The Sistah Vegan Project

‘Racist cunt’ and Cyberbullying: Ruminations on the Troll Life

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Over the past few years, I have blogged about whiteness, racism, and veganism in a way that is mindful, holistic, and critical. Despite my attempts to present such ‘sensitive’ issues in scholarly and mindful ways, I have experienced comments that are downright violent and full of hateful rage from white-identified people. Most recently, someone posted a response to my 2012 blog article about the racial politics of dread lock wearing and cultural appropriation. The exploration of the topic earned me the label of ‘racist cunt’ from commenter “geoff” on April 8, 2013 at 844am. Thank goodness for cyberspace; what normally would not be said directly to my face, in a real physical space (like in my former university or  my professional place of employment), can be now be spewed towards my avatar in the comfort of one’s home, library, or even a smartphone/tablet from the commuter train.

The other summer, I spoke of my experience at a Buddhism retreat for women of African descent. The retreat mindfully acknowledged how the repetitive trauma of structural, institutional, and individual acts of racism-sexism have uniquely shaped our Black female collective consciousnesses. My open-hearted blog post about my spiritually healing experience at this retreat was met with easy dismissal and calling me ‘racist’, by white male Buddhist practitioners. It would seem that they sincerely did not fully understand what ‘racism’ actually means; or how they as beneficiaries of whiteness in the USA (or in other white settler nations), have probably never had to find a healing retreat that mind fully acknowledges their experiences of surviving through a society that simply covets whiteness (phenotypes as well as ‘whiteness’ as performance and ‘ways of thinking’); a society that is usually repulsed by those bodies and systems of thought that deviate from “whiteness.”

Instead of engaging with the lived realities of ‘the other’ in a mindfully engaging way, it would seem that a significant number of these folk who don’t agree with me resort to what I would consider ‘the troll life': cyber-bullying, the usage of discursive violence, etc., versus more open-hearted ways of explaining how or why they disagree with my interpretations/analyses of my own experiences with race, whiteness, and power in the USA. I have actually never responded to those engaging in the “troll life” in the same violent ways that they have done to me. Sure, go ahead agree with or disagree with someone…. But why not do it in a way that is not violent? What purpose does it serve to resort to the “troll life?” I don’t believe that anyone deserves to receive hate filled rage and discursive violence; after all, when has anger and hate created love and understanding amongst people? If I were to go that ‘hate-rage’ route,  once I jump into their world of trolling logic, it is a lost battle. Instead, I have chosen to use my energy in other ways. However, recently, I have began to revisit the overall meaning of such hateful and violent language that is so easily used against me by these folk who end up on my blog-space.

Over the past 8 months, I applied to a lot of full-time academic, non-profit, and industry positions. I have easily applied to over 100 full time positions at this point. Even though I know that the job market is intensely fierce right now, I have been quite perplexed that I have not even been called for one initial ‘phone screening’ interview. I have begun to wonder what the likelihood is that these ‘honest’ but hateful feelings towards my online articles about race, whiteness, and power may potentially represent how I am actually viewed by those that look over my resume and cover letter. Do they eventually conduct an Internet search of my name, only to find my Sistah Vegan blog and its ‘confrontational’ topics are not ‘suited’ for a ‘post-racial’ USA?

However, I also want to give most people the benefit of the doubt and suggest that ‘discomfort’ and ‘defensiveness’ around my work may not even be a ‘conscious’ act; it could very well be dysconscious. Negative and uncomfortable reactions to my ‘online presence’ could be at the deeply somatic level. Perhaps most of the mainstream do not even know how to begin to interpret or come to terms with their reactions to what my work means or represents within their lives and the overall scheme of power, race, gender, and ['white'] nation-building. Even though it was back in 2005, I will never forget the plethora of hateful comments made about my initial call for papers for the Sistah Vegan anthology. White vegans and vegetarians were angered by the idea that racialization and gender in the USA could influence one’s practice and rationale of veganism. I even ended up analyzing a vegan site’s 40+ pages of ‘annoyed’ white vegans’ responses to my CFP. I turned it into a Masters Thesis and published an article from it the other year in a peer-reviewed volume.

For my own highly degreed self, what does it mean that despite getting a PhD with critical race studies oriented emphasis in a social science (critical food geographies), it wasn’t/isn’t enough to earn the ‘respect’ of not being a recipient of such hateful rage? After all, I’m using ‘social science’ training from a PWI to ‘show’ that racism, whiteness, and power are very ‘real’ in a ‘post-racial’ USA. Graduating summa cum-laude from Harvard Master’s program, as well as from my University of California-Davis PhD program, having received the Dean’s Award at Harvard for my “critical race feminist” thesis, or having received the two-year GSRM UCDavis Fellowship to academically theorize about race and food does not ‘yield’  a pass to exempt me from such trolling hate.

Whether it is direct, unconscious, or dysconscious, if this how I am seen (i.e. ‘racist cunt’) by a significant number of [white] people , then what does it mean, or should it mean, for my future scholarship, activism, and my search for post-PhD full time employment? What does it mean for so many of us non-white women in white-settler nations who are doing similar work with love mindfulness, only to experience similar hateful reactions? And even the job market is really ‘tough’ right now, is it ‘equally’ as tough across the board, or does it become significantly tougher and more fierce when one does the type of work that I do while doing it in a body that is not ‘markedly white’?

If you enjoy these types of dialogues and want to keep on supporting the Sistah Vegan Project, feel free to donate what you can by clicking below on gofundme. You can find out all about our goal to turn the Sistah Vegan Project into an official 501 c 3 non-profit organization!

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53 thoughts on “‘Racist cunt’ and Cyberbullying: Ruminations on the Troll Life

  1. coreywrenn on said:

    I really hope that your online presence isn’t negatively impacting your job search..I find your blog really motivating and educational. I don’t doubt for a second you will land an excellent job with your experience and hardwork…I can’t imagine doing half of what you have in my time in graduate school. The job market *really* is that bad right now, hang in there.

  2. Wow. So much hostility in the world. Thank you, Breeze, for standing up and saying what needs to be said, even in the midst of so many who don’t want to hear it!

  3. I spent a lot of sitting time and insensitive white male lecturing time (my own) in Buddhist circles in the 1990s. When I read your blog about micro-aggression and unconscious racism in American Buddhism last fall, I thought it was brilliant, courageous, discomfiting and healing. It has stayed with me ever since. I will admit it took some time for your question to sink in, but now I can say without reservation that a US Buddha in 2013 would have to be black, she would have to be vegan, and she would have to be a damn fine blogger with a new one on the way.

    And I can bow to your Buddha-nature with a really big smile of peace fellowship.

