« Shifting Goalposts - Weekend Open Thread | Main | Scraping skies with gargoyles »

June 09, 2015

Comments

using tools from the empowered majority in order to get a leg up

James Fallows recently put up a series of posts on the "Announcer Accent" used in the first half of the 20 century. See
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/06/language-mystery-redux-who-exactly-was-the-last-american-to-speak-like-this/395090/
and a couple of succeeding articles.

He includes a recording of George Gershwin (the son of Russian Jewish immigrants) speaking the same way.

The hypothesis for why that accent was pervasive seems to be that it was a way for immigrants to "sound American."

"you often end up using tools from the empowered majority in order to get a leg up (a phrase that seems a bit sexist,"

Which gender was it that didn't have legs, again?

When the phrase originated (and people rode horses), polite society was expected to pretend that women didn't. To the point of referring to "limbs" rather than (oh horror!) "legs."

I don't really see the issues raised by Burkett's article as inflammatory in some kind of identity politics war. Someone (just awhile ago) made a comment in response to Amanda Marcotte's criticism of Burkett that I think says it very well. I'll reprint it here. The comment is made by someone named kbb:

"I think Marcotte misreads this [Burkett's editorial] as an article about biological determinism when it's really about rhetoric in the trans community about what makes a woman a woman. Burkett does not claim that trans women as a whole are a dire threat to feminism, nor does she dismiss Jenner's self-identification as female. She merely makes what are, quite frankly, valid points about Caitlyn Jenner's conflation of female with feminine. She points out that while Jenner's transition might be brave, there are very few people who view a woman who looks most forward (in her newfound womanhood) to painting their nails as a strong female role model.
The media's idolization of a women whose ambition seems to stop at a manicure (especially one that seemingly disowns their own athletic and business success once they transitioned) is *deeply* offensive to women whose mothers have fought their whole lives to allow their daughters the opportunity to step away from the stove.
Trans or not, glorifying these types of representations of women begins to tip us all back towards the 1950s. It's new ground: Let's not vilify and shirk away from what is an important conversation about representation, rhetoric and women because there is the possibility of offending someone."

I'm expecting guests, so I'll just let this comment speak for me for awhile.

"When the phrase originated" it might have been sexist, then. Certainly not now, when the term "limbs" is mostly used in relation to trees.

"Trans or not, glorifying these types of representations of women begins to tip us all back towards the 1950s."

See, that's the thing: A rather influential faction of feminists aren't just hostile to people getting sex changes. They're hostile to people originally of their own gender, who are quite happy to conform to the stereotypes.

They don't so much mean to expand the options available to women, as to change them.

Identity has been her life story, which is why "identity politics" was her politics.

Identity? Sure. Of course she has her own identity borne of her experiences. But the socio-political POV she argues for? That was a choice. She chooses to embrace essentialism; it is not forced upon her simply by existing.

I have fought for many of my 68 years against efforts to put women — our brains, our hearts, our bodies, even our moods — into tidy boxes, to reduce us to hoary stereotypes. Suddenly, I find that many of the people I think of as being on my side — people who proudly call themselves progressive and fervently support the human need for self-determination — are buying into the notion that minor differences in male and female brains lead to major forks in the road and that some sort of gendered destiny is encoded in us.

[...]

People who haven’t lived their whole lives as women, whether Ms. Jenner or Mr. Summers, shouldn’t get to define us. That’s something men have been doing for much too long. And as much as I recognize and endorse the right of men to throw off the mantle of maleness, they cannot stake their claim to dignity as transgender people by trampling on mine as a woman.

[...]

For me and many women, feminist and otherwise, one of the difficult parts of witnessing and wanting to rally behind the movement for transgender rights is the language that a growing number of trans individuals insist on, the notions of femininity that they’re articulating, and their disregard for the fact that being a woman means having accrued certain experiences, endured certain indignities and relished certain courtesies in a culture that reacted to you as one.

On the one hand she complains that she has spent her life being forced into boxes, and that she shouldn't have her identity as a woman dictated to her. And she then turns around and dictates that to know femininity, one must share a lifetime of experiences with her. She's arguing that unique individual experiences bring about a shared and common outlook and perspective even as she argues that was wrong for women to be told how they must act, think, and feel. It's an aggravating stance. She's not claiming that womanhood can't be dictated or assumed, she's complaining that she (and those she deems to be most like her) should be the one to speak the dictates and form the assumptions. It's not whether words can be made to mean so many things; it's which is to be master, that's all.

Perhaps the most damning line out of that whole piece is the end of the second paragraph that I quoted:

And as much as I recognize and endorse the right of men to throw off the mantle of maleness, they cannot stake their claim to dignity as transgender people by trampling on mine as a woman.

"My value - my struggle, my suffering - is special; how dare you diminish it by comparing it to your tawdry, pampered life?" When your value, self-worth, and very identity is bound up in the idea of having overcome so much, it's understandable that you would not want someone else to lay claim to what you identify as the marker of that value. But one problem with that stance (among many, it must be said) is that unless you assume some underlying fundamental and inescapable difference between men and women, if you are applying a consistent standard you must reject the experiences of women who came after you and suffered less as being inauthentic in order to justify rejecting a transwoman's experience as necessarily inauthentic. It's essentialism through and through, with a perverse strain of pride to do a Yorkshireman proud. More succinctly put, it's pure Oppression Olympics.

Burkett does not claim that trans women as a whole are a dire threat to feminism, nor does she dismiss Jenner's self-identification as female.

Burkett says:
I have fought for many of my 68 years against efforts to put women — our brains, our hearts, our bodies, even our moods — into tidy boxes, to reduce us to hoary stereotypes. Suddenly, I find that many of the people I think of as being on my side — people who proudly call themselves progressive and fervently support the human need for self-determination — are buying into the notion that minor differences in male and female brains lead to major forks in the road and that some sort of gendered destiny is encoded in us.

That’s the kind of nonsense that was used to repress women for centuries. But the desire to support people like Ms. Jenner and their journey toward their truest selves has strangely and unwittingly brought it back.

As an exercise, take a look at this article. Burkett seems to suggest that because Jenner didn't have to suffer as Burkett did, she doesn't have the right to self-identify as a woman. Imagine how that might work in the case of that article.

Their truth is not my truth. Their female identities are not my female identity. They haven’t traveled through the world as women and been shaped by all that this entails. They haven’t suffered through business meetings with men talking to their breasts or woken up after sex terrified they’d forgotten to take their birth control pills the day before. They haven’t had to cope with the onset of their periods in the middle of a crowded subway, the humiliation of discovering that their male work partners’ checks were far larger than theirs, or the fear of being too weak to ward off rapists.

As Marcotte points out, Burkett's piece lacks coherence. What she points out about the media is what Jon Stewart pointed out brilliantly here. Yet in that target rich enviroment that is the media, Burkett only calls out Jenner for the way "By defining womanhood the way he did to Ms. Sawyer, Mr. Jenner and the many advocates for transgender rights who take a similar tack ignore those realities." (note that earlier, it was Ms Jenner, but now, it is 'Mr Jenner', so much for solidarity!)

This is why Burkett's piece is so problematic. I wonder if she actually realized that she shifted from ms to mr. If she didn't, she has got a lot of unexamined baggage she needs to sort out before climbing onto the bully pulpit, if she did, then she is really participating in the crab mentality that I'm sure she would denounce under other circumstances and deserves the label of hypocrite.

Sapient, I'd like to do as the commenter you quote does and give the benefit of doubt to Burkett. She does say a lot of things that I agree with, and that I found insightful. But she also intersperses them with the essentialism I so shrilly complained about. It's a sociological essentialism that she only obliquely argues for, but it's still essentialism. If she limited herself to attacking the paper-thin femininity that is being lionized by the media I would agree with her. I'm even be able to get on board with her critique of transactivists' efforts to force a "new" "correct" language on society which privileges their POV over all others in the name of avoiding "offense". But she refuses to stop there, and instead makes broad and sweeping claims as a gatekeeper of identity. If you're going to argue that gender is "almost entirely mutable", you don't do yourself any favors by turning around and arguing that there is a genuine female identity to be known. Again, like so many beholden to identity politics, she's trying to have it both ways.

Or more succinctly, what lj said.

(note that earlier, it was Ms Jenner, but now, it is 'Mr Jenner', so much for solidarity!)

lj, this is the easiest thing you said that I can respond to, because I think it's a misunderstanding of what was happening. Burkett used "Mr." because when Caitlyn was talking to Diane Sawyer, she was still a man. She respectfully uses "Ms." when talking about her in the present tense. I think that's standard, but correct me if I'm wrong.

Your link to the biographical article by a Korean-American adoptee is really interesting. In fact, it makes me wonder about something. I was a baby in occupied Japan (for two years). My white mother took care of me with a lot of help from a Japanese nanny. I went to Italy recently and was told by an Italian that I seemed Japanese. And, in fact, in person, I sometimes feel Japanese. What if I decided to "present" as Japanese. My guess is that it wouldn't go over. Especially if I "presented" myself as a caricature.

I am overstating it a bit, for a philosophical discussion, but I do remember that I had bonded closely with my Japanese nanny, and have been interested in Japan enough to, at times, wish I were Japanese. How much wishing, or believing, or feeling, does it take to actually be?

I'm asking this without throwing stones. I'm trying to respect and understand at the same time.

By the way, I had a few qualms about Burkett's piece too. But she said some things that were important. I find it a little weird that the elderly feminists (who did a huge service for modern women) aren't treated in the same elder statesmen sort of way as elderly African-American civil rights activists. The fact is, they've always been dismissed, but without them, women would still be living early Mad Men.

I'm hoping to get rid of the itals here.

Worked!

sapient, I'm not sure about the timeline and when Sawyer interviewed Caitlyn/Bruce, made more of a challenge by not being in the country. I'm also sure that the space restrictions are such that if she had added some caveat about that, it may have gotten cut, so I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on that, and thanks for pointing that out. I'd be interested if someone wanted to find out what the situation was and provide dates, though can can be tricky, because positing dates and transmission dates are not always reliable.

The question about whether, if you presented yourself as Japanese would you be going too far is, as you acknowledge, a bit of a reductio ad absurdum. Still, I really don't think you can say she is a caricature, that seems to suggest that your view of the situation is coloring your opinion. I'm sure you are familiar with the term squick, and you may want to make sure you acknowledge that.

Also, your example is quite interesting in the context of this blog, in that Sebastian talked about his Japanese grandparents several times, most notably here. I've also mentioned about Scott Fujita in an incredibly prescient post about Bravery, so I'll be waiting for those royalties to come rolling in. A lot would be in the way you chose to present yourself. Believe it or not, I've seen people who have spent a stint in Japan lecture Japanese-Americans about how they don't 'know their own culture'.

My qualms with Burkett's piece outweigh the important things she had to say and of course ymmv. My biggest problem is that despite the good points, she is attacking Jenner for holding them rather than for people in the media and society in general for promulgating them. Only Jenner is named as the person with problematic viewpoints. That leaves me queasy, and seems more like, as NV notes, promoting a divide rather than acknowledge a continuum.

As for questions of why elder feminists are not accorded the same treatment as elder AA civil rights activists, I'd suggest it is because the US has to valorize the notion that we 'overcame' racism, because there is no denying the clear and obvious stain of slavery that exists in US history. No such clear and obvious marker exists for feminism, so the need to raise up elder feminists isn't really there in the discourse.

btw, I dropped in your comment and fixed the italics just because I was responding to it and thought there might be some confusion, so yes, you did mess up and fix the italics. Just so you wouldn't be wondering.

