Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blue Dot in a Red State

I’ve wanted to write something about how class privilege factors into the liberal blogosphere without falling into the trap of “it’s the last acceptable prejudice”, but class bias is expected, overt, and even encouraged.

I'm a minor player in the feminist/SJ blogging community. Mine own is less about politics than pop culture, but I read and comment on quite a few progressive sites, and it infuriates me that "dumb rednecks" is and acceptable response to a story about the goings on in conservative parts of the county. How does class play into this? Area of the county where working-class and rural poor -- even extreme pockets of poverty -- out number middle-class and wealthier people overlap conservative areas of the US Even if this isn't entirely true, the perception is still there, and even without the class bias, condemning an entire swath of the county as "stupid rednecks" is really unfair, but this comment from Feministe's Capertopn is one of the few where I've seen it explicitly addressed:
Okay, this is not going to devolve into the usual volley of how backward and stupid and ignorant and racist/sexist/whateverist and worthless and unsalvageable the South is. As regions go, it’s a nice one to beat up on and feel superior to. I get it. It’s a classic. But it’s made up of people, and that’s what you’re calling worthless and ignorant. The number of Southerners on this very blog should be evidence enough that no, it’s not beyond help, it’s not beyond salvaging, and there are people working to actually effect change while you sit and sneer. If you have a worthwhile comment, by all means make it. But I’m not going to hear an entire region of people, including Feministe regulars, getting slagged off for an entire thread.
Usually this happens when there's a post about a state's restrictions on abortion, or gay marriage. As someone who actually lives in a state with a poor track record of providing safe, legal abortion without question, and one with no chance of gay marriage become legal anytime soon, I get it.  It needs to be discussed. But I also know that there is a vocal minority trying to change those laws.

You know what I'd like to see? A story about abortion restrictions in red states written by a woman who actually lives in one. I'd like to see more stories about working-class women -- women are disproportionately poor -- written by actual, working-class women. But most importantly I'd like to see the larger sites at least acknowledge that some of those women are a part of their readership.

1 comment:

  1. I swung by your blog after I was having a discussion on FaceBook about homophobia being an ableist term (whether or not I bought the idea/what was the basis)...a friend posted a link to here.

    Glad I stopped by, since there's a lot of food for thought. This post in particular hits home, as I grew up very poor, very rural, and have lived in the south the majority of my life. I *detest* the inherent classism in comments like "what do you expect, it's the south" or "dumb redneck/hick/whatever"....I like to point out that Prop 8 was due to the south as well...south California.