Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update on the issue of 'character'

Still going on with all this racist bullcrap in the club. At first I was just going to end it with banning the guy for his behavior but I was convinced by one of his little buddies to try something different; I said I wanted more group interaction so I ASKED the members what they thought of the situation and whether or not it would be right or wrong to ban him for his actions. Thus far, its almost an even scale. I will not tell you what side has been winning but so far, I’m surprised that I’ve gotten ‘yes, ban him’ ‘No, give him a second chance’ but ALSO a lot of middle grounds, thoughts that feel bad for both sides and eventually have given me the final say on the matter.
I will admit this now; I did get angry. I got very angry. Did I go too far, I did, I will admit that but I will also add that my anger from this entire thing just wasn’t something that came about from this one incident. No, I’ve run into this person BEFORE on a lot of occasions in the past and believe it or not, HE was the one that basically inspired me to make the group. In the past, he has gone on other people’s work and told them that they were ‘wrong’ for drawing characters a certain way, as his post explained ‘too dark or Afrian’ (No, that is not a typo on my part. THAT is how he spelled AFRICAN and it wasn’t a single mistake.) and that people who drew any of the characters as people of color were only doing so because it was PC. To back up his claim he brought up things such as people wanting to ban Tom Sawyer in school (what does that have to do with artist wanting to draw black characters again and for their OWN enjoyment?) and also linked me this;
Its so nice to know that even in 2012, there are still people in this world who act as if even seeing more than two or three people of color anywhere in any medium is too much, as if their presence is some sort of distraction or there is no real place for them. 
As someone who noted me with their thoughts, he was basically was stating ‘I’m not racist so I’m all for diversity but not if its TOO diverse.’
And this is where the problem lies; what is TOO diverse? How does one be TOO diverse? Its insulting because its basically saying that if there are too many people of color, it becomes a problem because its TOO MUCH. The same argument was said by his friend who more or less went on about;
Some people become frustrated when they are forced to change.
When I started the club, I wanted to create a safe haven for people who drew humanizations of ANY color; it wasn’t JUST for characters of color, it was for EVERYONE. I haven’t told any of my members to go out and tell artist who drew white humanizations to tell them their wrong or that they should only draw black characters. Hell, I even told them to help me find MORE humanizations since I couldn’t do it on my own and that has only INCREASED the number of submissions but guess what?
Opinion can only go so far. I’ve been told to let the guy have his opinon but here’s the thing, he didn’t word his statements as;
Well, I don’t agree with Celestia being black since my head-canon is differnent but I can see why other people would do it.
He went on like this;
This is wrong. Everyone knows that Celestia can’t be black because she is an all powerful deity who is supposed to represent grace and beauty and you can’t do that with dark skin. Zecora is the only Afrian character in the show and as far as I can see Celestia has no zebra in her so she can’t be black. Its canon so its wrong.
You see what he did there? He used CANON as an excuse to harass artist into doing what HE wanted to see. The problem is, in CANON, the characters aren’t even HUMAN. In CANON, there is no clear indication of WHAT an of these characters would be even if they were. In CANON, there is nothing stating from these characters’s actions of what they can or CAN NOT be. Yet this guy has been insistant from the start that HIS views are right and everyone else is wrong.
So its no longer a matter of him having an opinion. He has been stating his words as RIGHT and trying to use that to tell the club and other artist that they are wrong, all the while pushing racist rhetorict as a way to defend himself. He stated that black skin isn’t graceful or beautiful and expected memebers, many of them who are black women themselves (myself included) NOT to take offense to that. He stated that her location, mannerisms, and voice also didn’t fit black skin and still expected people to see this as ‘correct’. I had lost it by this point and this is where I laid it out on him full throttle. I had already had enough when he was going to other artist to do this shit and I wasn’t going to take it on a club that I founded and made just to get away from stuff like that.
But yes, I did went a bit far and anger is what fueled it. Nonetheless, I still stand by my point and I found his comments to be VERY insulting, VERY hurtful, and against the basic functions of the club. If I were thinking from the very start, I would have put ‘Going out to other artist and harassing them is a bannable offense for the club’ which is something I AM going to put up once all this is over and the results come in.
He has said he ‘doesn’t understand’ or that ‘he can’t get his words out clearly’ but considering that he’s done this before and to other artist, I think its rather clear that he knows EXACTLY what he is doing and EXACTLY what he is saying.
I’m going to quote another person who noted me on the issue;
Agreeing to disagree on racism is not a good thing.
No, its not, especially when the person in question has done this shit multiple times BEFORE with no real clear indication that he has taken anything away from this at all. The first time, when the artist was being very nice and calm to him, should have acted as a warning but the second time should have been a sign to stop. But he didn’t stop; he did it again, and again, and mostly likely AGAIN since he seems to find his way to EVERY picture of a black Celestia or a random picture of a any of the cast as a person of color, especially of African decent. It seems to be the only race he has an issue with though since he asked about Chinese, Greek, or Italian portrayals, all of which have been done on more times than I can actually count but when it comes to African-Americans, there is suddenly a problem and that’s when it becomes ‘too much’, especially if there is more than two or the character is someone as powerful as Celestia.
I have already had people telling me that they are now uncomfortable with what he said and how he potentially will view their artwork (and to an extent, THEMSELVES as women of color) and in my heart, I feel that he SHOULD be banned. That is MY view and my feelings since I feel that his interactions will only hurt a lot more people, especially if he has more access to pictures through the feed. He could have chosen to express himself better or IGNORE the pictures he didn’t like but he didn’t and considering he has repeat actions on this type of thing, I don’t know if this incident will stop his actions and its something I do not want to put my members through. They don’t need any more negativity thrown their way just because of how they portray a character.
But as I said, I want the GROUP to look over what has been said and how they view it. Many of them are pretty made that I even considered allowing him back in but what happens, will happen and we will see. I have just told you my feelings and what has been going on as well as what I have to deal with because of all of this crap. Its a headache, one that I played part in, but a headache nonetheless but it also shows that people still haven’t changed when it comes to how they view other people. He isn’t and won’t be the last one to tell artist that drawing characters as people of color or anything that strays from the DEFAULT is ‘wrong’ but that doesn’t mean I should allow him to be that cruel to other members without letting him know that his statements are not needed and as I said, very hurtful. Next time, it will be worded better but I have to put my foot down sometimes and this is one of those times.
Diversity is magic but that does not mean I’m going to let people walk over ME or the members who only want to draw. If you continue to offend, you WILL be blocked and you can’t use an excuse of ‘LOVE AND TOLERANCE’ when you’re not even showing that yourself and you continue to act hostile even after people say STOP.

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