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I will not be silenced.

I was speechless when I saw E Bear’s post…

Okay, speechless for all of 60 sec, and then I screamed loud enough to rattle the window and immediately defriended her. I admit I held on for longer than most, hoping this author I had such respect for would come to realize her mistakes, but this last post was more than I could take.

I will not be silenced. Not by Elizabeth Bear or anyone else. It’s one thing to cast aside common sense and the possibility for productive dialogue, because someone is unwilling to ever toy with the idea they might have been wrong. But to toss out the gauntlet like that, suggesting that the “evil people” out there on the other side of the dialogue are crazy or on drugs, and then to tell them to stop talking about the things that bother you because there not important enough to bother with, is too much like pitiful playground tactics to me. It reminds me of slapping someone in the face and then going to stand by your friends for protection, knowing if the person you wronged does anything, your friends with stick up for you.

I’m going to talk about race, not just at Wiscon, but until then and after until the day I leave this earth to rejoin my ancestors. I’m multiracial…my children are multiracial…we don’t have the luxury of sticking our heads in the sand and pretending all is honey, and roses, and perfection with the world. This world is not perfect…this country is not perfect. As long as we are silent or allow ourselves to be silenced, the world wide suckage will never improve. Sure these conversations are hard, but then true worthwhile change is never easy…transformation is never painless.

To suggest we can just stop talking about the hard stuff and it will just go away is not only soaking in heavy levels or privilege based denial, but it slips right into being delusional. When the privileged choose to walk through life with blinders on anything that threatens that becomes a target. And then people wonder why the places that we once hoped were safe for us, now no longer feel safe? And then people wonder why so many who speak out hide their RL selves behind the shield of a pseudonym?

I know the costs…I know the dangers…but I love my community, my family, and myself far too much to be silenced ever again. Stick your head in the sand if you want to, I choose to stand in the sunshine and shout toward the future where all can hear me.

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( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
Okay I've got to see this post. Where's the link?
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
For me, this post was also the breaking point at which I took her off my Reading List.
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
i took er off when she banned me. only seemed fair.
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
I read a lot of the stuff you said around the time Fail '09 began, none of it was unfair or mean...she banned you? Frikken A! Did I miss something?
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
Re: !
Well, remember when she said she'd ban anyone who asked anymore questions about the issue on her lj? yeah, I do poorly with ultimatums, see. So I couldn't resist getting up her nose. This was weeks back now.
Mar. 6th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
Re: !
I love you, you're so naughty.
Mar. 6th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
Re: !
i was totes asking for it.
Mar. 6th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
Re: !
You are so bad you are my new heroine.
(moondancerdrake is my always heroine, of course.)
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
People are already sending me messages about being mean to the poor nice writer who "only means well". I've said all I can say about that here, I'm glad to know not evertone is being blinded by the glitter of good intentions.

Oh, and your icon makes me all giggly :)
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
Who cares about her intentions? I don't care if she means well, I care that she's telling people of color to shut up about racism and telling people of color what racism is.

And that's utter crap.

Mar. 6th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
Mar. 6th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, that was me being frustrated.

It's like so often you see privileged people almost get it, but it's like they're looking for that excuse to snap back into their comfortable privilege and reject the notion that they caused someone else pain, that it was the "someone else's" fault for reacting, not their fault for taking the shot.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 6th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
"Bald-faced lying in response to a reader's criticism of one's writing, as part of a theatrical performance stemming from one's delusion that such an act will be instructional to others and be taken as a model of good behavior" is a definition of "good intentions" with which I am unacquainted.

