*Laughs at your memetic response, fellow fans*
I just wanted to pen a quick apology for an old post of mine. “A Star Wars Story” was written in April 2019 and related events from 2015, when my younger self was aggregating hype for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the post, I admitted that my 2015 self had entertained racist and sexist structures in his subconscious. Consequently, he had believed the main characters Finn and Rey to be secondary characters of the space opera, simply because neither of them was a white man. He had seen the trailer and asked, cluelessly: “Okay, but where is the hero?” I (my 2019 blogger self) shared the personal anecdote because it exemplified a complicated issue: subconscious prejudice. But then I immediately shrugged the unpleasant fact off:
“I didn’t feel like a racist or sexist person when I became aware of my prejudice; I was just happy to have learned something new. That’s what it means to be progressive.”The Thinking SJW (paraphrased to emphasize my tactlessness)
My intention was to demonstrate that us progressives aren’t as guilt-obsessed as conservatives seem to think. Yes, we acknowledge the privileged mistakes we make, but we don’t hate ourselves for them. We learn and we forgive. That’s the message I tried to get across, and I hoped to enhance it further through a carefree tone. But I went a bit too carefree. Racist and sexist structures are a big deal, even subconscious ones. When you notice a discriminatory thought in your head, it’s cause for immediate concern. No, of course you shouldn’t wallow in guilt, as I put it in the older post, but do understand the weight of the issue.
(I’m not lecturing you, but myself!)
To me, a privileged individual, my subconscious prejudice is an inconvenient reminder that I’m a child of my time. That’s all. It discomforts me, but doesn’t impact my life in any tangible way. To women and people of color, however, my subconscious prejudice is a wrenching reminder that the world is designed to silence them. That even their allies are unwitting components in that appalling system. If I am going to claim that sort of complicity in a blog post, I shouldn’t make light of it only sentences later. No, a statement that problematic should be sandwiched between at least two apologies.
I want my blog to be a fairly safe space. The last thing I should do then is casually admit to latent racism and sexism. I’m sorry about that and resolve to do better in the future.