Comments on Polenth Blake's blog

Date: 2014-10-20 01:43 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
# Polenth Blake's post about abuse didn't specifically mention
# that it's wrong to abuse white people, therefore Blake thinks
# it's okay to abuse white people.
# Look, fellow white people. It's okay not to talk about us in
# every single post! Really it is! It doesn't mean someone's
# out to get us if we're not the topic of the conversation.

I'm not sure whether this refers to my statments on Polenth's blog (I'm calling her Polenth because 'Ms Blake' sounds somehow formal and aggressive in the current climate). Polenth has said she was making reference to other statements received on twitter, but I still feel that you might be responding to my posts.

First let me say that I (I'm Colum Paget) got into a fracas with RH in 2012, and it's been about the most significant experience of my life. I walked into something and got horribly attacked, mostly because I'm from a different class background from most people in SF&F, and I've never encountered this ideology that RH uses, and that most of SF&F subscribes to. I've never encountered anything like RH in my life before.

The attacks on me from RH had a very distinct racial and gender aspect to them. They also had support from many people on that basis. Most people that I know in SF&F trivialized them or told me they were my fault because, yes, I'm a cis-gendered-straight-white-male. I experienced the whole RH episode on that basis, and people around me confirmed that it was on that basis. Everything I saw coming from her was aimed at white people, and people in SF told me that this was okay because "There's no racism towards white people" (I'm not going to get into who all these people were, because it's not fair, they probably regret it now). I had no idea that she was attacking all kinds of people, and frankly I wouldn't have believed it, because the SF&F community has always claimed to be at least policing abuse to minorities and women. But the community has failed even by it's own standards here, it's failed completely.

My comments on Polenth's blog were not intended to imply that she was saying it's okay to attack men or white people (though over the years people did expressly make that argument to me about RH, but still that isn't what I ever thought Polenth was saying). Rather, what I'm saying is that we must operate in a moral framework that covers everyone, instead of trying to protect particular groups, because the latter framework can always be hacked by a clever attacker (which RH certainly is).

SF&F these days seems to believe in a moral heirarchy, and this is something that has enabled RH, who has always been able to postition herself in such a way as to claim that she's "Punching up" (I'm learning the language now). As a result the community has generally supported, or at least allowed, her abuse, because she can always justify it in political terms. Had we from the start refused to allow abusive behavior to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, whatever, then RH would never have been able to terrorize all the different people that she did.

The political framework of SF&F allowed RH to divide and rule by constantly seeming to side with one group against another. Over the past few years I've felt that no-one was interested in my situation because of my race and gender, and I'm now pretty sure that other people of other races and gender orientations felt the same way. Statements like the one I quote above will cause some of her victims who happen to be white, to think "You know what, I'm gonna stay silent, because no one wants to hear about me." I believe that to get the full picture we must clearly say that, whomever you were, if you were attacked, we take it seriously. Whomever you are.

Furthermore, in the end, the community itself bears a massive burden for this whole episode. RH was supported and cheered on by many people in SF as she instituted a reign of terror. To be honest I had once thought that she was young and impressionable, and that the community had pretty much made her, but the information that you give here disproves that. Still, we have to question why the SF&F community was uniquely vulnerable to being attacked by someone like RH, and how we prevent that happening again in the future.

The SF&F community has talked a lot of talk about diversity and being a safe space for all. I've seen people speak about how they're "Building something morally better than mainstream society". Such statements are beyond ridiculous. Every few months we have a new debacle that shows the community to be uniquely dysfunctional and dangerous. If any progress is to be made we need to change the way we think about inclusion and public behavior, because the current approach is not working. In fact it's disasterous.

Incidentally, RH has a storify here:

The capatcha is asking me "The colour of a white T-shirt is?" I'm going to type "Ironic."
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