- When a commenter (legitimately) notes the lack of diversity on your blog, which claims to address a wide range of issues that diverse people face, stop and carefully think it over a minute before firing off an angry reply.
- When you do reply, try not to invoke the very symbol of privilege which represents some of the most oppressive and hurtful elements of our culture in the area in which you claim to be an advocate (i.e. Barbie and her relationship to any woman who doesn't look like her). Don't flaunt your privilege in the face of the presumably less privileged commenter and openly gloat over the fact that you are more valued by our culture because you fit the mold. And please, for the love of dog, don't imply that she's only criticizing your blog because she's jealous of you.
- If you happen to have fucked up and engaged in the above noted behaviors, at least try to craft a sincere and thoughtful apology that shows that you've actually heard the things that many people are saying to you. Don't retreat into a "you mean people just don't get my style" routine. Don't pretend you were being sarcastic and claim to have actually been saying something that makes no sense whatsoever given the actual words that are still on the screen in front of all of our faces. And don't defend your indefensible celebration of your privilege at the expense of others. It's not only immature and unseemly, it's downright vulgar and hateful.
- If you have managed to bumble your way through steps 1-3 above, and a co-contributor posts a "let's clear the air" post in which she invites people to continue the discussion, since commenting has been closed on the previous post, listen carefully and thoughtfully to the things the commenters take time to write to you, and then respond. Like, to their direct comments and questions. To them. Take the issues they've raised, one at a time, and address them. Listen, and engage in the discussion. This is called "constructive dialogue," and it's one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against oppression and marginalization.
- If you're unable to truly listen and engage in constructive dialogue, then just say so up front. But don't keep saying, "I'm reading and thinking about all of this, and I'm going to address all of your concerns in an upcoming post" and then actually write that promised post without ever really addressing the issues that were raised in a meaningful way. Because that is the perfect example of hypocrisy and self-involved ego-stroking masquerading as advocacy and compassion and inclusiveness. In other words, this entire debacle is the paradigmatic giant, heaving, oozing, steaming mass of FAIL.
Friday, August 21, 2009
How to Be Fauxgressive
There's so much fail in all the bullshit that has followed from a comment on the blog We Are the Real Deal that I just can't help but use it as a teachable moment. So, if you're interested in not being a willfully ignorant and hurtful person in the blogosphere, here are some handy tips: