Sunday, July 23, 2006

Feminist Elitism (The Series): The Lynching Of Nubian

Oh, lookee here....just when I thought that the blogosphere was safe to venture out, here comes another hit-and-run on the White Elitist Feminist Ain't-Got-A-Freakin'-Klew Train...and one more time, it's Nubian of Blac(k)ademic who gets the "honors" of being the chosen victim.

The setup: Nubian agrees to do an inpromptu interview for Feministing in which she specifically clears up her ennui about the past couple of weeks, where she has been taking all sorts of potshots from White feminists who don't quite understand her beliefs that "woman of color" feminists need their own space away from the noise of traditional feminist space. (Remember: first there was the rumbling over her story about being accosted over whether Black skin burns easier; then there was the crackbacks over the last Women of Color Carnival where some White feminists were put off by her comments that they shouldn't complain about not being a part of the WOC space.

Some tidbits from the interview:

Do you feel that this is true of the blogging environment in general? Or do you feel that if you were a White woman or a White man, you’d receive a different kind of treatment?

Oh, no. I noticed this treatment is coming to a lot of women of color. For example, I was on Feministing, and Samhita wrote something about the Duke [rape] case and people were just hurling: “You’re the most unintelligent blogger on this site!” The attacks were about her character, and “you’re a horrible writer.” I’ve gotten called a horrible writer, whiney, and a token. I don’t see that kind of attacking towards White women bloggers or White male bloggers. People would disagree and say that they disagree. But they don’t say that you’re stupid and you’re unintelligent.

But I also think that this is possibly the blogging world in general. It’s the way it’s set up. It’s just so anonymous and you can write something and not have to have someone protest your argument in real time. So, you have the time and the media to be rude, or what they call “snarky.” [Laughs] Or whatever that word is. [Laughs]

Do you think this kind of attitude comes from all around, no matter what race the commenter is? Have you received “snarky” comments from people of color readers as well?

Not really. There’s this one guy who comments, and he’s always challenging what I say. I think he just does it because he’s this Black Nationalist that believes that women have their role and basically, Black women, and Black lesbians, shouldn’t say anything. So, his comments will call me out on what I say, but it’s still very respectful. It’s not condescending or rude. And maybe I’m biased in saying that, but I really haven’t gotten that negativity from readers who come out and say that they’re people of color.

Do you think these comments also reflect what you face in academia, and in your life in general?

Most definitely. When I started blogging, I noticed that the big popular feminist blogs are run by White women. They’ll have this discourse about the same issues—like abortion or sex-positive—or whatever everybody else is talking about. And so when someone comes out and challenges them and says, “Hey, you didn’t include a race analysis. Or you didn’t include a class analysis. Or what you’re missing out on…” My guess is they then feel offended, or say, “Who are you as a woman of color to come and tell me, a blogger, what I’m missing?” And that happens in academia as well. You’re supposed to know your place.

Do you have any examples from academia?

I took this class last year called “Black Women Feminism.” The title alone represented what was going to be discussed in the class. And there were quite a few White feminists in the class who wanted to control the conversation. There was a specific example where we were discussing what exactly Black feminism means. And this one White woman in the class said, “Well, as a White feminist, I feel that I should be able to call myself a Black feminist because the tenets of Black feminism center their analysis around the lived experiences of Black women in a White supremacist society.” And I challenged her, and I said, “No, but that’s not all of what it is. There’s a special lens through which you view your life that can only come from living your life as a Black woman.” Then it turned into this huge argument of what exactly is Black feminism, and who is allowed to be what. I felt like I couldn’t really say much because the argument got heated and if I raised my voice then I would take on the stereotype of this, you know, angry, loud Black woman. [Laughs]

I have to figure out how to navigate trying to get my voice heard, and trying to explain to some people that certain things apply to certain people. That doesn’t mean it’s exclusive or racist or anything like that. It’s just that some things, other people, no matter how much they want to [Laughs], will never be able to experience. Even if, out of respect, they allow certain people their own spaces. But it just turned into this argument of me coming out to look like I’m angry and loud and I don’t know what I’m talking about with all my emotions [Laughs] and not being capable of intellectual engagement.


There's so much more that she says in the full interview.

Now, you would think that that would be as simple as that. No controversies, no flaming, everyone agreeing to disagree.

You would be wrong.

Seems like the ambush was lying in wait, and about 3 comments in, the attack begins.

[From nubian in the original] I don’t see that kind of attacking towards White women bloggers or White male bloggers. People would disagree and say that they disagree. But they don’t say that you’re stupid and you’re unintelligent. [/nubian]

I have to call absolute, complete and utter bullshit on that one.

