PZ, Can You Get With This?

AlwaysWithQuestions said: “And from that deeper level of understanding, I can also see more clearly how academia operates together with it all, that diversion into false deceptive reflection. And this is bringing together various strands of understanding for me, stuff I have been dealing with one way or another for a long time. I wrote that initial comment about academia and it felt like being at the eye doctor’s where I think I am seeing clearly and the doctor snaps another lens into place and suddently I can see even more clearly — snap, I see this landscape with a sharper eye now. It was like: In that act of writing that comment, I had an increase in fluency — fluency of understanding of how it operates.

And then somewhat later, this person who I know makes a living from that very industry comes here and does that typical relentless breathtakingly deceptive academic trick of co-opting the truth and rendering it harmless and irrelevant by appearing to “state” it. Does that trick right here in a comment in this very same discussion.”

AWQ has called you out before. Are you willing to go beyond the surface and descend into the deep water – swim in the emotional implications of this?

Malcolm X on the ‘March on Washington’ as metaphor:

“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What you do? You integrate it with cream; you make it weak. If you pour too much cream in, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it’ll put you to sleep. This is what they did with the march on Washington. They joined it. They didn’t integrate it; they infiltrated it. They joined it, became a part of it, took it over. And as they took it over, it lost its militancy. They ceased to be angry. They ceased to be hot. They ceased to be uncompromising. Why, it even ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, a circus. Nothing but a circus, with clowns and all.”

This is the process by which we become clowns who attend picnics instead of militant direct actions; through which truth is drenched in ‘buckets of words,’ words that distance, confuse, anesthetize.

The process that we engage in here – I hope – is one of siphoning the cream (the lie) out of the coffee (the truth) and making it strong and vital. The siphoning process requires rigorous honesty and deep engagement. Do you feel how ‘academy-speak’ can strangle your truth?

14 Responses to “PZ, Can You Get With This?”

  1. Profacero@gmail.com and I’ll give you a phone number if you want to talk. I think AWQ is smart, but I do not want to deal with him. I have good reasons for this which I am happy to reveal to either of you personally, but not in a blog comment thread readable by everyone.

  2. 1. “but I do not want to deal with him”

    profacero, why on this earth do you name me as him?

    Is it perhaps because I write sometimes about my girlfriend?

    Hello. I am a lesbian.

    2. FS, this response is a game from profacero. Do whatever you want but
    she is playing a game here.

  3. PZ, why don’t you want to deal with this ‘publicly?’ I feel I know where AWQ is coming from very well, know her intention and it is to bring truth to light. Period. There is no agenda under the cover; what you read is what she’s talking about.

    Why are you choosing to NOT deal with what she’s saying?

  4. Dammit, FS, this is nasty. Now the terms of engagement are about whether I am coming from an okay place? The answer to that question (what you are saying about me) is less important than the shift of topic. Check how that changes the discussion.

    These are dominance/control games she’s playing. Conscious or unconscious, that’s the situation. This thing about naming me as “him” is part of the game. I don’t know how, but it is. The goal is avoidance and it’s working.

    I want to say: I don’t consent to this path. In my assessment, it is wrong and I don’t consent. The word is “NO.”

    I’m posting another comment in the other discussion with more.

  5. AWQ: Its not about you. This is not about you at all. And thank you for pointing out that I am complicit in picking up some of that language and tone. I apologize for that.

    This is about avoidance and denial, denigrating and pathologizing you, when it is you who are recognizing the pathology. Its like when Southern sheriffs would accuse activists struggling for freedom of ‘stirring up trouble.’

    Bullshit.

  6. Lubangakene, forgive me BUT I feel sick to my stomache about how this discussion has progressed. Maybe there is something with all of this among you, Profacero and AWQ that I don’t quite understand or some history that I am not aware of, but from the reaction of AWQ on the previous post: “I think she doeth protest too much!”. I read the previous post a number of times and this one also. I read nothing in the comment by Profacero: “And this compartmentalization plus neutralization of reflection in academia is a serious problem.” that should enflame such a response from AWQ. I know it’s your blog, but if someone doesn’t agree with a point, I believe respectful dialogue should be the terms of engagement. Again it is not my blog page, so please take my comment as a suggestion. I found the comments of AWQ to be “over the top” and overly aggressive in all this. What point is she attempting to prove? That she has understanding and empathy for the plight of us “negroes”? That she is down for “our” cause? That we must follow her way to engagement/empowerment for it to be “real”? Agreement doesn’t mean your “down”. Even the devil believes in God Lubangakene. If you are thinking and agreeing with everything I am thinking, then there is only one of us really doing the thinking while the other person is just leeching! Rightly or wrongly, from this whole discussion I just see another so-called white progressive engaged in the “oh so subtle” process of leeching off “you/us” Lubangakene.

