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Saturday
Aug132011

This Is Not Really About Cake

I'm not going to put anyone personally on blast and I'm sparingly linking in this post because the larger context  is more important than pointing fingers and forcing one person or a community to answer for what I'm feeling passionate about right now. However, I am using some of the wording I've seen written about things and, when I do, they will be in quotes.

In the world of blogging and, dare I say it, mommyblogging, there is a racial divide that I have called out on several occasions. Most of the time that calling out is aimed at marketers and community websites that are all white. Some things have led me to believe that it's high time for a conversation about that. It seems that it's all come to a head this week especially and it's nearly impossible to stop ruminating about how seemingly separate these matters are but how much they fall under the same umbrella.

First. some background on one of the issues. Last weekend I attended a party where the well-known theme is unicorns. There was this cake:


There is some silly notion about the unicorn cake at the Sparklecorn party being racist as they are black and white cakes. Perhaps it looks like they're dueling and honestly I didn't give it a second thought. Then I heard rumblings about these unicorns. These mythical creatures on a cake. This is the part I can't emphasize enough: a cake.

It's simplistic to use symbolic racism and attribute it to a cake just because they are black and white. Mostly because, and I'll say this again, it's a cake. A cake that is eventually eaten and gone. It reminds me of the oft-misquoted "Eat your cake and have it, too" proverb. It's fitting to this discussion because we can pretend to be concerned about racism but not "have" to deal with it since we're talking about a cake. Look, it's not my metaphor, but entertaining that coupled with an ancient aphorism about eating cake is where the car was headed and not by me. I'm fine having this mutual exchange of perception of a cake if that's what we're doing. So let's go ahead and grab a bite of it.

Get your fork.

Some people mix up that proverb and say it backwards, but the origin of it in its true form is to eat it first and then still want to have it. Hence, the paradox. Once it's eaten you no longer have possession of it. Owning this thing, whether it's cake or pointing out racism, presents a snarled conundrum. People continuing to perpetuate intentions with a "racist cake" are still attempting to benefit from it for personal use. It's as if to say, Look how concerned I am about racism! I'm calling out a mythical unicorn cake!

Here is where I feel the need to start numbering these issues:

1. There is an interesting phenomenon that I am party to and that is when people want to ask questions in private they email or DM or send me Facebook messages about issues of race. It's entirely understandable as these are hard conversations to have and I truly believe the intent with this is pure. I gladly respond to all of them but I think that something I will start doing is, after the conversation on that topic ends, start posting them publicly because the contexts overlap so often that I may as well bring it out in my writing. Fair warning, then: if you email me privately with questions then go ahead and choose a pseudonym because I'm going to bring it up and my design isn't to call you out or embarrass you.

2. I am sick to the back teeth of hearing about how great "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett is and I was so grateful to see a plethora of articles and posts and reviews this week that put into words what I believe but don't feel I've been able to explore. But the one thing that stings is when I start a discussion about it and then am asked if I actually read the book. The implication is that I shouldn't talk about something unless I'm intimately familiar. The irony is so thick and obvious that all I can muster about that is WOW. I don't expect everyone to have read my thoughts on that or my blog thoroughly enough to know that I wrote about that and that it took me several months to finish reading it or that I hated every minute of it. The latest trailer on television for the movie has this upbeat, smiling-towards-the-sun, giddily running and jumping  self-congratulatory feel to it. Way to take one of the most painful times in the history of African Americans and add a plucky soundtrack, Dreamworks Studios.

On one such site there was a fantastic recommended list by Black authors and, since I'm still emailing back and forth with people about that I think it's best to just list them here:
Suggested Reading:

Fiction:

Like one of the Family: Conversations from A Domestic’s Life by Alice Childress

The Book of the Night Women by Marlon James

Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neeley

The Street by Ann Petry

A Million Nightingales by Susan Straight

Non-Fiction:

Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household by Thavolia Glymph

To Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors by Tera Hunter

Labor of Love Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present by

Jacqueline Jones

Living In, Living Out: African American Domestics and the Great Migration by Elizabeth Clark-Lewis

*Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

I said I wouldn't link, but I don't want to plagiarize someone and the effort they put into creating the list, so here is the source for that. *I listed this as a recommendation in a previous post.*

Telling me (or others) that I don't understand what it was like to grow up in the South in the 60s leads me to the conclusion that I shouldn't judge a white author for writing about her own experiences. In fairness, neither does Stockett understand what it's like to grow up black. Anywhere. At any time in history.

3. Thinking about this racist cake discussion reminded me of a book club I know about that wanted to read it last year and how all the women were white. I wasn't a part of this one but I am a part of a few others and some of my white girlfriends were telling me about the great discussions they were having with each other. Talking about complicated race issues in a safe vacuum where everyone else looks like you doesn't really work for me. Straddling the fence as I've always been privileged to do means that I hear this in black circles and white circles but never together. Let's shoot for more of a Venn diagram overlap there, book clubs. Because I think that would be fantastic and way more authentic.

4. One of those private messages came to me yesterday from a woman whose husband has a very Conservative, very Republican male friend who has taken to calling Obama "your boy" when he talks to them about the President. She pointed this out as it offended her for very real historical reasons due to the connotation of that term.  This friend defends emphatically that it's not racist and that she's being too sensitive so she asked for my take on it. Is that a racist sentiment on his part? Absolutely. So is asking the President of the United States for his papers birth certificate. That was an easy one.

5. It was and continues to be interesting and a slap in the face for writers to claim how diverse they are on their websites and how quickly they defend the fact that they've embraced diversity. In the past I have asked people, friends even, about diversity on their community sites and I think there must be a different definition for it because a cursory glance at the photos of writers tells a conflicting story. Babble is one such site that has turned me off in the past as being overtly white on parenting issues and with the pictures they use. So, when they came calling to ask me to regularly contribute to their site I was pleasantly surprised. After all, I'm a parent even if I don't fit the socially accepted norm of a mommyblogger.

