Friday, September 10, 2010

In the Blogosphere (aka Emily sighs and bemoans the imperfection of the world)

First up, Racialicious brings us a post dissecting the problems with well-intentioned "Colorblind" programs. As Tim Wise points out in their interview with him, if we try to entirely ignore race, we often support subtle forms of racism, because we simply haven't admitted that the racism is there. For instance, let's say a hiring committee says "we hire the best candidate, period," but a study finds that when two candidates have similar qualifications, the job is more likely to go to the one who isn't black. But the hiring committee is certain that they just chose the person who seemed the most pleasant, friendly, nice, or whatever. Is that racism? Maybe. 

Or, let's say a young couple is anxious to adopt. They adopt a child of African descent, proud of how "colorblind" they're being. Then, as good parents, they shampoo the poor child's hair every single day and wonder why the kid's hair is all poofy and damaged. Or they misunderstand the child in some other, more significant way, as a result of ignoring the child's different heritage. Obviously we can't just ignore race and hope racism and racial ignorance will simply disappear. 

Mind you, as much as I loved the points that came up in that Racialicious post, I'm growing increasingly irked with articles that criticize another group's viewpoint, but without offering any suggestions on how the group can change their behavior in a positive way. It wouldn't irk me so much, except that I've started posting questions like "Ok, so what color-aware programs should we use, do you think?" only to have such questions ignored. Frustrating. Very frustrating. Is it so unfair of me to want someone from the Womanist community to let me know what they would like to see white feminists doing? I'm sure there are many people in the Womanist community saying just that, but I can't seem to find them. If they never articulate what they'd like to see white feminists do, I'll always feel like I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't. Would my lifelong concern over inner city poverty cycles make me condescending in the eyes of womanist writers? I don't know. I really don't know.

Sigh. Big sigh. 

But while I'm on the topic of womanism, it's also worth checking out this Womanist Musing's post on the problems with writing-the-body. What is writing the body? Well, to put it in a nutshell, this is a theory that says, "Yeah, men and women are anatomically different. But instead of men using those differences to make women seem like a dangerous and scary Other, let's explore our own bodies in our writing." It's a philosophy that goes hand-in-hand with the classic feminist mantra that the personal is political. And there's a lot to be said for breaking away from the idea that men represent all of humanity, including women. But, as this post points out, this approach to writing has its limitations.

And while we're considering less prominent feminist voices, here's a piece from the folks at Feminist Mormon Housewives, questioning the writer's guilt about being a stay-at-home mother. As a (somewhat recovering) workaholic, I feel like I know her confusion. I can't even imagine how I'd feel if I were married, and the portion of work that I had been doing compared to my husband suddenly decreased. I don't think it's healthy to base how much work you do on how much your husband does, but on some level how can you not try to keep the work distribution even if you're married? But then how do you keep the work even, when you're performing different types of work? 

Solution: I will never get married, and I will instead live a wonderful life with my kitty cats.

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