karnythia: (Default)
So this year I'm co-chairing and you would think that would be enough to do. But I'm smart so I'm also doing 4 panels, a reading, & may pull a safety shift or two. I am contemplating baking cupcakes tonight too, but that probably won't happen.

Cultural Literacy or Cultural Appropriation? Sat, 2:30–3:45 pm Capitol B

In our diverse culture all thinking and reading individuals are influenced by a wide range of heritages, histories, and mythologies. Let's talk about how to articulate the boundaries and borders of what’s appropriative and what’s okay in fiction, dance, craft, and other art. In the end, who gets paid? And who gets propped up as an "expert"? In what ways can artists and creators engage with cultures without being harmful and destructive?

Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm Wisconsin

The seventh installment of this popular and amazing panel! Writers of color working in F/SF face unique challenges, it's true. But, at the end of the day, being a "person of color" is only one aspect of what makes up our identities as writers. While it's very flattering to be asked to be on panels, most of these panels never crack the ceiling of Race 101. With that in mind, wouldn't it be nice for multiple writers and fans of color to sit on a panel that isn't about race at all? Here's our chance to do just that. So, what are we gonna talk about, instead? Practically anything! Presented in game show format, THREE-PART TRILOGY BASED ON THE SINGLE BOOK OF THE NOT ANOTHER F*CKING RACE PANEL brings together writers and fans of color to get their geek on about any number of pop culture topics—none of them race related.

Call Out Culture II: Follow-up to the Discussion Held at WisCon 38 Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Senate A

Let's follow up the discussion of call-out culture that began at the WisCon 38 panel "Call Out Culture in Social Justice Movements." This year we will expand our conversation to online life, covering discussions about social justice movements that are already happening and places where the discourse is still getting off the ground.

Reading Divas Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm Michelangelos

These amazing and diverse voice will entice your imagination. Each reading a unique and rare pleasure in speculative fiction.

What Happened With WisCon Last Summer? Sun, 4:00–5:15 pm Capitol A

In the interests of transparency and straightforwardness with the WisCon community, let's discuss how and why WisCon leadership changed so abruptly between W38 and W39.
karnythia: (Default)
Still drive by updating. I think I forgot to mention that after the Frenkel mess I kind of wound becoming a co chair for this year's WisCon. It was an interesting process. Anyway, in two weeks when you see me at WisCon & I look exhausted? You'll know why.
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I really don't know who still uses these spaces. I get tempted to come back just for the ability to lock individual posts & have communities. But it only works if lots of people come back with me. Anyway, this is pretty much to announce that I'm writing a one shot in the Swords of Sorrow series with Dynamite Comics. Because this all started on LJ and I learned so much about writing from fandom and OMG my life is so different now from 2003. I hope things are good for you all. I really do.
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Not sure how many people are on here that aren't on Twitter, but for those who don't know, deluxvivens has passed away. I'm grieving a dear dear friend. I know she touched a lot of hearts & I don't want anyone who should hear the news to miss it.
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Heh, so...Frenkel's ban is permanent. And I've volunteered myself to co-chair WisCon. These two things are not related except that they both apply to WisCon & I haven't mentioned them here. I know this is a lot of work & WisCon is neck deep in some issues. But I really believe it can be great & a better space. So I’m putting my time, energy & sanity where my mouth is this year. I may live to regret this decision repeatedly, but meh. I've done stupider things.
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I have no intention of dropping out of attending WisCon. I have a lot of friends that go, and Wiscon is the only con where we can all get together. I refuse to give up my time with friends because of Jim Frenkel. This is not a new approach. It has been my approach since long before Frenkel being able to attend WisCon was ever in question. You see, I have never thought of WisCon as safe space. Not after 2009 (my first trip) and if I hoped it was safe space before then...well I was naive and I didn't know any better. I do now. Race, gender, and class have all been issues at various points for me at WisCon. Most incidents fall into microaggression territory, and as a personal philosophy I tend not to let those dissuade me from things I want to do. That is an eminently personal choice, and should not be construed as telling anyone else what to do or how to feel. If my friends stop going, then so will I. That's my standard. YMMV.

