Saj Golde’s storyline has baffled even the most casual viewer of The Real L Word this season. Did she really move to Los Angeles because she liked Season One? Is her relationship with Chanel for real? Does she need to review the “Is It Sex” flowchart? I met up with Saj last week in Los Angeles to learn a bit more about civil rights activist and future lawyer to potentially sue your ass.
How has the experience of watching yourself on The Real L Word been so far?
For me, it’s been positive. I think reality TV is almost like a memoir: they capture real life and then present it a way that folks are actually going to be interested in watching. So I think it’s fairly accurate, as accurate as it can be for 10 episodes, for the amount of time that was filmed. If someone sees you just for a few months of your life, they’re only going to get so much of you. I think it’s pretty accurate. For me, I’ve enjoyed watching it. For example, I can turn into the Incredible Hulk. I’m cool, but if I get upset, I’m the Hulk in a split second. I’ve been growing spiritually and working on not being so angry at the world, but being able to watch who I am when I’m angry has certainly been able to help. It’s definitely brought me down an insane amount.
You’re referring to the birthday party?
What really happened? Because it was very clear that you were dialing it down because there were cameras there. It was pretty clear that had there not been cameras there, you probably would have slugged that woman.
Actually, I want to be an attorney. I’ve never put my hands on anyone, so I still wouldn’t have hit her. I think I was very much myself in that situation. My goal was to get out of there before it even got to that point.
What really happened that night? It was totally confusing.
The night was confusing for folks that were there. There was a complete misunderstanding between Natasha and I. I guess she was under the impression that I’m hosting a party, cameras are going to be there, it was a free-for-all, whereas for me, this was a private party for my girlfriend. I knew Natasha, so I didn’t mind her coming with some other friends. It wasn’t that big a deal. But for them to come in and build their own party? I mean, Chanel’s parents were there!
So she was just acting out to get on camera?
Before we get more into the details of the show, I want to learn more about you. Who were your role models growing up – gay or straight?
The first one that comes to mind right now is Will Smith. Will Smith says things like, “Oh, I gave up on reality a long time ago.” It’s this idea of walking through life knowing that you could accomplish anything. You set a goal, and if you work hard, you’ll get to it. And this idea of letting go of what the world says is possible, you know, reality. I think there’s an interview with him, and he’s like, “The difference between you and me is if we both get on a treadmill right now to race, I would die on the treadmill. Before you beat me, I will die. I will run until I’m dead.” And I just think that’s absolutely amazing that someone is willing to put his all into anything, and that’s why he can have a movie as the only character in the entire movie, and it can be a blockbuster because he works just that hard.
As far as an LGBT role model, you have Bayard Rustin. He worked side by side with MLK as part of the civil rights movement but was a gay man. He was out to some, but for other people in the civil rights movement, they were like, “We don’t want to bring a lot of attention to the fact that you’re gay.” Like, push that under the rug. And it’s funny because I love MLK, but he had a way with women, like, it’s not out yet. We’ll see soon when the FBI reports it out. But Bayard was such a part of that movement, and he was also struggling with being a gay man, and I know for me, it’s a whole other issue being gay in the black community. Black parents look at their children, and they’re like, “Why would you even want to be discriminated against again? Why sign up to be a minority in another category?” And I think that’s the biggest problem: that they think we “sign up” for it, that it’s a choice. It’s unfortunate because, you know, we want people to see that being gay is just like being black: I can’t help it. So those are my primary role models.
In your circle of friends who happen to be both gay and black, do you talk about celebrities like Queen Latifah and the fact that she is photographed everywhere with her girlfriend yet still denies being gay and often makes homophobic statements to the press?
That’s challenging. Like I said before, being black and being gay is like a double whammy because historically, blacks are rather religious, so it’s not a very accepting community. You have the hip-hop community that’s learning to be accepting, but they’re far away from where they should be. It’s just harder. For black people or for any person, I get why people would want to be in the closet. I wouldn’t tell someone else to come out, but I certainly know the benefits of coming out. There’s a ton of people that already love Queen Latifah. If she comes out, there’s an opportunity for her to let people know, “You already love me. There’s nothing about me that’s different other than the fact of who I share my life with, and I’ve been sharing my life with her, so there’s really no difference there.” And I honestly feel like it’s our duty as LGBT folks or as allies to come out so that other folks can better understand, because that’s where the major problem is: People just don’t get it.
Hypothetically, if she did come out, would you be ecstatic?
I mean, Wanda Sykes came out, and I wasn’t like, “Yay!” you know? So no, I wouldn’t. Coming out is important, but I feel like it’s a responsibility, so you don’t get any extra point for doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s like going to school. I graduate college, my folks aren’t like, “Yay, you graduated.” No, that’s what you’re supposed to do. So hell no, she doesn’t get any kudos.
That’s like that Chris Rock joke. “I take care of my kids! …You’re supposed to!”
[Laughing] Right! You want points for that? No You don’t get points for that. That’s what you’re supposed to do. There’s not going to be anything new where I’m like, “Yay, you’re the bomb.” No, that’s what you should’ve done. My thing is, how do you deny yourself you for somebody else? That was the main reason I can out, because I’m not going to be uncomfortable so that someone else can be comfortable. It doesn’t even make sense.
How has the reception been toward you within the black community? When people see you out, how do they react to you?
When people see me out on the street, it’s all love. I get a lot of love. But there’s a balance, of course, which I appreciate because life needs balance. So, there’s another population that for all the reasons [others] love me, they hate me. There are folks that are like, “Saj is a baby dyke. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. They need a real stud on the show. They need me on the show!” I had a back-and-forth with one girl who expected me to represent all things black and LGBT, and that’s such a ridiculous assumption for you to even expect me to. So does that mean Barack Obama represents all black men aged over 45? Not at all. He learned how to be black in college, actually, because he grew up in Middle America with white grandparents. He didn’t know anything about being black other than his skin tone. But is he supposed to represent all black men over 45? So it’s absolutely ridiculous. A lot of folks expect me to be more than what I am, and my thing is, how about I just be the first. So when we’re doing a photo shoot, and the lighting guy has to change the light bulb twelve times because he doesn’t know how to make the light bounce off me in a way that’s going to look well with all these other pale skin tones…
How did that make you feel, at the photo shoot?
It comes with the territory. I’m a pioneer in a lot of senses, so it’s not the first time I’m the first at doing something.
What else have you been the first at?
Even in my family, I’m the first to leave for college, graduate from college. I was the first to move away from home. I moved to D.C., then I moved out here. I was the first to buy a house.
How old are you?
I’m 24. I purchased my house at 20.
How could you afford a house at 20?
Good credit. [Laughs] I’d been working at Home Depot since I was 18, went through a first time home-buyers program, set up a condo in Maryland. But yeah, I was first in a lot of things. I was an AP/IB programs in school, so I remember being in my AP physics class and there’s 40 students. It’s a two-period class, so it’s almost three hours, and I was the only one. So that’s always been the case. It’s not that big of a deal for me.
I remember several months prior to the premiere, you tweeted about regretting the show. What was going on?
Why I entered it and why I’m still grateful that I entered it is because there’s a lot of other folks who not only wouldn’t enter it into the game, they wouldn’t even think it out loud. The fact that I did, even if it comes out slightly different than it went in, those folks are getting something out of it, and they’re gonna appreciate it, and it’s going to help them be themselves. My life is good. When I came out to my folks, I was like 22 years old. I’m 22 years old, I’ve graduated college, I’m a homeowner, I have a career – I was teaching in D.C. – I have a car. I’m good. I have a life insurance policy. I have nothing to lose. I call my mother. I tell her I’m interested in a girl, and she’s like, “I’m cutting you off. I’m done.” I’m like, “ok.” You know what I mean? Now of course, she didn’t mean it. She called right back, but I didn’t have anything to lose in that situation, so I didn’t mind coming out. It was a matter of me just being my ultimate, 100% self and being comfortable in my own skin when there’s a lot of other people who don’t have those same freedoms. I work with students every day who have to hide their sexuality because they need their parents to eat. So for me, I’ll share as much as I’m allowed to share or as much as folks are able to receive for the sake of someone else. It’s all good.But something specific must have triggered that tweet…
I mean, it’s just tough. You guys meet my mother. You guys hear my mother and how she feels about it. I mean, I’m into this girl. Imagine if you’re just meeting someone, and you look like you’re in the middle of a Verizon commercial because you got a whole fucking network behind you. That’s scary! And I’m awkward as hell because I’m just meeting this girl, and I’m trying to be cool, so I’m like, overly cool, so that she can’t tell I’m awkward and nervous, and then there’s like a million people behind me. That’s tough. I almost, just like, “Damn, why didn’t I meet her a month ago? Why didn’t God send her to me before so that we could have a normal fucking relationship?” So there was a lot of things going on. That tweet could’ve come from anywhere. Because I’m a Twitter-whore, so that could’ve come from anywhere. There were a lot of things going on.
Is there anything you regret doing on camera?
I’m not really the type to regret. Rather than regret, I re-calculate. I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, so things happen, some things hit well, some things hit not-so-well. But if something happens – and nothing has, nothing where I’m like, “Oh shit, I hate that that happened, or I hate how that was presented, or I hate this person.” I’m completely comfortable with it. I’m ok with it. But even if something were to come, because it’s not done, no, I wouldn’t regret it. I’d just re-calculate. Maybe it’ll impact a law school interview in the future, and I have to be prepared to explain. But that’s it. I don’t beat myself up. I love myself.
Let’s talk about Chanel for a little bit. Let’s start with: “We’ve been dating three weeks. I’m ready for her to move in.” That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Did they prompt you to say that?
She lived an hour away. She had a roommate and everything an hour away. I don’t do roommates. Plus, I got a full-time job, I’m working on the show. I wanted her close. Here’s the thing: I’m the type of person who, like I said, I re-calculate. So, if I meet you right now, things are cool, we kick it, and if they’re better than cool… All right, I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, we wrote a list of what we wanted in a partner. So it’s like writing that list that you fold up and you put in your Bible and you pray to God for, whatever. My list came true, and it didn’t take forever for me to catch on and be like, “Damn, that’s it, too. Whoa, damn, that’s like in my, whoa, OK, don’t move. Just in case you really are it, just stay right here. I need you right here.” She was just an hour away. That was the biggest deal. She never moved in. She was a fucking hour away. She was there all the time, so it’s like, instead of me having to take you back home, just stay here.
Were you playing up some of your naïveté for the cameras? Because it seems like some of your naivety towards sex in general was put on. Obviously you’d been with guys before…
When Chanel’s like, “We’re not having sex” — that was a complete misunderstanding. I misunderstood what she was saying, and that’s why I was like, “Wait, what? What do you mean we’re not having sex? We just fucked a minute ago.” My mother told me not to have sex on TV, so we weren’t having sex. And Chanel knew that. So Chanel had to remind me that we were not having sex, and I’m like, “What?” When the producers are there all the time, you forget that they’re there.
So basically, you were having sex off camera?
I’m not having sex on camera, period. I don’t have sex on camera. There’s so much more to my story than what happens in my bedroom. I’m not a porn star. I’m not getting porn-star money. [Laughs]
In the show it just seemed like you figured out what was sex was yesterday. Were you playing that up for the cameras?
Absolutely not. I will tell you this: They don’t pay me to be an actress. The amount of money that a reality show person makes compared to an actress is a dramatic difference. I know that. I’m going to be an entertainment lawyer. You will not get me to act and pay me like a reality star. So they literally followed my life and only got what they saw. I’m not doing anything in between for you because you’re not paying me to do so. So no, it was a misunderstanding, though. That’s why it seemed like much more. Because I’m stunned like, “What the fuck do you mean, because I know we’re fucking. Like, what are you talking about?”
So you guys were speaking in code on camera?
We were just talking about how we weren’t having sex. And it had me a little stunned. I mean, honestly, in that conversation, I thought there was more to come. I thought there was more to it, like, “Oh shit, word? There’s more to it? All right! That’s what’s up.” Because I’m still new. I remember my different stages of intimacy. In the beginning, it was just oral. I’ll do her, she’ll do me, whatever. I remember the first time I was in the scissor, and I was like, “Oh shit, word?” You know, like, wow! And it blew my mind that a woman got me off that way. I’d been dating guys, big guys, and then this gets me off? So, there are different levels. I even watched Romi and Kelsey do it, and I was like, “Wow, I haven’t done it that way yet.” So there are still different levels of intimacy. I mean, you watch a porno, and they’re doing shit you’ve never done, so you’re like, “Wow, that could be included in sex?”
