I’m Not Talking about *YOU*
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
This is something that appears to be fairly common in any discussion of social injustice. Whether we are talking about racism in America, sexism in geek culture, misogyny in comics, and so on and so one of the first typical response is “Well I don’t act that way.” This in turn changes the tone of the conversation from actually talking about the problem at hand to having to explain to someone that you’re not out to call them or their friends a whatever (though in some cases it may be justified).
This occurs mostly because when talking about huge communities such as comic book conventions, or gaming cons, or cos players etc etc you are sometimes forced to make generalizations. And because you’ve used a generalization all of a sudden this person thinks you’re calling their behavior bad.
But we’re not. If you aren’t a racist and a bigot then when we talk about the bigoted practices of the GOP then we obviously aren’t talking about you. If we are talking about the sexism that occurs at a comic con then we obviously aren’t talking about you.
Unless of course you are guilty of those actions.
The truth is, in order to have a discussion about these issues we have to make generalizations. I know generalizations are bad (well really they aren’t all that bad) but it’s a necessary evil we do if we are going to see positive change in nerd culture. To be frank, I don’t have time to always list the exceptions. And it becomes counter productive to have to constantly remind the reader that I’m not trying to say they’re the problem. Unless you truly are the problem.
That’s the trick. If you are reading a piece by someone on the ills of your fandom or your community you need to be aware of your own actions enough to know whether or not you’re being part of the problem. And if you’re not part of the problem then there is no need to declare to everyone that you aren’t. If one were to be truthful it’s a little inconsiderate of you to expect me to voice my complaint about inequality in terms that don’t hurt your feelings, mostly because It’s not my job to worry about your feelings!
In the end, if you aren’t one of the people I’m talking about then don’t worry. My generalizations aren’t about you. If you think they might be then do some self-reflections as to why you feel that it is aimed at you.