Monday, June 1, 2009

Learning Moments - Soaked In Tears

For the past couple of weeks, I've been taking a break and cringing everytime I saw something I wanted to talk about but couldn't find the energy to. There is a lot; comic book projects coming to fruition, my attempt at buying Razor Kid (which failed due to internet checkout weirdness), and a couple other things.

And I thought, perhaps what I needed to do was focus on things that make me happy and get rolling on that before doing anything else for a kind of boost. Because it's really felt as if the events of the first Four, five months of the year have just tapped me out.

And then I woke up this morning to see that a friend who hadn't been feeling very involved lately, had decided to take a first step towards interaction, by friending the new Scans_Daily.

That would be the Scans_Daily, run by individuals who found nothing inciting, contemptible or racist in this statement (made at their sister community noscans_daily:

"That's my opinion, so feel free to comment, suggest things and ask questions. You can also insult me and call me a big privileged white idiot who doesn't know anything about anime, but I won't hear you because I got Mein Kampf 2 on tape and I'm listening to it while getting a swastika tattooed on my shaved head. Also a unicorn, a really racist unicorn who hates unicorns of other colors because illegal aliens stole his job at the unicorn racism factory." {Do note the OP has since deleted their journal and their comments in that thread}

That would be the mods who banned someone (yes, box_in_the_box, has issues with agitation, not the point) for saying in the first comment that any post ending with such a statement was total fail, right from the start.

That would be the scans_daily mods who want, apparently, their comm to be a safe space from racism, transphobic statements, sexist statements and more. But who haven't educated themselves on the myriad of ways those statements can come about and who ALSO seem to want this 'safe(r) space' community without doing any of the damn work of creating such a space.

What do I mean about not educated? Well, one of the mods (I believe it was one of the mods, can't find the thread now) thought that the inclusion of the word unicorn proved that the statement was fantastical and meant as a joke. Never mind that there ARE racist jokes, where racists laugh. Said mod also didn't know about The Wild Unicorn Herd Checkin and why a statement about racist unicorns was very pointedly racist.

Yeah, I know, as if throwing Mien Kampf up in there wasn't a big ass clue.

How are Fans of Colour supposed to believe that certain words and online actions WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, when the mods of the comm have blinders on and are too busy or whatever to keep up with what's going on for Fans of Colour in the world of Speculative Fiction?

Then comes the part where the Scans_Daily and NoScans_Daily mods, throw up their Golden Rule Post, and at the bottom declare that racist talk won't be tolerated - WHILE CLAIMING THAT EVERY DISAGREEMENT MUST BE HAD CIVILLY AND CALMLY and
here, read it for yourself
. They give examples of acceptable criticism.

So Tone Argument and then Tone Argument Exemplified when someone takes offense at it being said to be ok to call people on their privilege. Reason being he doesn't believe privilege exists.

This is acceptable? You gotta be kidding me. A person saying this is saying they know things about my POV on the world based on, mostly, my race, gender and sexual preference. How in the world is this "friendly"?

I'm HIGHLY insulted whenever someone says this to me and I certainly don't come to this comm for that sort of thing.

It implies that A) privilege exists B) being a part of some groups usually means X,Y and Z about someone and C) that said person said/ did whatever in part due to some some aspect of their background that the person criticising actually knows little to nothing about in most cases.

After all, isn't saying that to someone making more than a few assumptions about them?

I believe that regardless of what one is in life there are times and situations where being with be a plus and times when it will be a minus. I believe that this is a simple, inescapable fact of life.

Now if you mean do I think that "privilege" as is it most often defined in modern fandom circles exists then no. I believe that definition of things is, in fact, a sterotype which makes broad assumptions about people based on a few key facts about them and that life is far to complex to boil things down to such a broad level.

That opinion seems to piss a lot of people off...

And someone else immediately claims that racist is the second most nasty insult ever. Y'know, perpetuating the idea that people throw it around as an insult and don't use it as a descriptor:

It's a well-known fact that "you're racist!" is the second-nastiest insult in the English language. For non-rational, historically contingent reasons, it's more hurtful than "you're a totalitarian!" or "You're a Communist!" If you choose to make it a policy to let users drop an insult that vicious on each other, the idea that "rude remarks will not be tolerated" becomes absurd.

What do I mean by not doing the work? Well I was initially further disappointed that the mods would put the onus on Fans of Colour to help them refine a policy after they'd already put their post up (thus the seeking help note at the bottom). It appears that they've already begun to incorporate some of that refining (the post now includes references to tone - I wish I'd saved the original).

It meant that after dealing with the initial in your face racism, people had to then educate the mods. It's a little like educating the cowboys after coyotes already ran the cows out of the barn. I wonder if the mods realize how much it takes out of Fans of Colour to interact with them at all after they failed hard and failed harder.

And after all that 'Tell us what to do to make this place safer for you'. Even in a post meant to be discussing racism, people make racist statements and nothing happens to them.

No wonder I and many other FoC are exhausted, if either through words or actions the set up is that we have to police any space we're in if we want it to be safe for us - from educating the mods, to calling out isms when we see them. And we have to watch our tone, when we do so, our lose a place to be fannish in. And any allies that might be about, already on the cusp between what is comfortable and what is right, are then encouraged to silence by being told that to be outraged, is to break community rules and be booted out of the space as well.

I realize that many people would want to say (but can't because comments are NOT open) "But at least the mods are trying." You do not get an A for effort in not being racist. Either you pick yourself up, dust yourself up, and keep trying to be a descent human being, or you crawl back under the rock that spawned your maggoty existence.

Right now someone's lifted a rock at Scans_Daily and there are all these bleached white worm looking things wriggling in a frenzy to crawl back into darkness.

And I'm disappointed for my friend who was trying to dip toes back into the water not knowing it was filled with scum.


Note: Future shorter posts may be likely, because it is better to shine a light for a small instant in the dark, than to stumble about (and let others stumble with you) with eyes shadowed.

Further Note: A link to the mod thought on the offensive passage. Duplicate thoughts on her personal journal

Last Note: If anyone's wondering why I haven't been discussing comics lately. Check the bottom of Kali921's post about Scans_Daily. Yet another black character a paler shade of white woman. I'm busy hunting down anything SF related that doesn't make m throw up.