    Truth can be absolute as well as individual. Why attack Profacero because she questions the validity of a point, regardless of who makes it? She may have her own truth based on her own experience. Why call her out due to her profession? I feel that there is a lot of manipulation occuring here rather than honest discussion in regards to this topic and the (mis)treatment of Profacero! Which leads me to this statement by AWQ:

    “FS, can we salvage useful discussion that is not about trying to directly engage with profacero or anyone else who would come to defend her?”

    All I can say in regards to this comment is “WOW!!!” Is this statement in and of itself not totally DIVISIVE, close-minded and arrogant? “If they don’t agree with us, let just cut them off?” Does this include me Lubangakene, since I do step up and come to the defense of Profacero? There is so much more that I could comment on, but as I said, I may not understand the entire dynamics here. I may be way off base. HOWEVER, I can’t help feeling that something stinks in all this. This is my truth. As shallow as it may be.

    Asabagna

  7. Asa, your views are most appreciated and I did have a reaction to the quote, “FS, can we salvage useful discussion that is not about trying to directly engage with profacero or anyone else who would come to defend her?” I’m having another one now because you have drawn my attention to it.

    I’m gonna have to think on this a bit, but I think you, as usual, have given me food for thought. And it ain’t shallow either.

  8. Lubangakene, I read your apology over at Professor Zero’s. Allow me to reference a part of a comment you made on her page but put my own twist on it: “But truth and reality is the BASIS of our friendship”. The “truth” is that whether you are right or wrong, you are my brother Lubangakene. The “reality” is that whether I agree with you or not, you are my brother Lubangakene.

    You may not realize this Lubangakene, but you significantly inspire me in my quest to be a better person. I did a post recently on “Character”. You are a living example of what I was trying to convey in that post regarding people of character.

    Be blessed and peace.
    Asabagna

  9. Look, y’all: AWQ did not like my tone, and I apologized to her, and went away. It is not entirely clear to me what more anyone thinks I owe her.

    Readers with questions about who I am, why I choose to write as I do in the blog that I have, and what my feelings are on books, politics, and life in general, what my history is, and so on, might want to consider reading the effin’ blog before projecting your s*** into me in particular.

    (Gosh golly me, I never did imagine that there might be any problems with and in the culture now called academia! No, no, no, because I am a professor, I worship in certain hallowed halls with glazed eyes! You are the first to make me realize, there might be some problems, I am sooo shoooocked, hallelujah!)

    There are answers to a lot of questions in my archives, and I converse with people, quite openly, I might add, on a daily basis. If you are mad at professors *in general*, there are a lot of strictly academic blogs out there (mine is not one), and far more successful academics than I am to yell at.

    I have a job, it is the one I have, it takes up much more than 40 hours a week, and I’ll bet I make less at it than some of you, where you work. But I have food on the table, and a few other things. Please do not go on at me about privilege I might not know I have.

    Note on projection: I don’t do it to you, you don’t do it to me. Deal.

    Note on boundaries: we are adults, not toddlers. Everyone stay within their own boundaries. No chasing after people who prefer to remain at a polite distance.

    Note on melodrama and intrigue: I don’t do that white-ass shit, sorry.

    Note on brilliant insights, and on who owns them: most ideas that most of us have, are not original with us, even when we do not know it.

    If you want any more emotion and self-revelation, you will have to come see me at my place. However, we are adults over there, and we abide by certain rules of civility. Conflicted white people are *especially* expected to abide by these rules.

  10. (Why on earth would I ever dip my toe into this? Don’t I have enough drama in my own life with people that I actually know? A glutton for punishment, I guess.)

    White people are in our lives – if you live in the U.S., this is hard to avoid. Because we’re human, we create relationships. Sometimes, we create relationships with white people. Sometimes, those relationships are loving and profound. However, though loving and profound, white supremacy stubbornly persists.

    I don’t know y’all (FS, AWQ, PZ, Asa), but FS and AWQ, I have enjoyed your writings, your back and forths, for some months. I respect your work. I have also noticed the increasing intensity and there is concern there. Concern because an opening, a vulnerability, a wound beating inside the dialectic of oppression is difficult to protect. And it’s worse over the friggin internet. (Web 2.0 will destroy us all.)

    And so, though AWQ’s writing and work is often very lovely, I don’t know how to say so when doing so automatically sets her up to be most down whitey. Which is something I think she doesn’t want, nor does anyone else. So, here is a white woman writing about racism in a way that is compelling to me and I can’t think or feel myself out of the dysfunction of white supremacy to engage her about it.

    What can one do? FS, you’ve put parts of her dissertation up on your blog. That’s intense. Not wrong, but intense to set up a stage for a white voice. It was fascinating to read and so, in some ways, I don’t regret your choice. But were the two of you mindful about the possibility of unintentionally setting each other up with this choice?

