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Friday, July 07, 2006
I Just Learned I'm a Minority Group?
This post contained private information that was not meant to be published and it has been asked that it be removed.
posted by From the Margins at 10:38 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 7/07/2006 04:59:00 PM, Blogger jen

    I realize that being called a ‘minority group’ is an irritating and poor choice of words, but can’t we concede that the point of this paragraph is to acknowledge the importance of women’s inclusion in the greater community of the website? This man obviously needs an editor to help him choose his words better, but I’m leery of case-building arousals that tend to snowball into an angry mob mentality. I get the idea that he’s attempting to provide what I hear us all asking for: a place to be heard.

    Jen Zug

  • At 7/07/2006 08:21:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Jen ... you stated a good point and I agree that it is irritating and a poor choice of words. As for a needing a better editor: this language DID go through at least one other rather prominent editor at Emergent ... the person who posted it.

    I agree, there certainly were some valid discussion points in Mr. H.'s paragraph.

    And what you've asked for, to concede, has certainly been an admirable request made to many marginalized majorities over the ages. As for "case building", this is not case-building, but a case-in-point of a mentality that will keep women's voices marginalized whether we have a special section or don't have a special section, have spot on the forum or don't have a spot on the forum, ... etc, etc, etc. It won't really matter. Which is pretty much what the women,(I call them the FAB 5) who've struggled before us in the Emergent conversation, concluded.

    As for 'an angry mob mentality,' I wouldn't call it a mob ... I might call it a "Hold 'Em Accountable Majority."
    Sherri Story

  • At 7/10/2006 06:26:00 AM, Blogger Melanie@Abri

    Just in relation to the post below this as well - about our voices being heard. I wonder how many guys read this blog - are we marginalising ourselves by posting on this blog? It's great for support but I hope that ,Sylvia, you have posted your thoughts over at the emergent blog so that the man who wrote that post could see the error of his editor!!!!?
    It does just seem mind boggling to me that in this day and age women's participation in the movement should be an ISSUE!

  • At 7/10/2006 07:04:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Hey ladies,

    I'm a guy, and I do read this blog. Anyhow, help me out here but when did the term "minority" become a bad word?

    AFAIK "minority" refers not to actual numbers but to the sociological status of a group in relations to power and discrimination. According to some sociologists, "A minority group is any group of people who because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination." (see also the Wikipedia definition)

    I have a feeling that it was this kind of definition that Kevin had in mind when he called women a minority, not actual numbers.

    Anyhow, just trying to be helpful... :)

  • At 7/11/2006 12:02:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I have not found the original letter, however, just from what I read here, I would have to agree with Mike on this point. I don't know what else was listed in this letter, but the way I read it, it seems he is really encouraging the inclusion of women (a social "minority"), attempting to make the point that the women should "be embraced and included in every section" and not "segregating women off into a small corner of the site". I would almost guess that his use of "minority groups" is to make the point, that there are still many "minority groups" in a movement, where there just should not be "minority groups". The Emergent thoughts are equality and love for all. Again, just some thoughts based on what I read here.

  • At 7/12/2006 11:58:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    I'm not happy to be a minority although I admit we are. We have yet to gain an equal voice with the men in power, and regardless of numbers, that makes us a minority. Our focus should be to change that reality and the perception of that reality, imho

  • At 7/12/2006 03:15:00 PM, Blogger tony


    You haven't found the original letter (or post) because it is an internal document within Emergent. It is not meant for public posting, it's not meant to be read outside of the context of a months-long conversation on these issues, and it's surely not meant to have one paragraph posted and subsequently mocked.

    This post is a significant breach of etiquette and friendship.

  • At 7/12/2006 05:07:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Tony ... First, I don't know you.
    Second, you don't know me. Third, I had no knowledge that the email I received a copy of was internal (I don't even know who "INTERNAL" means in this organization!) Fourth, I didn't post to be "a significant breach of etiquette and friendship" ... since I didn't know any of the above. Fifth, to have my posting pulled without any knowledge or explanation to me personally is difficult to understand on a public blogsite. Sixth, who has this authority to request pulling a posting that did not speak any untruth, just perhaps a misperception at best? Do I have the authority to pull a post on the Emergent blog?

    And now I just wonder what the tone of the "INTERNAL MEMO's" are that are probably circulating around ... looking for 'a leak', I suppose! Are they publishable to all? Would they be worthy of standing the test of the 'emerging' values of appreciating diverse conversation in love? TRULY...ANOTHER HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT ALL AROUND.

