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6 de Mayo, 2007

The True Front of Progressivism

Categorized under Blogando , Derechos Humanos , Frontera | Tags: , ,

SOMETIMES YOU WONDER if blogging is a component of Real Change, done for distraction, provided as a social experience, or is just a game. And of course, it is all these things at different times. In their better moments, blogs can affect people and their views profoundly, just as a Great Book might, when dropped into your hands on a crucial day. In a "blogswarm," the People are given voice—the computer literate, Internet-connected, and blog-using People, that is—and companies can be informed of how many support or do not support their products and sponsored efforts. Money can be directed to politicians who in turn (at least in theory) are accountable to the views of those who sent them money.

Just recently Michelle Malkin struck a great victory against Verizon, and with her work, musical Artist Akon will no longer be represented by the corporation. She was upset with this partnership, feeling Verizon was letting its customers down by partnering with this man who held a dance contest where apparently a 14 year old girl was the winner, and to win she had to "dance like a whore." Now, I wasn't at the Akon concert, I don't know his music, and I'm not trying to validate his "Freaking" (as Malkin put it), but when I see Malkin getting roused and righteous about this Verizon partnership because Akon held freaking-dance contests in many places, and one time he let an underage girl take part, I have to wonder. I have to wonder why, on her far-reaching blog, I see more venom and calls to action about that, than I did for stories such as this from CNN:

In an interview with the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division in June, Spec. James P. Barker, 23, said that he held the girl down while she was raped by another soldier, Sgt. Paul Cortez, during an incident in March in Mahmoudiya, according to testimony from CID Special Agent Benjamin Bierce.

Barker said that he then attempted to rape the girl himself, before she was shot to death by former Pfc. Steven D. Green, Bierce said.

Yes, in Exceptions, not the Rule, she has a paragraph damning them...as well as hoping they pray for the rest of their lives for forgiveness, or "rot in hell." And then she moves on to remind us that they do not damn-by-association either the war effort, Bush, or validate the "Anti-war zealots." This is the only post containing Mr. Cortez's name, and it seems that was enough to carry her message.

That's right. There are more entries and more energy expended in keeping Verizon in line with its fine corporate standards than in following a story where United States soldiers killed an entire family in order to rape a girl, and "poured kerosene on the girl's bullet-ridden body" before trying to hide the entire deed.

This is a stark example—and there are many—where I have to wonder "Is blogging just a game?" If so, it is a dangerous one.

I think of the Goethe quote None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free.

But we are all selective. And we all have blind spots. That is why situations like JC's here are good. He has many guest bloggers, and they all bring their points of view. He does not edit, he does not pressure, he does not in any way censor inflammatory posts, and he lets the Whole work its business when he brings in those voices. This is a good way to avoid blind spots and evidence of a true progressive nature in action.

In the "Brown Blogosphere," as we sometimes call the non-mainstream blogs that preference the issues and viewpoints of Mexican Americans, Latin Americans, blacks, Chinese, Koreans and others, Michelle Malkin is thought of as a "white POC." I'm sure you grok when I suggest that "white" and "brown" views need not be attached to skin color. Here is a relevant quote from a great, albeit sporadically updated, blog called The Silence of Our Friends:

But there are POC who will tell white people what they want to hear in order to get ahead, and there are POC who have been socialized and acculturated to believe in the all-American racist stereotypes. I know some personally. Is it really that hard to believe that a Native American who was raised in a white middle class neighborhood might absorb racist stereotypes about his/her people as well as other POC? That person might believe that the reason they got ahead was because of hard work, and not see that better schools in their middle class neighborhood helped, or that money and their parents white connections helped, and that person thinks white and acts white and is seen as "safe".

Now usually, I come to JC's place, our amigo "The General," and I bring my organ grinding pals and huge, magenta sombrero with which to entertain a crowd I know has a different viewpoint, overall. Also, I generally assume that the regular crowd comes here for laughter. I know I do. But even so, it would be stupid for me to assume that there is any "one" viewpoint shared by such a crowd, or that some of you do not agree with these sensitive points I make. Some of my favorite commenters or readers have come over to my place[http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org/elgrito/] from here (O, what hath become of thee, L.G.?). There are no walls that cordon off thought, and heart is the nimblest border-jumper there is.

But I do know many who read "mainstream blogs" are invested in, for the most part, a different way of seeing things. You may begin to bristle at this implication, but those of the Brown™ who weed through their daily junk-comment-pitchforks as I do understand what I mean. This dynamic is evidenced, for example (though not necessarily a mirror of the depths to which the hate can travel), in posts like this, where a huge comment count commences because even through my satire, readers of a mainstream blog understand my views are attacking, apparently, bastions of conventional American thought, even if they are not entirely sure what is being attacked that bothers them so. (More on the reception of this post later.)

Sometimes this reaction moves swiftly and undercover, and it takes a while to suss it all out. Any black or brown person who becomes political and stands vocally for Brown or Black Pride must become adept at handling the inevitable response. When people's bedrock views on race and place and culture and national identity are offended, they do not always respond directly. In fact, as we all understand on an intellectual level that it is Wrong to Hate on Minorities for being a Minority (exercising rights that whites expect defaulted to themselves) it is the one motive that is never stated, even when it is involved. I know this because I deal with many of these responses in the course of my writing. To the one dropping the comment—For you, talking about race is a necessity; for us, it is a luxury was a mild but telling one—their words are very cutting and original. But they do not realize how many times we see and hear these familiar hateful shapes dressed loosely in various iterations of transparent garb.

It is like my time training in Tae Kwon Do. To an untrained person, a fight becomes scary (and actually, I suppose they always are) because they are so unpredictable. But after a while of training, you prepare your eyes and brain with the knowledge that people "telegraph" their intentions and even their specific blows moments before they launch them. Your training brings you to a calm place where you stop nurturing a white-hot ball of panic in your belly, but instead silently and smoothly find the balls of your feet, loosen up your limbs and watch very carefully your adversaries tense spots, how they hold their hands, what parts of their body is moving and how, and where their eyes are targeting.

Writing in ways that offends the White Lens is like this. At first, the insults and dehumanization and even subtle, smart, digs seem terribly swift and unknowable, and hurtful. But after a while, you realize they really only take a few forms. And you can not only watch for them, but can pick them out of a bundle of words intended to destroy your calm and your points and your reason. This is also like studying logic, as many on the 'Net know. Once you can recognize an attack Ad Hominem, you no longer have to be swayed off course by one.

Regarding this reaction that travels a continuum from nasty comments to Minutemen rallies, I often quote a brilliant passage by the author Derrick Jensen on this in my post titled Let's Have Nexus:

From the perspective of those who are entitled, the problems begin when those they despise do not go along with—and have the power and wherewithal to not go along with—the perceived entitlement. ...

Several times I have commented that hatred felt long and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred, but more like tradition, economics, religion, what have you. It is when those traditions are challenged, when the entitlement is threatened, when the masks of religion, economics, and so on are pulled away that hate transforms from its more seemingly sophisticated, "normal," chronic state—where those exploited are looked down upon, or despised—to a more acute and obvious manifestation. Hate becomes more perceptible when it is no longer normalized.

Another way to say all of this is that if the rhetoric of superiority works to maintain the entitlement, hatred and direct physical force remains underground. But when that rhetoric begins to fail, force and hatred waits in the wings, ready to explode.

—The Culture of Make Believe, Derrick Jensen

A great example of this can be found on any of the comment sections of unmoderated "brown" blogs, or in the moderated (and never made visible) comment junk bins of "brown blogs." For example, a friend Marisa runs a site called Latina Lista ("Smart Latina") which is top notch in terms of a News blog that focuses on "brown" issues, Mexican American issues, and does so without the heavy editorial tone you might get from mine. Hers is a rather impersonal (not a put-down, works great with her style and content), straightforward newsy blog. It simply doesn't buy the typical White Lens view. But next to my admittedly "radical" blog, hers is quite conservative for a "brown" blog. (She is sometimes linked by the bigger blogs because of this, yet I do not see her on their blogrolls). And yet, you will not see White Males get uglier than when responding poorly to a woman who is smart, educated, otherwise powerful, and especially brown. I have watched the haters at her place for a long time now, astounded that she even gives them room to talk.

When Marisa commented on the recent Homeland Security tactic of intimidating this year's Cinco de Mayo gatherings, which led them to be cancelled, an anonymous commenter referenced the recent gestapo tactics (teargas and rubber bullets fired into) a crowd of marching Mexican Americans in LA (now being investigated by the FBI for use of excessive force):

Personally I wish it was real bullets and we can only hope our government ends this invasion with superior force ending it for good, helped by a huge strong wall at the border.

