Jan. 28th, 2014

fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
A phrase I've often thought but not used in my writing is "The Black Borg". I use this to describe when whites (including myself) talk to African American individuals as if their opinions about race represent the entire group.

I imagined some black comedian saying "Black people are not the Borg. Do not ask me what I think about Al Sharpton and expect to access the Afri-Hivemind. Also, reading Dreams of My Father doesn't means you've have an insight into my operating system."

This Black Borg concept may explain why whites don't understand when some argument which doesn't offend their black friend (because it was part of a larger discussion and friendship) gets them in trouble when said to a wider audience. Rather than admit that context matters, they act as if their friend failed to upload acceptance to the Black Borg central server.

I'm certain "we are not The Borg" has long been a punchline for any group that people subject to being defined by single anecdotal examples. Alas "black borg" is a type of jacket, so it's not easy to locate examples (here's one).
fengi: (Ms. Outrage)
Here's an example of something which only the internet could pull off:

1. Some Men's Rights dude wrote yet another whiny baby rant about how women with short hair are boner killers as if this were a universal truth rather than mythology about his own personal taste.

2. It somehow gets wide circulation on Facebook for both agreement and mockery.

3. It also gets noticed by Manboobz (who specializes in mocking MRA morons), then Jezebel (which regularly harvests ideas from Manboobz). Then Laurie Penny writes an essay in response.

4. Much of Penny's essay is great, but one part kind of agrees with the MRA rant: "Wearing your hair short, or making any other personal life choice that works against the imperative to be as conventionally attractive and appealing to patriarchy as possible, is a political statement." Which strikes me as conflating personal motives with universal truths.

Then there's this part: "...what’s really noticeable is that that to get hair of any length to look like it does in catalogues and on catwalks takes work. It takes energy and money and attention. Especially if yours is naturally wild, or frizzy, or afro." That last sentence strikes me as possibly stepping in it.

5. The racial subtext of the last sentence sparks some criticism which Penny struggles to handle. In this one moment, she seems like the British Amanda Marcotte. This leads to a wider discussion on twitter, although it is tiny by most standards (including the RaceFail controversey back when Livejournal was popular).

6. Some dude from the Spectator mines these tweets to mock Penny and feminism. He omits the part which is directly under discussion, implying chicks, particularly minorities, are just oversensitive: "far be it from me to stand in the way of women talking about hair". Also: The Patriarchy has no problem with short hair, ha-ha.

7. Thus things circle back to "short haired women are bitches", which is still bullshit. All within a few days.

Hey, I didn't say it was something worthwhile, I just said it could only happen on the internet.