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Running Commentary on Ani DiFranco's NoPology


As you may know, singer Ani DiFranco decided to hold a "righteous retreat" at a southern plantation. Naturally, Black feminist--and pretty much anyone with an understanding of history--were dismayed. For days feminist who were upset by the site of the venue, which "is not just the site of one of the largest slave plantations in the area, but is also preserved as an exclusive resort actively distorting and even glorifying brutal history of slavery in the United States," spoke out.
So of course, as a feminist and ally, Ani apologized, acknowledging the hurt that this choice of venue has caused, right? No. Instead, in her faux apology, she plays the victim, accuses Black women of being "bitter" and having "hatred" and manages to make the apology all about her deep sorrow and her own pain and hurt.

Are you shocked that someone who professes to be a feminist, a woman who is concerned with the oppression of all women and peoples, would be so callous? Go and read the apology for yourself. As always, though, don't read the comments. Although they claim that Ani is anti-racist and seeks only unity, her supporters manage to be racist and dismissive of minority women's search for equality.
If, however, you cannot stand to read another screed from yet another White feminist who refuses to acknowledge that Black and minority women have the right to define feminism for themselves, then no worries. I suffered for you. I. Read. Every. Word. Here is a running commentary I wrote while reading Ani DiFranco's response on Twitter, with the hashtag #NoPology.

Read @anidifranco apology & weep b/c if oppressed people cant recognize the oppression they inflict on others, there is no hope. #nopology


Let's break down the #NoPology: "I have heard you." That's not what you say to those you respect. You say this those you look down on.


@anidifranco didnt know the setting would "trigger such high velocity bitterness." Bitterness, like cattiness, is bad. Stop it WOC #NoPology


@anidifranco thought "the setting wld be a participant in the event" Nothing like singing Dixie songs w/WW to make me feel welcome #NoPology


@anidifranco: "this was a gathering of progressive people." I.E: folks who believe slavery & racism is past--not like patriarchy. #NoPology


"i believe people must go to [hurtful] places, meditate & absorb the pain" Or, @anidifranco thinks you should heal as she sees fit #NoPology


@anidifranco: "if nottoway isnt acceptable, then let me concede b/f more divisive wrds are spilled" If? BINGO! WOC are being divisive. #NoPology


BW,@anidifranco thinks it's unfortunate how you've chosen to deal w/the pain of slavery. Now you've been properly chastised by a WW. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "i canceled to restore peace & respectful discourse." B/c BW who reject oppression arent peaceful nor have respect. #NoPology


@anidifranco "entreats u to refocus comments w/positive energy" In other words, ignore ur oppression & be happy. Kinda like slaves? #NoPology


@anidifranco: "allow us now to work together towards common ground and healing." UNITY, BW. Which really just means stop questioning WW. #NoPology


@anidifranco cant say "nottoway reached depths of racism but nowhere else." So,a plantation is as good a place as any-get over it. #NoPology


@anidifranco "knows buildings built bfore 1860 in the South were built on the backs of slaves." She just doesnt let it effect her. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "not using buildings w/history of slavery wuld mean moving away." And make things really hard for WW to plan events. #NoPology


@anidifranco: we all "sit on stolen land from original people who suffered genocide." Think of the Natives. Stop being selfish BW. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "a large % of taxes goto making weapons." There're problems bigger than ur oppression/racism-but not mine/patriarchy #NoPology


@anidifranco: "it's a imperfect world & im trying mybest to negotiate it." BW will build a cross to nail yourself in appreciation #NoPology


@anidifranco: "the current owner disturbs me but I dont know owners of other venues." Excuse me while I play willfully obtuse now. #NoPology


"is it possible to separate positive from negative people in this world?" @anidifranco, please please put the pen down. Back away. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "is it possible to ensure no bad person will profit from my work?" No. So why not willingly hurt WOC? #NotYourFault #NoPology


@anidifranco: "shld hatred be spit at me?" No one hates u. Well, I hate u for this long ass #NoPology. But u havent been hurt-just ur pride.


@anidifranco: "we need every ounce of energy to create positve change in this world." The cross is still waiting. Shld we burn it? #NoPology


@anidifranco: "i planned to go to Roots of Music, a free music school for underprivileged kids." She has servant's hearts. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "i believe Roots could've gained a few new supporters." And thus BW you've hurt your people w/your selfish demands. #NoPology


We'll pretend, @anidifranco, you couldn't still do these things w/o holding the event where thousands of Blacks suffered & died. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "let's not oversimplify to blck & whte a society that contains shades of grey." It's the gender divide that matters. #NoPology


I'd like to remind @anidifranco, and the feminist that support her, that if men were to give them this bullshit #NoPology, theyd be offended


@anidifranco No renouncing Mandi Harrington? Your call for unity is only a condemnation of BW for speaking aganst their oppresson. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "let's be compassionate as we write the next pages in our history." Or, you know, rewrite it to suit our needs. #NoPology


@anidifranco: "our story isnt over, it is ours to write." And if we write enough words maybe we'll get folks to believe our #NoPology.


