yeloson: (Default)
When you cut away the wrapper, appropriation is telling other people's stories for your entertainment & profit, not theirs.

Safe Space

Oct. 16th, 2011 04:43 pm
yeloson: (Default)
"There's no such thing as a safe space"

I really hate this phrase, because it's a disingenuous statement.

Let's do an analogy: let's say you work in a factory! Factories are dangerous, accidents can happen!

But you do things like have clear pathways, section off areas for machinery, put up lights and buzzers and warnings when something is moving or active or hot, you make sure to keep things in working order. And, sometimes accidents happen, and then the thing to do is fix the problem so it doesn't happen again.

Now, if we're in a factory and someone is actively making it unsafe, throwing sharp things at other people, you don't go, "Well, there's no such thing as a safe space!"

Mind you, if you want to have the discussion that safe space doesn't mean an uncomfortable, painful and hard to work through space, because of the nature of the work being done there (like processing, talking about really hard shit, etc.) that's fine. But that's sure as hell not the same thing as letting shitty behavior pass through.
yeloson: (Default)
"White Identifying" indicates people of color who imitate white privilege behaviors, and support and defend privileged behaviors, in the hopes of white approval.

Notice that this doesn't have jack to do with whether someone has grown up completely surrounded by white people, what languages they can, or can't speak, what food they eat, what music they listen to, who their friends are, whether they can "pass" or not, etc.

None of that is the problem- privileged behavior, supporting racism, and, policing other people of color to do the same? That's the problem.
yeloson: (Default)
Watching recent online antics come forth, and I'm realizing something that has bothered me for a while.

There's this thing people do where they mistake celebration for actual equality. You know, like the idea that if a bunch of white people show up to watch a lion dance in Chinatown, they're not racist, or by having Black History month, or a bunch of straight folks showing up at Pride, or a bunch of men judging Ms. Universe...

You know, somehow by the virtue of showing up to be entertained and say nice things once in a while, that it somehow is a replacement for real, actual changes in power structures and social dynamics.

Hence, why somehow voting for Obama ended all racism.

Right now, I'm watching a bunch of supposed feminists flip out over the fact that WisCon will not honor a bigot who puts out hate language.

And I realize, these people are probably the people I described above- the whole premise of WisCon, and why women would even MAKE a separate convention is completely invisible to them- it's actually only about coming together to "celebrate" and have a sparkly fluffy time...

...the idea that there's more to feminism than simply saying "Women are AWESOME", that, you know, you might actually have to negotiate power structures and policy, that you might have to call out people in your community, that people you look up to might be problematic to the point of not being able to participate in all the happy events...

This hasn't crossed their minds at all.

Because real anti-oppression work isn't fun, it isn't an AWESOME celebration, it's hard fucking work that means you have to pick your battles and the costs you're willing to pay for the principle that all people are people.

Or you know, you can sit back and only show up for the parties and act like you did something. And stomp your feet when you show up and aren't entertained.

After all, that's what equality is all about, right? Someone dancing for you because you're special and they know their place?
yeloson: (Default)
99% of the time, those in privileged positions asking for "education" are not actually asking to learn something. Instead they're engaging in dishonest debate- the questions aren't aimed at learning something, but rather designed as challenges - it's not about information, it's about dishonest debate.

The two usual giveaways about it are:

a) An unwillingness to do research and effort on one's own - that is, if you point the person to books, websites, movies, historical events to research, they refuse to bother doing any effort on their own.

b) Any answers are met with more challenge-type questions, which almost always involve shifting the terms of debate, each time. It's not about more understanding, it's really just disguised versions of "I don't believe you, PROVE IT TO ME, AGAIN.", which repeats until you stop, at which point they can rest easy, because clearly you're wrong, the idea is bunk, because you couldn't summarize it in a half hour conversation or 3 email/comment exchanges.

Under that logic, most science would also be wrong as well...

The whole behavior is basically a form of concern-trolling- "Well, but educate me, since I'm being polite and reasonable and therefore you OWE IT TO ME, and if you, individually, don't sell this idea to me RIGHT NOW, then the whole idea is bunk." (also note the egotism in the demand; the immediate assumption of servant/served relationship...)

It's easy to get caught in this game, because we're so used to having to justify and explain and defend ourselves, not to mention usual internalized 'isms.

But basically, the answer is to point people to do some research, and come back later if they're actually interested. Anyone who is, will go ahead and do that, and anyone who isn't, isn't worth your time.

They're not asking a real question, and aren't worth a real answer.
yeloson: (How white of you)
So once again, white writers are crying tears and needing hugs and cocoa because they don't know how to write characters of color and they did it wrong and everybody hates them and their fee fees hurt.

Let me give an analogy.

If every time I spoke about women, I painted them as some mysterious other- magical and wise, vicious and cruel, stupid and helpless, lusty and animalistic, unfathomable and alien? You'd tell me I'm crazy and a sexist dick and you'd be right. (and yeah, there's guys doing this still.)

You'd say this not only because I'd be telling lies, but because these falsehoods are so easily shattered that I would have had to went through considerable effort in mental gymnastics, in not interacting with women (either literally or practically by behavior), that in the end, "But, but, no one pulled my head out of my ass, I NEVER KNEW" would not be a valid excuse. My not knowing would be the result of a lot of work on my part.

Women are everywhere and the only person I could blame for such fuckwittery at this point would be myself.

So. When you tell me that you couldn't possibly write any characters of color because they're so strange and you can't identify with them at all? Or that's why you had to fall back on stereotypes? You've just told me you've spent decades of your life doing mental gymnastics and avoiding people.

And, after a lifetime of aversive racism, and, you creating media that helps perpetuate lies, you want me to do the work FOR you of pulling your head out of your ass and then give you a cookie and tell you that you're a good white person, even though you're not willing to do any effort to undo what you've done to yourself?

So, no, the answer is neither to stop writing characters of color or to read a lot of books about POC and try to study them from afar or endlessly demand we educate you.

Get your head out of your ass and meet us as people.

And then you'll see why, "But X are people too!" is a phrase that only works if you start from an assumption that only your people were people to begin with.

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