6. In fact, last year I was named on Babble as one of the top 50 Twitter people. As expected, there was indignation at the contents of the overwhemingly white list. More importantly, lists and voting contests serve to exclude a great number of people so it naturally creates some controversy. It's been over a year, but this week I read a comment that someone wrote about me that, in all honesty, wouldn't have bothered me as much had it not come from a black woman. There was a compliment or two thrown in the comment but there was also this:

"While I think Kelly and Kimberly are great, neither tweets much at all" (Just now looking at my tweets I realize I'm over 20,000 and last year at this time was less, obviously, but that seemed like plenty enough for me. It rubbed me the wrong way.)

and she also said this:

"... not sure if I'd choose them on a list for Top 50 Twitter Moms"

Well. There you have it. I'm unable to make even moms of color happy. And that's okay because I'm unwilling to even attempt such a thing.

7. This next one makes me all prickly to think about in a community of women writers and I have kept silent on this for a few months. In that time, I noticed how a really popular blogger went to India and got called on the carpet for it. You know what my first reaction was? It's about time there are people of color on that blog! How wonderful to see them and to read about what she's learned and experienced from it! But it was the aftermath and reading nothing for an entire week from friends' posts that vehemently defended her. That's not the prickly part. What was hard for me to swallow was something I asked myself that I desperately wanted to ask them. Where were you when Satoshi Kanazawa wrote and published an article making the claim that  black women were physically less attractive? Where was the passionate condemnation for me and my black sisters/writers? [That is written in all seriousness and query so if you have written about it and devoted an entire post to it, please leave me a comment about where it is because I cannot find any from my close mommyblogging/non-mommyblogging friends.]

8. Using your blog and social media to get some action is something that companies and PR people fear if it's done badly and I've witnessed many people benefit from it when they get formal apologies, services, or products because of a bad experience. Remember back when I posted that horrible picture of myself from the Ulta experience? That was on July 14 and I was contacted rather quickly from Amy Sattler who does their PR. We exchanged a few someone will be contacting you emails and that never occurred. On July 21 I sent her this email:
Hi Amy,

I wanted to update you on the poor quality of an experience I had at Ulta last week.

First, I hoped that once you contacted me that the store manager would be in touch with me quite soon. That was not to be. When I first called about the appointment for the free hair events I asked about doing both the curly and sleek events and was told that it was perfectly fine to choose both services. As you may recall, my salon experience turned out to be entirely horrid and, by definition, entirely racist in how I was treated. Perhaps you might suggest otherwise, but asking a new client/customer her genetic makeup is unprofessional.

Since you last emailed me I have yet to be contacted by the store except for the fact that my next appointment for the sleek styling is tonight at 7:30 and yesterday, when I was too busy to accept the call, a message was left for me as a reminder for tonight's appointment. But no one has called about what I posted last week. I was disappointed when I listened to it because no one at that store seems to know that they helped provide a service for a potential customer that left a bitter taste in my mouth.

As the PR coordinator who works and was educated in the diverse Chicagoland area, I fully expect you to understand from where I'm coming. Am I to assume that this is no longer an issue and to just take this experience for what it is? Shall I have low expectations for your company? Am I to chalk this up to "just another post-racial encounter"?

I just wanted to know where I stood.

Sincerely,

Kelly

I heard nothing back from her and I still have never heard from the manager at the store. What conclusion would you come to if this were you? Do I ask myself  how Ulta feels about their employees treating customers with racial insensitivity? I guess I don't have to question it at all. Their answer, in the not answering, is that they don't care about whether or not some woman of color had a bad experience in their store. Maybe it's because I don't have that influential of a following on Twitter or that I don't tweet "much at all". Maybe they don't care about any of their customers regardless of color. I'm just left to wonder about that.

9. By way of another illustration I have a story about my career. Once, I had a job where there were four people in my office. Two black, two white. Two were male and two were female. The white female was our superior and anytime I tried to broach the subject of the subtle racism within the office, I was dismissed. Naturally, the black male and I became close because of it and due to the disenfranchisement we felt, but it was clear that the whites in our office held all the knowledge and power and shared those things without effectively training us for the same position. Much of it was on the technical side of the job which, in turn, helped to meet strict deadlines. If someone isn't properly trained then the implication is that they aren't fit for the job or that affirmative action is to blame for the unqualified black people in higher positions. That type of racism? That faint, muted sly kind of refusing to share wasn't a topic to be brought up without having the finger pointed back at me (sometimes, us) for "playing the race card". What I learned from that is a truth I am loathe to admit and that is that being black means I have to work twice as hard to prove my worth and educational training lest I be labeled as lazy or not knowing how to do my job.

You know why everyone is up in arms about a unicorn cake? Because it's safe and it doesn't mean anything. Because you can feign indignation about something as trivial as sugar and fondant. Because you get to create a distraction with a big old mess of a cake that has some "racially problematic imagery" and that right there is where your concern for and discussion of race end.

Keep talking about cake in the vacuum of mostly white communities. You've proven the old proverb wrong. Eat your cake, people. Down it to the last crumb. Tomorrow, you can have it again. Trust me. It will still be there. The racism, that is.

We can talk about race in a real way or we can talk about cake. I'm choosing the former.
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Reader Comments (117)

I've been glued to this post and the comments since Britt and I saw it on Twitter yesterday. Every time I refresh the page and see another blogger be honest about their views, I either hold back tears or get really excited because I see progress. I see positivity. I feel hope that maybe people are really ready to be honest (and actually talk about) about how they feel about race.

I feel conflicted about the whole cake thing, especially since I spent Sparklecorn in bed with a migraine and have only seen pictures. Did I feel that the cake was intentionally racist? No. My first instinct (to be honest) was that the cake was hideous as hell and I wouldn't dare eat that shit. It just looked icky to me and was uglier than last year. However, do I understand why people would be upset? Absolutely. Society has traditionally presented really warped images of Black people (of all Brown people, to be honest) for generations and I totally get why someone would think out loud, "well damn - why can't the Black unicorn get some shine?? Why does the Black unicorn have to breathe fire and be evil??" So to me, it is a much deeper issue than just being "a cake with a black and white unicorn on it."

