Wiscon 2011 and how the emoon situation is making me rethink attending
So, it’s not news about the whole emoon Islamaphobia post that is now shut down by the author. It isn’t news that many fantastic people have written their piece about her idiocy Link Roundup @ karnythia’s LJ and some great posts on this by Asim are here, here, here and response to the Wiscon concom not rescinding her GOH invite is here and now comes the decision by Wiscon to keep her as a GOH. That discussion and the fallout over her remarks is now overshadowing the fabulous Nisi Shawl as 2011 GOH, and it pisses me off that this RaceFail redux 2010 edition is ruining the con for so many before people have even booked tickets to attend.
The whole situation reeks of hatred, vitriol, over the top uber patriotism that we were all treated to immediately following 9/11. I can understand the position that the Wiscon concom must be in, to have to deal with yet another race fail type thing and not just by a panelist or attendee, but having to deal with such remarks by one of the incoming GOH’s has to be hell to deal with. I concede that it’s not an easy discussion… but, and there’s always a but… allowing her to remain GOH, and trying to frame it as a teaching moment does two things in my head (and this came up in conversation with karnythia this evening.
1. It puts the onus for teachable moments on the attendees, to task them with making others understand when they are at the con of their own reasons. I don’t go to cons to be on the hot seat for explaining and teaching others, if I wanted that I’d be on panels (not like panels are all about teachable moments, but you get what I mean I hope!) and I don’t want to spend my time that could be spent at panels, socializing and having a good time at con turn into being a walking ask me board, or the token (fill in the blank) that you can ask questions you may not ask others.
2. The fact that she deleted all the comments and shut down any chance of discourse on that post tells me quite clearly that there is NO INTEREST in dialog or learning from what has happened due to her post, her words that are now out there on the internet for eternity. I don’t see why allowing her to remain GOH is supposed to be some great opportunity for dialog when it’s clear that there is no interest in her part and anyone attempting to dialog will likely be labeled as one of those mean people who just won’t let it go, or just won’t see what she really meant, and stop being so mean to her! [that's my assumption, since most online interactions about race, and privilege usually go in that direction]
It also makes me feel as if the con does not care about the people that were hurt and offended by her words. The people she painted in such broad strokes as barely civilized and should be grateful for being allowed on the hallowed ground of the USA. I think because she is a professional writer, I think more care should be taken with what you say, online, in text and have the realization that once your post it out there, it’s out there. Considering all the discourse I’ve seen on this issue alone, people have long memories and they won’t forget her words just because the con is next May.
I know I won’t forget this whole chain of fuckery, hate, racism and Islamaphobia that is rearing it’s head, and making me rethink Wiscon. It makes me wonder if the concom holds to the values they espouse and if anything will make them take notice of how this has damaged how some people may think about Wiscon, how it may influence people to skip the con altogether instead of giving any money to an organization that would have her as a GOH, well nothing outside of money. If people start canceling their registrations or skip it all together, would that send a message that is loud and clear or would it be chalked up to those oversensitive people who undoubtedly refuse to dialog, even after all this programming was created to address the issue…
I could go on, but that’s veering off into rant territory and I think this post is barely cohesive as it is because I’m pretty rageful at the disregard for any people who would attend Wiscon, and for those that don’t feel safe now and are already planning other things in place of attending Wiscon.
I’m still on the fence about attending, but I’ll have to climb down one side or the other soon.