May 23, 2011

I have to say this because I can't not say it anymore

Someone said something to me about That Conversation that really clicked. It was one of those moments when I see something I experience and realize that what happens is not my fault. To paraphrase, that person said, "You know how no matter what you say White people always think you're yelling at them?"

As soon as I heard that, a huge fog about many things I've been stewing on suddenly lifted, and something very important became clear: I am not the problem.

I usually keep things like this to myself (although recently I've been trying to break out of that habit), but with the show coming up and many of the things I've been involved with this week, as well as things that have happened to me and are going on in the world today, staying silent is self-destructive.

There's this pattern of behavior I notice in White men that really has to stop. It goes like this:

  • I say something critiquing or poking fun at White privilege, male privilege, and/or straight privilege.
  • White man decides that I'm hostile and angry and personally attacking him - as though he knows me and my thoughts/feelings/beliefs better than I do. And certainly those feelings matter less than his own because Black women are (to coin a phrase) "rhino-hided she-beasts" until proven otherwise.
  • White man decides to verbally put me in my place by attacking my intelligence, my sanity, or my morality - as though I must be stupid/crazy/evil to say what I say. They have learned the lesson very well - Black women are intellectually and morally inferior.
  • I shut up and keep my pain to myself because it's no use talking to the person who does this. I've been trained very well and know that I am supposed to remain silent in the face of White/male anger and disapproval.
  • The person who does this walks away with no clue how fucked up this whole thing is. They too have been trained very well and know that there's no point listening to that Angry Militant Black Bitch about anything.
I'd just like to say, to make it clear:


It's racist and sexist. I tried not taking it personally. I tried giving it the benefit of the doubt. But you know what? It is personal, and there is no defending or excusing it. I don't care who are, who you vote for, who you're friends with, who you work for, who you studied, or who you're fucking - this behavior is racist and sexist. And if you see this happening and you sit by and watch and not say or do anything, you may as well be agreeing with it.

I am not Mammy. I am not Sapphire. I am not Jezebel. Just because I'm not mothering or fucking you does not mean I'm trying to castrate you. For real, I have better things to do with my time than to deliberately go out of my way for the express purpose of making you feel bad. Will I sugarcoat my exasperation at your ignorance and apathy? No. You need to know what your shit does to people like me.

I tell you because I want to believe you're a decent person and that you care about not doing racist, sexist things. If you can't see that my telling you when you're fucking up is not about hating you, but about still having hope that you're a decent human being - then that's your shit, not mine. So stop putting your shit on me and acting like I'm the one stinking up the place.

To recap:


And tell me you're sorry if you have. Yeah, I know you don't think you did anything wrong, but it lets me know you're not a calloused asshole.


  1. First of all, it's posts like this that led me to say what I said earlier. Like I said earlier, I don't have any problem with gay anything. Or black anything. Or Hispanic anything. Or trangender anything. Or (insert race/sexual orientation/ideology/whatever) anything.

    I do have a problem with bitchy. When all you do is write blog posts about how the big scary white man is out to get you, then it's really hard or me, a white guy, to sit back and go "Oh, she's joking THIS TIME." How am I supposed to know?

    Here's a thought: if everyone is saying the same thing about you, then there are pretty much two options: A) everyone is making shit up, or B) it's true.

    Quite frankly, I'm not sorry if what I said offended you, because your constant barrage of insults simply because I'm a white male offends me. I'm offended that you judge me because I'm white and because I'm straight and because I'm a male. You are being just as racist as those you claim to despise.

    And I haven't done anything to you other than draw a very, very reasonable conclusion about your attitude based on what I read and see by you. Why do I think you're attacking me? Re-read your post above and then ask me that again. You're angry. You're rude. And I haven't seen a single thing that indicates you have anything close to a sense of humor.

    So how am I supposed to know that you're joking? That you're needling me? Answer: I can't.

    I drew the only reasonable conclusion I could. If I was wrong, it's not my fault.

    My advice? Be nicer. Be less angry. And for the love of white cheddar Cheez-its, talk about happy things every once in awhile. Don't abandon your zeal for your cause, but don't insult people either. I'm not against gays or blacks or women or Jews. But I don't particularly like YOU.

    And while your post above is in response to my Tweets earlier, it appears that I'm not the only person who has drawn this conclusion. You might want to think about why that might be.

    You're wrong in your post. You are the problem. Not you the black woman, not you the gay woman, not you the Jew, but YOU you, are the problem.

