"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, June 6, 2008

To Mourn or Not to Mourn: A Sequential (sort of*) Roundup

There's some tension going on right now on these internets, and I don't really know what to say about it, because I'm busy trying to process it.

I don't know what to say, mostly because I totally identified with and appreciated Melissa's post about taking some time to mourn the loss of HRC's historic candidacy, but also because when I read BlackAmazon's response and Brownfemipower's critique, I realized they had a point. Melissa posted this to try to clear some things up, but it didn't go over quite so well, and then Octogalore spoke up in defense of the sense of loss Melissa was talking about.

I'm sure this isn't the end of it. Some want to mourn while others are playing tiny violins. I'm going to watch it continue to unfold.

[*Update: As Octogalore notes in the comments section, the links above are not sequential based on when they were posted. They are, however, listed in the order in which I read them, which is why I chose to present them in this way. I'm sorry if that caused any confusion, and thanks to Octogalore for pointing it out.]


Bq said...

My way of thinking about it is that there have been women candidates before (like shirley chisholm) and there will be women candidates after.

Bq said...

Another thought that I have is that there have been many women senators, but how many black senators?

When I read the last paragraph of that shakesville post, I thought I saw a confusion over race/gender - it seemed that she was creating a divide between people who cared about the racism and people who cared about the sexism. She also seemed to be arguing that the women who cared about sexism were totally devastated and did not have a historical first. Well, they do if they are woc.

Things like this make me consider the history of gendered violence against black men (in which black men were lynched to protect white women's "honor", with no evidence and often out of jealousy over ownership of a prosperous business or a thriving black town) and black women (who were raped with impunity by white men to terrorize communities as well, and not gendered as strongly as women to protect and pedestallize.

It seems that many people write things like that when they don't know or understand that history. I have a hard time feeling the tragedy of a powerful, well-connected white woman, who started her campaign with an almost guaranteed win, losing by a slim margin fair and square.

HRC is a also hawkish warmonger. Feminists around the globe have long been aware of how war is fundamentally anti-woman in a way that many American feminists have not had to reckon with.

Bq said...

* sorry, many white women senators, but how many black senators of either gender?

Octogalore said...

Thanks for the link, but FYI: the list isn't sequential. BFP's and my post were on the same day. I read hers after mine. Therefore, mine was not in response to hers and most likely vice versa.

Reason I mention this is that if I had been responding to her specifically, I would have done so directly. I have a lot of respect for BFP and no reason to be coy. My post makes clear that it is more generally directed to people at a multitude of websites and IRL who have voiced the general sentiment that it discusses.

Tracey said...

bq: Thanks for commenting. Sorry it took me so long to respond, but I stayed away from the computer all weekend. I totally agree with what you're saying, but I also do think that there's something legimate in being sad about HRC's campaign ending. I get what you mean about not feeling sorry for her loss, specifically, but her campaign was symbolic in many ways and important to many women for what it would have meant to finally (after forty-some men) have a female president.

I supported Hillary for president for all of the reasons Octogalore mentioned in her post, and I truly feel that she would have been a better candidate, even though I will now fully support Obama in the election. (Obama is not above reproach when it comes to war, since he voted many times to continue its funding.)

I can see how Melissa's post could be seen as problematic in the ways you mentioned, but because I am a regular reader at Shakesville and have read a lot of her writing, I wouldn't ever suspect that she is unaware of the history you brought up. She was just trying to reach out to female readers who feel especially downtrodden from the intense sexism HRC faced throughout this campaign.

Tracey said...

Octogalore: Thank you for pointing that out. I have updated the post to reflect this, and I'm sorry if I made it sound like your post was in response to BFP's.

(I loved your post, by the way. I thought it really summed up how I've been feeling about this whole issue.)

Octogalore said...

Thanks, Tracey; that means alot.

BQ: There are 74 total women in the House and Senate and 75 total POC in the House and Senate.

See: http://www.ethnicmajority.com/congress.htm

In the Senate there are 13 women and 6 POC.

In the House there are 61 women and 69 POC.