Peter David: Class Act

Peter David: Class Act

Allies like you we don’t need.

More proof that RaceFail is an ongoing occurance in everyday life.  Or, at least, on the internet.

(It’s actually been a long time since I considered Peter an ally.  After watching his liberal cred fly out of the window during a discussion about sexism a few years ago, I just count him amongst those white dudes that like to pretend they’re not sketchy but are, nonetheless, completely fucking sketchy.)

Comments

  1. says

    Geez is everyone exposing their unmentionables lately? Geez Peter, put some frikken pants on, your privilege is showing. As long as people are drawing pics of watermelons on the White House lawn, the shit isn’t fixed yet. These folks are like guinea pigs, with their “If I close my eyes I can’t see the racism” crap.

  2. Julia Sullivan says

    HOLY CRAP did anyone else notice that the Carl Brandon Society is recommending that we read books by William Sanders in honor of Native American/First Nations History Month?

    HOLY. CRAP.

  3. Julia Sullivan says

    It seems odd to me to include Sanders’s work in a very short list that’s part of an initiative to celebrate cultural diversity–there are many other writers of Native American/First Nations ancestry who have not been involved in public and petty displays of racism against other writers of color (and other people of color in general).

    Obviously it would be appropriate to include Sanders in any attempt to compile a comprehensive list of Native American/First Nations writers who have published in sff and allied genres. In a short list, though? I’m not loving the message.

  4. says

    Wow, he really hits the top 10.

    “Why can’t I say the N-word and black rappers can?”

    “I’m an American; why can’t they just be Americans like me?”

    “What is there a Black Journalist org? A white journalist org would be considered racist?”

    Does he even know black people? Does he read works by people of color? Because all of those de riguer questions are pretty much pedestrian. I mean, even my four year old nephew knows the answer to those stupid questions.

  5. says

    The only thing I find funnier than some of the posts in Peter’s threads are the trackbacks it’s creating. Peter has been a very vocal critic of racism and certainly is not pretending that if he walks around with his eyes shut that the racism isn’t there. He was certainly not pretending that it wasn’t there during last years election run up (he was pro-Obama by the by) where a lot of the crap thrown at Obama was discussed and condemned by many of us there. He’s also clearly stated in the past that, while things are certainly better now than in decades past, we a a country have a long way to go in matters such as these.

    As to this thread in particular. He was simply reacting to the statements of AG Eric Holder about the “cowardice” of many in our dialogue about race in this country. He commented that most people don’t want to deal with the hassle of having that dialogue these days because just bringing up basic topics gets you flamed, condemned and, apparently, described as sketchy and jerky.

    And to some degree a number of the first time posters who stopped in to declare him a racist and declare that they were never buying his work again proved that point. To some degree you have as well. All Peter did was say that most people don’t want to deal with the headache, to, as he said it, touch the hot stove, of a discussion on race in this country since just addressing some topics as neutrally as possible will still get you condemned, boycotted and flamed. And here you sit ignoring the substance of what was said and flaming him over what he didn’t actually say from a distance.

    And that’s not me reinterpreting his words by the way. I quote from one of his posts in the thread that I’m sure no one here bothered reading.

    ________________________________

    “I didn’t say racism no longer exists in this country. That would be stupid. I said it was foolish to characterize this country as a nation of cowards when the nation was perfectly willing to elect a man to the highest office in the land based upon the measure of his character rather than the pigmentation of his skin.

    I said that racism flows both ways and that both sides should be taking the measure of their reactions to the topic. I later acknowledged that Holder said as much later in the speech, although it would have been nice if he had specifically said that the actions of certain self-proclaimed spokesmen for blacks served as a disincentive for whites to want to touch the topic with a ten meter cattle prod. That does not equate with asking him to apologize for anyone.

    I do not object to people referring to themselves as African-Americans as a basic of racial pride. I simply said the term wasn’t great because it wasn’t consistently accurate…an assertion that many blacks agree with. And I lamented that in a society where there is insufficient unity, it’s a bit of a shame that people of many races and all nationalities feel the need to become hyphenates rather than embracing the notion that we are all one race–humans–and in this country, at least, all one nationality–Americans. Which I suppose is a long-winded way of saying, “Can’t we all just get along?”

    Now: React to that if you are so inclined. Boycott that. Condemn me for the words I said rather than the words that you said I said.”

    ________________________________

    If you think he or anyone else in that thread is wrong then by all means join the discussion and say so. His is an open site. No registration required. Honest, open debate from new voices is always a welcome thing over there.

  6. says

    Oh, other than that I like your set up here. Your snark humor displayed in a number of your threads is pretty much right up my ally.

    I’d understand it if you told me to bug off though given the nature of the discussion that brought me here and the post that came with it.

  7. says

    trust me, Jerry, you’ve displayed far more decorum than most of the people who drop in from elsewhere. I don’t mind people disagreeing as long as they aren’t asses about it.

  8. says

    And to some degree a number of the first time posters who stopped in to declare him a racist and declare that they were never buying his work again proved that point. To some degree you have as well. All Peter did was say that most people don’t want to deal with the headache, to, as he said it, touch the hot stove, of a discussion on race in this country since just addressing some topics as neutrally as possible will still get you condemned, boycotted and flamed.