    If you thought publishing one paragraph was not indicative of the whole letter, then rather than censoring me, publish the whole memo and let everyone decide for themselves. Let us have a conversation about 'minority' as Mike suggested. Your actions of censorship speak loudly.
    Emergent is now officially an organization of denominational proportions ... we have the insiders and the outsiders, the powers who can censor and those who cannot, the acceptable conversations and those that are not, etc., etc., etc.

  • At 7/12/2006 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I am sorry for what has come with this discussion. I think in general, comments and postings were respectful, and I thought decent. I don't know the nature of where you received the info, but clearly, I don't think you had any ill intent in bringing it to the table. (ie. posting something you knew was "internal"). I appreciated Mike's comments because they were respectful and not condesending. Unfortunately, I feel Tony's remark leaves a different tone. I agree with many of your points. I think the whole thing could have been handled in a much better way. I hope that will be the case in the future!

  • At 7/12/2006 05:33:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Truth be told, I pulled the post at the request of Emergent. It bugged me on many different levels. But the legal issues involved outweighed the freedom of speech in this instance. Although it was unclear that this was an internal/private thing and it was all a misunderstanding, pulling the post was the easiest way to solve the problem.

    I don't understand all the issues involved or why exactly it was such a big deal, but it was for them and I respect that. It has nothing to do with not allowing women a voice (although I was the first to admit it appears that way).

    I think we should continue the conversation about minority - just leave out the initial post. I think we all could say a lot on that topic and it could lead us in some good constructive directions about how to change the culture.

  • At 7/12/2006 08:48:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Thanks, Michele. It's tough to be hammered by people I don't know and by things I don't know about either. I was hoping for a different atmosphere here. I was actually hoping for a place where gender, race, ethnicity, etc. really weren't an ISSUE and we could concentrate our energies elsewhere.

  • At 7/12/2006 10:00:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7/12/2006 10:03:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Sherri (et al.),

    I too am sorry that your post got pulled. I want to assure you that gender, race, etc. were not the reasons for your comment being edited. It had nothing to do with the content of your post. (I'm speaking as an outside, neutral observer of this whole thing; not as a participant.)

    The only reason the original post was deleted was because the email you quoted from was a private document between the coordinating group for Emergent and an outside web design firm that they had contracted to redesign the Emergent Village website. Posting the content of the email publically was therefore not only potentially a breach of contract, it was also apparently embarrassing to the web design consultant who wrote it.

    However, you didn't know this and had no way of knowing it, since the original email failed to mention that the document was for limited distribution only. This was not your fault. No one is blaming you, nor is anyone trying to exclude you or censor your thoughts. It was simply a misunderstanding about how a professional document was meant to be handled.

    My suggestion... continue the conversation anyway, just without directly referring to the original document. The ideas are still important and worthwhile to discuss. No one is saying that you shouldn't talk about them here. The only concern is that the intellectual property of one individual and the internet firm he works for was inadvertantly mishandled. The issue here is not at all about censoring your thoughts. The issue is only about respecting the rights and property of the person who wrote that document in the first place. He doesn't want it circulated publicly and we should respect that.

    I hope that helps to clear up some of the misunderstanding here. If I got any of the details wrong or said anything more that I shouldn't have I apologize in advance.


  • At 7/12/2006 11:17:00 PM, Blogger jen

    This is kinda what I meant about snowballing into an angry mob. Now I'm a little embarrased my name is attached to this whole discussion.

  • At 7/13/2006 11:08:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    But the legal issues involved outweighed the freedom of speech in this instance.

    now that's an interesting concept

  • At 7/14/2006 08:55:00 AM, Blogger PatrickHare

    Hi! First of all, like Mike, I'm a guy reading this site - just discovered it and I'm glad to listen in on the conversation.
    Legally speaking (a professional hazard) to address wilsford, there are many instances where other legal issues trump freedom of speech - for instance conversations between priest/penitent, therapist/patient, lawyer/client, etc. We do want to be respectful of the contracts (read "promises") that we make with others, both within and without the community. So I can understand leadership's concern about a particular document being leaked. No one is squelching a discussion on the "minority" status of women.
    And while I didn't read the initial post, if the minority language was "mocked", that may not be in the best interests of Christian community.
    Outside of the contractual aspects however, this seems like an important topic for sisters and brothers to engage in - hopefully with a great deal of grace seeking understanding. And I hope Liz is brought back into full communion.
    From the Leadership page of Emergentvillage, it appears that women are slightly underrepresented, and non-Euros are completely missing. What's up with that?? We need some more intentionality in who we include in leadership.
    Again, thanks for letting me listen in - I especially value your insights and contributions.

  • At 7/17/2006 12:08:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Hey Patrick,

    Actually non-Euros are not missing from the emerging conversation, they just have they're own website. Check out http://amahoro.info/ for some of the non-Western incarnations of Emergent.


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