On Feminism, Liberals, Black Folks and Antione Dodson

For those who do not know, Antione Dodson is the brother of a potential rape victim. He, his sister [whose name I will not use in this post], her daughter, and his mother lived in low income housing, Lincoln Park,  in Huntsville Alabama until recently. According to Dodson a rapist was targeting Lincoln Park because no one was doing anything about it. He said several young women and girls had been raped, and had either received no assistance or not asked for help because they knew the police were not going to do anything. Dodson also says the same thing happened to his family.

In late July, a rapist broke into their small home through a window and attempted to rape his sister. Dodson managed to scare the assailant and force him out of the apartment. He then called several of his friends in the area to look for the person because, like everyone else, he did not believe the police were going to do anything about an assault in low income housing. Later Dodson called both the Housing Authority Office that runs Lincoln Park and the Police. Hours went by before the police arrived and according to Dodson and others no major search was mounted by them. Also according to Dodson and others, the Housing Authority issued a statement but has made no improvements to security or safety in Lincoln Park to help protect them from being targeted. In fact, an attempted rape following a similar m.o. (rapist came through bedroom window, advanced on girl inside) occurred the following evening.

This story of systematic rape of young black women and girls left to fend for themselves because they are poor and the failure of the police or tax-payed for housing programs to protect them has been totally eclipsed by the spectacle made of Dodson. Dodson’s interview outlining the attempted rape of his sister and the sexual violence and rape other women and girls endured was put on youtube, not to highlight the problem but rather to highlight how “ghetto” and “effiminate” Dodson was. While youtubers across the racial spectrum showed up to laugh, police failed to capture a serial rapist. A white hipster-nerd comedy troupe known as the Gregory Brothers, made up of 3 white men and 1 white woman, recut Dodson’s interview to make “the Bed Intruder Song” which was played on black and alternative radio stations and sold on itunes. The song appeared on Billboard’s hot 100 list and made a considerable amount of money for the Gregory Brothers. As far as I know, none of their proceeds were used to help track down the Lincoln Park rapist. None of the attention the song garnered sparked national outcry about rape, the unchecked rape of low income women, or national feminist rallying around changes in policing and housing options for poor women of color. Nor did many make connections between these erasures and the latent homophobia and gender policing embedded in many of the comments.

In fact, many people have counted the Dodsons as lucky. The attention allowed Dodson to become an internet star and make enough money on interviews and fought for profits from the autotune song to get his family out of low income housing. His sister will not be targeted by the Lincoln Park rapist again. But what about everybody else’s sister? And does moving out of low income housing on an unstable economic source negate the fear and trauma related to the attempted rape of Dodson’s sister that both she and her mother, who witnessed the attack, are now experiencing? To me it seems kind of like the politicians who say “in a way Katrina was a good thing” because of all the services and new construction people received. The idea is predicated on the assumption that black people’s, especially poor black people’s, lives are so worthless that if several of them are tortured, murdered, sexually assaulted, or traumatized, so that 1 or 2 of them can live better lives that is acceptable because those 1 or 2 were never meant to live better lives anyway. Only people who imagine they will never be abandoned by their government to die in a un/natural disaster or be raped or have their children raped in a government funded housing project would imagine that these things are trumped by a few months-1 year of free housing (much of which was contaminated) or a few short months of internet fame.

In the midst of this institutional racism are the actions of three groups that cannot be ignored:

  1. the viewers and listeners who openly mocked Dodson, completely ignoring the rape survivor narrative embedded in his story
  2. the white middle class hipster-nerd comedy troupe that made money off of the rape and attempted rape of poor black women and girls and the one man willing to stand up for them
  3. the mainstream feminist blogs and feminist communities who have remained largely silent on Dodson’s sister despite the core issue of rape

The multi-racial viewers and listeners spent their time laughing at Dodson and mocking him and his sister in print in the youtube comments for days. The video received some of the largest hits of the week when it first went up. The auto-tune version played black radio stations and a black marching band even did their own rendition, laughing at the “ghetto” in ways that I personally cannot excuse as “black humor as survival”. Instead, I would argue for many it represented black humor as classism, homophobia, and internalized hate though some of it was certainly mixed with the understanding of our “throwaway lives” in the United States. Amongst the 100,000s of people commenting on Dodson or the autotune song, very few talked about the heinous act of rape, the existence of a serial rapist in the area that had gone unchecked for an unspecified amount of time, or the engineered tragedy of the state’s willingness to abandon poor women and girls to predators. In other words, the chance to mock an uneducated black man was more enticing than the fact of violence against women and girls. The very thing that allowed systemic racism, classism, and sexism to do nothing about a serial rapist in state owned low income housing was manifesting in individual viewers of Dodson’s story.

Once again, liberal, middle class, white hipster-nerds also failed to act on the tenets they claim to be central to their very beings, ie social justice, in the face of the opportunity to be “clever.” Thus three white men, and one white woman, cut and remixed Dodson’s interview in order to point and laugh at the uneducated black man in crisis. His crisis at not being able to get help for his sister, his sister’s attempted rape, and the targeting of poor black women and girls were either edited out or remixed in order to highlight the “hilarity” of blackness and poverty and for some, gender transgression. Dodson and his sister’s story were pimped out by white liberals for a few bucks a pop on itunes precisely because they fit all of the stereotypes of blackness that liberals are quick to criticize in the mouths of conservatives but embrace as “clever” in their own. (It should be noted that Dodson did eventually receive 50% of the profit after advocating for himself and saying in a radio interview that his words and experience were being used to profit everyone else and it was “time he got paid”. Without this advocacy Dodson, like the Katrina victims whose words were taken without permission to by poet/adjunct Professor Raymond McDaniels for his book Saltwater Empire, would have simply been a cash cow for white male “poets” and “artists”.) Once again, like the systemic racism, classism, and sexism allowing the state to do nothing about a serial rapist, these white liberal hipster-nerds, who no doubt think racism and sexism are wrong and probably volunteer in low income neighborhoods or women’s crisis lines, let the reinforcing image of poor blakness whip them up into such a frenzy of hilarity that it never occurred to them that rape is not funny, that serial rapists targeting black women and girls because the police are doing nothing should not be the subject of comedy but rather social action, and that the real clever thing to do would have been to cut a song that actually highlighted oppression and gave the proceeds back to the impacted community.

