Racism and Classism at MDC - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 08:02 AM
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I don't know, Muse. I fail to see how catering to the European intelligetsia - that's the only social strata where you will find anyone practicing AP/NL or connecting to a board like this - will help us solve our problem with racism/classism. Show me a baby-slinging African European who came and left, and I might listen.

I'm not as concerned about the people who show up at FYT, post once, then leave. I am concerned when people I love leave after putting up a good fight, or when people from boards like HipMama can't stand it around here for more than a few days.

I have done little about it, though. I admit it.

The thing is, it's an issue that has been brought to our attention over and over. And nothing really happens.

So, I repeat, I really like the idea of an Action Plan.
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#122 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 09:23 AM
 
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or when people from boards like HipMama can't stand it around here for more than a few days.
Do the two boards NEED to overlap? I personally can't stand it over at HipMama for more than a couple of HOURS. I don't say this to denigrate the other site, just to say that the differences that keep some of the HipMama crowd away are the very differences that I feel allow me to participate here.
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#123 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisMaman
I really would nominate myself to police the boards. My friend Selu used to do this and made herself pretty unpopular because of it.
T... I believe I might know her...

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#124 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneymoonBaby
Do the two boards NEED to overlap? I personally can't stand it over at HipMama for more than a couple of HOURS. I don't say this to denigrate the other site, just to say that the differences that keep some of the HipMama crowd away are the very differences that I feel allow me to participate here.
Well, I believe the differences being referred to are not one and the same. Simply not liking the tone of a board is different than being offended and marginalized, kwim?

I'm a hipMama'er from way way back when and I think I understand what Parismaman means.

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#125 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 11:11 AM
 
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Parismaman

It seems we all have a different idea of what racism is. I think that it extends to people of all nationalities not just skin color. What if a woman from Paris signed on this AM and her first experience of the board was to read your comment about Frenchies? I understand that you want to protect your friends who are already here and that is highly commendable. However don't we want these boards to be a welcoming place for all to come and learn and share their wisdom? This is completely off-topic but my MIL met Francois 30 years ago in Chapel Hill North Carolina where she was living at the time. She was a LLL leader although I am not sure how organized they are and it was her support, guidance and love that encouraged my MIL to learn about AP and allow her three children to self-wean which in turn created the wonderful man I married today who passionately believes in and supports these same ideals. She is a wonderful woman whose experience and wisdom would have brought a great deal to these boards. Those people that you are so casually and flippantly maligning are family to me and I love them dearly so I was offended by the way you were speaking about them and in my mind that is some sort of -ism also.

I was coming back to post more anyway because I spoke with my "aunt" last night about the reasons she turned away. There are several but to stay on topic she did mention the fact that the girls felt perhaps this was a board where 1 type of people posted predominantly and that as non-Christian Europeans, 2 of them married to men of different races (1 black and 1 Arab) they didn't feel that would they fit in.

Stephany
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#126 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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I have been thinking about it and I should have perhaps taken a few more deep breaths before that last post because of course Parismaman is entitled to voice her opinions. I was just feeling badly because I knew my "aunt" was going to take a look at this thread today. She was fascinated by the thought that we were having such an enlightened discussion. She saw those posts and I feel badly that I inadvertantly subjected her to that.
I am sorry if I was harsh.

Stephany
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#127 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 02:07 PM
 
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I know ParisMaman can & will stand up for herself, but since it's the middle of the night where she lives I thought I'd get a head start...

mom2radata, ParisMaman lived for many years in France, is married to a Frenchman, and has a French/American daughter. I think that when she referred to "the Frenchies" she was speaking as an insider. Does that make sense? I KNOW that she didn't mean it in the anti-French way that's been so popular in the US lately.

