“The Audacity of the Caucasity,” or: “What — and I Cannot Stress This Enough — THE ACTUAL FUCK?”
Before I wade-in, let me just primal scream the thing I most often primally scream these days, after, “FUCK!!!!!”
Okay. That was . . . well, not cleansing. But it was definitely . . . a thing that just happened. Yet again.
Moving on. . . .
FUCK YOU, JIM BUTCHER. You have obviously never actually lived in Hyde Park. I bet you just walked around a little bit — maybe you walked along the edges of Washington Park, maybe you walked down 55th until you hit Cottage Grove. Did you walk along 53rd St and decide that this was “the worst a large city had to offer”? What made you think that?
Was it the Starbucks on the corner? Or the farmers market that happens every Thursday morning in the summer? The Aveda salon? Treasure Island, the expensive “European food market”?
Or was it the back door Latino club that sells empenadas and Latinoamericano magazines out of the back door every afternoon? The smoke shop with the cheap weaves on Styrofoam heads in the window? The crappy Mexican food shop that sells huge burritos for a buck? The 24 hour cheap grocery by the bus stop, where I bought my yogurt from because I couldn’t afford to shell out 5 dollars on fucking yogurt?
Was it the Black people, Jim Butcher? Did they make you feel unsafe?
A snippet from this blog post, which is worth reading in its entirety, as well as the comments:
Wild Unicorn Herd
THERE ARE SOME THINGS I CAN HANDLE I can handle you messing up geography and claiming that a point is a mile away from…
SO, SO glad I never got into Jim Butcher’s books. Picked up the first one and the writing was too far-down the sub-par end of the mediocrity spectrum. So many of my friends have praised his work. But then, every last one of the ones who did was white (and also had suspect taste in books, in general). Never noticed it until now, but I’m getting better at noticing the air I breathe, the sludge I swim in, and the shit I eat every day because . . . BROWN SKIN.
This is just like so many other quiet instances of racism that just slide under even POCs radar, never mind white people’s. Just like all my friends who say Boston and Seattle and Portland (OR) are great places to live . . . are ALL white or “model-minority”-ish.
Many people, even people of color, seem to think racism is shouting the N-word at school children or shooting up a Black church and murdering the elderly attendees (who welcomed you in like you were fucking FAMILY) with a smile. But sometimes, it’s just knowing that there are ENTIRE CITIES AND EVEN STATES/PROVINCES that would be miserable or even dangerous for you to live in because of your skin color.
And EVERY Black person I’ve ever met or talked to who’s lived in Boston (especially), Seattle (don’t get me started on THEIR bullshit), and Portland (Black people were STILL ILLEGAL in Oregon until six a.m. this morning, so Portland can sit the fuck down, with that soggy, fuckshit, Pacific Northwest Redneckery), has either implied or flat-out said: “Not the best places for skinfolk.”
Racism — both the morally bankrupt, disgusting ethos and hideous, murderous system embedded deeply in most societies on this planet — can be terrible in New York State and NYC, my hometown (ask about all the segregated schools . . . I have so many articles I can point you to, as well as stats). The only place it’s worse, however, is . . . almost everywhere else on Earth.
This just . . . isn’t a good planet on which to be not-white. But an ESPECIALLY BAD ONE if one’s shade of not-white is BLACK.
So, what? Apparently, in Jim Butcher’s fantasy-Chi-town, you’re more likely to see a Wendigo than a bodega? More likely to see the Green Man than a Black man? BFD, right?
Actually, YEAH. Pretty BFD, in that . . . we’ve been doing this — creating this kind of passive-aggressive hate and ousting of brownfolks and, on the receiving end, LIVING WITH this denial and refutation of not only our humanity, but of our PERSONHOOD, even when compared with, say, leprechauns or kobolds, or what-the-fuck-ever that DOESN’T ACTUALLY EXIST IN THIS WORLD, UNLIKE DARK-SKINNED HUMAN BEINGS. Do I EVEN need to say this? If so —
For even a fantasy-writer to say that sprites and gnomes are more real, more relatable and interesting and HUMAN to him than someone with swanky amounts of melanin, and the ability to keep complex rhythms and season food properly, is . . . wrong. DISGUSTING.
Erasure isn’t exactly a gleefully-hurled, ululating N-bomb bouncing off the of-necessity-tough hides of Black bodies and souls, but it’s still RACISM: not-so-stealthy, insidious, and a hallmark — no, a common feature of URBAN fantasy.
(I don’t even have the strength to tackle so-called “high” fantasy. I’m not nearly high enough to make it through that kind of slog through unbridled, racist erasure without sobbing.)
So, yeah. YEAH. FUCK. JIM. BUTCHER. Fuck him. And fuck Laurel K. Hamilton. FUCK YOU, Marvel-on-TV for Agent Carter, and it’s near-complete erasure of POCs, who clearly didn’t exist before the 1960s. FUCK YOU, Marvel-on-Netflix, for Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist, for similar fuckshit. And for some of the bullshit on Luke Cage, too.
Fuck all the writers who do this, unconsciously (in this day and age . . . all TWO of them) and consciously, no matter their reasons. And FUCK the entire establishment that lets these soft-racist, sub-par hacks get away with erasing MOST OF THIS BROWN-ASS PLANET in their quest to reify white skin, white supremacy, and toxic whiteness.
Fuck this slimy, toxic-as-fuck GENTRY-FICATION of literature, period — no matter the genre or style or subject matter. Just —
Fuck it. Fuck everything, for the next little while. . . .
And you, reading this? White lovers of the Urban Fantasy genre? YOU KNOW, now, as do I. And if you (continue to) buy or read their books, or in ANY WAY SUPPORT their wrong-headed and wrong-hearted bullshit, still . . . well, YOU KNOW. You’ve been informed, YOU KNOW, and WE, POCs, KNOW YOU KNOW. And we SEE YOU when you choose to ignore the truth or gaslight those who point it out. We see you when you SEE US AND AGREE WITH US . . . but just don’t care, because it’s not your problem.
WE SEE YOU. We see you supporting racism and bigotry on the speculative fiction page — and in FANDOM — because it’s apparently easier than NOT supporting it . Or helping to dismantle it.
We see you and we know you. And you ARE complicit. End of story.
None of which probably matters to you, if you’re still shelling out cash and time and brain-space to patronize racist hackery, buuuuut. . . .
Now you know, for whatever that’s worth. And so does everyone else.
YOU SEEN, NOW.
YOU. SEEN. But —
— enjoy your books.