    Then Asa does a similar thing with PZ over at her place when he talks about how he’s got her back and so on. Though I do believe that AWQ overreacted to PZ, I think PZ has her own problems. (My god, PZ, I have never seen so much cultural appropriation on one website before. I could barely get through your site what with all the “I am Mexican” and your “true portrait” and your Axé’s. What the hell???)

    Though I agree with PZ’s assertion that she gets to set her own boundaries, I think that she’s disingenous about what happened. It’s not that AWQ didn’t like PZ’s tone and PZ apologized and that’s the end. PZ wrote this really weird and mysterious comment about not wanting to deal with AWQ for reasons she could only reveal in private (enter dramatic theme here). I guess PZ does do the white-ass shit of melodrama and intrigue. But she is, in fact, white. Why should *I* be irritated? Why don’t I just take it for granted?

    Frankly, Asa, with all due respect, a similar dialectic of white supremacy seemed to trip up you and PZ too. Asa defends PZ and belittles AWQ (on PZ’s blog) and now PZ gets the honor of being head whitey in charge.

    And then, last complaint, PZ, the whole random thing about adults and children and civility in your above comment…that is so bizarre and offensive.

    But my point. My point is that in love and solidarity with white folks, we often forget that they are, in fact, white folks in a story (perhaps struggling inside of it, but in it nevertheless) of white supremacy. So, what of love?

    I’ve been thinking today a lot about Malcolm, especially after reading the quote FS posted about coffee. And I’ve been thinking about white devils. Remember the scene in Spike’s movie when Malcolm starts to think of all the white people in his life and confirms, yes, devils all? It’s not that I think we have to stay away – ultimately, I don’t think that’s sustainable. It’s not even that I think we have to stay in a state of vigilance all the time, also unsustainable (though it happens). But it is the case that we have to at least be vigilant against the best whitey thing in order to figure out ways to create the most authentic, most loving relationships we can, under the circumstances.

    The bad, bad circumstances.

    More humility from AWQ, and way more humility from PZ, would very much be in order, I think.

    And, perhaps (and I do offer this humbly in your space FS), it might make sense to consider how much space white folks take up on your blog and in your mind. Last week, I found myself almost writing an open letter to Tim Wise explaining to him how he’s freaking me out and then I stopped myself. Why would I do that? Why would I put my time there? I urgently *need* my time. Black people, Black women, women of color need my time. Focus.

    Anyway, again I offer that humbly and with appreciation to you for your work here.

    that girl w/ issues

  11. That Girl said:

    “And, perhaps (and I do offer this humbly in your space FS), it might make sense to consider how much space white folks take up on your blog and in your mind.”

    Point well taken and I have to acknowledge it: I’ve given up a whole lot of space (in my cranium) to white folks lately. That’s not a judgement on them, but on me. And I’m badly craving more melanin in my life, yet here I go again. Gotta face the reality of that. Hep me!!

    After I got Asa’s post, what I connected with was my blackness (my rock) and how I’d ended up in this controversy between two white women. I felt off balance. Was I mammying AWQ in this, being an attack dog, or what? I felt I was being true to my views, but there was something that wasn’t mine, or me. It felt, in retrospect, channeled.

    Now, that’s not evil or bad or anybody’s fault. I’m a very open person and subject to influence. A lot. But that’s on me.

    I’ve done this before. And I say this, NOT to repudiate any positions that I’ve taken or people, at all, cuz I actually feel pretty much the same way. Its just who I’VE been in the communication, the extremity of my feelings, not that I had them.

    I got lost somehow and Asa, as he has before, helped me confront something that was percolating beneath the surface. Nobody here is perfect; and some of us are more honest than others. My desire is that I’m as honest as I can be.

    That Girl said: “I urgently *need* my time. Black people, Black women, women of color need my time. Focus.”

    How true is that? Thank you for giving this black man some of your time and focus. Obviously, I needed it bad. Please come back and give me some more.

  12. Just checking in. I noticed that AWQ deleted her blog, that’s also a pretty intense reaction, though, of course, I don’t know the reasons. I also noticed that PZ has become increasingly shrill on her blog, which, though unsurprising, is disappointing still.

    I guess I wanted to check in with your dusty self to see if you wanted to process more what the heck happened here. Or not. In any case, I’m around if you want to run some things by me.

    Hope you’re doing well…

    that girl w/ issues

  13. That G: I insist, let us process!!! I’m in it to win it – win back my own black mind that is.

    Your points are so on point….spread your light! I’m very interested in a deeper response from you regarding what you were observing re. AWQ’s presence on this blog as a white woman, my interaction with her and the PZ brouhaha. And frankly, whatever else you wanna talk about.

    Please bring it!

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