Do not think that is rare. Do not "Other" that commenter and say he is a sleazy, sick strange individual. Please believe me when I say I could fill this entire post with similar and even worse sentiments. From Left- and Right- wing typists. Just as Jensen said, when the typical invisible structures in place are violated by those who no longer wish to go along with them, the rhetoric gets very ugly, and will eventually turn to violence, when that rhetoric fails to dampen these "transgressions." Any "mainstream" blog you read that does not bear these vicious tirades simply keeps away from the controversy. The lack of the hate does not equal a lack of racist thought any more than a lack of lynchings in our society indicates the struggle for Civil Rights is over. And this is why we all need to be concerned with this.

Donna again puts it well:

Back to white POC, I think it's easy to see the conservative POC this way, but there are also liberal POC like this. Many of the most linked to and accepted POC in the liberal blogosphere are like this, the same goes for those POC who blog on mostly white blogs. There are exceptions, Steve Gilliard comes to mind. I think he is popular because he has a variety of viewpoints about issues that white people are interested in. He hasn't changed his writing to agree with white people, but he also does not concentrate his posts on mostly racial issues. That alone does make him "safer". Also Wampum, I don't think it will hurt MBW or EBW's feelings to say that alot of their popularity comes from the Koufax Awards. They have both mentioned it already themselves, that their readers spike during the awards, but only the usual suspects are commenting on their meatier threads.

I won't name names, because I am not interested in starting a new flame war. But these white POC bloggers tend to not write about racial issues but say things like, I am glad I can talk about anything, and not race, because my readers are colorblind.

Psst, the only reason your readers are colorblind is because you do not talk about race.

You're not off the hook with an occasional safe foray into talking a few words on race, and then letting it go, she goes on to say. And I say she is right. We know what happens when a large blog that normally has a good amount of rational conversation peeps out from under the White Lens, and dares to think humanely in a fashion that, consequently, offends the typical racist and barely-submerged thought that predominates our American culture. We know what happens when seemingly COLORBLIND blogs suddenly show that they can see color, and what it signifies in terms of struggle. Just see the Brad Blog for a recent example. "Eliminationist Rhetoric"? Plenty to spare. Seemingly sane and "LIBERAL" humans, sometimes called WHITEPROGRESSIVES suddenly advocating decapitations, mass-murder, and every kind of hateful harm you can summon. Because suddenly, they have a target that is not human in their eyes.

But...what happened to being "progressive"? What happened to being "liberal"?

Liberal: marked by generosity : OPENHANDED <a liberal giver> b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way <a liberal meal>

I find it very interesting, as a hallmark of this "White Lens" that I continually speak of that one group of people is allowed to decide the reality for another group (or many groups), as well as what is best for them. True, it's infuriating, but more than that, it's sad. It's frustrating. It's challenging. Because the very dynamic that continues harm on the Brown™ prevents the mind suffering behind the dynamic from coming to awareness of same. So tricky.

This "knowing what's best for all" is typically White® and what I call "the colonizer's" view. If you grok my use there, you understand better the controversial post I wrote about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's transracial adoption habit, titled Nezua's 2006 Colonizers of the Year.. When understanding this "colonizer's view," as I call it, we can just hear Kirk on the bridge, talking about some good but primitive group of aliens that need the Federation's intervention to find their way. This is part of why some grow so very offended and befuddled by my take on Jolie. In their eyes, I am attacking benevolence. How gross. What on earth is wrong with me? How DARE I posit that placing a brown baby from some "third world country" and immersing them in the home and culture of an American celebrity, giving them a snazzy new name and a place in the roost of our collective dreams—American celebrity—was not THE MOST bestest thing you could ever do? What am I? Some kind of Jolie-hater? Some kind of woman-hater? Some kind of commie?

A recent comment on the post asked me "where's the data to support the claim that kids uprooted from their 'true' cultural/ethnic heritage and raised in the US suffer/are alienated/resent their colonizing parents?" And I have to assume they did not read the thread. And thus, don't really want to learn about what we are discussing.

"Data" they want, so they say. And what would this be? Books housed in accredited libraries, perhaps, they want. Science journals measuring the fractions that add up to a pile of sharp-edged and fractured identity and pain in an individual. I don't have that data. What I do have are numerous blogs that swarmed to link to me after that post. Blogs like The Transracial Korean Adoptee Nexus and Twice the Rice and Racilicious. I got letters from transracial adoptees thanking me profusely for making the post. I dug up wounds, and posts ensued where memories, and pain and anger poured out, and others reading got to understand a bit of what was behind such a seemingly benign and benevolent act as the wiping out of a person's culture in the name of "colorblindness." Those who wanted to understand, that is. Because like that commenter's rebuttal to the post, most challenges such as this—"prove to me that my view on others is wrong"—come in the form of an impossible request. There is no "proving" to these people that their views on others are not the end-all-be-all on that issue. If I point them to personal stories, they say that this is "largely speculative and anecdotal." Very snazzy English. Very arrogant Deciders. They refuse to consider that they may not understand everything in the world, even when at issue is the lives of others, the thoughts of others, the feelings of others.

This is the White Lens. And it will not be pried off. This is why my brown friends do not engage in trying to change any minds on it. The owner must one day turn and realize there is a painful glare in their eye. Then, they can do the work of tearing it away themselves. And just as my verb choice indicates, there will be pain in this loss of vantage point, as it implies a loss of privilege.

To that commenter I simply replied that they could find that data they wanted by reading blogs by brown people who experienced similar stories. Do you think my words will matter to them?

A commenter on that Brad Blog post I linked had some very insightful things to say about today's immigration issue, and I quoted MarcG in my post The New N•••••• in Town.

It's a shame that the so-called US progressive movement isn't involved with what is obviously the true front of progressivism in the United States in the 21st century. The struggle for human rights led by immigrants.

As in the 60s, so many so-called political people stood on the sidelines or contented themselves with reading about how King and activist blacks fought for a more free USA, the progressive movement of today is for the most part, only watching as the real progressive movement, mostly latinos, fight for further realization of the USA some say exists right now and others say used to exist but certainly that we all want.

And this is really, the crux of my post today. No funny stereotypes of Mexicans, no cleverly-metaphorized lessons in Mexican history, no soft-pedaling my stance. I know I am bound to kick up lots of hostility by this, but hell. I do anyway. Even when I'm doing my best to play GoodBoy.

We, right now, are facing a struggle for HUMAN rights that could not be more obvious or pronounced. With each move the US Government makes against Mexican migrant workers—from jailing children in prison camps, to breaking up families that labor for America and pay taxes never retrieved, to allowing hatemongers to frame the mainstream debate, to bringing inappropriate, unwarranted violence on those exercising their First Amendment rights or those reporting on the demonstrations—the silence from the mainstream blogs becomes egregiously deafening. Do these blogs hide behind the pus-riddled logic that litters the threads like at Brad Blog's recent foray into this front? Do they tell themselves that REMEMBER, THESE ARE ALIENZZZZ? Or do events like this just not make a blip on their radar? Are they afraid of rousing the ire of their mainstream audiences? Which of these would be a more damning conclusion?

Question: If the crowd at LA were mostly made up of WHITEPROGRESSIVES , rallied and organized by MyDD.com or DailyKos, and instead was marching on Washington, would there be this silence when riot police marched in lines and fired from rifles into crowds that had even mothers and children in strollers in it? Would these blogs follow the issue with passion day after day? Or would they let it pass by, excused by trollers bold enough to threaten death on Mexicans? Would these blogs bother to post enough to say "the teargas and rubber bullets were justified because a) a small group threw water bottles at the cops, b) some marchers wouldn't get back on the sidewalk, c) whatever the next excuse is" or would they not make a peep at all?

What is blogging? Is it a game? Is it real change?

Reading Digby yesterday, I was enjoying a post called It's Baaack, where he writes that "Via Dave Niewert at Orcinus I see that America's ugly white underbelly is showing again" and goes on to inform his readers that "Niewert's work is very important at a time like this because he has documented how these racists and eliminationists are given permission by mainstream figures to let their bigot flag fly:"

And I thought America's ugly white underbelly is...'back?' Really? I thought to myself where had it gone, then? And I went to Niewert's blog, which so often has very well-researched articles that tie in historically. The man does an astounding amount of research, and also posts very beautiful pictures of whales. Still, I had to ask myself why it was that Digby thought "America's ugly white underbelly" had gone anywhere. Was it because he reads Orcinus to keep up on it?

