Why I continue to follow links relating to the Tea Party and whatever problematic tripe they’re spewing on that particular day, I don’t know. I only have a certain amount of anxiety medication allotted each month and I can’t afford to waste it. When I saw that the NAACP called the Tea Party a bunch of racists — oh wait, excuse me, when their delegates “passed a resolution to condemn extremist elements within the Tea Party, calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches“, my first thought was “here we go”. Because whenever a person of color — usually a black person, let’s get real — brings up race and the Tea Party, Tea Party members go straight to their first line of defense: deny vehemently that they’re racist, and then call the black person reverse racist and ungrateful. Oh, and “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ABRAHAM LINCOLN? He freed the slaves, you know. Or did you like being slaves? I guess you did, because you don’t love freedom like we do.”

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton could probably see this coming ten miles away so they disassociated themselves real quick, as did Benjamin Jealous (really bad name to have in this case, dude, sorry), president of the NAACP. But it was too late. Something awful had to spew forth from a Tea Partier’s fingers onto their keyboard; that’s just how it works. This time, it took the form of a letter written by Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams, and it of course involves Abraham Lincoln. I’ll let you read it here, in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Lincoln

We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!

In fact we held a big meeting and took a vote in Kansas City this week. We voted to condemn a political revival of that old abolitionist spirit called the ‘tea party movement’.

The tea party position to “end the bailouts” for example is just silly. Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn’t that what we want all Coloreds to strive for? What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us coloreds! Of course, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the only responsible party that should be granted the right to disperse the funds.

And the ridiculous idea of “reduce[ing] the size and intrusiveness of government.” What kind of massa would ever not want to control my life? As Coloreds we must have somebody care for us otherwise we would be on our own, have to think for ourselves and make decisions!

The racist tea parties also demand that the government “stop the out of control spending.” Again, they directly target coloreds. That means we Coloreds would have to compete for jobs like everybody else and that is just not right.

Perhaps the most the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government “stop raising our taxes.” That is outrageous! How will we coloreds ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society?

Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house. Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we belong.

Sincerely

Precious Ben Jealous, Tom’s Nephew NAACP Head Colored Person”

So the “National Tea Party Federation“, a group that apparently represents the Tea Partiers, (but I thought this group did that? And this one?) responded to Williams’ letter by kicking his Tea Party Express group out of their sandbox. What impact this has on Williams, I don’t know, since the Tea Party doesn’t appear to be centralized. As far as I know, he can go on writing hateful, racist letters in the voice of a plantation slave under the Tea Party banner until the end of time. That’s the beauty of decentralization, right? States’ rights and all.

How does this screw-up by their self-appointed leaders help the “Yep, I’m a Racist” ground troops who are trying so hard to convince us they’re not racist that they willingly call themselves racist? Well, if anyone believed them in the first place it’d make them look pretty bad. But no one does believe them, because they’re so obviously lying to themselves and to the public, and they probably don’t even think about it. Because as I’ve always said, when a white person has to tell you they’re not racist, they’re probably really fucking racist.

And finally, to bring it home, what can white feminists learn from this? If a white feminist has to tell me they’re my ally, they’re probably not really my ally. In fact they probably just did me some harm. Not to harsh your mellow after chewing on that meaty bit of obvious racism, just to bring you back to earth. Because you’re always walking that fine line when you have white privilege. You have to work to be anti-racist. It’s not always as easy to point out the racism in things. Sometimes you have to look hard, and sometimes you have to look inward.

But I’m sure I didn’t need to remind you lovely folks of that.

[This piece originally appeared on Feministe.]

So yesterday Jezebel contacted me and asked if they could republish “As Fat As I Wanna Be”, which I posted here I think a few days ago. Here’s the Jezebel link and all the glorious comments I’m preparing to shred. There are definitely those at Jezebel who get it, who don’t miss my point, and there have been those who get it as well with the last two posts of mine they’ve republished. So not everyone on Jezebel is a complete jackass. This goes back to my post inspired by the comments to one of my other republished posts there — I’m not writing Fem101 shit. My words are controversial to some because I express ideas that make some people uncomfortable. Like that we shouldn’t shame women over getting plastic surgery. Or that feminism is for the privileged, too. Or that choosing to be fat isn’t an invalid choice. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by some of the negative reactions I got.

Usually I would let this slide but I am getting a shit ton of traffic from there right now and I figure now’s a good time to set things straight because there’s a LOT of ASSuming going on.

