Friday, January 16, 2009

My Close On This Chapter

There are many individuals who've waded into this conversation and dealt with the same bullshit that I have; the same blows of assumed un-intelligence and the same sticking-of-fingers-in-ears /"Lalala in my perfect world there is no prejudice, bigotry and racism, there is no blindness to indoctrinated social injustice. Everyone's white - no matter their colour."

To those individuals as a group, I say Thank You. I'm not going to name names and thus contribute to fools capable of following a line backwards into your personal spaces and or into PoC safe spaces. But I sincerely Thank You - most especially because you tried to engage when I walked away.


To those who apologised to me for their actions - I do not accept your apology. I'm grateful you've clothed your psyches, but I do not accept apologies for acts of ugliness. If you weren't so interested in preserving yourselves, your status quo and your self perspective as a liberal understanding academic - you would have never behaved like pantless fools in the first place.

Putting on pants is a good start, but it doesn't mean I stop thinking of you as barely dressed savages. I know it's a turn around and likely a description you never expected applied to you; but if the loin cloth fits, even if it's made with the pages of Shakespeare and Ovid and scrolls of Socrates, it's still just a loin cloth; in your case barely keeping your befouled private workings covered.


Ms Bear, I thank you for listening and for your attempts at facilitating. I appreciate your words about wanting social justice for the next generation and thus you tackle and wrestle with issues in your work. However, I find that I currently cannot separate your presentation of self, from the presentation of those of your close colleagues. A person's friends are a reflection of who they are, and I do not like your current reflection - I cannot respect your current reflection.


Finally to those still pondering questions as to my intelligence, intellectual background and perhaps even the status of my parents' academic careers - if you even believe they had them - I'm bright enough to separate the wheat from the chaff, and that's quite enough for me.


  1. Hi, Willow, I posted an earlier roundup of posts at the Aqueduct Press blog, including your initial Open Letter to Elizabeth Bear. I didn't ask because I generally assume that anything public on the Internet is okay for linking, but I've had second thoughts given the responses I've seen POC friends and acquaintances have to deal with. So first, I apologize if the initial inclusion has caused you grief.

    Second, I'd like to do a follow-up including this post and your previous post. Is this okay? (I feel like there's a lot of chutzpah in asking this right after apologizing but -- the bad is the possible responses, the good is the wider dissemination of the voices of WOC. And I'd rather ask what you prefer than assume either way.)

  2. Everything on the Internet isn't always okay for linking, so thank you for asking. This blog is my public space and it's usually alright to go ahead and link. When Blogger's working, I get linkbacks so I know my words are being utilized somewhere. But I'm really glad you asked.

    Speaking of second thoughts and 'the bad' - I've just discovered I've been called an attention whore - wait, let me save it correctly for posterity.

    Her point isn't "stop hurting me," if you look at her post history and her antics on her blog, Bear's blog, and Truepenny's blog. She's engaging in orcing, performance art and pretty much blog-whoring.

    Ouch, yes? Stupid and a Jezebel. That is some ugly racism. But I'm weathering it, so I figure I can weather any other stupidity that might come my way.

  3. Here from the posts at Bear's and Truepenny's blogs, and am deeply appreciative that you hung on as long as you did. (I'd have given it up as a bad job after the first stupid response.) Thank you for your great comments; they were very satisfying to read.

  4. Iseen4:

    My patience used to be deeper and wider. This recent imbroglio has been a crash diet on stupid.

  5. I just want to say here, in your space, publicly -- Thank you, and I agree with you.

    Deepa D. (whose LJ ID is for some reason not being verified)

  6. Um, wow. How white of them. Because we all know what you, or any of us really crave is to have people throw insults at us all day? And as if we can't just walk out into the street, or turn on the radio and hear it?

    And of course, going straight to the personal attack, what a brilliant way to support one's argument.

    But it's not like we can expect much from these people.

  7. You are awesome and I've been so heartened by your posts, no matter what bullshit people keep trying to pass off as ice cream.

    Your truth-speaking and brilliance mean worlds.

  8. thank you for taking the time that you did. i've been reading and lurking in a bunch of places.

