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The time has come to speak again about things that most of us already are clueful of, but that some folks either don't get, or simply don't care about. I’m not going to like you all to the guilty parties exposing their privilege and stupidity, that give them the attention they seem to so desperately desire. If you need to read the story go here.

So if you want to know why many people, especially women, need to have their wishes for keeping their real life and their online life separate, read on. If you don't want to hear the truth, then begone. I really have no more use for willful stupidity.

Let’s begin shall we?

Now I understand this is something most white males will have trouble grasping (and it appears some white females as well) , but there’s some scary fuckers out there in cyberland. They hide behind their antinomy for the sole purpose of making themselves feel more powerful and making other folks miserable. This post is not about them. This post is about the people they victimize. This is about the women who dare to be vocal about injustice and receive threats of rape and violence. You with the privilege of being "untouchable" will never truly understand the fear these attacks can bring. The only protection is knowing that these scary assholes can’t find you at your home or place of work.

You say if you use just your name they can’t find where you live? WRONG. I use my pen name, a name I also use in real life, and since last year I still find crap about my family posted places where people can mock and make threatening comments. These people posted pictures of our house and the names of my children, along with our own. They threatened myself and my children, even down to saying they would make up stories so social services would come take my children away.

All of this for being open with my identity. I admit I’ve always been used to being open with my activism and my opinions, so when I created an online identity I swallowed my fear and continued to voice my rage at injustice, and my beliefs. They could take shots at me, I told myself, I am tough, I can take it… Never once did I consider that these people might go after my children because of the stances I took, because things I said they didn’t like.

So yes, I completely understand the need to use pseudonyms. For many activists, women especially, but also POC and LGBTQ folks, this is not only about protecting ourselves, but also those we love. What happens to the teacher in the small minded school district who speak out on gay rights? She could be harassed, fired, violence committed against her. So, why wouldn’t she want to use a pseudonym? Doesn’t she deserve a safe place to be herself, where she can talk freely about what she feels and believes?

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a job that will let them be themselves. Many mainstream society folks look at fannish people as a joke, something to laugh at over coffee, to mock. And people wonder why many fannish folk of all flavors don’t use their real names to talk about what they’re passionate about?

We seeing a pattern here yet?

Think about those of us who write controversial fiction (or non fiction). Many can’t afford to be “out”, too much to risk. Pseudonyms allow them to create without worrying about when their kids or their boss, or even their neighbors find out. It’s the reason many authors use pen names in our writing as well. It’s not about being anonymous…its about being safe to be who we are. If you can’t understand that, then you’ve never know what it means to be afraid for people to see who you are, afraid to be judged, afraid of being hurt. If you’ve never known that fear, then it might be hard for you to understand it.

But if you ever cared for anyone whose known that fear, then you have to find a way to understanding. Each one of us who brave those life long fears and speak out take a great personal risk each time we do so, even when using a pseudonym.

Yes, if people really want to find you they can likely find out no matter what, but why do some folks really want to make it easier for them? Posting people’s real names when they are known to use a pseudonym is a low blow, and not only unprofessional, but shitty all around. And to attack the person when they politely ask you to remove thier name from your post, it’s just another case of people dropping their pants to expose their privilege.

It’s time for those who are willing to learn, to reach out and open themselves to new ways of seeing the world, to get up on board and join folks on the clue train. We’re not perfect, but we try to do the best we can. There are those who will sadly never learn, who will forever wallow in their privilege like pigs in the mug, content in their filth and stupidity. Let them.

This is not about giving up. I completely understand the frustration and the urge to wash you hands of the whole mess. I’ve felt that way many times. For the sake of my children I keep fighting the stupid, in hopes that in the struggle some folks will learn enough to hop on board the clue train. But even so, there are times when the shit is too high, and we have to gather as a community and find a way around it.

I vow to leave the pigs lie and focus on the POC and Allies within our community, in ways we can come together. If new folks want to be cleansed of the stupid and hop on board, I’ll gladly bring out the hose and welcome them dripping wet with truth with open arms.

I know I will have to face many of the pigs at public events in the future, but I don’t think I can ever quite see them the same as I did before. I will still see the filth of racism clinging to them, coating their words and actions. Realizing that saddens me a great deal.

Does that mean there's not hope?