I could point you to a zillion examples but it seems pointless as they are so easy to find you'd have to be deliberately avoiding them to miss them.

Posted by: xyz | July 22, 2006 07:09 AM


What is "complete and utter bullshit" is that the only person to "get it" so far is a woman of color. It perfectly illustrates what Nubian is talking about.

When are we, white liberals, going to understand that the change we are looking for cannot be achieved by looking at issues narrowly? If we want wage equality, for example, the solution cannot be found without looking at how class and race play into wage inequities. We can't fight one type of discrimination without seeing how they are all interrelated. Let's not do what the blue states have done and say "things are black and white" and never allow any questions that complex or threaten our view of the world (and the privileges that go along with it).

True equality requires giving something up: our privilege. Until we're ready to do that, forget equal wages or any other equality.

Why are we (white people) so defensive? Why do we refuse to listen to what we are told (but should be able to see on our own)? Because we can't accept the personal responsibility that comes along with it. We don't want to take responsibility for a world of so many inequities and so much waste.

Nubian and Celina, until you are finally heard, I hope you will keep blogging/interviewing/writing.

Posted by: luci33 | July 22, 2006 12:33 PM

Actually, luci33 was NOT part of the ambush of nubian...she is listed only responding to xyz.

Then our old friend Alon Levy decides to add more kindling to the roast:

What is "complete and utter bullshit" is that the only person to "get it" so far is a woman of color. It perfectly illustrates what Nubian is talking about.

The problem is that (white) radical feminists have no trouble giving you examples of how people take race more seriously than gender, and of how men in general don't really listen to them, regardless of race or class. A few months ago there was a kerfuffle on, I think, the comment pages of The Countess about how men freely comment on women's writing style instead of on their substance.

Now, I don't really think that gender trumps race, or anything like that. Nor do I buy Nubian's claim that race trumps gender in a way, because everything she says in the interview about race has been said by other people about gender.

For example, let's consider the point about the racial wage gap. It's true, a lot more people talk about the fact that American women make 77 cents on the male dollar than do about the fact that African-Americans make about 79 cents on the white dollar (don't quote me on the latter figure - I calculated it from gender-differentiated figures).

But that's not necessarily because the blogosphere is insensitive to racial oppression. I've seen several times the figure that on average, an American with a black-sounding name has to send half again as many job applications to get called in for an interview as an equally qualified American with a white-sounding name. If I wanted to sell affirmative action to my readers, I'd concentrate on that figure a lot more than on the racial wage gap, simply because it's harder to contest.

Posted by: Alon Levy | July 22, 2006 01:48 PM


Later on, Alon elaborates:

Prairielily is right, I meant blacks have to send in 1.5 times as many applications as whites do in order to get an interview.

BlackAmazon, I'm not saying Nubian's wrong because other people have said the same thing. My criticism of her boils down to two things, really.

1. It's possible that she mistook plain assolishness for racism. If the same white idiot writes the same caustic comments on my blog and on Nubian's, it's possible she'll interpret it as a sign of racism whereas I won't. Of course, it's just as possible that she encountered real racism and that Steve Gilliard, who has attacked people who claim that the blogosphere is a whites-only club, was simply lucky not to encounter any.

2. The interview gets dangerously close to race-trumps-gender. I know that Nubian's had to deal with gender-trumps-race shit in the past, and I know the feminist movement has a race problem. But at the same time the civil rights movement has a gender problem.

Posted by: Alon Levy | July 22, 2006 05:43 PM

At this point, nubian comes forth to respond initially:

at first, before this interview was gonna go up, i almost cancelled it. it was done over 2 weeks ago, before i decided to throw in the towel.

alon, you are taking my words and saying something that i din't say. don't bring in that race trumps gender bullshit. did i ever say that? i could have talked about how most of the big white feminist bloggers are also straight---then you would have just pointed out that i'm complaning that straightness trumps queerness or whatever. you disgust me. instead of appreciating what i had to say, you just go an nitpick, manipulate and take the negatives out to once again, make kortney look like a racist, complaning, angry black woman. criticize me all you want, really, i don't care.

Posted by: nubian | July 22, 2006 06:36 PM

Which motivates this response by xyz:

Nubians' argument is argument is corrupt. Unforuntately that is the way things seem to go.

Stick to the facts, present issues clearly and you'll find that the majority of people will listen to you,(that's if you want them to).

Don't exagerate, don't bullshit, just make coherent arguments. It can be as simple as that if you want it to be.