    After downloading your dissertation recently, I meant to write an article on my own blog along the following lines:

    If Breeze Harper has not already been recruited for a faculty position with the top twenty social work programs in the US, these programs have absolutely no idea what to look for or where to look. We need to rebuild our mental health, public health and social justice system from the ground up, and any social work Dean who does not understand that Breeze’s work is of CENTRAL TRANSDISCIPLINARY significance to this undertaking is OUT TO LUNCH.

    I have been unable to find a single prospective doctoral advisor in social work who can mirror back why I need to talk about veganism – let alone why I need to talk about veganism, eco-genocide, decolonization, and climate change in more or less the same breath. If you were right now a faculty member in my social work profession, I am sure that after meeting you and confirming your quality in person, I would be honored to work under you as an advisor to my own dissertation.

    As the climate situation now unfortunately stands, I think President Obama should appoint you to a high-level team of advisors to help him explain the need for accelerated vegan transition (to reduce catastrophic ecological and economic risk) to every health and social services employee in the state and federal systems. The challenge is how to present this prescription without missing the forest (truth, reconciliation and public safety) through the necessary trees (what specific commodity chains to subsidize, regulate or phase out completely).

    Until that appointment happens, I would like to draw your attention to the working group I propose here. I am building up a small but critical mass of PhD-level observers who agree with my analysis. If you are interested in helping this group, please let me know. I am confident that we can grant-fund a virtual working group and possibly a conference in 2013 with the right roster of experts. If you want to test the waters, Continuing the Conversation with Sailesh Rao would be a great place to jump in. Your perspective seems like it should be essential to our forward movement.

  4. Jeez…I want to apologize to you for the hostility and insults you were subjected to by that individual. There are so many of us with serious problems who refuse to look inward and instead inflict damage everyone and everything around them.

    Your writing is invariably mindful and anyone offended by such is not responding to their external environment…rather to whatever frightening and paranoid landscape that exists inside themselves.

    Thank you for your efforts on behalf of all Earthlings.

  5. Breeze, I am so moved by your honesty as I’ve followed your blog now for the past 4 years and I’ve read many of the comments to some of your postings on race; it is disturbing to think that your online presence and the work you are doing is affecting your job search and ability to be hired. If that is the case, then as a society things have not changed on the race front. When I worked in the corporate world for 7 years (post undergraduate) I experienced racism with a fine toothed comb while under a magnifying glass. I was asked to be a ‘rat’ so that when other African Americans were hired, I was always asked if I knew them or if I could look out for and report back that they were actually doing the work, while my white counterparts were never asked to do the same. I also recall a time when I was being flown to various cities/towns in the U.S. to solidify contracts with developers and one occasion I was usually referred to as ‘black doll face’ both racist and sexist on the jobsite. More specifically, I have had to file EEOC complaints which raised for investigations to look into diversity and racial hostility in my workplace. Disastrous because who wants to go in to work daily to combat racial stress and tension on a daily basis like that? I certainly didn’t. I just wanted to work in a peaceful, work driven, motivating work culture. But back to your cyber-bullying, I am hurt that this is going on behind the screen, and it seems to me that the racial tensions have definitely heightened in the last 8 years. What are your thoughts? By the way, I think there are companies out there that are culturally diverse and owned by people of color whom you can also apply to, if you haven’t already. Good luck in your search, because you have a tremendous background filled with experience, so please do not be discouraged.

  6. Breeze, This essay is washing down my psyche like rain that is both refreshing and a torrent beating on my head and shoulders. I am pained to observe the identical rejection and unconscious denial in your young life, after recognizing your angst throughout my life–and of course the sisters back-back.

    I have concluded that even a great number of people with advanced academic study have a stunted notion of scholarship. Like you, I apply the decades of my life in academia to my writing and speaking, only to receive similar reaction-responses because the “geoff’s” of our world. These people either throw off the veneer of study and research when they meet logical, experiential–in all the best ways–ideas.

    As an aside that is not an aside I just heard of the continuing closing-off of reproductive services to females, with eleven of the fifteen major health care facilities nationwide being religious. The report said this is a trend, so that the specialty of “Family Care” is being aborted at medical schools. The nation needs to decide if medicine is going to be a science or a superstition–seriously.
    You “suggest discomfort and defensiveness being not conscious.” Totally. The reaction is as deep as the primitive brain stem. The need to use terms that denigrate the female body, especially reproductive allusions is a gross insult, and bullying is rape.

    Maneuvering economically is the same, just more subtle–as real. I received the tenth publisher’s rejection for my “Memory” yesterday. That is a total of 29 with two agents. The remarks to me are not blatant as to you, but the hostility, rejection and dislike of what I have done is palpable. I’ve reread the opening pages, being struck by unconscious and/or veiled reasons for rejection. It is not as one editor said,”…writing didn’t engage me from the beginning.” Of course not, when it speaks a truth you dare not hear. This is what you and I, and all who dare speak their truth are daring.

    Your very existence is a threat to the controllers. Remember: “You couldn’t handle the truth.”As life and survival depend on work and compensation the incessant rejection is not attenuated by a raincoat or umbrella. The wounds are vital.

  7. This follow-up link is for your eyes only unless you think publishing it could be helpful for your readers:

    The Roots of Vegan Cyber-Shunning and Academic Discreditation in US Social Work.

    • I posted it but let me know if you want me to remove it. i think this is very pertinent and speaks widely about the isolation felt by so many of us who are simply trying to alleviate pain, agony, and suffering. Thanks so much Jonathan.

      • You are very welcome. Today I feel like I wrote something of real value. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so on your blog. Thank you for hearing me back.

  8. Andrel Hughes on said:

    This the TRUE AMERICAN WAY…SURPRISED???NO..

  9. Good morning Breeze, I really wish it wasn’t the norm for people in this country to take the win or lose approach to dialogue. It really does limit the collective growth of a nation every time someone disagrees with a stance or opinion and choses to attack a person with speech. I give you Zorro formation snaps for your degrees and ability to so boldly stand for what you believe in. You are attacked because you see, because you have expanded your mind beyond the normal barriers of the mainstream white system. As a woman of color with a voice and something to say you will continue to move in opposition to the academic and non profit sector or any sector for that matter where whiteness is considered the only norm. Dare I say that this blog IS THE ONLY REASON you don’t have a job right now. On subjects where white counterparts might expect an “oreo” you go hard, stabbing readers in the eyes with the truth that racism hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s actually been heightened in a sense by the internet. What does this mean for your future scholarship and activism, it means you should continue to challenge and make people uncomfortable. Because what you are really doing is challenging all the (white) people, you are forcing them out of their ignorance is bliss bubble. This country is no where near the post-race society that we believe the election of (the puppet) Obama has turned us into.
    So I said all that to say, that, activism and commentary on food, vegans, brown people, and whiteness have kicked you out of the mainstream academic club where you could have gotten a job posing as a “good nigga” who has been equally educated but also white washed. However, because you are shedding light on brown vegan people and the importance of understanding what is being put into our bodies as well as challenging the mainstream meat industry and age old stereotypes that black people love chicken, pork, and beef you are getting hit back by the same people that want to keep brown people unhealthy. So for your work, it means that the sky is the limit for how radical you can go, you can consider yourself blacklisted until a predominantly white school of hippies invites you to their school for a position, or you get a job at a Historically Black College or University (haha I’m just kidding, these institutions are also controlled by white people, lol). It means that maybe you should think about putting together seminars, workshops and informational sessions and start shopping those around at local non-profits and community organizations. For those who are your colleagues and who will come after you it means that you need to find other like minded people and build community around shared beliefs and goals of enlightening the masses (It is also a great way to find out about job opportunities as well).
    This is America, if I can get refused a job because of a picture on Facebook (and I do not have half the degrees you do). You can be blacklisted because of this blog.
    Again, you are an educated black woman with natural hair who is a vegan and openly talks about race and the traumas experienced by brown and non-white people. Which translates into whiteness: As an unpleasant and most likely angry black woman who is race centered that will undoubtedly cause more problems then they believe you are worth.
    And this is the first blog of your I have read. Start your own business, consulting firm, and/or workshops. Travel, meet people, talk about what your passionate about, and educate/build community.

