Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Isms: The Lambda Awards, Homophobia, Privilege & Racism

If it weren't for the Original Poster's use of this:

No one would have WORD ONE to say about the NAACP giving an award to African-American authors for writing books about the African-American experience. And that's because we're not morons -- we as a culture realize that a book by Toni Morrison about African-American characters says something very different about the African-American experience than a similar book, no matter how heartfelt and well researched by Anne Rice or any other white author.

I would agree with Belleweather near 95%. After all they point out the co-opting and white woman's tears going on as concerns gay identity and the double-standard of many of these individuals wanting some kind of queer identity for seeming perks, as if they were fifteen year old white boys heavily into rap, wearing baggy pants and eager to call black women bitches and hoes - who of course would pee themselves red if they faced, as reality, any of the heavy gang fantasy their rap star idols discuss.

Unfortunately, the OP hit the one thing that makes me shake my head sigh, roll my eyes, and almost immediately regard the speaker as an idiot; that is the old "No One Would Treat Black People Like This!" full of bullshit trope - as if racism has been dead, buried, and partially digested by worms, when that reality is a crack pipe dream.

As evidence I point to this incident in May of 2009, yes, that's right, yet another moment of 2009's racefail.

EditorialAnonymous posted this bullshit:

...Who among us thinks Coretta Scott King is a pretty awesome person? Who among us thinks it's a great thing that the CSK award got started?

Everyone? That's what I thought.

Now, who among us thinks it's still a good idea?
Who among us thinks it's getting highly ironic that an award started in an effort to honor and continue Dr. King's efforts in working for peace and civil rights only honors one race? ...

If the CSK were in charge, male writers wouldn't be able to comment on what it's like to be a woman. The CSK is saying that you cannot understand what it is to be black in America unless you are black.

Giving an award for creating art about the experience of race is a wonderful thing. But giving an award for creating art and being a particular race?

That's racism in action.

Ain't nothing in this world so sure as a white person defining what racism is, what it isn't and writing in a voting box for reverse racism as a three in one / hat trick / unholy trinity of white privilege and aversive racism.

And that philosophy goes the same for other isms.

You see the wailing and rending of garments, holding breath until their faces go blue, toddler foot stomping and wall kicking, throwing their toys around, threatening to break them and other misbehaving going on among straight female m/m writers and their allies/supporters is, simply, a symptom of the continual disregard of anything that isn't straight, white and male.

People who have the ability to understand the concept of privilege, private space, safe space, recognition among peers, etc are people who can spread that concept across more than one area of life. That is, people who understand the concept of social imbalance, social justice and the means to reach from one end of the spectrum to the other are individuals who won't be acting like spoilt 5 year olds in need of a good spanking. These are people who live intersectional lives, observing all points where their own spheres touch others and where other people's spheres overlap yet again with various points in the world around them; And ready and willing to be chastized if they miss a spot.

It is actually NOT surprising that individuals who haven't paused to consider whether or not they've (begun to or have) co-opted something, be it a genre, or an area of publishing, would become incensed at being told "Actually your self empowerment with sexuality and erotica is all well and good, but we'd like to keep this space about GLBT authors writing about GLBT experiences" and taking it to mean that they are being discriminated against.

How dare anyone try to take away from them the right to be as imperialistic, sadistic, anti-social, selfish and self-absorbed as any close-minded, Euro-centric/Euro-descended white male in his prime (prime meaning at the height of his colonizing, political, socio-political and financial earnings power).

And after all it is not their fault that non heterosexuals, non cisgendered individuals as well as non-whites have that much more space to cross to reach the heady power of white-cis-het-maleness. That's not their problem.

In the struggle for equality, it's every group for itself, after all. And on top of that equality means being up there with white-het-cis-maleness NOT, everyone on the same and level playing field, each valuing what the other can contribute.

The thing that boggles me personally, is that it would be so damn easy for the predominately female writers, writing male/male romance for female readers to set up their own damn awards; it would recognize best usages of acknowledged tropes in that genre and a host of other things that would not be recognized in a queer lit award for queer authors writing about queer experience.

It's not even as if they don't have a model. Yaoi is popular. Yaoi is being more and more understood as romance manga involving male characters but catering to female readers. There are people who ask all the time about prose novels that are yaoi. Surely the female authors who're writing all male characters involved in erotica could fit themselves into a western version of that; just as the female authors who focus on the romance between male characters could emulate aspects of the Shounen-Ai/Boys Love sub-genre.

Everyone would have a place at the table, without elbows even bumping. But maybe true equality is just too hard.

ETA / Continuation: On Isms & Idiots (Part 2)