The art of Anglosplaining SB1070

25 Jun 2010 09:46 am
Posted by: Donna

Women who frequent the blogosphere are familiar with a particularly noxious form of commentary condescension known as “mansplaining”. It typically occurs when women are having an online discussion of issues affecting women and a dude drops in to “enlighten” the ladies on how we’re wrong and illogical. The dude, grounded as he is in the conviction that his view is the default objective one, is only trying to help. To wit:

Women’s brains are small and prone to overheating.

Fortunately, there are always cool-headed men around to explain how the world really works.

Needless to say, mansplaining is pretty much a constant in women’s offline lives too. In a recent post I described the familiar twinge I feel when listening to SB1070 supporters defend the law. I’m reminded of every encounter with every male who has dismissed my experience and discredited my perspective on something relating to gender. After all, how could I recognize what true sexism is being that I’m a mere female lacking in proper male objectivity? Thus, I unveil the term “Anglosplaining”. For our purposes, it’s shorthand for “demonstrating insufferable arrogance coupled with utter cluelessness of one’s own privileged status as an Anglo when discussing Arizona’s new bigoted law”.

SB1070 Anglosplainers will say things like “everyone just needs to read the bill”, as though it had never occurred to the people deeply offended by it to do that. But see, being oh-so-precise and legalistic allows the Anglosplainer to pretend that the whole point of the law isn’t to target Hispanics. “It says you can’t racially profile in the law! You’re the one making it into a racial issue!” Isn’t that neat?

Sometimes it’s necessary to go straight for bluntness when Anglosplaining. It’s not about race! – proclaimed a sign at a recent pro-SB1070 Tea Party rally carried by, natch, an Anglo. Because, again, Latinos are merely imagining things when they conclude, based upon heaps of ugly anti-Hispanic rhetoric surrounding the passage of SB1070, that the law targets them. How silly! Why can’t they listen to patient Anglosplanations by Anglos who have read the bill and can’t see anything that inconveniences Anglos in it? After all, the Anglo reality is the objective one. If you’re a brown person worried that you could be hassled by the cops for not having your papers on you, you just need to calm down and stop making this all about you!

Once you’ve mastered the basics of Anglosplaining, you will find it has uses beyond direct defenses of SB1070. Some of our local newspaper columnists and pundits are also fluent in Anglosplainese. Posing as neutral observers atop lofty pinnacles of Anglo objectivity, they are quick to point out where the behavior of SB1070 opponents is flawed and inconsistent, thereby making them just as bad as Russell Pearce. The protesters are so angry! The boycotts aren’t boycott-y enough! It’s not that the “neutral” Anglosplainers support SB1070 or anything. Indeed, most of them appear to understand that it’s a bad thing. Theoretically. But, and there will always be a but, everyone knows that people who object to a law inspired by bigotry are obligated to conduct themselves with perfect dignity and rectitude at all times in reaction to it. Since some opponents stubbornly refuse to do that, the neutral Anglo observers are required to criticize SB1070 opponents in much stronger terms and at least 3 times as often as they do supporters (no matter how virulently racist) to maintain the appropriate harmonious balance.

I hope this brief primer on Anglosplaining is helpful as you read today’s AZ Republic concern trolling editorial and in future encounters.


  1. Comment by Tom Prezelski on June 25, 2010 12:39 pm

    To your list, you can add the Arizona Daily Star and Inside Tucson Business. They too have slowly shifted from the stance of “Yes, 1070 is bad, but economic sanctions are worse” to “1070 really ain’t so bad. Can we all just get along and stop discussing it?” Imagine if a paper in the 1960s said “Sure, we’ve got segregation in Phoenix, but it ain’t nearly as bad as they’ve got it in Mississippi, so what’s the problem?” Come to think of it, I think the Republic did say that.

    It reminds me a little of a Los Angeles cab driver I met last night. He had fled the Soviet Union many years ago. He said to me “I don’t see what the big deal is about being stop by police. In Russia, police used to stop you all the time.” Of course, he unwittingly made my point.

    The real issue here is that they all know that the law is flawed, that the “facts” behind it are bullshit, and the motives behind it are racist. Unfortunately, they lack the cojones to come out against it because doing so might upset Republican hegemony in Arizona.

  2. Comment by Alan Scott on June 25, 2010 6:52 pm


    ” Thus, I unveil the term “Anglosplaining”.”

    I must say that you are on the cutting edge of your craft. I will look for that phrase on the Liberal blogs I visit. The latest in the brilliant ways Liberals dismiss those who disagree with them, as racists.

  3. Comment by Eli_Blake on June 25, 2010 9:45 pm

    It certainly shows when one contrasts the coverage of two murders.

    We’ve heard a great deal about the murder of Bob Krentz. But hardly anything at all about the murder of Juan Daniel Varela (or for that matter the murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores.)

    In other words, when a white man is shot by someone who may have been Mexican, it is a B.F.D. but when a Latina nine-year old girl is gunned down by white militia members, or when an Hispanic man is shot on his own property by his white neighbor who came began by taunting him about SB 1070, then it’s ho-hum time.

  4. Comment by Timmys Cat on June 26, 2010 9:25 am

    Alan! Shnoopsie pooh! How I’ve missed ypur utterance of sweet nothings. Honey, Mrs. Johnson from your homeroom called and said you need work on your word skills, so lets pull out the thesaurus
    No dear, that’s not the name of a dinosaur.
    Let’s begin –
    post hoc
    There’s some homework to get you started Try not to move your lips so much shnoopsie..

    Ooo-ooo I wanna play mansplanin’,

    I’m a mere female lacking in proper male objectivity?

    Duh, a lot of males do most of their thinking with their…um,
    objectivity. Since you as a female lack a males objectivity, your thinking must relegated to the suspect or sceery gurl file.

  5. Comment by Alan Scott on June 27, 2010 9:57 am

    Timmey’s Cat,

    It is nice that they let you bang on the puter keys and talk on the innernet at the facility where they house you. It must be good therapy for you.

    Bet the nurses are so proud the way you sound out the big words and get the spelling right.

    I bet you like to play word games, so lets. Mendacious is derived from mendacity. Those are big words. Since you call yourself Timmey’s Cat, I wonder if there is a way to link Timmey’s Cat with mendacity.

    I know, I know, in the movie ” Cat on a hot tin roof ” Paul Newman and Burl Ives begin using the word mendacity a lot at the end of the movie to describe what is going on around them.

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