This is one of the things I think White people need to understand (and what kills me the most about when people of other races dismiss complaints about racial issues). Just because YOUR people weren't slave owners or YOU aren't racist, doesn't mean it doesn't exist and that people shouldn't complain about it. As a matter of fact, it's circumstances like this that begets the conversation, and the more honest the conversation the better.

And speaking of honest conversations - I invite the blogosphere to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to true diversity. You can't be a collective blogging site and say that you believe in diversity when you don't have any minorities as part of your staff (yes, that includes LGBTQ). You can't say you believe in diversity when you don't talk about issues that affect minorities. I'll even take it a step further and say that you can't say you believe in diversity when you take a look at your own circle of REAL friends (online and off) and not one minority comes to mind.

Think about it.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

I missed seeing the cake as a statement of racial tension, but thought of it as a dorky code of arms. Or some eroticism.

The cake, however, was pretty good.

Ulta screwed up - but they followed their SOP: contact blogger, make nice, don't do anything else. I see it quite a bit.

As for The Help, I RSVP'ed for the movie at BlogHer but never made it. Will I watch it? Probably, when it's on cable. As someone who did grow up in the North with a Black maid, I'm sure there will be some parts that will resonate. But I'm also not going to apologize for the happy childhood memories nor my _childhood_ view of those times.

As for the racism undertones on things, I'm going to continue to not like (or like) people because of their personalities and actions, not the skin color.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Pepper

Oh, and I still think you're hot and funny, and that'd be true if you were white too. :P

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Pepper

This post and the comments are beyond awesome. And now I've been inspired to write a post about race today. It's small, the very tip of the iceberg, but it's a start. And small as it was, it was still a bit scary to push the "publish" button. There will be more soon. I'm now busy ruminating.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVarda (SquashedMom)

Don't know if I'll hit Send when I finish writing this...

Two years ago at BlogHer, I got well and truly reamed for a Tweet I'd sent at the airport, asking why the black Sky Caps had been replaced by shorts-wearing college boys. I still don't get how that could possibly be considered racist, but, Kelly, you were one of the loudest critics, seeking me out so you could tell me in person how much I had hurt you. Do you know how much you have hurt me by assuming that an innocent comment was racist? If you didn't know me, I could understand. But you did know me. We'd been at BlogHer together for the past several years. Didn't that merit a 'hey, Jane, what the hell were you thinking?' Guess not. Much easier to vent than to work at a dialogue. Much easier to assume that since I'm white, I must have racist leanings. Sorry, but I was walking the picket lines and paying my dues back in the '60s and '70s when you were probably just a kid. I'm no more racist than you are.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJane Gassner

I went to see X-Men First Class with the guy I am dating, who is black. I'm white and Jewish. At the end of the movie, I looked at him and said "Why was there only one black guy? and why was he (spoiler alert) one of the first ones killed? Why so many white people?"

He just smiled and said wryly "don't you know, there aren't really any black superheroes..."

We had a really lengthy conversation about it and we talked about the majority of the people in Hollywood in power being white males. About how if someone is of a different race, the odds are good that they're male, not female.

At one point I said "Is this a dumb white girl not realizing how unavailable black role models are in tv and film?" He laughed and we agreed that regardless of how absurd this realization of mine sounded to him (as it was something he realized years and years ago), it was better I realized it and we talked about it than never brought it up or realized it at all!

I've got a hell of a long way to go on figuring out this race business. But I'm glad that we can have a conversation about it honestly.
___________________________________________________

I really like what Robin said about needing to put your money where your mouth is in terms of who you hire. That a variety of views, a variety of issues need to be shown. Thank you for making me more cognizant of this. I'm adding all of those books to my list! 'scuse me while I go read through your archives!

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Jane, the tweet as I remembered it said something about you not knowing how to tip since the black adult male skycaps had been replaced by college boys. Forgive me if I have that wrong, but that is what I think I read, because I remember scratching my head and thinking "Why would anyone ask that?"

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuebob

Sigh. Jane...do you realize what you just did with that comment? You showed your entitlement and attempted to invalidate the feelings of a woman of color.

After all of this...we're still not listening.

You have every right to feel hurt, to explain, to make it known you are a champion of civil rights...but you did it by marginalizing Kelly's experience as a woman of color. You dismissed her, and said without words her opinion did not matter.

I think the next time anyone is told their comment was insensitive, racist, or otherwise... I would hope they attempt to understand why it upset someone rather than tell that someone their voice doesn't matter.

And we wonder why women of color keep screaming from the rooftops that no one hears them. Because in comments on my facebook wall, in comments on my twitter, in this comment thread right here...it's obvious we really are not listening.

I'm sorry feelings continue to get hurt when we discuss race, but this is HARD. This is not easy for any of us. We all have issues and we all need to stop playing constant defense and FUCKING LISTEN.

Gah.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I'm new to your blog, here visiting from Varda's and find so much to comment on that it would be impossible to do so in a comment. The first thing that came to mind, though, was a sigh of relief about "The Help" -- I had no idea there were any conflicting feelings about this mediocre book. As a white woman who grew up in the seventies in Atlanta, Georgia, there was much that was familiar in the book, but as I read it I was mainly struck by the absurdity of a white woman telling this story -- the "dialogue" made me cringe, the idea of book groups all over the country "discussing" it -- well, call me a snob but it made me ill. And when I read about the "unicorn" controversy, I quickly clicked off and away --

I'm pretty immersed in the disability community as a mother of a child with severe developmental disabilities, and I find similarities in the discussions of race and disability, particularly in the use of language. But again, there's too much to discuss in one comment and I mainly wanted to tell you that I appreciate this post and will read and reread for some time.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

I don't know you, Jane, but I can tell you didn't take into consideration one damn thing that Kelly wrote because you just defended yourself for some shit that happened a while ago while she wrote about being a black woman who is not being heard. What kind of fucking hypocrite are you? Check yourself, Jane. Check your white entitlement.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA Black Friend

As a white man, I'd really just like someone - anyone - to make me some goddamn dinner.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

I read this yesterday, then woke up this morning thinking about it. I keep wondering - why does this post make me feel so uncomfortable?

I'm white. I live in Australia. This has nothing to do with me, right?