On to the topic at large--I get the sense that some posters think Cynthia & Heather are just asking those who are/have been marginalised by our society to answer or point out offensive posts. I don't see it that way at all. I think that we're ALL being asked to be more proactive on offensive items. I know I've been guilty of looking at something, thinking "gee, that's stupid/offensive/makes me uncomfortable," and then moving on to something else b/c I'm too lazy/non-confrontational/etc. to do anything about it. After reading this WHOLE THREAD in one morning, I've realized just how, well, selfish that is. I need to be willing to expose my own weaknesses a bit if I'm to help. So as a member of a traditionally non-marginalised group, I'm going to step up & a) try to educate the OP of an offensive comment when I see it, and b) notify Cynthia & the moderator so they can take action.

I want to thank you all for this thread--it's SOOO easy to become complacent. I'm reminded of the saying from the '60s/'70s (who said this--Abbie Hoffman?): "If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem."
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#128 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 02:20 PM
 
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The turn this thread has taken is making me sad. I hate that we lose wonderful members over this. I hate that I can't do enough to make it better fast enough.
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#129 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 03:08 PM
 
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I am aware of Parismaman's French ties and understand that. I was not really referring to the "Frenchies" comment. It was the overall tone of the statement that my friends' opinions were unimportant and that their feelings and thoughts were not worth considering. No one should be made to feel this way regardless of his or her nationality, race or religion. Also, a visitor to this site, my aunt for example, has no way of knowing these ties and could (and did) take offense at the comments made. I guess I thought that was the whole point of this thread was the how to make MDC a place where everyone felt comfortable to come for support and to learn things.

Stephany
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#130 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 07:20 PM
 
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Nate, i really appreciate your post. i think that's how this has to work: real change needs to come from within the community. (still wish that mothering.com would issue some kind of strong statement saying that racism is not welcome in this community....).

Parismaman, i think it would be wonderful if you would also be part of the Action plan. I was very encouraged when you started participating in this thread. I have a lot of respect for your posts and others do too. You are a well respected senior member and your "call outs" will carry a lot more weight than mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parismaman
I don't know, Muse. I fail to see how catering to the European intelligetsia - that's the only social strata where you will find anyone practicing AP/NL or connecting to a board like this - will help us solve our problem with racism/classism. Show me a baby-slinging African European who came and left, and I might listen.
muse never mentioned that she thought the forums needed a European board. (that would have been a suggestion from one of the administrators.) she was responding to the comment that those outside of the US or Canada do not feel welcome here. Others have also mentioned european friends being turned off. so if europeans find the boards unwelcoming, imagine how, lets say, a west african would feel. i actually came to this particular thread, following muse, because she came to the defense of mexican woman. I have also seen derisive remarks towards asian women and many many remarks against immigrants.

I believe that racism hates diversity and therefore these boards could benefit greatly from a more diverse community, (and... uh... there are other countries outside of the US and Canada that are not Western European ones... ) .

and yes i would welcome more europeans to this forum. (however NOT separated from the rest of the boards. don't know what the point of that would be ) the US carries it's own particular nasty legacy of racism that Europeans can offer a different perspective on. I also think that the US does not represent one culture: when someone speaks of a dominant american voice, it refers to the priviledged white (male) christian one. In other words, the dominant american voice is racist, sexist, and classist.

Heather, you mentioned you actually have demographics of this site. can you share them with us?
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#131 of 251 Old 05-06-2004, 07:33 PM
 
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Would it be possible for moderators to create a non-public forum where those who want to work on this issue together could post and discuss ideas and resources for the Action Plan? I'm not trying to be exclusive with the private forum, it just may be easier for those who are really dedicated to this to put their noses to the grindstone out of the public eye. Then they could check in with the general public for feedback prior to presenting their plan to Mothering.

How do you all feel about this idea?
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#132 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 12:16 AM
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I am sorry for my outburst.

Mama2radata - I can see how my words offended you. I pretty much questioned your participation in this thread. I am sorry that your "tante" was not able to see the reasoning behind my post. We moved from a discussion about the treatment of the marginalized/minorities on this board to a light-hearted conversation about the feelings of a privileged group of people. Have you thought about how that made our minority members feel? (not trying to be sarcastic) If you read through the thread again perhaps you will understand that my statements could not have been an -ism. I may very well have missed the point of this thread. In my understanding it is about making non-privileged, non-white, non-Christian, non-majority members feel like they can come here without being assaulted by ugly words and statements. Where did we lost sight of this?

