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Julie Burchill: "Why I loathe the woke"
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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 19:14

Just thought I'd share this piece of joy for anyone else who is fond of Ms Burchill...

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beastlyslumber · 01/12/2021 16:50

t’s a bit gaslighty to act like everyone is being fair and civil and I’m just going off on nothing. Using supposed “anger” by Black women (I said I was upset and hurt not “angry”) to dismiss our arguments has a long history and is really not on. It’s well within bounds for me to raise this, not disingenuous. I think I’ve been quite patient in the face of some quite awful responses, actually.

Hi @HazelCarbyFan Not trying to gaslight you - I didn't see any of the comments you claimed had been made to you, the accusations about your character and so on. I do agree that one poster in particular has been quite hostile to you and also made it difficult to have a conversation as they refused to explain what they meant.

I don't want to dismiss your arguments at all, and in fact I have engaged with your arguments, as have others here. I know you've said you've left the thread now but if you want to post more about your point of view then I think you should, or indeed, start your own thread where the discussion might be focused on the specific things that concern you.

No need to send private messages about the meeting. I assumed that something like that would have had been in the press, but it obviously went under the radar. That surprised me at first, but then reflecting on this, I realise it makes sense, in a sick kind of way. The [people we are talking about] are not interested in addressing actual racism, only in using the accusation of racism as a way of cancelling people they ideologically oppose. They aren't interested in the rights of black people, for example, if they voted Trump (see Biden: "you ain't black") and they call people like John McWhorter white supremacists! They don't have a problem with racism as long as it fits into their agenda.

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CharlieParley · 01/12/2021 15:48

Even if we do come to different positions on the usefulness of the label "woke", what is the actual distinction between how we think feminists should navigate the discussion? I can't see the difference...

We actually agree on the use of "woke" I think. It's not a word I go to when I want to talk about what's wrong with the ideologies the left - my political background - is pushing.

And when you said

At the same time I think it's right to be challenging racism and actual transphobia in our own ranks, even when that's uncomfortable...

I understood this to refer to the discussion in this thread. And language policing, micro-aggressions, implicit bias accusations are not where I believe healthy disagreement lies in a movement. I'm an immigrant and hyperaware of cultural differences leading to misunderstandings that can blow up into big rows, both privately and in public groups. Add in problems arising from not being a native speaker and I'm looking back at a quarter of a century of such misunderstandings, from both sides. (Plus outright xenophobia as well as discrimination from UK officials and professionals.)

Then there's differences in education levels and snobbery about class and there's more than one good reason to focus on actual misconduct (abuse, fraud, bullying etc) rather than what is often focused on now.

I guess what I could have said is that yes, we ought to challenge racism and transphobia. Those are not acceptable in any movement, whatever its aims. In my experience though the problem is that there are now widely diverging ideas about what constitutes racism and transphobia. And it's not at all clear to me how to resolve that problem.

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 15:17

Yes, I know women on here care deeply about women. I think we are all now just in a posting spiral. I’m sure over a drink or meal we would be more able to hear each other.

Peace, all. I’m going to leave this thread, not as a flounce but just because I think everything I can say has been said.

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Shedmistress · 01/12/2021 15:16

@FlyingJo

Hazel, I'm also struggling to understand the point that ShedMistress is trying to make. It's not just you. Perhaps it's the nature of internet forums.

I guess I just don’t understand your point.

Lets just leave it at my opinion is that non-woke people have misappropriated it [ie use it to make out that they are woke, when they are completely not]. A bit like how Jimmy Saville aligned himself with charities to appear to be charitable when he was an abuser.

It has come to mean the opposite of its origins. Which then confuses some people when they read that Julie Birchill loathes the woke.
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flytterbugsdog · 01/12/2021 15:07

I don't normally post here but long time lurker. I also feel quite uncomfortable with the word woke - mostly because its such a broad and loaded term that means different things to different people. Its easy to be dismissed if you over-use it. But I think @HazelCarbyFan has helped sum up most the problems with it. I really don't want us to throw the baby out with the bath water on this (you can be GC and still feel racism, sexism , homophobia etc etc still exist). Also, while I don't believe in over-policing language being thoughtful, precise and clear in the language we use matters (otherwise why would it matter if the word woman/mother etc was replaced by menstruator.) Which it does. Some people are already using the situation to argue that sexism is a load of made up "woke" nonsense too. Lets not do the same thing with racism (I am not saying anyone here is. But that's why language matters).

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FlyingJo · 01/12/2021 15:02

Hazel, I'm also struggling to understand the point that ShedMistress is trying to make. It's not just you. Perhaps it's the nature of internet forums.

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 15:01

I guess I just don’t understand your point. You keep quoting things and saying cryptic sound bites instead of just saying clearly what point it is you’re making. Perhaps it’s just me but it feels like you’re writing in mystery code instead of just saying “my opinion on this word is this for this reason. This is why I’m for or against it.”

