Author’s note: The following article originally appeared at JustFourGuys on October 4, 2014.
I love it when a plan comes together.
—John “Hannibal” Smith, The A-Team
The shit’s chess, not checkers!
—Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris, Training Day
We have ways of making you talk.
—Old Jedi mind-trick
Late Thursday evening, only hours away before my “#YouOKSis White Feather Campaign” post was to drop, I got word from several longtime JustFourGuys (J4G) readers that Feminista Jones had elected to “air” our offlist email exchange in its entirety on her website. Published on August 18, 2014, under the title “The Inability To Accept ‘No,’” Jones takes our exchange as prima facie evidence of how she and so many other sistas are so besieged by various and sundry forms of “harassment”:
I’m offered [sic] asked to appear on shows, give interviews, opine on issues, and such. I cannot do everything, so I occasionally have to decline. Most people are gracious and understanding of the demands on my times. There are times, however, when some people simply cannot accept “No” for an answer.
I’m posting this because I’m calling attention to the ways that some of us are often treated online and in person. When I talk about #YouOKSis and street harassment, it applies to online harassment, work harassment, etc.– any place where the motivation behind the aggressors words and actions is the inability to accept “No” for an answer.
I’m tired of this and it happens so often that I’m completely disgusted by the inability to respect my personal boundaries and those of SO many women.
Here’s one example of how one man simply cannot accept “No” from me and attempts to goad me into doing what he asked by guilting me with fictive racial kinship. He HAD to have the last word. This shit is disrespectful and abusive and it happens so often, to so many women.
Got it? I know the logic is a bit overwrought, tortured, and convoluted, especially in light of the numerous facts as they pertain to yours truly and in general—see the always excellent work of Ms. Cathy Young in this regard—and which yours truly took up recently right here at J4G, I might add. But do try to work with the lady; she is quite “busy,” don’t cha know.
Okay, so let’s get to the actual email exchange, shall we?
Here we go:
——– Original message ——–
Date:08/07/2014 3:07 PM (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Greetings, Introduction, Proposal
Hello Ms. Jones,
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Obsidian, and I am a Black male blogger specializing on Sexual Politics issues from the male side of the ball, so to speak. I’m from Philly, and in a previous life was a union card carrying Blue Collar Brotha. After my career ended some years ago, I traded in my union card for a keyboard – and never looked back.
I’ve been around the block – my handiwork can be seen in places such the Good Men Project, the Spearhead, the Urban Politico, and I’m known to hangout at a place called Very Smart Brothas. I started a small personal blog called The Obsidian Files some years back, and more recently, I cofounded the Men’s Issues blog collective known as Just Four Guys.
I’ve known about you for sometime, and as your name keeps coming up on my radar screen, I felt that at some point we should chat – we seem to have both a good bit in common, and at the same time have so much that is not. I thought it would be a good idea to see if it was possible if we could talk a bit with a view toward an interview if you’re so inclined.
Something tells me that like me, you too are interested in the kinds of issues that, until now, have really been in the realm of White Folk Who Matter(TM) – you know what I mean, the HuffPo/Salon/Atlantic crowd – and that, like me, you want to move the ball over the Black side of things. That’s good!–and much needed discussion and debate should ensue. For there is much to discuss, and indeed debate.
I’ve listened to a bit of your podcasts and have read a goodly bit about your blog, as well as kept a bit abreast of your activities with the MSM; I’m afraid I’m a bit more underground, but I try to keep up with things. Very interesting, and at times, a bit controversial stuff you’ve been putting out. Perhaps you may think the same (or worse!) of my own papertrail.
At any rate, please let me know if you’re interested in chopping it up a bit further; it ain’t often that we Black social media types get to bust it up because let’s face it, there ain’t that many of us to begin with, right? Even if we wind up disagreeing – and something tells me we’re quite likely to do a bit of it before it’s said and done – that’s no reason not to even talk to each other. After all, White folk do it all the time.
Looking forward to hearing back from you. I gotta admit, you are quite impressive.
Now adjourn your arses…
Feminista Jones <email@example.com> wrote:
Thank you for the elaborate email and compliments. I respectfully decline your invitation, but certainly wish you the best in your endeavors.
