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Letter To David Banner (Or, Why Mindful Queer Sex Is Hotter Than A Feminist Holla)

April 14, 2012

Note on Sunday, April 29:

Dear friends,
If you are going to read this article, please read the entire comment thread, as well. People have brought up some important points that give essential political context to any discussion of Black masculinity and sexuality. Rich and clarifying offline conversations have also happened. As Black women, the author and I welcome contributions and criticisms in the spirit of liberating our people, all beings, and the earth. Peace!

[You may have noticed that, despite having studied sexuality in college, I don’t write about sex on this blog anymore. That’s because of some family stuff. But since sex positivity remains important to me, I wanted feature this really interesting guest blog from my friend, comrade, and fellow engaged Buddhist Skyla. Thanks Skyla!

If reading sexually graphic material on my blog will make you uncomfortable, please skip this one. Thanks!

–Kloncke]

__

Dear David,

May I call you David? Thanks. I thought you’d feel that way. You seem eager to develop the intimacy between us. At least, that’s what I gleaned from what you said in your interview on MadameNoir.com, which was supposed to be about rapping with respect for women. Since the video title declares, “David Banner Speaks Exclusively To Women,” and I count myself in this category, and since you look at me through the camera and say things like, “I’m here to love you … touch you … hold you …”, I’m gonna go ahead and take your word for it that you are trying to make some sort of connection with me. Which, great! You seem smart and goofy, which I like, and in an interview about Trayvon Martin you talk about class war in a way that made me cheer out loud.

So David, since we’re fostering this connection, I want to offer some feedback about your analysis of your own song, “Play” — a song you refer to in the MadameNoire interview as “actual commentary” on your sex life, as well as “one of the dirtiest songs in the world.” And you’re right — this song is hella explicit!

(Static uncensored video and lyrics after the jump: NSFW)

[Lyrics]

Now, in your interview you lament the fact that most people missed the point of this song. They got too distracted by all the sexed-up language and missed your message: a message of respect for women. In your words:

Most men when they make songs it’s like “Girl come get in the car [etc etc I’ll fuck this, fuck that, throw you out the car, etc etc].” I said, I want to make a song where a man is telling a woman what he wants to do to make her happy. … But, you know, it’s about respect. And it’s about making a woman feel comfortable with herself and with her sexuality and with her body. And if you can do that without making her feel violated, she’ll do whatever she can — and that’s what “Play” was. And people missed that!

So David, I mean, on one level, as a straight-identifying woman, I feel you. When we take a step away from the bestselling, mainstream narrative of men getting off on harming, humiliating, and not giving a fuck about women, that’s a good step to take. Further, you seem to be actively interested in women experiencing consensual sexual pleasure, which seems like a lovely, sex-positive interest to have.

But where does that leave us? Honestly, to me it comes off as just another feminist holla, or a way of indirectly bragging on your own masculinized prowess by being like, “yeah, do this, do that, i’m awesome because i enjoy making you / watching you cum.” I mean, like I say, that’s maybe better than “I’m awesome because I’ll beat the pussy up in a way that gives me pleasure and status regardless of how it makes you feel.” At the same time, it’s neither easy nor simple to escape the ‘male gaze’: in other words, the ways in which women’s pleasure primarily gains value and meaning insofar as it is seen through the eyes of men, and helps get men off. Like spectacle lesbianism. Know what I mean?

Maybe what would’ve changed that for me is if the song had contained more of a tone of wonder, unknowing, appreciation and active learning about sexuality and what makes people cum. (Or, more broadly, what makes people feel happy and fulfilled sexually.) Personally, I get turned on more by a relationship and communication of caring / responsiveness. The vibe I get from “Play” is more like, “I already know what’s going to make you feel good, so I don’t even need to bother learning your particular body.”

This comes across in the visual language of the commercial music video, too, where all the exercising/stereotypically hot women are presented as interchangeable. We don’t need to know why you find them hot; the ‘objective’ fact of their hotness makes them special as a category but interchangeable as individuals. (I won’t even go into the ways that the whole workout / personal trainer theme totally undermines your point about making women feel more comfortable with their bodies … I’ll just give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you fought against your manager or whoever it was who insisted on that video concept.)