Finally, the mainstream feminist blogosphere and national level activists also remained largely silent on the plight of women and girls in Lincoln Park. A quick search of the top feminist blogs and magazines, with blogs, showed that at most, they linked to black women bloggers talking about the situation. At the least, they said nothing or openly laughed at the Dodson video themselves, commenting solely on his patriarchal attempt to recenter himself and his boys protecting his sister rather than her story of rape. And while this critique is important, ie that male rage about rape taking center stage to women’s attacks is a function of patriarchy, I do not think that was the point of Dodson’s larger story. Nor does that critique have the same meaning in the face of complete and total lack of action on the part of the people charged with preventing rape and tracking down/stopping rapists. They did however, contribute some of the most salient critique about gender policing and homophobia when they weighed in. When the critique of masculinity and patriarchy supersede any discussion of state inaction to catch a serial rapist then it seems all the more suspect. Once again, the failure to recognize the humanity of black women and poor women, and especially poor black women, allowed mainstream feminists to miss another opportunity to call attention to violence against women and demand action to make women’s lives safe(r) in this nation by rejecting a culture of violence, oppression, and inequality based on gender. That failure not only colludes with the white male establishment that runs and fails to address rape in low income housing but also looks the other way when middle and upper class white women are beaten, raped, or otherwise abused or treated unfairly or unequally in their workplace, home, or lives.

So what is the lesson of Antione Dodson and his sister. For many people, it will always be that poor “black people are funny”, “white people are clever”, ” ‘girlie men’ are funny”, and the spectacle of blackness is really a benefit in disguise because after all the Dodsons are out of the projects.  Some will even use Antione’s comment that he was happy with the song because the proceeds he received actually helped move his family out of the projects to justify not discussing the intersecting oppressions that puts women and girls in Lincoln Park in danger. Not only does this stance ignore rape and the realities still enduring it but it shows little regard for how earlier interviews underscore Dodson’s hurt and anger about people not taking the situation seriously and making money off of him or the reaction the song itself elicited outlined in this post. (ie people laughing at a story of attempted rape, and a serial rapist that the police and housing authority have made seemingly little effort to track down and stop, is ok because Antione ultimately decided he liked the song for getting him out of low income housing). This narrative will always mask how sexism, racism, and classism allows women, especially poor women of color, to be targets of unchecked violence by both individuals and the state. It will always excuse away liberals who not only do nothing but laugh along with everyone else because “its funny” or “clever” but also helps perpetuate the myth that liberals can’t be racist or sexists or classist. Except, these moments prove that they can be and often are as racist and classist as neo-conservatives. And it will stand as a shining example about how intersecting oppressions and the ongoing failure of the feminist movement(s) to fully and radically address them makes all women’s lives less safe.

And yes, for each of the groups I have singled out here, from black radio to white mainstream feminists, there are people who did stand up against rape, did talk about the intersections of poverty, gender, and state level or state sanctioned violence. My point is not that everyone is evil but that collectively, these particular groups failed to discuss violence against women in favor of laughing at the spectacle of poor blackness that reinforces existing stereotypes and allows state level, systemic, inaction and violence. Nor does the existence of black people behaving in sexist and classist ways negate the existence of white people behaving in racist, sexist, and classist ways.

Here are some links to people discussing what we should all have been discussing these past few months, ie violence against women and the intersections that mask it:

72 thoughts on “On Feminism, Liberals, Black Folks and Antione Dodson

    • actually according to the interview I heard with Antione Dodson he did not originally receive any profit until he advocated for himself. I will make that clearer in the text

      • Prof Susurro, may I ask you to link to the interview in which Mr. Dodson says this? I heard (not from him) a version of this story in which the Gregory Brothers contacted him, which puts a slightly different spin on that part of the story (if true), though the rest of your points would remain. Thanks for this post.

      • My normal response would be a polite version of: Google. But truthfully my source was a radio interview that may not be available online, hence why I didn’t link in the first place.

        Glad that you are checking sources and reminding others they need to do this in general when reading online. Do you have a link for your version of events for readers?

  1. Pingback: On Feminism, Liberals, Black Folks and Antione Dodson « Like a Whisper - The Pursuit of Harpyness

  2. I must thank your for this enlightening article. Not only is it beautifully written it has got me thinking about my own privilege and how even internet virals should not be taken for their humourous face value especially if they are based upon something serious and dehumanising like rape. Thank you

  3. Pingback: Quick Hit: On Feminism, Liberals, Black Folks and Antione Dodson | Tufts University Survivors of Sexual Violence

  4. Race trumps everything for white folks, and we all know it. Most of us white folks prefer to lie about that, though (so we can keep the good thing going, of course).

    Howard Dean promotes Muslim-free zones, white feminist women ignore things like this, thus reinforcing the need for black feminist studies (or whatever it’s called), etc.

    And now I’ll calmly await the “reverse-racism!” calls and the “it’s just a few bad apples” lies.

    • For me, I engage in a decolonized feminist educational model because I believe that everyone can unlearn oppression and work to build a better world without [slave]master’s tools. The biggest problem, in my mind, is that so many people think a single class on diversity, or a mandatory diversity training, or simply having 1 or 2 friends who are not like them means they’ve done the work. Sadly some people think the fact they recycle and are appalled by the n-word is enough. Things have to change and it starts with knowing freeing one’s mind is a process.

  5. I now feel horrible, because like everybody else, I just laughed at a slightly funny song on Youtube. I didn’t stop to think about or to investigate the actual existence of a serial rapist targeting these people. Thanks for refocusing my attention on what’s important.

  6. Auto-tune the news laid down some tracks to the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill as well. Obviously they were making fun of them for being black, and British.

    Also, somewhere out there is the original video and I bet it’s just as hilarious to people as it was after Auto-tune the news got to it. Who are you going to blame then?

    Antione Dodson and his sister seem like they’re doing just fine now. Want to help everyone else? Get off your lazy fucking ass and do something about it.

    • I have approved this just so people can see some of the offensive comments coming in on this post. This will be the last comment that violates communication guidelines on this blog I will approve here for this or any other purpose.

      Please see the racism Bingo post for why your comments, though incoherent, are completely inappropriate. Your assumptions that (1) writing is not a form of activism and (2) writing precludes any other form of activism or that by pointing to racism-sexism-classism I am “lazy” are as offensive as your racism. I’m sure you can find a blogging community to spew this hatred and be validated, it is not here.

  7. It’s shocking how many people rationalize racism. In cases of audiences’ acceptance of racism, the audiences’ reactions (laughter, comments, etc.) seem to further emphasize the problems with the performance and of course also reflect their poisonous perceptions.

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  9. Pingback: Why Antione Dodson isn’t funny « New New New Blog

  10. I’m so glad that you brought up all of these issues in your blog. I didn’t tune into the story right away because it was mentioned just like so many other YouTube video memes that usually get an ‘eh’ from me. However, when Dodson’s name kept coming up, I finally checked it out and what I saw was a brave young man who not only stood up to his sister’s attacker in person, but the issues that allowed this attack to be possible, of poor housing conditions, lack of police attention and care and ignorance on the part of the public. Where is the justice for Antoine’s sister and other sisters out there? This is what I heard in his emotional response. He may have not expressed himself with the vocabulary that a more educated person might, but who among us would be calm and completely coherent after going through such an event? Like you, I couldn’t believe the callousness of people’s reactions and that they couldn’t hear what Mr. Dodson was saying in all of its stark reality.
    Thank you again for your clear and thoughtful digestion of this whole sad incident and its aftermath.