We have our own race issues down here (surprise!) .. yet we're not even CLOSE to talking about our issues with the frankness and honesty discussed here. And a cake kicked this off? I was at BlogHer and saw that cake with my own eyes. I don't understand the fuss, any more than I understand why a person would even walk up to the table and take a photo of that cake, with the thought of "critiquing" it later on their blog.

But now, in this post, you're all - ok, let's REALLY talk about race. And your words took my breath away. I know I am ignorant, but to realise that there are a lot of areas that I still don't even know that I am ignorant about? Yeah.

Thank you for making me think.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteredenland

Drafting off earlier comments, I grew up in Eugene, which is even smaller and whiter than Portland, OR. As an adult, I try to not f*ck things up with naive interpretations...didn't read The Help and haven't explored the movie because it seemed like too much happy music and beautiful costuming to be real. I have three daughters and try to expose them to as much as we can. The reality of where we live is classic homogeny. I invited Heather Barmore to my home. I told my three daughters (3,5, and 6) that a friend was coming over. My oldest came to the door with me and, upon seeing Heather, looked at me and exclaimed, "You didn't tell me she was brown." It was awkward, but it was real. Should I have said she was brown? I'll be honest that I have no idea how to broach the adjective issue with my kids. The shape of an eye, the color of skin...we talk about people being how they act and the decisions they make, but very basic observations (made very loudly) still rule.

I appreciate you writing this post. It's treacherous enough when you kiss ass to keep people from attacking (not that you do that, just speaking to the blogging/pr landscape), I suspect that speaking your mind like this invites a certain kind of trouble.

I'll be checking out the books you suggest. And I'll be working to prepare my daughters for the time when innocent exclaims transition into judgements.

Trying not to be an ass in upstate NY.
-Amanda

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

When I saw pictures of the cake, I just figured it was MamaPop's way of trying to emulate the awesomeness of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" where the sisters Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are having to duke it out over who should rule Equestria. But, if they were to copy said characters, there would definitely be litigation, so I figured MamaPop made up their own versions of Celestia and Luna. Shitty versions. Princess Luna is purple, not black. *Insert scoffing here.*

Yes. My kids and I watch WAY too much My Little Pony.

I grew up in West Virginia with a racist father. My high school best friend is African-American and Dad thought the world of her... until she started dating a white boy. Then it all went downhill from there. My Dad used derogatory names about anyone of color, had less-than-stellar opinions, and it embarrassed the hell out of me. I was too young and too backbone-less to correct him. But, throughout my 20s, I attempted to talk to African-American college friends and co-workers about racism, race, and what their experience was/is like, to reverse the education I received from my father. And their overwhelming response to me?

"You wouldn't understand."

No, I wouldn't. There's no way I could understand what it's like. But I'm willing to listen. To learn. And to come as close as I can to understanding without having lived as an African-American in America. The subject of racism intimidates the hell out of me. I talk about it with my kids and make damned sure they don't have ANY trace of the attitude my father had but I can't seem to start the subject myself with anyone else.

Thanks for starting the ball rolling, Kelly. I hope I can keep up.

I really didn't have any desire to see the movie, or read the book, despite actually having an interest in understanding that particular time and women's role in the civil rights movement. Being a history dork sort of and all. However, I'm sick of seeing things from that white point of view, and the reaction that I saw from women of color that I respect sealed that I won't be paying money to see it for sure. I LOVE that you gave a reading list, because I want to read things that tell the stories of the time, but from a different point of view.
I want, desperately, to have a safe place to talk about race with people that aren't like me, without looking like an ass. I feel like I can't even talk about it because really, I don't know anything about it because I'm white. I feel like while maybe I can empathize some because of being a woman in a male dominated field, that is a whole different kind of thing. I'm intimidated, and scared, and that is my problem. Personally I'm happy that you're willing to stop making it private, maybe I'll stop being a chicken then.
Thanks, for writing this.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia Sprout

The only reason people are upset about the cake thing is because Anna said it. If someone else had written up a lengthy, "thoughtful" post about it who was in the inner MamaPop ass kissy circle, it would have been fine. At least own up to the fact y'all don't like her.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterget real

Kelly, de-lurking to say I love this post. I could read you writing anything but I especially love it when you write Race.

There's so much to comment on here, but I'll focus on The Help if I may. I just read LainaD's post on BlogHer, where she quotes The Black Snob, a brilliant blogger I've never read before. The Snob distills for me the skin-crawling wrongness of the Avatars and the Dances With Wolves and the Helps that are turned out like so much sausage for the big screen with this quote

"[I]f you want to make "The Help" a movie, that's fine, but what does Hollywood have against stories about black people where black people still have agency and they're equals with white people, or, as in many cases during the lengthy fight for equality, white people were actually following a black person."

Well now. Amen.

Which leads me back to you and this blog. If we as a community -- black, brown, white -- are going to change the media mess in which we find ourselves, we have to start by changing who we follow and who we read and who we comment on.

So...Nice leadership, Mocha. Happy to follow you.

xo L

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Stone

Thanks so much for visiting and for leaving a comment so that I could follow you back here. And that you for taking the time to write this post. Thank you for calling out the hypocrisy of an outcry about cake when we are all so quick to turn away from the really uncomfortable conversations we need to have about race.

Glad to have found you.

Marianne

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarianne

So much food for thought here, I don't feel like I have anything of use to contribute to this conversation. But I wanted to say I'm listening. And thinking. And loving that you don't shy away from this stuff.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMir

Huh. I didn't see race in that cake. I saw Princess Celesita and Princess Luna from the new show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And they're sisters.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Sue

I haven't read the book or seen the movie, and wondered what all the fuss was about when I saw your tweet. I'll admit to being lost on what upset you on the review you posted, which bothers the hell out of me. However when you retweeted Toni Morrison's comment about the story not being told from a black perspective the light finally dawned. I also listened to Viola Davis describe her role this morning on a morning show and was interested to see what resonated about that role to her. She said it was because it reminded her of her mom, who lived that life.

It occurs to me that most people I know are going to be more comfortable with the story from the white perspective, because it is so much easier to hear it framed in our own experiences. However I want to try and figure it out which is why I have been following your posts on this.