A lot of the fans say things like, “There’s no way that Chanel is gay. She’s gotta be a straight woman.”
Unfortunately, there’s a stereotype of what gay looks like, and there’s internal homophobia that even homosexuals embody. So people make assumptions: She appears this way, she looks that way, she acts this way, she must be a straight. In fact, I remember when I first came out, describing to my friends exactly what type of woman I wanted to meet, and they’re like, “Man, she sounds straight,” and I was worried. But then you look at –what’s Ellen’s wife’s name? – Portia. If you didn’t know she was Ellen’s wife, no one would believe that she was into women. So it’s possible. People are going to think what they want, but I think it’s only their own internal homophobia. These people obviously don’t know Chanel. They’ve never met her. And for one, ain’t nobody just signing up to eat pussy just ‘cause. [Laughing] You know? Who does that?
I don’t agree with them, but a lot of people feel like, “Oh, she’s just looking for TV attention…”
Dude, if you would have sex to hook up with a Z-list celebrity, on a reality show… It’s such a niche community. Chanel is much smarter, has much larger dreams and aspirations, than to want to hook up with a reality show star to get somewhere. That’s almost an insult to both her and me. Seriously, this is such a small project in my life. This is nothing. For what my life will bring me, this is nothing. And if I ever knew someone that felt like this was it, we really don’t have too much more to talk about. There’s so much more to life than 10 episodes of a reality television show. I don’t even own a TV. Literally.
You said on camera that you moved to Los Angeles because you watched The Real L Word. Explain…
One of my friends got into FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising), and she didn’t want to come here by herself. Like I said, I was teaching middle school English. I had a home. All I had to do was rent my place. So I was like, “Shit, I can get a teaching job here.” I found out LAUSD was fucked up. So I’m college educated, saved up money, rented my condo, moved here to be with my friend. I also want to be an entertainment lawyer, so I came here applying for law school. It was a perk that the show about lesbians— I’m just coming out, so everything I’m learning about being gay, is coming from this show. So my first trip here, as soon as I got here, I went to The Abbey because that’s where they were last season. Did I move across the country to be a part of a reality television show? Hell no. Hell no. Hell no! That’s the most laughable thing. People come up with the craziest ideas! I’m a fucking field organizer with one of the most credible LGBT agencies. We only have six staff members. So to make it amongst that six, you have to be of some intellectual capacity, and you think I would move— hell no. [laughing]
Because you said on camera…
You guys are still reading between the lines. I moved to L.A. because I watched The Real L Word. I never said I moved to L.A. to be on The Real L Word. I want to be an attorney! It’s the precise use of language. People are going to assume— that’s insane! It’s like this: If I’m deciding on where to move, and this city is promising all these beautiful women and this great lesbian lifestyle, then that’s enough to have me move. I get tweets all day from people saying, “I’m moving to L.A.” Why? Because they think this is a utopia of women. They think that every woman walking down the street looks is a lesbian who looks like a model. So they’re all coming. So they’re all coming here. So, I did the show but I still have a real job.
Why didn’t you go to law school?
To win marriage. If I went to law school right now, there’s three years of law school, there’s another two to three years before I’m even credible in my firm, so that’s five to six years before I would be able to do anything meaningful in LGBT politics. Whereas right now on the ground, my job is meaningful every day. I’m making a difference every day, and this is a moment. It’s the urgency now.
Is marriage equality the thing that you are most passionate about as far as your activism?
Marriage equality is number one, only because I know that LGBT freedoms are going to come on the tail end of marriage equality in the same way that freedoms for black Americans came on the tail end of integrating schools, like Brown v. Board of Education. After such a huge case – and that went back to courts twice and then took forever for them to figure out how to integrate schools. But once black students were in schools with white students, folks started to loosen up. And I feel like once marriage equality is established, folks are going to start loosening up. There was a guy in New York last week who, there were two gay guys on the bus holding hands, and he told them to get off the bus, called the police, and the cops are like, “Are you fucking kidding me? I can’t make them get off the bus ‘cause they’re holding hands! You need to keep driving.” And him having to deal with that, part of the reason why that cop defended those two guys like they did, is because just weeks ago New York declared same sex marriage. So that’s why I’m behind it whole-heartedly. I studied the civil rights movement. I studied the feminist movement. And I know how it’s these big things that end up trickling down and loosening up the rest. So yeah, I wouldn’t not go law school to be on reality TV.
When do you plan on going to law school?
In the fall.
And you want to study entertainment law?
It’s between entertainment and civil rights law. I’m 100% into civil rights law, but I’m also into very nice things, and civil rights law doesn’t pay for very nice things. The hope would be to do entertainment law to pay the bills but continue to work in civil rights as a passing project, like pro bono.
What did you like so much about Season One of The Real L Word?
Whitney. I mean, I’m just coming out. I’m awkward as hell. I don’t know what I’m doing. If a girl kissed me, I’m losing it. So I’m still learning my footing, and there are very few, like, you don’t see same sex couples all the time that you can kind of attach yourself to and model yourself after. So I’m feeling crazy-awkward, and then I see Whitney in the airport scene. She drops one off, circles around, picks up another, and I’m like, “Damn, that’s fly.” Just watching her gave me the confidence that like, “You can do this. You’re cool. Chicks’ll dig you.”
Did you not watch The L Word?
Not at first. I watched it last year. I watched the whole thing at once. I didn’t watch television, so after I came out, I had friends who were like, “You should see this.”
Did you like The L Word? Who did you connect with on that show?
It’s crazy because I watched it all at one time. I love Bette Porter. She’s the boss. I could be Bette and Tina. I need me a Tina, and I’ll be Bette. Just kidding. But you know, she’s like, strong but she’s still a family woman. I’m looking for a partner. There are elements of Tina’s character that I greatly appreciated, but there are parts of it that I wouldn’t be completely comfortable with, and I think that the parts that I was most uncomfortable with were parts that Bette kind of encouraged. Like Tina didn’t really come into herself until after leaving Bette. I want a partner who’s able to be all that she wants to be. I want it to be like Russell and Kimora, Jay-Z and Beyonce.
It’s interesting that you mentioned Bette Porter, and then from The Real L Word you connected with Whitney. I would think you would connect with Nikki and Jill because they’re a more stable partnership.
It wasn’t the same. It’s a matter of different stages in life. The stage I was in in life, I connected with Whitney because I didn’t know how to interact with women and she made it look so easy, which gave me the confidence to be like, “It’s not as hard as you think it is. Believe in yourself.” And it’s not like I was having a problem meeting girls. They were coming to me. I was fresh meat, so they were coming. I just didn’t know what to do with them once they came.
How was your transition from dating men and being up for prom queen to coming out and changing your physical appearance?
I was a little tomboy as a kid. I grew up in North Carolina, so I do remember there was a gay couple in my neighborhood, but I didn’t know the word “gay.” I just knew my friend had two moms and it wasn’t that big a deal. So I was a little tomboy growing up. As I grew up, I kind of cut those things away because I kind of felt like it was childish and I needed to be a young lady and be a woman. So I went through the whole makeup and hair and all that shit. And I dated guys like middle school up until almost recently.
I actually cut my hair as a straight. It was just cut all the way off. It was D.C. It was humid. I was graduating college. I was all stressed out and was like, “What do I do next with life?” I’m applying to law school, so I’m having one of those crazy, I’d like to call it a mid-life crisis, but I was only 22. I shaved my hair off April 1, 2009. I remember I came to school, and folks were like, “woah,” and they thought is was an April Fool’s joke because it was April 1st. So I cut my hair as a straight. Actually, one of my guy friends cut it off. I think he knew then, too, like, “Aww shit, here it comes. This is what’s next.” After I cut my hair, women started hitting on me, and I liked it.
When did you stop dating guys?
About two years ago, and in fact, with the first girl, there was still a guy, and I was kind of like, I don’t know. I was in therapy.
So when you were a little kid, you never had crushes on women or even female celebrities?
Not at all. I think for me, the only thing I can think back on about my childhood that could possibly be an idea that I was homosexual was the fact that when I met every one of my friends that I have now the first start was “Ooo, you’re pretty. Be my friend.” And I was never the pretty girl, but all my friends are the pretty girls. I’m talking makeup. My friends, their hair smells one way, their neck smells another way. One color nail polish, different color toe polish. Louis Vuitton, like, 100% feminine women. And then there would be me with sneakers on. But we were just friends, and I loved them and they loved me. Their parents would tease, like one of my friends had a dad who would like, “You’re all over her call-log. You need a boyfriend. Stop calling her.” And I never realized. Even now with relationships, I have that same friendship but more. So now I get it. That’s why you were like, “Ooo, you’re pretty. Be my friend.” So that’s probably the only thing. Other folks thought I was gay. The first girl came onto me when I was 14. I was like, “Ew, I’m not gay.”
People thought you were gay?
Everyone thought I was gay. Everyone but my mother. After I came out, my mom’s friends were like, “You didn’t know?” And she’s like “no,” and they’re like, “Look at this picture.” And there’s pictures of me in dresses, but I look like a boy in a dress. In college, of course, like high school, college, I knew how to carry myself. I sat like a lady. I did the whole nine yards. I dated guys, thought I was gonna marry a guy. I was preparing to be a wife. I could cook anything. The whole nine yards. But then, I meet this girl, and it felt— I was never uncomfortable with men. I’m great with them. I still talk to them, every guy I’ve ever dated. Actually, my first ever boyfriend when I was like, 7 was tweeting me last night. I think they all knew, too, but they were all great.
i think i’m even more confused now
guess i just need to remember that she’s 24 and a work in progress (like everyone)
Confused doesn’t begin to describe what I am.
She’s being portrayed in a positive way? Sense, this statement makes none. Maybe I’m reading this wrong. Confused.com
I am kinda new to the Real L Word just watched it for the first time the other day. I used to watch The L Word religiously and I loved it.
But I am dissappointed with this new reality tv version. I am pretty offended by it actually. I don’t understand why the lesbian community at large is not also offended.
Do we really have to resort to having grafic sex on camera in order to have a single show on tv representative of our community? Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with pornography per se, but I didn’t think that’s what The Real L Word was supposed to be.
Kind of off subject, but needed to say it. I won’t be watching it again. Thanks.
This just proves that you can attend college and still not be very bright!
Its kinda hard to believe that she studied feminism coz she acts like a misogynist on the show (Dry humping Chanel and not listening to her when she says no…). But then again she keeps insisting that we shouldn’t believe what we see on the show…
I actually read this interview very confused – don’t believe what you see on TV, but it’s a pretty accurate account of what happened in a few months of her life. Like, WTF?
Thats why its funny!! LOL!
Dry humping is misogynistic? I’d say it’s goofy and probably not good taste, momentarily disrespectful and hell, immature even… but misogynist? /needstobeeducatedapparently
That wasn’t sarcasm either, by the way. I’m still trying to figure it out, so don’t jump on me at one. :)
I don’t think it was the dry humping that was misogynistic, it was the continuing to do it after Chanel said no and told her to stop.
Right, that one instance was highly disrespectful and immature, but I still don’t see how that one instance means that Saj is committing an act that says “dislikes/distrusts/hates women”. I dunno, I thought that the relationship between misogyny and disrespect was kind of how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares kind of thing: all acts of misogyny/people ultimately disrespect women or the woman the act is directed at, but not all acts of disrespect are misogynist in kind or nature. I also thought that misogyny is a character trait demonstrated over time… and it’s hard to pin down (sometimes) specific acts as misogynistic, but I’m probably wrong on that one.
Wikipedia is of no help to me, as it talks about general distaste/disregard for women as a group, not specific acts or how it is embodied through less overt acts.
^I agree with you, 100%. It is hard to call one act in isolation “misogynistic”. Looks to me like she was being annoying/immature but not showing “hate towards women” per se :p.
That said, there were several points where she was ordering around Chanel that unnerved me. Again, this could have been the cameras choosing to portray it as “controlling” when perhaps it was just Sadj acting out in complete frustration/otherwise shown out of context. In arguments people say/do things they don’t mean, but shouting “We’re leaving now. Get in the car” at someone’s own birthday rubs me more than a bit the wrong way. Still, again, it’s reality T.V., not journalism, so.
Agreed. That wasn’t misogynistic. Uncouth and tactless, especially if your partner is in to propriety. But misogynistic. Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
She was just mismatched for the show.
I have to say that I am very pleased with how Sadjah answered these racially ignorant questions. Her answers were thoughtful and insightful. I am proud of her from being from NC! I also welcome her to the legal profession.
