Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Now, NOW

The great thing about being a modern woman is that I get to choose. I get to choose to marry or not. I get to choose to have children or not. I get to choose to have a career or not. I get to choose to have a traditional job or not. I get to choose to vote or not. I have far more choices than my mother, grandmothers or great-grandmothers had. I certainly have more choices than my great-great-grandmothers--several born in bondage--had. My ability to choose gives me freedom. But once again during this political campaign, other women would have me give my freedom of choice away.

In a Jan. 26 article in the Globe and Mail, writer Karen von Hahn not only co-signs Gloria Steinem's ridiculous assertion that gender - not race - is "probably the most restricting force in American life," as well as her historically dishonest point that "black men were given the vote a half-century before women," but von Hahn also bemoans the fact that many third wave feminists view supporting a candidate based only on gender as "lame."

Meanwhile, upon hearing that Sen. Edward Kennedy had endorsed Barack Obama, The New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women went batshit crazy, hammering out a vitriolic missive that called Kennedy's endorsement his "greatest betrayal" of women. (Hmmm...I've read quite a few books about the Kennedys, and I'm telling you...no.)

The NOW letter also says:
And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s
picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who
can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton
(they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this”
one)...

This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect
for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our
ability – indeed, our obligation - to promote and earn and deserve and elect,
unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who
"know what’s best for us."SOURCE

Okay, I know Ted Kennedy is not a woman, but here is what I hear from von Hahn and NOW: If you do not vote for Hillary Clinton, whether you think she is the best candidate or not, you do not support women. If you are a woman who does not think that Clinton is the best presidential candidate, you have been brainwashed by the Spice Girls and Sex in the City, and you are no feminist. If you are a black woman, white feminists will tell you which has greater affect on your life--race or gender; and white feminists say it is gender.

What I hear from too many feminists is this: Don't use your brain. Don't listen to your heart. Do what I say. I know what's good for you.

Haven't women heard that enough.

Side note: On the last episode of Black Women's Roundtable a caller took me and the panel to task for daring to discuss Barack Obama's policies. We should, she said, be voting for him because he is black and we are black. Since none of us plan to do that, we are clearly brainwashed. Sigh...what is a sister to do?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tami,

I feel your fervor for self-determination, as race-gender slanted as it is. I can't help applaud its racial axis.

I hope that emerging WOMANISM does lead to the kind of rift between brothers and sisters that Friedan/Steinem style FEMINISM has between white men and women. We don't need that.

Most white women aren't Feminazis. The Conservatives and Moderates among them skirmish around personal issues: Whether or not the women can hold their own car doors open. Whether or not they feel they get enough "help" with the dishes. Whether or not their men will appear in unisex drag.

The lash has always fallen equally on the backs of black men and women. More male lynch-law victims. More female rape victims. Same lash. We cannot afford to not aid and comfort one another.

As for supporting ones own broad racial interests in the '08 Presidential campaign and election, I say we go with Mr. Obama however minimally qualified some (not me) consider him to be. As I've posted elsewhere, the bar, given the centuries of white men's performance in office (and if a black woman of Obam's stature were running, I'd be in her corner), is not that high.



Most

KimcheeBrown said...

Tami,

So have you heard the news?http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/edwards-is-dropping-out/index.html?hp

So now for the million dollar question...?

thirst_for_knowledge said...

Its more SOME white feminists though. Not all of them. Cause several white feminist blogs raised holy hell when that stupid statement came out by Gloria, and they sure as hell started writing letters to NOW NY about the foolishness. Even NOW Int'l backed away from the bullshit. As for anonymous, please do not insist on telling us that we must vote for Obama because of our race. You are pulling the same argument that I am annoyed about re:gender.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Tami,

The Clintons will do ANYTHING to get back in the White House.

They are calling out the crazies now and it's going to get worse.

Talk about showing one's true colors.

Anonymous said...

thirst,

My opinion. Not tryna proselytize.

Black Bolsheviki think we should roll the whole process up and chuck it. White Bolsheviki agree but feel that they are best suited to lead.

Some blacks get me even if they ain't bloggin. U be u. It's a one person, one vote thang.

Jennifer said...