    • Pls be advised, I cannot confirm this information as it is a comment based on private conversations with people I do not know personally – Prof Susurro

      Disclaimer: This is not aimed to get notoriety for me.

      I contacted Mr.Dodson through press contacts shortly after his Today Show appearance. I told him that I saw a lot of things being overlooked in the story and that the Today show was the first time the press treated this story as more than humor. I am a publicist with strong ethics and a commitment to the process of public discourse. I asked if I could help him craft an open letter and respond to detractors and people that have overlooked the crime for the humor. Dodson’s response was grateful and earnest. He wanted very much to schedule with me and talk about my approach. I was told to contact his “Manager” for his schedule availability. I did so, and was consequently told that Mr.Dodson’s image was totally under his control. I mentioned to him (not wanting to play the “Race Card”), that Antoine had sparked a national debate one with many layers. A discourse that I knew he as a privileged white man had no interaction with, as clearly denoted by the follow-up imagery shown on Antoine’s youtube and website. He told me Antoine would only be making appearances that paid money.SMH. During my conversation with Antoine I, asked about his sister and what she had to say. He told me ,in a matter of words, that she wants to help other women that have been through this because she is grateful for her near escape. Your blog post has reignited my interest. I’m calling him back!

      • Sorry to have to put a disclaimer on your comment, but anything that can’t be fact checked on the blog about people’s conversations gets one. Thanks for letting us know your experience. I think Dodson has ever right to profit from his image, it’s his & other people certainly are and I am concerned about “the race card” comment; if black people have a card, I would argue white people have a deck, and neither is a very illuminating metaphor. Anyway … glad to know the conversation is continuing.

  11. Good post. While my friends and I completely laughed at (and reposted) the auto-tuned Bed Intruder song, it did not go unnoticed how poorly edited the original newscast was; that it highlighted Antoine’s so-called buffoonery and trivialized the rape attempt itself. It’s even more appalling that the reporter went back the second day for a follow-up interview with Antoine (NOT the sister), in hopes of what could only be catching him yelling the way before. While he’s not the most eloquent man, I do have to say I was actually glad for the second interview, as it showed him looking less maniacal and proved that they caught him in a wrathful moment; that he wasn’t as uncouth as the original interview made him appear. I do have to say I found it odd that a crew was even called out to interview someone about a potential rape. Not that it shouldn’t be made aware, but rape attempts don’t normally make the news (at least not here in Alabama); how many had to have happened in that particular area for it to generate enough interest to talk to someone about it? What made this particular story one worth even showing up to talk to the victim for? Was it the fact that the assailant was assumed to be black? Was it that they lived in public housing? Could word have gotten out about Antione creating a task force to find the guy himself? Because I’m willing to bet it wasn’t the rape attempt itself that alerted the news crew.

    p.s.: It’s a weak-___ argument to be made that Antione was attempting to put the attention on himself; whoever made that comment sounds like one of those ‘reaching’ feminists who finds any opportunity to claim some male oppression dick-centric bullshit and were completely blind to the more blaring offenses.

    • I didn’t realize there were two interviews & I think you are probably right abt the reporter hoping to catch him off guard a second time, tho I hope it was also to do a follow up. My understanding is the Dodson’s called the media themselves after they could get no help; I think the combination of a potential serial rapist, the fact that it was in public housing (ie fit a stereotype abt the lives of poor people), and Antione Dodson’s own colorful narrative to get them there were likely behind the initial story. I am lucky enough to teach in a much smaller town & they do reports on attempted rape all the time, but that is because of the size and scope of small town news & not any larger attention to rape in N. America. I think you’re right that in larger cities reports like these have larger motivations & don’t just happen because a woman has been sexually assaulted and that, of course, contributes to how little we do about & discuss violence against women & how little we care about survivors overall.

      Like I said in the post, this really was an opportunity to have a national level discourse about violence against women, considering millions of people watched the youtube.

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  14. Antoine Dodson IS funny and articulate and intelligent AND politically aware and savvy. He used his flair and he opened his mouth to tell the world after he defended his sister from a rapist. He is to be commended. Those who just laughed, well, some people are just slow to think. Those who made a profit – did I not say the man is intelligent. You will pay Antoine for his ‘intellectual copyright’ and that right soon! Meanwhile, I am glad he pointed out the lack of concern about rape in the projects. It happens all the time in the so-called hood, and where there is NO Antoine and no report and no advocacy and media attention, the beat will go on. As to what liberals, black folks and feminists should have, could have and would have done, the point is now moot. They will do what they usually do for the poor. Nada , atb least nothing that requires sustained advocacy. There are no liberators, people free themselves by fighting back as Sisterlove and Antoine did, by speaking up as Antoine did and by acting upas Antoine did! Antoine may be funny but he is a fine example of what it takes to be heard and get action. He represents the vpiceless, the fearful, the shamefaced ones too timid to speak out. As for us the onlookers and the entrepeneurs and special interests who benefit from the spectacle, we need to get busy eradicating causes. meanwhile, go head Antoine. And as for Sisterlove, I hope she does what she needs to do to get and keep body and soul together. Keep it moving. By the way, We’re going to need more than black feminist studies. BFS frees the people how and because and in what setting, eh? In my view, Antoine made the black feminist move and he did it well! Let other people step up everyday and seize the monet as well as he did. It’s not like there is a dearth of sexual and criminal and housing and policy and health and education issues affecting black women and girls in and out of the media, the academy and wherever we find ourselves.

    • My apologies, but I’m going to have to be the person who comments only reading half of this. I just can’t finish the thing. I can’t take the claims of racism/classism/sexism/.*-ism seriously when you can’t refer to the Gregory brothers without a formula of race + class + namecalling. Write with some respect and you might reach someone who isn’t already subscribed to your RSS feed.

      —Robert; a white, middle class, regular-nerd

      • Robert, if you take offense at the word “nerd”, which I am thinking is your issue based on your signature, you should know that I refer to myself as a nerd on this blog all the time & that the term is used affectionately to describe many of my fellow self-described nerds here and elsewhere. “”Hipster-nerd” was an attempt to honor another reader’s suggestion, in a different post, that the term “hipster” to apply to people who may see themselves more as “nerds” could be inaccurate.