Sent on a Sprint Samsung Galaxy S® III
On Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM, O—- <[email withheld]> wrote:
Good morning Ms. Jones,
Replies as follows:
“Thank you for the elaborate email and compliments.”
O: Oh, not at all! The pleasure is all mine.
“I respectfully decline your invitation, but certainly wish you the best in your endeavors.”
O: Thank you! I accept.
As a parting shot, you should be advised that at J4G right now is a recent conversation I had with Ms. Lindsey, who runs the website “Cards Against Harassment”:
I bring this to your attention because your name came up over the course of our conversation; as I said before, your name keeps coming up on my radar of late.
As I said to Ms. Lindsey, and as I think it important for you to know, I find it equal parts interesting and deeply ironic, that “Sista Feminists” such as yourself are so unwilling to even talk to the very people so many of you hold out as “offenders”, yet seem more than eager to talk to anyone in the Cathedral who will lend a sympathetic ear – you know, the Atlantic, XOJane, and so forth. While they certainly feel good and grant laurels, they do nothing in terms of actual change, which is what so many on your side of the aisle claim to want. Meanwhile, while Ms. Lindsey and others like her (read: White Feminists) and I don’t have any love lost, she/they are at the very least willing to, to some extent, talk.
Amid the clamor that passes for “conversation” in our time when it comes to concerns such as Sexual Politics, one voice that is curiously absent is the Brotha on the Block – the working class guys who are so often talked about, usually in wholly unflattering ways, but rarely if ever actually talked to – it is why I started blogging to begin with. Getting up in the MSM and crying on the shoulders of Good Black Men(TM), again, while gratifying to some extent, won’t make much of a difference in the overall scheme of things; talking to guys like me on the other hand, will. Of course, guys like me have quite a bit to say – and quite a few questions of our own to ask.
It’s a conversation that is long overdue.
I’m looking forward to it.
Now adjourn your arses…
Feminista Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I declined because of the response you just sent. You’re accusatory and attempting to guilt me into some fictive kinship obligatory engagement.
My first mainstream column was for a BLACK publication, Ebony magazine. I provided over 60 articles of content to that BLACK organization, so your nonsensical accusations that I only care about this so-called “Cathedral” is insulting and dead wrong. If you’re going to cite the publications, you’d be wise to list the correct ones (i.e. referring to XOJane, when I’ve not written for or spoken to them directly).
I really do not care that you spoke with a woman whose idea jeopardizes the health and safety of Black women and has been wholeheartedly rejected by any people associated with #YouOKSis. Kudos to you for interviewing someone irrelevant to our cause. Should I feel obligated to speak to you because you spoke with a White woman who doesn’t speak for me? No.
I don’t do well with this type of goading and I certainly will not be coerced into doing anything with you because you feel like I owe you.
I don’t owe you anything.
So as I respectfully declined the first time, and you had a hard time accepting my decline of your invitation (not unlike street harassers), I am going to reiterate that I am not interested in working with you and I appreciate you not contacting me anymore. I have no obligation to respond to or engage you in any conversation you think “needs” to happen.
Best wishes in all of you endeavors.
Leave me alone.
Hello Ms. Jones,
Sure, I’ll do as you request; just so that we’re clear though, let’s get a few things straight:
Like Ms. Lindsey and the other umpteen “warriors” out there, you have yet to offer any smoking gun evidence that supports your claims – and I know quite a bit more about your work than you do mine.
Second, the Cathedral is very much a very real thing – just ask Mr. Stephen A. Smith for starters. Max Kellerman, too. And I just happen to know quite a few people who work for Ebony; they would agree with me that they’re not the kind of Black Folk Who Matter(TM) that I’m talking about – we’re talking about those Brothas on the Block who are supposedly threatening the health and wellbeing of the Sistahood, right?
Third, it was you and yours that started this whole thing – you all have claimed to want a “conversation” when nothing could be further from the truth. What you want is for Men, particularly those you find problematic, to simply bow their heads and do as they’re told.
