bossymarmalade: homer simpson assumes a fetal position (despair of the dial tone)
miss maggie ([personal profile] bossymarmalade) wrote2009-01-18 10:46 am
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Okay. I haven't posted anything about the cultural appropriation conversation that's been going on for the better part of the week (or does it just *feel* that long?), because I don't read Elizabeth Bear or Emma Bull and had nothing specific to their writing to contribute.

But now it has reached the point where people are making posts claiming that the PoC who have objected to being reduced to "write everybody as though they were white on the inside!", who have objected to dismissal as being "unable to critically analyze literature in the proper university-trained manner", who have objected to the old, tired trope of "if you don't like how white people write you, why don't you just write yourselves?" were being ABUSIVE for challenging those statements. In a "tone" that isn't completely detached, unemotional, and coldly academic.

[livejournal.com profile] medievalist in particular likes to call the PoC involvement in the conversation "manipulative", "insincere", "overtly gendered", and "misogynistic".

Apart from the blatant, mind-boggling way in which an issue that supposedly began with an interest in respecting the Other has suddenly and aggressively become yet again All About the Hurt Feelings of White People, I am astounded that so many people wanking about their precious academic credentials are completely ignorant of how goddamn OFTEN PoC have seen these same generalized dismissals. Too emotional, too loud, too angry, too uneducated, TOO FUCKING COLOURED.

Let me tell you something: I am perfectly capable of using academic language. Many of us are. But after all of the articles and research and polemic that I've been inundated with over the course of my schooling -- and no, I'm not a career academic, and my family hasn't propped up the hallowed halls of post-secondary schooling since time immemorial -- don't you think I know EXACTLY what academia thinks of the voices of PoC? Don't you think I've read enough studies from the pens of white people about their ideas of people of colour? I am IN a department that touts itself as supporting anti-racist feminist work, and yet EVERY DAY I engage in classwork I simultaneously engage with all of the iron-clad ingrained racism of the institution of higher education.

So don't tell me, from your white, privileged high horse, that academia is some pure value-neutral reasonable and logical perspective from which to examine my suffering. Don't act as though we don't know what abuse is, and we need your handed-down-from-heaven white-defined knowledge to understand OUR OWN EXPERIENCE.

Most of all, don't fucking pretend you give a good goddamn about anything other than covering your own ass if the VERY MOMENT a person of colour challenges your self-congratulatory public onanism, you find every method you can to invalidate their critique and surround yourself with allies who assure you that you are, indeed, the Victim In All This Silly Race Stuff and Why Can't Those Darkies See It's For Their Own Good?

I'm angry, but I used this icon instead of one of my angry ones because more than anything, I'm devastated that these people have found such a singularly vicious way to cut down my opinions. I'm not smart enough to understand why their writing isn't really racist. I am, in fact, abusive for arguing with them. I just ... I feel blindsided. Help me here, please; I can't believe how much this hurts.
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[identity profile] itsbeenvery.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:16 pm (UTC)(link)
[livejournal.com profile] medievalist in particular likes to call the PoC involvement in the conversation "manipulative", "insincere", "overtly gendered", and "misogynistic".

I love it when the username fits the mindset!
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[identity profile] bossymarmalade.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:25 pm (UTC)(link)
TOO FUCKING RIGHT.
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[identity profile] apetslife.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I haven't seen anything of this particular argument, but your whole statement rings true from other arguments I've seen.

I can only say this: "academia," especially online, has become, to me, something to avoid. It's become synonymous to me with "person who is using big words to prove their own superiority and who will use obfuscatory language, circular arguments, and meaninglessly convoluted logic to prove that they are smarter than you, NO MATTER WHAT the subject at hand might be." It means so much to them to be "smarter" that being smarter becomes the absolute goal, regardless of what the subject of the debate might be.

This is why I have issues with the whole "aca-fan" thing. They're MY issues, and I know it, so I step away, but it reflects back on the earlier point.

In the safety of the online world, people can do this much more effectively and "safely" than they can in real life. I don't engage anymore. I'm smart. I'm articulate. But I simply can't abide the kind of atmosphere in which that kind of "self-congratulatory public onanism" (and thank you for that one, AWESOME PHRASE that I will now use forever) is considered proper debate, reasoning, or even allowable. It's not anything except talking to make oneself feel smart. Really smart people don't have to do this kind of thing, because they don't need that kind of constant self-stroking validation.