Nate - Thank you and great post!

Susu - Thank you for your kind words. Of course, I agree that the boards could stand a more diversified crowd. It was the others who began to discuss Europeans. And I'm fine with the European idea, too - I just would rather see a single mama from Créteil (Parisian inner city-type neighborhood) than a white Bohemian mother from Bordeaux. And, for what it's worth, Europeans have not been -and are not - exempt from racism. I'm not sure what perspective white Europeans could offer. I'm not trying to cut you down, just offer my own perspective of someone who has lived many years in Europe.

SoHappy - Great idea! If it's too complicated, we can start a mailing list.
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#133 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 02:36 AM
 
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i don't know where to begin. i am quite shocked that asherah was asked to leave the discussion. i am deeply hurt for her. and for all the brilliant, diverse, intelligent, different points of view that stand to be lost if SOMEthing isn't done to educate people on isms here. i think the idea of a committee to brainstorm, formulate a plan is a great idea. i would like to see something along the lines of the hM ARFAQ put together and posted as a sticky, and as required reading of any new member, along with the other rules and regulations for posting here.
perhaps several threads in activism, sticky, outlining what racism, white privilege, fatphobia, hatred toward the disabled, agism, assembled by and with the consensus of the action plan folks. the education has to start somewhere. and it's really not the responsibility of those who are marginalized to do it all.
i understand the hesitation of the admins to post something broad and sweeping against isms-they want to appeal to the mainstream. and the mainstream wouldnt see the racism or fatphobia or hate in alot of the threads that someone who has been thru an unlearning process has. or maybe i'm way off base..
i agree that nobody listens if they're being screamed at. i posted a thread on white privilege not too long ago, and in retrospect, i couldve done a much better job with it and taken it further had i started it out gently, and kept my own anger in check.
i think the way to handle an ism depends on the situation. in most cases i would think a gentle, somewhat generic reminder, much like the reminders from mods to keep things civil, posted in thread and public would be fine. god, i do remember how hairy threads got at HM when someone was directed at their own ism. threads turned from the subject at hand to why the person saying the offensive thing was or wasnt offensive..that makes me think that it would be better done in a PM. but then we lose the opportunity to educate others who may learn something from it if it were done in public.
i've learned alot here at mothering, enjoy being here ftmt, but i've abused my own privilage, by staying away from threads i knew would be offensive. i guess i didnt want to go thru hipmama act 2, the derision, the frustration. after all, the major reason i'm here at mothering is for my child's healthcare info, so why put so much into it, right?

that's so wrong of me to have done, because there are womyn here that i genuinly admire, and like to hear from.

parismamam said, of this discussion, "In my understanding it is about making non-privileged, non-white, non-Christian, non-majority members feel like they can come here without being assaulted by ugly words and statements. Where did we lost sight of this?"
and that's the sentiment i'd hope to see spread across this whole board.
i'm so glad this discussion is happening. and so sorry that it has to happen.

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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#134 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 05:04 AM
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I just took the time - and it takes a lot for me - to re-read this thread, because I felt like I missed something somewhere.

I did. I missed Asherah's last post. I'm sorry Asherah.

Can someone do a search on certain sensitive words and see what they come up with? My connection is so bad, otherwise I would do it.

I was thinking of another thing under the shower . A couple of times I have seen pure racist vitriol posted (thread titles, too). Everyone is forced to read it - or at least scan it - because the poster wants to discuss how wrong it is or whatever. I think there should be a rule that the poster must provide a link to this garbage (with warning) instead of copying/pasting into the thread. I'm sure a lot of these ugly email forwards are up for everyone to see on a website out there. Then we can choose whether or not we want to subject ourselves to hatred.
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#135 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 05:16 AM
 
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What kind of search do you mean Parismaman?