Adding to the sense of all-the-sameness, there’s also the standard line, “bring your friends over,” which, as usual in pop, omits any artistic details (emotional, aesthetic, or otherwise) of how that orgy might actually feel in real life. It’s just supposed to be what heteros do to get freaky. (Never hear these male pop/rap stars asking if they can bring their homeboys over to join them and the girl tho …)

To me real eroticism is about the details, the particulars — colors, textures, shapes, sounds, sensations. Being present and open enough to be surprised. And maybe “surprise” partly means what Audre Lorde defines as eroticism: powerful nonrationality. A nonrationality which, like women’s cumming, achieves much of its social value through the ways that it benefits men.

As women, we have come to distrust that power which rises from our deepest and nonrational knowledge. We have been warned against it all our lives by the male world, which values this depth of feeling enough to keep women around in order to exercise it in the service of men, but which fears this same depth too much to examine the possibilities of it within themselves. So women are maintained at a distant/inferior position to be psychically milked, much the same way ants maintain colonies of aphids to provide a life-giving substance for their masters.

In addition to exploiting/constraining feminine sexuality, I also think this know-it-all, feminist-holla swagger impoverishes masculine sexuality. Ultimately it becomes about marketing a repertoire of sexual skills, with no need to demonstrate responsiveness, mindfulness, and openness to the many permutations of sexuality that might actually exist! Like, sure i might care if you can fuck me hard or get me wet or eat me out in some artisinal way, but i’m more concerned about how you’ll respond if i feel like i want to ask permission to cum for the first time with you. Or to lie on my stomach in a weird and possibly unflattering position. will that freak you out? turn you off? will you respond supportively? can you ask questions and aim to learn?

that relational component of sexuality also feels, to me, somehow related to subverting the masculine/feminine, male/female binary. trans and intersex embodiment, as well as genderqueerness, can help us learn how to value and prioritize the asking of questions, honoring and enjoying people’s self-determinations and peculiarities, and not assuming that we know all about someone’s body going into sex.

Which, to me, is not about having lifestyle-activism sex. But about having hotter, more creative, fun and mindful sex — unlike the boring, cookie-cutter, fake-sweaty T&A that your music video producers are giving me.

Suzuki Roshi puts it well in his classic, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

Give me some more possibilities, please, David. That is, unless I’m someone who gets turned on when you dictate to me what I do or don’t enjoy.

But how will you find that out about me if you already think you know?

love,

Skyla

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Crunch permalink
    April 20, 2012 7:56 pm

    I want to pose a question about this particular blog post because I think that it would be good to have a full discussion around post and thoughts like this- where there are so many identities and experiences intersecting.

    I remember being in high school and listening to David Banner speak about Black Power and the need for kids like myself to organize. I remember not even knowing who he was because of how removed I was from mainstream culture. My friend told me that he was the rapper who penned the song “real girls get down on the floor” – a standard hot mess rap song, deeply entrenched in patriarchy. Some of the kids atmy school called him out and pointed out the contradiction of him calling for Black unity and movement while he was actively taking part in the oppression/ suburdination of Black womyn. He couldn’t speak much more in his favor. This is important because Banner- like all of us has his contradictions.

    Men struggle with patriarchal thought and ideology in ways similar to white people and white privilege. Part of the process of moving towards a collective liberation is over coming that and its hard. As a man I have struggled to overcome alot of socialization and I value my feminist praxis and using it as a tool to cut through the conditioning and what not. I also value the times where my privilege was checked – otherwise I wouldn’t b able to grow. We must confront our privilege.

    It becomes problematic to me however when there seems to be no thought about compassion and historical experiences when we confront others who are speaking from places of privilege. I think i’m ready to see people engage with patriarchy and thoughts of the like in a manner that does not just attack. The humanizing of privileged peoples positions and statements would be nice, especially when we’re talking about Black men, who have historically been apart of a racist witch-hunt. Black men commit real violence but where does that come from? I believe that it comes from a particular kind of conditioning that we undergo combined with a horrifying racial oppression.

    The author of this seems to not know or care about this. Attacking Black men is easy. It’s so simple and usually supported by the entire culture- lest we forget that this country has made the Black Male body a target for destruction. But it’s also like placing a band-aid on gaping wound. You are doing little to nothing because you are not addressing the root of the issue. Dialogue like this, in my opinion, continues in the racist tradition of this country and seems like more critical engagement might be needed.

  2. April 21, 2012 10:08 am

    ‎Thank you Crunch for sharing your thoughts and encouraging a discussion around the complexities of these issues and the emotions that arise. I had a lot of uncomfortable feelings around this post, which relate to a lot of what you say here,

    “It’s so simple and usually supported by the entire culture- lest we forget that this country has made the Black Male body a target for destruction. But it’s also like placing a band-aid on gaping wound. You are doing little to nothing because you are not addressing the root of the issue. Dialogue like this, in my opinion, continues in the racist tradition of this country and seems like more critical engagement might be needed.”

