What kind of fawkery is this? Singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco’s reputation came under fire recently when she announced plans to host a songwriting camp that was being billed as a feminist retreat at a venue that just happened to be a former slave plantation in Louisiana.
But things really went left when black feminists criticized the move on Facebook and one particularly passionate white female supporter of the retreat, Mandi Harrington, was caught redhanded posting as an “Uncle Tomasina” using the handle LaQueeta Jones. DiFranco ultimately decided to scrap the event, but not before our friends at For Harriet captured the whole play by play in a scathing editorial entitled “Dear Ani DiFranco Supporters: You Cannot Reclaim an Oppression You Have Never Experienced.”
Hit the flip for the screencaps…
This broad has some nerve right?
Why LaQueeta doe, why???? And why do she be talkin’ like dis?
Sheesh… Martin Luther rolling in his grave.
Props to Addaway who is one smart MF’er. Nice Try Mandi.
Ani had enough of the whole embarrassment because she called off the whole event:
To her credit DiFranco makes some pretty logical points:
tragedies on a massive scale are not easily dealt with or recovered from. i certainly in no way expect or want to be immune from that pain or that process of recovery. i welcome (and in fact have always pursued) constructive dialogue about these and all political/social issues. my intention of going ahead with the conference at the nottoway plantation was not to be a part of a great forgetting but its opposite. i know that pain is stored in places where great social ills have occurred. i believe that people must go to those places with awareness and with compassionate energy and meditate on what has happened and absorb some of the reverberating pain with their attention and their awareness. i believe that compassionate energy is transformative and necessary for healing the wounds of history. i believe that even though i am white, i can and must do this work too. if you disagree, i respectfully understand where you’re coming from and your right to disagree. i am not unaware of the mechanism of white privilege or the fact that i need to listen more than talk when it comes to issues of race. if nottoway is simply not an acceptable place for me to go and try to do my work in the eyes of many, then let me just concede before more divisive words are spilled. i obviously underestimated the power of an evocatively symbolic place to trigger collective and individual pain. i believe that your energy and your questioning are needed in this world. i know that the pain of slavery is real and runs very deep and wide. however, in this incident i think is very unfortunate what many have chosen to do with that pain. i cancel the retreat now because i wish to restore peace and respectful discourse between people as quickly as possible. i entreat you to refocus your concerns and comments on this matter with positive energy and allow us now to work together towards common ground and healing.
for myself, i believe that one cannot draw a line around the nottoway plantation and say “racism reached its depths of wrongness here” and then point to the other side of that line and say “but not here”. i know that any building built before 1860 in the South and many after, were built on the backs of slaves. i know that in new orleans, the city i live in, most buildings have slave quarters out back, and to not use any buildings that speak to our country’s history of slavery would necessitate moving far far away. i know that indeed our whole country has had a history of invasion, oppression and exploitation as part of its very fabric of power and wealth. i know that each of us is sitting right now in a building located on stolen land. stolen from the original people of this continent who suffered genocide at the hands of european colonists. i know that many of us can look down right now and see shoes and clothes that were manufactured by modern day indentured servants in sweat shops. i know that micro profits from purchases that we make all day long are trickling down to monsanto, to nestle and to GE. i know that a sickeningly large percentage of the taxes we pay go to manufacturing weapons and to making war. and on and on and on. it is a very imperfect world we live in and i, like everyone else, am just trying to do my best to negotiate it.
Apparently she finds capitalized letters oppressive so she can understand our struggle. Just kidding, sorta. You can read her entire blog entry HERE.