As for the author of the article…do you and your friends who are gay and happen to be white sit around and discuss Jodie Foster????Here’s a suggestion why don’t YOU ask Queen Latifah! Racist…why are you obsessed with QL?
I simply used Queen Latifah as an example of a celebrity that Sajdah might relate to or have an opinion on since they are both members of the same double minority. Sorry to offend you.
I’m a member of the same double minority and I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong.
Don’t worry Jess, Greenluv1322 pretty much comments on any article with reference to race calling the author racist..
…I do talk about Jodie Foster with my friends. And other people who I believe are/want desperately to be gay. And the importance of visibility. I don’t understand, is this a bad thing now?
Greenluv1322– Were you having a bad morning? Was it that time of the moth? I’ve had one those. Do you not have white people in the parts of NC where you are from? Its funny that you say you are glad that she ignored answering the racially ignorant questions. I’m happy too, because I didn’t think the questions were racially ignorant until I read the ignorant answers to questions that were race related or not. Why would she asked her about Jodie Foster, Jodie Foster means nothing to the black community, most of us doesn’t even know who she is, but we all know Queen Latifah. You should step away from the keyboard, take a shower, go for an ice cream cone and re-read the interview.
To be honest I definitely get the curiosity around Queen Latifah. As a celebrity and obvious role model in the black society, she should expect to be looked up to, its a cost of being famous. The fact is that she has repeatedly denied herself. Although admittedly it is always down to personal preferences, her constant denial of who she OBVIOUSLY IS (obvious to anyone with a semi working gaydar and eyes) makes us loose respect for her. The things these celebrities( aka Missy and QL) don’t understand is that; NO ONE!!! THAT TRULY MATTERS GIVES A FLYING F**K ABOUT YOUR SEXUALITY!!! Just own it, life is WAAYYY to short to live a lie.
Autostraddle…you are a racist organization. Better luck next time. Sadjah answered your ignorant questions beautifully.
You need to look up the terms for ‘racism’ and come back here and apologize for slander.
As an autostraddle member, I’m implicitly (well, kind of explicitly) giving this site my stamp of approval by holding the aforementioned membership. I’m part of this community, part of this brand and it’s important to keep each other accountable to our actions. So, if there’s some racist shit happening, I want it to not be happening, because that’s fucked up. We can’t work on not being racist if we deny that racism exists, even in what are supposed to be the most welcoming, progressive spaces. So, let’s not shout each other down when folks are expressing their feelings.
It’s a gift to be called out on our shit, and if we take ownership of our actions, make improvements, and develop our perspectives on the world, that’s a good thing. It’s a great thing! And I think that’s when we go from being part of the problem, to being part of the solution.
I just think that this could be a big learning opportunity. We can start working on our shit, taking ownership of our actions, learn, and potentially be a more welcoming space for people of colour. Or not. And do we really want to NOT do that stuff, y’all?
The issue isn’t whether or not racism exists. I agree with you that it does and as a bi-racial(white mom, black dad) American, I have encountered my fair share of it. Racism is a product of society and as a society it is paramount that we are comfortable with discussion about our differences whether it be racial, religious, etc.
That said, crying wolf and constantly pointing fingers gets us nowhere. The interviewer asked a couple of frank questions regarding differences of culture, and in fact, it was the interviewee who opened the door for racial discussion with the comments on Bayard Rustin. I also personally believe that the most controversial/racially provocative statement was made by Saj about Obama “learning to be Black” in college, but that’s an entirely different conversation.
I think it’s great when challenges are made, but spewing accusations that have little to no foundation only contribute to the problem and do absolutely nothing to aid our progressive movement.
Everything you just said.
I’m with you KB. I found the statement about Obama learning how to be black at college problematic. Many times the fundamental differences between ethnic background and race are overlooked or merged that we end up with a warped concept of what it is to be black, like there is such a thing as how to be black! Race is a social construct, just like racism.
Although, sometimes I do get frustrated that other races are often neglected on this site. I love my lesbians all different colors, but I do think that this site often forgets that there are lesbians that are not just black or white. What about latinas, asians, africans, middle easterners, canadians, etc :)
Having said that, I really don’t think AS is racist at all.
Some small comfort – we have several Canadian writers :p , but it would be cool to see what future writers can bring to that issue.
well, we’ve been getting a lot of latina related content lately.
AS isn’t racist at all
Pretty sure we have contributors and editors and writers that are Latina, Asian, African and African-American. And Canadian is not a race :) although there are many of them around as well.
I agree, talking frankly about race does not mean you are a racist.
Erhhh Right. Correct me if im wrong love, but last time I checked “African” was not a race :|
I agree 100%. I was actually offended when Sadjah said Obama learned how to be black in college. As an African-American female who was raised in the private school system, I have encountered many who have accused me of not “acting black,” as if being black means you have to fit into some certain mold. It irritates me that the same people who scream racism when valid point are being brought up, are the ones who try to force others into fitting the racially ignorant mold of what being “black” is supposed to be. Not to mention that when people accuse someone of not acting black it is because the speak proper English, dress with their pants around their natural born waist, and listen to “black music.”
I went to boarding school…and I’ve had many conversations with my father on this very topic(he teaches History of Racism in America at said school). I completely understand where you are coming from.
How am I yelling down someone else’s opinion? It’s simply wrong – not debate there. This person is following her own defintition of racism which she needs to check before pointing fingers at the wrong people. I’m just getting irritated with these people running, accusing AS of being racist or narrowminded or wrong, and then just disappearing when we call their bullshit. She needs to apologize to Jess.
yeah. she does. that was not cool!
I understand that you don’t agree with Greenluv and maybe her comment was offensive to you but telling somebody to “come back and apologize” shuts down a conversation the same way a parent would to a child whose argument they don’t want to hear. Maybe Greenluv is overreacting, or sensationalizing something, or maybe she isn’t, but telling her to go look up a definition (which I find to have racist and classist implications itself–who exactly writes dictionaries? who owns them?) and then come back and apologize (to a website with no shortage of talented and well-informed writers who are capable of defending and discussing their own work) does not encourage productive discourse, which is really absolutely essential in discussing issues like race, class, and sexuality.
Wait a minute, are you accusing me of being racist myself because I told someone to go look up the definition of a word? Dictionaries aren’t “owned”, but they do reflect commonly-held consensus on the definition of the word. How can anyone expect to have valid and constructive arguments if even the definition of a single word is allowed to be subjective?
I’m sorry, but your argument makes no sense whatsoever if nobody is held accountable to the definition of a word. I can just start calling you a misogynist then because I’m a woman and you find fault with something I said so clearly you must hate women if I’m allowed to make up my own definitions and hold everyone accountable to them.
Regardless of the issue of racism itself, which is very subjective, the word and its definition are not subjective.
No, if you go back and look at my comment I am not calling you racist in any way. I am commenting on the fact that all of our societal institutions are deeply and systematically racist (and sexist). My comment on dictionaries was more of an aside (obviously nobody needs to own one anymore in order to look up a definition), pointing out that they are written by white men, and generally owned by people who have the money to spend on one or else people with the privilege of going to university or hanging out at libraries. To say that the definition of racism is subjective does, however, perpetuate institutionalized racism by saying it is only one thing, and anybody that feels victimized by racism is wrong if their experience doesn’t fit into that definition. Sorry that you took my comment personally, as it was a comment on society and not you, but I have no interest in discussing you personally so in less you are looking to discuss the nuances of institutionalized racism I would stop reading my comments now as you will probably continue to be needlessly offended.
Alright, that’s fair, even though I’m not in complete agreement with you. You make some good points; I just misread your intentions.
Folks, first off, thanks for taking some time out to respond to my comment. I’m glad we’re talking about this.
I come from a progressive community that’s trying to move away from sort of…adjudicating on feelings; judging them as either right or wrong. I didn’t view what Greenluv1322 as an accusation or finger pointing, but an expression of the impact the article had on them (using “them” as a pronoun here, as I don’t want to assume how Greenluv self-identifies).
I think I just want to emphasize that I’m not an expert, I just hate to see folks get put down for expressing that something was hurtful. Like, folks have reacted pretty harshly to what Greenluv said, for the most part, rather than asking why this person felt the way they did and what could be worked on. And maybe they wouldn’t have been interested in having a conversation with the interviewer or expanding on why they felt the way they did (recognizing folks are 100% NOT obligated to do that when feeling hurt and potentially quite vulnerable), but now we won’t know, probably, right?
I hope that’s a useful expansion on my point! Again, appreciate the feedback and the challenge, KB. It definitely made me think.
I admire your very very open-minded and open-handed approach to this, especially since you’ve assumed the opposite for me (no sarcasm here). However, I don’t see anything that Greenluv said to be an invitation to discussion. If anything, she incited racism in her comment, saying that AS (written by a white girl) is racist while Saj (a black woman) intelligently dealt with the ignorant racism when farther down, there is debate about one of the comments Saj made about Obama learning to be black. So. I think Greenluv came in here with loaded anger and wasn’t open to any other reading than “AS is racist because Queen Latifah was singled out for being black”.
Alright, I’m going to respond to this in the morning, because I can’t even right now. I. Cannot. Even.
So, sit tight, and I’ll think of a third way to say “please play nice and don’t be dismissive when marginalized people are expressing the fact that they feel that something is oppressive.”
I will actually come back and try again. See you in the morning.
Do you not think that Greenluv’s initial comments were not hurtful though? The writer’s hard work and effect is being ripped apart in mere seconds because someone who isn’t part of this community decided to step in and use some very heated words unjustifiably. That enrages me because I understand the hurt that she’s causing, and I am never the one to sit on the side. Don’t you agree that I have as much right to defend them as you have to defend Greenluv?
And by the way, I’ve found all of your “let’s play nice!” rhetoric to be condescending, but how dare I say that when I’m just the big ol’ bully pickin’ on the “oppressed”, right?
Listen, dude, I just think it just was straight-up shitty to say what you did. If I was sitting and saying this to you, I wouldn’t be yelling or being aggressive, I’d be shaking my head and be looking pretty bummed out.
You basically told Greenluv she was stupid for saying she felt something was racist and she should take it back. You gave her a variation of the “look it up in the dictionary” phrase. And then you gave me a grown-up version of “they started it!” as an excuse for being mean. To somebody who was expressing concerns about racism. And like, you said it as if you or anyone else would be in a position to tell any other marginalized person what should and shouldn’t feel oppressive to them! You are not an expert on anyone else’s experiences and feelings but your own.
Anyway, unless you want “A.’s Tips and Tricks for Friendly and Constructive Communication” in a follow-up or private message, I won’t be responding to this particular section any more. I’m not super optimistic that you’d be into that, so, I won’t hold my breath. But for the sake of our community of folks on this site and whatever/wherever your local community is, I hope you take some time and reconsider the approach you’ve exhibited here. If you don’t want to change that, fine, but I’m setting some boundaries for myself and wanted to be clear about that should you choose to reply.
I’m interested to know more about what you think about the race politics of autostraddle and how this article brought them up for you. Can you say more?
I mean, I respect someone saying autostraddle can be racist, but it would be more productive to point out concrete instances so we can all understand what you’re talking about.
How in the world is AS racist? I am all ears.
Sharks have ears?
The better to nom om om you with?
Fuck, that made no sense.
Yes, the better to track my prey with.
my head is about to explode…..im a double minority and i see nothing racist about the question. it was more of a “how does this person of ql’s status,living closeted, affect a community that could use more lgbt role models to ease away from the negative backlash of coming out in a conservative community”.
the only racist vibes im getting are coming directly from greenluv1322. you clearly misinterpreted the question and made a fool out of yourself by pulling out the race card……… i wish i had no fucks to give in this situation because my head is going to explode in outrage. im going to go watch a megan rapinoe interview to cool me down.
LOOK AT THAT FACE. LOOK. AT. THAT. FACE. <3
oh hey, its my girlfriend.
WHAT!!!! i believe you made a mistake, we’ll have to settle this in a kiddy pool of creamed corn
The world needs more ‘PINOE!
Hey Jess, can you do an interview with Pinoe. Not only is she super adorable, but she’s a great soccer player, and has an alternative lifestyle haircut.
please please please doooo!!!!!