    Or take down the blog.

    Awesome blog, btw, I subscribed :)

    • what does it mean, or should it mean, for my future scholarship, activism, and my search for post-PhD full time employment? What does it mean for so many of us non-white women in white-settler nations who are doing similar work with love mindfulness, only to experience similar hateful reactions? And even the job market is really ‘tough’ right now, is it ‘equally’ as tough across the board, or does it become significantly tougher and more fierce when one does the type of work that I do

      By way of counsel, Danielle gave every constructive observation I might have offered wrt your employment prospects.

      The questions you must answer for yourself are:
      who precisely can profit from the work you do?
      how can they profit from your work?
      how much can they profit from your work?

      When you can satisfactorily answer these questions, then you will have an appropriate value-proposition with which to approach a prospective employer. On that exact same basis, you will also know whether or not you should tough it out and capture and retain your own labor value – instead of hiring it out to another.

      • Cnu

        I answered these questions indirectly through the establishment of this consulting site http://www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com . Please let me know if this is what you mean. I appreciate yours and everyone’s input.

        Best
        Breeze

      • Sistah, I apologize for the awkward reply placement. (no reply link on your comment)

        I’ve reached out to an elder in the diversity solutions space to see if she would hear your proposition and engage with you on this subject. Do you have relationships in the behavioral health and employee assistance spheres?

        Because by-and-large, this is precisely where institutional spend is going to take place with the goal of reducing insurance premiums, lawsuits, etc…, iow – getting work in this space is going to depend on your ability to articulate your value prop in these tangible cost mitigation/cost avoidance terms.

        The other piece of the equation is relationships. I believe that by-and-large vendor selections in this space are almost wholly subjective and driven to the greatest possible extent by personal relationships and relationship management.

        As a lifelong black partisan, it goes without saying that I like your online persona just the way it is. Sadly, I don’t have any contracts to hand out in the diversity management consulting arena.

        More importantly, and not withstanding the fact that I enjoy cordial and trusted relations with the black woman in charge of human resources in my organization, as well as her subordinate insurance/EAP specialists (also black women) – I’m fairly certain that I could not influence either her or them to give you the business. Their/our collective boss also happens to be a black PhD public agency administrator empowered to make very large hiring and services award decisions without any additional levels of review. They would all without exception be most impressed with your credentials.

        Without exception, they would all love talking with you. Shiny as you are, who could possibly resist your direct presentation? But even given all your exceptional assets, I guarantee you that the “critical” dimension of your presentation would be a non-starter for each and every one of these otherwise favorably inclined black decision makers.

        Sistah, in my occassionally humble opinion, you got some mind-blowing decisions to make.

      • Breeze, I admit I had to check out CNU’s blog to see if this comment was indeed a sophisticated put-down from a white male.

        CNU fails to draw a distinction between who you are politically, academically and artistically FREE to be on your blog, and the way you enact your critical analysis in day-to-day workplace life.

        My sense of the person behind your blog persona is that you and I would work very well together in an office, and that if you were serving as the advisor to my doctoral dissertation, I would never need to have a discussion with campus human resources about your “bad black attitude” – which CNU underhandedly implies all of the “successful black people” in his “successful organization” will join him in accusing you of having ON THE BASIS OF NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER.

        It is obvious that your blogging is therapeutic and empowering for a great many readers – including for white men like me who think they need to listen and learn from The Sistah Vegan Project (and see it talked about in graduate social work classrooms) if they want to help make the world a better place for the next generation.

        Perhaps CNU could cite the specific aspect of this post that he feels a prospective employer can legally or morally discriminate against you because of?

        I myself see nothing objectionable here – only evidence that you are a courageous, creative and highly intelligent vegan who will most likely make a fantastic asset to any organization that is smart enough and principled enough to recognize your worth.

  10. Your courageous heart is beautiful and inspiring. Your intelligent dissection of culture and institutions may threaten some of us in our comforts, and cause all sorts of reactions, but your truth needs to be spoken and our blind spots need to be addressed. The universe will take care of you, stand your ground, be who you are meant to be, say what you are meant to say, and help us all evolve with love.

  11. Adela on said:

    How amazing would it be to have Breeze heading up her own freedom school? Food for thought :).

    Thought you might be interested: https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=46659

  12. Oh…the perils of sharing information and healthy advice in cyberspace. I trust you will continue for those of us who know better, yet, find lifestyle change a burden but a necessary one! And for those who aren’t aware and should be exposed to embarking on behaviors to make us healthier and more well rounded human beings. Stay strong Sistah Vegan!

  13. Lauren on said:

    Damn this is good writing!

  14. Sandra M on said:

    We’ve come a long way in the last fifty years. Some say we’re in a ‘post-racial’ era. Yet, there’s been a resurgence of racist expression last seen when ‘Birth of A Nation’ was released. Racist expression proliferates online and off. Sometimes, even among politicians. There are media outlets that could be called ‘white nationalist’ television. Fox News gets big ratings. History Channel, too. History Channel’s offerings should come with a warning: any achievements by black people will be ascribed to white Europeans. They hit a new low with their recent series depicting Jesus with nordic features in a faceoff with the devil who looked like President Obama. Some critics said that the actor playing the devil should have played Jesus. I won’t hold my breath waiting for something different on History Channel.

  15. Pingback: Not Much Has Changed | Like a Whisper

  16. You should have included the typo in the word “rascist”! But to be fair, maybe the person wasn’t calling you a “rascist”? I mean, you were obviously against the idea of a pure, racialized cultural expression, and yet the commenter pointed out that whites wore it first. Maybe he or she was criticizing the woman you overheard and kinda thought it was bell hooks because he or she obviously has poor reading skills?

    • Radek,

      I read it as an insult to me because geoff said ‘the author.’ I am the author of the blog piece. Either way, I’m thinking that no one should be calling anyone a ‘cunt.’

  17. vegantafari on said:

    I would love for you to aply for a position at UWI (JA) or York University in Canada. Two institutions that I hope would be a bit more open to your amazing work.. Best of Luck!

  18. Here from a link by Prof Susurro.

    It is not my place to apologize for them, but I am sorry for what these white men are doing on your blog. Being an atheist omnivore we probably would have a lot of points of disagreement, but if I stopped in to disagree I would do so politely and respectfully. I am writing to say that it does get better because I was a racist when I was younger and people like you on the internet disagreeing with me did finally make me see the plank in my own eye to borrow a saying and I learned to disagree without being disagreeable.

  19. Nothing surprises me about the academy or the labor market. I am a woman and considered “of color” in this country. A little over a decade ago, the head of a major humanities department told me that I had not received funding for their PhD program (despite having secured an M.A. with honors from the same institution) because “concerns had been expressed about the ability of students from certain countries to meet the rigors of a doctoral program.” Chilling. I did end up earning a PhD degree in the humanities eight years later.

    The market is fierce, as you say. I know white peers with terrific work who do not even an acknowledgement from employers and recruiters. But I have no doubt that in your case and in mine–particularly after the one/two preliminary interviews I have had–that being of color and (in my case) ageism has played a role in not moving up into the second round of interviews, let alone securing the job.

    I wish I had something more optimistic to say to you. But I don’t.

  20. How infuriating! And I know what you mean, really. Though surprisingly I have not had anyone take it to THIS level of outright violence. The legacy that we have here has made it so it doesn’t matter what you do as far as your background and credentials. You could have all of the education IN THE WORLD, and the entire alphabet behind your name and be the freaking president and it wouldn’t matter, because we would still only be viewed as next to nothing in this society. BUT this is the thing, it is exactly those things that are seeming to come at you and attack you is how you see the manifestations of your impact. It is showing you loud and clear that what you are doing is making a difference. The tide is turning and the waves are crashing in and the sands are shifting and THAT is what’s happening! There is NO other reason you would be subjected to this violence except for the things you challenge are under a direct threat of being dismantled. You are playing a well strategized hand in breaking down these systems through critical theory, education, and using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house, and that’s what’s happening.

    I know it’s tough. And I also know what you mean about employment. Trust me! And even though the job market really, really sucks and has done so for the past while, I am almost certain that my blog has kept me from getting positions at times. I have no actual proof of this, but I would almost be willing to bet on it.

    A friend said to me that glopping through the mud is all part of the process. I don’t like hearing that, but I am coming to find out it actually IS true, and when you have people on your side it makes it a bit easier. Another friend told me, when I went through something similar, to make sure I surround myself with people who are interested in truth and value insight. I would like to pass those words onto you, Breeze. Make sure you stay surrounded with people who support you, and who are not afraid to challenge these things and speak up with you and for you.

    I hope you know that you have the support from people who not only believe in the work that you do, but are inspired to work towards change right along with you. You are not a ‘racist cunt’! You are young, gifted, and black and POWERFUL! And you are making a difference for people now and for future generations. Keep speaking your truth! We are listening. And apparently, so are they!

  21. I want to jump back in on this thread and share a good thing and a bad thing that happened after Breeze so supportively published the link to my article. The good thing is that I received more than fifty much appreciated views from Breeze’s readers over the next two days, and one of these views turned into a “like” from a fellow MSW and very talented visual artist who was able to hear and affirm me. We have started to strike up a conversation on her blog entry at Ta-da! The Vagina Project.

    The bad thing is that a deeply twisted old man who must have worked at Lockheed or NASA during my father’s days on the Space Shuttle Challenger Mission somehow became aware that my article was now receiving this much attention. (How did he know this? Is it paranoid of me to suspect cyber-spying by an ex-Lockheed or NASA employee?) Because my article was getting this level of attention from Breeze’s readers, this man immediately stepped in with a hateful comment. I let the comment stand so that subsequent readers can see the kind of public ridicule and abuse my father received when he brought his case into the science forums over a decade ago.

    I also want to say something about the “racist cunt” part of Breeze’s article, since I have so far responded only to her shunning by prospective employers (because of her race, gender, veganism and politically powerful blog presence – all of which should be celebrated by the academy, and especially by the social work academy).

    From a clinical perspective, I think it is likely that Geoff is attracted to Breeze. He needs to integrate with the reality that Breeze represents in order to become whole. However, it is also likely that Geoff had a domineering mother and a racist father. Or a racist mother and a domineering father. At the unconscious level, Geoff’s attention is attracted to Breeze (hence the energy he put into a comment), but at the conscious level his conditioning will only allow him to interact with Breeze by shaming her. This is unfortunately the only way Geoff knows how to “be a man” (an implicitly psychosexual construction).

    The coming together under Roman Christian colonization (and the historically inaccurate image of a “white Jesus,” as Sandra M explains) of a psychosexual “manhood” that is predicated on sexual cruelty, racial cruelty and animal cruelty is something that the millions of white men and women who reverently watched “The Bible” on the History Channel will need a lot of good therapy – including pastoral counseling – to get over. Their view of loving masculine sexuality (toward women, indigenous people and animals) in the name of Jesus is profoundly distorted.

  22. Gail from Canada on said:

    Eventually the cream rises to the top My Dear. Just keep on rising, and don’t let the spoilers get you down – I truly believe that there are more of “us” (kind, loving hearts with positive intentions towards our fellows) than “them”(closed, ignorant and arrogant haters). Your reasoned and passionate expressions of your painful experiences are heard and valued. You deserve acknowledgement and validation.

  23. SDS on said:

    Hey Breeze,

    I just read the “like a whisper” blog take on your entry. If you don’t mind, I’ll post the comment I made there on your blog as well. I am so fed up with BS of the academy. I am glad I pursued my PhD in my area of passion–all my life I would have wondered “what if.” But the price I’ve had to pay–materially, emotionally and having no professional orientation in my middle age–makes me seriously question the sanity of the decision. Anyhow, here it goes:

    You know it’s bad when: you post an honest, raw paragraph about your own experience with racist academic hiring practices on a blog critical of academia–and it doesn’t get published.

    In short, I wrote that EEOC statements are merely a nice set of words that remain inoperative. Look at humanities/social science faculties across the board. Are they diverse? No. Is it because there are no superb candidates of color? No. It’s because faculties in the humanities/social sciences have internalized racism but they are masters at deluding themselves–through a thicket of theory–that they are inclusive, bright, liberal. Yet, time and again, it’s the wispy blonde who speaks the “subaltern discourse” (my, because we ARE enlightened!) who gets the second round of interviews/campus visit/job over the large woman of color with the same credentials. And, the smoke and mirrors is always the discussion about the impact of “diverse faculties” as if it was actually happening. Once lilly-white, always lilly-white. Oh yes, the token non-white will be there but is buried by whiteness of the faculty majorities. Having faculty of color makes white colleagues have to face their own discomfort and privilege. And who would want that, right?

    • I am currently reading Sara Ahmed’s book about diversity and inclusion and how it is hugely problematic in the English and Australian university system. Has anyone read it?

  24. YaDi on said:

    No, I haven’t. What about “Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia”? I haven’t read it either, but would like to.

    While there are still issues regarding [white] women in academia I don’t think they are as pressing (if at all) as they once were. For one, women have constituted the majority of humanities phd’s in recent years. And I will dare give you a very impressionistic, completely un-methodological observation that I’d be happy to take back if given hard data that proved otherwise: hiring white women over men AND women of color is the way academia fools itself into believing it has a “forward, liberal, diversifying agenda.” It’s still the 70s, apparently.

    Granted: I made it this far in this industry because I had allies but man, did I get screwed especially in the beginning. The allies only came after I had to claw my way in (i.e. earlier post). And, to be sure: there ARE a number of depts/programs around the country that impress me with their very diverse faculties, but the overwhelming majority do not. In addition, if you do your own informal survey, minority hires seem to be limited to the classic pattern of ethnic and field assignation, i.e.black people= african/african american history (of course that is necessary and important, but why are there no black professors in English/French lit? European history?Biology?). Also, a lot of the non-Anglo “ethnic” faculties (i.e. middle easterners/latinos/asians) tend to be on the lighter skin spectrum/”whiter” features of the broader groups they represent.

    Anyhow, thanks again for the healthy space you provide on your blog.

  25. Ano on said:

    I have not read all the comments, but I have visited your blog regularly. I appreciate it’s generally speaking positive attitude, and your enthusiasm and your commitment for your research topic.
    I can relate to some of the frustration. I have been unemployed in the past. It is demoralizing, and just can kill any optimism and hope. I can also imagine that it must be frustrating to received all sorts of hateful, bullying messages. And yet, I think that posting the picture that you posted is overly theatrical. It doesn’t serve anyone, and only gives the trolls that the sort of attention they seek. Counter this negative vibe with positive messages. Why not define yourself through positive matters that are about you, and not about how others treat or view you? Why succumb to this victimhood narrative instead continuing to spread the positive message that you usually have?
    I am not saying that you can’t be sad or offended if someone bullies you. People can be very nasty, but I just think that the best plan of action is not to give in to that, but to rise above it. I am also not sure it is a good idea to mix the issue of cyberbullying and the frustration of not finding a job.

    To be honest some of the content makes me smile, because if I didn’t know it was real, one would be inclined to think that it was a conservative caricature of what a liberal academic is. Many of the categories you invent only exist in your work.
    Now there are many academics who invent some sort of niche theory concepts and build a career out of such a construct. (Whilst labeling anyone who dares to express the slightest criticism as bigotry). I guess in the current economic climate that has become much more difficult. I am not sure institutional racism is to be blamed. At the moment everyone is struggling.

    I cannot expect the public or the government to finance my personal research passions. Imagine I would come up with a Phd on “critical transgender syrian carnivore studies” and then feel an entitlement to get funding for that. Wouldn’t that be absurd?.
    I can understand that it is frustrating not to find a job. I have been in that situation. At the end of the day, it is a question of supply and demand. How much demand is there objectively for “critical race studies oriented emphasis in a social science (critical food geographies)”? If you know the answer to that question, you might consider repositioning yourself in the job market and widening your scope of possible careers. You are smart, you have transferrable skills. It might not be what you want and you might object to idea of viewing the ivory tower of academia in terms of supply and demand, but I think the way forward is not to complain and to whine , but to get more proactive, to fight even harder, to prove your bullies wrong.

    I hope my tone is not too harsh and provoking. If anything I hope that it will wake you up: don’t give in, don’t get stuck in this depressive mode, but continue to fight, to advance your dream and your causes. you might have lost a battle but you have not lost the war as some old cranky imperialist said. It will pay off in the end.. Wish you a lot of luck. I am sure you will find a job.

    • Quick response to one part of your question. I applied to all jobs, not critical food or race studies only. I have been using resume that is reflective of my educational technologies masters training and have basically eliminated what specifically focused on critical race or food studies. So, I just wanted to clarify that I have been applying to everything over the last year and not just what my dissertation focused on. I actually applied to more positions that have nothing to do with my specific doctoral emphasis.

      I think what I am trying to explain is that I am not as frustrated about not getting a job as I am perplexed that I have not had at least one preliminary phone screen.

      I know you are trying to be helpful and not harsh, but I made the choice to express myself even though it isn’t the regular ‘positive strong black woman’ image that everyone is used to. I guess I cant lie or won’t lie that I have not been , to some extent, ‘traumatized’ by repetitive violence against me for simply wanting to show people how racism and white supremacy operate and cause suffering to ALL. I just want to alleviate pain and suffering. I think I am doing pretty well with these interactions, as I have been experiencing this not just during grad school, but since I was a child in an all white rural new England town. I get called a nigger as a child, and instead of finding support I am constantly told to just ‘be strong’ and don’t let them ‘bring you down.’ So, I keep it in for years, suffer alone, and begin to ‘learn’ that when you are called a ‘nigger’ or treated ‘as a nigger’, or even physically attacked by your schoolmates for being the ‘too smart nigger in white rural new england’, YOU need to be the one to keep it to yourself and ‘pretend’ it doesn’t bother you or effect you. Keep on getting straight A’s and show them, that they never kept you from achieving ‘greatness….’

      But this is not emotionally healthy and I feel like it is helpful to show that it cuts deeply and that it should not be tab boo to talk about it or even show, using the imagery that I used for this post, that that is how I realize a significant number of mainstream population have viewed me. It is obvious that I ‘performed’ in a way that showed I can be the ‘talented tenth.’ It is obvious if one looks at what I ‘achieved’, through whiteness euro american standards, that I didn’t let racism ‘hold me down.’ I got straight As in high school. I got into Dartmouth . I got into Harvard for masters program. I got into uc Davis and got a prestigious fellowship two years in a row that no students in my department ever got. I was ranked number one or two in my dept of over one hundred students my first three years in my PhD program. I ‘showed’ signs that I had not let those who see me as ‘nigger’ or ‘cunt’ stop me from achieving my goals I set out to do which was simply to not allow suffering and misery to happen, but to pro actively alleviate it..

      Yet, my latest blog indicates something far deeper and I think it was important for me to show that yes, it hurts me so deeply and that I should not be expected to simply ‘brush it off’ or not give the trolls ‘what they want.’ It is this type of ‘acting’ that manifests into nervous breakdowns, heart attacks, eating disorders, high blood pressure and an early death.

      My question is, Why are so many of us survivors of abuse asked to ‘let go’ of ongoing traumas and violent attacks as if it is so easy? Why is it ‘weird’ for me to FINALLY blog about it and reveal that this ‘successful over achiever black woman of the talented tenth’ suffers and is not immune to it?

      Yes, I do agree that finding a job in this economy is hard for everyone, but why can’t more of us be honest and talk about how it is harder if you are a brown or black person? Yes, I am concerned about how I am perceived because even though people can think what they want about me, thoughts are actions. After working in IT for seven years before going to my PhD program, I heard and experienced ‘violent’ opinions and beliefs about non white, queer, and females by the white male leadership all the time. They were not an anomaly but reflected the perceptions if the mainstream leadership of the USA. I have to be concerned and attentive to this because in all honesty, ignoring it doesn’t make it disappear or make me get a job ‘easier.’

      I am not sure that if I answered you questions, but I am trying to be honest and mindful about it. Thanks for dialoguing with me and appreciate your perceptions.

      • My question is, Why are so many of us survivors of abuse asked to ‘let go’ of ongoing traumas and violent attacks as if it is so easy? Why is it ‘weird’ for me to FINALLY blog about it and reveal that this ‘successful over achiever black woman if the talented tenth’ suffers and is not immune to it?

        Sistah, the Google and Facebook searches (not to mention credit bureau or any other type of intrusive screen a prospective employer elects to do) are a de rigeur/default up front part of the screening process. Your open and candid expressions online mark you as an employer liability all.day.long.

        Some of us have been at violent and transgressive war with racists since 1970, but you would be hard-pressed to link up our aliased online expressions with our real-world (gotta get a job) personas. In the increasingly transparent and panoptic world of digitally mediated ultrasociality, your digital footprint determines your eligibility for consideration.

        There is no utility in holding on to negative emotions http://www.holybooks.com/the-psychology-of-mans-possible-evolution/

      • What I find very unsettling about this is that I am being blamed for actually wanting to not be ‘passive’, but actually want to make sure that the suffering and pain that racism, sexism, white supremacy causes is alleviated. That is what is really astounding to me. Had everyone just been ‘passive’ and done what they needed to do to get a ‘job’, then how would injustices have ever been dealt with? It sounds like you are suggesting that I should have been silent my entire life and not ‘dare’ to want to do something about the structural oppression I see happening all around me. This logic does not make sense to me.

        Let me clarify: I am not ‘holding on'; what I am trying to explain is that I am told to ‘let go’ as if I’m ‘holding on’. I am trying to explain that if someone is physically beaten every day, doesn’t it seem absurd to simply dismiss it and say, “why don’t you just let go’?” That is what I was trying to say.

        what is also disturbing to me that it’s just going to always be accepted that things should be this way and continue this way. Instead of more people demanding that we aren’t punished for trying to alleviate suffering and pain caused by this colonialist/imperialist configuration of reality, we are instead told that we should not have an online profile that shows that we are not going to be silent about this. Or, if we don’t have an online profile, we are told we should not have done our college or graduate work that tries to alleviate structural oppression. We are told to ‘play along’ even though it’s killing the planet, our souls, etc.

      • You should be unsettled, because CNu is 1) blaming you at exactly the therapeutic moment you deserve emotional and intellectual validation, 2) suppressing your voice, and 3) portraying himself as your racism-fighting, job-hunting, reality-checking friend in the process.

      • And now that I think about this more, this is how racism at work, sexual harassment at work, homophobia at work, etc get perpetuated. And not just at work, but everywhere. Most people do not want to say anything or stick up for the ‘lower person’ they see being violated; or even more if they are being violated themselves, they can’t say or do anything because they are retaliated against. WHY? Because they are in fear of losing their ability to ‘get promoted’ or at least, keep their job (which is understandable). I think about how , years later, one finds out that for example, a high profile coach was sexually violating boys in the shower, but no one said anything even though enough people knew about it at PennState. WHY WHY WHY? And if you do say something, you are immediately blamed for it; such ‘unsilence’ ‘ruins’ your future opportunity to secure employment or you are seen as a ‘liability’. So, a ‘liability’ for those who want to benefit from being ‘the abuser’? That is how read ‘in between the lines’ of what you are suggesting CNu. And yes, it is unsettling because I am that ‘annoying’ person during my time in IT that did say something when racism, sexism, homophobia, etc was expressed or enacted by another. CNu, I know you are trying to ‘help’ me, but it seems like I am unable to communicate to you effectively enough. At a certain point of my life, I could not handle the environment and had to LEAVE. See , I COULD have stayed and been making six figures by now, but sorry, my SOUL could not handle me having to be ‘silent’ and try not to be a ‘liability’ to the company. I am not sure how to explain that my soul suffers every time I witness violations and abuse but consciously ‘choose’ to remain silent. Is there nothing to be said about such soul-hurt? (sigh)

      • This analysis, Breeze, is precisely one of the reasons I view your blog as evidence that you would be a human resources ASSET to workplace safety – not a liability. I agree with you: in my view, the only potential employers who will be anxious are the ones who have something to hide. Employers who are seriously concerned about workplace safety (and thereby effectiveness) should treasure your principles, not fear them.

      • I guess I am completely misinterpreting CNu (?). I don’t know.

  26. There is no “between the lines” in anything I’ve written Sistah. I’m making it straight up, simple, and plain. When I was in the 8th grade in 1976, and the third black admit to a previously all-white, ultra-conservative private independent school, a pair of seniors decided to beat me into submission, i.e., to put me in my place via violence. I punctured one’s lung with the tines of a garden rake, and fractured the other’s skull with the handle of the same rake. There is a world of difference between the real racist antagonisms suffered “back in the day” and the hurty feelings material which is the stuff of race studies in higher ed nowadays.

    We could go on with these anecdotes for hours, and possibly triangulate comparative levels of living memory severity of conflict. Of course, anything I experienced as a second-generation active environment integrator, pales in significance to what my parents each experienced in their respective public/private places of employment as first generation active integrators.

    In the late 80’s, I became an EEO counselor as “another duty assigned” at a federal workplace, and assisted dozens of women successfully adjudicate pay and performance discrimination complaints. In the course of 30 odd years of progressively responsible professional engagement, at both public and private sector workplaces, both inside and outside the U.S., I’ve witnessed very real discrimination along most possible lines and I’ve assisted dozens of folks over time remedying, adjudicating, and otherwise obtaining recourse as against offenders. The first and final thing one must consider in handling any of these situations is the ability of the complainant to meet basic standards of administrative and legal evidence.