At Niewert's blog I found his impressive series on Eliminationalism in America and these passages struck me, takne from the first installment:

What distinguishes eliminationism -- and particularly the rhetoric that precedes it and fuels it -- is that it represents a kind of self-hatred, especially in an American culture which advertises itself as predicated on inclusiveness, egalitarianism, and equal opportunity, since it runs precisely counter to those ideals. Eliminationists, at heart, really hate the very idea of America.

It has its origins, like slavery and war, in some of man's most ancient and most savage impulses: the desire to dominate others, through violence if necessary. However, in contrast, it goes largely unnoticed and largely unexamined, perhaps because it is a side of human nature so ugly we prefer not even to recognize its existence. So much so that only recently have we even had a term like "eliminationism" with which to frame it.

And I thought, hell yeah. This is important stuff. This applies to the Immigrant issue for sure. Then there was this:

What, really, is eliminationism?

It's a fairly self-explanatory term: it describes a kind of politics and culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas for the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through complete suppression, exile and ejection, or extermination.

... Rhetorically, it takes on some distinctive shapes. It always depicts its opposition as simply beyond the pale, and in the end the embodiment of evil itself -- unfit for participation in their vision of society, and thus in need of elimination. It often depicts its designated "enemy" as vermin (especially rats and cockroaches) or diseases, and loves to incessantly suggest that its targets are themselves disease carriers. A close corollary -- but not as nakedly eliminationist -- are claims that the opponents are traitors or criminals, or gross liabilities for our national security, and thus inherently fit for elimination or at least incarceration.

It's beautiful, right? Speaks to the time, to the issue, and to my heart. Here is a (white) man doing academic studies and discussions of an issue that I am tied to because of my lineage, my relatives, my family. Here he is doing a wonderful counterpoint to the very visceral and personal essays that we do in the "brown blogosphere." I don't need to go into "cockroach" jokes or how both these paragraphs could apply directly to today's Human Rights struggle as embodied by the Mexican Immigrant issue. It's all right there. As well as two posts reporting on the Hutto Concentration Camp for Kids, which makes great sense, given Neiwert's work on the Japanese Internment camps in the past.

But only two posts? On such an "Important blog" as this? Yes, good work, driven by a good man, and a good writer. And yet...by itself, and without those other blogs I mention—the ones that connect his data, discussion, and analysis to a human experience—how "important" a blog is it to read "in this time"?

I looked for Neiwert's take on the LA violence perpetrated on marching Mexican Americans and undocumented workers and found....nada. I looked for Digby's take on it, and found...nada. I look on Firedoglake, and find...nada. I look on all these Big and Important Liberal blogs and find...nada. There are, of course, notable exceptions, and they matter. Especially when they tie in to the larger issues, which—again, I say—you would think would be on all our front burners:

From Phoenix Woman's guest post on FDL:

Funny how the national media, which had their own cameras, somehow missed in real time most of the happenings that the local folk managed to document.  (Except, that is, when it was their own people getting beaten up by the cops.)  Marisa Trevino of Latina Lista looks at this — and the police beatings of persons acting to document the events — in the context of a post on World Press Freedom Day.  Brad Blog also has video of the police attacks.  Once again, we have the poor and the not-so-powerful standing up to the rich and powerful.
So it is good that these big blogs who, perhaps, are not comfortable speaking endlessly on issues a bit "foreign" to them, feature guest posters. But we cannot do it alone. Because I am speaking of a regular, enduring and committed eye on this issue. Sure, sure, I can already hear Atrios' dismissive and mocky tone, responding that he does not need to be concerned with any one groups' MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE EVAH...but in case it's not clear, I am preempting that "logic." This "group" is Liberals, is Progressives, is Feminists, is Americans. Remember the Dream?

Let me add some more:

1. From The Primary Contradiction, (which is a great original blog, but this happens to be a quoted article):

As Saladin Muhammad of the Southern-based Black Workers for Justice stated so well, the Black struggle is fundamental to any struggle for justice since it is African slave labor that created the economic base and the political base to control the vast stolen wealth in this country. That struggle makes this national liberation movement of an oppressed people permanently attached to the general working class struggle for liberation. This is why it became the standard bearer and representative of all the struggles for self determination of oppressed people and labor rights here in the U.S.

The demand for self determination was dramatically highlighted by the immigrant community, led by Latin@ workers on May 1, 2006. And, by calling for a boycott and utilizing aspects of a general strike, it made it clear that this was also a labor issue—linking it, like the Black liberation struggle, to the overall struggle for working-class liberation.

2. From a commenter "Alfonso," on a great, deeply-researched and intelligent Mexican-American blog called Para Justicia y Libertad

I was there and tear gas was used in the far end of the park, away from where the rally was being held. when that happened people started running towards the park. The police directly infront of us didn’t say anything, no instructions, warnings, etc; all of a sudden a bunch of motorcycle cops decended on us (by the 99cent store) folowed by police on foot (they were shooting the rubber bullets and bean bags) we ran north, at which point the cops entered the park pushing people around, the people at the park didn’t know what was going on because they were isolated from the intial confrontation.

3. From Artist Clinton Fein's SFGate blog:

Perhaps if the Warriors fans were tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets, there would be the appropriate righteous indignation. The right to peaceful assembly and free speech is, and should be, a cherished First Amendment right. One worth defending and fighting for. Where, please tell me, is our outrage?    In the wake of Don Imus’ firing, if the censoring of words that make decent people uncomfortable represents an attempt to establish or maintain “civility” in an online environment, the results appear to be nothing more than meaningless, trivial niceties that do little more than inspire, at best, silent apathy.

3. From a favorite blog Having Read the Fine Print..... written by a young, black, very intelligent woman ("Blackamazon") who brooks no bullshit:

When people do things it became very clear to me early on that it was about them. How it feels to feel good about them, about how they think of themselves. And the truth is ..

I feel little to nothing for the sisterhood anymore.

It doesn't exist.

And I thank god for it everyday.

Don Imus and VT showed that to me loud and clear.

Suddenly race was on everyone's lips.

No one asked the sistas.

And I mean the poor ones the ones who were degraded. Not the ones who looked good and had pedigrees.

No one asked the loudmouths, the protesters,the women who had stopped buying hip hop albums long ago and had been flipping their shit since time immemorial.

As Donna says in her post that links to the one I quoted above, I could quote Blackamazon's entire post. But I'll stop there, because it brings me back to my thoughts on deciding for others. Why are none of these amazing (brown) writers "very important at a time like this"? This is not even a comprehensive list, but when you gather them all, and read them all, you could never be under the impression that America's "White underbelly" has gone anywhere. Why are these writers not on Niewert's blogroll? Why are they not on Digby's blogroll? Or on the Crooks N Liars blogroll? Is there an answer that won't smack of the type of elitism that is driving so much of the Right wing today? Why are these voices that live in the thick of it not being asked or referenced more often? Sure, some Left wing blogs are now "brave" enough to use "fuck" or "shit," but that ain't bravery. That's just spice. Bravery is daring to do that stuff your conscience/belly/heart tells you you should, but that you know may make even your friends curl their lip at you. We are in some serious shit, my friends. And we need some very brave voices out there. This is what I am getting at when I talk of connecting philosophies, or the "broader view." I do not think it is enough to chase Bush and his lies around. I think we need to dig up the whole lid. We need to talk about why we allow the persecution of humans in a way that is inarguably inhuman. We need to look at why we avoid it. We need to check ourselves, and how we benefit. Even by remaining silent. Especially by remaining silent.

Massive blogs like Hullabaloo and Crooks N Liars link to Orcinus' zombie-obama post with the quickness. My brown friends would sigh and tell me it is a White Boy's Club, and that Niewert represents the safe face of today's racial discussions. It is cynical, yes. Is it true? These same friends mostly have given up on "making white people understand," but perhaps because I spent a decade or so of my life trying to be something I was not, I still empathize with how easy it is to not see important things. I still hold out hope I can convince some holdouts. Because I know that some of you are understanding of what I'm saying. I've read your comments that show as much. So I am appealing to your braver, better natures. And I need everyone to know that this is not a slander on Digby, Orcinus, or Atrios, or anyone else. Yes, I hold Orcinus to a higher standard on these issues, but I'm sure it's obvious why. However, if a reader wants to see this post as nothing more than "jealousy" or "slamming" other writers, well....there's nothing I can do about that. Those who want to understand my point by now, will.

