Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Social Justice Warrior primer

Although my favorite critic of professional bigot Mikki Kendall is What About Our Daughters blogger Gina McCauley I am indebted to Will Shetterly of Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage for putting Kendall & company's brand of bigotry in context.

When I first became aware of a faction of Academia who were claiming that the Slutwalk movement was racist because the faction decided to give the word "slut" racial connotations that did not previously exist in the English language, I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard.

Until I heard their followers declaring that John Lennon and Yoko Ono were racists for this feminist song they released in 1971.

It was the Lennon/Ono issue that first brought me in contact with Mikki Kendall and her band of Tumblr sycophants because my disagreement with them resulted in them smearing me by name a few years ago. And then I discovered Kendall was also responsible for yellow journalism and the organized campaign of gender/ethnic bigotry #solidarityisforwhitewomen on Twitter. The campaign so beloved of Salon, Jane, Jezebel, NPR, Al Jazeera, The Guardian and Mother Jones. 

I thought Kendall and the Slutwalk saboteurs were just random dumbasses but thanks to Shetterly, I've learned that in fact there is an organized movement of dumbasses that has taken root in Academia known as Social Justice Warriors. Shetterly is working on a book called Social Mob Justice which focuses on Social Justice Warriors (SJW), especially those he knows from the science fiction community. Shetterly explains what SJW are all about:
This book is about social justice warriors, the angry people who rant and mob online. It’s not about social justice workers like Dom Hélder Câmara who said, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why are they poor, they call me a Communist.” It’s about the people who believe a righteous cause entitles them to do unto others as they would never want others to do unto them. It’s about the people who have, to use a term loved by warriors, “appropriated” the name of social justice, a concept created in Europe during the social unrest of the 1840s by two Catholic priests, Luigi Taparelli and Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, who wanted to help the poor while preserving the status quo, and which has been adopted by liberal capitalists of many beliefs. 
This book's focus is on a subset of warriors in science fiction fandom. If I ever write about Maoists, McCarthyites, or any group that believes their ends justify their means, I’ll remember fandom’s SJ warriors. 
While claiming to believe in racial diversity, they hounded a Cherokee author from the field. 
While claiming to celebrate strong women, they prevented a woman who was a pioneer in two male fields from being the guest of honor at a feminist sf convention. 
While claiming to believe in protecting women, they exposed a pseudonymous young woman’s legal identity, left a threatening note in her office, contacted her employers to try to get her fired, and google-bombed her online with dozens of blog posts about her to ensure anyone who searches for her name will immediately find their version of her past. 
While claiming to believe in tolerance, they call for boycotts and censorship of people who reject their ideology, even if—or perhaps, especially if—those people also want to make a world where everyone is treated equally.
While I have not suffered the wrath of the social justice warriors anywhere like the people listed here, I got a taste of what Shetterly rightly calls "mobbing." It's so good to find out that there are at least a few people aware of this phenomenon. 

I've been wondering lately if Kendall and her gang have been monitoring Shetterly's site, and sure enough... Shetterly is not shy about pointing out (as has Gina McCauley) that as much as the SJW fancy themselves heroes of the oppressed, in fact they are generally from privileged backgrounds - privileged enough to attend college. 

Turns out they do monitor Shetterly. Kendall is too cowardly to name him by name so instead references him by his initials - but her in-crowd knows who she means. And this Twitter screenshot will help me demonstrate the truth of Shetterly's description of them as "people who believe a righteous cause entitles them to do unto others as they would never want others to do unto them."

Kendall complains that Will Shetterly is "convinced that education = middle or upper class background."

If Mikki Kendall had any problems with some of the outrageous accusations made against the all-purpose white woman scapegoat  created by #solidarityisforwhitewomen I didn't hear about it. I don't remember her speaking out when the contemptible Aura Bogado of The Nation equated being a white woman with being wealthy:

  1. when you build career on the low wage work of immigrant nannies whom you don't pay a living wage or offer benefits

  1. when you tell your already underpaid immigrant nanny to teach your child Spanish--for free.
  1. when your organization offers internships without pay, which means most WOC can't afford to do them