I'd be inclined to think another reason that elder feminists aren't accorded the same treatment as elder civil rights activists is because it remains (and indeed, I'd argue is becoming far more) politically correct to repudiate feminism, so long as you accompany it with pious assurances that you're not sexist and that gender equality already reigns in the West (although it'll probably be fine for you to voice concerns for the plight of the menz at this point of the conversation). This, coupled with the stark differences in theoretical approach that subsequent waves of feminists took, as well as nigh-generational divides on topics like what we're discussing here make it easier for elder feminists to be ignored as clinging to outmoded ideas rather acknowledged than as groundbreaking individuals who changed society. Cynically, I somewhat expect it'll be easier for them to be respected once every last one of them has the basic decency to fall over dead so we can simplify and sanitize their beliefs for more palatable mass consideration without them interfering. But even then, anti-feminism is on the rise, so there will be a trend towards a more public hostility than is present with the civil rights movement.

WRT the entire preceding paragraph, YMMV. But that's what strikes me on that subject.

U'd say that what is politically correct is to repudiate radical feminism. That is, they kind that holds:
-- everything that they don't like is sexist
-- there has been zero progress in redressing the very real problems that women faced as a result of their gender
-- only someone who has their experiences, identically, can really understand just how horrible life is for women.
-- the only valid way to be a woman is to conform to their particular set of views.
There are lots of non-radical feminists out there, some of them male even. But as far as the radical feminists are concerned, they are just as bad as all the men. (And it is all men, pretty much by definition as far as they are concerned.)

Ms Jenner, clearly, fails to meet the radical feminists' fourth criteria. And, by accepting the radical feminists' views of what it means to be a woman, she could probably fix that. In their eyes.

But she also fails to meet the third one -- and there is nothing she could possibly do which would ever erase that.

But I suspect the real reason that radical feminists are so anti about transexuals (specifically male-to-female transexuals) is that someone voluntarily becoming a woman is impossible under their worldview. Because nobody could even consider coming under the kind oppression that they precieve.

There's been a disturbing trend I've seen over the last decade or so that takes the logic you present but add one simple argument: basically all feminists (or "SJWs", if we wanna stick with the latest trendiness in labeling) are fundamentally radfems. Therefore, repudiating radfems means repudiating anyone that still makes the absurd argument that our society doesn't enjoy gender equality and/or hasn't "gone too far" in that direction.

The Internet is a very nurturing breeding pool for antifeminism and aggrieved senses of oppressed injustice for far too many young men these days.

And the radical feminists' best friends (or maybe I should say, best allies) are the radical conservatives who make that kind of argument.

Worked!

Mad skills bro!! No snark, I can never get the italiendo mojo working.

Their truth is not my truth. Their female identities are not my female identity. They haven’t traveled through the world as women and been shaped by all that this entails

I have no doubt that this is true.

I also have no doubt that it's true in the other direction.

Why does it have to be one or the other? Can't both folks' experience of their own lives be authentic?

I know a couple of trans people, and my sense is that their lives are problematic in ways that just aren't relevant to people who are militantly feminist. And, surely, vice versa.

I don't understand why transgender people who identify as women feel that they absolutely must be included in radical feminist events, to the point that they will threaten bodily harm to the radical feminists.

And I don't understand why radical feminists feel that their experience is somehow undermined by people who want to embrace traditional or stereotypical patterns of femininity.

The women I am acquainted with who most embrace anything like the sort of "sex kitten" vibe that seems to offend the radical feminists seem to either be third generation punk rockers, modern day roller derby girls, or modern day burlesque performers.

The burlesque performers, oddly enough, most definitely consider themselves feminists. The punks and the roller derby girls don't appear to give a crap one way or another.

I'm not discounting anything that the feminists are saying, or the trans women, I am just puzzled that they seem to be unable to embrace their own thing without ruling out somebody else's.

Chasing links from lj's last link, I ran across this. The third point of the three it raises is very apropos to the subject at hand.

The Protocols of the Elders of Feminism by Brett Bellmore accompanied no doubt by Freddie de Boer's play-by-play commentary should be a most interesting volume.

Not limited to feminists. Look at what (some) 'true' Jews think (and say) about converts to Judaism (even more so in the cases of the converts being German). Not nice.
And it's not all about ethnicity (Jewish 'race') but a lot of is about 'we are an exclusive club of eternal victims and will not allow anyone else to become a member'. The same mindset also has led Jews to fight tooth and nail against the inclusion of other victim groups in Holocaust memorials etc., as if e.g. 'gypsies' had it any better.
"Only (true) Christians can be martyrs" is probably the same (and has become popular again too)*.
One has to treasure and guard one's valubale victimhood against intrusion or it gets devalued.

*cf. also the 'I am more humble than you, therefore fall to your knees and worship me!' attitude found in some Christian circles.

@hartmut

'I am more humble than you, therefore fall to your knees and worship me!'
.....
Indeed, Uriah Heep Triumphans Syndrome is a key part of the Christian-Victim-Grifter Industrial Complex.

What, Morzer, you're actually going to deny that the "All (heterosexual) sex is rape", radical lesbian faction of feminism exists? Because I did say there was such a faction, and it was influential, not that it defined feminism.

All causes develop their absurd extremist factions, who try to take over the cause, and sometimes succeed. (Because the other factions have a life.) I wouldn't say that man hating lesbians have entirely succeeded in taking over feminism, but they've been successful enough to make feminism hostile to anybody, woman or confused man, who wants to live anything like a stereotypical 'feminine' lifestyle.

From this particular extremist perspective, gay men are potential allies, but trans men are more like infiltrators from the enemy camp. Actually more dangerous than regular men.

but they've been successful enough to make feminism hostile to anybody, woman or confused man, who wants to live anything like a stereotypical 'feminine' lifestyle.

No, Brett, they haven't. The major source of prominence for the most extreme radfems tends to be anti-feminists who seek to conflate their views with those of more moderate feminists, and generally find a fairly receptive audience in the self-congratulatory American culture which is loathe to admit its inequality. There are many feminists who are hostile to transgender individuals as "not real women" and/or "not real men", but there are others who are welcoming and supportive.

One of the best ways to spot someone who is either unfamiliar with feminism or openly hostile to it will be the endearing way that they present feminism as a unified, coherent movement, and not a roiling, confused knot of movements and sub-movements that frequently include vicious infighting and circular firing squads.

And one of the best ways to identify somebody who isn't presenting a movement as unified and coherent, is if they start identifying factions within it.

I am just puzzled that they seem to be unable to embrace their own thing without ruling out somebody else's.

deciding to base your identity around a specific idea is an unusual and basically a radical act. it takes work to live your life by these rules, for this reason.

so, once you've committed yourself to it, it can be hard to avoid becoming an over-zealous advocate for your identity, often to the point of considering all other identities inferior to (if not hostile towards) your own. you have defend your effort and choice against others who question it. and you have to defend, to yourself, your choice to live that life.

And one of the best ways to identify somebody who isn't presenting a movement as unified and coherent, is if they start identifying factions within it.

And one of the best ways to identify someone who is presenting something as unified and coherent is when they identify factions within it they state that one given faction has sufficient influence within a movement as to cause the whole to uniformly adhere to their viewpoint on particular issues. When you talk about "feminism" full stop holding shared, universal beliefs as you did in your 0643, you very much present feminism as a coherent movement with uniform beliefs about highly specific issues.

Hartmut, witness the fact that, for Orthodox Jews (and, if I recall correctly, officially in Israel) only Orthodox conversions are real.

That is, you can be a real Jew (by ancestry) even if you are Reform or Conservative. A pretty p*ss-poor one, but still a Jew. However, if you convert, conversion to Reform Judaism is simply invalid.

totally OT, but since you killed the open thread: this seems unreasonable:

The United States Department of Justice is using federal grand jury subpoenas to identify anonymous commenters engaged in typical internet bluster and hyperbole in connection with the Silk Road prosecution. DOJ is targeting Reason.com, a leading libertarian website whose clever writing is eclipsed only by the blowhard stupidity of its commenting peanut gallery.

Well, I find all of these questions of identity really fascinating. It's a good rule, I guess, to try to encounter people and understand them on their own terms.

However, I think that it was unfortunate that "The Vagina Monologues" was cancelled at Mount Holyoke. Nobody can speak for everybody, and trying to make that happen is a lost cause.

Nobody can speak for everybody, and trying to make that happen is a lost cause.

Yes. The result is that no one can speak for anybody, so who wins? (The Perfect and the Good - mortal enemies. The Bad and the Ugly switch sides for convenience.)

@Brett Bellmore

"What, Morzer, you're actually going to deny that the "All (heterosexual) sex is rape", radical lesbian faction of feminism exists?"
.....

I neither affirm, nor deny intellectually trivial statements offered up by trolls whose only function is to serve as inflight entertainment.

Have found this discussion and the previous open thread on it stimulating.

This is not trying to get off-topic, but rather, compliment it:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33017344

I invite all to check this out and give your reactions. It serves as another kind of illustration as to what happens when identity politics and essentialism runs amok in an entire community - in this case, a nation.

Yeah, I remember this making the news here when it happened. (At least in the things I routinely read. Don't remember which one, though.)

But I thought the Asian example you would toss up would be Malaysia. Maybe it's just because they have a larger minority (i.e. non-Malay; mostly Chinese-ancestry) population, but things seem to be nastier there.

Hartmut, witness the fact that, for Orthodox Jews (and, if I recall correctly, officially in Israel) only Orthodox conversions are real.

I know. I think I learned about that here (may even have been the topic of a full post some years ago).

italiexo!

The result is that no one can speak for anybody, so who wins?

People can speak for themselves.

Oh, I fear, I put the i before the / instead of behind.

Ok, this is hilarious.

I just can't decide which side is doing the spoof yet.

there's an NAACP chapter in Spokane?

now that's a mixed-up woman.

Apparently. I assume NPR would have noticed if there wasn't. Unless maybe it was the Dianne Rehm show, I hear she gets her material off Facebook these days.

Whoa, even more mixed up than I'd realized. Here's what got the local press interested in her:

"She initially came under scrutiny by KXLY-TV after a postal inspector concluded that hate mail left in the local NAACP's P.O. Box was never processed by the postal system.

The postal inspector said that the hate mail had to have been placed in the box by someone with a key. Dolezal had a key, but she dismissed accusations that she had placed the mail in the box herself."

Really, with genuine news like this, what do you need The Onion for?

Unfortunately, not so uncommon. Take fake 'survivors' (Holocaust, Ruanda, Srebrenica, Titanic etc.) or fake 'ex-terrorists', in particular those selling their stories to a gullible public for lots of money. Already in Mark Twain's time they must have been a true plague.
Producing your own hatemail? Not unknown either but clearly a sign of amateurism.
But one has to admit, those pretend-black ladies don't look completely unconvincing.

Yes, she did a good job with the makeup, I'll give her that. If she'd had the sense to drop the fake hate mail into a mail box somewhere, instead of bypassing the postal system, she might have gone a lot longer without being caught.

Apparently. I assume NPR would have noticed if there wasn't.

Yes, I'm sure there is an NAACP chapter in Spokane. I was making a joke. Or, attempting to make a joke.

now that's a mixed-up woman.

Yes, evidently she's in need of attention, perhaps in more than one sense of both "in need" and "attention".

Historically, it's not actually that unusual for people to present themselves as being of a race other than what they actually are. For all kinds of reasons.

But in this case, the likely outcome is embarrassment to the NAACP. Which is unfortunate.

those pretend-black ladies don't look completely unconvincing.

Apparent race is a slippery thing. Especially apparent blackness, in the US, where people of African ancestry have been living and having kids with people of many other ancestries for about 400 years.

Dolezal in her "black" persona could easily be Italian, Greek, any of a number of flavors of Hispanic, Eastern European, Arab, or any number of other things or combinations thereof.

If a Czech / German / Swedish person can pass for "black" by simply applying some makeup, it seems to me that "black" doesn't mean a lot as a category.

Yes, there are enough mixed race folks who are identified (by others and by themselves) as black that a convincingly valid skin tone can be light enough to be achieved by a Caucasion thru regular visits to a tanning salon (or a home one).

What is more impressive is what she managed to do to her hair. I know some women who complain of having "frizzy" hair. But that looks like a whole different level.

And yes, "black" as a category owes a whole lot to the days of "a single drop" definitions. Some parts of our culture change more slowly than others.

People can speak for themselves.

Sure, but if you want to produce, say, a play that doesn't speak for everyone, and that's the standard - that you have to speak for everyone if you speak for anyone (including yourself), which is an impossible standard to meet, then you don't have plays. (And not everyone can speak for themselves, especially in particlar ways. They might desire effective advocacy of some sort, or even just a bit of fun they can particularly relate to.)

The NAACP weighs in on the Dolezal thang.

Well played on their part, IMO.

Well enough played, I suppose, aside from not admitting the hate mail was fake.

And, I should add, they really can't admit that unless they've decided to jetison her, so I'm not particularly shocked.

Give her some time to admit she faked her background, if her work is good maybe they can keep her on if she does that. Otherwise she's going to be a bit of an embarassment, a public spokesman who everybody knows is a fraud.

Most real hate mail from the usual suspects delivered to the NAACP over the decades has at least been postmarked and the authors have unwittingly funded a semi-government enterprise by purchasing stamps.

I wonder if the lady wrote the hate mail at her kitchen table as her real self before she put on her makeup and did her hair.

If so, at least it makes the hate semi-legitimate.

I wonder too if she was ever stopped, or claimed to be stopped, and harassed by law enforcement while driving black.

If not, I guess the cops, with their keen sense of who's who on the entitlement scale, weren't buying the act either.

I doubt George Zimmerman would have stalked her.

I wonder what color the children would have been if Strom Thurmond had knocked her up.

So when the lady is invited to dinner in the future, two questions will be asked: Guess who is coming for dinner? and Guess again?

She is the great white dope.

she more convincing as a black woman than this guy was as a Kazakhstani woman.

HSH:

that you have to speak for everyone if you speak for anyone (including yourself), which is an impossible standard to meet

Sorry, apparently we agree. Where I was going was: that is a stupid standard, and we should accept that people speak for themselves, and not insist on them speaking for others.

Who they may (quite likely) be ill suited to speak for. (as a side note: whom? I really never figured that out).

I think there is far to much of both thinking any individual of group 'X' can reasonably speak to the experiences and feelings of the entire group. Yet that is often the assumption. As a corollary to that assumption, as the group expands, individuals can be criticized for not effectively speaking for the new, expanded group.

If that makes any sense, which upon reading it again, I'm not so sure. :)

Ah, I see it all now as America tries to pass as a malignant parody of itself.

The NAACP fires her, she sues under equal opportunity employment regs, wins at the Supreme Court, and decides to become a legal expert on FOX News, appearing MON-WED-FRI as the victimized white person whose job at NAACP has been given to an affirmative action black person, and on TUES-THURS-SUN as the victimized Zelig whose only crime was being legitimately white.

Megyn Kelly will don blackface and interview the Zelig while admitting that she, Megyn, may have had it coming when that cop put her in a head lock and wrestled her to the ground at the country club swimming pool, while Greta van Susteren will lift her skirt over her head on camera to reveal that she's actually been Bill O'Reilly all along and I'd like to see someone just try and take away my Olympic medals.

Then the four or them will hold hands and do swan dives off the roof of the FOX News building into a gigantic vat of cold cream.

I heard once that J. Edgar Hoover, while dressed as Vivian Vance, would compose and send racist hate mail to himself and read it while dressed as Lena Horne but really it was only because his Vivian was jealous of his Lena's figure.

it was only because his Vivian was jealous of his Lena's figure.

Hey, who wouldn't be?

"a public spokesman who everybody knows is a fraud."

Well, if she called herself a "spokesMAN" then she would be a fraud twice over.

We'll leave aside the fact that the job of all public spokesfrauds, public and private, is to be frauds to one degree or another.

I can't seem to keep up. My funny is in first gear while American clown funny floors it to overdrive on everything.

http://wonkette.com/588292/wingnut-chorus-fake-black-naacp-lady-just-like-fake-lady-caitlyn-jenner-haw-haw-haw

The usual suspects that pass for "conservatives" prove they can be transpigvermin because they already had curly tails and their snouts in the right-wing hog trough, thus no surgery required.

They come as they are.


From the Count's link, Sean Davis at the Federalist asks:

How, exactly is what Dolezal did any different than what Jenner is currently doing?

Jenner is not from Montana.

SATSQ

I've decided that the lady at the NAACP passing as black these many years and, in a very different context, Bruce Jenner now as Caitlyn Jenner are healthy developments compared to so much of American history when lightly complected blacks by necessity had to try and pass as whites to partake of educational, professional, bus-riding, water fountain, and housing opportunities, etc, while women probably wished they could pass as men for the same reasons.

Jews, gays, lesbians and other ethnic minorities attempted the same pragmatic ruse.

Having attended the Brett Bellmore School of Household Psychiatry, I can say with authority that the entirety of American society was one sick sociopathic f*ck.

We're in recovery mode.

I hope we don't go off our meds like so many desire.

This seemed like an interesting perspective piece on the Dolezal affair.

That is interesting, NV. Also, this which mirrors Elinor Burkett, IMO.

From sapient's link:

This is a bizarre story, made difficult by the fact that we don’t have a language for this kind of white-to-black “passing.”

