Tuesday, January 23, 2007

kitties in love

i think we all need this after the shit storm that was my previous post. enjoy.


Anonymous said...

aw, i'm jealous. i wish merlin would accept a buddy... they are so sweet!

ryanne said...

at first i rejected this comment because i'm growing weary of people throwing the word 'racist' at me, but i'm going to publish it here because i would love for anonymous to articulate why they thought my response to street harassment was racist. i think it's valuable to explain your argument when flat out calling someone's actions racist:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "kitties in love":

Gee whiz..posting cute kitties WILL make us forget your racist rant response to street harassent. Give me a break

Anonymous said...

This shit is getting beyond annoying and it's not even happening to me!

Racism is an institution. As a white woman, like Ryanne, I am racist because the system privileges me at the expense of others. My individual actions cannot be racist unless I am leveraging the power and privilege the system affords me - usually against a person or persons of color. As such, the only thing Ryanne's video COULD have been was discriminatory or prejudiced, but here's the kicker: it wasn't. Ryanne has plainly said that race did not factor into the equation of her taping or posting. The harassers happened to be black.

I will continue to ask the question that no one wants to answer. Should Ryanne not have documented the harassment because the harassers were men of color? Not to play the hypothetical game, but what would you be saying if they were white?

Sounds to me as if commenters are asking women to demand respect differently from the oppressed than from the privileged. But if consent to our oppression by the oppressed, we all just end up oppressed.

Jay Dedman said...

posting an anonymous comment calling someone racist without any explanation shows the shallow level of conversation that "race" has in the US.

kenyatta said...

'Anonymous' is just a troll. Don't feed the troll.

If all they're going to do is make anonymous snipes, it's not worth responding to.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I feel so shallow, but all I want to say is that watching your two kitties gave me perhaps the only big smile I've had all day, and I needed it very much. It's been a hard day. Thank you. Fur rules.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone would answer Hilary's question, though I'm quite sure they won't because people don't seem to know how to respond when being called on their own wack allegations. If people want to talk about race, I believe a more productive conversation would relate to institutionalized racism, as Hilary points out.

Meanwhile, Ryanne, your kitties are beautiful, and so is their little kitty love.

Anonymous said...

It's me..."the troll" as Kenyatta calls me. Posted anonymously before and now as I'm fairly new to the "sphere" and not sure if I want to register w/ blogger, but I'm back with my trolly self to explain my remarks to Ryanne further.

I have a vox account
[ http://michaelsradio.vox.com/ ]
and will attempt to populate it so you can know more about me, but mostly I got it to post on Tricia's blog.

This is a link to what I posted to Tricia's blog:


Here's the full text:


Great comments on the Ryann Hodson video confrontation. Well thought out and expressed my sentiments exactly.

I too was troubled by the anger punishment aspect of the video post.

Anyway, I may post a comment on her site, but I don't know if she'll be able to hear the criticism.

I think what Ryann may not realize is that her power doesn't stem from the fact that she has a video camera in her pouch and can post those "motherf*ckers"
on the web, that they'll think twice about cat calling again.

Anything, anything born out of such anger, and used in anger as her post was, can do no good. I her Ryann's voice saying, " I'm so right, they're so wrong...look see how right I am. " Fact is that without seeing the original incident, we're all at the mercy of Ryann's account of what happened, all of which is filtered through Ryann's life experience.

I'm not saying that what they did was right, but the tone of the response, and frankly the not so subtle racism that was apparent to me in the terminology she used, I was troubled by. Would she have done this with a group of white guys?

" Remember....I've got you on tape..." Jesus, Ryann..who the hell are you to be saying that?

The chance for some real dialog, sans video, would have furthered the cause much more than Ryann's self-righteous post. ".

It would have put the situation to bed immediately, given the sh*t right back to the guys right away, and humanized everyone in the situation. These guys will more likely than not never see this post, and in putting it up achieved what Ryann apparently wanted:

"You Rock!...You go Girl!...you're awesome!"

Not in my book. You used you're camera to intimidate...the way some people use pitbulls or lawyers. Keep that thing on a leash ( or at least turned off )
and use the gifts you were given: intelligence, opportunity, eloquence.

These are tools much more suited to advancing the cause than a Sony Camera. There'a a time to vlog and a time to experience life without a camera, microphone, or computer.

My two trolly cents.


ryanne said...

you don't have to sign up for a blogger account to post a comment with your name and URL.
just type in your name and URL.
unlike VOX which makes you sign up for an account to comment.

ryanne said...

i'm still not clear why you think my actions were racist...
because they were black and i am white? it seems that you disapprove of my actions because they were angry, not because you thought i was being racist.

Jay Dedman said...

michael, i agree that a blog that only had photos of black men and "these men are bad" would be something worthy of outrage by all of us.