Now that we've gotten the niceties out of the way, let's talk about Frenkel. More specifically, let's talk about Frenkel, WisCon, and the response that has everyone up in arms. See back in 2009 when this picture of Frenkel staring at my breasts was taken Frenkel it was in many ways just one of those things. It was my first time at a con, we were trying to get the now defunct Verb Noire off the ground, and Frenkel was an editor at Tor. It sucks, but as a woman trying (and yes, failing) to get a new business off the ground, there was no value add in me doing more about Frenkel ogling me than getting away from him. I had been warned a few minutes earlier about his long running pattern of bad behavior towards women, and was laboring under the impression that he was tolerated at WisCon because of his position at Tor. It's awful to say this I suppose, but having worked in corporate America for some years I have a certain tolerance built up for moments like this one. That's a me thing, it does not need to be a you thing.

Over the years since when I've gone to WisCon I've made a point of steering clear of Frenkel. I've warned others about him as necessary and life has gone on. During that time I've had other issues with WisCon from fighting about the POC safe space with certain members of the concom to MoonFail. I have had it driven home over and over again that feminist space is not safe space. And yes, I've chosen to keep going anyway, while fighting all those battles to make WisCon a better space. Not safe...just better. Then Frenkel tried it with someone willing to make a report to his employer (that saga is detailed elsewhere and is not my story to tell, though I will say that I submitted this picture and an explanation of it to MacMillan in the interests of full disclosure) and faced appropriate consequences as a result. Which...removes the professional stake reasons for WisCon to keep admitting him.

Fast forward to earlier this year when the subject of Frenkel attending WisCon & possibly being on programming was raised on the concom list. On April 14th I said:
So I'm going to stick my nose in & say that I have avoided Frenkel at Wiscon every year since my first trip to WisCon. The first time I met Frenkel he spent the entirety of a fortunately brief interaction staring at my breasts. There are pictures in case anyone wants proof. I have long operated under the assumption that his presence had to be tolerated because of his position with Tor. Now I have to ask exactly what is the value add of him being on programming? For that matter regardless of whose friend he is, the fact that Frenkel was someone for women to avoid was known long before 2009. This is one of those times when WisCon could avoid a problem, but I suspect things won't be that easy. Personally I had no idea he was on any programming & assumed common sense would keep him from volunteering.

As we all know Frenkel did in fact attend Wiscon this year, and while he was not on any programming, he did volunteer in the con suite. There are any number of posts about the conversations he had with people, and how unhappy and unsafe some people felt as a result of his presence. For the record, I only saw him once, I side stepped having to interact with him at all. This is always my policy. This will always be my policy. See the aforementioned refusal to let people like him drive me away from things I enjoy doing. But note, I did attempt to tell the WisCon concom that this could only end in tears. And yes, it did lead us to the statement from a few days ago that is going to be clarified. I saw it before it dropped, but I apparently read it incorrectly, as I thought it was a four year ban followed by him having to apply to be allowed back at the con. I thought the language around that part of the process was a bit unclear, but it's been a really hectic time in my life so I didn't pause to ask for clarification.

I regret not digging in further, as I can now see that my understanding was incorrect. Although Frenkel's presence is not a breaking point for me, I can absolutely see why it would be that way for others. Additionally, there's the confusion in this thread about my report and it's impact on the proceedings. I've written about the incident with Frenkel in the past, so when I was asked for the picture and the statement on June 2nd of this year I assumed it would be a factor in the decision. As of right now it may have been, or maybe not. I'm a wee bit unclear and may remain that way in the days ahead. I am not mentioned in the statement so I don't know what to think. I am being told that it was not ignored. After being told that it wasn't known. So...make of that what you will.

