Help, Help, I’m Bein’ Oppressed!

Nick Mamatas is always trying to get me to start some shit so he sent over this link to Kathryn Cramer’s blog[1]. Normally I would ignore this crazy person, but I figure many others are going to comment on this or may already have, so I’ll throw in my 2 cents.

Cramer is apparently bored or something because she’s decided to stir the fires of RaceFail again. This time she’s proposing a panel for WisCon (a convention she no longer attends because of its “encouragement of Fail fandom”) called “More Oppressed than Thou.” Because, don’t you know, there are two kinds of oppressed people: those who have actually been beaten up by cops and those who only have a theoretical understanding of their oppression. You think I am kidding but I am not.

I’m sure that I, a black woman living in America, have never, ever experienced oppression. Oh no. But I read about it in a book and that makes me all self-righteous and stuff.

I know the answer to this, but I can’t help asking why it is that people like Cramer are always the ones to start up the Oppression Olympics. Next she’ll be whining about how her Irish ancestors couldn’t get a job or something.

You would think that attitudes like Cramer’s (and Shetterly’s — yes, he makes an appearance in the comments) wouldn’t even require a response because they’re so ridiculolus. However, going by reports I’ve heard about a certain other convention[2] that I know Cramer and those who agree with her view of Racefail attend, I know that we can’t just trust that right-thinking people won’t be taken in by this nonsense.

If someone really, really needs me to explain why her position is a load of horseshit I will. But please tell me that the majority of my FList already knows…


  1. I did not anonymize the link because I don’t care if she knows I’m talking about her. If you’re clicking from your FList and don’t want to even have your screenname show up on her stats, use this link.[]
  2. yes Fourth Street, I am talking smack about you[]
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92 thoughts on “Help, Help, I’m Bein’ Oppressed!

  1. i was unable to resist commenting. i figure i don’t write, i don’t edit, i don’t publish, and the convention that i love is wiscon, so, what’s she gonna do to me.

  2. Y’know, let her have the panel. Better yet, let her be on the panel. This is one of these times I think white people should be on it and be the majority in the damned audience so they can fully hear for themselves the line of reasoning that most of us hint at.

    I like how she terms everyone as “Fail Fandom” – in her eyes, we’re not even worthy of names or lives That tells me everything I need to know about her. My ‘Dinner Rule’ definitely applies to her.

  3. I second the “Let her have the panel” — well, if enough people at WisCon want to see it. ;) Because the kind of “If I had a soapbox all my crazy enemies will fall before my righteous discourse” vindication I believe she wants will deflate rapidly, I suspect.

    And because WisCon can handle it, likely much better than she can the retorts/responses/etc.

    I’d even volunteer to be on that panel, just for the sake of a good argument. :)

  4. I’m glad those “people of color should show up at cons to prove they’re not sock puppets” and “if we could all be together offline, we could talk this out face to face” ideas worked out so well.

  5. So let me get this straight, unless you’ been kicked in the head by a cop, you have to defer to the Cramer/Shetterley vision of oppression?


  6. Actually, this is a continuation of a derail of a panel on minorities at WorldCon about how she is soooo oppressed as a mother in Westchester, that it’s just like living in East Germany. Yep, just like East Germany.
    And no, as a Latina who grew up in a poor inner-city neighborhood, I never personally experienced oppression, I just read about it in books and then got all uppity about it. How dare I question her vast experience when I clearly have none?

  7. Though, judging by the fact that your comment hasn’t appeared, and what I recall about communication control from the last time we were here, maybe we shouldn’t let her moderate.

    Then again, perhaps we should, so that the “silence people if they disagree” technique will be vividly illustrated. ;)

  8. But Tempest, don’t you know that oppression is all about CLASS CLASS CLASS CLASS CLASS and since KC is much lower-class than you she… uh…

    Sorry. Head exploded. Can’t finish.

  9. I’d like to recommend that you put the warning of footnote 1 in the body of the text. I clicked that link into a new tab instinctively; it wasn’t until I scrolled down to read the footnote that I panicked.

    I don’t actually know why I panicked, because upon thining about it, I don’t give a damn either. But the way you put that warning there made me think that I ought to be worried, and so I was worried. (Okay, so maybe I do know why I panicked.)

    Anyway, my point is that you seem to think that the warning and the link is useful, but they way you’ve placed it makes it dramatically less useful to people who would want to know about the warning.

  10. oh god, the stupidity and arrogance. *scream*

    I kinda agree with ladyjax here — let her have her damn panel! Let her defend herself to a live audience who will be (I hope) largely unsympathetic and unwilling to play along with her rhetorical tricks. Banning people and throwing temperfits doesn’t work when they’re sitting right in front of you …

    Can we bring tomatoes? :D

  11. I especially liked the “Fail fandom” bit, because everyone knows how much you and others enjoy people being failly about things like race, gender, etc. That’s what makes life so much fun! Being hurt by people’s metaphorical pantslessness is just like being a fan of, say, Star Trek, and clearly just as rewarding!

  12. I like how she terms everyone as “Fail Fandom”

    What! We are totally fannish about Fail! We imagine it naked and photomanip it with porn stills in embarrassingly amateurish fashion!

    Why, just last week I slashed RaceFail ’09 with the “outwalk a hurricane” fight of 2005, and it was a hot epic romance with star-crossed cluelessness and wings! (The wings are for escaping the hurricane. Shut up they’re powerful enough wings to handle wind at 100 MPH.)

    Ow, now my brain hurts.

  13. Personally, I think it would be a fantastic panel. However, there’s a clear conflict of interest, by her own explanation of the panel, the moderator needs to have suffered real oppression.

    She can’t be the moderator and the front runner for the read-in-books contingent, unless she wants to deviate from her suggested format.

    The moderator also needs to be someone with a long record of balanced opinions and thoughtful, levelheaded debate… Now where on earth could we find such an author?

  14. I would go to that panel, but I would probably just scream ‘REALLY? WHATTHEFUCKINGFUCK ARE YOU ON, WOMAN’ through the whole thing.

    but really, now I get it, oppression only counts if it is a literal kick to the head. That sure makes it easy to figure out if you’ve particpated in oppressing anyone, too, don’t it? ‘Well, I didn’t kick anyone in the head, so obviously I’m not racist’

  15. If they have the panel I’m so going. I plan to blow her mind by having experienced actual police brutality and having a background in critical race theory.

  16. Yeah I knew that was all a load of crock when Readercon rolled around and I heard not a peep from Ms. Cramer even though we saw each other several times.

  17. I figured anyone who really cared wouldn’t have clicked on that link, anyway. It’s nothing to be particularly worried about for most people.

  18. I . . . I can’t make sense of any of Cramer’s post. Or the comments.

    I can’t find a context that Cramer might have with the police through quick Googling. Can anyone fill me in?

    Her proposed model of having a panel with some people with direct experience and some people versed in critical theory, though lacking in a few areas (it would help to have at least one person, preferably a moderator, with experience with both), seems preferable to the one we have now—where there’s no guarantee that either of those people will be on the panel, but it’s almost certain that there will be one or more panelists whose experience with oppression comes from the experiences that they’ve pulled from their ass.

  19. Oh, but the post is just a Social Experiment! REALLY.

    Kathryn said in reply to Lenora Rose…

    The panel proposal is essentially a Gedanked Experiment. The background of it is idiots who can’t stop nattering about whether or not I am truly oppressed because of a one-line comment on a misbegotten panel at WorldCon.

    Now, since WorldCon, something MUCH worse has happened since the remark they can’t let go of.

    Can they allow for that possibility? Or any possibility that anyone might suffer oppression for simply being a parent of a particular child? Apparently not.

    These people, despite their claims of feminism, are not feminists at all, but something else. The more they ridicule my claims the more they prove my point. Their material will prove useful to me for documenting this at some point later in time.

    Not to put to fine a point on it, this post is a honey-pot for Internet faux feminists.

    Enjoy the honey. We’ll talk theory later.

    Here’s the source link, all anonymized.

  20. Reading between the lines of her post — she can’t talk about it now, she’s campaigning for a new sheriff because the current one makes deputies work too much overtime which cacn make them violent, etc — something happened in re: trouble with the police.

    But that’s mostly guesswork.

  21. To bend over backwards to be fair to her, I fully agree with her that modern-day over-attention to parenting techniques is part of an overall low-level monitoring of mothers and families which is not particularly healthy. (Viz, the stuff Yonmei mentions.)

    It is not, however, even if she had a visit from the police, akin to living in East Germany.

    And, that post of hers is… self indulgent.

  22. You know what is awesome? What is awesome is, she says in one comment “I’m not following your last line, but I presume it refers to something being said on one of the many LJ posts that have linked to mine. I have not read them and probably won’t.”

    BUT THEN, a couple comments later, she says to someone else, “These people, despite their claims of feminism, are not feminists at all, but something else. The more they ridicule my claims the more they prove my point. Their material will prove useful to me for documenting this at some point later in time. Not to put to fine a point on it, this post is a honey-pot for Internet faux feminists.”

    So, you know, she is completely not watching you like a hawk, at all, because you are totally too boring for that, but she can see EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE, man, not that she is trying.

  23. So, do people on the panel actually have to be kicked in the head to volunteer, or can the kick have been administered elsewhere? Like on the arm, or the left shin or the sternum? And what if they weren’t kicked by police but by campus security, or a fireman, or a a mall Rent a Cop? I have to know these things, you see, for when the programing cube shows up in my inbox.

  24. It seems like we should divide it into two panels though.

    Vimes, Dresden, and the Goddamn Batman

    Law enforcement is a constant part of our lives, but the way it intersects with our daily experiences vary greatly depending on many factors such as race, class, gender, orientation, nationality, and others. Do stories told from the persepective of law enforcement and vigilantes support systemic abuse of power? Does fantasy’s underlying conception of a good or evil alignment relate to theories of biological determinism of criminal behavior? Do fantasy prison systems like Azkaban or Butcher Bay have an affect on penal systems in the United States and elsewhere?

    M: Karnythia, Other People Who’ve Dealt with This Stuff and Know About It

    More Oppressed than Thou

    “If we could all be together offline, we could talk this out face to face.” Join Kathryn Cramer as she explains how evil you are for oppressing her. Prove you’re not a sockpuppet, otherwise your opinions will never matter. Also, she’ll explain to you why you’re wrong.

    M: Kathryn Cramer, Angry People Who Aren’t as Oppressed as Kathryn Cramer and Thus Shouldn’t Be Angry

  25. I live in my own personal bubble (thank you). I am fascinated by this though – is this a person who goes around arguing that because she has experienced some form of opression, that no other form of oppresion counts?

  26. More that… you know, I don’t know. I think she’s arguing that being a member of an oppressed minority isn’t really oppression unless you actually get kicked in the head.

    Which is related to the concept that racism isn’t racism until the white hoods come out, IMHO.

    It’s all about intentionality (again).

  27. Her post seems to be some sort of argument that if you’re really downtrodden you wouldnt have time for class privileged academic fripperies like critical race theory. Or something. I dunno…

  28. Fail Fandom: a fandom dedicated to calling people out on their weird, weird shit.

    Do people read the books that Kathryn Cramer edits? I swear to God, I’d never heard of her until RaceFail, and I work in a bookstore part-time.

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