This stuff drives me crazy--and what was NOW NY thinking??? Thanks for another thoughtful post Tami. Unfortunately, things are just going to get uglier and uglier. I just finished reading a Newsweek article (yeah, not the best source of journalism but it's free with my NPR donation) that talked about some of the nastier smear campaigns in the past and predicting that this would be the worst one ever.

(sigh)

Guess we won't run out of things to blog about between now and November...

Tami said...

Anon,

I agree that it is important that black women not come to see black men as the enemy...except when they are.(lol) What I mean to say is, black women must be able to fight sexism within our communities even if that sometimes means fighting black men (with much love.)

Kimchee,

With Edwards out, I am voting for Obama. He was always my close second choice. I voted for him for senator while living in Illinois. I never objected to Obama, just folks telling me I HAVE to vote for him because I am black.

Thirst,

Yes, blessedly, most thinking feminists have not followed Steinem and NOW's lead. I am just surprised at how many have.

MDC,

I am sooo over the Clintons. I've always liked Bill, but he should STFU before he gets on my list.

Jennifer,

Funny, I was thinking about that the other day. Will all this political/race stuff dominate my blog this year, and take it in a direction I didn't intend?

Will ya'll still love me after November?

Anonymous said...

OK, this is so ridiculous: people voting based solely on gender, race, etc.

Let's be real about this. How many African-Americans would vote for Clarence Thomas? Not many. When Jim Webb ran against Michael Steele in Maryland, didn't the majority of African-Americans vote for Webb, the white heterosexual male, and not Steele, the heterosexual African-American male?

African-Americans have repeatedly voted for whites over African-Americans when they have felt the white candidate would better serve their interests.

Now we have white women telling "women" that anyone who doesn't vote for white female Hillary Clinton is a "traitor." Senator Ted Kennedy is a "traitor" against females because he followed his conscience and endorsed Barack Obama over the Clinton, with whom he has had a personal relationship.

How horrible of Ted Kennedy to not show loyalty to a white woman no matter what. So, are we to believe that Kennedy would be a traitor for not supporting Ann Coulter if she ran for office?

Blind loyalty to any cause is immoral and un-American.

Hilary said...

I am happy to say that the National NOW and Feministing.com have both condemned the NY NOW statement.

Me too! I am so sick of how the coverage of this election has turned into a woman vs black man celebrity death match instead of a discussion of the issues.

Symphony said...

I read that statemnent by NY state chapter of NOW and immediately said: This is why women get on my nerves.

Mes Deux Cents said...

I thought Jim Webb ran in Virgina against the former Virgina Gov.George Allen who had the Macaca incident?

Anonymous said...

Tami,

Don't be fooled. The 1/30/08 11:10 post is not me.

There is interesting information at http://www.kalaharipeoples.org/san.htm and http://www.firstpeoples.org/ re: matrifocal vs patrifocal societies and alternative social organaizations (damn, I wish I had gone for that Sociology Ph.D. rather than a Labor Law Masters -Oh well, shoulda, coulda.)

Things looked way different, all over the planet, as far back as 300BCE. Up til the 16th century CE. The economic, social, and political power of women was real.

Of West Africa, it is written, "The HAUSA areas of West Africa were ruled by a dynasty of queens, 17 in all until around 1050 CE when it split into seven states. Later a conqueror queen of Zazzau state, Aminatu (ruled 1536-1573) expanded her state. According to the legend, (note: not history)she took a new lover in every town she conquered and the man was beheaded the next morning." I guess female power can be abused too. Entry goes on to say, "At present time, Hausa women are subordinate to their husbands." See the whole story from BBC NEWS: http//:news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-2/hi/africa/3227997/.stm

Next weekend, 8-10 February, I'm hosting a Rotary International echange student from Namibia. His Kalahari Desert (Botswana and Namibia) forebearers, are mentioned prominently in the literature of egalitarian societies. Kid is 17 years old so he probably doesn't know any more than the average American black or white teen of social systems that pre-date the Jackson Five but I plan to tap him.

Meanwhile, who ever up, who down, the '08 race for the White House has broader implications for us than a (white) woman vs. black man celebrity death match. The longer black WOMANIST rhetoric is shaped in the crucible of white lady Americanism and Brotherman pimps on, failing to work for a safe harbor, within which his lady can securely fashion social bona fides she'd then teach his sons, the longer we wear the ragged garments of our legacy of defeat (and, no, the expanded purchasing power of some of us -mo brighter bling- won't get it.)

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