Further schisms in the Left, as observed on Everyday Feminism

I read HuffPo and Everyday Feminism (not obsessively!) to find out what the Regressive Left is up to, just as I look at Breitbart and The Daily Wire to see what the Right is thinking. Everyday Feminism is notable for its extreme denigration of white men at the expense of everyone else (they offer a course on “Healing from Toxic Whiteness“), its “listicles” about the ways you’re ideologically impure and can rectify your behavior, and courses on “self care” to help you heal from all their accusations. But it’s also notable for seeing how finely they can divide the feminist Left, by whittling away ever more people who thought they were “allies”.

So, for example, we have this piece (click on all screenshots to go to article):

Here we see that being black or Hispanic is not sufficient to participate in meetings of people of color, for if you are a Hispanic or black with lighter skin, you enjoy a privilege that you may want to consider before you start attending meetings of BIPOC (“black, indigenous and people of color”). In general, Dacumos’s answer is yes, you shouldn’t automatically count yourself as a person of color if your skin is light (note: this doesn’t automatically mean that you have white ancestry), because privilege.  As the author notes:

To be fair, us light-skinned and white-passing people cannot just snap our fingers and nullify colorism. We cannot return our privilege to the Privilege Store.

But, there are some things we can do to address our privilege, like not automatically assuming that we are entitled to be in all BIPOC spaces all the time.

And, after all, who can count themselves as BIPOC? (My emphasis in below.)

Being able to determine whether someone appears to be Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color is complicated and contested, and often depends on many different factors and contexts. For example, some BIPOC may only be seen as such when they are with other BIPOC.

But the examples of former NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal and respected Indigenous Studies scholar Andrea Smith, people who were enriched through claiming BIPOC identities even though they may not have any BIPOC ancestry, have highlighted that there might be a problem with uncritically accepting self-identification.

So we have not just a schism among BIPOC based on degree of pigmentation, but a schism about who “identifies” as a person of color. Not everybody who does that, apparently, can be taken seriously (Dolezal is a notable example). And if there’s “a problem with uncritically accepting self-identification”, where does that leave gender? After all, Everyday Feminism is an unrelenting advocate of using preferred gender identifications and pronouns. If a light-skinned black who feels black shouldn’t necessarily be regarded as black, what about a biological man who identifies as a woman, or even as a group of persons (“they”)?

In the end, Dacumos admonishes light-skinned BIPOC to think carefully before they go to gatherings of people of color, not to dominate the discussions (are the number of words you’re allowed to say proportional to your degree of pigmentation?), and to ensure that you have extra compassion for “darker-skinned Black and Indigenous people” who, she says, have been more oppressed than you.

There’s no doubt that lighter-skinned blacks have had an easier time of it: if your skin is sufficiently white, like that of Krazy Kat cartoonist George Herriman, you can actually pass for white and completely avoid racism. But by parsing people who identify as Black or Hispanic based on skin color, Dacumos is committing the error of dividing up single ethnic groups by degree of oppression, which is said to be proportional to pigmentation. That’s seems a bit on the divisive side, I think.  Barack Obama was light skinned and half white, but I was perfectly happy, as was the black community, to see him called the first African-American president.

As for further feminist divisiveness, there’s this piece on the same page:

For a short while, Israeli actor Gal Gadot, who played Wonder Woman, was sort of a feminist hero, someone who was praised for empowering young girls. Then the Regressive Left discovered that she was not only an Israeli, but had served (as nearly all Israelis must) in the IDF, the Israeli military. Oops! Well, that was it for Gadot, because, you know, and as the article says, she’s a Zionist, an agent of an oppressive regime, and of course everyone knows that “Zionism. . . contradicts the core values of the movement [feminism].”  As if Islam in Palestine doesn’t!

Author Hadiya Abdelrahman concludes this:

I, for one, refuse to celebrate Gadot’s Zionist “feminism.” It cannot take precedence over the voices and struggles of the Palestinian women who fight every day for their basic humanity.

But, while I’d love to discuss the many reasons why it is hypocritical to call yourself a feminist if you support the Zionist occupation of Palestine, we’ll leave that for another time.

For now, I’d rather make some space to discuss some badass women who exist and resist every day.

Here are five Palestinian women who have fought the world for their humanity — this is for them.

Well, one of the five Palestinian “wonder women” happens to be Rasmea Odeh (who was celebrated by Linda Sarsour), a Palestinian terrorist murderer. Convicted of involvement in a terrorist bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969 that killed two Hebrew University students and injured 9, Odeh admitted guilt, was sentenced to life in an Israeli prison, was released after 10 years in a prisoner exchange, and then moved to the U.S., working as associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago. She was found out, convicted of immigration fraud for lying about her criminal past, and will soon be deported.

Yet she’s a “wonder woman”! Abdelrahman calls Odeh a “political prisoner” (wrong!), and celebrates her like this:

A few months ago, after three and a half years in court and a few months in jail, Odeh accepted a plea deal in which she agreed to give up her U.S citizenship and leave the country. She entered and left court surrounded and celebrated by dozens of supporters.

Odeh is the embodiment of the strength and resilience of Palestinian women; she holds the ability to survive and thrive and continues to build empires out of the dust of violence and loss.

Odeh embodies Palestinian resistance. I hope that, by ending with her, you might better understand why it is so important to celebrate, recognize, and learn from the strength of Palestinian women — not only as feminists but also as human beings.

Forget Gal Gadot: let’s celebrate someone who killed two civilians and injured nine as a Wonder Woman of the “Palestinian resistance.”

Seriously, doesn’t murdering civilians disqualify you as a “Wonder Woman”? Give me Gal Gadot any day.

But such are the regressives in third wave feminism, extolling a society in which women are oppressed and celebrating women who kill members of a society in which women have full rights. The world has gone mad.

h/t: Cindy


  1. Posted August 14, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Not telling the truth on immigration papers is acceptable when the person has acceptable views. It is not acceptable, when the person has not acceptable views (like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which is often demonized for this).

    You once posted this excellent review on authoritarian thinking. An short excerpt:

    When they like the behaver, the behavior is acceptable; when they dislike the behaver, the behavior is not.

    It’s still tremendously useful to explain the often contradictory behavior and demands of these people, and their many blatant doublestandards.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I noticed the same thing at Charlottesville and on other occasions. The white supremacists are (rightly) vilified for their anti-Semitism, but the regressive left require anti-Semitism for ideological purity.

      • Craw
        Posted August 15, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Are you saying we should condemn violence and hatred and bigotry from all sides?

    • Tim D
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      There’s a number of experiments which support Jerry’s point about the perception of behaviour. Here’s a description of one taken from The Financial Times (‘The Problem with Facts’):

      “The researchers showed students footage of a demonstration and spun a yarn about what it was about. Some students were told it was a protest by gay-rights protesters outside an army recruitment office against the military’s (then) policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Others were told that it was an anti-abortion protest in front of an abortion clinic.

      Despite looking at exactly the same footage, the experimental subjects had sharply different views of what was happening — views that were shaped by their political loyalties. Liberal students were relaxed about the behaviour of people they thought were gay-rights protesters but worried about what the pro-life protesters were doing; conservative students took the opposite view.”

  2. eric
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    There’s an interesting parallel between the first part of your article and the second part. I would personally argue that Dolezal’s mistake/’crime’ was that she lied to her chosen community. Had she shown up at meetings and laid out her real story, and they had accepted her, her election to club office would’ve been no problem. Their club, their rules after all. Skip down to the case of Odeh and we see a similar thing. She’s being deported for lying about her background.

    Thus it seems to me there is a pretty easy way to – at least partially – answer this question of who belongs in what community, without having to resort to deciding who is sufficiently victimized or whatever. You want to join, you be honest to your prospective community/club/group about who you are and your motives for wanting to join. See if they accept you. If so, there won’t be any of these sorts of problems down the road. Who belongs in BIPOC? Anyone who shows up, is honest about who they are, and gets accepted. Skin color test not required to resolve that issue.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      So kind of like the Klan, then.

  3. Kevin
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Religion makes fools of women and it never makes them heroines.

    Covered and chaste. It’s Mary’s way or the highway.

    I choose Diana over a murderous thug.

  4. Dave
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I believe the Afrikaner race theorists who ran South Africa up till the early 1990s constructed the most detailed system for classifying a person’s “colour” and thereby deciding how many “privileges” he or she was allowed to enjoy. Perhaps the editors of “Everyday Feminism” should invite one to write an article explaining to their readers how to do it.

  5. Gareth Price
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Does this work both ways? I am a white, middle-class, heterosexual male: if I take one of these DNA tests and discover that I have a small amount of African or Native American ancestry, am I allowed to feel a little less guilty about myself?

    • W.Benson
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Most definitely not. DNA testing is a white male invention.

      • Posted August 15, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        DNA itself is a white male invention. I know Rosalind Franklin was involved, but her whiteness counteracts her womanhood (obviously), so she can be ignored.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Time was — and it wasn’t that long ago, within the living memory of our host and many of the rest of us here — a positive result on a test like that could’ve cost you your right to vote, your right to marry the spouse of your choosing, and the opportunity to live in a decent neighborhood (along with pretty much every other right or opportunity worth having in these United States).

      It was known as the one-drop rule.

  6. Bob Bottemiller
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    There was a skit on Saturday Night Live long ago* in which one black cast member and guest Julian Bond were discussing the theory that whites were inherently smarter than blacks. (Was that about the Charles Whats-his-name “Bell Curve” book?)
    After agreeing that the theory was crap, Bond proposed that, in contrast, it is true that light-skinned blacks (Bond) were smarter than darker blacks.
    The audience got the joke — that hypocrisy and self-serving can easily dominate morality.

    *IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0694655/

  7. Phil Rounds
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I agree.
    But i still prefer “extreme left” to “regressive left”. Since i’m a recently branded centrist, i see the political spectrum as a very linear construct.
    I always thought i was a relatively extreme liberal, but it seems the left has left me behind and gone farther left!

    Today is a kind of milestone for me. I just officially changed my political status from “no party affiliation” to Democrat. I hope i’m not too late.

    • yazikus
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      I gave in this last election cycle, and so now am the recipient of solicitation calls from the Democrats. I politely let them know which issues I hope they’ll put center stage, and that my discretionary political spending will be going to local candidates.

      I like to think it ends up informing the party as to what people care about, but who knows.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I just officially changed my political status from “no party affiliation” to Democrat.

      This is something I don’t understand about American politics. What do you mean by “officially changed my political status” – there is a government database of some sort? Well, that’s what “official” means – managed by officers paid from the public purse for whatever reason.
      In the UK, you simply join a private club of your choice. No government registration or databasing – it’s just a club membership. So Relevant to my work and my politics, I’m a member of a trade union, and a Fellow of my professional body (a “royal” society, even). No problem there. I’ve also been a member of both Scottish and UK Labour parties at different times (and currently a member of the UK party, but not Scottish. But from times past as a volunteer for the trade union, I’ve also known members who were literally card-carrying Communists, Conservatives, Orangemen (the far-right of Ulster, closely overlapping with the DUP), and British National Party members (effectively Nazis, but with a couple of PR-savvy people skulking in the wings) – all within the industrial tool of the trade union. There’s nothing to prevent people from simultaneously being a member of left-wing and right-wing political organisations.
      There’s nothing stopping me, as a card-carrying Labour member from going out tomorrow and getting membership of the Conservative, SNP, Liberal and Kipper parties. Though the only worthwhile reason would be to get placed as a spy in one or other of their camps.

      • Historian
        Posted August 14, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        In the United States there are elections called primaries. In these elections, candidates from the same political party vie against each for the party’s nomination to face the candidate from the other political party later in the year in the general election. Each state sets its own rules as to who can vote in these elections. In some states a person can show up at the polling place on primary day and simply ask for a Republican or Democratic ballot. In other states, a person is required to declare his/her political party to a county official no later than a certain time before the primary election. In this situation an official declaration of party affiliation takes place.

        • Posted August 15, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          What Historian said, but also the parties are not government entities. So each party has a database, but they are not “government databases.”

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 20, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

          So, what happens if you want to vote for an unrecognised candidate in the election? Chicken, or egg?

  8. mfdempsey1946
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    The Oppression Olympics ride again.

    Who (this week) wins the Gold Medal for Most Oppressed?

    Forget the Silver, let alone the Bronze (which looks like a cheap piece of tin, right?).

    Because as a gangster says in “The Big Combo” (1955): “First is first, and second is nowhere.”

  9. yazikus
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand the Gal Gadot hate. She seems (from what I’ve seen) like a very nice and thoughtful person.

    It shouldn’t have to be an either or whether one can enjoy a super-hero movie vs. not supporting Palestinian oppression.

    A great film with an interesting perspective is Salt of This Sea.

    • Posted August 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t understand the Gal Gadot hate.”

      People don’t like Jews.

  10. denise
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    There are enough people who say “how high?” when they say “jump” to make these folks feel endlessly powerful. In the bubble in which they exist there is almost no purity test they can dream up that their sycophants won’t line up to pass in ordered to be approved as “allies”.