    You don't have to follow me on Twitter if you think I'm out to get you (I'm not, by the way. I usually just don't respond to your tweets because whatever I do say usually incites something like this, so I don't even bother because, hey, I'm actually a nice guy, even if you don't believe it). I don't follow you precisely for the reasons I've listed above, and my feelings won't be hurt if you decide to not follow me any more.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

  2. It's not RVCBard's fault that you lack the mental capacity required to understand a simple joke, BrAIn. I read the exchange, and you have nothing to bitch about other than your inferior genes.

    Summarily, you are over the line. Jackass.

  3. @brian

    My advice? Be nicer. Be less angry.

    How dare you? How dare you tell the member of any marginalised group not to be angry at the way they are treated by popular media, by individuals online and offline, by laws, and so on?

    By demanding that we be polite, you are saying that we must defer to those who consider us inferior, that ultimately their delicate little egos are more important than our equality. We refuse to act on those terms. We act on our own, as individuals and in groups, and you're just going to have to put up with our demands for equality.

  4. @brian

    You have a simplistic, cartoonish view of the world, and you should not be surprised when people who have to routinely deal with racism, sexism and homophobia don't have the time, patience or inclination to deal with your bullshit.

    You are not the first person to ignore institutional racism, structured homophobia or the rampant sexism and misogyny present in the U.S. and you will certainly not be the last.

  5. @brian,

    Please feel free to eat a large hot bowl of dicks.

  6. To add:

    Brian, you don't "have any problem with gay anything. Or black anything. Or Hispanic anything. Or trangender anything. Or (insert race/sexual orientation/ideology/whatever) anything."

    That is as long as they know their proper, inferior place and know to never upset you and to always defer to you and privilege YOUR fee-fees above their own well-beings.

    The idea that you're willing to dissect Afrodyke and try to remove "the real her" from her Blackness, queerness and Judaism is part and parcel of White, straight, male thinking and privilege. In other words, the "real" person of Afrodyke cannot have Blackness, queerness, femaleness or Jewishness about her. That she cannot be a real person with those around you speaks volumes about YOU.

    And I cannot believe you cried reverse racism with this old chestnut, " You are being just as racist as those you claim to despise," as if Blacks have just as much power in American society as Whites to be able to implement our prejudices against Whites that affects your quality of life (including shortening it with having to deal with the stress of constant racist attacks). Cracka, PLEASE!


    Don't you LOVE it the way White folks roll up and make the EXACT point crystal clear that you've stated in your OP while calling themselves calling you out and putting you in your proper uppity, nigger gal place?

  7. Brian: you're a worthless piece of shit. This hasn't anything to do with you being white or straight or male but everything to do with you being a gigantic crybaby and asshole. But since you're awfully sensitive about being white and male, I'll just call you a walking dick and a pathetic little whitey wad and consider it done.

  8. Brian, I just want to say thank you for your comment.

    THANK YOU for proving RVC Bard's point and illustrating EXACTLY what she's talking about.

    By the by, the following are 10 Conversations, we are sick of having with your ass.

    Congrats, you've at least hit 5:

  9. It's funny, now that I think about it, that these same individuals who participate in this pattern assume I am incapable of maintaining friendships with straight White men because I supposedly hate them so much or think they're out to get me. So much so that, of my own free will, the first person I turned to when looking for someone to be my roommate was a straight White guy. Yeah, I hate straight White men so much that I'd willingly invite one over to my apartment for Shabbat dinner every other week. I hate straight White men so much that I'd willingly spend time with my co-producer's boyfriend and talk about things other than how he sucks because he's a straight White guy.

    As a matter of fact, I talk about a lot of the same things with my straight White guy friends than I talk about here, and the only people who assume that what I say comes from a place of hatred are people who are frankly ignorant about how ignorant they are.

  10. However, it does need to be asked: What should people do when they see this happening - other than nothing? What should people say when they see this happening - other than nothing?

    Because nothing, even from people who mean well, says a lot that they probably don't want to say.

  11. This is her blog. This is not an alley for you to piss in.

    Do you piss on the lawn of a friend's house? No, you don't even piss on your enemies' lawn, because they'd hurt you. You act out only with strangers, like any other perpetrator.

    This is her blog. And you are not listening, at all.

  12. @brian

    All I am taking away from your response is that you didn't actually process what Afrodyke said. Well, that and that you think your feelings are more important than actually listening and maybe letting something sink in.