Oddly enough, the phenomenon of white people assimilating themselves into black society is common in some contexts. I'm thinking of the early jazz community, and of guys like Mezz Mezzrow, among others.

Not as a matter of skin color, but as a matter of communal identity.

Red Rodney, when he toured with Charlie Parker as the only white man in Parker's band, was billed as an "albino negro" when they played in venues that didn't allow racial mixing.

White-for-black passing is less common than the other way around mostly because there traditionally hasn't been much upside in being black if you could avoid it.

In contexts where that wasn't so, it wasn't uncommon for white folks to live as black people, oftentimes without regard for the color of their skin. Because skin color varies along an amazingly fine-grained spectrum.

There are surely people who are clearly and unambiguously white or black, and places where people who are clearly and unambiguously one or the other are the norm, but in the modern US the whole black / white thing is mostly in our heads. Race is a very very permeable boundary.

On my father's side, a great grandfather was Puerto Rican. He passed by claiming the be the Puerto Rican-born son of Spaniards, so ethnically European. That lie persisted in my family until I proved otherwise. The irony of it is that, on my mother's side, my great grandmother was Mulatto, and her way of passing, at times, was to claim to be Latin American, which, while not necessarily making her "white," was still better than being considered "black."

So, there she was, trying to be what he was trying not to be. Her lie also persisted to some degree, though I came to find that it was kinda-sorta known to be a lie and everyone just went along with it, unlike my great grandfather's lie, which I tend to think was believed, even within the family, since he was estranged and there was less opportunity to find much out about him.

I've decided that the lady at the NAACP passing as black these many years and, in a very different context, Bruce Jenner now as Caitlyn Jenner are healthy developments

I think the Count is really on to something here. Especially in Jenner's case, there is still significant resistance to the very idea. But that things have changed to the point where it is at least not seen as suicidal (socially, or even literally)? That has to be a step towards tolerance of those among us who are different.

Some of us may still see what they have done as daft (to put it mildly). But nobody is proposing the kind of radical penalties that would have accompanied even something as mild as cross-dressing half a century ago.

re Dolezal, there is a similar phenomenon in Native American studies, including Grey Owl, Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance, and Red Thunder Cloud.

I leave it to the evidence based Mr Bellmore to determine their psychological makeup.

A lot of people, both white and black, in the US claim some amount of NA ancestry with great pride. I think it's supposed to make one a real American. I'd guess a good number of those people have no verifiable NA ancestry, and it just makes for good family lore.

(As an aside, one bit of debunked family lore for me was that General George Armstrong Custer was my 3rd great grandfather. (My great grandmother's maiden name was Custer.) When I was probably around 12, I read an encyclopedia entry stating that he never had any children. I showed it to my father, who shrugged and got this sheepish little smile on his face. If there's one thing I do know about my family history, it's that I can't trust what my family tells me.)

If there's one thing I do know about my family history, it's that I can't trust what my family tells me

mine, too.

my father's mother's maiden name is Borden. and the story was that we were related to both the guy who started the Borden's milk company and famed axe murderer, Lizzie Borden. and both are true. what family lore never bothered to mention was exactly how far away those relations are.

the ancestor i share with Lizzie Borden was born in England in 1596. we are seventh cousins, twice removed. and Gail Borden (milk condenser) is my 5th cousin, four times removed.

and those are both basically no relation at all.

How did you conduct your research, cleek? I can't get past my great grandparents on some branches of my family tree. It depends on who they were and where they lived, of course. I can go back pretty far with my English ancestors, who were Londoners (sort of, it wasn't always officially part of London), but other branches are dead ends. Poor and rural people seem to have left the sparsest paper trail.

A lot of people, both white and black, in the US claim some amount of NA ancestry with great pride.

You are right about that, but the three examples given are slightly different, in that the people took on the mantle of NA culture totally, rather than expressing the idea that one of their distant ancestors was NA.

I tend to think this is linked to things like Faulkner pretending to be a RAF pilot and, more recently, the revelations about Patrick O'Brian.

You are right about that, but the three examples given are slightly different, in that the people took on the mantle of NA culture totally, rather than expressing the idea that one of their distant ancestors was NA.

I wasn't trying to say it was the same thing, just that people are far more inclined to claim NA ancestry, whether they have it or not, than white people are likely to claim black ancestry, even when the do have it.

(What was the one-drop rule story in Virginia, regarding prominent families having claimed descent from Pocahontas, prompting the law to be modified so it didn't apply to NA ancestry, even though it did for African ancestry?)

Genealogy has always been a mine field.

And that's my last word on the subject.

How did you conduct your research, cleek?

mostly through geneology.com for the Bordens. there is a multi-century tree of the Bordens there (it also includes Marylin Monroe, Churchill and Lana Turner!). but it looks like they've completely borked the formatting on it - it's all on one line now.

all the other parts of my family have been much harder. town records from where my other grandparents were born got me a little info.

Here's a black liberal woman going full Zelig on an armed police officer at a traffic stop and proving that masquerading as an entitled right wing piece of white, conservative, violent scum will not bring you down in a hail of Taser shocks, choke holds, and hollow-point bullets.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_06/pale_rider056075.php

Why wasn't she gunned down?

Why wasn't she gunned down?

Why wasn't this special piece of sh*t shot dead multiple times?

Why not?

Do I have to take the law into my own hands and distribute justice evenhandedly?

Hanh?

Why wasn't she gunned down?

everyone knows that white culture forbids her from posing any real threat to a police officer. unlike a black man with a toy gun.

