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RaceFail 2009

I don't know if saying anything is a good idea or a bad idea--I'm nobody in this discussion, as a writer, and maybe a small somebody in this discussion, as a publisher. I know, at an intellectual level, that I have been given much privilege (by birth--white male, by the work of my parents--middle class, by who-knows-what-else--I'm straight, married, ...), etc). And while the choices I have made make my life sometimes more than I can really bear--I had the privilege of making those choices from a very broad selection.

First, two links for anyone who, like me, was hiding under a rock for the last few months (I came across these happenings via Eric Marin's re-working of LSS's guidelines to be more explicit in his looking for "the other"). Er, that's not one of the two links, though:

* What I Have Learned Through These Conversations About Race -- this should be read before anything else, not for a direct understanding of what's going on but to build a mental framework to best approach learning what's been going on
* O HAI RACEFAILZ: Notes on Reading an Internet Conflict is then actual context, plus a piecing-together of the history of this kerfluffle (A very ... dangerous ... sharp ... kerfluffle with shards of insanity: trust no-one)

As a publisher, I publish those things that "click" with me. They have to, first of all, meet certain (imo reasonably high) standards of writing at levels of structure, word choice, word flow, sentence flow, story flow... (flow, rhythm, ... these are almost always the level at which (or mode in which?) I first think of writing). But a perfect story isn't perfect unless it hits "just that note". It is likely for "just that note" to come from a shared experience, shared thought, whatever--subconsciously. That's a large part of "group-in-majority-privelege".

I like to think I'm different. Everyone likes to think that--or at least, everyone who likes to think that they're "good" likes to think that they're different from all the "ungood" people out there that are in other ways very much like them. And I'm sure (this) everyone can point to examples (in their little mental view-screens) to help prove that to themselves. So I won't even go there, except to nod to it.

GUD doesn't have a large sample size as far as what we've published to date--147 items (with 35 "ready to be published any moment now") from a fairly diverse group (but not nearly as diverse as The Internets, or even a large city. There are five of us, and we didn't set out to make a United Nations--we set out to create a "different" magazine with a group of trusted, relatively _like-minded_ people). Each issue has one Chief Instigator who sets the tone for that issue, within the communal not-defined-in-absolutes bounds.

The issues Instigated by males _do_ show a larger percentage of male contributors than those by females (we don't "sex" submissions, so I couldn't say there, but I have to acknowledge that these biases _do_ feed themselves in insidious ways). We haven't "raced" our issues at all, to see where those lines fall. I'm somewhat curious, because I love data, and openness, and introspection--I don't know if trying to create that data would do good or harm, or just waste effort, though. And there are so many "others"; and the question of how much data we could get with promises of privacy, ... and such.

I don't even really know what I'm saying with this post--part of it is a desire to spread the knowledge to those who might (or _should_) be interested. Part of it is to say "I'm interested in discussion, but don't know if I have anything to contribute". Part of it is that "silence is never the answer". Part of it is that I want to be a "good guy" and want this to count towards that, somehow.

Part of it is people like nojojojo stating that they're done with this argument (for now) because of honest-to-goodness fear for their careers--and I _don't_ have that fear because my writing is not my livelihood, and GUD is a small press magazine that I firmly believe will live or die by its own merits and not by any particular reviews it does or doesn't get (though reviews at our level are ALWAYS welcome). Part of me just wanted to post those first two links, because that seems like taking the RaceFAIL and making it a little bit more of a RaceWIN. A little bit.

I would have posted this at GUD, but my gut wants to use any sort of publicity-by-association it can, and I'm doing my best not to succumb to that. Who knows what's best? Plus I think I have more people that would read and engage in a discussion, here.

-just a person,
wanting to be good
and loved
and all that shit

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
kakubeki
Mar. 11th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
Apparently I have been living under a rock.
Seeking education now via your links...
(Deleted comment)
kaolinfire
Mar. 12th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
Hmm. I'd suggest, in a relatively calm frame of mind, without other pressing things, reading the O HAI RACEFAILZ without jumping off to any of the links there, as a single narrative. Possibly skipping the intro and getting straight into "This Is the Thing We're Talking About".
shweta_narayan
Mar. 11th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
Well since the first three people I think of who you've published, and the only ones where I have race information, are me, Rose Lemberg (who may be technically white but was not counted in a racial privilege group growing up), and Nisi Shawl...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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