Words and References:
[warnings: mild violence, allusion to human sacrifice, decapitation]
The City doesn’t remember xer name. There are other Cities besides xim still,...
Here is the demo for the Steven Universe Theme Song!
Arrangement by Jeff Liu, vocals and omnichord by Rebecca Sugar.
Here are the chords!
If you want to talk about “responsibility” on the part of individual authors, you can go ahead and read it from the horse’s mouth.
He really believes he is basing this story on history, and that is his response to lack of and poor representation of people of color in his stories:
So let’s talk about the internet controversy about Oberyn Martell. Do you have any thoughts on that?
I commented on my blog. You can find a more studied response there. I made a couple of comments as to what people said about that. I always pictured Oberyn Martell in my head as a — what I call a Mediterranean type. I know people attacked me for that by saying “He’s ignorant, he doesn’t know that Africa is on the Mediterranean.” No, I know Africa is on the Mediterranean. But in common parlance, when you say Mediterranean you are thinking Greek, Italian, Spanish. When you are thinking Moroccan or Tunisian that’s North African. That’s the way people talk about that.
I always pictured the Martells and the salty Dornishman as Mediterraneans, so the casting I think is perfectly appropriate with what I wrote in the books. I do sympathize. I mean, I understand.
Some people have written me some very heartfelt letters, and I’ve tried to respond to them about how they wanted to see someone who looked like them in the books, and how they were [disappointed]. They had pictures of the Martells looking like them, and they were disappointed.
I understand that, but it still wasn’t my intent to make… Even the terminology here is such a land mine. I don’t even know what words to use here “black” or “African.” I used African at one point, sort of like African American. [But] if you use “African” you are guilty for saying all Africans are the same.
I don’t know. I am drawing from history, even though its fantasy. I’ve read a lot of history, The War of the Roses, The Hundred Years War. The World back then was very diverse. Culturally it was perhaps more diverse then our world, but travel was very difficult back then. So even though there might have been many different races and ethnicities and peoples, they didn’t necessarily mix a great deal. I’m drawing largely on medieval England, medieval Scotland, to some extent medieval France. There was an occasional person of color, but certainly not in any great numbers.
^ I consider this to be a cop out. Added on to the fact that he seems more concerned about getting criticized for using the wrong word than massive disappointment on the part of his own fan base. It more or less reeks of “everyone’s so P.C. these days! Ugh!”
I mean, there is plenty of historical precedent for even large numbers of various people of color in all of those nations. You can read articles about forensic archeology and recent discoveries that have challenged these notions to the breaking point. Like, as in 20% people of color. Take 4th Century York, England. According to Dr. Hella Eckhardt:
“It helps paint a picture of a Roman York that was hugely diverse and which included among its population, men, women and children of high status from Romanised North Africa and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.”
Eboracum (York) was both a legionary fortress and civilian settlement, and ultimately became the capital of Britannia Inferior. York was also visited by two Emperors, the North-African-born Emperor Septimius Severus, and later Constantius I (both of whom died in York). All these factors provide potential circumstances for immigration to York, and for the foundation of a multicultural and diverse community.
I can tell you the same things about Scotland, France, Central Europe…all these regions had seen large influxes of immigrants in the late Roman and early Medieval Eras. After all, these people didn’t just disappear hundreds of years later when historians decided a new “period” of history had begun! There’s plenty of primary sources and documentation that many specifically Black people lived and worked in various Medieval European cities and towns.
Also, speaking of Empires, there was also a rather important Mongolian Empire that happened firmly within an time frame that is pretty universally recognized as “Medieval”. Which, very unfortunately, brings us to the Dothraki.
People complain that the Dothraki are this one-dimensional barbarian society.
I haven’t had a Dothraki viewpoint character though.
I guess it’s too late to introduce one now.
I could introduce a Dothraki viewpoint character, but I already have like sixteen viewpoint characters. I could kill some of my viewpoint characters, to get down to the seven or eight I started with, or some numerical equivalent. The Dothraki are partially based on the Huns and the Mongols, some extent the steppe tribes like the Alvars and Magyars. I put in a few elements of the Amerindian plains tribes and those peoples, and then I threw in some purely fantasy elements. It’s fantasy.