Posted by: xyz | July 22, 2006 08:02 PM

Yeah....way for a White feminist to lecture a Black woman on her blogging abilities.

But hang's where we inject the the form of a post from a "msjane" with obvious issues with nubian from the WOC carnival:

Not to be "snarky" (I agree with you, I have no freakin clue what that means either)...but I'm sorry Nubian, I have just one word for you:


Here's a quote from this interview:

"I’ve gotten called a horrible writer, whiney, and a token. I don’t see that kind of attacking towards White women bloggers."


Here's you on July 10th attacking white feminist Winefreid Breines:

"the professor ignored the history of black womens activism that existed WAAAAAY before the white womens feminist movement.
how arrogant is it of her, to claim that women of color, specifically black women, started a movement after white women did. Isn't anyone else upset by this interview??
-- Posted by: nubian July 10, 2006

I think you just called her arrogant. In addition, you negated her individual experiences, as you complained others do with you, and you proposed an outrageous claim that black feminists came "way" before white feminists.

Here's you and Rossana complaining that white feminists talk about Reproductive Rights apparently just way too much for your liking:

"...the big popular feminist blogs are run by White women. They’ll have this discourse about the same issues—like abortion or whatever."

"Why is the anti-choice movement being talked about so extensively?

I don't agree with that position. I think it is very, very important. Enough to be talked about, enough for people on this very blog to march in Mississippi for. But as you said, everyone should be respectful of other people's experience and priorities. Why can't you do that?

It's very sad that you're so educated, young, interested in making a difference, bring to the table unique experiences of being black, female and gay, and you choose instead to create divisions and make mocking statements. When you made this comment I was floored:

"I’m tired of people writing, “I’m a White feminist and I’m learning so much from you.” And I want to write back and be like, “I’m not here to teach you!”"

That is so pompous, and very nasty. What a waste. We are all here to learn from each other. We are all teachers. Although some of us need to grow up first before we can teach.

Posted by: MsJane | July 22, 2006 10:47 PM

Which elicits this fire-breathing response from nubian:


i am not here to teach white feminists about race and racism. i don't like being put into that position. it puts more responsibility on me and less on them--my goal in blogging was not to be someones teacher. sorry. yes we all learn from one another, but i think it is telling that i have been postioned as the "race teacher"--how is that fair? it isn't.

second, i did not attack the professor. her research was shoddy and i pointed it out.
people do not point out my shoddy arguemnts, mainly, because i go to great lengths to make sure they are logical and coherent. her argument wasn't.

mrsjane, really, what is sad is you. you just want to embarass me and like i said, everyone wants to just point out how racists i am to make themselves feel better. but honestly, you just make yourself look foolish.

Posted by: nubian | July 22, 2006 11:23 PM

Which is then followed by this reenforcement from BlackAmazon:

Ms jane first off show me why teh claim black feminists came before white feminists is outrageous with honest facts and examples and then maybe you can be rude and dismissive of nubian.

Also pull quoting one or two lines from thousand word essays that had to do with multi lyaered issues doesn't prove your point. Especially if one of them is a question. Rather than engage nubian in maybe answering or discussing you choose to stage a n underhanded un supported attack.

ANd its sad you are a condescending women who would rather try and instruct someone else on their responsibilities to you and others than actually adress the issues they have and are discussing.

Finally it is most intriguing to me that in a post about a FEMALE blogger whose unique experience illustrates something about the workings of the blogosphere almost any and every tactic is being used to avoid engaging and treating her experience with actual respect both intellectually and emotionally. INstead peopel want to get there " i knwo how we should be talking to each other" condescension and talk about anything but this diversionary tactics.

yet we're all here to learn form each other right

Posted by: BlackAmazon | July 22, 2006 11:32 PM

But now comes the post that brings the house down...from someone called "Eshew Obstration" (and I've bolded the money phrase):

Wow. This got really weird really quickly.

BlackAmazon, could you please explain to me in what way Winifred was arrogant?

I was thankful to Nubian for adding information to an informational article, but at the same time there was no evidence provided as to how Winifred was being arrogant.

To be fair, Nubian hasn't been blogging for very long. I wouldn't say that six months experience is anything to bow down and worship or even truly respect.

As far as her writing is concerned, I'm almost 110 percent sure that you, BlackAmazon, are in fact Nubian trying to ghost up support for her in this commentary. You both have the same atrocious writing style (misspelled words, incoherent grammar and shoddy support for your arguments). That has nothing to do with your politics, point of view, race, gender or sexual identity and everything to do with your writing style. A blogger, by nature should be prepared to defend their writing style and their arguments if they allow and encourage comments.