I, and my friends in the "brown blogosphere" are important blogs to read at a time like this. That is why I have done so much linking with this post. There are many more on my sidebars, and I suggest most of them strongly (some are still on because I just haven't weeded the few out who I no longer want there!). We are connected—perhaps not by data or reams of research, all—but by family, and occupation, and our very histories and lives. My father is a first generation Mexican American author who teaches and writes and has written on these issues for decades. His mother, my nanita, is gone from this world. But she wanted more than anything to become an American, and her Social Security card, once she did, was a document that brought her great pride. My familia fought in America's wars so that she could come. This was her American Dream, and she lived it. I now live to see the land that she toiled in the fields for, the land she loved perhaps more than Mexico, look at our own people as subhuman. Ignore their plight. This is why you may want to read blogs like mine if you care to understand this "underbelly." Yes, I burn hot, as many of the "brown blogs" do. Just as the feminist blogs do. Just as the anti-ablist blogs do. But change and truth are not lukewarm entities or processes, and nobody has to agree with all I write. I am sure JC doesn't, and I'm sure Glenn Greenwald doesn't, but they both read and blogroll me. It doesn't mean we haven't had rough moments, adjusting viewpoint pangs, or disagreements. But—to me—it means they earn the name "progressive" if only for their effort and willingness to move outside the mainstream boundaries. (And of course it shows they have damn good taste.) But this is not about me. I have plenty of exposure. I am happy at my place, and happy to guest post here, and happy that my words get out there.

I am not happy, however, to see how contained these points of view and discussions are in the "mainstream" blog world. My point is that there are many who are connected to this struggle. You want to talk about race? You want to talk about eliminationalist rhetoric? You want to talk about LEFT vs RIGHT....but that leaves no room for others, does it? Is there only Left and Right? Is it really so simple?

What, really, is eliminationism?

It's a fairly self-explanatory term: it describes a kind of politics and culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas for the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through complete suppression... ....

Dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas. We need more of this. More as it relates to one of the most important Human Rights issues today in America.

If this reads at all as confrontational, feel free to consider it as much, Mainstream Progressive Blogosphere. I am throwing down the gauntlet. I am slapping your soft cheek with my gritty cotton glove. We need not duel, but if we are not seeing the ILLEGAL ALIEN issue as one that concerns all of us who profess to be interested in Progressivism and Human Rights, then we are at odds. I don't write this to castigate or denigrate any of these blogs I mention. Because we need you. We need your interest. All of us do. We need your attention to this issue that is crucial to today's Human Rights struggle, to our modern-day Civil Rights struggle. I don't need you as adversaries. There are always adversaries waiting in the wings, and there are too many nowadays. But movements that result in honest to goodness progress stirs the waters, challenges convention, brings pain. And also much pain is visited upon that workforce that makes our American engine hum—those human families—by our pretending the issue fades away between Obama posts on Big Box Blogs.

So is blogging a game? Or about real change?

Crossposted at Jesus' General and Correntewire.

update, monday, july 7: dave neiwert (orcinus blog writer) took some umbrage at points i missed, or posts i missed as related to him on jesus' general's haloscan comment thread. it's only fair to let you know over here.

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Comentarios (69)

B dijo:


I'm returning to this post to read it in full, but I saw the YouTube clip and Akon was being violent towards that girl on stage, and she was screaming. Malkin is no feminist hero by a long shot, and I'm not sure why she picked this particularly incident up, like the Rosie O'Donnell incident. It was most likely to take a shot at a rapper, not out of concern for the girl.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


yes, please read the entire thing. i have not watched the clip of his "Freaking," and i hope this point doesnt derail the points made in a long post that is not so much about that. i guess tho, even if Akon was a bonafide asshole who took things too far with his sexual dance contest, it does not warrant more attention than burned, raped, shot girls in Iraq who didnt even do as much as volunteer to go up on stage in a sketchy situation but who only live in their own country. that's my point in the comparison. the post really talks about much much more than even that comparison tho.

i look forward to hearing your comments on the post proper.

Cero dijo:


Muy interesante and - referring to an earlier post - it is true, 'illegal' is the new n-word, good point. And yes, it was weird how, in the Imus thing, people seemed to defend the students because they were nice girls, not because *nobody* should be spoken of that way.

Another fragment - I had an conversation yesterday with one of my white guy friends, this one being gay, liberal, and critical. I learned something about entitlement. Now, I like this guy and we've been friends for decades. But he says: why do these foreigners get to come here and do as well as I am? He's talking about middle class, legal immigrants, not the undocumented. But you see what I mean ... liberal, yet still entitled and white-o-centric. It is at these times I think wow, it's true, the Euro-types really do not get it.

john sky dijo:


Where does elimination end, ese'. My great grandmother was cherokee but the indians think I'm A white guy. My grandfather lost his tribe long ago - either an "angl" or a Saxon and his ancestors were sent to James town as witches and other undesireables to die in sight of plenty. Others who were not "peers" were sent to Australia as violent criminals. Others were sent to Mexico by the Arisocracy of Spain to act as slaves to the Spanish "peers".

So then as this mongrel I married a brown girl. Her familia didn't like me cause I looked White - or indian - or some other mixto. What to do. All of these labels and tribes are now are a false Karass. Most, if not all, of the so-called white southerners are from the congress with their ancestors' black slaves. For them to now seek safety in white supremacy and/or christianity(founded by other brown people, Jesus', et al) is kinda funny if it were not so sad.

What to do? This false polarization does not really lead to safety for anyone. Only when we can drill down to the essential humanity is each of us and understand that the family of man is more than just slick marketing hype will we understand that we are all in the same boat, that we are all cut from the same few chromosomes, that we are all semi well dressed joven. We are all meat on the same bone...

RickB dijo:


I guess it may be sycnronicity but I keep seeing the Pastor Martin Niemöller poem, I guess people around the world (just saw it on a mid-east meta blog regarding free speech and here) are feeling a similar thing and it applies here, if the mainstream progs don't get solidarity they will be like the author at the end of the poem
-When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.-
unless they mean to curry favour with the corporatocracy, I guess we will see the wheat sorted from the chaff here. And the ones who have made the quiet internal bargain of accepting the cheap goods, food and services just so long as the don't have to see the human cost will be exposed.
Like Ghandi said "What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea" (and ok that was us Brits occupying his country) but it speaks to that arrogant thinking of one group knowing what's best even as its own sphere is full of cruelty.
ps. which reminds me of this great essay

Dead Inside dijo:



Just wow.

This is super-powerful, Nezua. I can't do justice with any long string of words of praise that this piece deserves. Certainly, part of the power is that you are working together with Donna and Black Amazon and other bloggers who we all know and love and respect so very much and you bring it all together for an audience that desperately needs it. I think that part of the power of this is, in my mind, the audience it is going to, that pit that is the comments section of Jesus General's site. I am angry with you now that I have to go there and read them and I am wincing at the thought. There should be nothing but universal agreement and soul searching and building upon. That's what I damn well expect and demand and if I see anything less I am not going to be very happy.

If that happens, though, it can't be said that you did not make your case clearly and provide an entire library of data to support it. It doesn't need a Keynote presentation with Al Gore on a cherry picker to make the point. It's all right there.

Last night I watched A Huey P. Newton Story, the Spike Lee adaptation of Roger Guenveur Smith's one-man show. Which lead me to read some of Dr. Newton's writings. My heart is broken, knowing how much Dr. Newton had right, how far he was pushing the envelope of intersectionality and I wish I could share my feelings with everyone, though they are bittersweet and complex. It's all so pertinent, though, what was being written and done in the late '60s and '70s and how, despite Dr. Newton's personal prejudices, he was laying them aside for the good of the revolution.

When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations, there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and the women's liberation movement. Some groups might be more revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary, because they are not.
We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge, somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are unrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action. If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women's liberation front and gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies, and we need as many allies as possible.

I hope I haven't quoted too much. (From here: http://historyisaweapon.org/defcon1/newtonq.html ) This was from August of 1970. How visionary is that? How pertinent is it still today? I believe very much so and I'm so very saddened that thirty-seven years later we still have not merged these revolutionary groups together. Why not? I think we all know why not.

White supremacist thinking on the left has been holding us all back for my entire lifetime when every brilliant and energetic and powerful revolutionary group has been working for equality and justice and opening doors and working and giving their very lives to bring real change for all people who are oppressed. It's not enough that the FBI works diligently to destroy our camaraderie, but that we sabotage ourselves? No. No damn more.

Phoenix Woman dijo:


We're definitely not ignoring it over at FDL. Pach would have posted on the LA cop rage, but he wasn't around to do so, so I did it. (Nice to see you over there, by the way.)

Dead Inside dijo:


Oh shit.

I just want to make perfectly clear that the quote from Dr. Newton is not in any way meant to criticize what you are saying, but to re-inforce it. That people of color have always had a hand out to help up white people who are oppressed and all we have done over the years (though, there are notable exceptions) is spit in your hands.