    The problem is that Peter didn’t bring up the topic neutrally, he brought it up in an assy way. He cited a lot of other people who have talked about race in sketchy ways. What Don Imus said was in no way neutral. I would love to see some examples of white people attempting to talk about race in a reasonable way who were then condemned and boycotted, because right now such incidents aren’t coming to my mind. There are plenty of people amongst my acquaintance who are able to talk about race in a reasonable, clueful manner who aren’t jumped on, but instead engaged with. Peter is not one of those people.

    His entire post was a testament to how much he really doesn’t understand how sketchy he is. He voted for Obama, big damn deal. That doesn’t mitigate the fact that he pretty much claimed that black people can’t ever seem to have a dialogue about race that doesn’t include a riot or getting some poor, innocent soul like Don Imus fired.

    In fact, his entire post proves the AG right – he’s not interested in having a conversation about race, he’s interested in pretending like conversations about race aren’t necessary unless he brings them up. He’s interested in saying that black people are to blame for white people’s inability to have a grown-up conversation. He condemns black people for responding in anger without having ever experienced the lifetime of things that would engender such anger. In short, Peter David pulled his pants down and waved his white privilege ass all over the internet.

    It’s such a hassle to have to dialogue about race when black people won’t give you the benefit of the doubt or, very naturally, react to your cluelessness with anger and derision. You know what? White folks are just going to have to suck it up. Because that’s the reaction they’re always going to get if they continue to act clueless. Bottom line.

  9. Peter David says

    “I don’t mind people disagreeing as long as they aren’t asses about it.”

    Curiously, I don’t typically mind people disagreeing even if they are asses about it. If I did, I’d be deleting a ton of posts on my blog.

    PAD

  10. says

    Hey Peter, welcome to my blog.

    How you choose to run yours is, obviously, up to you. I find that very few people who are asses whether in agreement or disagreement are useful to discourse. I don’t often have to delete, moderate, or disemvowel people from this blog, but I do so to obvious trolls and crazy people. That’s just how I roll. I have to do it a LOT more on my other, more politically focused blogs.

  11. Peter David says

    Not telling you how to run your blog. Just saying how I do it. As for the usefulness to discourse, they do have one, I suppose: It never hurts to confront the attitudes and opinions that you find personally repellant. That way you can come up with reasoned arguments and the occasional bon mot at your leisure, so that if you happen to encounter such individuals in real life, you’ll be prepared with brilliant repartee, rather than finding yourself saying, “Dang, I know what I should have said!” fifteen minutes later.

    I’ve only disemboweled someone once, actually. Actually, I didn’t even know about the practice. The guy kept attacking me for everything and anything, relentlessly, unstintingly. Anything that I said that could be distorted or reinterpreted or restated into something else, he did. And he was going after other posters, and then he did the one thing that I say to people they can’t do: He started insulting my wife. My attitude is, insult me all you want, but you don’t get to start making borderline obscene comments about my family. And yet, being a free speech absolutist (I feel the answer to free speech is, for the most part, more free speech rather than trying to stifle the unpopular speech), I find myself stymied as to how to handle it.

    And I said to my mod, “I don’t know how to handle this. This guy is poisoning the entire site. He’s making it someplace I don’t even want to go, and it’s my blasted blog. What do I do?” And he said, “Don’t worry; I’ve got it covered.” And he disemvoweled the guy. For anyone reading this who doesn’t know, it means rigging it so that anything the poster writes, the vowels disappear. So basically he can still post, but he becomes a laughing stock. “Ptr Dvd s n sshl!” becomes understandable but amusing, kind of like the six inch fear demon from Buffy. After a couple of days, the guy went away.

    PAD

  12. Peter David says

    And what the hell is that icon next to my name? Where did that come from? I didn’t put that there. Who is that? It doesn’t look like me at all. For starters, he’s really handsome and has hair.

    PAD

  13. Peter David says

    Wait, hold it. Is he from “Andromeda?” I only watched the show occasionally. That’s where it’s from, right?

    PAD

  14. says

    I have a longer response for you later. Though I agree that you weren’t telling me how to run my blog.

    The icon wordpress randomly assigned you is Ronon from Stargate: Atlantis. I have a plugin on my blog that assigns avatars to my commenters. The icons come from a pool I create, and I created a theme of People of Color in SF/F/H movies and tv. I think it may allow you to choose an Avatar by now. (One day I will add comic book characters, too)

  15. dianne says

    Ronon from Stargate Atlantis. The actor is Jason Momoa.

    I have nothing meaningful to add to this thread – but I often want to know who the icons are too.

    -d

  16. Peter David says

    Well, like I said, handsome and has hair. So I see no reason to pick something else. He’s pretty much got all I would want to have in an icon.

    PAD

  17. dianne says

    Yeh, mine too. Plus, she somehow seems TALL to me. I always wanted to be able to literally (not figuratively) look down at folks. But – except for kids younger than 8, not happenin.’ Do you know who mine is (I don’t)?

    Okay, dropping out again. Tempest – Thanks for giving me the option to pick my own, but heck – what can I say – Thank you for the gorgeous icon.

  18. Alexandra Erin says

    After watching his liberal cred fly out of the window during a discussion about sexism a few years ago, I just count him amongst those white dudes that like to pretend they’re not sketchy but are, nonetheless, completely fucking sketchy.

    I’d always thought of him as a dude who at least tries on women’s issues, until I ran smack against the wall of “But I Write Comics With Strong Women In Them!” while trying to call him on using anti-feminist language to shut down a line of criticism.