And I'm sorry that you are sick and tired of white women learning from your blogging, if education isn't part of the reason that you were inspired to blog, I'd like to know what is? When information is exchanged people are always teaching and learning, and for you to be frustrated that someone was learning from your thoughts, emotions and experiences is confusing at best. And, if I allow myself to dwell on the implications of your frustration it becomes rather insulting.

Are you be similarly frustrated when black women write you to tell you that you've educated them about your politics, beliefs and their historical implications?

If not, perhaps you are missplacing anger. I'm not a psychologist, however, so probably not.

Posted by: Eschew Obfuscation | July 23, 2006 12:55 AM

WOW. Just freakin' WOW. Just because of a few misspells and typos, and some irregular punctuation, BlackAmazon isn't really human....she's just nubian using her race to artificially inflate her standing and intimidate Whites into submission. After all, we all know that all those nig.....errrrrr, uppity Black women sound the same and are quite inferior to us experienced White feminists, now do we??


Eschew then attempts to crawfish himself away from his nuke shot a bit:

Oops my bad.

Upon rereading comments, BlackAmazon has a distinctly different (and in my opinion poorer) writing style than Nubian.

Sorry, they are probably not the same person.

However, if you're going to complain that people complain about your writing, it might be wise not to unintentionally make grammar or spelling mistakes. Then, you can't tell if referring to "Ms.Jane" as "Mrs.Jane" is an honest mistake or a bitchy passive agressive put down.

Posted by: Eshew Obfuscation | July 23, 2006 12:59 AM

Absolutely. Because only racist jackasses who are grammatically correct matter, eh.

Obviously, nubian seen this act far too many times before, and chooses to bail out:

I'm almost 110 percent sure that you, BlackAmazon, are in fact Nubian trying to ghost up support for her in this commentary.


now i'm being accused of lying and posting as an alternate identity, because no one could possibly REALLY support my ideas.

are you fucking kidding me?

where are the moderators of this blog? where are the readers who are suppossedly anti-racist feminist who are sitting and watching this spectacle take place?

can someone please remove this interview? i am ashamed that it is even on this blog.

Posted by: nubian | July 23, 2006 01:28 AM

And it gets even better (or worse)....I'll just freepost a series and let you read for yourself:

Nubian, is your friend 12? response to your post:

I am not trying to embarass you. I was calling you out on your blatant misrepresentations.

I didn't recognize who you even were at first, then I remembered your posting from the other article. You attacked not just Winifred but me too. And I didn't write a book, or ask you to teach me anything, or claim that I'm a black feminist, or do anything to justify pissing you off. I was having a dialogue and you went in attacking.

You have to take some responsibility, and if you're under stress because of being black or gay, then find a way to deal with it. Do workshops, write a book, talk to people, network, or blog. But getting an attitude and saying you're not here to teach anyone is useless.

If you're not willing to listen, not willing to learn, and not willing to teach, then what good are you.

What else can you do other than say stuff like this:

"people do not point out my shoddy arguemnts... because i...make sure they are logical."

And this:

..."maybe I’m biased in saying that, but I haven’t gotten that negativity [condecending or rude] from readers who...say that they’re people of color."

When you make unbelievable statements like this, that you are mistake-free in your blogging and that no person of color on this planet has responded back to you in any negative way, that black people are apparently incapable of being rude, will have people wondering what planet you are on.

Posted by: MsJane | July 23, 2006 01:30 AM


1.where the hell did i attack you msjane. because i disagreed with you? i never attacked you. people do not equal all people of color.

3. why are you so condescending and rude. my friend [BlackAmazon] is not 12. SHE IS A GROWN ASS WOMAN.

4. from my own personal experiences in blogging, yes i have gotten the majority of shit from self-identified white people (an example is from you and a number of other people on this blog and other blogs like it). i never stated that black people or other people of color are mistake-free. stop taking my words and twisting them around.

Posted by: nubian | July 23, 2006 01:41 AM


Yes you did attack me. You falsely claimed that I was bragging that I started the thread when a blogger obviously wrote it. I never claimed that I did that. I was the first to post to it. A whole day in fact went by to my recollection. You didn't post to it and you didn't post to Jill Scott's thread either. No experiences to share or words of wisdom. Just complaining.

But you want the last word, so go ahead, get the last word. I won't perpetuate this by responding to all of your numbered points.

You already did enough damage by making me and EO agree on something!! aaahhh.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: MsJane | July 23, 2006 01:51 AM


You falsely claimed that I was bragging that I started the thread when a blogger obviously wrote it.

i didn't falesly claim anything. you explicitly stated that you started the discussion thread:

No one posted on this thread, so I went ahead and started the conversation. I opened it up to discussion - not competition.

does that ring a bell?
yeah have a nice day to you, too.