        As to the issue of respect and reaching people. Outlining what oppression is and how it is working in this case is analysis the only reason not to discuss those oppressions would be to continue to disrespect the poor black women and girls who have been targeted or actually raped in Lincoln Park and to assume that laughter about a rape victim and her brother was unrelated to the way we see rape, poor people, people of color, women, gender, and sexuality in this country. Not liking something, disagreeing with it, or being implicated in it are not indicators of disrespect.

        Over 20,000 people have read this post in the last 3 days. Most of them have never read this blog before (ie they are not on my rss). As a result, it has re/sparked conversation about respect with regards to rape victims and intersectionality in several venues I have never been.

        When you let go of the desire to keep things like whiteness and class privilege hidden, ie to only mark race and class when we are talking about people who are not white and not middle aka upper class, then maybe you can show this situation the kind of respect it deserves even if you continue to think I don’t.

      • I’m not an advocate of hiding privilege, but using “white middle class hipster-nerd” in place of a pronoun—or God forbid, their names—isn’t disclosure, it’s categorizing them. In context of your article, that stereotype is racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, and out to profit on the oppressed. I’m sorry, Professor, you’re not just disagreeing with the Gregory Brothers, you’re smearing them.

      • Robert a pronoun would in fact have hidden their identity, leaving whiteness and class privilege unmarked for the white middle class people in the post and marked for the black ones. (Note you have no complaints about calling black people black, poor people poor, feminist bloggers feminists, black radio stations black, etc.) Again, marking the hidden, ie hegemonic, identities in this post is not disrespectful or “smearing” it is making a point about power and privilege at play in this case. Please see the racism Bingo cards on this blog if this continues to allude you or the anti-oppressions reading list post for more in depth reading to help you clarify the difference between deconstructing oppression and the fallacy of “reverse discrimination”

      • How exactly do you talk about racism, classism, & sexism without talking about race, class, gender, & sex?

        I loved this post & I’ve passed it on via livejournal. I’m grateful for all the attention it’s sparked & hope Antione & his sister stay safe!

      • Thank you for making my point so much more succinctly. You can’t talk about racism et al without talking abt race et al & that’s why we call it “hegemonic” when some identities are naturalized to the point that seeing them in print prompts people to say that you are offensive for saying something about dominant culture that people say about everyone else all day long (ie their race, their class, their gender, etc)

  15. I know we’re not supposed to feed the trolls but I have to say this:

    @Robert wrote:

    “or God forbid, their names”

    Professor Susurro did use the name of the group who made the auto-tune song. She even linked to their website in case anybody wanted to look them up. The ADJECTIVES white, middle class, hipster-nerds are not one long description like you’ve written it and you know it. And the prof is right, if you really don’t think anybody should be described then why not object to when she uses adjectives to describe other groups of people in this post? I mean, I don’t see you ranting about how she did not use anyone else’s names here. For someone so stuck on semantics you sure are working hard to cover up the fact you are defending people who profited off of rape and helped people sit around and laugh about it.

    @ProfSusurro if I help him come back here with more ish, I’m sorry. Also I appreciated this post because I did laugh without thinking and I do take to heart your rules about always reading through the entire post and digesting before speaking. Isn’t interesting that the last time you asked people to do that was on the Scott Pilgrim post where people are defending racism and yet @Robert is mentioning it here … AND didn’t read the entire post.

    Anyway, sorry for writing so much but I just wanted to say thanks for blogging and thanks for making me think. Oh, and I got here from a link on facebook from a friend who said she’d just discovered your blog from someone on tumblr so you are reaching people far beyond your rss.

    • thanks for letting me know how many venues you saw the post linked in, it’s nice to know it is reaching people and circulating. I think Robert’s point has been asked & answered & it is probably time to move on to more productive discussion. My policy here is that I’ll print a comment that seems like derail if it might illuminate info for other readers but once it has been addressed I don’t want to belabor the point myself or encourage pile ons (not that you were doing that, just putting that out there for other readers)

    • you are welcome to take a snippet of the post and attribute it back here for your website. More info on how to do that is listed in brief on the bio page, more specifically on the copyright page, and on the right hand column of the blog if you click on the commons or copyright links. Just attribute what you take and don’t take so much that there is no point in clicking back to the source.

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  17. this comment was deleted by the blog owner for ToS. This blog post is abt critiquing whiteness, mainstream trends in feminism, and black audiences/radio not open season on white people for being white. Comments that insult people based on their identity, including white people, will not be published. – Prof Susurro

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  19. The local news station obviously found it necessary to focus almost exclusively on Antione when they could easily have edited the segment to reflect on the crime itself rather than the reaction to it. To me, they are the ones responsible for framing the whole thing as humor then letting it rip. And it’s part of a greater epidemic- all major news outlets now are “news entertainment” that focus on tabloidy BS like outrage (for its own sake), gratuitous goofery, and vicarious victimhood. They’re the ones that need checking the greatest as far as I’m concerned.

    • Thanks for reminding that the mainstream media started the ball rolling. While I still think reception (how ppl acted) matters, so does encoding (the news reporter’s take on the story).

  20. I get you. I knew something was wrong but the critiques about him making black people look bad didn’t ring true. Yours, however, largely did. My feelings on the Antoine Dodson affair evolved. At first, I felt unease when I saw the post (a friend posted it on facebook) – why was this funny, I thought. When I saw the autotune version, I laughed hysterically and reposted on facebook (incidentally, it never occurred to me that he was considered funny because he was “ghetto” or “effeminate” – that’s not why I was laughing – until a cousin said “he is so gay”). My reaction was partly because I felt so sure they would catch the mofo soon; much to my chagrin, they haven’t. When I found out that Antoine was profiting, I thought “how American” and left a donation for him on paypal. (Being from the projects myself, I’m quick to help another brother get out. In fact, my mom moved us out after my sister was assaulted with a knife in our elevator. Fortunately, she was not physically hurt.) Ultimately, I’m with Naima – “Antoine made the black feminist move and he did it well!” Antoine is a loving, chivalrous brother who literally fought for his sister and called out the mofo who attempted to rape her. That makes him a hero in my eyes. And he advocated for himself to get a share of the profits of those who would exploit him (there’s lots of black history in that act). Ghetto? Effeminate? Nah. Even with an Ivy League degree, I probably would have reacted the same way in that situation. So the “he makes black people look bad” argument rings hollow and so does the “they are making fun of him because he’s poor and black” argument. However, the rest of your argument rings true. A rapist is on the lose and poor, black people in general aren’t as safe as they could be. Could I have overlooked that because I am in less danger now that I’m out of the projects? Probably, but I don’t want to be that kind of person. Thanks for making me think about it.

    As an aside, the one person I know who wasn’t laughing is a 25 year-old, white male, hipster.

