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The Bare Minimum

February 14, 2010

Whenever a woman is in a position to give someone a job or award someone a prize, you can generally expect that she will, in the interests of over-demonstrating a lack of bias toward her own sex, use that position to reward a male (and, yes, a tranny will do).  This decision may be made with or without conscious intent.  She might, on the one hand, make explicit her desire to seem “unbiased” or “fair.”  Or, equally as often, she “just” deems the male a superior candidate.

It’s frustrating to watch this happen in so many scenarios.   I don’t understand why oppressed people (for, this isn’t just unique to women; black people do it too) always feel a need to prove an unreciprocated loyalty to their oppressors that is, in fact, already inherent in society.  An individual instance, or even several, of a woman showing a bias toward female people, most certainly wouldn’t negate all of the ways in which she almost assuredly otherwise demonstrates her over-concern for males, after all.  She’d still, in many cases, go home to husband and sons; fulfill filial duties to father and other male relatives; give disproportionate energies and resources to male students, artists, and enterprises; and perpetuate the dissemination of male versions of history and “knowledge.”

So, any bias she might show toward other female human beings when she’s situated to employ or reward a woman over a man would really just be a drop in the bucket.  It definitely wouldn’t be proof that she’s pro-female overall.  Yet so many women refuse even these small, relatively insignificant, gestures of loyalty to our sex.  It really is disappointing.

15 Comments
  1. lefemmeferal permalink
    February 14, 2010 3:53 am

    This is a great post! I’m going to link back to it, I hope you don’t mind.

  2. anonymous out of paranoia permalink
    February 14, 2010 5:48 am

    I actually am in a position to hire two people at my company all of a sudden, and reading this post made me feel less stressed about it. Part of what’s stressful is never being in this position before, having such an avalanche of applicants from one craigslist ad and hating that I can’t help everybody who needs a job, and anxiety about “how will I know if I’m qualified to judge who else might be qualified?” A separate thing that was mixing in with the anxiety as well was that I’d already decided I wanted to hire women, preferably non-white women.

    And I feel weird even saying that. The reason I’m anonymously leaving this comment (hopefully my email address doesn’t appear publicly? I can’t remember) is not because of paranoia about anyone here, but about it ever getting back to my employers. How fucking absurd it is, that one person wouldn’t be allowed to openly and unapologetically and purposefully hire non-white, non-male people without a) feeling a need to explain (which need I do still feel, even in this space, with how ingrained these feelings of white male supremacist priorities are) and b) worry that it could get me “in trouble.”

    Not only is nothing bad happening by hiring people because, of those qualified, they are female people and non white people, but in fact it’s exactly as you say in this post: the bare minimum of ANYTHING.

    okay I also feel weird saying all of this out loud because I feel self-conscious about it being or sounding like “wait wait look at me I’m doing the ‘right thing’ and making sure everyone knows it!”

    Meanwhile it doesn’t feel like the right thing – it feels like something I have no right to purposefully do, and then it also doesn’t feel like the “right thing” just in the sense that it feels selfish, not “good” – I love women and I want to be around them, it’s who I’m more comfortable around. Except sometimes other white women. I feel uneasy being with a lot of white people when it’s all-white-people or just me and one other white person only, even though it’s also true that I feel unease inside at times if I’m the only white person somewhere. But with a lot of white people – I don’t know if it’s like this among white people in general or if there’s something about me that makes people want to say shit in my company? – but as god is my witness, if I’m with only white people or even one white person, they can never even be counted on to JUST think only of themselves and their imagined primacy in the scheme of things – they frequently – FREQUENTLY – will bring up black people or latina people out of the goddamn blue and either make “jokes” that they don’t think are racist but which very much are, or they say things that aren’t “jokes” that are racist.

    and my unease on THAT front is also selfish – it’s uncomfortable for me to be the target of anyone’s rage, and I cannot think of one instance where I’ve said even something as non-confrontational as “um that weirds me out a little” without the person or people acting like I just threatened their lives and responding accordingly.

    The circumstances of my life right now – my job, my family, etc. – do not allow for me to be able to always avoid being with only other white people. but it does sometimes feel to me like the only way to avoid white supremacist behavior and speech is to avoid other white people altogether.

    That’s not to say that only white people say racist things, but I *will* say that on the few occasions (versus the seeming near-constant with white people) that people of color have said anything prejudiced about any other people of color around me, none of them have flipped the fuck out if I’ve talked about that with them. And I’m not even talking “white women’s tears,” I’m talking about white people flipping the fuck OUT – yelling, saying verbally abusive things, behaving in physically threatening ways, slamming front doors behind them, etc. I mean, thanks for leaving at least when it comes to slamming doors behind them, but still.