Mind you, I never actually expected Frenkel to respect a ban from WisCon if one was ever handed down. He's got that kind of personality from what I have seen and heard that lets one rewrite reality to suit, and WisCon is generally not designed for a mass shunning. But here's the thing, this all looks bad. Really really incredibly bad. And I don't think it is supposed to be such a hot ass mess. But it has come out that way, and I'm...whatever the feeling is past anger and sadness. Resigned maybe? Yeah that sounds right. Resigned to the idea that WisCon isn't going to be a better space any time soon.

Or maybe at all. WisCon bills itself as a feminist sci-fi con. And compared to some others that I have attended, it is definitely better at paying lip service to being feminist than any of them. At times it is even feminist in its approach. But...that doesn't make it good at it. That doesn't make it more welcoming, safer, or significantly more adept at making policies than others. Being less awful isn't the same as being good. So yes, treat WisCon as a fun place to go with your friends, expect to have some great convos, delicious food, and a whole lot of booze. But, don't expect WisCon to be a safe space. Right now, don't even expect it to be a better space. Expect it to be less awful. That's it.

Some really good people who I like a lot as a general rule are on the concom. Some folks I don't think very highly of are also on the concom. They are all trying to do their best to whatever degree that may factor into your impression of things. Is their best good enough? Well no. Probably not. This wasn't good enough for me. I don't object so much to the possible presence of Frenkel at the hotel, as I do to WisCon not stating definitively that his behavior (which let us all be honest isn't all that unusual at cons) is unacceptable. If a feminist sci-fi con has a problem stating that a pattern of persistent inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated, then aside from panel topics what makes it more feminist than any other? For that matter, I've done some of the same panels elsewhere. Because fandom talks about these things in places that are not WisCon. And realistically, what WisCon has just said sounds a lot like "We're feminist so we can't be wrong." Heh, funny how hollow that always sounds. Turns out solidarity might just be for white men.

ETA: So Wiscon has made an apology. It's not one that I find particularly compelling, especially since I am also on the concom Google group (as I have been since 2009) and I just saw the Member Advocate state that despite having approved the apology wording, they can't really get "exercised about not including it in the document the subcommittee worked with (though doing so would have been more complete)" though they did share "incidents, letters from people who talked about their discomfort that did not rise to an incident, and letters from members who were distressed" which...oh. OH. Apparently everything else that happened was more relevant than Frenkel's behavior towards me.