    It is dangerous to speak about the black male patriarch divorced from the conditions that made him; it is dangerous to speak of the black male patriarch divorced from any compassionate understanding of how this socialization is the source of his oppression. Why are we putting our energy into highlighting black male rappers, still, as the main reproducers of patriarchy, when there continues to be systematic state violence committed to brown/black/gendered bodies. Don’t they have a relationship? To speak of black male patriarchy within the mainstream rap world without an understanding of its relationship bourgeois patriarchal culture, leads us to believe that the problem lies in black men and not the system. How are these positions any different then the historical racist arguments that position black men as the sole rapist of society. HELLO! ‘Birth of A Nation’ The KKK, these arguments are not new. And with no systemic analysis, the arguments within this blogpost are drifting close to the patriarchal racists capitalist foundation of this country.

    So, am I saying that we cannot critique David Banner? No. But I think Crunch is right when he says that he is ready to see these conversations go down in a manner that is not an attack. Black men are my brothers and they have contradictions like us all. I grew up in a home with a tremendous amount of violence being committed by my father. As hard and traumatic and as angry as I was for a long time because of it, I always carried love and compassion for my father. I saw the humanity in him. Growing up as a black man in this country is violent and oppressive. I saw my father struggle with state violence; I saw him struggle with my mom to pay the bills; I saw him struggle with crack addiction; I saw him be ripped apart from us through numerous stays in prison; I saw him struggle to express his emotions, something systematically denied to him, which often led to his bursts of violence. I watched him through these struggles as I read about the conditions of our people and the struggles they waged to get free. I always understood that the contradictions within my father were not solely of his own making, but represented the foundations of this white-supremacist patriarchal capitalist system.

    To not highlight the system as the source of our gendered oppression is to only strengthen its rule over us all.

  3. skyla permalink
    April 21, 2012 10:34 am

    Hi Crunch,

    Mm, I appreciate the points you’re raising. Looking through your blog, you’ve obviously thought and written a lot about these issues in informed and inspiring ways. And I agree with you: the world certainly doesn’t need more vilification of Black men as hypersexual, violent predators. I guess I’m surprised, though, that you read this as an attack on Black men, or even on David Banner. I definitely honor that it came across that way to you, and I’d like to know more about that. For the sake of my understanding and grounding the conversation, would you mind pointing to the specific parts where something written (or left unwritten) gave you the impression of an attack?

    When you say, “there seems to be no thought about compassion and historical experiences,” and I think you mean that there wasn’t enough context about the vilification & “witch hunts” of Black men that shapes a lot of how the world sees them, and how they are forced to navigate a hostile, capitalist, white supremacist (and basically anti-Black -except for entertainment value-) world. Navigate it in ways that include their experiences with sex, or sometimes with women. I hear that, and I think you’re right that more context would hedge against the racist tendencies toward scapegoating Black men. But again I’m surprised that you didn’t find *any* of that in the piece. When I give Banner props for his words about Trayvon Martin, and the violence Black men endure because the ruling class is afraid that Black people will rise up against them, I’m being sincere. When I link the words “bestselling, mainstream narrative of [male misogyny]” to an article about a white man’s popular books, that’s an intentional redirecting of scrutiny away from hip-hop to the arguably more insidious white pop terrain. (Was trying to take a cue from Byron Hurt there, in how he looks critically at violence and misogyny in hip-hop but also points out that it merely reflects (rather than causeing) the violence and misogyny of white culture.) And when I compliment Banner’s sex-positivity and attention to consent, I mean it.

    When you say that “Black men commit real violence” but ask us to consider how that is conditioned (in a violent capitalist world that continually re-traumatizes and dehumanizes people of color), I agree. And I think I should have spoken more directly to that issue somewhere, because it haunts every single critical engagement with Black masculine sexuality. True. At the same time, why I’m surprised by the strength of your feeling is that this engagement with Banner is not about him being violent. It’s about him seeming to have worked through some of his patriarchal conditioning, which is great, but at the same time also replicating other, more subtle aspects of misogyny that flatten people of all genders. And also it’s about trying to offer some tools (Audre Lorde’s eroticism; trans politics) to move us all (cus let’s be real, Banner probly won’t read this) toward a sexual praxis that helps make everyone more and more safe, recognized, supported in their pleasure and desires, and staunchly resistant to the systemic forces that commodify our sexuality, our humanity. (In different ways, according to gender, race, class, (dis)ability, region, age, religious context, and who we do or don’t have sex with, and how we do it or don’t do it.)