    • @ Lisa While only you can speak to why you laughed, your own experience includes a friend saying “that is so gay”. More importantly, around the net the words “ghetto” & “f-word [gay]” are used repeatedly & are statistically significant responses to the interview & the auto-tune.

      As an aside, the one person I know who wasn’t laughing is a 25 year-old, white male, hipster.

      I am concerned by the number of ppl responding to critiques of whiteness (not just your quick comment but others, incl many comments too offensive to approve) with arguments abt reverse discrimination or exceptionalism. As I said in the post, for every group I mention there were people who did speak out, did not laugh, did center rape, etc. I hope that as time passes in this thread we do not re-center dominant culture at the expense of the feelings of anyone besides the rape survivors and women targeted for rape who have already been left in the cold in the bulk of those incident.

  21. ——
    I managed to get this comment back from the land of disappeared!!! And will be modifying my response accordingly now that you all can see the original. – Prof Susurro

    Feministing did a post on it and thats pretty much the biggest feminist blog out there so I’d disagree that mainstream feminist blogs have avoided it.

    Actually, i’m getting to be more creeped out by everyone in arms over the Antoine Dodson remix than I am about the actual remix. Ive seen it mentioned in a lot more blogs than those which usually ever focus on race / new media etc. Its becoming just in inner hipster dialouge about hipsters being assholes. And we like to talk about ourselves.

    A. He was already being made fun of in incredibly ugly ways from the original TV spot posed on youtube. Turning it into a song didn’t create that ugliness, or that racist audience. It does however bring up that contrast between our own hipsterdom privilege watching it; points our our own place in the web of connected america. Hence it makes us uncomfortable so we want to shun it versus understand all the nuances of the issues involved.

    I enjoy it as a fuck you rapist themesong. I think a lot of the enjoyment from the song is because he is compelling, just as double rainbow guy. the ‘right on’ feeling you get when WE GONNA FIND YOU kicks in is a semi-geniune feeling. At least, not more or less genuine / troubling as listening to tv news/music in general?

    Its important to check our discomfort as ‘is this an image I am uncomfortable seeing because we are only ok with seeing ‘model negroes’ and ‘he makes black people look bad’ or because I actually feel he’s being exploited? Can we only imagine people are laughing at him? Arent many people like you and I empathizing with him?

    What if HE doesnt feel he’s being exploited? They split the money / Dude moved from the projects!

    That somebody like antoine dodson has no voice on tv at all, even among the blacks and gays who have made it on [too poor, too gay, doesnt talk right, doesnt look right] and even if he tries to claim that voice like he has tried to on his youtube channel, it doesnt matter b/c he, as Ive seen been argued, he has no real agency in his choice b/c how could he ever reject the money They offer? Doesnt he have some agency?

    It reminds me a lot of the anger chris crooker got from the gay community b/c he seemed to embarrass them. B/c privileged gays dont like to think there are chris crockers out there..

    I’m equally suspect of people’s discomfort at the video as I am suspect of people finding humor in it.

    • I’ve modified this response, since I was able to resurrect & repost the missing comment!

      Dodson’s agency:

      I agree that Dodson should not be irrelevant in this discussion. My post is about reception, ie how people as a group, not individuals, perceived the original YouTube video and the subsequent auto tune song, not about Dodson himself. I don’t think discussing these two things are mutually exclusive or that one negates the other. Nor would I agree that talking about how the attention to Dodson as joke erases both his sister’s ordeal and that of all of the other women and girls who have been raped or targeted for rape is akin to calling Dodson a victim. What I am saying is that the laughter/attention to this event in the absence of attention to what caused it has erased violence against women and left those women and girls on their own while other groups laugh.

      I’d also caution about using Dodson as the “black friend” here, since Dodson’s agency is an important part of this story but has very little impact on the perception/reception issues discussed. His agency got him the news interview in an attempt to subvert the squelching of his agency by police but it was the potential racism and classism of the news crew that helped ultimately shape the story that turned into the youtube video & auto tune. Nor does his making money off of these events excuse rape, seeming police inattention to a serial rapist, or the lack of discussion and/action about rapes in the area.

      Succinct response to your comments

      While we agree on certain points in your overall argument, you’ve made several unsupported assumptions of whiteness about the motivations, reception, and discussion of these events. Even your most salient points are undermined by what eventually emerges as an attempt to excuse white people who laughed while attempting to blame black people who laughed and gay people who laughed at someone else entirely, ie the “black people do it too” defense. Your assertion that none of these issues matter (rape, sexism, racism, classism, cissupremacy and homophobia) because Dodson got paid, even after it has been pointed out several times that his pay check does not address nor stop the serial rapist or the impact being laughed at for surviving an attempting rape has an the women and girls being targeted and/or watching these events unfold, seems like glaring proof of how little you are engaging the text, discussion, or the issues of oppression including rape which you claimed motivated your laughter in a positive way. In the name of not falling into a rhetorical trap of “blaming ourselves” instead of looking at oppression, you have ignored not only the content of the post, which addresses multiple groups’ reactions and the race, class, sexuality, not just “we [you] white hipsters” but also the socio-cultural identity of myself and much of much of my audience. The very fact that you can neither look beyond your own experience nor move past the assumption of sameness/white normativity all the while pointing to marginalized people’s bad behavior that has already been addressed in this post speaks to all of the issues about oppression outlined here and why the left is implicated in them. You also rely heavily on major logic leaps – like the idea that one oppression negates another (outlined below) or that inoffensive auto tunes negate offensive ones, etc. Finally, I question the ongoing need of you and others to couch your discomfort with critiques of whiteness on the left in seemingly inclusive narratives about humor.

      I am particularly offended by your Crocker example and the way it attempts to erase racism and classism in favor of an individualism argument that simply holds no sway outside of supremacy and hegemony.

      Now let me be wordy and break down what I mean and answer some of your specific questions/points:

      On feministing:

      You are right, there is a post on feministing about this. It was written by a guest blogger of color and near the end of the meme. I was referencing this in my post when I said that mainstream blogs relied on black or woc bloggers to talk about the issue but did not link specifically to feministing because this was not unique to them. Several mainstream bogs eventually linked to, or excerpted from, woc blogs on this issue and even more have done so since the writing of this post. This is a pattern in which certain things remain “in addition to”, &/or the domain of guest writers from diverse backgrounds, rather than integral part of mainstream feminist [and other liberal] blogging. It is an issue bloggers across the racial spectrum in the feminist blogosphere have discussed on multiple occasions with a wide range of both failure and success.