When I was probably around 12, I read an encyclopedia entry stating that he never had any children. I showed it to my father, who shrugged and got this sheepish little smile on his face. If there's one thing I do know about my family history, it's that I can't trust what my family tells me.)

hairshirthedonist, the Wikipedia entry on Custer has this story:

"In November 1868, following the Battle of Washita River, Custer was alleged (by Captain Frederick Benteen, chief of scouts Ben Clark, and Cheyenne oral tradition) to have unofficially married Mo-nah-se-tah, daughter of the Cheyenne chief Little Rock in the winter or early spring of 1868–1869. (Little Rock was killed in the Washita battle.)[18] Mo-nah-se-tah gave birth to a child in January 1869, two months after the Washita battle. Cheyenne oral history tells that she also bore a second child, fathered by Custer in late 1869. Some historians, however, believe that Custer had become sterile after contracting gonorrhea while at West Point and that the father was, in actuality, his brother Thomas. A descendant of the second child, who goes by the name Gail Custer, wrote a book about the affair."

Interesting anyway.

Geneology always seems to have a huge piece of random luck involved. My siblings, ambling around France looking for possibilities for paternal ancestors, basically got nothing. Beyond French people saying, "That's a French name! But it's a very unusual French name." The only trace they ever found was a single gravestone . . . in Belgium.

On the other hand, my parents went off to England looking for maternal relatives. Walked into a pub in Ambleside (motivated by an autobiographical memoir by a great uncle) and asked "Any Aldersleys around here?" And got back "Well there's Jill. Down the road a few blocks and up to the second story." Turned out, when they got to comparing notes, to be an eighth cousin.

Jill took great joy in taking them to down to her local and introducing them: "This is my eighth cousin." Because, after all, nobody keeps track of 8th cousins....

Given history, sometimes it pays to be a Jewish guy pretending in turn to be a muleskinner, a Cheyenne brave, a fluffer for a snake-oil salesman, a righteous, Bible-verse-spouting sexual pet for the preacher's wife, gunslinger, and an Indian scout:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWGAdzn5_KU

It tended to confuse the blue eyes. They just didn't know what to make of it.

Now, the Human Beings seemed to have a more open mind if it pleased them.

I think it's remarkable that the world's religions in most cases put great stock in leaders, saviors, martyrs, buddhas, and shape-shifting shamans who believe and are believed to be capable of becoming something other than the ordinary individuals they are.

But a white woman living as a black woman, or a biological man becoming a woman as an inner fulfillment must be denied cake and the good offices of government by folks who believe water can become wine and a man can become true spirit risen from the dead, not that the latter aren't worth trying.

My surname is German, but with a different spelling than usual in Germany, but with a similar pronunciation.

Growing up, my paternal grandparents lived near Canton, Ohio, but we were given the impression that there were no other folks with the same last name as we had, excepting the cousins.

Both my grandparents lived well into their 90's and died when I was in my mid-twenties.

We never visited anyone else with our name when visiting my paternal grandparents, nor did they ever have visitors with the same name.

My grandfather had two brothers and a sister I believe, but we never met them, mainly because they had died either before I was born or shortly thereafter.

There was mysterious mention that one of the brothers had disappeared out West.

There no mention of a falling out in the family.

And the singularity of our name seemed to be true because where I grew up in an near large cities, we were the only folks with our last name in the phone book.

There were none either in the area where my grandparents loved, and I made a habit as well of checking phone books when I traveled and rarely did our name appear.

Well, two things happened.

About 30 years ago I was on a traveling competitive men's softball team and while playing a tournament in Pueblo, Colorado, I stopped for lunch at a Burger King and the tiny Hispanic lady serving me wore a name tag
and gol-darned if it didn't have my name on it, spelled like mine.

I nearly dropped my tyranny fries.

That's not all. As we talked, she said her father-in-law's and her husband's FIRST names were the same as my Dad's, who died in 1966, and my one brother's which means that if all four of them has been standing there and their full names were called out, they all would have answered like a quartet of Franks.

She thought her husband's grandfather might have come from back East, but things sounded hazy.

Got her number or address and I'm sorry to say I've never followed up, but I do know the husband with the same name as my Dad's died some years ago -- think I looked it up on the internet.

Something to do, soon before the boogey man gets me.

Second, my brother in Pennsylvania started poking around on the internet a few years ago because he travels extensively in Ohio on business and he found dozens and dozens of folks with our last name and spelling all over the State, many not too far from where my paternal grandparents lived.

Apparently, they sprouted like mushrooms without us suspecting.

He called one or two and neither knew of us or our relatives, but said they'd heard rumors that there might be some Canton folk down through the generations.

Odd, ain't it.

Maybe my grandfather was really an outcast woman living as a man (hell of a shot, too) with my grandmother, and who knows what HER story might be.

They made their own cakes, so they didn't need to depend on the kindness of strangers.

I will say though that I wish, I wish, the long lost paternal great uncle had shown up at Thanksgiving dinner in the 1950s or 1960s by surprise when I was a kid, just to see the looks on all of my eastern relatives' faces as they got a load of his Mexican wife and kids, unless they came along in the next generation.

My grandmother, the Roosevelt hater, would have clapped shut her mouth with a clack and stared straight into the puddle of gravy on her mashed potatoes.

But she would gotten use to it after spending some time in her room coming to terms. She was a dear if you gave her time.

Beyond French people saying, "That's a French name! But it's a very unusual French name." The only trace they ever found was a single gravestone . . . in Belgium.

My grandmother always insisted her grandfather was French, and she was quite proud of her French heritage. Everytime her maiden name was mentioned to someone who was French, they would say it was a Belgian name, which she would simply deny out of hand. I found records from Belgium for my great great grandfather, and they aren't even in French, but Flemish. I do think he spoke French, though, which might be where the confusion came from.

One of these days, I'll find out that someone told me something that was true. It's okay, though. I love Chimay.

my mother's mother was eastern European of some sort. sometimes my uncles would whisper to me that she was a gypsy, which sounds interesting. after she died, one uncle told me she was Russian. then i looked through the town records of Bridgeport, CT, which she claimed as her hometown. and those records say she was Slavic (and her family were members of Slavic organizations in CT). so that means she could have come from anywhere between the Black Sea and the Baltic, from the Adriatic to the Volga river. so... "eastern European" it is.

I had always thought that I was part German, but it turns out that the part I thought was German was mostly English.

