If you have the time and energy to make a comment saying you don't know what "Racefail 09" is, you have the time and energy to click a link that will give you an overview. Here is a link.
It is a good link. The narration in it reflects the way the discussion as I remember it played out, and I've been reading it since the first post mentioned. It provides direct links to the posts that are being talked about, where they still exist.
If clicking a link will aggravate your carpal tunnel, here's my overview, sans links; the downside is you have to buy my interpretation of events. Or, you know, click the link and go read the originals. I'd vote for that one, myself.
Overview, sans links:
This discussion isn't about reparations. It's not about Affirmative Action. It's not about the many, many strawmen white people (one of which I am) habitually argue against or about when confronted with a discussion of racism.
It's not about how women (am!), queer (am!), Jewish (am not), non-Christian (am!), fat (am!), poor (grew up that way, and live paycheck to paycheck now), disabled (am not) and any other group that is ever discriminated against Don't Know The Pain Of Being Discriminated Against, Because They're White And Therefore Should Shut Up.
Though it is
about how all those people don't know the pain of being discriminated against because they're not white
, and should therefore allow people who do know that
pain to be the experts when that
pain is THE SUBJECT OF THE DISCUSSION.
And it's not about "both sides behaving badly." It's. Not.
a) representation of People of Color in fantasy and science fiction - as brought up
by a White writer
b) a Person of Color saying - in her own space, btw - "I'm not sure you have the standing to give advice like that, given the racial problems I found in this work of yours here, which I couldn't even finish."
c) the White writer saying "Your criticism has some merit; it's not what I intended and your opinion might be different if you had read further, but let's talk about it"
d) other SF/fantasy writers, most of them White, jumping in to say that the criticism does not
have merit because she didn't finish the book, and making patronizing comments about the POC reader's education
e) anti-racism readers and writers - both POC and White - coming in to point out where they saw racism in the very remarks those SF writers were making, right there
f) more pro writers/editors coming in to defend or argue, and making more comments that show they just. don't. get. the problem; in some cases incredibly insulting comments.
g) flouncings, post-lockings and deletions of LJs, all on the pro end, with friends and spouses then coming in to say how rude and awful the other end of the discussion is for having caused the flouncing
h) Spiral, rinse, repeat.
i) Readers and writers of color saying "This? This is why we don't feel comfortable in science fiction fandom!"
And the sidebar into the other Fail:
j) One pro-editor who really hates pseudonyms and makes no secret of that linking an LJ user's real name to her LJ name on the Feminist SF Wiki, in the entries there which try to chronicle the whole discussion. Then linking it over again several times after people told her NO, WE DON'T DO THAT. One pro-writer doing the same thing at least once.
k) That outed LJ user saying "Um, no. People, Pro-Editor (who uses
her real name and only her real name online) is linking my online name with my real legal name on wikis and in blog comments. Bad."
l) Pro Editor deciding that because that comment wasn't entirely accurate (there was just the one
wiki, you see, and she only used the first name in blog comments) it was okay for her to come right out and post LJ user's full legal name - middle name too, you know, the one your mom yells at you when you did something bad? - on her blog, until she got an apology.
m) Spiral, rinse, repeat, though this time with a little less fail by other SF pros, who did in some cases speak up to "Um, no" at the outings too.
I'm sure I've left out some other sidebars and major points. I've also kind of negated the carpal tunnel saving by making you use your scroll wheel. Hey, I did say there was advantage in clicking the link...Very very short version:
If you're tired of reading about this subject and want to forget about it? You're probably White. Which means you can. Fans of Color don't really have that option, because the problem
is going to be there for them whether they have to hear people talking about it or not. It's going to be there for them when they walk away from the keyboard and head off to a bookstore. It's going to be there for them at the bus stop. At work. At the supermarket. You see where I'm going with this? Hopefully? Because that's pretty much the heart of the discussion.
And I'm done (for the moment). Thanks for reading, if you did.ETA:
Feel free to link to this. Comments are off because it's so not about me. (Except when it is. Because it's about everybody.)