Arguing with fools hurts my head
“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference”
These are my thoughts as I read Clitoraid’s recent, and very personalized attack of a collective challenge to their humiliating campaign to adopt African women’s clitorises.
In their latest public statements Clitoraid has “likened the call for sensitivity toward those in Africa who perpetuate and condone FGM to those who were “sensitive” toward slave owners or Nazis”
What?!! Over and Over and Over again I, and others including Dr. Petra Boynton, Dr. Elisabeth Wood, Matthew Greenall, Darklady, Kudzai Makombe and Caille Milner of the San Francisco Chronicle, have expressed our position that we do not support the continuation of Female Circumcision. Our collective concerns have been about Clitoraid’s humiliating adoptions of African women’s genitalia for dubious fundraising purposes.
Yet when faced with the very real critique that their fundraising campaign, indeed their entire organization, is culturally imperialistic and racist at best, Clitoraid and the Raelians behind them still do not get it!
I think part of the problem thus far has been that we have all abandoned issues of race and culture to the margins of feminism in ways that have led to the Clitoraid mess. Had we heeded Audre Lorde’s call 26 years ago and made conversations about race and cultural difference a central plank of the feminist platform we would not still be debating whether its right or wrong for anyone to adopt an African woman’s clitoris. Unfortunately, we’re still debating whether African women deserve dignity and respect.
But back to Clitoraid’s nonsense. They argue that,
“Slave owners in the American South thought Northerners were insensitive to their needs,” Gary said. “And it wasn’t considered polite in Nazi Germany to ask what was happening to the Jews. Both situations demanded blunt, effective, immediate opposition, not sensitivity toward the perpetrators and their supporters.”
She said the same principle applies for eliminating FGM and restoring clitoral functionality through surgery for as many victims as possible.“This is a senseless, horrible act that causes excruciating pain and sexual deprivation for millions,” Gary said. “While other organizations just discuss and wring their hands, CLITORAID acts.”
What of the dozens if not hundreds of African women’s organizations that have been mobilizing around the issue of FGM for decades now? Is that who’s wringing their hands? Or does it not count when African women do something about their experiences, it only counts when ‘Westerners’ act?
And for the Slavery and Nazi analogies, I don’t even know what to do with that logic. So is it Africans that are analogous to Nazis and slave holders? Because thats who practices FGM. Or is it the African woman activist (me) who raises the alarm about this humiliating campaign that is analogous to the slave holder of the Nazi? hmmmmmmm?!
My head hurts. and not in a good way.