So, and I know this probably won't help with the hurt you're feeling right now, but white, black, green, purple, male, female, Ph.D or high school dropout, anyone who is actually intelligent and aware and empathetic and human will simply walk away shaking their heads from this kind of faux "debate." And though it's hard, you can dismiss it. People who hide behind smug declarations of higher education and who equate degrees with superiority aren't worth your time, your energy, or your attention.

A really good debate on cultural apropriation would be a great thing. I think people could learn a lot. This does not sound like that kind of really good debate.

*HUGS*

[identity profile] quiet000001.livejournal.com 2009-01-19 01:17 am (UTC)(link)
I wasn't going to comment because I wasn't sure how to phrase it, but pet said it for me, so- yes, this.

[identity profile] worldwouldend.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Hmm, I'm not sure what's going on, but based on your rant I'm surprised by the sameness of these situations; they seem to come up again and again, don't they? I wonder if it would be better or worse if it always involved the same set of people as well.

Anyway, you are lovely as always. And neither lacking in smarts nor abusive, so that's settled. ♥

[identity profile] arallara.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Fucking hell, I am so sorry. I have been trying to catch up on this conversation over the last few days, and was cringing and teeth-grinding SO HARD when I saw the academic argument being made, but I hadn't seen this latest piece from the survivor about verbal abuse. I just. God fucking damn it. I am so sorry someone went there. On the continuum of tone arguments, this is just so amazingly hurtful.

[identity profile] ithiliana.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:41 pm (UTC)(link)
The earlier posts by some of these people (which were quickly locked down when they were challenged) were horrifying: this one, from someone who seemed to grasp the scope of the problem a little bit better, is ghastly.

I went there (http://mac-stone.livejournal.com/22617.html?thread=143193#t143193).

And in fact, I'm gonnan go copy the post and repost here because I'm betting I'll be banned and maybe comment deleted fairly soon!

[identity profile] ithiliana.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm sorry--on second thought, I'll post the actual text in my journal: you don't need that poison in your space.

I wish I could help: I don't know you quite well enough to offer hugs, but I would like to. Speaking of blatant verbal attempts to manipulate people, Mac went there--and now wants to blame all of fandom for abusing him.

All I can say is, I will keep trying as a white academic and I hope a white ally to point out the absolute hypocrisy, lack of emotional OR intellectual intelligence in such rhetoric, and to continue to try to call them out.

Blessed Be.

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[identity profile] indirajames.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I've been kind of following this whole thing, and seriously, it's the same thing every damn time. And I don't think I like """Academics""" very much. You see it in all the so-called progressive movements, too.

And the accusations of misogyny are RICH. Oh, feminism.

I'm sorry you're hurt, you're a wonderful person and these people are...I have no sufficient words. <3

[identity profile] deepad.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Ok, One -- ::gives you a ginormous hug::
Two -- You are RIGHT about the lack of neutrality of academia
Three -- Fuck that, because I will not be shut out of it. Academia has given me tools and language and philosophy to help me fight privilege, and I appropriate it as I do this language.

copracat: dreamwidth vera (Default)

mac-stone WTF?

[personal profile] copracat 2009-01-18 07:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I have just read [livejournal.com profile] pnh's comments. I can't believe she/he is even listening to her/himself. Perhaps they mean it as sarcasm? I'm still so shocked I don't know if I'M being sarcastic.

Yes, I think you can fair enough say that you don't need to have been abused by an alcoholic (TM AUTHORITATIVE EXPERIENCE OF ABUSE) to feel you have been... abused.
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)

Re: mac-stone WTF?

[personal profile] cofax7 2009-01-18 09:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Just so you know: PNH is Patrick Nielsen Hayden, one of the owners of the blog Making Light and one of the editors of Tor, the science fiction & fantasy publisher.

Of everyone in this fray, he probably has the biggest soap-box. And yes, he presents himself as an anti-racist progressive.

What continues to astonish me is all these people claiming that AW had no right to say what she did--when Bear herself agreed with the critique!

W.T.F.

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[identity profile] chalcopyrite.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I am sorry. I know it doesn't help, but I am sorry. People who think that academia is by nature unbiased, and that big words make them smart, need to engage in some serious cranio-rectal extraction. But that statement doesn't help either.

[identity profile] ciderpress.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 07:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Maggie, I'm crying with rage when I swore I would never cry over this fucking thing, that I would never let anyone have so much power over me again.