Posted by: nubian | July 23, 2006 01:58 AM


This has gotten really, really insulting on so many levels. EschewObfuscation, what the hell are you going at accusing BlackAmazon & nubian of being the same person? Two black women are saying the same thing and you can't wrap your head around it so you accuse nubian of being a sockpuppet? WTF???

Anybody who's reading this thread is getting an object lesson in what nubian and blackamazon and dozens and dozens of other women of color bloggers have been saying about trying to dialogue with white feminists.

Immediately throw your hands up and deny racism, deny its impact, deny that there's any double standard, and then put on your 3rd grade school teacher's hat and nitpick grammar and typos.

This is disgusting.

Posted by: kactus | July 23, 2006 02:30 AM


Alon, you can actually follow the link and find the data. Read the title of the post, the second box (especially the first and third columns) and click on the 2005 Census data link at the bottom of the post?

Ms. Jane, I don't know what to say to you except you're a racist second wave feminist. There is so much wrong with what you said on that Breines interview thread it's not even funny and your misinterpretation of what was said there and on this thread is not even worth discussing. Read a book. Not on white feminism but on intersectionality. Perhaps the one I recommended above.

Posted by: nonwhiteperson | July 23, 2006 02:31 AM


Oh, and nubian I think this interview should stand, if only for the thread's validation of just about everything you've been saying. Don't let your words be stolen from you.

Posted by: kactus | July 23, 2006 02:32 AM


Kactus, where did I say or even imply that? Your defensiveness speaks volumes about your attitude and your skewed perception (I'd imagine). The reason that I was so sure that they were both the same person was because both posts
contained a number of unintentional grammar mistakes and both posts occured within 10 minutes of each other.

I then reread the suspect comments (like I said), and not less than 4 minutes later offered a retraction.

It had nothing to do with the fact that someone agreed with her and everything to do with the fact that the person that agreed with her featured grammar and spelling mistakes that I had thought I saw nubian make.

I see you've conveniently used this strawman to ignore the rest of my post which points to the combativeness and hypocrisy displayed by Nubian in the course of this discussion.

Of course, it's much easier to accuse me of racism (which couldn't be further from the truth).

Posted by: Eshew Obfuscation | July 23, 2006 02:59 AM


I see you've conveniently used this strawman to ignore the rest of my post which points to the combativeness and hypocrisy displayed by Nubian in the course of this discussion.

this will be the last thing i say here:
this has been no discussion. there has been little room offered for any discussion.

i am not a hypocrtite. no one here has actually logically pointed out any specious statements on my part. instead, they have presented themselves as hypocrites. funny how that works.

i think what's happening here, is exactly what i mentioned in this interview, i won't even go into further explanation.


Posted by: nubian | July 23, 2006 03:37 AM

It does goes on and on (even Bitch | Lab gets her licks in..and she elaborates further in her own blog here)..but you get the general picture.

What strikes me most of all about this exchange is the utter hubris and arrogance of these folks who think that being so "liberal" allows them to lecture Black feminists on their blogging skills or whine about how they are being so "persecuted" by WOC feminists. It's kinda like the old "We've done so much for you nig---s, so why are you all up on us, when the Right is doing so much damage to you" mantra that is used so often by "liberals" to keep Blacks and other POCs in the Democratic/Liberal fold when the threat of a more radical critique is raised. It's as if they are really afraid that most Black women really do see through their nonsense and do see establishment feminism (both in its "liberal" and "radical" variations) as completely irrelevant to the actual needs of real-life working class women; so they get rather defensive about genuine criticism. But, I guess that they are so molded by their struggles against "patriarchy" that they fail to see the other privileges (race and class, among them) that they receive.

The main point of all this is that this simply proves nubian's main point about WOC feminists needing a free space of their own to work out their problems and issues; as well as the limits of mainstream "second wave/third wave" feminism in confronting direct issues of inequality not directly associated with gender. If White liberal feminists aren't willing to actually open their minds to what WOC like nubian have to say, then how in the living hell can they claim to speak for all other women...especially in a world where the majority of women are non-Whites??

In any case, the blogosphere needs more women like nubian and Blackamazon who are willing to call BS on the presumptions of White feminists to attempt to speak for their views. Silence them, and you don't just hurt WOCs; you hurt feminism and progressivism in general...and you give the Right just one more weapon in their arsenal that they just don't need.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surreal. Another day another...err...lynching. I'm gonna leave everything alone.