Dispatch #38 March 18th 2018
Day 507 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 432 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
Yeah, this is how The New York Times described its new project, writing/publishing obituaries of “overlooked” but nonetheless remarkable women. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked.html
OVERLOOKED!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING?!
WHAT, maybe these women were too short, or perhaps hiding in the kitchen, or maybe operating in disguise. Am I ungrateful to characterize the NYT as self-congratulatory but unrepentant? “Oops, so sorry, oh dear, oh my. Overlooked but retrievable.”
The New York Times has decided it is never too late to recognize the work of great women. Last week, in an effort to bring equality to the obituary pages, the paper announced it would write obituaries for women it had overlooked. Per the paper, over the past two years only about 20% of the obituaries have been for women. ……. The Times also asked readers to suggest women they missed. They may have bitten off more than they can chew. As Poynter reports, since announcing the project on March 8, the Times has received nearly 2,000 suggestions for other “Overlooked” obituaries. Since the paper plans to do a weekly obituary featuring a previously overlooked woman, it would take them roughly 38 years to get through these long-delayed obits. https://www.fastcompany.com/40542993/new-york-times-readers-have-2000-suggestions-for-overlooked-womens-obituaries
So, let’s see: Ida B Wells, probably one of the bravest people who EVER lived, did get her wedding announcement published by the aforementioned NYT in 1875 at the bottom of the front page. Yup, check it out: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/weddings/165-years-of-wedding-announcements/ida-wells-wedding; https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1895/06/28/issue.html
But the NYT “overlooked” her death in 1931 with no obituary. NYT WTF?!?!
Yeah, Ms. Ida B Wells who traveled around the South publicly decrying lynching at a time when white people with absolute impunity lynched black men and women — by hanging, skinning them alive, burning them alive, setting dogs upon them — and reserved their worst violence for uppity Negroes such as Ida B Wells.
Ms. Ida B Wells, saluted by her biographer Paula J Giddings as A Sword Among Lions, insisted that this violence was embedded in attitudes not only about black men but also about women and sexuality. But, somehow she was overlooked. Uh-huh.
How about using more explicit, accurate, and informative language:
Discarded, Ignored, Disdained, Evanished, Volatilized, Forgotten,
Vanished, Discounted, Marginalized, Dismissed,
Erased, Degraded, Disappeared
The incessant insidious normalizing of Misogyny determines how we think, imagine, act, talk, communicate, and live. Language enables the normalizing of Misogyny. Weaponized Language enables the enforcement of Misogyny.
In his enlightening piece in the Guardian entitled “Why are we still so scared of crusading women who speak the truth?” Kevin McKenna talks about the legendary Scottish activist Mary Barbour.
Nothing became Glasgow more on International Women’s Day last week than the unveiling of a statue of Mary Barbour in Govan. To call this a mere statue is like saying Lionel Messi is a decent inside forward. It depicts Barbour, one of her arms aloft, leading a group of women into battle with the spiv landlords who were trying to put them and their families on to the streets.
In 1915, Barbour led her army of women and children in a struggle against the greed and viciousness of Glasgow landlords who sought to exploit the absence of husbands and partners fighting in the First World War. The city had experienced an influx of men from other parts of the UK eager for well-paid jobs in the heavy industries required to maintain the war effort. Some landlords viewed this as an opportunity to raise rents for the purpose of evicting wives and families to make way for these workers.
The city-wide rent strike that followed eventually forced the government to provide the protections that form the foundation of modern tenants’ agreements. The action in Glasgow inspired similar uprisings in other parts of the UK and across the Atlantic in New York and showed that the agents of freewheeling capitalism could be defeated.
The deeds of Scotland’s working-class heroes have largely been written out of the approved histories of the nation that our children are permitted to read. Until very recently, a Scottish child could travel into adulthood unhindered by an ounce of knowledge about the story of Scotland and certainly about any of the women who have helped shape our destiny.
