March 24, 2018

WaPo fashion critic Robin Givhan is said to have "violated a sacred trust between women, black women" — "a complete violation of journalistic ethics and Black girl code"

The quotes — at Page Six — are from Jamilah Lemieux, who criticized Givhan for attending and writing about a BET Network event that had Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett on stage, talking about things like doing that White House vegetable garden so as not to seem like an angry black woman.
Lemieux later told us, “As I recall, at the start of the event, we were told that were in ‘safe space’ and to put our phones away. That, to me, is a clear indication that no one was to be reporting on this moment. Furthermore, I am surprised that Ms. Givihan thought that she was invited to the conference to serve in her capacity as a reporter considering that she was to serve on a panel and, thus, had her travel and accommodations covered by the organizers.... It is unfortunate that Ms. Givhan did not recognize that she was invited because she is a journalist of note and was thought to be someone who would benefit from the connections we have made and/or strengthened here this week. The expectation was, ostensibly, that she would be a great addition to this sister circle — not someone who made an outsider of herself by revealing things that were shared here.”
BET reacted to Givhan's column by kicking her out of the conference and cancelling the panel she had been invited to moderate. BET paid her expenses and now characterizes her as an "invited... guest (not working press)" and says "She was made aware that it was an intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship." Was she made to sign an agreement that she would not report on the event?  It sounds as though BET wanted the prestige of Givhan's attendance and did not explicitly restrict her, and she used her access like the journalist she is. The idea that events with important political figures talking about politics should be treated in a special confidential way is ridiculous.

Sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship? Politics is not religion and when it starts acting like it is, be alarmed.

If the event is off the record, and you've invited journalists, you need to make it clear that it's off the record. Declaring the room a "safe space" is vague bullshit, not, as Lemieux says, "a clear indication that no one was to be reporting on this moment." And putting phones away isn't a clear indication of anything other than a desire that the audience pay attention and not be rude.

Lemieux declares that Givhan was invted because she "was thought to be someone who would benefit from the connections." I doubt if Givhan saw it that way. I assume she thinks she is a big deal and that other people benefit from getting to connect with her! The presumption should be that it was worth it to her because she'd get material for her column, not that she's attending for sisterhood. But if you want to make it more of a religion-y concept and require sincere motives of sisterhood, you need to lay that out clearly, not spout puffy fluff like "safe space."

As for "Black girl code" — I'll have to look that up. I'm not a member of the purported religion. But I'm interested in the way human beings define themselves into groups and then discipline those they've appropriated as members. In that light, the conference name is fascinating: "Leading Women Defined." Fascinating and mind-bendingly ambiguous.

The Robin Givhan column is "Michelle Obama wanted to gain the public’s trust. So she started with a garden." I suspect that some of the anger is because the column isn't fawning enough. But I'll do a separate post about the substance of the column.

60 comments:

Sebastian said...

"Politics is not religion" For progs, it is. Sorry.

"when it starts acting like it is, be alarmed." True, but a little late.

rhhardin said...

Michelle's vegetable garden was the equivalent of her Princeton thesis, her other known accomplishment, so important that nobody is allowed to see it.

Quayle said...

“Politics is not religion and when it starts acting like it is, be alarmed.”

Amen!

Er, I mean Hear! Hear!

rhhardin said...

I assume black women are angry at black men, whom they throw out so as to get welfare benefits.

MadisonMan said...

Boo effin' Hoo. You invite a journalist somewhere and they're going to write about it if it's interesting.

My God Lemieux comes off as incredibly fragile here. How on Earth does she get through an entire day without collapsing? Is everyone around her really that deferential?

Phil 314 said...

Givhan got shit for that column!?

Wow, tough crowd.

buwaya said...

A propaganda event and Givhan was not going along, or rather her publisher was not quite on-board. A failure of coordination by the organizers, lacking professionalism.

Breezy said...

..."so as not to seem like an angry black woman"?

Leading Women not doing so well at leading!

jaydub said...

Robin Givhan identifies as a white woman, and she was pissed that Michelle was trying to con her and her white sisters.

Quayle said...

Jews made Nazis feel unsafe too, so the Nazis set out to create a safe space in Germany and Europe.

Same intellectual structure as we’re now seeing, even if, admittedly, a different dial setting.

And dials can get turned incrementally, often unnoticeably, and sometimes quite rapidly.

