Racism in America: Is It OK For Ru Freeman To Liken Bloggers to KKK?

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carla's picture
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Racism in America will never be positively dealt with as long as people like Ru Freeman stoke the true fires of hate accidentally on purpose. And I am just going to say it: I think her comparing bloggers to KKK on her post on her blog titled ”Haters” was deliberately incendiary as well as racially charged. While she is entitled to her opinion, I think adding the KKK comment stokes other fires and flames and she should know better, or care to know better. After all, her post is called "Haters". But who "hates" more here I wonder?

She said:

I simply cannot imagine that such ignorance and idiocy can take root and flourish inside the minds of human beings. And yet, the evidence is all around - it can and it does. What does not surprise me, however, is that such people never have the guts to come out in the open. They are like the KKK, hiding behind masks, in their case, pseudonyms, taking their pot shots at their neighbors. Here are a few gems I’ve come across: Politeia, teadrinker, Stepford Wives, tea-for-two, Give Me A Break, Wynnewoodie, Haverford, Keep The Change, Ever Heard of the Bill of Rights and, a personal favorite, Get A Clue Ru.

On the one hand I have been accused of being everything from an “affluent entitled” Main Line parent, and a “Main Line frau,” to being someone who shares her politics with Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh

Methinks the lady is insecure about her social status on the Main Line? And who even cares about that or if she is liberal or conservative politically? I sure don’t. What I do care about is she is a professional writer, and someone under different circumstances, I would look up to in that role and in her “activist” role. I love to write and I love meeting writers living that dream. Ditto with activists. I look at the fabulous female activists I have had the privilege to meet: the late Rosemary Cubas who taught a lot of us so much, Mary Cortes of Cramer Hill and even Susette Kelo of New London, CT.

I get that we are all human. But as someone who embraced the spirit of change in this country, someone who is still touched by meeting Michelle Obama face to face and interacting with her, I find what Ru Freeman did with her blog post upsetting and a throw-back. She let women, activists, and writers down with her casual (or was it deliberate) parallel of bloggers on the Main Line equal KKK. And she is not the only one doing things like this in this country and I am tired of it.

For her to disagree is fine. We are not all cookie cutter images of one and other. But to deliberately invoke an image so racially charged as well as extremely hateful I have to ask: What is she teaching her children?

I responded to her blog post and it is posted below. My comment to her is still awaiting moderation.

March 9, 2010 at 9:10 am
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Ms. Freeman,

I blog under my own name. I do that by choice. Just as other bloggers choose to blog as they are comfortable. Noms des plume, pen names, whatever descriptive term you prefer is centuries old and has hundreds of years of roots in Europe as well as a couple hundred solid years of U.S. History. Today the pen names become handles on blogs.

Do I like what every blogger who uses a handle has to say? Nope, and I will feel free to say so. However, I also know it is their right to blog how they are comfortable.

I have been attacked as well by people using handles on the Main Line Media News website --and I don't consider that blogging, I consider those comments and like someone said in one once that I have since borrowed because the description is accurate that it is like a virtual bathroom wall at times, and for things far less important in the grand scheme of things. Like you I addressed it in my own terms on my blog on the SAC site. But there the similarities end, because I did not liken bloggers who might be racially, ethnically, or religiously different from myself as the “KKK”. While the politically correct police of today might give you a hall pass on that one, I don’t. Bloggers don’t equal White Supremacists on the Main Line.

You said in response to Wynnewoodie and Politeia (who incidentally doesn’t exactly hide who he is so you are a bit off in that assertion with him):

“Are you willing to post this comment that you left on my blog under your own legal name? While I respect the opinion you have stated - and certainly feel it adds to a civilized conversation - I have no respect for people who don’t have the integrity to exhibit the sort of transparency they are demanding from their institutions. We may yet discover that our intentions are not that dissimilar, but we can’t get there from here when I am out in the open and you are in hiding”