(The hell of it being that for a long while, that DID work. While EBear was criticized for failing to hold her defenders to accountability, most folks WERE pointing to that initial response of hers as a GOOD model for how to respond. By breaking character, however, she has forever transformed the label of her actions from "well intended" to "blatantly hypocritical".)
Mar. 6th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Maybe that’s why I don’t get how folks think I misread something in her words. It was pretty clear to me she lied, admitted she lied, a slop in the face to many of us who in all of this respected that she accepted (or we thought she had) the criticism and just had the fault of not calling her supporter on their attacks. Now its like got this “sike I fooled you!” tone, like the girl in school that pretend to be your friend when in truth she’s really laughing at you behind your back with the rest of her real friends.
Mar. 5th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
Please show me where she said the people on the other side are "evil". I really feel you're completely distorting what she said. She never said she was silencing anyone, nor does she have such power. She *asked* for a cease-fire. We can agree or disagree about the merits of that idea, but she's not the Big Bad Bear silencing POCs.
Mar. 6th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
You don't ask for a cease fire when you're shooting off a bazooka at people. Disingenuous doesn't begin to cover it.
Mar. 6th, 2009 06:25 am (UTC)
She asked for us to shut up about issues that affect our lives every day, that confront us where we work or live or, as can be seen in this discussion, would like to play. She asked us to stop the conversations we've been having around efforts like 50books_poc and deadbrowalking and verb_noire and The Remyth Project, which were cited as as resources or grew out of this discussion, respectively. (And she repudiated the one action she'd taken that I'd always respected, that of listening to a person of color who criticized what she'd written.)

To that request, I respond, no. I cannot be silent about these issues, and I will not.
Mar. 6th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
Let see if I can explain this a different way to clarify my view at least. I said she suggested, not said “evil”. Really no difference then the general comments she made about her friends being the alleged oppressors. Bottom line in all of this is she continues to imply criticism of her work was based on ignorance (and I quote “It's my fault because I accepted criticism of my book that I knew to be untrue, that I knew to be based on a shallow and partial reading”) yet tells us to not talk about any of this any more. If she didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and wasn’t trying to get a last shot in, why insult her critic one last time. Seems like a cheap shot to me.

I never said she had the power to silence anyone, in fact I am saying I will not be silenced, but she is politely telling us to shut yup because she doesn’t want to hear about race conversation anymore. As POV we really don’t have that option, its part of our lives, our children’s life, touches the communities we live in every day.

It would’ve been one thing for her to say she wanted to take a break from the conversation. That I totally could understand and respect. She says both sides said things that were wrong, yet I never once saw her friends out on some of the really. Awful things they said…I seem to remember one Emma wasn’t it) who admitted she was unfair to E Bear’s critic, and apologize, which I respected very much.

I respected E Bear at first, in the beginning, but little by little my little that respect wavered while I watched her allow her supporters to say what they wanted, but the people they insulted had no right to be upset…For while (and I have still followed her blog, no judgment, reading what was going on in her life) but to here her go one today about some POC privilege being used against well meaning white folks…c’mon, what kinda crap is that? Now the Poor white writers are being oppressed?

Silence is not about having complete power over someone to physical force their compliance, but about treating them as the uneducated, the unworthy, the unreasonable, in itself is a form of urging those are you to shut them out as beneath being recognized as having a voice…that is also being silenced.
Mar. 6th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're going to keep on talking. Silence is no the answer, and I'm a little shocked that anyone would think that way. Admittedly, I haven't had the mental capacity to sift through all the drama-it's been a pretty hard couple of months, and I would like to read everyone's posts when I can really sit down, think, and learn from them-but I'm still shocked. I hope other people refuse to be silenced, as well.
Mar. 6th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
A Future Resource
If/When you have time, rydra_wong has been collecting links (and wrote a summary) under this tag: http://rydra-wong.livejournal.com/tag/gcadod+09

Mar. 6th, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
Re: A Future Resource
I second the suggestion. I don't think we can thank her enough for her tireless efforts in compiling imformation as she does.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 6th, 2009 12:56 pm (UTC)
That seems like an unwise attitude to take. Goddess knows Heinlein and O. S. Card had some objectionable views, but I still feel they were worth reading even when I didn't like the book, because it allowed me to take part in critical discussions of their work. Even an author I disagree vehemently with can at least be a pointer to what not to do, you know?
Mar. 6th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
(Even an author I disagree vehemently with can at least be a pointer to what not to do, you know?)