If anyone has any question as to why people of color might not have full trust in white people, think on those thirty-seven years and know exactly why that trust might be wearing just a little bit thin by now.

The tenacity of spirit and forgiveness of people of color to continue to reach out to white allies after all we have done to make anyone question the wisdom of the original thesis is just beyond my ability to comprehend. Perhaps that just proves how important the original thesis is, that we all need each other.

Justice and equality for everyone has one big honkin' roadblock to becoming a reality, my white peers. Us.

Donna Darko dijo:


The big progressive blogs are whiter than ever in content. So boring I only read the titles of their posts in my reader.

will dijo:


I read you often. Thank you.

Went over to JG to comment in support.

nyral21 dijo:


Nez, I just want to say that I used to...dislike Mexicans very much. The White Lens of the TV always showed me images of lazy siesta-enjoying cotton clothed lumps, their skin absorbing the dirt of the fields they would sometimes work in but more often lay in. They were worthless rubes who were contolled by a government made corrupt through its own inherent laziness. None of my beliefs were crystalized, they were instead vague notions fed by a slow but steady stream of stereotypes and negative press. Since my "awakening" as a person of a different sexual orientation, I've come to see what it's like to be the "other". Oh, I could hide, yes. Skin color gives no indication of my preferred gender. The closet door is wide indeed. But the dishonesty sickened me. So as the religous right and the ignorant students at my school began to fling the rhetoric of the outsider at me, it opened my eyes for the first time on how such stereotypes are employed in the quest for fear, which is really the quest for power. The adhesive that held the White Lens over my eyes began to lose strength, and continues to to this day. I have since tried very hard to step outside of the fearfull shell I allowed to be constructed around myself and look at all people as equal, even those who would subdue me. You, and the General, have been light bearers in this. But more needs to be done. The issue of ending discrimination is perhaps the most important issue of the day. It even ties into the Iraq war. Its very easy to occupy the land of the "knuckle-draggers", a la John Gibson. The prevalence is astounding. So thank you, Nez, for the clarion call.

Planet B dijo:


Saw your post on JG's site but couldn't comment there, so thought I'd pop on over. Great post. I could not agree more. Thing is, you're right: blogging is a game. It doesn't matter. It's part of why I try to spend as little time on it as possible. The "progressive" blogs have a huge blind spot that includes anything remotely radical, like human rights for all as well as (I would say) being critical of late-model corporate capitalism. Anything that approaches the "dirty anarchist" mindset scares the living crap out of them. I don't think many of them were in the streets in Seattle or Genova.

I'm afraid I don't have any answers, only similar observations. But I do think the liberal blogosphere will undergo a huge challenge in about 2-4 years when true progressives (those concerned with democracy and human rights for ALL) will see how they're really just Democratic supporters without a broader context of understanding.

One thing that always amazes me is when I point people to Eduardo Galeano's work (specifically Open Veins of Latin America), no one ever seems to have heard of it. We'll get there one day, I think, but not through the mainstream liberal blogosphere, I'm afraid.

B dijo:


"even if Akon was a bonafide asshole who took things too far with his sexual dance contest, it does not warrant more attention than burned, raped, shot girls in Iraq..."

Yeah, I absolutely agree. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. It was dumb to post before I finished the piece. Please feel free to delete my comment for derailing.

I appreciate this reflection:

"At first, the insults and dehumanization and even subtle, smart, digs seem terribly swift and unknowable, and hurtful. But after a while, you realize they really only take a few forms. And you can not only watch for them, but can pick them out of a bundle of words intended to destroy your calm and your points and your reason. This is also like studying logic, as many on the 'Net know. Once you can recognize an attack Ad Hominem, you no longer have to be swayed off course by one."

I've long been at the beginning stage. I hope to develop a harder belly in time. I often think about this reading such powerful stuff by the progressive brown blogosphere. I have a lot of respect for the courage and almost boundless energy of people like Bfp and Ann, to keep fighting trolls almost daily in addition to real life. I was upset when and why Nubian left blogging, but it was definitely understandable.

And I hear you, whiteprogs seriously need to step it up and use the leverage they have.

Kai dijo:


Nez, well I definitely admire your ongoing efforts at white outreach, 'mano. I guess somebody's gotta do it; though I'd probably count myself among your brown friends who are largely done trying to educate "WHITEPROGRESSIVES" whose contempt for people of color drips from their constant dismissals of our perspectives.

Then again I suppose I've more than said my piece on the matter, beginning with the experience of trying to explain at FDL why blackface and yellowface are racist and being treated to vicious attacks and hate mail for months afterwards as I insisted on continually writing about racism in liberal blogland, which as far I can see remains unabated. I no longer read mainstream blog-celebrities like Kos or FDL or whatever, but just last week I was directed to a bunch of white liberal commentary saying "prove to me that blackface is racist" and such.

What's funny is that I originally figured that, being a CT resident and Lamont campaign volunteer, I'd have something in common with FDLers. Not. I mean, this is the site that called the entire nation of Japan "a hell-hole" which has never had an original idea because the Japanese kill their creative types; and when a Daily Kos diarist took issue with this bigotry, the venom which FDLers spat at this intransigence said it all. If such people engage the immigration debate, it will be strictly because it plays well in their Democratic Party electoral strategy; but expect lots of cringeworthy commentary when the subject of race comes up.

Basically, I'm with Donna Darko; the click-obsessed ad-billboard blog-celebrities are boring.

Anyway, thanks for all the hard work, Nez. Keep on keepin on. Salud.

kactus dijo:


I found it interesting that some people only caught that one point--of how the big white box blogs marginalize POC/other voices, and immediately went on the defensive. Does this mean that for the next couple of weeks the big blogs will throw some stuff up on their front pages that give lip service, and then go back to business as usual?

I jsut want to say that this post is unbelievable from start to finish, Nez. I keep reading it over and over. My paltry contribution: thank you, thank you, thank you.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


Nez, well I definitely admire your ongoing efforts at white outreach, 'mano. I guess somebody's gotta do it...

maybe i was born into this nexus, this confluence, this divide, this netherlands for a reason. i don't know. i'll do it until it feels wrong. but even the one or two grateful emails i get over the twenty hateful ones seems to feel like all the validation needed.

Magniloquence dijo:

Does this mean that for the next couple of weeks the big blogs will throw some stuff up on their front pages that give lip service, and then go back to business as usual?

I'd be surprised if even that happened, honestly. Things seem to be business as usual, at the moment.

Nezua, you've hit another one out of the park. Maybe one day it will sink in. Or something.

I'll admit that the scholarly bits of me perked up a bit at the whole "is it (just) a game" thing. I wrote my thesis on .... well, on a lot of things, but one of the major themes was the relative importance/weight/reality of virtual communities/communications/identities/actions.

On the one hand, no, it's not "real" the way having a conversation face to face is real, or money raised for a campaign is real; it doesn't always have the social cred or direct impact that those things can have. But that doesn't mean that what goes on here is false, or that it is any less valid or worthwhile than things that happen on the other side of the screen. It doesn't mean you don't have an effect.

Everyone responds differently to different situations. People (like me) may have an easier time with difficult or confrontational conversations when they're typing/writing/posting. The presence of search engines and mores relating to evidence ("Oh yeah? Where's your link?") means that, when arguing, one has at least the expectation of looking for things to support one's thoughts. And access to information confirming or denying one's impressions of one's opponents' arguments. You can learn a lot from a person that makes you mad enough to go looking for reasons to prove them wrong.

And that's not nothing. Changing minds, expanding horizons.... that's not nothing. That's not unimportant. It might not feel like it... but it really does happen, and it really does matter.

That said... there is a very real point at which one looks at all the scheming, the pettiness, the insularity and incestuousness of the group, and concludes that it is all a game. When people are being hurtful, one can take solace in the fact that they're all just being silly people, yelling for with all their might at people they've never even met. When it seems like nothing is happening, one can take comfort in going to a meeting or having a real-life conversation, and seeing what is being done. Fifty more hits won't make or break your real-life worth.

It's a balancing act, and a matter of focus. I think you're getting it right. Do what is best for you... for your mental and physical health. We're here because we're getting something we need from you, and because we like you. And we'll be here if you need to take a walk, or vent, or just spend some time talking about your garden. (How are the peppers doing, anyway?)

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


no, DI, i got you. the quote is brilliant. and thanks for all your energy and words.


thank you all, phoenix woman, RickB, Magnilo-May. i appreciate all your thoughts and comments and time reading this.

Pat Logan dijo:


Wow. Too much for me to absorb right now. I did go over to the link of your post about AJ. I understood what you meant. Some of those comments were unbelievable; I couldn't even get through the whole list.