Ms. Freeman, they aren’t hiding. They are blogging how they choose to blog and neither one in particular blogs irresponsibly. They are passionate about what they believe in, obviously, but it’s not for you to judge how they blog or what name they choose to blog under. Of course, you are welcome to your opinion in the safety zone of your own blog, and quoting local bloggers with higher profiles then you will bring you more web traffic to your blog, might sell you a few more books, get you some free publicity. Hey that’s cool, I/we get that. But for you to liken bloggers to the KKK and say they have to show themselves because they seek transparency in government and the school board, well honey, you have a long way to go. If you choose to stand out in the open as I do, that is YOUR choice. It doesn’t make THEIR choice wrong. And since this is Punish Merion Township, well now…

And end note for the record? I will tell you how I feel about evil spying laptops. As I am someone without children I am not supposed to comment, but oh well. I think Lower Merion School District is wrong. Upper Merion School District for the record turned down similar software on their laptops because their counsel wisely told them it was a can of worms.

Is a Class Action Suit with less than ideal plaintiffs the way to go on this? I don’t know, still haven’t decided. What I do know is if the Robbins family hadn’t had the chutzpah to take their course of action, this would have gotten swept under the rug with so much else in Lower Merion School District. Of course, as predicted their personal lives have become fodder for the grist mills as a result. But no matter who they are and what their past and present outside of this litigation may hold, it does not negate what the school district did in this case.

Then of course there is the re-districting issue and the issues raised by Concerned Black Parents. There are also the various suits and litigation that occur every day that none of us ever hear about. But are they also part of the KKK in your book as well? Or what about the nice older population at Beaumont which may or may not be bringing litigation against Harriton and the Lower Merion School District over EPA issues involving run-off and the people who protested the cost of the 2 high schools? Are they like the KKK? Are they also all “haters” because you may disagree with all or part of their opinions?

What are you teaching your children then, Ms. Freeman? Are you teaching them it’s OK to compare people who disagree with you as the KKK? Are you teaching them that because someone uses an online handle or pseudonym when they write they must be the KKK?

The issue, Ms. Freeman, isn’t the quality of teachers or education, nor is it whether or not bloggers use pseudonyms or blog in their own name, the issue is the Lower Merion School District, specifically the school board and the executives in the district like the Superintendant. Now there is McGinley. Before there was Savedoff. Both have brought a lot of strife and aggravation to the district, along with spending lots and lots and lots of money.

It affects everyone, and eventually, Ms. Freeman their years of poor choice in actions will affect the quality of education because teachers will go elsewhere. But that is not the fault of parents with whom you disagree. That all has to do with the decisions being handed down by the school board and school administration. Therein lays the true root of the issues in my opinion. It is also my opinion that your petition group might want to open your minds to what the other side has to say, after all, Ms. Freeman, that seems to be what you are asking of them.

But please refrain from doing what you claim to be railing against: hating people because they are different from you and because their opinion is not your own. It's hard to see the comments sometimes, yes I get that. And it would be nice in a perfect world if everyone who disagreed with you had the balls to say it to your face versus say it behind your back or whatever, but that doesn't always happen given human nature.

And brush up on your U.S. History. Ben Franklin and John Adams in particular had several pen names they employed while fighting along with the rest of our founding fathers for the rights we would enjoy today; the rights that even enable us to have this conversation out in the open. John Adams and his wife Abigail also used pen names while they were “courting”. Check the history of their love letters. One of Adams’ political pen names was Novanglus, Ben Franklin had several personas of the pen, including a woman he called Silence Dogood, and Alexander Hamilton used Publius I think. It is said they were inspired by the famous and inspirational Voltaire, who was known to his family as François-Marie Arouet. My favorite short story author from my childhood was O.Henry. That was a pen name too. He was really William Sydney Porter. And the final pen name of note? The name of an author who has come up time and again with the spying laptop issue: George Orwell. George Orwell, author of 1984 was really Eric Arthur Blair.

Thanks

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dmuth's picture
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As much as I'm not thrilled with her "KKK" comments, I'd like to ask folks not to bust on her too harshly for not allowing through comments on her blog. It appears to be her personal website, and if she's paying the hosting bill, she's pretty much free to include or exclude whatever (or whomever) she wants. I'd probably react the same way if folks started to bust on me on my personal blog, too.