    I was interested to see the Race Fail post in his blog… his response to the critical commentary was “I try to talk about racism and it just gets me called a racist by actual racists.”, matches up pretty closely with his response to the sexism issue: “I tried to raise sexism as an issue and it got me called sexist by a bunch of sexist women.”

    I used to think of him as one of the better guys in comics, but he’s helped crystalize for me the fact that in a field so ripe with fail even being “better” isn’t necessarily the same as being good.

  19. Peter David says

    If I was going to be accurate, and keeping with characters of color, then probably the best to represent me would be Worf. Some hair in the back. High forehead. Facial hair. And surly.

    PAD

  20. says

    being a woman of color, particularly one that speaks out on issues of race and gender and such, I often get offensive trolls. Being a veteran of such things and an activist, I recognize that there are times when you need to set very clear boundaries in order to create a space that is beneficial to both myself and those I wish to dialogue with. Thus, I am pretty strict about the moderating.

    I don’t moderate or ban people with opposing opinions, but I will moderate or ban people who are not interested in discussion, but bullying and trolling and nastiness. Here, the leash is pretty long. On my other blog, it is extremely short. I get a higher caliber of troll over there.

    The guy you described? I get 2 or 3 guys like him a day. I learned the hard way not to even suffer such fools for a second.

    I am a believer in free speech as well. I believe everyone has a right to say whatever they want in their own space. I don’t have to let anyone have a soapbox in MY space, and I don’t attempt to stop them from going elsewhere to say their piece. I don’t even quibble if they ban ME from their space, because it’s theirs.

  21. says

    I was pretty heartbroken when I found out that peter was no hero. I LOVE his Star Trek books. loveity love. Well, except Imzadi. All right-thinking people hate Imzadi.

  22. Peter David says

    That’s not what happened.

    What happened was that I had a disagreement with a poster. Her response was that I clearly expected her to–and I quote–“be quiet, because that’s what good girls are supposed to do, right?” She then dismissed me out of hand with “Yawn.”

    Flummoxed because her gender or expectations thereof were never a part of the discussion, nor did they match up with any expectations I had, I told her it was bizarre and limiting that she was suddenly casting the entire conversation in feminist terms, particularly considering that that wasn’t what the conversation was about at all. At which point she responded with–again, I quote–“No. Just no. Stop talking now.”

    Basically she acted like a recalcitrant teenager. I then checked her profile and discovered that she was pretty much a teenager. At which point I said I now understood why she was acting the way she was, and that if in five years or so she wanted to reengage for further discussion, I’d be open to it. (Which has happened before. I’ve had people come to me who said, “Five years ago I was a total jerk to you, but I’ve grown up a bit and I’d like to talk to you again.”)

    Except you leaped in and spent two days accusing me of hating women and being condescending even though it was the original poster who had been condescending and brought feminism into the subject out of the blue. I forget: Were you the one who told me that LIve Journal was “not intended for me,” or was that someone else?

    That is what happened.

    It’s a funny thing. I have lots of friends who are very strong women. Maggie Thompson, Trina Robbins, Jo Duffy, Colleen Doran, many others. Plus the woman who was my mentor in the industry, the late, great Carol Kalish, for whom my youngest daughter is named. And over the years I’ve had many disagreements with them over all manner of things. And in all that time, none of them has ever said, “You’re disagreeing with me because since I’m a woman, you expect me to shut up.”

    Twenty five years they’ve known me.

    And here come a couple of people who know me for a few days and somehow, magically, they have a better handle on who I am than these women who have known me for a quarter of a century. So either they’re astoundingly quick judges of character…or they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    And please stop putting quotes around things I didn’t say.

    PAD

  23. says

    first, the “I have strong women friends” defense is never flattering. I’m sure you have some black friends, too, but that didn’t keep you from saying sketchy stuff about race.

    second, how do you know that particular incident is what Alexandra is referring to? That’s an honest question – i am assuming because you recognize her name on connection with it? or are you guessing?

    third, I’m inclined to go with her limited description of your behavior because it matches up almost exactly with my own observations. I was a pretty avid reader of your blog years ago until I had my own wake-up call. It was pretty illuminating, and prepared me for the greater realization that a lot of liberal bloggers who are white and and/or male are really not as liberal as they claim to be, especially when called on skeevy stuff around race or gender.

  24. Peter David says

    I’m not intending it to be a “defense” of anything, Tempest. It’s simply a flat statement. It’s easy to say, “Look! Look! He’s saying some of his best friends are women!” Okay. Well…except some of my best friends ARE women. Am I supposed to be embarrassed about that? Ashamed? Furthermore I have four daughters and a wife who’s a Yale graduate, three inches taller than I am and about ten times smarter, which is good because–aside from knowing how to write–I’m dumb as a box of rocks about a ton of things. (Thank God she understands football. She explains what happened in football games so that when I go to my bowling league the following night and the guys are all discussing it, I can join in and sound all manly.)

    In terms of what I said about race, if you really think it’s “sketchy” (whatever you mean by that, I’m not really sure), I will simply say this: If there are really going to be genuine dialogues about race, then all sides are going to have to care about what the other sides thinks and feel, rather than just dismiss it out of hand, or attack the speaker instead of what’s said. Otherwise it’s just a monologue.

    Let me put it another way: Let’s take it out of the concept of race relations and instead just make it about relations. If you and your partner are having a problem, and you say to your partner, “This is how I feel. This is something you do that I find irritating. And frankly I’m reluctant to say anything about it because I’m worried you’re going to dismiss it out of hand and say I’m an idiot.”

