Category: Racism_101

It’s not about one man.

It’s not about Darren Wilson, though I have a hard time believing that a six-foot-three, 210-pound cop could be tossed around like a “five year old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” I have a harder time believing his story that he “felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … the third one could be fatal if he hit me right…” after seeing his photos after the incident.

It’s not about the destruction of property, though in the days leading up to the riot, Michael Brown Sr. called for peace despite his loss, community activists attempted to work with local officials to defuse the situation, peacekeepers embedded themselves in the crowd, and afterwards local volunteers aided in cleanup.

It’s about how treating young men and women of color with suspicion as tiny children affects them permanently throughout their lives. It’s about the fact that our society sees Black men as so inherently dangerous that a twelve-year-old boy can be shot for having a bb gun while a White man can walk around openly displaying a semiautomatic weapon, argue with and insult the cops, and not even be charged with a misdemeanor. How Black mothers must prepare their sons for the way they will be viewed by the police:

“I knew you were home,” he said to his mom when he finally made it home after being frisked. “I knew I was about to get stopped, and I thought about running home to you.”

His mother froze.

“I forgot to tell him,” she said. “I forgot to tell him: Don’t run. Don’t run or they’ll shoot you.”

Her 12-year-old cried when he told her what had happened and asked if he was stopped because he was black.

“Probably, yeah,” she said.

“I just want to know, how long will this last?” he asked her.

That’s when she started to cry.

“For the rest of your life,” she said.

It’s not one man’s action, one man’s death. It’s about four hundred years of accumulated mistreatment, anger, ignorance, and willingness to sacrifice our neighbors’ rights in favor of maintaining our own comforts. About how people react when stripped of their futures by prejudice, their sons and daughters shot down, reaction disproportionate to their actions, without recourse. How it happens with such regularity. About how so many of us do not have the luxury of feeling uncomfortable, and then moving on:

12 things White people can do now because of Ferguson

Ten Things White People Can Do About Ferguson Besides Tweet

Fear of a black president

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the finest living American writers, and this is one of his best pieces. Do yourself a favor and read this article:

Pam Noles could use some love

Pam Noles, who I have mentioned here many times before, received death threats earlier this week regarding her essays on Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil’s Black Dossier. Judging by her response, this isn’t even the first time it’s happened. It goes without saying that this kind of behavior should be condemned, and it’s the literal least I can do to speak out in support of someone who’s doing good work and getting threatened for it. Kudos to you, Pam, for standing your ground in the face of horrible people, and I’m so sorry that you have had this shit visited on you. Be safe, be as well as you can, call in support if you need it.

Jay Smooth is still full of win

And he closely sums up my feelings on #OWS here, too:

More on Moon at Wiscon: UPDATED 10/4

Since the WisCon ConCom released their statement on the issue, there have been several important posts written about the situation, and I hope you’ll read through them:

What I want by Nisi Shawl

Thoughts on Elizabeth Moon and the Wiscon ConCom’s Response by Tithenai

Elizabeth Moon, Wiscon, and the Responsibility of Dissent by Nojojojo

radix by Hermetic


After reading the new essays I’ve listed below, I can’t help but change my mind: Moon should be disinvited, outright, and I’m ashamed it took me this long, and reading this much hurt, for me to come to that conclusion. I’ll be sending another email to the WisCon Concom, making the request that she be removed.

WisCon and what we mean when we talk about institutionalized power by Yeloson

Wiscon + Moon + Things Certain People Do by Seeking Avalon’s Willow

Walking Back by Nojojojo

Raising the Bar by K. Tempest Bradford (These other two posts of Tempest’s are also really, really worth reading)

Over the weekend, I also spoke with a source I trust who told me that this is only one more example they’ve seen firsthand of lousy, bigoted behavior on Moon’s behalf over the last several years. I’ll still be attending, as I want to support Nisi in her time of celebration, because I loved the Tiptree-award-winning Filter House, because her book Writing the Other was a tremendous help to me in writing my own books, and for even more reasons that’ll eventually become clear. But damn, WisCon. You’d really better shape up. There are an increasing number of attendees on the verge of letting you die on the vine for this kind of behavior. I’ve got a reason to go this year, but unless I see some evidence that’ll change my mind, it may be my last.

Elizabeth Moon: Overdue

On the anniversary of 9/11, author Elizabeth Moon wrote a blogpost that started out sounding like a decent essay on citizenship and responsibility but quickly devolved into what can best be described as Islamophobia. This makes me sad on so many levels, because I’d always seen Moon held up by writers I respect as being a bastion of intellect and common sense in troubled times. I was looking forward to reading her books, especially Speed of Dark, which was recommended to me by several people I respect. Now I think I must apply Cat Valente’s fuckmuppet principle. (It goes without saying that I disagree with the sum total of Moon’s post, and fully support the building of the Park51 cultural center in its currently planned location.)

Several other authors have written profoundly important essays on their reaction to Moon’s post, and I want to recommend these four especially:

Dissimilation by shweta_narayan

All Right. by shvetufae

…the native peoples had the most troubles with the immigrants… by sanguinity

Non-violence for thee but not for me by sajia

(hat tip to both delux-vivens and asim for the links)

As usual, I agree wholeheartedly with the ever-wise Woodrow Hill, in his posts here here and here. I’m still torn on whether Moon should remain as Guest of Honor at Wiscon, as I feel her comments go directly against the grain of everything that convention stands for (though the tradition has been to have two GoHs per con, I think Nisi Shawl could GoH Solo quite handily), but I do hope that if she’s kept on, we can use the occasion of her appearance as grounds for a lot of discussion and education, and have emailed the ConCom with that same request. Without an apology, I can’t see myself sticking around for her GoH speech, though. Which is, again, a pity, because last year’s from Mary Ann Mohanraj was one of the most memorable speeches I’ve ever heard in my life.

Dang, SF. Get it together.

White Privilege in the sustainable food movement

This is Good reading, especially for somebody who’s as dedicated to the Farmer’s Market/Food Co-Op/Community Garden plan as I am. I’m realizing more and more how much I need to challenge my assumptions about race and class in regards to food accessibility, and this is a good starting place.

EDIT: I forwarded this to the head of our Food Co-op and he said he’s passing it on to the board.

h/t to Delux-Vivens for posting about this earlier.

Link post

Here’s a really good essay on the subtleties of racism and colorism, by Malcom “Tipping Point” Gladwell. I came across it only a couple of days ago, and was surprised to see it was written in 1996.

LJ user Brown_Betty has written a really excellent post tangentally related to the ongoing discussion surrounding Patricia Wrede’s Thirteenth Child. Her essay clearly articulates thoughts I’ve been struggling — and failing — to frame in regards to my own responsibilities to Clockwork Game. It also lets me know that other people besides me are uncomfortable with the old artist’s trope that our primary accountability and duty is to our art, and not to our fellow human beings — or to history, for that matter.

Cheryl Lynn at Digital Femme wrote an incredibly thoughtful, important post about the X-men character Storm, one that made me examine her in an entirely new light.

Yet another one out of the park by Jay Smooth, this time about Asher Roth. God damn, Jay Smooth is awesome. Seriously, go watch this.

Also, I keep forgetting to post this article about ethnicity in childrens’ literature by Mitali Perkins, in the School Library Journal, which was sent to me a couple of weeks ago by Kat Kan. Thanks, Kat!

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