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Zer Netmouse
March 9th, 2009
11:49 pm

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Because I said I would give more context

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From:veritykindle
Date:March 11th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
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I feel like pointing out that the phrase "been primarily used as" does imply a secondary process going on that is somehow different.

Heh. I did notice that phrase, as well. I guess I just object to the notion that the part of the conversation with the "bunch of people spending quite a lot of time being shouty" *is* the "primary" part of the whole mess. I see the current debate as being primarily a very difficult but still important conversation about race that some people have tried to suppress by... well, by using pretty much every method mentioned in that link. Dismissing it as being primarily about all those examples of suppression instead just proves that yet again, those methods of suppression are succeeding. And that's just not right!

And here's the thing that has finally been brought home to me as I was reading this latest round of the debate, and saw the sheer lengths some people went to in order to avoid talking about race: any real conversation about race is going to end up having a lot of extraneous angry noise and people shouting at each other in it, too. It isn't possible to have a real debate about race that includes both people of color and (even well-meaning) white people new to the subject that will be completely "polite and civilized."

Race as a topic is uncomfortable. If you are having a discussion about racism that doesn't make ignorant white people like me reading it feel uncomfortable and defensive, then chances are it's because the conversation in question is controlled by those white people, and is more about making them feel happy about themselves than about making any actual progress talking about how racism is affecting people of color.

Sure, it's easy enough to admit that there is racism in society, or even that there is racism in Science Fiction in general. But if anyone dares to, say, start giving actual specific examples that aren't really obvious and extreme, then you can be sure that there will be people who will get offended and angry, and think that the fact that they liked that book or that movie or that TV show means that of course it could never have any racism in it, and how dare the person giving the example imply that they are racist! And those people will do everything in their power to make the whole debate about them, and what they like, and how they've been hurt by the debate. (And chances are, they won't even realize that they are doing it!)

We can't have an honest conversation about race by letting white people in power, unaware of their own privilege, control the conversation. And if someone else does take charge of the conversation, then chances are that there will be times when the conversation will make us uncomfortable. And when that happens, the thing to do is not to try and take control from the people leading it, or dismiss the whole conversation as "uncivilized" and beneath our notice.

I can't blame him (or anyone) for waiting for the stabbity stabbity glint in some people's eyes to die down before trying to tread those waters.

Oh, of course I can't blame him, or anyone else, for wanting to just stay quiet and read and learn in the face of such an uncomfortable situation. I'd hardly be one to talk, given that I haven't posted anything either, and every time I try, my hands start shaking, and I can't think of anything new to say. (And I don't even have a popular blog, like Scalzi does, or have any kind of personal or professional relationship with any of the people involved.)

But when he does post about the subject - and he did post about it, after all - I don't think it's unfair of me to get upset with him for dismissing everybody involved, just because the debate has gotten uncomfortable for him.

But heh, you said that you don't want the conversation to be diverted to defending him, so I will stop venting in your space over something that is really not your fault. Sorry about that! *sheepish grin*

ETA: sorry for the length of this comment - I seem to be incapable of not being wordy. *g*

Edited at 2009-03-11 12:26 am (UTC)
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