    I don't think that most straight White men [see note below] are out to deliberately get anybody. I do think that our society is set up in such a way that straight white men end up "getting" people without even paying attention to it. Then, when the "gotten" people point it out -- yes, sometimes in angry or hurtful ways, because wouldn't you be angry to be marginalised? -- these same straight white men say that it wasn't their fault, they didn't mean it, and *thus it must not have happened*, or *it must not really be that bad*. This, in turn, feeds into the cycle of people in power not listening to the marginalised / "gotten" ones, and society continuing to tromp on them.

    [Note] In this case, I use the example of straight white men, but the same is true of anyone who is a member of at least one privileged group.

    @Afrodyke: I'm very sorry if I've butted into your space inappropriately. I just saw this post linked elsewhere -- along with the words of your comment at 12:13 -- and got fed up with brian's wilful ignorance.

  13. I'm not actually sure whether I've done this, because nobody ever called me on it. My wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment involved watching lots of other people on the internets getting called on it, and in the process I absorbed, in bits and scraps, what you've laid out here end-to-end: that people express their experiences, and acting in a way that seeks to invalidate someone's experiences and personhood is a shitty thing to do. But for all I know, I may very well have acted that way, without even noticing it, toward someone who, like you, kept their pain to themselves. Or stood by when someone else was. And if I have, I'm sorry.

    Meanwhile, Brian: How do you feel when you express that you're justifiably angered or hurt by how someone has treated you, and someone else shits all over it by saying "well, this wouldn't happen to if you weren't being the problem?"

    No, don't tell me, you're going to say that you're always the epitome of rationality, that you take such criticisms under careful consideration and discard your righteous anger when you realise that no, it really was your attitude that needed adjusting. Amirite?

    Hint: Afrodyke wouldn't be responding to your remarks this way if you weren't, yanno, being the problem she's talking about.

    Your ball.

  14. @RVC: I don't apologize for asking you to not attack me, because whether last night's Tweet was an attack or not, I have been the recipient of several Tweets from you in the past that have come across as attacks or insults. I don't want you to do that, and I remain firm in my stance that it's unacceptable. Last night I perceived an attack, asked you politely to stop, and you wrote the above post.

    I am sorry if your feelings were hurt, however. I didn't have any way to tell whether you were joking or not. As I've said, you haven't given me any reason to believe you were joking. I will also apologize for calling you a bitch. I don't particularly like you, but that doesn't excuse any name calling on my behalf. If it's okay with you, I would prefer to just leave things alone. You don't have to follow me on Twitter any more (nor do I expect you to), and I don't have to follow you or your blog anymore (which I probably won't). I hope we can part amicably.

    However, if you would like to continue this conversation in a private manner, please DM me your email address and I will respond there.


  15. Looks like it ate my other post:

    @everyone: Like I said in my post, RVC's problem isn't that she's black or that she's gay or anything, it's her attitude toward me, and every interaction I've had with her, she's brought up my race and gender. I never bring it up.

    And like I said earlier, I've no problem with her being gay. In fact, I'm 100% supportive of it, and I would defend her right to the death to have equal rights in America. She shouldn't be put down at all because of her sexual orientation -- not one bit. And anyone who does put her down because of that is a sack of shit.

    I've no problem with her being black. I will sit in picket lines, I will protest unequal treatment if I see it, and I will do anything in my power to protect, support, and assist her in the fight to be treated as an equal based on race.

    My problem has nothing to do with either of those things. My problem has to do with the way she speaks to me. I don't tell her she's a stupid black dyke. I don't say that. I never have and I never will, because I don't believe it.

    But she, on the other hand, constantly demonizes me simply because I'm a white male. I've never done anything to her.

    *shrug* If you guys want to think I'm the jerk here, that's fine. But she keeps Tweeting at me about how I must hate gays or hate blacks, and that's simply not true. That's slander. And I don't have to put up with it.

    If she wanted to say I'm a jerk because I'm rude, that's fine. I'll buy that. I never claimed to be polite. But don't sit here and tell me that I'm racist or whatever, because while I may be in the demographic that oppresses her minority, I am not an individual that supports, condones, or otherwise oppresses her. I actively fight racism where I am.

    So, you know, if you guys think I'm a jerk, that's fine. You don't have to like me. I don't have to like you. That's just the way the world works. But what you should expect from me is equal treatment, and what I expect from you is equal treatment. Don't be hypocritical -- I'm trying not to be.

    On Twitter, I didn't say anything to offend her. I simply complained about a scene from a TV show. My complaint had nothing to do with any homoerotic overtones -- I'm perfectly okay with that, and in fact, I watch and participate in many homoerotic endeavors on a regular basis. My complaint had to do with something else regarding the scene.

