I realize now that I made my announcement about putting the blog proceeds toward a Kiva loan went out at a funny time, and unless you’re an RSS subscriber or a particularly diligent reader, there’s a good chance you missed it. Anyway, still looking for your input about where the money should go. Lots of great ideas circulating through the comments so far. I’ll make a final decision next Friday and make an announcement.
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I suggest this guy. I know he still needs a lot of money, and his loan will expire in mid-January so there’s not much time. But, still.
Wasn’t sure where to put this, but here goes before you get a chance to hold me up as all that is wrong and sexist 😕
Clearly, Twitter is not the place to be discussing such a complex set of issues. It’s difficult to educate in short bursts, and impossible to elaborate on one’s own background and wider beliefs. I seem to have stumbled into a larger controversy within the freethinking/atheist community than I was previously aware of. Coming in from Twitter without that background, and taking Nasrallah’s article in isolation, it seems good, light on specifics as it is. Taken as a response to, and dismissal of, complaints of sexism within that community, I see how inflammatory and significant it can be. I think on both sides we made assumptions that precluded mutual understanding.
I have many of the same self-appellations as you (skeptic, atheist, anti-racist/homophobic/sexist) and yet we are at different places in our thoughts. It drives home how impossible all labels are for describing an individual, despite the way that we all use them as signifiers. I acknowledge my own privilege as a White, American, Male— perhaps that prevents me from understanding the position of those whom society marginalizes in blatant and public ways. I strive for greater knowledge, and I would add for myself “Humanist” (gendered terms, I know). I believe that our happiness and greatness lies in our interactions with others, and the capacity of Huwomynkind for love and beauty.
The problem that I perceive in your rhetorical method is that it is predicated upon assigning external significance to the individual speaker. If I (and judging by Penn’s responses, him too)(and Nasrallah herself, on Jen McCreight’s blog) are right, the article’s explicit statements relate to one person’s experiences, and that’s the meaning. You are implying meaning from your own information and coming to a sinister conclusion. You’re picking a fight, using obscurantist rhetoric, with people who agree with you generally without ever elucidating your own take. While this is certainly useful for exposing coded racism and hidden prejudice, when applied to those who come in with honest intentions it can be off-putting to be dissected in such a way. This method has the effect of blaming everyone, at all times, for the wrongs of the system by virtue of participating in it. Except you of course, because you see the Truth. As a self described skeptic, I’d expect you to have greater skepticism of your own ideas, absolute as they are. My choice is to rely on process rather than product when practicable i.e. not damaging to others.
Please feel free to point out where my errors of thought are, constructively if at all possible. As I said, I’m not in any way intractable.
This isn’t really the place for this discussion, so I invite you to re-post your comment on the appropriate thread (which didn’t exist until now so I am not criticizing you for putting it here).
Thanks for the link. See you over there.