By now, you must be either really insular or really clueless or Russian (the not English-speaking Russians, that is) to not know about the imbroglio that has been termed RaceFail 2009 and several other colorful names. I personally follow rydra_wong 's very comprehensive linking posts.
This is not about me, this discussion, the racefail, whatever you wish to call it, and this is why I have rarely commented on other people's journals, having preferred to read and speak to lindra instead.
This post, however, is. I am writing to work out some things on my own head. Agree or disagree. If you do not wish to read about what I think, you are welcome to click the back button. However, I do not want to be flamed or attacked for my feelings, and these are my feelings. They are relevant to me.
I am a white person, and until January 2009, happened to be comfortably content and clueless, swathed in my privilege and generally feeling like a good person. I am saddened, and also the fuck angry about how certain people can engage in destructive behavior towards people who do not deserve it at all. I will not summarize, and ask you to use your own head and eyes and hands to educate yourself. No one else owes it to you, to educate you. And for fuck's sake, don't make it about your pain as a poor white person whose bubble was burst. My bubble was burst, though I had been peripherally aware that you know, not everybody gets equal treatment. Boohoo.
It has gone beyond that. It has degenerated into personal attacks, outing, and general asshattery. I am shamed to share my race with these people, who lack consideration, humility, and the ability to admit that they might not be right all the time - especially on an issue that is not a constant hanging shadow on their head. This was also why I found the call to cease fire insulting - one cannot stop being a person of color or a woman or disabled. One can however stop thinking about things that do not directly affect their life, but it does not mean that you should.
Privilege is good to have. It is. I am glad to be where I are. Also - I personally believe that having privilege carries with it a moral duty to use this privilege to bring about a world in which we do not discriminate, but embrace diversity and difference, and still find common ground.
I speak from a different position than many white people here. I have not lived my life in a country that started as democratic and has been democratic to this day - the US. I live in a country that has been for the last 700 years conquered, shared and plundered by foreigners, its people killed or deported, with no other goal than direct elimination. The USSR did it. As a result, our current society is xenophobic, especially towards Russians, and I personally thought that deporting our Russians back to Russia would be a good idea no less than a year ago. Issues, I have them. We were colonized and oppressed and many peoples and languages have died out to the USSR killing them. The rage inside me is my constant companion, and it is also the constant companion of many other people from the Eastern Block, or whatever you want to call it. It is rage and anger.
And now. Now privileged white Americans with trust funds and money and support come and whine? What the fucking fuck? And yes, this is angry. If your little feelings are hurt, then you can fuck off. I don't care. I care about the fact that these people, who most likely have never tasted even the remnants of oppression and discrimination, dare to make it about them. It is not about you, just like sexism discussions are not about the hurt feelings of poor men.
I wanted to speak.
I want to say that I will not be giving these people money, and I will never work for any publisher that does not protest the racist behaviour of their writers and editors. I will never work for any publisher who pays to people who don't respect the identities of other people. I will not give them my money. I will buy certain authors from Tor Books, who have not to my knowledge engaged in this behaviour, but not the others. I will read books by people of color, to broaden my own view and just because I don't want to read books by privileged white bastards.
I will, as my own personal journey, deal with my own rage and ideas about colonialism and postcolonialism. I will write truth, I will do my best to grow as a writer and never rest on my laurels, or pat myself on the back and except cookies.
I wanted to name myself a SF/F writer. No more. I would be ashamed to. Now I will name myself a speculative fiction writer and do my best to show that it does not mean the same thing, that instead it means mapping out new paths, growth, and the promotion of ideas, and the desire to seek and discover and think - what I thought that SF/F could have been. I will speak out, and I will protest, and I will challenge people to examine themselves and their prejudice. I will fight, until the end of my life.
White people, this is not about cookies. This is not about how good a person you are when you help people of color. You don't get cookies for acting humane. You don't get cookies for doing your moral duty.
This is about being a decent human being.
Decent human beings take care of the world, speak for truth and show light on falsehood.
also, don't try to argue or I will banninate you. stating your opinion or calling me out on some idiosyncrasy in this post is okay.
- since everyone and their dog...