Category Archives: whiteness

Identity Politics

I’ve been resisting this post. Everyone and their mother has written about the Clinton/Obama explosion, and the massive tensions around identity politics. I’m not all that excited about electoral politics, and especially around primary time, I feel profoundly cynical and disenfranchised.

However. The fracas about identity politics is particular in this situation. It is being pitted as the contest between race and gender. It’s being discussed as though either Clinton’s or Obama’s victory will vicariously denote the victory of one ‘minority’ over another, as though a defeat will signal the gold medal in the oppression olympics. Continue reading



I’m involved in a feminist community which is very connected to the media industry (facilitated by the excellent Women, Action, and the Media conference), in which mentoring has been a big topic lately – to some extent for the whole group, and more specifically for me. Continue reading

where’d all the other white folks come from?

I walked home from work last week down Mission Street, and I was amazed at how many white faces I saw on the street – certainly more than there were last week.  Where’d they all come from?  They felt like intruders!  This is clearly ridiculous, coming from a white girl who first walked down Mission Street almost exactly a year ago.  But my first instinct was to regard them as outsiders who are ruining it for the rest of us, meaning the rest of us white folks who are already there.  Again, completely ridiculous.

It’s hard to face up to being an agent of gentrification on a daily basis – it makes me feel evil.   I know that I’m an active part of the process of gentrification.  I know that my presence paves the way for whitewashing and yuppies.  But I only make about 50% AMI (area median income) and I too need housing that’s safe and affordable.  I also make an effort to support local businesses, so that I give as well as take from the neighborhood.   Does that make a difference?  No, not really.  Would it end gentrification if I lived somewhere else?  Again, no, not really.  These things happen in aggregate, not individually – but there is no aggregate without a critical mass of individual decisions.  All things I know, but nothing that gives me a clear indication of how to be a positive force instead of a negative one.  This is a new struggle for me (I grew up in a state that is 96% white), and so maybe there’s something I’m missing.  Is there a solution I should be seeing?