Maybe I’m doing you a disservice, but you keep asking me questions that don’t seem very related to what I’m saying and I can’t follow, especially as I’m also fielding accusations of being dishonest, angry, and controlling at the same time as I’m trying to parse your posts for meaning.

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Shedmistress · 01/12/2021 14:55

All Lives Matter is woke? That‘s quite possibly the most anti-woke thing ever, no?

Correct. I guess there just isn't any point in trying to explain how the word has been misappropriated as each time I try and explain you think it is me that is saying they are. When they are absolutely not. Which is the point of people misappropriating the word in the first place.

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 14:55

@FlibbertyGiblets - thank you. Flowers

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 14:52

@Shedmistress I’m sorry, I really do not understand your points. All Lives Matter is woke? That‘s quite possibly the most anti-woke thing ever, no?

@beastlyslumber please tell me you can see the hostility in this thread by many (not by any means all posters.) It’s a bit gaslighty to act like everyone is being fair and civil and I’m just going off on nothing. Using supposed “anger” by Black women (I said I was upset and hurt not “angry”) to dismiss our arguments has a long history and is really not on. It’s well within bounds for me to raise this, not disingenuous. I think I’ve been quite patient in the face of some quite awful responses, actually.

I’ve never sent a private message but I’m happy to send you privately posts by women sharing their experiences of the meeting. I won’t be sharing them publicly so some person on here can to harass them over incidents in 2015, given the way people are willing to talk in this thread.

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FlibbertyGiblets · 01/12/2021 14:44

HazelCarbyFan thank you for the work you have done and continue to do. I understand why "woke" is a problematic term. I didn't like it before, and your posts here have crystallised my views. I am aware that you have done heavy lifting on this thread, thank you.

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Shedmistress · 01/12/2021 14:36

Ah, do you mean you think it’s the “woke” who say Canada is racism-free? Are you saying you think it’s white “wokesters” who pretend this? Are you joking?

Do you think that people who say 'ALL LIVES MATTER' think they are the woke ones?

Or do you not even understand your own arguments anymore because the term is so confused it means literally nothing except whatever you despise in the moment? You’re kind of proving my point here if “woke” now doesn’t just mean guilty white people “virtue signalling” about racism but also people who deny racism even exists…

Yes. That is exactly the issue. I do believe I have mentioned white middle class university students more than once in this conversation. In the UK, these are the people that put themselves up as the purest of thought wokesters that are virtue signalling whilst getting a university education mainly paid for by their middle class parents.

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beastlyslumber · 01/12/2021 14:34

Okay, I'm not even sure I understand this argument now. Maybe none of my business but seeing as I started this thread...

Hazel I don't think anyone "reprimanded" you, called you names for being angry or accused you of lying. There is a difference between asking if someone should be reprimanded for a use of language and actually reprimanding them. So I feel like you're being a bit disingenuous there.

Shed I think with this particular incident that Hazel describes, it's impossible to say whether it was the "woke" racists who were being racist, or the open racists being racist. What Hazel describes sounds more like "traditional" racism to me. Are you saying the "woke" racists and the "traditional" racists are one and the same now? That's how I'm reading your post here.

Hazel, do you have a link to any coverage of this event? I'm honestly amazed that such a thing could happen in any university, but I do sometimes miss big things in the news, especially the so-called "culture wars" as I have to switch off every now and then for sanity.

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 14:21

Ah, do you mean you think it’s the “woke” who say Canada is racism-free? Are you saying you think it’s white “wokesters” who pretend this? Are you joking?

Or do you not even understand your own arguments anymore because the term is so confused it means literally nothing except whatever you despise in the moment? You’re kind of proving my point here if “woke” now doesn’t just mean guilty white people “virtue signalling” about racism but also people who deny racism even exists…

But maybe I’m reading it wrong. I don’t understand what you’re arguing right now.

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 14:07

UN researchers? Academics? Judges of the Ontario Courts? I don’t understand the question. You can read a study by a Justice Michael Tulloch, for example, that shows Black people in Toronto are killed 20 times more by the police (when you control for weapons, etc.) Are you implying he’s just woke? Lying? I don’t even understand what you’re asking.

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Shedmistress · 01/12/2021 13:58

but you don’t believe them because you prefer to believe myths about Canada as a racism-free leftist paradise despite the many reports

What do you call the people that report the myths that Canada is a rasicm-free leftist paradise?

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NellWilsonsWhiteHair · 01/12/2021 13:58

@CharlieParley
"There is indeed a big gap between the two. What you describe in your comment is exactly how I understand movements that function adequately (as I said in an earlier comment). Deal with real misconduct, but don't engage in purity spirals."

But what I'm trying to work out is what the difference is between this, and what I'd originally written and you quoted and described as: And that is critical theory in practice. Always hampering any movement that allows it by turning inward and destructively criticising itself until it fractures into ever smaller interest groups, all at odds with each other over real or perceived slights and prejudice.

