Everyone, I can't thank you enough for your ongoing encouragement and support; I truly appreciate it. Your support is what made this possible. And here's a special shout-out to my web designers at Educo Web Design. They're nice people to deal with, and they do outstanding work!
Peace and blessings,
If you are a Black woman blog host who supports Black women and girls, you have to be prepared to handle the Internet Ike Turners that are guaranteed to show up at your site. [Head scarf flutter to Gina, blog host of What About Our Daughters for coining the phrase "Internet Ike Turners."]
Internet Ike Turners are Black men who are enraged at the very idea that any Black woman, anywhere, is thinking about any issue in terms of Black women's interests. You see, Internet Ike Turners are determined to maintain the current status quo of "Black interests" being defined solely as whatever benefits Black men, period.
Internet Ike Turners [IITs] euphemistically refer to this status quo of Black male empowerment at the expense of Black women and children as "Black unity." And they will attack any forum that questions or challenges this status quo.
If you use your blog to question this status quo, then they will attack YOU. They will also seek to disrupt your blog discussions.
RECOGNIZING COMMON IIT TACTICS
The first step to handling this type of online aggression is to recognize it for what it is: an attack. Too many Black women bloggers misread this behavior as legitimate dissent and discussion. That's not what the behavior is about at all. It's about derailing, and shutting down, any discussion that might raise Black women's consciousness. I'll focus on the IITs' favorite attack techniques, but please take the time to read the entire linked article called "25 Tactics for Truth Suppression:" http://www.benfrank.net/disinfo This article covers the full range of disruptive tactics.
Avoid discussing any of the points that are raised, and instead talk about how offended you are by the very premise of the discussion. Naive opponents will discuss and debate the merits of your decision to take offense at the discussion.
Hit and Run
Leave a short, sarcastic comment and then run off before anyone can respond. An alternative is to return to leave other comments while ignoring other participants' responses to your original comment. Naive opponents will continue to respond to you, instead of moving the discussion forward without you.
Misrepresent your opponent's argument into something that's weaker and easier for you to rebut. Spend all of your comments responding to this fake, straw man argument, and NOT to anything your opponent actually said.
Act and speak as if the very real, very negative circumstances facing African-American women don't exist. Act and speak as if the African-American collective is a paradise filled with stable, loving, married households. Act and speak as if the masses of Black men are protecting and providing for Black women and children. In short, deny reality. Imitate the posture of 1950s Southern racists who just knew that their "darkies" had every reason to be happy living under segregation; and would be happy if it wasn't for "outside Communist agitators."
Naive opponents will start discussing and debating the existence of your alternate reality, instead of the original issue at hand.
Invoke [Invented, Skewed] Statistics to Deny Reality
This is a variation of the above technique. Naive opponents will start discussing and debating the merits of your fake statistics, instead of the original issue at hand.
Start a Flame War
Say something insulting or condescending to goad opponents into emotional responses. This way you can shift the conversation away from the issue at hand, and onto other people's emotionalism. For extra credit points, leave a link in your insulting comment to an IIT blog in order to lure opponents there to be insulted some more.
Change the Subject
This tactic is usually used in combination with at least one of the other tactics listed. It's also the ultimate goal of all of the earlier tactics.
STAY ON POINT: STOP HOLDING TOWN HALL MEETINGS FOR INTERNET IKE TURNERS
The first error that many Black women bloggers make is not recognizing these disruptive tactics for what they are: attacks. The second error many women bloggers make is by entertaining this nonsense.
If you are an activist blog host, please understand that it is totally inappropriate to allow oppressors to use your blog to advance their agenda! You don't owe your oppressor "equal time." Would you allow the Klan to use your blog forum to spread their message? Well, the Internet Ike Turners are the same as the Klan. I think that sometimes we forget this.
As a blog host, unless you have the skills to successfully use the IITs' comments as "teachable moments," you probably should NOT publish their comments. By arguing with IITs, you are allowing them to re-direct the discussion away from the original point, and away from your discussion goals.
For audience members, the most productive response is usually to ignore the Internet Ike Turners' provocations, and stay focused on moving the discussion forward.