gillpolack (gillpolack) wrote,

I'm back from Melbourne. Continuum was grand and I'll do a proper report on it later. Right now I only have until lunch is ready, so I'll report on the thoughts that chased me on the drive home.

First of all, I was thinking how much there was a groundswell of opinion against us (Australians for the most part) being told how to think about racism. It appeared over and over at Continuum. The same thoughts. The same concerns. There's quite a lot of anger in fandom from people who have been told "This is the shape of your racism" as a first step to dealing with it. We want to deal with it, is the clear message I got from this convention. We don't want it to be labelled using US labels, however. The descriptions of racism that are being pushed right now don't fit Australia and actually reduce our capacity to address problems.

The problem is twofold. First, fans were so busy arguing against being told the shape of racism and finding out that the fit was bad, that they were spending less time and energy addressing bigotry. It's a very real problem (that the ideas being used to address major issues don't actually fit Australia and that the discourse assumes that there is a single international problem that follows the shape of US bigotry) but solving it means we have less energy to sort out how to identify privilege in our own society and what specific problems minorities encounter in Australia.

This is a new development. It's linked with the second issue. The kindly provision of labels and descriptions that don't quite match the situation here is being called "US imperialism." Now, it may be or it may not be. The fact that this label was bandied about at the convention, however, means that we have a problem. Developing a new spurt of righteous anger doesn't actually help anyone. It side-steps the issues we need to address and the issues we're angry are being derailed. It provides excuses.

I suspect the first step is maybe for a whole bunch of us to take a step back. If non-Australians would kindly let us find out our own forms of racism and address them rather than telling us that we share their problems, that would be really good. If Australians would not use simple tags to explain the issues (which are also real, otherwise they wouldn't be derailing local discourse on the subject) that would be also really good.

The other thought that chased me home is how very stupid I've been. Not just me, but I will take ownership for my own stupidity. I thought I couldn't write novels with some kinds of protagonists because I didn't have any frameworks for them. Except that I do: frameworks've been staring me in my face, all my life. More on this (and what it's all about) when I've done some thinking. Much thinking. Also much learning.

I had other thoughts. Many of them. For some reason, however, they're all contentious. not that these ones weren't. I shall take myself to do my messages and teach Latin and the contentiousness will mellow. I was told the other day that I needed to be controversial because it would sell books, and I had very cogent reasons against arguing just for the sake of drawing attention to myself. I'll talk about some of the other thoughts that followed me home, therefore, when they're thoughts, not reaction.

I promise a proper con report soon, because it was indeed a proper con and a very good one. I just had much thinking time on the way home and wasn't quite ready to backtrack to the weekend. And now the gerund and the ablative absolute beckon!!
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