    When I imagine saying any of what I wrote to Banner’s face, I don’t imagine a hostile confrontation. In my head this was a pointed but basically friendly conversation with someone who is putting his complex ideas out there on the major platforms he has access to.

    So I guess that’s all I’ll say right now. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts if you feel like it would be worth your time, and I want to thank you for what you wrote — not “thank you” in a way to patronize, minimize or neutralize the criticisms, but out of respect and appreciation for your positions, and where you’re coming from, and your revolutionary goals. I hear that this piece may have unwittingly perpetuated anti-Blackness, even if that wasn’t my intention. I regret that. Like you said about patriarchy, that kind of call-out helps me be sharper on overcoming the racism instilled in me.

    appreciation,

    skyla

  4. skyla permalink
    April 21, 2012 12:43 pm

    Hi chakaZ, didn’t mean to ignore you, I guess your comment came up while I was replying to Crunch. I hear your emphasis on the ways that unless you bring explicit, multiple-layers-of-oppression context to your critique of Black masculinity, you automatically perpetuate the assumption of Black men as violent aggressors who must be dealt with: which means, in practice, either terrorized into labor or locked up for profit. And I’ll bear that in mind, to address that more explicitly, if I ever write more on these issues. I’m sorry to have minimized the complexity of Black masculinity, and Black men’s subjectivity and struggles for freedom in a racist, structurally violent world.

    Relatedly, thank you for sharing your story about your father. It definitely illustrates the ways that blaming individuals can distract from recognizing and struggling with the bigger issues. Systemic patterns and material forces that shape us as people. And yet as you say, love is still in there. Engagement on a personal level is what enriches us as people who are able to hold both compassion and a critical eye, motivated by the hope that things don’t have to be this way; they can be better. For us and our loved ones; for everyone.

    For me, that’s where concepts of the erotic, gender self-determination, and beginner’s mind can open up possibilities for inspiring radical change on a systemic level. What if people insisted on the right to live our erotic, irrational selves, rather than be forced for survival’s sake into constant dehumanizing rational labor that insists on dictating our gender *and* is always getting sped up? This could be an inspiration to get rid of “work” as we know it, as Grace Lee Boggs says, or to transform work into a process that supports discovery, and “beginner’s mind,” rather than the stressed-out, body-breaking, dehumanizing hustle that is survival for most people on the planet. (Let alone non-human beings.) We see some examples of people taking this approach, like the “slow food movement” as a challenge to agrobusiness, but unless we push to change things at a system level (like beyond policy reform) those choices and social experiments will only be available to a select few.

    Katie and I talk about this kind of stuff sometimes, and even though it didn’t make it into the original post I’m thankful that you brought up the systemic question. There’s a lot I want and need to learn. For this piece specifically, I hope it might contribute to an idea of what more healthy, healing, and pro-liberation sexuality can look like: adding to the discussion that Banner brings up in his video interview.

    I feel you in that unless a piece on sexuality includes explicit systemic analysis, it tends to automatically reinforce the idea that sex is somehow divorced from structural systems — who works where and how; distribution of medical and other resources; systematic theft of land and bodies; forcing people to sell our bodies in various ways, including sexualized ways; state violence, terrorism, and training of acceptably gendered workers — and exists ‘purely’ as culture, or as individual choices or behaviors. So I agree, reason and analysis needs to get in there somewhere: especially if we were talking about violence among Black men, which is already so loaded. But again, I’m surprised that you saw the piece as an attack on Banner, or as painting him as violent (in the way most people think of Black male violence in our racist sexist capitalist society), although I respect that that’s how it came across to you, and will continue to reflect on that. It would help me if you could point to things I wrote (in addition to things I didn’t write) that gave you that reading.

    As far as focusing on David Banner in particular, when I watched those videos of him I thought he seemed like a particularly interesting and nuanced public figure to engage with. He seems very charismatic, many people know who he is, and his job as an artist is to stir up feeling, so people already approach discussions about his work from that generative nonrational place — although it seems like he also encourages his audience to theorize as well. I hear you on the pattern of picking on Black male rappers, or rappers in general, and I agree with you, like I said to Crunch, that a pop entertainer like Tucker Max is on a whole other level of horrible misogynistic violence that reflects the violence of the system we live in. My intention in engaging in a friendly, critical way with Banner’s work was that I’d like to help make more and more conversations about queering and liberating sexuality on a level that’s very relatable and familiar to a lot of people, if that makes sense.