I'm so fucking angry and I feel like I'm fucking grieving for this illusion I had that no one would actually dare talk about people who been wonderful this week like this in public, that they could be this dismissive of our lives and experiences and intellect, all the things we keep being told are relegated to history, in *public*, in our faces. That they think they have an innate right to do this and not even be ashamed.

I'm so sorry. I should have been more with it this week, I should have been angrier and spoken up more. Fuck.


[identity profile] avalon&apos;s willow (from livejournal.com) 2009-01-18 08:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I spoke up. Of course every time I speak up I'm aware I'm making myself a target. It amuses me a lot when I get told I'm being an attention whore and more because I see it as being the squeaky wheel that damn well will demand some grease.

Orcing shocked me.

This thing with Mac_Stone, hurt. It hurt me enough I journaled about it in my personal space. It hurt enough that I asked some folks to check it for me because I felt like maybe I was just projecting or something.

It is a violation and there is nothing ironic in it at all that the list she or he so proudly displays represents everything PoC do on a daily basis in order to not end up dead. It is a an abomination that then when people speak out they are labeled abusers.

ABUSERS specifically horrified and pains me. Seeing therapeutic language used to attempt to validate an abusers pov in the scenario - appalls me.

But I'm going to say this, I've had some... several hours (I saw this near 6am or or I think) to rest with this. There is nothing you can do, no angry you can be, no forthright you can be with someone like this. When people so want to be right, so don't want to confront the possibility of needed growth in their lives, so want to be static and comfortable and unable to move past being safe in order to experience glory and wonder and intelligence and friendship and love and more - there is nothing you can do for them. Nothing.

No therapist in the world can help someone who does not want to help themselves. And being helped and wanting help involves moving out of your safe zone and comfort zone because it's unhealthy. What makes you feel safe often times is what you know, and what you know isn't healthy. If mac_stone cannot handle other people positively expressing their anger - in healthy ways via dialogue then that is his or her problem. And only their problem.

I've been in therapy too and I know that anger is just an emotion. It's about what you do with it. It's about how you use it.

And on top of that, if the whole lot of them are so inexperienced that they cannot handle discussion with multiple layers and more than one front then they are not up to us and our measure. PoC handle multiple layers all the time, it's a survival trait. We handle multiple fronts because it's also a survival trait.

This is, perhaps, one more circumstance that shows us that this particular group - academic white woman, much like what happened with Amanda Marcotte and Brownfemmipower CANNOT HANDLE US. They see our power and immediately associate it with abuse, perhaps because they don't know about power that comes from within instead of being grabbed from someone else. They see us with our voices and they don't know how to have a voice and be angry and speak truth, because they copy their voices from others.

And if anything's been revealed to me/ taught to me in this whole thing, is the amazing strength in this group of PoC, especially PoC women, I'm amazed to be associated with online. You're hurting but you're fighting back with words and analysis and history and your voice. I was hurt and I think I've found my voice again. We don't stay down for long - and that strength is quite possibly something to be feared. But it's safe to say, isn't it, that it won't be hemmed in no matter what new (old) tactic is thrown at us.

I hope you, [livejournal.com profile] ciderpress and you [livejournal.com profile] bossymarmalade feel less shaken soon.

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[identity profile] coreopsis.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 08:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm so sorry you're going through this. What the hell is wrong with these people? Which is a rhetorical question to be sure, since an actual list would exceed comment length limits. That anyone actually thinks that academia is some magical land of perfect neutrality makes me laugh and want to cry at the same time.

I don't know if you want *hugs* over this, but I'd sure like to give you some anyway. It's a more positive response than wanting to kick people in the head.

[identity profile] kira-j.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 08:19 pm (UTC)(link)
god i hate talking about racism. it makes me silent when i just want to be me. when people are not too busy defending themselves, they're professing to be color blind (even if they don't use that term). all that means to me is that they're reverting to the default which is white. everybody has the responsibility to listen, first and foremost. as soon as they realise they've made a minority feel angry/hurt/offended, they react. poc shouldn't be made to feel afraid to ask to be listened to. the majority, despite their privelege, are more afraid of being called racist. in the grand scheme of things, that is really not the issue. it's always how we have misunderstood them. which goes against their whole 'i don't see your color, i see just another person' spiel. that strips poc of what makes them different. i'm sick of having to beg for acknowledgement, shouldn't we have passed that barrier by now CHRIST.

