Chloe Angyal of The Guardian boasts about her Upper West Side apartment in New York where Yuppies meet on a Friday night for wine and cheese. Her point? The doormen invariably telephone her to announce any non-white visitors. Because, y’know, Chloe is an enlightened small-l liberal who has non-white friends.
The problem, according to the url for the story, is “New York City Doormen Building Race Profiling”.
Chloe concludes with this:
Much of the policing of racial minorities, done in the name of protecting white people, goes unseen by us. If we want to continue the hard, crucial work of ending discrimination of all kinds in this country and this world, that must change.
We must take the blinders off and understand the scope of racial profiling in our world. We must consider the unacceptable violence, both psychic and physical, that it inflicts on our fellow citizens. It’s time to demand an end to the profiling that happens all around us – on our streets, in our schools, in our stores, and in our homes. Not anymore, and not in our name.
Notably, Chloe doesn’t mention tackling this issue with the doormen or their manager. Nor does she mention looking for accommodation where her non-white friends would be treated equally.
Chloe feels enlightened so she’s calling for change as long as that change doesn’t make her feel uncomfortable by requiring sacrifice. Chloe doesn’t see that, by living where she’s living, she is part of the problem.
I used to live in a suburb where I was a minority. It was so rare to see a white woman walking to the shopping center that people stared. I didn’t feel safe because I was the one who was different, I stood out.
Now I live in a suburb that is truly multicultural. Based on the people I see walking around the suburb, no people group has a majority.
Many people groups live here in harmony.
I’m over white middle-class non-disabled people whose experience of ‘discrimination’ is limited to self-declared experience of misogyny while employed in comfortable middle-class jobs, speechifying about ‘the problem’.
I’m over white middle-class non-disabled people thumping their pulpits, crying for equality, while doing nothing.
I’ve had the opportunity to attend the last three Continuum Conventions in spite of being unemployed due to disability discrimination. Attending these conventions has been a learning experience, helping me develop Dark Matter Zine further.
Very few non-white non-middle-class and/or disabled people attend Australia’s science fiction conventions including Continuum Conventions and the national convention.
Instead of calling for other people to do something about the lack of diversity at Continuum Conventions, I’m going to lead by example.
Fan funds reinforce the lack of diversity by rewarding people who’ve been in the community for years who’ve previously attended conventions so I’m doing something about it.
I will give away my membership of Continuum 2014 that is also the National (science fiction) Convention for 2014. This means I won’t be able to afford to attend. My partner is also giving away his membership. He can’t afford a replacement ticket either.
I hope that other people in the science fiction community will put money towards purchasing memberships for people who have never been to a convention before, those who cannot afford to attend.
One alternative: raise the cost of membership by $10 each. Put that money towards memberships for people who’ve never been to a SFF convention. If 200 people attend, each contributing $10 towards a ‘scholarship’ fund, 12 ‘scholarships’ could be given away.
Some people will stay at the hotel even though they live in Melbourne. At $265 per night, imagine how many more scholarships could be purchased if the ‘ultimate’ sacrifice was made…
I’ve heard people moaning about the greying of the community and the need for new blood. Time to do something about it, folks!
Call on Continuum Conventions to put a ‘donate’ button on their page to raise money for memberships for people who’ve never been to an SF convention before.
Donate money towards memberships for new people.
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Live where diversity is celebrated.
[Note: details on how to apply for our memberships will go online around the New Year.]