Reposting: The Mote in All Our Eyes

haikujaguar makes some very interesting observations in her blog post the other day.  The dear lady remained calm and polite during the landslide the followed.  I commend her.


Originally posted by haikujaguar at The Mote in All Our Eyes

This seems a good time for this, if ever there is a good time for it. It is certainly (and depressingly, as usual) a necessary time for it. But having returned from Worldcon, with its many microaggressions, and having read Jim Hines’s very thoughtful Storify about microaggressions—which was aimed at educating my kind, or so most people would assume—I am sorry to have to bring this topic up.

So here it is. I agree totally that such a thing as microaggression exists. I am exhausted at honoring it when the people who are demanding that I do consistently exhibit macroaggression at me and people like me. Not only do they do so, they often congratulate themselves on it, or tell me that I deserve it because of extremists who claim to share my beliefs (is this sounding familiar? I weep for us… will we every learn!).

I find this appalling. I don’t think it’s right to blame my unlike-thinking friends, or even strangers, for the acts perpetrated by the extremists in their belief systems. I don’t even blame them for the beliefs that I find disturbing or “excessively discomforting.” Yes, I went there. I attended a con once where the toastmaster said that they wanted all conservatives to “hurry up and die and leave the planet to the rest of us. No wait, they can stay as long as we can have their money.” And people applauded. That person wasn’t kicked out of the convention. They were feted and congratulated while I sat in the audience, pale and trembling, listening to the people around me cheer my demise. I have never, ever forgotten that moment. Or all the threatening ones after, both generalized or intimate, like the man who leaned into my face and told me the world would be better off without me and people like me. No one stepped in to tell him that he shouldn’t say such things. The people standing around us just nodded or smiled. One of them even said before leaving, “Your time is over. We don’t need you anymore, [expletive here].”

And yet, I know that if I say these things, the majority of the people will probably say, “Well. You deserve it. You’re Christian. You’re a conservative. You don’t belong here.

I am all for a more civilized fandom. I am all for us being kinder to one another, and striving to understand each other’s viewpoints, experiences, and beliefs. I give people the benefit of the doubt, and because of that, I’ve enjoyed friendships with a broad gamut of people, all of whom have taught me a great deal and brought me a great deal of joy. But if we’re going to slap people on the wrists for microaggression, can we please start playing fair? Can we go after the person at the con who made knowing comments to the audience about flyover states? Can we talk to the person who was preaching radical feminist philosophy as if it was the only sensible philosophy until I said, quietly, “I’m sorry. I’m not on board with most of that.” Can we stop the toastmasters wishing that half the population would die in a fire (and leave their wealth to them)? Is my excessive discomfort also important? What about all my conservative or religious friends, and the fans who have quietly told me the only place they feel safe is in my social media spaces? What about the fans who have even more quietly told me they don’t feel safe ever?

I am already trying to be part of this solution. Maybe we could meet halfway?


One question that kept coming to my mind while I was reading the post and the comments:
Why does there have to be “your side” and “our side”?
What about the people who are not on either “side”?

Why do people insist on drawing a line down the middle of the table?
Can people not see that this in-fighting is causing harm – that we’re losing fans because of the bickering?

haikujaguar said that we need to meet in the middle. The first step towards that, in my mind, is to remove that line from the table and add some extra seats. ‘Cause you know what, in the end we’re all sf fans and by our very nature we’re a bit on the odd-ball side.


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