    To which your partner responds, “You’re an idiot. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t care what you have to say because your problems are of no interest to me at all and my problems are much bigger. Just shut up.”

    That’s a relationship that’s going nowhere good.

    Second, you’re right, I’m assuming that’s the incident she’s referring to. And yeah, I know, “never assume,” but I think it’s safe in this case.

    Third, I honestly don’t know what you’re referring to. All I know is that, whatever I said obviously upset you. Whether you misunderstood or I simply said badly or I just flat out said something dumb, I’m sorry that all this time later it still clearly bugs you and I apologize for whatever it was.

    PAD

  25. Alexandra Erin says

    Mr. David, I’m not having this conversation with you again. If I’d noticed you were commenting here, I wouldn’t have said anything.

    Since you are here, though, I’ll say it once more:

    Your problems with the user you reference were not caused by too much feminisim. Nobody who pointed that out to you was defending her conduct or holding her up as a paragon of maturity.

    And that’s the last I’ll say on the subject, because I’m a guest here and I really didn’t mean to track mud on the carpet.

  26. says

    Wow, a lot has gone on since I was last here…

    “I’m sure you have some black friends, too, but that didn’t keep you from saying sketchy stuff about race.”

    You know what? I’m curious as to what you believe he said that’s “sketchy” since no one has really said what it was that he said that’s so racist or problematic. The most I’ve seen here, there and elsewhere is people just saying that something bad was sad without actually saying what it was or people reading what was said on Peter David’s blog and complaining about the paragraph or two worth of things that he never actually said.

    Even your one poster above did the latter of those two things.

    Craig Gidney : “Wow, he really hits the top 10.
    “Why can’t I say the N-word and black rappers can?”

    “I’m an American; why can’t they just be Americans like me?”

    “What is there a Black Journalist org? A white journalist org would be considered racist?”

    Does he even know black people? Does he read works by people of color?”

    See, fun thing was that no one, not a single one of us over on Peter’s blog said that we wanted to say the n-word or wondered why we can’t while rappers can. The only thing that was cited was the fact that there is a double standard with words, images and symbols in modern America. the example of referencing the NABJ and pointing out that a group that was set up to be a white organization would be condemned as racist was also an opening for discussions as to whether or not double standards exist. And the discussion some of us were having about “just be American like me” was about looking at the idea of one nation where people are actively trying to make themselves separate.

    But all any of it was was the discussion of ideas. Peter, in his opening for the thread, simply cited issues that often come up whenever race is discussed on a national level. Go back and reread the thread opener. No where in there did Peter actually act as a proponent of any of the positions that he’s being kicked over now. All he did, in response to the sound bytes of what the new AG said, was ask what it was we were supposed to be discussing and point out that even if basic things get brought up it ends in, well, garbage like this.

    And interestingly, no one there said that things had to be the way we wanted them. I’ve never been a big fan of hyphenated-Americans myself and argued with some over the pros and cons of them. No where in that thread will you find me saying that no one can use them. I simply dislike them because, when used by some (but not all) people as a wedge it seems like it only creates another wall between people.

    “Does he even know black people? Does he read works by people of color? Because all of those de riguer questions are pretty much pedestrian. I mean, even my four year old nephew knows the answer to those stupid questions.”

    I’m sure he does, but I’ll only speak for myself here. Yes, I know a whole lot of black people. You know what? They don’t act with a hive mind like the Borg. I know a lot of blacks who actually dislike the term “African-American” more than I do and question why something like that is even needed. I know a lot of blacks who dislike the fact that younger blacks run around using the n-word and wish that rappers, black comedians and others would knock off using the word and “trying to make it cool to use” when out with their friends and family. Hell, back during the Imus debate they had a number of black activists and civic/community leaders on the cable news nets who were saying that they’d love to shift the focus off of Imus and on to discussions about race relations as a whole. A bunch of them, when asked about it, said that they can’t figure out why it should be the taboo of all taboo for whites to say the n-word when some blacks have it come out of their mouth every third word. Their POV? Let the damned word die on the vine and turn to dust. No one should be using it.

    And, yeah, I’ve seen blacks who have said that they don’t think that, in this day and age, blacks need a safety net of all black dorms, all black journalism groups or all black organizations of any type. Now, how is it that whites are clueless and sketchy for even citing these questions (and the results that asking those questions brings about) when there are blacks out there actually asking these same questions?

    The thread that started all of this was a response to a portion of Eric Holder’s comments. It wasn’t a statement of beliefs. It was simply an answer to why, just maybe, some people in this country do shy away from open discussions about race. It was pointing out that when race is brought up and discussed the topic usually gets you burnt.

    And all of this pretty much makes the point of that thread fairly strongly since all that needed to be done for many to condemn a man as anything from sketchy to full on racist was for him to just say that these certain topics and other are going to come up in a national discussion on race and most people will shy away from that from the experience of what a pain in the butt those topics and discussions are. And somehow, in some way, just expressing the idea that certain subjects would be extremely hot potatoes in a national discussion is justification for calling someone a racist, stating that they’re of questionable character and either boycotting or simply dropping their written works.

    That doesn’t seem a little nuts to you?

    Let me ask you this. If a black friend of yours said that they disliked the term African-American and hated being called that for whatever reason; would you call them sketchy and racist or would you discuss the matter with them? Let’s say you’ll discuss it with them for a few minutes. They lay out arguments A, B and C for their position. You don’t agree with them, but you at least discuss it and part no worse for the matter.