Now, I know that what he did to me was barely actionable from a legal perspective. After all I immediately removed from his reach and have never gone near him again. But come on now, at least pretend to give a damn about what happened to me. Try to feign some concern. Or at least don't hand out hollow worthless apologies with one hand, while making it clear that some members are definitely worth less to you than others. Yes. I'm angry. No, I'm not so sure I'll still be going to Wiscon. May is months away, and there are a lot of things that can happen between now and then. Including exploring the potential of a new home con. Because clearly Wiscon isn't even interested in being a better space. It's just a hot damned mess.
karnythia: (Default)
*blows dust off* I haven't posted in well...for and ever. I'm on Twitter like so many, my life has been through a lot of changes & I always feel like I've forgotten how to blog. But I'm still writing. Lots of articles, & a short story called "If God Is Watching" is up at Revelator Magazine and I'm about to graduate with an MA in Writing & Publishing. It's hectic & some things could be better (there's a whole saga around kid #2 & school that I wish didn't exist, but it will get resolved), but overall life is pretty good. How are you?
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So I owe the entire planet emails & writing at this point. Or at least it feels like I do. Admittedly I am not just sitting around. I'm on an extended business trip (two months in Baltimore!), slogging through school from a distance (it turns out grad level online classes are really kind of terrible), & I wound up being quoted in an article Professor Anthea Butler wrote about Chicago gun violence on MSNBC. I still need to write up that Arisia panel, finish a handful of articles that I plan to sell, and oh yeah I need to go home for a visit so my kids don't end up on the porch. It's possible I am a little over scheduled this year. I know that shocks...well no one who knows me. How are you doing?
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I need to do a proper Arisia write up & email my notes on the panel from Hell (Also known as the Are Geek Girls Objectifying Themselves or some such) & why at least three of the panelists should never be allowed to get on a stage & discuss anything related to feminism again. Bonus points for the one who took the panel from slut shaming to Islamophobia with a detour into attacking Orthodox Jews in the audience. It was a masterful display of how not to exist. Any tweets you saw about me possibly needing bail are absolutely from that panel & you should never believe any of Daniel Older's claims that I have been arrested. Or that I was mean on a panel. He's way meaner than I am, for the record. In other news I am high on sleep and writing short stories as a result. Work is going to require me to be on the East Coast for two months (in theory, they have yet to confirm), so my time without the fam is going to be writing time assuming I can do that & go to training & finish my class for this quarter. How are you?
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Things at my job are...well, let's just say I'm either getting thicker skinned or I'm developing Stockholm Syndrome. Someone said they were going to slap me & I asked if they had good life insurance. Because it's that kind of place. Separately I'm plugging away with school, I wrote an article for XO Jane about Willow Smith & my family is still alive. I'm sick this weekend & contemplating ways to sleep through it without having any inconvenient moments of struggling to breathe through my nose. How's your life going?
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People who know me well will tell you that I need a keeper. It’s partly my own refusal to stop adding things to my plate (guess who has 2 thumbs & 20 projects), & partly the invisible sign over my head that invites people to tell me things. Complete strangers have told me stories about abortions they regret, relationships they need to end, and on one memorable occasion a very nice old lady told me a story about the time she tried to poison her husband. So I’m used to the things that happen around me. Mostly. Today I met a guy who was clean cut, with a nice smile, super friendly & very much a gentleman in terms of door opening and stepping aside to let me board first.

The first few minutes of our conversation while we were waiting for the bus were the kind of pleasant chit chat you get when people establish that they have military service in common. Some ribbing about our respective branches, a little chatter about the weather, you know just the basics. Then we got on the bus, he sat next to me (I really have to stop using window seats), and kept on talking. He mentioned that his discharge was other than honorable, and when I guessed that it was for fighting he started to nod along, then he shook his head. I think I asked him what it was for, or at least alluded to being curious and he got really quiet.

Now let me say that at no point in this conversation did I feel threatened. He led with smiles and handshakes, he was polite, never once invaded my space, and in fact didn’t even give me a bad feeling. So when he started talking about the party he went to and how embarrassed he was about why he got out I was expecting something like infidelity. Or participating in a really stupid prank while he was in uniform, and winding up on Facebook or in the paper. It turns out he went to a party at a college kid’s apartment. There was a drunk underage girl, and he “let himself” be talked into spending time in a room with her. And two other dudes.

He didn’t go into great detail, but someone caught them during the act. There was screaming, some non military dudes who were happy to restrain them, and the cops were called in fairly short order. He plead guilty in order to avoid a full fledged court martial, and did a brief stint in jail before being released back into the world. He told me all about his remorse, his guilt, and his sisters who don’t know what he did. He’s let everyone who knows him believe he was just drunk and passed out in the room before the assault. But for whatever reason he really wanted to tell someone the truth.

There was a minimal glimmer of understanding that he was making me uncomfortable, but mostly his focus seemed to be on purging his pain. So, 20 minutes of not quite blubbering (his eyes were damp, he wasn’t smiling, didn’t seem to be enjoying the recounting, & his face was flushed but there were no actual tears), and then once we got to the right stop (we got off at the same place, but were headed to two different places) he jumped up to help a couple of elderly people off the bus & generally acted like a gentleman. Again.It was actually really jarring.

