women are not allowed to be flawed or complex. Not like white women. Their whiteness affords them the benefit of the doubt. Black women are either good or bad. Favored or rejected. Brought into the fray or alienated from it so we are forced to create our own space or call ourselves Sister Outsider as Audre Lorde did and walk alone.

Audre’s legacy of brilliance and her unapologetic anger at the self righteous unchecked rabid racism her white feminist so-called sisters is easier to take and therefore distort in her absence if we can make her into some sort of “magical negress”: invoked and essentialized as “good” and benevolent not angry and unapologetic towards white women to assuage white feminist guilt for alienating her while she was alive.

Because let’s not forget: Audre Lorde called herself a “Sister Outsider” for a reason.

You would not have loved her then so how dare you love her now?

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8 Responses

  1. striking final point. one thing that puzzles me though, why do you bow so low in your pre-amble, is that subjection of yourself, that abdication of your possession over your own meaning not going too far?

    i understand that you are taking up a cause without consent, so it is appropriate to note that and give your reasons and offer an apology in case one is needed.

    but it isn’t tokenism or appropriation, and if you seriously think it is, why would you do it, i don’t think you would, you’re highly principled.

    and if that reasoning is correct, and you don’t consider what you’re doing to be racist appropriation and tokenism, then why lie prostrate, offering anyone the chance to beat you with an interpretation of what you’re doing which you don’t think is correct.

    sure, you should be open to other people’s perspectives, ready to listen to them, and if their argument is persuasive to acknowledge it and make the necessary changes and apologies, but only if they are right, and it seems to me that you don’t think that interpretation is right, otherwise you wouldn’t have done it.

    so i guess what i’m saying is, have more respect for you own opinion and rationality, it’s clearly worthy of it.

  2. by Milla

    hello aron,

    so in your interpretation of reading the introductory text i’m flat on the ground groveling.. ? (yes!?)

    speaking for myself: naah. not how i feel at least. you might see me in this position for some reason. but for me this is not “either or” – that one act is either “good” or “bad” – that i’m either on the ground or standing tall. racist or not racist.


    Never does an event, a fact, a deed, a gesture of rage or love, a poem, a painting, a song, a book, have only one reason behind it. In fact, a deed, a gesture, a poem, a painting, a song, a book, are always wrapped in thick wrappers.

    They have been touched by manifold whys.

    Only some of these are close enough to the event or the creation to be visible as whys.

    And so I have always been more interested in understanding the process in and by which things come about than in the product in itself.
    “— Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of Hope

    one woman (“A”) had contacted me before, since i, without her previous consultation, had made a decision to speak about her life on this blog without me even knowing her, or having been in any contact with her. she sees me as a liar and manipulator. she disagrees with my actions.

    another woman (“B”) has been exhausted by the continuous attacks coming from various places whenever she speaks. she’s tired of having to justify and defend herself. also in relation to the afore mentioned woman, (“B”) wasn’t okay with me sharing certain information with (“A”).

    neither one of them feel comfortable with how i communicate, or how i with my words deal with their realities and their feelings. i fail to understand, and i fail to make myself understood. i lose my temper, i lose my balance, i lose my sanity amongst so many feelings expressed without specific actions mentioned in relation to these feelings.

    people have expressed different boundaries. and different fears. different needs. sometimes – in my understanding – contradictory fears, contradictory needs. people have expressed complex realities. i don’t understand all the “whys”.

    and i’m acting from what i know at the moment, without knowing the consequences of me posting these words (if any?). in the text above i express myself not word by word “this happened and then — because of that and so and so — i act like this.” i find it unnecessary. instead i give a general description of my many “whys”. i write partly for myself. partly i’m positioning myself “en garde” (not awaiting a bashing on the ground) but in a position where a part of my reality, or “truth”, is already out there. this i the way i “fight” – not cower.

    i can see truth in many perspectives.

    what you read might be true for you. but for me there is no groveling done in this text. i’m out there. speaking what’s real for me. and as well expressing that i’m ready to explain it further. i’m ready to unwrap the deed. and sometimes unwrapping can cause surprises also for me.

  3. My point wasn’t about your entire article, only the bit where you say ‘AND COULD THEREFORE BE CALLED A RACIST ACT OF APPROPRIATION and/or TOKENISM’.

    I think the question is whether or not such an assertion is either correct or incorrect, or potentially both.

    That is to say, is its nature in that respect fixed, or is it dependant on the subjective opinion of individuals.

    Personally, I think that there is a popular misunderstanding around these days over the relativity of truth.

    Certainly there are things whose ‘truth’ is a matter of subjective interpretation. For example:

    Does this taste nice?

    Does this sound nice?

    Is this joke funny?

    But outside of these questions of personal taste, truth is not dependant on people’s opinion, it is a matter of objective reality, and people’s opinions are correct or incorrect so far as they accurately reflect the nature of the objective relaity to which they refer.