But is this what Ryanne did?
its pretty irresponsible to label her video "your racist rant response" when this is far from the fact.

The question is:
is Ryanne's video about a white person recording black people?
or is it about a single woman confronting a group of men?

Usually, groups of men on the street have total power over a single woman minding her own business. What recourse can she take? If she yells back at them, they love it. So here we have an example of a woman changing the balance of power.

Would it better if Ryan captured the men actually yelling at her?
I hope to see her or other women capture this next time.

Will it be "racist" if these men happen to be black? Plenty of white guys cat call as well. To me, its not about race...but more about education and how a man was taught to respect a woman.

Im glad we're having this conversation because where else can we intelligently talk about race in this country.

i'd like to hear your suggestion on how a woman should react.
If your sister/mom was walking down the street and some men starting yelling at her, what should she do?

Anonymous said...

It's me "Trolly Two Cents" again

jay says:

"The question is:
is Ryanne's video about a white person recording black people?
or is it about a single woman confronting a group of men? "

Ryanne felt "empowered" enough to go up to this group and hint that she would threaten their jobs,
( "...do you guys work here?" "I've got you on tape..") Perhaps I'm wrong, but she's white, they're black. Was a confrontation of that sort necessary? Absolutely not.I there a dynamic of what I perceive to be her privileged place in society? I believe the answer is yes.

Jay says

" Usually, groups of men on the street have total power over a single woman minding her own business. What recourse can she take?....
If she yells back at them, they love it. So here we have an example of a woman changing the balance of power..."

Talk to them directly, right at the time of the incident. Address the issue on the spot OR the zen approach is not to react at all.
That's where the real power lies.

I ask what would have happen w/o the camera? Ryanne would have to have had a human interaction. One person realizing and getting closer to the
humanity of the other.

Jay says

" Would it better if Ryan captured the men actually yelling at her?
I hope to see her or other women capture this next time. "

It's essential in this case. Without that documentation of the incident to balance out the equation, we're just left with a young woman's anger and her story, which we are supposed to buy hook line and sinker. That she's the "good" one that was wronged.

I can buy a small piece of her resentment over the cat calling, but Jay you're trying to tell me that if this had been a group of white guys, Ryanne would be using the term "mother f*ckers disrepectin'.."

I don't think so.

Jay says

" I'm glad we're having this conversation because where else can we intelligently talk about race in this country. "

I'm glad we're having this conversation too, because it also points out the ugly nature of sexism ( theirs ), and actions conducted in anger ( Ryanne's ), which are rarely the right ones.

One of my favorite quotes:

"Arrows of hate have been shot at me too, but they never hit me, because somehow, they seemed to belong to another world..."

I leave it to the reader to figure out who the quote is from:

Peace ( and keep breathing )

Michael (Trolly Two Cents)

ryanne said...

i'm calling bullshit on you mike.
sorry but i dont think you understand the video. i did confront them at the moment of the incident. i put my bags down and walked right back to them.
and it's totally obvious that you have never been harassed (well you're not female, so i guess you'll never know how degrading it feels).

we obviously have very different perspectives on how to deal with stuff. the camera made me feel empowered so i used it. this is what i do, i'm a videoblogger, i document my life, whether i'm angry or happy or whatever.

there is no right and wrong dude. i never said i was right and they were wrong. i'm just saying 'this happened'. and if they were white, i'd be just as angry and calling them motherfuckers. who are you to say what i would have done anyway?

ryanne said...

they were working. i think this incident would have played out very different if they had been just passerbys. i was doubly pissed that these guys felt ok doing this while working. sexual harassment training anyone?

ElisaC said...

Here is the comment I left on Tricia's post:

"The strongest whiff of racist/classist thought I extracted from this entire exchange is the one that presum>es that men of color or of a certain "class" don't have to be held (in fact are incapable of being held) to the same standards of respectful and ethical behavior as others because of their "culture."

And I don't think you can have it the two ways you seem to be trying to have it here. i.e.: learn from Ryanne and her brave confrontation, but by the way she's akin to a lyncher and a vigilante. If you want a productive dialog such extreme comparisons kind of shut that right down, don't they? To your point about anger after all.

Ryanne basically did exactly what you describe in your comments on her blog. She went up and told them she didn't appreciate their comments and that it was disrespectful. She didn't curse them out. She didn't deride their work. She told them how she felt. So all of a sudden she's a vigilante and you're not because she had her camera? And you don't like what some of her commenters said...which mostly seem to be giving her support more than anything...so again, this gets her compared to a lyncher?

