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15 September 2010 @ 04:05 pm
Ugh.  
Anti-immigrant, assimilationist if-they-don't-pass-as-white-it's-their-fault rage-inducing xenophobic BULLSHIT warning.

Thanks, Ms. Moon. I loved The Speed of Dark, but now you're joining Harlan Ellison in the Box of Shame.

Anyone I recommended that book to? Unrecommended.

Via maevele.

ETA: Just emailed the Wiscon concom about her being a GoH next year, and how I am NOT okay with that in light of this. No idea if it'll accomplish anything, of course, but it does make me feel uncomfortable/unsafe (and I'm not Muslim, it's got to be a tiny tiny fraction of how she's hurting directly-affected folk) so.

Going off the Wiscon contact page, since I wasn't sure who to write to, I wrote to concom35 [at] wiscon [dot] info.

<ETA2 So apparently people with less fuzzy brains can parse more of that post than I can, and it's EVEN WORSE than I thought. Wow. Apparently Ms Moon thinks the European settlers here were happy community-builders who were welcomed with open arms and... assimilated... or something. Also that the Native people of this continent don't exist?
 
 
Current Mood: angryangry
 
 
 
David Wesleydwesley on September 16th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
I don't understand the anger being directed towards Ms. Moon. She presented her thoughts in a coherent manner, and I agreed with most of it, with one major exception: I don't believe the mosque builders "should have known" that the majority of Americans would be upset. I've been to "ground zero" and don't understand why anyone would give a rip what was being built two blocks away. I think the majority of people who are taking issue with the mosque either 1) don't realize it's two blocks away, or 2) know it's two blocks away but don't really have a tangible grasp of what that physically means, or 3) are bigots looking for an excuse to hate. I suspect Ms Moon falls into the second category. Ms. Moon's comments even on the ground zero issue would be reasonable and appropriate if they were in fact building a mosque on ground zero (which of course they are not).

But, I can easily express my disagreement with Ms Moon in the spirit of free speech, without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe. Free speech is not only the law, but is also ingrained in the American culture. It's the kind of thing that we are at risk of losing from our culture if we don't have some level of assimilation from new citizens. So, please help me understand. Why do you feel so threatened by her comments?
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
Dave, I'm asking Nathaniel to respond to you, both because he just responded to ms Moon and I can't say it better, and because I suspect you will hear this better from another white man.

You were pretty dismissive of my attempts to explain some of these things at Clarion, so I hope you'll understand why I don't really feel that I can explain it to you.
David Wesleydwesley on September 16th, 2010 07:55 am (UTC)
Hi Shweta, I read Nathaniel's response to Ms Moon and thought it was very thoughtful and reasonable. However, the color of Nathaniel's skin is immaterial to me with regards to that argument, only the substance of what he has to say. Don't you think that implying I can only listen to another person that looks like me is a racist statement in its own right? (And no, I don't buy into the argument that racism only flows from the privileged to the unprivileged. The damage may be disproportional, but there is still damage.) I don't recall ever being dismissive about these kind of issues at Clarion, but if you have examples that you would like to discuss, I'd be happy to respond and hopefully clear the air.

Something you may not know about me is that I have children and grandchildren who are not "white". I want them to live in a world that is colorblind and I think the main way for our society to get there is to have open and frank discussions where the arguments are scrutinized and debated rather than demonizing the individuals who hold a different opinion. I know it's frustrating when people don't seem to "get it" but that frustration works both ways and only gets resolved peacefully through a mutual attempt at communication. Not everything gets resolved at first contact, but if the encounter is peaceful, there's much more room to grow into the "truth", which is usually something closer to the middle of the spectrum.
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 09:29 am (UTC)
Dave,

It's pretty clear, even if the data's not been analyzed (I dunno on that one) that people hear "this is your underlying enculturated prejudice showing" from "their own" far more easily than they do from others; it is just far too easy to jump to the defensive "Oh that [woman/brown person/gay person/trans person/disabled person] is being oversensitive".

