has started diversity2009
, the much-ballyhooed "Summer of Diversity" project. I think it is a worthwhile endeavor and I am supporting it. Given the comments on mac_stone
's original post, I want to share exactly why I am promoting the project.
Disclaimer: I do not know mac_stone
's or the other organizers' history in the POC community. But I don't think it matters, just as I despise Orson Scott Card's political views but still keep his books on my TBR list. As I said in the comments of this post
: x+1 is greater than x.
Perhaps mac_stone is
flaunting white privilege by beginning this project, as many have charged. So? Perhaps mac_stone
is in serious need of Anti-Racism 101. So? Perhaps mac_stone
is as arrogant and misguided as
that Helix editor who sparked Transcriptase
(ETA: Edited to clarify the purpose of my comparison, using only the extreme example.)
Assuming that x represents the sum total of all efforts to promote diversity, I believe that diversity2009
is at least x+1. This may be a small net contribution in comparison to ibarw
, for instance; but it is a positive contribution nevertheless, and it has the chance to become more than just x+1
. Why does the organizer's unconscious bias matter? This is a worthwhile project (and in fact mac_stone
has offered to step down from the helm, implicitly in favor of a POC), even if it was founded by white people for white people, which is debatable. The POC community talks a lot about recruiting white allies; maybe it's time to actually recruit
, which means reaching out to people who don't approach you first and who might disagree with you utterly at first. It means giving the 101 spiel more times than you care to count, it means being frustrated at people's naivete and unconscious privilege but not
blowing up at them because of your experiences with other
white people. It means answering the same "stupid questions" over, and over, and over again, until you burn out--and if/when you burn out, please keep it to yourself because your caustic comments do not help. I find some people's attitude akin to that in affirmative action regarding Asian students; you're too much like everyone else of your race, so you don't deserve equal consideration.
Be suspicious if you like; but give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am saddened by the attitude in some of the comments, implying that only POC or "proven" white allies have authority to disagree. If I were not a person of color with a "track record" in anti-racism, I suspect this post would be received quite differently than the anticipated intelligent discussion and disagreement. But why does my race give me more freedom to disagree? We are Other; please, do not "other" those who are not Other, for that truly is racism, too. (For the record, I do not believe that racism requires power, nor that institutionalized racism is the only valid kind.)
That's all. Comments are unmoderated because I have hope in human civility.
ETA2: Also, for those who are interested and have a lot of time to spare, rydra_wong
's humungous linklist
ETA3: And an interesting post on the privilege of politeness
. I don't entirely agree--POC have a right to be angry, but they are not the ONLY people with that right. And like any civilized human being, of any race, we have the societal duty to be polite. Racism power imbalances should not change that.
If I were to say something sexist/classist/racist/ablist/etc. I would not expect my friends to say “Well I’m offended by what you said and let’s have a calm discussion of why.”
Among my friends and hopefully among strangers, I would indeed expect just that--a civil discussion that avoids emotion to what extent that is possible. And as the post says, there is a difference between anger and insults; to me, "racist asshole" is an insult regardless
of how well it may be corroborated. You can be angry and polite at the same time. Really. I promise you, I have lots of experience with the apparent oxymoron.