    Now, if I laid out A, B and C in the exact same manner, how is it any different? Is it just because I’m white? Well, if it is then there’s a huge problem in this country. When an honest exchange of views can’t be had because one side deems that skin color automatically disqualifies the validity of the other side; that’s just a recipe for even more problems down the road.

    But, damn, we should all at least be able to just say, “well, so-and-so usually doesn’t work out too well when brought up,” without one side or the other breaking out the pitchforks and torches and declaring the other side Frankenstein’s Monster. I mean, forget maybe just discussing or even actually dealing with the issues, but if just mentioning the very ideas and concepts causes the pitchforks and torches to come out…

    Not a good place to be.

    By the way… You’re nuts. Imzadi was awesome. It ranks right under Q-In-Law and just above Q-Squared as his three best Next Gen works.

    So there. 8P

  27. Peter David says

    Well, first, thanks for confirming what I had originally thought.

    But it’s not really a conversation so much as you ascribing to me things and then attacking those. You’re the one who came up with the whole “too much feminism” thing. The fact is that it played out exactly the way I said.

    It occurs to me upon a night’s sleep that the point isn’t even who my friends are. The point is that these genuinely strong women feel no need to try and short circuit a conversation they don’t want to have by using feminism as a cudgel to try and beat the other person into silence or submission.

    PAD

  28. Alexandra Erin says

    It’s the weirdest thing: all my friends think I’m an upstanding person.

    I could tell them that they’re wrong, that, in the words of Hamlet: “I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me. I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in.”

    And yet several people crawling around the skin of the world think I’m a decent human being worth spending time with.

    I believe this is true of you, too. I suspect it’s true of most people, however arrant a knave any one of them may be. So I’m not particularly surprised to hear you have friends who are women, and even strong women, and I’m not surprised to learn that they don’t think of you as a misogynistic jerk.

    But my friends think I’m swell, too. They wouldn’t be my friends if they didn’t. Their take on me is not definitive for the rest of the world.

    Anyway, you invoked your women friends to “prove” the point that you don’t shut down conversation because girls aren’t being nice… but that was never the issue for anybody except that one poster.

    There’s one thing you said–and no, the “too much feminism” is not a direct quote but you didn’t object to the paraphrase at the time–which I and several others found to be objectionable.

    So we objected to it.

    I’m not in communication with any of the others at this moment, but since the subject is up I at least still object to it. That’s not supposed to be a referendum on your value as a person, your friendships, your body of work, or anything else, though you and your defenders sure seemed to think it was.

    If you can live with the fact that J. Random Internetperson doesn’t like one thing that you said… okay. I can live with the fact that you don’t care.

    But throwing everything but the Wookiee Defense up to deflect it? That’s just… I don’t even know what that is.

    To tempest, sorry for tracking grudgewank all over your house. :P I was reading back through your blog, saw an experience that sounded familiar, and just wanted to chime in with a “I know the feeling.”

  29. says

    I’m on my way to work, so I’ll have a longer response for you this evening, but we are obviously going to have to throw down about Imzadi.

    I will admit, I don’t like Imzadi because I this the Will/Deanna ship is the stupidest ship that ever shipped on my ship. I think TNG first started airing when I was like 9 years old or something and even 9 years old me was like “WTF what is this shit??” every time they brought up that relationship. So a whole book about it? Ugh, no. I’d rather just smash my hand in a door.

  30. says

    Well yes, it may be true that you have strong women friends, but bringing it up in this context just makes it sound like you’re doing the black friend thing. There’s no need to mention it. because, oddly enough, the presence of strong, smart women in one’s life tends to have a good effect on most people, both male and female. Therefore, it need not be specifically pointed out.

    On the race thing, I think Craig upthread does a nice summary of the broadstrokes of what I found sketchy about your post. And your analogy of two partners/friends/whatnot in a relationship does not hold up, and I’ll explain why.

    Firstly, when talking about relations, you can’t just take away the “race” or the “gender” or the “sexual orientation” or whatever other kind of specific relations it is. Because whatever kind of relations you’re talking about, they each have their own baggage and their own language and their own history. And any relations or discussions of relations HAS to take all of that into account.

    If you tried to have a conversation with one of your daughters as if she was your wife, or your ex-wife, or your editor, there could be problems and confusion and possibly a call to 911. Sure, there are lots of things you can say to her and ways you can relate to her that will be the same or similar to all those other people, but there are many, many more that will NOT be the same.

    The problem you seem to have is you think race relations are like any other relations. But they’re not.

    Now, back to the specifics of your analogy. You seem to be missing some key pieces of knowledge about having a discussion on race with people of color. First thing you have to realize is that almost every person of color in America has had at least one and probably dozens and maybe even hundreds of stupid, offensive, and anger-making conversations about race with “well-meaning” white people who have no concept of their own privilege. And probably a few with outright racist assholes. Any POC who’s been involved in anti-racist activism has had the same discussion with a hundred different white people over and over and, though it’s not fair, every time a new white person comes along with the same clueless privileged bullshit and acts as if they are enlightened and “if only POC would just…”, the POC in question sometimes just cannot deal with it any more.

    I did say that it’s not fair for the white person in question, but it’s also not fair for the POC in question. because often, very very often, white people don’t take it upon themselves to really understand issues of race. They just assume because they are not in the KKK and have some black friends and voted for Obama and do have have overt racist thoughts that they cannot be clueless, privileged, and on the wrong side of the conversation.

