Friday, April 10, 2015

Why Brad R. Torgersen should forgive Mary Robinette Kowal, and a few facts about racism in the USA

ETA 2 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal


When you hear liberal identitarians say all or most white people are racist, remember that most Americans, white and black, disagree. From More Americans View Blacks As Racist Than Whites, Hispanics - Rasmussen Reports™: "Among black Americans, 31% think most blacks are racist, while 24% consider most whites racist and 15% view most Hispanics that way. Among white adults, 10% think most white Americans are racist; 38% believe most blacks are racist, and 17% say most Hispanics are racist." Though liberals are most susceptible to the claims of Critical Race Theory, most liberals disagree with the internet's SJWs: "Among liberal voters, 27% see most white Americans as racist, and 21% say the same about black Americans."

So when people like Mary Kowal and Tempest Bradford respond to a picture of Brad Torgersen's mixed-race marriage with "yes, it is possible to be in a mixed marriage and still be racist" and "misogynists marry women all the time" instead of "What a lovely family!", you have to remember that their belief system is at work. It's no different than a homophobe responding to a picture of a gay family with "some gay people are homophobic" or a rape culture theorist responding to a picture of a heterosexual family with "some men are rapists". They do not realize that they're casting aspersions on the people who inspired their comments by insisting on the possibility of guilt. They think they're only defending their faith.

Science fiction's "social justice warriors" loosely fall into two camps, moderates and radicals. If you were to compare them to fandom's Islamophobes, the moderates are like Elizabeth Moon, a nice woman who did not want to create strife in 2010 but whose belief system prevents her from seeing her bigotry. The radicals are like Vox Day, who does not care if his beliefs offend. Think of the moderates as Laura Mixon's camp and the radicals as Requires Hate's, not because Laura and RH are the leaders of their groups, but because Laura called out Requires Hate, forcing that community to choose sides. Mary seems to favor Laura's side, though she's friends with Tempest, who favors Requires Hate.

So the first two reasons to forgive Mary:

1. She can't help what she believes.

2. She tries to be nice in the way she expresses her belief.

And more importantly:

3. Like Laura acknowledging that RH had gone too far, Mary acknowledged that people on her side issue death threats. That's an extremely brave breaking of ranks with her group, which usually insists that bad behavior is exclusively on the side of their opponents, and when they do acknowledge some bad behavior, quickly excuse it as rejecting "tone policing".

And there may be a fourth reason: women make more racist choices than men. From Single Female Seeking Same-Race Male - NYTimes.com: "In that analysis of more than 20,000 online daters, split roughly evenly between Boston and San Diego, men didn’t show much preference for same-race partners. Women did, and African-American women showed the most pronounced preference." Mary is a white woman married to a white man; she can't fully grasp the challenges faced by mixed race couples and cannot see the significance of the fact that Black wife/White husband marriages are 44% less likely to end in divorce than White wife/White husband couples. So when her faith requires her to insist on the possibility that Brad may be racist, even though she cannot quote or cite any reason to support the possibility, she simply cannot see how offensive she is being. Like most of us, she's torn between her desire to be kind and her desire to defend what she believes is justice.

ETA: In the comments at Please stop with the death threats and the hate mail. - Mary Robinette Kowal, Lisa Hertel said, "You know, HP Lovecraft was proudly antisemitic, and yet he married a Jew. I married a guy who snores, doesn’t make me any fonder of snoring…"

I left this, which may not escape moderation:
Did Lovecraft say anything antisemitic after he married?

I don't believe anyone has said no mixed marriage is free of racism. The question is whether it's rude to point out the possibilities of flaws without being able to cite evidence of those flaws in things a person has said or done. What has Brad said or done to justify discussing racism in mixed marriages like his?
ETA: After asking that, I found this, which is fascinating: Facts & other stubborn things: Lovecraft on Race and Religion: Part 1. But before anyone says Lovecraft's marriage justifies speculating about Brad, Lovecraft said many things that are antisemitic. What has Brad said or done that's racist, other than being white like Mary?

ETA 2 (posted at the top as well as the bottom because it's the most important ETA): An Apology to Mary Robinette Kowal