All right, here’s the thing: I’m an arrogant schmuck, but I can also listen from time to time. After I went off earlier this week, a number of people I trust came to me and told me I was being unfair to a lot of people, and in varying ways walked me through stuff I missed or lacked context for, and asked me to engage that brain of mine and think about it. Well, I’ve thought about it. And at the moment, here’s what I think:
1. The discussion was a big fat mess, and I still wish it had been better all the way around.
2. But a large chunk of it was a lot better than I had characterized it as being, and thus my characterization of the whole thing as a complete waste of time was based on ignorance, an assumption that the parts I tracked through were the majority of discussion (i.e., more ignorance), and a fair amount of pissed-offedness that an especially irritating if minor part of it showed up at my site.
So for that inaccurate characterization, and the various offense it caused: I apologize. I was wrong.
If you want to know who helped walk me back, both Justine Larbalestier and Tempest Bradford were instrumental; both of them did a good job of doing the “uh, dude?” thing, and because I know them both well and trust them to let me know when I’m bumping into objects, I gave their opinions great weight. Likewise, lots of folks in the comment thread here were good in challenging my position and doing it in a way that was polite but pointed, which was useful to me. I realize a few of you weren’t expecting that I was really actually thinking about what you were saying. Surprise! I was. I am grateful to Justine and Tempest and the commenters for taking the time, pointing out things I had missed, and being patient with my brain while I worked this out to my own satisfaction. We should be talking about things that are hard to talk about, and race (and the role it plays in sf/f) is one of those things.
Note, incidentally, that I don’t expect the people who are pissed off at me at the moment to stop being so; I worked hard at poking at them, so I imagine they’ll continue to be annoyed for some time. The apology isn’t to cover my ass in any event. The apology is to acknowledge my error and the wisdom of friends. For the moment, I think that will suffice.