Do Better, Be Better

Originally published on May 1, 2019, but it remains 100% relevant today, especially as a peer.

Today’s morning thought:

It’s not enough to – want – to do better. Most people – want – to do better. I used to tell people I – wanted – to better. I would have an interaction, and then I would have an epiphany (or someone would shove one in my face hole).

I would apologize, even PROMISE to do better, and then within weeks even days, I’d be back to old behaviors. Old behaviors are easy. They’re comfortable. They’re painless and smooth

You have to BE better. You have to actually change your behavior.

And wow, that’s hard. It hurts, not just because you’re retraining your brain, but because as you do, you discover all the hurt and pain you’ve caused in the past to people who you either didn’t care about, didn’t know, or didn’t recognize.

Epiphanies mean nothing if you don’t act on them. Wanting is great as a motivator. You have to DO it.

#changenotapologies
#bemindful
#youhavetobebetter
#dothething

Evaluate Yourself

It’s important to realize that [people in the majority] benefit from several racist and sexist constructs of society by no direct action of your own. No one wants to blame you for the actions of others, or those of your ancestors. We just want things to get better for those who have been harmed by those same constructs.

White folks: if it’s not about you, then don’t sweat it. If someone says “white men are trash” and you know that you’re not a trash white man, it ain’t about you, let it go. If someone says “all white women clutch their pearls” but you know you don’t do that, it ain’t about you, let it go.

Our egos are literally the least important thing to be thinking about right now.

Being an ally doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but it DOES mean that when you screw up, you should be willing to listen to members of the affected minority that you’ve impacted and change your behavior to do better.

Being an ally specifically means that you’re going to work to learn from your mistakes and change how you act.

Being an ally DOES NOT MEAN saying “hey be nice to this other person who has done bad things to you and your people, because they’re a potential good ally and you don’t want to alienate them.”

That is not allyship. Allies don’t speak for other people. They support them in speaking for themselves.

This is an amalgamation of this post, this post, and this post.

Make Sure They Have Enough

Originally posted December 23, 2019. I’m publishing it now, because whoa, relevant.

Louis CK turned out to be a burning trash dumpster of a person, but this sentiment still stands, and I tell my boys this all the time. You only worry about your neighbor’s bowl to make sure that they have enough.

Image may contain: 4 people, meme and text

As Jadwiga said on the original post, “Don’t discount a truth just because you don’t like the person saying it.”

(Offer not valid for Orson Scott Card & JK Rowling.)

Anti-Racism Resources

It’s not enough to just be not racist. We have to be anti-racist. That means constant self-evaluation and work. While not exclusive to people who look like me, it is the work of majority to make sure that minorities are not excluded.

To that end, I have created a List of Anti-racism Resources (google docs) that I update on the regular. Feel free to peruse, use, and share.

Recognize Racism

Originally posted June 22, 2020.

Too many people believe that Racism begins and ends with Obvious Racism. Instead, the other two entries have just as much of an impact, across a far broader and subtle swath of life.

It’s not enough to stand up to Klansmen and Skinheads (although that is also to be praised). True equity comes from rooting out racism in all its forms.

Indeed, we need to even look at our lives and see which of these we are, perhaps unknowingly, doing ourselves.

If you were born and educated in this country, you have been steeped in racism and bigotry since the day you were born. It takes self-assessment and awareness to change yourself.

It’s Everyone’s Job

Originally published June 16, 2020.

Remember, folks: it’s not just the Peers of the realm who need to support diversity, equity and inclusion in the SCA. We need all of you. We cannot do it alone.

And if we’re being honest, YOU told US to do it with your own actions already.

We’re all in this together. This fight isn’t won by rank.

It’s all our job to lift people up.

You Can’t Run From the Things You’ve Done

Originally published April 18, 2019.

So I have a fair number of SCA friends who have two Facebook profiles. They do it for a variety of reasons: their job, their desire to keep groups of friends separated, their family doesn’t care for the SCA, and far be it from me to ever tell someone that they’re doing the SCA or Facebook wrong — you do you boo.

But there are some people who keep separate profiles because they say that “Bob Smith” is a different person from “Robert the Smith”. And, again, if that’s what you want, go for it, but I don’t, personally, think that it works. And it has to do with a fundamental belief and a fundamental part of my SCA philosophy.

People are who they show you they are.

There is no SCA life vs Real life, there’s just Life, and you are accountable for your choices.

The vast majority of my friends are in the SCA. I barely dated outside the SCA. I met my first wife in the SCA, and I met my second wife through an SCA friend. I go to something like 20-26 SCA events a year. I used to schedule my vacation time around the SCA. Heck, when I was in college, I’d quit my summer jobs in July because I knew I was going to go to Pennsic. For almost all of us, the SCA is a permanent, intertwined part of our lives. People like to say that it’s “just a hobby” but it’s really not. It’s our social universe. It’s our place to be. It’s our chosen family. And we are who we show people we are.

So if you’re a good person in the world of computers and electric stoves and carbon fiber, you’re likely to be a good person in the world of spears, vikings, madrigals. If you’re a shitty person in the world of banks and cars and televisions, you’re likely to be a shitty person in the world of catapults and pavilions and scrolls. And if you need to change the way people look at you, it’s probably going to take decades of work and disappointment. Ask me how I know.

In the end, you can’t run from the things you’ve done by creating a new Facebook profile for yourself. In the end, the truth comes out.

People are who they show you they are. And Life is just Life.

How Can the SCA Do Better?

Originally published January 1, 2019.

So it seems to me that there are two big issues facing the SCA right now:

1) problematic behavior, such as but not exclusively: sexual harassment and bigotry related to race, gender, orientation, gaslighting, etc.
2) the behavior we see when someone’s problematic behavior is called out – IE, calling a POC a bigot when they call for the SCA to boycott a hotel that promotes or allows racist behavior from its staff.

I am generally an in your face kind of guy about both of these kinds of behaviors. But a good worker has lots of tools in the toolbox. So many of you here on my friends list don’t like it that the SCA doesn’t seem to have a good plan for combating racism or gaslighting. The anti-discrimination policy doesn’t appear to have much by way of teeth.

What are ways we can push the SCA to take a more enlightened stance on these issues? How do we enable the SCA to do better?