    This might be one of many ways. I hear that it didn’t resonate with you and that you found dangers and problems in it, and I appreciate you expanding on the problems you see. I’ll continue to reflect on what you’ve written. In any case, I appreciate the dialogue and hope it might have some beneficial contribution to more radical sex education, or continual re-education, learning and unlearning, within the sea of oppression we’re swimming in, and trying to come ashore from.

    This blogging thing is intense! Much to think on.

    peace and appreciation,

    skyla

  5. henrymills permalink
    April 21, 2012 7:48 pm

    I found this article to be pretty positive. I had recently read another article about how guys should go down on a girl. I was pretty entertained by it. Reminded me of being a curious teenager and looking for a window into what sex was/ should be like. I grew with the same images Banner did. With the same ones he’s reproducing.

    So I found it refreshing to read, “ultimately it becomes about marketing a repertoire of sexual skills, with no need to demonstrate responsiveness, mindfulness, and openness to the many permutations of sexuality that might actually exist!”

    Wish the younger me had this piece of wisdom.

    I don’t feel attacked by this letter as I’m guessing Banner wouldn’t either. Credit is given where its due. Its more of a reaching out than a witch hunt.

    Crunch, Chakaz, while I agree with the points you are making, they seem almost independent from the text at hand.

    Skyla, I don’t think I could have responded more gracefully. Thank you for your positivity!

  6. Crunch permalink
    April 22, 2012 4:50 pm

    I feel as though this article was not written with care. point blank. it has a sarcastic tone without a structural, social, or systemic analysis of where patriarchy in the black community comes from. When writing about communities about people it is important to take matters seriously if you are being serious. Talking about Black men and patriarchy is a serious manner. Using language that can be perceived as appropriating (“holla”) in the same article where you show no care for a member of the community that that language is socially attached to is not care. I am offended by this work.

    I believe that there is also a problem with the subject of this letter being david banner for the fact that I see these quasi, half formed polemics against Black celebrity figures as useless. all they do is go with the current of racist thought and speech against Black folk. If you really wanted to talk about patriarchy then logic tells me that I need to go beyond Banner as a source. Also, why choose Banner? Are there no other white men saying things equally sexist on air? that makes me think that it was just easier to choose Banner to focus in on because he’s a Black man. And a rapper. and the society teaches us to hate/ fear Black men.

    I believe that you acknowledge this. maybe you should re-vise the article.

  7. Crunch permalink
    April 22, 2012 5:18 pm

    *the above article has some typos. my bad, here is corrected version.

    I feel as though this article was not written with care. point blank. it has a sarcastic tone without a structural, social, or systemic analysis of where patriarchy in the black community comes from. When writing about communities about people it is important to take matters seriously if you are being serious. Talking about Black men and patriarchy is a serious matter. Using language that can be perceived as appropriating (“holla”) in the same article where you show no care for a member of the community that that language is socially attached to is not care. I am offended by this work.
    I believe that there is also a problem with the subject of this letter being david banner for the fact that I see these quasi, half formed polemics against Black celebrity figures as useless. all they do is go with the current of racist thought and speech against Black folk. If you really wanted to talk about patriarchy then logic tells me that I need to go beyond Banner as a source. Also, why choose Banner? Are there no other white men saying things equally sexist things on air? that makes me think that it was just easier to choose Banner to focus in on because he’s a Black man. And a rapper. and the society teaches us to hate/ fear Black men.
    I believe that you acknowledge this. maybe you should re-vise the article.

  8. April 22, 2012 8:08 pm

    Skyla, in both of your responses to Crunch and I you seem to belittle the fact that you are talking about black male sexuality, in a critical manner, with no connection to the ruling class that is oppressive and the ultimate controller of mainstream culture, which Banner is a part of. You are surprised that we are offended and view it as an attack, yet you seem to understand the importance of having a systemic analysis. You repeatedly agree that you left important points out, but continually want us to point out where you attack Banner in the things you say. For me, the fact that you left out a systemic analysis is an indirect attack at Banner; what you don’t say is careless and offensive. You do not define patriarchy correctly, and therefore lay all blame on Banner indirectly. This has historical significance, because ever since my ancestors were brought over here they have been labelled as sexual beasts, deserving of their shackles. This is the soil we STILL walk upon, chains traded for handcuffs. A failure to mention these historical truths is a huge deal. You acknowledge it here in your response to Crunch,

    “When you say that “Black men commit real violence” but ask us to consider how that is conditioned (in a violent capitalist world that continually re-traumatizes and dehumanizes people of color), I agree. And I think I should have spoken more directly to that issue somewhere, because it haunts every single critical engagement with Black masculine sexuality.”

