Last week in my feminist debates class, I brought up a term that I had recently encountered (it’s been around for awhile): mansplaining. Here’s the definition that Fannie’s Room offers:
Around the feminist blogosphere, the phenomenon of mansplaining has been duly noted as of late. This is also known as the Men Who Know Things phenomenon, whereby some men mistakenly believe that they automatically know more about any given topic than does a woman and will, consequently, proceed to explain to her- correctly or not- things that she already knows.
The mansplainer’s problem isn’t so much that he’s trying to teach a woman something, but rather that he takes it as a given that she doesn’t already know whatever it is he is going to tell her.
She also briefly mentions whitesplaining:
a white person whitesplains how a person of color is “wrong” about something being racist against people of color. It’s the same basic idea as mansplaining- as both are grounded in the privilege of one’s identity being considered society’s default and, therefore, more objective than the experiences of Other identities.
As I was looking over my twitter feed this morning, I found a tweet to an article over at Colorlines:
The article at Colorlines is a critique of Gene Marks original essay for Forbes: If I Were a Poor Black Kid. Marks’ article is getting tons of traffic and tons of attention and has generated lots of important critiques. Here’s one take on how this traffic and attention might have been deliberately crafted by Marks because it’s good for (his) business. I don’t really think I’m interested in bothering with a critique of this very problematic article (or am I? not sure; hence, the title of this post: oh boher! or, don’t bother?) because it just contributes to more attention (and money?) for Marks. I am interested, however, in documenting it as a great example of whitesplaining. Gene Marks is great at this ‘splaining stuff. Just a few months ago, he wrote an article that stands as a great example of mansplaining: Why Most Women Will Never Become CEOs. Sigh… So, next time I want to teach about whitesplaining or mansplaining, I can look to Gene Marks as my (im)moral exemplar! Gee thanks, Gene!
I was partly inspired to write this post after noticing a few responses to Marks’ “if were a black kid” approach. Here are just a couple:
- I am a poor black kid. You can follow @APoorBlackKid on twitter too.
- If I was a poor black kid
Here are 2 examples from the If I was a poor black kid tumblr:
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