Yes, This! What we want is good POC positive spec fic. We can get that in discussion about culture, and cultural appropriation, and learned from our mistakes as writers, and the mistakes of other writers. Especially, gwailowrite, for people like you and me, who write multicultural fiction.
Mar. 6th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
I'm staying out of the overall debate here because I don't know enough to say anything.

However, I will say that there are some authors/musicians/actors who's politics, opinions, etc I do not agree with - but I greatly enjoy them in their chosen profession. In fact, there is one author I know personally - and we very much dislike each other. Yet I can't wait for her next book because I love what she writes.

ETA - what I'm trying to say is that I judge the work on its own merit, completely separate from the creator and their personal opinions.

Edited at 2009-03-06 02:48 pm (UTC)
Mar. 6th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Whereas I decided to stop reading Card, even when I do like the book, because it's mathematically impossible for me to read every piece of quality SF in my lifetime; and "I don't want to support someone whose views and behavior I find repugnant"[1] is as good a criteria as any to whittle that list down to something manageable.

Which is not to say that I have taken such a step regarding Bear. But I can certainly understand and respect why others would.

[1] To say nothing of the far more compelling, "I don't want to support someone who actively works to oppress me."

Edited at 2009-03-06 07:36 pm (UTC)
Mar. 8th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
I don't want to support someone whose views and behavior I find repugnant

This. This. and THIS.

I don't care how good they are.
Mar. 6th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
Whether or not I agree with many of the things E Bear has said lately, I'd still say she is a skilled writer with an interesting flair. I understand not wishing to give hard earned money to someone who you think has behaved out of order in some way. That's the joy of libraries. :) Perhaps you might read the book in question that stared the debate, and write your own conclusions about the concerns (or you might not want to paint the target on your forehead by doing that)

I don't even think I'm near as mad at E Bear as I am at Will S and she who will not be named (mostly cause I can never remember the whole thing), but I'm still pretty mad. I think the heart of my mad on is that I was so imprested with the fact she handled the criticism of her work well even if her supporters didn't and now she'd ruined even that.
Mar. 6th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
I agree with you here--even though I still harbor fondness for Bear that doesn't mean I have any sympathy for the blatant fuckwittery of Shetterly and the stupidity Bull displayed in some of her comments.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 6th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
Re: I won't deny that I consider her books entertaining
Yeah, sometimes is best to let hot topics simmer before you try to tackle them. I look forward to it. :)
Mar. 6th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
I'm impressed that you stuck it out in her journal as long as you did. She was dismissive enough earlier that I got really tired of reading her victimized defensive anger posts. In retrospect, that may have been a bit of a mistake, since the brouhaha has so expanded since and I missed a lot of it for not paying attention.

Also, it's nice to meet you.
Mar. 6th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Nice to meet you too :)

I guess I always been a bit of an optimist, which is surprising I guess considering so of my childhood experiences. It’s hard for me to trust, but at the same time I really want to trust folks, to see the best in them, to forgive them. Even so, I have my limits.
Mar. 7th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
Mar. 7th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
:) I am so glad.
Mar. 8th, 2009 10:17 am (UTC)
Came here from metafandom - and though I don't know how much I should really be involved in this debate I wanted to say that I admire you for this post. :)
Mar. 8th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you for coming and for the compliment.
Mar. 9th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
Reading your posts on this sorry mess of a situation is making me want to read your books very much. :) I'm very glad that you are strong and brave enough to not let them silence you; I'm so sorry that you have to be, in order to make your voice heard.
Mar. 14th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
The best thing about all this for me personally is that I've found wonderful journals of people who I would very much like to talk to. I'm thankful for that.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I followed your link to Ms. Bear's post and this in particular has me really angry:

"In internet debates of this sort, at least against well-meaning white folk who really do want to help, the persons of color do have privilege. It is not systemic, like white privilege, and it is not as toxic as white privilege. "

Ignoring the way "well-meaning white folk" makes me cringe and think of Rudyard Kipling, is she really saying that POC are privileged because in discussions of race, they can make nice white liberals feel bad? The ways in which that's fucked up are numerous and profound and yeah, make me really angry.

Also, thank you for friending me back, and I'm looking forward to reading your books :)
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )

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