  9. I'm still boggled by "Orcing" I mea, I'm boggled by the willfull assiness of many people here, but "Orcing?"

  10. To those thanking me:

    It always seems rather odd and awkward to be thanked for being myself. It's not quite like being thanked for breathing, though it feels close, especially because it's not a case of having a a medical illness where every breath is a fight for life.

    But I hope I'm understanding it as gratitude for being a loud, unashamed voice. For which I'll say, it is my honor and privilege. I know what it's like not to be able to find one's voice. I found mine and use it for myself and my community.

  11. Have you shown any of this to your dad?

  12. Delux:

    I tend to assume my Dad's reading, but I will call him and ask some questions when I less likely to sound like some sort of drunken toad.(Illness stole my voice).

    He will critique, oh will he ever. But I'll be better off for it.

  13. I managed a good response to one person--just one--who thought his critics were 'making baseless assumptions' because (I assume) he didn't understand what they were critiquing. The followup conversation off lj was inconclusive and frustrating; I found the whole exchange draining.

    And that was just one person.

    I salute you for your courage to speak up, your fortitude in dealing with the aftermath, and the grace you exhibited by knowing when to walk away. Here's to the many excellent conversations on lj and elsewhere your open letter sparked; it's a pity so few of them took place in the comments section of Ms. Bear's thoughtful response.

  14. idhren24:

    I haven't been so good at walking away completely this time. I'm going to wait and see until Monday if anything else floats to the surface of my mind about this and then congratulate myself.

    It's been one of those occasions where little fish nibbling have been more annoying than perhaps they themselves expected.

    Congratulations on having tried to have this conversation one on one with someone. That's a different kind of tiring.

  15. Hi, I'm usually a lurker, but I wanted to say this.

    And we're not? After being asked and played and pulled into Anti-racism 101; after having this discussion for the umpteenth time often with sub-set circles of the same people, we, PoC are NOT exhausted?

    Just reading the threads made me exhausted, and angry, and stunned, and stripped of defenses. So I wanted to say I admire you for writing the posts, and the way you handled the comments. I just--their comments were painful, and stunningly blind to how much dismissal, hypocrisy, and condescension it contained. So thanks for speaking up. It's only now that I feel capable of stringing a coherent sentence together, two days after becoming aware of it.

    Also, I can't believe that they said your post was too emotional, and you weren't interested in doing analysis, when you were the one who gave examples and demonstrated that there was a pattern, while they (Coffeem and Truepenny in comments) made assertions and didn't even back it up. Wtf? Yesterday I helped my high school age cousin with an essay, and if he did something like that he'd get a bad grade.

  16. I'm glad to find your blog! And sorry you had all that damned nasty blowback.

  17. Thanks for permission to link. I don't know what to say about medievalist (and now mac_stone) except that horrible as the effects are on my friends online, the people I feel worst for are medievalist's students, especially her students of color, who have so much less recourse against her and so much less ability to just walk away. It burns.

  18. Badgerbag:

    Hi, nice to meet you. I'm not always this--- adamant about stuff. Sometimes I'm funny and I talk about superheroes kicking butt or fighting the supernatural!

  19. Coffeelink:

    A professor of Native American studies, white, with quite the bias against them; which at the time I naively was very confused about; contributed to my saying 'Eff college, eff teachers with tenure making me do their research. Eff it all.'

    If only it hadn't said eff with acute depression, inflamed bodyparts and illness.

    Her students are the big tragedy. I'm going to guess Timbuktu is not in their medieval studies and they likely learn by the time they write their first paper that she who controls the grades must be catered to in all her madness.

    I on the other hand have realized my initial reactions to point and laugh were the right ones.

  20. I have since learned that my friendship is not worth keeping if it means getting called on racist behavior; I think I can live without those kinds of friends as well.

    Generally speaking, I prefer to associate with people who know how to wear clothes.

  21. Deconcentrate:

    *stares at her war wounds in this latest battle*

    *stares at your collateral damage*

    Pants explosion and the resulting nakedness - it's grueling like effing whoa. Why can't people just wet-wipe and pull on a new pair?

  22. Coffeeandink, I've been wondering that about her students too.