1. I want to express my (very late) solidarity with Blackamazon, Adele and all the other women of colour who were ignored and dismissed by Seal Press. I want to express my support for the girlcott of Seal press. While there’s not a lot I can do personally, since I would neither buy books from Seal Press (can’t afford them) or write for Seal press anyway. But the whole point of solidarity is answering the question ‘which side are you on?’ I think women of colour activists are more important than a feminist publishing house. I know that my liberation is impossible while women of colour are enslaved, and that means that I have to make it clear that I stand with them against racism from feminist institutions.
2. I want to express my (equally late) solidarity with brownfemipower who will be missed. It is disgusting the way her names and intentions have been dragged and lied about across the blogsphere by people attempting to defend Amanda. Brownfemipower is amazing.
3. Finally, and less belatedly on my part, Amanda’s book itself. These images are racist.1 They come from Amanda Marcotte’s book “It’s a jungle out there” that was published by Seal Press. I don’t just want to say ‘these pictures are racist and racism is bad’, but to talk about the harm that these sorts of images cause, because the racist ideas that they maintain are very specific. They are presenting indigenous people as a dangerous other. They are presented as things that must be conquered so that white people can live freely on their land. The idea represented in these images are one of the many ways colonialism is maintained and justified.
I live in a country where land has been stolen from indigenous people in the last five years. Amanda Marcotte lives, and Seal Press operates, in a country where the history of stealing land from indigenous people stretches back five centuries. We all live in a world where the distribution of wealth was established, and justified, by colonialism. The white woman, and man, in those pictures were stealing land and resources – everything Africa had that they could use (a century earlier, of course, they would have also been stealing people).
I’ve been writing this post for a week. Writing other posts about these issues for several weeks and not finishing them. I’m posting it now, rather than trying to make it better, because silent solidarity isn’t much good to anyone.
There have been a number of racist dynamics developing in various comment threads. Amanda, and her defenders, only talking to white people and ignoring people of colour. Re-centring the issue on Amanda by focusing on a very small section of comments and demanding that they be addressed first. These behaviours will not be welcome in this comment thread.
I am not interested in the pontifications of outsiders on this. So specifically Robert, RonF and Sailorman are not welcome, nor are anyone of their ilk.
- note for Hugo Schwyzer the problem is not that they could be interpreted as racist. It is that they are racist [↩]