Twitter is a very angry place today.
It’s a nuanced issue and I have words. I’ll do my best to lay my very complicated thoughts and emotions out in a reasoned fashion.
Here’s the reason twitter is angry today. Vulture published an article that… was rather skewed in its perception. (It’s the politest way I can say that.) I knew about the person writing the article months ago, they were going around asking for interviews. Thank goodness Nicky provided screenshots so Vulture doesn’t get any more clicks than necessary. (Shared with Nicky’s permission)
I don’t suppose twitter being angry again is anything new, at all.
Over the weekend, I had to block a bunch of angry people who preach the same, sad, angry speech over and over and over again with regards to aroace issues. I’m done listening.
Blogged about it here.
And today, we’re back to (re: race issues, YA book twitter and reviewing) seeing the same people performing the same ridiculous performative activism. No, I ain’t gonna link them. They’re already on my publishing blacklist anyway. You’ll see a lot of them who look/claim to be white shouting that it’s wrong to want ‘old twitter’ back.
Today’s anger is in relation to race, reviews and the above linked article.
Over the weekend it was aroace.
Before that is was neurodiversity, before that it was queerphobia, before that mental illness/psychiatric disorder and I’m seeing inklings that it’s going to be transphobia next.
The problem is so nuanced and multifaceted that I wonder if maybe I’m one of the few seeing it? I mean… I’m so intersectionally diverse it’s almost impossible to believe. I’m plugged into a lot of communities just by virtue of being who I am.
I’m queer as fuck, I’m autistic, I’m mentally ill, I’m chronically ill with a chronic pain condition, and I’m mixed-race. (Mostly First Nations, Spanish/Portuguese and Mixed white European, but I have quite a few black ancestors too.)
The problem with twitter that is ruining ‘book twitter’ and why braver people are saying they miss the old one is this: It’s the anger people.
Not about the subject matter.
It’s about what makes REAL activism, and the ‘performing for ally cookies’ sort of activism.
I ask, in the light of all that’s going down, who are you shouting for? Why are you shouting?
If it’s the YA book twitter group, you’re very likely doing it wrong, cause they’re afraid. More on that later.
Several threads shared on twitter offer VERY salient point.
We don’t have people in their own communities (ANY of the diverse communities I’m part of) coming to collect the pretenders and me-too-ists and harmful (possibly well meaning?) people. We also don’t have people in our own communities willing to collect the loud, angry, confrontational, or outright dangerous people.
I tried, with the aroace discussion recently. I ended up having to block people because they were interested only in being angry, not in actually listening or in working for change. They wanted to shout, and flail and have things EXACTLY AS THEY WANTED IT.
They weren’t interested in working for change. They were interested in shouting until *I* backed down. Because I didn’t agree with them.
I got called names, gaslighted, and ganged up on. BY PEOPLE IN (one of) MY OWN COMMUNITIES!
So I ended up blocking.
I’m older, I remember a time when I was young and fired up and thinking the only way to make my voice heard was to shout and demand things.
Change needs to happen. YES. In SO MANY areas of publishing, in book twitter, in life. Change NEEDS to happen. I need it to happen, not just for me, but for my kids. Mixed race, autistic, possibly queer, likely… after the world gets done chewing them up and spitting them out… mentally ill adults they’ll someday be… and for my grandkids too, if I have any. All of the children and grandchildren of those generations. Those are the people *I’m* fighting for. Future generations. Not me, so much as the ones who will come after me.
Seven generations. A bastardized quote, but one worthy of thought in this context.
“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”
The seventh generation principle comes, we believe, from The Iroquois Confederacy.
I do know it’s a very important part of my life-path. To think ahead to future generations in all that I do.
Environment, relationships, all of it.
Because THAT is who I’m fighting and educating for.
It’s also a principle I try to follow that I need to have peace in my heart and a thick skin, so that I don’t act unwisely.
You may have heard me use the phrase “I need to sit with this”.
That usually means I’m angry, and I need to step back and away, to ‘sit with it’ until I can respond or speak in a way that won’t negatively impact others.
For reading, if you’re so inclined. Do a search for ‘seven’ and read those passages.
The Great Binding Law GAYANASHAGOWA
It’s part of why I stick on twitter, because a lot of people say they learn things from me that they don’t learn from anyone else. I have a patreon, I could confine my education to that area only like some people have done. (If you find any of my blogs or threads helpful/educational, even a dollar a month can help me so much. You’ve no idea how badly I need the help!!)
I’m not going to.
The angry atmosphere on twitter is driving people away. That is fact.
It’s not helping to educate. Shouting angrily, bullying, gaslighting, and being harmful enough to drive people away is not going to cause that badly needed change. No matter WHAT the area you personally need to have change happen in, anger is not going to get you there.
People doing the actual work are. The ones who reach out to someone (again, NO MATTER WHAT THE TOPIC IS) and say the hard thing to them…
IE: That is racist, that is bullying, that is queerphobic, that is harming other aroace people and making us afraid to talk, that is (insert harmful behavior here).
I’ve seen so many white authors dashing off a quick tweet today parroting that it’s wrong to miss old book twitter because it shuts down the conversation. (I’d really love to know if they call-in other white authors when they’re being problematic, or if they just dash off those tweets when the marginalized communities are harmed.)
