Crossposted at: Choice Words
Recently GOP member Rusty DePass made a comment on his Facebook page comparing First Lady Michelle Obama with a gorilla. He wrote in response to a report that a gorilla has escaped from a zoo in Columbia S.C. on Friday:
“I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors – probably harmless.”
When story of this comment hit the press he responded saying:
“I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.”
and then went on to say that the comment wasn’t his because Michelle Obama has previously made a comment that humans are descendants from apes.
Especially given the history of racist imagery associated with Black folks and gorillas/apes it was wrong on so many levels. It is also comments like this that maintains the marginalization of POC in the United States, especially in places like politics. By making this sort of comment DePass “others” Michelle Obama in a way that Cindy McCain would not have experienced.
This is not the first time the GOP has made offensive and racist comments about the Obamas, and it isn’t the first time that they hid behind the “it was a joke” justification. It’s time to stop justifying racism by claiming humor. There is nothing about humor that leaves it outside of the boundaries of offense, just because a comment is intended to be funny does not mean that it is received that way. Comments like these show us all that there is a long way to go and that despite the great advances we have seen recently (election of Obama, nomination of Sotomayor) we cannot stop fighting back against racism even if it is wearing the mask of humor.
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So, it was nice to take a quick hiatus from blogging. It let me get recentered and figure out what I was really trying to get out of this blogging thing and why i was doing it. it also let me rethink what i believe is and isn’t appropriate behavior for a consumer of blogs.
this has made me come to a few conclusions… specifically a list of rules for consuming my blog:
- Respect. I will not accept or publish hateful comments. I welcome constructive criticism but personal attacks are not welcome here. This is not that space. I know that blogging makes this an open forum. I hope that a wide variety of people are reading this, but it doesn’t mean that hate, bigotry and cruelty will be accepted as commentary.
- If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I want people to read this but not at the expense of my sanity. Reading cruel comments is not fun for me so I will delete them and I won’t feel bad about it.
- Be open minded and I will be too. I know that I’m not right about everything, I expect to be off base sometimes and to be called out for it. But I hope that as readers of a blog in return you will come into this blog with an open mind and not from a hateful place.
if these seem unreasonable to you, i’m sorry, there are a lot of really great blogs out there that may be better suited for your regular reading!
And another list… why I want to keep writing this blog.
- Because I’m in a process, and this blog gives me a space to do that. I get to talk through (write through) some things that I am thinking about.
- After going through my blog with special attention to the comments section i realized that it was a small portion of the comments that were actually really hurtful and that the vast majority were constructive criticism, good conversation, and positive feedback. The small number of mean and cruel comments are standing out in my mind at an unfair and disproportionate level. i need to remember and recognize all of the positive feedback and affirmation that i have received recently from friends, acquaintances, strangers, and people who prefer to stay anonymous.
- fatphobia. it clearly exists. reading the hateful comments that were posted on my blog that had nothing to do with health risks, nothing to do with statistics, nothing to do with research, they were focused on hating on me specifically relating to my weight. most of them did not in fact take issue with things i had to say but instead attacked me personally which is not a good way to base a constructive dialogue.
- i can’t let mean people get me down. i can’t allows people who suck a lot to make me not do something that i really enjoy doing. if my friends or anyone i care about were in a similar position i would of course encourage them not to give in to people like this.
so moving forward i will take my blog off of private and allow public viewing. i will continue to write, whether or not people like it or not. i will also not include any comments that i deem hateful or cruel, but do encourage constructive criticism.
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until further notice i have let the haters get to me.
most recently this was posted on my blog in the comments section:
I’m so very sorry that there have been some harsh and threatening things said in response to your blogs. You seem to think of this as a sort of safe space. But I think in reality it really isn’t and that’s hard to take sometimes. I think you are very brave for putting yourself out there like you have, Lord knows I wouldn’t have the courage.
But here’s the deal: You’re fat. No amount of awesome fierceness on your part is going to change that. You are morbidly obese and you must accept that. You’re a wonderful person and there are so many people who love you very much. However the fact remains that your weight is a problem, as is your attitude about it. No people shouldn’t be mean to you, but calling you out on self-delusion isn’t mean, it’s being frank and truthful. You talk about fatphobia and fuck-you lists but please, how can you just say fuck-you to people about your weight? Don’t say “fuck you” to people who don’t want to be forced to put up with, for example, the fact that you smell. You’re probably over 300 pounds and obviously can’t take care of yourself. You can’t reach things that aren’t all that far away, you smell, take take up an uncomfortable amount of space, you’re forced to wear your cloths in such a way that offends the senses, among other things. If you need help picking up a pencil that’s by your foot, it’s no wonder you must not be able to reach all the parts of your body or wash yourself.