    This is part of the climate that the AG was talking about. And he’s absolutely right that a lot of people are cowardly for not having a real discussion about race. And you proved that with every word of your post because you essentially said “I am scared of opening my mouth when doing so will make someone angry and this means the angry people are at fault.” #1 – that “someone” has a right to be angry. #2 – you should probably not open your mouth. Because you have a LOT to learn, and it would be much, much better if you acknowledged that and started listening. No real and useful dialogue on race can happen until everyone is on the same page about what the real problems are. And if you have not thoroughly examined your privilege or, at least, begun the work of doing so, then you cannot have a grown-up dialogue about race.

    Feeling uncomfortable, feeling like you’re not at the top of the heap, not absolutely right, not in control, not the smartest person in the room? That’s all part of this process. Thing is, a lot of people, of all colors, really hate having those feelings. And when they realize that this is what needs to happen to go forward, they yell and scream and refuse.

    I have seen this a hundred times, I’m sure I’ll see it even more before I die. This is what it’s like to be a black person in America. This is what it’s like to be an activist. You may have even experienced similar things around any activism particular to you. You probably just never thought that you’d be on the other side. I know that feeling, too. It SUCKS. But it’s necessary to become a better person and to have meaningful dialogues about contentious subjects that affect your life.

    People who do the work to understand these issues and examine their own part in them (even if that part is: I benefit from this without trying) aren’t afraid to have discussions about race. They don’t fear the angry hordes of rioting black people. They don’t fear being tossed off the radio.

    You say that if we’re going to have dialogues about race, all sides have to care about what the other thinks and feels. I say to that: not so much. Because you’re acting as if there’s a balance here. As if what white people have to say about race is just as valid as what POC have to say. It’s not. because a lot of white people, as I mentioned, don’t even understand the concept of white privilege, and that’s such a huge piece of the puzzle. it’s like saying “My 5 year old’s opinion on nuclear energy is just as valid as this physicist’s.” When there are huge gaps in knowledge and understanding, then both sides cannot have valid points. As I said, some white people, a LOT of white people, need to figure out how to just sit down and listen and learn. Just like any other person on the planet has to sit down and listen and learn when confronted with their own privilege. (me, I’m still working on not being an ass about atheists.)

    ***

    Also, your apology is appreciated.

  31. says

    annoyingly, I am still home. While my bathroom pipe gets fixed, I’ll answer you.

    The wall you may be running up against here is that I didn’t actually need to cite and dissect Pater’s post for my usual audience. Most of the people who read me have either seen this same shit beofre or seeing me post about it before. Everything Peter said is typical of unexamined white privilege, therefore we use short hand.

    “Look at this shit!” “OMG what shit!”

    No one here needs an explanation.

    The whole double standards thing? bene dealt with. long ago. We don’t need to rehash it. Apparently you and Peter haven’t yet had someone explain the finer points to you. That’s fine and probably not your fault. But when coupled with arrogance and flailing it’s, well, not pretty and mockable.

    Same goes for pretty much every thing else in the post and your comment above.

    You might want to check out my long response to Peter above. Because it relates to a lot of what you’re confused about. I’ll add to that by saying: a lot of times, when confronted with this stuff, POC have three choices: to walk away muttering about same old shit; to get angry and engage with same old shit; to try to educate people on all of the issues behind why they would get angry over same old shit. I’m sure you would really like it if someone say down and explained it all to you, and hashed it out, and educated. However, POC get really fucking sick of educating clueless white people ALL THE TIME. Seriously, it’s a daily occurrence. And white people are always insisting that POC educate them. If not directly, then indirectly, as you did. And when POC don’t, then clueless white people throw up their hands and say SEE, YOU are why we can’t have a dialogue about race! And POC everywhere roll their eyes.

    Obviously without educating sometimes nothing would ever get done. I have no problems talking through issues of race with people I know or even people who demonstrate to me that they are attempting to honestly understand these issues even without my help. People who sit back and listen instead of barging forward and explaining race to ME. I even occasionally educate people who are mired in cluelessness. It’s community service.

    But I am under no obligation to educate anyone. And if I choose not to, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to have meaningful conversations about race, it just means I choose to direct my energies where they will bear better fruit.

    You asked: “It is JUST because I’m white?”

    The answer is: yes. I know that sucks for you. But hey: welcome to my world.

  32. says

    Part of the reason I (and I suspect, many POC and clued-in allies) have a problem with sitting down and addressing each issue (e.g., “Why can black people use the N-word, but not white people?” etc.) is that the answers only require a *small* amount of research. That, and there is almost always an air of feigned innocence that’s irritating. (Lines like, “Under the current atmosphere, who would WANT to discuss racism? Well…Barack Obama did, back when he gave that superb speech about Rev. Wright. I don’t recall whites rioting over it,” underscore my point).

    If you read through the Required Reading sections of The Angry Black Woman blog, many of these issues are addressed.

    http://theangryblackwoman.com/required-reading/

  33. Pope Lizbet says

    While “too much feminism” weren’t your exact words, let me jump in here: I was in that conversation and I know that Alexandra has the right of it.