Once we were outside he thanked me for listening, invited me to friend him on Facebook (that would be a no), shook my hand again and went on his way. I went to the grocery store, sent a couple of tweets about it & then decided I need to lay it out all for some kind of analysis. Because I have so many questions. Not just about his urge to tell a complete stranger, but also about the way he did it. When I tell y’all we were having the most mundane pass the time on public transit conversation? I mean it. It wasn’t like we even really exchanged names before he told me. Hell the Facebook thing seemed to be an afterthought because I didn’t start screaming, & there was no indication that he thought about whether or not I’d ever want to see or speak to him again.

I know no one can explain what happens to bring these things to my life, but can anyone explain this dude’s mindset to me? The possibility that he was actually traumatizing me didn’t seem to register. And to be honest I’m not sold that the girl they assaulted was real to him either. He said some things about how he couldn’t tell his sisters because they’d never look at him the same way so I assume they are real people to him. But even that was flat, he showed the most emotion when he talked about what it did to him. And yeah, I can guess some answers but if we’re not really people then why the grand confession?
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Had kid #2’s IEP meeting today. It was…incredibly positive. Almost scarily so to be honest. We talked about giving him more grade level appropriate work, alternative methods of motivation & they offered up a para for direct one on one instruction in the classroom. The speech therapist talked to us about sensory processing issues, hyperlexia, & their suspicion that he has Asperger’s. Also they confirmed that he’s reading (we knew that but couldn’t prove it), and told us his biggest academic issue is adding up coins in math. It was like Xmas. Everyone knew him, had the wherewithal to discuss his work, & was receptive to mundane accommodations like letting him sit in a bean bag during circle time so that he can be comfortable & focus. My mind is blown to be honest.
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Full disclosure, I’m married & have been for 7 years. I was with my husband for 4 years before I married him. I also have an ex husband that I was with for 4 years before that. Basically I have spent my entire adult life either in a serious relationship or married. I was also one of those people with a series of long term high school relationships. What I know about being single could possibly fit in the palm of my hand ya dig? Okay, so having said all of that I need to talk about something I’m noticing right now.

I started a new job last week, and one of my new coworkers seems to have decided that he wants to take a shot. Yes he knows I’m married with kids. No, I don’t know why that isn’t registering as a No. He led with “I’m 47, single, employed with no kids. How many black men can say that?” For obvious reasons I was not impressed, but I let him make his pitch, shut it down & kept it moving.

Today he saw me in the hallway, snapped his fingers, & gestured for me to come to him while calling me “young lady” in a tone I parsed as fit for puppies. I did not respond to that summons (I might have looked at him like he spontaneously grew a 2nd head & was spitting pea soup. Maybe.), & so he followed me wanting to know why I wasn’t responding to him. I asked him if I looked like the type to ever respond well to that kind of behavior, he made some crack about me being a rebel, & I pointed out that I’m not a pet. He opined that I’m full of myself, I told him I know my own worth and that I now understand why he’s 47 and single. It is possible I invited him to find his lane, as any one that I am in is clearly outside of his skill set.

Now, let me be clear about the state of this guy. We make about the same amount of money (we have the same job & we work for an employer with standardized pay scales that are public), he is not hideous, but also not particularly attractive, and he has yet to speak of anything that might be of interest to me. No books, no movies, no music, no politics, literally all of our conversations are that pleasant neutrality that you get when you don’t have anything in common with someone & you don’t detest them. Also he is the kind of person to wear a purple checked shirt with purple paisley cuffs to a funeral & think that he’s doing something major. I might feel some kind of way about his attire choices, but I admit I’m shallow and he reminds me of Uncle Fester so I’m not inclined to be charitable.

