sour_idealist: (Posts taking courage.)
Inspired by this poem but also by a lot of other things.

In Internet discussions of politics - in terms of feminism, in terms of race, in terms of gay rights, in terms of poverty, in terms of anything - one thing that keeps coming up is The Guys With All The Privilege: white, straight, regularly abled,upper-middle-class men. Usually, in these discussions, they're seen as the ignorant ones, the blind ones, the ones who are very lucky and don't realize it, the selfish ones, the ones who cause and perpetuate the problems. And there may be a grain of truth to all of that. There may be a lot more than just a grain, depending on circumstances. And it's easy to get behind that. It's easy to agree with it. It's easy to be angry with the lucky ones, especially when they don't realize all they have. Definitely, people who argue with this viewpoint tend to be considered over-privileged and ignorant themselves. For a while, I never even thought of arguing with this.

Then I thought about it - about the lists of characteristics. White, straight, cisgendered, regularly abled, upper-middle-class, male, not any minority religion.

My brothers fit all of those characteristics. So does my dad. So do a lot of my friends.

And yeah, sometimes they don't get things. Sometimes my brother and my dad don't understand why I can't stand to watch all of Casino Royale and stay silent. Sometimes my friends crack a joke that makes me wince. Sometimes they do the kinds of maddening things that cause people, people who have had it far harder than I have and have had ENOUGH, to get angry.

But on the other hand - these are my friends, my family. They screw up, but that isn't how I define them. I define them as the people who hug me when I need it. The otherwise well-behaved brother who, ages ago, body-slammed a kid who was mocking me for being the brainy, geeky one, and never stopped being that guy. The brothers who collaborated with me to find Christmas presents for our mom, and played ridiculous imaginative games with me in the backyard (we basically came up with a very crude form of LARP) and never told me I couldn't pretend to have a sword. The friends who respect my opinions enough to have hour-long arguments over Shakespeare or nuclear weapons or whatever else. The father who went with me to pottery classes and shared Broadway cast recordings with me. People I care about. People I love.

Sometimes they Don't Get It, with capital letters. But does that make them bad people? I can't see them that way. Does that mean I'm not getting it? I have a lot of privilege too - I'm female and bi, but I'm still white, still cisgendered, still upper-middle-class, still regularly abled. Am I missing something here; is this post just plain asinine BS? I don't know.

But I still can't see my family, even with all of their privilege and their mistakes, as bad people.
sour_idealist: (Lightning (Color and Shadow))
- I have, once again, run headlong into the question of how one refers to non-white people without causing offense when things are set in a fantasy world. I mean, say you have an African-American character. Wait... this world contains neither an Africa nor an America. Huh. In that particular case, I guess "black" could be the solution, but I'm never sure whether that's okay or not. But, say, you have an Asian character. Wait, there is no Asia. Hispanic character? ...What Spain? I mean, there are areas in the world that are similar to these areas in culture and geography and whatnot, because I am too lazy to make up a whole boatload of fresh cultures because other cultures are awesome and deserve to be glorified in fiction. (Down with the standard pseudomedieval Europe setting, I say!) But these places aren't actually called any of the above. So how do I refer to these characters without falling headlong into racefail? I mean, I hear about the lack of minority characters in speculative fiction, and I think it's bad, and it shouldn't stay that way. Not fair. And I want to be a part of the solution, but I can never figure anything out. So far, my method has been to mention, say, chocolaty skin while describing my non-white characters, but it always feels inadequate. And a really cliched description. (And let's not even get into the persistent little voice at the back of my head going "You're a WASP. You live in a tiny town where almost everyone is either a WASP or a white middle-class Catholic or an archetypal redneck. What makes you think you can write these characters without doing everything Wrong?")

- In much less serious stuff, I was (in the depths of my disease) slumped on the couch flipping through Netflix's Watch Instantly thing. In the recommendations I see Firefly, which I've been wanting to see just to find out what the fuss is about. One very long pilot later, pretty much the entire household has trickled into the living room and is enraptured. I believe the household has a new favorite show. Excuse me while I go feel smug beyond belief or reason.

- On the Warfront is now at 1,208 words. 4,000 looks like it might be a possibility (if I could just stop feeling brain-dead and stuffy, IMMUNE SYSTEM). I absolutely love putting two characters together and just letting them talk. It almost always creates several hundred words of dialogue that I had absolutely no intention of writing when I sat down. It just sort of... shows up, under my fingers.

-I have got to track down that "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia" icon that somebody had. And come up with some clever text to go with the Liberty/Justice femmeslash painting so I can make it into an icon too. Does anyone else think it looks an awful lot like the sailor/nurse end-of-WWII shot?

- MOCKINGJAY. It has finally come into my possession; priorities will be skewed highly for the next few days.

- I should just sneak around the house with a camera while people are reading, and send all the resulting stealth shots to people who claim that boys don't read books about girls. Between one of them hooked on Beka Cooper and the wars over Katniss, this house is plain old proof of how stupid it is.


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August 2012

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