      On pronouns & assumptions:

      One of your major points seems to be the question of “discomfort” and critique based on the belief that “we hipsters” pay too much attention to “ourselves” during diversity discussions as a rhetorical tool rather than actual reflection on the issues, ie that the goal is to beat “ourselves” up. I agree that this happens. More than that, I think it is a form of unacknowledged/unaware oppression that allows the people talking to re-center their own experiences and identities over those of the people they are talking about. Some of this is about the need to restore one’s belief that they and their communities are “good people” despite being implicated in the oppression being discussed, and some of it has to do with an ongoing assumption of sameness.

      However, I think you are doing the same things in your comment. By which I mean, you are (1) constructing an argument to excuse away why you laughed and expanding it to excuse laughter in general while also trying to turn the tables to blame the people who are actually pointing out oppression, ie re-establishing your “good person” status while blaming the people discussing racism, sexism, classism, etc. for discussing oppression and (2) assuming whiteness of both the writer and the audience of this post, not because you have literally called me white, but because you are using “we” throughout this comment to describe racially specific motivations and reactions as normative and shared.


      Your largest assertion that people discussing oppression and the lack of action around it in the Dodson case are actually just going through the motions of “doing diversity” because that is what “we white hipsters” do. While this is true, not being white, I have no subconscious or conscious investment in re-centering whiteness or subverting stories about women of color being raped with stories about white people’s navel gazing and its impact on white people’s activism. I am actually critiquing that in subtle ways here through my more direct critique of silences and laughter in this post. Nor has my critique centered white people and their reactions, while the racism, classism, and cissupremacy and homophobia of certain white liberals is being discussed so it the classism, cissupremacy, homophobia and potential internalized racism of certain black people, as well as the silences of certain feminist blogs and organizations which may or may not include women of color. Neither the critique nor its goals are invested in the “we” that is critical to your argument.

      You say:

      Its important to check our discomfort as ‘is this an image I am uncomfortable seeing because we are only ok with seeing ‘model negroes’

      You are assuming here that everyone involved in this thread is uncomfortable with Dodson because he is not a “model negro”. Yet this post is not about discomfort with Dodson or his lack of “model negro minority” status. It is about how, as presented in the video, he fits certain stereotypes (race and class) while challenging others (hetero-masculinity) that make it possible to erase real concerns about rape. While certain white people may be using a “model minority” argument to re-establish a “good person” rhetoric about their lack of action, that is about whiteness.

      You seem to imply later that you are actually talking about the way black people feel and offering a new take that undermines the argument of this post. Yet, this again relies on your ignoring anything in the post or comments about anyone other than white people. As I say in the post, certain black people have also expressed discomfort and I think this has to do with classism and internalized racism which re-established the rhetoric of “uplift” or “talented tenth” for those invested in a certain image of the black middle class. You are both erasing how this critique has already been made, presumably because the people being critiqued are not part of your “we”, and implicating me and others in how the “we” you are addressing is using this strategy when the rest of us are not.

      You say:

      It reminds me a lot of the anger chris crooker got from the gay community b/c he seemed to embarrass them.

      I’m not really understanding your point here. There seem to be two major problems here both stemming from equating Crocker to Dodson.

      First your link to Savage, who was among the first people to blame black people for prop 8 without evidence: Crocker’s youtube celebrity status has limited if any comparison to Dodson. Crocker had a youtube page before the Brittany incident. He was actively courting celebrity status through youtube well in advance of the Brittany melt down. The youtube video that gained him international attention was done and posted by him, meaning he created and retained total control of its production and original circulation on youtube. It was a product by him, about him, designed for his fame. By your own admission in your comment, you know that the Dodson video was created by newscasters hyping stereotype. It was posted by someone other than Dodson and no one in the Dodson family created it, retained control over its production, or circulation on youtube. No one in the Dodson family was seeking out fame through this interview, they were seeking justice about an attempted rape and a serial rapist. Dodson using the attention to the video and the money made off of it for his own gain is an expression of his agency after the fact. Saying that these two things are comparable requires a total erasure of oppression and a flattening out of difference that once again ultimately reduces everyone to unmarked, ie white normative, individuals with the same power, privilege, and access.

      Second with regards to oppression: The reactions to Crocker included cissupremacy and internalized homophobia which are also present in this case. Those oppressive reactions to Crocker were wrong. However, the response to Chris Crocker did not erase oppression or systemic sanctioned failure to address oppression, in this case a serial rapist (sexism) targeting low income (classism) women and girls of color (sexualized racism) it dealt specifically with Chris Crocker’s own actions. Nor was the response to Crocker’s video about ongoing systemic oppression of a group that was completely erased by that response. So homophobic responses to Crocker, internalized or otherwise, are equally wrong but not the same.

      More importantly, it seems like you are using Crocker here to point to how oppressed people are oppressive as a last ditch effort to avoid addressing the ways oppression starts at the center and ultimately benefits the center; ie you are making a subtle version of the “black people do it too” defense. While you are perfectly willing to call out gay people and black people, you excuse white people for everything except “beating ‘ourselves‘ themselves up”.

      As I say in the post, one group being oppressive does not excuse any other group who is being oppressive. When the later is oppressive through the internalization of oppressive message taught to them over centuries and through hegemonic erasure it is even more suspect to equate them and then erase dominant behavior accordingly.

      In the case of Crocker, you have not only erased the discussion of a black female rape survivor’s erasure to center an example of a white person who chose to put his defense of Brittany Spears on youtube, but also completely erased the heterosexual audience who laughed at him so you can point at queer internalized homophobia. Even in discussing an unrelated issue you are still excusing dominant culture by pointing to marginalized people as perpetrators. And you have linked it back to the example of Dodson in order to implicate black people laughing as wrong in the absence of similar critique for white people laughing in the same way you have let heterosexuals off the hook in Crocker’s case.

      And like your “model negro minority” comment, you are still assuming whiteness in other subtle ways. Chris Crocker barely blipped on the radar of most queer communities of color, but certainly created quite a stir amongst white queer communities.

      I can’t say what I am more offended by, the assertion that Crocker’s fame seeking is the same as Dodson’s justice seeking (which requires the erasure of rape once again in order to erase the justice aspect of Dodson’s actions), that the brief, though extremely oppressive, public moment in which Crocker was oppressed is the same as the ongoing justification of erasing rape in the Dodson case, your assertion that the fact they both experienced oppression on youtube justfies negating the very different motivations behind their videos being put up there, or the fact that you can make these assertions all the while claiming that it is people talking about oppression that are guilty of erasing Dodson’s story and people like you who are motivated by saying “f* you to rapists”.

