Of My Own Device

21Jan09

Because I really just don’t know where to start with the massive clusterfuck that is this year’s cultural appropriation SFF community ‘discussion’…rydra_wong on LJ’s been making linkdumps.

Basically, I don’t know at this point if I have anything useful to add that hasn’t been said by people who are better at it than me and have more credibility than me.  (I can’t/won’t speak for POC, and there are white people who have also expressed things better than I do and with less bad language.)  But we’re not going to get past racism and bigotry by expecting to get pats on the back from POC or expecting critical theory to get a pass when it is fucked up.  (Anyone who’s been in on the TERF wars knows that.)

Theory is not and should never be exempt from its own inescapable cultural context.  Art is not and should never be exempt from its own inescapable cultural context.  And this is the Internet anyway, not some kind of exalted rigorous academic symposium with all the trimmings.  You say something that can be seen as fucked up, people are going to call you out.  I expect to be called out with every comment and every post I make.  Anyone who doesn’t…is really fucking naive.

Appropriation is that kind of minefield.  There are no feel-good answers.  It’s the goddamn Kobayashi Maru.

So, today, a quiet message to my fellow white people: JUST SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP FOR TWO FUCKING SECONDS.  GOD.



4 Responses to “Of My Own Device”

  1. I just heard about this a few minutes ago. I don’t even know if I understand what’s going on… that is messed up. I’ve had just a brief look at what’s going around the feminist F/SF blogosphere. I say read this for overwhelmed white allies.

  2. Heh, I haven’t been participating really, just watching from the sidelines as someone else snarks. I’ve been way out of literary stuff for too long to not make a fool of myself trying to argue about it. That being said, yeah. STFU&L for fucks sake.

    Speaking of the TERF wars, do I get a medal for being a vet?

    ;P

  3. Thanks so much for that link, Chally. I really appreciate DeepaD’s writings, overall.

    And polerin, you do get a medal. Purple Heart for TERF toe, ne? I agree with you on the literary thing–my analysis is always informed by American pop culture studies, which as a whole forces one to take a variety of racial perspectives as a rule, or you end up with nothing. So my academic experience has always been take into consideration but never assume the rationale and theory of a perspective you don’t personally have, and I can’t comprehend people who don’t start there and work outwards.


  1. 1 Two Problems, One Connection « feminism + fandom = attitude problem

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