I have to say, when this community formed and grew to the size it is I was excited, surprised, and cautiously optimistic, because it is a rarity that a black woman is a central figure in a such a large pairing fandom.
I knew there would be missteps here, because race is always sticky subject, but I don't want to see the promise of interesting dialogue hushed because we don't want to talk about what makes us uncomfortable. We have too many intelligent people here for that.
Ideally, I'd like to see us tackle the challenging topics and often, without outright dismissal, but with the effort necessary it takes to listen, understand, and grow.
This is STAR TREK, after all. It was ahead of the times in the 60's when it came to dealing with race. This is 2009, people. Let's not be punks.
It's been posted before, but I'm posting this video again. I think the messages imparted are helpful to remember.
The gist is, any worthwhile growth in discussions of race requires the same caution and effort required in any relationship.
That means there will have to be some give and take, no matter which side of the point you're on.
That doesn't mean you need to change your opinion. It just means that it has to be given with respect for the person your speaking to and with the aide of basic common sense. Call upon your skills of tact. When a topic carries centuries-deep pain that still continues to be inflicted, listening is key. Err on the side of caution.
So, I'm asking the community for feedback on how we can improve the quality of our communications regarding race.
Here are some ideas to start:
--> We can't assume prior knowledge. Everyone's experiences and individual place in the journey is different, so understanding will likely be elusive for some.
That means if you bring up a tough subject, you should be prepared to further explain your point, if necessary. This does not mean you need to be racism 101 (links will be provided in the new user info), in fact that's the responsibility of the asker. It does, however, mean you may have to answer questions about the point of your topic.
...And that goes for any topic.
--> Empathy should not be elusive. That means NO outright dismissal and questions if you have them. If you think your question will be offensive? Assume it is and google on your own for an answer. In fact, googling before you ask is a good general rule.
--> Don't be an ass. We all know race is a thorny topic, to say the least. Being an ass, means using sarcasm, name-calling, derailing, and dismissing another person's feelings. If someone tells you something is hurtful or offensive to them, listen.
--> Relate your point with optimism. Now, this one may be the most difficult. Because when you've tried and failed to gain ground enough times, one can come into the discussion ready to throw in the towel. If you do not think you're prepared to see the discussion through to it's end, do not bring it up.
The mods will support you, but we also want an open discourse. You have to be prepared for the likely consequences that come with an open discourse in a diverse community. These discussions can go on for many comments and will likely contain people who are obtuse, naive, and/or trolls (that last the mods will take care of, if you give us the heads-up).
I would suggest ignoring these people from the start, if they are a concern or if you don't have the patience to deal. If you choose to engage, explain your side. If they still don't get it, move on. Don't kick them. That just contributes to possible clusterfuck.
--> Borg are fictional. We're never going to be lock-step in opinion. Don't ask one person what all people from the same ethnicity/color/race, etc, think and don't assume your people are going to agree or be at the same place in the journey as you are, simply because you're also from the same group.
--> You're not going to convince everyone of your point. So, when it becomes apparent that you're both just repeating the same points, exit the conversation gracefully. "We'll agree to disagree" and keep it moving.
--> Lastly, just reiterating please, pick your battles wisely. If it's clear someone is just being a troll, e-mail the mods. We'll take care of it. Don't feed or kick them.
Have something to add? Disagree? Have ideas we need to add? Race 101 links?
Please, contribute your thoughts here in this thread.
The pairing of Spock and Uhura brings up too many interesting intercultural, racial, and inter-special elements for us to forgo discussing them. But it would be nice to do so, while avoiding as much fail as we can.
And last but not least...Don't forget:
Feel free to steal. ;) More banners are coming for the community to take and use.
P.S. Because we want to avoid the fail that too often comes with writing non-default races, with Uhura, where is that link for writing COC's (characters of color)?