Are they barbaric? Yeah, but the Mongols were, too. Genghis Khan — I just saw an interesting movie about Ghengis Khan, recently. I’ve read books about Genghis Khan, and he’s one of history’s more fascinating, charismatic characters. The Mongols became very sophisticated at certain points, but they were certainly not sophisticated when they started out, and even at the height of their sophistication they were fond of doing things like giant piles of heads. “Surrender your city to me, or we will come in and kill all the men, rape all the women and make a giant pile of heads." They did that a few times, and other cities said, "Surrender is good. We’ll surrender. We’ll pay the taxes. No pile of heads, please.”
*puts hands over face*
Okay, let’s talk about how and why a guy who “reads a lot of history” gets this kind of idea about Mongol people, and apparently friggin Plains NDNs people as well (TW for murder gore, rape at link and f*ck you very much Mr. Martin, jeeeeebus.)
There is no equivalent for the Dothraki in history. What people point to most often is the Mongol invasions in Asia and Europe, but these generalizations are originally extrapolated mostly from the accounts from invaded nations written by someone who had heard this or that about what had happened. I’m not saying like, “such and such never happened” I’m saying it didn’t always happen, and also that there’s a lot more to the story, and also that this narrative dominates for a reason.
We’ll do an example. Here you have something like this from UWGB, which heads up their “Mongol Values” section with a supposed quote from Genghis Khan. Here’s what the claim is, right? We have this translation of something he supposedly said here:
The greatest joy a man can know is to conquer his enemies and drive them before him. To ride their horses and take away their possessions. To see the faces of those who were dear to them bedewed with tears, and to clasp their wives and daughters in his arms.
Okay, so basically, Conan the Barbarian. The article, which, might I remind you, is on a college site, goes on from this to say:
Or to paraphrase it in the bluntest possible modern terms: “To kill people, take their property, see and enjoy the pain you have caused their families, and rape their women as a final gesture of power.”
Okay, well that’s is a pretty big “I decided this means exactly what I already expected someone I think Genghis Khan was like would say.”Even if you did decide to take this at face value…that’s still not the casual attitude toward sexual violence the Dothraki demonstrate, it’s the opposite.
I could go into how women in Mongol culture had a great deal of power (which doesn’t necessarily translate into conquered women being perceived as equivalent, but might I remind you that Dothraki women in ASOIAF appear to be chattel with zero bodily autonomy evidence of sentience, for the most part), or how women having sociopolitical power does not equal a lessening of sexual violence by necessity….but.
I could mention that the way in which Genghis Khan was able to stabilize and actually rule such a vast empire was by giving conquered MEN to his DAUGHTERS in marriage, but then took these husbands out on campaign with him, and replaced them as needed when they died. Or that his empire was actually inherited by his daughters.
And then this article goes on to make statements about we know from Genghis Khan’s attitudes and sadistic enjoyments (more or less) that hope for humanity’s goodness will always be futile, because there will always be Hitlers and Stalins.
^^^That is their section on “Mongol Values”. D:
People who claim that GRRM’s Dothraki are realistically based on Mongolian or Plains NDN culture are pretty much in “Einstein and Hammurabi Disco Dance in a Hot-Air Balloon" territory.
Thanks to Historians like the above and GRRM, people think “Mongolian=pile of heads, nonstop rape” . There’s no Khutulun, Wrestler Princess, among the Dothraki. There is no Queen Manduhui, no Lady Hö’elün, no Empress Chabi, no Sorghatani Beki, no mention of The Great Khanum and eight princesses Ruy González de Clavijo saw and marveled at in 1403.
GRRM took a society of women who could own property, divorce at will, hold political office and positions of military command, and replaced them with visibly dirty, grunting animals being raped publicly in the dirt [tw link for an image of what i just described].
Because “historical accuracy”.
Because oh, well it’s already done and it’s too late to change it now.