      In almost every example in your comment there is (1) an assumption of whiteness, (2) an attempt to de-center the oppressive actions of white heterosexual people in favor of looking at the oppressive actions of queer people or people of color, (3) judging the actions of the latter while excusing the former, and (4) an erasure of diversity and oppression when it suits your argument. And all of this adds up to a continued failure to address the major issues here: how racism, classism, sexism, cissupremacy and homophobia came together to erase a potential rape victim and the uncounted number of women and girls who have either been raped or targeted in this area unchecked because neither the system nor the millions of people watching the video used the opportunity to start talking about and doing something about rape. (and again I am talking about groups not individual actions)

      Reductive arguments and redirection based on whiteness in this thread continue to erase the very real issue of black women and girls targeted by a serial rapist and a potential rape victim and her family’s experience being transformed into a source of amusement based on pre-conceived notions of race, class, and gender held in multiple communities. It’s been very disconcerting watching how few people are willing to engage these issues for a reductive reading of “reverse discrimination”, white normativity, or exceptionalism.

      This seems like a good time to ask people to read the entire post, and reflect on its key points as well as the identities discussed here (most of which are in the title and yet still absent from comments) before commenting. Take a step back from the dual issues of:(1)did I laugh & how do I justify that and (2) discomfort at seeing the racial politics of white liberals being critiqued in similar ways to white conservatives.

      Instead take in the whole argument and it’s reference to larger processes in N. American culture. Then look over the comments to ensure that you are not asking that a point that has already been addressed be addressed as if it is new because you didn’t read the discussion or points in the post. (this doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t reiterate other people’s points but rather be mindful of the argument and the existing discussion).

      This isn’t an academic blog but it does ask for mindfulness and critical engagement in discussion; disagreement is welcome, and can even move discussion forward when insightful, to do that your disagreement should reflect either the content/concepts introduced in the post or the ongoing discussion. If you want to point fingers, insult, or derail your in the wrong place.

      I hope that helps.

  22. Thank you for this post, and to my net.friend Juba for pointing me to it. I want to spread it all over. I hadn’t even heard about the story or the video before now, and even in my little normal white-girl culture-poor bubble, you would think at least my fellow white liberal hipster nerds would have brought it to my attention.

    • not knowing about the video is at least a sign you weren’t viewing it uncritically; not knowing about the attempted rape and serial rapist going unchecked, on the other hand, is just more proof about how little any of this has centered the real issue of rape and/or helped to spark national level activism and discussion of it the way other stories have done (at least amongst certain activist circles). As for “culture poor”, I think its a misnomer to say by nature of being white one has no culture; I’ve looked at your blog, looks like a lot of cultural rich references are right at your finger tips. (And I will be trying a vegan version of those blintzes)

    • Hi Prof

      I am a long time lurker and have never noticed your “ToS violations” deleting-thing before. Is this new?

      Also, I just wanted to say thanks for this post and all of your posts that hold us too the standards we claim as feminists, “liberals” (radicals), etc. I know it is hard for some people to hear but as someone who started out reading this blog when I was one of the people saying “she just hates white people” to being someone who knows that intersectional activism is a daily learning process and being called out, at least the way you do it, is an opportunity to learn and change and create the world I want to live in, I am really grateful to have your blog in my toolbox!

      • Thank you. I appreciate both the compliment and your honesty about your process.

        Truth is, I seldom have to delete comments based on ToS because I have a pretty liberal communication policy and most people follow it. Unfortunately, when posts go viral, people show up who are used to insult driven discourse or group think/pile ons that are not ok here. Usually I just delete them, especially if they are just n-word + foul language laden comments, but I have been trying out the ToS violation comment for posts that pretend to be within the guidelines but I assume the author knows are not. it also sends a clear message to certain comment makers likely to come back and demand to know what happened to their comment, that their comment violate ToS and won’t be approved.

        It’s inconsistent and fuzzy, neither of which I like when trying to create community space and it may also give the false impression that only a handful of people are out of line, where in actuality there are an equal amount of offensive comments coming through on any given day. So I don’t know, I’m still up in the air about it.

  23. I really don’t think your post is that confusing that you need to keep explaining the point to comment makers. Isn’t everything in the title?

    Basically you’re saying, SOME BLACK AND WHITE PEOPLE laughed at a video that started with an attempted rape. People who claim to care about violence against women were silent or missed the boat on turning this into a call to activism and SOME liberals are just as guilty as conservatives of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

    The only people who seem to not get what you’re saying and respect it are the people who don’t want to feel ashamed they laughed right along with everyone else because Antione was “so ghetto”. I say [worded edited out by blog owner] ’em!

    • hi Aaron, thanks for reiterating my post so succinctly. I don’t mind disagreement or expansion, but for most of the comments deleted or otherwise that does seem to be the part of the problem.

  24. wait wait wait.

    Firstly, I am NOT excusing the callous bigots who do laugh at antione in that way. I would dare someone to say those things off youtube to my face! However, I was questioning your assumption that everyone who enjoys the video is enjoying it in the spirit of homophobia/racism, When i think the videos popularity is much broader and much more nuanced than a thousand laughs at the poor black queer. And I’m questioning that the videos creation by nature is exploitive. “three white men, and one white woman, cut and remixed Dodson’s interview in order to point and laugh at the uneducated black man in crisis. ” To me this is a gross oversimplification.

    And I am NOT saying some sort of ‘black people do it too means its ok to laugh at antione’ in that way. In fact i meant that point more directed towards hipsters who worry that dodson makes black people look dumb & of course, queers and POCs who think similarly. As a queer myself, I am just questioning our own discomfort because these are things i pause at and think of myself when looking at representations of queers in american media. When i squirm at a swish on TV, is that motivated by inner homophobia or my quest for gay rights? (both, i think)

    Of course these things still matter even though he got paid! In fact, money exchanged makes it more complicated, no?

    I am not saying we shouldnt beat ourselves up! I am pro beating ourselves up! The inner ‘check yourself’, esp as me a white girl is a voice mama needs to heed.

    My point you allude to as “doing diversity” was not to say your blog was hipster chatter. I mentioned it because i thought the narrative about this video, the narrative that claims the whole thing is exploitative and racist, to me, is false. I am talking about the zillions of blogs who have now mentioned this story worrying more about the song created by hipsters more than the the original bigots who cant see antoine as more than the butt of a joke let alone issues of rape. I am suggesting much of the interest here is perhaps not motivated by actual concern for antione or his sister. This was not an attack on your own personal motivations, and please desist to make assumptions about mine.

    “You are assuming here that everyone involved in this thread is uncomfortable with Dodson because he is not a “model negro””
    read again, i suggested that might be SOME of the uproar or discomfort people feel.

    Also, I think chris crocker is comparable because both involved large masses of people laughing at poor queer men over the internet leading to itunes singles. Obviously these are totally different scenerios. But the way people recieve these videos is fairly similar, and the debates stirred by both bring up many similar issues. IE questions of celebrity and viral culture in homophobic / racist america in the youtube era.

    “we hipsters” point taken. I use the term hipsters pretty broadly (smarty bloggers included) in a cheeky, likely obnoxious way.

