Given that personal historical fact, I have no business judging whether anyone else is or is not a racist. I believe that race determines nothing at all about a person's innate abilities or faults, which is a good thing, else wouldn't I be irrevocably damned by my slave-owning racial heritage? Race, in my white leftist theoretical world, is a category constructed by some whites and used to sort everyone else, thus serving as a useful tool for dividing economically exploited people from each other. Constructed or not, however, "race" has shaped the lives of women of color in ways I am only beginning to realize I will never understand. My ignorance is being amply demonstrated to me by Nubian of blac(k)ademic, and even more by the benighted and abusive comments responding to her powerful and thoughtful posts at feministing, Alas, a Blog, and elsewhere around the blogosphere. It is not about me, of course, but I really don't know what else to say about the vituperation heaped on Nubian by self-identified white feminists; still less do I think I have anything to contribute that might help her (fortunately she does not need help from me). But the whole ugly episode has provoked some magnificent posts by other women of color, for example Bint Alshamsa at My Private Casbah, as well as a beautiful rant by my current favorite white blogger Liz at Granny Gets a Vibrator. I highly recommend them both.
Also brownfemipower on women of color and the politics of voice at Women of Color Blog.
Update: Max Julian at thefreeslave on blogging and race.
And With My Nappy Headed Ass has a post on beauty and hair and skin color, including white reactions to her own. The post is well worth reading on its own, but WMNHA's initial response to a thinly veiled piece of trollishness in the comment thread is also outstanding. (WMNHA's further responses are also reasonable and thoughtful, but I have to question the wisdom of spending her energy arguing with this particular opponent.)
Yet another interesting analysis of the situation by tekanji at Official Shrub.com Blog.