[identity profile] faith-girl222.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
*hugs*

[livejournal.com profile] mac_stone's post there makes my head spin.

[identity profile] callmesandy.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 08:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Just, wow. That's a disgusting post, seriously (the one you linked to). :(

[identity profile] chrismm.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 08:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Lord. I just. I wish apologizing on behalf of others was of any use whatsoever. I mean, seriously, people are saying that academia is the neutral place? WOMEN are saying that, after all the battles about how biased the canon is? W. T. F.

Dammit. You totally don't need me to say this, but: You are smarter than most everyone I know.

Also--what the hell does "overtly gendered" even MEAN????

ETA: Changed my icon--I didn't like that one for this comment after all. And also, abusive? WTF?????? No. Way.
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[identity profile] delux-vivens.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 09:17 pm (UTC)(link)
*hugs you*

I'm going to tell you what my mother told me, when I was in college and would call her, frantic and upset, with the umpteenth incident of racism I experienced from faculty or a fellow student: "They can't help it. They don't know how to do anything else."

It must be truly awful to be so limited. I can only imagine it.

It doesnt make it hurt any less, or make it any less awful, to be on the receiving end of that emotional and intellectual stuntedness, but really, this is the only way they know how to respond in situations like this.

[identity profile] robanybody.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 09:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, the tone argument. I always love that one. Because everyone else can fly off the handle and call you abusive for calling them on their racist shit, but if a PoC shows any kind of emotion, their arguments are automatically considered null and void because they were being shrill! and angry! and that's just rude.

Also, you're one of the smartest, most fair people I know.

[identity profile] robanybody.livejournal.com 2009-01-19 01:45 am (UTC)(link)
Also, I'm so sorry that you were hurt and marginalized by their astounding, public ignorance, but I am glad you brought this to everyone's attention. I honestly hope it will bring about actual discussion that won't be shut down with the usual bullshit.

[identity profile] katlike.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
As a defense mechanism to stop debate dead and refuse to closely examine their own views and ways of EXPRESSING those views, playing the abuse card is motherfucking cowardly.

And hiding behind the idea that their understanding is somehow deeper and more valid because of a degree or a stack of texts is insulting on a level I can't even express.

Expressing yourself with conviction is not abuse, and will never be.

[identity profile] strippedhalo.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 09:32 pm (UTC)(link)
UGH. I don't understand the larger context of this at all, but somehow I feel like if I did, the goings-on in the post you linked to would be EVEN DUMBER. I can't believe someone is ACTUALLY trying to claim that academia as an institution is IN ANY WAY neutral. Just. What the fucking fuck? No. UGH. *hugs*

[identity profile] strippedhalo.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 09:34 pm (UTC)(link)
ALSO, THE ABUSE THING. No, no, no, no, no, no, NO.

[identity profile] withdiamonds.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, Maggie.

I peeked in at the conversation earlier this week, and learned things, as I always do. I'm sorry it degenerated into the same crap these kinds of conversations always seem to. Only worse, because that abuse shit is appalling.

Academia makes people think they're always right.

The thing about intention is this: A lot of people don't intend to cause hurt. But when you've done or said something offensive and it's pointed out to you, that's when you demonstrate those good intentions by saying you're sorry. You'd don't hurl accusations of abuse.

[identity profile] zarahemla.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 09:36 pm (UTC)(link)
*loves on you*
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[identity profile] spiralsheep.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 10:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for speaking up.

[identity profile] ficbyzee.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 10:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I have nothing to add here but yes, yes, and yes.

[identity profile] sixpita.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 10:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I have gotten to a place where I've pretty much accepted that there isn't really much, outside of a black studies program, that is for me in this part of the world, and that even in the rest of the world, I'd be hard pressed to find it. Everything that would or could be mine has been taken and twisted into something for someone else and everything that should be mine, I have to take it by force.

I'm tired of fighting.

But, the fight is all we have that is ours. We have to keep fighting.
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[identity profile] smallbeer.livejournal.com 2009-01-18 10:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I've only just happened on this stuff, so I really have no context for this round of discussion--but I can say that I've never ever seen any evidence that people in academia are any smarter, more socially aware, more culturally sensitive--or to put it bluntly, less likely to be giant badly behaved assholes than people in any other profession or group.

Which is to say, you are in the right. These people are behaving like idiots, and their behavior renders their academic credentials are meaningless.

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