I had said this: "I think 'GC feminism' is an incredibly broad church, and I'm in favour of both pragmatism in alliances and platforming ideas which challenge me (I'm not quite a free speech absolutist though). At the same time I think it's right to be challenging racism and actual transphobia in our own ranks, even when that's uncomfortable, because otherwise it's just an unquestioning loyalty to groupthink and tribal identity, isn't it?"

Even if we do come to different positions on the usefulness of the label "woke", what is the actual distinction between how we think feminists should navigate the discussion? I can't see the difference...

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 13:58

@elgreco I’m not a first-time poster and I’ve read here for years. I don’t post too much because I don’t often feel theres much to contribute often in a thread. I feel I do have something to say here. When have I said transphobic? One reason I don’t post much is I try to give women space to express their views so I can think about them and process them - if I don’t particularly agree where with a woman is coming from but she’s upset and saying something hurts or bothers her, I don’t see the point in coming in and invalidating her feelings and I also don’t think that name calling her will be productive or effective. Too bad the same courtesy doesn’t come to me!

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 13:54

Also, good to know that women on this thread think Black women lie about our experiences of racism. Nice solidarity there.

People who actually went to the University if Toronto have documented their experiences of racism quite extensively - a mere google will show you many results - but you don’t believe them because you prefer to believe myths about Canada as a racism-free leftist paradise despite the many reports - such as UN report on racism in Canada - saying the contrary? Again, on a thread where people complain about applying a US-lens to racism - arguing you need to consider local context - but then blithely dismiss what actually happens in Canada shown in data, studies, reports, books, experiences, etc. in favour of the most debunked mythologies about Canada as a racial paradise?

A Black woman wrote a good book about her experiences of racism at a university in Canada - Eternity Martis. Perhaps read it before you claim Black women are lying.

I said “please don’t do this” at the beginning of this thread - an actual polite request after an explanation. And that is treated as some near-violent act, but all of the subsequent attacks in this thread are what? Reasoned? Civil? Feminist debate? It’s really sad.

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elgreco · 01/12/2021 13:43

I lurk here. I think shedbuilder is acting defensively as she possibly sees a pattern:

First time poster asking nicely for this board to change the language used as it offends them.

When refused out come the stories of horrors inflicted on this particular poster that are plausible. People express sorrow but still argue against censorship.

Cue accusations of trans phobia.

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 13:34

@lobsternapkin
I actually didn’t understand what was happening in the exchange with @Momobeats - that’s why I asked her, “are people seriously saying…?” I was asking her for clarification as it seemed the argument going on was she was rightly offended by that stereotype and seemed to be saying that people were defending it as true and saying Black people do indeed like jerk and weed and that liking it makes you Black.

Then I also backed her up on why that is a harmful thing to say wherever it was said on this board.

But go ahead and “reprimand” me. Good lord, the language being used towards Black women on this thread. I’ve been called “angry” (not like there isn’t a whole demeaning history of “angry Black woman”) on the very same thread as people brag about being “not kind” - so white woman can embrace being not kind deliberately, but a Black woman is raging for sharing experiences and making points. I’m a Stalinist. I’m a totalitarian. I’m controlling language, but if I ask another Black woman a question in a hostile thread to figure out what the argument is about and send her love as we experience the same hostility and demeaning comments I need to be chastised? Some of you really get off putting us in our place I guess.

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PrincessNutella · 01/12/2021 13:20

I think there is plenty of racism on the left. How about the folxxx who say that trans women are women the same way that black women are women? No, black women are female, and trans women are male. Not the same thing at all. There is a huge amount of anti-Semitism on the left. And as we all know, there is a huge amount of misogyny on the left. We need to fight for the rights of women beyond left and right. We don't want to be host bodies, as the right call us, nor do we want to be birthing bodies, as the left call us. Come on now.

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LobsterNapkin · 01/12/2021 13:03

@XiXimXerJinping

Yeah Shed, I think some pp's haven't engaged with the latest forms of so called 'activism' and 'liberal progressivism' if they think they aren't completely filled with the most racist, sexist, homophobic etc attitudes. Horseshoe theory? Almost an ouroborus!

I'm not sure what was really going on in the incident described. I don't think it's clear whether these people were a bunch of supposed liberals, though I will say it didn't read to me like that. More like they were some sort of white supremacists.

But I have a very difficult time imagining the incident actually happening at all. A bunch of white students at UofT, woke central, telling black students they should be maids and mocking them? Without someone in charge, or other students, calling them out? Nothing's impossible of course but I'm skeptical that it's an accurate picture of what was going on.
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XiXimXerJinping · 01/12/2021 09:15

I'm sure Hazel wasn't wrong as she heard it from people who were there but she was certainly ambiguous in her comment as she assumed we would automatically know that the racists weren't the 'liberal' students. As several of us have said several times now, it's practically a hallmark of those kind of students these days, so of course some posters will believe that she was referring to them.

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C8H10N4O2 · 01/12/2021 09:13

There is no mistake. I can guarante those white university students thought they were super special progressive for going to an event on racism

You were there were you? I mean you must have been to so confidently assert that a black woman describing her experiences is lying.

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