?

Log in

No account? Create an account
"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's… - Zer Netmouse
March 11th, 2009
07:56 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"
- Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:March 11th, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
um... yes?

I mean, I don't generally think of myself as a "moderate" but someone quoted this passage to me in a discussion of whether or not it makes sense to define racism as "the institutional operation of white supremacy" especially considering that insisting on only a limited definition of racism can cloud the issue and make discussion about racism harder. The rest of her comment was "You are arguing for "order" and "absence of tension."

Now, it was hard for me to listen to that point given that earlier in her post she said "People of Color cannot be racist, they can be prejudiced but many lack the power component even in their countries of origin." which is a statement I think is just completely wrong and reflects a Eurocentric viewpoint that drives me (a student of non-western history) kind of nuts.

I don't believe in a biological definition of race. Race is socially defined, people are people, and all people are capable of the same evils regardless of color. And you see that over and over again in world history.

HOWEVER, her last comment did give me pause, and eventually I decided to post the quote. If we, as white people, say, essentially, "we are going to use the excuse that we don't want to be made to feel uncomfortable and attacked to defend our refusal to discuss and engage with these issues in forums that make us feel unsafe" then we are being the people MLK was dissappointed in.
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:March 11th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well, one problem statement that I think is both concrete and worth addressing is, "Despite the fact that the black population in America has a natural common cause with the genre of speculative fiction as a tool for imagining and envisioning massive change and a different future, the genre is not one that many black americans read or write in."

Now you'll notice I just moved that away from "people of color", because personally I don't think the issues of all people of color in this country are the same and I think if you try to address them all at once, you might be setting yourself up for failure. So. Does this problem statement speak to the root of the problem? No. I will post some discussion of the various roots of the problem next week.

It is definitely harder to address problems where the symptoms are not so obvious as having signs in windows saying that Negros are not welcome in stores. So developing a plan of action to take away the signs that are (somehow) present, that discourage blacks from trying to enter the genre as territory, requires first doing an inquiry as to what those signs may be. Only then can we develop a plan of action that might do MLK proud.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:March 11th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Who is the source of the quote you use in this comment?

It's not clear to me what quote you are referring to in your question. Can you clarify?

Has anyone asked any of the current POC SF authors/fans how they feel about this?

What do you mean by "this"? a number of current POC SF authors and fans just spent a couple weeks exploring, stating, and reiterating how they feel about all of this. Others are, I presume, not aware of that discussion. Do you know how to contact Mr. Coats? I'd be happy to ask him about how he feels about the lack of people of color as authors, publishers, and sf fans.

Now, personally, I don't believe "All sides have legitimate reasons to feel distrustful of each other." That is to say, I don't believe *I* have any reason to be distrustful of most POC authors and fans about this... (I don't know if it makes sense to describe us as being on different "sides" of this issue, either, though we have different perspectives).

Can you give me a clearer argument for why it's valuable to legitimize a possibly misplaced distrust before even getting started? (I'm considering distrust to be an active sort of suspicious stance, not simply a lack of established trust)

From:nicegeek
Date:March 11th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I'm going to split a hair on the definition of "legitimate", because there are different nuances that take the discussion in different directions. "Legitimate" can be read to mean "logical and understandable", or "proper and acceptable". But these are not exclusive possibilities.

Consider the possibility that there is an inborn instinct to classify an unknown individual as "Of my tribe/pack" or "Not of my tribe/pack". Such an instinct is present in animals, and would likely have been advantageous to survival throughout the vast majority of human history.

I don't assert that it does exist (I'll leave that to the sociologists), but the existence of such an instinct would be a "logical and understandable" basis for racism. It would not, however, mean that racism "is proper and acceptable".
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:March 11th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, so, I grew up in a very mixed race, international community. Quite a number of people of color are "of my tribe/pack" as far as I'm concerned, so race is not a differentiating characteristic on that point for me. And my base assumption is that people who are involved in and interested in sf are even more likely to be "of my tribe/pack"(despite the fact that, as you well know, there are members of the sf tribe who have severely hurt me. None of them were people of color, however). So I didn't say I don't have any "legitimate" reason to start into the discussion on a distrustful footing, I said I don't have any reason to start out that way, other than the sort of generic understanding that people can hurt other people.

Now, I do have a legitimate reason, especially based on recent experience, to believe that a fair number of sf-interested people of color might also have been exposed to academic and other fields of thought and culture that I *haven't* been, and so I fear misunderstanding them and being misunderstood by them. But for me that is different than distrusting the person. That is distrusting that we have a common language - distrusting, in effect, my own ability to translate my good intent into positive results. It is that kind of distrust that I think it is especially valuable to try to validate and then find ways to eliminate.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:March 13th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
(Link)
ok, can you deconstruct for me what in the statement

"Despite the fact that the black population in America has a natural common cause with the genre of speculative fiction as a tool for imagining and envisioning massive change and a different future, the genre is not one that many black americans read or write in."

caused you to say that if the statement comes from a white person, "that statement becomes rather patronizing by definition"?

How would you interpret it differently if it comes from a POC?
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:March 11th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The short answer is both. Clearly, there are people of color who feel excluded and ahve a problem with that, and there are people in the industry who miss their input, including writers who wish they had a better clue how to write black characters into their work without offending people.

Cricket and soccer have never been popular in the United States

What United States do you live in? Cricket, sure, has never caught on here, but soccer? According to this, "the United States has more official soccer players than any other nation in the world - almost 18 million. No other sport crosses so many cultural boundaries, and it no surprise that it is the fastest growing team sport in the United States."
...

"Soccer is the most popular women's sport in college."

Of those 18 million official soccer players, 78% are under the age of eighteen, so the upsurge in soccer that started in the '90s may not yet be visible to you major league sports reporters, but I'm betting it will be soon.
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:March 12th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
(Link)
I think we just have different definitions of popular. If you define "what people watch" as what's popular, then you'd have to call investigating crime to be a very popular activity, based on tv time and attention. That doesn't mean that many people do it or would if they had the chance.

That's cool that soccer is so popular in China, too. It's certainly not unpopular in the US, especially not as compared to cricket. But maybe the people who grew up loving soccer like to play it and, like me, don't even watch TV most of the time.

I certainly appreciate it when soccer is playing at a bar I'm at. If any other sport is on, I will most likely ignore it (I'm a bit of a sucker for car racing, but that really takes applied attention and the voiceover to keep good track of, so it's not the best sport to watch in the bar. I also enjoy watching basketball).

Soccer is harder to capture on video than a lot of sports; I bet it's harder to cover live for television -the field is huge and the ball can move from one end to the other fairly quickly - unlike football, where possession of the ball is pretty easy for a spectator to track and most plays move forward down the field in a pretty predictable manner, or baseball, which is also predictable much of the time - you don't know if they guy will catch the ball or not, but you know which guy to aim the camera at. We don't have nicely built up soccer stadiums, and we already devoted money and real estate to baseball, hockey, basketball, and football. To lay the burden of responsibility for the success of soccer as a pro sport purely at the foot of its popularity is to be a little heavy-handed, in my opinion.
[User Picture]
From:atothek
Date:March 11th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
AMEN, BABY.
Netmouse on the web Powered by LiveJournal.com