    But please stop deciding what my motivations are, because my point was, and still is that we should be cautious of our own discomfort. The video can be enjoyed on different levels, not all of which stem from an ugly place.

    as for the comment which ended:

    “The only people who seem to not get what you’re saying and respect it are the people who don’t want to feel ashamed they laughed right along with everyone else because Antione was “so ghetto”. ”

    um, portraying people who disagree with your analysis as those who want to assuage their own guilt is beyond wack. Dobson clearly went off in front of the cameras dramatically. Appreciating his anger and flair doesnt make me a bigot. Obviously the dudes got charisma. I’m sure you can smile at that too.

    • Nuances are important, they don’t negate the existence of racism or the right to write about it. If you were actually addressing my text, you’d see that there is an entire paragraph on this issue of diverse opinions and actions in the post.

      I can only respond to your written text and anyone reading can see the contradictions between your two comments as well as the on going white normativity in your pronoun usage and justification for them. (if you meant “all bloggers” than why say “we white hipsters”, and though you are now consciously avoiding “we”, take a good long look at those other pronouns in your comment. Instead of replacing one with another, it might be easier to just address the underlining issue that still remains). also shifting how you talk about Antione to call him gay so he seems more like Chris, doesn’t change the fact that you subverted a discussion of racism in order to draw a comparison between a video made about someone in order to make him look bad, which you admit the media was doing in your first comment & imply in your second, and a video made and posted by the person who stars in it. Nor does calling him gay when he did not call himself gay in the video or the song to make that connectthat between them make your comments less problematic or readers less aware that you are still avoiding the issues of race and racism.

      I know it is easy to claim I am intentionally misrepresenting you but your words speak for themselves. When I addressed your comments I quoted them and analyzed those quotes. You have yet to address my text, even going so far as to now argue that you weren’t even talking about my text but instead using my blog to comment about other people’s texts. The one exception goes back to the objection to implicating white hipsters in oppression which is running through this entire discussion on the part of racism deniers or minimizers here. If you want to ignore the endless data speaking to oppressive reactions to Antione that drew the attention of the Gregory Brothers who made the auto tune and therefore knew they’d profit from it (your first comment) or ultimately minimize it by briefly acknowledging it and then claiming nuance to subvert open discussion of racism (your second comment) , you are going to need more than your experience as a white woman as your evidence. What you believe is not documentation and saying “I don’t believe” in the case of oppression you don’t experience is not evidence.

      Instead of claiming that you are being misrepresented by the actual quoting and addressing of your text, take a good look at how thoroughly you contradict your key points from comment to comment in order to avoid the issues of white normatively and racial derail and ask yourself why.

      If you think that is me calling you racist because you disagree with me, you might want to actually read the comments on this blog where people disagree with me based on actual written text, legitimate documentation or sources, and non-defensiveness. People disagree all the time here, I expect and welcome that. Disagreement is not the problem.

      And to be clear, analyzing and talking about racism and intersectionality is far from easy nor does focusing on intersecting oppressions = easy generalizations that negate the fee exceptions out there.

      • I can haz basic reading skills!

        Seriously, I hope people who stop reading at the first time you say “white hipsters” and start justifying, denying, and derailing learn something from this post some day but stop talking now so that you can spend your energy on writing new posts. I miss it!

        @Rachel if you can’t take a step back from the anti one story to hear what women of color are saying about racism and sexism, at least take a step back from this blog and think about why you so offended prof susurro that she took time out to really try to educate you on what was offensive in your comments and the rest of us just shook our heads and looked away.

      • Thanks Katy.

        Everybody – please remember comments welcome, pile ons not. Just a pre-emptive here not calling anyone out.

      • Oh come on, pile ons are so much fun!

        I just wanted to say thanks for making me think, helping me see what was making me uncomfortable in certain people’s comments, and trying to educate folks instead of just calling them stupid, which is what most blogs do.

      • Thank you. Again, disagreement is fine on all sides but addressing the text and dealing with examples rather than certain kinds of privileged truths, and in the blogosphere there are several from several angles, really is the norm and the expectation here.

    • I agree that nuance is important but I didn’t see you, Rachel, calling for that in your first comment. I also bristled at the hipsters comment and as I thought about it and talked about it with friends on Facebook, I realized I just didn’t like someone saying we were the bad guys (we white hipsters not we, everybody here). I don’t really know how you can say the news was racist and not think that anything derived from the newscast, like the auto tune, is at least partially racist too.

      Prof Susurro, I also think you are right to remind people that the Gregory Brothers wouldn’t even know who Antione was if it hadn’t been for YouTube hits. They read the comments there, they knew.

  25. Wow, I just had to stop in and say: well done. I completely missed this rape-is-hilarious Internet meme (trying to live meme-free these days), and I’m so glad I did.

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  28. Sorry Professor, but I see three things missing from your treatment of the topic which undercut the effectiveness of your argument

    1. You consistently misspell Antoine’s name which gives an impression that you either don’t really care or weren’t thorough in your research
    2. You do not acknowledge that Autotune the News is equal opportunity in its parody of news features, they did not single Antoine out
    3. You do not at all address what responsibility you believe the reporter/news editors should have in this case or generally.

    As a black person whose family still lives in a depressed part of Huntsville, we were not offended by the ‘racial implications’ many people have assigned to this, seemingly in a vacuum.

    That is a bit peripheral to your points and anecdotal.

    Nonetheless, I would have appreciated a more even-handed consideration of the elements involved in Mr Dodson’s case leading up to your conclusions.

    I hope you will take this opportunity to share your views on these areas. I believe it would enrich the discussion.

    All the best

    • Every single one of your points is addressed in the comment section. I hope you and others looking to dismiss what is here by pting to outliers take this opportunity to read them before commenting again.

      Also while experience matters it does not reify; we are both women of color with other overlapping identities, our individual interpretations are clearly different, while we make up part of the whole neither stands in for the aggregate discussed here.

      (A note on misspellings, which as far as I can see, Antione is only used twice in this post and spelled correctly: long time readers of this blog know I have a disability that shows in the text and that I have always invited readers to point to a specific error I may have missed so I can correct it. While I assume you did not mean to be ablest, spelling as a defense against oppression discussions is not only derail that addresses no concepts from which we can move forward intellectually but often runs the risk of ablism and linguistic ethnocentrism – think ESL – and I am only addressing it because of the number of new readers in this thread.)

  29. Yet another person who had missed the meme. Thank you for addressing the issue in such a thoughtful and thought-provoking way. It was jarring to see “white middle-class hipster nerds” because of the cultural tendency to assume “white, etc.” while only other is specified.

  30. I’ve read some good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a wonderful informative web site.

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