From:   Jon Good <>
Sent time:   Thursday, November 03, 2011 10:21:19 AM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Re: way cool infographic on the demographics of OWS,

Holy shit: Shaista, did you think the word "infographic" in the subject said "infomercial"?  That would explain SO MUCH.



On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM, shaista husain <> wrote:
Being defined as an arab, by Lauren, then told that arabs are actually
white, because this is "america" and that somehow i have to accept
this unfortunate "fact" is an argument that folks wants to make, in
defense of this data? You who are calling me white are going to tell
me this movement is 81% white. I am supposed to accept this data from
you who feels its necessary to define me? In working in groups, one
makes a flyer asks questions about it--asks for feedback--the kind of
white entitlement and smugness labelling this data "super cool
infomercial" in the subject heading and framing a discourse on
pseudo-scientific demographic data is not "cool dude." This material
is racist because it fails to view whiteness as an ethnic category,
when people of color are added up --they are the majority--for
purposes of democratic participation-- the white hegemonic discursive
regimes will have to be decentered case by case. I doubt folks of
color will be recruited or fooled by such data and if they do believe
this data, why should want to come to OWS and can you explain to me
why a person like harrison should be recruiting people of color. In
Occupy Harlem this was a big problem. Same in brooklyn. The mainstream
media has done a great job reflecting this white middle class "fact"
by their "infatuation" w white dudes, well how "revolutionary" is
that? (i hear the reply--well they can't help it if they love us...we
can't help it if we are 81% white, dude, its just the way it is in
america." now, I hear the capitalist say the same thing everyday in
mainstream--"we can't help being rich, it is just the way it is...this
is america!") There was a joke made earlier in the month about giving
non whites ONE day in the press... haahhaaa haaa! thanks so much dude
supercool dude, im doing cartwheels over how revolutionary that one
day of participation-- reminds me of the trickle down theory can we
get a crumb?  That is more of the problem to me than even this
pernicious demographic data--its the dismissal of issues relating to
pluralism and diversity--and by propagating such demographics without
challenging the census norms-- what are you trying to replicate here?
We are an international global city, no we don't want leadership--so
we have to take the politics of representation very seriously no
matter what color or ethnicity we are. Otherwise, claiming 81% white
majority here is akin to claiming an "invisible leadership" de facto
and by pseudo scientific data? Suddenly whiteness is overdetermined,
rather too visible--and the rest of us, suddenly made invisible
irrelevant and told to accept this? No harrison is not going out to
recruit people of color by telling them that our movement is 81%
white--that is not going to work except to alienate non white peoples.
People of color know we are a minority even when we are not. We act
like a minority even though we may be in our own majority
neighborhoods--(NO rob i didn't need you to look up emirical data on
Oakland, for example, when i said it was a predominantly black
city--its historically well known people of color don't need it
spelled out) But why do white people need it spelled out so much? Is
there an instance when we are NOT a minority. we are always treated as
a minority. You want to remind me once again how much of minority i am
and you want to also draw some figures and graphs too--and plaster
that up? Please, these kinds of demographics are done in south africa
to make sure everyone knows its white people leading the uprising
there==i pointed that out in another post. here in new york shall we
establish bantustans of autonomous groups as well separate and
alienated people of color under an 81% white majority? Is that the
official line? I don't buy it. Rob, you assume this data as "fact" and
you continue to dismiss the argument i am making about false category
of "white" comes out of a long tradition of slavery where black bodies
were 1/4th human and would not be allowed to vote or own property.
This ahistorical hubris of "whiteness" needs to be decentered.

There is good news that even at Ivy League Universities some of the
most stuck up places on earth demented ossified economics dept. is
being challenged--students are just walking out of classes. Now if we
challenge the assumptions of census based ethnographic data as
representing a paradigm of 19th century empiricism and
pseudo-racism--most of this has already been seriously challenged in
anthropology and in sociology depts. please don't make me list the
bibliography here..Its much much deeper than "so cool dude" lets

And rob--don't tell me to take it offline. this isn't a private
personal discussion--it really does involve mediation. I have personal
threats from Grim "privately" sent to me, which i shall spare at the
moment--and really really disturbing threats. Perhaps this is the
reason why i have been so "edgy" and emotional and paranoid, when
someone tries to silence you by threatening to turn you over to the
police: i am fully conscious of my urgency to address this matter you
want to dismiss. Every word i write is going to be twisted no its not
very pleasant. i do real suspicions here from threats made to me, i
live in an islamophobic culture--do you think i am going to be
silenced now? There has to be some accountability. i would rather be
spending my energy fighting the real fight instead of some pretentious
half baked hegemonic discourse -and nasty threats by some females--who
i have asked several times to talk yet she would like me to believe
that she is going to turn me over to the police? Ok so turn me
over---it is time for "transparency." there needs to be some
accountability in public commitment to safety and free speech. a space
for alternative politics a place to make a polemic and debate.

