Certainly not a game

Maia and I are putting a great deal of thought and energy into this project, and we welcome, as we said, discussions with feminists who are interested in moving toward truth and understanding, and toward justice. I hope and believe that’s what we’re all looking for.

We all read the same feminist blogs; we are listening to what is being said. 

We hope for honest and productive discussions, and we know they won’t be easy. Understood.

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3 Responses

  1. I’m very interested to see what will come from this blog. I live in a multi-cultural area where we all pretend to get on really well but really all the white mums have white friends, the black mums have black friends and the Asian mums have Asian friends. We all stick to our groups and are very polite to each other.
    In our local breastfeeding group we need to attract some more BME mums to receive local funding but as we are a room full of white women it’s not exactly the right atmosphere. I imagine going to a feminist meeting and it being full of men.

  2. Yes – that’s exactly the kind of problem that we need to solve, this situation where we are polite to women in a different group but never really cross over into real friendship. I’m hoping that this blog will help us to understand why it happens and what if anything we can do about it.

  3. Hi Erika, Maia, and all. Some of this might work in the what can mothers do thread, but I’m writing here ’cause what’s in this thread is what I’ve been thinking about in formulating this response.

    I’m reluctant to ask what BME means exactly, though would I be safe in assuming it’s about filling a quota that indicates diversity, which is used in turn to paint a pretty (statistical) picture of how unracist sectors of society are, or at least appear to be? My apologies if I’m completely off base. And please know that I’m not getting at you Erika or anyone else personally, but bouncing generally off what has been said, with ideas that might be thought provoking or otherwise useful in what follows

    I’m imagining Black, Asian and any other not “white” group sticking together at least partly so as to ensure safety for themselves and their children. How are they to know that you/one of the other white women are not going to say racist things around them, or that some white child might not repeat racist slurs or misinformation learned from Grandma or Uncle Joe? That’s where white people need to have done some of their own work already, and maybe some homework with family, which, if it doesn’t involve directly confronting racist family or extended family members, will certainly involve talking some with your own children about racism, like about how wrong some beliefs, not to mention names that often go with those beliefs are, if your children may have heard them somewhere already.

    If you’re determined to make your group safe for women and children of other races and cultures, perhaps you might broach the topic of racism with your group, maybe do, or organise for some consciousness raising/workshop type activities to pave the way with safety for children and mothers of colour? If the group is overall supportive, that is. They might not be, which can be startling sometimes to discover.

    Another thought that occurs is, if your area is diverse because of (re)development/gentrification, so that years ago few, if any, white people were to be found there, white folks living there nowadays might feel some rightful resentment directed toward them about that. And that’s a whole other layer, right there.

    Also, words from Nanette, in a thread at Theriomorph’s (that relates to another ally 101 thread linked elsewhere on white noise) might be useful/thought provoking,

    I get the impression (somewhat from some on that thread though not from anything you said or presented, and also just in general) that there are those who believe that there are many steps one needs to take in order to be an antiracist (or any other kind of) ally. The first step, of course, dealing with their own white privilege. Seeing as I often think in pictures, the one that comes to mind is bunches of well-meaning (white, hetero, abled, so on) folks standing on one side of the street waving and making sympathetic faces at the poc and others on the other side of the street – they so want to come across, to stand with the less privileged, but first they have to traverse this minefield of their own privilege and as soon as they do that, as soon as they feel worthy, they’ll be right there to be an ally.

    Me, I think that is backwards. For one thing, I think it’s pretty much impossible to *effectively* work on one’s own privilege unless one is in interaction, conversation and already allied with people who are not privileged. And it’s pretty much impossible not to work on your own privilege when you are allied with the un/lesser privileged. There really is no way to get away from it, painful as it may be sometimes 😉

    so that perhaps if you’re (general you’re) not able to successfully establish a group that is “diverse” and comfortably so, for everyone, and don’t otherwise have any people of colour in your life, you may at least as an individual, cross the road somehow.

    Invite another mother who seems like someone you’d like to know or whose child your own seems to connect with, to spend some time together, and start small, like, say, just an hour at the park, a quick coffee, that sort of thing for starters, (and for goodness sake don’t bring up race in ways that are gonna seem like trying too hard to look like one of the “good” white women, if at all – just in case that needs to be said).

    If you, or some other white person around you screws up, apologise of course, whole-heartedly, unreservedly and simply. Sometimes forgiveness will follow, other times not. Don’t expect to always be forgiven. Some poc have just had enough when it comes to racism, and that should be understandable. That that one little screw up may be the final straw for that one woman/person isn’t about oversensitivity on their part to that one little thing you or someone said, it may actually have been the eleventy seventh hundred racist thing that one woman had heard just this month, or week!

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