The smell thing is a special problem. Don’t get upset at other people because you can’t wash yourself properly. Don’t get upset at other people because you have so much flesh on you that it reeks and smells like it’s rotting. Don’t get upset at people who hold their breath when you stand up because the smell is so bad, or at people who don’t want to dance around you because you smell horrible and when you move you wash the stench around.
Don’t get upset at people because your waist is too big for a belt and therefore your pants are constantly falling down, revealing your behind to the entire world. Don’t get upset at people for calling your breasts big: they are quite large.
Don’t get upset at people who call your eating habits disgusting: they are really quite appalling. I’ve heard that you often suck down whole pizza’s or consume whole cheese calzones. I’m sorry, but to most people the thought of eating “a pound of cheese” and bread is utterly disgusting. You’re upset at the world and yet you eat eat eat eat. It’s pitiful.
Don’t get upset at the size of seats on an airplane or in a classroom: I hope you don’t expect that the world should cater to your problematic morbid obesity. If you can’t keep up that’s your fault not ours.
I’m tired of you denying that there is anything wrong with you, or that it is normal to be as large as you are. You’re right, it’s not okay to be mean, but please, I hope you’re mature enough to realize that the truth is the truth and that it’s time you accepted it. I agree that some of these comments are rude and mean, but please, seriously?
this is just one of many really hurtful things that have been posted to my blog and at this time i don’t really feel comfortable continuing blogging with this type of stuff coming at me. honestly is just hurts too much and i can’t pretend it doesn’t.
i hope something i’ve written has mattered to someone but if nothing else i’ve enjoyed the discussions i’ve had with others about it.
so that’s that
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So this is a comment made on the diatribe. I chose not to post it but instead share it this way.
The first time I read it, I was really hurt. But after I categorized this response the way it should be: in hate mail. The same way I don’t take dumb racists like Rush Limbaugh seriously, I can’t take this person seriously because they are obviously coming from a seriously hateful place. So I am thinking of this as a fucked up part of reality, that people suck a lot and I knew that going in. But I also think it’s important to post and share if for no other reason than transparency as to the real responses that this type of blog receives.
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Tags: fatphobia, hate mail
I can’t really post on all the things about this that piss me off on this video… the biggest is the whole: anyone can do well if they work hard. But there’s a lot of stuff up in that video… it’s kinda scary to me.
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I stole this from racialicious. I think it’s kind of amazing since she came to Swat along with a bunch of other folks. It’s cool getting to hear/learn from movers and shakers in this community!
Co-Executive Director, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now
Why she’s influential: Because she’s an agent of real-world change in the reproductive justice movement. Mia Mingus is a queer, physically disabled Korean American transracial/ transnational adoptee, living and organizing in the Southeast. She currently serves as one of the Co-Directors of SPARK Reproductive Justice Now in Atlanta and believes that reproductive justice is crucial in the struggle for social change and the fight to end oppression.
Mia is an activist, organizer, thinker, writer, artist and speaker who’s not only in the middle of it all, but connecting it all together. Through her work on disability, race, gender, reproductive justice, sexuality, transracial and transnational adoption, and intersectional identities/politics, she recognizes the urgency and barriers for oppressed communities to work together and build alliances for liberation.
If you’re at all involved with the queer, API, and/or disability social justice movements, you know that Mia is a transformative figure. Maybe you saw her speak at the US Social Forum Plenary on Gender and Sexuality or attended her workshop on Reproductive Justice at NAASCON 08. Perhaps you heard her speak as the keynote of the Western Regional Queer Conference 09 or receiving the Creating Change Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Though her activism changes and evolves, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence. On top of all that, everyone I spoke to about Mia describes her as a warm, thoughtful, accessible, and incredibly nice.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Steph Lee, one of several people who nominated Mia: “The fierce leadership of a young, queer, disabled, transracially/ transnationally adopted Korean woman should be recognized so that we can continue to more lovingly and effectively connect, break shit down, and keep building shit up.”
See the rest of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 here.
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