I respect anyone who can talk about this stuff, and you do it with humor and balance...and you garden too! What kind of person chides someone for going into their garden? Perhaps they need some garden time to unstress their brains.

In all seriousness, I'm one white person who has benefited from what you do, and I thank you for it.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


and you know what else, kai? now that i've thought about it a little. it's really not all "white outreach." it's not all about reaching people. i'm teaching myself as i write these. that's what they all are. like my songs, i write new ones to teach myself, to practice my new ways of seeing and thinking. they are part talking, part singing to myself. i do hope to reach someone, but i am already reaching a part of myself, the (probably) most important part.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


nyral21, that's a beautiful story. i know exactly what you mean. that's how i came to totally fall in sync with gays, with trans issues, with women...with at least the spirit behind just about any group i can think of who is in a position i feel has similar struggles, pangs, awakenings. it's an empathy that dissolves the "othering" of so many normally-"othered" groups. that's why i feel one of the biggest changes we can make is that journey to see what is trapping us, or distorting us, and see to that. because wow, so much changes when we see past those blinders. it's like doing ten times the work, it's like a lens that threw ten images, you've taken it off, you see more directly on many issues. i probably didn't do the process justice with that mess of words. but i do know what you mean. thanks for telling that story.

Emily dijo:


Thank you for writing this, Nezua.

You know, I'm no big-time blogger, never will be, but blogs like yours have literally changed my life. I am continually humbled, and I am continually wriggling my way out of that white cocoon. At first I learned to shut up and read, and now I am learning to raise my voice.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


yes, pat. it's a long arc. and it's not a quick read, maybe. it's what i felt the need to write. i don't require anyone absorb it all at once, or even read it. only if it moves you to do so, if you have time, all those factors.

i really thank you for letting me know your experience. and i know what you mean about the garden! wow. more people need to spend time gardening. it's just so soothing.

i don't have time to wade through ugly comment threads. i try to stay away from it. i try to say what i feel and think and mean as clearly as i can in my post. we don't have to see things the same way in the end. i tried to talk about something important to me. sure, it's imperfect. but if someone is open, it will make it through.

thanks again for your time and energy.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


Emily, thank you. Yours is the voice that assures me any pain or sweat or hassle i expend doing these things is completely worth it.

zimzo dijo:


It's too bad all of the important points you make this piece are going to be ignored because you couldn't even bother to spend two minutes of your time to watch the video of what happened, which is, in fact, pretty horrific.

XP dijo:


Great post 'mano. I left a commented over at CorrenteWire, however, I Dugged your post. It is one of those that should be read by all the Big Boys and I hope they take up your challenge.

This post is in line with what was written by The New Republic and in In These Times. I already know the answer to your challenge... no matter, as long as you and all my blog amigo have my back, that is all that matters to me.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


Siempre, my friend.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


zimzo, if all the points made in my post are ignored by somebody because Akon is an abusive man, then they didn't want to see the points in the first place. of this, i am sure.

Kai dijo:


it's not all about reaching people. i'm teaching myself as i write these. that's what they all are. like my songs, i write new ones to teach myself, to practice my new ways of seeing and thinking.

So true, Nez. So true. I feel the same way about the stuff I write; I'd write it exactly as I do if it were never to be seen by another human being. Great point.

Donna dijo:


I did see the video, and what happened to that girl was horrible, but worse than being gang raped, shot, burned, and having your entire family murdered to cover it up? Um, no. And that was the point that Nezua was making, Zizmo, he didn't need to see the video to know that truth. One girl was bruised and humiliated, but walked away alive, and Malkin is INCENSED AND OUTRAGED and spurred into action; the other girl is raped and murdered with her family, and Malkin is miffed and makes excuses. She doesn't organize around this to have investigations into how often this is happening or how it can be prevented from happening again, because her political "game" won't let her condemn the military even when American soldiers are raping and killing little girls and adult women.

Heraclitus (Jeff) dijo:


Where's the data to support your claim that you're learning here?

brownfemipower dijo:


ha, i've been watching what's going on at the patriot place--all the actions going on over here!!

great comments. I'm seeing both sides of the coin here, in regards to engaging or not engaging. I like nez's response, do it as long as it feels right.

for me, at this point in my blogging career, it doesn't feel right. but there's a noticeable difference in how i'm reacted to. my hits have dropped dramatically, and i'm not getting linked hardly at all (btw, thanks for the link!! ;p)--whereas, when i wrote a lot of posts that centered how white folks react to woc rather than woc exclusively, I was being read all the time. It most certainly leads me to assume that white folks don't really care unless things are about them.

ah well for them.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


Donna, that's a great distillation. Thank you.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


makes sense, bfp.

this piece was written expressly for the crowd i knew would be reading it. so to center it as i did made perfect sense.

maybe your link lull is but a cycle! i feel the love coming back around. don't you? hey anyway. as long as we're doing our thing as it makes sense to us. let them come and go.

you are welcome. i feel bad that i was not able to work many more links in there. i wanted to link many blogs...but i was like "hell, I will post there next sunday anyway, so there's always time" doesnt have to be all in one shot.

tizoc dijo:


wow, i cant believe i read that all in one sitting,

Senor k-jonez, te felicito, on your attempt to share this experience-wrought vision on the forefront of the progressive blogosphere...

sometimes i wonder if the mainstream liberals realize they seem to be fighting to save the wreckage of this colonist empire; while losing sight and concern for the remants of humanity in this society's people

Zaecus dijo:


There will always be efforts to pry us apart, convince us that we are so very different from each other, efforts that center on the simple fact of experience that no human being can ever truly know what it is like to have lived the life of another human being. Even if we could see into each other's minds and relive those experiences, we still would not understand what it is like to have those experiences at the base of our existence, like walls or windows surrounding our heart.

All because we have that 'dark spark' that assures us seductively that there is nothing we cannot understand and that if we cannot understand, then we must hate or fear, and we must hate or fear those who cannot understand us.

It crawls inside and gnaws away at every shred of spirit it can find until that hate and fear are all that are left... almost. Deep down, inside each of us who has not succumbed to murderous lust, and maybe even then, there will always be that last shining (memory of) goodness.

Yeah, that could be idealistic. There are certainly plenty of people who seem to have chucked that last shining bit into the chomping jaws of the hate because they're simply tired of hearing it cry and scream. I could, so easily, be them, though, so it's no better for me to take to the fight considering them to be less human, and all the freedom of response and action that allows. It drains the spirit whether you fight it or give in.

It will be (falsely) reinforced over and over that we're different, and that difference means that we cannot be allies. In the end, we'll all be the same because we refuse to be divided or because we refused to unite.

I say it's a game, but if we do it right in this age of blindness, it can become "The Most Dangerous Game." How many bullets and arrows have come your way over this post?

Sylvia dijo:


Thank you.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


yes, i'm impressed, tizoc! and grateful, thank you for the effort and time. i didn't realize it was so "long" when i wrote it. i just wrote until the circle came round. you make a great point about the MSM left blogosfero. i think many of them don't see what is really hurting the world with our approaches...or they do, but they are afraid to connect that all the way to the bolts and the bones...where change lives. i mean after all, looking at america truthfully is a big task. and the implications can be overwhelming.


thank you, sylvia.

Anthony Kennerson dijo:


WOW. Just plain....WOW.

Man, Nez....you hit so many nails dead on with your hammer that you could build a large neighborhood.

Although my perspective as a Black man and a political radical (and to a lesser extent, a sex radical) is slightly different from yours, I do see very much the same dynamic that you do about how the A-List Liberal-Left Blogosphere tends to ignore -- if not exploit for their own ends -- the real issues of poor folks and POC's. I have seen far too much poverty pimping and paternalism for far too long...and I especially love how, when confronted and called out by authentic activists for not paying more attention to our issues, they are so quick to go to the "what do you want, another four years of Republican Right rule??" card....as if they are doing us a favor by attacking the reactionaries.

I'll back principled liberals and White leftists over fascists and "centrists" any day of the week..but until and unless they are willing to accept and acknowledge real radical folks and own their own privileges and their role in sustaining and extending the system as a whole, they will still be nothing more than a fart in the eyewall of a Category 5 hurricane.

And it is so stunning -- and unfortunately, oh so typical, that most of the usual suspects have written NOT A FREAKIN' PEEP about the police riot in LA, or the general war on Brown people as "aliens"...unless when it can be used for mere baiting of the Republicans. (Yes, there are exceptions, but they prove the rule.)

The saying remains as true as ever: There will be no safe space....until we make one.