I’m an eternal optimist. I want to believe even the ones behaving the worst right now, will one day come around to see the filth they are coating themselves with. I lost much respect for many I looked up to, and it breaks by heart to have to walk away from them, knowing these people are too happy wallowing to hear the truth. Some in the past have stopped playing in the mud long enough to apologize, and I find myself tentatively hopeful that they will clean off their mess and began to see the filth of those they stood with, who see no need for apologies. I can’t be bothered with the latter anymore. They see everything with blinders of self importance, and no consideration of how their actions and words effect anyone but themselves.

I second coffeeandink s suggestions to focus ourselves on other things.

Support places like the POC-owned and -focused press verb_noire  which will soon be needing submission, and people willing to spend money to make their venture successful.

Join groups like Carl Brandon and join them in their support of writers of color, and books focusing on positive depictions of character of color.

Hook up with places like 50books_poc</lj>  who read and review book written by writers of color. You might find some new books to read, or even be able to share info about book you liked.

Read about a culture not your own. Fiction, non fiction, constantly challenge stereotypes and preconceived notions in their way. Take a walk into the black fiction section of the book store and find something to read even if you’re not black. Visit the book lists on the Carl Brandon website and create a list of new books to free your mind. The possibilities are endless.

Leave the pigs to wallow in the mud, but today is a day worthy of so much more

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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
I was just FLABBERGASTED when I started seeing this "you shouldn't use fake names if you want to be taken seriously on teh intarwebs" garbage. There are a gazillion excellent reasons for keeping a real name and an unline identity separate and the amount of determined blindness it takes to ignore that just.... Yeah.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there was a period of shock before my mad on hit me.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
Quite aside from the race issue, I think it's a right of any author to be hidden behind a penname if they wish, it's a long tradition, and I'd feel very violated if someone put my real name on Wiki.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, violation is a great word for what they did.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
You made me cheer aloud with this. :)
Mar. 3rd, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
:) that makes me very happy to hear.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
All great suggestions. Thanks! May I quote/link in my blog later on today?
Mar. 3rd, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
Sure thing :)
Mar. 3rd, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you. This is wonderful, and I'm glad you're speaking out about it. You have a powerful voice. I hope people will listen.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I always hope what I have to say touches someone in some fashion. I know I'm not as well read or intellectual/academic as some folk, but I’m really passionate about things, so it helps.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Very good post, and absolutely right in every way. Kudos to you.
I'm one of those who hides herself behind a different name, as well as a ton of internet security. Some from a desire for privacy, but mostly out of fear of an ex. Your words ring true for me, and probably for a lot of women. Thanks.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
Your very welcome. I admit I was stunned at first that several people didn't seem to understand why folks, epecially women, needed to protect themselves.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
I'm guessing its beause they have yet to be terrorized or bullied by someone on the net. Sometimes the best teacher is experience, as sad as that is. I don't intend to let it happen to me again. People should wake up.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 3rd, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
I don't know either, hun.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, all of this, about the anonymity. The ability to be open with your name and face known online without consequences is a privilege.

And by consequences, I mean what you said - harassment and worse - not people claiming you can't be taken seriously because you use a pseudonym.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
Mar. 4th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
What is truly unbelievable is that those same people are now upset because people are saying nasty things about them using their professional names!

Of course, those are the *only* names we have with which to reference these folk.
Mar. 4th, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)
You don't know me, I followed links here, but THIS. Well-stated - not that reason or logic appear to get through to the guilty parties in this, but good job all the same.
Mar. 4th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
I'm so glad to have you here, and thanks for the kind words. This was in truth not for the terminally clueless, but for everyone else.
Mar. 4th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
I really think that maybe the clue is finally starting to break in, how absolutely WRONG they are, and thus, they're grasping at straws. Can't defend their behavior anymore, so they choose a different tack? Because honestly, they really have GOT to know how stupid it looks to claim someone's words and opinions aren't valid because she uses a pseudonym on the Internet.
Mar. 4th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
The state of NJ publishes the addresses of all who hold licenses.
So, with my name alone, someone who wished me harm, so if I worked as a prison nurse, or in a psych hospital, they could find me and do me harm.
Luckily, someone got them to only post the town we live in with our names now, but still, how hard would it be to find me with just that info?

This is why I use a pen name.
Mar. 4th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
Not hard at all which is why this shit is so scary, and the folks responsible so many levels of wrong.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 4th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Very good example. Thanks for come to see me :)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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