I do think these stories need to be told, and will check out your reading list. I hope someday we can live in a world where this discussion is irrelevant because both voices are equally heard.

Despite being a white baptist female, I make a simple point of following people who are not that, for the sake of widening my world.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNora

I agree with you on some of your points. Thank you for being the relentless champion for race discussion.

I get where you're coming from about "Cakegate" but I can't help but see from the other side (And IMO I don't agree with it at all being POC/a child of immigrant parents). Somebody was taking baby steps toward their foray into race discussion and it turned into something else. This is where they get butthurt about saying what they feel and getting attacked. An inconsequential thing as the cake probably meant a lot to them if they thought to mention it.

This isn't to ask you to give this person a pass. But aren't you disregarding their feelings(if they have personal feelings about this) in the same way you fight against for yourself and other marginalized groups? I'm curious and trying to stir up drama here.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeis

This kind of discussion is always interesting to me. My best friend of almost 20 years is black, and there have been more teachable moments than I can count. I can sympathize with Jane above, but also understand why it was so inflammatory. I was brought up thinking that racism was the Klan and stuff done maliciously and deliberately. I was brought up thinking that it was hate. And we didn't hate anyone, truly. I never had to confront any kind of bias until K and I became friends. It's never occurred to me to question why the kitchen always screws up only my order when I eat out with friends of another race, but I've seen it happen with K and I catch myself wondering if she's on to something or just hallucinating since to the chef she's nothing but a shorthand menu item on a ragged slip of paper, and if I shrug it off then it's an argument about white privilege waiting to happen. It's It's bewildering and frustrating and even shaming to me sometimes because it's NOT malicious, and it's NOT hateful, NOT intentional in any way. They're questions I would never ask about my own existence but which she asks herself daily. To me it would be silly to ask, but to her it's everything. It's an entirely different way of encountering the world.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Like Mir, I don't feel I have much to add here, other than to say what a tremendous post this is, and to thank you for writing it.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Getgood

Oh, Jane. That tweet was so completely and entirely racist in it's implications at least. This entire community, black, white and in between was appalled at the nerve of you. You deserved every single comment thrown your way, of those that I saw. No one attacked you - they only attacked that terrible, terrible comment you made.

Back then you brought up the fact that you'd been fighting for civil rights forever so HOW DARE WE?! Just so you know: that marching does not negate the fact that you said you knew what to tip skycaps when they were all black, but not so much anymore, now that they're all college boys. As if black boys couldn't be college students, or white boys couldn't possibly find themselves in such positions without higher aspirations.

From what I recall at BlogHer '09 - Kelly tried to explain to you how she - we - felt, and you were completely unresponsive. Stalwart, in your refusal (or maybe inability) to recognize how much that tweet offended and hurt us. You and I don't know each other, so if we did ever end up in a position to talk that weekend, neither of us ever knew. If I'd been aware of who you were in person, I definitely would have approached the topic with you.

Your righteous indignation, then and now, is appalling, really. The fact that you STILL can't see where you went wrong, is just sad. FYI: I was @Maria0305 back then. You quoted me in your blog post about it, and I was one of the very first to call you out on that tweet, when a (white) friend of mine DM'd me about it and asked if she was just being sensitive, or if your tweet was crazy offensive.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria Young

I wrote about Satoshi Kanazawa at Moxie Bird. And I share this not because I think I deserve a pat on the back, but to share honestly that I felt a lot of anxiety about it. I was terrified of saying the "wrong" thing and pissing folks off.

It is complicated.

Thank you for this wonderful post.

http://www.moxiebird.com/2011/05/psychology-today-finally-apologizes-for-article-claiming-black-women-are-unattractive.html

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLexa

Kelly, I read this the other day and I wanted to comment then but I wasn't sure what I wanted to say or what I could add to the conversation that didn't detract from your brilliant post.

I've written posts about equality as a general principle, from the standpoint of wanting everyone to have equal standing regardless of race or gender or religion or sexual orientation (or all of the above). As a middle-aged white woman, I feel anything beyond that coming from me would be meaningless, coming from a complete vacuum. I don't want to write something that sounds like "Hey, I'm a better human being than you because I'm less racist." because I'm NOT. I hope I'm at least mature and evolved enough to acknowledge my privilege and recognize that there are issues of culture and color I will *never* understand. From that standpoint I would rather sit back and listen than attempt to comment on issues of race because frankly, what a person of color has to say on this matter is far more meaningful than anything I could muddle together.

Thank you for your eloquence and your patient way of approaching things.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarnmaven

I've been itching to respond to this ever since I read it over the weekend, but I haven't been in front of my computer to do so until now. I appreciate everything that you've said here, and I'm glad this conversation is happening, even if it is the result of cake. (Which, incidentally I think got blown out of proportion by all involved parties, but which I think you're correct in saying is a very safe, sterile place to talk about race. There aren't exactly many real-life implications you can extract from a unicorn cake.)

I love that you want to talk about race in a real way, and oh, how I more people felt similarly. It's like pulling teeth to get most of my white friends to talk to me about it. They know how I feel, and thus, they refuse to broach the subject. (and for the record, I'm Asian American, and I can pass for white, so if they won't even entertain the possibility of the book and movie being terribly racist in a conversation with me, will they talk to anyone?) I can empathize with your frustration, although as someone who has never suffered the indignities of being black in the United States, I will never be able to truly understand.

And I do have to say something about item #7. I wanted very desperately to speak to that kerfluffle when it happened. I'm sad to admit that I was (and still am) absolutely terrified to do so. No matter what I said, I was going to piss somebody off and I was probably going to get myself labeled a troll or a minion in the process. And through what I saw in the interactions, the internet became, again, a very polarized place where there was no room for conversation, just room for belittling and labeling on both sides of the fence, which I want absolutely no part of. That being said, do you know of any writers of color that spoke to this issue? Because everything I saw came from the same circle of white bloggers that is usually represented when these things happen.

In any case, thank you for your honesty and your continued work to bring these conversations about race to the forefront.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD.