    And RVC jumps in and says that I must be offended because it's homoerotic. Not only is that a rude assumption to make, but it's not true. And like I said in my earlier post, I have no basis by which to judge whether she's joking or not, because she never jokes about racism or gender issues with me to my knowledge. In fact, any time I say anything about race or gender, she jumps in to complain about what I said, often taking things well out of context.

    I simply asked her to stop attacking me for things I haven't done or said,and she wrote the above post. And then you saw my response.

    If that makes me an evil cretin, then by all means, continue thinking I'm scum of the earth. But I try to treat people equally, and it's not an equal treatment when someone can attack me for thinking I'm homophobic, yet I'm not allowed to defend myself, especially when I'm anything but homophobic.

  16. "what I expect from you is equal treatment"

    Think about your daily life. How many times are you questioned or actively discriminated against because of your race or gender? How many times do you think that RVCBard gets questioned because of the same? I certainly don't know, but I think that I've read enough of her posts to know that it is definitely more than you or me. Now, tell me about 'equal treatment'. You tell me why you think that, because you protest inequality or defend minorities or have gay friends or whatever, you are entitled to not get called out when someone perceives you to be making a bigoted comment. Why are you entitled to not having your status of privilege brought up?

    I'm just wondering. Despite your best attempts in the previous post all I saw was "How DARE this black queer woman question ME?" Regardless of your ally blustering, you came onto that person's blog and called them a bitch, before wondering why people might dislike you. I think you should take a day or two to think about how that reflects on you, and how progressive you think you are.

  17. Brian, I just read the Twitter exchange. You commented that you were going to stop watching Game of Thrones because OMG! watching a man be intimate with another man (shave his chest) was just too much for you. RVC Bard called you on it, and now you're protesting too much.

    I honestly don't think you'd be pissed if deep down this wasn't true.

    If a TV show makes you uncomfortable because it's too Takei for you, fine. That's your privilege. At least grow a set, man up and own it. You'll get far more respect than this bitchassness you're engaging in right now.

    Or don't.

    But when you get called on it, don't cry about it.

  18. @Brian:

    I can't send DMs to you via Twitter, so I'm going to say it here.

    Dude, what is the point of me talking or saying anything to you when you've already decided that you know anything worth knowing about me? You don't want to have anything to do with me, but you've written THREE TIMES as much as me about this topic ON MY OWN BLOG! All this despite the fact that you apparently don't follow me on Twitter or want any contact with me. If what I say is so repulsive to you, why are you chasing me?

    As a matter of fact, instead of choosing to believe that I'm some crazy hateful militant Black lesbian who wants to kill all the White men and cut off their dicks, you could have simply asked me what I meant by what I said (instead of assuming that you know). If I responded, "Fuck you asshole," then you'd actually know instead of jump to conclusions about how I think or feel about you (funny that I hate straight White men - and you in particular - so much that I agreed to have my work present on YOUR website and actually told a few of my writer buddies about it). But that's not what you did. You decided, on the basis of a few tweets, that you know everything worth knowing about me. Um. OK. But there's nothing reasonable, rational, or admirable about that. It's understandable, but it's not right.

    As a matter of fact, how you acted was only the most recent in a long string of similar behaviors in a very specific pattern. I didn't even mention your name. YOU brought that up. YOU decided that I was attacking you and only you DESPITE any and everything I've ever said to you. You've said nothing constructive to me here. You've taken three long comments to simply accuse me of being "paranoid" and "hateful," complete with rationalizations about your way off-base evaluation of my character. You literally pick me apart like a lab rat on my own blog purely and solely to call my intelligence, sanity, and morality into question.

    And I can't accept your non-apology because what you're really saying is, "I'm sorry if your feelings were hurt, but really it's your fault." That's not an apology. There's no acknowledgment of the effect of your actions. You take no responsibility for those effects.

    And you tell me that you "wish me well" and that you hope we can "part amicably" - but you've shown that you have no good-will or amicable intent towards me whatsoever. You have shown that in order for me to get along with you, I have to not "talk about that stuff" in a way that you are thinking, saying, or doing anything wrong. That's not something I want in my life.

  19. @Brian

    You couldn't prove the point of Afrodyke's post even better even if you tried. A racist sexist white guy, baaawwing about how the black woman won't shut up and sit down an know their place, came to this blog ABOUT A BLACK WOMAN ANGRY WITH HOW ANNOYING RACIST SEXIST WHITE GUYS PUT DOWN HER.

    Couldn't be anymore ironic and perfect.

