Worth reading Jill Filipovic not just on the double-standard of dinging Kamala Harris for ambition but on why we ding ambition in politics at all.

Harris apparently also got on Team Biden’s bad side because she challenged Biden in a debate and had “no remorse.” She allegedly laughed and said “that’s politics” when it was implied she should apologize. Biden needs “a loyal no. 2,” and because Harris criticized him when she was running against him, she’s not it.

Harris’s actions were, literally, politics. And at least Harris criticized Biden’s actual policies. Remember when Biden said Obama was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”? That wasn’t policy, but you bet your ass it was politics.

Sometimes I lose track of where I found a thing, and that’s the case with Nathan J. Robinson’s exploration for Current Affairs of J.K. Rowling’s literature in the face of J.K. Rowling’s bigoted personhood. I’ve never read the Harry Potter books; it’s not a genre in which I’m interested. I’m interested, though, in this sort of retrospective in light of a creator’s personal beliefs or behavior. I was surprised among other things to learn the books apparently just sort of brush off slavery as a sort of “eh, what’re you going to do” thing. Then there’s this brutal bit.

[…] I was recently reading Langston Hughes’ memoir The Big Sea, and he discusses a wealthy white woman who served as his patron during the Harlem Renaissance. She simply adored him, but she also expected him to produce a very particular kind of writing that would capture the spirit of the “savage” and “African” that so entranced her about him. When he didn’t conform to her expectations, she cut him loose. She was a racist, it is obvious to any of us, but every word out of her mouth was about how important she felt it was to support Black literature and Black people, all the writers she loved and how wonderful their art was. I hear echoes of this when J.K. Rowling talks about the charming transsexual she met.

So, I don’t know why it wasn’t until this that I realize it, but now I see that some TERFs seem to think that reacting to a (perceived) loss of privilege is not actually transphobic; that an inclusive feminism somehow (inexplicably) cheapens hard-won feminist advances. But let me just respond to one point directly.

Twitter is obviously not the ideal place to conduct a nuanced argument but even by its standards there’s been a remarkable amount of “reading in” to her tweets. In the one that sparked the current shouting match, she suggested that phrases like “people who menstruate” (or, by analogy, “pregnant people”) tend to erase women’s identity. Is she wrong?

She is wrong, and the suggestion that “people who menstruate” erases “women’s identity” pretty much literally exemplifies TERF thinking.

What an inclusive feminism does is expand and correct “women’s identity”. None of the hard-won feminist advances somehow are despoiled if a more modern expansive thinking transforms you specifically into a cisgender woman rather than exclusively woman.

Absolutely damning exposé by Emily Shugerman of racism at the National Organization for Women.

In interviews with The Daily Beast, nearly a dozen members, employees, and visitors recalled women of color being heckled, silenced, or openly disparaged at NOW meetings and offices. The behavior culminated at the 2017 conference where, witnesses say, members dismissed Fortson-Washington, a black woman, as “angry” and entitled, and accused Weeks of being a “hot-headed Latina.” On the last day of the conference, more than a dozen women marched around a conference room to protest racism inside the organization.

But the problem didn’t stop there. Internal emails, documents and interviews obtained by the Daily Beast reveal that allegations of racism reached the highest levels of the organization after Weeks and Fortson-Washington’s loss. More than a dozen employees at the national headquarters signed onto a letter accusing President Toni Van Pelt of sidelining and disparaging women of color, and the previous vice president has filed a federal racial discrimination suit.

Ed Pilkington’s excoriation of the ways in which “America’s deep and brutal fault lines […] rendered the country ill-prepared to meet the challenges of this disease” easily can be read by the light cast by Venkatesh Rao’s exploration of how the Black Death “brought a bunch of strong historical forces, which had been building up pressure, to a crisis point”.

Warren’s unbridled bellicosity Wednesday night offered an unconventional answer to that question. Some saw her performance as an act of desperation: a flagging candidate seeking discount media coverage with a parade of quotable moments. Or it may have been more strategic: driving a stake through the heart of the revenant stop-and-frisk architect, as a televised show of devotion for progressive and black voters. Either way, as countless postdebate write-ups have already pointed out, it was a return to the “fighter” identity that Massachusetts voted for in 2012. But that’s underselling its novelty.

From The Radicalism of Warren’s Unapologetic Aggression by Heather Souvaine Horn (via Pete Brown)