Actually, all of it sounds incredibly familiar:
"We cannot simply change it"
"I could introduce a Dothraki viewpoint character, but I already have like sixteen viewpoint characters"
"I guess it’s too late to introduce one now."
It’s always too little, too late, try again, make your own, better luck next time.
So, when do we get to stop being force-fed vile stereotypes with our fantasy? When do we get wish-fulfillment and escapism?
The bottom line is, I don’t know because the this is the industry right now:
How are supposed to break the vicious cycle of whiteness in publishing, whiteness of SF/F authors, whiteness of characters, othering, misogyny, degradation, stereotypes, and a history of a Black-White Good-Evil dichotomy?
Why does it matter? Because people think this is real, people think this is accurate, people think this is acceptable, people think this is historical, including, apparently, the people who are writing these stories.
We must change the narrative to change our stories, because lies about the past are in danger of dictating our futures.
Okay, seriously? There are literally 36 threads on reddit linking to this blog, and for a site that claims not to support harassment, there sure are a lot of people from the past week (before any other articles appeared) making tumblr accounts to send one message:
Once again, Black people in particular are being targeted by messages like these, and I can’t claim that this message affects me the same way it would Black people. But you might notice that that’s the point of this message: it’s a threat. “You have no history.” And that’s what these people are trying to “prove”, and if that doesn’t work, then come the threats, the slurs, the violence.
These links are being submitted by people with handles like “Death_to_SJWs” (“SJW” apparently being a derogatory term for people doing anti-racist or other social justice work) and spawning off into other threads claiming they’re being “demonized” because of other messages I received telling me to “kill myself”.
There’s more that I’m not going to get into, but I’d like to take a moment for some perspective here.
This is an Art History and Historiography blog. Never doubt that there are people who are extremely committed to keeping our education, our media, and the images we see under control. People acting “surprised” about the harassment I’ve been receiving should probably take a moment to think about what kinds of environments you’re fostering: environments where bullying and harassment is not just tolerated, but encouraged.
I personally am not concerned or surprised by the backlash, although I’m surprised by how far it has traveled, in online terms. I’m not concerned for myself, considering nothing is made more dangerous by this than it is going about my business as a marginalized person in the United States. But honestly, those who consider themselves some kind of victim in this situation for fomenting spaces for bullying and abuse are seriously misguided.
I once again cannot overstate just how much very real resistance there is to these narratives, facts, and ideas becoming common and accessible.
Reddit’s administration will do nothing to fix this. After a couple of years of backlash because they banned /r/jailbait, /r/creepshots, and /r/n****rs without banning /r/shitredditsays (and let’s note here that reddit’s userbase actually sees calling out their comments as being as bad as or worse than child pornography, sexualized pictures of people who are unaware they’re being photographed and have not consented to be photographed, and white supremacists), of being accused that they were secretly “SRS shills,” they’ve started working in the opposite direction.
The admins that care about maintaining a welcoming space were, for a while, acting when they could within the policies established within that company to work toward that. They’re staying silent now. Some admins have been sending threatening messages to moderators of social justice subreddits and POC safe spaces.
I help moderate one of the largest POC safe space subs on reddit. We are constantly being brigaded by white supremacist subs, men’s rights subs, and anti-SJW subs that think having a sub geared toward POC is somehow “racist against white people.” The admins used to help us out a lot in those situations, shadowbanning the people responsible and warning the mods of those subs to contain their users and do what they can to prevent brigades.
Yesterday, one of my fellow mods was IP banned without warning because she was arguing with a white supremacist. Our inside source tells us it’s because she was “making trouble.” It has come to a point where reddit’s userbase is so vehemently for maintaining white male hegemony that the administration is backing them.
That’s within reddit. There’s no way on this any parallel universe version of earth or hell they’ll do anything about brigading offsite. They didn’t even do anything when /r/mensrights was submitting false rape accusations to Occidental College. Reddit has been a terrible place for a long time, and it’s only getting worse.
That sounds absolutely terrible.
In this situation, I never particularly expected anything to be done about it. No one ever really does feel impelled to do anything about places like that, because some people are just considered to be acceptable targets (spoiler: it’s the same people it’s been for the last 200 years or so).
