Sadly, the first issue that comes to mind is the recent blow-up involving K. Tempest Bradford and Harlan Ellison. The details of this may be found in this link, where the issue expanded from perceived sexism to ageism to racism at the argument's nadir. I was reminded yet once again how slippery of a slope jokes and mock-ups can be and how quickly one's heated outburst can lead to shameful comments, such as the one Ellison posted on his own messageboard last week.
The Carl Brandon Society this afternoon posted an open letter touching upon this spat before broadening it to an appeal for bloggers and others to refrain from using inflammatory words. Below are the main principles of the letter (for those who agree, I suggest clicking on the link above and signing your name to it):
These principles are as follows:
1) The use of racial slurs in public discourse is utterly unacceptable, whether as an insult, a provocation, or an attempt at humor. This includes both explicit use of slurs and referencing them via acronyms.
2) Any declaration of a marginalized identity in public is not a fit subject for mockery, contempt, or attack. Stating what, and who, you are is not “card playing.” It is a statement of pride. It is also a statement of fact that often must be made because it has bearing on discussions of race, gender, and social justice.
3) Expressing contempt for ongoing racial and gender discourse is unacceptable. Although particular discussions may become heated or unpleasant, discourse on racism and sexism is an essential part of antiracism and feminist activism and must be respected as such. There is no hard line between discourse and action in activism; contempt of the one too often leads to contempt of the whole.
The Carl Brandon Society assumes in this letter that everyone reading it shares the common goal of racial and gender equity, and general social justice, in all our communities. We hope for a quick end to arguments over whether or not unacceptable forms of debate should be allowable. These arguments obstruct the process of seeking justice for all.
The Carl Brandon Society
Any thoughts regarding IBARW or the incident mentioned above?