    That’s always the most difficult initial obstacle to overcome. Because these cases are not decided on the basis of hurt feelings, they’re decided on the basis of hard evidence of disparate treatment and a cold and clinical recitation of the evidence dispositive of the same.

    In the past year, I engineered the professional anihilation of a senior executive who was not only racist, sexist, and homophobic, but also profoundly corrupt as well. This individual was a retired flag officer from the U.S. Army, so there’s no telling how much damage he managed to perpetrate over the course of his career, but I imagine it was considerable. This individual was taken apart through careful and systematic disclosures to a journalist who was able to compile a devastating case against the individual – which case was taken directly to the court of public opinion.

    Nowhere in any of this process EVER – have I spoken out against any of the individual perpetrators, rather, I have quietly, efficiently and effectively taken direct action to see that their just deserts are delivered to them along a very short and accelerated arc of justice.

    We all have to pick our battles Sistah. As I indicated to you a few days ago, you have some mindblowing decisions to make wrt whether to continue along the path of outspoken quixotic unemployed and unemployable speaker of “truth to power”, or, taking up the actual, on-the-ground, systemically engaged discipline which requires your proven knowledge, skill, and potential ability, but here-to-date undisciplined and unproven emotional intelligence and personal self-restraint.

    All that Ivy League access and exposure (and it is most precious) will do you no good and the rest of us no good until and unless you get it engaged with the system you want to change. Sunday morning I saw this elder Judge Billy Murphy Jr. swinging the biggest possible public intellectual anti-racist bat from a national platform. FAR more impressed with this cat than I could possibly be with myself. He broke down some things in a way that I hadn’t previously considered, and in a few minutes, had me thinking differently about hood violence than I have been thinking about it for years.

    I’d like to see you be all you can be too. This is all…..,

    • CNu, I understand that you are trying to help me, but I do hear a lot of what you are saying coming from the view point of a MAN of COLOR and am wondering, to what effect, being a man gives you more leverage to do what you have mentioned above. When I have these conversations with WOMEN of COLOR, we are acutely aware of how color+gender play into what we are trying to achieve. My father is a light skinned African American, and until he met my mother, a ‘darker than a brown bag’ woman, he had no idea how very different colorism and sexism played out on my mother’s life and her ability to be seen as a human being with something ‘valid’ to offer and say. I apologize I am unable to fully articulate this to you, but there is something to be said about not just being a brown or black person, but a black or brown WOMAN identified person who is attempting to become a ‘professional’ diversity and inclusion specialist. I have been ‘mindful’ and not ‘violent’ when writing my blog over the past years and have referred many times to scholarship, books, scholars, etc., in the social science world who can validate my observations. Sistah Vegan is supposed to be a ‘professional’ blog and an alternatie media outlet that better translates my academic professional work more for the ‘lay person’. Even though they are not permanent positions, the blog has allowed me to be hired numerous times by universities to give talks about critical diversity issues in food and wellness. I have been told many times that it is because I show emotional vulernability (or emotions at all!) that my audience is better able to connect to me that they can’t really connect to as well, with uber professional emotionally ‘self-restrained’ speakers who pretend to be ‘immune’ to it all. Does that make sense? So, you’re telling me one thing (which I’m trying to understand) and then the positive feedback I get from the universities who hire me to speak, are telling me another thing (i.e.: we saw your blog, viewed your videos, and want to hire you to speak because of you passion, your emotional investment, and your desire for social justice)… and then I get confused. LOL.

      When I say I ‘say something’ when someone says something racist, sexist, etc, I meant that I say something to whomever is in charge.

      Best
      Breeze

      • Sistah, I’m not here to argue with you or to criticize.

        As I hope you’re aware, higher-ed is on the cusp of an unprecedented economic collapse and serial institutional failures. So for that reason, taking the model of higher-ed, with it’s own comparatively arcane sensibilities as your baseline is probably ill-advised.

        Prof. Susurro told plenty about the far less than ideal realities of the academy. So Sistah – why we even entertaining those notions this late in the day?

        If on the other hand, you can attract a large enough and lucrative enough following as an autonomous and sought after public intellectual, more power to you. Less compelling voices than your own are regularly holding forth on teevee just about any day of the week.

        Your KSA’s (knowledge/skill/ability) are fungible. The sooner you come to terms with the intrinsic unfairness of disparate treatment situations, i.e., not as questions of morality or rectitude, rather, as questions of policy, procedural, and regulatory violations of grievable rights, then you will have crossed over into real world application.

        If conventional private or public sector employment is what you seek and what you require, so long as you deal in terms of the unsustainable and soon to be forgotten emotionally safe spaces and other fictions contrived in the academy – and set that as your baseline – you’re not going to receive consideration for hire. The default google search will be the alpha and the omega of your viability as a prospective new hire.

        Good luck either way you elect to proceed.

      • @CNu: I came back to this thread because I could not sleep without apologizing for misreading you as a fellow white male. Then I read your latest entry, and I am sorry, but who you say you are is not adding up for me. You say, “Sistah, I’m not here to argue with you or to criticize,” but that is plainly not true. You just blasted her with “here-to-date undisciplined and unproven emotional intelligence and personal self-restraint.” You have yet to justify that criticism, to acknowledge the irony of it, or to cite any specific evidence from this thread (or from a “default Google search”) of a concrete example why Breeze should be discounted by a prospective employer.

        If you were in charge of hiring new employees for your organization, and you put your real name and job title behind what you have just written on this thread, would you be valued for upholding “regulations,” or fired for insensitivity and discrimination? Aren’t you just hiding behind anonymity to make hurtful and suppressive assertions that no prospective employers could ever actually say without opening up their organizations to justified lawsuits?

    • @CNu: You make a powerful argument, but what specifically are you referring to when you reference Breeze’s “here-to-date undisciplined and unproven emotional intelligence and personal self-restraint?” Is there something you can cite on this thread, for example, as evidence? And whether you cite a fragment of Breeze’s text or not, can you validate how painfully ironic it must be for a vegan mother with Breeze’s track record of success to receive your assertion that she lacks discipline, emotional intelligence and personal self-restraint? How can these not be qualities that you see in her narrative?

  27. YaDi on said:

    Breeze is not putting forth “feelings’ are arguments.

    In fact, she stated her frustration at not getting even an interview/interest and wondered if her field of studies might have anything to do with it.

    I happen to think that she is not “just speculating,” “imagining” or fallen prey to “distorted thinking.” Her field of studies is provocative to a white establishment–regardless of her race. However, given that she IS black and that it is very easy to corroborate that online means that she has at least two strikes against her in an already terrible market. So: controversial field+being black+being a woman=slim odds. I’ve witnessed this time and time again. Yes, there are exceptions, we all know that.