    As such, whether or not your article was a racist act of appropriation, or tokenism, is a matter of fact, it is either the case, or not the case, depending on whether or not the definition of racist appropriation or tokenism fits your action.

    This is not to say that things aren’t complicated, that there are no grey areas, of course things very often are quite complicated, but when we seek to understand and investigate this complexity we do so according to the compass of fixed ideas about objective reality.

    For example, in trying to understand or investigate whether or not something is racist appropriation, we can only do so according to an idea about what racist appropriation consists of, that is, according to the objective reality of racist appropriation.

    You are either racistly appropriating or you are not. If you are you shouldn’t do it, and in my opinion you wouldn’t dream of doing it if you thought it was racist appropriation because from the little I know of you you seem a thoroughly ethical person.

    And if you are not racistly appropriating then you shouldn’t say you might be, because there are many people out there who are stupid, and who might misinterpret and misunderstand what you are saying, and mistakenly think you are doing whatever, and you are just giving them ammunition to attack you with unjustly, as far as I can see.

  4. by Milla

    i seem to be a “thoroughly ethical person”… i don’t really understand what you mean by that. you are talking to a person who has sent emails to people and told them to “fuck off and die”… so i don’t really understand what you would mean with me having “thorough ethics”?

    and back to explaining words:

    APPROPRIATION: to take or make use of without authority or right
    TOKENISM: the policy or practice of making only a symbolic effort

    and then — trying — to explain *social interaction* and *oppression*, *privilege* and feelings. it IS complicated. and it IS subjective. the story of the community, the pain of the community, is the pain of the individuals in it.

    to use SEXISM as an example: not to ask an individual woman about how to use her reality, her words, her experiences *is* taking or making use without authority or right, and not caring about how she feels about things *is* to make only a symbolic effort to change the wrongs in the community. me choosing to tell HER story through MY words, by MY interpretation, in MY context, and not care what emotional, psychological, physical consequences this might have for the specific woman, is to support an oppressive structure that leaves her no power to make decisions over her own life [this is something i’ve done several times. and can be seen as and called a sexist act.]

    at the same time. in fighting injustice, i take it upon myself to tell the story of others in order to break the frustrating silence around oppression. sometimes in order to warn others – cause if i share what i know, they might recognize themselves and might not end up getting hurt. i choose to share the stories of individuals cause humans are habitual and repetitive beings.

    for instance — i have shared chats on this blog where I’ve changed the name, but still published the words of women who have been lied to by a man, in order to heal myself from having faced the same lies. as well as making it known to others who might come across this story what getting involved with this man intimately really means. so that it’s not only the words of this lying abusive non-accountable manipulative CREEP out there but as well the words of persons who’ve been relating to this guy.

    dunno. i guess the thing i go most strongly with is that if we don’t tell our stories then power abuse will never end. for example this, vaguely based on recent happenings:

    Xena has punched Yolanda and said: “Don’t ever tell – or else..”

    Later on we have Zoe, smacking Yolanda and Queenie.
    Yolanda says that this is not right. After some time some information comes out, that might cause Xena to know that Yolanda has talked about what happened before. Yolanda gets scared, and stops talking about what Zoe is doing, cause she’s afraid Zoe will let Xena know that Yolanda has talked about what Xena did to her.

    The fear of Xena, and the fear of what Zoe might do if she gets angry, causes Yolanda to tell Queenie to shut up too.

    =====
    Like in cases like these.
    I get frustrated knowing.
    And by knowing = PROTECTING the abusers.
    And this is where I easily walk all over the fear of the individual and would just out Zoe and Xena instead. Which turns me into a sexist asshole for appropriation of the life of the person abused – instead of empowering i create powerlessness and rage with my action.

    And Yolanda is doing the same thing, when she asks silence from Queenie, even though Zoe has done her wrong. And in preventing Queenie from telling her story there is more powerlessness and rage, and nothing really done about what Xena or Zoe has done.

    AARRgH!!

    So what I’ve started doing is to just: Talk. I’ve done it a lot. And this would be seen as unethical by many. To take the story of others and share. I skip the whole “sensitivity towards the individual” bit that i preach and believe in, and allow myself to be dysfunctional in a dysfunctional community. As long as we have no clear structures for how to deal with things. I will most likely end up: Emotional &.Talking.

    And done in the wrong way. Talking – without sensitivity to the realities of the oppressed – can be both appropriation and tokenism. Causing feelings of powerlessness and having control taken away from a person belonging to an oppressed group is not a light weight matter and plays in the hands of the oppressive system.

    This took me forever to write. And I don’t know if i managed to make myself clear. I hope something makes sense to someone.

