I missed something today. Something huge. I am rarely, if ever, serious on this journal. Hell, I'm rarely anything
on this journal or serious in real life. But this is just too big an issue, too upsetting to ignore or not discuss.This story
was posted on the spn_j2_bigbang
The author has issued a public apology. There have been many comments and discussions both in the threads for the story and the SPN anonmeme and on countless journals, as I can imagine. This was brought to my attention by faunaana
who stated her opinion very intelligently and gracefully. Most major points have been gathered in this post
while fic quotes have been copied and pasted here
. It's a lot to go through, and I admit, I didn't make it all the way through myself (it's late and I've had a long day), but I think some very interesting perspectives are brought up about exactly why this is story is as offensive as it is.
a) the exploitation of a country and its people who are deep in suffering and mourning to facilitate gay sex between two fictionalized versions of real people?
b) the propagation of racist stereotypes that pervade the media?
c) the author's ignorance and "I didn't mean to offend!" intent not being enough to excuse the fact that she did, in fact, offend? Greatly?
Or is it
d) all of the above.
I'm going with D. This is all wrong. It's all just too fucking wrong. I am pretty much in deep shock at this. I must
be having a reaction, because I'm writing about it, but I don't actually feel anything. Whatever, enough about me. I'm missing the point.
Of the quotes I did read, this one stuck out at me:
- Abraham watched the cab turn into traffic, then turned to grin at Jared. “Jensen say I bad driver,” he said. “But American drivers crazy.”
Jared laughed. “He wasn’t American, Abraham,” he said, grinning back.
Probably not the least offensive comment out there, admittedly. The author did much worse work. But this stuck out at me because I hadn't seen it covered in discussion yet, and I wanted to take some time to do so. I want all the bases covered. What exactly makes her think that someone who was not born in American isn't American?
This is obviously a different issue than the majority of what's being discussed. Perhaps I'm misreading the quote. But the fact that Jared simply assumes
that since a person of any color other than white is driving a taxi, they must not be a citizen, they must not live here, they must not belong
here. What the actual fuck? My rage is just so intense right now. As soon as someone says to me "I am American" that is their nationality. I don't care if they have their license, or a green card, or any legal permission to belong in this country. If they identify as one of us, they are one of us
. It's as simple as that. Of course, this applies to any country of your choice, I'm simply describing the problem as it is written in the story. Maybe the driver wasn't American. Maybe he hated this country, couldn't wait to get out, or maybe he was planning on strapping a bomb under his car seat and making his way toward Times Square. But there is NO. WAY. that anyone has a right to assume something about someone's identity or character or nationality from a five second blip while they drive into traffic. It's just. It's too inexcusable for words.Why are all people who aren't American inherently bad drivers?
This is more about the propagation of stereotypes. Both the black man and the man in the cab can't drive? And white people can freely make jokes about it? And this is...why? It's pretty clear what the answer to this is, but I really don't think that the question is asked often enough. Maybe if the author took a second to sit back and think for a second, or one of her beta's was curious or brave enough to ask questions they might not have liked the answer to, fandom wouldn't be in this situation. Why does no one ask questions? What's wrong with being devil's advocate? Groupthink is the opposite of what we want, and you'd think that in a nation that prides itself on individuality we would be more willing to respectfully disagree with each other out in the open. It would be the writer's personal problem, and that's that. But now it isn't. Now fandom deals with this, and discusses it (as it should be discussed - it's not a burden, but an opportunity), and comes up with all the reasons why this story is wrong. Because there are SO many reasons. So fucking many.
I'm aware I'm leaning heavily on pathos here because, surprise surprise, research, facts, and reasoning are not my strong points. But this is something that I feel, that I think now needs to be addressed in fandom that will hopefully reflect in our real lives as well. I didn't really talk about the true issue, I know. Admittedly, I'm skirting the issue instead of facing it head on because I'm currently too angry, and feel like I know too little about the situation. It's late, and I will hopefully take tomorrow to educate myself. There are millions of different opinions, ranging across the board, and there are always varying degrees of right and wrong (in this case, the writer happens to be VERY wrong). I hope people read this, I really do, I hope people read this and see what's happening and do something about it, but this isn't about what I want. It's about the story and pictures that got posted and what fandom is going to do about it in response. It's about the writer who needs to learn that not every idea is a good idea, and not everything in books, movies, television and radio is true.
P.S. Someone on the anon meme pointed out that they don't care whether the privileged white writer grows in self-discovery and gets closer enlightenment, just like the characters in her story. But I really don't see the point in just shutting someone up because you can't deal with racism in your fandom. If you don't want racism in fandom, you have to have a fandom without racist people. If they decide to be quiet, that doesn't make them any less racist, it just makes them silent racists, and that's not any better at all. I agree that not everything has to be about the white man learning about himself and becoming a truer person yadda yadda yadda, but we need to discuss these things, and we need to figure out why someone believes and thinks the way they do. That way, we can fight/correct/do something about it. We're not going to get that if we simply kick them out of fandom. Okay. I've said my piece. Goodnight.