The remarkable Barbour prevailed at a time when the idea of women in politics or in any role that raised their profile was simply unacceptable. She went on to be elected as a councillor for Glasgow in 1920 and was appointed the first female bailie of the City of Glasgow in 1924. Together with her success in facing down the massed ranks of capitalism and the government that it had in its pockets, these make her one of the most significant figures in modern Scottish history
Just over a century later and on the same day that Barbour was being honoured in Glasgow, another troublesome woman from the west of Scotland was having her say in London. Mhairi Black, the youngest MP in more than 350 years, stood up in the House of Commons to describe the incessant slew of abuse she receives daily on social media. These were primitive attacks carrying a degree of malevolence and violent intent that chilled you. Not a single aspect of Black’s person or her physical appearance was left untouched by this sickness. High-profile men also come under attack from the anonymous warriors of social media but rarely is there any degree of violent intent. They are rarely mocked for their appearance and there is seldom a sexual edge to this.…..we’ll never know how many gifted and able women have been prevented from sharing their gifts by a patriarchy that often discriminated in favour of incompetent men. Some women are now breaking free of these bonds but they are discovering that the methods being used to silence them are primitive ones from a darker age. www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/11/why-are-we-scared-of-crusading-women-who-tell-the-truth
In her provocative article in The Cut entitled “The Uprising of Women in Red States is Just Beginning” Sarah Smarsh considers the emergence of women warriors in unexpected places.
Of the many groups rendered invisible by political stereotypes —liberal working-class men, conservative people of color, progressive Christians, and just about any instance of complexity within demographics viewed as monoliths — there is one I have long thought poised to be revolutionaries: low-income women in red states.
Public school teachers in particular — three quarters of them are women — have long held the line for democracy. While their state governments have swung right toward privatization, they have quietly forged ahead with the pragmatic work of educating children, while ideological lawmakers — three quarters of whom are men — cut their state budgets.
Today those women lead a labor uprising in places national media and Democratic politicians have erroneously written off as hopeless isles of angry conservative white men: West Virginia. Oklahoma. Kentucky. In recent weeks, West Virginia teachers closed down every public school in all 55 state counties and won each of their five demands: stopping expansion of charter schools, preserving seniority, defeating a union-busting bill to block dues-collection from paychecks, a 5-percent raise, and blocking unfair and invasive means of calculating health-insurance costs.
Women in industries overlooked by our narrow, sexist definition of “working class” are challenging this country to expand its vision of labor beyond white men with tool belts, and make good on the promises of democracy.
You wouldn’t know it from following national headlines for the last couple years, when safari reporting from the dangerous red hinterlands beget countless stories of backwards Bubba at the diner on Main Street. Those tropes have crystallized so thoroughly that blue-state liberals can’t seem to square that millions of people in Republican-governed states vote Democrat, and vice versa. CNN’s Joy Reid sarcastically tweeted during the West Virginia teachers’ strike, “If they start voting for politicians who actually support those things, look out GOP.” This simplistic take, like so many others, insulted the many West Virginians who do vote for such politicians. It’s a historically blue state, a seat of the American labor movement, and one of many working-class bastions where a socialist won the Democratic primary in 2016.
We overlook the history and nuance of “Trump country” at our nation’s peril. Every place that coastal media loves to assign a tidy red narrative has a complicated history and willfully obscured past that those who seek change today should remember.
In 1921, 200 Kansas coal miners died in two counties, while earning a a dollar a day. Miners went on strike, the company bosses brought in scabs to replace them, and the women of mining households — mostly German and Slovenian immigrants — took to the street. They marched to the mines carrying guns, babies, and American flags. They threw rocks at the scabs and beat the bosses with brooms. The governor called in the National Guard. A New York Times editorial wondered whether police officers should start clubbing these female protesters over the head. Labor tensions would continue, but the women of Kansas had ignited a national debate over not just union rights, but women’s place in society. It is a debate we can help settle by refusing narratives that cast all working-class people as conservative, white, or male. www.thecut.com/2018/03/the-uprising-of-women-in-red-states-is-just-beginning.html
And while we are on the subject of specious and demonizing working class narratives, we can remember how the misogynist-driven analysis that Hillary lost the [white] working class vote — and lost the 2016 Presidential election — relied on these narratives. ‘Hillary didn’t have a message for [white] working class voters who went instead for Trump’s message of hate and fear.’ Note the repeated normalized lie: working class voters instead of WHITE working class voters.
The New York Times continues its prominent role as the purveyor and normalizer of this fictional narrative. During the recent discussions about the House election in Pennsylvania, reporters constantly slipped in the assertion that Hillary lost the [white] working class vote, either as a predicate or a closing add-on comment to sentences. Drip, drip, drip, language that posits a LIE, but remains a favorite trope of the so-called white liberal establishment.
Ok, so let’s review ONE MORE TIME the voting distribution from the election:
|November 2016 Results||Trump||Clinton|
|White (71% of voters)||58%||37%|
|Black (12% of voters)||8%||88%|
|Hispanic & Asian (10%)||29%||65%|