    I work in an increasingly popular and uncontroversial field and even with that I had a really hard time.

    a) I was denied funding based on my national origin (as explicitly stated by the chair, let’s call him a FIRST male professor. Furthermore, I’m not blonde/blue eyed which would have helped “overcome” the national origins which was, in fact, code for “too dark”). Had I been able to record what what that man said I might have moved forth with litigation. But I never dreamed I would be told something like that. Who does? b) I was told by a SECOND male professor that I seemed like a nice woman but that I did not have the talent for doctoral studies. Years later he apologized in a roundabout way c)A THIRD male professor asked me if I was legally in the country and c) a FOURTH male professor, after reminding him for the umpteenth time that I was not from country X but country Y in Latin America, simply waved his gaffe off with the comment– I kid you not–”it’s all Indians anyway.” This is circa 2003.

    During a post-doc (circa 2008 at a public university in a state renown for being “liberal”) I wanted to put together a course on Brazil/race but my mentor/the program director told me to change the title of the course proposal/contents because “it would make people nervous” and otherwise not get approved. So, if this is the case for a simple course title in a state university renown for its liberal orientation I can only imagine that Breeze’s amazing portfolio/persona is treated as kryptonite by countless departments/programs in the academy and private sector.

    As Cnu states, we could go on with endless anecdotes.

    However, my experience, that of Breeze and of countless other women of culture is corroborated by hard, demonstrable, scientific evidence that CNu seems to be surprisingly unaware of (as well as the hard and well respected social scientific/social theory that he also seems to overlook).

    In general: the market is sinking, but minority PhD’s have grown and faculties simply do not reflect this. The answer? Yet another committee on how “hire and retain” faculty of color with money that is spent lord knows how and ultimately leads nowhere.

    http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/WomenMinorityHiring.htm

    http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08311/

    There are tons of resources/reliable data gathered by government and reputable organizations that show that there are increasing numbers of minorities getting doctoral degrees in the sciences and humanities but faculties don’t hire them. And, here is evidence that faculty of color know the truth to the BS arguments of “there aren’t enough qualified candidates.”

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/31/minority-faculty-university-pennsylvania-question-presidents-commitment-diversity

    Also, take a look at this ex-academics experience:

    http://worstprofessorever.com/guest-post-death-of-a-soul-on-campus/

    I could go on and on and on. The evidence is there and it backs Breeze’s intuition as being way, way more than “hurt feelings.”

    You know who should hire Breeze if they were actually serious about “diversity inclusion”? Academia.

    • co-sign and concede nearly all of what YaDi wrote.

      It was not my intention to dismiss Sistah’s contentions, rather, it was to clearly delineate the pragmatically consequential distinction to be drawn between publicly “calling these issues out” – and – getting embedded in the system in such a way as to acquire tactical knowledge, skill and ability to be able to effect administrative and legal remedies and changes.

      It is my cynical conclusion that no institution is any more serious about diversity inclusion than their legal counsel and insurance risk management folk compel them to be on the basis of financial materiality*. (* used in the GAAP sense of “meaningful from a governance and financial liability” perspective )

      At this moment, by dint of her digital footprint, Sistah has forestalled any possibility of acquiring the means of pragmatic institutional engagement.

      When in doubt on this topic, I default to Manuel Garcia Jr’s sage admonition:

      commentary on racism is most incisive when it keeps its focus on the economic dimension — which I believe is central — rather than the emotionalism about “hate” wallowed in to excess by infotainment for the unthinking. It is better to focus on the intent and the purposes of the racism, which are to create and maintain economic disparities. From such focal points, one can advance policy and law enforcement arguments to eliminate these imbalances. Then, you are speaking about the here and now in a clear, unvarnished and rational manner. This can be extremely hard-hitting without being pitiful and cloying. This is in the spirit of Malcolm X and Frantz Fanon, and that is momentum, that is self-respect, that is pride. If we got enough of this, it might also be revolution.

      http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2008/03/when-reality-is-too-much.html

      Everything else is merely conversation….,

  28. YaDi on said:

    It takes speaking out as well, even when “embedded” within the system (re: the upenn article on faculty of color I posted). We need to work on two fronts: from outside and within the system. That is why I applaud the UPenn faculty of color for daring to speak up, in unison, within the system to criticize individuals who are obstructing progress (as the man you flushed out). More faculty of power in relative positions of power should speak up, organize, protest. They are in a structural capacity to do so.

    What is to be done if people cannot even step into the system? Sit back and be quiet? You managed to get into a position of power to effect change. Most do not because no one dared speak up before them–you, too, owe a lot to decades of overt public protest and should not delude yourself into thinking otherwise.

    There is a need for new activism in an age of more subtle, liberal micro-aggressive racism, especially now when the bad economy because the perfect cover to further segregate industries and the academy.

    The internet is the new public street and I applaud Breeze for speaking truth to power with a name and a face, unlike you and me who do not dare to go public with a name and a face.

  29. YaDi and CNu are making some exceptionally helpful points here, but I fear they might be making them more at Breeze’s expense than they intend or realize.

    The internet is not only the new public street, it is also the new open-source classroom in the virtual academy. Breeze’s academic work and her writing on this blog ARE ALREADY “systemically embedded activism.”

    It is one thing to rely on anonymity to safely validate Breeze’s emotional ventilation and analysis. But when the same shield of anonymity is used to pathologize Breeze as emotionally undisciplined, and to bludgeon her into an absolute no-win situation of “take down your blog or you will never get hired,” I get concerned.

    I completely agree that all lines of evidence (as cited by Breeze, YaDi, CNu and several other commenters on this thread) indicate that Breeze is getting passed over by prospective employers because of her race, gender, veganism, and eloquent outspoken blog presence. All four of these factors are working against her, and for any given prospective employer, it may be just one of these factors that really work against her, even as the other three may be viewed as assets.

    This does not mean Breeze is behaving immaturely on this blog; it does not mean her voice is “merely conversation,” [i.e., code for economically counterproductive "feminine venting"]; it does not mean that a prospective employer has a sound legal, moral or bottom-line reason to overlook her job application; and it does not NECESSARILY mean that she needs to give up her blogging or she will never make it in the academic, public or corporate sectors.

    YaDi and CNu are obviously trying to support Breeze with “real world” advice, and in the final analysis, their feedback may be more reality-based than my own. I cannot promise that Breeze will eventually be hired by an employer who values her true worth (whether she blogs or not). I cannot promise that she will escape various forms of devastating retaliation for her race and gender (whether she blogs or not). Certainly YaDi and CNu understand this better than I do, and are contributing essential pieces of the puzzle that cannot be overlooked. I just wish it didn’t read like some of these pieces were dooming Breeze to certain failure and pathologizing her therapeutically, intellectually and economically valuable blogging.

  30. Pingback: Part 2: Dissecting the Implications of “Racist Cunt”: Reflections from Post-PhD ‘Post-Racial’ Land. | The Sistah Vegan Project

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