I prefer to oppose the very structures themselves, even at low and benign settings.

Bob Boyd said...

"it was an intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship."

It was a smoke filled room.

wendybar said...

They are ridiculous. And they wonder why we laugh at them.

Rob said...

A sacred space of sisterhhood and fellowship—what, the ladies’ room?

Sydney said...

Politics is not religion and when it starts acting like it is, be alarmed.

This is why I will never vote for a Democrat again in my lifetime. For them, politics is religion.

iowan2 said...

It's all a con game. The media is the shill.
Even now 10 years later, no one has ever identified a single talent of the Obama's. The media is the shill, giving the mark (you and me) the notion we are seeing reality. But they are full actors in on the scam.

Bob Boyd said...

Lemieux seems angry.

iowan2 said...

Leftist are always acting, lying, hiding the true message. Being truthful would turn them out of power in one off year election.

AZ Bob said...

For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of Michelle Obama because it feels like vegetables are finally making a comeback.

Peter said...

It upsets me no end that all those men sympathizing with the #MeToo revelations are failing to respect the scared space of brotherhood and fellowship.

David Begley said...

This is typical liberal behavior. Anyone who doesn't agree with the group gets banned, shunned, stoned and ostracized. Hello, 1984.

Lyle Smith said...

The "black establishment" is going to marbleize and sanctify the Obamas.

Bob Boyd said...

Caught 'em with their pants down.

William said...

If you don't hang out your dirty linen, you never get to do the wash. And that wasn't even all that dirty. It wasn't like she reported that they served fried chicken at the buffet dinner. Democracy dies in darkness. Does that trump the code of black sisterhood?

AllenS said...

Ever since Michelle Obama entered the stage it became quite evident to me that she possessed no redeeming characteristics.

Wince said...

"Put down your finger and pick up the garden hoe."

Donald Trump had to do the opposite when he ran for president: put away the ho's.

Chuck said...



"But I'm interested in the way human beings define themselves into groups and then discipline those they've appropriated as members..."

Humperdink said...

So the garden was a front. A con. It's like Obama getting a dog for the cameras .... er.... the White House. Or Madonna adopting kids.

Can't they just let Michelle be Michelle? A howling, scowling Jezebel.

the 4chan Guy who reads Althouse said...

"As for "Black girl code" — I'll have to look that up."

I think you may have covered some of that in the Kardi B posts you have done recently.

"A hoe never gets cold", you know what the motto is."

The Germans have a word for this.

Ray - SoCal said...

Very tribal.

Her thesis:
https://obamaprincetonthesis.wordpress.com

Truthfully on the garden - so what. That First Lady’s press interactions were all scripted. Garden press had positions everything scripted for the press release / press interview.

What is more interesting is the reaction by the Obama clique - over protective.

TerriW said...

It was funny when Scaramucci said "I'll never trust a reporter again."

AllenS said...

"Black girl code" means "Never tell whitey the truth"

BJM said...

*Gag*

Will these two never go away?

madAsHell said...

Would a White Entertainment Television (WET) be considered racist?

Why is there a Black Congressional Caucus? Isn't that racist? I'm so confused.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The idea that events with important political figures talking about politics should be treated in a special confidential way is ridiculous. said AA.

Not on the left. Progressives think of themselves as "our betters" and anything they might want to discuss in a private religious ceremony isn't any of our business.

Paco Wové said...

"Politics is not religion and when it starts acting like it is, be alarmed."

I've been listening to a lecture series on life in France during the Revolution. I find the parallels to modern times remarkable and depressing, especially the slide into bloody cult-like groupthink by people loudly and publicly proclaiming their "reasonableness".

Chris N said...

Now over at the temple. Oh! They really pack ‘em in.

Birkel said...

When Althouse preported her pre-missing of the Obamas, I think this is what she meant.

JaimeRoberto said...

I'd be curious to know the origins of the angry black female stereotype. I had no idea it was a thing until the SJWs told me so. Loud black female, sassy black female, yeah, but not necessarily angry.

Ann Althouse said...

"Robin Givhan identifies as a white woman..."

Wrong.

Earnest Prole said...

Black Girl Code meets Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer.

Earnest Prole said...

"Robin Givhan identifies as a white woman..."

I was just thinking “I hope Althouse hasn’t grown tone-deaf to irony.”