(can you also pass along my #, tell her i have 23 a.s. friends, surely she’ll be inpressed)
it’ll make up for my spelling skillz
Maybe I’m an ignorant racist, as well, but I don’t see racism anywhere in this article. The author is questioning Sajdah on her experience and perspective because it differs in many ways from coming out in “white America.” Those of us who don’t understand that experience want to hear what its like, so we can learn and empathize with her particular experience. It actually seems like the opposite of racism…it seems like wanting to try to understand each other.
I’m also confused. She seems to contradict herself for how she views being on TRLW, especially over why she went to L.A.
“So you moved because you saw The Real L Word?”
“So that’s why you moved?”
“No, I didn’t go to BE on The Real L Word! Geez, people are twisting my words.”
But this made me smile – “Ooo, you’re pretty. Be my friend.”
I did that, too lol #omgiwassogay
She thought hey LA seems to be a cool place to live if your gay I wanna go. Not, let me move to LA to be on the Real L Word.
I know, but Jess said it correctly the first time, and Saj said something about misreading “between the lines”…
1. Q. You said on camera that you moved to Los Angeles because you watched The Real L Word.
A. … Did I move across the country to be a part of a reality television show? Hell no. Hell no. Hell no! That’s the most laughable thing. …
2. Q. Because you said on camera…
A. You guys are still reading between the lines. I moved to L.A. because I watched The Real L Word. I never said I moved to L.A. to be on The Real L Word. [Nobody said you did, Saj.]
I don’t see where the confusion is. Her answer stayed the same about why she moved to LA. Maybe Saj either A: got a vibe that Jess was implying that she moved to LA to be on the show or B: she just wanted to set the record straight about why she moved to LA.
I’m going with A, which just reinforces my belief that Saj doesn’t understand a lot that’s going on around her lol
This was a great interview! Thanks Jess
[So I’m feeling crazy-awkward, and then I see Whitney in the airport scene. She drops one off, circles around, picks up another, and I’m like, “Damn, that’s fly.” Just watching her gave me the confidence that like, “You can do this. You’re cool. Chicks’ll dig you.”]
Head = exploded
Same, but about almost everything she said.
I’m so with you there!
I thought she was a complete douche with that statement :| I mean why act like a sleazy guy ? Why do girls feel the need to act that way ? and most importantly how do they expect to attract women with IQ’s with that kind of behaviour ?
The whole point of being gay (which is a philosophy I have decided on in my 3 months of KNOWING I’m @ least VERY bisexual) is to DATE WOMEN! Definitely not to date cheap knock-off’s of men with vaginas. The confusion I feel is stupendous!
This (along with all of the other TRLW cast interviews) are really good lessons on context. And perspective.
Great job, Jess!
I absolutely despise the Chanel looks straight comment….having been on the receiving end of this it really sucks.
To be fair, the actual interview question didn’t call looks into the matter.
i don’t think Armelle is criticizing the question, I think she’s criticizing the situation and the fact that this is the stereotype that fans think someone who looks like chanel must be straight. (jess herself is often initially read as “straight” for the same reason, as an aside)
Ah, okay. I think mostly everyone has encountered that at some point.
I personally like when there’s a bit of mystery to a person. Not being able to go off of appearances is refreshing.
Boo femme invisibility!
Also, I love that Chanel’s a top. Byyyyeee stereotypes! Byyyeee!
Stereotypes, you all look fake and crazy, BYE.
I went with a few of my friends to a gay bar the other night and we all got drunk and had a good time. Then, at the end of the night, one of my friends goes up to this cute feminine-looking girl who’s still around and says “You’re cute, are you straight?” The girl glared at her, said no, then walked away. When she told me this story I wanted to hit my head against the wall. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t think I was straight right away. I never get read as gay and it just makes coming out to people when I meet them that. much. harder. So frustrating.
I’m not sure how I feel about her. I don’t like her on the show (I find her to be controlling) and while I enjoyed the interview, it just made me even more confused; albeit, it lessened my dislike towards her.
I must say, as someone that grew up with a black father, white mother, and am adopted + multiracial, this comment (“…Not at all. He learned how to be black in college, actually, because he grew up in Middle America with white grandparents…”) confused me to no end. Am I supposed to act a specific race? I didn’t realize.
Anyway, I hate when people say Chanel looks straight. I get told the same thing quite often and I sure as hell am not.
I think she was getting at how the President talked about his struggle with how to exist in both the “white” and “black” worlds he lived in. He talks about it more in depth in his book. She’s not saying that you are suppose to act a certain way based on your race.
I also have a black father and white mother, though I am not adopted, and I was struck by this comment as well. I actually don’t think she was saying what you think she is Ace…I really do think it was a comment on racial behavior and attitudes, which is extremely problematic in my book.
I agree with Ace. In the book Obama makes the point about his slipping between his black world and white world pretty clearly. Seems she is referring to that. Equating her learning to be gay with his learning to be black.
erm… if i may, I seriously have a problem with these two statements:
“learning to be gay”
“learning to be black”
Please correct me if I’m wrong Brittani, but I believe she was referring to the learned social and cultural aspects of both of those identities. There are cultural elements which make up these two cultures and identities that is related to, but not determined by being born gay or black. Obviously, not everyone experiences these uniformly or adheres to them uniformly, but these identities exist both because other people discriminate and create boundaries and because people actively adopt/create these signifiers as a point of pride. This means that one can learn or be socialized into the identities of gay or black as defined by the community which they are joining.
I get that. I know that people are treated a certain way because of what they look like, where they grow up and all. I also know that all these behaviours are socially constructed and what I’m trying to point out here is that assuming that there is a way to “be black” and to “be gay” is essentialist. it implies that there IS a way to be black or to be gay (like how people assume that Chanel is straight). Saying it and then saying that you mean something else does not sit right with me.
At some point President Obama just like Halle Berry if you know her story, had to accept that they are black even if their mother is white. It has less to do with “learning” how to be black and more to do with accepting the fact that you are black and that’s what people see when they look at you. And the sooner you accept it and move on the better……but just remember that being black means that you are going to experience certain things (racism). This does not mean that a person now has to act a certain because of their race.
Saj says “I’m learning about being gay.” If you want to nitpick over the slight difference in phrasing, please go ahead. The point is she was comparing her journey to the one that Obama describes in the book. Go read the book. No, don’t even read the book. Read a synopsis of it. Then this will make more sense. This has nothing to do with what I do or do not thing being black/gay is. It has to do with the way Saj and Obama frame their experiences. Which is why “he learned how to be black in college” is not problematic. If you have a problem with that sentiment, then you need to talk to Obama, not Saj. And if you get him on the line, please let me know.
well, I am certain that if I did read the book I will still have a problem with the statement “learning to be black”. And if being aware of how “difference in phrasing” changes the meaning of the original sentence makes me “nitpick”-y, that’s fine. It beats trying to figure out what was being implied.
How do you have any way of deducing that that is what she means? I don’t mean for that to be rude but I cannot see any context in the interview that backs that up. Saj has also mentioned “learning to be gay” and has used that phrase before on the show. It’s completely possible that to her “learning to be ____” means embracing that part of yourself and exploring or finding your niche in that community, and I think that to just assume from a very vague phrase that Saj is perpetuating racial and behavioral stereotypes is unfair and problematic itself. I do not believe it is possible to know enough about a person from edited “reality” show on corporate TV and one autostraddle interview to claim to have any real insight into the subtext or veiled meaning of their words.
i’m confused about how she keeps on claiming that she’s never been in a relationship before Chanel and yet she dated a bunch of men?
dating doesn’t equate to being in a relationship
i liked this interview. :D
Me too! It was really good! I hope Jess just takes all these comments as proof that it made people think a lot and want to discuss a lot…even if some of the stuff that was said got a little nasty.
She did a really great job with this interview.
I really liked this interview. I don’t watch TRLW, but I enjoy reading the interviews as I think some very poignant questions are asked. I’m interested in giving the show another shot (I couldn’t get through episode 1 when I first watched it), but I’m not sure I’ll get anything out of it. lol
I’m glad you enjoy the interviews even though you can’t sit through the show! :)
Brilliant interview, thanks very much Jess.
How do you cut your hair “straight” ?
hey Nadine, she said “as a straight”
Then what does it mean to have hair cut “as a straight”? I know plenty of straight girls with hair that throws off my gaydar.
I think she means she got her hair cut short when she had yet to realise she was gay, so when she was ‘straight’
Does that I have to get my hair cut asymmetrically ‘cuz I’m bi?
I did actually mean that! I was getting the impression that she cut her hair short “as a gay” and that longer hair is “as a straight.” I wonder if that’s the point she was trying to make?!
i think she means she cut it when she was “straight”. I did the same thing, because I cut it for basic, when i was dating a dude. but i get people askin all the time if it’s a gay thing. one chick asked if i cut my hair as an ode to ellen degeneres.
oh my dear sweet jeebus… greenluv1322 is the MOST IGNORANT person I have come across on this site. I grew up in South Africa, I have been involved in many civil rights activist endevours and worked with many charities giving help and aid in Soweto, and I cannot believe that you lapse into such a petty position to read so much into a a question which harbours no malice or racist subtext. You have a seriously big chip on your shoulder and A LOT of anger it would seem greenluv1322. I hope in time you can become a person who is filled with less hatred and anger. Peace.
This interview just proves that she’s actually nuts.
I am still so confused. I don’t think she did a good job of answering the questions.
Some confusing answers, but also some really insightful ones. I like that these interviews allow us to fill in the (MANY!) blanks on the show. I love listening to the girls expand on their backgrounds, something I wish the show did.
Hope you can swing a few more of these out! I’d like to read an interview with Francine.
Wasn’t Francine deep in thought about coming out to her mother/family whilst taking a Japanese lesson from her boss’s wife probably the most poignant thing IFC’s ever done, outside of killing Jenny (duh)? It was probably a total accident.
Maybe she was sick and an assistant was all, “Fuck this shit, I’m doing this part MY WAY. MY WAY!”
Anyway, I loved it. Genuinely. It was shocking.
Thanks Jess! Always nice to peek behind the heavily edited curtain of IFC’s trlw!
i think it’s adorable. she’s a baby gay trying to figure shit out. we’ve all been there. shit, i’m still there. and it looks like the show is just trying to make her look dumb when she really isnt. I like the interview, i can relate to some of that. I came out a lot earlier than her, but I still went through a huge “ew, no, I’m straight.” thing. and even when i dated a girl in high school i was scared of what it meant for me. Kudos for going through the process on the teevee.
Great interview, but this comment section is turning into a feeding frenzy, like shark week on Discovery Channel.
?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! ido………..LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!
I think Mean Girls said it best:
I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school… I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy
Okay, you NEED to put that everytime some non-member starts some shit, ‘kay? Word.
so i guess people who aren’t members don’t have the right to voice their opinions?
Voicing an opinion is not the same thing as tromping in here making wild accusations and disappearing again. And, by the way, a quick Google search will show you that some people don’t have anything better to say besides going from site to site saying the same repeated argument, regardless of the actual content.
I’m sorry, I should’ve said “troll” but I didn’t want to offend you because apparently everything I say is horribly rude and shuts down all discussion forever and ever, amen.
Because, obviously, I must be such a monster for you to be offended by a joke I made with one of my friends. Obvs. Evil to the core. No soul here, baby.
More or less lol.
Oh my god this gif is the visual accompaniment to “I look good. You all look fake a crazy, bye.” Soooo gooooood.
No, it is turning into something that needs to be said. Sorry to break it to you but this is one of the grievances I have with LGBT blogs.
You want this solidarity but perhaps, there should be some racial sensitivity when it comes to dealing with LGBT POC’s. Sorry, our status does it make it different and even though the intern wants to say that they’re POC’s that write here…um, why weren’t they given the opportunity to interview Saj?
Also, like someone mentioned before the stuff that most of the stuff that has been submitted by black LGBT has been sub-par and basically “dumbed down.”
I’m not a fan of Saj by no means but I’m glad someone brough this up.
‘Also, like someone mentioned before the stuff that most of the stuff that has been submitted by black LGBT has been sub-par and basically “dumbed down.”’
OOoooo! The plot thickens!
Most of the stuff, articles, etc that has been submitted by POC LGBT writers has sub-par and poorly written.
I hope that helps.
Most of the stuff, articles, etc that has been submitted by POC LGBT writers has been sub-par and poorly written.
I hope that helps.
One more post too many on this. Either way, stuff like this needs to be discussed, instead of folks trying to ignore the elephant in the room.
If that’s the elephant you see in this room, I suggest you see an optometrist.
So wait…you’re saying the POC contributors to this site can’t write and “dumb down” their articles?