I understand what you are saying but before I endorsed an idea like that I would like to hear what the people we are talking about have to say on the subject. If the general response is "I consider this a safe place and do not, under any circumstances, want to come across hate language without a warning" then Amen say I. On the other hand if the general response is "Ya know what? That flies at me all day without warning.. I'm not the one who fears it, you are" I think that also needs to be heard and respected.
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#136 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 05:47 AM
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Yeah, I know. It's hard for me to follow my own thought processes. I am not always clear.

I just did a search for a certain term and was amazed at the number of threads I came up with. I am wondering why this word is being used in some of them, but I don't have time to fully investigate. I guess I thought it would be interesting to see what I come up with.

I was feeling funny today about this discussion. I would feel more comfortable if more of our minority members got involved. We're sitting around speculating obout solutions that these members may think are totally out there or irrelevant.
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#137 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 05:53 AM
 
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I may be off base but I think the key is to ask the affected members what they would like to see happen and then do our best to guide the membership in that direction. I'm not sure they (ah yes... They!) mind as much explaining to people who genuinely want to learn and intend to do something useful, productive with the info, as they do day in, day out explaining every little thing to all and sundry.
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#138 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 08:10 AM
 
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I like the idea of an Action Plan. I have a good connection, and have time for searches etc just not usually for posting (always a moving nak). However, I"m a white middle class European woman in a heterosexual relationship, not exactly a minority; I don't want to become one of those paternalizing majorities who know what everybody else needs kwim?

The question as to how fast the hate speech should be allowed to fly here, as kama (: I miss you after not seeing you for 2 days!) pointed out, is also interesting. We could try to poll that, and hope to see a discussion develop. Personally, I'm for a protected space ~ for rudderless flying of hate speech, there's a whole internet out there on which to find it. Oh, and SoHappy, do you mean something like the MOderator's Lounge that the mods have?
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#139 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 10:05 AM
 
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Sadly, I think the evidence of now deceased boards has shown it is very hard to deal with these issues unless the ownership and administration of a board has fair representation. Which I'm assuming MdC does NOT have and probably doesn't particularly aspire to? My guess would be that the hM Anti racism FAQ would never be posted here, sad as that makes me. It does seem that there should be something in the user agreement banning the use of certain terms, offenisive language, etc and labelling this community a hate free zone (if there isn't already, haven't read it in a while).

I guess I don't have particularly high expectations that the whole nature of this board is going to change but I feel I should deal with interactions here as I do in day to day life; if something is racist, classist, sexist, etc, call it out. I don't know that we'll get much further here, since the original goals of this board (unlike hipmama, mamatron and others) are not based around fighting oppression. Maybe I am being too cynical, and i'm very glad for all the positive work and constructive suggestions other people are putting in to this discussion.
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#140 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 10:40 AM
 
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Hi, I'm here. And I can think of lots of other minority mammas here who would probably be glad to participate in such a discussion. Why don't you post on one of their threads and ask? Or should I?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#141 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 11:18 AM
 
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Yes, Simonee, the Mod lounge concept is what I had in mind.
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#142 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 12:51 PM
 
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(if i ramble excuse me, the insomnia got me good last night, and my overbearing mother is sitting here being overbearing needing something or other...)
muse, i agree with everything you've said. i have been calling it as i see, like i do in 3-d. it would be wonderful to have these isms addressed and dealt with in a more proactive manner, but i don't think it's gonna come to fruition either. not in any large scale way. i think it's realistic, not cynical. mothering is radical enough to the mainstream, they have to sell magazines, and web ad space-i think the fear of alienating the majority of its demographic with fiery anti ism talk...well. yea, you're not being cynical.
i am thankful and relieved that this discussion has been a good one, but i would like to hear from our MOC on this as well. bad taste in my mouth, all the ladies of privilege chatting it up with no voice from the people who are actually affected by it all.

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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#143 of 251 Old 05-07-2004, 05:37 PM
 
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...but i would like to hear from our MOC on this as well...
I'm coming into the conversation late (didn't realize that it was here) but because it is an unlearning process for all of us I wanted to bring this up. I have always felt that the term "our moc" was slightly derogatory. There is an implication of ownership that is really icky to me. I believe that there was a really good discussion about this on MT right before it shut down the first time.