    Sorry for this mammoth comment. As I mentioned, this post soothed some of my work stress because of how you put things in proper perspective. It also brought other feelings up. and the last “feeling” I’ll mention is – I am so fucking glad to know anybody at all who I know for sure where they stand, and that it is not with whiteness nor maleness. I love AROOO.

  3. February 14, 2010 1:09 pm

    I consciously try to favour women wherever I have any power to do so. In my spare time I’m a writer, and I often get sent stories and novels by other people to read and critique, but I only help other women writers. I don’t feel guilty about it, but I don’t tell people that is my explicit policy – it’s just that if a male writer asks for my help, I’ll be too busy with other things, not have time etc. I don’t make it widely known as my policy, because a lot of editors and publishers are white males (despite what they’ll tell you about publishing being ‘overrun’ with women – it’s not). Also, I have found over the years that male writers will never return favours to female writers. They will take their help, their ideas, in some cases even steal their work, and don’t give any acknowledgement or credit. Because male writers are more likely to find success than female ones, they know they can step all over women to get to the top.

    I agree with Anonymous – anytime you even so much as hint to people that you are pro-nonwhite women, or challenge their racist sexism, you get a completely disproportionate response, and everyone wants to tell you how sexist you’re being or how unfair, and tell you all about the white men they know/are married to who are just so great etc.

    White men are always given the benefit of the doubt, no matter what. I have recently learned this to my cost, when I took on a white man in an argument over who got to control a piece of work that I had done. (Why he thought he should be able to take credit for a piece of work that had NOTHING to do with him, and thought that he should get away with this, I do not know.) All the women involved, women who I had considered friends, automatically gave this man the benefit of the doubt, and he presented himself as oh-so-bewildered and just couldn’t understand what my problem was, he had always had the greatest respect for me, just wanted to make sure that the work was given the right support, blah blah blah. Anyway, none of the women even remotely considered that I might have a point, that perhaps I wasn’t being irrational/over-sensitive/emotional. It’s just assumed that the white man is rational, logical, analytical, dispassionate, detached, and therefore I must be the opposite of all those things. I’ve now totally lost out in the situation – no-one at all is on my side, despite the fact that we were friends before. It ended up being a choice of either giving in to this man and letting him know that he could take control over the work, or standing my ground and losing the work because I had no support from anyone else involved. I stood my ground. It has served as a good reminder to keep men away not just from my personal, emotional life, but from my creative work as well.

    • February 15, 2010 10:05 am

      Oh dear, I just realised my comment is longer than the actual post! And very rambling, and all about me, me, me – sorry about that. And contains a mistake: I should have said, “anytime you even so much as hint to *white* people…” I must learn to engage my brain before opening my mouth.

  4. desert harpy permalink
    February 15, 2010 3:02 am

    Hey, Anon out of Paranoia. I think it’s great that you want to hire non-white women. You have no reason to feel guilty about it. But I understand why you do. We’re carefully trained from birth to give preferential treatment to men and to cater to their needs, so it feels a little uncomfortable not to, like we’re not doing our duty. Also, there is a false feeling of safety in being loyal to the oppressor which makes us feel ill at ease when we’re loyal to the oppressed instead. But we can overcome these ingrained feelings. (I hope!)

    Also, you’re not alone in hearing people express racist sentiment when you’re with only white people. It happens to me all the time. I used to think there was something wrong with me that brought out that execrable behavior in others. But now I think that’s just how most white people are, at least where I live. They show their true selves when it’s just us white folks. I confront them about it and they mostly just condescend and laugh at me. I’m not sure how to be taken seriously. Maybe I need to get angrier. Maybe I need to just walk away.

    Margaret, great post, as usual. I think you’re a talented writer. You have a way of making concepts clear that were previously shrouded in the mists of misunderstanding. You’ve helped me confront my own white privilege more honestly, and I’m still working on it. I’ve been reading AROOO for a while now, though I’ve only recently started actually commenting on the blogs I read. You and Kitty are two of my favorite bloggers. I’m always excited when I see something new from AROOO on my RSS feed. I’ve learned a lot from you two.

  5. Valerie M permalink
    February 15, 2010 10:46 pm

    Great post, Margaret. I remember when I used to reward males in order to seem ‘unbiased’. Ha! Glad that is the dim and distant past.