    And then in your response to me here,

    “So I agree, reason and analysis needs to get in there somewhere: especially if we were talking about violence among Black men, which is already so loaded.”

    So, if you understand the seriousness of your subject matter and the importance of having a systemic analysis then why didn’t you? It reflects a carelessness and, perhaps, a lack of knowledge and experience of the history of black people in this country, and black male sexuality in particular. Like you, I see the importance of sexuality socially, but I believe we have different visions, practices and goals. I believe that sexuality is an important basis for struggle and liberation in this country. My queer revolutionary politics are always directed back at the system; the true source of our alienating and oppressive relations with ourselves and others, not David Banner. I want to stand with my people to help heal them and influence their consciousness so that they understand their contradictions as the systems contradictions. I want to speak to my people in language they understand and not write overly academic papers, which don’t reflect people’s real experiences. The people must begin to write and theorize about their experiences so that they, in struggle, can fight for a different world. You even admit in your above response that David Banner won’t even read this,

    “And also it’s about trying to offer some tools (Audre Lorde’s eroticism; trans politics) to move us all (cus let’s be real, Banner probly won’t read this) toward a sexual praxis that helps make everyone more and more safe, recognized, supported in their pleasure and desires, and staunchly resistant to the systemic forces that commodify our sexuality, our humanity.”

    If you already have this attitude that Banner won’t read this then why did you write it? I don’t understand your intentions, and your language is abstract. What are these tools? Who are they for? Not Banner, are they for black men? Is it going to help me talk to my father, who is a 61 year old working-class black man who has never heard of the word cismale?

    Throughout this piece I couldn’t help, but feel the weight of history on my sholders in so many complex ways. First, the fact that you direct your analysis at Banner repoduces these ideas of black men and rappers as the only purveyors of sexism. These arguments go way back to the beginning of the 20th century where the continual lynchings of black men were justified because they were supposedly ‘raping’ white womyn; meanwhile the true rapist, the white man, is committing tremendous amounts of sexual violence upon black womyn, and it is made completely invisible, just like this history and the black womyn is invisible in this letter. Even Crunch pointed it out here,

    “Also, why choose Banner? Are there no other white men saying things equally sexist things on air? that makes me think that it was just easier to choose Banner to focus in on because he’s a Black man. And a rapper. and the society teaches us to hate/ fear Black men.”

    I am not saying that your letter is explicitly accusing black men of rape and sexual violence, but to not understand and reference this history is a huge problem. Also, as a revolutionary feminist, I disagree with the politics of this letter, the subject and the goals. It reminds of the ways that some have had more privilege to define concepts and movements, such as feminism. Historically, white womyn have had more material privilege to get an education and have had the time to engage in political oganizing. There experiences with privilege also gave them blinders on the way that the majority of the womyn lived in this country and the world, yet they had the privilege to participate in a social movement and define it. These womyn had no real race and class politics and this is why womyn of color had to organize feminist spaces outside of them and start their own movements. Movements that I walk in the footsteps of. Feminism must understand the contradictions within the class so that the class may direct its energy against the root of the problem, capitalism. I agree with Crunch that you should revise this piece if its going to stay up on the web.

  9. April 22, 2012 9:38 pm

    Hi Crunch, hi chakaZ. I just got home and want to respond in the conversation myself because I hear and acknowledge that this post has been hurtful to you, and I take that seriously because I value you as people. I need to go back out for a while but I wanted to let you know that I am here, and reading, and listening, and talking with Skyla about what it might mean to take the post down. I’ll be back later tonight, hopefully with fresher eyes.

  10. April 22, 2012 11:48 pm

    Hey, still here. Still thinking. Wrote out a whole reply earlier, but I think I need more time to reflect. Don’t want to engage from a reactive or exhausted place. I’d appreciate your patience; more from me in the next couple days.

  11. April 29, 2012 8:30 pm

    Hey, anyone still reading. So after a lot of thought and many offline conversations, I’ve decided to leave the post up as is, and add a note at the very top encouraging readers to read the entire comment thread, since that’s where a lot of important criticism and context comes in. This may not be a decision that pleases or satisfies everyone, but it’s what I’ve got for now. I want to give sincere thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to engage in the discussion: here, on Facebook, on the phone, and in person. Much to learn, always.

    love and respect,

    katie

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