I need to sit and read the rest of this thread, but I hope to be able to contribute more to it. I agree that there are things said here that I am uncomfortable with, but I have not spoke up the way I should. I was just thinking about this the other night.
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#144 of 251 Old 05-08-2004, 04:15 AM
 
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brusselsprout please tell me more about that. I don't get you and I want to. I have always simply chalked it up to most peoples tendencies to use possessive pronouns. My grocery store, my daughters preschool, our neighborhood, our library....

Please, show me what you are seeing if you can.
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#145 of 251 Old 05-08-2004, 05:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by brusselsprout
I'm coming into the conversation late (didn't realize that it was here) but because it is an unlearning process for all of us I wanted to bring this up. I have always felt that the term "our moc" was slightly derogatory. There is an implication of ownership that is really icky to me. I believe that there was a really good discussion about this on MT right before it shut down the first time.

I need to sit and read the rest of this thread, but I hope to be able to contribute more to it. I agree that there are things said here that I am uncomfortable with, but I have not spoke up the way I should. I was just thinking about this the other night.

Wow, I kinda think of it as a term of endearment. Like "our" as in, one of us, the MOC amongst us, not "our" as in our token brown chicks. But i could see how someone might take it that way. hmmmm
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#146 of 251 Old 05-08-2004, 10:19 PM
 
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i remember that discussion, brusselsprout. that was really interesting; i believe it can be offensive as well, the term "our". it implies a division, that mothers of color can be possessed, that they are seperate and somehow token. that rather than being respectful of unique-ness, it was possessive and label-y. i don't remember how that thread wound up, but i do remember that there were lots of folks on the fence over that topic. myself included. i used it in a very casual sense, i guess it may have been less volitile had i said "the mothering.commune mothers of colors". i was using "our" as a shorthand, not as a posseser...thanks for bringing that up though. it's def. important.

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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#147 of 251 Old 05-08-2004, 11:11 PM
 
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Erin/brussel... is there athread you can point me to that will give me a greater understanding of this?
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#148 of 251 Old 05-09-2004, 03:34 AM
 
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kama, i wish i could, but the thread we're talking about was on another board, mamatron, that's no longer open! i don't know of any links to more info either, but i'll look around and see what i can find. maybe brusselsprout has some more info?

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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#149 of 251 Old 05-09-2004, 10:13 AM
 
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Here is the voice of a MOC! As a women of color who is constantly battling the issue of racism IRL, it is so exhausting. Sometimes I wanna cry; other times I shake my head at the ignorance. Thank you Asherah for screaming it from the rooftops. It has to be a shared burden and not always the responsiblity of people of color.
I am not gonna bore you by sharing stories of how I have been hurt, insulted, ignored based solely on the color of my skin. I speak proper english, pay my taxes, went to college-Ivy League at that and yet I am still followed around stores???
I encourage mothers of all races to lead the way. Struggle with the issues; there are no easy answers but the struggle is worth it. Trust me when I tell you that racism and classism (and all the other isms) affect ALL of us.
I come to Mothering for a place to "commune", learn, share, love, cry and relate. If you offend me or just don't know better, imma let you know. Then I will give you a hug, cause I be like dat!
Peacefully,
Lisa

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#150 of 251 Old 05-09-2004, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Lisa, thank you for weighing in!

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parismamam said, of this discussion, "In my understanding it is about making non-privileged, non-white, non-Christian, non-majority members feel like they can come here without being assaulted by ugly words and statements. Where did we lost sight of this?"
Yes! That was my intention way back when I started this thread. It is not my desire to put words or feelings into the mouths of the marginalized.There were many things about the way that issues went down at hM and MT that I would not want to replicate anywhere. Hopefully, we can learn fom the mistakes made at those boards.

I mean, those of you who are lurking... does it never shock you that at Mothering, a place where peace and love rule the world, people feel free to make racial and cultural generalizations that may or may not include actual slurs??? It never ceases to shock me and make me feel like I am at BabyCenter.

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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