When jackie called me out for using the word comintern, it just had
not occurred to me what the consequences could be by using that
word--but after being called out for it, i am better for it. I really
am better for it, because i do agree making clumsy statements like
that is unconsious. I didn't feel the need to insult her intelligence
and i did thank her for it.

Right wing brain dead people can't step out their comfort zone and
have a transformative productive conversation--this i know--their
fears prevent them from seeing the person they are speaking to as full
subject. i do hope despite the so called white majority here, y'all
can sit down and understand why a person of color might be upset about
these demographics and not take it so personal. goddamm new york..

On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 10:36 AM,
<> wrote:
> Sorry, but Harrison explicitly insulted Shaista's intelligence and
> contributions to the movement in an insulting way -- so openly insulting
> that I can't remember the last time I read such a flame on a movement list.
> EVEN IF (which I don't believe) Shaista was factually wrong on the pie chart
> and its political implications, Harrison had to understand that such
> personal insults, which are completely out of character with the prevailing
> ethos at OWS, are also unacceptable because they could be perceived as
> racist.
> ---------- Original Message ----------
> From: rob hollander <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: [september17discuss] Re: way cool infographic on the
> demographics of OWS,
> Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2011 10:31:59 -0400
> I think people who lash out at each other are liable to say things in haste
> and their words are counterproductive in many regards. They do not
> necessarily rise to the level of racism. They may be mere expressions of
> human personal indignation. I'm comfortable with political correctness where
> it facilitates progress, not where it hurts and harms and divides,
> regardless of color. We gotta stay together.
> Shaista raised a question as to whether flaunting the data is racist. That's
> a legit question, and there have been some replies. (Personally, I don't
> believe in suppressing the truth -- that's what corporations, that have no
> principles, do to maximize profit. I hope we have principles and accept data
> as data. We should all be careful not to flaunt ourselves, otherwise we are
> likely to get into situations we can't handle.)
> Personal attacks are counterproductive to the movement. We must coexist. I
> suggest that all personal attacks (including all accusations of racism among
> us) be made privately, never again on the list.
> Asking for apologies is demeaning and encourages lasting wounds. Shaista and
> Harrison ought to smoke the peace pipe off line.
> �
> On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 8:33 AM, Jon Good <> wrote:
>> +1 Matt
>> On Nov 3, 2011, at 7:32 AM, Matthew Presto <>
>> wrote:
>> (Sorry that should have read "As a white person who has been called out
>> for all sorts of legitimate things in the past as well as occasionally
>> now...")
>> On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 7:29 AM, Matthew Presto <>
>> wrote:
>>> I don't read emails on this listserve as often as I used to, and I seldom
>>> reply to anything, but this is a particular exception.
>>> Harrison, if there ever was an email not to send, that was it.
>>> As a white person who has been "called out" for all sorts of legitimate
>>> things in the past, here are a few points I'd like to raise, and maybe some
>>> others might benefit too:
>>> 1. When you're called out, it's petulant and nonsensical to attempt to
>>> turn things around. Oppression is not a game of "I know you are but what am
>>> I?" Also, oppression is also not a two-way street. A person of color calling
>>> you out may be many things, but it's not racism. It uncomfortably brings to
>>> mind the reactionary accusations of "reverse racism."�
>>> 2. Instead, listen non-defensively, even if you don't like the tone of
>>> how you were called out. Consider the possibility that their criticisms are
>>> valid. Recognize that as a white person living in a white supremacist
>>> society, you may not always be capable of realizing when you are
>>> perpetuating that system.
>>> 3. Be proactive about checking your privilege in the future. Attend
>>> anti-oppression workshops, such as those offered by the Anti-Racist Allies
>>> or Safer Spaces Committee. Often those who are defensive about being called