Probably there's some German in there if you go back far enough.

Grandma on that same side was Irish; Scotch-Irish I hear, and her maiden name was one bestowed on her entire family as they came into Ellis Island, and not the one that they left Ireland with.

This makes tracing the family tree back a bit more of a challenge.

Grandpa on my Dad's side was mostly French-Canadian. Grandma...no idea. English? She had a great deal of iron in her.

So: I am descended from a lot of relatively impoverished people of varying nationality, none of them German or Belgian.

Still, I like the beer. Chimay isn't my favorite, but I would not turn one down.

I am more of a Kasteel Donker kind of guy, although I have been known to partake of various Rodenbachs, La Chouffes, Duvels, etc.

I'm French/German/Irish.

Pretty clear on the German, mom's maiden name was "Berlinger". Her mom's maiden name was "Murphy". I can trace her side of the family back to Europe.

A little murkier on dad's side, he told me he was mostly French, but Bellmore is an English name. Lost track of his side of the family, mom got mad when none of them bothered to show up for his funeral.

I like to think that I'm part Asian as well. On the theory that my other Grandmother's family, which was from Germany might well have an ancestor in there somewhere from the times when the Mongols came thru -- pillaging and, specifically, raping.

No idea if there is the least truth in that theory, and I certainly wouldn't claim to be eligible to be a member of an organization of Asian Americans. But it makes an amusing theory....

Well, Dolezal just resigned her position.

And defended her claim to be black on the basis that, after all, humanity originated in Africa, so we're all African descent.

The whole thing is hilarious, but at the same time tragic. I haven't heard that she was actually bad at her job, but, could she have gotten it admitting she was white?

And, of course, having become a laughingstock, it would be hard to continue her work.

And defended her claim to be black on the basis that, after all, humanity originated in Africa, so we're all African descent.

Therefore, we are all black. Ok, that works for me.

I just read Neil Stephenson's latest, and in it he says something to the effect that genetic diversity is great in black Africans, and less so in other races, because man originated in Africa and only relatively small populations moved elsewhere and bred.

Not sure if that is completely horsesh!t, but it's a good story.

What Brett said. Especially the hilarious, but tragic part.

"Not sure if that is completely horsesh!t, but it's a good story."

No, that's my understanding of the matter, too. For instance, you'll find both the tallest, (Zulu) and shortest (Pygmy) groups of humanity in Africa, with people living elsewhere being relatively close to the middle.

Which is not to say that humanity outside Africa is a subset of African genetic diversity. As we left Africa, we were heavily selected, and subject to genetic drift, too. But we went through some tight genetic bottlenecks, repeatedly, that humanity in Africa didn't.

Hilarious, yes.

"And, of course, having become a laughingstock, it would be hard to continue her work."

Not so fast.

It is America, where people who have become laughingstocks go on to flourish and become stupendously wealthy and successful, get their own shows, plague the Twitterverse like locust, continue to comment authoritatively on blogs, even run for President.

Word is, the lady has been cast to play both Othello AND Desdemona in Shakespeare In The Park, but not that park.

Maybe she'll turn up as a Chinese master ramen chef in Tokyo.

Or as a gaucho riding the pampas.

The future is bright.

Wait ..this just in.... maybe not.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/athens-banner-herald-sun-exploded

There will be a book and a movie.

She's got it made in the shade.

Tyler Perry is on the phone.

Apparently, Dolezal was pretty good at her job.

There is no racial requirement to participate in the NAACP. The leadership is mostly black now, but historically whites have held many leadership positions in the organization. In early days, I think whites held most leadership positions.

In any case, yes, it's fairly obvious that Dolezal needs to step down at this point.

Regarding genetic diversity, IANA evolutionary biologist, but my understanding is that genetic diversity is commonly used as an indicator of a species' area of geographic origin.

Apparently the San are the modern ethnic human group that most closely represents archaic homo sapiens.

Europeans also often carry Neanderthal genetic material, Asians often carry Denisovan.

There were a lot of different kinds of hominids running around back in the day, and apparently some of them liked the cut of each others' jibs.

"There is no racial requirement to participate in the NAACP."

Not nominally, no, but that "The leadership is mostly black now" didn't happen entirely by accident, I expect. Lotta "holistic" hiring resulting in disparate impact, and a major lack of outreach, going on there.

At least, that would certainly be the assumption had the numbers drifted the other way...

I think there is a talent agency called Laughingstock, Dupe, Stooge, FOX, and Brewster that can add her to their stable of accounts.

I mean, heck, they signed up Donald Trump, Gary Busey, Michelle Malkin, Mike Love, and Sarah Death Palin, although with Malkin and Love the complaint has been "more funny, less hectoring please".

Oh, I don't think she'll be unemployable. Good future in reality shows, daytime talk shows, that sort of thing. I just meant that she'd blown it as far as her job with the NAACP, which did after all require the capacity to be taken seriously.

This will, I expect, blow over, and she'll be ok in a few years, when society has officially taken leave of the last of it's senses, and people who dye their skin green have an official census category.

I just hope she's around at that point, the charade demonstrates a certain mental instablity, (Though not of a dangerous to others sort.) and she's got to be really stressed out. Hope she's got some good friends keeping an eye on her.

'"The leadership is mostly black now" didn't happen entirely by accident, I expect.'

Well, black people who were otherwise acting white to get jobs in the white world found out what the ACP in NAACP stood for and figured it was a place they could be themselves.

I expect.

"Expect" != "know".

There are lots of possible reasons that the leadership of the NAACP has become increasingly black.

If we're trafficking in pull-it-out-of-my-butt suppositions, I'd offer the fact that, due in no small part to the efforts of the NAACP, more black people now have professional qualifications that would make them eligible to take leadership positions in a large non-profit organization.

If somebody actually has an in-depth understanding of the history of the organization, they may care to comment.

Otherwise, maybe just leave it at that.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad