BROWNFEMIPOWER, WOC, AND THE APPROPRIATION OF LIVES LIVED

A few days ago I put up a post on I.C.E. doing random-search-and-seizures of immigrants on Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains. I decided to go over to Brownfemipower’s site to see if she had put up a similar post. I wanted to do so because if  she so happened to have posted on I.C.E.’s attacks on immigrants, I was going to give her a hattip—-even though I got the article from another source. I have learned much from Brownfemipower on issues of immigration, and if anyone is an expert on this subject, it is the inimitable Brownfemipower. I have seen posts on her site, and I have linked back to her when using these posts on my blog, so I felt that a respectful visit to Brownfemipower was due.

I tried accessing her site—to no avail.

While checking my wordpress.admin, I found an in-coming link from another blogger, and then and there, I found out why I had trouble trying to access Brownfemipower’s site. Why the screen would go black when I clicked on to her url.

Brownfemipower’s site is no longer up:

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/04/10/this-has-not-been-a-good-week-for-woman-of-color

According to the above post put up by Holly there are accusations that a white feminist blogger committed theft of a year’s work on immigration that Brownfemipower had been working on for quite some time. That this white blogger is accused of appropriating—plagiarizing— the monumental work that Brownfemipower gave in a speech recently on the racist policies inherent in the immigration issue, is causing much consternation in the blogging world.

Brownfemipower has never been one to back down from speaking up for all women, and she has done so most eloquently, time and time, again.

Which is why I went to her site, to see what she had to say about I.C.E.’s raids on Amtrak and Greyhound.

Only to find that Brownfemipower had taken her site down.

Brownfemipower, if you are reading my site, please do not leave us. You are a strong voice in the wilderness, and I have received so much food for thought, so much sustenance, so much solidarity from you over the past year.

You put up a post a month or two ago entitled:  “Would It Hurt You To Link?” in reference to people (bloggers and commentors on blogs) who give no credit to the sources they post and prefer to take all the credit all the time on topics of which they had no knowlege of until they happened upon a site which has more carefully and thoroughly researched worked put into that particular topic.

You asked the questions: “Would it hurt you to link to that source where you received your information? Would it hurt you to give a hattip to the blog where you found that information, information that weeks, months ago, you knew nothing of?”

It came down to a simple matter of respect. A simple link. A simple acknowlegement of where you received your source of information.

And if you did omit, by mistake or for whatever your reason may be, the link or trackback to the original poster’s blog, it would not be losing face to state that you omitted by accident, or accidentally left out the link to that blogger’s site where you obtained that information. But, that you are at least making amends to not giving that blogger respect as to using their original source of information?

There is nothing wrong with admitting you omitted giving credit to where you may have obtained your information. I am sure this apppropriating other’s hardwork happens very often in the blogosphere—-and I am sure it happnes more than may of us would care to admit.

I understand why Brownfemipower wrote that post.

I have had the same thing happen to me. i I write something, on a topic that practically no one else is even blogging about (well-known bloggers and not-so-well-known bloggers), then boom!, bam!, voila!  There is a post from another blogger on the same topic days later. Oh, I am sure many will say:  “But, you do not own a monopoly on information”. True.  But, when you are the only blogger in the blogoshpere writing on a particular subject, for months, for years, and no one else has given nary a peep or sentence on that particular subject, then all of a sudden another blogger not only writes an article on that subject, but is also given a book deal, when you have written, documented, researched and given evidence after evidence on that subject, only to turn around and find out that your information and the other blogger’s information are eerily the same—almost word for word—how should people expect you to react?

I have put up posts myself about topics that no one knew hide-nor-hair about, only to find out that some bloggers miraculously found out about this very same topic, using the exact same source, and all but using the exact same words that I wrote. And don’t get me started on bloggers who post a link to my site, speak of a topic, and everyone gives that same blogger glowing praises for a link that was provided that led to my site about a subject that I and only one other blogger wrote about!

But, as so often happens in the blogosphere, the voices of WOC are suppressed, silenced and downright ignored. Appropriation is the rule of the day, the law of the land, where WOC are concerned. We have been resisting oppression in this world for centuries, for generations, and no one wants to hear our voices. Very few want to give us credit for calling attention to the myriad injustices that exist in this world. As so often happens, when WOC give voice to the many isms that affect women the world over, we are simply derided, castigated, tagged-tarred-and-feathered as “angry”, “bitter”, “mean”, “bossy”, or the worse of all epithets—“hard to get along with”.

When we tell the truth it just cannot be given respect and deference. No, our truth-telling must always be denigrated, belittled, mariginalized and disregarded as having no validity.

As having no weight.

When we speak to issues of racism, heterosexism, ablism, classism, trans-genderism, and all the many isms that affect women, our voices are often treated with the utmost disrespect.

In life, we are torn apart, and then we are again torn apart by the institutionalized paternalism of the dominant status quo in the publishing world and the blogosphere. In our daily lives, we are assailed by the many isms that make life a hell for us, only to turn around and face the firing squad of another beat-down in the blogosphere.

Brownfemipower is a voice in the wilderness against the brutalizing effects of racism and sexism.

She is a force to be reckoned with.

I admired her so much, that I put up a post about her. That is the outstanding effect she had on me.

To not see her site up is heartbeaking.

I only hope that she will take a sabbatical from this hell.

Brownfemipower, if you are reading my words. . . .

. . . . know that you are always in my heart.

I thank you for being a voice for all women. I thank you for not being selfish and concentrating on that which you could have only deemed to be of importance to you. I thank you for speaking for Black, Latina, poor White, Asian, Native Americans, Middle Eastern—-all women.

I thank you for being a true example of what a feminist should be. I thank you for showing that we cannot speak for one without speaking up for all. I thank you for being inclusionary, as opposed to being exclusionary. I thank you for standing firm against the naysayers, the attackers, the cowards, in standing up for my rights. For in speaking for me, you have spoken for all women.

Be strong.

Renew your strength.

Please do not stay away.

You are needed. . . .you are admired. . . .you are respected more than you will ever know.

SALUTARE.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “BROWNFEMIPOWER, WOC, AND THE APPROPRIATION OF LIVES LIVED

  1. Renew your strength.

    Please do not stay away.

    This is exactly how I feel every day when I wake up and think about signing online and when I get home and think about signing online.

    I really hope some word gets out about what we can do that would reach into her offline life and help her renew her strength faster and more.

  2. montauk

    I’m wondering how long I can sit at this computer and stare at the screen crying. I’m not entirely sure why this is hitting me so hard. Like Katie, I also hope that word gets out of something, anything, we can do for her…

  3. Ann

    Katie, Sudy and Montauk.

    Thank you all for stopping by.

    I am very concerned about Brownfemipower as well. I hope and pray that she is fine and that she once again graces us all with her sublime and elegant writing skills and compassion.

  4. L-K

    Hi Ann,

    I’m trying to write up an article in regards to this situation (in regards to appropriation and privilege) for my own blog. Is it OK for me to link to your post, and put your blog on my blogroll?

    Thanks!

    L-K

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