Thursday, March 5, 2009

Can't Fall From The Gutter

To those who are shocked at this:" It's my fault because I accepted criticism of my book that I knew to be untrue, that I knew to be based on a shallow and partial reading (a reading of the first chapter of a 160,000-word novel), because I felt it was important to serve as an example of how to engage dialogue on unconscious institutional racism. "

I'm not. Not just because of prior actions (speech), not just because of associations but because of this:

"I was raised in New England. I grew up in a house with a sadistic borderline personality. My chosen literary genre is the comedy of ethics. Do not confuse my politeness, my willingness to listen to criticism, or my acceptance of the need to sometimes take one for the team with moral cowardice, a susceptibility to bullying, or any plans to throw any of my friends under the bus whether I disagree with them or not. " (Emphasis mine).

It is why there is mention of the latter included in the timeline, though I seem to have either forgotten to link directly or linked to the wrong thing.

But the group at the core of Racefail 09 have been that core for a reason. And as everyone who has observed what happened in the comments of that original reply to my Open Letter - the lack of action to protect PoC was telling.

Elizabeth Bear wanted cookies. This group wants cookies. When they did not receive special PoC, iced cookies of race relation exemption, they began to act true to their nature and in some cases that included not just the vindictiveness of their imaginations but real, actual, physical harm.

PS: I can't remember if I read up to the 3rd or 5th chapter. I knew I discovered the Merlin was black. But Deepad READ THE WHOLE DAMN THING and none of those white jackasses will actually engage with that.


  1. I want a cookie. An oreo preferably. Mmmmm. Stale cake and lard. Also Ben & Jerrys. A nice pint of their rocky road with the yummy crunchy marshmallows. I miss self-indulgence in sugar so mu..Oh wait. You mean cookies like "rewards for trying to act like a decent, thinking person so you will keep acting like a decent, thinking person". Shoot. Now I'm all hungry...

  2. Lurker:

    Gives the label/title: "Cookie Monster" a whole new meaning now, doesn't it.

  3. What is with all the Elizabeth Bear worship? I seriously don't get why people scrambled *so hard* to give her the benefit of the doubt, over and over and over. Is it really that hard to accept that she's just a giant privileged asshole (not to mention somebody who can't write a word - fiction or nonfiction - without the smug and pedantic pretentiousness dripping off the screen)? I keep seeing people being all, "well, she's the only one who came out okay during the first round!" and I mean, were they just *ignoring what she's actually said*?

    It's like they all think that if there's no hope for Elizabeth Bear, the world is *doomed*.

    -chopchica, attacking Elizabeth Bear et al from behind my giant white hood.

  4. Thanks for this.

    Oh, and re: "But Deepad READ THE WHOLE DAMN THING and none of those white jackasses will actually engage with that" -- well, you know, Analysing While Brown means you're doing it wrong. Automatically.

    --illariy@LJ, who cannot work OpenID

  5. It's like they all think that if there's no hope for Elizabeth Bear, the world is *doomed*.

    This. More to the point they (catagorically including me) fear that if Bear (who worked very hard to be inclusive and sensitive and respectful - just ask her) could not pull it off with all that effort and sensitivity and respect then the rest of us will *never* be able to get away with... erm give the world our orcs and dark elves and noble savages and martial mystics and Morgan Freemanesque mentor figures who heroically give their lives, whatever else (very respectful, of course, very sensitive) NO MATTER HOW HARD WE TRY (eleventyone)and someone might call us ...

    I can't even contemplate it. *shiver*

    -Cucumberseed, who once did think that Bear was handling getting called out well and then learned otherwise and now looks like a damned fool for it.

  6. I'll make them cookies...anyone got some exlax I can melt up for the batter?

  7. chopchica

    If one self-satisfied white person gets attacked for being wrong about their self-assigned freedom from racism, all are attacked. It's one of those human condition reactions when you think you're being victimized. You see one of your own get poked at and it's time to circle the wagons. I used to feel like that myself under similar circumstances. Embarrassing in retrospect, but immaturity is never a nice thing to look back on. Cucumberseed also makes a valid point.

    And I've just taken a longer look at Racefail '09 after being peripherally aware of it for a little while. I'm rather croggled by it all, but only by the mass quantities. Far too many of the involved parties are behaving as I'd expect. Not as individuals, but in that collective sense as I already described. I've witnessed it far too many times. Participated on the wrong side of it as well in days gone by.

    I am grateful that I followed this up. It's been educational. It's shed light on both the core issues of race and its depictions in SF/F as well as enhanced my own ability to explicate the issues faced by sexual minorities. I think I'll be adding this blog to my feed on LJ to make sure I continue to see and learn.

  8. Yeah, once again, for the record, I will say publicly that I stand by your critique of the book, Willow.
    I read the whole book, I enjoyed it, and I found it problematic for racial and cultural reasons. I no longer have the energy to write out a detailed review spelling out my critique, but I stand by your reading of the issues.

  9. Moondancerdrake:

    Girl you wrong! :) You made me laugh!

  10. Lysana:

    Oh... well, I've had a very recent 'Damnit I Feel This Way!' moment myself, so at least you've got proof I've got clay feet.

  11. DeepaD:

    I'm beginning to wonder if yours is a special kind of brown. People keep ignoring your word - well, they notice the eloquent, kind, PoC stuff. But the disagreeing stuff? Woosh, over their heads.

    It kind of makes me want to dress you up in leather (can you have a leather Sari? Maybe Salwaar Kameez?) and get you to say Grrr. Maybe they'd notice then.

    But you're tired now, so there's no point. Still, thanks.

    I'm back to being amused and thinking of the lot of them sitting through some very boring movies - because they can't properly complain it's not for them early, and get their money back and go see something they'd actually like.

  12. Analysing While Brown means you're doing it wrong. Automatically

    Analysing While Brown does not mean you're doing it right, automatically, either.

    I disliked Bear's book. However, I disagree with your criticism. I believe that has no implications other than that we disagree. (And for what it's worth, I'm Hispanic).

  13. Aw, damnit. I really really wanted to like Ms. Bear. I don't read her books (never caught my attention), but I've enjoyed her reviews of Criminal Minds and other of her posts.

    But no. If I'm reading her post right, it looks like she's trying to call a moratorium on discussion/critique of her handling of racial issues. And that right there is the fucking epitome of white privilege.

  14. Twa-in-yin:

    Writing While White also doesn't mean you're doing it right.

  15. Kalinara:

    You're reading it right. She's also trying to control what actions = those who truly care about social justice.

  16. Avalon's Willow:

    I assume people have feet of clay. I know my own well enough. :)

  17. Mallory:

    You make a comment about growing racism and describing what's been going on as a war and you expected it to get posted?

    Be gone and do not darken my virtual doorway again.