March 6th, 2009

wood cat

Welcome to Fight Derailing!

What this community's for (a hasty first draft):

During RaceFail 2009, numerous fans have been working very hard to, first, point out that the Fail is unacceptable, and, second, to return to the conversations that the Fail is an attempt to derail: racism in science fiction and fantasy fictional works and in science fiction and fantasy fandoms.

This community is meant to be a place that rounds up the anti-derailing efforts in a central location for the benefit of those who want to continue the conversations about cultural appropriation, racial diversity and multiculturalism in SFF fiction and fandom, racism in ditto, and its intersectionality with other oppressions. It is not meant to displace existing conversations or efforts, but to be a resource that supports them and enables additional discussion and action.

To that end, I hope to post links to some of the fighting the derail that I've seen, and to flesh out a proposal to send fans of color to Wiscon. That won't come until tonight, because I've got a day job to get to—so in the meantime, please feel free to post your own links!


This is a community to fight the derailing of anti-racism conversations, and thus, any attempts to keep derailing are unwelcome. If they happen:

In comments: my preference is, and always has been, not to delete comments but to freeze or screen them as appropriate. If I screen comments, I will generally repost the contents under ROT13 so that people can, if they choose, see what prompted the action. I believe that I can't stop people from deleting their own comments or comments to their own posts, but I would ask you to consider taking these other actions instead.

In entries: I believe that as a maintainer, my only options are to delete offensive posts; I don't have the power to put them behind a cut, lock them, etc. If it becomes necessary to delete a post, I will first comment to the entry explaining to the poster why I am doing so, screencap the whole thing, and then make a post behind a cut-tag explaining what I've done and why, with links to the screencaps.

Right now, commenting and posting are open to all. I hope that no moderation is necessary, but I feel it important to set out my feelings on the matter openly and from the start.


This is a hasty, gotta-go-to-work draft. What am I forgetting, what should I add, what would you like to see this community be?

wood cat

A note on terminology

I'm on record as disliking the "of color" formulation. I'm using it anyway in these posts because it's the most generally accepted term among the anti-racists I read and speak with. I intend by its use to include those not of European ancestry, and not to alienate or exclude anyone who falls into that category.

(And everyone who wants to fight the derailing of anti-racism conversations is welcome here, regardless of ancestry. Just in case that needed saying, too.)

wood cat

Wiscon fundraiser: opinions wanted

Right, so there are fans of color out there who want to go to Wiscon but who currently don't have the resources. As I discussed yesterday on my personal LJ, I'm thinking about organizing a fundraiser to help them go—just to attend and be themselves as they would normally.

I had thought something like a DonorsChoose model, where potential attendees say, "I'd like to go and this is what I need" ($X, a couch, etc.), and then people pledged toward the needs of a given attendee or attendees, with no payment unless the attendee was fully funded (or contributed to a general fund to be distributed among the potential attendees as needed). This seemed, to me, a way to ensure as much money was raised as needed, but no more (since there'd be specific goals to pursue).

Several people have instead suggested a general help fund in response to private requests. This has the advantages of not requiring people to ask for assistance in public and of avoiding a popularity-contest problem. Moreover, if people let me know ahead of time what their needs were likely to be, then I could set that as a target for the fundraiser. On the other hand, I'm not comfortable with administering an ongoing fund all by my individual lonesome, so if there was money left over, something would have to be done with it.

So, what I'm thinking now for a plan is:

  • Fans of color who want to go to Wiscon would contact me privately, in a screened post, with what resources they will need and how to get in touch with them—preferably by a specific date, because—
  • After the given date, I will open up the fundraiser with an announced goal of the sum of the needs communicated to me privately.
  • Contributors would tell me whether they wanted any extra money to be returned to them, or to go to the Carl Brandon Society, or some other option. My goal for this year would be that we not have any money left over, however, and if we met our goal I might actually stop the fundraiser early. But if this seemed to work, we could talk then about having an organization administer it in the future.

Two questions for you all, then.

  1. Logistically and otherwise, does this sound like a good plan to you? Suggestions for improving it?
  2. Wiscon is May 22-25. I think we should have this completed by, let's say, Monday April 13, to give people time to make travel arrangements? Or is that too short? In which case I'd want to start fundraising by, say, Wednesday March 18—that's three and a half weeks. Does this sound at all reasonable for a timescale? If not, what dates would you suggest?

Let's hear it!

wood cat

Anticipation fundraiser: gauging interest

Worldcon this year is Anticipation in Montréal, August 6-10. Unlike Wiscon, Worldcon changes locations every year; it also has a somewhat different membership composition. As a result, I don't know if Worldcon has any ongoing effort at anti-racist activities, safe spaces, etc., the way Wiscon does. But that might just mean that we should start one.

So, with that in mind, are there fans of color who would like to go to Anticipation and don't have the resources? Per papersky, if there is, the con is interested in membership outreach and thus now would be a good time to see if it's willing to help. Therefore, a poll, which I believe I have set up so that no-one can see who's clicked yes:

About Anticipation in August,

I am a fan of color, I seriously want to go to Anticipation, and I will be unable to go without assistance.
I know an off-LJ person who fits the above description and am clicking this so they get counted.

(I'm aware there's more to cons than Worldcon, more to con attendance than money, and more to fandom than cons; more on all of that later.)

wood cat

Things to read and/or participate in

Here are some links collected by people in the fight against derailing, of things to read or things to read or participate in. This is a starting point only—my life has been very hectic and I'm sure I've missed a lot. Please add more in the comments!

(Note: I'm putting up a separate post for resources to educate derailers, as requested.)

Things to read:

And things to read or participate in:

[ETA: See comments for more.]

wood cat

Things to help educate derailers

popelizbet requested a resource post for people who want to fight derailing by trying to convince the derailers to stop it, already. While personally I wouldn't like this to be the focus of the community, I can see that it could be useful. Unfortunately I'm running out of time and energy for the evening, but I can offer my bookmarks on race and rhetoric. Commenters suggest inalasahl's Because There Aren't Enough Spoons on the Planet, on the "tone" argument; and a video, How To Tell People They Sound Racist, for the anti-derailers.

What else?

Also, I'm going to be mostly offline until Monday or Tuesday; yhlee and oyceter have the keys to the comm in my absence. Go forth, read, think, post, and fight derailing!

(And if anyone wants to make the comm an icon, go nuts.)

[ETA: See comments for more.]



Updated: I removed the ones with kids in them, because while I did make sure that the owners of the photos (parents of the kids) had released the photos with a "remix/reuse" license, and therefore were consenting to their use, I didn't think about the fact that the actual kids had not consented.  Please delete those icons from your collection if you've taken them.  I'll work on making something similar with my own hands and a toy train. Thanks, Fragano.

I made a few icons. Most are for use in discussions when you see that someone is attempting to derail; one has the name of the community. No attribution is needed.


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