Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
Your Sept. 7 excerpt, "A Place for Women," from Brock Thompson's book "The Unnatural State: Arkansas and the Queer South" attempts to give some history of the Razordykes collective of the Women's Center of the University of Arkansas during the late 1970's. As a founding member of the collective, I note there are several factual errors and some of his conclusions appear to be historically inaccurate interpretations of events.
First the Women's Center never included a battered women's shelter. Second, the University of Arkansas solicited the community's Women's Center and offered funding for them to move to campus because the U of A needed to add women's programming. Third, Mr. Thompson's time line is off, collapsing incidents that happened over almost a two-year period within a few months.
Most importantly, however, the assertion the Lesbian Rap Group had become disillusioned with the politics of the Women's Center, whether earlier or later in the struggles with the University, is a total fabrication. The Lesbian Rap Group changed its name to the Razordykes at its third meeting. This very small group knew each other well, had nothing to discuss, and had decided to engage in a consciousness raising action before disbanding: ask for funding, be denied and write a letter of protest to the University newspaper, The Traveler. To our amazement, we were funded for a total of three funding cycles, grew in numbers, provided speakers to university classes, bought books and a film, and planned two social functions each year (a fall cotillion and a spring mixer).
Members of the Razordykes did not see themselves as "alienated" from the feminist politics of the Women's Center — as women, the politics of sexism, the right to choice and the right to self-determination were no less important to us as lesbians than they were to any other woman. There was no rift between our collective and the Women's Center's politics — we were part of the Women's Center's politics.
Also, contrary to Mr. Thompson's statements, the Razordykes primarily refused to change our name because we realized the attacks and criticisms weren't about our name. It was about homophobia being used to attack a feminist organization. The cost of this struggle was unthinkable — threatening the very existence of the Women's Center and its collectives, including Rape Crisis. I know there were wise women who rightfully and angrily saw the destruction of so many good things for women seeming to hinge on a group of young and politically naive women (the Razordykes), however, the bigger picture of what was happening was clear, even at the time.
Finally, Mr. Thompson is confused in his knowledge of the women's land movement in Northwest Arkansas, and draws an erroneous conclusion. The women's land movement had nothing to do with the Women's Center's struggles with the University. Many, many women from the land movement supported the Women's Center and the Razordykes collective — but the women's land movement was thriving before all this happened and continued to thrive after it happened. The two things were not related.
Dumas off mark
Ernest Dumas was uncharacteristically off the mark Sept. 9 regarding his "... prosecuting lawbreakers in the Eastern District of Arkansas." Rather, of course, those involved are hapless suspects and defendants who are not only the apple of their mothers' eyes but also presumed innocent.
Also, having catalogued some of the sins of Tim Griffin, Joyce Elliott's opponent in the Second Congressional District race, that Mr. Dumas would throw in the towel in Ms. Elliott's behalf, this idea: Not so fast, please. Spread the truth around and keep the faith for goshsakes.
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Totally sums up our numbskull governor.