As for Mistress Malkin....anyone who writes that torture and interrment of her own freakin' people is justified, and who casts a blind eye to mass rape by those she supports (unless it gets simply too obvious and too "extreme" to deny), simply has NO legitimacy to crack on the percieved sins of others. Perhaps what Akin did really was pretty bad (and offering bump-n-grind to a 14 year old girl doesn't say too much for him, either)...but remember, this is the same woman who simply labeled Christina Aguilera as a "skank" and a slut for...well, showing too much midriff and nipple. Same song, 203rd verse with her.

Take the names, kick the asses, and take no prisoners, hombre....some of us Black bro's appreciate what you do and how you do it.


Deoridhe dijo:


Thanks for speaking out about stuff like this. I really appreciate being able to read it. ^^ You have always made me think Nezua, and for that I am grateful.

Trin dijo:


"Yes, in Exceptions, not the Rule, she has a paragraph damning them...as well as hoping they pray for the rest of their lives for forgiveness, or "rot in hell." And then she moves on to remind us that they do not damn-by-association either the war effort, Bush, or validate the "Anti-war zealots." This is the only post containing Mr. Cortez's name, and it seems that was enough to carry her message."

It's easier to get mad at artists than it is to get mad at The War Machine.

Blackamazon dijo:


I love you. I just do thats all shew rote

kactus dijo:


Brownfemipower, I know what you mean about hits and links and what kind of stuff spurs them. When I write about welfare--especially when I talk statistics and other dry stuff--there are no comments, nobody really knows what to say. But if I make a remark about the latest blog controversy, wow, does that get attention. In the journalism game that's the difference between "sexy" and "non-sexy" news, I think I've read.

I believe though, just from what it's done for me, that blogging is deadly serious, deadly necessary, even if it's not as upfront as street activism. What I have learned from the blogs I read has changed my life in ways; it has changed my outlook and made me a better person and, I think, a better mother to my daughters. I have a circle of virtual acquaintances that I respect and learn from, and I have found a voice of my own that was silent for too many years.

So perhaps some of the worth of blogging can be measured in the individual arena. No, it's not 100,000 marchers in the streets, but as one pebble can change the course of a stream and all that...I do believe individual change adds up in the end.

Fade dijo:


Nez- saw this and posted a comment on JG. That site used to be funny as hell, it's kind of went to shit, lately, but it's been worth surfing it occasionally for the really good posts by you and austin. Hell with it, tho, I'm just adding you to the blogroll so I can read posts like this every damn week!

Excellent stuff.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


Thank you Anthony! I really appreciate hearing all of that. It means a lot.


Thank you Deoridhe, BA, and Fade.

kactus dijo:


Wow, just got done reading the updates on the JG comments. What a mess you've created, Nezua! How dare you! As liberalrob says, don't us white folks have enough to do getting this country in order, without having to think about you folks, too? How presumptuous of you! Get to the back of the goddamned line, silly brown people.

Cuz of course, once the whole country's fixed for white folks, it just naturally follows that the brown folks are gonna reap all the trickle down benefits, and isn't that enough?

Gah. I need some mouthwash for my brain or something.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


yeah. sometimes i have that effect. i haven't seen the thread since i commented. i need breaks between flak adventures.

hope you feel minty fresh soon!

NLinStPaul dijo:


I had to read this once, wait a day, and come back and read it again. All I need to say after that is THANKS.

Magniloquence dijo:


Owww. Those comments hurt. I second Kactus's response.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


thanks for putting that kind of energy into it, NL.


i'm sorry you had to hurt, magniloquence. you braved the Progressive Fire!

michael dijo:


nez -

there is so much of value, beauty and truth in this post. i will no doubt return to it over and over and over. thanks for sharing it.

i couldn't agree more that immigrant-rights must be a key focus and component of overall positive, progressive change. your posts from the past several days (as well as the posts on many of the blogs you've mentioned) are invaluable to everyone who cares about making this country a better place, especially for those on the receiving end of hatred, bigotry and exploitation.

as an immigration lawyer who consciously tries to be as strong an ally to the immigrant community as possible, your posts are required reading, and have helped educate, focus, inspire and guide me. thanks for that!

Nanette dijo:


Wowee. I just was able to skim this yesterday or so, but now that I've given it a thorough read... no wonder it's sending some folks into a tizzy! Strong medicine, this.

I think blogging is a game for some... a numbers game, a power game, a means to an end game. For others, it's a vital link. P6 was talking a bit back about how in times past, when it was illegal for black people to be in so many different places, or to have housing in motels or so on, there was a sort of whisper communication - very quietly, someone who knew someone who knew someone could find a person shelter in a home, or a means of transportation or food of this or that. (I will have to find the old post to get the full story and flavor of it). But in many ways, that is what blogs especially of POC and other marginalized by the mainstream people online remind me of. Whisper (or shout!) connections.

I don't read Orcinus nearly enough.

Oh, I wanted to mention, in case others don't listen to NPR (my mom's new favorite and daily news station)... regarding the "rocks and bottle throwers bit" at the march, there was a guest on there today who was with some Something Legal Something organization (I guess they have a 'march watchers' division' and she said that the beginning of things was not the rocks and bottle throwers, or "hecklers". The beginning of things was when the police decided they wanted to open the street (that had been closed for the march) and instead of requesting everyone get on the sidewalk or into the park or something, they just started driving their motorcycles into the women and children who were performing a traditional (Aztec? something) dance that usually closes the marches.

*That* is when people started yelling and throwing things, in reaction, according to her.

Vox dijo:


Kactus said, "Cuz of course, once the whole country's fixed for white folks, it just naturally follows that the brown folks are gonna reap all the trickle down benefits, and isn't that enough?"

Kactus, I thought exactly the same thing when I saw liberalrob's post! Because we've all seen how well trickle-down whatever works.

LaVerdad dijo:


Michelle is like Ann Counter, Lou Dobbs and every other sorry ass trying to make a buck off of the backs of the undocumented. It's sickening. Let's face it, if it weren't for her affilliation with alipac dot US (not worthy of an official link), she'd be viewed by the opposition as a "me so horny girl".

lewis_stoole dijo:



bint alshamsa dijo:


Nez, I really must say that this post did indict me. I am not able to write much right now but I just wanted to say that I read this and I am so-oo-oo feeling you right now. This line

From the perspective of those who are entitled, the problems begin when those they despise do not go along with—and have the power and wherewithal to not go along with—the perceived entitlement. ...

feels like something that could have come directly from my brain. It's a subject that BFP and Nubian and Black Amazon and I have talked and written about time and time again. We are meant to be their mammies and nothing more. To expect to be treated as women, as human beings, as equals, is a personal affront to those born entitled with this status automatically. And I think it is doubly insulting to them when us uppity brown people dare to spread our views to others. Why, that's basically treasonous! And after all they've done for you people!

I want to take some time and think about how I am going to address this on my blog. I've been wanting to blog about the complaints that people make about immigrants in the health care system. I haven't seen much written about this topic.

Thanks for inspiring me amigo!

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


thank you bint! you remind me that i need to finally add you and a couple others i've been meaning to to my blogroll dammit. let me make coffee and i'm on that.

i do appreciate your words a lot.

Kevin dijo:


Damn Nez, I go take a little blog break, come back, and I'm hit with THIS! Bless you.

I want to cut and paste this, photocopy the hell out of it, and head to campus and pass it out all day because I think what you are saying here goes way beyond blogging. This has been and still is how it often is in real life activism as well.

Now I'm afraid to go over to JC's and read that thread.

