Saturday, March 1, 2014

if you're curious about what Noah Berlatsky's doing

I saw Captain Confederacy was being discussed at The Confederate Superheroes of America « The Hooded Utilitarian, so I popped over, then made the mistake of reading the comments. Noah Berlatsky said,
So…Will Shetterly is the same guy who is now a somewhat infamous internet troll, right?
Then:
Must be the same guy. Runs around explaining how race doesn’t matter, it’s all about class and so forth. Lovely.
 I commented,
Yep, that’s me, except Coffeeandink took quotes out of context. I’m also the guy who wrote Dogland, which NPR’s Ellen Kushner called, “A masterwork. A particularly American magic realism that touches the heart of race and childhood in our country; it’s 100 Years of Solitude for an entire generation of American Baby Boomers, and deserves the widest possible audience.” The feministsf wiki said my “work features strong women characters and people of color”. I have never said race doesn’t matter, and the fact Coffeeandink doesn’t quote me saying anything to that effect should be significant. What I have said is that class matters more than race in the modern US, and anyone who thinks Herman Cain’s daughter is oppressed and a homeless white guy is privileged really needs to rethink their understanding of privilege and oppression. Really, criticizing Critical Race Theory is not the same as endorsing racism, denying racism, or thinking that racism is over. 
If you’re interested in a more nuanced take on these things, I recommend googling Adolph Reed Jr.’s “The limits of anti-racism” and the Rev. Thandeka’s “Why Anti-Racism Will Fail”.
Berlatsky said,
Hey Will. I am startled at your appearance, but appreciate your gracious response. Thanks for stopping by.
Then:
Okay…so, Will, I’m sorry about this, but I’m somewhat familiar with your actions online, and I’m afraid I’m not comfortable having you as part of this community. I’ve blocked you, and I’d appreciate you not commenting here again.
Again, I do appreciate your civility, and since I brought your name up it was reasonable for you to respond. Since I’m asking you not to post here, I will avoid discussing you in the future.
Along those lines, I’d ask folks not to respond to Will’s post, since he’s not going to be here to reply to it.
Thanks everyone.
I was amused by the notion that I was gracious, but I was being blocked. Some people really can't deal with intellectual disagreement.

So I googled Berlatsky and found Why Doesn’t the Atlantic Fire Noah Berlatsky? | Ted Rall's Rallblog. The quick answer is the Atlantic has plenty of identitarians working for them, perhaps because they share a belief system, perhaps because they produce great clickbait.

Then I checked what Berlatsky had done at the Atlantic and saw 12 Years a Slave: Yet Another Oscar-Nominated 'White Savior' Story.

In case you don't have the immediate reaction to his title that I did, I'll elaborate: He's objecting to a story being historically accurate. I left a comment there, but either I screwed up or he banned me there, too. It basically said that the history of ending slavery is a history of white saviors, because the only successful slave revolt ever was in Haiti. It took a lot of dead white saviors to end slavery in the US, which does not demean the black people who fought for their freedom, but they were outnumbered ten to one. They couldn't win without white saviors. That's just how the system worked.

And in the case of 12 Years a Slave, that's how history worked. I asked him a question I suppose I'll never have answered: Would he have preferred Django Unchained?

ETA: I misremembered where I'd left the comment. Not banned. It's here: What Movies About Slavery Teach Us About Race Relations Today - Noah Berlatsky - The Atlantic.