That’s what you’re actually saying? I’m not making this shit up?
uh yeah, that’s what she said. You’re not making this shit up, she is. More intriguing…who who she thinks the POC are dumbing their articles down for?
Just emphasising disbelief. And you tell me.
I know what you were doing, (emphasising disbelief) I was agreeing with you. I’d reply directly to your answer to me but there is no reply link on your response. My question about who the POC are dumbing down for is not sarcasm towards you in case that was your interpretation.
Obviously read that as more hostile than it was, my bad. Hostile thread is hostile though.
Well, there’s no accounting for taste, of course — you surely have a right to dislike any article or subset of articles on AS or the internet as a whole — but the allegation that they’re “dumbed down” is super bizarre to me, and without further discussion/elaboration, impossible for me to see evidence for. For just one example, I think the Bklyn Boihood pieces that have appeared here have been some of the most lyrical, engaging, interesting writing on the site — not even especially for their content, but just for their voice and style. I certainly don’t get even a whiff of potential “dumbing down” there.
I don’t think Cynthia was referring specifically to articles posted on AS by POC but maybe in general? She also said “submissions” not “posts” so I don’t really know. It’s not true either way, but — I suppose I’m assuming that it’s not a direct attempt to separate and evaluate our team of amazing wonderful brilliant writers by race and accuse WOC-related content of being “dumbed down” because in addition to being counterproductive and untrue, that’s virulently offensive and against our comment policy.
Why can I not see these comments? The font is almost white and blends into the background. Is it because they are “poorly-rated”? I still want to read them. I can’t figure out how to fix this.
I don’t know that you can fix it. I frakking hate this new like/dislike thing.
It seems to be better now.
I feel legitimately confused about what is going on here. Like, I agree that racism in the LGBT community is a good thing to talk about, but this interview actually seems to have nothing to do with it! I mean, that could have been a good interview question now I think about it, but it was not. Now you’re saying that the stuff non-white writers have done on autostraddle is bad? I’m sorry, but that is just untrue. You are being truly insulting to the excellent writers of color on this blog. Seriously, check yourself.
And I don’t think it’s necessary to be a POC to interview a POC…
Jess does all of our pop culture interviews and was in LA last week, that’s why she did this one.
It is my experience that Autostraddle is always making a conscious effort to be inclusive and represent as many viewpoints as we can. We understand that we’re not perfect, but we are doing our best to improve. Autostraddle is always looking for more writers, and if you have suggestions, feel free to contact anyone. I think we hear where you’re coming from and will do what we can to be better.
Except for the whole “dumbing down” thing. I completely disagree with that.
Because I am a shameless self-promoter/aspiring writer/terrible at judging appropriateness, I don’t suppose I could suggest myself as a writer? Kinda just because I can’t find any resident Brits on the team, but maybe I’m being dumb. (and it’s 1am, so this seems like a good idea right now.)
I agree with @Cynthia about the need for racism to be more thoroughly addressed in the LGBT community. It needs to be a willingness, a conversation, and an atmosphere, as described by @A. and others. Unfortunately, knee jerk, dismissive responses by anyone in the conversation tend to shut down those conditions and put everyone on the defensive. (I’m not suggesting those responses aren’t valid; just that they don’t foster the communication it seems like many if not most people here are seeking.)
This is a public forum that I–and I think many others–appreciate and feel protective of because both the articles and the comments are intelligent (and often provocative), respectful, supportive, and inclusive (with an IFC-related exemption rider).
As someone who does not have a PhD in queer / feminist / gender / race / or any of the other important studies I sincerely appreciate that more knowledgeable people are willing to provide firm-but-kind corrections when there’s a commenting misstep dues to ignorance or too many feelings. To me, that means that most people on here presume we are well-intentioned humans. This, in turn, makes it worlds easier for me to try to understand realities that don’t intersect with my real life (in my case, a lot of trans* issues that I would be completely ignorant of otherwise).
All of this said, I have to call foul on @Greenluv132 calling the entire AS site racist and @Cynthia saying “most of the stuff that has been submitted by black LGBT has been sub-par and basically “dumbed down”” I think those comments are completely irresponsible, and not just because they’re unsubstantiated. First, it shows an appalling lack of respect to queer kin who are doing their level best to bring all of us information relevant to our queer interests. Even when it’s done imperfectly, its done on our behalf to the best of their ability. In my opinion, they deserve the courtesy to have any concerns about the content quality brought directly to the attention of the writers and the editors, rather than publicly disrespecting and dismissing them in the comments.
It’s my wish to see every single person who nurtures the vitality of this site–editors, writers, and commenters–treated with basic courtesy and respect so that we can all continue to enjoy this wonderful internet landing pad called Autostraddle.
Open Letter to All Contributors of AS
Dear Awesome Lovelies,
You have been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism lately. Criticism is good; it makes us work harder to become better at what we do. So we shouldn’t shy away from it. But criticism should be constructive and accurate. Some of what you’ve been receiving is neither. So I would just like to say that the work you do is important and informative and amazing in so many ways. Your articles have made me think, made me laugh and tear up and has helped me understand new things about myself and this community. Thank you so much for all your hard work and for wanting always to do better.
I love you and think you’re awesome. Have some Wambach + Rapinoe goodness:
Much love, Evi
Also Also Also: You guys have come a long way, even in just the short time I’ve been reading/commenting. Thanks for keeping it going when it’s not always rewarding and sometimes bad things happen. Thank you for writing things that make people read and think and discuss. Thank you for making an effort to reach out, do more, and improve. I hope you know that it is greatly appreciated and loved by many, many people.
With love, Ido
In A Very Related Note: ASSchat was trading GIFs of Rapinoe and kittens, when we noticed that there are an unusual amount of Debs/Nancies lately. Just wanted to let you know that you have some very loyal followers who love and appreciate your work, and how dedicated you are to sharing All The Things with us. Haters gonna hate. Honey badger don’t care.
guys….i have a love hate relationship with autostraddle, mostly because you made me an addict. i can’t live without my by hourly dose of autostraddle and my doctor has recommended that i go to an a.s. anonymous meeting…….but that would mean i have to leave the cpu/u…..ahhhhh why is life so difficult!!!!
You know that an ASAnonymous meeting would entail all of us from Chat sitting with laptops. Per uzhe.
all of us in a room…talking to each others about our addiction to chat, through chat. yes this.
To All The Autostraddle and especially Jess who did this interview and Riese who I think stresses over everything that goes up on this site:
FUCK THE HATERS.
People will always find ways to thrust their own negativity on something you’ve tried to cultivate. All of us aren’t just talking about this one interview, we’re talking about the shit that goes on sometimes in these comments, the things people say about a project you have all given so much to. Forget them. You’re changing things, you’re changing us. And we will always buy your tee shirts.
“I’ve had it with all stingy-hearted sons of bitches.
A heart is to be spent.”
OMG I so need to go to an ASAnonymous meeting
Apparently, the comment didn’t appreciate my html skillz. So here’s the Wambinoe love:
This is the best hug ever and it makes my heart smile THIS much
I adore you. Just sayin’.
Saj’s comments on coming out to her parents once she was totally self-sufficient kind of resonated with me, because that’s my plan… Mainly because then if my parents (especially my dad) decide to cut me off, I won’t have to worry about starving in the gutter/mooching off friends.
New member here. I’ve read a few articles here and there, mostly dealing with pop-culture, so a good portion of this site’s content is unknown to me.
That being said, I find it interesting that Greenluv1322, the person who started this whole ball of “racism” rolling, is nowhere to be found as the comments keep coming and coming. That in itself should be a sign that this person did not make those initial comments to open the door to concise and constructive conversation. But was instead just trying to stir the pot – to make a fuss when, IMO, there wasn’t one to begin with.
I’m a POC (though IRL I just call it being black) – and found nothing Jess asked during the interview to be racist. To me, racism carries a very blatant message(s) within it, no matter how well it is veiled. If you really dig deep, you will see the true intention to hurt and damage a person, their character or their livelihood. So, in the context of interviewing a “reality star” – I don’t see how this is an effective move! Furthermore, the question itself: ‘In your circle of friends who happen to be both gay and black, do you talk about celebrities like Queen Latifah and the fact that she is photographed everywhere with her girlfriend yet still denies being gay and often makes homophobic statements to the press?’ – is already setting up what Jess was intending. The juxtaposition, no matter the circumstances, of being black and gay – how does that affect how you and some of your friends view Queen Latifah? How is this any different if Jess was interviewing a young white female activist who was just coming out, about Jodi Foster, or some other seemingly closeted celebrity???? Is it offensive because Jess is NOT a black woman, and therefore, should abstain from asking any question pertaining to or involving skin color to a POC?? How ridiculous!
Saj herself is identifying as a person highly involved in, and inspired by civil rights, which lends itself to feminism, and the gay rights movement – and just general issues involving community visibility – no matter the community. Therefore, the question has a basis – it has a foundation. It’d be much different if Saj identified as a stripper or pig farmer or podiatrist – or anyone who was not remotely close to social politics and community issues, no matter if it be racial or based on sexuality!
I agree that within the LGBT community there are myriad issues surrounding race – and all the inter-workings of how it affects Americans everyday lives. That being said – to take a single question asked of a reality TV star and deem is racist is nothing but counterproductive – and as I’ve just stated above, without proper basis.
And to say that Saj answered each question with insight and thoughtfulness is a load of crap. It’s an interview – not an address to the nation. Any time a woman says she got the courage to be herself in regards to being gay by looking at Whitney as a model to act off of is a few tools short of a complete set! There is nothing insightful about that, unless it is to say when it comes to finding a role model when assimilating into gay culture Saj is wise beyond her years. Yeah, no one would say that. No one.
Welcome to Autostraddle. *high-five*
Maybe it’s time for an article about racism in the LGBT community. To me it seems as though this interview with Sajdah has hit a nerve. It could be because of the question about Queen Latifah, or people questioning Sajdah’s intelligence, or it could be stuff that has built up and is starting to come out. For me personally I can’t stand how this site keeps talking about Dan Savage while ignoring his racist views. I personally didn’t find this article to be racist, but if it leads to a conversation about the issue of racism in the LGBT community in the future then kudos.
Great idea! I think it’d be great to have an article about racism in the LGBT community — that’s a pretty broad topic though! Maybe a roundtable with guest writers… ok I will get this idea going in an email. (also, we did this once –> Race, Sexuality & Feminism: Autostraddle Feminist Roundtable) –> anyhow. Honestly I’d always rather have stories that are out of “mainstream” gay life, they’re far more interesting to me than more of the same. I mean Sajdah was the only person from this season I asked Jess to interview, because I think she’s one of the first masculine-of-center african-american lesbians ever featured so prominently on a mainstream tv station and she works in civil rights and generally just seems to have some interesting and important things going on. I don’t know.
I haven’t even started the recap yet
Read that article about Race, Sexuality & Feminism, but imo it doesn’t get to the heart of the issue of racism in the LGBT community. For example you could bring up why is that whenever a black celebrity uses a gay slur the N word always pops up in the comment section. Then it just turns the black gays against the white gays in an instant. Or why is there still a need for a black gay pride and black gay clubs, etc, etc, etc, etc.
Yeah, no, absolutely, that didn’t address racism in the LGBT community. Definitely will gather a post to tackle this issue.
I would be more than happy to contribute personally to this post/blog entry; seriously. You’re going to need some outside contributors to really tackle this issue.
Other than that, this article/interview/comment section was pretty damn entertaining.
yes yes we’re gathering the troops & putting together a list of other writers to ask — i would love to have you contribute, email me
I have really enjoyed your writing.Now, after seeing Sajdah Golde thru the whole RLW.2 what do you think?IFC casting her in this manufactured toxic confection, after being criticized for not have WOC representation, is akin to when GH Bush replaced Thurgoode Marshall w, Clarence Thomas.
Sajdah Golde is a Civil Rights worker, who has read feminist text,who refers to women as bitches n whoes.
I’ve been both appalled and apoplectic, by the “show” in general and her “representation” specifically!
BTW would be willing to submit articles from a POC POV.
@Ace – agreed. Despite the person who was initially offended no longer commenting, a discussion or article might be helpful or at least insightful. But what is disappointing, even before anything is said, is knowing that some people out there won’t view it as such. Still, bring on the conversation!
Yep, bring it on.
I feel like some of you might find what you are looking for in this roundtable Autostraddle published a while back. I know I’ll be re-reading this tonight.