And by "it" in the second paragraph, I meant to refer to "The Help." My fingers were moving faster than my brain as per normal.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD.

I appreciate so much the suggested reading list! I live in diverse community, but too often, as you wrote, people are reluctant to discuss important issues like racism because they're afraid of saying something foolish, appearing ignorant, or confronting their own biases. I do think that despite the shortcomings of both the book and movie, one positive result is the discussions The Help has fostered, even if they're too often online rather than in person.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

What a post. I've reread it three times already because there's so much in it that is valuable, that I want to absorb. I told Kelly in a tweet earlier today that she'd said it all and that I was coming back to read the comments, and she invited me to comment. Which made me :gulp: and kind of blush. This will probably be kind of rambling and all over the place but it will be about race and racism.

I read The Help, sometime last year. I'm a reading machine and honestly, I can hardly remember how I felt when I read it. I remember feeling pain for the woman who was fired, who was working so hard for her family. But I read so many books, until all the chatter started recently about the movie I hadn't thought of that book since. I wasn't impressed with the movie trailers, with the feel-good slant that they're portraying because I know I didn't get that from the book. I will say this: white women cannot write about the experience of being black, at any point in history, as Kelly said. They can write about their own experience, but it's not even close to the experience of the women they're writing about. If you want to read about black reality, at any point in history, you have to read black writers. This may be one of the reasons The Help doesn't stick in my memory much...I have read volumes and volumes of black writers, my personal library contains all of Toni Morrison (read Song of Solomon, and then read it again because I didn't get it until I read it twice), books by Alice Walker, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou. I'm not bragging, I'm just telling you so you know that you have to read these books if you want to read about real black people, how it really was and is. If you want to try your best to understand what the experience of racism in this country has been from the side of people who experience it, you have to read what they write about it. It's painful as a white person to read these books, hell as a human of any ethnicity it's painful, but read them we must. If we care. If all you want is to be comfortable, then you won't be reading black authors.

I was privileged today to attend a diversity session where I work. My company is big on diversity and it's the most diverse company I've ever worked for. I'm very glad they make the effort, and this session was put on by the multicultural women's network, and the LGBT network together. There was a panel discussion with one black woman, one Latina, and one lesbian. The discussion was excellent, and the women shared ways they had been marginalized and discriminated against in the workplace. We talked about stereotypes, and how they are damaging and hurtful. We talked about how difficult it can be to confront racism and discrimination when it comes up, how it feels easier to just ignore it, and some really good ways to diffuse those types of situations and turn them possibly into teaching moments without making people feel judged. One big thing I took away was hearing from their side how valuable they find it when someone who's not a member of the discriminated group speaks up on their behalf. Because the ones being discriminated against are always having to speak up, and supporting them is a big part of fostering diversity. We really have to be people who stand up and say "That's not true" when we are present and racism or discrimination or marginalization is happening right in front of us. I learned some better ways to do that in the session today, because there are times when I've probably alienated people in the past by being too in your face. I've always felt like I didn't care if I offended some racist idiot, but I've come to realize that people can and do change, and if I respond to them in a way that insults them then I've lost the chance to influence them.

About asking questions in private...I see why Kelly thinks this should be brought into the light. I agree with her. I get questions like that, too, probably not as often as she does. My friends and acquaintances know I'm married to a black man and so they sometimes ask me the questions they're afraid to ask publicly. In a way I'm glad they ask, but in a way I'm not. I'd rather have these conversations out in the open. At the same time I'm glad that they are thinking about these things, questioning, wanting to know. Just...go farther, people. We've been struggling with this racism stuff for so damn long. I've seen a lot of change in my lifetime but I also see that we are still marginalizing the experiences of our sisters and brothers of color and it makes me wonder, is my 6 year old going to have to deal with this shit? I think he is, and it hurts my heart to know that my innocent boy is going to one day come face to face with someone who thinks he is less than, because he isn't white. That will be a very angry day, when I have to try to explain this sickness to my child so he can arm himself against it. If that's even possible. But I absolutely believe that he will face it, because we have a black president and there are people out there who call him "Boy". Infuriating. Questioning his birth certificate. What the hell, America? I think there are a lot of very angry white people right now, and I personally want to strangle them because it's enough.

Thanks for such an honest and thought-provoking post, Kelly. We have to keep talking and talking about this.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn (@kat1124)

I have no important comment here as I live in Australia and do not attend BlogHer. Australia is pretty much a racist country in many ways, but I doubt that even we would get so upset about a cake. Anyway, my point is that another good book to read is "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou. She used a line from a poem by Paul Dunbar - his poem is worth reading as well.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

Also, I just wanted to add that the world is watching the way you handle your race issues. I watched this show on tele last weekend and it terrified me.

http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/about/id/601306/n/America-s-Nazi-Backlash

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

The cake: The indignation was a thing of internet beauty. Seriously.

The book & the movie: Horrible, terrible & awful. However a Venn diagram conversation about them predicated on the fact that not everyone who read/liked/enjoyed/abhorred either is necessarily horrible, terrible & awful would be fantastic. Also required, leave all comments about Race Cards and the playing thereof and your own personal ''I am not a racist because....'' credentials at the door. When we stop launching our defenses (and further offenses) before the conversation begins, there is steep danger we may all learn something.

Racism (as a whole, in general, IRL, on the internet, everywhere, period, entire universe) - It exists. Speaking of it in past tense because someone else's offense makes you feel prickly and defensive is bullshit and cowardly. Yes race is hard to talk about when it's something you can feasibly avoid, at all cost, ever. What is harder is living with and experiencing racism and not having the privilege to ignore it and its consequences. Co-opting other people's actual oppression to manufacture your own is weak. Stop that.

Racism II: Using someone else's ethnicity as veracity of your non-racist status is inexcusable. ''I can't possibly be racist because my family/husband/kids/neighbor is {insert race here}''. Do you even hear how that sounds? Right, racists don't marry or adopt or have kids outside of their race, that's crazy. I mean, that would be like saying a misogynist would be married to a woman. Oh, wait. Yeah. Being married to/parenting/linked to another race in any way doesn't mean you aren't racist. It means you are married to/parenting/linked to another race. Period. Let your own actions and decisions speak louder than the color of the person's skin you are co-opting to validate yourself. Because, seriously: GROSS.