But you know? It’s not wrong to miss old book twitter. I disagree with everything in me. With anyone saying it’s wrong to miss the old book twitter. That’s… not how this is supposed to work y’all.
And YES. I miss old book twitter.
I only caught the tail end of it, because I didn’t discover twitter until Jan of 2015. I still saw a much more uplifting, educational, and supportive atmosphere then than I do now.
When the atmosphere of twitter drives people TRYING TO DO BETTER away. When it drives the marginalized youth you claim to be fighting for AWAY… Then the atmosphere is the problem. Not ‘missing old book twitter’. Missing old book twitter is not about shutting down conversation and education. It just isn’t. I don’t know why I’m one of the few people who seem to feel that way.
If people can’t make mistakes, and earnestly apologize, try to learn better and do better… what the hell is the point of trying to educate at all?
If your only point is to sic your followers on an author who didn’t know better… welp, maybe the problem is as much YOU as the author.
If you’re called out for doing something wrong, (gods, I feel like a broken record here) you say “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I’m listening.” Then you sit the fuck down and you listen!
Then you try to do better with what you hopefully know.
I do notice who says they’re sorry and tries to do better, and who doesn’t. So does everyone else.
There’ve been threads (If you go to my twitter you can see which ones I retweeted, I’m not really a journalist, but considering the flagrant abuse of journalists that spawned these posts, I’m not going to link without permission. Sadly, I’m too afraid to ask for that permission of the two people I’d most like to link.)
I’ve also been bullied and harassed (through DMs, my blog contact form, and my email). I’ve had people lie to me, or subtly threaten to out my legal name and my husband’s and kids names as well if I don’t do what they want me to do. (To be clear, I don’t use my legal name cause it’s my dead name, so having it show up in an email hurt me. I don’t even use it in real life unless it’s on legal paperwork where I have to.) THIS name is my ‘real’ name. This is the real me.
Here is a thread I did for helping people consider if they’re being a bully or no.
Now, that vulture article that stirred up the hurt and rage on twitter today? It’s about the YA book community, and race, and attacking reviewers. I do suggest you read it in full and draw your own conclusions about it.
I’ll say something here I’ve been afraid to say elsewhere: I’m SO GLAD I don’t write YA. It’s not really in my skill set and I’m so grateful for that. I don’t even want to dip a toe in that shark infested lake.
I’ve got a partially finished YA memoir. I’ll never likely finish it because the very idea of swimming in the blood-chummed waters of YA twitter make me never want to consider it.
That has nothing to do with the young adults themselves. It has everything to do with adults and scary, noisy, angry saviors who purport to be defending and protecting the very people they supposedly write for.
Young adults are some of the most awesome people I’m privileged to know. They are much better people, by and large, than I was at their ages. The thing that keeps me from writing YA? (Aside from my lack of skill at it) Is that it’s not the Young Adult Voices who get listened to.
Nope. Not even close. It’s self-appointed ‘saviors’ of young adults (again, doesn’t matter the marginalization, I’ve seen it over and over again through many different diverse communities). They’re ANGRY saviors too.
Thought experiment from sociology classes:
- The last time someone yelled in your face, did you *actually* hear the point they were trying to make?
- If someone bullied you, did you learn from them? Or did you try to get away?
- If someone has bullied or yelled at you more than once, will you EVER actually listen to them or their point?
No? Hunh. Imagine that.
Young Adults by and large (I follow quite a few now, after a particular dust up where they came out in droves to shout down an angry savior. I’m following teens and young adults because I’M LISTENING TO THEM.) They are afraid to speak up on twitter because of the outraged adults.
The ones doing the harm here, it’s not the young adults. It’s the angry saviors and their hangers-on claiming (again, no matter which marginalized community we’re talking about) to be ‘protecting’ the ‘helpless young adults’.
Now, I don’t know about you? But I HATED to be talked over by adults when I was a young adult.
Seems to me, mourning old twitter isn’t about wanting the conversation to die so much as wanting a safe place for conversations and reviews to be shared. I want people on twitter to sit with it until they know their facts and their emotions well before they take to twitter and rant.
I want it to be a safe place for teens and young adults to share their thoughts and experiences without getting shouted down. I want it to remain a place where people can (if they choose to provide the free education) continue to share educational threads. Where reviews can be shared. Where a well-thought out call-out can happen and where the one called out thinks and listens about the issue, then apologizes.
That’s what I want from book twitter.
But then, maybe I’m just too old, depressed and sad about seeing something that used to be really good going down the drain because of a few, angry saviors with huge followings.
Don’t, maybe… be that person who sees someone shouting about something (even if they’re shouting for a good cause, a needed change) and become a me-too-ist. There aren’t any ally cookies. There really aren’t.
There’s a distinct difference between educational threads, shared experiences and the angry saviorism. If you can’t recognize it… maybe think about that.
If you’re NOT doing the work to call-in problematical angry saviors AS WELL AS the problematic people who may be well meaning and who might make mistakes (again, no matter the marginalization) maybe just STFU and leave the work to those of us who do.
Consider this a call out to the angry saviors and the me-too-ists.
You’re not part of the solution. You’re part of the problem.
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