Some thoughts on silence, and breaking it

The sound of respectful listening is silence. The sound of complicity is also silence. I've been silent a lot lately. And sometimes I can't tell which is which.

There has been a cascade of awfulness lately—from privileged cluelessness, however well-intentioned but inexcusable, to flat-out racist anger, and everything in between—and I've been reading, mulling, planning, discussing, in striving to figure out what to say. That post will happen. This is not that post, because I haven't listened and discussed enough to be able to write it. But complete silence is not the proper way to respond to the news that the influential and inspirational Brownfemipower has shut down her blog. There is nothing for me to add to what others have said, nothing I can say that others have not said many times, better than I could. Read their powerful words.

Huge gratitude to the folks who have discussed these topics with me, and to the women who I don't know personally but whose intellectual and movement-building work, blog writing, and blog comments I have been learning from: INCITE! activists and writers, Sudy, Blackamazon, Belledame222, Aaminah, Adele, Nadia. (This list is incomplete and yes, I know, it can sound like facile name-checking, but it is my attempt, however imperfect, to acknowledge and amplify the words that I have been trying to listen to.) (And a note to readers who may be visiting these sites for the first time: I wish it went without saying but sadly, it does not—listening respectfully means reading deeply in a blog community before commenting. If you find yourself wanting to argue, please check yourself for defensiveness and take it elsewhere.)



by Lisa Jervis
View profile »

Get Bitch Media's top 9 reads of the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! Sign up for the Weekly Reader:

2 Comments Have Been Posted

thank you, lisa.

lisa, thank you for echoing my sentiments. I am new to the WOC blogging world, and at a juncture in my life where I am just beginning to engage with my white (and other) privilege, and I have been torn with exactly what you are describing - silence as listening vs. silence as complicity. Listening to my instincts and recognizing how much I have to learn underscores that I *need* to be listening respectfully right now, and accepting challenge and engaging with it on a personal level, and that I am not ready to speak because I don't have much to contribute to all of these conversations happening on so many blogs other than "thank you." So - thank you for sharing your thoughts; they really resonate with me.

"reading deeply in a blog

"reading deeply in a blog community before commenting".

No. Blogs are, by their very nature, open to quick digestion.

"If you find yourself wanting to argue, please check yourself for defensiveness and take it elsewhere"

More silence? More complicity?

No, Bitch. That's not how this works. This shit has spun far enough out of control. A mountain of SHIT has been built out of a molehill of a womyn defending her life's work, her livlihood.

Dissect, as we tend to do, the words of the first post, and we find NOTHING but naivete. One can comment on a blog becuase blogs are public domains.

One can asy "hey we want more WOC boooks, send them over"

One can say "instead of hating" This is not language repurposing, unless it's repurposing from teenagers, who tend to "own" it- all colours of teens.

Fuck is hating. I hate this argument. I have dissected an innocent yet naive statement that has been spun BY BLACKAMZON, BY OTHER BLOGGERS, BY OTHER MEDIA OUTLETS.

I have never, in my 30 years of knowing this language, this English, seen one sentence so horridly misinterpreted.

This is what the womyn at SP need to do:
hire a publicity firm for spin issues.
watch teh net for slander (example, calling them "racist") and guard their business.

This is what Blackamazon needs to do: wait, who cares?, it's a fucking blogger blog.

Add new comment