Monday, September 3, 2012

my response to "Will Shetterly: Do Not Engage"

On Jan. 24, Micole Coffeeandink publicly shared "Will Shetterly: DO NOT ENGAGE". In SJ Warrior terms, Coffeeandink, Sparkymonster, and Mary Dell "cyberstalked" me to find things I'd said that could be taken out of context to make it look like I believe something I don't. I've bled from the blows of white racists and gotten death threats from the Ku Klux Klan—ain't no way I'm denying racism exists or that it no longer matters.

regarding the claims

See about "parallel lives: a different race, a different class".

See about the Taxi Test

K. Tempest Bradford, SJW and seeing color.

See about Tobias Buckell, diversity in f&sf, and the greatest failure of anti-racism

See racism equals prejudice plus power, so only whites can be racist?

See about race, class, and Hurricane Katrina. There's a typo in the archived post that I wish I could fix. To "Why is it so hard for some people to admit that racism still exists in this country?", I wrote, "I agree that racism doesn't exist. But race doesn't, and if we keep focusing on race instead of class, we'll never end racism." That should be, "I agree that racism does exist. But race doesn't..."

regarding the comments

Though I stated explicitly in "parallel lives: a different race, a different class", "Life would’ve been harder on me", Julia Sparkymonster characterized it in the discussion at Will Shetterly: DO NOT ENGAGE as being "about how his life wouldn't have been very different if he was born black" and Liz Henry (badgerbag) said, "Gotta say... I wonder what he thinks of the families of the 33% of his mom and dad's county in Florida who were Negroes and could not send their children to Minnesota for the summer so they could avoid the KKK?"

Social Justice Warriors have a surprising amount of trouble imagining that in the '60s, black Southerners could be middle class or white Southerners could be poor. White and black poverty were both extreme in the South. There were black business owners, and there were dirt poor white people, like one of my best friends, who literally lived by the railroad in a shack.

When word spread that the Ku Klux Klan would burn us down, Mom drove us to safety in the middle of the winter in our second-hand station wagon. If Dad had taken us, we would have slept in the car, because that's how we usually traveled to family reunions then, but since Mom drove, we stayed in cheap motels.

Which is to say, yes, if I'd been black and middle class, one of my parents could've driven us to stay with relatives, but if I'd been poor and white, we would've been trapped where we lived.

Icecreamempress had trouble understanding my answer in one exchange from "parallel lives" that Sparkymonster quoted.

Sparkymonster had said,
I'd also remind you that having Delaney as a role model for writing fantasy would do jack all about the institutionalized racism in the publishing industry (and sci-fi fandom). Look at the dearth of writers who are black. Do you think that is just a random coincidence?"
And I had replied,
...about the time I began paying attention to their race, I was reading Delany and Frank Yerby. They would've told me that I could be a black writer--and they did tell me that I could be a writer.
Icecreamempress responded:
I can't believe that W*ll Sh*tt*rly has never actually met Samuel R. Delany. Or that, if he has ever actually met Samuel R. Delany, he thinks that Delany would ever suggest any such thing.

And Jesus Christ, Frank Yerby could hardly be a black writer himself--why would he encourage some random white guy to do it?
I meant that when I was fifteen, I was reading black writers. Their work told me that if I'd been black, I would've known it was possible to become a black writer, just like them. Since I wasn't black, reading them told me it was possible for anyone with luck and skill to become a writer.

I have driven Chip Delany around, by the way. Never met Frank Yerby.

I love the Bingo Card beyond words. I used it as my LiveJournal icon until I deleted my LJ.

Veejane said,
...what I remember was how he called himself lower-middle class, and yet had a trust fund and went to Choate.

(My Choatey white butt laughed and laughed at him, but after the first or second try didn't even bother. If he can't even speak truthfully about his own personal wank issue, how on earth could he possibly give the time of day to any other issue? It was clearly all about his proving his righteousness, from a very slender body of evidence.)
My class changed enormously when my grandfather's money became available to me and changed again when it was gone. People who see the world in terms of race and gender while ignoring class don't realize that class in the US changes when wealth changes.

veejane said, "I vaguely recall that the same post entailed an in-depth comments-debate about investment portfolios, i.e. he did not believe that having or even seriously thinking about an investment portfolio said something about the social positioning of his parents/family."

To which I can only say, WTF? Investment portfolio? If you set an investment portfolio in front of me today, I would not know what it was unless it had "investment portfolio" written in big letters on it.

As to whether I'm a socialist, a libertarian, a tool of China, a tool of Cuba, or a tool of both, I'm a democratic socialist who believes in democracy strongly enough to despise the antidemocratic work of the CIA and the National Endowment for Democracy. My opposition to the CIA may be why they think I'm a tool of China or Cuba, but the last time I looked, neither was democratic.