  6. February 17, 2010 8:21 pm

    Yep. it’s difficult sometimes, to stay the course and get beside one another. especially as the pitch of the MRAs whining rises. But if you give in to them, the whining might abate for a moment, but then the entitlement expands that much more. And ya realize that giving in to the whining did not help.
    I’m trying to listen for the women more. I find myself surprised by how much i favour males, and i’m trying so hard to be radical…damn. Thanks for this post, Margaret. I appreciate the reminder very much.
    ER

  7. soulsis permalink
    February 18, 2010 8:22 pm

    Oh this is especially true when it comes 2 race! You wil see women duel it out far too often to rush to the aid of men of their race. For black women its almost like some type of badge of honor to defend every thing bm dream up. Its imposed upon us by the so-called black community from birth. We are taught tp accept black male experiences as the worst kind of oppression while also taking care to ignore our own experiences with oppression by never being allowed to discuss or critique their bs! We get this from black men black women AND white (anybody really ww do this too). And, based on my experiences, ww do this for brownie points irrespective of the race of the man in question; whether its supporting (openly or through silence) male foolishness or acting on behalf of white males. So u have ww who take the side of moc over woc and take moc’s “truth” as the ONLY truth when they get anti-racism brownie points, but also have them kissing up to wm to retain their privilege.

    Its all gross! I remember when I used to play cheerleader #1 for bm. Everything had an excuse… it was the script prepared for me at birth. How liberating to find my own voice and not have to play puppet for them! But how many women have the sense or strength to reject what she was trained to believe and see things as they are? Look at what has happened to feminism! Its so difficult to undo the brainwashing people would rather embrace pozi-ism and tranny-ism. **shakes head**

    • February 19, 2010 11:56 am

      So u have ww who take the side of moc over woc and take moc’s “truth” as the ONLY truth when they get anti-racism brownie points, but also have them kissing up to wm to retain their privilege.

      YES, yes, yes, soulsis. And, of course, part of kissing up to white men *is* that denial of black women’s truth. So, they curry black men’s and white men’s favor in one fell swoop. They accept black men’s version of what racism is *because* it’s the definition that white men have supported.

      Thanks for this comment, sis.

  8. lefemmeferal permalink
    February 19, 2010 1:43 am

    soulsis, you hit the nail on the head. You said a lot of stuff that’s been chewing at the back of my mind, pointed out stuff I didn’t notice before, and even clarified why it happens. Thank you for that.

  9. soulsis permalink
    February 19, 2010 6:54 pm

    It enrages me because its just so goddamn clear that ww suport wm definitions of racism and white supremacy! But for some reason its near impossible to get ww to see it without a tremendous amount of explanation and examples. They are unable to see it on their own because they are UNWILLING to do so. Its not important to them that they get it and reject it. Why should it be? They are not bw/woc they do not and wil not ever suffer the way WE do.

    I pointed out race because its utterly important to do so. The people in the position to hire (the female ppl that is) are white! And it is white women who constantly pass over the opportunity for solidarity and sisterhood to suck dick in the aforementioned ways. And how typical? Ww passing up oportunities to hire women and then daring to claim to be anti-racist and pro womens liberation.

    It always comes back to/stems from race. I don’t care how one words it everything is borne our of white supremacy. Be it white male or white female supremacy, and we woc are guilty of it too though the consequences hold far less an impact from us. Complicity costs us! All of us. Even the most selfish and disgustingly racist ww with the greatest amount of privilege.

    • February 20, 2010 1:05 am

      Well, I disagree that everything is born out of white supremacy. But I do agree that now that the world is indeed white supremacist, that everything is always influenced by it.

  10. Soulsis permalink
    February 20, 2010 1:07 am

    We can agree to disagree, but even male supremacy backs white supremacy.

    • February 20, 2010 1:16 am

      White supremacy supports male supremacy (which is why women who claim to be feminists should oppose it). There was male supremacy long before there was white supremacy. And the most anti-white-male-supremacist black males are still male supremacists. I don’t believe in some mythical utopia, where nonwhite men and women lived in perfect harmony until the white folks came. What I do believe is that white male oppressors seized upon racism as a way of ensuring their own sex-based domination over not only white women, but women of all races. And I also believe that nonwhite people who are not black have also used racism to support male supremacy in the same way.

  11. soulsis permalink
    February 20, 2010 5:08 am

    The only people who believe in said utopia are ppl who are ignorant to male privilege so I agree with u there. I wasn’t trying to say that male supremacy wouldn’t be here w/o white supremacy. And actually I’m so tired and drained and pissed (not about this) that I cannot think straight.

    I will come back to this a little later.

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