Guest blogger Nora, with a heads-up:
Not getting enough hot and smexxy race-related discussion here on ABW? Well, you’re in luck, because it’s International Blog Against Racism Week again! Last year’s IBARW was an impromptu event that pretty much boiled out of the confluence of a Wiscon panel, a multi-blog-discussion on cultural appropriation that got pretty heavy, and a whole bunch of people collectively deciding that we need to talk more about this stuff. You can find the roundup of last year’s discussions on the link provided (which goes to the new IBARW community, where this year’s discussions will be tracked), as well as “against racism” icons and resources to use if you decide to blog against racism too.
Which you should. Here’s how, if you’re a blogger:
1. Announce the week in your blog. (Doesn’t have to be an LJ blog, though you might have to get an LJ account to create a link post in the IBARW LJ community. If you’re feeling too lazy to do that, drop me an email or post the link in the comments here, and I’ll use my LJ account to post it for you. Ain’t I nice?)
2. If you use icons on your blog or elsewhere, switch your default icon to either an official IBAR week icon, or one which you feel is appropriate (see the link above for icons).
3. Post about race and/or racism: in media, in life, in the news, personal experiences, writing characters of a race that isn’t yours, portrayals of race in fiction, review a book on the subject, etc.
That’s it. Easy, huh?
Actually, it’s not. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the weeks since I started guest-blogging here at ABW, it’s that it’s hard to talk about racism. It’s infuriating. Frightening. Crazy-making. I’m a pretty mild-mannered, optimistic person, and some of the crap I’ve heard here on this blog has made me both incandescent with rage and cynical about our future as a species.
And yet I keep talking. I have to. In our society it has become increasingly common to equate discussion of race with racism. I’ve heard it over and over again, even from supposedly intelligent people — “If you would just stop talking about it, racism will go away!” Which makes me wonder whether aliens have kidnapped a large percentage of our population and secretly replaced their brains with Taster’s Choice. Yes, racism is a social concept, not a biological one. Yes, it’s an invention from a bygone era, when it was vitally important to a number of global powers and institutions to establish a ranking difference between Us and Them (and Them and Them and Them). And yes, theoretically, ending racism is as simple as shedding all those racist ideas and treating everyone equally. But before we decide that racism no longer exists, it needs to actually no longer exist, and right now that’s not the case. Right now racism is alive and kicking, thriving even, and y’know what? This whole “stop talking about it” attitude? Protects it. Enables it. Blinds those who would otherwise see it. Lulls those who would otherwise be vigilant against it, into complacency.
Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt; denial keeps racism going strong.
So. For one week, I charge every one of you to join IBARW, and become your own Angry [insert ethnicity] [insert gender]. Talking about racism isn’t the only way to fight it, or even the best way, I’ll admit. But talking about it damn sure helps.
So get to it. =)