I’m just trying to hold up a mirror so maybe some of these people can take a good look at what they’re doing, and what they’re supporting. Who knows, maybe they can fool themselves to that degree, but maybe it’ll be harder to fool others.
Reddit: 4chan for engineers.
my ancestral grandmother was kidnapped and raped by a white man at the age of 13. she was kept in an “Indian pen” and one of her children was murdered by this man. that story has haunted my family for generations and we have still not come to terms with being descendants of that horrific violence.
i am a Native woman survivor of domestic violence and rape. i can’t even tell you how many times i’ve been raped because i don’t know; i have been drugged and date raped multiple different times by multiple different men. two of those men called me Pocahontas (even though i look nothing like the Disney character!), and told me they couldn’t wait to fuck me because they thought all Indians are dead, and since we’re dying out I’m probably the last opportunity they’ll get.
i work for a Native woman’s organization that fights violence against Native women by advocating for policy changes, pushing for community dialogue on healthy relationships & violence, & supporting survivors of violence and tribal programs that provide support. i have heard & read stories, both at work and in my personal life, that made me puke. the realities of violence against Native women are so dark, sometimes to cope i have to set aside a few hours for prayer. i sit and cry and pray and cry and pray until i fall asleep exhausted. i carry each story and each photo and each girl and woman with me everywhere i go and in all the work i do. i don’t get to leave my work life at work, and i don’t want to; my work and my community and my personal life and my heart are all in the same place.
this is all to say that i am deeply invested in dialogue on violence against Native women. as a Cheyenne, i am from a culture that is often appropriated from (hipster headdresses being the most common example); that said, it still pains and disturbs me to see people casually throw out statistics on the violence that i & so many of our Native sisters have experienced in defense of the sanctity of a headdress, when so few are defending the sanctity of Native women. the 1 in 3 stat doesn’t even come close to doing justice to the realities of violence against Native women, and reciting it doesn’t do anything to support the women that make it up or end the patterns of violence set in place.
where are the NCAI commercials on the lack of justice for indigenous women? where are the trending hashtags that fight for a world in which Native women are treated with dignity and respect? where are the hordes of people in the streets demanding that the government address the widespread trafficking of Native women, create a comprehensive database of missing & murdered indigenous women, or actually pass a VAWA amendment that would grant tribes jurisdiction over ALL cases of violence against our women, and not just those in which the victim can prove it was intimate partner violence? true warriors are those who fight with their people in their hearts, who first and foremost defend the most endangered of their community—the Indian Wars of the 19th century started with the rape and murder of several Lakota women, and even when the Lakota had decided to stop fighting, they rejoined after they heard of the gendered violence at the Sand Creek massacre. don’t forget that! fighting for our nations has always been fighting for the honor and safety of our women, so step up and be a real warrior already.
and for those interested, you can find the report HERE
Just in case any dudebros are unclear on what this means: it means that your buddy who totally just had some bitch trying to ruin his life by accusing him of rape…almost certainly actually did rape her.
Just keep that in mind.
This article contains some very useful, very concrete tips on how to attack rape culture in your social circles
You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.
If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”
On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.
The fourth point: If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem.
There’s a man with whom I went out on a single date—afternoon coffee, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after the date, he sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed him back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single date. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Does he still e-mail?
Yeah. He does. About every two weeks.
This man scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Cockroach Tattoos. (Who, after all, is guilty of nothing more than terrifying bad taste.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual rapist, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Rapist, and this particular Schrödinger’s Rapist has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well.
So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.
For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.
an excerpt from Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced” (via lostgrrrls)
HOLY FUCK THE TRUTH.
Can every one of my male followers read this? And please, before you get defensive (“I would never rape anyone!”) keep in mind, women being afraid of Schrodinger’s Rapists (oh my god i still can’t get over the encompassing brilliance of this phrase) is a conditioned, learned response from being immersed in rape culture and the evolution of sexism and sexual violence in our society from the day we’re born. And unfortunately, it’s very difficult to unlearn without the efforts of all genders to dismantle it. Which is where you come in.