>>> out are more receptive to hearing these criticisms from fellow white people.
>>> It also takes the burden off of people of color who I imagine are quite
>>> tired of having to explain these things to whites.
>>> 4. This brings me to my final point because I'm already late for work.
>>> Can you see how the phrase "if there's anyone smarter than you on [the
>>> People of Color Working Group]" comes off extremely problematic? If not,
>>> reread it until you do.
>>> Matt
>>> On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 12:49 AM, Gabriel Johnson <>
>>> wrote:
>>>> I'm not sure about the exact terminology, and I was going to look it up
>>>> and quibble, but it is too late for quibbling. It's imperfect but still
>>>> somewhat useful. (And I don't *love* the layout of the chart, looking a bit
>>>> like a pie when it's not.) But I can't bring myself to disagree with the
>>>> rest of your email.
>>>> --glj
>>>> On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 12:23 AM, Harrison Schultz <>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Rob -�Yeah, the graphic doesn't seem intended to display any
>>>>> relationships between the variables it's a great and�incredibly�useful way
>>>>> to see the toplines of the data set. �It'll be far more interesting for me
>>>>> to watch the shapes on this change than it is for me to read my own reports,
>>>>> assuming we can get the same graph for each set we collect. �I appreciate
>>>>> your scrutiny. �Feel free to reach out if there's anything else you'd like
>>>>> to know or if this data can possibly be of any use for your purposes.��
>>>>> Gabe and everyone else - non-random is not�synonymous with
>>>>> unscientific. ��
>>>>> Shaista...
>>>>> Thank you for bringing this project to the attention of the People of
>>>>> Color Working Group, if there's anyone smarter than you on that committee
>>>>> than I'm sure that they will utilize it for efficient strategic outreach to
>>>>> non-white communities. �
>>>>> (Thankfully) I don't think we've ever formally met, and I ordinarily
>>>>> don't pay any attention to anything you write since you clearly bring
>>>>> nothing to our collective struggle with society except for your irrational
>>>>> anger. �So why bother with�lip-service�about mediation? �I've been bored
>>>>> and�irritable�all day myself and I wouldn't mind a little practice. �
>>>>> However I'd rather not spend what little time I have to enjoy sitting on my
>>>>> ass to deal with your silly bullshit, which happens to be far more racist
>>>>> than any information I've produced for OWS. �So how 'bout you just keep on
>>>>> telling me what a racist I am over this thread, and I'll do a better job
>>>>> of�writing�back a sarcastic and confrontational response in a more timely
>>>>> manner just so you can feel like you're contributing to the movement.
>>>>> You call me out but now you've been called out. �But now it's your
>>>>> turn, so let's play!�
>>>>> Harrison � � � ��
>>>>> On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 8:06 PM, shaista husain
>>>>> <> wrote:
>>>>>> Thank you Lauren, me too, i don't want to be dismissed as angry and
>>>>>> attacking anyone--no one is trying to be racist here and i am not
>>>>>> accusing anyone, just the data is troubling to me. �I do have some
>>>>>> issues for concern which needs constructive mediation and positive
>>>>>> engagement. I am deeply sorry i haven't learned how to express myself
>>>>>> properly. i am learning and transorming in this process too, please
>>>>>> bear with me. �i will take this matter to the proper mediation so we
>>>>>> can speak to each other as allies and move forward with strength and
>>>>>> clarity.
>>>>>> peace
>>>>>> shaista
>>>>>> On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM, Lauren <> wrote:
>>>>>> > Let me try to say this in a less angry way.
>>>>>> > - I am perfectly aware of eugenics and scientific racism. In fact,
>>>>>> > I've been involved in disability activism long enough to know the
>>>>>> > ins
>>>>>> > and outs of eugenics.
>>>>>> > - I am also sadly aware of the fact that a lot of america's
>>>>>> > population
>>>>>> > tends to self-define not by culture but by racial identities from
>>>>>> > this
>>>>>> > ideological basis
>>>>>> > - I am not defining america for you, if I could pretend that
>>>>>> > scientific racism hadn't left its mark on the country I would really
>>>>>> > be glad.
>>>>>> > - I have made no threats.
> --
> Rob Hollander
> Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
> 622 E 11, #10
> NYC, 10009
> 212-228-6152