Shattersnipe would appear to favor a rhetorical approach to the seemingly indisputable observation that not all human population groups are equally civilized:
And there is white-hot anger, so fierce you become the eye within the
maelstrom of your own rage, calm as your pulse exceeds the beats of a
marathon runner, calm as your fingers grasp and clench, calm as you grip
your aggressor’s throat and squeeze.
This last I feel for Theodore Beale.Recently, I blogged about sexism in the SFWA Bulletin.
I wrote that piece as a self-declared comic rant, the tone inspired by
anger at men who ultimately meant well, however offensive and outdated
their efforts at showing it. I received a lot of support for having done
so; but of course, there was a flipside. My anger, said some, was
unseemly and unprofessional. My arguments were poorly reasoned. I was
preaching to the choir. I was the gendered pejorative of choice. But the
thing is, I can shrug that off. I deal out enough criticism that I
expect to receive my share in return, and whatever form that pushback
takes, it very rarely shocks me. By the standards of women on the
internet, in fact, I’m pretty lucky. I’ve received a minimum of rape
threats, I rarely get called a cunt, and if some of my detractors are
uncivil, then I can usually dish it out in return. I was bullied,
harassed, attacked and assaulted enough at school for being forthright,
female and unfeminine that written threats just don’t chill me the way
they used to. (They still chill me, of course. And I didn’t suffer
nearly as much as others. Nonetheless, the comparison stands – and no,
this isn’t an invitation to try harder.)The point being, I have privilege, and that
privilege protects me. I’m a middle-class, well-educated, straight white
ciswoman with a functional, middle-class white family, and however much
the misogyny gets to me at times, I can draw on that privilege – on
that firmly entrenched sense of self-worth and the emotional, social and
financial safety net which supports it – and fight back. I belong to
the second most privileged group of people on the planet, and whatever
abuse I still suffer regardless of that, I have the cultural status to
counter it and be heard. As an individual, therefore, I’m hard to
oppress. I have privilege. I have resilience. I have opinions.And I have anger….I feel poisoned even typing that. Sickened.
Trembling. I cannot even imagine how Jemisin feels. Nor am I attempting
to speak for her. She is, without a doubt, one of the most brilliant
women – one of the most brilliant people and writers, period – active in
SFF today, and my voice in this matter is not a replacement for hers.I am speaking because it would be a crime against conscience not to.I am speaking because a world where men like
Theodore Beale are left to speak unchallenged by the weariness of their
opponents is not a world I want to live in. I am speaking because my privilege affords me a chance to be heard.And I am speaking because of the bodily
disgust, the rage and hatred and putrescence I feel for members of my
own race, both now and throughout history, who speak of savages and
lesser beings, of civilisation and the right to kill those outside or
perceived to be incapable of it; who speak, as Beale does, as though
people of colour are a genetically different, inferior species of human
when compared to his Aryan ancestors.This is my Reconciliation.
disgust, the rage and hatred and putrescence” she feels for the idea that “people of colour” are “genetically different”.
But we shouldn’t be too harsh on her. After all, she does an excellent job of proving my original point in my response to Ms Jemisin, which is that there can be no reconciliation between the observant and the delusional. This isn’t a challenge to my views, but rather, an exemplary underlining of them.