Yes, I’m aware that I could be nicer about/to this dude. But I don’t want to be, and I don’t feel any obligation to pretend that he has a shot. He fancies himself to be a great catch (and hell, maybe he is for someone somewhere, I just don’t know who because the shoes and the tie he wore with that shirt were a crime y’all. A CRIME.), but mostly I’m trying to figure out why he thinks that being employed and sans a criminal record is enough. This man knows nothing about my interests, has told me nothing of his interests, and yet he thinks I should be falling all over myself to get his attention because he’s done the bare minimum of not going to jail and being capable of self support. Is this what’s hot in the streets now? Are cats out here with their egos so gassed up they can’t imagine that they need to be interesting, funny, hell…relevant in some way in order to pull a partner? Please explain this to me, because I’m going to hurt this fool’s feelings & his future if he doesn’t get a clue after today. Why am I supposed to want a man so bad I accept the bare minimum?
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So, my birthday is going well (thank you to the anon who gave me paid DW time!), & life proceeds as it should. New gig appears to be cool, lots of work, also lots of characters who don't have time to engage in office politics. We'll see. Meanwhile school is keeping me busy, and now that I'm doing the occasional radio show alongside the writing, school, & work, I seem to be failing at regular internet usage. How goes it?
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Last day at this job & it feels so good. Actually more like last few minutes now. Hubby is picking me up soon & then I will engage in napping. Or something equally lazy. New gig starts next week, but I am on vacation until then & if this weekend was any indication I'll spend it cooking. How are you doing?
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Kid #2 has special needs. You would think this is a post complaining about him, but it’s not. He’s great. What’s not great is having to treat each new school year like war has been declared & I have to get boots on the ground before they do. I’ve already had to get the state involved once, and I had to threaten to do that again today. Things are squared away now (mostly), but only because I’m such a know it all bitch so I made them show and prove & that stopped a lot of dumb shit in its tracks. I hate the IEP process more than I have ever hated anything in my life & it’s so fucking ridiculous that it has to be this way. And if you’re not the kind of parent who defaults to aggression? I don’t know how you do it. Because being nice has yet to get me anywhere with the school system. I start at dickhead & they settle right down and do what the fuck they’re supposed to do, but I’m disgusted that I have to do that so regularly.
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I’m a graduate of Chicago public schools. So is my husband. We’re old enough to remember the last time there was a strike. Here’s the thing about all the “Kids won’t learn as much” rhetoric. It’s only the second week of school. They aren’t missing a year at this point. It’s one day. And even if this strike lasts a few weeks, guess what? Kids miss school for holidays, illness, & natural disasters. They catch up. Hell, if parents have the time & access a strike can be a learning opportunity. Hell any break is a good time for some one on one propping up of skills in areas where your child struggles. Kid #1 and I are discussing politics & current events a lot. There’ll be some in depth discussion of history while we’re at it so he can understand how things got to this point. Kid #2 is working on his handwriting & we’ll talk about being flexible when it comes to new experiences & there’ll be reading practice with picket signs. Because that’s how we roll. And I get that there are real concerns about safety & meals for a lot of kids. That my husband & I are fortunate to have family support that makes it easier for us to get through this strike.

Do I wish that things could have been resolved without a strike? Sure. But I am well aware that teachers are looking down the barrel of long days with huge class sizes & requirements to teach to a goal of higher scores on standardized test instead of to student needs and abilities. I am aware that promised raises didn’t happen, and that teachers are spending significant amounts of money out of their own pockets every year. So are parents. And still our kids aren’t getting art, music, library, or computer classes in a lot of these neighborhoods. I am aware that my kids aren’t getting the same amount of time or attention that I got as a Chicago student. In the 80’s & 90’s we thought classrooms with 30 kids was a lot. Some schools are now looking at classes approaching 40 kids to one teacher. I can’t fault the teachers for being less successful when they’re trying to wrangle 35+ 5th graders (all at different levels of ability) into listening to a 50 minute lesson from a workbook that might or might not be recent. That might or might not be effective at teaching the skills the kids will need after testing.