I have personally received that response far too often to care to risk it these days, as well as seeing it over and over in other contexts. So consider: my saying that isn't about YOU. It's about PEOPLE. And it's about ME, and my limited resources; I was not and am not willing to use them in a way I have found futile and frustrating in the past.

Your assumption that of COURSE I would explain things to you because you wanted them explained? Did not help there.

I know you have children and grandchildren who are not white. You've brought them up before, when something was said about your privilege. Here's the thing: they don't affect how you are generally treated, and thus the things you can get to take for granted. If it did, we wouldn't have any sexism -- since pretty much everyone has some relative of another gender.

I'm not going to deconstruct the "colorblind" thing here, because again, it's been done better than I can manage. But you've brought it up before, and what it communicates to me is ... not what you seem to think it does.

Dismissiveness at Clarion is in the past. If you want a specific example, your summary at Conjecture afterwards that you "don't write for women" was a total brush-off of the work I put into trying to communicate WHY certain story aspects were deeply offputting to me. (Not that I was the only one, but can only speak for myself).
-- But understand, I'm not upset about it; it's just context for why I'm not going to put my limited energy into something that you're more likely to hear from someone else anyway.

But in any case, here it is from me in short form: I find the bigotry implicit in your "non-bigoted" options above pretty damn disturbing.
(no subject) - dwesley on September 16th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - voidmonster on September 17th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maryrobinette on September 18th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - diony on September 21st, 2010 01:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dwesley on September 21st, 2010 02:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - voidmonster on September 21st, 2010 07:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - trinker on September 19th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Tithenai: ibarwtithenai on September 16th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
I think the majority of people who are taking issue with the mosque either 1) don't realize it's two blocks away, or 2) know it's two blocks away but don't really have a tangible grasp of what that physically means, or 3) are bigots looking for an excuse to hate.

This would seem to contradict the following:

Ms. Moon's comments even on the ground zero issue would be reasonable and appropriate if they were in fact building a mosque on ground zero (which of course they are not).

I don't understand if you're trying to say that the Cordoba Centre would be objectionable if it were in fact a mosque, or that Ms. Moon's objection that "the mosque builders 'should have known' that the majority of Americans would be upset" would be correct if the Cordoba Centre were in fact a mosque.

Either way, let me attempt to explain.

But, I can easily express my disagreement with Ms Moon in the spirit of free speech, without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe.

My day to day reality as the child of Lebanese immigrants to Canada is that people think it's perfectly all right to ask me questions about where I'm REALLY from, no, where my PARENTS are from, and upon learning this, to ask me what my religion is, to determine whether or not I'm a scary Muslim. My day to day reality is one of constantly asserting and reasserting my national identities ONLY as a result of being non-white, of having a name considered unusual, of correctly pronouncing an Arabic word.

So yes, I do feel threatened when Ms. Moon says she feels Muslims should be grateful for how far she's bent her back to accommodate the beliefs she feels should disqualify them from citizenship. I do feel threatened when she says she was disappointed that a Muslim speaker invited to her church in the wake of 9/11 spoke only good things about Islam and didn't apologise for its history of violence, as if that were the purpose of such an invitation to speak. I feel threatened because those views, those words, contribute to the kind of climate that makes my dark-skinned Egyptian music teacher wear a large cross when going into the airport so that she won't be mistaken for a Muslim and given a hard time, and suggests I do the same in spite of the fact that I am not Christian.

I know nothing about you, but I would like to suggest that your ability to easily express your disagreement with Ms. Moon without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe is indicative of privileges you possess which mean you don't have to constantly assert your Americanness to other Americans or see your language and culture vilified in mainstream media or have your loyalty to your country questioned because of your belief system.

I hope that makes things a little clearer.
David Wesleydwesley on September 16th, 2010 09:00 am (UTC)
I don't understand if you're trying to say that the Cordoba Centre would be objectionable if it were in fact a mosque, or that Ms. Moon's objection that "the mosque builders 'should have known' that the majority of Americans would be upset" would be correct if the Cordoba Centre were in fact a mosque.