That said, if she were to show up here and interact with folks, even though I pay the hosting bill, I'd tolerate it to an extent, seeing as this is more of a community-oriented website. (Though any "KKK"-like comments would certainly result in a warning for participants to cool down a bit)

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politeia's picture
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Great post and letter, Carla.

I posted early this morning that I have no inclination to deal with Freeman any further, and your comments explain exactly why.

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Brotherhood of Thieves

~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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carla's picture
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Doug, without a doubt, on her blog she can publish what comments she desires. But she seems to be seeking dialogue in the "Hater" post - so if people are politely trying to interact with her, she can't have it both ways. You know how I don't always like the comments I get, but it's not like I go and delete my posts when comments pop up I hate. Sometimes I get a little hot in reply, but the comments endure.

Here is a lil' something she plopped in her post at some point today:

Needless to say, I am still waiting. Funny thing, though. Apparently this whole initiative was a way for me to publicize my book. I’ll let the BBC know.

She'll "let the BBC know"? Is that supposed to scare us off? Impress us? Intimidate? Seems a bit pretentious/condescending to me sort of like "you little people" LOL. I would welcome the chance to interact on the BBC with this - I watch their world news in the morning and in the evenings.

Mayhap this will find it's way onto a BBC facebook page or tweet to see what they think?

And FYI? My comment has not been posted. I thought it was thoughtful and honest - and in my own name. So it's her blog and whatever she does is up to her, but I also have had no e-mail as of yet from her regarding my comment to see if it was from me or not.

And as for the KKK, pro or con that topic, she raised it, and as a BLOGGER and a human being I found it offensive. I found it as something not to teach our young, ya know?

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L'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers/Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.–Jean Jacques Rosseau. The Social Contract, 1762

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outtathere's picture
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Doug, without a doubt, on her blog she can publish what comments she desires. But she seems to be seeking dialogue in the "Hater" post

Carla, my take on it is that, rather than seeking a dialogue, she is just preaching to the choir and seeking reinforcement from her acolytes.

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"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.":Gil Scott-Heron 1970 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

carla's picture
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I was laughing so hard when I read the following comments on the Main Line Times website under Ru Freeman's editorial that my mascara ran (note to self: go back to waterproof) Anyway, it is so friggin funny I can't stand it. Am relieved to know that at least this week everything is not solely my fault, although apparently it is the fault of every blogger who doesn't agree with Ru, Reedites, LMSD, LMT, Bruce's Angels (whom I hear are stacking up the committeepeople jobs quite nicely, but I digress)..anyway for a giggle see:

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And I don't know when the paper is changing their format on comments but they sure haven't done so yet.

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L'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers/Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.–Jean Jacques Rosseau. The Social Contract, 1762

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carla's picture
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LOL 5:03 P.M. and Madame Ru has not posted my comment reply to her post. It's her blog, but it's still kinda funny, so I am glad I posted it here.

_____________________________________________________________
L'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers/Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.–Jean Jacques Rosseau. The Social Contract, 1762

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lmprime's picture
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This has been hilarious to follow.

It’s OK for her friend to post on her blog anonymously, but if you don’t know her personally, you have to give your full name, and if you don’t she will post your response to her gibberish and she will also post your real name without your consent.

However, if you are not her friend and you sign your full name, she does not post your comment (especially if it makes her look bad).

You cannot make up such stilted and obtuse logic!

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carla's picture
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I hadn't been following so closely the comments written under Ru Freeman's editorial, so I decided to take a peek. Ok, so how is it I got dragged into this? And we are also back to the only people who blog on the Main Line are on the SAC site? LOL These people are nut jobs. Except for tea drinker. I am posting their comment too...but seriously? Are their lives that boring?

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L'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers/Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.–Jean Jacques Rosseau. The Social Contract, 1762

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carla's picture
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Good Lord! Main Line Media News is going to WEEP when people have to start registering for comments:
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L'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers/Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.–Jean Jacques Rosseau. The Social Contract, 1762

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