If we’re going to have a conversation, it will be on the terms such a concept is actually understood – where both sides get not only to listen, but to be heard. You don’t get to set the terms of the conversation, or tell those whom you talk about how they are to conduct themselves. The Berlin Wall has fallen quite some time back and last time I checked, the United States isn’t shot through with reeducation camps, I’m afraid.
Guilt? LOL, only in your own mind, madam. And actually, I think some of what you do is a good thing, although a bit redundant in our time, since Black Women are hands down the most sexually liberated group of Women in the entire country, with all manner of evidence to support that contention. There are however, other Sexual Politics-related concerns that Black America could do well to discuss; here’s an example:
Sadly, Whites seem more interested in such things than Black folks. Funny, that.
Like I said, there are many things that cry out for addressing along Sexual Politics lines in Black America. How unfortunate that you and your erstwhile “Sistas” aren’t feeling up to the job.
Now adjourn your arses…
You cannot take “No” for an answer.
This is sick.
I said LEAVE ME ALONE.
You really don’t like it that Brothas can (and should) be heard on these matters, don’t you? Relax – I’ll leave you be.
Now adjourn your arses…
I’m gonna cop to everything that Jones has said about me—guilty as charged! People who know me well would definitely agree that not only can I be quite persistent, but I can also be quite persuasive. After all, how do you think I got the interviews I’ve gotten thus far?
But there is one little problem with Jones’s argument …
She never obtained my CONSENT(!) to air our email exchange. Please note that in the previous email exchanges-turned-de facto interviews I had with Evan Marc Katz and Lindsey of Cards Against Harassment, I was keen to obtain their consent to bring our offlist conversation to the J4G audience publicly. I’ve also been careful to obtain the consent of others in terms of their thoughts and words expressed either offlist or elsewhere online; Dr. Edward Rhymes, for example, can attest to this fact.
Why is this important?
Well, because consistency, that’s why. Imagine what Jones and her
flying monkeys followers would have said if the shoe was on the other foot—and I had taken it upon myself to air an offlist email exchange of her and me, releasing it to my readers without her foreknowledge or consent—I can hear the “comparisons” to rape and the like right now.
Of course, when it comes to social justice warriors like Jones, little trifles like the rule of law or even common decency don’t apply, especially when it comes to working-class, blue-collar brothas like yours truly—which does indeed bring us back round-robin to the point about “street harassment.” Consider this:
Haven’t you found it just a wee bit odd that the one voice totally left out of the “conversation” on this “issue” is working- and lower-class Black men? They’re talked about but almost never actually talked to. And as far as Black feminists like Jones are concerned, that’s exactly how they like and want it—for us to be completely without a voice, to not be able to face our accusers in open court or even the public square, to be subject to dehumanizing and draconian legal and social measures that would make diehard Stalinists blush. It’s all deeply problematic and forms much of the basis and reason as to why I do what I do.
For Black women like Jones, Black men like me have no rights toward consent that they are bound to respect. She is emblematic of those people—like Amanda Marcotte, of Duke LAX infamy, for example—who have no qualms in the least running roughshod over the civil liberties of others or just plain ole dissing them in the name of some “higher goal”—which is, of course, their own twisted utopian delusions of grandeur.
The irony of all this is that if she had only asked me, I would have readily and enthusiastically—heh—consented to our exchange being aired because I have nothing to hide and consider myself to always be on the Jumbotron—I don’t say anything online that I am not prepared to cosign or defend. Not only that, but this exchange being aired to the general public serves in itself as a kind of “debate,” in which both sides of the issue can be aired, and the public reading along can then decide for themselves. As Lindsey’s parting shots in our recent exchange aptly shows, it’s not the menz that are the problem here; it’s the ladies themselves.
I disagree with Tariq Nasheed’s contention that Feminista Jones is some kind of “agent provocateur” for White feminists; I have yet to see any smoking gun proof, though I remain open to the possibility should such evidence present itself. But what I will say, without any fear of censure or reprisal, is that Jones is disingenuous, manipulative, and a hypocrite of the first order—and I will make it my business now to keep a close eye on her from here on out. People like her, can and have proven, to be downright dangerous to people like me.
In the meantime, Ms. Jones, please, find another hobby; chess doesn’t suit you.
Old Maid, perhaps?