Race, Sexuality & Feminism: Autostraddle Feminist Roundtable Part 2
i’d like to suggest that greenluv’s disappearance after her initial comment about racism isn’t due to her lack of interest in productive discussion, but rather because maybe she didn’t have the energy to deal with a lot of sarcastic, rude and defensive replies – whether she felt that some of the existing replies were rude, or whether she just expected defensiveness after she made a confrontational comment. i’ve certainly abandoned thread before (on other websites) after realizing that arguing with strangers who absolutely 100% disagree with me might not be the best use of my time/energy/mood.
that said, i do hope she saw jess’s reply, which i think was appropriate and professional. i just kind of want to steer people away from saying “oh she was trolling” and leaving it at that. i don’t agree with her accusation, but like a lot of folks have said in this thread, criticism is a vital thing…
Thank yoooooouuuuuuu. Thank you. That really needed to be said. It’s a hell of a thing to criticize an individual for not sticking around and talking it out when it’s being made pretty clear by they’re unwelcome, no matter what explanation or context they have to offer. Oy.
Again, thank you.
But this is a forum. Discussion no matter how vexed and point/counter-point it is, one has to be aware that if you state something so strongly there will likely be a reaction.
Furthermore, Greenluv was not “alone” in feeling offense to the QL question in the interview. And more than that, even if some didn’t agree with her opinion on the interview, MANY have stepped up to defend her position and right to state how she feels!
And if Greenluv or anyone else whose opinion was “out of line” were really unwelcome – they would be banned or ejected from forum posting. In this sense, Autostraddle is totally open and welcome as the “location” for these discussions. So, where is the issue? Because people are disliking certain comments and posts? That’s the age we live in, opinions cast with a lil thumbs up or a thumbs down – but could it also be possible that those “votes” actually reflect how a good portion of whatever population may truly feel about what they are reading???
Sensibly I easily understand not every “vote” or comment either here or there about whatever topic at hand is going to be near and dear to someone’s heart. But I would just as easily know that amongst the 3, 4, or 5 or whatever people voting it either up or down it actually DOES to SOME of them! As I’ve said before, I’m someone who is of the mind that if you throw out harsh -isms (as to me an -ism is a heavy word/accusation) you had best be ready to defend your position. To cast words about, then step back and have others defend you (not at your asking, but of their own accord), to me, shows you must not care that much to clarify yourself when so many don’t understand you. To me, this is counterproductive.
As offended (assuming so) as Greenluv was to the question about QL, she must not have cared that much in the end to explain her POV – while others of us, on both sides have been able to explain our own in her absence.
Can you be my PR agent?
If you’ve got the dough, I can be anything you want me to be. ;)
I wish I could just copy and paste everything you’ve said in this thread because it’s exactly what I’m trying to say, but without my bullheaded, fists-brandished approach.
That being said: …damn, now that is something interesting… lol
I don’t think the interviewer or AS is racist at all, but I agree with starting a conversation about racism within the LGBT community. Racism, sexism and transphobia in the LGBT community is very, very real.
There are just some organizations working on these issues NYC: The Audre Lorde Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and FIERCE! NYC. There’s a wealth of alternative views/ interesting insights on these websites that differ quite a lot from what we hear from mainstream media, and both from the political right and left – that I think would be worth noting. (Including opposition to hetero/homonormativity, the institution of marriage, etc.)
I’m new to autostraddle… a queer woman of color. reading these comments I have noticed a serious backlash to greenluv’s comment… Racism doesn’t look the same as it did during jim crow. We have grown as a society but so has racism. It looks different. It’s in the language we use, it’s when we assume Channel isn’t a lesbian because the stereotype is that lesbians are ugly… in the same token it’s the way that Jess assumed that Saj would want to speak on Queen Latifa’s sexuality. I understand that Jess was trying to get at a complicated negotiation of race and sexuality… but in my opinion that is what editing is for.
I am sure that Jess didn’t ask the question in malice but I think it did reveal her “racist assumptions”
I got a sense that folks had a serious visceral reaction to greenluv’s comments… I think that should reveal that folks have some serious sensitivities around racism… I know that when I have a visceral reaction sometimes I have to be self reflective.
I know when men tell me that there is no sexism and that I am pulling out the woman card and that I’m a crazy feminist I just feel shut down and unwelcome.
I this website can figure out how to create more spaces to investigate these obvious tensions within the queer community….
How is it racist to assume Saj would have an opinion either here or there about Queen Latifah’s public image, when she is identifying as someone interested in not only gay issues and imagery and rights, but also black???
Again, because Jess had some idea of the kind of person she was interviewing, I can’t see it as racist – not for a second. Because it is an assumption?? Again, I don’t see how assuming has become a way to be racist, especially when the initial question was not laden with any racist verbiage, even if you “read btwn the lines” or anything like that.
Racism to me has to carry not only ignorance, but INTENTION. I can forgive and even sometimes understand someone’s ignorance – I’ve been met with it plenty of times in my life, on different levels. But when someone intends it, it is a different ball game. Since Jess didn’t intend it, the offense is non-existent to me. To others, I can see it’s not – and if certain people turn away, then in my eyes their issue or concern wasn’t worth so much to them in the end.
If someone wants more of a voice, more recognition and understanding, I don’t understand how turning away and not being prepared to defend yourself is going to get you there.
you are right! it’s more like when white folks change the way they talk when they talk to a black folks… the “yo’s” come out… yeah queen latifah! i get it a black lesbian will have something to say! it’s so great the way jess knows how to talk to black lesbians…
your are right when i talk to a white lesbian i will ask them what they think of the Anthony Weiner or SB 1070 or some other white person then they can give me their expert opinion because you know they are white and a lesbian…
and there as been unintentional racists. there are good people that are racists. there are well intentioned racists.
i am sure you all will have a visceral reaction to this… maybe you will consider that you are a RACIST. We do live in a racist society… look at the stats. we are influenced by culture… it has an impact. just like homophobia. you know it influences what you assume is “normal” and “right”… so just maybe you can consider it.
Right? That question was so racist. Almost as racist as asking “Who were your role models?” Everyone knows black people don’t have role models.
I get so mad when people ask me about things that are relevant to me. Just because I’m black and queer and clearly state I care about issues pertinent to both these groups means that I have opinions about them? It’s just racism. Plain and simple. How dare you assume that I, as a queer black woman, care about something that impacts me and the community that I am a part of. Next thing you know you’ll be asking athletes what they think of rule changes. Questioning sunburned people about sunblock. Yesterday I overheard someone ask a vegan what they thought of a vegan recipe. When will the madness end? You know what happens when you assume. “You make an ass out of you and me…and you’re racist.”
All in all, I felt systematically disenfranchised by this interview. Racism really does look different than it did during Jim Crow. Like in this case it’s soooo different that it’s almost like it’s not at all even close to being racist.
Having to deal with men telling you there is no sexism and then to come on a website and have people tell you there is no racism. Just insulting.
As a black person, my role model as always been the Kool-Aid guy. Then someone told me last year he wasn’t real. Now I’ve got no one. Fulfilling my destiny I guess. :-/
this just made me laugh out loud
If there is an issue of representation to raised at Autostraddle there had to be a better way to get there than waiting for someone to yell racism out of nothing but recreational outrage.
yes i suggest:
riese [at] autostraddle dot com
laneia [at] autostraddle dot com
rachel [at] autostraddle dot com
also i made this:
…..I want an autostraddle email more than life.
I don’t really think there is. I just want people who do to do it better. Like when something actually relevant to the subject actually happens.
…Give us more Pinoe GIFs, Mean Girl caps, and kittens!
And Jess, great interview! I think you asked every question that the TRLW audience has been thinking/yelling at the TV during this season lol
Obviously, the best thing about this interview is the COMMENTS. I’m still reading them. They are awesome.
Don’t get me wrong, Jess did an outstanding job. “Because you said on camera…” was PERFECTION. But the discourse in the comments. The best.
Autostraddle is the best!
So basically I feel like the actual interview was kinda forgotten amidst the craziness of the comments… Jess, this interview was great because I always wanted to know what the hell Saj’s deal was. She comes across as quite contradictive in regards to how she portrays herself and how she answered these questions.
Also, I thought AS was blacklisted and not allowed interviews with the cast, or was that just the Season 1 cast?
Good job :)
I know people can not post links on this site (I think) but is anybody else finding it impossible to find links to watch the latest episode online? It is like it has been blacklisted. Very frustrating, as I live outside America. I find the show disturbing, but still like watching it (masochist maybe?)
yeah i haven’t even started the recap yet because i can’t get it
You’re right – we’d appreciate it if people wouldn’t post links on the site. I’ve already deleted a few. Thank you!
As someone who posts links all the time, I wanted to confirm: do you mean you don’t want links posted to torrents / other potentially copyright-infringing/illegal hosting sites or links to other sites in general?
Crap, almost missed this one. We just can’t have links to illegal video hosting sites like you said, everything else is good!
we still live in a white heterosexist patriarchal culture so all this talk that there is no racism is just pure ignorance. and YES there is a whole lot a racism up in the queer community!!! this just proves it.
Wait… did anyone say there was no racism in our society OR in our community? Because I think the point is, there isn’t in this interview. And I have to say, I cannot understand why asking a black, gay woman about a famous black, gay woman is racist. And I am usually the first to jump on the racism boat! Like seriously, I feel like I must have read a different article than you did.
i meant: white supremist heterosexist patriarchal culture.
When reading this thread, I keep getting derailed by generalizations and universalizations. In sex education, there’s an effort to use some, many, most language–because, as the link’s author Charlie Glickman says about looking for information about sex, “In my experience, a writer who makes sweeping statements often doesn’t know any better.”
If all a person is adding to the conversation is essentially “I think/feel/believe you’re an asshole” isn’t that trolling behavior and deserves to be called as such, regardless of whether it’s calling names or telling someone to shut up and go away?
If a poster is not open to dialogue why bother engaging at all? To demonstrate they have a corner on The Absolute One Right Way To Think About This / All The Things? To me, that’s no different than the hit-and-run trolls who periodically stop by to grace us with their misspelled, paragraph-less polemics.
I’m guessing most of the regular visitors to this site struggle under burdens that would be substantially eased if Everyone Else was better educated in some area so they wouldn’t have to keep educating ignorance. We have common ground in that.
I think everybody needs to read this: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/ because I think a lot of the derailing tactics listed on that site are being used in response to greenluv’s concerns in these comments.
Bottom line-if somebody feels that the interview is racist,even if it’s just one person, that concern has got to be taken seriously and discussed.Regardless of whether I agree with greenluv, I think it’s terrible how she has been attacked and silenced in these comments for her statement.
Snap reactions of “no it’s not, you’re wrong, Autostraddle is the best” don’t make for productive discussions of racism. I love Autostraddle as much as the next girl, but we have all been socialized in a racist society so it is not implausible that there may be at times racist assumptions underlying texts by Autostraddle staff. And that’s okay. But everyone has to be willing to reflect and work through their racism.
Any genuine interest in wanting to actually discuss racism/prejudice in the LGBT community or trying to understand why Greenluv might have perceived certain questions to be racist seems non-existent to me. And these Like/Dislike buttons aren’t really helping the situation either. So very Youtube. We’ll see how this works out. I’m sure folks will just vote down and hide any dissenting opinion, especially if it’s a criticism of Autostraddle.
I agree with you in the sense that there needs to be discussion even if one person feels ill treated/misrepresented/as if they have a grievance. It is my sincerest hope that I did not cause more harm rather than facilitate more discussion as the latter was my honest intent.
The one thing that I have gotten from the comments, however, is that racism and prejudice are being lumped into one. In my personal and academic opinion, there is a definite difference between the two, which is why I think there was such an outrage. Pointing a finger and saying “RACIST!” has a much stronger and very different connotation than admiting we all carry a certain amount of prejudice given our respective socializations.
There was discussion about an article on “racism” in the LGBT community and while I think racism absolutely exists (I live in rural Indiana), I think what we’re all talking about is closer to prejudice.
Again, just my opinion.
Agreed with KB. The use of the word “racist” to me carries a heavy connotation – it means that someone is deeply or viscerally affected by what as said or done.
In the context of an interview with a reality TV cast member, I found it hard to understand why that word was used. In my use and understanding of the word, the facts just didn’t line up. Like KB suggested, a better word that I could see fitting with the initial comments by Greenluv would be “prejudice” — that is not to say she was “wrong” in her use of it…it is simply to say I don’t understand why/how she got to that point to throw that word out there.