    And after that there will be yet another one, each one more absurd than the one before. They can’t stop. They’re drunk on their own power.

  11. Carey
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps this is what we should expect from groups who don’t respect science, logic, or even common sense. Wasnt the civil rights movement about not judging individuals by the color of their skin?

  12. Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Both sides are awful. I’m now making a new political direction. I’m part of the Far Up.

  13. drew
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Ahh yes, to quote MLK Jr.

    I have a dream: That one day my children will be judged on the color of their skin, and that they’re deemed dark enough to be speak their opinion.

  14. Posted August 14, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm.. I’m wondering if I could make money on that site by selling light meters to measure skin albedo. I have a feeling it would backfire when some SJWs would inevitably confuse ‘albedo’ with ‘libido’ and think it was based on some racial stereotype.

  15. Posted August 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Instead of having to check everyone with a Panatone Matching System swatch at the door-let’s have mandatory DNA testing instead, with everyone having to live with their results.

  16. Rita
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    When Barack Obama was running for President in 2004, someone suggested he wasn’t “really black”. He answered that if they had doubts, they could come watch him trying to hail a cab on the south side of Chicago!

  17. Vaal
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    (From the article): “Being able to determine whether someone appears to be Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color is complicated and contested, and often depends on many different factors and contexts.”

    Hey, I have an easier idea: how about just accepting people as people, instead of spending your days determining hierarchies and taxonomies of grievances, and establishing ever finer in and out groups?

    I grew up on a very multicultural setting, with a mix of “white” friends and from other ethnic groups. Most of my friends and family dated or married someone from a different ethnic group. In fact the majority of my friends and family dated or married someone from a different ethnic group. (We now have extended Indian and Japanese family, for instance). Same goes for homosexuality: we all had friends who were gay, and I have a number of gay family members. No one bats an eye. No one is making lists of who can and can’t be on the list. We aren’t teaching each other to focus on our differences and inspect and erect every possible division we can find. No, if you are human “join the group!” As long as you aren’t an a-hole that is. You’ll be judged on who you are and how you act, not on your skin color or sexual orientation.

    I’m quite sure this is how most people here approach other people. I am first tempted to feel bemused by watching feminists and other leftists tying themselves into self-eating knots as in “why are you DOING this to yourselves?”

    But then when I think these folks may be part of a movement that could actually undo some of the progress in creating harmony (and color-blindness), and my kids could grow up in such an unnecessarily tempestuous milieu, then I get worried and angry.

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    So are there established levels of privilege for all seven of the recognized shades from high-yaller to dark brown?

    The piece in Everyday Feminism is nonsense, of course, but there’s no gainsaying that being light-skinned has historically been an advantage in being first across the color-line. Look at the pictures of those who’ve made that trip; you’ll find a lot more Harry Belafontes and Colin Powells and Vanessa Williamses, than you will Hattie McDaniels and Butterfly McQueens.

    • Vaal
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes I agree with that.

      In fact it’s one of my biggest pet peeves about movie and TV casting: when you see a black person in a commercial or TV role (if it’s not for instance someone who gained fame elsewhere, e.g. an athlete) so often it seems like they have been chosen to be light skinned and “inoffensive and unchallenged looking” to the audience.

      I’ve worked on so many TV series that if I know there is a black cast member I can virtually tell you the type before I even see him/her; inevitably lighter skinned than average. (The case with the show I’m working on now, the previous show, the one before…)

      It drives me nuts how afraid casting directors seem of dark skinned black people!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        And it’s certainly not limited to showbiz.

        Which makes me flash back many years to reading Jonathan Kozol’s first book, Death at an Early Age, about his days teaching public school in Boston’s black neighborhoods. He said that by the time he got them in fourth grade, his students had already come to expect that their white teachers’ classroom pets would be the light-skinned kids.

  19. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Part of the problem with the lefts obsessive anti Israel stance is the amount of absurdly ridiculous claims against Israel and the Israeli Defense Force.

    Someone like Abby Martin on Joe Rogan show came out with most outlandish and absurd claims.

    As with many things, massive ignorance and misinformation is the driving force for hatred.

    • Posted August 15, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      How did Joe react? I haven’t spent much (any) time listening to his podcast, but I’ve heard he can be quite sympathetic to some pretty nasty characters and ideas.

  20. jay
    Posted August 15, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Everyday feminism supplies a great source of basis for wry humor and entertainment in David Thompson’s typepad blog.

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