marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)

If I am driving and someone yells "hey, asshole! You've got a flat tire!" at me, I will be upset by their rudeness and may mark them down on my mental list of people I don't like, but I will also immediately look at my tire to see if it's flat, and if necessary I will pull over and put the spare tire on.  Because the substance of what they said matters more than how they said it.

If I am having a discussion and someone says "hey, asshole, that's racist," or something similarly rude, and I get upset by their rudeness *without* stopping to examine my own words or actions in light of their accusation of racism, that would mean that I care more about a flat tire than about whether I'm perpetuating racism.

It's not that I think rudeness is awesome.  But it's a lot more awesome than racism, and if a particular discussion can only focus on one or the other--as is so often the case--it's better to focus on racism.

marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
For context, please see [ profile] nojojojo 's post about Wiscon, but this is something that I see over and over and over so I wanted to say something in my own space about it.

A lot of people are bigoted.  Some people will even argue that this is part of being human, it's natural, etc., and then will want to present that as a reason to tolerate bigotry, which is screwed up, given that theft and murder are also natural and yet are not tolerated by most people.   Yet whenever a white person says something horrifyingly, obviously bigoted, there seems to be a rush of well-intentioned white folks wanting to explain that they didn't actually mean that.  Or that it's just that they don't know better.  It's NOT. They're BIGOTED. They MEANT IT.

And while it may be ok within the larger society, in the sense that tolerance is a virtue and free speech is important etc., it should not be ok within any community that calls itself progressive.

The other thing I see people saying, when it comes to censuring (note: not censoring) a bigoted person, is "if you criticize/punish this person for saying these things, where does it stop?"  Somewhere else, that's where it stops.  Somewhere on the other side of racism.  Saying "racism and other bigotries are not okay within a progressive community" is not censorship or thought policing; it's simply defining the parameters of the concept "progressive."  Because if you can be a progressive and think it's fine to be bigoted?  Then some of us progressives are going to need a new word for whatever it is that we are.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (dolls)
Signal boost - if you're considering seeing The Last Airbender this weekend, please first head over to and read about the film.  The film's creators have taken a wildly popular anime full of Asian and other POC heroes, with sets and clothing designs that have their origins in a variety of non-European cultures, and turned it into an all-white-heroes, POC-villains exotic fantasy extravaganza.   I won't see it for all the tea in {some country that used to be China but has been replaced for artistic reasons with a non-Asian country}, and I hope you'll consider withholding your dollars from it as well.  The original show is up on Netflix if you want to give the real thing a try. 
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (smiley2)
I've got a post up about how manners can differ across cultures, and what that might mean for congoing fandom as we try to become more diverse and more welcoming of fans of color--it's over here at the anti-racism community [ profile] fight_derailing .  Stop on by if you'd like to talk about it!
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
This morning at the 7-11 there was an oldish guy getting coffee in line in front of me.  Obviously a regular. He was making vaguely unpleasant comments about Jewish people, in that fake-joking, ethnic-slur-using bullshitty way that is popular among bigots in soutwest Chicago and no doubt many other places.  The girls behind the counter were shaking their heads and tut-tutting but couldn't say much because he's their customer.  Except then he said "aw, c'mon, you've got to have fun in life!" and the younger of the two gals says, with a nice smile,  "oh, we do! We have fun laughing at you after you leave." 
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (apple-tattoo)
I just had someone lecture me in response to something I didn't say, or even kinda-say. When I challenged him, and pointed out that I didn't say that, he said it was based on context. However, he has not been an supporter of context-based assumptions in recent weeks on LJ; rather the opposite, in fact.

So. Based on context, and leaving race right out of it because God knows race has nothing to do with anything around here, I will assume the following:

1. It's ok to assume someone meant something they totally didn't say, based on context, if the person hearing it is NOT a youngish, fic-writing media fan or one of their friends.

2. However, if the person hearing something and interpreting it based on context IS a youngish, fic-writing media fan, they can fuck right the hell off, along with their friends and the unicorn they rode in on.

This is what I have learned from LJ today.

Edit: 1. I'm disabling comments on this because the temptation to discuss the person or exchange in question will be great, and that's not what I intend here (as evidenced by my having just commented about it myself)...I just want to bask in the irony. If you'd like to talk about the whole context issue, comments are open on my postmodernism post, here.
2. I don't mean to imply that any of the ficcers involved in GCDOD09/RF09 is responsible for that unicorn thing. :)
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Please try not to argue with definitions that people post in the comments. However, posting your own definition is highly encouraged, even if it's just tweaking the wording of something in the ticky boxes.

Edit: I really want this post to stay on topic, that topic being people's own definitions of these terms. This is not about whether it's ok to call someone a racist or accuse people of racism--there's no way to answer that question without having a sense of what the terms mean to people, and I'm not the right person to host that conversation anyway.

I want this post to be 1. a safe space for people to say what they think these words mean 2. a multi-definition glossary of two terms that are used in a lot of conversations. That will only happen if it stays on topic, so I will politely freeze or re-direct conversations that are off-topic. If I freeze a comment, it does not mean I think you're a jerk or that I want you to get lost; please don't take it personally.

Thank you to everyone who is helping to build this resource, and I appreciate everyone's tolerance of the heavy moderation. If you want to talk (a little) more freely, there are other posts under my anti-racism category tag that may interest you.

Another Edit: discussion of how to define "Race" starts with Bluefall's comment here.

[Poll #1340724]
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Something Tempest said in a discussion yesterday or the day before helped to crystallize something in my mind.  This is often true of things Tempest says, but this time was different because she wasn't doing it on purpose.  (note: if you haven't been keeping up with the Cultural Debate of Doom 2009, ummm, I don't think it's possible for me to bring you up to speed.[info]rydra_wong  has cataloged everything important that hasn't been deleted or locked. And what [ profile] kate_nepveu  says over here is super important, fellow white people!  Go read it! But most of what I'm going to say here is generic & future-facing.) 
New Crit, Postmodernism, Privilege, Racism... )
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
...and how I learned them. Yes, this is a story of white enlightenment, and also an account of my racist dipshit behavior.   And I do enjoy cookies.  But I'm writing this as an exercise in Racism 101, passing along what I've learned, not as a confessional, and I'll attempt to avoid being a racist dipshit in the course of writing it.  (When I say "you" in the lesson bits I am addressing white people in general, in case that's not obvious.  I am not addressing any specific white person, in case that needs saying too.) 
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April 2013

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