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Response to Bee, Re: reply to student who requested an interview

Date: August 30, 2007

Hi Bee,

To answer your question, yes I did indeed considered the potential positive impact of answering this student’s questions. That said, I believed that there was a greater good to be gained from responding the way I did–and it’s not extra time for me.

You see, if I was simply trying to save time for me, I could have simply ignored the request, or told the student “No time. Sorry.” That would have saved a lot of time–after all, I’m not under any obligation to explain my refusal to the interview.

The truth is that I probably spent more time responding to the student (and posting it on my blog, thereby inviting further discussions like this one) than I would have if I simply obliged the student’s request. So it’s not out of some overblown sense of self-importance that I did what I did.

Then why? Because I felt that it was more important for the student to consider the ethics behind the relationship between activism and academia, and possibly get the professor to do the same, than to hear whatever that I might say in an interview. I think that would result in greater good for both activism and academia.

In short, it is precisely because I view myself as “a cog in a greater machine” that I chose to respond the way I did. If I thought I was so important, I would have gladly been interviewed.

Oh, and I also do not respond to all media requests. I evaluate each media requests or student interview requests individually, rather than taking every possible venue to push myself.

KALEIDOSCOPE, the First Annual National People of Color Cabaret

Date: August 28, 2007

(posting this for a friend… – ek)

CHICA BOOM presents
The First Annual National People of Color Cabaret

Saturday, September 1 st, 2007


Doors open at 8p and show starts at 9pm
Performers of Color On Show and Showing Off

Columbia City Theatre
4916 Rainer Ave S., Seattle

Reservation Line 206-412-9802

Tickets at the door $20 (cash) or go to:

Kaleidoscope kicks off the First Annual National People of Color Cabaret in Seattle! The first of its kind in Burlesque, this show centers vaudevillians, aerialists, and neo-burlesque performers of color who inspire, entertain, represent and transform burlesque as it was and is.

This wildly amazing show will be a blend of drag, burlesque, music, and aerial art. The wide range of performances will be erotic, hot, hilarious, and political. The performances will subvert racism, inject a race, gender, and sexuality analysis in burlesque, and celebrate people of color on show and showing off!

This historical show will be hosted by her most imperial sovereign majesty, ALEKSA MANILA. This year’s incredible lineup includes the Creole queen of burlesque, Desire D’Amour (Tucson); the brown sugar hurricane that is Tangerine Jones (NYC); an explosiva Dolores De Muela (L.A.); y la sinverguenza Eva Las Vegass (Venenzuela); and show founder and Ms. Gay Latina 2006 Chica Boom. The show will feature the best in color in the Northwest chocolate glamazon, Sydni Deveraux; sultry vixen, Shanghai Pearl; renowned shaker and mover, Ginger Snapz; aerialist innovator Thanhdat; and Portland’s burlesque sweetheart Sahara Dunes.


Zine World recommends “Disloyal to Feminism”

Date: August 11, 2007

The latest issue of Zine World: A Reader’s Guide to the Underground Press published a brief review of my booklet, “Disloyal to Feminism: Abuse of Survivors within the Domestic Violence Shelter System.” Here’s what it says:

Disloyal to Feminism: “Confronting the Abusive Power and Control within the Domestic Violence Industry.” Written by Emi Koyama of Portland’s Survivor Project, this booklet is about the “abuse of power and control within the feminist movement against domestic violence.” This essay is well thought out and well written and focuses on “the imbalance of power between workers who provide services and the survivors who receive them.” All feminists and especially workers in the domestic violence industry should read and think deeply about this article. Survivor Project, PO Box 40664, Portland OR 97240, [$? 23S :36] –Chantel

Get your copy of “Disloyal to Feminism” here.

A reply to a student who kept requesting an interview for a class project

Date: August 4, 2007

Hello ******,

I’m sure that you’d understand, but activists do not exist to help you do your homework. Every moment activists spend talking to you (including the time it takes to read your email, think how to respond, and write a response) is a moment that they could be doing something else, most likely something more worthwhile. If you wish to grab attention of activists to your project and have them help you do your homework, you need to make it worthwhile to them: what do activists gain from helping you, or how would it help the work they are doing?

And please don’t just say that your paper could educate your classmates, because it’s not enough that there is some benefit; for it to be worthwhile, the benefit of working with you must exceed that of whatever else activists would be doing if they were not talking to you.

Please also tell your professor (in fact, please forward this email to her or him) that academia must stop exploiting and derailing activists and activist movements. Any scholar or student researching about activist movements (and any community for that matter) need to build equitable relationships with those they study, rather than simply stealing knowledge and insights from them and publishing them for their own professional or academic career.


Emi Koyama