Mind you, I don’t deny that there are problem teachers. My aunt was a turn around principal with CPS for years & the stories she told us about some of the teachers under her would curl your hair. But, tying pay and employment to test scores doesn’t address that problem at all. It’s telling that the board isn’t concerned with ways to get rid of abusive teachers, only with ways to punish teachers for not producing standardized outputs from individuals. The rhetoric around all of this has been about what’s best for the kids. I don’t believe that longer school days and higher test scores are all it takes for my child to have a quality education. I want my sons to have recess, art, music, & a curriculum that gives them room to develop their individual talents. Only one side of this discussion has ever said anything about kids being people with needs & that side is not the board or the mayor. I hear teachers talking about kids as people with needs & so I side with them. For the sake of kids like me, kids like my sons, and for the future.
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We moved this weekend, the school are closed because the teachers went on strike today (I agree with them & their reasons for striking), & both kids are sick. I could be at work, but there is no planet on which that is good wife so I stayed home to wrangle the smaller fussier sick kid. He is sleeping next to me and I am about to tackle writing a response to this post about pedophiles on Gawker. I'm not linking (this is admittedly about the fact that I find the article triggering as hell & I don't want to trigger people, but also about not wanting it on my blog), but it was written by Cord Jefferson if anyone wants to see it. I'm debating shopping the article vs posting it on a blog, but I suspect I will be shopping it. Standard week really, with a side of "OMFG I'm so tired" post moving. There were stairs on both sides of the equation & I suspect all that climbing is going to be something I feel for weeks. On the upside, my commute is now down to 15 minutes. That's kind of amazing. Separately kid #1's new girlfriend is exceptionally well developed. I plan to lock him in a closet for the rest of puberty.
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It’s funny in a horrifying I might start crying kind of way to think about how many times I’ve experienced extreme sexism/misogyny from perfect strangers. I’m always boggled at how willing people are to excuse their behavior & claim I should have been nicer, or that they’re sick and don’t know any better. I remember a guy tried to grab me on an empty train car in high school, I kicked the shit out of him & ran like hell. For a host of reasons I was afraid to tell my parents about what happened, but when I told some friends about it the next day I remember a girl I only kind of knew shutting down the victim blaming comments by saying “Girls get raped on the train.” and that the way she said it was so *knowing* you know? I never asked for her story. She didn’t offer it either. But then I was already a survivor so I guess I didn’t need it to understand.

Fast forward a few years from that age & I can tell you a dozen more “extreme” stories that happened in between, but the ones that stick out most all have a theme of me being engaged in my life when misogyny dropped in for a visit. There was the guy in Germany who tried to trap me in a dark tunnel with his car (I jumped on the hood & ran like my life depended on it, maybe it did) and there was no conversation between us. He yelled at me in German from a moving car then drove around to bar my way. There was the guy that followed me home from the store one night telling me that he could be a rapist. He didn’t speak to me in the store & our conversation outside consisted of me walking past him & him yelling at me that I was a stuck up bitch. The guy that called me everything but a child of God, because I wouldn’t buy his CD came at me on a bus & no one (including his friend) said shit to stop him. Or the group of men who surrounded me while I was walking with my child that had to be backed off by a neighbor with a gun.

How many times exactly does someone have to be insulted, harassed, or terrorized before the conversation can be about the person who accosted them & not about what else they could have done? Should have done? How many incidents (all with different people, different settings, different responses) does it take before the discussion is about ways to stop the harassers & not ways to respond to them so that they maybe, possibly, if you’re lucky won’t escalate? When do we talk about the culture that not only permits these behaviors, but encourages them & punishes victims for being wary of new people after years of bad experiences? When do we talk about why women are cautioned to be nice, to be patient, to be careful, but never told it is okay to say no & mean it without fear of repercussions? Oh right, those are all hard topics for hard days & folks would rather blame victims than address problems.
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So my habit of doing 50-11 things continues to exist. These days that list includes local radio (listen here for my take on Lupe Fiasco's Bitch Bad), researching black Chicago history (specifically the 1920's & vice), so I can write about it, & trying to figure out how to squeeze another 2 hours into my day. How are you doing?


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