cynthia1960: (fight all the oppressions!?)
Go read this from [personal profile] yeloson and this from [personal profile] onceupon. They say more eloquently than I can how Wiscon isn't just a parade of parties over a nice long weekend, it's a place where ideas get challenged.

When I was a little girl, I was extremely smart in some ways, and scarily clueless in others (this can still be said of my fifty-year-old self, but I hope I fix the scary clueless bits as needed). I could (and did) read encylopedias about the world around me and still think that everybody around me was white, middle-class, American, and Catholic. Srsly, think about the large steaming pile of unexamined assumptions and privilege heaped up there. My large steaming pile has its own unique fragrance and the smell was so powerful that I missed noticing that there are unique stinky piles everywhere for a while.

Cue forward into my school years and early adulthood, and I start learning about the different smelling piles all over the place. I had some options: one could be that I stay unmoving right next to my own dreck because I'm familiar with and inured to the smell. Another could be expecting everybody else's pile to change to match mine, and yet another would be that I would assert that my pile has the One True Fragrance, and the other smells are Evil and Wrong. It could even be like the sign outside my organic chemistry lab in college that jokingly said "clean air smells funny".

Flash forward some more to the present, where intersectionality kicks in.
I start noticing how different smells work together in each unique pile, and even though I may be comfortable with certain fragrances and repelled by others, I cannot expect all the other piles to automagically emit only the smells I like. I get the whole spectrum. And also, I start learning that even though I like bits of my own smell, other folks cannot abide them. And no matter how loudly I assert that my pile doesn't have those particular stinky bits, that doesn't change the overall composition.

The only way to change the overall composition of my pile takes a lot of hard work, first identifying the varying smells, good and bad, choosing which ones are useful to keep around and others to discard, and then a whole lot of heavy lifting that I cannot pass off to others to do for me. The pile never goes away, but the fragrance can morph.

Wiscon gives me the opportunity to meet with a large variety of people that I would ordinarily never get to interact with and learn about the subtleties of various smells, as well as how people are learning how to morph their own fragrances without losing their individuality.

When Elizabeth Moon posted that inflammatory entry in her lj, a lot of people went "ooooeee, that reeks!" and let her know about it (for the most part politely in her comments). She then chose to disappear the responses, which basically asserts that her pile isn't stinky at all. And that, for me, was the kicker for my believing that Wiscon 35 should withdraw her GoH invitation. Even though I have read and enjoyed many of her writings, this showed a unwillingness to learn from frakking up that isn't worthy of special notice, especially by a gathering of people who are trying as much as they can to learn and challenge the systems that keep privilege in place.

People frak up, that's part of the human condition. Learning how not to frak things up so spectacularly and learning where your unexamined privilege keeps frakked up systems going, that's hard work.

Do I wish that this hadn't happened? Oh hell yes. The struggle is difficult enough without adding all this pain. I breathed a sigh of relief, but not gladness, when the announcement was made. Now the work changes yet again.
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
Useful words of wisdom here.

dear $DEITY, I hope that when I go pantsless, I behave well in response (and not hide the evidence of my pantslessness).
cynthia1960: (The Bear Flag Republic)
138 pages full of awesome.

Proposition 8 supporters can bite my shiny metal ass.

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cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
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