Thank you.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


thanks kevin! i appreciate that man.

yeah...fear the thread! donna kicked ass, by all accounts.

b. medusa dijo:


i just read this magnificent post (one of many) after reading this & posting this. while my latest experiences with radical leftists (complete w/ a white poc) make me lean more towards the "fuck 'em" approach, reading your words (& the comments of dead inside) make me wonder if that approach is akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. i'm not quite ready to be that hard-core (although it won't take much more bullshit to get me there & i empathize w/ those who are). on the burden of proof (re racism),i've been told i see racism where it supposedly doesn't exist because i remember jim crow. barely, but that's enough to show i have "clouded" judgement. it would be funny if pocs weren't spouting this shit too.

i don't comment much as you say it all so much better (& with a fresher perspective), but as this touched me so recently i felt drawn to say something. even if its just thank you.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


i just don't know either, b. medusa. i've been struggling with it.

i forgot to mention Dead Inside's comments when mentioning Donna to Kevin, above. you are right, i love DI as an ally. i guess that's what makes it a tough call. things like that. but DI has more than just being white going on, which is what we connect with, being on the margin for different reasons. i've found straight-up white "allies"... difficult. the closer they are to being white males, the tougher, in general. i think maybe, the less marginalized someone has been—class, cash, race, sex—the more bangups between our frames. on the whole. there are exceptions, blah blah...

but i agree: DI's comment makes the effort feel worth it, as do some comments i get. then again, i get grateful white people email too just when i'm writing honestly. so i guess i dont need to be out seeking or workign with "White allies" to be doing what i feel i should be doing, or to be helping allies who are around and willing.

i dont know. lately i've had to question if some of those types of posts (this one) are too centered on the white condition, or "centered on whites" or "whiteness" as is said. but i think i had to write them, had to feel the reaction, had to see it for myself in a big way, and also had to say what i saw. i'm getting the message i need to trhough it all. myrna said it well, a reader. something about it needs to be us. we need to take things forth, there is no depending on anyone else. and just like that article you linked—which is amazing—if others want to do work to help, good. but we can't rely on them.

i guess i wish there was a non-brown person who would become as interested in teaching other non-browns as they need. it can't be us, we have our own work to do and its not our job, and would be an instant way to lose your way, as i see/feel it. but someone needs to. and too often any spokesperson/activist for "white anti-racist activism" as that essay put it just isnt seeing past the lenses, even when they want to. still thinking in the structures that hold up that WMS paradigm in place that Kil Ja Kim talks about so astutely.

where we will ever meet? can we ever truly touch hands in a Haunted Land?

i want to be open to all. but i do think it is too easy to get centered on the wrong things. its one thing not to be exclusive, but another to drain ones energies by chasing for approval or all the things i just read in that "open letter." that was really good. i might have to quote that and post on it briefly.

these decisions/struggles are hard for me, these ones about how much to hope for white understanding, or how much to "retreat to the circle of life: my own people," as the famous poem by Corky Gonzales goes. as i said, i want to be open. but its hard. you'll think someone understands, and they can say one thing that comes from that well of racist ideology that america is saturated with and you will feel stupid, or that the work you are doing is stupid, or just unworthy. so you are back to square one, Not Worthy. it is moments like that that make me begin to feel as you said. or even that feeling that way and isolating yourself to your peeps is a healthy, necessary part of the process of taking the power back. those reactions hurt very deeply at a time i'm doing sensitive work. so i do not know. but like you, i am leaning toward saying Enough. get your junk worked out, but meanwhile, i'm just not bothering.

thank you for speaking here and linking! i've really enjoyed some of your posts, by the way. the book reviews and the colorblind ones i can recall offhand.

mister suss dijo:


thank you for this, nezua. i'm a relatively recent entrant to the blogosphere, and didn't come into it with the idea that there might be profoundly important things to be read in it; i created my own blog because i've never been able to keep a journal and somehow having it be on a computer instead of in a book makes it easier for me. as the months have passed i started exploring a little bit, first to amato, digby, orcinus, etc. they are like me, and their writing resonates very strongly. but i'm lucky enough to have grown up in a community that is truly diverse--racially, culturally, linguistically, economically--and politically active, and i knew that something was missing from their posts. so i kept exploring. and in your posts, and in the blogs you link to that are angry not just because we are still in iraq or because bush won't talk to congress, but because our society is deeply corrupted in favor of a small group at the incalculable expense of the rest, i've found that missing something. part of me is afraid that i've missed the point after all, that my whiteness--tempered though it is by the profound diversity that is my home--is an insuperable obstacle to understanding what you are trying to say. but i hope that i have not, and even if i have, perhaps in trying i am growing all the same. so again, thank you now and thank you in advance for all your future words; may they some day cease to be necessary.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


that's great stuff to read, mister suss. thank you.

frankye dijo:


It's not just white folks you and bloggers like Kai, BFP, and Donna are reaching out to with powerful posts like this one. I am black, a woman, and queer to boot. You guys are schooling me too!

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez dijo:


thank you, frankye. we are all teaching ourselves, i think.

abw dijo:


Nezua, what happen to that girl was unabashedly bad. Akon should have been reprehended and criticize. However, in defense of Akon, he was at an adult bar targeting an adult audience and being that she dressed like an adult and looked older than her age, Akon assumed she was an adult. She took it upon herself to get in there knowing she was underage. To make matters worse, this was not the first time she was caught dancing seductively and she did not seem all that uncomfortable humping Akon in a photo. She only felt apprehensive when her parents and the world saw her on T.V. acting grown! With that said, Akon stuff is not above being misogynistic like most of the mainstream and even some of the underground rap is! But yeah, there are alot of individual and mass rapes that do not, but should get the condemnation from the conservative crowd, but doesn't. Specifically in the context of the current war as you note.Oh, and about "trying to make white people understand", you'll reach a few but many. However, I feel folks should put their opinion on these post simply to put alternative points of views on the post. To assert yourself/your groups point of view whether you get people to your side or not. You know what I'm sayin'.

abw dijo:


For I get into this admitted tirade I will state upfront Akon shares SOME blame.Nezua, I unfortunately came to this convo late and I do not feel Akon helped his cause at all.He AIN'T completely off the hook for what transpired. Akon WAS vulgar. But in defense of him, Akon reserved his wild concerts for adult nights precisely to avoid incidents like this! I am not going to say the girl was a whore,because I personally do not know her,she is young, and we all all make or are at least exposed to the opportunities to make stupid mistakes at that age and generally in life- but she made some dumb decisions and was acting TOO OLD FOR HER AGE to boot. She had a fake I.D. to enter the club, she dressed grown and danced as provocatively as adults do that night; and it was NOT the FIRST TIME she crashed a club meant for ADULTS-the key word being adults,i.e. grown a-- folks- because she liked going to overage clubs to look,act, and be grown and sexy.Not only this, she liked dancing racy in contests they had at adult clubs precisely for this purpose! As a matter of fact, she had participated in a contest the day/night of Akon's performance. Even with all the hoopla made and the supposed devastation she suffered- she did not seem to be all that concerned about what the man(Akon) did until her parents and the world found out about it. I can image her not being upset initially because most people like the attention of famous people. WHO DOES NOT LIKE THE ATTENTION OF FAMOUS ENTERTAINERS. But, I am almost sure there is a picture of her grindin' Akon and having a heck of a fun time doing because I saw it. This picture was probably done before all the hoopla transpired. To be fair, teens at house parties and nightclubs ain't above doing freaking/grinding/whatever lingo it goes by now! Also don't get ME wrong because I am not saying she deserved what she endured. BUT none of this would have happen if she had never been there in the first place!! She share as much responsibility as Akon. I am making a point to be detailed because I DO feel that people TOO OFTEN blame the victim at the expense of perpetrators-especially with cases concerning out and out rape. But if ever there was a case of a scenario where the victim was NOT-I repeat NOT- 50% blameless this was one of them! The sad part about this all is that bogus-for lack of a better word- incidents like this-well "semi-accurate" is a better word THAT just crossed my head-are too often use to blame actual victims that suffer hardship.Although folks that like to diminish the seriousness of rape would hang on to one rationale or another! I "emphathize" WITH her I-REALLY-DO-I emphathize with them both, but this did not have to be! "Dunbar Village" and "Fallujah" THIS AIN'T! I'm SORRY!
But yeah- leave it to Michelle Malkin and her cohorts to blow this up at the expense of actual mass rape that some of our more barbaric soldiers are carrying out under the banner of the U.S. abroad. But not only on the issue of RAPE in the context of WAR, where is this lady and her party on criticism when companies in her adopted country namely-the U.S.- allow their MNC's and Third World elite in the PHILIPPINES and other Third World countries abroad to take advantage cheap, predominantly female sweatshop by paying them peanuts at factories where they stand the chance of being verbally abused, physically harassed,sometimes held at gunpoint,and sexually harassed if not out and out raped as a matter of official policy! You can probably bet money that someone in support of conservatism, free trade, and what not will tell somebody pointing this out that these practices are growing pains that all countries go through or that they are getting paid more than they ever got in any other jobs in the third world country but seriously. The folks in support of this logic don't know or overlook the fact that though slavery and the theft of Native American land was the backbone of the early foundation of American wealth but it was not alright and it wrought as much controversies and even hardships at times as it did wealth; and even with folks being exposed to a higher standard of living of the First World his higher than the Third World by at least eight to one! Talk about raiding the farm!I give! I'm rapping up THIS rant and rave! I know this old but since I come across this I just wanted to bring this up!

nezua Author Profile Page dijo:


abw, it's a hell of a rap and rant and i'm glad you did! thanks for the akon lowdown, i did not have that information. and i'm glad you riff on one of the larger points in the latter part of the comment.

and i wanted you to know i always apprecaite your comments, even when i don't get to answer all of them. i like that some of the older posts still get some love. :)