If a group of Christians, believing it was there holy duty under their religion, went to relatively non-Christian country and destroyed a building, killing hundreds of people, I would find it extremely inappropriate (as would the host country) to build a Christian church on that site. But, I don't think the parallel is happening at our ground zero because it is not in fact happening at ground zero, but rather two blocks away (regardless of whether it's a community center or a mosque.)

My day to day reality is one of constantly asserting and reasserting my national identities ONLY as a result of being non-white, of having a name considered unusual, of correctly pronouncing an Arabic word.

I happened to be in the DC area during the 9/11 attacks, and when I left for the airport a few days later, the cab driver looked like he was of middle-eastern descent. I could tell he was exceptionally nervous and displayed a briefcase on his front seat that had an American flag pasted on one side. I had empathy for him because I know there are idiots out there that could (and probably did) make his life hell. I don't in any way condone idiots being idiots, I just don't think Ms Moon fell into that same group. She may or may not have empathy for the "other" (anyone different from her), but I think all she was doing was asking the "other" to have some empathy for her.

I know nothing about you, but I would like to suggest that your ability to easily express your disagreement with Ms. Moon without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe is indicative of privileges you possess which mean you don't have to constantly assert your Americanness to other Americans or see your language and culture vilified in mainstream media or have your loyalty to your country questioned because of your belief system.

You are absolutely correct that I don't have to constantly assert my Americanness (which is a privilege) but I have lived in another country before and was very much aware of the "ugly American" phenomena where it was up to me to demonstrate to people in that country that I was not one of "those" types of Americans (arrogant a-holes who demand the rest of the world speak english), but rather someone who respected their language and their culture. The stereotype of the ugly American comes out of reality. I don't need or want to defend the stereotype, I just want people to understand that it's not the whole truth. And they will eventually get to that truth through dialogue.

shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 09:33 am (UTC)
I think all she was doing was asking the "other" to have some empathy for her.

And in saying this, you assume an equality of power that can only be assumed by people who have disproportionate amounts of social power.
(no subject) - dwesley on September 16th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Polenthpolenth on September 16th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC)
So, my fish died...
She may or may not have empathy for the "other" (anyone different from her), but I think all she was doing was asking the "other" to have some empathy for her.

You're still acting on privilege by assuming that people open a dialogue. When someone reacts badly to me, it's usually insults, threats, throwing things or following me stalker-style. I had someone try to grab me once.

I can empathise that someone thinking you're a rude America is bad, but you weren't frightened that someone was going to rape or kill you because of it. I'm sure you wouldn't have visited the country if you were going to face that risk.

It'd be extreme to want empathy from me without giving any back. It'd be extreme to say your feelings matter and mine don't. It's like going up to someone who lost their baby and saying, "I know you lost your baby, but my goldfish died today, so I'd like a hug". Then complaining that they cried and walked away.

Yet that's exactly the sort of thing you're doing with Moon and Shweta. You're portraying Moon's feelings as being more important. Moon's need for empathy is more important. Shweta doesn't get a hug for facing danger every day for her skin colour, until she gives Moon a hug for finding those immigrant folk a bit rude and scary. Those two things are not equally painful and dangerous. Not even close.
Re: So, my fish died... - shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: So, my fish died... - polenth on September 17th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: So, my fish died... - shweta_narayan on September 17th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - popelizbet on September 17th, 2010 07:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dwesley on September 21st, 2010 02:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
Two blocks from... - trinker on September 19th, 2010 07:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
Nathanielelsmi on September 16th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)
Well, a few points: 1) The media coverage of this "ground zero mosque" thing is just ridiculous, and gets most of the facts wrong. You seem to have only heard the wrong version of some of those facts, so just as an FYI: it's not a mosque -- it's a community center that includes a prayer room (possibly an *inter-faith* prayer room, I'm not clear on that); basically a YMCA. And as for the "should have known" thing, they out-right *knew* that no-one would be upset; IIUC their plans were on the front page of the NYT last year, no-one was objecting, and a number of the political blowhards ranting about it now were explicitly supporting it then. And finally, it's not even a first-generation immigrant community who doesn't know 'bout our American rights; it's just Americans who need somewhere to work out and exercise their faith (the local mosques are apparently over-capacity).

