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For the record

This is a few days late, for which I apologise (I was away and off- line on the proper day).

I was born into the dominant culture for my country (UK) and as such have benefited from the privilege that accrues to that. Others in my country have not had those privileges and that is wrong and unacceptable, and as a white girl, I accept my share of the responsibility and the blame. I accept that I probably have assumptions and beliefs that are privileged or prejudiced and I undertake to try and identify and end these.
I consider it my responsibility to work to end this prejudice. I do not believe that any p.o.c. has any duty to help me or advise me. I do not believe it is in any way my job to advise any p.o.c. I own my background with all its negatives and I undertake to do my very best to undo harm and to overthrow privilege in any ways I can.
It would be easy for me, in the UK, to push a 'me too' button and run for cover. I am mostly Celtic, and the Celtic-speaking peoples have a legacy of oppression and prejudice imposed on them by the English. But I will not do this. This isn't about me and my ancestry, and it isn't honourable, to me at least, to pick and choose for 'acceptable' ancestors. I consider this latter strategy to be weak at best, and hypocritical at worst. I will own all my ancestry and do my best to behave better and to work to help others.
I do not believe that any of the ways in which I have endured prejudice -- for class, for gender etc -- are equivalent or equal to the prejudices endured by p.o.c. Again, this is not about me.
MY own feelings of guilt and fear and upset and complicity are my problem and it's up to me to deal with them without seeking absolution or help from p.o.c. (or anyone else except any close friends who wish to discuss this with me).

I am screening comments on this post. Yes, I'm also something of a coward, and I apologise for that.
This entry is in no way aimed at anyone on my friends' list. It's a consequence of me thinking over the issues by myself.
If anyone wants to ask me about race issues in my writing, please feel free.

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Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
tamaranth
May. 20th, 2009 09:45 am (UTC)
Go you! This is an eloquent, elegant post on the subject: you are honest and up-front without being confrontational. Thank you for reminding me (repeatedly) that there is sanity online!
la_marquise_de_
May. 20th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
anna_wing
May. 20th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
What people think is of no consequence, compared to what they actually do. Take care of behaviour and attitude will take care of itself. Good manners covers of 99% of all moral questions and your standards of courtesy are sufficiently high that I don't think any reasonable person could demand more. You really have no reason to feel guilt, fear or upset and I hold this view as one who is not from a minority ethnic group either.
saare_snowqueen
May. 20th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
I just finished reading 'Living with Ghosts', which I liked very much, by thr way, and I didn't see any evidence of racial bias in that.
la_marquise_de_
May. 20th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it.
mkillingworth
May. 20th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
WRiting about a historical fact is not the same as condoning it. You owe no apology to people you have not personally wronged. Believe me, being white and Southern, I have had this discussion on more than one occasion. Oh yes, and my ancestors were Irish and Scottish, too.
la_marquise_de_
May. 20th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about the way that some individuals -- no-one I know personally -- seem to have taken that side-step into hyphenation as a way of self-exoneration. And wondering why this annoyed me so much. I suppose to me it seems -- can't find a word: odd, perhaps -- to pick and choose amongst ancestors for such reasons. Whatever my personal history and background, I'm a product of my dominant culture and I feel I should be ready top deal with that. Or something on those lines. On the other hand, your perspective strikes me as perfectly reasonable also.
lady_ganesh
May. 22nd, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
I am the stereotypical American mutt, and it's that way over here at times too. I am part Indian, but it's so far back-- and was so beaten out of our grandparents-- that our family doesn't even know what tribe some of our ancestors belonged to, they're just erased. And, you know, that breaks my heart-- but it doesn't change the fact that I grew up pasty white, with the privilege that entails.

I do think that Celtic folk have a history that should be noted-- and they end up getting fetishized in the same way American Indians do at times, especially in fantasy.

I think one of the things this has brought home to me-- yet again-- is how different all our experiences are, and we need to honor all those different levels of experience.

Here via linkspam!
la_marquise_de_
May. 22nd, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on the Celtic thing. And the way we are socialised to deny certain types of ancestry for reasons of 'shame' is shameful in itself.
Nice to meet you.
lady_ganesh
May. 23rd, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
Indeed-- and it hurts everyone in the end.

Likewise!
la_marquise_de_
May. 25th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
I love your icon, btw.
lady_ganesh
May. 25th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
Gat is the hottest hot who ever hotted. Thanks. :D
ms_cataclysm
May. 20th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Well said
miintikwa
May. 20th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
When we own our feelings, we make such a huge difference. Kudos to you.
surliminal
May. 20th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
I think from my great distance tat what seems to be going on in writerland is madness, the sort of imposed relentless self criticism that destroyed a generation of intellectuals in China. Yes what you say makes perfect sense.
a_d_medievalist
May. 21st, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)
did I miss something this week? I've seen a few posts like this lately, but have been in training for about 10 days.
la_marquise_de_
May. 21st, 2009 09:10 am (UTC)
It's really me thinking over some of the debate about race and sf/fantasy that's been going on.
elfwreck
May. 22nd, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
This post has been included in a linkspam roundup.
la_marquise_de_
May. 22nd, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
Thank you letting me know.
ithiliana
May. 22nd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
*boggled*

I clicked over to read from linkspam (on racefail) only to see your name--I just finished Living With Ghosts last night, having bought it Monday, and it's INCREDIBLE!

And here is this absolutely fantastic post. I will be friending you to read more!

la_marquise_de_
May. 25th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked Ghosts: I'm still boggled that anyone is buying it at all apart from my friends and family!
The post was me trying to articulate my thoughts on this -- I am inclined to read and think for a long time, rather than comment when it comes to such major issues and I am aware of how much I don't know.
My journal is mainly cats, writing talk, and witter, I should warn you!
Nice to meet you.
Kari
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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