“While the vast…

"While the vast majority of responses -- through pingbacks on the post, in e-mail, over Twitter -- have been positive and supportive, over the last few days I have seen the following in various places on the internet:

- people refusing to acknowledge that there was anything racist or misogynistic about Beale's post
- people wringing their hands over how we shouldn't ban people from organizations for their opinions (when that is not the argument I am making)
- people saying we should just ignore him -- that banning him from the Twitter feed is enough of a reprimand
- people being more outraged at the idea that I would call Beale's post racist than at the fact that he called a black woman "an ignorant half-savage" who couldn't possibly be "fully civilized" on account of her ethnic heritage.

I have also seen people belligerently questioning or deriding my command of the English language, my religion, my ethnicity, and my nationality, as a consequence of having made that post.

I am saying this because the people who make excuses for Beale's post, who scrabble about in its horrors in order to find gnats to strain at, are more disturbing to me than Beale. They drain me of more energy than anyone else.

These people, confronted with racism that is blatant by even the most mincing of dictionary definitions, will demand that I spend time explaining to them where exactly it is, why it matters. They, while being aggressive, obtuse, and defensive, will demand that I be calm, helpful, and rational. They will treat my existence, my life, the lives of other people of colour, the lives of women, as a matter of opinion on which we should respectfully differ."

-- Amal el-Mohtar

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