2) No-one is arguing against Ms. Moon's right to speech -- we're appalled at what she used that right to say. The whole reason free speech is in the Constitution, after all, is to make sure we have the ability to criticize other people's ideas and hopefully all learn something from the process. And anyway, her whole argument is that the people building the community center shouldn't be expressing themselves that way... honestly, I don't see what assimilation has to do with it.

Personally, I don't feel threatened by her comments (but then, I wouldn't). I feel angry, though, because the kind of attitude that she expresses and supports is one that causes direct harm to people I care about -- in this case, harm to people who just want somewhere to pray (also a 1st amendment right!), but more generally the attitude ends up hurting any sort of non-white, or non-christian, or non-WHATEVER person who just wants to live their life their own way.

Anyway, that's the context, and then for my explanation of my specific issues with her post, see here: http://e-moon60.livejournal.com/335480.html?view=2774136#t2774136

I hope that makes things clearer.
David Wesleydwesley on September 16th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
The media coverage of this "ground zero mosque" thing is just ridiculous, and gets most of the facts wrong.

I completely agree. I have been irritated from the beginning that this thing has such legs. I think most of the rhetoric regarding the issue is just stupid, but I think Ms Moon articulated some concerns that have some basis in merit and shouldn't be dismissed outright.

No-one is arguing against Ms. Moon's right to speech --

When you actively call for people to stop buying her books and to have her removed as guest of honor (neither of which is related to her post) then you are in fact advocating that her speech is not free.
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 09:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - samhenderson on September 16th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dwesley on September 21st, 2010 02:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - samhenderson on September 21st, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dwesley on September 21st, 2010 06:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - samhenderson on September 21st, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dwesley on September 21st, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 21st, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - samhenderson on September 21st, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 21st, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - samhenderson on September 21st, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vvvexation on September 21st, 2010 07:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dwesley on September 21st, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 21st, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vvvexation on September 21st, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vvvexation on September 21st, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 22nd, 2010 02:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vvvexation on September 22nd, 2010 03:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 22nd, 2010 03:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Samantha Hendersonsamhenderson on September 16th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
I can only speak for myself here, of course. I don't feel personally threatened by Ms. Moon's post. Of course I don't - I'm mostly white, Protestant, mainstream, and what's more important, I LOOK it. I also look like someone who's family has been in this country since the Mayflower (although ironically I'm not, but no-one in Arizona will ever ask for my immigration papers).

But reading many of the things in this post: "that Muslims died in the (911) attacks is immaterial;" "Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they've had;" "(I and others)...let* Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship" -- not even getting to some of the things in the comments -- I find that chilling, and it makes me fear for those that look or identify culturally as or, God forbid, even ARE Muslim. If that were directed at me or someone who looks like me I would feel threatened. Not directly by Ms. Moon, of course. But if this is what she's saying, and thinks reasonable, what might the outright bigots do?

I'm not Muslim, but I'm female. If someone were saying "that women were killed is immaterial" or "women fail to see how much forebearance they've had, "I'd sure as hell find that threatening.

*"Let." Seriously?
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - samhenderson on September 16th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mishamishamish on September 16th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah... I've been pondering all day, trying to find something I can thank Ms. Moon for allowing me to be, what with all her forbearance and crap. Being painfully Anglo, middle classed, hetero, right handed and MALE... I've got nothing.

But I REALLY wish I did, because DANG IT, it's a snark worth MAKING!
(no subject) - shweta_narayan on September 16th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Erzebet Barthold: yellowboyerzebet on September 16th, 2010 09:14 am (UTC)
"But, I can easily express my disagreement with Ms Moon in the spirit of free speech, without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe. ">

Of course you can.

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - erzebet on September 16th, 2010 09:26 am (UTC) (Expand)