    To the poster, who no one said was acting with maturity and grace, you first behaved dismissively with “You want *yawn*? How about your tendency to define everything in feminist terms?” and then further went on to tell her that “By trying to slap anti-feminism onto anything you find disagreeable, you’re playing TO the stereotype.” And then told her that there were more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in her philosophy. This is after you essentially called the poster a child, which you followed up by head-patting her for being younger than your youngest daughter. And here you are, claiming the other poster uses feminism as a “cudgel”. So you haven’t changed your tune.

    Anyone who would like to see for themselves exactly how that first part played out can, because there are screencaps.

    And when people, including Alexandra, called you on it, you obfuscated and refused to address the issue and blamed your use of sexist language and head-patting on everything but yourself…another poster telling you to DIAF, the poster in question being immature. Everything but “I feel free to belittle women and feminism when it suits me or when I don’t like what a woman says.” Unfortunately, there’s no record of your later conversations in s_d in which you persistently miscategorized Alexandra’s statements in your responses, claimed she was just against you, and then later completely misrepresented what she had said regarding Young Justice to people on your own blog, once the comm was deleted and you felt free to skew it however you pleased.

    Maybe if enough people tell you that you’re doing it wrong you’ll believe them, but somehow I doubt it. After all, you have all these woman friends who don’t think you act like a condescending ass when someone challenges your actions.

  34. Alexandra Erin says

    Meh, I almost wish those caps didn’t exist, for lack of a more complete one. :P

    Some of my conduct in the early parts of the conversation came from anger at dismissive comments made elsethread. I did apologize for them later and tried to articulate more specifically what was troublesome about the idea that “defining things with feminism” was a problem.

    It didn’t get me anywhere, of course.

  35. Peter David says

    So what you’re basically saying is…white people need to sit down and shut up and listen to black people, and not vice versa? And that eventually the result of this will be equity and equality?

    I’m sorry, but…yeah…I think there’s going to be some problems there.

    PAD

  36. Peter David says

    So your beef is that I didn’t raise a direct protest to something that someone ELSE said. Even though I never said it. Even though my only response was that I think too much anything (be it particular philosophies or food or drink or what have you) tends not to be a good thing, and that most real progress comes as a result of moderation rather than extremism.

    Okay. At least now I understand.

    I think

    PAD

  37. Peter David says

    Considering my youngest daughter is six, I obviously never said that the poster was younger than she was. As for the rest, well, let’s just say it’s your interpretation.

    PAD

  38. Peter David says

    Craig…you keep saying things I didn’t say.

    “Craig Gidney : “Wow, he really hits the top 10.
    “Why can’t I say the N-word and black rappers can?””

    Didn’t say that. Why in God’s name would I *want* to use racial epithets of any stripe?

    “I’m an American; why can’t they just be Americans like me?”

    Didn’t say that either. I said that over 200 years ago, people fought and died for the right to be called Americans. Not British-Americans, or Irish-Americans, or Scots-Americans. Just Americans. Which is true. And that the need to be a society of hyphenates is divisive and unfortunate. Which is my opinion which you will, of course, dismiss. And I say that as an Asian-American (since my mother is Israeli and thus born on the continent of Asia.)

    “What (sic) is there a Black Journalist org? A white journalist org would be considered racist?”

    Actually, my assumption is that there’s a Black journalist organization for the same reason that countless other groups have their own organizations. All I did was point out that if there was a group called the White Journalists of America, it would be condemned as racist. Which is pretty likely.

    “Does he even know black people? Does he read works by people of color?”

    Sure. But I obviously shouldn’t name them because that will just be skewed as, “Look at the ignorant white privileged guy reeling off the names of Black people he knows and whose books he’s read as if that means something.”

    Believe me, though: I understand the concept of saying, “He’s white and privileged and therefore he needs to be educated because otherwise he’s not worth listening to, but it’s not our problem.”

    When I was a kid, that type of philosophy was around.

    Except it was, “He’s black and underprivileged and therefore he needs to be educated because otherwise he’s not worth listening to, but it’s not our problem.”

    There’s a Pogo quote that comes to mind. And a song from “Avenue Q.”

    I think I’m pretty much done here. Don’t worry; I’m not expecting anyone to be too choked up.

    PAD

  39. Alexandra Erin says

    My “beef” with you is simple and has been explained to you many times in multiple places. It is based on what you actually said. It does not relate to what anybody else said, your work, or you as a person.

    It’s simply that you–intentionally or not–invoked a trope that is frequently used by misogynists to shout down feminism, thereby lending it what weight and legitimacy you have.

    That’s not a good thing to do.

    Yes, the history of women’s struggle is not likely to hinge on what Peter A. David said in a now-deleted thread in a corner of the interwebs… but this isn’t about you, it’s about trends and fighting them when I spot them.

    You participated in an ugly trend.

    You got called on it.

    What you do with that is up to you.

    At this point, I really am well and truly done with you.

    Have a day.

  40. Pope Lizbet says

    Yep, you’re right. It was the age of your eldest daughter in relation to the poster, not your youngest. Doesn’t make it any less dismissive and paternalistic on your part, but, mistake noted.

    Most of the rest is direct quotation, Mr. David. But as you’re obviously not going to back down off your pinnacle of thinking you’re right because your awesome friends think you’re awesome, I’m through – anyone who wants to can see precisely what you said in the first part, and see whose account of what came later matches up with previous conduct.

    Tempest, sorry for getting dirt on your rug.

  41. Ming says

    Wait, what problems?