  5. “i seem to be a “thoroughly ethical person”…” I am hooked to this blog so finally I will make comment.
    I do understand your logic there (Milla), but why do you choose to put it on your blog? Yes, of course this is important and you’re right about how things may work and how telling may lead to hurt and loosing of control for oppressed groups. But what can I say, we live and we learn, sometimes things don’t turn out the way we obsessively think they will. So what would be reasonable here is to have some general principles on how to deal with oppression, instead of doing Kung Fu and Sun Tzu, and god knows what on others behalf (or cost, as in the case of Yolanda and Queenie). And after all, the revealing light of a single beam of sun is enough to light up the whole day. So stop being so confusing, at some points you write very clearly but, in my opinion, it only comes out when you make a real point, and no babble, constructive and not destructive talk. That was me quoting me by the way.

    • by Milla

      from/to “millas neighbour”:

      There were a lot of things i didn’t understand with your statement.

      #1 the initial quote “i seem to be a “thoroughly ethical person”…” — I don’t understand the purpose of it. Could you explain?

      #2 the question “I do understand your logic there (Milla), but why do you choose to put it on your blog?” — I don’t understand what logic it is you understand, and why you ask why i choose to put it on this blog. Could you explain? Give examples?

      #3 “So what would be reasonable here is to have some general principles on how to deal with oppression” — I agree. Do you have any concrete ideas, suggestions? Unfinished random thoughts to share are also welcome.

      #4 “the revealing light of a single beam of sun is enough to light up the whole day. So stop being so confusing, at some points you write very clearly but, in my opinion, it only comes out when you make a real point, and no babble, constructive and not destructive talk. That was me quoting me by the way.”

      — this i didn’t understand much of. i assume the beam of sun light is a metaphor. but i don’t understand what has been revealed for you. Could you explain?

      Could you please give concrete specific examples:
      — What is the thing i do/say that is confusing you?
      — What is a real point?
      — What is babble?
      — What is constructive?
      — What is destructive?

      — I don’t understand what you mean by you quoting yourself. I don’t understand where the quote is. Could you explain?

  6. Dear Milla, hello again. The quote in the beginning was just to signal which post I was replying to, and the last phrase didn’t really refer to anything else except my blog post that you responded to.
    Did I say something that you had to interpret, and you could only do it in one way because there was just that much information, or is it that the words in my last post were too ambiguous, in a way that made you want to know more? Was it something I said that made you think? Are you actually inclined to ask for more explaining because the answers would interest you, or did you ask for a response simply because you want to know what I say? After reading this response, would you use the fresh knowledge to enlighten yourself about me as a person, or would you rather interpret it in a hostile way, as an attack on your ideas? Do you see me as a person that is fundamentally a threat to your blog and so you feel anxious to know what my intentions are, or is it only out of a need to develop your own thinking that you ask me for more details?
    Why are my words important for you? At the time when yo read my post, did you feel that I may be like you, a human being with the same basic wishes and ideas? Did you think that I could actually be an autonomous human being with good ideas and intentions? Or did you see some kind of disturbance or threat in my words?
    I understand some of what you write and some I don’t but I don’t read that much of what you say so don’t feel that everything I do is based on a relation to you. You’re just not that important for me, but you have some good ideas.
    A real point is a standpoint, a point of view that contains some ideas that are true for you.
    Babble is when someone speaks a lot, it is what comes out of a persons mouth, it is a rather incoherent mix of words.
    Constructive could for example be when something makes you overcome an obstacle in life. what else? It can be many things, but only things that do not lead to reversals, which is destructive.

    #4 To be more specific, your example was with the persons was good (the logic is not good or nice).

    #2 i was referring to the example with the people (one gets hit by another, etc)

    #3 Yes I have plenty of ideas, from time to time. Right now too many unfinished thoughts and too little time to develop them here. Thanks for asking, will not forget it.

    • by Milla

      eeh. to respond to the “milla’s neighbour” post. that … well it took me some time to reply to this, cause i just felt really tired reading the response to my questions. apparently i didn’t manage to make clear what it was that i didn’t understand about the words and sentences posted by you.

      sorry. but i really can’t understand what it is your saying. which makes me feel like you’re “hiding” somehow. i guess we don’t function according to the same logic (which makes it more understandable that you think i “babble” and that i’m “incoherent” while i find your text completely obscure and vague – like i really don’t understand at all what it is you’re trying to express ?!)

      i hope this gives some kind of response to your questions (?!)

      and yes, i do see you as a human being. i just don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

      i guess i also feel frustration when i read your post. cause i always wish for connection. and have a strong feeling that there is none (like i have no clue what you’re about, and you seem to have no clue what i’m about either. and we don’t seem to have any way to find a functioning communication to reach that “hi there :)” moment. instead it’s just — ?? … ?? … ? at least on my side.)

      so i guess. i end me talking about my feelings in relation to what you say with a “oh well” and a *sigh* and – whatever. maybe: take care. ❤

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