I am not fatigued. I am heartsick. The discussion I have seen so far isn’t enough to explain to me how educated women, experienced women, and academics of both sexes, fell for a long-running act that blew up at several points, enough that someone this shady and sleazy, whose past screw-ups on the internet, could still be admitted to a position of leadership among feminists. I feel as if we turned into a collective of Kitty Genovese’s neighbors, where plenty of us remembered the times he screwed up and mouthed off before, but were convinced that someone else higher up on the power chain also remembered and would boot him out.
And no one did. And he will keep coming back, as will other snake oil salesmen like him, because there is a serious flaw in our community, not to want to say any emperor or empress is walking around naked, or to silence the fat and disabled and people of color who cry buffalo puckey because this charming sinner speaks the right rhetoric and spells well and has Academic! Credentials!
I’m weary of this but not done with it, because until the people you cite admit they screwed up and until everyone starts talking about the big gaping hole of privilege that allowed this obscenity to take place–more than once–this will continue to keep happening. Let those who are in it for entertainment go watch YouTube or something, but they mustn’t come crying back and asking what happened when another affaire Hugo kicks us all in the teeth. They had the chance to work on it here and now, but they got bored.
Tamora Pierce (!!!!! <— my expression when I saw this because really, Tamora Pierce! commenting on this here blog!) left the comment above in my post from yesterday about Outrage fatigue and tabloid culture.
And her comment gives me way to expand on something I’ve been thinking about. Ms. Pierce says “[many] were convinced that someone else higher up on the power chain also remembered and would boot him out.” and I believe one of the many ways the race issue played in this situation is because many people are “scared” that if they speak up, they are somehow giving space to the “anger of the mean women of color who, OMG they are always so full of rage and what if they come after me next?”. Which is why there is so little white solidarity for Black, Latina, Asian, etc women when they (we) are attacked. One of the ways white supremacy manifests is working through two fronts 1) if we “allow” them to pick on one white person, they will come after the rest of us next 2) these women “see things” that are not really that bad. Which is why I am sure Ms. Pierce is right, many witnesses thought “someone else would do something” and of course, many did not want to get involved because what if those who were holding positions of authorities then denied them access to the table?
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