I’ve been trying all weekend to write a post that will express several emotions and truths about this latest explosion of debate, discussion, and fail around cultural appropriation and other related issues. You’re all sick of hearing about it, yadda, yadda. I never could write that post. Because it would be pointless. Because most people just aren’t fucking listening. And those that are don’t need the post.
I love how it’s always those people over there causing the problem. I love how everyone gets to say “Oh, it’s those people who love conflict doing a circle jerk!” I love how people are complaining about the lack of listening to individuals and not reacting in a knee-jerk way while being completely unspecific, waving hands in general directions, and not listing or linking to anything specific or engaging with the ideas of the people you reluctantly admit aren’t necessarily a part of it.
It’s so easy to point to a group of brown people and hurl the label “mob”, isn’t it?
I love how when it’s you or someone you love who is hurt, other people’s hurts don’t matter. Not just the specific hurts involved in arguing in this climate, but the hurts involved in just being a person of color and having your very self dismissed on the basis of bullshit and, yes, racist thinking.
I used to think that it was possible to make a difference in this community when it came to this kind of thinking. Hell, I’ve had people tell me that my writing or my taking part in discussions has helped open their eyes, change their minds, make them see other points of view. But I’m not sure if it’s worth watching yet another of these discussions devolve again.
Once again certain people have made me question my participation in the SF community. Once again, the majority of those people are white folks engaging in racist thinking and activities, unconsciously or not.
A friend of mine recently complained of a lingering feeling of apathy over this whole issue. Recently as in 3 days ago. At the time I cautioned her against giving in to that feeling — it might not pass quickly, but it will pass, I said. Well, after this weekend, I am mired deep in that apathy myself. Though still pretty damn angry, as the several times I have had to stop and take a breath while writing this attests.
I’m not about to do a flounce-off. Mainly because if I do, nothing will ever get resolved. Or, more accurately, I will not be part of the solution, and I do strive to be. But I am thinking about what I want to do going forward. I need to take some time on this, because my current instinct is to separate everyone into categories of “Worth my time” and “Worthless” and just go from there. In the long run, that’s probably a mistake. So I’ll hold off.
In case you were wondering, here are the posts I have either partially written or thought about writing:
- I was going to write about how there’s a difference between someone saying you’ve engaged in a racist act or in racist thinking and calling someone a racist.
- I was going to write about how the side of this argument that is mainly made up of white people using words against the side of the argument made up of POC and allies like “mob” and “horde” “oversensitive” and “attention whores” is extremely problematic, not just from a reasonable debate standpoint, but also from a racial one.
- I was going to write about how divorcing yourself from the label of ally because of all the horrible people picking on you is not a form of bravery or self-righteousness, but a form of saying “I refuse to be an ally to you on your terms, seeing that you’re the one suffering from the hurt and oppression I’m allying with you against. It’s really more about what I’m comfortable with.”
- I was going to write about how if you don’t want people react to your involvement in a conversation as if you’re just like the 10,000 people who have come before, then maybe you should shut up and not make the same statements or ask the same pointless questions that aren’t really questions as those other 10,000 people.
- I was going to write about how this is the same thing I have seen happen in every debate about race and gender in SF and how we never get anywhere.