In turn, it would be nice if she would respond and clarify herself. But, in the end, you can’t make someone have a discussion or defend their position and opinions if they feel it’d be pointless or met with negative responses. I for one, despite some of my sarcastic tones, am able to hear someone out and let them say their peace in entirety, trying the entire time to understand them. But again, if someone doesn’t want to engage – for whatever reason – it’s their right to do so.
Same right as we all have to respond in any fashion we see fit. That to me is the bottom line – no matter who is speaking, no matter what is said – everyone around to hear it (or in this case, read it) will have something to say in response. Ideals of positively and negativity is nothing but subjective and should be accepted and respected more than anything. And in my life, you can respect someone’s ideals and opinions without accepting them. To me, that is what discourse is all about.
But racism is a form of prejudice.
Yes, but when discussing racism there is a connotation of a perceived hierarchy of races. To accuse someone of being racist, implies their belief that a hierarchy exists. Racial prejudice is making assumptions, thinking in stereotypes, etc and while some label that as a form of racism, I think that actually using the term racism as the umbrella phrase encites reacations that may or may not be wanted.
Sorry if my previous comment was confusing, and I hope that cleared up my position. We all function using slightly different definitions of things, so I hope I’m not offending anyone with mine. I’m just trying to explain the lens through which I view these things, and people are more than welcome to disagree.
KB I think you just revealed a key difference in which understand racism then one who takes into consideration that we do in fact live in a white supremacist society. there is a hierarchy of races institutionally. look at where there resource exist, who has power, who most of our politicians are. look at the disproportionate people in poverty around the world. this comes from a long history of colonialism.
we need to expand our understanding of racism. we need to understand institutionalized racism, and individual prejudice, like you said “racial prejudice… assumptions, thinking in stereotypes” these are different forms under the umbrella. they are all a part of white supremacy.
i suspect that folks having a visceral reaction to greenluv’s comment just reveals how much one needs to defend their self image as a non-racist.
again we have been socialized in a white supremacist culture and we all have to deal with this. both the People of Color white folks have to battle this internally… learning to reflect on our assumptions and who we put in the center of things. i do think it’s possible… healing takes time and we have quite a history to heal from.
I find some of the reactions to Greenluv132’s comment disappointing. Whether people agree with her or not, there’s no need to freak the f*ck out and start accusing her of slander.
It’s not just about the interview: it’s about whether this is a safe and welcoming space to discuss racism in general. The defensiveness in some comments here really doesn’t help with this.
I like this: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2005/12/02/how-not-to-be-insane-when-accused-of-racism/
Although I felt uneasy about the discussion of QL’s sexual orientation, I didn’t think it was racist….Just insensitive to someone who obviously does not want to discuss their orientation in public for whatever reason.
Even with that, I think Greenluv1322 was looking for drama by screaming racism in her initial post. If anyone was freaking out first, it was her.
She was hardly “screaming”. Just stating her opinion that she thought the line of questioning was racially ignorant(her words). Though it doesn’t surprise that anything having to do with race would be immediately dismissed as just “looking for drama”. Nobody in the comments seemed to care to ask or understand why she thought the question was racially ignorant. They were all so busy defending AS, dismissing her concerns and generally showing their privilege. Disagreeing with her is one thing but the level of vitrol she got for even expressing that opinion seemed at bit much.
I agree with Nami that it’s not about the interview but about whether this place is a safe and welcoming place to discuss racism in general and judging by the reactions to Greenluv and a few others I don’t think it is. I’m sure the upcoming article on race will be equally full of fail in the comments section.
On a technical level, no one can scream with a keyboard…But calling AS a racist organization is hardly a rational thought process either.
Well, one could have asked her why she thought AS is a racist organization or addressed her original comment about how she thought a few of the questions were racially ignorant with a more mature level of civility. But again I don’t think anybody really cared to know WHY she felt the way she felt.
Umm, there were at least 3 people who politely asked what her thoughts were. I wasn’t, but there were definitely others, so, invalid argument.
Who are these three people you are talking about? You admit that you are not one of those people. In fact, you are the main one telling her her opinion is wrong(no opinions are, that’s why they are called opinions) and not concerned to ask about why she felt the way she felt and proving my point that no this place isn’t a safe place to discuss racial issues.
I am one of those people. I didn’t ask her directly, but I have express an interest in hearing why she felt the way she did, and also how disappointing and interesting that she has not offered any such explanation and has in a way vanished from the conversation.
Turkish – I did my homework. I’m not going to do yours.
Oh, for fuck’s sake. You know what. I see that you are not interested in any kind of civil dialogue about this so I give up. But feel free to vote down all my posts.
You weren’t really being civil about this either, so, what did you expect? lol You reap what you sow.
How was I not being civil towards you? I merely responded to a post, that wasn’t even addressed to you, with my opinion about the situation and you responded with negativity towards me. But apparently I’m the bitch that’s out of order for deigning to have even have a dissenting opinion at all on this matter. Damn, you seem like an angry person.
a) “Though it doesn’t surprise that anything having to do with race would be immediately dismissed as just “looking for drama”. Nobody in the comments seemed to care to ask or understand why she thought the question was racially ignorant. They were all so busy defending AS, dismissing her concerns and generally showing their privilege.”
b) ” But again I don’t think anybody really cared to know WHY she felt the way she felt.”
You came in here and claim that none of us were giving Greenluv a fair shot when there were a few level-headed enough to do so. Also, your sarcasm and passive-aggressive dismissal of everyone else in this thread is not civil.
I’m not going to defend my own words – it’s pointless because I know I’m a “Hot Debate”, but I’m not going to let you think that your accusations are justified when they’re not. And no, I’m not going to track down every single poster who was open to discussion because that’s not my job: you can’t find them, that is your problem, not mine.
Stuck a nerve I see. If you weren’t one of those people dismissing her concerns and telling her she’s wrong then why are you so offended? It’s perfectly okay for you to be passive-aggressive towards people in the comments(and you have been) but how dare anyone do that to you.
I’m offended that people I respect greatly are being attacked for no reason and with no justification. I also can’t understand why you think it’s a bad thing to defend Autostraddle against trolls, yet you feel self-righteous in defending the pariah who triggered this whole mess. I’m a member of Autostraddle for a reason.
If Greenluv felt that some of the questions were offensive and racially ignorant then she is entitled to feel that way. I never said it was a bad thing to defend Autostraddle. I said that dissenting opinions likely to be voted down as evidenced by the voting down of certain comments that have taken place in this thread. You know constructive criticism isn’t a bad thing and people should be able to voice their concerns when they find something in an particular article problematic. In this case, Greenluv didn’t care for the questioning about QL. Could Greenluv have expressed her concerns better to claim AS is a racist organization? Sure. But their were others who behaved no better than she did with their responses back to her.
if you weren’t one of the people civilly and rationally asking greenluv why she felt the way she did, then why are you even saying anything here? all you did was completely shut down greenluv’s opinion and had the nerve to tell HER to apologize for stating an opinion that you simply disagreed with. you think she’s a troll? i beg to differ, but alert the moderators and let them handle it. it’s not your job. and the creators of this website are grown-ups. they’re big girls and if they couldn’t handle criticism, dissenting opinions, and trolls (as you believe greenluv to be) and needed some kind of fake ass masked crusader like yourself they probably wouldn’t have a website that was open to the public. all you managed to accomplish, as opposed to other commenters who wanted to acually discuss the why greeluv felt the way she did, was to IMMEDIATELY shut down another commenter’s opinion down as erroneous and false when her opinion is just as valid as yours. it’s HER OPINION, it’s not FALSE, it’s her personal perception of the situation. your opinion obviously differs then greenluv’s BUT DOES NOT COUNT MORE THEN HERS. you don’t get to tell her or anyone else here to shut up. okay?
and guess what, when i read that question i thought it was out of left field too. why would sajdah specifically be speculating about queen latifah of all people? is it because ql happens to be black? what did queen latifah have to do with her interview? if i was being interviewed about my involvement on a reality show and was randomly asked what i thought about queen latifah’s sexual orientation and her homophobic comments i would feel strange. should i just shut up, look up the definition of racism, and apologize for slander now too?
I could’ve asked, but admittedly, I am pretty weary of folks throwing -isms and -phobia accusations at random- especially when there’s no solid basis for such claims.
I agree with the fact that discussing QL’s orientation was inappropriate. If Greenluv had just stuck with that fact, I think people would have thought her argument over.
@lyricmelody I tried to send you a private message, but it’s not working.
Simply, since I feel like I’ve answered already 6 permutations of the same question, I stood up and said something because the writers have more important things to do than defend their work from other people. That’s what the Comment sections are for, right? And yes, they may be “big girls” and can defend themselves, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t defend them either. Regardless of them being professionals, that doesn’t mean that they are not human and don’t feel they’re being personally attacked when someone says something as dismissive and angry as Greenluv did. And honestly, I don’t know how I “shut down” discussion. If Greenluv had come back (which she didn’t) with her own definition of racism, I would have responded with mine and so on. I never said: “You’re wrong and stupid and never ever come back” but yet that seems to be the impression you and others have gotten from what I initially said. And yes, her definition of racism is wrong, so I don’t think I said anything that was hostile. Mentioning someone’s race is not racist. Asking someone about another person because of shared cultural interest is not racist. If Brittani had asked the question instead, would it have been racist? No, of course not, because Brittani and Saj are both POC. But because Jess said it, and she’s not? That’s not racist either, and Greenluv’s quick accusations show more racism than anything Jess wrote.
Also, maybe the question about QL wasn’t the best question, but it wasn’t racist and this website is not racist and there is nothing that the writers and the members of this community should be ashamed of over this interview. Defending that position is not something I’m ashamed of either.
I’m also perplexed that everyone keeps yelling at me about Greenluv’s opinion. No, she was not expressing her opinion. She was making a definite statement.
If she had said – The sky is green. That is not an opinion, it is a statement to be taken as fact. And the sky is not green; it is a false statement. She said this article was racist. That was a statement to be taken as fact. The article was not racist. It was a false statement.
If she -were- expressing her opinion, she should have said it as such: “I find this to be offensive.” / “I think this was a racist article.” “I was offended by this.” Nope, none of that. She stamped the article as racist and that was that. No opinion or self-expression there. Just like the sky being green.
That’s not true. A couple of commenters pretty clearly And nonaggressivley asked her to elaborate… Looks like someone else is making broad generalizations now….
sigh… one day is the ever-so-distant future I hope we will be able to discuss racism without being offensive, defensive and without the fear of being hacked with a machete.
Me too. :[
I am going to own up to a previous comment of mine having been a tad too much on the defensive side and that I shouldn’t have thrown the word “ignorant” back at greenluv1322’s comments. That lacked tact and it shouldn’t have caused as strong a reaction- but it did- and this is why:
In my lifetime I have seen really heavy horrible racism and and racist killings unfold before me when I lived in South Africa. Saj talking about black children being given access to schools alongside white children- I actually experienced that first hand when in 1994 (with the FIRST democratic vote in South Africa the African National Congress came into power). I remember apartheid and the sick horrible hipocracy or people wanting black nanny’s (the term in South Africa is now Domestic workers) to look after their kids but criticising their race (abilities, mental capacities, culture, ambitions and culture) without any regard.
Racism is sick, awful, horrible and destructive. Throwing accusations like that around to me is grevious as I know how serious and grave it can turn out.
I did not like the comment Greenluv1322 made as it wasn’t substantiated by any evidence or explanation. It was a strong derogative comment- and in the United Kingdom as an example, if it had been made about an organisation, it would mean that the organisation would be disected and analysed and under CRIMINAL investigation as racial hatred and incitement to provoke racial hatred is now a criminal offence (organisations like the BNP have even altered their linguistic usage (even though they are known to have racial predjudices) as they can be arrested- and their leader at one point actually was).
SO… What am I trying to say. The issue is SERIOUSLY serious and throwing the term “racist” around can have serious implications.
Racism is absolutely serious, but not all racism is of the physically violent and overt nature that you just described, and people should be allowed to use the word racism to call out those type of behaviours or comments even in milder forms (I’m not making a judgment about Jess’s interview, just speaking in general).
Even people who don’t mean to be racist can say racist things and those things they say are still racist. It differs in degree from Apartheid-style racism, but it is still racism.
“Racism is sick, awful, horrible and destructive. Throwing accusations like that around to me is grevious as I know how serious and grave it can turn out.”
The serious and grave things that happen are not results of accusations of racism– they’re the result of ACTUAL racism. The word racist is not a sacred one and I think it can and should be used to call out all degrees of racism, whether subtle or overt.
oh and before someone says that I am being too sensitive about the term and that it should be discussed as this is a constitutional right to freedom of expression to be able to discuss concepts and intellectually debate issues whilst using said terms- let me say I have NO problem with its usage or the discussion of its occurance as it is still rife and living. I would just ask that throwing comments like “you are a racist organisation” around should actually be viewed in the light of what ramifications it can then invoke- ie: anger when people feel it hasn’t been properly substantiated or proven objectively and what stigma and complications it can caused to the accused.
I am all for unveiling inadaquacies and predjudices and non-acceptable/ un-acceptable behaviour though.
Agreed. To me this “discussion” has evolved into something where some are saying we are all allowed to speak our minds about something (agree with that) and others are saying, well, if you do, be prepared/aware of any ramifications that may stem from initial comments and opinions (agree with this as well).
As much as it is someone’s right to call a red flag, or site their own offense to something – it is another person’s right to come along and be critical/curious/outraged/whatever at that initial offense.
At this point, some of us agree that there was some subtext in the Saj interview, others of us don’t see it. Who is right? NO ONE! Why? Because they are opinions – and the old saying aside – opinions are ALSO subjective and therefore have no way of being deemed correct or incorrect. Their only viable state is that of EXISTENCE – they are here and there is no way to make any or all of them disappear simply because you, or she, or he disagrees with them. To me, THAT is the basis here, more than anything. If you want proper discourse you need to be willing to hear all sides, even if it is something you disagree with, or flat-out are disgusted and angered by.
You’re right that there’s a difference between saying “that thing you said sounded racist” and “this is a racist organization.” Fair enough.
@elooloolaa I think what you bring up is an important point: We all bring different backgrounds, experiences, and understandings to every discussion we have. Among the things that have been discussed here include the definitions of racism and prejudice. For different people, these words mean different things. I think it’s valuable to consider and discuss what these words mean to different people and why different situations seem to invoke these words for certain people and not others. I also agree with @jopdw that opinions are subjective and therefore nobody can be deemed “right” and nobody deemed “wrong”. If that is the goal of the conversation it’s inevitable that it will get nowhere and devolve into insults (which it quickly did). As was mentioned by another user earlier, the point should be to work to better understand each other. There needs to be a certain amount of respect and understanding or these conversations will just be shut down and nobody will be happy with the end result. That’s not really what anyone wants, is it?
Another thing I’ve noticed sometimes happens on this website is that AS users who read and comment frequently sometimes join together against somebody who is new to this site or has never visited before. Maybe this person leaves a comment that isn’t phrased very well or isn’t so PC. Maybe it’s even insulting. While it’s easy to do that and sometimes feels kind of nice because you get to defend your friends, make jokes about people who aren’t in this community, etc. I think it’s actually really HARMFUL because instead of learning from their short experience here, the people who visit this site one or two times and comment in a negative way leave this website with a bad taste in their mouth. Maybe they’ll never come back. And they don’t learn why people here were so offended or what they could’ve changed about their language, or whatever. I think that’s a little sad.
All I’m really saying is that I think all of us, EVERYONE needs to think about what they’re saying before they say it. It might be your first reaction to want to respond to a negative comment really negatively but is that really helping anything?
Gah, this is really long.
come on now! do you really think the most serious forms of racism are all overt? racism can also be subtle and pervasive and just as damaging as blatant racism. since racism can be so insidious, my general take as a black person is that if I FEEL that i’m experiencing something racist or discriminatory, i’m generally right.
Am I the only person who thinks the OP of the “Dis article is so racist omg you’re all evillll racists, Autostraddle!!” comment was just trolling? Coz I can’t believe so many comments were written about something that didn’t even happen in the first place, i.e racism in THIS PARTICULAR ARTICLE, NOT IN DEH UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, coz obviously we all know that still exists…
And I just added to the long list of comments. Great.
We tried, believe me, we tried lol
I want to commend Jess and Saj for such an awesome and informative interview. Sajdah is definitely far more intelligent than what we see on the show. I’m very impressed by her accomplishments, i.e. buying a home at the age of 20.
As for the comment fiasco, I have to say that I find the censorship disturbing. I don’t know if the editors/moderators are aware that just about all of the comments that support Greenluv are being “hidden” due to a high amount of “dislikes.” This does give the impression that AS is not a safe place to discuss issues of race/racism/racial prejudice.
I think that’s the workings of the wordpress plug-in itself. It hides all low-rated comments, not just Greenluv’s (or her supporters)….
Also, can’t they be seen again just by clicking the link? Or is that only if you’ve signed up as an AS member?
“I remember the first time I was in the scissor, and I was like, ‘Oh shit, word?'” <— best line in the whole interview
Like or dislike buttons? THEY SUCK.
Sorry y’all, I agree. It’s far too much of a Youtube, hide all the comments that we just don’t like, move.
I still really like seeing, “THIS” under comments that we love!
i agree the interview was well done, but unfortunately, it didn’t change my opinion that Sajdah seems like a boated, self-important asshile
this is the most ridiculous comment rant & rage ive EVER read. wow. moving on..
It isn’t ridiculous when it is such an emotive and sensitive subject:
On the one side the feeling they are being oppressed as ignorance and predjudice are pigeon holing them and their identity and self-view (curbing their freedom and autonomy) with the assumptions people may hold of them or views/ construct perceptions they feel these people are projecting on to them. Feeling gridlocked in an identity that you feel demeans you. It is your responsibility to articulate why you feel caged into this role and that it is unjust to keep you there.
On the other side the disbelief, shock and discomfort of being said to be an oppressor who is predjudicially restraining the identity of another- when they sincerely feel they have never had the intent, malice or objective of opperating like that. This in turn existentially effects them too as they do not intellectually or emotionaly identify as an opressor and as such now their identity freedom is also being curbed as they are being boxed in that role. This can cause tremendous upset especially if they feel it hasnt been proven effectively why they are seen in this light- not least for the fact that if it may be true they cannot even be granted the chance to evolve past it and gain liberty beyond the role of oppressor as tools havn’t been given to them to move beyond it (ie: evidence from the other side and recommendations how to move beyond that mode of opperation).
Both sides of the current argument feel turmoil and discomfort in valid ways.
The main problem here in my view is the lack of evidence or substantiation for the claims that were made.
I admit wholeheartedly the very first comment I made on this thread was too hard-hitting and sensationalist… on a scale of balance though I would argue this sensationalist response was the direct counter-balance to a sensationalist one made by greenluv1322.
The reason I feel the argument has been so salacious and sensationalist and heated up to now is that effectively the decorum of discussion of such sensitive subject matter and its gravity wasn’t fully appreciated at first (causing knee-jerk reactions) as the platform for such a discussion wasn’t formalised it felt like it may have come out of nowhere and without evidentiary merit- thus inciting instinctive defence mechanisms (which in rhetrospect are ofcourse inappropriate to progressive discourse too).
I wholeheartedly agree that a formalised discussion thread pertaining to the occurance of racism in the LGBTQ community is a good one and will be progressive. I welcome that.
“You guys are still reading between the lines. I moved to L.A. because I watched The Real L Word. I never said I moved to L.A. to be on The Real L Word.”
Was I the only one not confused by her comment?
I’m from the mid-Atlantic and The Real L Word and The L Word, if I decided to move to LA, would be part of the reason. It totally glamorizes WeHo and style and cool lesbos (depending on your definition of cool) thus making it enticing. It would never be my sole reason. But if I got a offered a job and was deciding between LA or Minneapolis, I may refer back to Shane and think “LA!”
Chanel seems a bit spacey, but I effing loved her for this reason:
I’m Black and femme and I like a 5 inch stiletto just as much as I like a Doc Marten. However my spirit moves me.
The fact that people on this site and otherwise downplayed Chanel’s sexuality annoyed me.
Does everyone think all Black girls who like women look like Saj (love her though), Da Brat, etc… like we’re ALL AG’s.
I admit that in the Black community the “straighter” you look the harder it is to announce your sexuality to the world because African Americans are highly religious. A lot of that has to do with the history of slavery and how the First/Second Awakenings gave slaves a since of identity (which they didn’t have because all ties to their native countries were systemically beat out of them) and belonging and also spirituality in the depths of hopelessness and alla that. That stuck for the next 300 years. So if you really want to blame something, blame imperial colonialism and the commodification of people and the persistent disenfranchisement of Blacks in America which only intensified their Faith because that was all they had.
I’m not even that religious. These are just facts.
There are PLENTY of feminine Black women who identify as lesbian/bi/fluid or whatever albeit out or privately.
Portia di Rossi doesn’t hold that title.
I’m a femme who typically finds femme’s attractive. I’m like a straight man with a Pamela Hanson pov . So everything that turns them on turns me on. With the exception of femmey butche’s like Shane from The L Word and Papi from The L Word and Whitney/Kelsy from The Real L Word. I like those 4 aforementioned too. Hott.
But yeah for the most part I’m liking the Amber Heards and Behat Prinsloo’s and Rihanna’s (don’t know what rihanna is but im almost positive she’ll be with a woman in a 2nd) and Kerry Washington’s of the world.
My problem is that because in Black culture what I typically see is Butch/Femme matchups and the ratio of Butches to Femmes is like 4 to 1. I almost give up.
It’s like the only chicks like me who I know as bi or lesbian are my close friends. And I’m not trying to get involved with my close friends.
I also still find Saj too naive too like… It’s not her fault. But it did make watching her scenes uncomfortable.
Reading these comments there seems to be huge “Elephant in the room” called race.
That GreenLuv person’s definition of racism is skewed, but she has a point and it’s not AS’ fault.
For the most part I think the writers at AS are non-Black. And that’s fine. I started coming to AS because I was desperately searching a funny recap of PLL and then I started a love-affair with the site. Humor does that.
The whole Jodie Foster comment was lost on me…
Because White people sitting around discussing her sexuality us no different than Black people discussing the sexuality of Alicia Keys, Jada Pinkett, Rihanna, Kerry Washington, Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj, Trina, Lil Kim, Sanaa Lathan, etc…
I personally think they’re L or B or F(luid).
Why they can’t be like Anna Paquin and Amber Heard and Melissa Etheridge and just say it?
Cultural differences it may be difficult for AS writers to speak on simply because that’s not their experience or perspective.
Or maybe it’ll just take a supremely intuitive person oozing empathy ?
I love AS. You guys make me laugh and provide an outlet for my ultra gayness.
so eff the hatahs
So…completely off the topic of race…
“I was fresh meat, so they were coming. I just didn’t know what to do with them once they came.”
THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!!!!
ok. let me say this. From Greenluv’s perspective. I read this article and really thought highly and respected this woman for doing her thing.
Never mind she seems naive and, I think, someone suggested misogynistic? . . .After reading this article and seeing a little bit of the other side of her- young but stable, hard worker, into civil rights & owns a house. . has life insurance. Passionate about marriage equality and is actually doing something about it? A very admirable feat in today’s world.
then I scroll down and see these hilarious comments about her not being too bright. sigh*
It made my blood boil, well. simmer. So I think Greenluv just wanted to defend one of the few black lesbian images we have thus far to claim that isn’t. . .Well, we’ll take anything right now! lol.
i’m a member but for some reason the site keeps logging me off when i click on this page…anyway, i have to admit i was one of the people saying sajdah was a babydyke who should get off tv and go through the growing pains and missteps of figuring out lesbianism in privacy instead of with millions of eyes watching, and i still stand by that assertion. from what i’ve seen sajdah has done nothing but embarrass herself with the u-hauling, the desperation for sex, and the disrespectful way she treated chanel. when the season first started, i was SO excited to see sajdah and two young black lesbians dating on national tv but i was completely turned off by the irrational uhauling and saj’s behavior at every turn. the one event that was particularly disturbing to me was when she violated chanel’s personal boundaries by groping her in public without her consent and chalking it up to just being a perk of their relationship to just touch chanel whenever she wants, even if chanel is uncomfortable. the last time i encountered that type of reasoning was in high school with teenage boys who had raging hormones.
and i think sajdah is trying to save face on the with “did they have sex” question. if they had REALLY had sex and it wasn’t just foreplay the way chanel described it, why did chanel want to have std testing BEFORE they really had sex? why can’t saj just admit that she really didn’t know or understand what lesbian sex was?
i will say that i agree with saj that the speculation surrounding chanel’s sexual orientation is ridiculous. as a black femme i’ve had this happen more times then i could count. if i’m not around a more butch partner, i’m seen as a straight or bi girl looking for kicks, which is absurd.