    What’s wrong with white people shutting up and listening to people of color tell what it is like to experience racism? What is wrong with once in a while asking “how can I be a better ally” and then REALLY LISTENING TO THE ANSWER rather than making accusations, getting defensive and telling people of color to stop being so gosh-darned unreasonable and angry?

    It’s hard to take your post or your commitment to anti-racist action seriously because it seems to lay the blame for continued perpetuation of racism at the feet of people of color because we’re so angry that it’s only “rational” for white people to be afraid of conversations about racism (a side note now on something that really bugged me about your blog post that started this: Don Imus’ comment was not an example of speech ABOUT racism, but rather of RACIST SPEECH. There is a big difference). Never mind that this purported fear itself is a coping mechanism, a method of distracting from the real issues of how to combat racism, or a form of rationalization.

  42. says

    ”The wall you may be running up against here is that I didn’t actually need to cite and dissect Pater’s post for my usual audience. Most of the people who read me have either seen this same shit beofre or seeing me post about it before.

    I’m not really running into a wall, but if I was it wouldn’t be the one that you’re citing. The wall I’m seeing is one made by people wanting to see something that isn’t really there and, apparently, wanting to be offended. And I’d be with you in finding his comments stupid or offensive if Peter said that he felt that it was unfair that he couldn’t say the n-word whenever he wanted to. I’d be able to see your point of view (whether I agreed or not) as clear as day if Peter said that if he actually acted as a proponent or defender of any or all of the things cited in his thread post even if I didn’t agree with dropping his works from my future buy lists.

    But all he did was, in response to a news story about the comments of the U.S. A.G., say that, yeah, lots of people don’t want to talk about race on a national level because, amongst other things, these topics will come up and pretty much everybody who’s ever seen that discussion go down knows that it’s just going to become a mess were people get upset and some people feel that they’ve been burnt. End result? A lot of people aren’t looking to have a discussion about it any time soon.

    And then there’s this brick wall…

    ”I’m sure you would really like it if someone say down and explained it all to you, and hashed it out, and educated. However, POC get really fucking sick of educating clueless white people ALL THE TIME. Seriously, it’s a daily occurrence. And white people are always insisting that POC educate them. If not directly, then indirectly, as you did. And when POC don’t, then clueless white people throw up their hands and say SEE, YOU are why we can’t have a dialogue about race! And POC everywhere roll their eyes.”

    Nice. I didn’t come here looking to be educated on anything. I simply followed a trackback and found people getting offended over things that weren’t actually said in the context that it was being presented and commented on it. And, frankly, if I wanted an education on the issue it wouldn’t be here that I’d come for it. I have more than enough friends (and yes, at the risk of offending you by pointing it out in this context, they’re black friends) who can talk about it and sometimes even bring it up first when the 24/7 national news media ship hits the sand over a racial issue. And they can do it without resorting to buzz words or using crutches in the place or reasoned discussion.

    And beyond that is the simple fact that you can’t educate anybody. You don’t speak for every black person in America any more than any of my friends do. You could fill me with your wisdom for hours on end, I could just accept what you say as gospel and then tomorrow I’d run into another educator who would have points of view that were completely opposite on easily half of what you said.

    I, as I said above, know blacks who hold different opinions on the same subjects. Some are for the African-American label, some are against. Some think it’s fine for blacks to have exclusive use of “their word” while others don’t think that anyone should use it and a few, a very, very few, think that if a word is going to be watered down to such a degree by pop culture that it shouldn’t get anyone in trouble. Hell, I know blacks on both sides of the reparations debate.

    So then the question becomes not of whether or not there’s more validity in you’re POV on the subject, a PoC’s POV VS a “clueless white person’s” POV, but rather whether your belief is simply that it’s only your POV and the POV of people who agree with you that you see as valid.

    ”You asked: “It is JUST because I’m white?” The answer is: yes.

    I know that sucks for you. But hey: welcome to my world.”

    It was a rhetorical question. I pretty much knew that your answer would be yes. And it pretty much makes it clear that attempting to have an honest discussion about race in this country is pointless with some because many don’t want to have anything resembling a discussion, let alone an honest one. You want to say that clueless whites want to refuse to be educated and then throw up their hands and say that you’re the reason we can’t talk about race. Thing is, that’s not the reason why it happens.

    Let’s say, on a purely geek level, that I invited you to have a discussion with me on the pros and cons mythological symbolism in modern science fiction for a forum or class. I picked you because I’d seen you speak on the subject and you had an interesting take on things that still contained enough differences from my opinion that there would be an actual debate on some issues. You agree and you show up expecting a real discussion. But then you get there and I throw a bunch of stipulations on you that I don’t have to follow, that basically remove your ability to really be an actual participant in an honest discussion and make it far easier for me to be “right” in the discussion. I don’t think that you’d care for that very much.

    Well, that’s what you’re advocating. It’s got nothing to do with be clueless. It’s just that very few people see the point in discussing something when the other side rigs the discussion in advanced. Why waste the time on a discussion when the other participant has made it clear that his or her POV on the “discussion” is that their opinion is the only valid, correct and right one, their POV must be completely agreed with by the end of the discussion, any valid points of the other party can be discounted based on whatever reason seems like a good idea at the time and the outcome if the second party disagrees with the first party is that they’re label “clueless” at best and “racist” at worst? That’s not anything like an adult discussion. That’s how 3rd graders dictate terms to 1st graders on the playground. Who wants to willingly put themselves through that when the “reward” is that hallow?

    I certainly don’t. And, actually, maybe that’s a good hint for me to take from myself.