Weekend Reading

Ahoy, dear readers! Behold: the last weekend reading of 2013. Sally forth and whatnot:

It’s clear that like a lot of black American women, the mainstream middle class white feminist narratives with which we are so familiar aren’t necessarily compatible with Beyoncé’s view of herself. This album makes it clear that her feminism isn’t academic; isn’t about waves, or labels. It simply is a part of her as much as anything else in her life. She’s pro-woman without being anti-man, and she wants the world to know that you can be feminist on a personal level without sacrificing emotions, friendships or fun. Is it a message that will appeal to everyone? No. But then, no one expects any other feminist message to be unilaterally accepted, do they?

I told the students that the staff needs to deal with the fact that this newsroom, and the newspaper in general, has historically been a space where white male experience has been centralized and validated, mostly to the exclusion of all others. I told them that the readership will continue to flag in a school that is more than half students of color, if the editorial staff continues to not represent their interests. In short, they don’t see themselves in the paper because they are not in the paper.


Later that night, I received an email, full of roiling, angry emotion, from a White male editor. He said that my words had angered him, that it wasn’t my place to say them, being a faculty member in the student newsroom. He said that my comments were racist and hateful, that they were akin to a white man standing up and saying that all Black women were irrational, and that my understanding of race was facile if I thought that white people was actually a tenable category to use. He said that I would not be welcome in the newsroom in the future, if I offered up a similar diatribe, and that what I had engaged in was racial harassment.


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