@anidifranco's fans still keeping it classy: "i agree ani, we are all slaves these fucks are just too stupid to know it." Fucks=BW #NoPology


When you hurt someone you care about, you apologize. You do not explain, describe, wax philosophical or rationalize. @anidifranco #NoPology


Through it all Ani DiFranco does not do the one thing you do to those you have hurt; she doesn't apologize. She barely even acknowledge that there is hurt, other than her own. She instead chooses to double down, blaming and condemning minority women who have not fallen in line with her desire to "make the world a better place"--in a $1000 retreat at a Southern plantation.  In other words, she behaves very much as a someone who supports a White dominated, patriarchal, hegemonic, capitalistic society. I.E. the very society her supporters claim she rejects.  

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
danaseilhan
Dec. 30th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, nice. A f?!king tone cop. The woman who wrote a song called "F?!k You" is telling everyone else how to feel and what to say.

Ani, stick with talking about your own feelings concerning your own situation in life. Once in a while a person comes along who is good at speaking for other people, but that person's not you.

Seriously though, why ARE there so many tone cops on the Left? Drives me right up a tree. I hate climbing trees, too. If this bunch were involved in politics in the 1850s, there would have been no abolitionist movement 'cause they would have shut it down with infighting by now.
chesyaburke
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)
Because I saw a comment....
....on the DiFranco NoPology page that I think is worth noting.

It's by Hannah Mogul-Adlin*: I'd like to echo a comment above and say that PoC, and black women especially, I had not realized the full extent of white feminism's cluelessness until this whole ridiculous fiasco. I am so sorry that Ani not only was ignorant enough to do this in the first place, then not respond to any criticism for 2 WEEKS, but then had the gall make this insulting non-pology where she chides those criticizing her choice as bitter and hateful. Way to totally and completely wield the "angry black woman" stereotype as a weapon against those who would *dare* to hold you accountable to your choices. Disgusting. Black women and allies, as I've followed this over the past few days I've been so inspired by your tenacity in tirelessly and repetitively combatting the worst kinds of ignorance and hatred that was directly caused by Ani's abysmal decisionmaking. Y'all are amazing. White women reading this thread and continuing to come to Ani's defense and lash out at those who are rightfully disappointed at this poor excuse for an apology, as if you're her personal shining white army, you're just demonstrating the extent to which #solidarityisforwhitewomen. Disgusting. Y'all are the ones creating this divide, not bridging it, and we see you for who you are."

*I friended her, as I often do when I see a particularly enlightened comment on the internet. It's so rare these days.

Edited at 2013-12-30 05:43 pm (UTC)
chesyaburke
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
And one more because we shouldn't forget....
....what we're dealing with. There are over 3000 comments and many many are in support of Ani:

Written by DeAnna Hinson Hornback: "Your black whining doesn't hurt my feelings it nauseates me. Not one person on this page has ever been a slave. Myself included.
Shut the fuck up & get a purpose. Find yourself something relevant to complain about. The war between black & white is being perpetuated by your self entitled whining.
Had your ancestors not given you the right to freedom by being slaves your ass would still be in a third world country, unable to even voice your opinion on the www but instead living in a hovel, in a country known for its genocide and starvation of YOUR OWN KIND.
Be thankful that your ancestors paved the way for you to be FREE & and able to voice your opinions.
Be productive with all your fancy words & high fa-looting educations. Make YOUR PEOPLE proud. Get your kids off the street, take away their guns & drugs & EDUCATE them. Quit looking for handouts for a wrong done to your race hundreds of years ago & quit using a lone white woman as YOUR symbolic whipping post.
And by the way, she owes no apology. She is FREE to make her own decisions. Her mind is capable of deciding where, when & how she showcases her GOD given talent. If you prefer not to attend then THAT is your problem."

Edited at 2013-12-30 06:10 pm (UTC)
marlowe1
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: And one more because we shouldn't forget....
Looks like the trolls are coming down to play. Ani DiFranco's fans are clueless, but I don't know if any of them would say the 'get your kids off the street" line with a straight face.
chesyaburke
Dec. 30th, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Re: And one more because we shouldn't forget....
I'm not as quick to dismiss this as trolling. For one thing, there is no evidence she is a fan, simply someone who thinks US Blacks should be grateful that their ancestors were enslaved. Second, I would also not assume she isn't a fan. Having wade through that comment section it seems that her "fans" and "racist" are pretty indistinguishable.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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