Ann Althouse said...

"I've been listening to a lecture series on life in France during the Revolution. I find the parallels to modern times remarkable and depressing, especially the slide into bloody cult-like groupthink by people loudly and publicly proclaiming their "reasonableness"."

Meade and I watched that whole series last year. It was great. So much material. I'd like to go through it another time to tell you the truth.

Ann Althouse said...

"I was just thinking “I hope Althouse hasn’t grown tone-deaf to irony.”"

It's not that I couldn't see that it was perhaps or probably intended as a joke. I don't find it particularly amusing and I don't like the bad fact just sitting there confusing people.

Ann Althouse said...

The form of humor that consists in saying the thing that isn't true as if it were true is not called "irony." It's sarcasm, and there's way too much low-level sarcasm offered as humor on the web. Find a better way.

Ann Althouse said...

I regret raising the subject of the irony/sarcasm distinction.

That might mean a LOVE that I've introduced it.

I don't.

But that might mean I do, right?

I mean: WRONG!!!

FullMoon said...

That's funny

Earnest Prole said...

Sarcasm is the vehicle. Irony is the route. Insight is the destination.

But the vast majority of your readers haven’t a clue about the historic cultural role played by a Black Preppy named Robin Givhan, so you’re probably right that it’s best not to confuse them.

MD Greene said...

"a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship"

Getting a little tired of this kind of verbiage. The 3rd-gen feminist creed asserts that all women are generous and kind to all other women. It's not true.

Yes, most women are good people. BUT. There are some women -- middle-school mean girls grown into queen bees -- who regard the existence of another credible female in a group as an existential threat. They plot, they scheme, they go for the kill and, not infrequently, they get what they want.

Inside, they are miserable, and they spread misery to others. It's easier to pity them from a distance than to deal with them and pretend they are benign forces.


Birkel said...

Does "Robin Givhan identifies as a journalist." count as irony of sarcasm?

holdfast said...

So after 10 or so years of covering for the Obamas on a near-daily basis, Givhan committed an act of actual journalism?!

Will miracles never cease?

Howard said...

What's there to figure out? The BGC is like the first two rules of fight club... it's a code as old as Homo Erectus (not that there's anything wrong with that). Jeff Bezos has held "secret" invite only robotics conferences for the last few years. This year, he invited a NYT reporter who wrote a story with explicit permission. The black angle gets the deplorables blood up, which is always illuminating.

After Trump made all his supporters cucks yesterday, a post like this is a healing salve.

chickelit said...

Robin Givhan was among the first journalists who tried to raise Michelle to Jackie O status, fashion-wise. Maybe the sisters felt betrayed.

chickelit said...

The Dem donors are still looking for a well known potential candidate for 2020.They’re just trying on Michelle for size.

Howard said...

Don't worry chicklit, the dems have nobody to headline the party. Trumps capitulation yesterday will cause a liberal over-reach to spread California insanity to the rest of the country. If I were you, pray for Kamala Harris

chickelit said...

Harris doesn’t have a prayer.

Humperdink said...

Black Girl Code? For blacks ladies only?

Must be a subset of Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright mindset: "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."

Bilwick said...

"Michelle's vegetable garden was the equivalent of her Princeton thesis, her other known accomplishment, so important that nobody is allowed to see it."

As I recall correctly, back when Red Diaper Barry was running for president the first time, and we were all being assured (without any evidence, other than his ability to make a nice speech as long as he had a teleprompter in view) of what a brilliant guy he was, married to an equally brilliant woman, there was a copy of it online. I read it until I couldn't take any more. It was about what you would expect, what passes for scholarship in the age of Black Studies Majors and academic affirmative action: turgid prose with neo-Marxist jargon. I wouldn't be surprised if someone made the thesis disappear from public view.

DWS said...

"But I'm interested in the way human beings define themselves into groups and then discipline those they've appropriated as members."
That is so well put. This is a thing that has bothered me about identity politics from the beginning. Who owns the group culture? Who gets to speak for the group? Who has the proxy to vote for the group? Who makes the rules of how we play together? "Appropriated" is the right word for this.

DEEBEE said...

“Politics is not religion” — an obviously naive phrase when speaking of the left-erati

Rick said...

"Black girl code" means "Never tell whitey the truth"

It means your first loyalty is to your identity group not your profession or employer.