Today, Brownfemipower posted this, which I think sums up my feelings on the Marcotte debacle:
white feminists bear a responsibility (that they are NOT accepting and in fact are actively rejecting) to negotiate power and create spaces (while working alongside or a step behind marginalized communities) in which power is de-centralized
Of the blogs that I love, very, very few of them have responded in a way that I think comes close to addressing the issue here. Feministing has to be my favorite blog ever, and I was crestfallen at the response by the bloggers over there. By continuing to focus on plagiarism, which was never, ever, the issue, they dodge any real responsibility. Is Marcotte a plagiarist? No. Was that the problem? No. Anyone who paid attention to what BFP was saying would know the issue was responsibility and feminist community. We failed her. Miserably. And now there is one less brilliant feminist in the world. We turned our backs on a woman who needed us, choosing instead to give Marcotte a pass. I understand that Marcotte with the same publisher as a lot of feminist bloggers. I understand that she's a colleague. But, why wasn't BFP a colleague?
I also have a lot of trouble with all of the patting on the back that white feminist bloggers are getting for half-assed non-responses that were posted after the fact. BFP has pointed out that without community, there is no movement. When you don't stand by your fellow feminists, when you don't take on the responsibility to back the underdog, you collapse any sense of community there was, and you collapse the movement. I see here that we are repeating the same mistakes that we call earlier generations of feminists out on and it's heartbreaking and embarrassing. I can't imagine the level of betrayal felt.
If I haven't said it enough: Responsibility, Responsibility, Responsibility. If you have power. Any kind of power. And you don't use it to stand in solidarity with those who don't? You are a coward. You uphold racism. You perpetuate it. You reap the benefits of it. I'd like to echo Melissa McEwan here: You can't shirk this responsibility and be progressive. And you damn sure can't shirk this responsibility and be a feminist.