Thursday, June 24, 2010

My hands are trembling reading another comment thread

Let me quote again from David Schraub's post, Of Matters 101:
Being a Jew who disagrees with the bulk of the community does not earn you super-standing.
In that sentence, David links to a post elsewhere called The Rules of Racial Standing. It's common sense among anti-racists that racists will try to shut down discussion by saying "not all [Black/Latino/Gay/whatever] thinks so." Or to use a phrase from a "cultural appropriation bingo" card posted at Racialicious some time ago, "I asked a person from that culture, and s/he said it was ok." So why is Deputy Editor Thea Lim of Racialicious responding to criticism with:
Many QuAIA members are Jewish and have Israeli family members – I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are Israeli.
Well, most Jews disagree with them, so stop giving them super-standing, Thea.

The complete dismissal of a Jewish commenter (including other intentional derails and the blanket failure to deal with the strongest part of the commenters aargument) is just really disturbing. And, among the many, many things too many anti-racists don't get, they don't get just how really scary this stuff is for me.

And with an update, the post now includes the language:
“This is a victory for the Palestine solidarity movement, which has faced censorship and bullying tactics from the Israel lobby for far too long,”
Because, of course, complaints from Jews are never reasonable. They're always "bullying." See, Jews have so much power that...


David Schraub said...

The rules of racial standing come from an essay by the great Derrick Bell -- he ain't just a hack a blogger like you or I!

Also that post ... right. I mean, Jesus. I dropped a comment noting that she had to check a box on her own bingo card (unfortunately, it was loaded up with hyperlinks, so I think it was flagged as spam). Which wouldn't be so bad -- I don't think anti-racism is easy work, and nobody said folks will never screw up -- if I were convinced that her response would be "Wow, right, I totally blew that one. Maybe I should reflect on why something that normally would be really obvious to me got obscured when the subject was Israelis and Jews." But I'm doubtful.

Also, since QuAIA supports the BDS movement, I think it's really hard to say that there is some mythical firewall between their opposition to the Israeli government, and opposing the "Israeli people".

M.S. said...

:/ I stopped reading Racialicious a long time ago now (Though I'm pretty sure that's what lead me to your blog) because the content and comments are pathetic enough as to be completely useless. It falls into the same trappings of so many many other blogs (and let's be honest, people on the left in general) of being just so spot on with other groups, and totally sticking their heads in the sand when it comes to Jews.

Speaking of Bingo cards...

Matt said...

Thanks for the support, you two.

Btw, David, every comment at Racialicious is hand-moderated. Sometimes, there's no one around to mod comments, so nothing goes up for a while. I see your comment is now there, and Thea has responded. Her response, however, is terribly empty.

David Schraub said...

Yeah, I wrote a response to that comment that was essentially a sustained rant. I'm actually sort of embarrassed by it. My default in that situation is to just try and make The Perfect Argument, but I think instead I sound like a lunatic. So frustrating.

All I really want to say is: "Somebody alleged that your post encouraged wounding attitudes towards Jews. Instead of trying address and remedy that concern, we've gone on a merry diversion about the ethnic composition of QuAIA, and what you do and don't know about Israeli demography, and how you intended your other post to come off -- basically, everything but address the original concern raised. Problem."

Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever had an experience on an anti-racism blog that didn't explicitly consider anti-Semitism to be part of its ambit where one didn't have to wade through this sort of sludge indefinitely. It drives me nuts.

Matt said...

Well, post that.

WestEndGirl said...

I'm a bit late to the party, but to say that Thea, Latoya et al have a mote (beam?!) in their eyes re: Jews at Racialicious is a bit of an understatement. It's a major side affect of "progressive" politics.
We all know here that the anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist poisonous discourse issue is not going to go away. It's just what we should all be doing about it...!

Matt said...

WEG, I don't think it was ever a party without you :)

WestEndGirl said...

I am honoured Matt :-)

Seriously though, how is it possible for people claiming to be progressive and aware to every exertion of privilege to not listen to Jewish people's concerns and consistently dismiss them out of hand like this?

Matt said...

WEG, I've been thinking about that a lot. But I don't think this is the first time Jews have faced this problem. It seems a recurring theme throughout history.

Clearly, part of the problem is that antisemitism doesn't look like other forms of racism. Part of the problem is that Jews are stereotyped as privileged, which means they have to challenge their own privileges twice before they see it. Part of the problem is that there's no real discussion of the privileges that go along with antisemitism (though, of course, you can't have oppression without privilege).

But I still feel confused trying to add everything up.