ATR 91 – diluting feminism, Michelle Obama, the Manchurian candidate

Do feminists who address race and racism run the risk of diluting feminism? What is it about Michelle Obama that many Americans find so threatening? Will white people be able to overcome their fear of racial retribution from a black president?

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Note from Carmen: There are some lag issues in the final segment of this episode – sorry about that. Just Skype acting up again.

Guest co-host Kai Chang is a technology entrepreneur and independent blogger living and working in New York City and southwestern Connecticut. Kai was born in Buffalo, New York, and has lived in Montreal, Canada; Los Angeles, California; Hong Kong; and the Szechuan province of China. Kai blogs at, as well as at the new pro-migrant community blog The Sanctuary.

Update: Here are a few links relevant to the discussion. (Thanks Kai!)



Michelle Obama Watch

Fight the Smears

Duration – 1:03:28
File Size – 44.7 MB

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3 thoughts on “ATR 91 – diluting feminism, Michelle Obama, the Manchurian candidate”

  1. Thanks for the informative podcasts. They helped me get through a very long travel situation this past week. However, I have to take issue with one comment which you made in passing. You seemed to be criticizing those who might say that “diversity is not just about race.” While I agree that it is very important that we address the significance of racism in our society head-on, I was saddened to see that you almost appeared to dismiss another significant form of oppression which is often overlooked–ableism. You seemed to be showing some able-bodied privilege. For those of us who are disabled, we do not have the luxury of “waiting” until race is “solved” to tackle the issue. Ableism is affecting many people in very real ways *right now.* I don’t think we ought to be devising a hierarchy of oppression. Ableism is also about racism and intersectionality. I don’t have exact statistics, but it seems reasonable to assume that disabled POC have even less access to adequate services and supports. We can’t analyze the full effects of racism and oppression if we assume that ableism is some secondary issue.

  2. I love that you’ve noticed Michelle Obama’s style because I have too. In university some friends and I used to joke about making a zine called ‘Hot Profs’ featuring professors who were well dressed and attractive and who would ultimately give you butterflies in your stomach when their brilliance shone in a lecture. Michelle Obama would definitely make the front page.
    She’s a threat because like Clinton [as a first lady] she challenges the role of first lady as an empty-headed Eagle Forum signatory. Perhaps she ought to disguise herself in a pillbox hat and appear on The View giving hugs to that awful blonde lady.

  3. What?! We can’t say “whitey” now? Drat. Now I have to find more creative ways to mock my people.

    Michelle Obama 2022? We can dream. Painful though the primary was, even from a distance, it was heartening to have such a discourse about misogeny v. feminism. In my circle, it has led a lot of previously intimidated women to identify as feminists.
    However, a lot of that got lost or negated in the stupid fighting over who “owns” capital-F Feminism, as a theory and a movement.

    I have been a proud Feminist since I first heard the word at age eight. I have friends and second cousins who are the prototype of the wealthy white older women who love love love Madame Clinton and who are vowing a revenge vote for McCain, for whom abortion rights are THE issue, who dealt with a lot of discrimination for being “career women” in their generation. I can respect and admire but not relate to them, but I feel they don’t return the favor, and brand me an Uncle Tom of the Cunthood for supporting Obama. If people prefer to focus their stands on specific issues, I totally support them, but they shouldn’t bash those of us with more multifaceted agendas. I think the reactions of that demographic rather expresses their own personal demons, ie “well-intentioned white liberals” who are kinda racist but feel guilty yet defensive about it.

    Carmen, nong lai Sanghei hai you ning hui gang Naguning! Naguning! It’s Shanghai, they love whities and hunxies, it’s a compliment.

    Naguning/Laowai/Foreigner is less insulting than “Expat” – and I was disappointed that you used it. “Expatriate” verus “Immigrant” has very racist, classist baggage. In Asia, at least, it references someone sent for a few years by their company on a “hardship package”. If someone from a poor brown country migrates to a wealthy white country, they must be escaping a horrible existence and planning to stay, thus are “immigrants”. If someone from a wealthy white country migrates to a poor brown country, they must be on a youthful lark or sent for a job, since it’s soooo difficult living in them poor brown countries, so we’re “Expatriates”. Sucks for those second, third, fourth generation “expats”.

    You don’t see racist whities railing against the “illegal expats” in the US. Until then, the term will continue to annoy me even more than the people who get in my face and screetch the reverse ching-chong of “Haaaa Loooo!!!” The two are, in my opinion and experience, related.

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