  20. @Brian: The fact that Afrodyke is even allowing your comment in this post to be shown takes a lot of restraint on her part, which is more than anybody could say for you.

    I haven't seen 'The Tweet', so I'll not comment directly about it. I will focus on what I see here: I do find it ironic that someone who said he would "fight to the death" for the rights of people he "has no problem with" doesn't think the way people are reacting tells him something about his own credibility in this instance.

    Despite the world you live in, despite what your family tells you, despite what society has trained you to believe, YOU ARE NOT AND HAVE NOT IN ANY POSITION TO TELL ANY MARGINALIZED PERSON HOW TO ACT OR FEEL. You haven't even owned the massive social privilege you're wielding in this most recent comment. I don't see anything in your comment that tells me you're progressive at all. You have pretty much filled up the Racefail/Queerfail/Marginalized People bingo card. And you didn't even acknowledge that you've stepped on toes of other people who had NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS when you decided to list them all in your rap sheet of people you "don't have a problem" with. Why did it even occur to you to bring up the first handfuls of disenfranchised as if they could be lined up neatly in your mind? Seriously, WTF dude?

  21. @Brian

    Before you dig yourself in any deeper, you might want to educate yourself.

    The Art of Defending Racism

    Racism 101 for Clueless White People

    Seriously. Read. Ditch your ignorance. You look like a damn fool.

  22. Thanks for putting this out there and naming it. This kernel of how racism operates in the minds and actions of white folks--the projection of anger onto people of color, most particularly black folks--is at the center of one of the deepest consciousness raising experiences I have had around my own racism as a white person. I know this shit well because I have it in me, and continue to work to recognize it and check it.

    I experience being called on my shit (the ways I am complicit with and enact oppression) as an act of trust that I will hold myself accountable for my shit, of faith that I will listen with openness and take responsibility for the ways I have fucked up, of hope that I will continue to check my shit and work to not fuck up again like that, and of deep respect. And it's hard work, an investment of energy and resources when I know they are likely scarce.

    I think of this post as an investment like that in white men in general, and want to thank you for offering it to the world, using your resources to put it out there.

    I also want to mention that I think of Tulpa, or Anne and Me as also potentially doing that kind of work (particularly for white women) among other kinds of work; at least, it did for me as a white person reading it. (That's what I mean when I say it kicked my ass in a good way.)

    Thank you for your work and for putting your work out into the world.

  23. Brian, I'm a white guy who doesn't want to write off my fellow white guys, not even those I've had heated arguments with on Twitter.

    You're in over your head. Please follow lanning's advice before you go any further. And until you get a little bit educated on male privilege, straight privilege, white privilege, etc, I've got a little bit of very practical advice: When you feel you're being called out or attacked or being called a racist by a person of color (or a sexist by a woman or a homophobe by somebody who is not straight) stop and breathe. Take a cool-off period before responding. Because as privileged people, especially liberal privileged people, we simply do not always see how things we say can be racist or sexist or homophobic. And because we often don't get it, we get mad and defensive, and this does not help anybody.

    Really, it will take a LOT more than just that to have productive conversations about these issues. But it might be a useful harm reduction measure, like methadone.

  24. Oh, and Brian, if you're looking for evidence of Afrodyke's sense of humor, I suggest you read her play, Tulpa, or Anne&Me. Parts of it are pretty damn funny.

  25. @Brian,

    Bitch, BYE!

    Honestly, if you're gonna flounce, then FLOUNCE, muffukka! And then be GONE!

    And they say niggers can't read.

  26. And Anne Hathaway says I'm sweet and lovely.

    A celebrity said it, so you know it's true.

  27. Brian: how gratifying it is to see that you continue to be absolutely clueless. And yes, I for one think you're a bigoted, sheltered little white boy who needs to shut up forever. Do keep putting that foot in that mouth, though; clearly said mouth isn't much good for anything else. Now go gargle on some broken glass.

  28. @ Afrodyke
    ....I'm sorry you have to deal with this mess Afrodyte. I went through these same motions as you. The very same and they were pretty exhausting. It's very good to see that your play is doing well. I might have to ride out to New York to see it.

    I commend you guys, my mother and sister both have chronic illnesses that have been causing them trouble lately and I can't even be in America to deal with this fuckery thats going on right now. Not with that hanging over my head. I will literally snap on someone who pulls this ish.

    Thank you Afrodyte for doing a thankless job without compensation.

    And as to your question about what to do about it when this happens...ugh...I don't know.

    Dude is obviously up his own ass right now. I say after enough attempts if they still don't understand then....fuck em.