Jane: You don't get to dictate other people's feelings. I know it's restrictive as hell and uncomfortable but such is life. You said something that hurt Kelly. When asked if knowing it hurt her changed your perception of your words, you said no. End of story. You can own your words, explain them (please, please explain them) or eat them and apologize but you don't get to determine how Kelly feels no matter how many marches and protests you attended or how many angry letters to the editor you have written. See above, other people's pain isn't material to build a personal wall of butt-hurt and fortify yourself from the rest of the world.

Ah Kelly, I think the entire moon and stars of you, I really do and I love this post. I could write a thousand paragraph comment about things my family and Darryl of course in particular have experienced due to both malice and ignorance but at the risk of being another finger waving white woman contributing only toxicity to a conversation about race, I will refrain. Not because our experiences aren't valid but because I don't want to be what I detest most: An indignant white woman flashing my Racism Experienced Vicariously Bingo Card. I am better than that and this conversation is owed more.

So, yeah. Let's have a real conversation. Pretty please with sugar on top.

You already know how I feel about almost everything, and especially about you--you're amazing. But enough about that. Now I love you *even more* for using the phrase "sick to the back teeth." Truly, we are sister-women. I think on Erin's thread discussing similar issues that I described the "you're too sensitive" defense as "setting my back teeth on edge." So anyway, about that commune...

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

Oh Kelly, I get every single word of this post.

In our home, race is a issue we deal with Every Single Day. I get questions about "when" I got my child - to whom does my nephew "belong"....the list is endless.

But the overall conversation about Race - the REAL conversation - has yet to take place. It is still too easy to build code words and winks and ways of denying the words and actions right in front of you. It is easy to make a mountain out of a cake - and just as easy to make it a cakewalk.

I firmly believe that until Americans have a true reckoning - a truth and reconciliation, if you will, then we will never be able to root out the insidiousness that is our racist heritage.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Rouse

1. Bravo for continuing to bring up an uncomfortable subject in such a way that it makes people think and act.

2. I don't get how the cake is racist. The black unicorn is a bad-ass warrior with flames shooting out of it. The white unicorn is pooping lollipops and has the exact same lower back tattoo as every 18 year old girl I know. If I was a white unicorn I'd be pissed if I saw that cake.

3. I think a lot of white people are afraid to talk about racism for fear that they'll be looked down on by non-whites. It sounds ridiculous but I was once talking about racism with a friend of mine and she very sweetly said "I agree with you, but as a white woman you can't possibly understand or discuss racism in America". If she'd been white I would have told her she was crazy and that I can tell what's right and what's wrong regardless of my skin color, but since she was black I felt like I'd overstepped my boundaries in being angry on behalf of a race of people I wasn't a part of. Years later I had Hailey and realized that we're all part of the human race, and that I need to keep speaking about what's right and what's wrong regardless of what other people might say or think. It's not comfortable, but it's necessary.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny, Bloggess

What a fantastic post...truly. Unreal. I loved it.

And your first few paragraphs, about it being just a cake? Well, the symbolism goes further than that! There is game on Facebook, called "Robot Unicorn Attack" which is hugely popular...but there is a more diabolical version of it, the "heavy metal" version, which instead of using rainbows and stars...using skulls and fire. When I saw the cake, I immediately got the reference, and didn't think anything of it.

And then, I read your brilliant post. As a half Mexican, half Italian - it totally spoke to me. Keep it up - you are AMAZING!

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiggerlane

So, this was interesting and very articulate. I don't know you, have never read your blog before and in fact, hadn't heard of you before I saw this tweet from ScaryMommy.

Having said that, I grew up in the South during the exact time period of The Help. I liked the book but did I think it was "accurate" in it's depiction of the voices or experiences. It wasn't mine and yes, we did have a black maid.

What I liked is that it did get people talking. Did it whitewash the whole housemaid situation? Yes it did. But it also made SOME people think. People rarely think about unpleasant thongs so that's a bonus,

I don't know what United States you live in but the one I live in rarely tackles complex issues in any meaningful way. Just like people don't want to know about stuff their kids are doing (they say they do but they don't) they don't want to discuss how their behaviors are skewed. RE: see Nazi Germany and collective guilt.

You however, are interesting and I liked your rational and consise points.

Thought provoking...what a novel idea!

Kelly, thank you for this post.

I can't tell you how much it precisely puts into words some feelings that I've been bottling up lately. I'm still smarting from the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and all of the racist bs that reared its ugly head. I haven't been able to write about it, and I'm so in awe of your ability to start a discussion like this.

I will say this: I love my online community, but there are definitely those that make me enraged at times - I'm so damn tired of racial comments being made to me with some sort of, "We're good friends, so I can say this, right?" attitude. Um, no we aren't, and no you can't.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersweatpantsmom

"You know why everyone is up in arms about a unicorn cake? Because it’s safe and it doesn’t mean anything. Because you can feign indignation about something as trivial as sugar and fondant. Because you get to create a distraction with a big old mess of a cake that has some “racially problematic imagery” and that right there is where your concern for and discussion of race end."

Bravo.

These conversations about race—the real ones—need to be happening all the time, out in the open. Not in private emails to perceived "experts" (i.e. our black brothers and sisters who white people feel are approachable); not in the "Hey, you have a black child! Can you tell me what black people think about _________," as I am prone to get. White people need to acknowledge their unearned privileged, get educated and then become anti-advocates or move out of the way for those of us committed to eliminating racism. And by the way, reading the drivel that is "The Help" does NOT COUNT as getting educated. That book was racism made palatable for white middle class women, who gobbled it up and were then able to claim, tsk, tsk, what a shame.

I'd like to add to your reading list for anyone who wants to get on board with some serious information: "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson will teach them what it was really like in the South. There were no Great White Heroes named Skeeter who, in the end, didn't learn a thing and still exploited black women for her own gain.