But mostly, I'm offended by the sweeping and gross generalizations you make about men of color. My nephews are being raised to behave ethically and respectfully, whether they always achieve that or not. To say there is some cultural norm that gives them some pass, or at least some lowered expectation of how much anger or protest someone should levy against them for disrespectful behavior that can easily be seen as threatening too, well that's ridiculous."

Anonymous said...

ryanne, the video you posted rocks. period. i hadn't seen all the criticisms launched your way until today and i'm beside myself that what you recorded is seen as anything more than what it is: you contronting people who have harrassed you. i can't count how many times i've walked into similar situations and feel so powerless to expose it. sexism can be quite subtle or very overt as your post makes clear (and would you believe that even in a big shiny law firm with a bunch of white male partners, you can encounter such things as "cat calls"? this is really not about race or class.). anyway, i say more power to you for the post and for putting the truth of your experiences out there to the world.

Anonymous said...

Ok Ryanne,

This will be my last comment on this.

It's clear that we have different points of view on the value / reason for posting your response to the harassment incident. I have been harassed plenty in my life, yes, even sexually, so I know a some of what you speak.

I'm more affronted by the lack of time for "the other side".

I'd love to see a chat, directly with one of the guys or a group of them.

You might be surprised by what you'd find.

I'll reveal that I'm arguing my point as a black man who has been on the sharp end of the power balance stick many times in my life by whites who feel plenty entitled, and who have distorted the truth to make their side of the story look better.

I'm not saying that you've done that Ryanne, I'm ust stating my experience. I believe that you are an honest broker.

If you feel moved to do so, complete the circle: go back and begin a dialog. I think you might build much more of a bridge than you know.

And hey if you videoblog it, we'll all benefit from seeing he transaction that began in isolation , objectification, and anger, possibly transcend into ??????

We can only dream.

Michael (Trolly Two Cents)

ryanne said...

ok michael
so it took you 4 comments to say you thought i was honest? because a few comments ago you pretty much said- how can we believe Ryanne's account here?

and i HAVE said that if i had the chance to go back and talk to these guys, i certainly would. i said that on kenyatta and tricia's blogs. do you think i'm that much of a moron that i wouldn't try that? i'm a media maker, this is what i do, i follow up, i start conversations.

however, i think it's unrealistic to expect this kind of follow up from these types of situations.
you get harassed in the street, you think you're going to see those people again? a huge percentage of the time, the answer is no.

and for my situation, i haven't see those guys at that work site again...so what can a girl do?

what i don't understand is that, as a black man, you didn't extend your experiences of harassment to me in the first place. instead of trying to connect and reach out to ME, get me to really hear your perspective, you flat out called me a racist and said 'give me a break'. is that your idea of 'reaching out' to people?

take your own advice. reach out and start talking to people instead of leaving snap judgments as anonymous comments- though i do commend you on continuing the conversation here in the comments certainly, but really dude. c'mon here.

Jay Dedman said...

I give Michael props for engaging.
I understand Michael's point of view, though I think ultimately it's difficult for men in general to be objective about what a woman feels in these street situations with male harassers.

You say a woman should just walk up and engage a group of men who cat call her. Do you really think this is a reality? You think any group of guys really want to dissect issues intelligently after yelling "let me love your thing, sweet tits"?

Anyway...Michael, I'd love to see if you had a blog. The best thing is to read what you're about and follow your thought process.

Michael said...

Thanks for sharing the shout video Ryanne, it was inspirational.

Diana said...

As an Asian woman who lives in Harlem, I get harrassed practically every week. It's either "Hey China, how you doin'?" or trying to make "chinese sounds" like "ching chong chi chai" or something worse. Sometimes I ignore it...other times I shout back and say "Shut up. That's really offensive." The harrassers either laugh , or are just shocked that I would actually respond, as though they are finally realize that the girl they were shouting at a moment ago is an actual human being.

My point is, any type of sexist/racist comment is degrading. It doesn't matter who the comment comes from. Everyone, regardless of race, education, or profession, should be expected to know how to treat others respectfully, and you shouldn't get a free pass to harrass others because you're a "disadvantaged" race or class.

Documenting her confrontation on film doesn't mean that she reacted without intelligence or eloquence.

Anonymous said...

Your comment to Mike is unfair:

“And it's totally obvious that you have never been harassed (well you're not female, so i guess you'll never know how degrading it feels).”

This isn’t true. Everyone and anyone at some point have experienced harassment.

I don’t think being told you are ugly is pinned down to one sex.

I am a male. I have been called names before. I think the only serious difference is that as a man, if I tell another guy he is _________ the words are apt to be returned with fists.

Do not be mistaken: “Woof, Woof!” is not slang for “You have a nice ass.”

ryanne said...

i hear ya.
and you were right, mike did tell me that he has experienced harassment.

and whatever 'woof woof' translates to i don't like people yelling it at me on the street.