Let’s start with the facts:

  • I developed gallstones from dramatic weight loss, NOT from eating like shit. In fact I was eating very healthfully at the time I had my first attack. I also had untreated hypothyroidism which contributed. SO I DID NOT EAT MYSELF UNHEALTHY as so many seem to think. I had my gallbladder out because I kept getting attacks even when NOT eating a fatty meal, I could eat nothing but broccoli and it would still happen and peripherally, which I addressed in the post, I did not like or follow the dietary restrictions on fat intake. SO SORRY! I am privileged enough to have private group health insurance, so I’m not taking your hard earned tax dollars!
  • Let’s take a time out here and examine what I just wrote. Now, I wrote the original post declaring that I shouldn’t have to explain my eating habits just because I’m fat. Here I am, and what am I doing? Explaining my eating habits because I’m fat. Look up, Jezzies. Do you see that point flying over your head? Catch it and get back to me.
  • Let’s say I’m doing what you think I’m doing, which is ruining my body with junk food. Do you remember in the beginning of the post where I said I am perfectly healthy? Do you really think my body is still somehow ruined? And IF I WAS RUINING MY BODY, WOULD IT BE YOUR BUSINESS? NO! IN FACT IT WOULD BE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS so stop the “I can’t support someone with such disregard for their bodies” refrain because that can be applied to any fat person you want it to be applied to, regardless of their eating habits. That is exactly what I’m talking about. The whole comment thread is EXACTLY WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.
  • NOWHERE did I ask for praise, hi-fives, compliments or “you go girl” statements for eating like shit. I don’t need validation regarding what I choose to stuff in my mouth. I’m sorry if you feel like my wanton gluttony is making your fat friends look bad because they exercise and eat right and here I am, blowing it for them, being the stereotype they try so hard not to be. My point was that, again, FAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO OUTLINE THE WAYS THEY’RE TRYING TO NOT BE FAT, OR THE MEASURES THEY TAKE TO COUNTER THE ILLEGITIMATE CLAIMS THAT FAT = UNHEALTHY. An aspect of my point is also summed up by the observant commenter “alibabathieves”:

    … its not about championing this poster’s decisions and saying they are good, but about how we should lay off of demonizing people just because of the way they treat their own bodies.

  • I am not: slovenly, giving up on myself, defeatist, killing myself, losing more than one organ, going blind, on the verge of dying, or any number of other perceived negative effects of my lack of healthy diet and exercise. I wash myself, I brush my teeth, I wear clean underwear, I wear deodorant. I mean, what do you want from me? You hear that I eat like shit and you assume I’m just collapsed in front of the pantry door every night eating anything in sight until OMG ONE DAY MY GALLBLADDER WENT BAD? BUT! AND I WILL CONTINUE TO TYPE IN CAPS FOR THIS! IF I ACTUALLY DID ALL THAT IT STILL WOULDN’T BE YOUR BUSINESS! YOU STILL WOULDN’T GET TO SHAME ME! AND I WOULD STILL HAVE A RIGHT TO BE FAT. I’m sure that’s disappointing and I’m sure you’ll keep right on judging. Just don’t do it where I can see you.
  • ALSO! I am not “stealing health” from cancer patients! It is totally out of my control that some people get cancer! It is not my fault that their cancer cannot be cured by simply eating healthier and exercising. That sucks, but it’s not my fault. If me exercising and eating well would cure their cancer you can bet I’d be on that treadmill in 2 seconds. Sadly, I don’t have those magical powers.
  • One last thing. I “plastered” this shit “all over the Internet” to try and raise some consciousness about different types of fat acceptance, the acceptance of fat people who may actually be able to lose weight but choose not to. Because it’s our business what we do with our bodies and that comment thread just proves how not up to the challenge most people are. I didn’t write it to feel better about myself, or to be bratty or have a “bad attitude” or any number of other accusations being thrown around. It was not supposed to be a debate on MY eating and exercise habits. It was originally posted here, on my blog, where commenters who are savvy have thoughtful discussions without all the “for your health” crap I’m getting off Jezebel. I love the editors of Jezebel, we’re cool. But the readers run all over the map.

And to the lone commenter who snarkily stated that my writing was unimpressive, I’ll be snarky back. Whose article are you reading, and whose article are you commenting on? Not yours! So I’d wager a guess that your beloved Jezebel editors find my work, 3 times now, pretty damn good. Thanks.

Oh and next time, Tasha, don’t read the comments.