And as this fantastic piece pertains to bloggers, I have to say that I was struck by the presentations during Voices of the Year at BlogHer. There was (well-written) drug addiction, dead babies, dead husbands, dead parents and all kinds of indulgent suffering. There was no shortage of self-pity and "enlightenment." But there wasn't a single black voice. Not one. Not even a white person who spoke about issues of race in our culture.

All these blogs and it comes down to unicorns? Sadly, it's not surprising.

Great post, Kelly. So glad Leah introduced us.

In solidarity,
~aaryn

Instead

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteraaryn b.

I just spent more free time than I realized I have, reading this post--twice--then reading every word of every comment.

Like others, I'm not sure how to contribute to the discussion at this point, except to say that I'm nodding, I'm listening, and I'm learning.

You blow my mind Kelly. As always.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

I think that I love you. You have voiced so eloquently how many moms of color in the blogosphere feel. I primarily write about things that all moms have in common because I think that there are more things that unite us than divide us. However, when I do write about race, I brace myself for the fall-out.

(On a side note, I think that the annoying thing about you and Kim - whom I know and adore - being named to the twitter list, was that the term "mocha" is in both of your twitter handles. It just came off as a lazy way for marketers to distinguish Black moms on twitter. I'm not on twitter a lot myself, but there are PLENTY of other Black moms that are actively engaged there on a consistent basis.)

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly/Foodie City Mom

I loved this post, too. Thank you for saying so elegantly what I'm sure very many people feel but don't say it so gently and in a way that is not combative but is, instead, just matter of fact and straight-forward. When people... any people... are combative all it does is raise the defensiveness of the other party. Thank you for making this discussion accessible to everyone. I appreciate it very much.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

There were a few people who called this post 'articulate.' You don't really articulate concrete examples of racism, so much as you detailed your impressions of racism. Ilya is a shitty company with no real customer service or PR people. Do you think you had a bad experience because of your race? Or just because you're too cheap to pay for your hair care? Yes, the girl who helped you could learn a thing or two about social interactions, but was she WRONG to ask about the origins of your hair? I always want my hair stylists to have as much info about my hair so the can cut it appropriately. Why is that asking a lot? And the cake wasn't racist, but you have to admit the white vs black/dark vs light/good vs evil is overdone. Ms Stockett's book may not win any prizes in race-relations, but it was well-written, and an easy, fun read, unlike the dry-as-dust books you've suggested. Sometimes, you just want a story, not an epic journey into all that's wrong in the world. And judging by the overwhelming popularity of The Help, I'd say a huge portion of my peers agree.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

Thank you for discussing these issue. I sincerely hope that a day will come when a person can address race issues without being accused of "playing the race card," or at least that when this accusation is made, it won't be so widely socially acceptable.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah E.

Shawn...it's likely that a huge portion of your peers, as with a good number of people I know in my own life, would rather read a feel-good story than something true. This is no surprise. Nor is your obvious animosity about things to do with race. Since you don't want to have this conversation, why are you even commenting? I'm sincerely curious.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn (@kat1124)

I cam here by way of the lovely Chibi Jeebs and after poking around in the archives, I am certainly grateful for the introduction. This post lured me in with the gorgeous tone to your words and has me rapt in regards to the content.
I read The Help and liked it. I feel ashamed to admit that here and to further admit that I didn't give the idea that it might be considered racist a first thought, let alone a second. I enjoyed it in the way that one enjoys chick lit or romcoms or something frothy and insubstantial. I certainly never took any of it to be an accurate portrayal of life during those times.
I am a white, middle aged(hells yes I AM, my family lives til 90) woman and I have white guilt. I want to not, but don't really know how to change a feeling. I also question if I'm racist, sexist, anti-gay. I don't feel that I am, but the idea that that book could hurt people didn't even register on my radar. I don't want to hurt anybody with my choices of entertainment or any of the other choices I make.
I am concerned about this greatly now because I have a two year old and I want to raise him to be open and honest and a seeker. I want to raise him to be a man that can see those blurry lines, but how can I impart that if I don't possess it?
After the second election of George Bush I was so devastated in the reprehensible decision I felt this country had made, I think I closed myself off from a lot in the world. Which is bullshit. Because, hello, I'm in the world. I'm raising a piece of the world.
So this was a wake up call for me, a slap on the ass to giddy up and go. Go read more about this topic and other tough ones. And go have open discussions in regards to race, as well as anything and everything else under the sun.
And really, who would have thought that combining the intrinsic awesomeness of unicorns and cake could have brought all this on? The revolution will be blogged, yo. And I'll be a part of it.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoules

1. I learned about 7 things reading this.
2. This is such a big topic, a post (or 100 posts) isn't enough. Let's start a community site/page/whatever that solely/continually covers race issues...discussions around that. Why not? There's enough material.
3. I'm not kidding.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Mayes

My mother loved the book The Help, , I know she relates to the maids in The Help more than the white characters. She grew up in Plains, GA- a white farmer's daughter in the 50s. The birthplace of Habitat for Humanity was down the road- Koinonia was an integrated settlement that was firebombed and terrorized by the Klu Klux Klan. My mother grew up in fear and seeing hatred and racism, (and yes, I know it was worse for the victims, but she was just a child). I'm not suggesting, nor would she, that she has any idea what it was like to be black back then. But she did witness a lot- stuff that still haunts her. For some reason I don't really understand, my grandfather, an uneducated man, taught her not to be prejudiced and to understand the privilege she had- her cousins and other family members are not like her TO THIS DAY. She made race, discrimination, class, etc. a regular discussion in my childhood.

I'm not saying she or anyone else should get medals for not being discriminatory or being somewhat enlightened. I'm aware I'm very privileged in this regard. I guess that is why this whole "cake" thing really angered me? Flippant remarks about “racially problematic imagery” in a cake or in anything that is so clearly not do annoy me. Especially when someone tries to defend them. It dilutes the real topic and helps no one.

The more I write this the more I want to go back and put disclaimers so nobody can take something out of context! This is a topic so full of land mines I feel like I'm standing on one foot. But you are right about pushing the boundaries of safe, thank you for that reminder. I thank you for writing this post and Belinda for sending me here.

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbaltimoregal

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