Anonymous said...

So, how does this relate to cats?

Oh, silly me! I get it! "Cat calls", "Woof, Woof." I see the connection.

What I see is people having reactions to experiences and then being upset that people have reactions. So we are reacting to reactions. And again with the dog metaphore because, thus with the chasing of tails.

I don't think it does much good to yell, "Don't be mean!" in a mean voice.

And I think if you holler at someone, it is fair to expect them to holler back. And if you don't want your hollering to be for popular consumption, best not to do it in public. Maybe just think Woof, Woof. Or even whisper and point?

Anyway, I think everything unfolded quite naturally. Did anybody learn anything?

I learned that chasing tails is fun and leads to endless conversation. Also, we can keep hate alive by hating the perceived hater. We can even add to the hate by assigning hate where there is none and treating people as thought they are haters. Then they can confirm our fears and the pattern can continue on forever and ever. Life doesn't get much sweeter than that! Ahhhhh.

Hate and anger make for chewy bones indeed. Grrrrr.

Hey! That's my bone!!! Give it up!

Anonymous said...

Oh, now I can post. It was only taking blogger comments for a second.

Anyway, I wanted to clarify that my last comment was meant to be a defense of Ryanne. It wa sa little obtuse. :)

Anonymous said...

ON THE CATS: Boy that car alarm was irritating to the cat who was evidently the "top". Did you see him/her stop and shake his/her head? And put the ears back. They ought to make car alarms that don't hurt cat's ears! :)

I am outraged! ;)

Carl Weaver said...

Funny - the people who are so apt to say things like, "Don't let it bother you," are the ones with really thin skins when you tell them to go hump themselves. They think you should be able to take it but they can't take it themselves.

What I liked about the previous video is that you (Ryanne) didn't just tell those guys off and yell at them. You tried to engage them and ask why they did what they did. That's verbal judo and it's very powerful. I commend you not just for doing that but for being angry and still being able to do it so deftly.

I heard a brief lecture the other night from someone who said that when encountering gossip, complaints about others, etc., he says, "Well, let's go get that person and see if he/she can weigh in on this because I am not comfortable talking behind that person's back." It shuts down the trash talking in no time. Similar thing.

Sorry this whole thing has turned into a big cf. Race/class/culture isn't a legitimate excuse. We all have the option to be rude or civil and have good ideas of what that means. A decent person who came to understand that he hurt or offended you would be very apologetic and try to humbly explain or make it up to you, change his behavior or something of the sort.

Anyway, great kitties. I love to see my cats bathe each other. Such sweetness!

Anonymous said...

Ryanne, I don't know how I missed this video when you first posted it but someone recently left it for me as a comment to my recent video which I made for my stalker. And I have to say that you've made me proud. Violet Blue recently made me proud too when she called out the guys from This Week in Tech for their undercurrent of sexism in their podcast. Web 2.0 is supposedly all about empowerment. We need to use it to reveal the truth about being a woman in today's society. Even if it means we get a few nasty comments.

missbhavens said...

KITTIES!!! I have lost all hope that our cat would accept a little furry buddy in the house. But anyway, on to the harassment/racism debacle!

What-freakin'-EVER! Let's see...what was racist in the video or your attitude within the video...that it was a bunch of black men and then white Ryan? What if it had been a bunch of black men and black Ryan? Or a bunch of white men and black Ryan? OR--God Forbid-- a bunch of white men and white Ryan? THEN what would it be? It couldn't be racist, so that leaves...classist? What if it were a bunch of lesbians of various cultures...would that make straight Ryan a homophobe? This is idiotic.

(but the cats are fabulous)

elicaC has my sentiments down pat in the first paragraph of her comment. I find it appalling that men are forgiven for harassment by hiding under the umbrella of "culture". Ryan wasn't traipsing through another culture on some sort of anthropological assignment, she was doing her laundry. I didn't know that it was culturally acceptable for african-americans to catcall. I bet a lot of african-american men would disagree with someone who said catcalling was an indigenous to their culture. Which bring us to the fractured mess that is "african-american culture" but that's a topic for another day.

(damn, those cats are cute...who's the new one?)

Damn right you have a camera, and damn right you say "I have you on camera". "...who are you to say that?" I'll tell you who: the person holding the camera.

You're being accused of using " your camera to intimidate?"
Sorry, but I'm all for intimidating your intimidators to diffuse a situation. Sounds like Michael wanted you to go up and film yourself giving them hugs. What racist terminology is bother him here? Motherf*ckers? Because I thought that was sort of a catch-all. it's not like you used the N-word.

"The Zen approach is not to react at all"

Aww....that's so sweet! Sweet like kitties!

(trying like hell to stay on the topic of cats)